Celebrate Life

I want to tell you about someone. Actually, I want to tell you about TWO someones. The first person you might already know. Her name is Anita. Sweet Hope Anita. She's a giver. She gives her time to make cookies to raise funds and awareness for ALS in honor of her brother Randy. She gives support to anyone she's ever met because she pretty much has the biggest heart on the planet. And not in an unhealthy-something's-got-to-give kind of way. More like a seeing-into-your-soul-truly-loving-a-person kind of way. She gives sprinkles and sanding sugar to a certain cookie decorator who lived in South Korea and had no way of acquiring said sugar products. She gives giant helium balloons to children. She gives of all that she has to those who don't have the same. Actually, I'm pretty sure she would give to people who even had more if she thought it would make them happy or brighten their day.

And she does it all without a reason. Without needing applause or recognition. To be perfectly honest, she's a little uncomfortable with either of those things. Which makes this blog post completely awkward. Because as a cookie community... WE LOVE US SOME ANITA. And we want to give back to her in a way that is meaningful. On this day that she is honoring the passing of a brother that inspired her, we want to honor Anita and her generous and loving heart by sharing with her and with the world our stories. We want to share with you the people that inspire us. Our heroes. Our loves. Our reasons for who we are or why we do what we do. The people the give us a reason to be better. We want to share with you our own Anitas.

I used to live in Colorado. My husband was an infantry officer in the United States Army. His unit deployed for 15 months to Iraq. I was alone with a baby boy. The first day lasted for years. I was practically an old woman by the end of just one week. My house was too quiet, too still. The hours ahead of me echoed in the space around me that was suddenly to too vast to comprehend. I was heartbroken and alone and I couldn't figure out how to keep breathing in and out anymore.

And then Megan came around. She lived exactly 0.21 miles from me. She had two dogs and loved baseball... especially the Boston Red Sox. She has a fighting Irish spunk and has dedicated her life to protecting, educating, and enabling other women to find a better life.

Every day Megan came around. Or I would go her direction. Every single day we would find each other. And then we would walk. We walked for miles. I am not even kidding you. One day we walked so far and so long and it was so dark and we were in a whole different town and we didn't even know where we were. So we kept walking until we figured it out. And sometimes my son hated it. And we would feel bad and go home. But mostly he liked to see the world and hear voices. And we liked to be together. We liked to be connected and not alone.

I've moved 4 times since I met Megan. She's moved at least that many herself. Sometimes it's months before I talk to her again. But every time I think of her, I think of her strength. I think of her values. And I remember that her friendship was like a lullaby. It was a quiet, gentle song in an emotionally turbulent time of my life. And it meant everything to me.

I named my daughter Megan. And I hope she has that same courageous, giving heart. And maybe also some of that Irish spunk. :)

Life is better with people. Especially people like Megan. (Both of them.) Check out all the fantastic cookies and read more stories by clicking on the pictures below. And then join me on my Facebook Page to share YOUR stories and YOUR heroes as we CELEBRATE LIFE and the people we love.

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