Ten Blue Eyes

life as we see it


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Thoughts on Cancer and Magic Johnson

I’m not a Magic Johnson fan, but that doesn’t really matter. I am, however, a huge fan of biographies. You can put a book or documentary about almost anyone in front of me and I’m hooked. I love to learn about people’s stories. Therefore, when a documentary about Magic Johnson was on our television one evening this summer I curled up in my chair with my popcorn and watched.

I’m not here to tell you about basketball or the Lakers or any of that. Sure, there were great games and amazing statistics but it was actually something Johnson said near the end of the show that struck me.

The basketball legend was sharing about his journey with HIV. He was diagnosed at a time when many thought it would be a swift death sentence for both his basketball career and his very life. They were wrong. Johnson has lived with AIDS for 23 years and due to medical treatments he continues to lead a fairly normal life.

Johnson has been the face of HIV for almost a quarter of a century but he said that’s been both good and bad.

The good has been the level of awareness and education that many have received due to such a public figure being diagnosed.

The bad is that he’s alive and well.

The bad may seem good, and it most definitely is, but he was saying that in the fight to raise awareness and fund for HIV/AIDS many look to him and think, “He’s fine! He’s healthy! He’s had AIDS forever and still looks good. What’s the big deal?”

It’s a double-edged sword.

I can relate (though I’m quite certain this is the only way I can relate to Magic Johnson!)

k1 half kickOur son, Karson, was diagnosed with leukemia when he was just two years old. It was a possible death sentence for him. We didn’t know how his little body would respond to the treatment or if the cancer would take his life. However, we are SO thankful that Karson is not only alive, he’s healthy and thriving. He’s now almost 10 years old and has been done with his rigorous 3 ½ years of chemo for more than 4 years. The dark valley of that time is behind us.

If you look at Karson you’d never know he’d once been a bald, puffy, weak and very sick little toddler. You’d never know he went through years of chemotherapy, 22 spinal taps, 2 bone marrow biopsies, 3 years of steroids, and more blood transfusions and hospital stays than we can count. Instead, you see a tall and smiling 4th grader who pitched on his Little League team and just broke his arm being “all boy” while doing a cannonball off a swing in our backyard.

And when you see him as a leukemia survivor you may begin to think, “He’s fine! He’s healthy! He went through leukemia but look at him now. What’s the big deal?”

But it is a big deal.

Karson is alive and healthy. Karson is a leukemia survivor.

Not every story ends this way. Not everyone is healthy like Magic Johnson and Karson Cabe years after being diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. We don’t know why we are so blessed to have this outcome when others deal with death and sorrow, but we are grateful beyond words.

And while on this mountaintop we don’t want to waste what we learned in the valley.

And that’s why we continue to share his story and many statistics and facts. Like:

 

  • Cancer is the #1 disease-related causes of death for children.
  • Every day, 42 children are diagnosed with cancer.
  • 12% of children diagnosed with cancer do not survive.
  • Children’s cancer affects all ethnic, gender and socio-economic groups.
  • The average age of children diagnosed is six.
  • More than 40,000 children undergo treatment for cancer each year.
  • 60% of children who survive cancer suffer late-effects, such as infertility, heart failure and secondary cancers.
  • There are approximately 375,000 adult survivors of children’s cancer in the United States.

 

I can’t speak for Magic Johnson, nor do I wish to, but I hope that his success story and Karson’s will champion the cause for those who are sick with these awful diseases.

If nothing else, it sure makes for a great documentary.

 

 

 


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Safety Pin Surgeon

My daughter had been watching me and was disappointed in my reaction. She had been hoping to witness a little drama and excitement… and possibly tears. But there were no tears involved. Instead I was quite stoic and the emotions of my face were of self-pride and relief. I had just performed a minor surgery on myself and had been successful.DSC_0624

The term “surgery” may be a little excessive. Maybe what I did was called a “procedure” when I dropped the safety pin into a pot of boiling water and then later pried it open to expose its cooled-off needle tip. I had taken that makeshift medical instrument and had dug it into the palm of my hand to free the splinter that had been wedged inside my skin for five days.

When the splinter was finally released from its fleshy prison I held it out on the tip of my finger and stared at it.

It was microscopic.

I could barely even see the tiny piece of rose bush that had been figuratively and literally a thorn in my flesh.

