Update: Projects, Purging, and Poetry


Hope is the thing with feathers...

Hope is the thing with feathers…

Hope is the Thing with Feathers

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

– Emily Dickinson

Hope. Wish. Dream. Be.

Dear Readers,

I do want you to know that I have some things in the works.  I have not been posting regularly on this blog as I have been working on my other blog, The Original Journal Project. But mostly, life has distracted me.  It is amazing how things just get busy.  I do post regularly on Instagram, so please follow me there so we can connect. Find me on Twitter too.

image

I am not sure where I stand on platform building and blogging.  I want to connect with my readers, but I am not sure where I need to precisely focus my energy (since I have three active blogs and projects). I’d love for you to subscribe to The Original Journal as I am in the process of getting things organized to publish the first edition of The Original Journal. That is exciting just saying it! I have been taking small business classes at the local community college. They are free. If you are interested in starting your own small business, go to your local community college and ask about the Small Business Office.  It’s such a great resource.  If you have any questions or need help finding your local Small Business Office, please email me and I’ll try to help.

I have also been reaching out to professionals and networking.  I find people are willing to help young (can I still call myself that? Well, yes I can — because I am a new budding entrepreneur) entrepreneurs. I have always struggled with the Left Brain.  I call it “Crossing the Left Brain Rickety Bridge.

I wish my post could be more focused, but I am trying to figure out branding (taking a class this week) and focus on business.  I should tell you that I am really excited about purging. I listened to this podcast on purging at Unstuckable (which is a great community and I 100% recommend it). I love what Stephen Worley reiterated about purging that author, Marie Kondo said in The Magic of Tidying Up — to allow yourself to hold the objects you are struggling to get rid of and thanking them for being in your life and then letting them go.  I have been able to get rid of so much stuff since listening to that podcast. It really cranked up my engine. The podcast also talked about seeing a thread in your objects. There’s a story being told about you regarding what you hold on to. Now for me, I still have letters I received from pen pals when I was 14.  I am a paper pack rat and I’ll say it — a HOARDER. I have so many scraps of paper with random poems and really awful prose. I kept it all. What I didn’t do was process it with a clear head. I’m doing that now and am making such wonderful progress on getting rid of things that I no longer have to hold onto.

Dare I say — ZEN. It feels Zen to me, but I certainly have a lot of paper based items. To me anything that is sentimental, I keep.  I love story and memories. Thus I write memoir.  I will have to post some photos of my progress.

The ceiling in the Artroom (office) fell in.  There were some heavy rain storms about a month and half ago and a big chunk of ceiling fell down.  Luckily, it did not leak because underneath the cave-in were all my papers and photos of The Evanston Community Kitchen. Thank goodness nothing got wet.  I take it as a sign to start getting serious on that project. My Elizabeths (great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother) are giving me a sign!  I am working on that book in a writing group.  I am really looking at the traditional publishing model and self-publishing is really looking like a good fit for that project. Self-publishing is the route I am going to take with The Original Journal. I will keep you updated about that.  I am trying to get my ducks in a row about how to streamline social media and my blogs.  But just know that I will be keeping memomuse as a blog too. I am trying to figure out how to do a newsletter.  I feel stupid admitting I don’t know how to do it.
image
Well, honesty is the best policy.

So, I’m excited about blogging a bit.  I hope you are well and this update finds you in good health and spirits.  We are having snow in the South and I am just tickled pick. I love it.  I think snow is beautiful, but it has been a hard winter on people. This is an older blog I did not post right away. Everything is current except the snow update! We had the snow in February. We have sunshine today and spring temperatures. It’s lovely weather.
image

image

image

Thanks for your support and reading my blog.

Bird on a Wire II

Bird on a Wire II

Advertisements

Message of Hope: Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Survivor


Heather contacted me hoping to share her message of hope in time for Asbestos Awareness Week, April 1-7.  I asked her to fill out the hope. wish. dream. be template. Even though she is not a brain tumor survivor, she is a survivor. She is a malignant pleural mesothelioma survivor.  In fact, I’d like to open the hope. wish. dream. be. interview template up to anyone who considers himself/herself a survivor. Please contact me if you are interested in sharing your story. You can email me at memomuse@gmail.com.

Heather is a cancer survivor and thriver.  If you have questions for her, please post them in the comments. I would like to have a part 2 post with Heather where she answers your questions.

Image

Below are Heather’s answers:

Do you follow “Brain Tumor Thursday”? You could fill out the template…

Such a great and inspirational idea!! I love it!

I hope…for a long and fulfilling life. I feel like most days I’m here, that I am supposed to fill a greater purpose. I am so thankful to just be alive, and I hope to be here for a very long time. I want so much to be with my daughter as she grows up, see her go to her first school dance, her first concert, graduate from High School and go to college. I want grand kids someday!

