Hope is a Journey….

Archive for October, 2011

Freedom

2 years ago today, I had NO idea that my life would be changed so much by the birth of the sweetest, smartest, and most amazing puppy….Beast.

He was the biggest of the litter (hence the name “Beast”)…and he won my heart right away!


He was so gentle and loved to sleep!

But he also was goofy…


Easy going….

and loved to play too!

He was inquisitive…

Yep…he loved everyone…..even the cat!

He was fearless…

And, we just knew he was ‘Ours.’

He loved to get all dressed up….

And, as he grew….we grew to love him more!

He watched the kids like a hawk…

He was their protector…

And, as he grew….his love for playing grew…

Beast and his sister, Roxy

Beast and Roxy again

Beast (on the left) and his brother Seamus (Rest in Peace buddy...we miss you)

When we started training him, we introduced him to a few mentors…and he adored them (and still does!).



He has learned so much from his best friend, True…

Beast's first REAL day working!

And when Beast and True aren’t ‘working’ – they have a blast blowing off some extra energy (cause you KNOW he LOVES to play)


They bonded together immediately and continue to share that special bond.

Mr. & Mrs. Paws

He was eager to learn new things….and taught himself many things too (like opening doors and gates)!

And he still has his sense of humor (thankfully)!

I guess I underestimated the power of a bond, the power of love…the power of purpose.
Beast was born to be who he is.  He was born with a purpose, and we were connected together so he could fulfill his purpose.

He is my superhero….


Which leads me to why he is even more special than what I’ve described already.

You see, limitations are a funny thing.  You never realize just how much you take for granted until you are faced with a limitation, and you never realize how much your independence means to you until you lose it.

I never gave going for a walk with my family a second thought until I was unable to walk more than 10 minutes because of my muscle weakness, peripheral neuropathy, and autonomic dysfunction.

I never gave getting into my car and running a quick errand a second thought until I became unable to drive much because of unpredictable drops in blood pressures and blood sugars rendered me unable to do so safely.

I never gave walking up my stairs a second thought until I was too weak and unsteady to do so on my own.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
It’s hard to lose the ability to call your own shots not matter what age you are – and being a young mother of 2 children who need you, it makes it even harder to realize, accept, and move past the fact that you are NOT the Superhero you had always thought you’d be…that you can NOT do the things in life you feel you should…and you can NOT give as much as your heart believes it should.  Yes, limitations are a hard pill to swallow….but one that you ABSOLUTELY can with a drink of HOPE on the side.

We’ve had our share of ups and downs this year, and through it all – Beast has been there to help us through it, and he has learned new things and adapted no matter what the obstacle has been.

Beast gave me FREEDOM….he gave me INDEPENDENCE…he gave me my self esteem back.

How can you repay that????


How do you explain what it means to you???

To me…Beast isn’t just another pet.  He’s not just a dog.  He’s an amazing giftHe is Freedom…and I will NEVER forget that.


Happy Birthday Beast…..you deserve nothing but the best!

I do it for this…..

It’s been a busy few weeks and I have so much to update you on, but for now – I am going to post about something really wonderful that happened last night!

Last night was the 4th Annual Promise of Hope Wine Tasting Event to benefit the Immune Deficiency Foundation.  It’s an event that I started 4 years ago because I wanted to do something ‘different’ and I wanted to have FUN while doing it!

For the past 3 years we have held the event in May.  This year, we wanted to ‘spice’ things up a bit, so we held it in October incorporating a ‘Murder Mystery’ theme into the event to change things up a bit.  Given the fact that I had just come off a whirlwind month of September (fulfilling my Kickstarter rewards, finishing up and releasing an album, planning the Show of Hope for the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation as well as spending 8 days in the hospital and many other days in and out of Boston for the kids and for myself), you can imagine that I had my plate pretty full!  Thankfully, I had my ‘partner in crime’ (aka, the other Mom of Team Hope), Michelle to help keep the planning/organization up to par…even though she herself was struggling with her own medical issues (she was SUCH a trooper!). We’ve been friends for so long that we work as a well oiled machine!

