Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rays of Hope Walk for Breast Cancer

I did it!  I walked the LONG walk, up the mountain and raised over $125 for the Rays of Hope and ultimately, Cancer Connection, which is where I volunteer as a Reiki practitioner.  Cancer Connection provides free programs and support to cancer survivors and their families/caregivers.

Word's seem inadequate...In brief, just as we started to walk, it started raining, but that didn't dampen anyone's resolve.  Musicians and performers supported the walkers along the way; there were also a few unexpected sights, like the folks that hung a pink sweater outside their home on the route for the walk.  At the end, my beloved made me a hot bowl of chicken soup, which I gratefully devoured after a hot shower. I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Ugly "C" Word

Cancer is one word that conjures up images of the Grim Reaper faster than many others do.  However, modern medical science has come a long way in battling this insidious bandit of life.

Over the years, I have lost two paternal aunts, several dear friends and a large number of acquaintances to breast cancer. What is sad is that in many of the cases, death could have been prevented had they taken the time to do a self-exam, reporting to the doctor that they had found a lump.

I am not sure why it is that women are afraid to go to the doctor when they find a lump.  Perhaps it is modesty, or fear that they are being overly cautious. Perhaps it is difficult to fit into a schedule that is filled with demands from family, friends and/or career. Whatever the reason, it is wiser to make the call, see the doctor and deal with the truth.

This week I will be walking, again, in the local Breast Cancer Awareness walk. As I walk, I will be meditating on those who have lost the battle,  reflecting on those who are tenaciously surviving and praying words of the heart that a cure will be found to eliminate Cancer from our lives.


Today's post is part of the WOW-Women on Writing Blanket Tour for Healing with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey by Diana M. Raab, MFA, RN.  Diana was a guest on this blog a bit ago.  Her experiences, reflections, poetry and journal entries are part of Healing with Words, along with writing prompts so that readers can add their own stories.

Diana is a survivor of both breast cancer and multiple myeloma.  She views journaling as her daily vitamin; it heals, detoxifies and is essential to holistic well-being.

Diana has authored eight books, teaches journaling and memoir writing at UCLA Extension Writers' Program and spent 25 years as a medical and self-help writer.


If you comment on today's post, you will be entered to win a copy of Healing with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey.  To read Diana's post about breast cancer and to access a list of other blogs from the Blanket Tour visit:

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

National Diversity Month

October, with all its glorious autumn color here in New England, truly showcases the biodiversity of nature.  Trees that were every shade of green are now ablaze in various shades of orange, red and yellow.  No two look a like, which always amazes me.

In my travels through the valley, I came upon two trees.  One had actually grown around the other.  One was a maple, resplendent in reds.  The other was a tall pole pine of deepest green.  I had to take a picture.

When I got home, after uploading the picture to the computer I noticed that the way the maple had grown around the pine created the shape of a heart.  The picture below shows you what I see.

This got me to thinking deeper thoughts.  If Nature in her wisdom can create an image of Love from the biodiversity of two completely different trees, then surely, we humans can find it in our hearts to love one another.  

When you think about it, there couldn't be a better example of diversity.  The maple tree is round with branches that are a tangle of color; it will loose its leaves in the days ahead.  The pine is tall  and narrow with branches that will stay green all year long.  Yet, here they stand growing side by side, entwined into each other, creating beauty for all to see.

We can create beauty like this, too.  We can grow together, entwining our lives around each other in peace and harmony.  Our words from the heart can be used to accept each others' differences and celebrate our humanness.

May the changes of autumn open our hearts and minds to beauty that surrounds us. 


By the way, October is National Diversity Month here in the US!  

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Thursday, October 7, 2010


Searching the shelf for a book of poems to take to my granddaughter's 5th birthday event, I had not planned on finding a poem that would spur me on to write, today.  The poem, written in my mother's hand was probably originally found in the pages of the Boston Globe or Good Housekeeping magazine, both of which she read religiously. 

The Blessings of Grandchildren - My Cherubs 2010

As I read it, tears welled in my eyes.  Knowing my Mom and how much she loved her grandchildren, I know she must have copied it down with the intent of sending it off to one or several of them.   

She could see the struggles they had in life, but was not always in the best shape to concentrate on helping them. 

In the last years of her life, Mom was not the easiest person to be around.  Dementia and pain made it was difficult.  Visits were few, short and often emotional. That said, I know without a doubt, that Mom loved her grandchildren.

My Girls with their Nana Neas

I am not sure why these words from the heart of some unknown poet call ed to me, today,  but I feel the need to post them, not only for my Mom's grandchildren to read, but for grandchildren everywhere.  

