October – Better Days for Women

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We have come a long way over the last few decades. We are proud of the record, the milestones. Women are more in touch with their bodies and are staying informed about the safeguards of breast cancer. There are festivals and tremendous fundraising efforts across the country. Seminars, conferences and tons of survivors talk about their journey. This is all good but there’s no time for complacency. We want better days for women because cancer continues to take lives. Each of us knows a family or friend who has been touched by this disease. For my part, I will write and donate…..write to uplift those affected and donate to causes whose mission is to help eradicate the disease.

We can all play a role in helping towards breast cancer demise. Walk, march, speak, inform. Sit with a friend. Volunteer moments. Give what you can. This is October, the highlight month of this aggressive illness. May each of us devote time and effort to help end breast cancer.

 

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Distress

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When I create a wordgift thoughts about victory, achievement and fulfillment come to mind. I am joyful to  help enhance any accomplishment. But my thinking also wanders to and wonders about suffering and agony. In my travels I meet people who grapple with grief. They share their stories of loss…of pain. Soon after I go home and write to hopefully help…help someone  find peace through my words.

I believe life is an imbalance of joy and heartache. Each of us will experience both. Some suffer far more than others…and for that I have no rationale. Inequities and all, life is still wonderful. It’s still a gift. It’s still an opportunity to develop deep friendships and help the helpless. We grow and relieve much of our suffering by moving from inward to outward; from self to other. From experience, I can tell you it works.

Hell No

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At some point in life, we all go through tough times and wonder just how much we can withstand. Loss, illness, financial setback, rejection, disappointment in a son or daughter, a partner who leaves or wants to, can devastate daily living. Each of us is tested…some more than others.

Where do we find relief? Remedy? Light? How do we climb up and out of agony? Of hell? Everyone’s circumstance is as different as their grief experience. But this I know: We must not stand still. Find the good memories. Keep your mind on happy times. Rekindle the days of laughter and victory. Remember and revive the positive. Put purgatory in the past. Seek the mountain top and keep going.

Enjoy The Days

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Often it is not until we’re faced with illness, catastrophe or end of life that we realize the importance of enjoying our minutes…our days. It may sound small, or repetitive but it’s worth repeating: take advantage of the now and relish the gift of life and friendship. Prioritize and spend time with loved ones. Sit across the table with a cup of tea or coffee and listen to their stories. Cherish your conversations and savor the opportunity. Fill your memory bank for later life reflection.

Friendship’s Foundation

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We use the word “friendship” so casually but the test of its validity comes when times get tough – illness, stress, finances…etc. As my father once said: “anyone can love you when the sun is shining.” True friendships have a base, a foundation. Through toil and frustration; through disagreements and mayhem; through pain and agony, a true friendship perseveres.

My best friend died this week. All I have left are the memories…good ones  that overrode our arguments, our disagreements, our bad days, our silence…because this friendship was solid. It had a foundation that small issues could never deter.

I am saddened beyond words but oh so grateful she was in my life.

Finality

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Finality is a strange and painful predicament. It came to my best friend Thursday evening July 13th, 2017. I was restless all night and was fighting my fears of what I felt would be her last moments here on earth.

How does one handle the end…of friendship…of memories…of life?

I reflected – as most do when someone close is gravely ill – on all the memories; all the laughter,  all those shared secrets and days of celebration and sorrow. That history seems more precious now than ever.

If you have a treasured friendship, cling to the good times and grasp those special moments. Forget about the petty things and those issues of little consequence.

Celebrate the gift of true friendship while you can.

The Glory of Friendship

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Just recently found out my longtime childhood friend has only a few weeks to live. She has cancer – stage 4. We were laughing and catching up our lives three weeks ago. Illness, disease, end-of-life  were not in the air. We were planning our summer activities and making plans to meet.  I was devastated to hear the news…no warning…no signs of illness…and then bang – the diagnosis…the tears…the reality check.

Cherish the glory of friendship. Put off nothing. Share your feelings – love, appreciation, encouragement and most of all those memories of the past, of your friendship. I visited her recently and told her that I loved her dearly. I think it brought  a sense of peace to both of us.