Five days earlier I had been trimming our rose bushes and the result had been better looking landscaping, but forearms that looked like I had been in a fight with a cat. And lost.

I knew I had gotten a few thorns stuck in my skin and I spent a minute or two extracting them. It wasn’t a big deal except for one stubborn thorn in my palm that just wouldn’t budge. I really didn’t give it much thought after a few attempts. I figured it would work its way out eventually and at least my rosebushes were free of its burden.

The days passed and I half-heartedly and periodically would try in vain to remove the little thorn. By day five I realized that my entire hand was beginning to hurt. I was having trouble grabbling onto things and since I’m right-handed I was constantly being reminded that it was painful to touch anything against my palm. The skin around the splinter was red and puffy and actually beginning to look infected.

It was time for this safety pin physician to heal thyself.

And so it had come to this post-op moment, my daughter walking away shrugging and bored and me holding a tiny thorn on my fingertip in the sunlight coming in from the kitchen window.

How could something so small have caused such pain?

The pus that oozed from my palm indicated that my body had been fighting this miniature enemy. It was a foreign object. It had not belonged in my skin and my body had rejected it.

I disposed of my surgical instrument and carefully washed my hands and squeezed some antibacterial goo onto my palm. A couple of Band-Aids were soon in place and I released myself to go back to all normal activity.

The tiny perpetrator was long gone and could do no more harm.

But I have other thorns.

They’re not literal, but they cause just as much pain, if not more. They stem not from a bush, but from fear. They cling to my flesh as worry and anxiety.

I hate what they do to me.

The worry often starts so small and I label it is “concern” or “wise discernment” rather than seeing it for what it truly is.

“This worry is microscopic,” I think to myself, “What harm could it cause me to carry it around for awhile?”

And then it festers.

I half-heartedly and periodically tell myself that I should stop worrying. I should let it go and trust God. I should pray about it and remember that the Bible says “Do not worry.” But often my attempts at removing it are in vain.

Finally, I come to a point where I must make a decision. Will I leave the thorn of worry in my flesh and allow the infection to win? Or will I put some water on the stove and bring it to a boil in preparation for some surgery?

Either way it hurts. That’s the nature of a thorn in one’s flesh. But when I take the time and make the effort to get rid of the worry—that nasty enemy to my soul, then the healing process begins. When the perpetrator is gone, it can do no more harm.

And I know my Father who watches over me will be pleased with my reaction, because I have replaced a thorn in my flesh with not a Band-Aid, but with trust in The Great Physician.


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My Heart Will Go On.

DSC_0452Author Elizabeth Stone is quoted as saying, “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

I would like to add that seeing the Kindergarten-sized version on that heart get on the bus for the first time is just plain painful. At least it was for me.

I will never forget the emotions that welled up inside of me the moment I saw that big, yellow beast come bellowing toward my son. Ok, maybe it wasn’t bellowing, but it was getting closer and closer. And when it stopped in front of us, with it’s little red stop sign flippantly waving hello, I thought I might be a goner.

How could my sweet little baby boy, the one who smelled like bath lotion and rice cereal, be walking up the bus steps? Did school really have to start today? Couldn’t we wait until after Christmas… or five or six more years? Is it really that important for our kids to know how to read and write and draw a triangle?

Alright, I guess it is important. And as I watched the wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round with my baby boy inside I tried to hold back the tears. My husband, who was going into work late that morning so that he could be there to watch this momentous occasion, shook his head and grinned at me as if knowing he’d dare not say his thoughts out loud. Mommy is fragile right now. Handle with care.

But low and behold, my baby boy made it through his first day of Kindergarten with flying colors. And what’s even more amazing is that I survived too!

I guess it’s just like Céline Dion says. Near, far, wherever you are… even if it’s off to your first day of a new season of life….my heart will go on!

—————

This is an “oldie” but I thought I’d share it again as a new school year begins and many moms are feeling emotional (whether it be sadness or joy!) about sending Kindergartners out the door.

I wrote this about sending Karson to his first day of Kindergarten and now he’s in 4th grade! This year I sent my second child to Kindergarten, and it was another emotional day for me! But I’m happy to report that I’m surviving just fine with only one child at home now. And though I miss my older two, I’m really excited to watch them grow up!

It’s a mixed bag of emotions for me… can anyone else relate?!


