*Holiday Miracles* The Power of Paying IT Forward

Services for Real Estate Pros with Retired Associate RE Broker

Pay It Forward

Back in November, I first saw this contest here on Active Rain, and immediately heard a voice in my head say "You know Sally Cheeseman is paying it forward."   I smiled, and if Laurie Manny was here I know she would have pointed this out to me.  Laurie always watched for when people paid it forward.   She would light up when she saw it.  I know why it made her so happy to see when people Paid it Forward.

Walk the Walk -- Pay it forwardIt has been a difficult year with the loss of many friends and loved ones, not just for me but for so many of us.   Each time I turn around, I see the miracles of Pay it Forward right here on Active Rain.   We didn't orginate the Pay it Forward movement.

I knew that I was going to enter this contest.   It just was going to take me some time to find the words.   Each day the ideas would roll around in my head as the deadline approached. 

Read Also:  Walk the Walk and Pay it Forward with Great Love!

A Little ActiveRain History

Those that don't know me, my number here on ActiveRain was member 691 (Tricia Jumonville and Todd Waller joined the same day -- July 1, 2006).   I went from someone that had no idea what blogging was to the one that was teaching everyone else how to do it...   At one time I had a very active blog here until I found it was of greater value to have my own.   I was here before the birth of Localism, when there were only a few thousand members.

Read Also: Active Rain - From the Consumer Perspective

That was a special time, when there was a Welcome Wagon and then later the development of Weekly Member Spotlight.   I remember when it was a big deal to go to 20,000 members, and Project Blogger.  I was called Coach K, Miss Manners and was one of the original moderators here at ActiveRain.   I organized many contests, and opportunities for each other to really get to know each other -- remember the Flat Stanley Project?  The most powerful of all the contests run was the Laurie Manny Challenge.   Each time either Laurie or myself would assist someone they would ask us what they could do to thank us for giving the advice or teach them something new.   We both would tell them to pay it forward to someone else.

Loss and Love

It was a magical time in the RE.NET where relationships when a few people became very close and beautiful friendships were just starting to bud.   At the end of that year we experienced our first loss on ActiveRain.   Over the years there has been several members we have lost, others have lost loved ones.   None so hard as the loss of three active members in our community this year, First Carol Provenzale in May, then Joe Ferrara and Laurie Manny in August.

beauty of paying it forwardIt has been an emotional journey for all of us.    And yet it is the kindness of others that has gotten me through what I could not imagine being able to get through, the loss of a dear friend.  Not any friend, the kind that sees through your defenses and changes you forever.  I know I am not the only person that feels that way, so many have shared their stories with me.  

There are a few people that I have to honor in this post, because they by all means this year Paid it Forward.  

They are my Holiday Miracles of Friendship.   These people, along with others who are not part of the community have blessed me with friendship and love.  We were all friends in a sense before but today it is amazing how these relationships have changed forever -- for the better!

  • Kaye Thomas, Lynda Eiselman and Marlene Bridges -- you were Laurie's buddies, Laurie would always tell me about your plans and then afterward about all the fun you would have together.
  • Rudy Bachraty-- I know I asked a big thing of you to be the one to announce to everyone publicly about our loss of Lauire, know that Laurie would be so very proud of you.
  • Jeff Turner -- a hug when I needed it the most, and words that to this day mean so much
  • Ines Hegedus-Garcia - silent kindness, phone calls when I needed it and a renewed friendship
  • Mary Pope Handy - I admired you before this, but now I can truly call you a friend
  • Irina Netchaev -- your kind reminders about taking care of myself and being a friend at my darkest hour
  • Lenore Wilkas(and Alex too) -- for reminding me that it would be ok, and making me laugh
  • Cyndee Hayden -- wow, who knew that a single email would rekindle a friendship
  • Frances Flyn Thorsen -- for late night phone calls when I thought I would fall apart
  • Kathy McGraw-- for sharing her grief over the loss of her friend Carol Provenzale
  • Thesa Chambers-- (and Sally Cheeseman) I will always remember your kind words when we lost Laurie, but those private emails between us and Laurie well they were something...
  • Ann Cummings, Monika  & Jay McGillcuddy, Kevin Tomlinson and Ardell DellaLoggio -- we too shared emails with Laurie and the loss of Laurie has made us all appreciate life just a little more
  • Scott Forcino -- your kindness and confidence has given me the strength to move forward in a new normal
  • Luke Constantino & Mitchell Hall -- What can I say other than Thank you!
  • Midori Miller -- The Purple Hanky - Gratitude we share grief, love and hope for the future

There are so many, if I didn't mention you, it is not because I don't appreciate what you did... 

