Archive for July, 2011

Welcome to Just One Little Thing…

July 4th, 2011 | no comments

How many people are trapped in their everyday habits: part numb, part frightened, part indifferent? To have a better life we must keep choosing how we’re living. ~Einstein~

Welcome to Just One Little Thing!

I invite you to come with me on the next leg of the journey. Some of you have been with me for some time now, maybe longer than you would care to admit. Others may be just dropping by today. But regardless, everyone is welcome here.

The idea of “just one little thing” gently grew following the unexpected death of my son Stephen on July 4th, 2009. In desperate need of something to hold onto following the loss, I told myself that if I could find just one little thing to be thankful for, I would make it through the day. With each passing day, I was able to see that even though my heart was breaking, much goodness still surrounded me.

By writing about my experience, I was lucky enough to connect with thousands of other people who were looking, as I was, for a positive way to shift their perspective on life, even in the toughest of circumstances. Some had lost loved ones; some endured a painful divorce, or debilitating illness. So many I connected with had lost jobs, homes and stability. We all have our stories of pain, and we all just need something to hang on to, to let us know tomorrow may be a better day.

Two years later, we are launching a community based on finding and giving one little thing. I see this place as Stephen’s legacy. He was happy moment by moment, and brought joy to others with his gentle spirit, and his giving heart. After he died, so many people said to me,

“He just knew what people needed, and then went to work giving it to them.”

With that in mind, I’ve created a group so that the ripple of his life’s impact may continue. It is my hope that we can all, on a daily basis, figure out what people need, and get to work giving it to them.

The group is about life, sharing gratitude, compassion and resilience. It is starting as a Facebook group, but in the coming months will also develop into a website.

The purpose of the group is to:

1. Encourage members to share one little thing each day they are thankful for, simple or grand.

2. To spread positive news happening around the world.

3. To share opportunities for volunteering, giving one little thing to someone else who may need it.

4. Give people a safe forum to share information, re-framing people’s perspective on life.

We are all both students and teachers.

So, as you can see, it’s all about the good stuff.

Happiness happens moment by moment, as does change.

So join us, and invite others to join. To find one little thing, to give one little thing. To look at the world from a different angle.

Choose Happy. Repeat.


Lessons From the Road….

July 3rd, 2011 | 2 comments

…he allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.
~Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera~

Well, here we are once again. July 4th.

If you have been following along, you know that last year, I was running for the hills, trying to get away from the 4th of July. I wanted absolutely nothing to do with the day. The day however, had different plans…

So, this year, I was not afraid of the balloons, fireworks, the red, white or blue. I knew it would be a tough day, being two whole years since Stephen died. But I carried with me the lesson of last year, that it is okay to be happy on this day, even through tears. You don’t need to, nor can you, run away from life.

My husband and I decided to get away and have a quiet 4th together, remembering a wonderful son and all the love he brought into our lives. We packed the car, made sure Rudy the Wonder Dog was comfortable, and off we went. About an hour into the drive we had to abruptly stop, as we came upon an accident that had happened just moments before. Saying a silent prayer, my mind was racing. I was thinking about the people involved and their families. I was reliving the call I received on the evening of July 4th, hoping that some mother or father would not have to experience a moment like that one.

We sat on the road for about an hour and forty five minutes as the responders worked feverishly to help the occupants of the vehicles. Two helicopters landed to airlift the critically injured.

It’s hard to explain the range of emotions as we sat and watched this unfold. I prayed and prayed, hoping for a positive end to this story. Our fellow motorists, cars packed to the ceiling, mingled and talked quietly as they gazed towards the flashing lights.

We all realized it. It could be any one of us. If Mary hadn’t been so long in the bathroom, if Joe didn’t need to stop for another Diet Coke. It could be any of us.

As the State troopers directed the steady stream of traffic once the accident had been cleared, we slowly drove past the mangled vehicle. A lonely kayak lay overturned on the side of the road, dislodged from its carrier, no longer on the way to the beach.

I’m not sure what happened to those involved. I pray they are okay.

Two road trips trying to cope with the 4th of July have taught me two valuable lessons in life.

Last July, I learned that it is okay to let myself be happy, even on the tough days, even if that happiness is mixed with tremendous sadness.

This year, I was reminded that a happy life is to be lived now.


Because life can bring change with the blink of an eye.

So, on this July 4th, do me a favor. Consider this your Independence Day. Break free from the chains of past hurts and allow yourself to be happy. Don’t let your future be dependent on what has happened to you up to this point. Let your life be defined by you.

For me, that independence means starting something new. I’ve created a new blog called Just One Little Thing

In it, I plan to continue the conversation about life and gratitude, with a focus on life. It is the next chapter. I do hope that you follow me. I’ve also created a facebook group where you can share your one little thing. I see this as part of Stephen’s legacy, as I feel his smile with each bit of goodness that I share with others. It launched today. I wanted it to begin on the 4th, showing myself and others that happy and sad can coexist. Truthfully, one cannot exist without the other.

Today, my one little thing is a big thing. Today I am thankful for being Stephen’s mom. My son, my teacher, he continues to show me the way.

I will leave you with a song by an amazing songwriter and artist, Chris Trapper. He wrote this song after the passing of a friend. I simply love it. I think if Stephen could put in a request, he would tell all of us to sing along.

Thanks for walking with me,