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.
It 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.
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.
It 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!
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