A Full Range of Motherly Emotion

Melody McNutt marries Thomas KapplerOur only daughter, Melody McNutt (Peanut to us) got married Friday night to a wonderful and heroic soldier, Thomas Kappler.  It was truly a magical experience to watch someone you deeply adore begin a life within someone you trust to keep her safe and joyfully moving forward. (Which of course can only mean one thing to me…grandchildren one day!)  It was a very small affair.  She is a high “C” (Calculator for those of you familiar with the DISC profile) so the thought of a hundred people to have to interact with for 5 hours truly terrified her.  She agreed that 50 would be the best number with most being in her age group.

Allen gave a speech I am posting here because it was one of the highlights of the evening.  It is rare that a father is able to articulate his feelings as clearly, authentically, and lovingly as he did that evening to our daughter.  If you are raising a daughter, and are her stepdad, you may be inspired by his tale as he tells it.

Coupled with the joy and almost frantic pace a wedding brings the week before it, was the worry about our wedding planner, Caroline Hammond’s daughter, Sarabeth missing last Wednesday night.  When I found out on Thursday I hurried to alert my friends in TV and radio to see if they had been able to broadcast it yet.  We went into the rehearsal dinner sure that she would turn up by morning.  She didn’t.  We started the wedding day checking Facebook, which I hadn’t done in more than 5 years, to see if there was any news.  Nothing.

We focused on the wedding.  Praying.  Finding joy in the customary moments that joining together as girls brings and being present for a very special day.  It all unfolded as we had planned with Caroline.  She had been with us the whole time to be sure that the experience Melody wanted for her day would occur.  Perfectly orchestrated.

Caroline is the one that planned Allen and I’s marriage more than 17 years ago.  She was pregnant with Sarabeth at the time, sitting in a red dress in the front row, smiling widely, beautifully, at the amazing day she had planned for us.Allen Foster; Lynda McNutt FosterWe went to bed late, after Melody and Thomas’ wedding.  Basking in the wonderment of having a new son and being so proud of a daughter who acted with such grace through the twist and turns that are inevitable in everyone’s wedding day.

The next day was a late start.  Sniffles from a cold.  Tired bones.  Saying goodbye to loved ones that had come into town.  Checking my text messages to be sure that all was well with Melody and Thomas as they left for Snowshoe.  They were fine.  Then the text message from the owner of where the wedding took place, The Kyle House, who sent me a note.  “I am sure you heard about Sarabeth.”  “No,” I replied.

Sarabeth HammondThe unthinkable. The unimaginable.  Tears.  Painful tears.  Sarabeth found dead?  How is that possible?  How can a mother cope with loosing her daughter?  How does a mother breathe when she hears that news after 4 days of searching?  A car accident over Bent Mountain?  What?  It’s not computing.  Tears.  Sorrow.  Reaching out to issue condolences.  Sharing news with friends.  Tears.  Sorrow.

My friend Samantha Steidle sends me a note.  “Maybe Sarabeth was watching over us last night.”  Maybe so.  Maybe the energy and beautiful person that she was while she walked this earth immediately became an ever-present spirit that was shining her light on anyone who was open and accepting of it.  That could make sense, right?

Gratitude.  Tears of gratitude.  For every single moment, I have had with my daughter.  For being spared the complete devastation that Caroline will be experiencing over the loss of Sarabeth.  Appreciation for the loving and kind spirit that Caroline put into every aspect of making Melody feel special and the direction she gave her staff so that our time would not be effected by what was happening that none of us could control…or we would have.

I wish I could take a piece of the pain.  I know every mother that has heard about Sarabeth wishes she could disperse Caroline’s pain among us all to relieve her of what has to feel emotionally torturous.  I wish I had known Sarabeth in the way so many did.  This person whose spirit has been a part of such important moments in our family’s life I have only known of and heard about.  I missed out on really knowing her.  Her courageous battle with lyme disease.  Her adventurous spirit.

So many of you have experienced profound loss and intense joy with loved ones.  I have shared both with you in our time together.  In 2017, may we continue to live through both in a way that will inspire others to spread joy and find ways to comfort those who have or are experiencing loss.  May God find use in both.

Dan Smith announced on Saturday that the Writer’s Scholarship Fund founded by the Roanoke Regional Conference will be renamed the Sarabeth Hammond Memorial Scholarship Fund.  Many have asked how they can donate.  Here’s how.

Thank you for being a part of my life in 2016.  You helped enrich my experience in ways I am truly grateful for.  I appreciate your support and wish you and your family, at home and work, a very happy new year.

How will you collaborate this week? Lynda’s Launch List wk of May 21, 2012

Collaboration, when done effectively, amplifies ideas and develops effective ways of executing them.  An animated film is created, designed and executed by individuals that collaborate to create something much greater than the sum of their parts.   How will you use collaboration this week to rise to higher levels of leadership and innovation?
Pick the right people…  The 9 minutes of content contained in THIS VIDEO from the Dean of Pixar University, Randy Nelson, should be required viewing for all leaders.  It is full of golden nuggets that include how to choose the people you collaborate with and the two big rules of collaboration – Accept every offer and Make your partner look good, plus so much more.
Mapping ideas…  a tool to help you and your team map ideas can be found at www.mindmeister.com.
Communicating with your team….  In a poll of over 1,100 www.readwriteweb.com readers the top 3 online collaboration tools were Google Apps, Basecamp, and Office Grove.
To reach the highest levels of leadership you may need to learn the best ways for your team internally and externally to collaborate to bring innovation to your company and initiatives.  If you read this each week, there is no doubt that you are a leader or on your way to becoming one.  Knowing who, when, and how to collaborate is essential to your success. If you’re serious about being the best leader possible, WATCH the video!  Few companies in the entire world execute collaboration better than Pixar.
Shameless plug:  If everything is riding on the next presentation you need to give within your company, to your board, or at a convention, allow me to give you an Executive Brand coaching session to help you communicate your message, ideas, and concepts more clearly and effectively.  Trust me… it will be worth the investment.
THANK YOU to Kimberly Eakin, Michael Guessford, and Allen Foster for their collaborations this week!
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