Read about how this Mom is helping other people’s dreams come true.
Some would first notice his long hair. Some would first notice his thin frame and clothes not from a designer rack. What I see is that plaque under one arm that states “matched one whole year” and under the other arm that smiling little boy.
After meeting him and talking a bit, some would see a young man slow to launch still working two jobs, still in college. I see a boy who is figuring out life well, giving back before he has anything to give.
After talking to him for awhile some would see that he does not fit in with the main stream crowd and will probably not earn a six figure income some day, but who am I to Project? This kid has many hidden talents that he has not tapped into yet! What I do know is that I see a young man of compassion and commitment. I see a man building a relationship with a another future young man– a man who took the time when he didn’t have to take the time to get involved. He did it not for any merit for himself, but for another human being through the Big Brothers Program in Bloomington, Indiana.
I am a proud mama right now. To raise a son who has compassion for others — priceless! I love all three of my boys to pieces. First born, I am proud of you!
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.
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.
“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!
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, ummm, I mean #58, ouch! You made my day brighter. There is a good
force in social media. I call them the Birthday People.
Many thanks again to you all!
“Are you the couple that now live in Jean Apple’s house?” That is the question that my husband and I have answered over and over the past couple weeks. It is the question asked by such lovely and friendly new neighbors curious as to who owns the little house built in 1865 –the little house so loved by their neighbor, Jean Apple. Jean has moved out of state and has entrusted this little piece of history to the Cox family.
While Searching for places to store our stuff, we found this antique hidden behind the walls of the house. I can imagine Mrs. Higgens sitting on the stool spinning yarn on this “thing.” The Higgins family are recorded to have built this house in 1865. That antique makes you think 1865 was a simpler time.
Was it? What was happening in our country in 1865?
-The American Civil War ended
– Lincoln was inaugurated as second term as president
– Lincoln was assassinated
– The 13th amendment was ratified banning slavery
– In the Ku Klux Klan begin its movement
— All in 1865, The same year that this little house that I now live in was built.
Have we learned much since then as a nation? Have we not learned that all life is sacred? Have we not learned to look past our differences, get to know people and not merely tolerate them, but to appreciate them and love them.
My heart aches for a country that has not learned its lessons of the past and can’t see beyond a statue that will be dust over the course of time.
A statue will crumble just like hatred and indifference can make our country crumble, but the attitudes and ideals of compassion, kindness, acceptance, appreciating others can be passed on through centuries and never be torn down.
As I put another load of laundry in my modern day washer, I think of Mrs. Higgins as she probably sat spinning that thing to make clothes for her family. I’m not sure what she thought about the events going on around her in the same year her little house was built, but I clearly know what I think and believe.
Today an American flag will be hung outside the little house on Maple street built in 1865– for all who have fought and given their lives for the ideals of this country. All lives matter, all people matter–liberty and justice for all!
To all my fellow Parkies out there. This is for you! If you do not know what a Parky is then you are missing out on some of the greatest people I know.
My fellow friends with Parkinson’s Disease, I had my 4 hour cognitive ability test yesterday as one of the measures to determine if I’m a candidate for DBS surgery, and I would like a redo! I would demand a redo, but I know it would be futile.
At one point in the 4 hour process that will determine my fate, I was given one minute to come up with as many words as I could think of that start with the letter L. No problem. Those L words rolled off my tongue with ease. Then I was asked to name as many C words as possible- piece of “cake.”
Then she said name as many F words as possible and for about 10 of those precious 60 seconds the mother of all F words was stuck in my mind and would not get out of the way of all the other more innocent F words that wanted their turn. I stumbled and stammered to pull those pleasant F words out from behind the big one. But like a bully, it stood its ground in my mind and blocked my other F “friends.” I thought about just saying the big one to release the others behind it, but then I
would have to admit to the evaluator the fact that word existed in my mind. So for the remaining 50 seconds, I fought off the “word that shall not be named” and held up my honor, but I’m sure lowered my score.
So neuropsychologists everywhere, take note, please pick another letter besides F during your cognitive ability tests. If you use F, your data will be skewed because most of us do not want to admit that the F word exists in our minds or has ever been spoken out loud when only 60 seconds determines our fate. There are 25 other letters from which to choose, and I get F, gosh darn it!
Check out the video below! This summer pilot program for kids who may have any type of challenge is up and running. As I sit back and watch, it is like this program is meant to be. So many people are coming together to make it successful. It is a testament to when many people work together and bring their individual talents for the good of the group and for the good of others, amazing things can happen.
My Top 10 From First Punch, so far.
2. The Laughter
3. The fierce look on a six year old’s face when hitting a punching bag
4. The intense focus of a shy 13 year old when hitting mitts in the boxing ring
5. The New Logo
6. Our T-Shirts
7. The Hugs
8. The sweat that makes me know the kids were challenged
9. The Support from the boxers’ parents
10. And most of all the cadence and chant when we all break it down at the end and together say 1,2,3…. First Punch
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
Sometimes reality makes me come to the surface and truly face what is happening in my brain. That is what happened yesterday at my appointment with my neurologist. From the moment he walked in the door, I knew he was analyzing my every move, word, and expression. He was looking for signs of regression, and that makes me have to face for a moment the physical changes that are slowly happening to me. At these times I feel like I can’t tread water or swim fast enough to get away from the raw reality of it.
I knew going into this appointment that I have noticed that my meds were not working as well. I guessed there was some regression, but yesterday I had to face it, grieve it, and feel it. It was a hard day.
This morning the sun is shining. I hear the birds singing, and I plan on living today to the fullest.
…… And I plan to submerge myself in the tranquility of denial, not denial that I have Parkinson’s.Today I will drown myself in the comfort that it does not define me. I will deny this disease any power over me. Today I will push back any fear that has resurfaced and focus on the beautiful routine of the day.
Today I will drift and let the current pull me far away from any negativity and closer to my creator. Today I will trust my God. Today I will quit fighting the undertow of faith and belief in a bigger plan than I can see. There is a bigger and plan than pain and suffering.
That is until July 25, my next neurologist appointment. Then I will have to resurface again, but only for a day!
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