It had been an unseasonably warm day for January, the kind of weather that we’re all pining for right now. It may have hit seventy degrees by that afternoon.  The kids ran door to door without jackets after school helping Fiona sell Girl Scout Cookies.  Afterward, they took out their bicycles.

I couldn’t keep up with them as they sped around the block.  I was nursing a minor running injury and walked quickly but avoided a full out jog.   The older kids flew ahead of me on their two wheelers and even Scarlett managed to gain momentum on her training wheels.  I don’t know how many times I screamed for her to slow down and watch the driveways.  In the end, it didn’t matter how many times.

She was a good twenty seconds ahead of me so I hadn’t yet rounded the corner when I heard the brakes screeching and a horn honking and the sound of a young girl crying.  It hadn’t even registered until Fiona ran breathless toward me, announcing that a car had hit her younger sister.

The rest of the night was a blur.  There was the ride to the ER with my weaving in and out of cars, a child’s screams, a pair of shredded pink velour warm up pants matted in blood, pelvic and leg xrays,  and my best friend, who appeared at Scarlett’s bedside out of nowhere. There were stitches.  Endless stitches.  There was that housebound month to follow with visiting nurses and physical therapy and sheer horror pouring out of my baby every time she had to cross a parking lot or be near a car.  But in the end, she was fine.  She is fine. Even the scarring which was purple and jagged and rope-y, is beginning to fade.


That accident happened a year ago today, January 30, 2013.

I’m not one to dwell on anniversaries.  I think we can easily use the anniversaries of difficult days as a way to dwell on sad things.  And dwelling on sad things is just another way we block out happiness for no good reason.   But this very awful day was a turning point for me.

No, it was *the* turning point for me.

It was the day that I decided I would no longer be afraid.  It was the day that I stopped putting off a myriad of decisions that I had been avoiding, regarding work and selling my house and moving on with life after divorce, decisions that I had avoided due to fear.  Yogic philosophy suggests that most of our fears can be linked back to the “ultimate fear,” the fear of death. It was the day that I realized that I had faced my ultimate fear of almost losing one of my children  – and if she survived,  and if I survived the scare of it, then I really had nothing left to be afraid of.

Although it was a day that I would never want to repeat, that was the day that got me *here.*

Oak Island

On Monday, Dave from the sign shop delivered the signs for my store.  It was the first time I had witnessed my logo on anything other than a piece of paper or my computer.


It made me cry.

It was this tangible reminder that we have the ability to create our futures.

And to think that a year ago, I was a struggling single mother who was too afraid to dream.

Freedom is scary.  We all have choices – infinite choices actually, despite our expertly delivered
inner monologues that tell us otherwise. Sometimes, it’s easier to avoid the voice that whispers, “Go!  Do it!”  Sometimes that voice seems like a mighty inconvenience. But that voice is a sign.  As real a sign as the one Dave brought me on Monday.

We share this space, you and I, this moment in time on this earth.  And I love you, all of you, those who comment here and those who peer on from a distance, and those of you who I’ve never exchanged a word with.  We are all entitled to amazing opportunities.  Whatever it is you want out of life, whatever it really, really is, I want you to have it.  So listen.  Listen to that voice.  Be true to it. And may whatever it is you want be within your reach.

In love and sisterhood always.




Signs — 113 Comments

  1. Amazing the way you look at things in life. Makes me think. I love the sign and I can’t wait to hear what it is for. So happy for you and the kids and the way things are going for you. Good things!

  2. Your courage is admirable!
    I am so happy for your new adventure. I wish the best and many blessings!
    Please continue blogging, I look forward to it.
    Lots of love!

  3. What an amazing and beautiful post, Ilene! There is nothing like that fear as a parent. I myself came oh so close a couple of years ago…my oldest son delivered newspapers in rural areas around our city and flipped his car into a corn field on its top. Even though I had heard his voice, which started as a message on my machine that said, “Momma, I have been in an accident, please pick up the phone.” It was 6 am, and my heart stopped as I snatched the phone off of the cradle. Thankfully, he was okay, but his car was totaled, the roof was completely caved in.

    So glad that your little one has healed!

    It is amazing how our adversities make us stronger and I know for me it makes me feel stronger in me! I am working towards the feeling that I can and will do anything! Hugs to you my dear new friend!
    Stacey Gannett recently posted…Wanted: February Co-hosts!My Profile

    • Oh my gosh, Stacey, that is so scary that your son had a close call like this. Thank God he walked away from that accident! And I would have to agree, that the adversities make us stronger and prepare us for what’s next. Hugs right back at you!

