The Sort of Hope Who Helped Make Spirits Bright

Hello Blog world friends

I haven’t been able to blog much since the happenings in Newton CT last week. Haven’t been myself. Haven’t felt joy, or love, or even much  ‘hope’. Until just these past few days.

However, I’m beginning to feel  a tad bit better. I’ve witnessed at least 4 things that I’ve found noteworthy that have helped to change my opinion of our world. Things that I felt were worth sharing.

  • Unbeknownst to me, I had a high school classmate who teaches in that very school district. Her name is Bonny. After the tragedy, Bonny began something called “The Snowflake Project”. She posted on FB that she wanted all of her friends help in making snowflakes to hang in the hallways of the new school (which was an old, no longer used school) where all the children would now be attending.  Thanks to the power of social media, Bonny’s project took on a life of it’s own. Everyone shared her status, myself included. My friends who don’t even know Bonny went on to share and act on Bonny’s project! It went completely viral. We were even making snowflakes here in the elementary school in little Oley, PA.

That made me feel a little bit better. Gave me a little hope back.

  • I have a younger cousin who lives in all the way in CA. She had twins a couple of years ag0- one of each flavor.( I was so jealous! )She is also a lawyer who is married to a banker. Very successful. So proud of her.  She is my Godmother’s daughter. My Godmother was a wonderful woman who was taken from this Earth far before her time. She sent me an incredibly generous gift. A new lens. It’s a size that I had but it functions better than mine *and* it does Macro. It’s smarter than me right now, but have no fear, I’ll get there. When I sat down to edit some photos I took yesterday, I had to do little to no post processing. It was amazing- what a hand saver!! But what meant more to me than her benevolence, was the letter that she also sent to me. Her words. I actually contemplated sharing them, but just couldn’t. They are too personal for me. Too special. But I hope she knows how very much they will always mean to me.

More hope restored. People who do things for no reason.

  • Then for the second year in a row now, I was lucky enough to be involved in something called “The Cups of Compassion” in downtown Reading, PA.An event that feeds the needy, the homeless in our area.

Got involved with it last year through Nick’s baseball organization. Due to a rainy fall season, and one fall snow-out, we had a bunch of left over food that we decided needed to be donated somewhere. Long story short- we found the somewhere.

I submit to you the letter that the President of Berkshire Baseball wrote which summed up yesterday so beautifully I couldn’t even begin to write another myself:

So today was my Christmas Day, my wife sometimes tells me that I am a scrooge, but that really isn’t a true statement. I really do love Christmas, I just hate the commercialization of Christmas that we experience in 2012 and really for most of my lifetime. Christmas isn’t about trees and lights and presents and gift cards and crazy crowds at the mall fighting over the latest video game or camping out to buy a $180 pair of sneakers.Christmas is about peace, love and joy. Christmas is about true giving. Not the giving of material things, but the giving of real things. Giving a hug. Giving a smile. Giving your time. Giving a meal. Giving to those in need. Giving because you as the “giver” receives as much joy from seeing the true joy that your gift brought to someone else. Whether that someone is a friend or stranger, you can touch someone’s life without running up your credit card debt.Today I was honored to be part of a community that has been labeled as the “poorest in the U.S.” and if a stranger stopped at 5th & Penn today, they would have sworn that we were the richest city in the union. There was no wrapping paper, no gift receipts, no disappointment in what we received. There was no pushing in line, there was no complaining.What there was, was love, joy, peace and giving. There were hugs, there were smiles, there was spirit. There was patience and understanding. There were burgers and dogs and soups and fresh fruit and cookies and coffee and hot cocoa and blankets and hats and even ice cream. There was black and there was white and there was music and it all blended together to make a perfect harmony and a beautiful sound.For about four hours today in this great city, we were all one. The size of our bank account didn’t matter, what we drove didn’t matter, the size of our house didn’t matter, the color of our skin didn’t matter.The only thing that mattered was that we were all there, together. Helping each other with what we had to share. Some gave time, some gave food, some gave money, some gave talents and all gave smiles.For two years in a row now, the true spirit of Christmas came to this city. For two years in a row, I have been able to celebrate my style of Christmas.I am humbled and grateful to be a small part of a great event with such wonderful and caring people.I showed up this morning to give what I could and again walked away this afternoon feeling as though I had received.Thank you to everyone who helped again to make “Cups of Compassion” reflect the true spirit of this city and this season. ~ Dan Clouser, President Berkshire Baseball

I am so lucky to be a part of an organization like Berkshire Baseball that fosters an environment of  compassion and community spirit. More hope restored. People who do things just because.

