Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Made it through Christmas of 2010 Whew!

So, it has been a month since my last post. This blogging thing takes up more time than I had thought ahead of time. Christmas was great except that neither of my daughters was home for it. This is the first Christmas without them since they were born. Very weird!
My grandson was here so that was something! What a great young man he is becoming. Still so sensitive and sweet. His hair is wild and bushy but so him. I guess his dad didn't much care for it but hey, it's hair for goodness' sake! So, I have been receiving lots of hugs from him and trying to store some up for when he heads back to Maui next weekend. Christmas is always a time of reflection for me. Growing up without much in the way of happy holiday memories always makes me appreciate what I have now. We have a new daughter named Miranda who is just a delight. Malia is hanging on by a thread but it is really time for her to get on with her life and it is now starting to feel like we are enabling her to skate. Time for reality to strike I am afraid. We spent an evening with all of my brothers, most of their offspring, my sister Penny and her family and my sister Rita and her husband. That was a kick. Fifty people crammed into my house with good food, good drink and lots of chatter. Christmas Eve we spent with my sister Rita and her family including her 98 year-old mom Sparky. Sparky had just been given a port a cath the day before as her marrow has now shut down and is no longer manufacturing blood cells. But, by golly, Sparky is hanging in there. She is amazing! We call her Sparky because she was struck by lightning twice (one week a part) when we were about eight. She has the goodness and sweetness of a small child. Christmas morning we had some friends over for brunch...Doreen is from my years at KOMO...Lola is my friend whom I met through the Emerald City Jewels a now defunct women's group...she and I bonded during the time I helped her pack up our friend Phyllis Mayo's condo after her death a year ago. Then, my little friend Henry who died a month ago left behind a grieving mama, Lihua. I was so glad that she agreed to join us. It was nice to have them all here. Food again was fabulous! Then, we had dinner with Steve's parents and they invited a lovely German couple Michael and Carolina Berger whom we have shared holiday meals with in the past. It was a great time and we appreciate our many blessings. I hope you created great memories with your loved ones as well.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks!

It is the night before Thanksgiving and I have been thinking about my many blessings... sending e-cards to friends and family members. And anxiously awaiting my grandson's trip to the NW in a few weeks. I really miss the guy. Any minute now he is going to be too cool or too big or too old to want to spend anytime with his puna. That will make me very sad. That brings me to wondering how my in-laws must feel about my daughter Keili turning 22 next week! I think more scary for all of us is the fact that she will graduating from college in May. Wow! then it will really be time for us to let go. The girl is always five steps ahead in planning. I know that she will go far and I mean that both figuratively and literally. She will either end up in Australia - again! or it could be some exotic locale like France, Italy or Spain but rest assured it will be far from home. She claims that she will never live where it is cold again so who knows what the future will bring for her? The universe brought Brie to Maui and look what happened there! Well, my life is in a holding pattern right now but Steve and I plan to be near Brie and Keawe hopefully sooner rather than later but with this economy it really depends on when we can get our house and property sold. Need a buyer who is a builder and wants these two parcels with fabulous views of the city, the sound, the Cascades from Baker to Rainier. If you know of anyone, send em my way!

Let's live with love and gratitude! I am grateful for my loving husband... My beautiful daughters...my wonderful handsome grandson... Steve's parents who are awesome btw...so are his relatives and I am also grateful for my brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews...god children...great friends and the loving memories of my son, parents, grandpa, Annie, Alycia, Phyllis, and so many more. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. God bless!

(I am up to 14,000 hits on my web site--woohoo!)

Monday, November 15, 2010

My thoughts on Social Media--my website has 13,275 posts!

Well, that little deal with my photo being put up on MSN.com a few weeks ago really was a godsend because since then I have had over three thousand more hits on my website. Pretty cooh, eh? I did a booksigning for OVER THE RAINBOW BRIDGE at the Bellevue Athletic Club on Saturday. It was a Holiday Bazaar...I was with my friend Linnea Sallberg who was educating people about XOCAI Healthy Chocolate and I ran into several former colleagues from KOMO-TV. That was fun! James Owen and Lynn Espinoza both looked great. My friend Linda Morris was there too. They commented about seeing me on MSN.com too! Social media is quite amazing isn't it? I need to figure that out mo bettah. Speaking of social media, this morning I was trying to add a few people from my email list to my Facebook and all of a sudden it said that I had sent out 877 invitations!!! So to all of my friends...I apologize for bombarding you...and I do realize that many of you are already hooked up with me on FB. Sorry for being such a dimwit with Facebook!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Life is Fleeting and Sharing Grief Helps

I went to Spokane recently to help with a weekend grief retreat for parents like me. It was comprised of people whose children died from cancer after suffering through chemotherapy, radiation, surgeries, etc. I call it the Crappy Club. We all felt like crap. It is amazing how much it helps to sit around with people who understand all too well how it feels when the bottom of your world drops out and you free fall into a hellish pit of pain that lasts far longer than you ever imagined possible. We shared a lot of laughter too so I don't want you think it was all horrible. I met some fantastic new people and got reacquainted with several from a previous retreat too. As the facilitator it is my job to keep things moving and give people a jumpstart on looking within and learning how to cope with their sadness. The activities are varied as different mediums touch people in a variety of ways. Most of the participants are shocked by what gets to his or her core and brings the tears. It is always fascinating to be with a group of strong capable survivors such as the parents who attended. Of course, I felt honored that they trusted me with their memories and stories. I am always blown away at the workshops. I am always awed by the amount of growth made in such a short amount of time. I see and feel the incredible heartfelt love and support the participants have for each other--- it's inspiring... I also love to hear about the children. Sometimes it is hard to listen to someone whose pain is so raw and so familiar to my own but I also know how much sharing will benefit them in the long run. So, if you are in the throes of grief---don't try to work through it alone. Know that going for help with your grief doesn't make you weak, mentally ill or damaged...it just means you are taking care of yourself after going through a terrible loss.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Love this review!!!

