Although my background isn't one that includes speaking Hebrew or Yiddish, I figure most people get what I mean when I say, "Mazel Tov." Literally translated, mazel tov means something closer to "good luck," but it's more commonly used to say "congratulations," and that's how I'm using it here. This is a place where I can throw a little recognition at people who deserve it, people who are doing something worthwhile, something I respect and who am I kidding, am a little jealous I didn't think of first.
This Mazel Tov Monday is for Melanie Crutchfield and Kristin Brumm, of melaniecrutchfield.com and Wanderlust, respectively. Why these two women? I'm so glad you asked.
Melanie Crutchfield, a writer and designer in San Diego, California, decided she was going to invite some of her blogger friends to write about hope when the Olympics first kicked off this past summer in London. Although I can't say what she expected, I'd like to think she was just as blown away as I was when the time came to sit back and take in the grand list of all the blog posts written during this two week period sharing, defining and celebrating what hope is to us. I applaud her initiative to gather stories of hope and give them a place to hang out together. Because regardless of the dictionary definition of the word hope, this "teeny, tiny word [can] unfurl in a thousand different ways" (Melanie Crutchfield, Hope 2012: Closing Ceremonies). When people take the time to organize things like this, it's a wonderful reminder that distance and time don't have to be hinderances when it comes to making connections. Now, anyone can find Melanie's Closing Ceremonies post and read through one hundred snippets from different posts about hope, then follow those links that speak to them and read the words of someone they might feel connected to, if only within the span of those handful of sentences that someone decided to share with the world. No matter where we're from and who we are, there are certain undeniable aspects of life we all share, and laying out these kinds of stories to be found, read, embraced and maybe even understood is a pretty fantastic way of making more visible the things that connect us all.
So thanks again, Melanie. I love that a little piece of my hope made it into this ingenius relay, and here's to more future endeavors that share the redeeming aspects of life.
Kristin Brumm, a writer and California girl living in Australia, is a woman who uses her blog to write through the personal turmoil in her life, and in doing so, has touched countless others battling similar monsters. Instead of allowing the circumstances she's faced trample her into the dirt, she has stood up and become stronger, connecting with others and getting involved in initiatives aimed at shedding light where the shadows tend to take over. Kristin was the spokesperson for Speak Out, a campaign that generated awareness of domestic violence in November of 2011, educating and encouraging abuse victims to step out of the shadows. She has also recently launched Healing through Storytelling, a blog directory on her blog site "where readers can easily locate and connect with bloggers who write about a variety of challenging life experiences such as illness, grief, addiction, trauma and abuse"(Kristin Brumm). Being a victim takes away your power; this woman is a survivor, and shares her own struggles not only to bolster her own strength, but to lend it to others. And again, by organizing a place where stories of struggle and survival can hang together, she has created a wonderful resource for those battling addiction, grief, abuse, and hardship, a place where connections are possible and only a click away.
These are two of the many fantastic people out there who are making a difference by encouraging connections in this hi-tech world. It's a sad fact that bad news travels quicker than good, and people are far too often remembered for screw-ups rather than successes, so this is me raising my glass to these two amazing women for reaching out and making a positive difference for others. Thank you.
And Mazel Tov, Kristin and Melanie, on being inspirations!