Cultivating Peace Within

Jerusalem by Naomi Shihab Nye

I’m not interested in
who suffered the most.
I’m interested in
people getting over it.

Once when my father was a boy
a stone hit him on the head.
Hair would never grow there.
Our fingers found the tender spot
and its riddle: the boy who has fallen
stands up. A bucket of pears
in his mother’s doorway welcomes him home.
The pears are not crying.
Later his friend who threw the stone
says he was aiming at a bird.
And my father starts growing wings.

Each carries a tender spot:
Something our lives forgot to give us.
A man builds a house and says,
“I am native now.”
A woman speaks to a tree in place
of her son. And olives come.
A child’s poem says,
“I don’t like wars,
they end up with monuments.”
He’s painting a bird with wings
wide enough to cover two roofs at once.

Why are we so monumentally slow?
Soldiers stalk a pharmacy:
big guns, little pills.
If you tilt your head just slightly
it’s ridiculous.

There’s a place in my brain
where hate won’t grow.
I touch its riddle: wind, and seeds.
Something pokes us as we sleep.

It’s late but everything comes next. 

From Red Suitcase Copyright 1994 by Naomi Shibab Nye

Source: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/54296

Stan and I are taking a mindfulness class at St. Mary’s Health and Fitness. We both have meditated for years, but with our current health conditions, it couldn’t hurt to tune up our skills. The first week we had to keep a meditation journal, which for me was a good reminder to do at least a little every day. The second week our assignment was no radio or other music while driving and no television. No television is not too hard for us because we don’t watch much and we DVR shows we do want to watch. We also received colorful Zen dots which are removable round stickers to put all over your house and car and they remind you to take a deep breath whenever you see one. I have one on our Surface keypad,

one on my water bottle, 

one on my Boogie Board, 

and I put one Zen dot on my car radio dial. 

I have always been a person who notices things, so that didn’t change much driving without radio. But I did pay more attention to my speed. And I was more mindful. We missed the third class, unfortunately, because the Radicava webinar was at the exact same time. The third class was on meditation to handle pain which Stan really needs. There was no class this week and next Wednesday will be the last one. Hopefully Stan can get caught up on the pain lesson.

I have been working on maintaining my inner peace at home despite the loud expressions of frustration and anger that at times spring from the guys I love. I went on strike as Andy’s manager, in that I won’t remind him to get his school work, chores, training, practicing, etc. done. I am done with the conflict: “I know Mom!” spoken quite loudly and then still not getting anything done. At first he begged me to not go on strike. He said, “I like you telling me what to do.” I said, “I am not going to college with you.” Stan has really stepped up his involvement in managing Andy which is awesome.

I discoverd a new mindfullness tracker called Spire.

Spire on it’s charging pad. The smooth stone sensor goes inside your pant waist or center of bra for women.

It measures breaths per minute and can tell if you are calm, tense, concentrating, active, or sedentary. I set mine to vibrate and notify my phone only when I am tense, because I am usually a calm person. it is interesting to see what causes me to be tense. Spire also has guided breathing meditations including one called clinical strength for pain and that has helped Stan a few times already. It is also water proof so I can use it during water aerobics.

I wake up early in the morning because I love the peaceful time before anyone else is up. My alarm goes off at 4:45 AM and our local public radio station comes on with 15 minutes of classical music which is usually wonderfully calming music to wake up to. At 5 AM NPR news comes on. I like to know what is going on in the world, but I do get more tense when I listen to it. I also get more tense when I look at Facebook, probably more so since he who shall not be named became the head of our country.

I now read an emailed news digest called The Skimm.  It’s witty, as well as succinct but detailed if you wish to click links. I find it to be less stress inducing than the news on the radio.  It was through The Skimm that I found out about Spire. You can check out The Skimm here:  https://www.theskimm.com/?r=b25ee41b   I do still read our local newspaper when I have time.