It appears I only know a tiny bit of Shirley Enebrad....when there’s at least two or three lifetimes worth of this woman! I’m truly blown away...on many levels. It’s taken me two days to put my thoughts and feelings together, before I could respond to you, the book, the journey.
First of all....I read it in two days. Not an easy task for me (busy schedule; distractions; slow reader!). I’ve only done this one other time, when Shawn H gave me a book to read “The Things I Want Most”....that was when Shawn sucked me into her life!
I’ve already made a mental list of who is getting this book for Christmas. My girlfriend whose sister committed suicide on Father’s Day 1987, for one. I always told her I thought Collette’s depression was a horrible brain/mental cancer that she couldn’t live with any longer. So she did her own version of mercy killing. A great explanation of what she was dealing with in the here and now, but until Cory told me where people go when they commit suicide I always anguished with what religions have told me. Thank you Cory!!! I’m sure it will bring some comfort to my friend Michelle, unless she’s already there.
OMGosh....I laughed out loud so many times. And anguished....and cried....and smiled. You are like the Army, the Navy and the Marines all in one! And Cory....what a wonder. I couldn’t wait to see what he was going to say or do next! And...you have to tell me...what airline am I forever boycotting!?!?!?!
You have opened my eyes and mind and heart to so much. And all of it, inspirational. I have never really feared death, but reading the book....I actually found myself looking forward to it!
Then the technical side of book. The writing, the flow...I was fascinated by the storytelling process. How did you do it? How long did it take? I kept thinking, “Shirley wrote this book...how did she sequence everything so perfectly? Was that as funny to everyone that read that part? Shirley wrote this book!”
Well, that was just a few things I was able to process in the past two days. I can’t thank you enough for sharing it, and Cory with me. I will forever treasure it (and probably read it again – something I’ve rarely done too – but I already find myself drawn back to it). More importantly I suppose, and I promise...I will pay it forward. Like I said, I have several people in mind that will appreciate this wonderful, inspirational story.
You are an amazing woman, Shirley! What a gift you are and have.
Be well,
Nicole M

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

MSN is my favorite this week

Well, I don't know if you saw it or not but yours truly was one of the rotating faces on MSN.com on Sunday morniing. What a kick! Anyway, I was featured in a Careerbuilders article about people falling into new careers. Well, MSN decided to run it too but they asked for a photograph and I wasn't aware that I was the only one in the article that would have my picture with it. Pretty cool, eh? Well, the really cool part is that so far I received nearly a thousand hits on my website as a result. Now if they would all buy my book that would be even better! I also, need those who have read it and liked it...(only the ones who liked it mind you)to go to Amazon.com and write a five-star review of OVER THE RAINBOW BRIDGE. My life just keeps getting better and better. Thanks for keeping up with me.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I am chatting with Frankie Picasso today at 5pm PST/8pm EST. It should be interesting. Her show is called MISSION UNSTOPPABLE. Following is instructions on how to listen to her shows...or to call in LIVE. And also, if you miss my interview, how you can listen to the archived recording of the show.

I would love to have you join our show every week and here is how you can do it. You can either listen in by going to www.blogtalkradio.com/missionunstoppable or you can CALL In LIVE at (646) 595-3741 , press 1. If you click on the show link you can then also join our chat room and interact with other listeners.

Don't have time to join us on Tuesday's? No problem... You can always listen to our archived recordings of the program by clicking on this link Mission Unstoppable. and using the convenient audio player, or download the .mp3 file and play it at leisure from Itunes on your phone or home computer!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Spokane is an awesome little city!

I just got back from a fabulous weekend in Spokane, Washington. My friend Linnea Sallberg and I had a grand time. The night we arrived a friend of Linnea's invited us to her lovely home for dinner. Her name is Brenda and she was the perfect hostess. We had great food and even better conversation until 11pm. I really enjoyed meeting Brenda. She is a survivor and a truly special lady. She hosts hockey players in addition to having a teenaged son. There's a special place in heaven for Brenda.

The next day, Linnea took me to a Xocai Healthy Chocolate seminar and it was very informative. Isn't it amazing that chocolate has been discovered to be the perfect SUPERFOOD???? Being a devout chocoholic this news really made me happy. I swear to you --- I could get up with the best of 'em and declare, "Hello, my name is Shirley and I am a chocoholic." So, anyway, Linnea is building her business on this wonderfully healthy and extremely yummy chocolate. If any of you are interested in partnering with Linnea I would be happy to introduce you to each other.

I also did a book signing at Auntie's Books on Main St. in downtown Spokane. What a terrific book store. And I LOVE bookstores. This one had everything. It had a little cafe, a pottery/art shop in the back and it was such a quaint location. I wish I had sold more books that day but I did leave a supply there for sale. I am donating 30% of the proceeds of those books sold at Auntie's to the Spokane chapter of Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation.

