Saturday, June 1, 2013

Modern Widows Club Magazine is for You!

One year ago, I had a dream. I certainly see myself as a dreamer. This dream was to create a connection point for widows that was approachable, friendly and trustworthy to mentor widows starting with my own home town of Orlando, FL and eventually extending my reach all over the world. 

But with all dreams, there are so many unanswered and curious questions to resolve before the reality of that dream is realized. 

This is why I spent over a year creating Modern Widows Club Magazine. An online resource where we could all connect, read articles from other inspirational men and women who have lost a spouse and yet, found a way to move forward while reaching back. 
Their pain has found purpose and so will yours.

MWC Magazine 

That's why we are a widows mentoring organization. Mentoring is the answer to connect us all. Mentors are friends who care deeply enough to not turn away from what they know and instead reach back with who they are today. 

Actually, to be forthcoming, I had several dreams. Not just the conscious dreaming we do when we'd rather be doing something else. I had subconscious dreams in my sleep of making a global impact on improving other widows day to day living. After all, I had actually survived and thrived after 13 yrs along this widowed journey. I knew the power of God Boxes (my MacBook Pro) and my mini God Box (my iPhone). I knew there was a way to reach you.

And as hard as I tried to walk into a new life as a single woman, a solo parent and a lone entrepreneur, there was one thing that was missing. 

That one thing is YOU!

Like every widow whose life has been torn to pieces, feeling the foundation crumble below you and being left confused at what you believe in anymore.....I just wanted to become somewhat 
normal again

To me, I was the wrong person to launch a dream like this. I didn't have the time, money, know how or even desire at first. I was just trying to make sound decisions, keep all my glass balls in the air and hoping for the best. But other widows would find me and ask to have coffee, lunch, dinner, phone call and I kept saying yes. 

I guess I should of suspected as much after sitting on Oprah's sofa.

But that's not why I did this. 
I did this because it found me.  When someone would call me (or more than likely handed off from someone who didn't know what to do with their widowed friend) I'd sit and encourage them by consciously showing up, caring to listen and remember along with them. I used the only thing I really have....myself. It really is that simple. Like Rick Warren says 'When people are in deep pain and need a friend - show up and shut up!'

'Normal' in the dictionary means to be in accordance to a norm, a standard or regular pattern. As you know, being widowed is far from that. It's actually the direct opposite, the synonym to normal. One of the synonyms I discovered was the word 'unnatural'. 

Now there is a word I can relate to! Being widowed feels unnatural doesn't it?  It's a variance with what feels normal or what I expected my life to be. It feels like a violation of natural law. 

But what is very natural is to love. To care and love another is what brought me to you. I've known a broken heart, I've known fear, I've known loss and I've known helplessness. But I'm here to tell you, you will again know love. You will again see love in action all around you. It will be in very simple things or enormous moments of grace. 

Half the battle is tuning your eyes to see what is natural to you in this unnatural experience. To allow this natural desire to love something and be loved back to come to you in a new form other than the person you lost and loved. 

Love is big people. 
Someone needs you. 

Watch this video and hear as I share this on Growing Bolder TV. 

After I filmed this video, I soon started to have dreams about 
Modern Widows Club. 

It was really this simple. 

Now, we have an online magazine, 4 National Chapters and 1 International Chapter. We are growing and it's because widows are speaking up, reaching out, doing something and reaching back.
 It's a beautiful thing. 

Will you join us? I hope so. 
Together we can live James 1:27 and bring joy and compassion to widows by simply caring 
and being kind. 

On June 23, we will celebrate 2013 International Widow's Day along with UN Women and The Noomba Foundation. We would love for everyone to mark it on their calendars to 'Social Media' our magazine to the world. Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Blogs, Tumblr, Waywire, Magazines, Groups, Social Circles, Companies, Grief Organizations, Pinterest and beyond. 
~ You can help by being our very own PR and Marketing Team

Even if only one widow finds us and is filled with hope, it's well worth it ~ Don't you think?  

With heartfelt love, 
Carolyn Moor
MWC Founder 

Subscribe here today and find your place.

