Life and Spiritual Coaching

December 27, 2008

Good friends are worth their weight in gold

Filed under: Christian,Family,Life Balance — by Donna Ritter @ 9:30 am
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I had always dreamed of walking down the aisle at graduation with my Dad in his Harvard robes. When I was a senior in college, He was coming back from giving a paper and had a heart attack on the airplane. Even though they emergency landed the plane in Atlanta, he died. That night I had double dated with my sister to see a “Yes” concert, but went home earlier than she did since I had an 8:00 am Calculus class.

I was a senior in college when my Mom called me up (after a very late night at a YES concert) and asked me to come over since my Dad was “sick”. I told her I needed to sleep and would be there after my class in the morning. My parents were divorced by then, so I thought it was a bit weird, but went back to sleep. Then she called back and told me I was dead. I rushed to her house at 3 in the morning n tears. My Dad was my best friend. My Mom wanted me to find my sister but I had no idea where she was and there were no cell phones back then. She gave me a stiff drink (which was the last thing I needed – but I took it anyway). We waited for my sister Barby to show up and when she did, we both broke down in tears again. My Mom asked me to go to my Dad’s apartment to look for a will (he was only 45) and she didn’t feel comfortable doing it. I was a basket case. Luckily my roommate was there to drive me.

Seeing my Dad’s most personal things was horrible to me. I found what I could and brought it back to my Mom.

I stayed there, but went to school because at the beginning of the semester, my professor had said there would be no exceptions to missing exams. I must have looked a mess, because one of my friends came up as I was waiting and said”what happened to you, did someone die or something”? When he heard my story, he walked into the classroom and explained my situation to the professor and she was so nice, and told me of course I could make it up. Maybe it helped that my Dad was the Dean of the Graduate School – but he led me out of school to the next door college bar. Now this was about 8:30 am. My best friend said “Let’s have a few beers and celebrate his life”. We did and we laughed and cried at the same time. One old drunk came over and asked us what was going on. When we told him, he cried too! We all started laughing which sounds weird, but it was what I needed most.

It was then that I found out who your real friends are. Some that I thought were my friends looked the other way when I was coming. Some sat with me and let me talk, cry and cried with me. It was like my Dad’s death was contagious and some of my so called friends didn’t want to catch the “germ”.  That’s when I learned the value of true friends. They are with you through the good and bad, the ugly, the horrible and the tragedy. Some of those people I can call today (and I’m 53) and it’s like we never stopped talking.

Then the next shoe hit the floor. My Mom wanted me to decide where my Dad should be buried! His Dad was on vacation, but I refused to make any decisions until I could talk to my Grandfather. No parent should survive their children. I had never had death touch me, and I couldn’t handle it. I was floored that my Mom couldn’t see that.

We ended up sending the police after my grandfather. Thank God he took care of everything. We all flew up to Massachusetts were my first Grandmother was buried. My Dad was cremated and buried next to her. My Grandfather sent me the pictures he developed that my Dad had taken on that trip; they were of the same place where he was buried. It was fall, so I’m sure he was taking pictures of the changing leaves – but is was still creepy. My sister and I didn’t have much money, but we went to a florist and bought roses to lie on his grave.

When we got home, the money he had was to be left to any minor children (of which I was not) but there was an insurance policy with me as the beneficiary. I felt said because he had always wanted a boat. I think you should always make sure you experience your dreams.

My Mom said she and Barby would take me to court to get that money – so I gave it to them. Not worth fighting for. I almost quit college at the suggestion of my Mom, but my Dad’s professor friends rallied around me and got me through it (thank goodness for those wonderful men).

I gave up the idea of graduate school and got a job in the computer industry where I have been for 30 years. My Mom and Scott moved up to New York before I graduated and no one I was related to came to the ceremony. Not even my sister.

My husband and I have an iron clad will so hopefully none of this business will happen. I grew up very fast during those years and still hear my Dad in my prayers. I made peace with my Mom before she died (at 72) and I am very glad I did. Family is what is most important and should never be taken for granted. Nor should goof friends – they are worth gold and they endure much longer than teenage crushes or small arguments. Nurture them with love and they will serve you for your whole life.

You never know when your time will be up so always tell your loved ones how much you love and appreciate them. Never go to bed with any anger in your heart. I have a sign over our bed that says “Never forget to kiss me Goodnight” so my husband and I remember how important it is. Forgive no matter what and live so you have no regrets on your deathbed. Older people will tell you that the only thing they worry about are regrets from a missed time to tell someone they loved them or a missed time to spend more time with their kids. Don’t let that happen to you. Life goes by in a blink! Live, Laugh and Love everyone! You never know when the last day will come – so no regrets!