We were invited to the Inland NW Candlelighters' candle light vigil on Saturday. Just about froze my toes and tush off. I foolishly thought Spokane was warmer than Seattle so didn't even bring a jacket. Big mistake. Anyway, I was asked to speak about Bereavement. It was a good turnout and I enjoyed practicing my public speaking.

Then, Linnea and I drove over to Coeur d' alene for a quick look. What a cute downtown... I had never been there. I usually just blow by on I-90. Then, we hightailed it back to Spokane and enjoyed some pie. (not so healthy but good).

Anyway, I could live there. Not sure my political beliefs would fit and it is pretty white but what a lovely small city with a big heart.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

T.C. My Cat

Well, I just wanted to say that grief comes in all sizes. Last week Steve was out back chatting with a neighbor over the backyard fence. It seems that this neighbor noticed he hadn't seen our cat for a few days. Steve came in and asked me and lo and behold I had thought it odd that he hadn't been in for breakfast since the day before... not dinner the previous night either. So, Steve went outside and asked the guy why he had made such an observation and he said, "well, our cat and our neighbor's cat have both been missing for a day and a half." So, Steve and I went for a walk and talked to various people asking if they had seen T.C. He was a very friendly cat and loved to drop in on our neighbors from time to time. No one had seen him. We made it up the block and found out that 4 cat's on our block all disappeared. Apparently coyotes that have been sighted near greenbelts and large parks on the other side of West Seattle have made their way into the more urban neighborhoods. There are missing cat signs everywhere! And my heart is broken. He was the coolest cat. Very friendly, didn't kill birds and rodents and bring them in the house. He was just mellow and loved to cuddle at night. I am writing a letter to the mayor's office to ask that they send animal control out to round up the coyotes and send them back to the wild. People also mentioned that there haven't been any raccoons around lately either. I don't very much care about them but I am mourning the death of my little kitty boy who was only 8 years old and all of the other pets whose owners are sad too.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Marketing Books is Harder Than Writing Them

Getting a book written is harder than you think but even bigger and more time consuming is learning about marketing! I cannot tell you how much effort goes into it not to mention hiring someone to do it for you. The costs add up quickly and you have no guarantees that these folks are following through with what they told you. I met with Chris Flett who is a business wiz and he told me that I would just have to do it my own self. It is eye opening. Wish me luck and if you feel so inclined please read my book and write a review on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com but don't forget to do the star rating part of it or it brings down the evaluation. I will write more soon...right now I have to go listen to my learning CD.
BTW, I had a fabulous chat with Carol Marleigh Kline on her radio show Streetwise Spirituality last Friday on ContactTalkRadio. She was awesome. The week prior to that I did an interview with a wonderful woman Helen Smalley-Bower from Honolulu whose show FineTuneYoU airs on Blogtalkradio...she was just terrific too. I have been very fortuntate to have met so many wonderful people while traveling this path. Mahalo nui loa (THANKS!) to all of them.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Reminder of upcoming radio programs and reviews of the ones I have already done!

I was on vacation but still managed to do an interview on SUNDAY, May 23rd 7pm PST on Ronda & Tim Bertram's "Circles of Sand" show at ContactTalkRadio. It was really different having two people to talk with at the same time. Ronda and her husband Tim co-host the show that encompasses every aspect of life and love. They want to have me back on again for a follow-up plus Ronda has her own show that she does solo. By the time we had our chat she had not received my book so they did an awesome job even though they hadn't read it yet.

on WEDNESDAY- JUNE 2nd at 8pm PST my chat with another wonderful woman who was a fabulous interviewer aired. Dr. Linda's show "Fire Up Your Soul!" is on ContactTalkRadio...if you missed it you really must go to her archives. She had some very indepth questions...really made me think so, it should make the listeners think too. I loved chatting with her.

SUNDAY, June 13th 6pm PST-Helen Smalley-Bower "Fine Tune YoU"-BlogTalkRadio... Helen says, "I am a spiritual director, holistic theologian, and certified life coach. I combine all three disciplines to provide different choices for life's challenges." Fits right in with my story.

FRIDAY, June 25th 8pm PST - Carol Kline's "Streetwise Spirituality"- ContactTalkRadio... Carol's goal is to make sense out of life's most confusing moments and to help her listeners tame their dragons and move on with their lives.

WEDNESDAY, July 28th 11am PST - Rabbi Wayne Dosick's "SpiritTalkLive" show HealthyLife.net. Can't wait to chat with Rabbi Wayne. We had a brief telephone conversation and he is very interesting! tune-in!

MONDAY, July 26th 5pm PST
I just got booked by a lovely woman in Pennsylvania who does numerology. We had a nice chat. She sounds wonderful and so talented. While talking with her I told her how when I was pregnant with Keili and the doctor told me that I could choose the due date (planned C-section) I called Dr. Bill Womack and asked him to do numerology to help choose the best date during the week we had been given to choose from. Brie wanted to have her sister's birth on Pearl Harbor Day because on the calendar it was the only date of significance and she thought it was a holiday. We nixed that explaining to her that Pearl Harbor Day wasn't a good choice for our family. So, we left it in Bill's hands. Well, Alison confirmed that Keili's godfather Bill whom she refers to as Ding Dong Bill (long story for another time) had chosen a great birthday for his godchild. So, big excitement for me - she asked me to send her my info and Cory's. She will talk about our joint mission on the air. So, I urge all of you to tune-in on MONDAY, July 26th 8pm Eastern and 5pm Pacific time on BBS radio. Go to BBS radio. Click-on Live Talk #1 to hear the show.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Radio Interviews Updated & Alison Baughman's Visible by Numbers

Be sure to tune in on WEDNESDAY- MAY 19th at 8pm PST for my interview with another wonderful woman that I am excited to chat with about Cory...Dr. Linda on her show "Fire Up Your Soul!" on ContactTalkRadio...