Come on over to my home (Every 3rd Thursday)
 Orlando, FL June 20
Meet me:
 Tallahassee, FL June 10-11
Phoenix, AZ July 3-5
Sedona, AZ July 5-8
Estes Park, CO July 17
Denver, CO July 18-19
Seattle, WA July 20-22
Las Vegas, NV July 22-24

Monday, February 4, 2013

What Death has Taught Me about Living

How can death teach about living when while I'm living all I do is completely avoid death. 

But it's true. 
Death has taught me everything about living and I'm sure its taught you a lot too!

I'm going to shock you here and even say 'I'm grateful for death'. Grateful that my broken open heart brought golden lessons with a silver lining.

Last week, I turned a half a century, that's right, the big 50! My days leading up to that point felt very introspective and I decided to share what I've joyfully & painstakingly learned in the last 13 yrs about how death has completely given me a new perspective on living!

My Living Lessons:

~ After death has visited your door, the world changes from dark, gray, muted tones. Slowly shades of color start to seep in without you knowing and ending up hopefully, living technicolor. You will notice this happening in your clothes and interior spaces. So watch for it. Open the shades, let the yellow sunshine in and wear hot pink. Just own it and refuse to be dulled by death. 

~ Being mediocre isn't acceptable anymore, so I'll continue to strive for extraordinary. 

~ I accept that I'm human-- through and through, mistakes became opportunities, became experiences, became wisdom. Make decisions even if you feel they may be a mistake, it will lead you somewhere wise. 

~ I like my life to be driven by love not fear. I'm the one who knows which is which. No need to talk to a therapist, girlfriend, coach or rabbi. Get quiet and accept the truth. Fear is felt differently in your body than love. Don't tell me you can't tell the difference! Don't worry about what you will have to do after truth comes, truth has a way of guiding you to good places. 

~ Guess what? Tomorrow everything changes. Smile.

~ My capacity for love has grown exponentially the moment I lost what I thought love was. Death taught me that love is much bigger, much deeper, much wider than I ever knew for myself & others. Especially others. As my love grew for others, so did my love for myself. Then respect, forgiveness, failure, risk, fulfillment & dreams came after that. Funny how that happens.  

~ I've pulled many thorns out of my heart and given them time to heal. It feels good to know who I am.. good and bad. I have to accept it all. 

~ My hair may turn grey, my face wrinkled and my body soften-- I'm ok with this as long as the sparkle in my eyes remain. 

~ Everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything everything is a lesson.

~ I've come to peace with the pain I've experienced in life. It taught me to have courage and challenge what is not familiar. It taught me to let go of always wanting safety, comfort or control in every situation. They say every 7 yrs you grow a completely new person from cellular turn over. I'm almost two people separated from when death found me. I'm literally NOT that person!

~ God already knows, let him do his job. Move out of the way.

~ I think my heart is getting younger while my body gets older.

~ I feel moor free and liberated today than I've ever felt. I've paid the price for it.

~ I'm happy that I am happy every day I wake up. I have a choice to be happy the rest of the day. 

~ When you die, you will have a looooong to-do-list somewhere that you WILL NOT finish! I know, I found Chad's after he died. It left an impression on me in many, many ways. 

~ Death hasn't taken anything from me, in contrast, death is constantly giving me life. I appreciate life now more than EVER! I know, no one is promised tomorrow. No one. 

~ My most favorite words 'I will and I can'. Try them sometime. They are worth sharing. 

~ Right timing is everything. Timing everything is not right. Everything will work out in its own right time. Right!

~ I have a greater desire for pure simple pleasures in life. I don't just desire them, I need them. The way the sea washes up on the shore, a feathers luminosity, how an animal moves, busy busy ant hills, the sound of kitty purring, soft fabric on my face, chimes in the wind, water on my face and the smell of fresh nectarines. My senses want more from life. All of precious life. 

~ I must give the world what is uniquely ME. Others will not recognize it at first, it will be a brand new something that is needed in the world. So if its weird, misunderstood, strange, controversial, puzzling, challenging, impossible....then you might be on to something, keep going!