For those of you who might not know…there are SO many details when running the type of event we have been doing.  It’s not just ‘get the wine and off you go,’  you have to secure the location, create a floor plan, gather live and silent auction items, get sponsors, create an eye catching design, create and print the programs/fliers/tickets, organize donated items into ‘packages’ and energize your community to care enough about your cause to show up and participate.  This year we wanted to give our guests a night to remember, so we added in the Murder Mystery….which, of course – added a zillion more details! It’s a lot more work than you think.  If you factor in the fact that both Michelle and I have children with complex medical issues and both of us have our own medical adventures and things definitely add up!  Despite our biggest hopes…most of the work leading up to the event is done by just the 2 of us. It’s always a monumental task, but one we are clearly willing to take on for the sake of our kids and those who will benefit from this!  Thankfully, this year, we were lucky enough to have some extra help from my mom, Aunt Louise, and my friend Colleen who all helped throughout the week as well as the night of.  I can’t tell you how much of a relief it was just knowing I had even a few extra set of hands to help!

Now on to the event!!!!!

The night went on without a hitch! The place was decorated to the hilt! (Here are just a few pics…)

Amazing cake by Michelle!

Before the night got underway...

The music was wonderful (AttiK has donated their talent for us for 4 years now and they are amazing)…

We had over $5,o00.00 worth of auction items donated for the evening.  The food was great, the wine was delicious (so I’m told…I don’t drink!), and all of the characters for the Mystery event showed up with fantastic costumes ready to dazzle the guests.

They all did a great job staying in character and played their parts like pros!  The auctioneer was fabulous as always and everyone had fun just enjoying a night out together!

And here are just a few of our guests enjoying the night as well…

You can view the entire album HERE

After everyone left it took us 2 hours to clean up (so much to take down!!!!) and pack into the vans…but I was able to finally SIT and take a moment to do a quick count on how much we raised.

Between sponsors, donors, live/silent bids, and admission – we raised over $12,000.00 for the Immune Deficiency Foundation!  I am so proud to say that we have such a great group of folks who not only ‘get‘ what we go through…but ‘get‘ why we do what we do and SUPPORT us! I can’t tell you how much it means to those of us fighting for a cure and awareness to have people “Show Up” in your life and help you DO something that helps change the lives of SO many other people…

SAVE THE DATE:  SEPTEMBER 29th 2012 will be our 5th Annual fundraiser for the Immune Deficiency Foundation – but we’re going to change it up this year to celebrate our 5th year…it’s going to be called the Promise of Hope Beer Tasting …so save the date, you will not be disappointed! 🙂

SO…..Why do I do this? 

Because every day I wake up to this:

And every breathe I breathe is for this:

And I can’t bear the thought of living without this:

I am proud to be their mother and I want to teach my children that we can DO good in the face of something NOT good and we can make a difference and change lives in the process.  We are bigger than our struggles and we are stronger than we ever knew we were.

As a mom, I see it as my responsibility to teach them these things…and those who support our events and attend our events…they are teaching them this lesson as well.

My gratitude for this is beyond words….

Love and Light

Stefani

And away they go!!!!!!

In August, I launched a Kickstarter Campaign to raise money to fund my new CD.  It was a huge success!  The CD was released on September 23rd, but I had to wait for the shipping boxes to come in the mail (slowest.shipping.ever!) in order to get it all ready and out.   I have finally been well enough to get everything sorted, set up and packaged for delivery (with the help of Ralph and my good friend Colleen!), so this afternoon I paid a visit to the post office with Colleen to mail out the Rewards!  45 minutes and $150.00 later and they are on their way!

I’m pretty excited to get some feedback from my listeners and also to just have the music out there to share!  This time around I sent CD’s to all over the US, Brazil, UK, Netherlands, and Canada!  It’s a neat feeling to know that my music is being heard all over!

Haven’t gotten the new CD yet?  Now’s the time!  You can purchase my CD through Paypal on my website.

I’m also selling  the “Show Your Hope” t-shirts in L and XL sizes.


There is a limited quality, so – if you’re interested head on over to my website and purchase it there!

It’s been a crazy busy week with much to update – but for this post, I’m just sticking to the good stuff.

