Rising Through the Ashes of Life

medium_2934252475When I picked up a book about a group of women struggling to navigate the tragedy of becoming widows, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Obviously, this is one of the worst things that can happen to a young woman or mother. She has the rest of her life planned out, and all of sudden everything changes. Everything, because your husband is gone. This is not something I have experienced, at all. It’s hard for me to imagine what that must even be like.

But as I dove into the Saturday Night Widows, I realized that while becoming a widow may not be something I can relate to, the true story I found in this book was actually about finding a way to start over when life has pulled the rug out from underneath you and doing it with friends.

These are things I can relate too… More

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Friday Round-Up

We braved a heatwave this week with scorching three digit temps that kept us pretty much held up indoors, which is OK because it’s Banned Book Week, so we had some rebellious book reading to do anyway.

In between surviving the heat and reading banned books I did manage to get some other stuff done though… check it out. More

Our Visit to Neverland

“So come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned. Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, forever, in Never Never Land!”

I believe in fairies. And I’m not ashamed to admit it. I mean I don’t go around telling people that, but between you and I, I do.

For a story about fairies, flying, magical places beyond the stars and little boys who won’t grow up, Peter Pan is one of the most relatable stories ever written. As children we shout that we believe in fairies, we dream about what it would be like to fly to Neverland and we keep an ever-watchful eye for pirates.

But then we grow up, and the magic is lost somehow. Until we have our own children. And then, just as Wendy says goodbye to Peter in the end, the magic returns and the story only begins again with our own child.

Yesterday my own two darling children and I hopped on the train to San Francisco, a magical place in itself, to see the live production of Peter Pan at the three sixty Theater. I knew it would be special, but I had no idea it would be the most amazing live theater experience I’d ever seen.

When we saw the real Wendy, John and Michael fly through the air above us along with Peter and Tinkerbell my heart began to race. I looked over at my kids and both of them were sitting there with smiles on their faces and pixie dust in their eyes.

They were mesmerized.

And later when we all shouted that we believed in fairies so that we could save Tink’s life, I felt myself start to cry.

Patrick with Nate Fallows (Peter Pan)

Sometimes as adults the stress of life can be overwhelming. And the magic of childhood is only a distant memory, if we remember it all. But in that moment as I watched Tink light back up I remembered. I remembered what it was like to believe in fairies, and I remembered that magic still exists.

And in the last moments of the show, as Peter Pan smiled at Wendy’s girl Jane, for a moment I looked up and thought maybe somewhere there really is Neverland. Just maybe…

But lucky for us the magic did not end there. Thanks to a very generous invitation from SHNSF we were able to meet up with some of my favorite local bloggers and meet the cast of the show. All of them were so unbelievably sweet to my kids, only reinforcing the magic of the day.

Patrick & Cheyanne with Abby Ford (Wendy Darling)

I love the theater. I love classic books. And I love taking my kids on magical journey’s to places like Neverland. And I love that my kids think Pixie Dust is real and that fairies are never far away. And I won’t ever be the one to tell them otherwise.

“And because Peter never grew up, when Jane had her own children, they flew away with Peter too, and so it will always be, as long as there are children.”

Thanks so much to cast and crew of Peter Pan in San Francisco for an amazing day. And to SHNSF for putting together this event and allowing my kids and I to be a part of it.

Though SHNSF provided tickets to the show I was under no obligation to write this post or in any other way compensated for it.

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Wordless Wednesday

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Choosing Happiness

A long time ago I saw a news story about a basketball-playing dog that had been diagnosed with cancer (you may recall the dog from Air Bud?).  As a result of the cancer the dog had to lose one of its legs. They interviewed the owner who was devastated and unsure if the dog would be able to continue his favorite pastime, basketball. But after the surgery the owner arrived to visit his dog and brought along the dogs favorite basketball.  As soon as the dog saw it he began to wag his tail.

The owner said that it was then he realized that the dog hadn’t really noticed that he was missing a leg. And after he recovered had no problem adapting to playing basketball with only three legs. His personality, energy, and lifestyle didn’t change. In fact it almost seemed, as far as the dog was concerned that he didn’t even notice he was missing a leg.

I’ve held on to that memory for a long time and I like to pull it out and think about it when things get tough. I know that animals and humans are different. BUT the idea that any living creature, even a dog, can be so unphased by what many of us would consider a horrible tragedy struck me. It’s a lesson that we humans could certainly take to heart.

Life is hard sometimes. Hell, life is hard a lot of the time. Circumstances can suck. People can suck. Your job, your marriage, your car can all suck sometimes.

If you let it.

The thing about this dog was that it just moved past the thing it could not control and hardly gave it another thought.

Why don’t we do the same?  There is so much in life we can’t control. When our car breaks down, when it rains, when our marriage ends or when one of our kids get a fever on the first day of vacation.

We can’t control that stuff. But we there are things we can control. One of which is that we have complete control over how we deal with those other things.

Choose happiness in life. It’s that easy. Choose to be happy. Choose to find the silver linings on the gray days.  Choose to be Scarlett O’Hara. Always.

OK, so I’ll admit I don’t always follow this advice, but I try. I try really hard. Especially after reading This Is Not the Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness by Laura Munsoon.

It was one of those books that had me in tears as it ended. Is it a horrifically tragic story? No. It’s a woman who goes through a rough patch and weathers it by choosing to be happy. It’s about choosing to find peace and happiness even when it seems like there is none to be found.

If you’re going through a rough patch in life right now, I highly recommend picking up this book to find a little bit of inspiration.  Something we all need every now and then.

Just a little friendly reminder from me inspired by the Left to Write Book Club book, This Is Not the Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness. I did receive a free copy of the book but have in no other way been compensated for this post.  If you want to borrow it you can, but please return it when you’re finished.