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8 Things My Dad Taught Me

DSC_0954It happened again just recently. A new friend was asking about my family and when she learned that my dad was the pastor at a local church she said, “Oh! You’re Denny’s daughter?!”

Yep. I’m Denny’s daughter. I’ve been known that way all of my life.

It used to get on my nerves to be known as “Denny’s Daughter” instead of just as Christy. I have an identity outside of being the pastor’s kid, you know. But, I have to admit that being called Denny’s Daughter has grown on me over the years. It’s a title I’m honored to carry.

I’ve learned a lot from having my dad as my pastor for more than three decades. What a blessing it has been to sit under his ministry. However, it’s been even more of a blessing to grow up sitting around his kitchen table. Sure, I’ve learned things in church, but I’ve learned even more while riding in a Toyota Previa mini-van and while playing video games as a family in the basement as a teenager.

I’ve been so fortunate to grow up with such a wise dad. He’s taught me many things. And so today, in honor of Father’s Day, I thought I’d sit down and list a few.

8 Things My Dad Taught Me

8. Trust Earns Freedom.

My Dad always told me that if he could trust me, then I could earn freedom to do what I wanted to do. For example, if I wanted to go places on my own after getting my driver’s license, then I could earn the right to do so in increasing measure. If I was told to only go to my friend’s house and then home again- I’d better follow the rules. If I did, then maybe next time I’d have the privilege to drive somewhere else as well. If I had a 10pm curfew and I respected the clock and got home on time, then I’d be given a later curfew in the future. It was pretty simple. If I could be trusted to follow directions, then I would be given more freedom over time. I always liked that, because I knew the opportunity for more freedom and privilege was possible and it made me desire to be responsible.

7. Get Your Head in the Game!

I have to admit (embarrassingly) that I can clearly remember my dad yelling this phrase to me during one of my middle school basketball games… and I had no idea what he meant! Get my head in the game? What on earth is he talking about? Of course now I understand that he was telling me to be mentally present on the court and to think about what I was doing. Where did I need to be? Where was the ball going to be next? How should I react to this play, that pass, that shot? I needed to be mentally present and not allowing my mind to be thinking about something else when I should be focused on the game at hand.

That advice has stuck with me long after my basketball career (and I use the term ‘basketball career’ very, very loosely!) I’ve often thought about hearing my dad yell “Get Your Head in the Game!” while working on various tasks throughout my life. Whether it be studying for a final in college, planning an event in my first job out of college, or having an important conversation with one of my children, I need to be mentally present and focused on the task at hand.

6. The Apple products don’t fall far from the tree.

We’ve always joked that my dad is so far on the cutting edge of technology that he’s bleeding. The man loves his technology and he LOVES Apple products. We were getting email in our house growing up (I can still hear that noisy old modem and the voice from AOL saying, “You’ve Got Mail!”) before most of society knew what email was. My dad talked me into buying an iPod before most bands had probably heard of iTunes. And, my dad gave me a laptop in college and encouraged me to carry it to class to take notes.

“Dad, that is so embarrassing!” I said. “Nobody else carries a computer to class!” But it turns out he was on to something there. It seems that now several (million) people have laptops and carry them with them on college campuses.

And Dad’s love for the Apple product has truly been passed on to me. What’s that other kind of computer called? Window something?

5. You are very special, but don’t think too highly of yourself.

Humility is a trait that I’ve always noticed in my dad. He’s not one to “toot his own horn” and I appreciate that about him. I remember being taught a lesson in humility from my dad when I was a freshman in High School. It’s a lesson I’ll never forget, and yet my dad didn’t even say a single word. He didn’t have to.

I was playing on the JV basketball team as a 9th grader, but one week the JV team didn’t have a game so I was bumped down to play with the Freshman Squad… at least “bumped down” was how I saw it. I was proud of the fact that I’d played JV and I was wrongfully quite full of myself during that freshman game. In fact, I’m embarrassed to tell you that during a time-out our coach called a huddle and I stood about 10 feet outside of the huddle thinking that I didn’t need to hear whatever it was that the coach had to say. (Ugh!) I remember tipping my head back to squirt my water bottle into my mouth and when I did my eyes drifting up into the bleachers. There sat my parents and my eyes locked with my dad’s eyes. Not a word was spoken verbally, but I could hear a paragraph’s worth of words coming from Dad’s eyes. That was all it took. I walked into the huddle and changed my attitude from that moment forward.

