I consider myself a lucky sort of gal. I always seem to have the most wonderful friends, hither and yon, and they never cease to inspire me with their creativity and their kindness. They live their lives wholeheartedly, a term I have co-opted happily from Brene Brown, and which I think is just such a darn good word to describe people who are joyful and do their best to do no harm.
The happiest time in my career was when I was Director of Early Childhood Services. It was just magical - we were making new programs that were helping people, we were 100% committed to supported families with young children and wonders of wonders, we all liked one another.
Every morning I would skip into work and giggle and laugh all day long, all while working like a dog. Best. Job. Ever.
I eventually left that job for another, but I didn't leave the people. They've always been there for me and I've always been there for them. Every single one of them is special and unique and when I think of them I want to smile and tear up all at the same time.
One of my friends from those days, Rachel, has had a rough go the last few years. Both of her kids have been ill and are still recovering.
But unlike the rest of us, Rachel doesn't sit on the sideline and say "woe is me". Nope - she raises money and donates time to support brain tumour awareness and cure, supports mental health in children and adults, support ways to find a cure for breast cancer. Her daughter Janica, a beautiful 16 year old brain tumour survivor, is a bundle of energy and smarts who tells her story of surviving on behalf of the many kids who are not so lucky and raises buckets of money:
Their family's motto, which I love, is:
In December I came across a contest where you could nominate someone to win a gorgeous pair of earrings. It was for people who are making a difference in their communities. Well that is Rachel in spades. Everyone Rachel meets, she touches and helps. So I entered her and her story and guess what? She won and we found out on Christmas Eve! What a gift for me and for her! I think I was the most excited!
Last night we went for coffee so she could show me how awesome these earrings looked on her. I was so excited to see them, but mostly I was excited to see Rachel and catch up, because she is the kind of person you leave thinking "well I need to be an even better person" and you think that joyfully, because she is so inspiring.
And given her desire to give and support, she has been so kind to me about chasing my dreams. So last night she arrived with a bag of goodies that made me giddy:
Aren't they perfect?
A true friend knows when you can use some encouragement!
So now when I write I can look at these tangible expressions of friendship and support and think "If Janica can do it I can damn well make this chapter the best it can be!" because really, we both know who is the tougher cookie and which is more important.
And mostly I will remember how important it is to dance in the rain!
Love you guys!
I think we can all learn from these beautiful women and give back and help others. That is part of my plan for 2014, so spending time with Rachel just inspires me even more!!!
I hope you all have a Rachel out there!
Have a wonderful day and stay safe out there!