    • Thank you NJ. Although I would never ever choose to repeat that day, it really gave me the strength to make the decisions I needed to make to get *here.* Life always works out that way. I am blessed.

  4. I can’t even imagine. Not even an ounce of what you went through that day. I don’t like to dwell on anniversaries, other than the good ones either, and I tend to be the one that say, “oh yeah…” when reminded of the bad ones. I have a particular one, though, coming up on Valentine’s Day…what would be my due date…and I do have a hard time recently thinking about how I never thought it’d happen to me. It was a wake up call, though, when it happened…and it didn’t sink in until over the last month or so. What I keep thinking about, more so, is that things happen when you least expect it – good and bad – and you can either let it define you or you can let it strengthen you. And, not surprisingly at all, you chose the later of the two. <3
    Melissa @ Live, Love, & Run recently posted…Friendship & Individuality in the Blogging WorldMy Profile

  5. The fear of coming so close to losing one of the most important things in life is just heart stopping. But she made it. You have made it. You are an example, an inspiration. Love you lady!! Thank you for letting me be a part of your journey, even a small part xoxo
    Krystal recently posted…Crossing the Finish LineMy Profile

    • Thank you Krystal. And yes, we both made it, and all of us are making it – every day, a day at a time. I am so glad we are witness to each other’s journeys!

  6. Losing one of my kids has always been my biggest fear and I thought I would not be able to handle it. When Marius was three years old, he had a freak accident and hit his head so hard that he had intracranial bleeding. Trip to the ER, CAT Scan, whole nine yards. And I didn’t totally lose it, I got through it and so did he and he was ok a week later.
    I know exactly how you felt Ilene and I can absolutely relate to that moment being a turning moment. It’s amazing what can come out of horrifying experiences like that, eh?
    Love you! xox
    Kerstin @ Auer Life recently posted…Experience2014 – January Round-UpMy Profile

    • Oh my gosh – the fear you must have felt with your toddler son having a head injury of that severity. Thank God he is OK. And I’m not surprised to hear that you didn’t lose it. We always rise to the occasion when needed. Even in the most trying of circumstances. Hugs to you my friend!

    • Justine, there is no doubt that this incident played a huge part in what has come since. While I would never want to repeat that day, it was a turning point in so many ways. Thank you for being on this journey with me.

  7. Oh your writing always moves me so Ilene! I had no idea this had happened to your daughter. But I totally 100% get what that accident did to you. Because that is what happened to me too. Why I started “No HOlding Back” and why I decided to stop sitting on the sidelines. I am so proud of you. And I’m glad you stuck with this logo! xoxo
    Alexa recently posted…Who Are You Wearing?My Profile

    • Alexa, of course you understand this. Of course. And talk about getting off the sidelines! You are the epicenter of the action. You’re amazing to me. In so many ways.

  8. Now see? There are SO many things I DON’T know about you!!!! And I hate that. I want to know EVERYTHING!! And your kids- that’s where we may need to dive deeper, because we always spend our time deep but not there, ya know?

    I thank GOD for protection on that beautiful girl!! And I love how it propelled you forward to go FOR IT!!!! Your message is clear and powerful, my love.

    You are a walking testimony to the power of facing and forging through new frontiers to fight for all you dream and all you hold dear. And that sign? I believe that right there is THE sign. The sign of courage and strength and endless possibilities… if we dare to believe in ourselves.

    Stunning post. I love your words, always.
    Chris Carter recently posted…Funny Can Be Found AnywhereMy Profile

    • It’s so strange to me that you didn’t know this because I thought you knew everything. Well, now, I think you officially know everything. Up until this moment anyway. And THE sign? I love that. I really love that. Especially during a moment like this.

    • Jennifer, I feel so grateful for the insights I was able to find in this situation with my daughter. And yes! Feel free to take me up on it all!

