#NotTheMovieFrozenJustFrozenChicken

(Excerpt from #365ReasonsNotToGiveUp, to be released in October 2014)

We raised chickens once (key word is ONCE), when our kids were young. It was an interesting experience to say the least. There is nothing more intimidating than to be eye to eye with a chicken that is staring you down. I remember one cold winter’s morning finding one such chicken lying seemingly dead at our back door. (It brought new meaning to the words ‘frozen chicken’.) The kids were upset that the poor chicken was so cold, or should I say so dead! It was kind of hard to explain that concept to them, as they carefully picked it up and carried it in by the wood stove to get warm. (A soft blanket was involved.) I had NO idea where this whole scenario was going.

As time went on, the chicken (who apparently was NOT dead after all), thawed. (So many chicken jokes I could insert here…) It shook snow and ice off its feathers, raised its head and looked at its adoring, cheering fans! (And you ask, now what!) I promptly marveled with them in the miracle of the chicken that came back to life in their care, and then had them quickly return it to its pen. The moral of this story is: don’t judge a chicken by its frozen feathers. It just needed a little loving care (and some heat) to revive it back to its original state. Don’t we all; don’t we all?! (wink/wink) Image

#FrozenDoesntMeanDead

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#WhyNot

courageI just left home. No, I am not 18. I am 57. 🙂 I am moved 3000 miles away. AND it’s my first time ever, to live on my own. My journey thus far ~ from a family home to college. From college to marriage. From marriage to 6 kids. From there, loss of husband, and now empty nest. There is my life in a very small nutshell. So, nope. NEVER lived on my own. Till last Saturday. Just me. 2 heavy suitcases, and 2 carry ons, and “20 seconds of insane courage”! haha! (Favorite movie quote from ‘I Bought A Zoo’.)  🙂

20 seconds to walk on to the plane, to move 3000 miles away. Is this a forever move? Probably not. I am guessing it’s just another chapter in the book of my life. Am I excited? yup! VERY. Am I scared? yup! VERY. Did I  chicken out? NO. 🙂

Telling anyone this, just to say ~ sometimes the only way to break out of your comfort zone, is just to do it. It is so easy to do the easy thing; to stick with what is familiar, and secure. And for sure, there is nothing wrong with that. There are times and seasons where we are meant to stay put, and others when we are meant to do something different/change/move. It takes wisdom to know timing.  If you are a mother of 6 kids, you just can’t decide to up and move away on a great adventure. Definitely NOT time. But, when your 6 kids are on their own, sure! Another quote from ‘I Bought A Zoo’ ~”Why not?”

#LoveIsASilentLanguageBetweenHearts

Losing someone instantly changes the whole landscape of your life. You can feel lost where you used to feel safe. And there are no words that can change this. You can find comfort and even hope, but life as you know it, is forever altered.

I think if we all truly understood that, we would tread very softly as we try to help those who are suffering the loss. Honestly, from personal experience, words are not always necessary. Acts of love ARE. Just because you have no words, doesn’t mean you should shy away.

Just show up – hug, cry, embrace, bring coffee, make a meal, send a card, give a ride, pick some flowers, bake some cookies, just sit in silence……
I promise you that way down the road, people will remember what you did, more than what you said. Not because words would be wrong, or bad….but there are just some losses that mere words cannot heal. Image


#IfItWasYou

 

 A few weeks ago we went with some people to serve hot food, and give out blankets to homeless people. All I can say is, it felt like a drop in a bucket. I cannot shake it from my mind, nor do I want to. I don’t want to forget.

One older man in a wheelchair couldn’t get to the food line; he was off to the side of the street. When someone went to get him food, and asked him his name , he paused…and sadly said…”I don’t know. No one has asked me that for such a long time.” No, I don’t want to forget.

Another lady whom someone hugged, was overcome with emotion as she tearfully said how she couldn’t remember the last time anyone hugged her. No, I don’t want to forget.

On a different day, when I was going on a fun road trip with a friend, a cardboard sign caught my eye that said – Help me. My heart was moved by the sad look on the young man’s face holding the sign. We turned around and brought him hot food. We parked the car, and walked up to him, which sadly scared him. He turned abruptly to us with an anxious look and said “Am I in trouble?” It was so sad to hear his story of being a homeless veteran of war, with many physical and mental issues. No. I don’t want to forget.

. I want to care for each and every person I see, who is standing on the side of the road holding a sign that says Hungry. Or Help me. Or Homeless. I have heard people say that you can’t tell who really needs help, and some people don’t deserve help. WHAT????? Since when is helping someone contingent on whether or not they deserve it. We ALL could be the man who can’t remember his name, or the lady who never gets hugged, or the desperate single mom with 3 young girls who has no home, or the man standing in the snow hoping for a hot cup of coffee.

Image Please join me in reaching out to the forgotten, the broken, the hopeless, the ones who feel invisible, who are cold, and hungry . One cup of coffee at a time. One hug at a time. One blanket at a time. One encouraging word at a time. One smile at a time. And, IF you are able to do more, feel free. We all can do something, whether small or large…it WILL matter to someone. No, you may not be able to change the world, but you CAN change ONE life.

