What do we take for granted…

This is a big question & one that only YOU can answer. I know for me, I definitely take for granted that I was blessed to be given a daughter to hold, raise and love. I take for granted the little things that I daily am able to do like walk, see, hear, taste yummy foods, hold my husband’s hand. I take for granted that my parents are still alive and that they are still together after 40+ years of marriage. I take for granted the freedoms of where I live. I take for granted that I can read. I take for granted that I can freely learn anything I want. I take for granted that I can speak clearly & share my thoughts and ideas. I take for granted creativity, time, talents…There are many things that I take for granted at different times. I think we all do, but I have had a couple of experiences recently that have made me see a little more clearly.

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This past school year I have been volunteering & helping with the schools “service club.” We offer this little club to kids who need a place to go, who want to do little projects for needy children in other countries. It’s been a wonderful experience. The woman who heads up the club was a great example to me of selflessness. At the beginning of the year she was going through her own personal crisis–her husband was in need of a kidney transplant. It was an emotional roller coaster each week watching her deal with her husband put on dialysis, trouble with doctors, having moments of hope that a sister was a good match & then learning she wasn’t emotionally the right match…on and on. She continued to come to our little service club despite everything going on at home. What I have not mentioned is that she also has physical challenges. She walks with a cane and hobbles in pain everywhere she goes. Her hip is displaced leaving one foot higher than the other, so she has to buy $50 shoes that help her walk.

I have watched this woman all year handle all these personal struggles with a positive attitude, a can do personality, a sheer determination to make it all work. Luckily, her husband  in the last couple months did have a family member who was a good match & the transplant was successful. yay!

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For me, a big life lesson. We had been planning an end of the year service club party that we planned to do at a nearby pavilion at the school. The pavilion was probably 50 feet from the parking lot. The week before the party she hobbled in to service club & looked at me. “I think we are going to have to do a different location for the party. It is just too far for me to walk.”

Later that same day I walked the path from my home, passed the pavilion [the one we had talked about] and kept walking. I thought long and hard & looked to the heavens and said, “thank you for the gift of being able to walk.”  I can’t even imagine being bed-ridden, being imprisoned in a body that can’t function how it is meant to. It was a huge lesson in taking something for granted.

This made me think of the following video. This past weekend my daughter had a friend over & this song was one of her favorites. She shared it with us & then we almost all cried when we read one of the comments below the video…When i hear this song.. i remember my whole family who died in a road accident 4 months ago ! RIP Mom,Dad & my bro ! I’m left alone here and i can’t find the way to live ::::””((((

We all sat silent thinking about how hard that would be. Needless to say, it gave us a greater appreciation that we have our families still with us. I think there are moments where we all take that for granted.

Watch this beautiful video. This guy’s fiancé was in a terrible accident that left her with brain damage & he has stayed with her trying to get her to a better place. What a journey of selfless love. Beautiful.

I hope and pray that you will think about the little and big things you may take for granted in your life & hold a space of appreciation and love.  Peace to you.  -H


BIG LEARNING:

Okay, so today I wanted to do a Big Learning post because I have been learning a lot!! It is very exciting. I have been down with a cold for a couple of days, so I have been reading and watching movies that stretch the mind. Wow!!So, for the next few weeks I will share what I have been learning from many different sources. But, today I want to share with you some key thoughts from —Pam Grout’s book Esquared [it’s really a tiny 2 (squared symbol), but I am not sure how to make it work on here] smile.

Pam’s book is a unique idea—Nine do-it-yourself energy experiments that prove your thoughts create your reality. What I have learned so far—I am okay, not great at using my energy powers. smile. smile.   Her premise, think about what you want & it will show up for you.[I am not going to share all the experiments, but I will give you a sample. You have to want to read the book] So, here is the first experiment: The Dude Abides: Basically what it says is, “There is an invisible energy force or field of infinite possibilities.” The experiment could be best described as an ultimatum. You are going to give the force exactly 48 hours to make its presence known. You’re going to demand a clear, unmistakable sign, something that cannot be written off as coincidence.     So, me and my crazy but faithful heart decided I would look for a red cardinal. Utah does not get Red Cardinal’s so I was really putting the experiment to the test!! A few days later my family got in on the game–My husband decided to look for a white feather & my daughter wanted to look for a white bracelet. The test was on!! I had started my red cardinal hunt a couple days earlier before my whole family got involved. My Red Cardinal never did show for a couple days, so on the third day I decided to continue looking for a red cardinal, but also added a blue feather into the mix. Another day passed and while I was in my car driving, I literally had the thought, I am definitely not very good at this test!! Right around the corner there was a sign that said, “Blue Raven” My heart jumped. That will do. A blue raven would have tons of blue feathers!! I had never seen that sign before even though I have driven that same road multiple times.  Within a few days, my daughter had a classmate who was wearing a white bracelet & my husband had saved a bird that had been hit on the road. He called me up…”remember how we were looking for white feathers…I just found all kinds of feathers.”

