Posted in happiness, kids, longreads, love, moms, motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized

My Son Calls Someone Else Mom…and I love it!

My son’s father and I divorced when he was 1. 

He got his step mom when he was 2. 

He started calling her mom when he was 3. 

People used to ask me how I could stand for my child calling another woman mom. Actually, some still do. 

When we got a divorce, I knew this meant I would be away from my child. There would be days he would wake up and go to sleep without seeing my face and that fact shattered my heart. That was not the idea of motherhood I signed up for nor was it the kind of childhood I had imagined for him from before I even knew of his existence. 

When he first started calling someone else mom, it stung. It stung deep. I was worried I would be replaced or he would end up confused. I hated the idea that someone else could possibly be equal to me in his eyes; I just wanted to be the greatest human he’d ever met (let’s be real, I still do). 

It wasn’t until he was 4 and we could have an actual conversation about titles, right around when he wanted to call his step-dad “dad”, that it all made sense.

He hadn’t been calling her mom because he had no faith in me, he had been calling her mom because it felt normal. When he was there and the other kids said it, he could too. He could blend in and not feel weird; he just wanted to have a “normal” life. He also found comfort in her. He knew she wasn’t me, I was his favorite, but having a mom when he was away from me made it better for him.

He told me about games she played, parks they went to, and things they did. He smiled and giggled sharing funny stories that had made him happy. He said she was nice and she loved him. He said he loved her too – if that was ok with me. 

In that moment, the clouds parted and I understood how lucky I was to have her in my son’s life. She wasn’t there to replace me, she was there to love him when I couldn’t. Though we had never really met, we were silent teammates in the loving of this boy. Two women, on opposite ends of the spectrum, loving and guiding a small boy. He was the one I gave birth to, the one she signed up for, and he loved us both. 

I realized how lucky I was that he called her mom. He wanted to call her mom. That meant he felt her warmth and love wrapping him up when I could not. He knew she would make sure he had breakfast and make dinners he liked. She would play games, go to the park, and be silly with him during his time away from me. I may not have seen him every day, but he laid his head down every night knowing a woman who would keep him safe and loved him was just down the hallway. Always. No matter which house he was at.

So, no. I had no problem with my son calling another woman mom. Fourteen years after he first met her, she is no longer his step mom on paper, but she is still his mom. She loves him, she has seen his ups and downs, helped him when he was sick, and is still in his corner to this day. I have no doubt she will be there for him forever, either. I’m not hurt at all he calls her mom, in fact, I’m grateful he does. Kids need all the love they can get.

He found a soul that loved him purely and forever, which is what motherhood is really all about. It has nothing to do with a bloodline or what a piece of paper says. Motherhood is about love, dedication, tough love, and hopeless optimism for a child’s life. It comes from moms, but sometimes from other people our children are blessed to come across in life. It’s a gift to know your child is loved like you love them when you are not around. 

I’ll never be replaced, neither will you, but knowing your child is loved brings a peace unlike any other. 

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone. The moms, step moms, bonus mom, grandmas, aunts, cousins, best friends, teachers, neighbors, and anyone else who steps up to lovingly guide a child through the complexities of life. When they’re scared, lonely, and can’t be by their mom – you are a gift from God. 

Thank you to everyone who is part of my kids’ mom tribes – especially Ben’s other mom. 

Posted in Uncategorized

Hatred Stirs up Conflict

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.

~ Proverbs 10:12 NIV

I like this verse for it’s straight forward, no nonsense point: if you’re doing things out of anger or with people who are full of hate, you know you’re in a bad place and likely going to have problems. 

If you’re with loving people, doing things with love, you’re going to get through everything and it’ll be fine. All of that, I am down with and I thought that was it until I couldn’t sleep one night and kept thinking. 

I also think it relates to how we live and respond to the people around us. 

If someone has hurt you in the past, but you have forgiven them, then you should love them and move forward. You know that love is going to cover the past offenses. They’re covered up and they’re gone. But if you’re still holding on to anger and resentment and hate, that’s when you’re going to keep bringing that problem up. It’s like picking open a scab – it can be almost healed, then you rip it back open to all kinds of hurt. You aren’t healing or moving forward. 

Is it ever possible to fully forgive and forget? 