The news is full of terrorism and war, political strife, senseless killings. These things are not happening more in modern times than they did in history. They have always happened. Terrorism is part of war and wars have been fought throughout history over religious differences, political differences and power struggles. John Lennon said, “Imagine all the people living life in peace…imagine all the people sharing all the world” in his famous song Imagine. I will come across as a realist, and even maybe a naysayer because I don’t think this will ever happen. I think our planet will become even more full of war as resources shrink and populations increase.

As Naomi Shibab Nye said in her poem Jerusalem, “There’s a place in my brain where hate won’t grow”. It is through mindfulness and meditation that we can get in touch with that peaceful place within ourselves. And it will be more and more important to be able to go to that peaceful place as life’s hardships bombard our local, national, and international newsfeeds, as well as all of our lives. 

 

Hope, Love, and Connection and lots of good stuff

This was an eventful week: lots of ALS related good stuff, and a family wedding.

ALS good stuff #1: HOPE

Stan and I participated in a webinar from MT Pharma, the manufacturer of the newly approved ALS drug, Radicava, which should be available in August. It has been shown to significantly slow the progression of ALS. ALS patients can sign up for email updates at radicava.com. In July there will be a physician’s form for neurologists to use to enroll their patients. Then MT Pharma will work with patient’s insurance companies. The drug will be an hour long infusion every day for two weeks, then two weeks off, two weeks on, etc. It is exciting and gives hope because it’s the first new drug for ALS in 20 years.

ALS good stuff #2: LOVE 

At our ALS Association of Nevada Support Group meeting on Thursday another ALS patient, Deb, who you may remember had the awesome car wash mitts on her wheelchair foot rests,

talked about her caregiver, who brought a sheepskin blanket and she loved the feel of it and found it very comforting. Her son took her to Build a Bear and she picked a panda with sheepskin-type fur. Then her son decided to make two so another ALS patient could have one. She presented it to me! The adoption certificate says it was built for mom’s friend. 💜 He is so cute and comforting and that was absolutely an act of love.

ALS good stuff #3: HOPE, LOVE, and CONNECTION

On Saturday we had the Reno/Sparks Walk to Defeat ALS and the weather was absolutely perfect: blue skies, no wind, temperatures in the 70s. Caughlin Ranch Elementary School (CRES), where I worked, formed Team Meg. This was another act of love and I appreciate the support so much.

Amanda, CRES mom and Team Captain, with her daughter Capriel and her husband Tony.
Almost all of Team Meg. It was hard to herd everyone in for the photo
With Rene, who now has my job. We worked together for several years and we are neighbors. And yes I brought the panda! My mouth feels better with a napkin in and I don’t care how it looks. Plus I don’t drool. Rene also brought a bunch of bright green ballooons, which I loved.
Marci, another CRES mom, with her youngest.
Holly, one of the Gifted and Talented teachers at CRES
Sandy, a Special Education Resource teacher at CRES 

With Natasha, another Gifted and Talented teacher at CRES. Her daughter and daughter’s boyfriend walked too.

With April, an Autism Strategies teacher at CRES. I was writing a note to April, not conversing with the panda!

Here you can see the sign that the panda was wearing: Ride to Defeat ALS, Never Give Up

April and Laura. I gave Laura my camera to be the official Team Meg photographer. Thanks also to Stan who took the pre-walk photos.

Mark, the CRES lunch manager with his daughter, who I put in charge of the panda during the walk. 

Andy, former CRES student; Afek, current CRES student; and Shefer, former CRES student

It was so nice to see so many people I used to work with and around and to meet their kids too. There were also other staff members and parents who contributed but did not walk. Thank you CRES community – you are the best.

Stan’s cousin Lisa also came out to support my walk, although she has her own health issues that make walking diffucult.

I met some other ALS patients during the walk. Linda and Andy are my new friends. Andy has ALS.

I talked with other ALS patients and family members, some that I had met through the support group, and some that I was able to tell about the support group. This included one mom in a wheelchair who spoke only a little English. When I heard her son translate what I wrote into Spanish for her I began writing in Spanish, with a little help from her son. I was able to tell them about the support group too and the son put the information in his phone.