4. If the ship is sinking and there’s something we can do to help, we’re going to try to fix the problem… or we’re going down with the ship!

In the early years of my dad’s pastorate at our current church, the church building was tiny. As the church grew in membership it also needed to grow in size and so we experienced several building programs. I remember one time in particular that it had been announced that the new building and all of it’s sparkly new classrooms would be ready to open on a certain Sunday. The day before it was to open Dad got a phone call that things were almost ready, but there hadn’t been time to clean the carpets or new rooms and move in the furniture so we’d have to delay the opening for at least another week.

My dad told us to get in the van and off we went to spend a Saturday at the church. We vacuumed, cleaned, moved furniture and more to prepare the rooms, just in time, for church the next day. Dad told us that cleaning toilets was not below the senior pastor’s duty and if we could expend a little elbow grease to help the situation then we were going to do it. We were going to do something to help or go down trying. I’ve never forgotten that Saturday or the lesson I learned.

3. When in doubt, don’t.

I can remember my dad telling me that if I wasn’t sure about saying something or doing something, than I’d better not because it can never be taken back. I often take that into consideration before saying something I’m not 100% sure I should say. I think it’s saved me some heartache over the years and I’m grateful for that.

2. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Life is going to be rough if you can’t learn to laugh at yourself. And laughter is one thing I’ve certainly done… both with and at my dad.

One time when I was in college our extended family rented a house on a large lake for week. We decided to also rent some wave runners. All of the potential wave runner drivers had to go attend a short “class” and watch an instructional video about how to operate the wave runner. The video stressed multiple times that there are no brakes on a wave runner. You must stop pulling the throttle and allow time for the wave runner to slow to a stop. I repeat, there are NO BRAKES on a wave runner.

Yeah, yeah. We signed the papers and rented that thing and off we went. Dad was driving and I was riding along behind him. We were flying through the water and we went into a channel where there were several homes with piers in the water. Did I mention that we were going really fast? Did I also mention that they had stressed to us that the wave runner has no brakes. Well, apparently Dad didn’t catch that part because he drove us way too close to one of the piers and when he tried to brake (um… yeah, you know.) we SLAMMED into one of the pier’s wooden ladders and that ladder exploded. After we shook the shock out of our heads we looked around to see hundreds of pieces of wood floating on the water and a huge gaping hole where the ladder once was. Ooops.

We still laugh about that today. And I am thankful that I am alive to tell you about it. Seriously Dad, you’ve got to pay attention during the safety class next time. (And to whoever’s pier we crashed into… we’re sorry about your ladder.)

1. My dad is not perfect, but he’s taught me about my Heavenly Father, who is.

As I’ve written about before in “One of My Worst Moments,” my dad had the wisdom and courage to teach me the most valuable lesson of all during the worst moment of his life. His wife, my mom, had just died suddenly at our kitchen table at the age of 34. As we stood around her body in a sterile hospital room, my dad reminded me that God was still in control and that He loved us and had a plan for us. If God is good during the worst moment imaginable, then He is good. I can trust my Heavenly Father, and I do, because of my earthly father’s wonderful example in that moment and throughout my life.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I love you!


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A Pain Around the Neck

DSC_0703Almost every Spring for the majority of our marriage my husband has hosted a fundraising banquet for his local ministry, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. And, being the good wife that I am, I buy him a new tie every year for the event.

I know, I’m pretty sweet.

What’s more, I don’t just buy any tie, I buy him a tie that is color coordinated to match the keynote speaker for the event. For example, if we have a former Indianapolis Colts coach speaking I find a tie with a blue and white motif. If it’s a coach from Butler University, I go for “butler blue.” A Detroit Lion, you say? How about light blue and silver? How do I know what color each of these teams are, you wonder? That’s what Google is for, friends.

So anyway, I’ve been on a roll for years with these ties and quite pleased with myself and my husband’s neckline. But, as they say, pride goeth before the fashion blunder and this year proved that to be true.

This year we had a sports commentator as a speaker and this gave me such freedom in my choice of colors, since he’s not currently tied to one specific team, that I got a little carried away.

I decided to go with a pretty light green for the occasion.

I bought Kraig the tie and actually gave it to him for Christmas. This was fine, but since the banquet was not until April Kraig did not try it on until the day of the banquet when he stopped home to put his suit on and head up early to the venue.