Try it yourself—put something out there and give yourself 48 hours to one week & see what you find!! Pam had some great thoughts to go along with this…“you do have to quit being so wishy-washy. Nobody in his or her right mind would call up Sears and say, “Oh, just send me something I like.” 

“To effectively work these spiritual laws, you have to “get it” deep down in your bones that the Universe is bountiful and that, at all time, it has your back.”

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Wow! We are amazing…Pam also made the following statement: Scientists now know the brain receives 400 billion bits of information each second. To give you some idea of just how much information this is: it would take nearly 600,000 average size books just to print 400 billion zeros. So, what do we do? We start screening. We start narrowing down. I’ll take that information over there…When all is said and done, we’re down to 2,000 bits of information each and every second. Our brains continually sift through the possibilities and pick which bits of information to “see” and believe. Out of sheer laziness, the stuff we choose to perceive—and make no mistake…it is a choice—it is the stuff we already know.

Brown_Dragonfly_Janie_Dubman.600Trying to receive or tune into the things you want in your life. Pam Grout liken’s consciousness to a giant skyscraper. I may be living on the second floor, but the “thing” I created with my thought is up on the 17th floor. Until I can get to the 17th floor, it appears that it is still missing, that I am still waiting.     Another great analogy is a television set. If you have cable, more than 100 channels are yours for the clicking. TiVo aside, you can only watch one channel at a time. When you’re watching, say, Modern Family, you’re chuckling at the antics of Cam, Mitchell, Phil and Gloria and you’re completely unaware of the other 99 (or more) channels. That’s why it’s really important to stay on the channel you want. Tune in to your intent.

Talking about trying to tune into something I wanted—Here is a great story that happened to me yesterday. I wasn’t feeling well, but my dog needed to go outside, so I walked him out onto our deck. I noticed a brown dragon fly circling the yard. I LOVE these beautiful, mysterious insects so I slowly walked out into the middle of the yard and said, “come play with me.” The dragon fly whirled above my head, flew around, came close, then out again, the natural rhythm of these creatures. I just followed it with my eyes and smiled as it came closer. I watched it for awhile and then went back inside. I left the door open for the natural breeze and bundled up on my couch. Within a minute I heard a noise right behind my head that sounded like a wrapper moving against the blinds behind me. I peeked over the couch edge & there was the dragon fly I had been with outside. It was now stuck behind the lip of my couch. I gently put my hand under its body & lifted it out about four inches & then it gently flew directly out the door. It was amazing. I couldn’t believe it. The exact dragon fly had followed me into the house & then knew right where to go once it wasn’t caught behind my couch (directly behind where I was sitting). I went back outside to make sure it was okay & it flew by me again. Amazing. Beautiful.

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Reasons why we have a harder time receiving…here are a few of Pam’s thoughts.     1. We’re Really Not here: Not in this moment. If you are not really here [present], your mind is NOT available to do what you are asking it to do. You are operating out of old encrusted beliefs, beliefs you downloaded before your were five. Do you really want a five-year-old running your life?   2. We’ve named it difficult. We spend so much time talking about what doesn’t work that we miss the whole point: namely, that we have the power to create something that does.    3. We Stalk Negativity: What do we study? Disease, problems, disasters of the past. What do we prepare for? emergencies. We love to sink our teeth into problems and ask, “What’s wrong?” Once we begin to look for What’s Right, our lives begin spinning in unimaginably exciting new directions.  Every “wrong” thing has a flip side. Lack is the flip side of abundance. Sickness is the flip side of health. While living in the consciousness of space and time, you can only observe one side of the coin at a time. But it’s important to realize that the other side is just as real and that at any time, you can simply flip it over.

