It’s OK to sit in the scared. Fear never takes you anywhere good.

Today, would have been this beautiful, amazing, kind woman’s 41st Birthday.

My friend Kaity had so much wisdom, she was an unapologetic light in this crazy world. She was a truth teller, a Christian, an ambassador of Hope, a two time cancer survivor, a woman who rediscovered herself after divorce, and a grateful member of the recovery community. She was a renegade, a healer, and devoted herself to teach others how God pursues each of us, no matter how hard we run.

Kaity, I wish I was sitting next to you at Stir Crazy Cafe wishing you a Happy Birthday today, but I know you had an amazing highlight reel when you got to heaven, and I know your questions were answered, including…’why cancer a third time?’ Selfishly, I needed to hear you today, and God spoke through you to tell me – ‘it’s OK to sit in the scared space until the paralysis goes away.  You don’t need to act on that paralyzed space.  You can wait and eventually it will subside and when it subsides and you sit there with it, you’ll know where love resides.’

Kaity spoke at Esther Be in April 2017, here is a part of her story she shared, and the wisdom she left us with that day.  Kaity passed away five days after she celebrated her 40th Birthday on October 18th 2018.

Rest in Peace and Celebration my dear friend, you are terribly missed. -Stacy

Originally Written October 18, 2019

National Coming Out Day

Gay men bring me joy. I heart them. Big time. They give the best hugs, I mean THE BEST. They make me laugh until I cry, and embrace my confetti cannon loving heart without question. One of my best friends, Clark, is a gay man, and he has loved me well for the past 12 years. I am proud to walk alongside him in life, as well as, so many of my other friends that are LGBTQ. I open my arms wide and embrace them for the magical humans that they are. I am in awe of their bravery of shedding a mask they no longer wear. I am in awe of their genuine joy and spirit (and of course sarcasm). I love and adore each of them.

Recently, I listened to the CEO and Chief Engagement Director of Indiana Youth Group speak, and there were several times I was in tears. IYG is truly amazing, their passion and compassion is unprecedented. Their hearts are as wide as the ocean to help the LGBTQ youth of Indiana. In one study, according to the Trevor Project – lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth who reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide. They also make up 40% of homeless youth because of family rejection. Y’all, these are OUR kids. We can do better than this. Seriously, there is a phrase called family rejection? OY!

A few months ago, I was asked to lead the professional and personal development arm of the PRIDE ERG, and I was (and still am) ecstatic. I absolutely love this group of people, and couldn’t be prouder to be their ally to help them grow personally and professionally. I get to learn, laugh, cry, and be silly with them – and that’s pretty awesome.

Today, is National Coming Out Day. Friends, today, I celebrate your bravery and courage of living in your truth. I thank you for allowing me to receive love and learn from you.

For those of you that have not come out, I pray that family rejection is no longer.

I hope and pray that each of you have a safe place and people to come out to. And, if you don’t, my door and arms are open to you, ALWAYS.

Love is Love. -Stacy

Originally Written on October 11, 2019

Happy 242nd Birthday America!

This is what I know. I am an American. Born & Raised in the Midwest. My ancestors are from Ireland (24%), Germany (61%), Scandinavia (12%), Spain (2%), & Great Britain (1%) according to family knowledge and Ancestry DNA.

Today, America celebrates her 242nd Birthday. She has been around a long time, but still a baby compared to other countries. When the forefathers founded America, they did so Under God. They did so for Independence. Their heart’s desire was to seek something different, live in a different land, than what they were used to – that heart’s desire hasn’t changed in the 242 years – people still seek the American Dream.

If you have ever traveled through Ellis Island, you have seen and heard the stories of those that came to America for a better life, for the American Dream. From 1892 – 1954 it was the busiest immigrant inspection station, you can almost feel their emotions of sadness, hope, fear of the unknown, illness, and relief. And your heart aches and leaps as you stand in the Grand Hall. Welcome to the Land of Liberty.

Have you ever taken the time to listen to an immigrant or refugee’s story and how he or she is now an American Citizen or how they are living in America? Have you taken the time to seek and understand their story? This is what I know. They are precious, persevering, resilient people. One of my dearest friends shared her journey of becoming a US Citizen from India, and all I wanted to do was hug her, and love on her. She did it ‘right’ and it took 15 long years and many resources. It is not easy to become a legal US Citizen. Let me repeat, it is NOT easy to become a legal US Citizen. (Check out The Myth of Legal Immigration |Sheena Koshy on TEDx if you would like to hear her story)

When we adopted our three children, there were several documents to obtain – new birth certificates, social security numbers, and US Citizenship Documentation. Again, for my kiddos to become US Citizens wasn’t easy. It was almost a year long process. Yes, they wanted a family – but they also wanted a better life, and America was calling. If you have experience with Ukrainian orphanages, many of them are 300+ children with little to no hope of finding a forever family outside of their own country – let alone the US. The Intercountry adoption rates are the lowest they have been, down 12% since 2016. The last children’s home as my kids call it was different, there were loving caregivers, amazing cooks, and laughter & love filled the small space. To those of you friends that cared for my kids their last year in Ukraine – thank you, we love you.

Today, I sat at a 4th of July parade in our town, drinking Independence in. Then, out of nowhere – Mia yells, “Hey Mr Seaman!”, Mr Seaman responds with a smile, a wave and a “Hi Mia!” – Mr Seaman was Mia’s 7th Grade Science Teacher, and he remembered my daughter – Mama’s heart burst. Jason Seaman was the Co-GrandMarshall of the 4th of July Parade today. He is our hometown hero as he tackled the school shooter just 41 days ago, in his Science Room at Noblesville West Middle School. When Jason said, “Hi Mia!” I lost it – I couldn’t stop crying – I balled the rest of the parade. With tears streaming down my face I was thankful for our community, a community that has become her community.

This is what I know. It is not easy to become a legal US Citizen. As we know there are many, many, many, many people who have the desire to do so – just like our forefathers, just like my ancestors 200+ years ago. They want a chance at a better life. Have we, as a country become hoarders? After all, our country is blessed in many ways, and blessings should not be hoarded. Hoarding and fear will get us nowhere. I am a better person because of my diverse group of friends; they each bring something special to my life.

This is what I know. I had my kids DNA tested through Ancestry DNA – and guess what? 98-99% Ukrainian, not surprising at all. So, the difference between America and other countries – is this; our cultural background is diverse. That is what America is all about. Depending who they marry, my grandchildren will be a mash up of cultures. Thank you God! I know heaven will be just like this.

People need to be seen as people. People need to be remembered. People need to be welcomed. People need to be invited. We need community. We need tribes. We need each other. The new command from the Bible is Love One Another. Love extravagantly. This, you can do. It starts with you. Don’t be lured into negative conversation. You can be a light. It is just that easy.

Cheers America! Happy 242nd! -Stacy

Originally Written, July 4th 2018