As Wit & Delight opens its doors a little wider this year to host more contributors and bigger stories on our platform, we’ve been putting our heads together and thinking really hard about all the different ways we can give back to our community. With these broader stories in mind, Kate and I recently reached out to good friend and writer, Nora McInerny (author of best-selling memoir It’s Okay to Laugh (crying is cool, too) and the host of American Public Media’s Terrible, Thanks for Asking podcast). Nora, amongst many things, is the founder of Still Kickin’, a non-profit that essentially helps people who are down on their luck get back on their feet again. Nora, of course, was a great place to start with this initiative, she came up with the idea for us to sponsor a Still Kickin’ Hero. You may ask yourself, “What is Still Kickin’ exactly and what is a Hero?” This is how Nora explains it.
“Still Kickin’ is a non-profit brand that helps awesome people get through awful things. Each month, Still Kickin’ picks a Hero to share their story with the world. Each Hero receives financial and community support through our retail sales and donation-based workouts. Still Kickin’ cultivates a culture of support for people experiencing terrible things. We build empowerment by elevating stories of struggle and resilience. And we build a braver, more supportive world, one person, one shirt, one workout at a time.”
We first began looking into this project last December and at the time, Roshee was nominated as the Still Kickin’ Hero, which I later learned she tried to turn down, asking if they would give this award and recognition to another person who may need it more than her. After knowing Roshee for all of about 8 minutes, I am not surprised by this. She is an obvious giver and too nice for words.
Looking back on Roshee’s earlier years, things were not nearly as positive for her then as they are now. Her mother was a heavy drug addict, and at the young age of 19, when she already had two children of her own to care for, she found herself in an abusive relationship with her then partner. Knowing she needed to create a better life for her and her boys, she packed up, left, and found herself homeless for some time after that, moving around from place to place. At the time, she had little to no stability and felt like her life was falling into a downward spiral. Her mother passed away shortly thereafter and she and the boys were in and out of shelters. “Kids always say, I want to be this or that when I grow up, but I just wanted a home,” said Roshee. I found her story and outlook on life both pretty inspiring; you can read and learn more about it here.
I remember the first time I met Roshee, you’d think she’d never seen a hard day in her life. Her infectious smile is the first thing you notice about her; she is not jaded, in fact, she seems to radiate warmth from every inch of her body, and she makes you feel instantly comfortable and relaxed just being in her presence. She is probably the nicest and seemingly “happy” person, I have met in a while.
That afternoon I went to Roshee’s house to scope out how we could potentially help her redesign the entire first level of her new home. She told me straight off the bat that would not be necessary and that we could possibly just help her outfit the dining room, as she and her family were in need of a kitchen table and chairs. I told her, “Roshee! We are trying to do a makeover story here!” And she just smiled and said that it was ok and that a table would do just fine. I finally talked her into a couple more pieces for the dining room and this is where Article came to the rescue.
Article, a furniture company that Wit & Delight has partnered with for a while, is a company we believe in. They’ve been working on a new campaign that is all about, “Making space for life to happen.” This is a company that has always viewed their furniture as not just pretty “things,” but items that represent a lot more. Think comfort, peace, relaxation, style, and most importantly, high-quality items that make a house a home. These are not just pieces of furniture, but articles that matter, ones that have value, and that should be invested in for the betterment of the home.
The Lignum Oak Shelving Unit is such a cute and quaint hutch for all your dining room needs.
That day I sat down with Roshee and we talked about her needs in the dining room. I learned she has a wife and two boys and would need a minimum of 4 chairs at the table, I told her, “Why don’t we do six, for when you have people over?” She smiled and said, I didn’t even think of that, that’s a great idea!” Learning that she loved to read, I told her we should add in a bookshelf, a standing lamp and possibly a hutch to fill up the walls surrounding the kitchen table. The dining room had quite a few walls that could house a few different fun pieces. Later that night I went online on Article and began my research. I sent Roshee a few options and we ended up putting together a beautiful dining room. I really love how it all came together! See the moodboard W&D created for Roshee’s makeover story below.
