“When something bad happens you have three choices. You can either let it define you, destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you” – Unknown
In April of 2010 around 11 PM as my nephew and a friend were cutting across the park to go to his friends mom’s house the first shot was fired. As my nephew was hit, he yelled at his friend to run. When the second shot hit my nephew his friend started running. As the third shot hit my nephew and he crumpled to the ground his friend stopped, turned around and saw the shooter emerge from the bushes and take off running.
His friend helped him up and somehow got my nephew to his moms house and they called 911 for an ambulance. The doctors tried to get a lifeline helicopter but the fog that night was too thick for the helicopter. After working on him for over an hour, they thought they had him stable enough for transport to another hospital 30-45 min away. As my sister tried to catch up to the ambulance driving over the mountain pass, they phoned her to tell her to turn around. My nephew had died in route.
Let’s go back in time to the beginning of this fateful Friday. My nephew woke up early and grabbed his surfboard. On the way to Lighthouse field he stopped and gave away some breakfast sandwiches he had made to several homeless guys as he checked in on them. It was a regular routine for him to encourage them to quit drinking and take back control over their lives. He then went on to meeting one of his best friends at Lighthouse Field. His friend was going to film him surfing. The waves were supposed to be really good and he had this trick he had been working on for some time. He wanted to have it filmed so he could see what it looked like. The waves were as predicted and he nailed his trick.
From there he went to work at O’Neils Surf shop. Then he met another friend and together they went to another friends house. Close to 11 PM they started across the park so he could get his bike and ride home. Then “Shots Fired” happened. A random gang banger shooting. The shooter never said a word. He just blew up our world from the cover of darkness for no reason that we could ever understand.
“Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us” – suburbanment.com
Fast forward a few years. Our family is still recovering from my nephews murder. My sister started a non-profit Mother Grizzles Against Gangs, but she ran out of money and closed it down.
Santa Cruz Sentinel 2014> "Four years ago this month, JoAnn Tennent lost her only child in a shooting near Grandview Street in Santa Cruz. Carl Reimer was 19, and no one has been arrested in his homicide. Wednesday evening outside Santa Cruz City Hall, Tennent shared her grief with more than 80 people gathered at the third annual Victims Rights March of Solidarity. She also carried a message of hope and strength to stand together against gangs and violence in Santa Cruz County. “Carl wasn't just my son, he was your son. Because all your children are my children too,” she said. “When someone takes someone from your life, it's devastating. We can't just act like this doesn't happen.” As part of National Crime Victims” Rights Week, the march started at Santa Cruz County Superior Court at 701 Ocean St. and ended at city hall. Participants held pictures of loved ones who had fallen victim to crime in the county, and they marched with posters with slogans such as “Stop gang violence” and “Violence does not only affect the victim.”"
As a coping mechanism I had started writing to heal my sadness and grief. I was posting things on my personal Facebook page that I was writing. I thought just maybe it would help my friends and family. We were all rebuilding our lives around Carl’s loss.
“if you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed” – Unknown
A lot of people started commenting and sharing what I was writing and they encouraged me to do more. And so this LemonadeMaker page was born. I named it LemonadeMaker because I believe that we are all making lemonade out of life’s lemons. It all started as part of my own recovery, and it grew into a life purpose. It’s a vast vision, a dream that I work to fulfill every day. It’s a calling. Although we lost someone we loved so much – the day of his death was also a day that Carl was following his own dreams. He had a great morning. He was really stoked that he had nailed his trick with his surfboard. He wasn’t leaving his dreams for someday I will . . . , he was living them on purpose.
“In the end, some of your greatest pains become your greatest strengths” – Quoteslife101.net
I looked at my life and realized I wasn’t doing the same. I was putting off my dreams for when I retired. For later. So when I started LemonadeMakers it was for the purpose of realizing my dreams of being a game changer. Of being an influencer. Of helping others to fulfill their dreams now. Because none of us are promised a later to do it in.
Steven Pressfield stated in “The Art of War”, that most of us have two lives; the lives we live and the lives we are capable of living.
5 years later LemonadeMakers has almost 100,000 followers. This happened because I saw something positive to retrieve from the ashes of my grief. My nephew left me a trail to follow and I have been walking down it ever since. It has totally changed my life. I had put off the dream of writing, because my mind fears said I would fail. Obviously that wasn’t true. I had told myself for years that I was an introvert and couldn’t communicate with strangers. Too my surprise this was also totally not true. How many mind fears – lies – are you listening too instead of pursuing your dreams?
Don’t put your dreams off to tomorrow. Start fulfilling them today. Live the life you are capable of living.
Sign up now. Click the button to register now.
2020, in the month April it was the 10-year anniversary of my nephew murder. He would have been 29 years old last month. It’s hard to process everything that has happened as a consequence of that happening in our family. My sister has more good days than bad, but she is still and will probably always be stuck in her loss. My life has shifted so much I don’t think I am even in the time zone. The ripples of his death will keep moving as long as someone reads this blog about our loss.