  9. I’m so glad she is okay. I kept going back up to the date of the post thinking “this couldn’t have happened today!!!” I was freaking out a little! I love your words. You have no idea how many times you say exactly what I need to hear or confirm what I’ve been tossing around in my brain. I’m so glad you write and I get to read it!
    Stephanie recently posted…Wordless Wednesday #1 Project 365 CollageMy Profile

  10. I remember reading about Scarlett getting hit by a car and being terrified as I read it and I am sitting at my kitchen table. It terrifies me to read it again. I am so glad she is okay. I am so proud of you. You took something that would have caused most to withdraw and live in fear and you busted through it to actually live. You are a true inspiration and your sign makes me feel so happy. Love it!
    AnnMarie recently posted…Happy 4th Birthday, Gia!My Profile

    • Thank you, AM. I feel blessed in so many ways, that she’s OK, and that I followed my heart. And that I am surrounded by such amazing support. xo

  11. that is frightening – it’s truly (one of) a mothers’ worse nightmares to see their child nearly slip away.. Thank God your daughter is OK now and hopefully over time the scar and the trauma will heal 🙁 Congrats on your sign though, an indication of many good things to come and can’t wait to hear about it! Fear is so crippling but its good to take baby steps to overcome it. Hoping you live today thinking of the future and not of the past, Happy Friday Ilene! -Iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently posted…Words to Live ByMy Profile

    • I love this comment Iva – I agree that we are all better off thinking about today – and believing in our bright futures. Cheers!

    • Rabia, I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and even though I would never choose to repeat that day, that day has a place in what was next. It’s all good. It’s better than good. xo

  12. Ilene I love your heart…and what you are doing with opening your studio…it’s going to do wonderful! And I’m so glad your little girl is all ok after the accident…I can’t imagine the emotions you were going through when this happened. Thanks as always for sharing your story.
    Natalie recently posted…Old Man WinterMy Profile

    • And I love and appreciate your kind words and support more than I can say. I am lucky. Thank you for letting me share my heart with you. xo

  13. Even though I *knew* she is okay, I was just shaking reading that story. Oh, I can’t even imagine.
    The fact that such a day was your turning point in such a positive way just… amazes me. You are always an inspiration, my sweet friend. This is no exception. I want to be just like you when I grow up (although I think I’m older than you.) I am so glad that you are creating this glorious present and future for you and your children. You deserve all the good things. All of them! XO –Lisa

  14. Oh, I have tears in my eyes as I type. Such a heart-wrenching story, Ilene – so glad that she was OK. And an anniversary that is painful, yet at the same time inspiring, because of the clarity it gave you. There is so much possibility when we let go of fear.
    Kim@Co-Pilot Mom recently posted…What a Wonderful WorldMy Profile

  15. My heart literally skipped a beat reading this. Cannot (and I pray I never have to) fathom that scare with your daughter. What an amazing lesson to take from it and propel yourself and your family forward. You are such an amazing role model to your kids and all your readers! I need to face some tough decisions and I have been ignoring them. I mentally trap myself.
    Jess recently posted…Getting back into routine!My Profile

    • Jess- I wish you the very best of luck with whatever decisions you’re having to make right now. And I wish you peace with whatever you ultimately decide. xo

  16. OMG. I just got a little teary imaging the horror of that moment of rushing to the hospital. Truly the scariest thing for moms ever ever ever. I’m SO relieved that she’s okay (and EEEP those EYES!! She’s beautiful!!!). And I’m really really glad that that day helped you to lose your fear. You’re going places, Ilene. Big wonderful places.

    • Oh, Nellie! Thanks for the love, my friend! You’re right about that logo – it’s all good vibes. I am so blessed that it found me and I found her. Yes – that anniversary jumped out at me for real. But it also made me realize how far the kids and I have come this year. We are so blessed.

  17. Oh, Ilene – I can’t even imagine the fear and sheer terror of that day!! I’m so glad that Scarlett is OK now!!!
    And, I love that you didn’t let that horrible incident paralyze you but instead used it to jump start your new life!!
    Your sign/logo is incredible!!
    Kim recently posted…Welcome, Elise from 9toFit!!!My Profile

  18. This Ilene. I have no words. It’s perfection on so many levels. I can’t imagine what you went through on that day and afterwards. But this –> “It was this tangible reminder that we have the ability to create our futures.” It’s something that I try to remind myself – that it’s in my hands. You have been through an amazing amount this past year. I’m so honored to share this space with you.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…Friday Round-Up: Finding FocusMy Profile

    • And I am honored to share this space with you. I think about the two of us, you, my earliest blogging friend – and how much we have grown and faced and changed since we’ve met. wishing all good things for both of us, always. xo

  19. When I first started reading this, I was thinking no, no, no!! I am so glad she was ok. I used to have that dream all the time that one of my children was about to be hit by a car and I couldn’t get to them in time. I would wake up in a panic. I do love your logo. It is just perfect!
    Michelle recently posted…Tangy Sesame Chicken WingsMy Profile

    • I’ve had that dream before too Michelle. I am so so very lucky – that her accident was not any more severe than it was.
      And I love my logo! It’s just perfect.

