Sunday, August 25, 2019

Operation Cowboy Kindness - Mission #1 SUCCESS

Folks, I have an idea.....

Since Woody has been hanging around our house, I've had a lot of folks email me and say how refreshing it has been to share his story, and how much they have enjoyed being part of the journey.  

Folks have mentioned how the love following along, and how he has brought so much joy to their lives.  (Please remember we live in an area that was hit by massive tornadoes several months ago, and a mass shooter killed 9 people and injured several dozen just 3 weeks ago.)  But, even if they aren't local, I think people just really excited to see something positive.

Yesterday morning, I was on Facebook, and there in our local Facebook parent group was a mother who was reaching out to the community asking for us to keep a look out for her 10 year old son's beloved bicycle that had been stolen. If you know me, you know I love. love. love to give to people, so I instantly knew I wanted to do something for this young man. 

I went out to the store, and I bought that little boy a new bicycle, only I didn't do it alone.  There in the checkout line at Walmart was a kind woman who also donated to the cause.  

And that is how Operation Cowboy Kindness was born in my mind.  

What if the love, kindness and goodwill of Woody's story didn't have to end?
What if we shared Woody's mission and watched it unfold here?

I have an idea for Mission 2, and would love for a little help.  
Is there anyone else who would like to join me?

If so, click the link below....

Saturday, August 24, 2019

A Lost Cowboy

Wednesday was like any other day for us. The Nurse and I were to leave for dog training and alas we were running late because of me. If you know us, you know I'm perpetually late for everything I do.  If you know The Nurse, you know she's on time for everything we do. So, once The Nurse wrangled me, the dog, herself, and all of our essentials into the car, we think we're on our way.  But as we're driving along, I looked to the left, and there lying in the middle of the road, on the yellow line, was a Woody doll.

I'm not sure why I stopped, other than the fact that Woody made eye contact with me, and when he did it was straight up 1995 again, and all I could remember was being Woody's "favorite deputy" many years ago. When that cowboy looked up at me, I immediately knew I had to turn around to "rescue" him.  Now, at this point, I still hadn't told The Nurse why we were turning around, just that there was something I needed to "save" in the middle of the road.  (She's used to this because I'm constantly breaking for animals, so she was probably relieved it was just a plastic doll....) After scooping him up from certain death via a minivan, The Nurse and I had a good laugh about him and continued on.

After class that night, I thought I would create a simple Facebook post about the doll, just in an attempt to locate's his owner.  In my mind, there was a small child out there who was (and still is) missing his best-friend, and I thought social media would be the best place to find this person.  I had no idea so many people would be touched by Woody and his plea to get home, but if you've seen us this week, you know the post went viral.  As of this moment, our Woody story has been picked up by 3 news channels (Ohio, Texas and Georgia), our local radio station (K99.1 FM), and has been viewed over 286,000 times.

Perhaps it was the simplicity and nostalgia of the post.
Perhaps is was the fact there are a lot of evils in the world right now.
Perhaps it's just that it's nice to see the underdog come out on top.

I don't know.

But, I can say is I'm grateful to all of you who've found us, who have showered us with love this week, and who have shared Woody's post in order to help bring him home.  He isn't there yet, but if you have seen him on Facebook, you can tell he's certainly trying!  :)

Monday, August 19, 2019

Grocery stores, kindness, and ink pens.....

Tonight I went to the grocery store.  <Please read that sentence with all the disdain you can possibly muster....> 

I HATE to grocery shop.  It drives me crazy.

First, there's the meal planning which usually involves finding a recipe.
Then there's going through the cabinets to see if you actually need everything on the list.
Then you go to the store, where people are rude, children are running around like they're on a sucrose IV drip.
You gather all of your crap in a basket, and then you wait in line for an eternity to give the cashier the monetary equivalent of one kidney.
You go out to the car pile all of your groceries into the trunk, try not to plow over the small children who are still running amuck but now in the parking lot.
You start down the road and
You forget something.....

This is exactly how my bi-weekly trip to the grocery trip was going, when I realized I forgot SLICED CHEESE! Now, for a minute I wagered exactly how much I needed the cheese.  And, I was having a complete conversation with myself that went a little like:

Self: "Do you need the cheese?  Like, really need the cheese?!"
Other Self: "Yes, we need the cheese!  How will we ever have a turkey sandwich without the cheese?!"
Self: "You're going to have to park the car."
Other Self: "So?!"
Self: "And walk!"
Other Self: "And?!"
Self: "Then you're going to have to locate the cheese, fight more children, and stand in line for 4 years, because you know there'll only be 2 checkout lanes open, at the most."
Other Self:  "We're pulling into the next grocery store.... This is serious shit. We need cheese!"

I walk into the grocery store, and I secure the things I need first:  cheese, enchilada sauce, cleaning supplies, and cookies for The Nurse's carry-in at work. Then I start stumbling around this large grocery store, 100% mesmerized by the fluorescent lights, and a bunch of stuff I don't really need, but want. 

And I fall down a rabbit hole.....