The entire walk raised over $25,000. Truly a morning of love, connection, and hope for what that money can do to defeat ALS. You can still donate to Team Meg at http://web.alsa.org/site/TR/Walks/Nevada?team_id=359152&pg=team&fr_id=12347

Other good stuff: Love (Family Wedding)

We went home from the walk and got ready to go to a 4 pm wedding in Graeagle, California (about an hour and a half drive). Lisa rode up with us. The groom, Clint, is Lisa’s step brother. 

Uncle Keith and Gloria, the stepfather and mother of the groom
Stan and Lisa heading for their seats, happy to be able to drink beer during the ceremony.
The best man is Vince, the brother of the groom.
Clint and Ashlee Jade with the Presbytarian minister from the Carson City church Clint’s family belongs to.
Andy and Stan during the photos after the wedding
The newlyweds, Clint and Ashlee Jade Treadway
Clint’s dance with his mother, Gloria
Lisa with her dad, Stan’s Uncle Keith

Cornhole fun and practice for the National YFALS Corntoss Challenge to END ALS on June 4 to raise money for ALS TDI. Stan and Andy are a team, and they don’t want mom on their team. I had fun but I couldn’t even hit the board! Please consider a donation to Stan and Andy’s team for the Young Faces of ALS
http://yfals.als.net/page.aspx?t=2413

It was a fun and beautiful wedding with connections with family we don’t see often enough. I also got to know Gloria’s sister-in-law who is a physical therapist who has worked with ALS patients. We will keep in touch.

We stayed at the Chalet View Lodge in Portola so we wouldn’t have a long drive after the wedding. It was a lovely resort and there were a couple of bonuses included: more corntoss practice before breakfast and we ran into an old friend.

With Bill Erlach, who was 10 when I first came to Reno and stayed with his family.

Bill Erlach and his wife Alexis were staying at the resort with a group of Bill’s high school friends on an annual weekend event where they go to a different Sierra Resort each year. They were enjoying golf and bicycling. I love running into old friends. I shared with Bill that I remember going on a hike with him and his dog Remington, when he was 10. They lived south of Rattlesnake Mountain at the time and we hiked through fields towards Rattlesnake (an area that is all developed now).

It was truly a full week of Love, Hope, and Connection.

Cinco de Mayo and Icky Camping and the Week that got Ickier

Well, Stan’s birthday party wasn’t enough partying for me, so my friend Alice and I hosted one of our girlfriend lunches on Cinco de Mayo at Murrietas Mexican Restaurant. It was a fun gathering, as usual.

I sat at the head of this long table so there were lots of gals I didn’t get to talk with.  Maybe next time!

    We had about 20 gals, our biggest group so far. Each person got a necklace with a pepper on it and a clip-on flower for their hair, and also a list of trickster Spanish words. They had to guess the meaning of each one and then we passed the answer key around so everyone could see how they did. It was fun. Everyone filled out a little piece of paper with their name, email address and their text number. Then we had a drawing for our door prize, which was a succulent planter this time. Catherine won.

    Catherine, the big winner, Alice, and me
    I had a nice visit with Judy, who brought my mantra along on her trek of the Camino de Santiago. We are showing our matching mala bracelets.
    Judy also brought along her mom visiting from Chico, California

    Continuing around the table

    I was the co-host and I was leaving to go camping in a few hours. Being so busy getting ready for camping, I came to the lunch without my food, phone, or camera. Luckily others did have phones. Thanks to Judy and Alice and Catherine for the photos.

    We had great service at Murrietas, but it being Cinco de Mayo, they were very busy. When I looked at the time it was 1:30. Half of our group hadn’t been served yet, but I realized I better get going since I had to eat at home and finish getting ready to leave when Andy got home from school. So we quickly did the door prize drawing and I said my goodbyes around the table.

