Sunday, June 28, 2015

Love Wins! Every time! #worththewait A Day at Camp Moose and Squirrel

It's amazing how the Universe works. Paul DiLorenzo and Marcie Butler were each dating other people when they met. But soon they became Team DiButzo and filled everyone who knew them with joy as they ran races together, got married at the Falmouth Road Race in 2013

and delivered baby Radley in April of 2014. We were all placing bets to see if he would be a marathon baby.

Marcie became a foster mom almost 7 years ago when she loved Vann as though he were her own son. Then she became foster mom for Gino. I remember the day as though it were yesterday when she filled out the adoption papers and posted a photo on Facebook.

It took incredible patience and dogged determination to not give up on the tedious adoption process knowing that one day love would win and Vann and Gino would legally be recognized as Marcie and Paul's sons.

That day happened in May

A Party of Five
#worththewait May 21, 2015

Moose and Squirrel, a Smoosh, two tenacious parents who refused to quit
celebrate the decree of adoption while Vann and Gino in the judge’s chair would sit.
A peanut gallery, their village, bore witness to a party of five become a family of one
henceforth known as Team DiLorenzo as the marathon of life together they’ll run.
Such patience and perseverance, the deepest love so honest and true
going the distance through 7 long years, at last finisher’s tape they broke through.
What a privilege to share in this journey, what joy to share in this most happy day
every finish line’s a new beginning, we wish you happiness every mile on your way.
Congratulations to this perfect party of 5
– it’s time to celebrate all you are and all you do
Team McManus will track your adventures sending blessings to each one of you.

Happy Adoption Day!

Last night, Marcie posted this on Facebook:
After our long awaited court date back in May, we knew that we would have to have a grand celebration! Our ‪#‎worththewait‬ adoption party was a day at camp for every generation! We ate camp snacks, made s'mores, climbed a rock wall, tried our hand at archery, swam, boated, floated, laughed and had one epic summer day! We renamed our favorite day camp: Camp Moose & Squirrel to celebrate! Vann & Gino soaked up the love and saw that they are not only important to us, but, to our whole village! Let the LOVE soak in!

Moose and Squirrel are the nicknames for Gino and Vann. Marcie hijacked the YMCA Camp Trickland Falls Day Camp and turned it into
Camp Moose and Squirrel.

The perfect party of five had camp t-shirts:

Marcie attended to every camp themed detail including snacks:

and here's Marcie's mom fixing up some good old fashioned camp lemonade:

Over one hundred members of Paul and Marcie's village from biological family members, to friends, to running family members; people of all ages who became kids and fellow campers for the day celebrated that love wins!

We experienced the love of a village playing together - all One - in a beautiful, perfect world.

There was a swimming hole:

and a water slide:

Archery for campers of all ages that transported me back to a very happy camper time in my life when I went to Badger Day Camp 50 years ago:

Tom Licciardello and I had a competition at the archery range. He beat me by one point 21 to 20. Just wait til the next time! Here we are with Tom, Lyn and Donna Manning Phaneuf - members of the Merrimack Valley Striders running family:

There was a rock climbing wall:

I thanked the counselors and lifeguards who staffed the camp for the day. They said that it was such an incredible day that they were delighted to be a part of it. They've known Vann and Gino and the DiLorenzo Family for two summers and the joy, love and sense of celebration came through their happy hearts.

Lunch was catered by Mess Haul, a food truck that served up our choice of a caprese sandwich, hot dogs for the kids, buffalo chicken sandwich, hamburgers or sausage subs. As people waited in line they were thinking out loud, "Should I go healthy with a caprese sandwich or do something else."

No camp day is complete without a camp fire and s'mores and Marcie had pre-made packages of s'mores as well as marshmallows for those who wanted to roast only marshmallows:

Many of us didn't know each other and met for the first time yesterday yet we chatted, played, ate, celebrated as though we had known each other our whole lives. There was an ease and an easiness throughout the day and as Marcie put out on Facebook, happy campers only please. How could be we anything but happy campers! We were brought together by love, joy and celebrating that Truth, justice and love win every time.

Here are more photos from Camp Moose and Squirrel 6-27-15:

Cheers! To life! Love always wins so love yourself well!

I chronicle the first 7 years of my healing journey after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease as a survivor of childhood paralytic polio and 9 years of childhood domestic violence in Coming Home:A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility.

In Journey Well, the journey continues in the wake of my nephew's suicide on 3/4/11 and the events of 4/15/13. Through my journey of healing and transformation, we learn that no matter what life circumstances happen to us, we can always find a way to journey well.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

My New Jobs

I used to drive my husband crazy when I wrote down that I was a retired social worker. He pointed out that I am more busy in retirement than I was when I worked as a social worker at the VA.

It took me awhile to transform and embrace this phase of my life moving from a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma who had to retire to a woman who is vibrant, whole, happy and healthy working as an author and training as an athlete.

Recently I updated my website and my profile on Google and Facebook to reflect these changes.

I updated my author page at Amazon Central and realized that yes I am an author and a writer.

I'm also a motivational speaker as Tom Grilk commented on Facebook after I wrote about Sunday's BAA 10K.

Pretty easy to see why Mary is a motivational speaker. Her words are humbling and gratifying.

I have new business cards on the way:

I receive emails and reviews about my books ...

After reading just 60 pages of her memoir, one reader sent this email to me:

"It was great seeing you again a few weeks ago. I was so happily surprised that you remembered me.

I wanted you to know that I just bought your memoir and read about 60 pages of it. I find it so incredibly inspiring. I have decided that I want to take on some big growth challenges in the next few months. Seeing how you handled the combination of post polio symptoms, PTSD, and caretaker burnout, helps me feel a bit more secure about successfully completing the challenges. Thank you so much for writing your memoir and selling it at Marathon Sports."

Alma MacDermott, aka Mrs. Mac had this to say about Coming Home: "Mary is a fellow member of my running club, the L Street Running Club in South Boston. After reading her self-published life story, I have to salute the courage and strength she displayed in working through extreme trials which a young girl should have never had to endure, and which led to the beautiful and generous person she has become today. Mary, you are a survivor and I salute you!" You can read the full review on her blog.

Another reader told me how he was healing his childhood trauma reading my memoir and Journey Well and feeling inspired that he too could create a life after the VA. He had just retired and reached out to me letting me know he had been struggling with retirement. He bought my books and felt a boost of energy and hope.

Lee Woodruff - yes that Lee Woodruff had this to say about "Journey Well":

"A book that will undoubtedly make an impact...Journey Well by Mary McManus. It will inspire you to live each day in a stronger way..."

and gave "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility" 5 stars on Goodreads.

I'm no longer running as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma; I am running and I am an athlete. My job is to train for races and for next year's Newport Marathon. I run for my own health and well being but I also run because I was told I shouldn't run any more. I run for the joy of it all, to share running with Tom and my running family and to create ripples out into the Universe of what is possible when we harness the power of our thoughts, fire up our will and determination.

So there you have it!

I am not retired at all but claim my two new jobs --

As an author:

I'm working on "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems" and "Going the Distance" which will chronicle my road to the Newport Marathon 2016 following a knee injury last December.

And an athlete in training enjoying every mile of this delicious journey!

They told me I was crazy when I left the VA 8 1/2 years ago to heal my life and follow my passion as a writer and they told me I was crazy to run another marathon. Call me crazy - and I'll see you at the finish line!

Cheers! To life! Love yourself well!