SUNDAY, May 23rd 7pm PST- Ronda & Tim Bertram's "Circles of Sand" - ContactTalkRadio Ronda and her husband Tim co-host the show that encompasses every aspect of life and love.

SUNDAY, June 13th 6pm PST-Helen Smalley-Bower "Fine Tune YoU"-BBS Radio... Helen says, "I am a spiritual director, holistic theologian, and certified life coach. I combine all three disciplines to provide different choices for life's challenges." Fits right in with my story.

FRIDAY, June 25th 8pm PST - Carol Kline's "Streetwise Spirituality"- ContactTalkRadio... Carol's goal is to make sense out of life's most confusing moments and to help her listeners tame their dragons and move on with their lives.

MONDAY, July 26th 5pm PST
I just got booked by a lovely woman in Pennsylvania who does numerology. We had a nice chat. She sounds wonderful and so talented. While talking with her I told her how when I was pregnant with Keili and the doctor told me that I could choose the due date (planned C-section) I called Dr. Bill Womack and asked him to do numerology to help choose the best date during the week we had been given to choose from. Brie wanted to have her sister's birth on Pearl Harbor Day because on the calendar it was the only date of significance and she thought it was a holiday. We nixed that explaining to her that Pearl Harbor Day wasn't a good choice for our family. So, we left it in Bill's hands. Well, Alison confirmed that Keili's godfather Bill whom she refers to as Ding Dong Bill (long story for another time) had chosen a great birthday for his godchild. So, big excitement for me - she asked me to send her my info and Cory's. She will talk about our joint mission on the air. So, I urge all of you to tune-in on MONDAY, July 26th 8pm Eastern and 5pm Pacific time on BBS radio. Go to BBS radio. Click-on Live Talk #1 to hear the show.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dr. Anne Marie Evers' Show on ContactTalkRadio

Okay, so I am a television producer and have been at it since 1985...I don't know jack about radio or how it works especially now that it is on-line live. So, I am learning new things all the time. Yesterday I did a great half-hour interview with a lovely woman from Canada. She had called on Friday asking if I could fill-in for a guest who couldn't participate at the last minute. I said, "you bet!" (always eager to practice interview skills.) Anyway, the half hour went by very quickly but we talked about so many concepts covered in my "Over the Rainbow Bridge" book. I just love talking about my son! Well, she had not had time to read my book yet so her questions were coming from the list of testimonials from folks who have read my book chronicling how Cory's stories changed their lives...and also from the marketing one-sheet I had sent too. We became fast friends and I just loved her sweet nature and the way she views life. We should live with an "attitude of gratitude"...that was my favorite line from Dr. Anne Marie because that describes exactly what I believe too. We talked about positive affirmations. She is the Queen of Affirmations. I loved it too when she told me that she had "ordered up" her husband via affirmations and positive thinking. Her view of the world is inspiring. So, after we hung up at the conclusion of the interview she called me and we talked for another 40 minutes or so. She does workshops on how to create positive affirmations and change your life. I hope to go someday and see what her process is like and also would love to figure out how to do a documentary about her.

This was such a needed interaction yesterday as my husband and I had watched the movie "Taken" the night before. What a scary movie! Especially as parents of three beautiful girls. I urge everyone reading this blog to see the movie and understand that it was changed a bit but the core of the story is based on a real person whose daughter was abducted off a train while traveling with friends and then, they were forced to be sex slaves in a foreign country. It can happen to anyone at anytime so please talk to your kids about keeping themselves safe...no matter their age...don't talk to strangers even if they are handsome and charming and your age. Check out the website for Compassion2one and see what I am talking about. This is a new organization dedicated to rescuing children from traffickers. Before you think this is not in your realm think again. It doesn't just happen in foreign places. According to the Dept of Justice, in our country Seattle is the number ONE spot for kids under 16 being lured by these scumbags. Portland Oregon is number TWO. Be afraid people - your children are at risk.

Now you know why Dr. Anne Marie Evers was a much needed lift for me. My interview with her should be available on-line at the ContactTalkRadio.com site soon in the "archives". And check out Dr. Anne Marie's website too at annemarieevers.com.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Update on Radio Interviews coming up...

May 15th 12:30pm PST - Dr. Anne Marie Evers' - ContactTalkRadio
May 19th 8pm PST - Dr. Linda's "Fire Up Your Soul!" - ContactTalkRadio
May 23rd 7pm PST- Ronda Bertram's "Circles of Sand" - ContactTalkRadio
June 13th 6pm PST-Helen Smalley-Bower "Fine Tune YoU"-BBS Radio
June 25th 8pm PST - Carol Kline's "Streetwise Spirituality"- ContactTalkRadio
Sept 27th 5pm PST - the UNSTOPPABLE Frankie Picasso show - Blogtalkradio

Tune-in and or just pray for me. I would love your feedback too. Anything you can think of to help me improve would be gratefully appreciated!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Upcoming Radio Shows to Share Over the Rainbow Bridge