I have been hurt by people that I love and forgiven them. I can look back on the actual offenses, things I thought might actually kill me, and I feel no painful emotions. I don’t feel angry, sad or anything. It doesn’t launch me back to the raw state of being hurt . I can see it objectively like”yeah, that happened but I am ok now. We are ok now.” In those moments I pat myself on the back “yes! I got this!” I am loving them and forgiving them and I have nailed this and its great 

But then, if I start to have a disagreement with them about something else, totally unrelated, and that old thing they did starts bubbling up in the back of my mind. Even though I claim and fully believe I have forgiven them and moved on – it still bounces around in my mind.  Like there is still a shred of me that cannot forgive and forget (or even forgive). 

It’s confusing. I wonder in those moments, because I’m not perfect, sometimes I even bring them back up. I do not want to, on any other rational moment of the day I would never, ever do it – but then there it comes spewing out of my mouth.

So have I actually forgiven? 

Am I doing what I’m supposed to as far as loving if I’m still bringing it up because I don’t think I am doing things right, that way. And then, that got me thinking deeper: I totally believe it’s possible to forgive, because I do it. I’m sitting here right now and I can think of an argument with a loved one within the last two weeks when I brought up something that happened years ago. Most days it’s something that doesn’t bother me anymore. 

I mean, it changed some things, but we’re good. We worked through it. And the same thing does with other people in less personal settings. There are people I am on committees and teams with that I’ve had some serious disagreements with. I’ve said things, they’ve said things – but when I think about them now, I’m completely neutral on those incidents. 

I feel like I have forgiven, and I’m not holding it over their heads, but every time I have to go near them to have a conversation about something that could even possibly end up with us not agreeing or having to work through a problem, all those old thing bubble into the back of my mind like a small nagging voice. 

I generally do a really good job of not saying that or bringing them up, because I know that doesn’t do any good. Sometimes I fail but when they bubble up mostly manage to keep myself from spewing it out – but it’s hard. 

So, can we actually forgive and forget? How?

Posted in Depression, happiness, love, Uncategorized

What’s your rating?

Like most people, I am in a few Facebook groups for my town that offer up things for sale and recommendations for businesses for people in our area. In the last week I have seen people asking for recommendations for a lawyer, a mechanic, and a cake baker among other things. I have no need for any of these but because I’m nosy curious, I look at the comments to see what people have to say. I’d like to say it’s because I want to know if there is anything new in my town, but really it’s likely because I believe the places I use are the best, like most people do, and I like to see if everyone else is on board with me. 

How do you rate?

Today, someone posted a very specific request of “Has anyone used ABC mechanic and what was your experience?”(obviously, I’ve changed the shop name to protect the innocent). The responses were crazy. No one was on the fence about this place, there was a clear line in the sand – people either love or hate this place. People either had been going there for decades with fabulous results, or went once and their lives were never the same from the headaches this place caused them. 

I’d dealt with them and had mixed results so I panicked and couldn’t pick a side so I just read without chiming in. Sometimes I went in and it was fine, other times I left frustrated. Honestly though, I think that can be said about a lot of places. They have good moments and bad moments – no one is perfect all the time. The debate roared on so I never did comment, but watching it happen got my mind going. 

What if life worked like this and we all decided who we would interact with and how we would treat them based on the reviews or recommendations of others. What if people handed out ratings of 1-5 stars about all of us? Then, before other people would interact with us, they could go online to search or ask others for recommendations. 

How would I rate?

“Hey, thinking about joining a book group with Danielle – does anyone have any experience with her?”

“Anyone ever sat next to Danielle at the Memorial Day parade? Pros and cons?” 

“Looking for opinions on Danielle as a neighbor. Is it worth saying hello?”

I promise you there would be comments and they would likely be from two camps, just like ABC mechanic’s were. I figure it would likely be either people saying “she is an amazing person” or people saying “she is literally the worst.” While others would likely shrug and reply “who?” or “she’s alright. Could do better, could do worse” with a shrugging emoji for good measure. 

Maybe the mechanic couldn’t get parts because of a supplier or maybe they really did miss tightening a bolt once that led to a major issue for someone. Maybe they also fixed someone’s car at cost when they couldn’t afford it and sponsor Little League teams. Judging off opinions that are only one extreme or the other is dangerous. 

What if someone saw me litter once or heard me get short with a stranger in a moment of frustration? If they never saw me volunteer at a school or help feed the people in my town they wouldn’t know the whole me. Just like those who see me do good, may struggle with my mistakes. And it’s not just me – it’s everyone. We’re all a wonderful mixture of good and bad, success and failures, and ups and downs. The balance makes us human and should be the reminder we all need to give people a chance, form our own opinions, and be objective in our opinions of people. 