The reason 99.9 percent of your mind is devoted to things you don’t want is because that’s the world’s default setting, what it defines as normal. The world’s default setting sees news about floods and earthquakes, hears stories about your second cousin’s epilepsy, and says, “See what did I tell you?” 

The only thing you need to do is devote your mind ONLY to things you want. 

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“The greatest discovery and development of the coming years will be along spiritual lines. Here is a force which history clearly teaches has been the greatest power in the development of man and history, and yet we have been merely playing with it and have never seriously studied it as we have physical forces. Some day people will learn that material things do not bring happiness and are of little use in making men and women creative and powerful. Then the scientists of the world will turn their laboratories over to the study of the spiritual forces. When this day comes, the world will see more advancement in one generation than it has in the past four.”  -Charles Proteus Steinmetz, inventor of the alternating-current motor

Thanks Pam Grout for your ideas, thoughts and directions.

P.S. I believe Pam has a wordpress blog–check it out. She always shares great stuff.

Well, I hope this post will help you see how powerful your mind is, how important your thoughts and intentions can be. We have a greater potential than we possibly know. We have a spirit that tunes in to the energies all around us. We have endless possibilities within us. I believe we are creators, spiritual beings trying to find our way, to see our purpose and constantly reaching higher to something greater than us all. Peace to you today.

I hope you found some big learning within this post. Best wishes for your life.


Happy Mother’s Day Week

Tammy-Swales-Rochester-NY-Photographer-Portraits-mother-daughter-laughing-studioHappy Mother’s Day Week

I wanted to share with you the following beautiful you tubes..share it with your sons & daughters. [I am putting two separate versions–son & daughter]

As a mother we have a responsibility to lift our children higher, to see them as the beautiful gifts that have been given to us. We get to love them every single day and cherish the moments and memories that we experience. I hope this Mother’s Day week you will take a moment & share with your children why you LOVE being their mother. Those moments are priceless. Make this week memorable: Write your children a love note, sit and watch a fun movie together, go on a Mommy/Missy or Mommy/Me date, Make friendship bracelets and wear them all week, give them a special charm that means something between the two of you. Sure it is your Mother’s Day Week, but make it special with those that made you a Mother.

Enjoy the movies.

black-and-white-daughter-family-love-mother-favim-com-110567FOR DAUGHTERS

Slide4FOR SONS

Some other fun pics & quotes to make you smile about Mother’s Day

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Being Kind to YOU

I think every now and then we all need a little kindness for ourselves. Who are we usually the hardest on? Who do we usually talk the harshest to? Who do we belittle about our body shape? Who do we starve, pick apart & find flaws with? Who do we say things about that we would never say to someone else…that’s right, ourselves.

So, today I am going to find some great tools that I have come across and share them here with you. I hope you will try them and see how you feel. Do you feel a little calmer? Are you ready to take on work without a great big Ahhh! Do you feel a little more grateful? Do you feel a little kinder to yourself? Hopefully these ideas will awaken something very needed on a personal level. Because when you take better care of you, when you are kinder to yourself—then you are kinder to everyone around you & are able to take better care of those who need you.

I LOVE this…LOVE Letters are always a good thing. I think this is an easy one that every single one of us can try—thanks Soulpancake

Tapping technique with Gabrielle Bernstein—helps to achieve emotional freedomhttp://www.oprah.com/video_embed.html?article_id=54067

3 Minute Guided Breathing Meditation that will calm your body and mind. 

Just-Breathe-imageBetter breathing=Better You. Talking about Breathing–check out these tips by Pam Grout about Taking more deep breaths & how it enhances your metabolism. According to Pam Grout, breathing coach and author of “Jumpstart Your Metabolism,” breathing is the key to sustainable and long-lasting weight loss. Grout, who teaches people how to change their breathing patterns to lose weight, says clients report losing a pound a day. 

And yet nine out of 10 of us aren’t breathing properly, she says. “Put one hand on your chest, the other on your abdomen. Take a normal breath. If the chest hand goes up rather than out, you’re breathing wrong.”