My plan was to call every independent bookstore owner or manager in the country. I made it through NC and started on Alaska and Alabama. Then, I sat here in my living room thinking there must be a way to reach more people with my son's message that is the basis for "Over the Rainbow Bridge". I was fondly recalling the fun I had being a guest on the Dr. Pat Show (drpatlive.com--you can go there and put my name in the search and listen to the interview). Then, I got booked on UNSTOPPABLE FRANKIE PICASSO for September 27th at 5pm PST 8pm EST on BlogTalkRadio when I responded to an ask for something else...anyway, I thought geez there must be a lot of other radio shows that might be interested in Cory's story and message. So, I typed in "spiritual radio shows" and by the end of the day I had been contacted by six radio show hosts and have dates for two already! May 19th I will be on "Fire Up Your Soul" at 8pm with Dr. Linda on ContactTalkRadio and then, on June 25th at 8pm on "Streetwise Spirituality" also on ContactTalkRadio. The others will give me dates soon and I will be sure to blog about it. It is a beautiful day in Seattle. Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Grief sometimes creeps up out of the most mundane things

If you let it...I am struggling with technology today. It has been one of those days where nothing I try to do on-line is successful. I feel like a dinosaur who just awoke in the middle of a science fiction episode. This struggle made me wonder what my son would have been doing if he was here right now. He would be so wired and able to teach me how to use this new fangled thing called the internet. I tried to pay my real estate taxes...tried to do some on-line banking...tried to hook up with Amazon for some ridiculous reason that I don't even understand! Yep, Cory would have been here cheering me on or giving me a hard time with a big grin on his face. I miss him so much.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation Rockin' Bingo Event

We had a really fun fund raiser event last night! Rockin' Bingo was the theme and guests were given the option to dress up like their favorite rock star, rock group, or a groupie/fan from their fave rock era. Since my fave era musically was probably the 70's and I was a bit of a hippie that is how I chose to dress. My husband who was supposed to show up as one of Beach Boys flaked out at the last second and came as a serious psychologist...well, more people dressed up than I anticipated and it was fun. Cindy Forrest and her husband Marcus hosted the "fun" table. Those folks are an inspiration...they know how to have a good time. My friend and neighbor Bret Wiggins aka Elvis was "on" last night and his performance was stellar. We didn't have any highschool prom goers on the premises to crash our event like last year but it was still a blast. The serious side of the event was that we have to raise money to support the families in Western WA who are coping with a pediatric cancer diagnosis and all of the ensuing treatment issues that goes along with it. Our unflappable emcee/bingo caller and our VP, Chuck Marcouiller spoke briefly about his son Max and their cancer journey...just so folks would remember why we were all there...then, Christine Hurley gave a brief pitch later on...her beautiful little daughter Brianna is a survivor and Chris is also a board member who came from the support side. Great job of describing our mission Chris and Chuck! Not sure how much we raised yet but it almost doesn't matter. A good time was had by all -- some new folks attended and learned about our mission and who we serve and we had some great prizes...good food and lots of fun! THANK YOU to all of our supporters!

Now, on to the next two events...on September 24th the Eastside Business Association in Kirkland is hosting their annual "Taste of the Town" event at the Columbia Winery and Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Western Washington is the recipient of the proceeds from the auction portion of the event. Then, the very next day is the statewide walk to create awareness of childhood cancer. This is a joint venture of ours with the Connie Prekeges Foundation. For more info go to conniewalk.org or check out our website at candlelighterswa.org and we will update the info as we get closer. Start building your teams now and walk for kids with cancer! It's only a 5k. Planned for Seattle, Tacoma and Spokane, WA.

Have a great rest of your weekend!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Grieving the loss of a child

I attended a class last night that brought up a lot of memories of my son. Now, you would think that all these years later the pain would be a lot less...but guess what? the pain doesn't go away -- you just get used to it. I have often told others this sad truth. The hole in your heart will always be there. You can try filling it up with food, chocolate, alcohol, drugs, pets, more children, etc. but that hole has the name of your deceased child on it and it will be there until the day you die. Truth hurts sometimes...but getting used to the pain is a reality. My little boy told me before he died that he did not want people (especially me) to focus on his death but to continue to celebrate his life and to be grateful for the time we had. My wise little boy had so many insights about life, death and the afterlife. I wrote most of them down in my book "Over the Rainbow Bridge" and I encourage you to read it. I have received so many complimentary emails and letters that it touches my heart. I got one yesterday from a lovely woman in Massachusetts. She found my book at her library and it really helped her. It is still surreal for me to get fan letters. They are more for Cory than me...but I still appreciate them.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Grief Comes in Many Packages

I have been thinking about how children grieve and maybe more importantly the things they grieve about. In the old days (as my kids would point out means my younger years---many moons ago) most children's first experience with a loss was the death of a pet...or the death of a grandparent. That was back in Leave it to Beaver's day. Now, families move many times so the children lose friends, contact with family members, teachers, familiar surroundings, etc. Then, the divorce rate has blown through the roof and now many folks don't even bother to get married so splitting up is even easier in many cases. What does all this loss do to children? They are sad, some are mad, they feel disconnected, unsupported, and just plain lost. When kids experience the death of a parent or grandparent either one or both of their parents are busy grieving too depending on the circumstances---again...they feel unsupported and lost. I helped facilitate grief workshops for kids and teens for a local hospice organization for more than 15 years. It was incredible to hear the stories the kids told. And, it was wonderful that they were in a safe place where they could talk about how it felt to be going through grief with or without parents. Kids are amazingly resilient but they have to feel that someone is there for them or they will find other ways to cope. And that's rarely good. We had cutters, drug users, young people who drank alcohol...you name it. They weren't bad kids. They were just sad...mad...lost. Hear your children...feel their pain...be there for them. With so many adults messed up on drugs or other substances...they are not there for their children. I think that is why we have so many angry people in the world. Let's all pray for the children shall we?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Judging Others is Wrong

