Thursday, December 20, 2012

Conversations and Kindness have Positive Impact for Widows

One year ago, MWC was conceived and birthed at a Starbucks here in Central FL. Two ladies discussing how they wished there was a way to find more ladies in the area and simply do two things.......

1)- Have conversations that don't occur anywhere else. 
2)- Be kind to one another. 

In the last 12 months, we have done just that. I'd like to share some of the great things that I've experienced this year for having a dream, opening up my heart and home and thinking out of the box a little bit.

Great Thing #1
In January 2012, we began with 3 ladies, who are all still involved with MWC. But now, we have over 60 name tags in our box. Every lady bravely 'showed up' one evening to see what we were all about. They found us by word of mouth, facebook, twitter, meet up or eventbrite. I'd say about half come back on a regular basis when they can, but I like to hope that every woman came and felt some kindness and had a conversation they couldn't have anywhere else. I hope they felt nurtured, encouraged and welcomed.

Great Thing #2
Our Facebook Page keeps growing bigger and bigger everyday and is where we have online conversations about health, finances, relationships, family and faith. I am impressed constantly at the new perspectives I read and the authenticity in every voice. I hope we continue to make a positive impact here. The page is viewed by many non-widows and they come there for support and I think that is a very good thing. I believe every widow is a true hero and deserves a place to shine.

Great Thing #3
After 12 months, 'Modern Widows Club' is officially trademarked with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. We can now use the registered symbol to protect our name legally. After lots of emails, letters and filings, I can finally release my attorney after accomplishing this goal.

Great Thing #4 Several of our ladies got remarried, gave away their daughters without their husbands, authored books (Finding Joy After Loss), learned major new skills of thriving, endured angel-verssaries, lost grief weight, discovered new talents and pursued new dreams. Many of these extraordinary, ordinary courage stories is partly why we wanted to launch an online magazine just for widows, so we can share these phenomenal moments with more of the world. There isn't a day that goes by that a widow doesn't blow me away with her perseverance and grace.

Great Thing #5
We partnered with Servant's Heart Center to bring over 15 Thanksgiving Blessing Boxes to local widows in Orlando, FL and created a relationship that enables us to provide food baskets each week for any Central FL widow in need to feed her family. We are so very grateful for the support, compassion and God's love they have gifted us. One out of town widow brought her kids to volunteer because she was so impressed with their efforts to fulfill James 1:27 in caring for all widows & orphans.

Great Thing #6
I accepted an award on our behalf at the Live Your Legacy Summit in Orlando, FL for supporting widows and designing your legacy through your hardship.

Great Thing #7 
We have actually designed an online magazine, found most of the contributors and slowly working our way to funding this movement (see a glimpse below). We launched a Modern Widows Club campaign on Indiegogo to see if you and more of the world would support us and take an active role at how important it is for widows to have their own magazine highlighting the warrior life we live each day. Just sharing this with your friends or leaving an encouraging helps our visibility- so click the link and say 'we believe'.

While I was on Indiegogo, I found another campaign about widows in India and connected with a young, single 24 yr student named Hanna Blaney who is researching there and shared her photos with me after I personally introduced myself and added a little support to her campaign. Her desire to do something kind for these widows resulted in a 24th birthday celebration where over 85 widows attended and she taught them breathing technics and they ate cake. Hanna said it was the first time many of them smiles during her whole stay in India. Few people of the world care for widows in India and I'm so honored to have stumbled on Hanna's project and hope to share her story as one the first worldwide widowed stories in the magazine. I love how her heart has completely tuned into and provided respect for the needs of poverty stricken and culturally disadvantaged India widows. Talk about being kind and unique conversations!!

We also sent 'Mission LEGOS' to Kenya for underprivileged widows & their children. We hope to contribute more to the Wagoma Women, Orphan and Widows Advocacy Centre in this way. They are located in the Bondo district near Lake Victoria and one of the many forgotten areas outside of Nairobi. The woman you see up close in the photo below is Roseline Orwa- she friended me 6 months ago via Facebook. This woman who is a powerful voice for widows in Kenya, donated her own land and knows first hand the plight and struggle of being widowed with few rights in Africa. Widows are treated like property and often moms encourage their children to run to the bush to prevent inevitable abuse. Yes, they'd rather starve and live in fear than be beat. 
Our first USPS package was presented to the kids (who have never seen LEGOS) on Dec. 28th. We were in AWE and so excited to see these happy faces and the shine in their eyes. 


Great Thing #8
We started 2 new MWC Chapters.
Kansas City- Led by Jodie Rodenbaugh and had a get together with 4 ladies at a nearby restaurant. They told me the conversation was an instant click and they couldn't believe how much in common they have all experienced. Not that their lives are all the same, they just know the grief journey and the way the mind thinks in that world. We'll be sharing more of Jodie's story in the coming year, but she was pregnant when her husband Thor passed away during a routine surgery.

