Tips & Talk 71 – Personal Reflections on the Highland Park, IL Mass Shooting

You hear about these events on the news, see the horror and sympathize with those involved. You may even know someone affected by a violent event and reach out to help, or offer financial support. There’s anger, frustration and lots of conversation asking “How we can allow these things to continue to happen? This is not the American way and it needs to stop.”

It may leave you stunned, heartbroken, and unsettled for some time. But be honest – deep down – even though you say it could happen anywhere and to anyone, you never really think it will happen to you.

Me too. Until last week. You see Highland Park is my hometown. In this episode I share with you my experience around this event (no gory details I promise). Yet amongst all this horror and feeling guilty about not being able to do more in that moment, I recognized something wonderful happening too.

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Transcript
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Hi there.

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It's Sue.

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And thanks for joining me for tips and talk day.

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These are bite-sized topics that I pull from community questions and

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things that I'm observing in the world of handmade small business.

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If you'd like to submit a topic,

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DME, over on Instagram at gift biz unwrapped,

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I struggled with whether I should talk about this or not,

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but I'm surrounded by it daily.

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And it keeps popping up in my mind to share this

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with you.

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So I'm following my instincts and going with it as I'm

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sure you've heard.

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There was another mass shooting last week in Highland park,

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Illinois. You know,

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you hear about these events on the news,

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see the horror and sympathize with those involved.

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You may even know someone affected by a violent event and

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reach out to help or offer financial support.

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There's anger,

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frustration, and lots of conversation asking how can we allow these

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things to continue to happen?

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Because this is not the American way and it needs to

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stop. It may leave you stunned,

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heartbroken, and unsettled for some time,

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but be honest,

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deep down,

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even though you say it could happen anywhere and to anyone,

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you never really think it will happen to you.

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Me too,

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until last week,

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you see Highland park is my hometown where we've lived for

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almost 40 years where we've raised our children and a town.

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I love dearly.

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It's a beautiful community set right beside lake Michigan and shaded

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by trees,

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hundreds of years old,

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it has walking paths,

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hidden cul-de-sacs small bridges and homes of all styles and sizes.

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Making random walks a discovery every time every town is quaint

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in its own way.

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And I'm sure you can highlight favorite things about where you

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live. Highland park is special unto itself yet the same as

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so many others throughout our country.

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My offices are located in an old two-story building in the

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historic portion of our central downtown.

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I truly manifested this location about 10 years ago on a

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walk with my husband.

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I wanted to relocate my business from a commercial area because

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my size requirements had changed.

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So I described to Michael,

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what I envisioned as my ideal space.

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I wanted a downtown spot where I could go to street

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level and grab some coffee,

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maybe even slip away and have lunch with friends and get

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out for breaks and go for a walk.

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During the day.

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I also wanted to be able to walk to work.

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If I so chose that image is exactly where we are

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today and I don't ever take it for granted.

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The annual July 4th parade kicks off right outside my office

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window. It starts with the chamber sponsored child pet bicycle parade,

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followed by the city,

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organized, floats,

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walking organizations,

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dancers to your leaders.

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And of course my favorite,

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the band's a parade just like many towns have to celebrate

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our independence.

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One year I even got to officially start the parade that

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was really exciting this year,

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after a two year delay,

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the parade and all other city celebrations were back on and

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everyone was really excited to get back to normal.

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It was finally feeling like we were there back to the

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masks, homeschooling.

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I was a little disappointed to be missing at all,

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but I certainly couldn't complain on July 4th.

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We were in Provence taking in the lavender fields,

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culinary delight,

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and more than our fair share of French wine.

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Then late in the afternoon,

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Provence time,

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my cell phone started going off calls and texts.

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One on top of another over and over.

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That's how I found out within those very first confusing minutes.

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What was happening a world away from where I was physically.

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But right next to me,

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inside my heart,

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10 minutes into the parade,

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a shooter fired 70 rounds from the roof of a building

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into a large crowd of parade spectators,

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killing seven and injuring dozens.

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More suffice it to say,

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I know many who heard the shots saw the violence got

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hurt, ran for safety,

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aided the victims and are now left to deal with the

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sense of all this and work on healing,

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whatever that means.

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Now that I'm home the stories.

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So many individual experience stories.

