Category Archives: Leadership

“The Measure of Life” as they knew Jodi

I don’t think Jodi knew how she would impact the lives of her family, friends, teachers, coaches and even casual acquaintances.   As her mother, I’m fascinated in the relationship of her life’s impact on those who knew Jodi.    

I have an idea, that if I am willing to spend time with a variety of people who knew Jodi maybe in the peeling of layers, her life will be revealed through ordinary moments as an individual who lives extraordinarily in the lives of others.   

So for starters,  I began re-reading a small stack of sympathy cards – all of which have been stored in a closet these past five years.  It was in the late evening, I discovered a note written by a neighbor –  our children lived quietly ordinary lives but Jodi’s death has revealed the extraordinary as they knew Jodi.   

I truly believe that a person is “measured” in life not by the accomplishments they have in ordinary life but in how they handle themselves in adversity.     

Jodi was a true “hero” in her leadership, optimism and determination!     

She loved life and because of her enthusiasm – she was in turn loved by many – and they as we are, honored to have known her.    

* “Lemonade Sale only $1 glass”  —  August, 1995.

*  If you knew Jodi, please share how your ordinary relationship transformed to become extraordinary.  Leave a comment or just email me at peg.calvario [at] gmail[.com]


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“Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.”

“Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.” 
— John Wooden

Two of Jodi’s greatest passions include life and athletics.  I can’t remember the details of her fascination with coach John Wooden.  All I know for sure is that his words touched both her heart and mind.   One of his most notable quotes became her signature line in The Dial.  It then became her mantra and inspiration of hope.  

“Do not let what you can not do interfere with what you can do.”

** Are you inspired by someone?  How have they impacted your way of thinking?  I’d love to know and hope you will share by leaving a comment.

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Filed under Leadership, Life Coaching, Peg Calvario's Blog, Quotations

Follow Your Passion

Dear Jodi,

As your mother, I could consider my daughter as someone who could be defined by her extraordinary impact.  Perhaps time is allowing me to experience your presence like endless ripples in water – through the lives of so many people.  

Just tonight, I was reminded again of  “Jodi being Jodi.”   I was chatting with Carter about her new plans.  She repeatedly spoke about the times she’d visit with you  in the hospital.  Remember, when she was going to the career counselor and she’d spend more time with us exploring her possibilities? 

Well something was different tonight …. Carter said, you told her to “follow her passion.”  And so, she is with a new perspective.  Although these decisions will experience change for her and her family, she is willing to undergo it – with fierce commitment and passion!  (Nothing less would not be Carter. . .)

I remember the early days of Carter – you were impressed by her achievements and athletic accomplishments.   She was your Hill dorm parent and teacher – actually very ordinary roles at the time.   A relationship that deeply grew into a loving friendship – all because of life’s complexities with two ordinary people leading each other to live extraordinary lives.



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Your Work is to Discover Your World & then With All Your Heart Give

“Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it. ”  – Buddha

What I know for sure is – Jodi discovered her world at The Hill and gave herself to her school community.  Five years ago, the school dedicated a special graduation award given to the young woman who demonstrates outstanding Leadership and high sportsmanship in competitive athletics “The Jodi Calvario ’03” award.  And her work continues giving.

What is your work? 

* If you’d like, please share your work with others and write your comment.


Filed under Jodi Calvario, Leadership, Letters to Jodi, Life Coaching, Peg Calvario's Blog

What is Your Happiness Project?

Tuesday night I went to a book event to meet Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project.   Since January, I not only read and studied the book – I committed to my own happiness project.  Writing  Letters to Jodi.

Gretchen gave a light-hearted talk about her studies on happiness and how she implemented the theories into action.  The result is she did raise her own level of happiness and is inspiring others to do so too. 

You may think this phenomenon of happiness is another “feel good” in disguise to avoid life’s hardest realities.  In the past five years, I too have been on a quest to discover the unknown truths about happiness.   I wanted to know that  if you experience suffering can you be happy – again?  

Although Gretchen Rubin has not experienced my loss, we do share many perspectives and our commitment to personal growth.  Her new-and-improved formula for happiness is :   being happier requires you to thinking about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth

Would you like to join me – and be happier?

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Filed under Coaching, Leadership, Letters to Jodi, Life Coaching, Loss of a Child, Peg Calvario's Blog

“If Only” Can Stop You from Living Your Life Fully

Dear Jodi,

I’ve been thinking a lot about these words – “if only.”  It seems like this phrase is being said all the time.  I’ve noticed it when talking with clients and friends.  “I’d be happier if only . . .”

And the problem?  I’ve been saying these words, too.   How can I possibly be living life fully – “if only” proceeds my intentions?   What’s really stopping me from appreciating life’s grandeur?

I started thinking about the weekend before your first surgery.  You were playing in Penn’s 2nd Annual West Philly Shoot-Out.  I remember how happy you were when Lawrenceville called asking you to be on their team.  What was more imaginable?  Being on the team of your high school arch rival or playing in a collegiate waterpolo tournament after four months of chemo?   You were defying the odds and shaking up PENN Medicine!

Then in August, you decided to pack this photo with your things for Michigan.  I remember our conversation and the paradox of this photo.  You were starting a new – and this photo held vivid memories of being a cancer patient including all its physical changes.  But you appreciated life’s gift in this photo. You told me why you were taking this photo.  You said, “when life seems impossible, I’ll be reminded that anything is possible.” 

And never did these words “if only” stop you from living your life fully.  I believe it’s time for me to do so too.



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Everything in Life Has Purpose

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.    
– Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Dear Jodi,

All I wanted was for this diagnosis to be mine not yours.  I was determined to run every step of this race with you.   And yet all I could give you were gifts of  hope, faith, and love.  

Remember how we challenged our coping skills and you discovered new adventures with art lessons, jewelry beading, coaching water polo, teaching swimming lessons, reading,  journal writing, and new workouts of pilates and yoga?

Our days were spent enriching our relationships with each other and those whom we met within the depths of the PENN healthcare system.  We had found beauty in living simplistically while a cold harsh breath of death awaited our future steps. 

We were in touch with our own silence.   And somehow we knew the truth – everything in life has purpose. 



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Filed under Jodi Calvario, Leadership, Letters to Jodi, Life Coaching, Loss of a Child, Peg Calvario's Blog