Now let’s chat more with Roshee! Thank you so much Roshee for opening up your doors to W&D and taking the time to tell us your story. We absolutely loved working with you and hope we’ve created the dining room of your dreams with the help of Article, of course. I really enjoyed sitting down with you, chatting and getting to know more about you and your family. You are a true inspiration and your outlook on life has persuaded me to smile more often and wake up with a more optimistic attitude. I can’t wait to share your story with our readers.
Tell us a little bit about how you got connected with Still Kickin’?
I was actually volunteering at a different non-profit and that is how I met Nora. She asked if I was interested in being nominated for the December Still Kickin’ Hero.
It says in your Still Kickin’ story that you volunteer quite a bit, tell us about that!
I just love giving a helping hand when I’m able. Whether it’s a heart walk, donating or working out. It’s nice when people are feeling down or in a rough situation for them to know someone cares.
In your own words, tell us a little bit about your past and how you feel you got to where you are now.
My past was no better or worse than the next person. I had a few obstacles to overcome that made me stronger today.
We loved styling Roshee’s Archive Rustic Oak Bookcase with books, art, and trinkets to give it a well-rounded and minimalistic feel.
You said you are an avid reader, what are you top 5 favorite books?
My favorite author is Walley Lamb. The books I love of his are “She’s Come Undone,” “I Know This Much is True,” “Tuck Everlasting,” “Waiting to Exhale,” and “The Joy Luck Club.”
Tell us about what your life is like now?
Life every day is what I make it. I do appreciate life a lot more than what I used to.
Favorite quote or life mantra?
Mark 10:27 “With God all things are possible.”
What advice do you have for people who are feeling helpless or like the cards are stacked against them?
Never give up. Remember when you’re down the only direction you have left to go is UP!
The Seno Walnut Dining Room Table looked beautiful paired with white place settings, fresh lilacs from the garden and a white + grey runner gave it a clean and classy touch.
How has resilience played a part in your ability to see a different future for yourself?
The things that I’ve been through in life have played a tremendous part in how I see things now. I now do not have a “BOX” to think outside of.
Who has inspired you in your life?
Maya Angelou, my wife, my sons, and all of my siblings.
What advice do you have on raising boys?
Raising children is a challenging period. My boys are amazing, the one thing I’d say is just to let them be themselves.
What advice do you have on finding love again?
I don’t have any advice but the best thing that ever happened to me was to learn to fully love myself again.
What are you most excited about for in the future?
I’m excited to learn more about what it means to actually LIVE life instead of just existing.
What did you learn from being a young mom?
I’ve learned too many things that come along with being a mother. I’m still learning, it’s an ongoing experience. But mostly, I’ve learned to never give up. Whenever I think I’m not doing something right, my boys always confirm that their love for me is unconditional.
You seem like a person that lives in the present and doesn’t look back. Do you have any advice for someone that is trying to move forward on to bigger and better things?
My advice is: Don’t let your past define who you are. Don’t ever give up.
Also, you seem to attract positive energy and people into your life, what do you attribute that to?
I feel like whatever you send out to the universe you receive that energy back. I try my best to send out positivity wherever I go, it’s a lot easier than most would think. A simple smile, “Hi,” or holding the door open for someone can make the biggest difference.
You had mentioned in your December Still Kickin’ Hero story that, “Growing up, usually people would say, ‘Oh, I want to be this or this when I grow up,’ but honestly I just wanted a place. I just wanted a home.” – What do you think makes a home a home?
Honestly, I think what makes a home a home is the individual. For me, I wasn’t really satisfied with anywhere I lived. I never unpacked, I was always ready for what was next due to moving around so much. Once I was able to build a solid foundation and become more comfortable with myself then I understood home was wherever I made it.
The Stilt White Floor Lamp was the perfect accent for this little corner.
How would you describe your personal style in your home?
I would describe my style as clean and boring. I’m not much of a decorator but now I have been inspired to do more.
And lastly, what do you think of your new dining room from Article?!
I’m really enjoying my new dining room furniture. I can’t wait to use some of the links provided to be able to decorate even more!
BY Stefani Hodzic - June 1, 2017
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.