Be The Change

Recently I was in a work meeting, and it seemed everyone in attendance was in a funk. It was not a work-related funk, but a general “life as we know it” funk. The conversation quickly turned from work to politics, natural disasters and of course, Las Vegas.

It seems that everywhere we look these days, evil abounds.

There are populations of people that want to harm us. From nukes that may reach our shores to wayward souls who massacre the innocent among us. Natural disasters are battering homes and our spirits. Tweets and daily political posts that keep us in constant turmoil.

Conversations about how we go about fixing what has gone so wrong often lead to nowhere. Fixing “it” seems almost insurmountable until you realize that the next move is ours to make, and we best get to making it.

I don’t know how to fix politicians or world leaders, nor do I know how to make someone insane become saner. I can’t make floods subside, nor can I bring back innocent lives lost.

But I can….

  1. Be kind to those around me. I can smile at the clerk at Walmart and ask their name. The minute I do, we are no longer strangers. In a world where so many are alone or lonely, I will take a minute to ensure those who pass through my daily world know they are valued.
  2. Be a helper. I can hold a door, pay for a meal, do a favor and expect nothing in return. It astounds me that there are so many among us who may be hungry or do not have a permanent home where they can rest. Let’s help them. Let’s feed them. Let’s bring them some peace. For we all know that helping them, brings us peace as well.
  3. Be thankful. I can thank the good Lord above that somehow I landed right here. We may not have the swankiest of restaurants or big sprawling malls, but we have something better. Fridays are for football, the county fair is still a big deal, you get caught behind a tractor on the highway and your life automatically slows down. It’s not a simple life by any means, but at the same time, it’s not the life many in this world suffer though. We know our neighbors. We watch out for each other. Good abounds.
  4. Be resolute. I can right a wrong. I can speak up. I can speak out. There is a time and place for silence, but now is not the time or place. We can no longer let the politicians or other people fix things for us. It’s time we fix things in our own homes. It’s time we fix things in our own schools. It’s time we fix things in our own small communities. Only then will we be ready to fix the bigger challenges facing us.
  5. Be the change. I can make a difference. Even a small one. I can make it every single day. I may not be saving the entire world, but I’m doing what I can to save my little world.

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Changing Lives

How a trip to Central America taught family invaluable lessons

A funny thing happens when you set out to help someone in need: They normally end up having an even bigger impact on your life. That’s something I experienced firsthand when I visited the beautiful country of Nicaragua in Central America with my dad and sister.

We went as part of a mission group from Friendship Christian School and spent a week working on various projects. But the trip wasn’t just about working on projects; we also got to spend time with the locals, listening to all of their stories. Moments like those were where we built true friendships and learned valuable lessons.

It would have been easy for us to complain on our trip, considering the cold showers, humid weather and having to sleep in hostels and hammocks — but that just wasn’t the case.

As soon as we landed in Managua, we left our comfort zones and realized the trip was about helping people. This trip gave me such a great perspective on how I go through life here at home and how I could change it for the better by just deciding to be positive.

I was also blown away by how welcoming everyone was there, even though they had only just met us. They invited us into their homes for coffee, let us hold and play with their children and treated us like we had been friends for years.

They helped us learn their language, laughing with us over our broken Spanish. And while they faced so many difficulties, that didn’t stop them from showing us kindness and making us feel at home.

We went to Nicaragua to help people, but we ended up learning even more from the people we went to help. I learned that a good attitude isn’t based on what you have or what conditions you live in. It’s a conscious decision to be kind to strangers and friends alike.

This trip was also special because I got to spend it with my dad and sister. We saw each other outside of our comfort zones and learned to appreciate all we have here at home. We also made memories that will last a lifetime — like sledding down an active volcano together.

It was a week I will never forget, and I am so glad I got to spend it with two of my favorite people!

Zoe Kane, daughter of Wilson Living Magazine co-founder Angel Kane, will be a senior at Friendship Christian School.

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Gone But Not Forgotten

I can stare at this photo for hours.

A few years ago, I had it blown up and hung in the waiting area of our law office. And whenever I passed by it, I stopped and wondered. Who are they? What was the occasion that led to the photo? What ever happened to this family?

The building behind them in the photo has been near and dear to my heart from the moment I laid eyes on her. Built in the 1880s, if only these walls could talk!

During the years, people will stop into the office to share their memories of the old house or the families who lived here, but no one seems to know anything about the ladies and small child in the photo.

The past two months, I’ve been restoring my little diamond in the rough with the help of my friend and designer, Kendra Lester Ray. When we first found the building 14 years ago and moved the law office into it, we tried to honor her past but didn’t necessarily have the time to bring her back to her Victorian bones

And during the years, we have painted and patched to the point where I looked around one day and realized it was time to give our lady a facelift. So with the help of Kendra and my work family, who have given Kendra a run for her money with their own design ideas, we have brought her back to life.

Painters, contractors and cabinetmakers have worked late into the night so we could carry on the business of law during the day. My office family has put down their pens and paper many a day to move furniture, sweep floors and haul things off to Goodwill. Poor Kendra, I’m not sure she realized when I asked for her help that I meant I needed it done tomorrow!

During the week the office is a busy, busy place with work and clients. Saturdays, however, are quiet, but for a ringing phone that goes to voicemail. It’s the day I go up to the office to regroup and when I do, I now find this photo rehung in the newly redesigned conference room.

I still stop and wonder as I stare at the black and white photo — I wonder what the house looked like when this family lived here? I wonder if they’d like what we’ve done to her? I wonder if they were happy here?

During the years, I’ve learned bits and pieces about the various families who, for more than a century, called this building home. It’s been fascinating and wonderful to hear their stories and share in the memories of those who remember those gone but not forgotten.

I still don’t know who the ladies and the little boy are, but my hunch is they were happy here. And, for what its worth, we remember them all the time.

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