Celebrating Fabulous Friends

I have met some amazing people in my life. Maybe when I met them they weren’t yet amazing, but they went on to do and create amazing things. Yesterday I thought I would write a post about just  one of these amazing people. But this morning, out of the blue, I got an e-mail from a friend in Australia who I haven’t seen since I moved from Japan almost 17 years ago. We kept in touch for a while, but then lost touch as my life took me to multiple locations and I would forget to update everyone as to how to find me. Thanks to Facebook, LinkedIn and other sources, it is much easier to relocate lost friends nowadays, and I am lucky. Jacquie and her husband David fall into the list of amazing people. So today I am going to celebrate some of the amazing people I have met in my life, and highlight what makes them amazing. (I wonder how many times I can use the word amazing in one post?)

Cindy Baer at Work. Image stolen from her Facebook page.

Cindy Baer at Work. Image stolen from her Facebook page.

The woman who first inspired this post is Cindy Baer. Cindy was a friend from high school drama club. I don’t recall hanging out much with her, and we weren’t best friends (I’m not even sure I had a best friend) but drama tended to bring a lot of people together in fabulous ways. Cindy is amazing for so many things. She just wrapped a new movie called Odd Brodsky that she c0-wrote with her husband Matthew Irving as well as directed. (Side note–My picture might end up in the movie as I donated a little to getting it made).  But she doesn’t just make movies, which is amazing enough, she also formed a non-profit organization called Patron of the Arts (POTA) whose primary mission is “to help emerging filmmakers and artists fund art & film projects and find audiences.” Cindy also produced and directed the award-winning film Purgatory House which deals with real-life issues faced by teens today. Cindy’s work always has a message, and she is a passionate believer in using arts to change the world. She is an amazing woman. Cindy’s story gives me hope that with hard work I too can achieve my dreams. Oh, and for all you Halloween lovers out there, check out this trailer for Lizzie the Movie which includes Cindy as Lizzy Borden herself . . . creepy.

I met Jacquie Cheetham and her husband David when we all taught English at a conversation school in Okayama Japan. They were an amazing couple committed to making the world a better place. From teaching English in Japan, they both moved on to Social Work and working for and with people who don’t have easy lives.When I was working on my doctorate, they had encouraged me to do a project in Bosnia, using theater to help bring back a sense of hope, because they were there at the time (or at least David was). I wanted to do it, but because of academic politics and other issues that project never came to fruition. Jacquie has focused on helping battered women, and I admire her for this. While we have lost touch, so I’m not sure exactly what they are doing these days (I’m waiting for her to accept my Facebook friend request so that I can fill in the details) I have always held this couple in my mind as two of the truly good amazing people in this world. They represent what humans can do, if they only think with love, not hate.

Kathy and Sara

You’ve all met this woman, if only vicariously through our dear friend Kathy’s wonderful blog. But I now have the honor of saying that I met Sara live and in person. I can’t do justice to the amazing things that both Kathy and Sara have done. Sara has truly committed her life to helping in places many people fear to tread. Even though we only spent a short time together, I feel so lucky to count both of these inspirational women as friends. I feel inspired by who they are and what they do. Two truly amazing people. Kathy can do a better job sharing with you some of their experiences, but I had to include them here, because I realize that I have met amazing people at every turn in my life. I’m really lucky that way.

The list could go on and on and on, but perhaps I will reserve more accolades for a later date. Now, I have a duty to fulfill. Sandi at Ahhsome BOO’ed me today, as you can see by the fabulous addition to my sidebar, so I would like to BOO a few people too:

You have now officially been Boo-ed, pass it on if you feel like it. No pressure.

All We Need to Know About Life

I don’t know where this originated but I stole . . . um borrowed this from my friend’s Facebook page because I found it full of inspiration and truth.

Here’s the thing, life is not worth living if we spend all our time worrying and stressing over things beyond our control.  Life should be something we embrace every day with passion and joy.

I am hereby making a promise to myself to live my life as joyously as possible. I’m going to trust the universe to provide what I need, and meanwhile I am going to continue to work towards achieving the dreams and goals that I have for my life.

What exactly are those dreams and goals? Well they seem to be every-changing, but that’s okay. I happened to read a quote today from Martha Steward (not one of my usual sources, I admit). She said,

“My new motto is: When you’re through changing, you’re through. “

Changing dreams and goals is part of living. Learning how to embrace those changes to live a fulfilled and happy life is perhaps the most important thing we can do as individuals.

Again, I ask myself, what are my dreams and goals? I can only answer for this moment in time, but here is my list in no particular order of importance:

  • Give Sarah a life full of opportunity, learning, and travel.
  • Travel myself to visit all the places I still dream of heading (including England, Ireland, Nepal, Australia, New Zealand, Greece, Alaska, revisiting Bali and Japan, and many places I haven’t even thought of yet).
  • Write several books that actually get read, some for young adults, some non-fiction, some for adults.
  • Direct some more professional productions for adults.
  • Direct some more professional productions for children.
  • Actually make a living as an independent, freelance writer/theater educator/theater artist
  • Develop arts programming that makes a difference in people’s lives.
  • Have a home that is my own. It doesn’t have to be huge, but something comfortable where we can live, create, and grow together as a family.
  • Write a script and create a puppet show with/for Nathan.
  • Find a way to merge my love of teaching/mentoring young women with all of the other passions of my life.
  • Meet some of my favorite blogging buddies live and in person. 😉
  • Become healthy in body, mind and soul.

The list is long but not impossible. It is also a list that can last years, or change with time. I think for me it is not about achieving goals in a specific time period, but enjoying the journey as I work toward those goals.

All we need to know about life, then, is that life is worth living as passionately and beautifully as possible.

Wishing the Power of Thought Was Enough

I was prepared to write a completely different post this morning when my husband walked in and said “Japan had an 8.9 earthquake and it caused tsunamis that are heading this way.”

Immediately my thoughts jumped to my friends in Japan, the ones I’ve actually met and the ones I have met in this virtual world. I jumped out of bed to e-mail people I might be able to reach and search for amblerangel’s e-mail, and found her post instead. I hope her kids made it home safely and all is still well with her.

I read the post out loud to my husband and started sobbing. Why? I think it is the feeling of not being able to help. When I lived in Japan, the big Northridge earthquake hit California, where my sister was living at the time. I remember the panic I felt when I could not reach her for hours to find out if she was okay. I remember the sadness when I learned that one of my childhood friends was killed in that earthquake.

Now I worry for my friends in Japan, and Australia, and New Zealand. Now my husband and I are on tsunami watch in Hawaii, where his family still lives and we both went to school (I got my MFA at UHM). We will be keeping track all day until we know they are safe.

It is frustrating to know that there is very little I can do but pray and send loving thoughts out into the world.  I wish that was enough, but I know it is not.

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