Hi doll! I hope you, John and the kids are doing great! Didn’t school start for you guts on Monday? I can’t believe my Godson is in high school!! Speaking of school, I wanted to let you know how that author’s retreat last weekend went. It was a first for me, as I only joined RTC in the spring. Let me just say that it was Tony Robbins meets John Bradshaw meets Dr. Phil meets Bravo. I’m still letting it all process. The main thing I learned was that I’m not the only one feeling alone on my life’s journey. The past decade or so has been quite a shitstorm, as you know, and every day I try a little bit more to make sense of it. Why am I here? What does God want from me? When all I want from most days is straight hair and clear skin, why must I keep finding new reserves of patience and perseverance?
As I have told you, my book is Chasing Hope and is targeted to parents of special needs children, like Schuyler. It is meant to be the book I needed 11 years ago but could not find. In it, I share my story, and then offer the reader some tips and tricks to survival told only by someone who has been in their shoes. It ends with some best practices and resources for families. Remember when I took Schuyler to Mark’s Capitol Hill office when he was in the House? Stuff like that.
But something over the weekend struck a deeper chord with me that is shifting part of the book.
One of the authors mentioned that she was going to be giving a TedX talk in Irvine next year. At that moment, I thought about what I would focus on in a TedX talk. I thought that Chasing Hope was OK, but what REALLY is chasing hope about? The word hope was used over and over again throughout the weekend and it seems that everyone is chasing hope in one form or another: hope for forgiveness, hope for recovery, hope for better circumstances. You name it. As I was thinking, I got an image in my mind of fire and how fire has the power to change everything it touches.
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Chasing HopeView on Amazon
At the heart of Chasing Hope is accepting your new normal, and once that step is done, you can go on to prosper, however you define that. Acceptance to Prosperity in three (easy?) steps. The acceptance part is where most people get and stay stuck.
It’s kind of like when your house is on fire. Thankfully, you and kids out but everything else is lost. You are sobbing on the lawn watching your home burn to the ground wondering how it happened. Was it a candle or cigarette? An electrical short? What the hell happened? At some point, though, you DO get up off the lawn and think “OK, I have to find a new place to live. Replace my possessions. Adopt a new cat. Those first few steps are a BE-yotch, but you take them, with the help of your circle of support and your best friend!
The problem is that most people are emotionally still sobbing on their lawn, too caught up in the why did it happen. But I loved my house!! I built my house by hand! Three generations of my family were raised there. Yes. And it’s soooooooooo sad. But, the HOUSE IS GONE. You must get up and find a new house, right? Many people I know stay in that place instead of moving on when their “life fire” happens to them. It can be losing a job, divorce, illness, whatever.
Yesterday I has a meeting with my editor and shared this with her and we are now incorporating a chapter on this concept as a way to transition from my story to the other chapters. I’m pretty excited about it! When you think of it, look at all fire can do: it turns raw meat into a meal, is forges a metal brick into a sword, it releases nitrate, which humans need to breathe, after a brushfire, the land is lush and more fertile than prior to the fire. In nature, fire makesEVERYTHING stronger.
So my message of chasing hope has been more finely honed into inspiring others to rise from their ‘life fire’, accept that it happened (because it did and we can’t change it) and moving toward social, emotional, personal, professional, and even financial prosperity.
Another nugget that bubbled up to the surface was why Dave and I have been struggling financially for the past few years. Yes, Dave’s income has dropped by 70% (thank you, Chris Dodd and Barney Frank!) and I cannot get hired to save my life. I told you that our of the four teaching jobs I applied for I got zero offers. Why? No PhD. Bite me! U of C, Northwestern (yes, my own program), National Louis all said no. Adler said next year. OK, so what the hell do I do in the meantime? Last month I made my first payment on my student loan – ouch. Dave has been seriously thinking of moving to North Dakota and getting one of those fracking jobs and sending money home. Seriously.
So I asked myself why I was having such a hard time earning an income. The message I got was that I’m not motivated by money and I have invested my time, effort, energy and soul into my family. And I’m happy to report that we are all still intact, healthy, talking with each other, having dinner at six o’clock every night and my children have manners, social skills and can solve problems. It sounds so stupid now, but duh! Where you put your effort is where you get the results. When I left Tiffany’s when Connor was born I said that while anybody can be a manager at TCO, only I can be my boys’ mom. I stand by that statement then and even stronger now. So why should I be surprised. It’s kinda like the country doctor getting paid in chickens and jam. Good thing I like chickens and jam.
But that breakthrough was huge. For years I have felt Dave’s stress at a continual loss of income and have tried everything short of working the pole to bring in some cash to our house. This weekend allowed me to reflect on my real job and real wealth. You know I have been trying for years to get Dave to understand that we have TRUE wealth, as you and John do. As only my wonderful left-brained husband can is quick to point out that our creditors are really more interested in REAL wealth.
I have lived on faith for years, as you have, and know that it not cocktail party chatter. You have to believe that God will not let you down. Remember the day we moved Schuyler into the O School and we hadn’t yet heard whether we got the finding from the state? I took a deep breath, looked up to whatever entity was listening and said, “OK, you want me to trust and have faith? OK, but you’d better show your face and soon!” That was a Friday. Monday morning the letter letting us know we had been accepted was in our mailbox. Damn! Does life always have to be that 11th hour??
So, that’s where your best friend is today. I’m still drained from the weekend, but for the first time in many years felt that I was in a group of peers who get it. It was so comforting. And some of these authors? Holy shit. I can’t believe that some of them are still standing. You and I have NO problems!! These are beautiful souls who have lived pain and rage and lived to tell the tale. I was honored to be considered their equal.
Well, that’s about it for now. I hear the dogs running upstairs to greet my mom and Sloane – they went to the Botanic Garden tonight and just got back. I miss you terribly and want so badly to hop a plane and see you!! Please let John know I said hello and give those wonderful kids of yours a kiss from Auntie Chris!!