When I resurface, I am in the school supply section.  If you know me, you know I'm an analog whore and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE all things school supply.

I was meandering about the isles when I found a great deal on Sharpie markers.  I thought to myself: "Don't really need them.  Throw them in the cart."
Then I found some Crayola Markers on sale.  I thought to myself:  "Don't really need them.  Throw them in the cart."
Then I spotted the piece de resistance!
Felt tip markers in 16 fun colors, with a price tag of $13.99, on sale from $19.99.  SCORE!  I can't bare to spend $19.99 on pens, but for $13.99?!  Like a one-night stand in a bar in my 20's:  Those are going. home. with. me. 

Satisfied with my selections, I happily skipped to the front of the store, sidle up to the self-check out, scan my felt tip pens and whomp... whomp... whomp...

They ring up as $19.99.

I'm crushed.  

Quickly, this kind employee comes over, asks what's wrong, I explain the pens were marked $6.00 cheaper than they were ringing up.  She called all her friends, they couldn't find the pens, and the lines were growing longer, so I asked her to just take the pens off my list of transactions.  My face must have shown my disappointment though, because she insisted on making a few more phone calls, to what appeared to be the only other person working in the store.  I apologized to the folks behind me, and explained I wasn't about to pay $19.99 for ink pens, when this young man came over, asked me what the problem was, and said: "Are the ink pens on your transaction list still?"  I told him yes, explained I was going to have her take them off as soon as she returned, muttered that I didn't really need them, and apologized for holding up the line.

Out of nowhere and with the stealth of a ninja, this young man pulls out a credit card, and swipes it before I even know what has happened!  At this point,  I'm trying to explain to him that he just spent $47.00 on me, but I'm speechless. I do somehow manage to again yammer I don't need the pens.  But all I can really do is cry, hug this angelic man in a hoodie, and thank him about a hundred times.

This was the kindest thing I've had happen to me since a friend gave me tickets to a Reba McIntire concert several years ago, and I was completely blown away by his kindness and generosity. He's restored my faith in humans, especially grocery-store humans, and I hope he knows just how much his gesture meant to me.  I will never forget him and what he did.  And the pens?!  They are everything I thought they would be....

Thank you kind man at the grocery store.
You complete me!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Cheers to not quitting....

Monday I was feeling very down about my writing, to the point I'd decided to pack it up and quit. Just after I had quit,  I messaged a friend of mine to let her know how much I was enjoying her latest novel and after we chatted for a few moments I confessed I was going to quit writing because I felt like I wasn't good enough.  There was a series of messages back and forth and with some kind words, encouragement, and an offer to help read what I'd written thus far, I realized quitting wasn't really what I wanted to do.  Stepping back, I knew I was in my head and had fallen victim to the voices of self doubt.  

I guess we've all been there at some point....

Right after my friend talked me off the ledge, I flipped back over to my Facebook feed and saw a blogpost I'd written on the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio had been shared by another friend of mine with the introduction of: " My friend is great with words.  Thank you for putting so many of my feelings into words!"

It was in that moment, I knew the universe was giving me my sign.  Keep pushing, sister.....
So here I am, on a Sunday morning, giving thanks to the incredible people in my life who remind me to look for the signs, to follow my dreams and to believe in myself.

Cheers to them!
And not quitting....

Sunday, August 11, 2019

We aren't okay in Dayton.....

Photo Credit: Unknown

A week ago, a 24 year old man, walked into the Oregon District in downtown Dayton with an automatic weapon, killing 9 people while injuring over 2 dozen others.  Our hearts are heavy and our city is reeling from the pain this man has caused.  

Friday after work, I decided to drive down to the Oregon District to visit one of my favorite stores, Heart Mercantile.  They were selling t-shirts to benefit the victims of the shootings, and I greatly wanted to donate.  Upon walking the street, the feelings of sadness, and the heaviness of the week was palatable on the folks in the area.  And after hearing the 3rd or 4th well-meaning person ask: "Are you okay?" to various people, I realized I was becoming upset, and my heart could not handle another minute.   

You could see by the looks on the faces, people wanted to be alright.  Folks desperately wanted to answer that question positively, however are any of us really "okay"?  

If I was to say I was "okay",  I would be saying I wasn't hurting for the parents, children, spouses and friends of the 9 people whose lives were ended because of this monster.  

If I was to say I was "okay", I would be saying I wasn't aching for my dear friend who was there that night, fearing for her life as she heard advancing gunshots grow louder and louder.  

If I was to say I was "okay", I would be saying I wasn't agonizing over a friend who will never hug her grandson again, or another friend who will never hear her brother's corny jokes again.

If I was to say I was "okay", I would essentially be saying I feel as if our country has no gun control issues.  

Lives were eternally changed last weekend.
Families will forever feel the absence.
Perceptions of safety and fun are now permanently altered.  
Our sense of security is currently marred.

We will eventually recover.
We will go on to heal.
We will ultimately survive.

But today, and into the unforeseeable future, it's perfectly acceptable to not "be okay".