If you don’t breathe properly, you’ll take in a third of the oxygen your body needs. “And when the body doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can’t burn through fat,” says Grout. 

What’s more, proper breathing can rev your metabolism, lower stress chemicals which cause your body to retain fat, and keep you centered so you’re less likely to binge or stress eat. The goal is to take long, deep breaths into your abdomen. To practice this, lay on the floor with a book on your belly. On your inhale, make sure the book rises. On the exhale, the book should come down. “Slow, deep inhales and exhales are best,” says Grout. 

Once you get the hang of belly breaths, she recommends trying the 1-4-2 breath, which is specifically designed for weight loss. Here, breathe through your nose to whatever count is comfortable. Hold the breath inside your body for four times as long, and then exhale through your mouth for twice as long. So if you breathe in to the count of 4, lock it into your body for 16 (4×4) and exhale for 8 (4×12). “It will get deeper and longer as you can get better at it,” she says. “Do 10 of these, twice a day.” [taken from Totalbeauty.com]

Negative-self-talkTalk to yourself in a loving way. Don’t belittle, judge, criticize. Begin to focus on the little things you like about you. I laugh at myself when I look through pics I have taken & most of them are of my manicured feet. I don’t enjoy taking pics of myself & that is something I am working on. We all have things we may not love, but we can begin small & work on the bigger picture.

PowerofSmallSliderFill your day with FEEL GOOD energy activities. Don’t surround yourself with people who drain you. Do things that make you feel good, whether its 15 minutes of painting, going on a walk with your dogs, listening to good music, gardening, making healthy meals…do things that make you feel good. You will feel the difference in the energy.

timthumb.phpJust ASK. We are such a small part of this universe, so we would be foolish to not just ask for things we need. Whether we need direction, patience, guidance, help, a warm feeling, intuition, an answer…we just need to believe that we are capable and worthy to just ask. Ask and it is given. Have faith and find the kindness for yourself in that. You are so loved.

compass-or-gps-3Love this—Say YES to yourself. Say YES to Yourself. “I love that the word ‘compass’ is nestled in that word compassion. So is the word ‘passion.’ In self-compassion, the compass points to yourself; the passion for self-understanding is part of our mission. Self-compassion is self-love, self-empathy, self-mercy. Self-compassion is the act of saying YES to yourself, of sending the message, ‘I matter,’ and of experiencing self-love even when self-loathing has the louder voice.” – Courtney Putnam [taken from psychology today]

Well, I just wanted to put a few ideas together for you–for all of us. Please be gentle with yourself and create a little more kindness within all you do.   Peace to you.  -H


Have faith beyond yourself

“You start to live when you commit your life to a cause higher than yourself. You must learn to depend on divine power for the fulfillment of a higher calling.”  -Lailah GiftyAkita

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I wanted to share a divine, personal experience that I recently had. In order for us to believe we are not alone, we are doing divine work, we are guided by something bigger than our small selves, we must have testimony of it. We must experience moments that we can share with others, which will enhance a larger faith in something bigger and beyond ourselves.

It was probably a couple months ago–I was in a deep sleep and just before I woke I saw a vision, a picture popped into my head of my art displayed in some type of museum. It looked like a children’s museum. I woke up energized by such an idea. I have had children’s books whirling in my creation for years & over the last year I had created some art that was to help connect parents with their children. I just finished the book within the last few months & the thought of trying to get it out into the world was very overwhelming.

A couple years ago I did the children’s book venture—went to a few workshops, some writer conferences, took classes, turned in a few manuscripts, but my work didn’t go anywhere. Honestly, I could have tried harder, but it wasn’t quite right.

LBCloudBBearSo, with this last book that I just finished a couple months ago, I had a different feeling. I wanted it to soar into the world, to touch families with its interactive activities. I loved the whole concept & was almost dreading trying to figure out how to get it into the publishing world when VOILA!! A beautiful gift, a magic, a mystery, a vision literally was given to me. I had NEVER thought of this type of direction—an interactive display at a children’s museum. I was lit up!! I sat up in my bed and the ideas began to whirl. I grabbed my phone and began to write them in my notes. I was so excited. I loved the idea. I looked up to the heavens and said, Thank you.

