Never, say never!

A few Saturdays back I did something I never thought I could—I went to a matinee  movie on a College Game Day! My sweet neighbor friend and her two adorable children wanted to take me to a movie. “We think this movie screams you!” they said. Honestly, the concept of going to a movie while my friends and football families were stressing through their football games felt quite awkward and uncomfortable. Yet, with both my kids away at college and my husband in another state preparing for his game on Sunday I accepted their kind invitation.

They could not have been more right, Pixar’s movie Inside Out screams ME! If you have yet to see this movie, then I really, really, really suggest you make it a TOP priority. It is the best and most relatable movie I have seen in years. It is chock full of emotions--literally. So, before you read any farther, consider this your spoiler alert! A pre-teen girl Riley’s five emotions: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust are personified. The movie goes from birth to current day as she emotionally maneuvers growing up and her family’s move. As a football coach’s wife I cried for the upheaval the move caused. As a mother I cackled out loud at the emotions that ran through Riley’s mother’s mind. As a teacher I was floored at the endless teaching opportunities it presented. As an empty nester I just cried.

 The cast of emotions in Pixar's   Inside Out

The cast of emotions in Pixar's Inside Out

Almost three weeks later and I still find myself thinking thoughts directly related to this movie. It has honestly altered how my mind thinks about how my feelings actually work. How this 94-minute movie was able to validate and explain feelings I have struggled with my whole lifetime is mind boggling. For example: I have always tended to steer clear of delving into my feelings which I believed was a protective mechanism to avoid feeling sad. This movie completely illustrated and helped me handle what has been going on in my mind since, well, forever!

 A poignant and telling moment between Joy and Sadness!

A poignant and telling moment between Joy and Sadness!

So then of course I started thinking about my feelings lately. I guess you could say I have been feeling this sense of uneasiness which I had swept under my carpet. Now don’t go getting worried and call my mother--but I may have lost my Purpose.

If Purpose had a starring role in this movie she would be silver, since Purpose is bright. She is determined, inquisitive with deliberate, genuine and honest with her speech. Her goal each day is to make a difference in the world around her. She brightens the lives of both friends and strangers alike. She always has a sharpened pencil and pad of paper handy, to take notes and right down her thoughts! I am ashamed to say this, but it wasn’t until a recent school visit that I was aware that my silver gal pal had been missing for quite a while.

You see, I did an Author Visit at a school about a month ago and the moment I looked into the eyes of those children I felt her warm silver glow in my heart. She filled my eyes with her vision and tears. We were reunited and it was the best day ever. We laughed and cried as we shared our triumphs, challenges and honest stories with everyone in that school. We touched the lives of every student and teacher we possibly could--even leaving a piece of our heart with them at the end of the school day!

As I got on the train heading home, I realized Purpose did not come back with me. I felt that emptiness again. And then it occurred to me--I need to do more of what I believe I was placed on this Earth to do. I must find a way to share my life stories about my life trials and tribulations as a children’s author, mother, wife, daughter, friend, dog owner, crafter and football family member. With school budgets as tight as ever, schools do not have the funds for “extras.” which makes this a bit more challenging. So I have taken a page out of my very own book, What Can I do Today? and came up with a plan.

With October being referred to as Kindness Month I thought it’s the perfect time to donate a few Kind-Hearted Presentations. What is a Kind-Hearted Presentation you ask? It is a real presentation minus the speaking fees so a place that might not have been able to afford my visit now can!!! Here is where you come in: If you know of a worthy school, business organization or Club please send me an email (astoutland@aol.com) explaining why you nominated them, including details and of course your contact information. As I see it--it’s a win-win for all!

Moral: Not only is it far better to give than receive-- it feels far better too!

your friend in search of her purpose,

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