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And finally,

  • Today at work, an elderly lady was telling me when she checked out that she couldn’t keep her next few appts to get her hair shampooed and set because she was behind in her doctor bills. She went on to explain that her insurance didn’t cover regular doctor visits and it cost her $200 every time she got checked. She wanted to make her appointments just for a set ( which is cheaper). We talked for a while longer. I listened and I als0 told her I understood completely because of my condition and the treatments I am currently undergoing. When she left, I shared her story with my boss. Without hesitation my boss said we were going to make her regular appointments happen for her even though she can’t afford them. In fact, she said, we were going to take it one step further and send her a Christmas Card informing her that she had won our drawing for 6 months of free shampoos and sets!

We are just a small salon. Things like that can’t be easy for my boss to decide to do. But she does. All the time. Without hesitation. And she never turns anyone away it seems. I am so lucky to be a part of that environment. More hope restored. People who do things just because. Difference makers.

~”why can’t every day be like Christmas?”

my apologies.. I’m getting past my limit physically right now and sometimes my mind struggles with coherent thoughts when my physical self reaches it’s max. It’s a constant battle between what I want to do and what I can do. 😦

The Thanks and Giving Sort of Hope

“Nothing says loving like something from the oven. ” ~ How many of us have some love waiting to fly out of our ovens right now?  For that, I am thankful. For the oven, for the electricity, for the family to eat the food and for the food itself.

Wanted to take a moment to express some gratitude to my new found blog friends on this holiday all about Thanks… and giving.

I can’t believe it’s only been about 12 weeks for me since the discovery of this word press world. I am truly grateful for the warm reception. You all have exceeded my expectations of this thing called blogging.  I have discovered some incredible talents around the globe as well, making it even more enjoyable for this gal to rise and shine every morning, and for that, I am also quite thankful. For your continued giving of yourselves, we others are so blessed.

I have had such a wonderful week. I am now officially under one week until my next treatment. So very thankful to all of those who have helped distract me to this point.

I did an incredibly fun photo shoot with my very talented friend Kevin Brett from Soul Imagery. Can’t wait to see the results. Went so far out of my comfort zone. Ditched my stuffy conservative self and even donned some tiger striped spandex and crawled into an antique claw foot cast iron tub! Many thanks to my uber talented big sister Holly James for transforming me from plain jane to something else. ( not sure what?) Very thankful for people like Kevin and my sister who share their talents with me. Willingly.

My oldest has passed his driver’s license test and is now driving on his own. His first trip sans adult driver was a trip to the not so local McDonalds with his sister. Watching your older most prized possession drive your younger most prized possession out of your driveway is a very surreal experience. Watching them drive back in, however, is one of the best feelings in the world. I am thankful for their safety. I will continue this thankfulness every day for the rest of my life.

I saw an incredible sunset this week while I waiting to pick Natalia up from Cheer practice. I am very thankful that I can still see. That there are still sunsets and that I can still take pictures. ( even though this was only a cell photo.) I am thankful for colors so beautiful that it is impossible to miss their glory. I am thankful for things like smart phones that keep me in touch with my friends and family and allow me to take pictures on the fly. What would I do if I couldn’t take pictures 24×7? Or text!

I am thankful for things like cappuccinos, and hugs and kisses, and baseball games and gymnastics and cheer. And children with talents. For children’s laughter and for smiles that light up a room.

I am thankful that I can still get out of bed by myself every day. For whatever amount of time is possible, it sure beats being stuck there all day. And for the days that I am stuck there, I am grateful for really soft sheets and pillows that don’t hurt my ears.

I am thankful that when I told my children to clean out their closets and their drawers because the people who were affected by Hurricane Sandy lost everything and needed clothes, that my children didn’t miss a beat. I am thankful that they understand Giving. Many teenagers these days simply don’t .

We have had a tradition of “Giving” on Thanksgiving since my children were little. I always made them pick a few toys that they were willing to part with for the Children’s Home or another charity. I always wanted them to understand how to be Thankful for what they did have.

I am thankful for so very many things – friends, family, LOVE, patience and understanding, but I promised myself this wouldn’t become “one of those” blogs.. and I fear it’s starting to become that.

Happy Thanks and Giving my online friends.

~ Remember  ” There is always, always something to be thankful for” ~ I think that’s an Annon. It’s a long time fav. ❤