The next few days I contacted a few children’s museums across the county and asked everyone where I would begin to get an idea into a museum. I had many wonderful people send me their thoughts– I heard big costs to put exhibits together (literally $500,000-millions), people inviting me to museum conferences, sharing links and ideas from other museums, and the director of one of my local museums suggested going to local libraries and doing a test idea. I was so grateful for the giving hearts and attitudes of people across the country.


LBCloudBPage11I was still not sure where to begin, so I thought I would start at a local library & see if my ideas would fly. I wanted to have interactive stations (about 10) that showcased my art and interactive reading and activities that parents and children could do together. i.e.: an image of giraffes that spots were covered in things to be grateful for. The parents would then sit down with their child & create their own paper giraffe & fill it with spots of personal things they were grateful for.

I had a variety of ideas that I took to the library. I arranged a meeting with a sweet children’s librarian to share my thoughts and ideas. She was so great to work with. She expressed that she loved my ideas and my art so much that she wanted to put it on permanent display. Wow! I was humbled at the thought and grateful that she saw the potential of the concept. I was honored that she wanted my art to be hung for all to enjoy, but I was a little worried that the full idea would not be utilized or explored. I didn’t think she would have the time or patience to do the activities, so I have been a bit hesitant.

After a great first run, I thought, why not!! Why not just send my ideas to the local children’s museum and see what happens. Why NOT!! So, I created a professional look book with all my ideas, thoughts, visions and sent it off with a prayer in my heart & lots of prayers out loud while driving. smile. smile. I don’t know what I was thinking–I sent it the week of Spring Break. I knew a children’s museum over spring break would be busy, so I knew I would need to be patient. I patiently waited.

A couple days ago I received an email from my local museum that was wonderful!! The director and her director of Interactive exhibits had looked at my ideas and they wanted to offer me an opportunity to be mentored by the Director of Interactive Exhibits. He is suppose to be one of the best in the West!! My heart jumped and I was elated!! What an opportunity!

I walked out on my deck, looked at the sky and said, Thank you for opening this door of opportunity. Please help it to be a great door that will help me get these ideas out into the world to help families. Please help me to continually be an instrument in thy hands.

It was very humbling to know—we are not alone. We have ideas, visions, creations, that are sparks, little divine gifts that truly can light up the world. We are given these sparks & if we miss them or dismiss them–they are gone. But, if we believe and see the potential and see the gift, then we will be given greater direction and even more doors of possibility will be opened.

This whole experience has been a true testament to me—to have faith beyond myself. To look for little miracles, to believe in the doors of possibility. To have faith in that!

I hope you can find the faith to believe in something beyond yourself and to know anything is possible.

Peace to you.  -H


A Golden Pause

IMG_1604I recently found this great, brass bell from a Polynesian Island, at a garage sale. I immediately remembered something I had read from Richard Carlson about “A Golden Pause.” I knew I had to have it to remind myself to take moments and pause.

I ring it and listen to the ding and something soothing does happen. It not only makes me smile, but stopping to pause and listen to a ding, a simple ring, makes you take a moment.

Here is Richard Carlson’s take on “A Golden Pause” 

excerpt from EASIER THAN YOU THINK

Kris and I attended a life changing weekend meditation seminar a few years ago in Oakland, California. The highlight of the seminar was a series of short, unannounced breaks the organizers called “Golden Pauses.”

These pauses, which took place approximately every hour and a half or so, lasted five or ten minutes and were wonderfully received by everyone in the room. First, a pleasant little bell would ring, signaling the beginning of the break. All at once, everyone in the room — hundreds of us — became suddenly calm.  We ceased all conversation and dropped everything we were doing.  We were instructed to sit in comfortable positions and to simply relax.  It was a time to be still, quiet and calm–a time just to appreciate about the fact that we were alive.  Our only remaining instructions were to breathe and to focus on the beauty of the breath.

Whenever Kris and I go to a workshop, we try to take something with us that will hopefully stay with us forever. The idea of Golden Pauses has stuck like Velcro! We have found that Golden Pauses have the power to make the most impossible day manageable, giving us the perspective we need to get through it. Many times, I have been angry or irritated at someone on returning home from a long plane trip or just feeling beat up and tired and Kris will smile at me and say that it’s time for a Golden Pause. We “pause” for just a few minutes, but this little break invariably interrupts my negative thinking and readjusts my mental attitude. It’s such a simple, yet powerful way to change the course of a day.

