Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Learning to Dance in the Rain

 
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!
 
 
 

44 comments:

  1. Hello Wendy This bog is heart warming. I too am in AWE of people like Rachel and Janica who despite the challenges they continue to be kind, genuine and find the time to give to others. We all need to learn from them, to live life to its fullest and of course to dance in the rain.

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    1. Thanks Ger - they are the best, aren't they?

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  2. What an encouraging story!
    I have a Rachel in my life too and it i humbling to see how graceful she handles adversity.

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  3. Inspiring post! We all wonder what we would do if something happened to our children. Rachel is a great example to follow. Thanks for writing this.

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    1. Thanks Cathy! I like to think I would be like Rachel, but I am not so sure, so she humbles me!

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  4. Loving the idea of dancing in the rain.

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  5. I am in awe of the resilience of some people. Especially people who have dealt with adversity themselves and continue to give to others. Such a lesson in this for how we need to live our lives.

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  6. I love hearing about the helpers in this world. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Really inspiring, what a wonderful friend and person. To support others while in adversity... she is a gift!

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    1. She really is Dani! She finds the gift in it all!

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  8. HI Wendy, this is a wonderful story. I, too, have people in my life that I admire so much for the way that they have dealt with adversity - they are very inspiring.

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  9. It is so good to have people like this in our lives who can we learn from. Rachel sounds like a friend I'd love to have too!

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  10. What an inspirational woman. Real strength is in love and caring. This post was perfect for me to read at this time. May we all have the strength to dance in the rain.

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  11. Another great post. What a good friend. I love the gifts. They seem perfect. And it's wonderful that she won the earrings.

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    1. Thanks Gigi! I was so excited when she won those earrings - it is one of my favourite Christmas gifts!

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  12. What a post, you are beautifully surrounded. I wish your friend children all the best. You have been spoiled!

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    1. Steph - I know! I was so shocked! All I expected was a nice cup of tea and a chance to catch up!

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    2. But, by the way, you deserve it...

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  13. What wonderful blessings you have. Those ladies are very inspiring. The pillow really is the perfect gift for you.

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    1. Thanks T! I'm hoping to collect a whole couch full of similar pillows, only with my book covers on them! Rachel started my collection!

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  14. Soooo important to have those friends who can lift you up. You are a lucky one Wendy! PS they also do actually look very sweet and kind as well.

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    1. Naomi - you are right - they look as beautiful on the outside as they are on the inside!

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  15. RAIN DANCE A day late but a richer post for all the comments. Thank you for sharing your Rachel and Janica inspiration. To friendship, determination and the first of many pillows to come! Dance on.
    That earrings story has very Gift of the Magi overtones

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    1. Thanks GF! Well I will tell you - I cried when she won! I was so excited for her! She deserves all good things that come her way!

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    2. Don't know why comments from my phone auto-repeat. But somehow I wanted you - and her in spirit - to know I was meant to read this today. Time to brighten the corner where you are, as my family lexicon says. (A coat of paint wouldn't be bad either, although I would probably go tropically wrong in this weather.)

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    3. Well she does read this blog so I am sure she saw your comments!

      I am feeling the need for some tropical colours too! I may be the pink lady head to toe today! It is freezing but so sunny!

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  17. What an inspiration. I think the key when we are faced with trials is to be part of somethng bigger than ourselves. They sure are and we are lucky to have them.

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    1. Marie, I think you are right. Rachel and Janica have chosen to help people. We have other good friends who lost a child tragically and they are doing the same. It is still dreadful for our friends who lost the child, but they are making a huge difference in the lives of others, raising money! They are the real heroes! I am so tired of reading about celebrity worship, when these are the people on the front line fighting the darkness!

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  18. You're both lucky to have each other in your lives! The pain and anxiety of having a child with a serious illness is like no other; that many can rise above and offer support to others in similar situations is beautiful. May the pillow collection flourish!

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    1. Lane you are so right! I always felt we were so blessed and am so grateful that Rachel has taken a hard situation and gave it meaning and blessings.

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  19. What wonderful stories and so inspiring and esp on those days I'm whining about stupid things and feeling sorry for myself. All those sayings resonated with me, especially about dancing in the rain - I've got to learn that I can't change my circumstances you've got learn to operate within them(less poetic, sorry)

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    1. Jody - I agree with you completely! It is a good reminder, isn't it?

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  20. I now also love that term "whole-hearted" and the story of you and Rachel along with.

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  21. Very inspirational story. Great family motto....dancing in the rain.

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    1. Isn't it wonderful! Would yours be "Don't get unravelled?"

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Kindness is a virtue...