“No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away…, ” – Terry Pratchett
Out of every great tragedy there comes the hidden blessings. One of the blessings I received after my nephew’s murder was someone who was able to take the grief and loss that I felt and turn it into something beautiful and full of hope. I wrote a poem purging myself of the intense waves of grief. Writing is how I make sense of the senseless, it is how I can remain sane, when the crazy is calling my name. So when my nephew was murdered, I wrote a poem about what I was going through.
“Writing is like breathing, it’s possible to learn to do it well, but the point is to do it no matter what” – Julia Cameron
I encourage anyone going through difficult times to write it out. I think that it releases the poison, that would corrupt our souls. In pain, we hold our breath. Writing helps us to start breathing again. To realize that we can still have a chance for a better and happier life.
“When we focus our energy towards constructing a passionate meaningful life, we are tossing a pebble into the world, creating a beautiful ripple effect of inspiration. When one person follows a dream, tries something new or takes a daring leap, everyone nearby feels that energy and before too long they are making their own daring leaps and inspiring yet another circle” – Christine Mason Miller
I will print my poem at the end of this. While I was able to process my way through the grief, it still felt a little dark. The gift that this stranger was able to give me, was taking this poem and my story, and creating this beautiful song from it. It took away the darkness in my poem and transmuted it into light.
I reached for this poem when someone else I love is having their own dark night of the soul. We all need to remember that even though there are dark nights, they can be transmuted into something beautiful.
“Only in the darkness, can you see the stars” – Martin Luther King Jr.
I think that we all have those days, when the sky turns black, with no sunlight or starlight to shine upon us. We think that God has turned his back on us. We feel the intense emotions that threaten to drown us. As I say in my poem, sometimes the sorrow burns us alive.
“Some days our grief appears as small manageable ripples. Other days it completely crashes over us without any warning. These are the days you need to be able to sit, reflect and remember; and not feel guilty in doing so” – Just Over the Rainbow Bridge
Sometimes it’s okay if the only thing that we can accomplish in a day, is to simply breathe. Breathing in the love, turns the storm into a calmer sea. The sun rises again. As the poem ends, we can breathe again. We can breathe in the love, grace, forgiveness, joy and hope and manifest it back into the world.
I hope you enjoy the song. We had it created especially for LemonadeMakers.
“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will” – Chuck Palahniuk
Yesterday you were so alive riding the oceans waves, yes, life was so simple and innocent
But now your soul has left behind your flesh, and your bones lie there just an empty cage
Help me, I can’t breathe as this news fractures my life, I am so unsafe, I just can’t balance
And grief engulfs me, and anger rages, and I just can’t breathe.
I can’t breathe from hearing the news on T.V or reading the printed pages of your murder
I feel the thunderous storm of emotions pass through me as lightning strikes my heart
The senselessness of your passing, the gunshots of a stranger who tore our lives asunder
And so, I grieve, and the sorrow burns as it drowns me, and I can’t breathe.
The hours pass into days as I stumble down this long road breathing with heavy sighs
The days spent in crying, and the primal screams of the dark nights merge into numbing weeks
Yet storm clouds break up as I begin to see the healing of the rainbow’s blessings
And so, I grieve, and I begin to breathe, I breathe love.
Life carries on with unending support of love that is surrounding me and protecting me
Forgiveness is the answer, so I move past the limitations of grief, rage, and sorrow
To live in limitless love, light and joy, and my heart-lines align to the universal love
And so, I breathe love, and I add grace, I breathe, I breathe grace.
Love from Carl’s heart washes through me, cleansing and healing every part of my body
A warm wave it ignites an inner fire of transformation that love is the ultimate expression of grace
It illuminates the greater vision for my life to emerge from within me, a graceful unfolding,
And so, I breathe love and grace, and I add forgiveness, I breathe, I breathe forgiveness.
I release the need to blame you Carl, myself, or anyone else for your ending,
I release fears grip on my soul, and I choose to walk this path with love
I have experienced a grace inspired event that challenged me, and I have awakened
And so, I breathe love, grace, forgiveness, and I add joy, I breathe, I breathe joy.
Grace has opened a door whose light illuminates my next step as I step out of the darkness
I share this, your gift to the world, that love is the ultimate expression of grace
As I practice this belief, practice will yield to insight, which yields to embodiment, which yields to manifestation.
And so, I breathe love, grace, forgiveness, joy, and I add hope, I breathe, I breathe hope.
As I breathe love, grace, forgiveness, joy and hope, life becomes a celebration again
And as I let my light shine, I unconsciously give others the permission to do the same
I will live like there is not tomorrow, I will live like there was no yesterday
I will breathe, I will breathe love, grace, forgiveness, joy and hope and manifest it out into the world.
When tragedy strikes someone that we love, we all have this tendency to want to fix it. That if we just had the perfect words to say, or the right thing to do, we could make it all better.