I wish…for my daughter to grow into whatever she aspires to be in life. I wish for her to have the confidence to achieve whatever she puts her mind to. To have that self confidence to not let people get her down, and to strive to do anything she wants. One caveat, I pray it is legal and moral!

Image

I dream…of a cure for cancer. Not just ONE cancer, ALL cancer. I’ve witnessed what it does to families, emotionally, financially. I lost my own dad to renal carcinoma. I’m still reeling from his loss. This one is personal, I wish I never had to worry about cancer again.

I am (be)…stronger than I thought I ever could be. 10 years ago, if someone asked me if I thought I would be able to go through what I did, I would have said no way. I was always in awe of people who fought illness with such grace and quiet dignity. In my career, I had quite a few cancer survivors as clients. I was honored to shave their heads for them when chemo caused their hair loss. I was with them through the awkward stages as the hair grew back totally different than the hair they lost. I was always so blown away by their strength. Little did I know, I would be in the same spot in a few years. I did what had to do to survive. Anyone would do the same.

Then two things about yourself.

Just two?

I’m a malignant pleural mesothelioma survivor — a cancer almost always caused by asbestos exposure. I’ve outlived my original life expectancy by more than 7 years.

Thank you Heather for sharing your story. You are certainly a survivor and thriver!  Thank you for sharing your message of hope.

If you have questions for Heather, please put them in the comments. She can answer them directly in the comments or we can have her guest post again and share her answers. I would like to know if you were exposed to asbestos and where?

You can find the answer to my question below. I am including Heather’s initial email to me. Sorry I didn’t get it posted during Asbestos Awareness Week. Her story is very interesting. Please take the time to read what she wrote below.

Hi Megan!

Thanks for responding to my comment! I’m reaching out to you today in hopes that you will help me with a cause that is very near and dear to my heart. At age 36, I was diagnosed with mesothelioma just 3 ½ months after my first and only child, Lily, was born. I was given just 15 months to live unless I underwent a drastic surgery to remove my left lung. Miraculously, I beat the odds and I’m still here eight years later.

Asbestos is not banned in the US, yet it’s the only known cause of mesothelioma. I was exposed to asbestos through my fathers work jacket when I was just a little girl; my diagnosis came about 30 years later. Once diagnosed, most patients die within 2 years. I am one of few survivors who openly share their story and work to spread awareness regarding the dangers of asbestos.

In honor of Asbestos Awareness Week (April 1-7), I created a webpage dedicated to raising awareness. Although this week has passed, I would love it if you would be willing to share it on your blog to help educate and protect your readers from this preventable disease!

Here’s the link to my awareness page: mesothelioma.com/heather/awareness

Snow Angels


An angel found me today.

Angel

Angel

It took me awhile to piece together the meaning. I am a meaning maker.  I use this term from Daniel Pink’s, A Whole New Mind. If you have not read that book, I highly recommend it.

Back to meaning making. I had a snow day today — the third one in a row (I live in North Carolina and it rarely snows). It was splendid — the snow day that is and the snow. I just love snow. I grew up with snow (Chicago) and then we moved to Wyoming when I was fifteen. So I know snow.

"Snow Haiku" Bird looking for seeds Snow beauty, calm layers now Green chair aligned: tree

“Snow Haiku”
Bird looking for seeds
Snow beauty, calm layers now
Green chair aligned: tree

And I know sledding. Oh how I know sledding.  I was on the hunt for a sled on Wednesday. I went to three major stores in town (Wal-mart, Farm & Ranch, and Dunham’s Sports) and no dice. They weren’t sold-out; they didn’t stock them — at all. It snowed throughout the night on Tuesday.  Wednesday morning I awoke to a blanket of fresh white snow. I love how snow makes everything look so pure, so new, so fresh.

"Creature Print Heart Haiku" Some think Valentine's Day Is not a holiday. I I think it is because... (end of haiku) creatures make prints in the snow can you see the heart?

“Creature Print Heart Haiku”
Some think Valentine’s Day
Is not a holiday. I
think it is because…
(end of haiku)
creatures make prints in the snow
can you see the heart?

I read posts on Facebook Wednesday morning about Snow Cream. I capitalize it because apparently it is a proper noun — it is a specific thing. This Chicago native and Wyoming transplant that has lived long enough in Wyoming to be considered a native, has never heard of Snow Cream.

Recipe here.

Anyway, back to snow, back to sledding, back to meaning making.

