Sunday, July 25, 2010

Life is a Cabaret!

What was supposed to be a hurricane ... tropical storm ... tropical depression ... rainy weather has come through this morning. There is nothing as wonderful as a lazy, rainy Sunday morning. Steaming coffee, a good book, and Roxie laying her head in my lap. Until there was a thunderclap, and she started shaking, and panting, and drooling all over me. Oh well...

It's been a delightful weekend so far. Yesterday I was struck with the desire (!) to clean out my closet, so that was good. Cleared out alot of stuff to take to Repeat Street. And to Goodwill. It's nice to walk into a clean, organized closet for a change.

Last night I got all gussied up to go to Hal & Mal's for the annual Chick Ball.

The Jackson Free Press created the Chick Ball in 2004 for two reasons: to raise education about and money to fight domestic abuse in Mississippi; and to showcase women musicians and artists to a diverse audience. This year, they decided to have some "Honorary Chicks," and Nicole and I were selected as "lifetime chicks." And honored we were! There was a private reception for us (called Chick-a-Boom) prior to the big event. Lots of good food, laughter, friends, great music and a wonderful silent auction with lots and lots of really good stuff.

This morning, a show I taped a few weeks ago aired on WAPT. It's called the WHOA show (Women who Hear, Obey and Act on God's word). The host is the bubbly Laine Lawson Craft. I met Laine at a monthly ladies' group I go to called Brown Bag Bible Buddies. We meet for lunch at Biaggi's (but they have other meeting places around town, too) and there's always a speaker who shares her testamony. Laine is a little powerhouse of energy, and she has started WHOA Ministries, which includes WHOA magazine and the WHOA show. I wrote an article for this month's issue of the magazine--the whole issue is on forgiveness, and my article was about how I had to forgive God for what I percieved as his ignoring my prayer to be with and protect Nicole. In the end, I had to ask for His forgiveness, for I let myself doubt Him. I pretty much told that same story on the WHOA show. You can see the show and read the magazine article by logging on to the WHOA Ministries' website.  (And by the way, I still say the same prayer for both Nicole and Joseph each night, and I trust fully that God covers them!)

It's a busy writing week ahead. I've been writing more than ever lately, for magazines, business journals and newspapers. That's a good thing! And I've been busy working on some things concerning Nicole's motivational speaking career. She's ready to launch that full force, as it's time for her to make her own way again in this world. If anyone needs a strong motivational speaker for their annual meeting, organization, association, etc. please consider hiring Nicole. She'll definitely move folks with her message of motivation, perseverance and hope. (Plus, she has plenty of experience--a degree in theatre and over 27 presentations since her accident!)

My next big event is in the same place, same time: Hal and Mal's next Saturday night, when we'll be guests of Cindy and Megan Poole in the "Kit Kat Club's VIP section" to watch a production of Cabaret! I've heard it's wonderful, and can't wait to see it. And to get in the spirit of it all, Nicole came up with this outfit:
Actually, this was a photo shoot for an art project that Talamieka is doing for an upcoming juried art show. The theme is--you guessed it!--Cabaret. It's for the 5th annual Storyteller's Ball--The theme is "Life Is a Cabaret: Broadway Magic." The annual fundraiser benefits the Greater Jackson Arts Council.

Life really has been like a cabaret lately. Fun, full of surprises and happy!

Blessings to all who read this!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Crawling Through An Open Window

It's Monday...the start of what I'm praying will be a good, smooth productive week! Olivia (Nic's assistant) is taking some much needed R and R time at the beach, so I'll be immersed in the Land of Nicole this week, which is busy, crazy, active, fun and exhausting. And of course, wouldn't you know, I have a very full plate myself with nine writing assignments due this week. Trust me, that's a good thing! It's just that this week in particular, I have to make every minute count.