I read with interest the story today about the adoptive mom who sent her Russian child back to Russia with a note that said she didn't want to parent him anymore. Well, now the woman is being vilified by people judging her actions. What a sad sad story and all too common these days. Apparently the boy has severe behavioral issues and the single parent who adopted him was never told about the boy's true history. Makes ya wonder what kind of screening they do in Russia. In the meantime, the Russian government is totally hacked and suspending adoptions until they can come up with a new plan for doing adoptions with Americans. This story reminds of my friends who adopted a cute little guy and now he resides across the country in a boarding school for boys who can't hack it at home-- for a variety of reasons and none of them pretty. Now, we all know that you never know even when you have a child biologically what your child's personatlity will be like... but how tragic for all adoptive parents whose kids turn out to be the opposite of what they wanted. It has to be so horrible for the children too. They have been through so much -- they gotta be angry and so many are drug and alcohol affected most have RAD, PTSD you name it. You cannot judge these parents...not even if you have been through it yourself should you judge these parents. They deserve our prayers not condemnation.

Monday, March 29, 2010

How Do We Explain Our Society to Children?

I have been pondering life and the way we human beings treat each other. It really breaks my heart to think about all the negative crap that goes on because having experienced the death of a beautiful sweet child and to think that children are being mistreated and or being taught by their role models to treat others with complete disregard makes me sick. I was driving down the street and at a place where the road narrowed from two lanes to one I was forced into the oncoming lane by a young woman driving a Lexus. She decided to pass me on the right - which BTW is illegal and dangerous. Apparently she was in a hurry and I was irrelevant. Then, I pick up the newspaper and read about Sarah Palin and the Tea Party people "targeting" Harry Reid. Will someone please get a clue and send this idiot woman back to Alaska already? She is a loose cannon and if someone ends up being injured or worse based on her spewing hateful untrue messages I hope that she gets named in a lawsuit for inciting ridiculous behavior by people who are so worked up with hatred because of Palin, Limbaugh, Beck and their ilk. Truth and social justice are not a part of their realm. We have to stand up to those who would rather use people to do their evil bidding. It sounds so much like Hitler's tactics it is downright scary. Then, I read the article about the teens charged with bullying a 15 year-old girl into committing suicide. How does this vicious behavior get started? How should parents prepare their kids to fend off such hateful hurtful acts? What about the parents of those kids who have been charged? What were they missing? Why are kids so mean to each other? Is hatred a normal part of our society? What can and should be done to stop it? Can it be changed? Are we destined for worse behavior and becoming a wimpy nation of haters? Who is responsible for this gross downward spiral? It is really sad to think about....what do I tell my grandson?

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Dr. Pat Show--What a Treat

Well, I was the guest on the Dr. Pat Show this morning...for a whole hour! It was a great experience. I really truly enjoyed her and she is a terrific interviewer. That is a real compliment because I have been told many times what a great interviewer I am so there ya go. We chatted about Cory and what he taught people...what he wanted people to know from his life and death. This was especially poignant since Cory's birthday was yesterday. Yep, he would have been 34 yesterday if he had survived his disease. Makes me feel REALLY old. Wow. But, let's get back to the show. Dr. Pat was very kind and asked out of the norm questions. I really liked that she felt while reading the book that Cory was a reflection of me. I had never really thought that before so it was a very interesting observation on Pat's part. We laughed a lot too. She cracks me up. I told the story of how Cory imitated Marlise by putting tissue up his nose in a restaurant to tease her. I was supposed to be describing his sense of humor and fun. He was so much fun! The hour went by way too fast and there are so many more stories to tell. In fact, I laugh now about the stories that didn't make it into the book because I hadn't written them down on paper. If you didn't get to hear the show on KKNW, go to thedrpatshow.com and look for my name on the archived shows. You can listen to the whole thing. Radio is such an interesting technology. Much different than television. Who knew? Well, Thanks Dr. Pat! It was fun.

Friday, March 5, 2010

You Have to Worry About Us As a Society When You Read This

Okay, I was so stunned after reading this article that I had to share it with you. After having a beautiful healthy son who became a beautiful ill child whom I would have traded my life for...here comes a story that is so outrageously sad and infuriating at the same time that I just had to make sure others saw it. We are a sad sad sick society and here is the proof:

(March 5) -- A South Korean couple addicted to the Internet left their 3-month-old daughter to starve to death while they raised a virtual daughter online during 12-hour bouts at a cyber cafe, police said.

The husband and wife had been on the run since their baby, born prematurely, died five months ago of severe dehydration and malnutrition, police said. They were arrested this week near their home south of the capital Seoul and charged today with child abuse and neglect.

Police say the couple left their infant alone in their apartment and rushed back from the Internet cafe just once a day to feed her. South Korea's official Yonhap news agency first reported the arrests, quoting police.

Prius Online
A South Korean couple was accused of leaving their infant unattended while they played the online game Prius for hours on end. This is an image from the game.
The case highlights what experts say is as a growing trend of Internet addiction in South Korea, which has the highest broadband penetration per capita in the world. Its 24-hour cyber cafes are a mecca for online gaming. Last month, a 24-year-old man collapsed and died in an Internet cafe in the southwestern city of Kwangju after playing computer games for 86 hours straight.