Make up your own mind

Instead of tying people’s worth to the opinions of others, we need to try to find a way to go off our own experiences. I’ve been focusing on that the last few months and I’m finding myself happier with myself than I have been in awhile. I know I will never be enough for some people. I also know it’s personal, some people are never satisfied with what other people do. Everyone gets a three star rating in their world no matter what. 

I am too much for some, not enough for others and that is perfect because I am not here to live for others – I’m here to live my life as who I am. Sometimes the results will be fantastic, other times disappointing, but always fully authentic. That’s what matters most when we deal with people (or places) in life. No single moment, no matter how good or how bad, defines us. 

We’re all gloriously, simultaneously one and five star people – and that’s the best review ever.

Posted in Christian, longreads

Covid-19 Questions

Covid-19 questions still rattle around in my mind.

I thought as we approached a year since our lock downs, things might be better, but I think that was too optimistic of me because I got Covid-19, in February of 2021. I was really excited that our house, with two essential workers and two kids attending in-person school, might make it to the vaccine finish line without bringing the vile germ into our house. That’ll teach me to count my eggs before they’ve hatched, right? 

I went through every symptom with textbook precision, right down the list. Congestion, fatigue, trouble breathing, fever, body aches, loss of taste and smell all came on like clockwork. Thankfully, twenty-five days after my runny nose began, the worst of it seems to be fading away finally. The loss of smell and taste are still with me, along with lots of aches, fatigue, and Covid-19 questions. 

This is kicking my butt – and I’m an otherwise healthy person.

By now I am sure you know someone directly who has had it. If not, I will be that person for you. As I have been sitting in my house – first in isolation, now in quarantine with my family – I am struggling more than ever with people choosing to ignore precautions for their own convenience. It’s not a great testament to you defending your rights, it’s a selfish assault on everyone else’s. 

Mask up for everyone.

Also, if you didn’t wear a mask and were around me, you owe me a casserole. If you’re going to make people sick, at least do the decent thing and drop off a meal. That is just Midwest living 101, for crying out loud.

When did we become such a fractured world? When did everyone start putting the preferences of “me” in front of the basic needs of “we”. Illness aside, I think this is the saddest commentary on the state of the world I have seen in a long time. We have finally fallen to a disgusting level where people are willing to pass an illness, allow others to suffer, and some to die because they are annoyed by a mask or canceled vacation plans. Instead of asking Covid-19 questions and listening to the facts, many people still refuse to love their neighbor and put a piece of fabric on. It’s disgusting behavior.

Sheep and Goats

Instead of debating who is acting like a sheep and who is the G.O.A.T in our nation, we need to step back and remember we will be asked about actions one day. When we are separated like sheep and goats as Matthew 25:31-46 tells us. It’s worth refreshing your memory if it’s been awhile. Those who stay with our shepherd and care for the flock, will be rewarded. Those who were too stubborn will have to answer some very difficult questions.

Will you be a sheep or goat?

Laugh at my mask wearing and rule following but my answer will be that I did all I could to protect all of the people. I put “we” ahead of “me”. When the world around me didn’t do the same, I pulled back from being around my own family to further protect the “we” from what was ravaging me. As much as it hurt to not touch or hug my family, to hear them laughing while I laid in bed sick – it was nothing compared to what I would have felt if they got sick. The same goes for everyone around me. 

Who are you living for?

It’s easier to ignore the needs of the world around you than it is to make sacrifices to help others. There is less planning and reworking of life when you live that way. But, are you really living a better life if you’re accomplishing it at the expense of others? If you are, I don’t think that could actually be called a “better life”.

He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ – Matthew 25:45, NIV

Jesus doesn’t only want us living for ourselves or the “important” people in the world. Our thoughts need to go to the least of the people. The ones who are at risk, in need, or have no direct impact on our lives. The ones that a simple mask and spacing out in public can help the most. If you’re not living for everyone, you’re not living for Him. When they ask me the Covid-19 questions, I’ll be able to say I did what I could for everyone. I did my best to protect family, friends, strangers, and everyone in between. I protected the least of us.