Tonight, many from our ActiveRain community are surrounding yet another member Desiree Daniels and her fiance Al Sodaro as they start to cope with the loss of their son Gianni Baker Sodaro today.  

And so we all continue to pay it forward...   It may be a little thing, something so insignificant, yet it can mean the world to someone, especially during the holidays!







If you enjoyed this Buffalo Real Estate article, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! Daily updates to home sales market reports, homes for sale and helpful buying and selling articles are regularly posted on Buffalo Real Estate News. Colleen Kulikowski and the Best Buffalo Homes team of Keller Williams Realty is here to assist you with all of your home buying, selling and investing needs. Just call us today at (716) 650-0051!

search-buffalo-homes buffalo-neighborhoods contact-best-buffalo-homes buffalo-home-values get-the-latest-listings-via-email


This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
POSITIVE ATTITUDE for the Weary Soul
holiday miracles
laurie manny
midori miller
joe ferrara

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

So many here have become very important to me, I have not run across you before but have certainly heard about you. I know how important you and those that have left us were to the AR community. It is amazing how many lives we touch here, how important people become to us, people we will never meet in person. Thank you for this wonderful post!

Dec 18, 2010 01:18 PM #18
Colleen Irwin
Retired - Irondequoit, NY
Creative Real Estate Solutions...

Jane -- Thanks!

Andrea -- yes it is amazing how we affect each other...

Dec 19, 2010 02:07 AM #19
Jeff Belonger
Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc - Cherry Hill, NJ
The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans

Colleen.... very touching post and certainly paying it forward. But where the hell have I been.. I didn't know about Carole Provenzale... I have been commenting once and a while on her posts since her death and get responses... or that she appeared on one of my posts a few months ago. I guess Laura is commenting or responding.  And I had the pleasure of meeting Laura in NYC last January.  In any case, thanks for sharing all of this.

jeff belonger

Dec 20, 2010 03:04 PM #20
Colleen Irwin
Retired - Irondequoit, NY
Creative Real Estate Solutions...

Jeff -- yes it has been an intense year!   Thanks for stopping by!

Dec 21, 2010 06:46 AM #21
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Coach K, I was right behind you number 845 and enjoyed  this trip down Memory Lane. Oh my the Flat Stanley, Flat Caleb..I almost didn't send him on.(Got attached at a difficult time in my life) Remember our late night conversations and also with Laurie, who is missed by all of us.

You taught so many and shared so much and write so beautifully. It has been a magical and emotional journey and you have captured  well.

Wishing you all good things for the coming New Year!

Congratulations on being a well deserved winner in the contest!!

Dec 21, 2010 05:43 PM #22
Kathy McGraw
CELLing Realty - White Water, CA
Riverside County CA Real Estate

Colleen....Congratulations!!!  Paying it Forward will always be a WINNER :)

Dec 21, 2010 06:03 PM #23
Rita Fong
RE/MAX REAL ESTATE TODAY, Executive Broker 901-488-9590 - Marion, AR
Realtor - Marion Arkansas Homes for Sale

Colleen, Congratulations to be the winner of the Miracle contest.  I am not on AR long enough to know many of those members and you, but I can tell how great the friendship you have built through the years.  Pay it forward is the best gift anyone can give away, in my opinion.  It is obvious you have contributed a lot to this community and have helped many others, you are so deserved to be the winner of this contest.  Congrats again!  Merry Christmas to you.

Dec 21, 2010 08:00 PM #24
CA COASTAL ESTATES Lauren Selinsky Perez CRS
California Coastal Estates - Aliso Viejo, CA
"Your Real Estate Broker" #oclauren

Wow! I am speechless... :'( I feel the kindness here in such a short time... and thanks for your BLOG it was quite touching and well deserved of the Miracle contest.