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I'm not getting into any further details because that's not the

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point of my message for you today,

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but I can't discount the horror.

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So many who I care about witnessed after I got those

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initial calls telling me what was going on.

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My phone continued to be a hive of activity for hours

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and hours and hours.

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Seriously, between trying to understand what was actually going on the

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updates about catching the shooter,

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checking on people to make sure they were safe and receiving

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calls of those checking on me because many didn't know I

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was out of town.

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It was an unorganized on going chaos.

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My fingers couldn't tap replies fast enough.

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And one conversation led to three other things to uncover yet

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amongst all this horror and feeling guilty about not being able

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to do more.

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In that moment,

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I recognized something wonderful happening.

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Two people reached out to me from all over the world

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and from all stages of my life,

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some who I haven't been in touch with for years,

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this reinforced two things for me that are the main takeaways

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I'm hoping to leave you with today.

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First, the power of community receiving all the check-in messages.

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Did my heart,

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a whole lot of good friends and family,

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of course,

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and also many,

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many people who I've connected with through business,

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from local networking groups,

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to the ribbon print company.

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Customers, if you don't know that's my other business and lots

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of gift,

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biz connections like you,

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podcast listeners,

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gift biz breeze members,

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which is the Facebook group,

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coaching clients and other social media contacts.

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I'm still today in off how many people reached out and

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if you're one of them,

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thank you from the bottom of my heart,

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it really means the world to me,

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even before I appreciated all the awesome people I've been able

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to meet because I have these businesses,

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wonderful, caring,

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supportive people.

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I wouldn't have known otherwise.

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Have you ever thought about that?

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The richness of your business through the connections it's allowed you

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to make customers,

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vendors, employees,

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and more you work with them,

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learn about their life and come to care about them.

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And to me,

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and I'm guessing to you as well,

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many have become dear friends.

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This is a benefit.

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We don't often recognize a much less talk about these connections.

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We build enrich our lives and they wouldn't exist without our

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businesses, but there's definitely no need to have a tragic event

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happen in your life to be able to appreciate this,

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which leads to my second takeaway,

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the impact you have on someone's day by connecting with them

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can be so powerful in times of tragedy.

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We may not know what to say.

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So we hesitate.

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You know,

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you think to yourself,

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will my words reflect really how I feel?

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What if I'm saying the same thing as others?

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Shouldn't I have special words or a deeply insightful message for

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situations like this.

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There can be many reasons why you think of reaching out

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to someone and stop yourself.

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It's been my experience through this event that the actual words

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used is way less important than the fact that you make

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contact. I've heard from people I haven't connected with for quite

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a while,

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and even got a call from a dear college friend.

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I haven't talked to in,

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I'm going to say over a decade,

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hearing Kim's voice was so comforting.

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I can hardly put it into words.

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We all can make contact and send more messages to others

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important in our life.

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And it doesn't need to take a tragedy.

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As I said before,

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even a quick,

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hi, I was thinking about you today and your beautiful smile,

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or just had a scoop of bubblegum ice cream.

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Remember when we tried it for the first time,

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how about just saw that your little girl turned three already?

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How time flies these outreaches don't need to lead to getting

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together or adding to our already overbooked lives,

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but they hold such power to positively affect someone's day.

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And it will leave you both with a wonderful feeling.

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Plus it's free,

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no words or hugs will ever make everything all right,

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again, in every situation,

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but receiving support.

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Sure helps clearly here in my hometown,

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we have a lot of healing to do and a homegrown

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psycho to wrap our heads around and prosecute things will never

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be the same as they once were.

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And I know there are communities,

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unfortunately, just like mine.

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We'll get through it though.

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I have no doubt by giving you a little of the

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behind the scenes of what we're dealing with here.

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I hope I've reemphasized for you.

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The strengths,

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your actions can have both giving and receiving messages between people.

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It really is that simple.

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In fact,

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I encourage you to reach out to a few people you

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haven't talked to for a while today,

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nothing big.

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Just say hi,

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this exchange is what we all need right now,

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and is evidence of the beauty that exists in our world.

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And we have an opportunity to pass it on.

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That's a wrap.

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I'm a get to the point kind of girl.

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And this is what you can expect from these quick midweek

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sessions. Now it's your turn go out and fulfill that dream

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of yours.

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