The greatest gifts in my life have come in the form of breast cancer, foreclosure, my drug and sex addicted father, who passed away when I was ten years old, my ex-husband, my children, Jake and Jonah, and their sister, Sydnee, who died two days shy of her due date.
One might ask how losing a father at a young age, getting divorced, losing a child or having cancer could possibly be considered gifts. There is no doubt that these were very challenging times in my life, but once the dust settled, and maybe even during some of the later experiences, I was able to see the gift in each and every experience in my life.
Within each of our not-so-normal lives, we are faced with challenges along the way, nobody is exempt. These challenges show up for us to help us grow. Each and every one of those experiences leaves us with a “gift”. The catch is, we don’t actually get the gift until we are aware it’s there for us. Imagine a beautifully wrapped present hiding way up high in the closet, but you don’t know it exists. It only becomes exciting when you know it’s there and you have the chance to tear it open. The good news is it’s never too late to find them, we just need to open our minds to another way of seeing things.
My hope is that through this series of dysfunctional, crazy, funny, challenging and sometimes embarrassing glances into my life, you will learn to spot the silver linings in your life, unveiling these precious gems that have the power to bring you freedom and peace of mind.
I’m going to tell you some very personal details about my life and you will likely have thoughts of judgment, maybe anger at some point, but don’t stress out, just breathe. I forgive you. Xo
Uncle Sam, not to be Confused with Papa Sam (although equally delicious and loving)
Uncle Sam was one of the kindest, most selfless people I have ever met. He would give you the shirt off his back and never give it another thought. He had bubble gum in the trunk of his car at all times to give to the kids in the neighborhood. He never expected a thank you. He was simply a giver in the truest sense. In fact, when I am in a situation that I am not sure how to handle I will often think to myself, “What would Uncle Sam do?”
Uncle Sam was an electrician. When he would help friends and family with electrical problems they would ask him, “What do I owe you?”. Sam’s response was always “Give me a dime.” He collected those dimes for as long as I can remember.
Sadly, Uncle Sam died years ago, and to this day we all find dimes at the most unusual times. His granddaughter was in a minor car accident and when she got out of the car she looked on her seat and there sat a dime. My aunt, his wife, is now with another really great guy and even he finds dimes – my uncle’s way of telling him to take good care of my aunt, I’m guessing. Even from beyond, this man who was always a giver, has found a way to keep giving to those he loves. I’m grateful to have known him and to be among those he loved.
Uncle Sam taught me to believe in miracles because I find dimes whenever I need them, whether it’s when I’m not sure about a decision I’m trying to make, if I’m yelling at my kids too much or at moments when I need a little extra reassurance. He also taught me to be giving by nature. He knew the truth – that there is enough abundance in the world for every one of us so there is no reason not to be generous.
He was incredibly loving and protective of his family. He taught me what a strong man who loves his family looks like, something I wasn’t able to learn from my own father. Decisions I make about men are strongly rooted in whether Sam would approve or not. He wasn’t judgmental, he would just give you that look and you knew it wasn’t in your best interest. To this day, Uncle Sam continues to help me live in my integrity, helping me to be clear about how I want to spend my days and with whom I wish to spend them.