But grief is a walk alone. Others can be there, and listen. But you will walk alone down your own path, at your own pace, with your sheared-off pain, your raw wounds, your denial, anger, and bitter loss. You’ll come to your own peace, hopefully . . . but it will be on your own, in your own time.
– Cathy Lamb
When I was younger they had these commercials for both band-aids and children’s aspirin. In the band-aid commercial the mom puts a band-aid on the little boys scrape, kisses it and he is smiling and his pain is gone. In the baby aspirin the pill magically makes the child feel better. Unfortunately, in real life, we can’t always “kiss it and make it better.”
What we can do is be there with a hug and a listening ear. Let them vent their anger, cry out their sadness, and get a release for the overpowering emotions.
The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing . . . not healing, not curing . . . that is a friend who cares.
– Henri Nouwen
When my nephew was killed, my sister was so strong. Making all of the funeral arrangements, who would speak at the service, what songs would be sung, renting the ballroom at the boardwalk – she went all out and was so together. She spoke at the funeral of the over seven years trying to get pregnant because her endometriosis was so bad. How when he was born, the cord was around his neck several times and she had to have an emergency C-section. All the years of loving him, and what he gift he was to her life. She told these stories and not one tear or breakdown. She hugged everyone at the memorial and not one breakdown. I don’t think that I could have done what I saw her do.
Later that night, all of the busyness of the funeral was done, then she broke down. All I could do was hold her. Tell her I loved her. That I was there for her. It was the first time, I couldn’t “kiss it and make it all better.” It has been several years of holding her and loving her, but she has come out the other end of a dark tunnel.
The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not “get over” the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to.
– Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
There comes a time when the healing happens. It doesn’t mean that you no longer miss what has been taken from you, just that it no longer controls your life. Each of us handles grief differently. We shouldn’t judge another person by how they handle it or expect them to “be better faster.”
No rule book. No time frame. No judgement. Grief is as individual as a fingerprint. Do what is right for your soul.
We can look with fresh eyes at the beauty that still exists in our world. We can walk step by step in the arms of loved ones, knowing that when we stumble in the darkness of grief, they will put the light of hope in our hearts, that things will get easier.
Healing comes when we choose to walk away from darkness and move towards a brighter light.
– Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Listening to the silence of the night, we can open our hearts and ears to the sounds of the universe. If we just be in the present moment, we can hear beautiful songs we have never heard before. The night insects, like crickets will sing to us. We can hear the night birds, like the owl tells us a story. We can be serenaded by the croaking of the frogs. Never stop listening for the messages from the creator, because these messages will be a balm to our hearts, helping us to heal.
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“In life, finding a voice is speaking and living the truth. Each of you is an original. Each of you has a distinctive voice. When you find it, your story will be told. You will be heard” – John Grisham
I found the truth of this when I started writing these blog posts. Each post dug deeper into who I really was. Who I truly wanted to be in the world. It demanded that I become visible, even though I was terrified to be seen.
“We are either in the process of resisting God’s truth, or in the process of being shaped and molded by his truth” – Dr. Charles F Stanley
Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step. Each foot forward is a reflection of the respect you have for yourself.
The journey to living my life on purpose has sometimes seemed very slow. I was moving forward, but at times it felt like I was walking through mud with each step being a hard process. Other times it was like riding the rapids downstream and a furious pace.
“Your journey has molded you for the greater good. It was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think you’ve lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now, and now is right on time”– Asha Tyson
“When life takes me on a new journey, I simply remember the smile my first ballet recital put on my face and I move forward” – Andrea Thompson
Life brings you so many experiences to enjoy, but you can’t do that if you are always putting lenses of fear in front of your eyes. Then you are not letting the experience reveal itself. Instead, you’re trying to make it fit into a preconceived box.
What I discovered on my journey to be visible again, is that this voice of fear had been in control my whole life. It colored every expectation and looked for ways to twist the story of what had happened to keep me captive in my invisibility.
Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.
As I worked on becoming visible, I met so many new friends, who were on their own journeys of discovery. I became aware of how you attract those in your life that can help you in your journey. Some lessons were painful, as the parting of the friendship reflected the places I still needed to work on. Some of the friends were “soul friends” and as Rumi says, they were a pure joy in my life.
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy” – Rumi
Be grateful for all the obstacles in your life. They have strengthened you as you continue with your journey. No one knows what changes, big or small, lie ahead. One thing is certain, your journey’s not over. Be prepared to be amazed at how incredibly, breathtakingly beautiful your life can become.
“Faith is not a light which scatters all our darkness, but a lamp which guides our steps in the night and suffices for the journey” – Pope Francis
I know that I wasn’t born to follow others blindly. I am still trying to figure out what I am meant to lead. What I know for sure, is that I am capable of whatever is required to live my life purpose. I am still on the hunt, for who I am becoming and I know that the only way out is through. I see that I need to find more joy in my journey, instead of being single focused on manifesting it.