The trend has grown worse with rising unemployment. In this case, police said the couple "indulged themselves online" to escape reality. "The couple seemed to have lost their will to live a normal life because they didn't have jobs and gave birth to a premature baby," police officer Chung Jin-Won told Yonhap.

The couple "raised" a virtual character called "Anima" in the popular role-playing computer game Prius Online, police said. The game, similar to Second Life, allows players to create another life for themselves in a virtual world, which includes choosing a job, interacting with other users and earning an extra avatar to nurture once they reach a certain level.

"They indulged themselves in the online game of raising a virtual character so as to escape from reality, which led to the death of their real baby," Chung said.

The couple, 41-year-old Kim Yoo-chul and his 25-year-old wife, Choi Mi-sun, also met online. It was not clear whether they had a lawyer.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Grief Comes in Different Shapes

Well, I just finished helping my friend Lola sort through our dear friend Phyllis' condo and storage units. Phyllis passed away right before Thanksgiving from mestastatic breast cancer that had traveled to her brain. I miss her beautiful smile and gentle spirit but I know that she and Alycia are tearing it up on the other side of the rainbow bridge. Helping Lola was very cathartic in so many ways. I had known Phyllis for about 6 or 7 years. We were both part of a women's group and we called ourselves The Emerald City Jewels...or just jewels for short. Anyway, what a marvelous group of women! We gathered once a month for great food and great conversation. We started with seven and with first Alycia leaving us and now Phyllis we are a sad but mighty original five. We had added a few more women along the way such as Lola and a few others...but the original five are bonded tightly. Well, back to helping at the condo...our dear friend Phyllis was a very private person. She kept her illness a secret for as long as she could. Not sure if she didn't want to burden anyone or just wanted to cope in her own way but I really felt the need to do something for Phyllis so helping Lola was my way of coping with the grief and loss of my beautiful friend. Sure we cried when we found certain items and writings...but it wasn't about me or Lola it was indeed about Phyllis. So long dear friend.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Life is Good...Even When You Have the Flu

Well, it is a good thing that I had a flu shot this year because it really did lessen the symptoms of the flu bug that got me this week. I think about feeling sick for 24-36 hours and then laugh. Cory was sick for five and a half years! What a courageous little boy he was...and so many other pediatric cancer patients too. They go through so darn much and no one wants to think about kids being sick or God forbid dying but it happens. Cancer is the NUMBER ONE disease killer of kids in our country. More kids die from cancer than all of the other diseases combined. So, why is it so darn hard to get people to listen and care? I love my dogs and my cat and I hate to throw them under the bus but American people care more about animal abuse issues than foster kids, abandoned and abused kids and certainly more than kids with a life threatening disease. Where are our priorities anyway? That is something that will always puzzle me and also push me to work for the children like Cory whose families need help. Anyone want to help me?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Silver & Gold Friendships

I just had a wonderful day that started off with me getting a parking ticket because I was in such a hurry that I accidentally parked in front of a wheelchair ramp that was placed in the middle of a long block. I have always seen them at corners and cross walks so I was a bit bummed about it. But that didn't last for long.

I had brunch with my nephew's mother who has always been like a sister to me. We had a nice long visit. I always feel so good whenever I get to spend time with her. She is truly a wonderful person.

My second date was with Marcia Shaver who is someone that I met a week and a half ago. She is finishing up a book and using the same publisher that I did. We had tea and chatted. I gave her my book to read. A few days later she sent an email telling me that one of the people in my book was her best friend and neighbor. I was so thrilled to get an update on Elaine. So, Marcia arranged for us to all have tea today. It was so great to see Elaine. It has been years. She was my son's hospice nurse. She is such a softy that she started to cry as soon as she saw me. Then, she told me how she keeps Cory's picture on her calendar and that she still thinks of him all the time. It was very sweet to hear that. She also shared with me a "visit" Cory made to her to tell her good-bye. Also, very touching.

We talked for two hours. It was so nice. At one point she told me what a good mommy I was to my son and how much she learned from me about parenting. She was childless when she took care of Cory. It was so sweet of her to tell me that I should have no regrets because I courageously took unpopular stands on his behalf and how I was way ahead of my time in demanding that the healthcare professionals respect my son's end of life wishes. Wow what a gift she gave me today.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Life is a whirlwind!

We just hosted two beautiful young women from Korea. They became part of our household for six weeks. It was so great to get to know them but even better to watch them learn about our culture and improve their language skills. Our language has to be the worst possible language to try to learn. We have so many slang words incorporated into our every day use and also the silent E. That was amusing. But, one day Steve realized that Bella wasn't sure how to answer his question. It dawned on him that we have a bad habit of asking questions in the negative and thereby confusing non-English speakers. For example we might say something such as, "so, you won't be home for dinner this evening?" rather than asking "will you be joining us for dinner?" Once we realized what we were saying it was mindblowing to see how often we did that and our friends too! Having the girls stay with us helped me to realize that we are a nation of arrogance...we think everyone should think the way that we do... we are not the center of the universe.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Share this Prayer

Dear Friends let us pray.......