Speaking of good stuff…October 15th is Team Hope’s 4th Annual Promise of Hope Wine Tasting at the Inn and Conference Center in Lowell, MA from 7-10 pm!  Tickets are on sale now!
To purchase tickets, email me at TeamHopeIDF@aol.com

This year we’re spooking it up a bit!  There will be live music by Attik, appetizers, wine (of course), a live and silent auction….AND a Murder Mystery for our guests!
Our guests can also win prizes if they choose to dress in costume (not required for attendance but definitely encouraged!). If you can’t come that evening but wish to make a donation, send checks payable to:

Immune Deficiency Foundation
PO Box 453
North Chelmsford, MA 01863

Also, we’re still looking for live/silent auction items, so if you have something you wish to donate, we’d GLADLY take it! 

Ideas for donations: 
Jewelry, Sports Tickets, Day Passes to specific locations, Craft Packages, Spa Certificates, Movie Passes, Sports Memorabilia,  Resturaunt Gift Certificates….you get the idea….just think of something you’d like to get a chance to bid on at an auction!

It will certainly be a fun time and I am hopeful that all my local folks will help me spread the word either by sharing this blog post or sharing the facebook event!

This event benefits the members of Team Hope and the Immune Deficiency Foundation.  Both my children have Primary Immunodeficiency Disease and I have been fundraising and trying to raise awareness for 4 years now in order to not only help my children..but the countless others battling this disease.

Thanks again for all your support!

Love and Light,

Stefani

 

 

HOPE is closer than you think….

HOLD ON

Nature’s Gold

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Robert Frost

Grief: Deep mental anguish, as that arising from bereavement.

 

October 2, 2005, our lives forever changed as I watched the innocence fade from the eyes of 3 young children as they learned their father was gone.  I watched tears relentlessly fall as I told my mother and father that the man they thought of as a  ‘Son’ had left this earth.  I watched the guilt build as my sister embraced her children and tried to explain to them ‘WHY‘  he was gone.

The Ripple Effect
In the days and months that followed his death, the fallout continued to ripple endlessly.  So much was left unanswered and unsaid.

The Guilt
Every one of us carries that with us still to this day.  There are so many “I should have known,” or “I should have said….” or “I could have helped more…”

The sadness
Not a day goes by that I don’t wish for him to still be with us sharing moments of joy and laughter.

The Anger
Still,  to this day – I think of the way he left this earth and I am angry, so angry.
I’m angry that he left us, I’m angry that I couldn’t save him, I’m angry that he left us to pick up all pieces.

If I had the chance….

I’d have told him that HOPE is on it’s way….

That this moment will not last forever…and even if you don’t believe it…it WILL get better…

That JOY will return to his horizon…

And that ….

But my opportunity to do that with him was lost, so I am taking this opportunity remind everyone reading this:

That everybody hurts…

And sometimes, we don’t show it…

And that sometimes people plead silently….

Asking quietly….

Not everyone who needs help will reach out and ask for it…

And not everyone will have the strength to reach out and ask for help…

Not everyone is an open book…

If only we could just push a button….and know…..

If only everyone had a life preserver waiting in the wings…

If only everyone had someone to reach out to…

If only everyone had someone to rescue them….

But sadly…sometimes people DO have someone to reach out to and don’t…

Because they don’t know how or are too afraid to show weakness…

Or it’s just too dark to even see they need the help…

If you had the chance to be the light in their darkness…..would you?

Today, I remember a man who gave up his fight against the darkness within him – and I’ll always wonder if I had shined my light a little brighter into his life…would things have been different?  I’ll never know.  My heart aches for those who feel that same sense of grief, anger, sadness, and guilt because they have lost someone they loved to suicide.

Sometimes people get so caught up in their pain that it feels like there is no other solution besides the permanent one that they have chosen.  It’s heartbreaking to know that someone I loved felt this way…and that I wasn’t able to help them in time….none of us could.  Sadly, sometimes, no matter what you do – it isn’t enough.

I urge you all…take the time to show the people you care for how much they mean to you.  Be courageous enough to talk about things that are difficult or awkward to speak of.  Reach out to those who are struggling, even if you don’t know what to say.  Be kind to everyone you meet because you never know if your light might be the only thing that shines their way.

I will never forget…..

and I want you to always remember…

HOPE IS CLOSER THAN YOU THINK…..

If you or someone you love is thinking of suicide, there is help…don’t be afraid to get it.

National Suicide Prevention Help Line: 1-800-273-8255

 

Love and Light,
Stefani

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