Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Moxie is a Survivor

It was a Tuesday just like any other.
Except that for Moxie, nothing would ever be the same.

It began with a teeny tiny, barely palpable little bump.

So seemingly insignificant she nearly dismissed it altogether.
But, No, she thought, better safe than sorry...

And she made the appointment.
What Dr. Truly was supposed to say was,
"Oh, it's nothing. Absolutely nothing. Don't give it another thought."
That's what she was supposed to say.

What she actually said were the very words Moxie never in
A million years
Thought she would hear.

And so began the surgeries and treatments and tests and Scans and more treatments
That comprised
The Fight of Her Life.

Moxie was brave.

She cried.

She called on strength she never knew she possessed.

And she cried some more.

She comforted others, bidding them not to worry.

She prayed.

She hoped. She believed.

And she fought.

Oh, how she fought.

If you ask her today Moxie won't come right out and say she would willingly invite this
Unbidden Guest into her life,
But she will tell you that she is not sorry for it.

Not bitter.

Not frightened...

She will tell you she is grateful for this Intruder.
It has revealed the depth of her faith,
The power of resolution,

And the beauty of hope.
Moxie will tell you that
Nothing can conquer hope.

She is still fighting.

Daily she looks the Intruder square in the eye and says
"You will not break me. You will not win this battle.
I will take from you the lessons I need and I will

Monday, August 26, 2013

Lyndle Used to Stutter

Every bird in the Whumpington Pet Shoppe talks.
Bad day? Low self esteem? Weary and ready to give up on your Dream?
Make a visit to the Whumpington Pet Shoppe.
Lyndle, the proprietor has just the ticket to raise your spirits.
She has taught all the birds to say just the things we need to hear every day and should be saying to one another:

"You look really pretty when you smile."

"You can do it. You really can."

"I believe in you."

"You have such a good heart."

"You are so much stronger than you think you are."

Lyndle knows all about needing positive feedback. Growing up with a stutter, she was teased mercilessly and not just by other children--by some grown people who ought to know better. The badgering and mocking turned Lyndle into an introverted, bashful, uncertain young lady.  She read her way through school, burying herself in other people's stories to escape the pain of her own.   

Lyndle was an adult when it became painfully clear to her that people were not likely to tell her what she longed to hear.  By this time she was running the Whumpington Pet Shoppe quietly, shyly, unnoticed by most because of her taciturn nature.  It was a murky, gloomy Autumn day when Lyndle had The Idea.  Convinced by experience as well as her own negative self talk that she would never hear from people the words she longed to hear, Lyndle  began to teach the birds to speak.  She taught them only the phrases she wished that someone, anyone would say to her:

"You have such a lovely twinkle in your eyes."

"There is a beautiful, sweet spirit about you."

"Don't worry.  It will all work out, you'll see."

"You can do anything you want to do.  You really can."

And the most remarkable thing happened: in parroting back Lyndle's words to her, the birds never stuttered.

One bright Spring afternoon, as she was helping a dear old woman with a calico kitten Lyndle was stunned to realize that she was no longer speaking in halting, broken sentences.  She had no more stutter.  You see, hearing all the kind words  that she so desperately longed for, from the birds that she herself had taught, had healed Lyndle.  

These days there is a sign hanging above the exit to the Pet Shoppe that reads:

"Listen to the birds. Then go out and sing their song. Someone today needs to hear it."

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Charis is a Survivor

Her parents named her Charis.
Greek for Grace.
And when they held their precious, bright eyed newborn they had no idea just how much grace she would need a little over a decade later.  

It was a Sunday morning just like any other...except that for Charis and her family nothing would ever be the same.  

She woke not feeling well.  Probably a flu...or a respiratory infection.  Surely nothing to worry about, but Mother and Daddy took her to the doctor just to be sure.  

What the doctor was supposed to say was, "Oh, it's a harmless little bug-nothing to worry about.  Take these pills and don't give it another thought."  That's what he was supposed to say.  What he actually said were the very words and Charis and Mother and Daddy Never.  In a Million Years.  Thought they would hear.  

An ambulance ride and many, many tests and pokes and prods and tears later Charis had a diagnosis.  It was a very long word that boiled down to "Buckle up...you're in for the ride of your life."

Charis was brave. 
She cried.
She prayed.
She hoped.  She believed.
And she fought.
Oh, how she fought.

Charis fought through her fears, she fought in her prayers and she fought even as she sang.