December 22, 2008

The Meaning of Christmas

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Donna Ritter @ 6:33 pm
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When I was a teenager, I confused true friendship with casual friends (mostly boys). The thing is the casual friends come and go and true friends never leave. This especially became apparent to me when as a senior in college my Father (who was a professor at the University I went to) had a heart attack on an airplane on the way home from giving a paper. I was completely astounded at how many of my “true” friends ignored me as if death was somehow catching. They avoided me like the plague. My true friends stuck with me through the crying, the remembering, the shock and the drunken nights at the local pub. I had gone to school the night after my Dad died, even though I was up all night, because my teacher had said no excuses could be made to make up a test. One very good friend walked in with me and explained the situation and she excused me. My Dad was my best friend, so I took it very hard. I felt as though God had taken him away when he was finally getting over the divorce with my mother and starting to live the life he deserved. It took me a good 20 years before I sought out God again (and thank God I did, He is a very big part of my life now).
During the Christmas season I get a little sentimental. We have had some great times together with many great friends. Good friends are very hard to come by and you should never let them go. I firmly believe (by my own experience) that people are sent by God to be with us when we need them most. I believe they may be angels (or at least God’s messengers). I have some that I may not hear from for years, but when the need comes and I call them or they call me it’s like we never stopped talking. I hope you find someone like there to be one of those people who you can count on to always be there.

I believe this is one of the reasons God put us on earth – to cheer and hold up others who are in excruciating pain, or even the simple pains of life on this earth because we have all felt the same way at times and can relate. I tried to explain to my son that even though he was grateful that God gave His son to save him, he would never understand the gravity of that sacrifice. As a parent you realize that putting your child in danger that you can’t save them from must be the greatest gift you could give someone (and also the hardest thing you could ever do). Don’t forget that the simplest thing you can do for someone may be exactly what they need. You may be their angel doing God’s work!

Please don’t forget your friendships and know that people love you, even if you don’t see each other as much as you’d like to. Take the time to call or send a note. Casual friends come and go but true friends never leave your heart. That’s something teenagers need to learn through experience. I was taught very early that if a boyfriend wanted me to give up one of my girlfriends, he was very mistaken about my feelings towards life. I think losing my Dad at an early age helped me to realize that.

So, let’s all try to get together with the ones we love more often and while we are not together please remember you are always in their hearts and they are in yours. Don’t wait until it’s too late to express your love. Life is very short (even though it seems like it goes on forever!).

No one cares about what they’ve accomplished in life when they are dying; they care about who they loved and who loved them back. Any act of kindness you show to someone is an act of kindness you show our Lord Jesus.

Merry Christmas to you all and God bless you, your family and your friends!

Love always, your angel Donna

October 19, 2008


Filed under: God — by Donna Ritter @ 1:31 pm
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I am in two bible studies right now that happen (although there is no such thing as coincidence in my book) to both be on the fruits of the spirit. Do you think God is trying to tell me something?  One is a Beth Moore study called “Living Beyond Yourself” and the other has a little booklet for each “fruit” – this week’s was on Patience. These studies have helped me to look at things from a more spiritual point of view.

Here are the 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit listed one right after the other in a bullet point format:

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-control

Now here is the specific verse from Scripture where these 9 fruits are being given to us by the Lord:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22)

So far in my study we have seen that:


·         Love never fails

·         Joy commeth

·         Peace rules

·         Patience waits.


Patience is a sorely needed quality in the fast paced world in which we live in today. I found that after doing my studying today, one of the people that I lose patience with quickly is my daughter. There are two Greek words used to describe patience in the bible. They are makrothumia and hupomone. The first means to be long suffering in relation to people (inspired by mercy) and the second means to persevere, remain under, circumstances or succumb under trial – in relation to circumstances (inspired by hope). I am sorely in need of makrothumia when dealing with my kids! Just look at how people treat each other today. Not with love and patience, but quite the opposite.

The words in this bible passage are so relevant to us today. Who doesn’t want the fruits of the spirit to rule their behavior – their lives? Only through the Holy Spirit can we continually live our lives in the Fruits of the Spririt!



October 7, 2008

Living with Children over 18 – what are the rules?

Filed under: Family,Life Balance — by Donna Ritter @ 3:56 pm
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Our family is going through growing pains of sorts. Both of my children are over 18 years old and are biological having lived with us all of their lives.

I believe there are certain things that family members always should have and always should do. That is love each other unconditionally, respect each other, show each other courtesy and be honest with each other. They should also ask for forgiveness when necessary. The problem is our kids have reached young adult hood which has other expectations of instant freedom that sometimes can conflict while still being dependent on their parents if we aren’t careful.

What are the rules that should still exist? This is my position:

·         Love will never die and should rule any of our relationships. We should always talk to each other with respect and share what parts of our lives we want to.

·         We all have cell phones and can be reached at anytime, so we should at least make a pact to return calls from each other as soon as possible. Cell phones are a new concept for my husband and I – but one which my kids have lived with from the start.

·         We should respect and trust each other. This means we should talk to each other with kindness and honesty. Yes, the kids are old enough to live on their own, but since they are still living with the parents, I expect them to do things with us sometimes and let us know where they are at other times.

·         We need to treat each other with common courtesy. If you were staying at a friend’s house, and used their kitchen to make yourself food, you would clean it up. If you needed to use their washer or dryer, you would make sure you took care of the clothes they had in there already and get your clothes out of their dryer and fold them and put them away in your room. We all need to follow these rules.

·         If you are going to be late coming home, you should call and let the others know so they won’t worry.


Does anyone have any similar experiences or comments?

May 18, 2008

Love after Love – a lovely poem

Filed under: Writing — by Donna Ritter @ 3:37 pm
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Love After Love
  The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved youall your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.


— by Derek Walcott

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