My son and I started our third snow day with hot oatmeal.  I made Jordan Marsh blueberry muffins. My son melted my heart when he said, “Here you go my lady,” as he handed me blueberries to eat. It was so unexpected and so three and half-year old pure.  We put the muffins in the 375 degree oven. The oven heated up the kitchen and I drank that first awesome cup of coffee.  Ben watched Octonauts and yelled at me for mixing his syrup in his oatmeal.

As I was making the muffins, I realized I forgot to put in the baking powder to the first batch, already in the oven. Oops. I did not freak out. It was an honest mistake.  I rarely bake.  But it is in my blood and bones as my grandmother was a gourmet chef and ran a famous bakery in Evanston, Illinois.   I quickly fixed my mistake for the second batch. I noticed my batter was a little lumpy. Didn’t care. No need for perfection with muffins. Ben helped me put blueberries into the batter. He piled fifteen into one tin. I picked out a few and sprinkled over the other five. The house smelled delicious. I felt wonderful. These moments are so rare now that I am working.  Ben usually wants to be with his dad on weekends. Dad is the popular parent right now. Rightly so. Rich can talk in Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s voice and Major Mongram’s.

The house was quiet except for the two of us, alone in the house. I noticed how the sun streams into the front hallway at 9 am casting a beautiful shadow of the porch pillars.  I miss these little details. I thought about what I am doing at 9 am each day at school.

We made bird feeders with peanut butter, seeds, and pine cones.

"Bird Feeder Haiku" We made these today We made the red ribboned ones Christmas Eve. Mom died (end of haiku) She died on Christmas Eve 2012. Ben and I hung the red ribboned ones 12/24/13. One year anniversary.

“Bird Feeder Haiku”
We made these today
We made the red ribboned ones
Christmas Eve. Mom died
(end of haiku)
She died on Christmas Eve 2012. Ben and I hung the red ribboned ones 12/24/13. One year anniversary.

The day stretched into mid morning. Ben and I bundled up in triple layers of pants, double layers of socks, hiking boots that take forever to lace up, hats, double cloth gloves (two pairs), mufflers, and Carhart coats. I was so stiff from warmth I could barely walk. We hung the bird feeders — one on each Dogwood in our front yard, three total. The snow was so white. I hung the ornament I made but never finished. It is an angel. I made salt dough ornaments on Christmas Eve 2012. I was making them in my in-laws garage when my mother went to the hospital.

"Angel Tree Haiku" I think of my mom when I make bird feeders: love is why I get up (end of haiku) and make oatmeal for my son, just like my mom did for me. My mom taught me how to make bird feeders with pine cones and peanut butter.

“Angel Tree Haiku”
I think of my mom
when I make bird feeders: love
is why I get up
(end of haiku)
and make oatmeal for my son, just like my mom did for me. My mom taught me how to make bird feeders with pine cones and peanut butter.

After we hung the bird feeders, I pulled Ben around in a laundry basket attached to a bungee cord. We fell into the snow and laughed from our bellies. I looked up at the blue sky, startled at it beauty — startled at its calm. Through the buds still tight of the Dogwood, I realized this moment could not be caught on film, nor on camera. It just was. It was magic.

I suddenly thought we have not made snow angels. We tumbled into the snow and swished our arms back and forth. I moved Ben’s feet and arms. He didn’t know how to do it. We made angels of our own.

Snow captured beauty.

I never knew my  heart could flutter so wild, pure with love for this boy

I never knew my
heart could flutter so wild, pure
with love for this boy

Part II coming later… (about the sledding adventure).

No promises. Just story.

Back to angels, back to meaning making. We found sleds at Wilson Hardware. It is an old school mom and pop store downtown Wilson, NC.  So charming too. They carry lunch boxes. Old school lunch boxes.

"Lunch Box Haiku" I had a Pac-man  lunch box. I still love that game. I play it  a lot.

“Lunch Box Haiku”
I had a Pac-man
lunch box. I still love that game.
I play it a lot.

That is where I found the angel. She has fiber-optic wings. She is on my Valentine’s Day mantle now. It used to be the Christmas mantle. It is a shrine.  My mother’s box of ashes used to sit there, last year, right at this time last year.

Now my angel is there, next to photos of my mom and me. Next to photos of my grandma. Next to knickknacks and cards that depict and breath love. My angel is within me. I carry her with me. I carry her heart.

"Mantle Muse Haiku" I am so lucky to have loved so deeply, Mom Thank you. I love you.

“Mantle Muse Haiku”
I am so lucky
to have loved so deeply, Mom
Thank you. I love you.

"Wings Haiku" Wings allow us to  fly and be free from sorrow They don't always work (end of haiku) nut they open when we need them to

“Wings Haiku”
Wings allow us to
fly and be free from sorrow
They don’t always work
(end of haiku)
nut they open when we need them to