    I went home and ate as quickly as I could (gravity feed can’t be sped up much) then I finished packing. Stan had left earlier in the day in the motor home to secure a camping spot and meet our friends Ernie and Kori. Andy packed quickly when he got home from school and we hit the road, towing two dirt bikes in the trailer. Andy did an excellent job doing all the driving, which left me to experiment with my camera.

    Storm clouds over Fairview Peak on the way to camping

    We pulled into the campsite at Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park (Icky State Park for short) at about 6:30. Our friends Catherine and Brian were about a half hour after us.

    We had a nice campsite

    Friday night there was a nice sunset.

    Stan and I both sleep with bipaps. Our motor home has an inverter so we can run our bipaps off the battery. In the middle of the night I woke up because my bipap was turning on and off. I woke Stan and he asked if I would go turn off the inverter. So I had to find my reading glasses and I used my cell phone for light. Then I went back to bed and the hot water heater came on, so I got up to turn that off. I did get back to sleep but it wasn’t the best night’s rest.

    On Saturday, I hiked one third of a mile to the fossil tour, while the rest of the group went on a dirt bike ride (4 of them), with Catherine and Brian in their side by side Polaris.

    The giant mural of the Ichthyosaur dinosaur. They actually have found remains of some a lot bigger than this in other parts of the world.
    It was a great tour of the archeological dig which is now in a shelter. The ranger was quite knowledgeable about Ichthyosaurs and he was a great storyteller and a wealth of information.

    The sign to make sure everyone knows how to pronounce the Icky’s full name

    After the tour I hiked back to the motor home, taking some photos along the way.

     

    I am an introvert and I value time alone for energy renewal. However, it was a little long to be alone. I was wishing I was able to ride a dirt bike, or that we had a Polaris so that I could go on group adventures too. The others got back from their tour and ate lunch. Then Stan went to work on the batteries, which had dried out over the winter. In the meantime, I came up with a family activity. When I got my new camera I gave my old one to Andy. I thought it would be fun to go down to the ruins of Berlin and take some photos and have Stan critique them (he has a lot of photography experience). So once the batteries were on the mend we took our cameras and headed down.

    The old mill

    Inside the old mill.

    Andy looking in the window of one the old buildings to take a picture.

    The above two are my favorites. Andy climbed all the way up to the mine entrance and he got a nice photo of three deer.  It is nice that Andy has a photographer’s eye and that he enjoys it, so that is something we can share. 

    By dinner time I was feeling sad again, yes overtired again. I was grieving my illness again, I was feeling as though I was going to be left alone while everyone else went on adventures on every camping trip.  I was eating inside and being consoled by Stan, Andy and Kori. I finally was ready to go outside when it was dark and the fire was nice and warm.

    Andy with a giant marshmallow with chocolate already inside

    Brian across the fire
    Ernie, Kori, and Catherine

    We retired when it became very rainy. A big thunderstorm came through overnight.

    Sunday morning was cold but the rain was gone. We had a reservation to take a mine tour at 10 A.M. Our friends all decided they would rather get home earlier, but Stan and Andy and I were ready to check it out,  so we did.

    Andy posing at the Diana Mine entrance
    I overcame my claustrophobia with a little help from Xanax, which I take because of ALS anxiety
    As far as we could go
    The light at the end if the tunnel. It was interesting to imagine working in those conditions.

    After the mine tour, we packed up and drove to Middlegate for a late lunch. I rode with Stan in the motor home to give Andy practice driving alone on the way home. Again he did great.

    During the week we were preparing for the ALS Association’s ALS Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C.  We were scheduled to fly on Mother’s Day and attend the conference Sunday night and Monday, then meet with our legislators on Tuesday, then fly home Tuesday night.

    I went out and got some comfy shoes, since the trip would involve lots of walking. Stan’s feet were very sore, so we got him new shoes and sandals too. We watched a webinar to get us ready for the conference. I prepared some photos and text to help me tell my story.

    On Friday Stan’s pain had increased so he decided that he would bring his wheelchair on the trip, because we knew there would be a lot of walking in airports and in D.C.

