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Monday, November 23, 2009

My friend Donte

Sometimes life just throws you a blessing. Not for any real reason, but it just so happened that every star lined up correctly and being in the way was a great thing. That is what happened to me today. There are a whole lot of details to this adventure, and not any real way to cut back on the story....
My daughter's cheer coach, Karen Spencer, and her husband Curt, are now the guardians of a most special young man. Donte. Donte is every one's best friend. He is on the field during football, on the court with basketball, in the dugout for baseball and has even helped the cheerleaders!! This adorable young man had a stroke when he was a baby and was in a wheelchair until he was 5, and then on a feeding tube until he was 14....his unlikely progression was all due to his grandmother. She took care of him his whole life, no small thing considering his difficulties. But she never let him down, never turned away and did all she could to help him have a happy life. So when Donte's grandmother passed away they needed a place to hold a memorial. A place where Donte could simply say goodbye. She was being buried in Ohio and he was not able to make the trip. He needed closure, and Donte's grandmother deserved the honor of a moment to be remembered by her grandson. So when I was asked to host the memorial I was glad to be a part of it, not knowing how special it would be. I sat so quietly while people I really didn't know, talk about a woman I had never met....and I loved it. I sat and let all of their love fill the room. It was inspiring on a level I wasn't prepared for. I had feelings I thought were only reserved for people I knew, and knew well. This shows the power and the influence people have who simply care. My question is, do we know that? Do we know the power and influence we have on each other?

Everyone around Donte revels in his life. They love what he adds to their lives. He is the heart of every team, the spark behind every win and the smile they depend on when they lose. In short, Donte is the only one who can look at a game for what it is. A game....the important parts are the people. When the Bulldogs win no one is happier than Donte.....and when they lose he is sad, but then he finds something else to be happy about. He never dwells on a defeat or on a win for that matter. He seems to love life with a zeal I miss. Donte doesn't seem to expect too much from people. He is happy with a hug, a smile, a warm conversation. We need people in our lives to remind us of what really matters, and that is what Donte does, he reminds us that being a friend, a true friend, is what is most important. Thank you Donte for letting me be a part of your special day. I am better for it.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Let's Be Excellent!!

Benjamin Disraeli said "adversity is the best teacher". If that is the case I feel like I am cramming for a final, and the teacher hates me!! I have not reacted to the bad news in our country very well. I feel anxious, hopeless and afraid. My blood pressure goes up every time I see the news . During a trip this summer I often spoke to complete strangers who mirrored my feelings....Anxiety and fear is rampant.....So what do we do? For our own self-preservation here is a plan, I have to have a plan because I refuse to continue to feel this way...So lets combat the negativity in our country, which is all through TV, magazines and newspapers...let's be excellent! Too simplistic? Too vague? Let me explain....times are hard, but they aren't impossible. We do not have to embrace our weaknesses, or let them rule our day! We can instead market our strengths...and what are our strengths? Americans are starters and finishers...we are excellent!

I heard a statement on TV that we are "preemptively capitulating". I refuse to believe that. I won't give up....I believe it is OK to fight for my home, my family and a way of life that reflects self reliance, but also a positive way of thinking. It is OK to get up in the morning and ask "What can I do to feel better today than I did yesterday?" Have you always wanted to start a business? Write a book? Put in a garden? What is speaking to you? Answer that voice is a great time to be a starter, a great time to climb from under your bed and find ways to feed your soul rather than starving it with bad news. We need to take dance lessons, get the dog groomed and have your trousers tailored. Try a new bakery, get a flower arrangement or buy some jewelry. If you have extra money go out and support a small business. Americans are starters... and they are excellent. Shake the cobwebs off and stop wringing your hands!! You want life to be better, make it better.

I do believe in the power of one....and I chose to be optimistic. I chose to think life is going to get better....go and be a part of the winning team...