Nic and I have been busy sending out a bazillion emails to folks letting them know of her availability as a motiviational speaker. After the piece about Nicole aired on the CBS Early Show, we felt it was time to get the message out that she's available to spread her message of perseverance and hope to the world! She's gotten some pretty positive responses, particularly from college campuses. Perfect!

It's amazing to see how a door closing results in a window opening. And while windows are a big more of a struggle to go through, what waits beyond is ususally better than we could imagine.

When I think about all the people we've met, friends we've made, experiences we've had since Nic's accident, I am grateful. Do I wish it would never have happened? That's a tough one. No one wants to see their child hurt in any way. But what I've seen instead is for my daughter to grow stronger, and to have a platform to touch others in a profound way.

And with her, with have all grown as well. We've learned to distinguish between what's important and what isn't. We've learned to slow down. And we've learned that God's plan for us is often different from our own, and to let it unfold naturally, perfectly.

One of the people who has come into our life is Talamieka Brice. We met her while Nic was an in-patient at Methodist Rehab. Talamieka is the graphic designer at MRC, and she and her husband, Charles, have been the best of friends to Nicole. They are such talented, sweet spirited couple. Avid photographers, they love using Nicole as a model. Not long ago, Nic and Talamieka went on an adventure that resulted in this. Enjoy!

I've watched Joe grow as well. He is now a committed student, growing in so many ways. I'm immensely proud of him and the decisions he's making in life.

I'd love some feedback! Have you had a door closed in your life? Did the window that was opened reveal an even greater plan for you?

Blessings to all who read this!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

CBS is on God's Time

If I've learned nothing else during this journey with Nicole, I've learned that God's timing is perfect.

In case you didn't know, CBS News came to town and did a "package" on Nicole's story to run on The Early Show. It was precipitated by a public relations company in Boston who handles p.r. for a company called Bioness. They make the device Nicole wears to increase function in her hands.

The timing, of course, was perfect, as the CBS crew came the same weekend as "An Evening of HOPE," which was the event Nicole concieved/coordinated/choreographed as a fundraiser for the Parents for Public Schools'  "Ask for More Arts" program. It was also where Nicole came full circle, dancing once again, so it was a triumphant evening for her--the girl who was told she would likely never walk again.

But that was back in March. And now it's July. And six times Nicole was told the story would air on The Early Show, and six times the story was bumped. There have been oil spills, tornadoes, Joren van der Sloot, Princess Fergie selling out Prince get the picture. But each time, it was a bit more disappointing.

Then, Monday rolled around. The fifth of July. An extended holiday! No reason to get up whatsoever...except that Roxie needed to go outside. At 7a.m. And once I'm up, there's no going back to sleep. Dammit.

So I turned on the coffee pot and padded back to my office to see who was doing what on facebook...and around 8:05, I went back in the kitchen and was pouring a cup of coffee when I heard Betty Nguyen, Erica Hill and Chris Wragge all talking about--you guessed it!--NICOLE. Dammit again! Her story ran and I MISSED IT!!!

No, wait, I've had our DVR set to record The Early Show every day for three months! Now's the time to figure out how to replay something! And I did! I woke Larry up and he came running into the den (not really...he kind of did his just-woke-up saunter) and we watched it two or three times before the phone started ringing.

Paige Kendig, the producer of the segment, did a great job putting Nicole's story together. It was moving, compelling and inspirational. I only wish they had mentioned that she's going into motivational speaking. And that she still does incredible choreography. And identify Larry. And that she has a brother. But they didn't, and that's OK.

So...word started spreading that the story ran, and there were people who weren't as consciencious as me who did not have their DVR's set to record every Early Show, every day...but not to worry! I checked The Early Show website and THERE IT WAS! A photo of Nicole dancing in front of a grafitti wall in New York, and a link to the video!!! So, I did what any proud mom would do, I put the link all over facebook!!!!

And that all worked well for about an hour, and the picture and link were REMOVED. Say what????

