"Novels ought to have hope" Anne Lamott

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Inch by Inch

Posted by Nikki Rosen on March 3, 2016 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (1)

"We are formed by little scraps of wisdom." Umberto Eco

I used to visit this old Jamacian man every week when I worked in the inner city. Mr. Walters didn't know it then nor did I, but he taught me something that would stay with me even until today. A powerful little phrase, Inch by inch. That's it. Just a couple of words, that remind me nothing is impossible because Inch by Inch everything's a cinch. A simple phrase, but for me, a powerful one. Inch by inch I've learned I can do anything, overcome anything, become anything.

When I used to visit him, Mr. Walters always included those words in whatever he said to me. He said them so many times, they somehow slipped inside my heart and are still there today. I can still hear his raspy Jamaican drawl whispering inside me, Inch by Inch Girl, you do can do it. Inch by Inch, you can do anything.

Packed into those simple words - Keep going. Keep moving forward. Never give up.

Inch by inch. We can do anything we want.


Posted by Nikki Rosen on September 2, 2013 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Something I learned....courage doesn't always look brave and strong. Sometimes it looks scared....wobbly. And I learned something else.....darkness eventually  loses steam....it dies out.....It doesn't last forever.

Sometimes I wonder now if what I lived and overcame wasn't just about me. Maybe it's about showing hope to someone else lost in the darkness, helping them know they too can win their fight. If I can beat the odds, anybody can.

Don't Play Small!

Posted by Nikki Rosen on August 4, 2013 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (0)

“We ask ourselves,'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?'

Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.

Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us.

And when we let our own light shine,

we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,

our presence automatically liberates others.” 

~ Maryanne Williamson

Seeing Beauty Where There is None

Posted by Nikki Rosen on April 13, 2013 at 12:15 PM Comments comments (0)

"He who has courage and faith will never perish in misery." Anne Frank  

It's hard to think Anne Frank was only fourteen when she wrote this. Fourteen and hated - for no other reason than being Jewish. Fourteen and having her world as she had known it - turned upside down. Fourteen and not able to go outside to smell the flowers, or attend a dance or sit in a classroom and daydream about boys, or her future or life....

In spite of the hatred and brutality that had taken over her world - in spite of  being stripped of all the comforts of home and school and friendships - in spite of those who believed she had no right to exist......fourteen year old Anne wrote as if her world was normal....as if nothing had changed....putting her thoughts down on paper - the thoughts of a normal teen.....

I try to visualize what it must have felt like to be 14 and forced to live in a small space with people terrified for their lives - fearing the craziness of those who wanted to kill not only you but your whole race - people who lived with fear that if they were found - they would die.....or worse...

Anguish- cries heard in the streets - family, friends, respected elders -taken - their lives stolen - beaten like violent criminals - intemples, in shops, in communities - there was no safe place....no where to hide. It was always just a matter of time.

Yet in the midst of that senseless brutality - 14 year old Anne kept her diary and wrote like any typical young teen pondering the world around her and her place in it.

Her words strong, positive, powerful: "I twist my heart round again, so that the bad is on the outside and the good is on the inside, and keep trying to find a way of becoming what I would so like to be....I don't think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains."

I didn't have the strength that Anne had. Or the courage - nor her positive outlook. I felt the hatred and I hated back. I felt thebrutality and I wanted to lash out against every perpetrator who hurt me. I let the brutality pull me into its lies - into its fear, into its hatred - Everything in my world was black - dark  - I saw no beauty. I wanted so bad to give up and to give in to the darkness. I saw no hope- no light - no meaning.


Anne had been raised by loving parents - parents who gave her security and a strong foundation  - so strong that when the darkness came - she was able to push it aside and still see beauty. I'm trying to parent my girls that way. Maybe it's working. My oldest  14 - is amazingly positive. She inspires me - she teaches me....


Growing up in a Jewish home - I heard the phrase over and over: "to not remember the past is to be condemned to repeat it."  I used to wonder why do Jewish people constantly talk about what happened....and hold memorials and give honor to the survivors.  I was told - 'so it will never happen again. From one generation to the next - we must tell what happened.' 


I think I'm beginning to understand.....to tell of the brutality we lived- in some way is a protection for the next generation - to know - to be aware - to live a bit differently - to understand there is darkness -but there's also a strength, a hope - a light with each survivor who stands up and says, "I survived. The darkness couldn't destroy me."

I never wanted anyone to know what happened to me - all those things I lived - Today I want you to know, "I survived." And everytime I read someone else' story - and know they too have survived - I'm cheering.


Know Hope!!!