Grandma - Author Unknown
Whatever on earth, can a grandma be for?
She's older than dirt, with one foot out the door.
And what can she know about living today,
When nothing is done in her old-fashioned way?
Oh, sure, she's real sweet and you love her a lot,
But in terms of real life, what's an ol' grandma got?

Well listen, my sweetie, you might be surprised
To find that your grandma's a youngster, disguised!
She still has her dreams and her values intact,
She's just a bit wiser, yes, Dear, that's a fact -
Experience has put a few lines on her face,
And that's how she knows what it's like in your place.

I know this idea may seem baffling and new.
But, Honey, your grandma's, "Been there, done that," too.
So, when your young life isn't going as planned,
Talk to your grandma-she'll sure understand.
She's got lots of love and good counsel to give,
And she'll be on your side for as long as you live.

I didn't have my maternal grandmother around (She died when my mother was 13.), however, I would often talk to her in my head when I was a little girl. She felt "alive" to me.  I never had the opportunity to spend time with my paternal grandmother as a young woman, either.  She died when I was a teenager. Nonetheless, they have influenced my life in ways I am only  now seeing.

You see, I believe our ancestors are with us in Spirit.  In fact, those of us who no longer have our grandparents with us, can still be guided by their wisdom through meditation and prayer.

May the blessings of all our grandmothers and grandfathers wrap us in love and peace. May we follow their guidance and give gratitude for the lessons learned through their wisdom.


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Sunday, October 3, 2010

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

pink ribbonImage via Wikipedia

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which unless you live in the middle of the most remote area of the country, devoid of phone, cable, cell, computer and any other electronic devices that might connect you to the world, is something most everyone knows, even little kids.

Nine years ago, I wrote an article for the local newspaper in the town I lived in explaining how we need to wake up and stop acting so Victorian about our bodies.  (Click here to read that article.)

Three years ago, I wrote a blog post on the subject, which you can find here .  In it, I gave several links to resources for those who wanted to educate themselves on how to care for themselves and their breasts.

This year, I am proud to be part of a month long event (A Blanket Tour) with Women on Writing.  Each day this month, you can read articles celebrating National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Each post is a unique voice discussing some aspect of breast cancer.  

I highly encourage my readers to participate in this exciting tour.  I will be posting later in the month.  Readers who post comments will be placed in a drawing for Diana Raab's book, Healing with Words.

In addition to the blog, I will also be doing a five-mile walk on October 24 to help raise awareness, as well as funds for cancer research.  I am excited to be able to do the walk this year.  I have been "training" since May when I became unemployed.  

 Beginning the 3 mile Walk 2009 

Completing the Walk 2009

It is blessing to get up in the morning, put on my walking shoes and cruise around the town.  Often, as I walk, I meditate on the blessings of mobility and living, blessings too many precious women in my life no longer enjoy.  It is for them and all those who have battled cancer of any form that I will walk this year.

May words from the heart, written by women throughout the month, inspire, encourage, entertain and enlighten.


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Friday, October 1, 2010

Finding the Silver Lining While Singing the Blues

The rain is pouring, literally, outside the window.  In the background, my Beloved is playing the blues.  Yet, here I sit, doing what I do best - writing, and looking for a silver lining behind all the gloom.

Serendipity is a great companion to have when looking for silver linings. For instance, during his weekly trip to the library, Rog was drawn to a book.  The minute he picked it up, he knew it was for me.  Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on My Pajamas and Found Happiness, by Dominique Browning was just what I needed!

Opening the book, I was delighted to find a kindred spirit. Here was a woman of my age who was experiencing what I was living with at this very moment. Dominique's sense of humor, reflective honesty and inspiring wisdom has enabled me to realize that all WILL be well.

Let me give you a glimpse of what I have read.
After years on the fast track as the editor-in-chief of House and Garden magazine, Dominique suddenly finds her self in the unemployment line.  Two things happen - her silver linings - she reconnects with nature and the world she has forgotten and she finds joy.

While I haven't finished the book, yet, I don't feel so alone.  After all, someone in the same field, someone who loves gardening, flowers, and the natural world as much as I do, someone who also juggles motherhood and relationships and career has found the light at the end of the tunnel.  Not only that, she is holding up a light for others to follow.

The words from the heart of my heart are filled with gratitude for the serendipity of this book finding its way into my hands.  

As the rain continues to pour down, I think I will curl up on the couch, give myself permission to lounge, and read the rest of Dominique's story.


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