Only I accidently bought him a kids’ tie.

Yep. When Kraig put the tie around his neck it only came down to about mid-chest.

The green was really a nice color on him though.

And so Kraig had to digress back to a tie from the 2010 banquet. I’m sorry to those of you who attended this year’s banquet and noticed we repeated a tie. We’ll try not to let it happen again.

I just needed to get that off my chest.

And Kraig’s.

 


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If You Give Your Grandma An iPad

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Perhaps you’ve heard of the lovely line of children’s books called the “If You Give” series. We personally own “If You Give A Mouse and Cookie” and “If You Give a Cat a Cupcake.” They are adorable circular tales in which you follow the consequences of what shenanigans would ensue if you were to indeed give a rodent a cookie.

Only they’re fictional.

The mouse in the book is wearing bib overalls and doing cute things like drawing pictures and sipping on a glass of milk. Obviously these books are not describing what would actually happen if you had a mouse in your kitchen. Let’s just say any mouse that would show up in my kitchen would not be shown quite this level of hospitality. No matter how cute it looked in its bib overalls.

But this is not a book report. I just felt the need to explain about this series of books because I’ve got an idea for a new title… although we’d have to switch the genre to non-fiction. Because this scenario is real, folks.

“If You Give Your Grandma an iPad.”

Now, I’m not here to cast blame, but I am not the one who actually gave my Grandma an iPad. The person who did shall remain nameless but they know who they are. And they happen to be related to both myself and my Grandma. And I call this person “Dad” (What?! I didn’t say his name.)

Anyway, thanks to my Dad’s generosity my grandparents own an iPad. And they deserve any gift they’re given because my grandparents are some of the sweetest, most loving, and special people I’ve ever known.

They are in their 80’s and are a part of what’s been called the “Silent Generation.” Their generation has been described as hard-working, loyal, supportive and patriotic. But I’m going to go out on a limb here and say something I’m guessing they’ve never been called… tech savy.

And that’s putting it nicely.

So in my imaginary new book that I’d like to pitch to my imaginary editor I’d describe the perils of being the granddaughter who lives the closest to the Grandma with the shiny new iPad. And the shenanigans that ensue. And by shenanigans I mean phone calls for help. And visits. And much entertainment. Because who said that non-fiction books can’t be funny. And believe me, this stuff is funny.

Grandma’s Facebook account alone has given me hours of entertainment. Sometimes when I need a good laugh I go over and help her clean out her “likes” on Facebook. Most people “like” businesses or pages that they want to read more about or have an interest in. Grandma apparently has a different strategy. She likes random things. A nail salon in Vermont, a mechanic in Nebraska, a church in Idaho, and she claims she has NO IDEA how they got on her page. I have explained to her that when you touch someone’s name on the iPad and then click “Like” that you are now “following them.” She nods her head and then calls me two weeks later with the same problem. Do you see how this could be written as a great circular tale?

One morning Grandma called and told me she’d hardly slept the night before because of Tony. “Who’s Tony?” I asked. “I don’t know,” she frantically said, “but he’s hardly wearing anything in his picture and what if someone thinks I really like him?!” So I logged on to Grandma’s account and found the scantily clad Tony… from West Seneca, New York, where we know no one… and clicked, “Unlike.” All was right with the world again.

Except maybe for Tony in West Seneca.

And I won’t even go into the perils of Grandma leaving comments on Facebook other than to say that I’ve gotten some phone calls for assistance once or twice. Or thirty-eight times.

Ahh yes, having Grandma on Facebook has been entertaining. But do you want to know what’s even better? Having Grandma on Facetime.

Facetime is pretty amazing. The fact that you can call someone and see them live on your screen as you talk to them is really fun. Especially if the person on the other end doesn’t know you can actually see and hear them.

Now before you think I’m cruel and that I called Grandma on Facetime and tried to trick her, let me tell me what really happened. She called me.

Kraig and I were sitting at home one evening when all of the sudden we get a Facetime request from Grandma. “Look here,” said Kraig. “This should be interesting.”

We accepted Grandma’s call and proceeded to see the bottom of her chin and the ceiling. She apparently had the iPad on her lap and had no idea that she’d called us on Facetime or that we could actually see and hear her.

It was epic.