 What are your life lessons, are you keeping track of what death has taught you about living? I hope you enjoyed these. Just a few words of wisdom from a girl full of dreams for her next half a century! 
Love to you infinitely,
Carolyn Moor
Founder MWC

Friday, January 25, 2013

Duties, Dreams and Yoga

         "Life sure can be a mix of duties, dreams & yoga"

Yesterday, my day started like most days- at 6am. Coffee, breakfast and making school lunches for both my high school daughters who are gone half the day. 

Then, I began working. Just to catch you up- last week, for some reason my calendar would not sync between my iPhone & Laptop any longer. This alone is a nightmare since I completely rely on having this information for calls, interior design appts, MWC meetings and carpool pick ups.

So, the nice folks at the Apple store said the first thing in order was adding more memory- $57. 

Then, updating software on my Apple laptop to the most current operating system- Mountain Lion $20. 

At the store, they made it sound simple and I had faith in my 5 yr old MacbookPro, we've been through so much together. It took longer than I thought. Overnight.

For those of you who have done this, you know its like learning a whole new computer in a way. I've been down this road but this time, my email wouldn't accept any of the incoming or outgoing information. I spent an hour and 3 ppl at AT&T, then another 2 hrs at the Apple store which ending in them suggesting I change my email servers from a POP format to a IMAP format since all new technology is headed that way. 

Then came confusion: iCloud, user names, passwords, SSL, ports, connectivity, incoming, outgoing, preferences, resets, enabling.

6 hrs later, I still couldn't get my email and every google search produced zero solutions. The Apple store was baffled, I was frustrated. I finally created a gmail account and had my main 13 yr old email (which most of everything I do is connected to) forwarded via gmail. Long story short, to change this one old email will probably result in 2-3 full days of work making sure everything I do is functioning properly.

I know I've missed some of your emails and I'm sorry. I work very fast & hard each day from 6am-11pm most days, Friday is my toughest & tiring day. But this week, Thursday was!!

It's not just the frustration of technology, it's also the deeper fact that my former boyfriend used to help me with these things but I couldn't call on him, that didn't feel right. I needed food in my frig, I missed sending my nieces birthday card, my extensive to-do-list didn't have any boxes checked off as done, clients were calling and I missed an appointment. On top of that, I promised to do something just to nurture me everyday and lately that has meant Bikram Yoga at 4pm, before I make dinner for my family gets home. 

I was still at the Apple store figuring this out at 3pm and stood up and said 'I have to go'. I needed to be nurtured, like I promised. Had I not given up enough of myself to this world today? 

So, I drove in heavy traffic across town, screeching in my driveway to throw on some yoga pants & fill my water bottle. I hit every red light......ugh. 

But I made it with 5 seconds to spare. I went from 100 miles an hour to a heated yoga room. 

I don't know if you've ever taken Bikram Yoga before, but it's the 105 degree HOT yoga. You sweat....a lot. Kinda gross at first, but refreshing in so many ways afterwards. You focus on ONE thing...YOU. Mind, body + spirit! The poses are the challenge, each individual attempts the best their body can hold the pose with mental fortitude and spiritual depth. There is no judgement and every body type striving for balance. I love it. 

The class is 90 minutes long and around 73 minutes I get a natural high and tingling in the top of my head, like the stress of the world has been lifted. 

Well, yesterday, I had a powerful urge to start crying at 73 minutes. I've never felt that. But I resisted and kept focusing on connecting inward and the promise I made to myself to do something just for me. I felt like today I had to FIGHT for that!! I mean, who else will, if I don't....right? 

I continued. Determined. 

At the end of class, you lay quiet for 2 minutes + with the lights lowered and allow your heart rate to return to normal. I almost always pray and thank God for all he gives to me, including the peace I feel in the moment. Drenched in sweat, pouring down every angle of my body....the tears came flowing out. I had let go and let God again. 