Posted in Depression, happiness, longreads, motherhood, selfcare

Melting Piles – How to Tackle Your To Do List

I live in Michigan, right along the shore of Lake Michigan. We are quite accustomed to winters when streets, sidewalks, and every possible open space become filled with inches, or feet, of snow. After every snowy winter storm we do what we can to live and work around this pristine annoyance: we shovel, push, and throw it into massive piles. We shovel it as far out of our way as possible then get on with life and the rest of our to do list. 

Eventually, the storms subside and give us room to breathe. The sun comes out a bit to help melt, or at least compress, some of what was left behind. We do what we can to cut the big piles back more and return to our daily lives while we wait for warmer weather to eventually cut us some slack. We wait for warmer days to handle the small piles in a few sunny days with temps over freezing

However, the large piles still loom well into the Spring. 

Until the machinery comes out, loaders and dump trucks, to scoop up the piles and take them off to a remote area of town. They can melt at their own pace without continuing to be a visual danger to drivers or threaten to flood our neighborhoods along with all the other snow slowly disappearing into the ground. 

Today I realized, as I watched the scoop and dump ballet play out near a behemoth cul-de-sac pile this week,  I couldn’t help but think about how we apply a lot of our snow dealing theory to our problems and to do lists in life. We push things to the side, let small problems disappear on their own, and create messy behemoths we must deal with at a later date. Ever catch yourself doing this exact thing? I do (all the freaking time…).

When problems fall into our lives, we handle what we can and group together what we cannot in that moment – we have to keep going on in life after all. When things slow down, we can start working on our problem piles to make them less intrusive to our daily life. And finally, one day when things are finally sunny, we can scoop what is left and deal with them properly. I know we do not have literal piles but our to do lists can feel just as daunting.

We don’t have to deal with everything or fix everything all at once. We don’t need to deal with everything in real time. But if we don’t deal with it eventually, the piles become unmanageable. It’s ok to handle what we have to, then what we can, before finally dealing with the bigger stuff when we have the time and mindset to do so; but we need to be careful not to put it off for too long. 

We don’t have an army of loaders and dump trucks to bail us out. 

Putting off hard conversations and real self-assessment is easier and more comfortable that willingly wading through awkward, messy, hurtful situations. I get that. But unlike the snow, the problems won’t melt away on their own. We have to take thing apart bit-by-bit on our own or risk being buried alive. 

We have to push aside the fear and believe we can do the hard things. 

The voice in your head telling you that you can’t are lying. The one telling you to push them off and ignore them are wrong. The one convincing you that you don’t have the tools, time, patience, or energy is just fear trying to hold you back from the life you deserve (and let’s be honest – the one you want). 

Nothing gets better and growth can’t happen without doing big things. They might be scary or feel overwhelming at first but that’s how you know it’s important. I don’t care if you’re trying to move a 10 foot tall snow hill or apologize to someone after saying some hurtful things – it’s hard and needs to be done. The sooner you start, the sooner the overwhelming pile starts to disappear. 

How do you handle your pile? One scoop at a time. 

I fix problems for a living and the best advice I can give is: make a plan. Which is easier than it sounds. Grab a piece of paper for this quick crash course:

  • Look at your pile and list everything out
  • Take a deep breath, quit rolling your eyes at me, I know the list is long but stick with me.
  • Prioritize the items into three groups:
    1. Urgent (like you’ll be homeless, hungry, in jail, or dead if you don’t deal with it soon 
    2. Soon (things you need to do soon like oil change, schedule bill pays, or make a dr. appt). 
    3. Upcoming (things needing attention with no firm end dates like dropping of Goodwill donations or cleaning out the crumbs from your floor mats). 

How long will each list be? That all depends on how long you’ve been pushing your pile aside. From here, I do one urgent per day (or more if time permits!) until it’s done, then move onto the soon pile. Eventually, the major pressing things are handled. It’s not as fast as a loader and a dump truck, but lifts a weight just as heavy.

The upcoming pile? Well that ones not so bad. You can sprinkle it in along with other things or just do it when you’re done. OR, you can look at it and see if there is anyone else who can do any of it or help you out. Does your spouse drive past Goodwill on the way to work? They can drop off the bags. Your kids are likely capable of vacuuming their own messes out of your backseat (or at least picking up the wrappers). Get them to work and maybe, JUST maybe…they’ll think twice before messing it up again.

Who am I kidding – they will not. but it’s off your list now, so you’re welcome.

The point is, nothing in life is too much – it just may be too much for one time. Even the most overwhelming and defeating mountains of problems or anxieties can be dealt with. It all comes down to never giving up, never giving into fear, and never doubting yourself. Whether it takes one month or twelve to dig out, making progress is all that counts.

