Thursday, October 29, 2009

Words of survival

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I continue to feel Louella in my heart!
Words of Survival

I'm hopeful the words of wisdom written below as communicated by my neighbor in October, 2009 is as inspiring to you as it was for me when I was even more awe-inspired by Louella's strength as the interview educated me about her life filled with such hardship. She feels her journey, thus far, has been filled with more good than bad. Of course, this glass half full perspective is the foundation of her world. Louella is truly grateful for the time she has had on this earth and I'm fortunate to have moved next to such a great neighbor. I can only hope some of her wonderful characteristics rub off on me!

Here is the article as it was originally posted on Examiner.com before they closed their doors and took the content off of the Internet:


I’ve used this forum, thus far, to offer advice for overcoming anxiety and hardship. It is only appropriate to finish my first week with the Examiner by sharing some insightful words from a remarkable woman, someone who has and continues to triumph over tragedy. Let me introduce you to Louella Gaines from Augusta Township in Ypsilanti, Michigan.  In her own words she is, “A tough lady!”

Louella’s heartbreak started early in life with the loss of her Mother at the tender age of three. Being the youngest of ten children, she was fortunate to have been loved and taken care of by her older siblings.  Later in life, she mourned the loss of her newborn baby and she also bereaved the death of her adult son, Don. She has endured a 40 year battle with cancer: overcoming a Hysterectomy, breast cancer (Mastectomy), the loss of a lung and kidney and frequent bouts of skin cancer (Melanoma) requiring necessary on-going extractions. Louella’s routine often includes weekly trips to the doctor’s office.  She doesn’t enjoy going to the doctors but as she puts it, “The alternative isn’t a choice.” When I asked her if her battle has been worth it, she replied, “Yes, it is worthwhile for me and my family. I am happy to be alive and doing well!” 

She credits her success to her support system; the love from her family, strength from her 61 years of marriage to her husband Gene and faith from her relationship with God. Suzanne, her daughter, explained that her Mother’s strength comes naturally, “It is a part of her; she never had an option to be anything other than strong.” What advice does Louella offer someone who has just been diagnosed with cancer? She said firmly, “Listen to the doctor and get the surgery if necessary!”  What does she say to someone who is afraid to go to the doctors? “Go, learn to trust your doctor, develop a relationship with him and be very conscious of your body."

I imagine someone who has endured such a devastating journey might justify living their life resentful and intolerant of others but this isn’t Louella, she exudes the warmth of a caring, gentle soul.  She continues to stay positive offering a “for the best” attitude and thanking God every day for her life.

Click here to learn about cancer survivorship.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Surviving a sudden life hardship

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Surviving a Sudden Life Hardship

I have overcome many hardships in my life. I am a survivor who is grateful for not only the blessings but the suffering that has blessed me with lessons learned. This month (October, 2009)  is my 1 year job loss anniversary. I don’t even remember seeing the colors last fall, which is actually my favorite season. I walked around like a zombie, numb at first, and then later my emotions turned into confusion, embarrassment, anger and eventually I felt hurt. After the initial impact, I was eventually able to free my feelings, embrace the situation and find my silver lining. Suddenly I had a flexible schedule enabling me to explore my artistic inspirations and then  begin marketing my drawings and writings. Today, I’m grateful for the opportunity this time has gifted. I trust myself, and I have faith my new career will generate enough income to support my needs and because of this, I’m a much happier person!

This is the mindset that inspired the below article that was originally posted on Examiner.com before it closed its doors.


It seems our life journey can be very trying at times but in hindsight the experience really prepares, gifts strength and offers insight for future endeavors. Sometimes we feel fortunate, we had a close call and only the tip of an ice berg surfaced and, other times, we are less fortunate and it feels like the iceberg just took down our ship leaving us gasping for air! 

When such tragedy strikes and our worst fears come to pass, it is so important to be present; to feel the situation. Do not choose to ignore it hoping it will go away; denial is not the answer it only prolongs the agony. It is scary to embrace a fear but it is necessary to begin to process in order to free the negative energy.  Otherwise, your raincloud will turn into a severe storm if you are not processing.  Have you ever had a bad moment turn into a bad day that turned into a bad week and so on? Your destructive reaction to the drama fed the bad energy. Let’s face it, we’re all human and therefore, most of us initially react to drama negatively. Beyond the initial reaction, we have to figure out how to get over the impact and how to find something positive from the misfortune to change our energy. This is the foundation that will enable us to move forward again! This grounding course of action is essential for us to start to find our footing. Once the initial shock is over and the impact is felt, we can process the situation and begin searching for its silver lining.  What lesson can this hardship teach?  If we can find something positive from the trial, maybe the glass is suddenly half full instead of half empty. Perhaps, now we are more educated and less na├»ve, maybe we are more cautious or maybe we found friendship, someone we may have never met without the mishap. It is critical to take something from the ordeal; this validates the encounter and helps us to avoid reliving the tribulation time and time again. 