I want to see their faces in every stranger I pass today, and every day thereafter. No, I don’t want to forget.

 

 

 

 

#MissingPieceOfPuzzle

There are days. No. There are weeks. No. There are YEARS, when you can feel like you just don’t fit in. Period. It is such an insecure place to feel like you just don’t belong anywhere. I think we all feel that way time to time. There are tragedies that can completely change the landscape of your life, and make you feel lost in a place that used to be wonderfully familiar.

I have had some events in my life that have left me unsettled and uprooted, and feeling like I was a random misplaced piece of some random 500 piece puzzle, in some random dusty attic. You do not choose to feel that way; it literally just happens. 

Today it hit me that I am NOT a misplaced piece of a  puzzle. I am a MISSING piece. And not missing from some random puzzle. There is a 500 piece puzzle out there missing just one piece to complete it. Yup, that’d be ME. Somewhere I fit and no one else can fill that spot but me.

The same goes for YOU. We all matter; we all belong; and we are all important. It’s NOT just any random puzzle in some random dusty attic. You were made to fulfill one specific purpose, and to be the piece that links all the other pieces together. Do not ever for a minute think you are not important. If so, you need to go buy a 500 piece puzzle; take ONE piece out and throw it in the trash. Then take a couple weeks to finish the puzzle (in your spare time…), and see how the picture looks, with ONE. MISSING. PIECE. I think you get the picture (no pun intended 🙂 )Image

#CheckMate

Decisions. This word strikes terror in my heart. I am guessing probably in YOURS too. Every day from the minute we open our eyes, the decisions begin. They start out very small – do I want to take a shower? What should I wear today? Do I want to stop at Starbucks or Dunkin? Should I wear a coat? And on and on and on our day will present us with choices to make.  This all represents the game of Chess to me – It’s your move. It’s my move. It’s your move. It’s my move. (yawn…..)

But then – BAM!  THAT all important move that determines if you WIN or LOSE! All your senses go on red alert; you start to wonder if your opponent can read your mind; you strategize, and carefully  plan your next move – THE move that will change everything! Your Queen or King stands ready to move in.

LIFE feels like a Chess game to me;Image. But NOT a game….THIS is the big league! THIS is the real deal! My moves, my strategies, my decisions will affect and maybe alter my future. Oh, and definitely affect other people; the other players will depend on my move to make THEIR moves.

You don’t want to be that Queen or King that gets taken out, and tossed to the side, when you COULD HAVE been the last man standing!  Be willing to stand alone  with your head held high. That final player on the Chess board is NEVER hunched over.

 

#WritingIsMyDrugOfChoice

I have loved to write since I was in grade school. I was the kid trying to impress the teacher with my beautiful penmanship, and hopefully witty papers. In high school I got A’s in Poetry. (Yes. Poetry.) My reports always got great grades, and I wrote songs,  musicals, kids programs, and oh just about anything that needed written. BUT it never once crossed my mind to actually pursue WRITING. Not.One.TIme.

After a life where all my white picket fences were tore down, and LIFE  happened, I found I had A LOT to say. Did I write? Not really. It all got stuffed inside in the cracks and crevices of my heart. I have seen our house burn down, lost a husband to cancer, raised 6 kids, experienced depression, and had bitter experiences and painful roads to walk. Quite literally I had painful roads to walk – I had 2 bad knees. No- more like TERRIBLE knees. I was headed for a wheel chair, had I not had a Doctor friend who put it all in motion for me to get 2 brand new knees last year! (thank you Dr.Cassetta).  For ONE year of my life, I had to SIT DOWN. Really. Just sit. I watched whole entire series of TV shows (TV was NOT something I generally sat down to watch. Seriously always distracted!)

THEN A LIGHT WENT ON IN MY HEAD! THE PLANETS ALIGNED! AND I realized I HAVE TIME TO WRITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 and oh boy, write I did. I actually just finished a real BOOK. I am in the process of editing it, then  hopefully find a publisher, or at least some expert advice to point me in the right directions!!!. It is about NEVER giving up. I share 365 reasons why NOT to give up. And, all from my own stories, life lessons, pain, grief, joys, and all the things that make up a life lived out.

Why am I sharing this? Well, one – I still have a lot to say. (hey, women always have something to say…..:) ) AND because just maybe YOU have something inside locked up, that looks past due, or worn out, or forgotten, or dusty,….Restoration means to restore something to its original state…to lovingly polish it up, clean it, and guess what – THAT increases its value.

I CHOOSE to write, to inspire myself first, and then anyone else who possibly needs encouraged. Writing is the place I find my safety…it’s my log cabin in the woods; it’s the song my soul longs to sing; it’s the WHO of WHO I am.

Today, I hope if anyone reads this, that you lift up your weary head, and remember everything you need , is within you. Remember the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz., and how he just wanted some Courageeeeeeee (in that voice…:) – He already had it INSIDE of him!!!!!

So, go write, or sing, or feed the homeless, or take care of animals in a shelter; be a journalist, teach, be a doctor, work in retail, cook, or whatever it is that makes you feel ALIVE!   Image#IShallKeepWriting