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My Mentor, Erma

I never met Erma Bombeck in real life, but she has served as my mentor in so many ways. Oddly, she didn’t even become my mentor until after her death. Regardless, she has always been a happy, life-affirming character in my life.

I remember reading my first Erma Bombeck book in the lunchroom at Ford Motor Company, where I worked at the start of my career. I soon became known as the peculiar lady sitting in the corner cackling at a book. I couldn’t have cared less as I found my kindred spirit in Erma.

About fifteen years later, I found my authentic writing voice in subjects very similar to hers. After a lifetime of wanting to be Beverly Cleary, I found my style was more like Erma Bombeck. When I read her essay entitled, “If I Had My Life to Live Over,” much of it became my mantra during my time as a mother.

Of course, her Seize the Moment quote spoke LOUDLY to me. I’m sure she meant it a little bit less literally than I took it, but it has fueled me for years.

Seeing that I am a fantastic weirdo, my spin on this theme is, “If I know I’m going to see Jesus in the morning, I’m going to eat only dessert for dinner!”

I think Erma would approve.

Looking at her quote in less of a “dessert” way and more of a “grab life” way, it packs a powerful message. Too often, we get caught up in what others think of us or maintaining the status quo that we miss incredible opportunities.

I’m sure those desserts on the Titanic we flippin’ fabulous - possibly even life-changing! I know me. If I had been a passenger, I’d have been pissed about too few lifeboats AND missing dessert. But I compartmentalize my thoughts better than most.

It does have me thinking that it’s time to seize life again. No more worrying about what I’ve lost as the empty nest looms in front of me. Instead, I now have two grown children that I can finally treat as my best friends.

And if there was one thing I taught them during their childhood, it was to always leave room for dessert!

How are you going to seize your moment?

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Sep 22, 2021

I have never read Erma's books but I have loved her quotes and watching her in interviews. A quote of hers I like is, "If I had my life to live over I would sit on the lawn with my children and not worry about the grass stains." This quote reminds to me enjoy all the moments you can and not worry about what others think and find and do what makes you happy. Dessert makes me happy. Seize the day, every single day.


I love this witty, uplifting look at life and the motto, “Live today, for tomorrow we die,” Better yet, “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.”

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Amen, Eileen!

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