We all know the old sayings, “live and learn” and “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  This strength carries us through life’s valleys and instills our appreciation for life’s mountain highs!

Click here to learn about resiliency from trauma.

If you can relate to this, I invite you to share your story!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Grounding Your Anxiety with Nature

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This was my 1st article posted in 2009 in my healthy living column at Examiner.com. Unfortunately, the business closed it's virtual doors last year (after 5 years of posting)
 and all of the content was pulled with them. I've copied the article in below. After the article I shared my inspiration for creating it.


How to Ground Your Anxiety Using Nature

Even the most happy, healthy souls have moments of despair.  During the hustle and bustle of everyday life, demands can be overwhelming causing anyone to feel exhausted and off-balance.  Confusion sets in and suddenly you’re unsure where to turn; crippled by anxiety.  When you are feeling stuck, this is when it’s a perfect time to take a step into nature to gain some clarity.

Have you ever looked up during a rainstorm to discover a breathtaking rainbow?  This is such a validation of universal hope; a promise of sunshine beyond the daunting storm.  It radiates new found warmth; a treasure from deep within and riches that reach well beyond any bank account.  Being one with nature is the foundation for self-discovery and the path to get back on track.  When you feel the whirlwind of life rushing through your veins, spinning you out of control; take a stroll through the woods, in the park or just down a neighborhood sidewalk. Mindfully take in the beautiful backdrop; inhale the sweet fragrance of a wild flower or freshly cut grass.  Be still and let this moment ground you enabling easier and deeper breathes.  If you are not able to find a rainbow, or inhale nature’s engaging fragrances then create a blissful moment of your own.  Nibble on a tantalizing piece of seasonal fruit.  Retreat from your anxieties by mindfully experiencing nature’s nectar by biting into a sweet strawberry. What a beautiful  counter to the rush and distress from all of your obligations.  Revitalize your spirit with a few delicious bites! 

Whether you find your moment of grounding through natural visions of beauty, sweet aromas or tastes of nectar, allow this process to balance a world sometimes filled with confusion and chaos.  You just have to recognize your own need and fulfill it by tapping into the tranquility and peacefulness gifted from our great earth; practice letting nature sooth and renew your spirit!
This was the inspiration to the article:
This past week I've started driving with my son, Jeremy. He is 14 yrs. 9 months and he just received his phase 1 driving permit. I'm really thankful this is taking place in the Fall. I am extremely anxious getting into the vehicle with him! He is really doing great but his inexperience scares me. He ran out to my vehicle with permit in hand, the 1st day it was legal, asking, "Can I drive us home from Driver's Ed today, Mom?" I tried to swallow the lump in my throat, pulled to the side and slowly moved to the passenger seat. My uneasiness soon started to dissipate as we drove through the Michigan Fall colored landscape. It wasn't long before he was pulling into our driveway safe and sound! I was physically present with him but I certainly appreciated the beauty surrounding us and I was able to pacify myself using it as a security blanket! I'm hopeful you are taking in nature's beauty wherever you are and that you are present enough to be awe-inspired!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The First Day of the Rest of My Life

The First Day of the Rest of My Life

This week has been an emotional milestone of my 1 year anniversary launch to enable me to live my life-long dreams; transitioning a successful business career into a career of an artist/writer, and who knows where this path will lead me! I've learned so much through the trials and tribulations of my very active life and, I know for sure, I am feeling like I am still a young student of life and I'm loving every minute of it! I launched my website, http://www.lifetimeartimpression.com January of this year, 2009, and to date, I have had over 3000 visitors. This validates my efforts in marketing continue to be affective. YEAH! My book,What Can I Say When Words Escape Me? (Being present for others in their times of sorrow) will be coming to the market November, 2009 and I've submitted my 1st article as a Healthy Living Writer for the Examiner Detroit Market today. It is pending approval before the live post! This is my newest forum to reach people in need. I'm excited to explore and learn in this crazy virtual world filled with such opportunity. I will be sharing these posts in my blog. God Bless all of you who find my words and may my hope for you is that my feelings of joy fill your heart with hopeful reflections of your own lives!
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