There could have been no way for me to have known 5 years ago the direction my life would be headed. I clearly remember the evening I sat at my desk feverishly typing the words to “I Choose”. It was a surreal experience as the keys seemed to press themselves to create the words. I vividly recall hitting “print”, reviewing the content, and feeling every hair on my arms stand up on its own. I knew that what I held in my hands could affect lives; that it was something uniquely special.
Many months later add to that experience, the voice of a sweet, almost-seven-year-old boy who confidently offered, “Hey Mom, I can draw better
than THAT!” when he saw my scribbled sketches. Little did I know that with a
few Sharpie markers and some recycled office letterhead, he would do just that.
“I Choose” has a life of its own. It has made its way into hands in all 50 states, and has been mailed to 23 countries across the world. It has been used by teachers in China to teach English to the Chinese, been sent to tsunami ravaged areas in Haiti, and even found its way near the front lines in war-torn areas around the globe. It is a message of peace, and hope, and common ground. It is a message suitable for every human being on the planet. It crosses all races, ages, religions, and economic lines. One hundred and sixty eight simple, thought-provoking and powerful words illustrated by an innocent and dream-filled child. The ending is poignant as well: “Draw yourself as you choose.” Dear reader, what would your picture look like? It is a provocative question to share with family and
friends, and some of the artwork may very well surprise you.
Letters to us from children that offer “I will choose to be nice to my sister now”, “I choose not to do drugs”, “I choose to do good in school”, “I choose joy. I like it.” are powerful in themselves. Statements have happened more than once from folks that say that they wish they had this knowledge when they were recovering from drugs and alcohol twenty years ago because it might have made all the difference. I am grateful for the notes about renewed hope and personal
thinking as someone chooses to step back from their life-threatening illness
for a moment to see the power within them to approach their day in their own
way. I have been brought to tears by many of these people and am humbled to
know their stories on such a raw, human level. The message is so simple, yet
life-changing for many. We all have our own journey, and we can all choose how
we approach it. It is something to remember when someone holds the door open
for us or when we are sitting in bumper to bumper traffic. It is something to
consider when gossip is spread to us and we repeat it or when an unexpected
flower is handed to us by a small child.
Sunday, May 20th will be an amazing milestone for the Carr household. On this day, we will be releasing our third book entitled “Yo Elijo”. We have chosen to move forward with “I Choose” translated to Spanish. I am in awe of the possibilities that lie ahead for us and for this message. I am hopeful that it will find its way into hands that desperately need a positive message to hold on to. Peace is possible, but it starts with each of us no matter where we live.
One of the many things this journey has taught me is that regardless of the words, at the most basic level we all have the ability to speak the same human language. For now, choose well, and remember: "We choose what comes out of our mouth, what stays in our head, and what lives in our heart." Please visit
us at www.illuminatedpublishing.com.