Meet My Inspiring 9/11 Friend

Without hesitation, she said, “I’ll go with you!” It was those words that jump started my friendship with Erin, a.k.a my 9/11 friend. 

I call her my 9/11 friend because we met on Sept. 11, 2001, the infamous day of the worst terrorist attack on US soil. A week after I met Erin, I was expressing to a small group of women, including Erin, my feelings of anxiousness about traveling to Philadelphia for a cancer treatment appointment. I was nervous about traveling to Philly because I feared it was going to be the next major city on the terrorist’s hit list. It seemed like before I was even finished talking she said, “I’ll go with you!”

What a comfort to hear her say, “I’ll go with you!”  I was a bit surprised that someone I only met the week before would be willing to head into possible danger with me! She was braver than me and not intimidated by my fears. She didn't even seem to be concerned about spending a 2 hour drive with an almost complete stranger. She was willing to show up and go with me!

After spending the day together at my appointment we became fast friends. She became the friend, that I told my mentor just a month before, that I longed to meet. 

Every day I am inspired by Erin's words, “I’ll go with you!”. Her simple, vulnerable, without hesitation words inspire me to be open, to offer who I am to whatever situation I find myself in, to be present and to be willing to be uncomfortable!

This year, on the morning of Sept 11, Erin texted me these words, “Remembering our first moment of meeting 14 years ago today. A true metaphor for life’s reminder of the tension we feel at any given moment - utter sadness when tragedy moves and grateful joy when true friendship enters. Much love to you, my forever friend.”

I am so grateful that Erin said, “I’ll go with you” and she opened the door to a true friendship. 

Who inspires you? In what ways, do you show up for others?

"Anna Duggars" of the World Unite

Josh Duggar is away at sex rehab but what about his wife Anna? I can't stop thinking about her.  I can’t stop thinking about how blindsided she must have felt when it became public her husband, Josh Duggar (from the reality TV show 19 kids and Counting), was leading a double life. In August, hackers broke into the Ashley Madison website that encourages extramarital affairs because life is short! As a result of the hack, 30 million men's names, including Josh's, became public knowledge.

After the Ashley Madison hack story broke, I hated that I had to approach my husband and ask if he was on the site. I had to because I have experienced betrayal in my marriage.  Over 9 years ago, I was blindsided by my husband’s secret life.  Perhaps that is why I sat in a parking lot and cried for Anna Duggar when the media broke the news about her husband’s deeds. I remembered the shame and loneliness I felt dealing with the secret war in my marriage which eventually became public and cost my husband his job. 

I don’t know Anna but my heart breaks for her because she represents to me, the reported 30 million spouses who may be walking around with shattered hearts from their husband’s betrayal. I walk among some of these women because it became public that 20,000 Ashley Madison users are from Bucks County, PA where I live. 

Being blindsided by betrayal, shatters the image we create of our marriage and family. I imagine, many of the 30 million men are respected people in their communities, workplaces and families.  It is difficult for a women to know who to turn to when their reputable husband and also maybe the father to their children is living a secret life.

Someone told me after our story broke, that she noticed a sadness in my eyes. Do you have a sadness in your eyes? Or do you know someone who is struggling with this private pain? Keeping and holding this pain is like trying to hold a beach ball under water, it takes energy and strength to keep this secret from popping up and out.  Men and their spouses suffer in silence. Life is too short to hold this pain, secret and shame. 

I describe this pain like a slow growing tumor that sucks the life out of a marriage. If this was a physical tumor we would seek medical treatment, right? But where do you go when you have a wounded, betrayed, and broken heart? 

Because life is short, I have decided it’s time to find a way to connect individuals who may be suffering alone in silence and shame. There are many forms of treatment for this “tumor” but I know I would have benefitted from a community of women led by someone who understood the sadness in my eyes. I want the “Anna Duggars” of the world to connect so I have created small communities of women  called I.C.U for Women. The purpose of the groups is to connect women via phone or in-person who desire care, coaching and healing in a safe space.   Like an ICU (Intensive Care Unit) at a hospital, the group is an ICU for the spirit. C.S Lewis says, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” 

Don’t suffer in silence. You are not alone. Join I.C.U for Women, a community where you can be seen, encouraged and supported to heal and grow.  Your spouse doesn't have to be a Ashley Madison user to join the group but if your life and/or marriage has been affected by the devastating effects of pornography, sexual addiction, extramarital affairs, etc. and you are looking for a place to be supported then join I.C.U for Women! 

Sad eyes are welcome.

For more details, visit our Services page




Staying Alive

This past spring I was feeling hopeful. Hopeful that this would be the summer that I would keep my hanging baskets alive all summer. Last week, before we left for vacation I placed my baskets on top of our trash pile!

Flowers in pots need to be watered everyday. My forgetfulness and lack of attentiveness killed my flowers. My spirit is not unlike a plant. It needs my daily nurture and care. If not, my spirit, too, can dry out, wilt, shrivel up and die. My signs of drying out are less obvious than a plant but I recognize my spirit is drained and dull by my attitude and anxiety. I notice I become dry when I  don't have meaningful connection with my family or friends. I begin to wilt when I constantly find myself "thinking" and don't  have enough spaces to play and have fun.

I guess it's more important to keep myself alive rather than a plant but just maybe next spring I can keep my hanging basket alive! Albert Einstein once said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."  A wise man with some sound advice, perhaps I could try a new strategy next spring and set a daily phone alarm that will remind me to water my plants  and also remind me that my spirit needs daily "watering" too.  Seems like a win-win! Will keep you posted.

What areas of your well being need your daily attention?