I mean, crying in public! No one could see and if they could, they would have thought it was sweat anyway ...I laughed a little at how bizarre this whole day had become. How life presents struggles and how I choose to face them, how sometimes you have to say 'enough' and do what it takes to mean it, how keeping promises to myself may mean that I push myself beyond my own abilities not knowing if I will succeed. 

Life is such a balance, but knowing how to create boundaries and when to say 'yes' and 'no' are two lessons that I believe get you there. It's one of the hard ones, but so necessary in this journey. Having helpful mentors like One Fit Widow/ Michelle Steinke, Second Firsts/Christina Rasmussen and Soul Coaching/ Michele Lessirard in my life has taught me this in my 13 yrs of being widowed. 

I have learned peace + balance doesn't come from anything external, material....ANYTHING! It's all an internal knowing, divine connection to our greatest purpose given to us by God at birth and that is to do what the soul is urging you to BECOME for the worlds sake. You have something to unique to offer that no one else can! Will you do what it takes to find out what that is? Will you keep looking for it?

For me, creating MWC is part of his plan for me and I resisted it a long time, until last year. We know each other because I finally said yes. There is so much out there to distract us until we answer our calling. 

I laid there 5 minutes with tears coming down. It felt good. I realized that the main reason why I was frustrated was I didn't want to disappoint anyone....myself, my clients, my friends & family and especially from Modern Widows Club! I love you all!! Not responding or missing an email I felt was made me realize once again just how human I am. And how much we all need each other as mentors/ mentees and the last thing we all want is to feel forgotten. 

So, today with fresh eyes, please forgive me if I dropped the ball in anyway. I will get back to a place where all electronics are fully functioning here and balance will be restored. All your well wishes & prayers stated on Facebook worked! 

Picking myself up by the boot straps and moving forward!
Carolyn Moor
MWC Founder & Friend

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

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What does it mean to be a MODERN widow?

As Founder of the fairly new Modern Widows Club, I get emails occasionally asking if someone is 'modern' enough to be included in our group?  The short answer is 'yes'... of course.

Modern is a state of mind, is ageless and for those who are living in the present moment.  

We have ladies (and few men) on our Facebook page and at Social Hours from 22- 80+. We all learn from each other every time we open up and share ourselves. It has become a beautiful thing. 

I guess I created this because I wanted a 'widows' site that wasn't temporary short term support, I wanted and needed true mentorship and advocacy. I wanted to move forward, but I couldn't do that without reaching back too. I hope our club encourages many others to know each of us better in this modern world of living life after loss.  

One thing is certain, this journey is full of experiences we can all share and relate to- don't keep it all to yourself. Whether you are newly widowed, single, remarried, struggling or succeeding, we all have one common reason to know each other, but one even bigger reason to stay together

Together, we can bring more understanding, compassion and relevance to our world. It's time we see ourselves as formidable individuals who are true warriors in every way. We are blessed to be thoughtfully honest and caring, having faced death head on, brushing ourselves off, slowly standing up again and keep going everyday. 

You matter at Modern Widows Club. James 1:27 may be an ancient scripture about caring for the widows & orphans in the world, but today we want you to know those words guide and challenge us daily. We make decisions and push the envelope in ways only God knows where our paths are headed in this modern world we share. 

Sincerely with love,
Carolyn Moor
Founder MWC

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thankful for What We Do Have

Seven years ago around this time, I was homeless with two small children. Why? Because Florida had 3 major hurricanes hit within a few months and although, my home did not suffer any damage, I was about to deal with another kind of catastrophe that would take State Farm insurance adjusters over 2 weeks to respond and give me funding and instructions on where to go next after my....

.... accidental house fire.

Few people know about this in my life. I do not write about it in my book 'Living with Something Moor' and unless you were my neighbor at the time or a family member, you probably never heard me talk about it.

Started by a candle off my Master Bedroom when a friend unknowingly set an  inflamed votive near my outdoor porch draperies and a plant with some dry brush. Somehow, it caught on fire while I was downstairs and lit up the east side of my home very quickly. Fortunately, my neighbor saw it from her window as it spread onto my roof and she ran over immediately to help me evacuate my two sleeping children and take them to her house as to spare them the harsh reality about to transpire.

