Framing My Life for 2018!!

Framing my life… What does that mean exactly?? One lesson I learned from my dear friend Paul Roberts Abernathy is the value of defining words for your audience. So to “frame”, as defined by Webster’s dictionary is “to plan, shape or construct. To fit or adjust especially to something or for an end”… Now I know none of us can predict the future, but we certainly can get our New Year off to a great start by planning what we’d like to have happen in our lives. I’ve chosen to do that this year with “frames” as opposed to resolutions. I’ve spent the last 8 days working on and planning my 2018 in LEGO brick form. Resolutions usually last 30 days or less for most people, so I built “frames” which I plan to look at and focus on all year long.

First and most important for me is to keep my faith in the forefront of my life in 2018, and that goal is represented by my “Cross Frame”. It is a very different cross, just as all of us are different in many ways, but we are a community bound by our connections. I plan to enlarge my community and my love for God by making more connections and loving folks unconditionally. May we all make more connections in 2018 with folks who are different from us. I dedicate this frame to Paul Roberts Abernathy, Gayle Fisher-Stewart and Michele Morgan, who have all taught me a thing or two about faith and unconditional love in their quests for love and justice.

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Next is my “Butterfly Frame”, representing the fact that we can all make changes in our lives. We may have been caterpillars but we can all become beautiful butterflies and soar. I hope to gain stronger wings and fly with more confidence in 2018. I dedicate this frame to my granddaughter Kendal, the most amazing butterfly that I know, and she’s currently raising a few butterflies of her own!

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Next is my “Acceptance Frame”. It represents the fact that we don’t all fit into an 8×10 or 11×14 frame. We have bumps and curves and flaws, but they shouldn’t disqualify us from being accepted. I want to Accept others as they are and not try to force them to fit into the frame that I want them to fit in. I dedicate this frame to all caregivers, that they can accept the state of being of those they care for, and to my Mom Doris, who is different every single day and who I love more than anything!

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My fourth frame is “My Calling” frame which gives me my voice to continue to inspire and teach those I’m privileged to speak to. With the love and support of all of the “pillars” in my life by my side, I pray I’ll always find the right words to share as I go out on the road again starting in January. I dedicate this frame to all the members of Loretta’s Angels, my amazing support group who inspire me to keep going even when I don’t always feel like it.

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My 5th frame is called my “Scene Frame”! This frame represents all of the “scenes” that are important in our lives, places where we hang out and feel comfortable. But what would happen if we invited someone new into our “scene” or tried out a “new scene” ourselves, even if it’s outside of our comfort zones? In 2018 I plan on inviting some new folks into my “scenes” and going back to some of the ” old scenes” I shared with Tim. I also want to do more research into dementia-friendly churches and would love to attend a service with Mom.

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My last frame is my favorite! It’s a series of little frames that I made into one big frame, which I simply call my “Life Frame”. I want to fill the little frames with as many experiences and adventures as possible, making the big frame a representative of the best year ever! I want to rekindle some old relationships and make some new ones. I want to see as much of this country as possible in my beautiful RV named Joy and record every second of my adventures. When you think of your 2018, who and what will be in your frames???

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In my frame, I see myself spending lots of time with my family in 2018 because even though we are small we have overcome our struggles and shared great triumphs! We share unconditional love and put family first! I dedicate this frame to Kim and Kendal, also known as two-thirds of the Adventure Girls with the hope that we continue to soar, grow and love and live life to the fullest!!

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I’m grateful for all of my friends and family who have helped get me through 2017, which wasn’t easy on some days! My wish for all of us is an amazing 2018 filled with love and peace! I know my angel Tim will continue to inspire me throughout 2018 whenever I need him most! Happy New Year!

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An Early Gift From a Santa Named Tim!

Imagine encountering Santa Claus as you’re finishing up your morning walk and heading back to your hotel. He was coming out of Walgreens after getting whatever supplies Santa needs and heading to his car. A big smile came over my face as seeing Santa added to what was already starting out to be a terrific morning. I had walked almost 3 miles round trip to get my Starbucks coffee and I was feeling fantastic!!

Santa saw me and waved and of course I excitedly waved back!! And THEN he asked “How are you today Loretta?????” WHAT?????? Now I know he’s Santa but how does he know my name??? I was blown away (and a little freaked out) and almost starting to believe in Santa Claus again!! I was waiting for him to tell me if I’d been naughty or nice!!

Turns out I knew “Santa” from last night’s presentation for Artis Senior Living of Davie and he and I had quite an evening! Santa’s name is actually Timothy Hawkins and at last night’s event he actually made me cry, but in the best of ways!! Before my presentation started I was going around the room chatting with everyone as I always do. At one table at the front of the room were four women and one man! The man had captivated that table and the women listening to his stories were roaring with laughter! It reminded me so much of my Tim!! When I went over to see who this guy leading all the fun was I saw Timothy on his name tag!! I almost burst into tears because this Tim and my Tim could have been personality twins!! He was even about the same height!! I had to leave the room quickly and shed a couple of tears. I couldn’t believe how much his mannerisms were like my Tim!

When I returned to the room I gave him a big hug and told him I’d explain why I had done so in my presentation. During my presentation as I told the audience about my Tim and how much he helped me with Mom’s care prior to his death, I asked the Tim in the room to stand.

I thanked him for being who he was and for bringing me such joy because he reminded me so much of my Tim. It was the closest I’ve ever come to bursting out in tears during a presentation.

At first I was upset at the end of the night that I hadn’t gotten a picture with Tim, but then I realized it was ok because I’ll never forget him. So imagine my shock today when I ran into Tim again, this time as Santa Claus!! He gave me one of his professional photos and turns out he’s also a professional singer and magician!

I wasn’t going pass up a second opportunity to get a picture with him and so we did!! It was so fitting for him to be dressed as Santa because he gave me one of the best gifts ever – a live reminder of my gregarious Tim!!

It doesn’t matter at all if I don’t get any gifts on Christmas Day, because this early gift from the Santa named Tim was perfect! I already have all the “stuff” I need, but I’ll cherish this memory of my time in Plantation, Florida forever!