Posted by Nikki Rosen on January 30, 2013 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Working on an inspirational/self-help book taken from my personal and professional experience. Below - an excerpt

Hope – a four letter word packed with so much.

Hope is the basis for surviving.

Hope that life could change.

Hope that things can get better.

Hope - grab on to it

And hold on with everything you got

Never let it go.

And always remember....giving up is never an option!

Hope - to some it's a dangerous thing. To others its survival. Dangerous because the thing hoped for may never happen. Survival, because it's the thing that gives courage to keep holding on. 

I know what it's like to flounder in the dark, to have no hope and I also know what it's like to hold onto hope like a drowning person gripping onto a lifeline.

Hope is what held me back from giving up and letting go and giving into the darkness.

Hope was the thing that kept me hanging on when there wasn't anything else.

And the more I held onto hope, something amazing happened. It slowly began to morph into faith...a deep strong conviction....an inner knowing that what I desperately wanted...would actually happen. I had no idea how only that I just knew it would. I moved from thinking that it might become reality to knowing that it was a definite.  

And it was that faith that eventually exploded into the miracle I needed. I learned that hope transcends everything.It goes beyond all doubts. It silences fear. It quiets despair. And more than that...no one can ever take it away.


Posted by Nikki Rosen on December 12, 2012 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (0)


"Such a feeling's coming over me.....there's a wonder in everything I see. Not a cloud in the sky....got the sun in my eyes and I won't be surprised if it's a dream." Karen Carpenter


At the lowest point in my life...someone flipped on the radio. The song, On Top of the World was playing. I never heard it before...never even knew of Karen Carpenter. But her voice...her words sparked something in me. Those words slipped inside my heart...gave me hope....hope that things would and could change. Hope to hold on....to keep fighting....to not give in to the darkness. 

Karen's song gave me hope....yet, she herself,  fell victim to the dance of addiction....She died from complications of an eating disorder. I really wish she hadn't.....I wish she could have grasped onto the same hope that she had given me.

Hope. What makes one person hold on and another give up? I'm not sure but one thing I want to do more than anything.....is to give back...and shine hope. I remember being squeezed by hopelessness....choked by the belief that I had no right to exist.....feeling completely alone....wanting to give up....unable to see a viable way of climbing out of the pain. My life though has changed....it's gotten better....in ways I never could have imagined.

Now I want my words...my life....what I've overcome to instill hope and courage to someone else fighting alone....wondering if things will ever change.

Something I learned....courage doesn't always look brave and strong.....Sometimes it looks scared....wobbly....and I learned also that the darkness eventually  loses steam....it dies out.....It doesn't last forever. 

Sometimes I wonder now....if what I lived and overcame wasn't just about me; that maybe it's about showing hope to someone else lost in the darkness, helping them know they too can win their fight. If I could beat the odds, anybody can.

Honouring Truth

Posted by Nikki Rosen on December 8, 2012 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (0)

"I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it."

Maya Angelou


     When I first saw her, I was drawn to the softness in her face and to her smile. There was a warmth, a kindness, a gentleness about her. She had been admitted to the hospital after falling and breaking a hip. I knew she was from Poland. I asked if she had been through the war. 

     Putting her head down, she let the tears fall and began to tell me the horrors she had lived. As I listened....I struggled to stay present. I found myself wanting to close my eyes and go away. She talked quickly, wanting to get it all out. She knew dates, places, times, names. She wanted to be accurate. She wanted to say the truth. 

     I asked her how she managed to live all those years with what had happened to her.  She shook her head and cried unashamedly. "I don't know. I think God let me live to tell."

     I went home that night....feeling detached like I used to be....feeling separate from myself.... that 84 year old woman's words echoing in my mind...'I think God let me live to tell.'

     When I got home, my friend called. Two people her husband works with bought the book, In the Eye of Deception. Two other people ordered it online. And a bookstore in the city next to where I live asked me to bring some books to place on their shelves. 

     Writing this, I feel so many emotions inside. Some for that woman...that  survivor who knew at 84 God let her live to tell her story. And maybe because in some way that lady gave me a message today...a message to be strong...a message to tell the truth of what happened...to not be afraid....it wasn't my fault...and what happened doesn't define who I am today. 

    And maybe by telling my truth I can show there is a way out of darkness...away out of hopelessness. I think of friends who died...who took their own lives or died by accident because of the damage they had done to their bodies...and I think of the many times I tempted death, yet He let me live....Maybe He let me live also to tell. 

   I want to be strong and give that strength to others. I want to use what happened and give hope. And I want to show that the gentleness of His power is able to break through any darkness.