We said things like “Grandma!!” “Hey Grandma! Look down here! Look at the iPad!” “Hey there! Yes, it’s us.” “ Can you see me Grandma? I can see you!”

I was almost in tears from laughter by the time she picked the iPad up and realized that we could, in fact, hear her and see her. She wasn’t pleased with us for apparently spying on her and wouldn’t believe us that she’d been the one who actually called us. How dare we look at her when she’s wearing her housecoat and doesn’t have her hair done.

For the love of Steve Jobs.

I’m not holding my breath while waiting for Grandma to catch on to this modern world of technology. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s more likely that a mouse wearing bib overalls will show up in my kitchen. But I admit, I’m a little honored to be Grandma’s tech support. I think she really trusts me.

In fact, I realized recently just how much she trusts me when she approached me after church one Sunday with an urgent message. “Christy, when I die I want you to get rid of my Facebook.”

“Oh Grandma,” I said with a smile, “that’s when the fun really begins.”

Tell Me A Story

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I sat across the table from a gentleman with slumped shoulders and a cardigan. He wore his more than 80 years on his wrinkled face. Beside him was another similar-looking man who was putting ketchup on his onion rings, and beside him was a grey-haired woman. The seats at our rectangular table were full of these people. Other than my presence on this day, it was just like every other lunchtime at the assisted living facility. I was there to visit my grandmother and I was grateful that her table-mates had allowed me to disrupt their meticulous routine.

The conversation was sparse. Actually it was mostly focused on the fact that because of my presence, we were short one bowl of tapioca. I offered to part with mine, but they wouldn’t hear of it. Instead, the woman with the walker slowly made her way to the kitchen to request another cup of pudding. This is how they did things at their table, and I wasn’t about to argue.

I was so intrigued with them all. After the tapioca situation was resolved I listened to the snippets of conversation between these weathered friends. One man had finally sold his home. His children had helped work with the realtor and now finally their father could rest assured he was officially living in his last earthly residence. Others talked about their grandchildren, their health, and their plans to play BINGO or dominoes later in the day.

The mealtime came to an end and they all slowly rose and shuffled away, but I wish they would have stayed longer. I wanted to hear more. These people had lived so much more life than I had. They each had so much history and so many stories that I would have loved to hear.

How many children did they have? How long had they been widowed? Did they serve in the war? What were their occupations as young people? How did they fall in love? What were their biggest regrets and greatest accomplishments?

So many stories… yet, so little tapioca.

That mealtime reminded me how much I love to hear about people’s lives. I love true stories. Just as I could have sat there all day listening to those senior citizens share, I could spend hours reading or watching biographies. There is so much to be learned from hearing about other people’s lives.

Stories make things real. Stories pull us all in and level the field so that we can find ways to relate and understand.

Stories are powerful.

But, sometimes we shy away from telling our stories.

We may think it’s fun to hear the stories of others, but we don’t see the value in sharing our own.

Does anyone really want to hear about my childhood? Is there any benefit in sharing about the way my husband and I met and fell in love? Can I really help another mother who has a child dealing with the same disease that plagued my son? Does sharing about my frustrations with the daily, mundane tasks of being a wife and mother really touch another’s heart?

I’m pretty sure the answer is yes.

Yes.

Even if we don’t think our stories are special, they may be special to someone else. They connect us to people in a real way instead of through a virtual network or screen. They strip away the fronts and perceptions and make things real. And we like that, because life is real.

When I hear a girlfriend talk about the fatigue she feels from disciplining the same child for the same issue day in and day out, I’m encouraged. I’m reminded that I’m not alone.

When I hear an older woman tell me her love story and how she was married to the same man for decades, I’m inspired. I’m reminded that I can strive for a stronger marriage and deeper love.

When I hear a mentor share about their weaknesses and fears, I’m uplifted. I’m reminded that no one is perfect and we all deal with failures and pain.

When I hear a friend share about their loss and heartache, I’m broken. I’m reminded that I need to help carry the burdens of others and reach out to those who are hurting.

It doesn’t really matter if the people who are telling the stories are old, wrinkled, young, trendy, close friends or a new acquaintances. They may be wearing a cardigan, hospital gown, mom jeans or a jersey. It doesn’t really matter. I want to listen. And when the opportunity arises, I want to share my story too.

Sharing our stories helps us live better stories.

And sometimes you even get a bowl of tapioca to top it all off.

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