I returned trying to put out the fire myself with no success until the firemen arrived and insisted I leave my home immediately. Leave my valuables, computer, photos. It's hard to explain the devastation of a house fire. The senses are what I remember the most. The smell on everything. The suet smeared felt everywhere. The charred pieces of twisted iron, shattered glass and black water dripping from the ceiling. The silence of any kind of life existence. The voice in my head wondering where I will go now because Thanksgiving was coming.

I needed clothes, underwear, food...I was scared and weight of the world was felt on my shoulders.

My dear neighbor who saved us, a woman I dearly love, invited us to stay in her studio apartment about her garage. A very small space with a full sized bed and guest kitchen ironically looked out onto my burned house across the way. What a new, awful perspective.

My daughters clothes were saved. I washed them and preceded to go about life and take them to school as if it were another normal day. Truth be told, they saw this as an adventure and honestly, my attitude and approach with them was this- 'you keep doing what you do and be kids' and 'I will take care of all this mess as the leader of our family'. No worries. But I was plenty concerned as I laid on that bed unable to move with the tears falling down my face at what to do first. It was paralyzing.

I was struggling once again. Was it not enough to loose my husband 5 years prior? Looking back, that one year of renovating my home, maintaining my business, caring for my daughters solo and simply surviving again gave me a new appreciation for what I do have.

This catastrophe gave my dear friends the opportunity to do kind things for us. I learned to let them do it. My ego was demolished, just like my home. I lost many 'things' and realized those 'things' can be rented and borrowed. As an interior designer, I rented a whole home of furniture in our new rental home around the corner. I found myself making it ok.

The long hours of burning my 'personal candle' at both ends went towards an existence between two homes: one we lived in temporarily and one I owned that we'd move back into once I renovated. It was the worst year of my life! This dream home I loved was designed by both my late husband, an interior architect, and myself, an interior designer like I said. So this renovation was a very new start in many ways for me. I re-designed it the way I wanted, for Carolyn and not the way 'we' were in that house as a couple.

I think you will find it interesting to know that the ONLY area of my home that was damaged comprised of the Master Suite, porch, closet and bathroom I used to share happily with Chad... The area I could not bear sleeping in again after he died. Since then, I had occupied the Guest Bedroom and was quite content being across the hall from my young sleeping daughters. So, I often wonder, why did all this burn away? I believe God was at work here. In many ways, I was forced to move forward and to see what my future would hold.

One year later, a week before Thanksgiving, I moved back into my newly renovated home that was truly all mine. A home I felt was mine to do whatever I wanted from this point forward. I had earned that right fair and square. No one could say I had what I had because of my late husband.....I felt empowered that I was capable and I felt I could accomplish anything!! All my hard work inside and out was paying off. I will always remember this Thanksgiving of GREAT joy and gratitude. I was home once again.

I had let go and let God in this process. I knew without a shadow of doubt what it felt like to live by faith every second of the day. And you know what happened after that? TLC called and I began filming 'Shalom in the Home' right after the last driveway paver was put into place.

A few months after that, I sat next to Oprah on her stage in Chicago and the rest is history. I promised her to always be an inspiration to my girls first and foremost. Today, I'm thankful for what I do have. My daughters, my home, family, friends, Modern Widows Club, CLOVE, neighbors, New Hope for Kids, clients and most of all for God never never letting me go and always fulfilling James 1:27 where I am told that He will provide for the widows and their children. I have personally experienced this. It is beautiful.

So, today when I drive down to Servants Heart Center to pick up 12 Thanksgiving Turkey Baskets and give to my Modern Widows Club ladies, please know, I am very grateful for what I do have and today I am celebrating those who have lost so much. May God bless you and yours this Thanksgiving Day. If I have inspired you to be kind to ONE widow today, I have done my job here. Please find time to be kind to a widow today :)

Much love & hope for the widows in the world,
Carolyn Moor

P.S. One month after Thanksgiving, a tree fell on my house:) After that, I decided it was time to move onto another home and see what the future held for us. Best decision ever!
To be continued......