“You will get there when you are meant to get there and not one moment sooner…, so relax, breathe, and be patient” – Mandy Hale
And the journey continues…, ever onward.
Recognizing the truth that life happens for us, not to us. And the journey continues…, never ending.
Our pinned post about transformation has reached a new milestone. We now have touched the lives of 2,003,310 people with this one post. Of that post 1,069,443 are organic, meaning that you, our wonderful community have shared it over 33,000 times,and tagged people, and that the universe itself has directed people to this post. Between the shared posts and our page itself, we have over 116,288 likes and loves; in addition we have over 3, 278 comments (not including comment strings with some having 100’s of comments).
I am blown away by how much this community tries to reach out to those who are in a dark place, to give them hope to carry on. You have shared how much this one post has meant to you, and I am overwhelmed to have touched your lives in some small way. You encourage me to continue to devote myself to write what gives my own life meaning, and to hope that what I share helps you to continue with what gives your life meaning. “Life is about creating and living experiences that are worth sharing” Steve Jobs.
This post is to thank you, the almost 43,000 that have followed my page. When I started this page, I had no idea what I was doing. I just knew that this was one of the directions, that my life purpose was pointing me in. In July 2015 I started writing my own posts, creating the photos with quotes. At the time I had about 500 followers. I had a dream of creating a reality T.V. show and when I saw the vision of what my life purpose was asking me to do, the only way I could go forward was to create a bridge from where I was to where I saw that I needed to go. This Facebook page is part of that bridge.
I knew that in order to get to that T.V. show I needed to show the T.V. world that there was this vast audience out there that would support the kind of show I wanted to produce. LemonadeMakers was created to ultimately provide community support, education, training, and media awareness for nonprofits in local communities so that they could be successful in helping to make our world a better place. I wanted to do a “makeover” with local nonprofits to help fill in the gaps, bring awareness to their mission, and support them in bringing their mission into reality. The fact that 70% of the nonprofits that get created each year are gone within 3-5 years is unacceptable. This Facebook page, is part of that process. It has created both intended, and unintended changes in my own personal life. I hope that it has been the same for all of you.
“In life, friendships change, divorces happen, people move on, others die. Money and jobs will come and go. Live long enough and your health and body will change. It goes with the territory of being human. The fact that you are still here gives you an advantage. DON’T LOOK BACK. Look straight ahead! Decide to use all of your knowledge, skills, experiences, and your life lessons from your mistakes, defeats, and setbacks, to start over again. Life changes. You may not have the same life as before, but you can still enjoy your life!” Les Brown.
Change and transformation is so vital in our lives. My destiny map keeps changing, as I become more and more aware of what is needed as the next step in my own personal transformation, and in the transformation of what LemonadeMakers can mean to our community. I thank you for walking this process with me. I feel your presence in my life everyday. In a few months, our first in a series of LemonadeMaker books will be published. It is now in the hands of the editors.
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So thank you for this milestone of helping us to reach over 2 Million views of one of our posts! Without you I would not have been able to touch the over 2 Million individual souls with my message, with just this one post. Thank you for helping me be a part of something that I know in my heart and soul will help to change me, change you, and change our world. Thank you for letting me be a part of something so big, I can’t see the end of it.
I encourage you to check out our LemonadeMakers Club. It is being designed with helping each of us to dig deeper into hearing our own inner guidance. To learn to understand the directions of the divine through our souls voice. To better understand not only how to access it, but to see what in our lives is undergoing transformation and learn to work with it, instead of against it. We have a special for the first month of $1.00, so that you try it out. I look forward to hearing your questions, your suggestions and your contributions. Click on the tab LemonadeMakers Club at the top of the page, read more about it, and take the next step in transforming your life.
I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for becoming part of our community. Thank you for taking the time to read our posts. For commenting and liking them and most of all for sharing them with others.
I wanted to let you know that you have all become special to me, because through you I have realized that I am not the only one who thinks about what I write. Thanks to you I have realized that there are many people in this world who see the possibilities that our world can become a better place.
I also wanted to take this day for helping me to be able to receive the love that you have shown to me, in encouraging me to continue to write my heart out on this page. I always dreamed of being a writer, since I was a very small girl. But I didn’t think that I had any talent. I didn’t think that what I wanted to talk about, was anything that anyone would want to read. You have no idea of the joy you have brought into my life.
Thank you! You are a blessing in my life. We are a blessing to each other.
Have you ever said, “I would be happier if .., fill in the blank ____________ (my spouse was …,, my job was…, my weight was ? lbs. less? etc…)” I am going to use my weight as the example, but you can substitute anything in your life, that is currently not bringing you into a state of joy. As you read through this, you can just adapt the process around your job, your spouse, your family, your finances, etc…
Never put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket – Unknown
This includes the pocket of your self saboteur. Have you ever counted calories? Have you counted steps? Weighed yourself every day to see if you released a single pound? I know I have. I have a Fitbit and I watch the numbers go up until I reach that 10,000 step mark. I worry over what I am eating and snacking on. What I recently discovered about this, is I am in fact disempowering myself.