A Golden Pause takes any day you feel tired or irritated day and infuses it with positive energy. For me, it’s a plane trip that can put me in a bad mood, for others I know it’s a long commute, or a hard day at the office. A five-minute Golden Pause (or even a two-minute pause if that’s all the time you have) usually reverses all of that negativity and then some.

But you don’t have to be tired or irritated to benefit. A Golden Pause can even make a day that’s already wonderful even more glorious! Often, Kris and I are having a completely peaceful day already yet one of us will suggest a Golden Pause just to “remember” and appreciate the joy we are feeling. The pause reinforces and deepens feelings we are already having.

I once mentioned the concept of Golden Pauses during a lecture on the East Coast. Several months later, I met a man at another lecture in Las Vegas who had been in the East Coast audience that day. Steve came up to say hello after my speaking engagement in Las Vegas and shared with me the following story.

Steve referred to himself as having been an “over-reactive hot head.” During a particularly stressful period of time in his business, someone took advantage of the lack of business experience on the part of one of Steve’s employees. He said that when this happened, he was about to “lose it.” I asked him what “losing it” was likely to mean for him. Steve explained that it may have meant a physical fight, a lawsuit, or a very least, a huge embarrassing scene in front of lots of people.

But in that moment of great stress, he said, some part of him suddenly remembered the notion of the “Golden Pause.” Why he chose this instant to give it a try, we’ll never know, but he did! Instead of losing it that day, Steve imagined a tiny bell ringing, signaling the beginning of a Golden Pause.

He sat down comfortably and began paying attention to all that he had to be grateful for. His mind became clear of negativity. His body relaxed and he felt calmer. He started to breathe in and out several times and to appreciate the gift of breath. According to Steve, the entire Golden Pause went on for about 5 minutes, at which time he imagined a bell ringing again to signal the end of the break.

When it was over, he said, his body language was entirely different. He was relaxed and calm. The furthest thing from his mind was to fight with or sue someone.

I often practice a Golden Pause several times a day, usually when the day seems to be speeding up too quickly or when life seems to be wired too tightly, but often when things are going just fine, too. Golden Pauses have a way of transforming my relationship to the world. Once the pause is over, I see the world and everyone in it quite differently. It’s like stepping into a temporary place of euphoria where everything is more peaceful. When you step out, much of the benefit stays with you.

A Golden Pause might take only a few minutes of your time — five to ten minutes at absolute tops — but the change in you will be substantial, quantifiable and lasting.

So give the Golden Pause technique a try. It’s easy to implement, very relaxing, and can be done virtually anywhere. They only take a few minutes, yet Golden Pauses alter your entire perspective on life, teaching you the value and wisdom of a calm, quiet mind. Golden Pauses are one of the highlights of my day. I hope they will become so for you as well. In fact, why not begin right now? Ding!

So, when you find a little golden bell–buy it & create a special space to invite “A Golden Pause” moment.

Peace to you. -H


BEAUTIFUL YOU. Tips from Audrey Hepburn

In keeping with this weeks previous post, I am posting a few quotes from one of my favorites…Audrey. She has some great life lessons that are always a beautiful thing. I LOVE Audrey. If you do not know her story–I will post a little of it here, but it has also been made into a movie starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. It is a movie that illustrates Audrey’s real life story and gives you a better sense of where this beautiful, strong woman truly came from. Great story. Great lady.

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A little summary of Audrey’s life— taken from http://www.audry1.org

Biography Introduction

Audrey Hepburn (4 May 1929 – 20 January 1993) was an iconic Academy Award-winning actress, fashion model and humanitarian.Born Audrey Kathleen Ruston in Brussels, Belgium, she was the only child of John Victor Hepburn-Ruston, an Anglo Irish banker, and Baroness Ella van Heemstra, a Dutch aristocrat descended from French and English kings. Her father later appended the name Hepburn to his surname, and Audrey’s surname became Hepburn-Ruston. She had two half-brothers, Alexander and Ian Quarles van Ufford, by her mother’s first marriage to a Dutch nobleman.