Seattle- Led by Cindy Nelson, who attended our MWC: Hello Life, Goodbye Shadow workshop in Jan. 2012. Cindy flew to Orlando, FL so we could meet and I've been honored to observe and mentor her as life turned completely upside down in 2012. Her sheer determination to keep 'choosing life' and 'finding joy' impressed me beyond words. She was forced to move, reestablished her residence and took a long journey through deciding what to keep and what to let go. We've all been there!! I'm honored to have her open her doors this December to a 5 widows and start the MWC conversation and kindness on the other end of the country.

Great Thing #7
With over 200 emails a week, 52 formal Chapter requests, requests for radio/ TV interviews, partnerships with organizations on the horizon, agreements with other inspiring widow leaders across the country- we are going to have some phenomenal movement for 2013. We hope to put a small dent into the world of connecting friends, mentors & advocates while we learn, grow and thrive in this life of widowhood together. Every one has something to bring to the table.
-Second Firsts  -The Mentoring Project  -One Fit Widow  -Servants Heart Center  -New Hope for Kids -Zenspirations -WidowFindsLoveAgain -R.I.S.E -Heart Broken Open Circle -Loss to Launch Event

Great Thing #9
I was asked to speak by Christina Rasmussen of Second Firsts at the 'Loss to Launch' Event in Boston, MA Nov 2012. I saw lives transform and be uplifted before my eyes. Christina came to visit MWC in Orlando in August and we love her dearly and know she is genuinely the right person to author her Hay House book launching this year. I also met Kristine Carlson, of 'Don't Sweat the Small Stuff' series. Together we will all contribute to our eMWC online magazine coming soon.

I've also been asked to speak at SSLF/ Widowed Village's 2013 Camp Widow East and am considering it. Turning our living spaces into moor alive spaces is a topic close to my heart.
Will any of you be there?

I have to admit, I didn't want anything to do with being near the word 'widow' for many, many years.....and then, I embraced the phenomenal meaning and blessing behind the broken openness, not the word. The sheer, raw, boldness is the widowed life that so many fear and yet, live within, is nothing shy of extraordinary. They are living with their invisible crowns daily. Finding triumph in small and big ways in every possible way.

All I can say is, something is happening here. Loss and Life. If you stick around long enough, you might feel like you are a part of something much bigger than yourself. And this widowed life, may just prove to be the most engaging time of your life. You may find yourself shining in ways you never knew possible.

I can tell you this- if you show up in the life of one widow and truly give from the heart, there is nothing more fulfilling or rewarding when you cause a widow to smile and to see a twinkle in her eyes. THAT is making a blessed difference. That is being the church. That is being pure love in action.

With great love and looking for what God has planned for 2013,
Carolyn Moor

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Where's the Love?

A few years ago, I decorated my entire house with blue lights.
Not my normal style of decorating! Subconsciously, I wanted a dramatic life shift because frankly, I didn't feel like plain old white lights or colored lights...I felt blue!! 

It only lasted one year. I realized what I was saying to the world 'leave me alone to be with my pain'. I have to admit, it was a very sad, lonely Christmas that year. I was just being honest everyone.

I even had a few friends ask if I was if the color blue was reserved for such. Honestly, I took that as a great compliment. 

Raised a Christian, yet having found new, wonderful Jewish friends along this journey, I realize now that there is so much beauty in blue for the holidays, especially for Hanukkah, a beautiful sacred celebration time to dedicate ourselves to believing in miracles. 

I've learned that blue can have a multitude of emotions. I choose to see the true blue belief in the lighting of hopeful candles to light my way. I see so much hope being near my Jewish friends as they spend 8 days out of the year at sundown lighting each candle in the nine branched candle holder called the menorah. 

The ninth candle is the one that lights all the others. It's significance is as the 'helper'. As the candles are lit each evening at sundown, blessings and hymns are recited and sung to commemorate miracles. Although I do not understand Hebrew or many parts of the Torah, I can sense the significance in this time of honor for the Jewish culture and the world. 

For Christians like myself, our miracle is in the birth of Our savior Jesus Christ, a miracle of the supernatural. A Way in a Manger that has lit the path for centuries since ancient Bethlehem. 

The parallels of miracles and light have always fascinated me about our opposing theological beliefs. I feel equally loved by both sector of friendships and I believe their hearts are genuinely reciprocal. 

As I sit here today, I have to believe that this 'peace on earth' that I experience seeing holiday lights, candles, traditions and celebrations has to mean something deeper and more relevant in our lives in order to connect to the GREAT LOVE that exists all around us daily, yet especially during this time of year.

We must return to love in this world and we must accept it. By doing so, we are saying "I am worthy of a miracle, a blessing to happen in my life".

Keep the hope alive. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa and Season's Greetings. 

Many blessings to you,
Carolyn Moor