Lord, I just want to say THANK YOU, because this morning I woke up and knew where my children were. Because this morning my home was still standing, because this morning I am not crying because my husband, my children, my brother or sisters need to be unearthed from underneath a pile of concrete, because this morning I was able to drink a glass of clean water, because this morning I was able to turn on the lights, because this morning I was able to take a shower, because this morning I was not planning a funeral, but most of all I thank you this morning because I still have life and a voice to cry out for the people of Haiti. Lord I cry out to you, the one that makes the impossible, possible, the one that turns darkness in to light, I cry out that you give the people strength, that you give them peace that surpasses all understanding, that you may open the streets so that help can come, that you may
provide doctors, nurses, food, water, and all that they need in a blink of an eye. For all those that have lost family members, give them peace,give them hope, give them courage to continue to go on! Protect the children and shield them with your power. I pray all this in the name of Jesus!!!

To all my friends please continue to forward this so that we can pray together for the people in Haiti. We here in the USA are truly blessed! I for one wake up everyday and thank God for giving me another healthy day on this planet...another day with my loved ones...another day with food, water, clothing, heat, and friends. Let us all focus on being grateful for what we have and in whatever way possible let us all help those who need...those in Haiti and other sites of disasters.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Golden Apple Awards--Airs Feb. 25th on KCTS

Well, last night we taped the Golden Apple Awards at the Intiman Theatre in Seattle. This was the 18th year that Pemco Insurance and KCTS-TV have jointly honored exceptional educators and educational programs throughout Washington State. I was asked to be the Associate Producer by my friend Josephine who is the main show producer. The winners are chosen by a panel of people who know excellence when it comes to teaching. I was also lucky enough to be chosen to produce profiles of two of the recipients. I was so awestruck by these two women and what they are able to do in a single school day. Ann Smith teaches gifted fifth graders in Vancouver Washington. She has a great principal and apparently a great school district that supports her efforts. You might think that gifted kids are easy students and in some ways that is probably true but in other ways they are not always the most socially adept kids for whatever reasons. Ann Smith's kids were presenting a Renaissance Faire when I was there. They made their costumes. Ann had assigned them identities and they had to research their occupations and come up with ideas of things they could make and sell in their marketplace. She had them prepare a feast that consisted of at least five different dishes. We got there and they set up, started their preparations and with the help of some great moms they put together quite a lot of food. Then, they had younger students come through while each explained his or her occupation and what that meant. They sang, they danced and they gave speeches...all in character. Now, mind you, this was all before lunch! Lunch by the way was YUMMO! Then, they read, wrote, answered questions, played an ancient game of checkers. I wish I could have done a half hour documentary on this class of kids... who also by the way, go to the nearby creek once a month to monitor the water quality, temperature, flow, etc. They present their findings to adult professionals and college level educators later in the year. My second teacher profile was of a beautiful petite Vietnamese woman who teaches in South Seattle. She teaches kindergarten students many of whom are ESL kids. We visited them on the 59th day of classes. Most of these children did not know their alphabet when they started this school year. She has them reading, journaling, doing math problems and so many other high-level tasks. I was blown away by these little five year olds. I asked if it was a gifted class and she said "no, just regular kids." Well, they are not regular kids and Huyen Lam is not a regular teacher. She has a business degree and had opened her own retail establishment. She figured out fairly quickly that she wasn't cut out for some of the behind the scenes dealings involved with her trade. In the meantime, several neighborhood kids had come in to visit with her and ended up asking for help with schoolwork. The light dawned and she knew that she wanted to make a difference and to try to fix flaws in the education system...her first thought was that giving the students a strong foundation as young as possible was the way to go. That is what she does. She does not coddle the kids and just expect them to play and get used to learning. She pushes them to want to learn. I loved it when she chose a boy to lead the class during math time. (each week a different child is chosen to lead this part of their day)...In addition to math they figured out what day it was, how many days they had been in school, what month, day of the week, etc. This little boy was so confident and sure of himself---it was so empowering for him. All of the students participated and got so enthusiastic about learning. The whole day was one jaw dropping task after another. I was humbled by the amazing way both of these beautiful bright strong women molded their students right before my eyes. Teachers deserve so much more recognition than they receive. That old cliche about kids being our future is true and we should all be thankful for people who chose to dedicate their lives to making sure that all kids not just their own are given the tools to create the future. Thank you Huyen, Ann and all the rest of the teachers who work so hard for so little thanks and compensation.

The program will air on PBS stations throughout the state. FEB. 25 @ 7pm on KCTS 9 Seattle and KYVE 47 in Yakima. FEB. 27th on KWSU in Pullman @ 10pm and on Marcy 5th @ 9pm. FEB. 28th at 1:00pm KSPS in Spokane. March 4th @ 10:00pm on KTNW in the Tri-Cities.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gratefulness Goes A LONG Way!

Well, I haven't taken the time to blog lately. Went to Hawaii and spent some good time just soaking up the sun's rays...read six books and spent time with family. I am so grateful to have my family. Good, bad or indifferent - they are all mine. But, that is not the real reason I decided to blog about gratefulness today. I just read five very sweet thank you notes that I am forwarding to one of our lovely sponsors for the Candlelighters' Holiday Adopt a Family program. This particular sponsor adopted 11 families again this year. So, five thank you notes is almost half! That is the biggest return we have had in years and years. Okay, so we provided self addressed stamped envelopes with the note cards but I am just ecstatic that we got this many back. In recent years we were lucky to get one or two out of 55. This year we actually processed at least 70 families through our program. I am so thankful to all of our generous sponsors...our volunteer drivers who really helped since I normally do most of that part and since I was smart and went to Hawaii these folks were sent from God above to take care of the pick ups and deliveries. And, now I am so grateful that at least some of those we served had the energy and the wherewithall to write a note of gratitude and send it in. I am just plain happy with everyone! God is good.