Charis sang her way through the uncertainties and the What Ifs, through the darkest of nights, through the painful procedures and the illness that followed.  She sang beautiful, sweet melodies full of Hope and Faith and "My grace is sufficient for you."  And in her songs Charis brought Hope and Light and Life to others.  Thousands followed her journey, believing with her, praying for her and ultimately being transformed by the story she told.  

Sometimes Charis would ask, "Momma, why would a little girl get cancer?"  The answers are hard coming.  But maybe it has something to do with these verses from 2 Corinthians: 

"Praise be to...the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  For just as we share in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ."

Charis' song, her smile, her faith and her hope were a comfort to people she would never meet.  She was an encouragement to thousands who would never have been touched had a little girl not gotten cancer.  Sometimes, on the good days, that knowledge was enough.  

Charis is still fighting. 
She is still singing.  
And one day Charis is confident that she will stand on a mountaintop, whole and healthy and proclaiming with great joy, "I. Am. Healed!"

And the fight will have been worth it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

To Write Love on Scarlette's Arms

Scarlette was the Perfect Baby.
Slept through the night right Away,
Rarely cried or fussed,
Genuinely happy nearly all the Time.
Her parents proclaimed her Sweet nature
Over and over.  And over.
How could she become Anything but the 
Perfect Toddler?
Her chestnut curls were the Source of ooohs and aaahs 
Everywhere they went.
Her endearing smile captured Hearts while her
Precocious disposition Surprised and delighted 
Friends, Family and Strangers Alike.
Scarlette was the 
Perfect little girl.
The naysayers and Glass Half Empties would chide:
Just wait til she's a teenager...
Then you'll have your hands full.
But Scarlette had been schooled in
Perfection and she easily proved the 
Cynics wrong.
She received the best marks at school,
Was adored at her part time job at Fizzy Pop,
Joined the missions teams on school breaks and
Always had a kind word to offer.
She was
The Perfect 
That's what her parents said.
Over and over. And over.
But inside, where no one could see,
Scarlette was beginning to
A tiny fissure at first, an exam that went not well.
That fissure began to widen after a Perfect Boy
Broke her heart.
Scarlette never told anyone about the crack, or the test or the boy...
She never told them she wasn't really
There was a friendship that was marked by betrayal,
Followed by another exam 
Followed by a fit of silent tears that 
Scarlette began to hide in her 
Perfect bedroom and 
Sob and
Sob and 
Scream into her pillow,
"I'm NOT perfect!  I'll never be perfect!
She would cry herself to sleep and in the morning
Wake and clothe herself with her 
Perfect Facade
And, smiling through her pain and fear,
Face the day.  
When she could no longer bear the weight of her 
Awful Secret
Scarlette began to hurt herself.
There was a relief there that she didn't understand
But it made her feel
It became her new 
Secret and her Best Friend.  
Scarlette didn't have to be perfect with her new
Didn't have to pretend to be happy or fine or
She didn't even have to feel.
But the 
Perfect Friend turned on Scarlette 
The Terrible Day that it went
Too Far.  
And Scarlette couldn't keep her secret any longer.
Mother And Daddy were 
Terrified and 
They cried and questioned and
They found a place for Scarlette to
It was scary.
It was the hardest thing
Scarlette had ever done.
But she never gave up. 
Scarlette encountered 
Who told her she was precious and beautiful and 
Cherished and she didn't need to be perfect because 
He saw her as she would one day be
And it freed her.  
The Perfect One took on her scars
And in their place
He Wrote 
On her arms.
Perfect Love. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Silas Writes Children's Books

Silas Crump's future was all set: he was on his way to a championship career in the WWF (Whumpington Wrestling Federation). Week after week the Whumpington Gazette carried glowing stories detailing Silas' devastating Dragon Whip or the crowd favorite, his Stinger Splash. Silas was what you would call a minor celebrity around town. One gloomy Thursday afternoon, however, in a match with Whumpington's fiercest rivals, it became clear that there was a Serious Problem. Silas had developed a paralyzing fear of sweat.

There he was on the mat, facing Grizzly Justice. Silas clearly had the upper hand when...Grizzly broke into a sweat and and changed Silas' life forever. He could not finish the match and couldn't explain why...not to himself or to anyone else. The next week Silas applied the Riding A Bike Theory and tried to get back onto the mat but it was no use. At the very first bead of sweat on his opponent's brow Silas was done for.