Posted in Uncategorized

Pandemic Parenting

Pandemic Parenting is definitely something I was not ready for. When I was pregnant with my first child, I read all the books and went to all the classes. I knew what to do in most situations I could expect to run into as a parent. Thanks to a wild streak and some bad luck he was born with, I even navigated through some things the books had missed. By the time my second came, I teased she’d have to try real hard to throw me for a loop. I was a pro. 

But now, Pandemic Parenting has nearly broken me. 

At first, I was rolling with it. We made forts, embraced wacky hair colors, and did every craft kit we had overlooked over the last decade. We set up desks for learning at home and got chores sorted out. I knew everyone being home would mean more messes and dishes than before – I wasn’t dealing with that on my own. It was fun organizing our new life and we were all leaning in to make something scary feel fully liveable. I was a pro, remember?

Nearly a year later, I am a shell of the mom I was before. 

There used to be less screen times and more outside time, but those plans have both fallen to the wayside. They can facetime with their friends even when they cannot be near them right now and those interactions are more important to us right now.

We played more games and watched less tv, but we all just want to be distracted from the crazy world right now. The family that binges together will stay together. At least that’s what I’m telling me. 

Now, I am keeping track of more than I could imagine

What days do I go into my office this week? What days will the kids be in school or online? Who has virtual therapy? When is the dance class zoom call and the guitar lesson zoom call. Is the laptop battery charging? When can we play the church YouTube video sermon? When is the last time everyone showered? Do we have toilet paper and sanitizer?

I’m struggling to keep up tracking online dr. appointments, requirements to go into the dentist, trying to support restaurants with take out, and keep my own career going – among hundreds of other things.

We’re all in this together. 

I know, I’m not the only one struggling with this. We all are. Maybe we can all agree there isn’t one right or wrong way to get through this. Let’s be real: we’re all operating in a survival mode we’ve never known. Our mothers and grandmothers never knew anything like this. Our great grandmothers were likely kids or teens the last time. Let that sink in for a minute. If you thought you had nothing in common with your Great-great grandmother, think again.

If we keep doing things right, hopefully our daughters and granddaughters (and beyond) won’t need to tread into this realm of parenting. Their parenting might be better for all the weirdness we are going through now. Perhaps they’ll roll with changes easier and give themselves a little grace if they have an “off day” as a mom. I’m struggling to do that for myself now after a year of practice. 

Someday, maybe…

Best of all, maybe they’ll see we’re all doing our best. Every family has the same end goal but will go about reaching it in their own way. That doesn’t mean one way is right and another is wrong. In the end, all that matters is everyone is loved, happy, and cared for. Before the pandemic, I think we can all agree mom-shaming was a real thing. It still rears its head on my news feeds as people debate vaccines and masks. We should all be kicking back on a zoom happy hour to celebrate our little wins and cheer each other on throughout these weird days. 

Maybe our kids will do better. Over time they may come to see how we shifted our lives and still came out on top. It’s possible we can do the same now and come out of this with more grace for everyone around us (including ourselves). We’ve done so many other hard things this year – what’s one more? Pandemic parenting can be the start of a wonderful shift in our world.

Posted in books, Christian, Depression, Mantras, Uncategorized

What's in a letter?

What’s in a letter? The best self-improvement books I’ve read are scattered all over my house with loads of letters before and after the author’s names. I love self-improvement books. Some are religious (Lysa TerKeurst), some research-based (Brene Brown), and some are just inspirational stories (Anne Lamont). The idea people can overcome ridiculous situations and still be good humans is amazing to me. Certainly, hearing how people have done it and gathering tips I can use in my life is inspirational.

I have never found one book with all the answers. Please, no one comment with The Bible either. Even that leaves me scratching my head and not fully sure how to handle some situations in life at times. Therefore, I don’t think there really is a one size fits all book, which is actually pretty awesome in my opinion. That means we’re all capable of doing great things in our own way. I really like that. 

I was looking at the self improvement section at the bookstore recently and I noticed many books are written by people with many letters after their names. A few I see often include Ph.D, L.M.S.W., and M.D.. I know what they mean, these people worked really hard for those letters and I respect them. Besides, what’s in letter?