Old ways won’t open new doors. – unknown
A new way of saying Einstein’s definition of insanity. I am “trying” over and over again to have better control, so that I can become healthier. Old ways that didn’t work the first time. It is sort of like banging my head against the door, hoping this time it will open for me. I keep “trying” to get myself out of the obesity designation. What I am in fact doing, is disempowering myself from being successful. I am empowering my view of my weight, to have complete control of my eating and exercise habits, setting myself up for self sabotage. I have put the keys to my happiness in the pocket of my self saboteur.
Find a heart that will love you at your worst and arms that will hold you at your weakest. – Unknown
That heart and those arms need to be yours, not someone else’s. When something isn’t working, then study, research, read and listen. It never has failed me that someone will say something that triggers my mind to go down a rabbit hole and come up with something that my heart and soul have been trying to communicate with me.
Dear Destiny, I am ready to listen now. – unknown
When I walk every day, I listen to podcasts. I have Tony Robbins, TED Talks, a NPR show called Scratch, EWomen’s Network, Success Magazine, and several others that I listen to. I listen to whatever is next on the list. This past week, I pieced something together from several different podcasts that became an “aha” moment. I needed to listen to my inner genius. Those who listen to their inner genius often end up changing their world. So I asked myself, “What is it still possible for me to do?” Notice that I said do, not try.
I have been trying to discover through hits and misses what is contributing to the weight I have, and what I might do to be more successful in releasing the weight. It isn’t as simple as diet and exercise. What I received this week was a couple of keys.
Key #1 – Don’t try. Trying doesn’t last long. Trying is one of those words that sounds positive, but doesn’t have a high energy vibration to it. Falling back to the famous Yoda quote – “Don’t try, Do or don’t do.” Instead the key that fits into the transformation door, is to commit myself to “mastery” of releasing weight and becoming healthy. Mastery is hard work. You have to learn something completely. To take it apart and put it back together again. To understand the purpose and reason for every single part, and the actions it plays. It takes time. But when you become a master at something, it doesn’t just change you, it transforms you.
Mastery reflects understanding diet and nutrition, not generally, but as it applies to my individual DNA and my physical body. It reflects understanding how the feelings I am feeling each day (my moods, and memories) enter into the equation. It is about paying attention to my instincts or gut reactions to the pain and pleasure that is happening to me moment by moment. And lastly it included my thinking or my intellect.
There are powers inside of you which, if you could discover and use, would make of you everything you ever dreamed or imagined you could become. – Orison Swett Marsden
Key #2 – Realize that my mind plays this game of chaos. I can tell that my weight is affecting my general health. I am exhausted. I have digestive issues among other things happening.
But my mind likes the chaos it understands, better than the chaos it doesn’t know. It started from fear. It said it was trying to protect me from unwanted attention. It told me that I didn’t want to be like my mom, and hurt people that I loved.
So add in a few pounds, plus a few more. Still getting attention, don’t worry, just add a few more pounds. My own subconscious good intentions will kill me. I needed to forgive myself, and let go of the need for protection.
Forgiveness is not something we do for other people. It’s something we do for ourselves to move on. – unknown
Key #3 – I am changing the interior landscape a little each day. I really never practiced self care. It was always care for everyone else first, and I got whatever was left over.
So it is like going from the hard dry desert to a beautiful flower garden with a stream flowing through the middle. I had to dig up the soil. I had to put in some fertilizer to bring it up to optimal healthy soil that would support the growth of the flower garden.
I then planted seeds. I watered them. I weeded out what doesn’t belong or bring me joy. I brought in some nice chairs to sit in. A small table to put a nice glass of lavender lemonade on. I transformed the desert of “not taking care of myself”, into a place that empowers me to do self care.
Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties. – Helen Keller
Key #4 – Gratitude. Every day I am finding things about my body, my health, the way I am taking better care of me – ways I can be grateful that I have this opportunity to bring back vibrant health to me. Gratitude pays homage and honors the steps I am taking.
It says that while I am not where I want to be, I am making progress.
It says that I don’t have to beat myself up on the days I fall short of 10,000 steps, or have the strawberry shortcake for dessert. It says that I will continue to be committed to bringing my body into a completely healthy state. The “friend” needs to be “you”. Self Love.
I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me, and I didn’t have the heart to let him down. – Abraham Lincoln
If you find yourself spending a lot of time and money, and not making any progress, you are in fact, stuck in neutral. It feels like you are in drive, because you are counting calories, you are weighing in, you are restricting your food intake, but you are in fact stuck in neutral. This is evident when day after day, no weight is released. Your subconscious mind has you stuck in the chaos you know. You are blindfolded as to what is really happening.
Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists . . . it is real . . . it is possible . . . it’s yours. – Any Rand
When you are not reaching your goals, you need to stop. Take a deep breath and look at what you are doing. First look to gratitude to where you are on the map. Then look to the patterns of the familiar chaos – what is eating up your time, energy, money, contributing to your frustrations? What story are you buying into that creates the “I am too tired” to walk tonight?” What food cravings around caffeine, sugar, processed foods, fast foods are you having because you are bored or stressed out? These stories are your self sabotaging patterns. If you can start to recognize them, then you have the potential to transform them.
The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential…, these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence. – Confucius
When you have mapped out where you are, then you are ready to put the car back into drive and put your foot on the gas. You do this by getting deeper into personal mastery. The neutral gear is calling your attention to some part of the chaos, that is not working for you any longer. Something that needs to be down shifted, released and/or transformed. Once you have gotten this new piece of knowledge into your head, drawn it down into your heart to become wisdom, then you can release your passion to fuel your motivation. You can realize your expanded potential and unlock a new door in your life of transformation.
You have always possessed the keys of transformation. The divine puts the doors of opportunity in front of you, over and over again. It is up to you to put the key in the lock, and go through the door. When you do that you discover untold potential and mastery within yourself. You have more natural potential than you could use in 100 lifetimes. Don’t let this life go by, not even using a small fraction of it.
Questions provide the key to unlocking your unlimited potential. – Tony Robbin
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth” – William Faulkner
Kym Worthy is a true Lemonademaker. She inspires me because she truly makes a difference. She changed not just her local county that she worked in, she really changed cities around the entire United States. She was like water. She went around obstacles, she broke up boulders in her way, she flooded the media, she stormed through anyone and anything standing in her way and got justice for rape victims who had been waiting for it for as long as 30 years. She is my hero.
“There be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protect” – Elie Wiesel
Her story starts back in 2009 when she was an assistant DA with Wayne County in Michigan. In the summer of 2009, Rob Spada who worked in her office was taking a tour with local police through an evidence warehouse. Passing by rows upon rows of white cardboard boxes he asked what they were. He was told they were rape kits. When he pulled down four random boxes he discovered that they were all unprocessed rape kits – 11,341 kits, some more than 30 years old (statute of limitations is 20 years).
In the past half-dozen years, backlogs of untested rape kits have been discovered in Memphis, 12,000; Cleveland, nearly 4,000; Tulsa, 3,783; Milwaukee, 2,655; Dallas, 4,144; San Diego, 2,873; Miami, 2,900; Honolulu, 1,500. Smaller cities are not immune, either. Kansas City, Missouri, had 1,324 backlogged kits; Tempe, Arizona, more than 500; Flint, Michigan, 246.
“When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty” – Unknown
Rob Spada contacted Kym Worthy in his office and told her what he had found. She first wrote to then Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans requesting a meeting to discuss how to proceed. When she didn’t get a response, she wrote Chief Evans again, adding, “It is imperative that your Department move on this as soon as possible.” Again, nothing.
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” – Desmond Tutu
Not one to stop at no answer, the story was leaked to the newpaper resulting in “Rape Evidence Shelved?” as the front page of the Detroit Free Press on September 22, 2009. Worthy put together a plan for her office to take the lead on testing the kits, but then Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, who controlled her budget, shot it down. The county simply couldn’t afford it, he said, and it was really a problem for city hall and the police, not the county.
Kym is not a woman who takes no for an answer. What she did next was to spearhead a national movement for reform. In May 2010, at the invitation of U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), she testified about the backlog before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. Later that year, the research arm of the Department of Justice gave Worthy and her partner agencies a grant to test 400 random kits, to provide a statistically significant snapshot of what was at stake, and then in April 2011, the agency followed up with a $1.5 million grant to address the backlog.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” – Unknown
To test all of them, Worthy estimated she’d need about $17 million (the lab work ran $1,000 to $1,500 per kit). On top of that, she intended to investigate every single case, even those that didn’t end up having meaningful forensic evidence. But she had only three sex-crime investigators on her staff, the police department had as few as six.
“One person can stop a great injustice. One person can be a voice for truth. One person’s kindness can save a life” – Nicky Gumbel
The nonprofit Detroit Crime Commission—which, on behalf of Worthy’s office, had negotiated the cost of testing down to $490 per kit—joined with the Michigan Women’s Foundation to launch what organizers believe was the first-ever crowdfunded campaign for a government program, called Enough SAID (Sexual Assault in Detroit).
“An unrectified case of injustice has a terrible way of lingering, restlessly, in the social atmosphere like an unfinished equation” – Mary McCarthy
They received donations from everyone and everywhere. A local canasta club started donating the pot from its weekly game; the Galentine’s Book Club kicked in $525. In October 2015, a coalition of African American businesswomen held a fundraiser that leveraged the rivalry between the University of Michigan and Michigan State football teams to net more than $30,000. Sheryl Sandberg donated an unsolicited $25,000 to the cause. To date, Enough SAID has raised $1.5 million in private contributions. by the beginning of 2016, $8 million had been allocated to Enough SAID by public bodies ranging from the state attorney general’s office to the Michigan legislature.
