Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Ripple Effect

I’m sure everyone wishes they had an ‘Olivander’s’ in their neighborhood. You know, the famous store from Harry Potter…where you can buy a magical wand with supernatural powers…. I know I do. :)

Well, after the past few days I’ve been reminded that ALL of us possess the power within us, like a magic wand, to alter the course of somebody’s day, mood or life. Another way to look at it is ‘the ripple effect.’ And you don’t need an Olivanders store, or money to do it!

Over the weekend, we hit Route 66 and embarked on an adventure to Needles, a tiny town that’s situated on the banks of the Colorado River. On one side is California, the other, Arizona.

The drive wasn’t very scenic! Stark desert bordered either side of the road and I’m sure not much would thrive in the harsh conditions outside our air conditioned car.

When we stepped out of the car at the Marina Park where we’d be staying, I was hit with a rush of hot air….117o to be exact! Wow, was it hot!

Over the next few days we tried to dodge the heat by hitting the river in our friend’s boat. He’d cut the engine upstream and we’d dive off the back of the boat into the crisp cold water of the Colorado.

Dempsey learned to snorkel in the shallows and how to throw a fishing line and ride a jet ski!

I enjoyed sitting on a deck chair, under the sparse shade our pop up provided. Watching the kids paddle and splash in the water….squeezing my toes through the muddy sand as the cool water lapped over my feet. It was like meditation until Dempsey broke the spell with…”I’m bored Mummy!”  

With no TV, computer, DSI or technology available I thought about what she could do. Looking around I noticed an abundance of river rocks scattered everywhere. I picked one up and told Demps…”When I was a little girl, Poppie taught me how to skim stones.”

I stood on the waters edge and Frisbee’d the stone across the river. “Plunk” went the rock…dropping straight to the bottom! Of course I sucked at this old fashioned pastime. However, like the ripple effect my rock created when it hit the water, one by one the kids got up and had to have a go. Even Peter joined in, revisiting his childhood….

I sat back on my deck chair smiling…watching shy teenage boys interact with giggly teenage girls and oldies try to beat the youngies….I thought about how our behavior or one thing can have an effect on others…all of a sudden the kids moods changed from hot and bored into excited and animated.

The temperature overnight there only gets down to 90o….so we sat outside enjoying warm beer and watching a magnificent tangerine sun sizzle and sink into the desert. And as the moon lit the sky, a blanket of stars appeared. It was magnificent! And just as if I had a magic wand, a shooting star shot across the carpeted sky. I closed my eyes and made a wish…. :) 

We finished the night off with Dempsey and me running fully clothed through the cool sprinklers that fanned water back and forth across the dry grass. My friend Mary stood by watching and smiling…she commented, “Dee, you are crazy…Dempsey will remember that moment forever…”

And today, I was reminded again of the power of the ripple effect. Back in the land of the living and slightly lower temperatures, I spent the morning volunteering at the Let It Be Foundation. A foundation started by a lady, Ruthe Rosen, who lost her 15 year old daughter to cancer. This foundation helps families who are struggling on their journey with a seriously ill child.

As I stood with a wet rag, washing out dusty cash boxes for an upcoming charity event, the Foundation’s Junior Advisory Team sat around a large table and discussed their volunteer program.
I got goose bumps as I listened to them, so passionate about this cause, and how they could recruit other teenagers to help the Foundation.

And as I grabbed my handbag to leave, I couldn’t help myself. I felt I had to comment on these amazing teenagers…how inspirational they are! I told them, if they are the future of America then it appears it will be in good hands. :)

Ruthe interrupted and said, “Oh, everyone, this is Diana, her 4 year old daughter died…why don’t you tell them a bit about Savannah…”

You could’ve heard a pin drop as all eyes spun around to focus on me.  My voice was shaky as I told them about Savannah, about how what they are doing makes such a difference to a family’s lives who are dealing with the heartache and hardships looking after a sick child brings. And then I left the room before I burst into tears.

Driving home, tears rolled down my face.  Sometimes I get emotional talking to strangers about losing our girl.  However, I hope by meeting a mum, another volunteer today, will have a ripple effect on them.  I know they certainly had one on me today.

So know next time you smile at a stranger, you may make her day…or put pennies in a box for the homeless…or tell someone they “look great today,”…or run through the sprinklers with your child…the ripple effect and impact can be powerful and have far reaching repercussions….know that YOU, can make a difference!

Ps; and I know the lady at Vons Supermarket, who pushed in front of me certainly affected my ripple today… ;)


  1. Diana, can almost feel the 'ripple' effect as I type. On a different scale, it happens each time we do a blog entry. How many times I personally have been uplifted, or even left to feel a little sad, simply by writing my post or reading another.
    Laughed at the thought of drinking warm beer though D. Unheard of for Haydn.
    Again I repeat myself,ike her Mum, Demps is adorable.
    Always in my thoughts xo

  2. Dear Chez,

    I've been busy studying so have been away from my blog.

    Thanks for stopping are right about the ripple effect of blogging. Your post today had a huge one on me....

    I hope your health improves and your grand daughter gets to visit with her amazing Nanna!

    sending a huge hug,
    Diana x

  3. I love the photography in this post!! Awesome!

    You are brave to talk about Savannah to strangers. It must be hard to be put on the spot. She can continue to have an impact on others through her mum!!

  4. Thanks Candice for your encouraging message. I think it will always be difficult sometimes to talk to strangers about Savannah, however I know when I do, she touches another and inspires them.

    Sending love to you and your gorgeous girl...loving seeing her bloom.

    hugs to you Candice,
    Diana x