Good Good Father

I gave a talk at a women’s retreat this weekend and we sang a song called Good Good Father. It is easy to know that your Father God is good when your Earthly father is nothing but kind and loving. I am thankful for and admire men who are the reflection of the Good Good Father– men who keep their vows and commitments, love their wives and children, pay their child support, keep their visitation dates with their kids……. but most of all who choose to follow the Good Good Father who created us all.

I have no excuse to be anything but kind and loving because of the love poured out to me by the men in my life.
An Uncle
A brother-in-law
A father-in-law
Family friends
And especially my husband and my own good good father.

I was surrounded by so many broken hearts this weekend– broken relationships. We are all broken people. What I learned was that fathers have the power to change the world, not perfect fathers, but fathers who are present in their children’s lives. Fathers who show up.

Mothers are so important. I am one. I know my role is important. It is so much easier for a girl to know she has worth when the father in her life treats her like a precious gem.

Thirty minutes before I gave my talk at this retreat, my precious mom whom I adore handed me a necklace from my father– an act of love that tells me I have worth. I am forever grateful for my earthly Good Good Father.

To all: you have a Good Good Father
He created you and loves you. You just have to believe it.

Psalm 139:13-14
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Thank you for my necklace, Dad! I love you!
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Alan

His name is Alan Roy Scott. He has irritated me. He has made me cry. He has made me laugh. He has encouraged me. He has challenged me. Except through Skype, I have never been in his presence, but he is my friend. You may not know his name, but if you have listened to songs sung by Celine Dion, Luther Vandross, Cyndi Lauper, Gloria Estefan, Roberta Flack, The Allman Brothers, Sheena Easton, The Neville Brothers, Pat Benatar, Patti LaBelle, The Pointer Sisters, Rick Springfield and Johnny Mathis, then you have been touched by his creativity. If you have seen the First Wives Club, Top Gun, Coming To America, Karate Kid II, Fame (TV show), Rags To Riches, Santa Barbara, As The World Turns and Beverly Hills 90210 then you have heard his music as you watched. Alan Roy Scott is an acclaimed songwriter.

I started this crazy lyric writing about a year into my Parkinson’s diagnosis. I discovered I have what I call a rhyming disorder. (Don’t look it up. I made up the term.) It just means I like to rhyme. Why did I start doing this? That is another story for later. What I like about the challenge of writing songs is that for me it is like a timed sudoku puzzle with words. You have about 3.5 minutes to tell a complete story with part of the story repeating 3 times, and it has to rhyme, make sense, and be catchy enough to move the audience emotionally in some way. Whew! Alan Roy Scott has drilled me on this over the past few months through an online song evaluation service called Song U. When I get an A+ from Alan on a song critique, it is not like getting a participation trophy. He is a straight shooter and he means what he says. I work for those A pluses from Alan. Lol. Alan and I wrote a song together for an organization I belong to called Rock Steady Boxing. I did pay to write with him. Well, he is Alan Roy Scott, and I’m no Celine Dion. It was worth every penny to work and learn from this tell-it-like-it-is, compassionate man.

Parkinson’s, I hate you, but you have brought such music to my life in so many ways. You have brought people into my life who I would never have met without you. Parkinson’s, I want you to go away, but you have taught me to listen deep inside. There is beautiful music playing in my life all around me that I would not have noticed without you. Parkinson’s, I have a hard time saying this because I hate you, but thank you. Alan Roy Scott, let’s write another one in 2017!

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The Birthday People

I call them “Birthday People” –people who stop in the middle of the day that commemorates one’s birth and take the time to simply say Happy Birthday!

Social media may have many negatives, but when the “Birthday People” do their thing, I am reminded of how powerful the simple gesture of acknowledgement is. The Birthday People take a few seconds of their day to say — you matter.

Yesterday was my day and I have to say I was
overwhelmed and touched by how much that simple gesture meant.

Thank you, Birthday People! Those of you who posted, tweeted, texted, emailed me to acknowledge #57 yesterday made my day brighter. There is a good
force in social media. I call them the Birthday People.
Many thanks again to you all!

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Why? First Punch for Kids with Challenges

The past seven years for me has been an incredible journey. I have been to a place that I never dreamed I would go. I have experienced a world right in front of me that struggles to fit in, keep up, and is often on the sidelines of life. My journey has been a spinal tumor, spinal cyst, and finally a Parkinson’s diagnosis through which I have discovered a whole new world of pain, struggle, fear, healing, acceptance, beauty, and joy. It is the world of the disabled or those with special needs.

From 2010 – 2015 I lived in that world as I watched and experienced my body succumb to the attacks of Parkinson’s. Slowly, my body began to stiffen and fail. I was losing my balance, my movement, my strength, and my smile. On July 28, 2015 I visited a doctor who prescribed for me a new medication. Miraculously, in one hour after being on that medication, I came back from my journey and the experience of being disabled. Although, I still have the same diagnosis, I am back to my almost fully functional self. There is no cure for Parkinson’s. I will most likely regress someday. I write this to you today because I sit here with the gift of my health back for an undetermined amount of time. Praise God.

For a while I have stepped out of the world of disability, but I cannot leave my friends behind. My friends are the little ones with challenges who I would see in the halls of the schools where I have worked for 24 years as a school counselor. I now have an amazing window into their world, our world in reality.

Our purpose for the First Punch Boxing for Kids with Challenges is to bridge that gap and bring strength and hope and to give kids the courage to step up and battle the challenges they face in their world.

I am a funny, fun, in love with life person. Parkinson’s tried to steal that from me. Parkinson’s lost. Hope won. The fear is gone. I want to share this hope with kids experiencing challenges in their lives.

I have so many people for whom I am thankful and so many more to whom I need to reach out and help.

Will you partner with us to fund this pilot program for the summer of 2017?

Let’s make it happen!

FIRST PUNCH – Noncontact Boxing for Kids with Challenges https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/147552517/first-punch-noncontact-boxing-for-kids-with-challe

And We Smile On

I was with a friend yesterday. I picked her up and we went together to buy a gift for wedding that we are both attending. We stood at the registry of a local store for about 15 minutes deciding what to buy. Then it took about 20 minutes for the cashier to figure out how to split our bill, order, and ship the item in between waiting on other customers. It is amazing how you can connect with someone through a song.

I only know his name because of his name tag. David started singing to the radio playing in the background Versace on the Floor by Bruno Mars while he waited on us. I have a funny story about that song. You can read it in an earlier blog post of mine called “Sachie on the Floor!” I told him that story, and we shared a laugh. He then proceeded to tell me that he is a writer, too. One thing led to another, and then My friend was telling him about First Punch, the song by Heather Richardson that I cowrote. I thought he would be bored with it, but I played a little of it.  It is far from being Versace on the Floor. But when this young, African American kid got tears in his eyes and said he needed to hear that because of the hard time he is going through right now in his life, I thought, “yes, this is why we wrote it.”

This kid and I have nothing in common, but I got a glimpse of his pain and his struggle through a few seconds of a shared song. I may never see David again, but I will never forget this honest moment when the wall of “put on a smile” came down for just a moment to remind me– we all are struggling with something behind our smiles.

Be kind always because there is pain behind our smiles — and we smile on.

First Punch – Single by Heather Richardson https://itun.es/us/8suEib