Paige was on assignment in Spain (what an exciting life for a 27-year-old--why didn't I know about jobs like that when I was her age???). So what to do? Well, Pete DiPaolo found the "viewer feedback" page on The Early Show website, and we sent that link out and people inundated The Early Show inbox with requests for the video to go back up again. We all clicked on The Early Show page all day to see if it was there (I hope they don't think their number of clicks were up for any other reason!!!). But, at the end of the day, the video wasn't there.

However...Tuesday morning was a new day...and I got the sweetest email from Paige, letting me know that "Unfortunately the piece can not air on the web because there is a ton of music in the piece, and we do not own the rights to the music." Well, that explains it. Copyright laws. That's cool.

Not to worry...because I soon found out that the video was on You Tube!!! And since it's been up, it's already been viewed 2,366 times, because people have shared the link on facebook and email.

And finally...
you can see it....

UPDATE! CBS pulled the video off You Tube as rights. We have contacted the artist, Andrew Bird, to see if we can get the rights to run the video. In the meantime, here's the dance. ENJOY! :-)

Blesssings to all who read this!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Take Me Away...

Calgon, take me away!!!

Remember that commercial  (about a hundred years ago?). It almost became a rallying cry for moms. The idea is that you could leave the snot-nosed kids in another part of the house for a bit while you relaxed in a warm tub filled with sweet-smelling Calgon. That 20-minute respite would be all you needed to transform you into a calm, serene woman who could then handle anything the rugrats could throw your way.

That never worked for me. My little Einsteins knew how to knock on the bathroom door. Genius.

Here's something ironic...if a poor mom can't hardly catch a break to take a soak in the tub, how's she gonna have time to peruse an entire Calgon website with a blog that encourages women to twitter about their Calgon bathtime rituals?? Pa-leeeze!

Now that my kids are grown, I spend my days in relative solitude...working in my home office. I spend alot of time connecting with people on the phone, but for the most part, I can do it in my pajamas with a serious case of bed-head, even at 2:00 in the afternoon. No one here to judge my appearance but Roxie, (who's hair always looks good...lucky bitch). And the person on the other end of the phone is none the wiser (Ok, so maybe they are now...I'm sorry I'm not suited-up in my dress-for-success power outfit, but baggy pajamas are oh-so-comfortable). Another good thing is that I don't have to battle with this on a daily basis:

I believe if I had to go by car to work every day, this would work best for me:

By the way, that's the church I grew up in, St. Luke's Methodist Church in Fondren. I'd love to know the story behind that thang parked out front...

So what I'd really like is to just go away...NOT in a bathtub filled with some water-softening chemical, but somewhere different, exciting, interesting, relaxing, fun...just a change of scenery from my computer keyboard. Not that I'm complaining, because I'm not. I am grateful I am able to do what I do. But taking a trip has a good way of altering your perspective. It gives you a broader world view. My view has gotten narrow over the past few months, so I've gotten a bit of a travel jones. Too bad my bank account hasn't kept up with my wants/needs.

I saw a story on TV the other day about a couple in New York who STOPPED SPENDING MONEY for one year. They only bought absolute essentials--like food. No hair cuts (they did it themselves and it showed), no manicures, no restaurants, no coffee shops, no WINE, no movies, and they didn't buy any processed foods. They made everything from scratch. They entertained in their home more, invited people over for coffee (one whole pot of coffee doesn't cost as much as one cup in a coffee shop!), and in the end, they grew closer and saved a boat-load of money. The wife admitted it was difficult, but in the end, she was laughing all the way to the bank, because she wrote a book about her experiences that has landed her on all the early shows and Oprah, and it's selling like hotcakes. Good for her!

If you could give up one thing to save money, what would it be? I love to read your comments here on my feel free to share your thoughts. If you like what you read, and you're not signed up as a follower, go ahead and click the button to follow. I promise to honestly share my insights with you whenever the mood strikes me!

Blessings to all who read this!