Worthy didn’t just rustle up money; she also transformed the “entire culture of law enforcement,” as her deputy Spada puts it. In his 20-plus years at the prosecutor’s office, he says, “I’ve seen a change in how police approach sexual assault victims. That’s been brought about by Kym, in how she attacked the problem and let it be known publicly that society had certain kinds of assumptions about what a victim would act like or be like.”
“If you look at any other group of people suffering injustice, women are always in the worst situation within that group” – Salma Hayek
Worthy also has spearheaded the push for concrete legal and procedural reforms. Michigan law, enacted in 2014, requires that rape kits move through each level of law enforcement according to a mandated timeline—three months from start to finish—and both police and healthcare professionals must notify victims about their right to obtain information about their own kits.
“The time is always right to do what is right” – Martin Luther King Jr.
I believe that Kurt Cobain stated the problem of rape many years ago. Kurt Cobain said, “Rape is one of the most terrible crimes on earth and it happens every few minutes. The problem with groups who deal with rape is that they try to educate women about how to defend themselves. What really needs to be done is teaching men not to rape. Go to the source and start there.“
See the full article which includes ones rape victims story of getting justice 15 years later. This story was first published by Elle and I found it with an article in NationSwell.
Do you see in your own life where injustices were tolerated by yourself and others? Be inspired for follow in Kym’s footsteps. She got creative. She raised awareness. She didn’t let the matter go away. Even though her journey took years to complete, she stayed true to her vision and her conscience.
1Years ago, when I was young, I had opinions on what would I do, if “such and such” happened in my life. I think that when most of us hear of an experience that someone has, we think “well if that happened to me, this is what I would do”. We sometimes don’t agree with the decision that another has made, when that same thing happened to them. When life does hand us lemons, and we are the one trying to make lemonade out of it, many times we come to a totally different decision. There are many reasons for this. Each of life’s lemons come to us wrapped up in a different series of circumstances. You could look at multiple experiences of someone losing a loved one to violence, and you would find that each instance was handled in a different way. This is because although the label may be the same “man killed by random shooting”, the circumstances in each case tell their own unique story. In 1995 Tariq a pizza delivery man was shot and killed by a 14 year old gang member. Initially Azim, Tariq’s father could barely function. But he came to understand that the 14 yr old boy named Tony who killed his son, was also a victim. He felt called to forgive Tony, and became friends with Tony’s grandfather and guardian. He started a foundation to help kids stop killing other kids. He began talking with kids in schools about the realities of that lifestyle and the importance of making right choices. He made lemonade out of his lemons. This foundation (http://tkf.org/) has grown into an organization of 13 full time staff members and 30 volunteers that mentor over 20,000 students each year. In the article I read, in 13 years they had touched eight million kids (the foundation is now over 20 years old). But I would bet that if you have asked him if this is the road he would take if someone killed his son, this is not the answer he would have given. His unknown road that he journeyed on revealed what kind of man he truly was. This is forgiveness in action. We are all on a road, a journey to discover who we really are. What we are capable of becoming. Buddha says “No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” Azim saved himself by walking the path of true forgiveness. He wanted to not only prevent other innocents from being killed, he wanted to save those other victims “kids” becoming killers themselves. His difficult road has lead to a beautiful destination – saving others. What I have learned in life, is to hope that I can emulate the grace I see in others lives, as they grapple with life’s lemons. That until I find myself in that same hard place, I don’t really know what my decision will be. I do know that there is no turning back. So each decision needs to be made in prayer and meditation, with that understanding. What I have learned from the lemons in my own life, is that I no longer allow someone to make me swallow up my soul, and dam up the words in my heart. That I don’t have to apologize for my imperfections, and allow the darkness of others to cover up my light. This is who I am, a woman of deep strength who keeps walking the path, knowing that new wonders are going to be revealed right around the next bend.
Debbie Allen is a LemonadeMaker. Like many other LemonadeMakers, she created a foundation called “Shelby’s Rules”, after her daughter died. She is working hard to educate teens of the dangers of alcohol poisoning, to prevent other families from losing their children to it. If the other girls with her had called for help, her death could have been avoided. They didn’t realize the seriousness of what was happening with Shelby, and thought she just needed to sleep it off.
Shelby Lyn Allen was a 17 year-old 11th grade student. On the first night of Christmas break in 2008, Shelby and her friends started drinking. Shelby became violently ill and was semi-conscious when her friends left her propped up over the toilet. When she was discovered the next morning, she could not be revived.
In the aftermath of this tragedy, Debbie began asking questions. Talking with other teens, she realized that most of them had no clue that drinking just a few too many swallows of an 80 proof alcohol, like vodka, can kill you. As unfair as this seems, if you are a girl, your risk is increased by variables such as fluctuating hormone levels and smallness of frame.
