Leading the Way

Annah Elizabeth 2 Comments

 
 I took this photo of the staircase in Independence Hall, Philadelphia
 
Phew, Journeyer, has it ever been a whirlwind week!

Traveling has a way of putting sails beneath our time, and I’ve been hitting the highways and skyways for sure.

After returning from Hay House’s writing workshop in Denver, I spent Tuesday finishing last week’s Happy Happens piece, getting it posted, unpacking my suitcase (in record time for me!), and pushing a few papers.

And then we were off and running again.

While I was contacting people about The Five Facets Philosophy presentation in Syracuse, I came across HOPE for Bereaved.

They responded by asking if I’d like to come to their facility at a future date to learn more about their work and for them to learn more about mine.

We settled on July 2nd, which also turned out to be the parade and parent’s event for the NY Boys’ State event that Big Guy was attending.

Only forty-five minutes apart, we managed to make it all happen.

Warren and Beauty stopped in to see the facility and then went on a little shopping spree to a local consignment shop recommended by the ladies at HOPE.

But before I get too far ahead of myself, let me tell you a little about Joyce and Judy and Dolly and Walt and Therese, this organization’s founder.

Warm, compassionate, and passionate about helping others, this fearless staff shared with me their own stories of loss.

Children who committed suicide…children and partners who died in auto accidents or succumbed to cancer after long and courageous battles…job loss…

Therese started HOPE not too many months after losing her daughter to an accident caused by a drunk driver.

Tucked away in Syracuse, NY, this woman offers hope and support and jobs and love and time to all those who come her way.

And she’s been building bridges between loss and grief and healing for thirty-five years.

A tireless group of volunteers offer counseling and newsletters and information, not to mention shoulders to cry on, ears to listen, and smiles and hugs to help heal.

They house programs to assist young children, teens, and people within the workplace.

The hallways are filled with enormous billboards that host photos and poems and obituaries and stories, memories for the mourners who remain after their loved ones’ physical forms have departed this earth…

Butterflies, symbols of transformation and in some countries representations of departed souls, are everywhere.

Surprisingly, the only photo I took was of this poster they use to help their little ones, one of whom I surmise embellished the original.
In the absence of images, I hope my words reflect the great and powerful work this little not-for-profit is doing…

While I was chatting with Therese and Walt, Warren and Beauty were shopping at the fabulous Golden Hangers consignment shop.

Beauty purchased this Buddha bracelet…
and helped her dad pick out this outfit as a spontaneous gift for me!
 

We just HAD to go back so I could check out the merchandise, where I found a fun summer purse and two awesome scarves!
Not only did I find great stuff, I met Beth, the charming and delightful owner who has been serving her community for over twenty-five years.

When I told her I was taking pictures of her hangers because I was going to share her place as part of my Happy Happens column, she said, “Spread that joy germ!”

I JUST LOVE THAT PHRASE!! “SPREAD THAT JOY GERM.”

I hope that’s what I’m accomplishing here each week, Journeyer, spreading a little enthusiasm and awareness for the little things that build our happiness.

Next up, one can’t travel to a new town without a bite to eat at a local joint.
DiBello’s came highly recommended by the HOPE staff, and I can honestly say my eggplant parmesan scored big with my taste buds!
 

Bellies full, we headed out for Morrisville, where the NY Boys’ State conference was being held.

Fifteen minutes away from Morrisville is the quaint town of Cazenovia, where I found this amazing set of Burke Pottery hand-crafted bowls at the Cazenovia Artisans shop.
 

I’m a huge fan of anything artistic and though I’m always drawn to pottery, I’ve only collected a few items.

But the color and shape and size of these pieces just kept calling my name.
And though I couldn’t justify the purchase of this piece, it reminded me of a novel I began many moons ago, one whose main character waits patiently for me to return to her, and one that includes a whooping crane pair in its opening passages…


Next up was the parade and picnic to honor the 1,000+ boys who were first nominated by their schools and then chosen from the interviews to represent their schools and communities.
 
 
 
The hottest day on record didn’t deter a record number of families from gathering elbow-to-elbow to celebrate the achievements of these young men.
 

Journeyer, just the fact that Big Guy was selected is a great honor, but you know what makes me the proudest?

 

During a later discussion of the day’s events, my son began to explain how he and another young leader spent more than an hour helping a fellow man who couldn’t march.

Despite all of the drills and teachings and marching everywhere for five days straight, this other young man just couldn’t get in step.

“He doesn’t seem to have any cadence,” my boy said, “so we just decided to help him.”

I’ve always called this son of mine a quiet leader, someone who simply leads by example, one who teaches with a gentle, guiding hand from the backdrop of whatever stage he’s on.

My son knew before going that he wasn’t going to run for any of the political office positions in the mock government set-up.
 

And yet, when his city lacked someone to take notes, he volunteered and subsequently was assigned role of City Clerk.

Here he is, tuckered out from the long week, sound asleep on the long drive home…

 

This Tao Tzu quote was one of the first slides in the video of the week’s events: “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say, we did it ourselves.”

That’s how the people behind my happy moments are leading the way, Journeyer, by tapping into their own passions, by doing what they love and making a difference in the lives of all those they serve.

I don’t know, but it all seems so apropos given the nature of this holiday weekend and the day we honor our independence and the great leaders who came before us, those who believed in something and did whatever they needed to do to make it happen, those who wound up lending a service that has been tantamount to this country’s viability and its citizens right to the “pursuit of happiness.”
 

And though that decree doesn’t guarantee our joy, it does grant us permission to not only dream, but to achieve…

In other #HappyHappens news, I spotted this Container Store billboard on Thursday, while traveling with Warren to Philadelphia to pick up a business item.
The monotony of that trip was definitely derailed through the accompaniment of a good friend, one who has a great sense of humor and always seems to make us laugh.

The riddle Warren printed off and presented to me today.

Question: Yellow in look and massive in weight, in the morning I come to brighten Mom’s day. What am I?

 

Several long soaks in our hot tub.

Cloudless nights that allowed the Big Dipper, countless constellations, and shooting stars to light the evening sky.

Lightening bugs, flitting across the fields below our deck’s view, creatures that brought back fond childhood memories…
 
And finally taking our boat out for this seasons’ maiden voyage…


What about you, Journeyer, what Moment(s) led the way to filling the happy within you this past week?

Until next we meet again, yours in healing, hope, and happiness…

     ~AE

p.s. With all of the sponsored items and business/blogger alliances happening these days, I’m compelled to note I neither ask for nor do I receive any compensation in any form, other than an added joy to my life, by including the establishments and entities in my posts.  

Comments 2

    1. Hi there! I don’t call May and June the hamster wheel months for nothing! (though this year they do seem to have bled over into July! *sigh*)

      And, yes, “JOY GERM!” How can one not but LOVE IT!!

      Good to hear from you! Hope all’s well! 🙂

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