Poor Silas fell into a swirling depression that had his friends and family deeply concerned. At their urging he began to see Langley Stinson, a well known counselor/therapist/mentor/confectioner (Langley believed, you see, that chocolate does indeed have healing properties). At the advice of the insightful therapist Silas began to journal. "Just start with one sentence," Langley encouraged, "and see where it goes from there." And so Silas began to write. He wrote about his fears, his disappointments, his deflated dreams. Eventually he began to create very brave characters who overcame adversity. These charming and courageous characters gradually found their way into their very own books.

The literary world embraced Silas' stories of triumph over tragedy and soon he became a Very Big Deal. Silas had been given a new dream and it was grander and more satisfying than he could ever have imagined. Who knew that the most devastating disappointment in his life would lead to the greatest joy?

Will Silas' brilliant literary career continue? Will he become the J. K. Rowling of Whumpington or will tragedy strike again? That, Dear Friend is up to you. So pick up your pen...you know what to do.

Mavis will find you a Match

Miss Mavis proudly bears the title of Whumpington Matchmaker, and has for over thirty years. Having come from a line of four generations of Matchmakers there was never any question as to what Mavis would do when she came of age. Oh, sure, there were times she entertained the idea of pursuing something else--over the road trucking or animal training--but those thoughts were fleeting and she would settle back into the comfort and predictability of her predestined occupation.

Mavis has seen the sprout of a first date grow into the bloom of Bride and Groom more times than she can count. When a young person comes to Mavis timid and twitchy she pours the whumpleberry tea and lays out the creampuffs (among other things Mavis is an exceptional hostess) and says simply "Tell me your story." Invariably, it will take the young person some time to loosen up, but Mavis has a gift for creating a welcoming and comforting atmosphere and is such a wonderful and attentive listener that before long a few halting sentences have grown to an intimate conversation among good friends.

Nothing brings Mavis as much joy as when she sees that first spark when the young man and woman she has hand picked for one another first meet and just click. Nothing, that is, except dancing at their wedding. Mavis has been the honored guest at Whumpington weddings for three decades. The invitations are always addressed to Miss Mavis and Guest, but alas, as successful as she is in finding True Love for others, Mavis has yet to meet her own perfect partner. Where does a Matchmaker go to be matched?

For now, Mavis lives a quiet life with the only man in her life, her chihuahua, Senor Butch. Her future happiness, or solitude is completely up to you. She's ready for you to write The Rest of Her Story.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Trixie Got Engaged

As head floral artist at Blooming Bliss, Whumpington's premier florist, Trixie has created dozens of bridal bouquets. Unique, gorgeous and tailored perfectly to each bride's personality, Trixie's designs have won her unequaled acclaim. Blushing brides come from counties away to have Trixie design the flowers for their Special Day.

The flowers bring Trixie such joy...but she dreads the inevitable questions regarding her own marital status:

"Trixie, Sweetheart, are you STILL single?"

"How long have you been seeing that Frankie now?"

"Well, what on earth is that boy waiting for?"

"Your poor mother must think she'll never have a grandchild..."

Truth is, Trixie had been dating Frankie for nearly three years, ever since they met waiting in line for the Ferris Wheel at the Whumpington Summer Carnival. Frankie dropped his watermelon snow cone on Trixie's new pink sneakers and practically fell all over himself apologizing. Trixie was charmed. And in love.

And here they were, staring at the third anniversary of their first date and Trixie had no ring. She was beginning to wonder if Frankie would ever pop The Question.

And then one day...

Frankie had called and asked Trixie to meet him at Lake Lilac after work. When she arrived she found Frankie dressed up in a shirt and tie and acting strangely nervous. He didn't even give her the chance to ask what was going on before he stumbled to one knee, fumbled in his pocket and declared:

"Trixie, my um, my Darling, I love you more than, um, coffee, or bubble gum, or um, well, polka music and well, everything else I love not as much as I love you. What I mean is, you're really great and fun and you smell nice all the time and I want to smell you forever. Wait. I mean...oh heck. Willyoumarryme?"

The suddenness of his proposal took Trixie so much by surprise that without thinking she turned and ran. She ran all the way to the Pop Stop and bought a pint of Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby and sat on the curb and ate the entire thing. Finishing with a fine belch and gathering her wits, Trixie returned to the lake. Poor Frankie was sitting by the shore with his head in his hands. She snuck up behind him, wrapped her arms about him and whispered "Of course. Yes. yes, of course." And they began to dream together of their future.