Debbie also realized that most adults have no clue about the dangers of alcohol poisoning. Everyone knows that excessive drinking can make you sick (praying to the porcelain god) or have you make a fool of yourself (dancing on the table). Maybe you will even suffer a nasty hangover. But letting a friend “sleep it off” can easily turn into them falling into a deadly coma or vomiting in their sleep, and choking to death.
Once alcohol poisoning has begun the only effective treatment is to get the poisoned person to a hospital emergency room, provide breathing assistance as needed and provide IV therapy (nutrients). Most importantly, this care must be provided immediately to be effective and because of the possibility of brain damage every minute counts. Alcohol poisoning causes the brain to shut down vital organ processes, including breathing. If your breathing stops, your heart stops, you die. By all accounts, if breathing is assisted by intubation (breathing tube) the body will rid itself of alcohol and you will survive.
Shelby’s untimely and ultimately preventable death has devastated Debbie’s family. Shelby made poor choices that night, but those choices should never have led to her death. It is the hard truth that despite our best efforts to protect them, in the end our teenagers safety, their very lives can come down to other young people knowing when and how to ask for help.
If you have teenagers, please get this film to help your teens understand the dangers of binge drinking. “The Unconcious Truth” is now available on DVD and at tyla.org. Contact TYLA at 800-204-222 ext. 1529 to request a copy. This is a film that highlights the dangers of teen binge drinking – perfect to incorporate into high school and community alcohol education programs!
How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be remarkable. – Seth Godin – Author and Speaker Our dreams are calling us. Are we answering them or putting them to voice mail, because we don’t want to have that inner conversation with ourselves. What causes us to put things on hold? How many of your dreams do you have in voice mail waiting for a return call? We all do this in some way. I know that if someone compliments me the first thought in my mind is discounting what they said. When I was growing up my sister closest in age to me was always the pretty one, the beautiful one. She is 18 months younger and her body matured faster than mine. She is several inches taller than my 5’3″. I was the smart one. This comparison ran through our childhood. She to this day carries that role of not being smart, even thought it isn’t true, and I carry the role of not being pretty. This past few weeks my personal FB page has really been growing. I think that FB has been showing my photo for my personal page up in “the people you know timeline”. My guess is that it is a combination of how many of you wonderful people are “Liking” our LemonadeMaker posts and page (Thank You!!!) and, as I am part of several large groups I end up having a lot of similar friends. I also think that some people figured out I am the founder of LemonadaMakers and request my personal fb friend page too. However it is happening, there has also been some of those requests that even though I try to screen them turn out to be men looking at my picture and requesting a friendship. When they say they like my smile – which is the usual first comment they make, I immediately think something negative like that’s because you don’t see the rest of me. Why do we do that? What is it that causes us to turn away from a compliment about our looks, the quality of our work – anything that seems personal? People could compliment me about my children or grandchildren and I don’t turn away from that. Only if it is personal about me. There was a commercial video I saw a few months back talking about the phrase “sorry” when we mean “excuse me”. We are apologizing when we didn’t do anything wrong It was by Pantene the shampoo company and it really reflected how many times we use it when we really mean something else. We open a office door to talk to someone and say “sorry”. We brush by someone and say “sorry”. The list goes on. Look for it in the next few weeks, how many times you or another women says “sorry” when what should be said is “excuse me”. The suggestion is that we feel undeserving, and so say “I’m Sorry” for taking up your time, for taking up space, for thinking that I might have something to contribute. Sheryl Sandberg was really talking about this when she said “we’ve got to get women to sit at the table.” She talked about how she went to a conference room for a meeting and the women were not sitting at the conference table, they were sitting around the table in the extra chairs against the wall. They were doing this even though there were empty seats at the conference table. She felt that a big piece of why we don’t take a seat at the table is because we don’t want the label of “bossy” and the other “B” word when we take the lead. We shouldn’t be afraid to be as ambitious as men. We should ask for what we want – the raise, the promotion, to take the lead. We shouldn’t be afraid to be told we have a beautiful smile. So I am ending this with my most favorite quote by Marianne Williamson because – How dare any of us settle for less when the world is waiting for us to be remarkable! “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”
If you are a child on the school lunch program, what happens on the weekends when you are not in school? Many of these children don’t have sufficient food at home to eat during the weekend.
Lynda is a 20 yr volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club in Murray, Utah. In her state it is estimated that one out of five children go hungry each day. She saw for herself that these children needed help.
Lynda created KidsEat! a nonprofit that provides these children with backpacks that contact seven meals in them so that the children have sufficient meals all week long. She is currently providing about 50 backpacks to children each week and estimated that this number will increase to 150 by year end.
Congratulations are in order to Lynda because her organization received the Pay It Forward grant to help pay for some of the costs for her great work. A true LemonadeMaker! Thank you for all of your hard work for the children.
Her website: http://www.kidseatutah.org/