    On Saturday morning Stan’s pain was so high that we took him to the Emergency Room. It is a good thing we did because he was in no shape to travel. He had swelling and infection and unsafe levels of some important blood markers.  They ended up admitting him, so I cancelled the trip.

    By Saturday afternoon, he was settled in his hospital room and I was able to go to Andy’s Reno Philharmonic Youth Orchestras concert. I was late, but his orchestra performed second and I got there just in time for his performance. He played well and the orchestra was fantastic.

    The day before Mothers Day with my son Andy

    As of this writing Stan is still in the hospital and we don’t have all the answers yet, but it is confirmed that he has a deep vein thrombosis (blood clot) in his leg. It was definitely the right decision to cancel flying to D.C. because flying puts more risk on blood clots. He is in good hands and I know they will get him back home as quickly as possible.

    Birthday Bash for Stan

    My husband Stan said all he wanted for his birthday was a party. I agreed, but knew it would be a big undertaking with my ALS and fatigue. We planned it for Saturday April 29, the day before his 61st birthday.

    Invitations were easy, through Facebook events and emails, plus some others that Stan contacted.

    We spent the week before the party working on decluttering the house. I had just had a food delivery, so we filled my 5 boxes with giveaways that Big Brothers Big Sisters picked up on Friday. We also tracked down some extra folding chairs and two card tables. I worked on a playlist, starting with Amazon Prime Classic Rock playlists, then adding some more modern music. It was 5 hours long and we played it on shuffle and repeat so it continued throughout the party. I love Amazon Prime Music! Oh, and Stan bought a new stereo that can connect to my phone so we were able to use good speakers.

    Our friends Erika and Paul offered to come up early from Sacramento to help us get ready. I am so grateful – there is no way I could have done it alone.

    I went to Wal-Mart Saturday morning and picked up a helium balloon kit, a Happy Birthday sign, a couple of inexpensive beach towels to cut and use as bench covers for our picnic tables, a couple of orange plastic tablecloths, and six inexpensive brightly colored chairs.

    When I returned from Wal-Mart, Stan was leaving for Costco for food and drinks for the party. My dad came over and helped with party prep for a little while. When Paul and Erika arrived with their daughter and niece, I was able to make a decorating list and a honey do list for some things Stan ran out of time to do. We had some things from previous parties: an inflatable pepper to hang on the front porch,

    Stan taking down the pepper after the party

    an inflatable float plane,

    Adriana and Phil, under the inflated biplane

    a colorful cardboard parrot for the wall, table cloths for picnic tables, and paper lanterns for the trees.

    Amanda and Tony with one of the tree lanterns
    Ian and Hunza, with Chuck in the background, and another paper lantern

    Our younger friends, Erika and Paul worked so fast. Andy and Maddie and Jacqueline helped with the decorating too, as well as had some fun.

    We got everything ready in time for the party.

    I was the official photographer, with my new camera. That is a job that can be done without speaking, and it was fun.

    Photo credit Joyce Zodiaco

    I will let the pictures tell the story. What was significant about the party is that everyone was smiling.

    Another Tony
    Mike, Spencer, and Jody
    Karen and Sam
    Mark, John, and Sue
    Donna and John
    Joannie, with Mobi behind her
    Brothers Ian and Greg with their sons Adi and Calvin

    My dad

    Erika and Alice, with Paul walking by 
    Neighbors old and new, all live or lived in the house next door and we love them all: Vince, Joyce, Ezra, and, Hella
    Brian, John, and Dianne
    Chuck was a big help cooking
    Rod and Sam
    Calvin and Adi enjoyed the trampline
    Lots of help inside too
    Folks enjoying food sitting around Mary who is on modified bedrest in her pregnancy with twins.
    Debra and Haley
    Brian and Catherine
    Donna, Vince, Phil, Joyce, Adriana
    Stan, Pete, John
    Mary plus two inside, Haley, Drew, Rita
    Joannie and Tim, Squaw Valley ski instructor who missed some spots in his sun screen application that day 
    Drew, Stan, and Mobi
    Stan and Jay
    Spencer and Stan 
    Thien and John
    Heidi and Rod, portrait in blue
    Jim and Pete
    Peggie and Jim
    Ian and Adi
    Calvin, boy with balloon and cookie
    Hunza with Adi and Calvin
    John and Thien
    The birthday boy
    Heidi offered to take my photo, because photographers are often not in the pictures
    Stan explaing something to Tony and Sam
    The M corner boys (M because they live in the three houses surrounding the corner of  two streets that start with the letter M.)

