Shattered

Have you ever had a rock or a baseball come flying through a window? The thwack of the initial impact is overwhelmed by the chaotic chime of glass hitting floor. The only thing left in the wake is a halo of jagged shards jutting out at odd angles from the frame. Splinters of glass everywhere. It’s a mess. 

When it comes to cleaning up the mess, we tend toward one of two approaches. Some bust out the rest of the glass and sweep it all up in one fell swoop. Others slap a piece of old cardboard and masking tape over the mess until the repairman can get there to replace the pane. We tend take similar approaches to our own brokenness.

Read more

Brooke It Forward Foundation

What better day than Friday the 13th to share exciting news about the Brooke It Forward Foundation! The creative team at Hoffman Miller Advertising completed and launched our amazing website today. Check it out at Brookeitforward.org.

What is Brooke It Forward?

The Brooke It Forward Foundation is dedicated to shoebox-sized acts of kindness providing “birthday boxes” to children whose birthdays might otherwise be overlooked due to placement in foster care, displacement as a result of disaster, domestic violence, poverty, or other circumstances.

What are “birthday boxes?”

The boxes are so simple – yet so powerful. (Please read about Bella and how she inspired this project.) Clear shoe-box-sized containers are filled with the essentials for a birthday party – cake mix, icing, candles, and so on. Small treats and some special “birthday swag” round out the boxes. Then, they are delivered to children whose birthdays are at risk of being overlooked.

Aren’t essentials like food and clothing more important?

Essentials are absolutely important and we are grateful to the organizations who provide those services. However, one cannot underestimate the power of honoring a child on his or her birthday. When the counselors hand the children a birthday box, they communicate to that child – you are special and you matter. What could be more important!

How Can I help?

There are a number of ways you can “join the party.” Host a Birthday Bash (aka birthday box drive). Make a donation. Become a volunteer. (If you don’t live in the New Orleans area, no worries. We’ll help you make an impact in your community.) And if nothing else – you can like Brooke It Forward on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We’d be honored for you to help spread the love by spreading the word!

SDG

Grief School: Lesson #4 Today, We Remember, Pt. 2

Yesterday was 9/11 – a day when as a nation we stopped and remembered the events of that date back in 2001. Our social media feeds were filled with pictures, videos, and somber graphics. We shared the names of those individuals who lost their lives in the attacks.

Dare I say – our national grief was on full display. Even eighteen years later, we still grieve that loss. We honored that grief by remembering those touched by the events (basically all of us) – especially the heroes and their families who suffered the most on that fateful day.

Yesterday as I prepared a memorial post for this site, I was reminded of a concern that so many grieving individuals face – but particularly those who’ve lost a child – and that is sharing memories of their children.

Bereaved parents recount experiences of sharing a memory on FaceBook or Instagram of their children only to receive negative feedback. They receive comments along the lines of “It’s been three years already. Isn’t it time to move on?”

Read more

Today, We Remember

Some days are forever engraved in our memories. Some events just stick. We can recount them in such detail it feels as if the flashes of memory are unfolding in real time – again and again and again.

There are some days in collective history that work the same way. For earlier generations, it might be the day the stock market crashed in 1929 or the day that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941 or the afternoon President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. 

For this generation, it is September 11, 2001. The date, “9/11,” stands on its own without further need for explanation of what happened that day. We each have a story (or stories) about the moment we first learned of the tragic events unfolding in New York City, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania. 

Eighteen years later – and we haven’t forgotten. We still remember. We should remember.

Read more

Grief School: Lesson #3

Welcome back to Grief School! School is back in session. How do we know summer is over and it’s time for a new school year? Our “news feeds” are blowing up with first-day-of-school pictures! If you live in one of those areas that extends the summer past Labor Day (ahhh, the good old days), don’t worry. It’s coming.

History was never my strong suit in school, but let’s start with a history lesson. About four years ago, Angie Cartwright, started petition through Change.org to have August 30th declared “National Grief Awareness Day.” Change they say is slow and the movement to bring an awareness of grief to the forefront of the societal conversation is certainly no exception. We may not yet have an “official” day of awareness, but how can we not be aware of grief on a daily basis? Grief is the continuous backbeat that pulses through our day-to-day existence.

Read more

That’s All You’ve Got?

Imagine – it’s your birthday. You’ve been wanting a certain something. You’ve dropped all of the perfect hints for the last six months. There is no doubt about what you really want.

The box is set before you. It is the exact size. It doesn’t weigh too much or too little. It shakes just right. You just know that all of the thinly-veiled hints have hit the mark.

Your own cleverness doesn’t even spoil your excitement because you really want this gift. In fact, your cleverness of having figured it out just fuels your eagerness to tear through the wrapping.

Read more

Store in a Cool, Dark Place

Have you ever trusted someone and been betrayed? Then you get past the hurt and place your trust with them again and they betray you all over again? Pretty soon, if that happens too many times, we draw certain conclusions about that person’s character. At some point, we lose our trust in them all together. We stop placing our faith in them.

Sometimes, we do something similar in our relationship with God. We pray to God for something. He doesn’t answer our prayers the way we’d like. 

We pull back a little trust.

We question His character.

We lose a little faith.

Prayers continue. We don’t like the answers. Pretty soon, we start feeling like all is lost.

Read more