Dec 21, 2010 08:17 PM #25
Steve, Joel & Steve A. Chain
Chain Real Estate Investments & Mortgage, Steve & Joel Chain - Cottonwood, CA


The Active Rain Community continues to amaze me. While other platforms attempt to copy what's here it never happens.  You heartfelt history paints a picture that tells a 1000 words,



Dec 22, 2010 12:05 AM #26
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX

Colleen, What a wonderful post, I arrived here after seeing that you won the Holiday Miracles contest sponsored by Sally in PAWS. I am amazed at the history here at AR and thanks for the detailed narrative, Though I have been here for a little more than two years I am constantly discovering new people and that is another gift offered by AR. Like you I am also an advocate for paying it forward and appreciate your attitude and commitment on your part to do so in a meaningful way. Congratulations on winning the contest with this well written post!

I am glad to have found your blog and will subscribe right after leaving this comment!


Dec 22, 2010 12:14 AM #27
Irene Kennedy RealtorĀ® in Northwestern NJ
Weichert - Lopatcong, NJ


I can see why you took 1st place in the contest with this moving tribute!

Dec 22, 2010 12:16 AM #28
Dawn Crawley
Dawn Crawley Realty - Pinehurst, NC
Find Pinehurst Homes

Colleen, congratulations on winning the contest, and thank you for writing such a nice post. We have lost a few in our community this year, and it is a difficult time especially for the family members. I hope your new Year is a good one. Merry Christmas.

Dec 22, 2010 12:16 AM #29
The Scott Loper Team Bux-Mont Premier Properties
Keller Williams Real Estate - Montgomeryville - Lansdale, PA

Hi Colleen,

Active Rain really is a community.  God Bless!


Dec 22, 2010 12:21 AM #30
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Good morning Colleen,

Congratulations on first place in the Holiday Miracle contest. Your post brought tears to my eyes.

Merry Christmas from Erie, PA

Dec 22, 2010 01:25 AM #31
Colleen Irwin
Retired - Irondequoit, NY
Creative Real Estate Solutions...

Wow!    Thanks everyone!    It has been an emotional journey for so many this year.    Today my thoughts are with Desiree Daniels and her family...    And that of the families and friends of everyone that has lost someone dear to them.    Holidays are never the same and very difficult for those who have lost someone so close to them.  

Take the time and pay it forward -- drop a card in the mail to someone you know who lost someone this year.   Those cards are incredibly special!

Dec 22, 2010 01:53 AM #32
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Congratulations on your post, Colleen. The caring, sensitive attitude you have always show shines through from beginning to end. Words fail me at this point to say how this touched me, and I'm sure so many others.

It is always sad to hear of the losses others have experienced but the humaness, kindness and support of the AR communtiy has always shown through. The points, the features, the pettiness, griping and everything else we see here means nothing in the face of the pay it forward spirit so many share. Thank you.

Have a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year. You have touched many today, and no doubt will continue to do so.

Dec 22, 2010 02:38 AM #33
Ron Holborn
Short Sales, Foreclosures, Rentals, Income Real Estate - Anaheim, CA
Commercial & SFR, Anaheim CA, Real Estate & Short

Colleen - Congratulations on winning the Holiday Miracle contest!  This was a powerful bolg.  Thanks for all the times you paid it forward.  It's definitely the little things in life that count, because they have such big meaning.  I can't wait to see how you pay this forward, I know you will!    Btw, why do/did you find it a greater value to have your own blog?  Best Regards.

Dec 22, 2010 11:27 AM #35
Karen Baker
Sunset Beach and Beyond Realty - Sunset Beach, NC
Professional Help with Rapid Responses...


Thank you ~ for this very thoughtful post ~ although we didn't know everyone ~ we certainly felt we could with all the links you provided~ Congrats ~

Dec 22, 2010 01:51 PM #36
Jason Sardi
Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina - Charlotte, NC
Your Agent for Life

Worthy post to win, for sure.

This post certainly brought up some liquid in my ducts, Colleen.  I couldn't believe it when I heard about Laurie:(

Very thoughtful post and I hope all is well with you.  Have a wonderful holiday and take care of yourself.  You're still a legend around these parts:)

Dec 24, 2010 02:45 AM #37
Colleen Irwin
Retired - Irondequoit, NY
Creative Real Estate Solutions...

Ron -- It is a lot easier to explain in person.    Feel free to call me after the holidays....


Dec 24, 2010 03:43 PM #38
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Colleen Irwin

Creative Real Estate Solutions...
Ask me a question