  20. Freedom and choices terrify me. But so does living this one, precious life and not making the most of every blessed second.
    So very happy for you and your girl and that today you can look back on that day and see so clearly how far you’ve come.
    And I think I said it already but I love that logo so so much!
    Tricia recently posted…Lovely little things, 3My Profile

  21. Holy hell, woman. That moved me beyond words. I’m so glad she’s okay. She’s gorgeous, of course. As are you.

    Your logo is awesome. You know I have no idea what you’re doing for business, right? You need to fill me in. And I miss your face, so I’m glad to see you posting. I’ve been somewhat mia so I need to catch up on your latest writing!
    Andrea B (@goodgirlgonered) recently posted…It’s February.My Profile

    • I’ve been totally evasive about what I’m up to with this business over the interwebz. But the big launch is coming soon. Very soon. And I’ve missed your face too. Sending you lots of love and light, Andrea. Today and always.

    • We do have freedom – and power beyond our imagination. here’s to you my friend and for the endless possibilities that lie in front of you. xo

    • Thank you soooo much my friend. I love that you are choosing to be brave and you will be. I believe in that and I believe in YOU.

  22. Oh Ilene, this post brought me to tears. Your fierceness shines through every words also your tender heart. Your words are so beautiful and what a journey it has been for you. I love you and your spirit. Thank you for sharing this.
    Maureen recently posted…Going RawMy Profile

  23. Wow. What an incredibly powerful post. I was riveted during the part about your STUNNING daughter (gets her looks from momma!) and I’m so relieved she’s okay. More than okay.

    The way the rest of the post was created out of your daughter’s story was almost poetic. I think I need to print your last paragraph out and hang it up because I need to be reminded of those things. A lot.

    I saw your logo and grinned…it’s SO cool and I’m genuinely HAPPY for you.

    Heart you BIG, sistah.
    Beth Teliho recently posted…Night Of The Menage Attack, Take 2.My Profile

  24. You have had quite the year, my sweet. And I’m so very glad that through it all you have kept your optimism and wonderful outlook on life. What a gift that is to those around you.

    Sometimes I hold on to my fears. This is a really important lesson, that it’s okay to let them go. I’m so very glad that your daughter is okay. And what a sweet/beautiful picture that is of her on the swing 🙂 You must be so proud.

    Oh, your logo made me smile so hard! LOOOOOOVE!!!!
    Charlotte recently posted…Spread Some Love With Acrylic Photo GiftsMy Profile

    • You know what Charlotte? I’ve learned that letting go of the fear is a daily practice. Yesterday, I was having a tough morning and was like, “I’m not going to hold onto any of the fears that were bothering me yesterday.” and I didn’t. It is OK to let them go. and thank you for the logo love. It means the world to me!

  25. I am so crazy happy excited for you! I am reminded of what Holley Gerth wrote in her book:

    “Fear hangs out right next to whatever it is you’re most called to do. That means the closer you get to your calling, the louder fear sounds. Keep going–fear is a chihuahua that sounds like a Doberman.” — You’re Made for a God-sized Dream, Chapter Five

    Glad you’ve tamed that darn Chihuahua into submission!
    Kim recently posted…Leaving a legacy of loveMy Profile

    • I have held this quote close all week my friend. That little pup keeps barking and I keep taming her. Thank you for the reminder!

  26. I can’t even begin to imagine how your heart must have jumped out of your chest. But I like your silver lining take on the whole thing. And I LOVE your logo! What an amazing journey you have been on these past couple of years. I can tell from your writing that you are lighter. So glad.
    Deb @ Urban Moo Cow recently posted…Moo Cow’s Easy Lentil SoupMy Profile

    • I feel lighter. I just want to keep letting it go and letting it go and move onto the next. I want to feel the way that logo looks, if that makes any sense!

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  29. You are so courageous to face those trials. I’m so glad your kid was fine, she is cute and lovely. Wishing you all the best and more blessings to come. Good luck in your new endeavor and I’m so happy for you. All the best.

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