Other letters people should get

I also love how the aisle is also full of people with no letters after their names. They have a lot of info and wisdom to share also. As a result, I’d like to give them letters after their names too. Therefore, I started brainstorming a few:

B.T.S. – Been through Shit.

B.H.B – Been to Hell & Back

C.M.T.U – Can’t Make This Up

B.A.W – Bad Ass Woman

N.M.F.R. – Not My First Rodeo

P.O. – Prays Often

L.J. – Leaning on Jesus

M.L.B. – Momming like a Boss

F.Y.S. – Funny Yet Smart

Think I could add some to my byline? Danielle Peterson – B.T.S., B.H.B, L.J.

So what’s in a letter? What other letters can we bestow on people and what would yours says?

Posted in Christian, Depression, God, longreads, love

Love the World, Love yourself

“Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time” ~ Marion Wright Edelman

Love the World, love yourself. I think that’s what Marion is alluding to above. There is no denying this year its been hard. This winter is dragging on, isn’t it? Last year we were all together and doing great things with our people; but now we’re all kind of on our own. It’s so funny to think how much can change in the span of a year – for good or for bad. 

I don’t need to map out the bad for you right now; you already know exactly what that looks like. We’re all doing our best to get through that part of life right now. If yours is going anything like mine, the house is somehow messier than ever even though you are home more than ever and you regularly lose track of the last time you actually washed your hair (can I get an amen for dry shampoo, podcasts, and zoom calls!?).

Life looks different

We can’t do everything we did before, it’s just not safe and possible right now, but who says we can’t reinvent some parts of it? Who says we still can’t do good in the world? Seriously, I have no idea who says we can’t – but I know we can completely prove them wrong. I’ve been doing it. So can you. 

Love Your World

If you’re crafty and want to spread some love to kids who are living with illnesses – check out what the folks at Cards for Hospitalized Kids and Cards for Seniors are doing. You can spread some cheer without leaving your home. 

Want to bring it more local? Contact local nursing homes, schools, veterans groups, and hospitals for info on how to reach out to people in need of a smile. Local schools, churches, and community agencies all have people who need a lift in their spirits as much as they need help with other needs. 

You can make cards, send donations, order pizzas for schools, or become pen pals with someone so quickly and easily. Your loneliness and theirs can create something beautiful from this mess! 

We can still send love

Dream Big

Really looking to make a difference? Here is one simple action, go online and simply ask your people: Does anyone need help with anything right now?

The responses will amaze you. Someone you know is worried about food right now and someone else isn’t sure who to call for help with their car. Someone you know may need shoes in the size you were planning to drop at the Goodwill store. Maybe that extra bike in the garage is all it would take to make life good for a kid in your circle. You won’t know if you don’t ask. 

We think good deeds need to be huge, grand gestures or donations – but they really do not. The small things, the ones that often mean the most to people’s hearts, are easily overlooked and go unmet. Small deeds matter. You are beyond capable of being the person who makes someone else smile without making a huge donation or contributing a lot of time. 

How do I know? I’ve gratefully and humbly watched it unfold in front of me over the last 11 months in a Facebook group I started with a friend. We were sad for the world and community as we started seeing people suffer. We do not have deep pockets or loads to share ourselves – but we have big hearts and lots of passion. People share needs, we help connect them to help. It’s that simple. 

Love the world, love yourself

Yes, I miss my church family. I miss my friends from yoga class and work also. I miss the moms from the softball team. I miss my women’s retreat friends, my travel friends, and my conference friends I haven’t been able to see. The void in my life almost physically hurts. 

But, by finding new ways to reach out – I’ve formed new friendships and strengthened others. I’m not as alone as I thought and neither are you. You just need to speak up. 

Tell people you miss them. Tell people you want to help. Share your thoughts, expertise, suggestions, and that extra box of macaroni you know you do not need with them! The empty places will be filled differently, but they will be filled. You will see that no amount of social distancing or quarantining can ever stop love. The human spirit is simply too strong for that, even though some days it does feel insurmountable. 

You may not think your impact is large, but you are exactly the right person to make a difference to someone today. 

The Greatest is Love

“Faith, hope and love are some good things he gave us – but the greatest is love.”

– Alan Jackson and 1 Corinthians 13.

We focus on so many things in life: normal day-to-day chores, holidays, work, and adapting to our new normal that it’s easy to forget the greatest and most basic thing we have in life: love. 2020 made that all clearer than ever, but in 2021 we know what we’re up against and we’re ready for the challenge. 

Love the world, love yourself.