 

 

The Gift

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Dear Readers,

Often when I exhibit or sell at events, many pass my booth with a curious look that begs the question: “What does she do and what is she selling”? Admittedly, it’s not apparent for several reasons, the first being I like an exhibit with ambiance. I don’t want to “slap” a bunch of products on the table that say: “here it is folks…good prices…wanna’ try it.” Not my style and not my product line. So there are creative props on the table such as twigs from my garden or silk remnants from unfinished projects.

One woman stopped by and asked how she should wear the medallion if she made a purchase. “What medallion,” I asked. She held up one of my wordgifts with an attractive brass element attached and shouted, “This one.”

I politely informed her that it wasn’t a medallion and it wasn’t something to wear. “Well what the hell do you do with it.” I told her my products were “thought” pieces for all stages of relationships and life events. She shook her head, a bit dismayed and moved on.

Hurdlecards are gifts…aesthetically appealing but created primarily for the soul. My focus is to offer something sustaining…nothing wrong with jewelry and other nice tangibles but it’s not what I do.

This month I’ll be at Linganore in Mt Airy Md with lots of sentiments to ponder. Some will spark chuckles…others memories and even a few tears. I will have wordgifts galore.

Please stop by.

Thy Worthy Self

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It is with much certainty that no one can own his own beauty or know his self worth until there’s truth and  acceptance of one’s flaws and imperfections. There has to be ground-level  honesty  of  inner principles and belief. There has to be a reconciliation between aspiration and reality. Self worth often  puts us in a quandary because it compels us to answer questions – delicate ones – about the soul. Not an easy task. But I say this about that.

There is no greater peace than acceptance of self. Your worth is what you think you are. Sometimes it takes years. And sometimes, sadly, it never comes.

The Attitude

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No matter your station in life, attitude is everything. Good things come to those whose arms and minds are open and positive. This doesn’t mean you won’t have challenges or obstacles…we all do. But the mind, the outlook, the attitude takes you out of the “ditch”  and sustains you. Just read and digest the passage below.  I’ll say it again. Attitude is everything.

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.

“One is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

“The other is Good – It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Mothers and more

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It’s  May and thoughts of mothers are front and center. I’ve written a few sentiments about mother-son, mother-daughter relationships. Some of it stemming from my own family life – two brothers and a sister – and other sentiments come from folks who have shared their personal history.

The thing I’ve learned – and quite late in life – is that all mothers aren’t great. Some aren’t even decent. Many don’t know the first thing about raising a child. Whether adopted or biological there are some sad sagas that have devastated the childhood of many men and women who’ve passed that devastation on to their children. A perplexing circle abounds

But there’s good news. I have met women who have embraced the gift of parenting though they themselves have not adopted or had children. They’ve seen boys and girls in need. They’ve witnessed young minds starving for guidance and structure. They know the tragedy of letting little ones raise themselves unsure about their purpose. They are mothers and more.

As this Mother’s Day approaches I celebrate these women. I’ve met a few who’ve shared their plight and their joy. They tell me about the challenges of raising children whose beginnings were filled with rejection and darkness. These women have turned lives around and  convinced the unwanted that they are, indeed, wanted and worthy.

Motherhood is a journey. You head down the road with child in hand and challenges await. No promises of a happy tomorrow. But the fact that these women still accept, still welcome the responsibility. Kudos to them all.

Your Minutes

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Been thinking long and hard about life lately. You tend to do that more often after losing a loved one or watching disease uproot a lifestyle or just thinking back on your own history.

These days I think about life in terms of  “minutes”. I’ve witnessed pain, sadness and loss more often in the last few years than I can ever remember. I overhear people whining and complaining about trivial matters not realizing some folks are taking their last breath and would gladly trade places. I see young people with their ear glued to their devices, unfocused and unconcerned about their future. They laugh and shrug when I tell them about priorities, making better choices and yes “their minutes.”

When will we open our window and see that this wonderful gift of life is here now, at this very moment. But it is also passing. We have opportunity and talent and family and friends. We have passion and will. And we have minutes. I hope we use them wisely.