    Around 9 pm I was quite tired and sad and I thank Thien for listening to me then. We decided I better go to bed. As soon as I was alone, I began to cry, grieving because I could no longer stay up until the party was over. I was also over tired, which was true of my teary New Year’s Eve in the Galapagos. Andy came in to comfort me and listened to my writing on my Boogie Board. He asked if I wanted Dad to come in, but I didn’t want to take him away from the party. I explained to Andy that I have to grieve, and I promised I would be better in the morning.

    The next morning I got up early to take my meds and saw this in the backyard.

    I had forgotten that the lanterns light up.

    We woke Stan up on his birthday by bouncing a balloon like a beach ball over his bed. 

    Stan, Andy, and Chuck went dirt bike riding. Then we met Catherine and Brian for our semi-annual Stan’s Birthday at Murrietas.

    All in all, it was a great birthday for my wonderful caretaker who puts me first despite his pain.


    Another oops

    To my email subscribers, I accidently published a post I had just started writing. Please note that you will get one new blog post each Monday. If a second one comes that is missing or incomplete you can be sure I inadvertently published without meaning to. I apologize for confusion this may cause you.

     The Path of Life 

    The Presence of Time by Josie Parrelli

    Where the clocks are beating
    The journey starts
    Time
    Life is a sense of timing
    Who we meet, who we see
    What we do
    Each step we take
    Guides us upon our path
    Confused, we question
    The clock keeps beating
    With no rythym or rhyme
    That’s where the confusion has started
    We fear the clock beating
    As if it’s a mocking call
    Eyeing your every move, seeing your falls
    Be still in the moment, the clocks are not your foe
    They are beating
    In your rythym
    Your time
    For the clock beats differently for all of us
    Our steps, our journey
    The presence of time is your friend
    Listen to it, hear the beats 
    Dance
    For when the time hits
    You realize that the clock was always beating
    In your time, your tune
    Sing
    For the presence of time is never to be feared
    Never to be questioned; never to be argued with
    Listen to it, hear the beats
    Hear the melody, sing the song
    Strum the beats
    For within the melody is where your destiny lies
    Believe and trust 
    For the presence of time
    Is a gift, unique to us
    This is your Life Purpose
    For here is where your story is told

    Source: http://www.inspirational-quotes-and-poems.net/life-poems.html

    We each walk our own path through life. We can control some of the direction of the path, but there are many other things that control the direction of the path too. In the end, you live on the life path that is uniquely your own.

    We attended the memorial for our friend Joannie’s uncle, Takashi (Taka) Togashi, in Palo Alto, California last Monday. Our friends Tim and Joannie helped take care of him in his final years. He was 89 when he passed away. He was born and raised in Modesto, California. He was in high school when he and his family were interned during World War II when the U.S. government evacuated Japanese Americans from California. They were relocated to the Merced Assembly Center and shortly thereafter to the Amache Relocation Center in Southeast Colorado. He graduated from the Amache Relocation Center high school in 1945, then moved to Boulder, Colorado. In 1946, when he was 18, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. After basic training in Texas, he was sent to Tokyo, Japan and held an office position at the U.S. General Headquarters there and received his honorable discharge in late 1947.

    His main career was with the U.S. Postal Service, starting in 1956 at the Denver Post Office, and transferred to the Palo Alto, California Post Office in 1970.

