Making a Difference. Being Open to New Opportunities.

IMG_2026 gSilly Gidget seems to take her bed with her wherever she goes lately. This weekend she came walking into the kitchen, her bed attached to her back end. Cracks me up every time and I call her “The Queen” when this happens.

The “Queen” and I have a wonderful event this afternoon that I’m looking forward to. When I had Joie, the Horizons 4 Girls non profit group in our area had approached me to bring Joie in and talk with the girls. We had set up a time, but then unfortunately, I had to cancel after Joie died. I just wasn’t up to make the visit after losing her.

Horizons 4 Girls mentors middle and high school girls and this is what it says on their Facebook page:  young women are offered mentoring, study skills / techniques. As family life, peer pressure, and educational expectations become more of a challenge for young women, they are often looking for personalized assistance with their studies and life decisions. The opportunity to explore ever changing career options is made available as part of what Horizons4Girls does. Giving the young women a variety of speakers, presenters and potential role models we help them to develop their own personal goals.

We hadn’t rescheduled, but a few months ago when I ran a special price for my book, “Through Frankie’s Eyes” I received an email from the director that she was interested in purchasing a copy of my book.

After I read her note, I had an idea come over me! I’ve been missing my volunteer work with Frankie and at times wishing I could do something again to make a difference in the way Frankie and I did. But I’ve not really pushed it as I’m not sure what it is exactly that I want to do, while also I’ve been busy working on my new book and projects. Fitting something in weekly right now, may be out of the question.

But getting this note sparked an idea in me. I wrote back and asked the director how many girls are in the group. She wrote back and told me 12 girls. I was so excited as I wrote back to her and said, “I would like to do something that I think will be fun. I’d like to donate a copy of my book to each of the girls. Then why don’t we set up a time in about two months and have our own Book Club discussion around the themes in my book?”

The director wrote back and was so grateful for the idea and the books for the girls. So later this afternoon I’ll be meeting with them. I’m really looking forward to our discussion. It will be sweet to have Gidget along for the ride too to add her own unique, twist to our gathering.

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The Courage it Takes to be in the Public Eye.

IMG_2030This was the view out my writing cottage window this morning. Yup, that is snow you see on the ground. I thought the tulip lamp against the snow background was an interesting photo. I’m wishing we could actually see tulips blooming instead of another blanket of snow – but it isn’t expected to last long, and already starting to melt. Today we tough Wisconsin birds carry spring in our hearts once again.

Yesterday afternoon John and I went to our local art theater where they performed a series of skits from the Carol Burnett Show. I really enjoyed it and thought the cast did a good job. They did about 15 different skits – not an easy task to accomplish.

Afterwards we ate at a local restaurant. The owner had been in the audience at the theater so I asked how she enjoyed the performance. She scrunched her face is disapproval, but was too busy to stop and chat.

It made me think about writing. We can’t please everyone. There are always going to be critics. Constructive criticism is helpful and needed, but many times in this day and age with the internet and hiding behind computers, people can say some pretty nasty things.

Earlier yesterday I listened to best selling author Dani Shapiro doing an interview on a podcast. She has been writing for over 20 years with eight books to her name. Her latest, one of my now favorite books on writing, called Still Writing.

She talked about the very fact that she never reads her reviews — good or bad. She knows she isn’t going to make everyone happy. She also talked about the courage it takes for those in the public eye and putting themselves out there. It’s not easy. But if you know you are doing your best, and you share your story in hopes you can help others, than that is what you do. You can’t cave into the critics.

I thought about this not only in regards to my own writing having myself “out there,” but also those volunteer actors I watched yesterday afternoon. I was in a few plays in my lifetime also and I understand the commitment  that goes into it.

For the most part, I believe most people in the art world put their hearts and souls into their work. It is who they are. It is what makes them breathe. And while there will be critics, I also think it speaks to perfectionism in our world. Art is not perfect – whether writing, painting, acting – it is all a work in progress, just as the person creating it.

While I can’t speak for any of the actors last night, or other artists or writers, I can say I write to try and make a difference in this world. I will not be perfect in my writing, grammar, or punctuation. But you know what? I genuinely care and try. Many times I stick my heart out on the line knowing someone may not agree with me or may criticize me.

But you know something else?  It has made me grow and evolve as a human being —and I continue to grow which I am so grateful for. Writing each day whether on my new book, my blog posts, or for an article, it’s another opportunity for me to say what is in my heart and to speak my truth. It helps me to appreciate my vulnerability and to see it yet again as a gift.

Being an actor on a stage, especially local in front of so many peers, is what I find courageous. The Carol Burnett Show was a top notch one-of-a-kind show never to be duplicated ever again. But they performed for the love of performing, for bringing back sweet memories for the audience, to connect with the audience heart’s. I felt that.

There will always be critics and many have stomped out the spirit of a writer, actor, or artist which I find incredibly sad. Art, like life, is not perfect. But it is in the creating that I believe we are here for.

To all the writers, actors, and artists that put themselves out there each and every day, I say bravo and thank you! It paves the way for more to step forward to be who they authentically are and live from the center of their creativity which I believe is vital to our world.

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Almost Two Years Later and Frankie (the walk ‘n roll dog) Continues to Inspire

IMG_2022Imagine how my heart gushed with love when I read this note today from a little boy named Nate:

“I know it’s late, but I want to tell you it was nice meeting you and Franky. I loved Franky, she was inspiring.”

I had my two-week “tune up” at my chiropractor this morning. It seems that young Nate is also a patient at Dr. Cindy’s office and he left me this note.

Wow. Frankie’s spirit continues to amaze me at how alive and thriving it is in the hearts of many. This is such a gift to me – so much so, I find myself tearing up just writing this post.

Frankie will be gone two years June 21st. Now when I think of her, I sometimes still find myself with tears in my eyes, but now they are joyful tears. How very blessed I was to have that dog in my life— there truly are no words to really explain how she changed me.

Last night I watched the documentary on line that PBS did called “My Bionic Pet.” What a fantastic job they did of sharing that animals with special needs deserve a quality of life, which in turn changes the humans around them. I got choked up a few times watching it, thinking of my work with Frankie, knowing those that experience life with these animals are forever changed for the better.

Nate’s note is also a beautiful reminder of just that and the good work that Frankie did and the legacy she left – and knowing she is living on in the young hearts of many, continuing to inspire them to be the best they can be – well, there is honestly no better definition of success to me than this.

Forever and always I will give thanks to God for the gift of Frankie. I love you girl, and I know you continue to be with me.

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