Audrey had the reputation of being a humble, kind and charming person, who lived the philosophy of putting others before herself. She showed this side particularly towards the end of her life in her work for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). New Woman magazine called Audrey the most beautiful woman of all time, in a 2006 poll. She was ranked as the third greatest female star of all time by the American Film Institute.

Life During World War II

Audrey attended private schools in England and the Netherlands. Her mother was very strict and her father left the family when Audrey was young. She later called his abandonment the most traumatic moment of her life (years later she located her father and sent him money and wrote him many letters). After the 1935 divorce of her parents, she was living with her mother at Arnhem, Netherlands when the German invasion and occupation of World War II occurred. At that time she adopted the pseudonym Edda Van Heemstra, modifying her mother’s documents to do so, because an “English-sounding” name was considered dangerous. This was never her legal name and this lead to a lot of confusion regarding Audrey’s name and many biographies incorrectly state her birth name as Edda.

After the landing of the Allied Forces on D-Day, things grew worse under the German occupiers. During the Dutch famine over the winter of 1944, brutality increased and the Nazis confiscated the Dutch people’s limited food and fuel supply for themselves. Without heat in their homes, or food to eat, people in the Netherlands starved and froze to death in the streets, particularly so in Arnhem, which was devastated during allied bombing raids that were part of Operation Market Garden. Suffering from malnutrition, Audrey developed several health problems. She would stay in bed and read to take her mind off the hunger, and she danced ballet for groups of people to collect money for the underground movement. She resorted to digging up and eating tulip bulbs to survive the famine. The impact of these times would shape her life and values.

Rise to Stardom

After the war, Audrey and her mother moved to London, where she studied ballet, worked as a model, and in 1951, began acting in films, mostly in minor or supporting roles as Audrey Hepburn. She got into acting mainly to make money so that her mother would not have to work menial jobs to support them. Her first major performance was in the 1951 film The Secret People, in which she played a ballet dancer. Audrey had trained in ballet since childhood and won critical acclaim for her talent, which she showcased in the film. However, her ballet teachers had deemed her “too tall” to be a professional ballet dancer, since, at 5’7″, she was taller than many of the male dancers. She was chosen to play the lead character in the Broadway play Gigi that opened on 24 November 1951. She won a Theatre World Award for her debut performance, and it had a successful six-month run in New York City.

Audrey was then offered a starring role opposite Gregory Peck in the Hollywood motion picture, Roman Holiday. Peck saw her star quality and insisted she share top billing. For her performance, she won the 1953 Academy Award for Best Actress. Years later, when asked by Barbara Walters what her favorite film was, Audrey answered without hesitation, Roman Holiday, because it was the one that made her a star.

After Roman Holiday she filmed Sabrina with Humphrey Bogart and William Holden, with whom she had a brief romance. Many believe Holden considered Audrey to be the love of his life, and she would go on to appear with him again in the comedy Paris, When It Sizzles.

Having become one of Hollywood’s most popular box-office attractions, Audrey co-starred with other major actors such as Fred Astaire in Funny Face, Humphrey Bogart and Gary Cooper in Love in the Afternoon, George Peppard in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Cary Grant in the critically acclaimed hit Charade, Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady, Peter O’Toole in How to Steal a Million, and Sean Connery in Robin and Marian.

Many of these leading men became very close to her. Rex Harrison called Audrey his favorite leading lady; Cary Grant loved to humor her and once said, “all I want for Christmas is to make another movie with Audrey Hepburn;” and Gregory Peck became a lifelong friend. After her death, Peck went on camera and tearfully recited her favorite poem, “Unending Love.” Some believe Bogart and Audrey did not get along, but this is untrue.

Work for UNICEF

Soon after Audrey’s final film role, she was appointed a special ambassador to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Grateful for her own good fortune after being a victim of the Nazi occupation as a child, she dedicated the remainder of her life to helping impoverished children in the world’s poorest nations.

Audrey-Hepburn-tiffanies1Love you Audrey. Peace to you.

Well, that is a taste of Audrey’s life, but I would suggest reading a biography or watching the movie that gives you a better overall sense. She was a wonderful, loving woman. Bless you Audrey.

Have a beautiful day!! -H


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