    At the beautiful memorial service, which was coordinated by Joannie, several relatives spoke of their memories of Taka, starting with Joannie.

    Joannie spoke of taking her Uncle Taka swimming at 24 hour fitness several times. She said when she was finished with her swim workout, he never wanted to get out of the water. He told Joannie one of his favorite childhood memories was swimming in the Modesto irrigation canals, which were locally referred to as the Modesto Beach (Modesto, California is landlocked).

    She also spoke of his interest in technology. In 2010, he invested in Tesla stock because he liked Elon Musk and the prospect of electric cars being better for the environment. He wanted to live long enough to see self-driving cars made by Tesla driving around safely. In early 2017, Joannie arranged a Tesla test drive for him. She said the salesman parallel parked with his hands off the steering wheel, and that was good enough for Uncle Taka. He was very happy.

    Then Joannie’s husband Tim spoke of driving Uncle Taka around to appointments. As they passed local horse race tracks in San Mateo and Oakland, Taka told Tim stories about his love of Thoroughbred horse racing.

    Joannie’s sister, who is a doctor at Stanford and claimed to have never spoken extemporaneously before, told of her memory of visiting Uncle Taka in Colorado as a little girl and wanting to hold his hand all the time. She thought he liked it.

    Then another cousin said he also remembered visiting his uncle in Colorado and going fishing with him.

    At the graveside service, the minister spoke eloquently about Taka’s unique path in life: how he didn’t have control about being relocated or drafted but those things became part of his life path and how he didn’t know that holding his little niece’s hand or fishing with his nephew would cause a lasting memory for the children. He also said Taka probably didn’t realize that swimming in those canals would be a lasting favorite memory. He spoke of the social nature of going to the racetrack – connecting with friends while enjoying their horse race betting. He even mentioned the Tesla salesman, who may not have realized the significant life event he created for the old man. He went on to say that we are each on unique paths, and we also may not realize the impact we are having on others.

    The service was a wondetful tribute to one man and his life path and how it was influenced and how it influenced others. Stan and I really enjoyed visiting with Joannie’s family and friends (connecting).

    Through Facebook I have heard from people in my past that I didn’t even remember who told me what a lasting influence I had on them. One was a guy one of my sisters dumped and he said he remembered how kind I was to him sitting on the front steps right after that. Another was a high school classmate who I didn’t even know who said my leadership of the high school newspaper helped him believe he could succeed in journalism, so he started down that path in college.

    Every day we come into contact with people, and any interaction could make a difference in someone else’s life.

    Thinking about my own life path, I was a member of Soroptomist International of Truckee Meadows about 25 years ago, and through a speaker at one of our luncheons I had the opportunity to mentor foster teens. I think I was drawn to that because my own family was disrupted in a pretty big way when I was 18 (divorce and death of my brother) and I couldn’t imagine launching into the world at that age without even divorced parents to support you. I still keep in touch with both of the teens I mentored and they have both told me how much I impacted their lives at a time when they really needed support. Those are relationships that have a positive symbiotic significance in each other’s lives.

    Keia, one of the teens I mentored, is now a holistic health specialist. She came over to our house last month for a family healing guided meditation. I asked her if she would be willing to come to an ALS Support Group meeting and do a mind based stress reduction presentation, and she readily agreed.

    Keia, talking at the ALS Support Group meeting (while eying me taking photo 😉) with Taryn Joyner, the ALS Association of Nevada Care Services Coordinator, listening.

    Coincidentally, one of the people at the meeting had recently lost her husband to ALS and we figured out that we had been in Soroptomists together so long ago. There was also an ALS patient who conference called in to listen. Keia did a wonderful guided mind based stress reduction with us. She had researched ALS and gave us tools we can use at any time. 

    In the guided meditation Keia emphasized our own unique hands, and feet, etc. and the importance of honoring these body parts that have served us for so many years. And she spoke of our one true path that included both happiness and sorrow, and how that’s ok – it is our own path no matter what route it takes.

    ALS is on my path and that’s ok.