"Change the World" -Will Smith

Johnny Orrantia and Will Smith

"To Johnny, Change the World! Will Smith"

Dear Recipe Testers,

Today is the last day of 2009. I have so much hope in my heart for 2010. 10 was always my favorite number as a child and my number for whatever sport I played. So I realized that part of my happiness for this next decade comes from so many positive associations with the number 10.

After Jeanette died, I watched her movie. In the movie, Jeanette asked her brother: "Johnny, if there was one person you could meet in all the world who would it be?" Johnny answered "Will Smith." Somehow I didn't pay attention to this at the time he said it. We were so focused on Jeanette and her needs that I overlooked or forgot Johnny's comments. Jeanette's wish was to have a movie made of her life, but in making that movie she ended up communicating her brother's wish as I watched it. A perfect example of the chain of love and giving.

Then miraculously, by the compassion and help of some dear friends, Will Smith said he would meet Johnny. Johnny told all his friends at school that he was going to meet Will Smith and they didn't believe him. I had to send pictures to school with him so they would know he was telling the truth. The night they met was one magical night. Johnny kept saying "I wish Jeanette was with us, she would be so excited." And told him "I think she is with us."

Will gave Johnny a couple hugs, laughed and joked with Johnny for awhile. Johnny was in shock and was almost speechless. Then Will let us take a picture and signed an autograph for Johnny that said "Change the World."

There are so many ways to change the world. It can start by something so simple as opening the door for a stranger. It can start with taking a few minutes out of your day to make a call or write a note. It can start with research, learning, compassion and kindness. It can start with all of us trying in some small way to make the world a better place. Whether you learn to compost for the first time, teach a child (or an adult) to read, visit a nursing home, plant a tree, bring over a meal to someone who is homebound, volunteer, give to the charity of your choice, donate to food banks or smile at someone when you pass them in the grocery store. All these little things will make a difference. And we will continue to pray for a cure for cancer, a cure for Nieman-Pick, a cure for Tay-Sachs and the other diseases that break our hearts. In my lifetime, I truly have hope that a cure will come. Just think of the days before open-heart surgery. Who ever thought that would be possible. Medical discoveries and advances are made everyday. We landed on the moon, now shot for the stars!

I will never forget all the loved ones lost in 2009. Let us continue the chain of love they left in our hearts and go out and "Change the World" in their honor.

Prayers and Blessings to all of you in 2010!



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