Lost Girlfriends

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Last week, I took time out to visit past memories.  As I went through the photo album, three pictures touched my heart in a special way.  The women in the photos crossed my path in different ways over a twenty-year period.   They were my girlfriends, supporters, mentors, advisers, and so on and so forth; but, when I moved to Florida we grew apart.

I have found many new friends, through social media, as well as friends in my new community.  But, I miss these women and want to rekindle our relationship.  I would love to reconnect with them through this blog, emails, or Facebook; but, they quickly let me know a venture into cyberspace is not an option for them.

On Friday, I purchased stationery and envelopes from the local supply store.  My intent is to reach out to them, via snail mail, and try to re-establish our friendship.

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My Girlfriends

Let me introduce you and share a little about what brought us together.

North Central Service Club

In the late 1990s, while working at a medical practice, a patient’s daughter invited me to attend a meeting of the North Central Service Club.  A women’s non-profit organization, in existence since the late 1960’s, their primary goal is to mentor African-American female high school students and, through various fundraising activities, grant college scholarships to graduating seniors.

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A few of the members. I am not in the photo. But the beautiful lady in the gold hat is a founding member. She celebrated her 93rd birthday last year.

 

Sisters4Cure

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A Few of the Members of Sisters4Cure. That’s me front row, second from left, with black cap — bad hair day.

I connected with Sisters4Cure within days after my breast cancer diagnosis in 2008.  They were my support group as I journeyed down the path of living with breast cancer.  These women were by my side to offer support, encouragement, prayers, and compassion throughout the time we spent together.  Sisters4Cure is much more than a support group.  This is a non-profit organization created and sustained by dedicated women, with breast cancer, whose primary mission is to:

  • support women with breast cancer; and
  • reach out to African-American women in the Milwaukee area for the sole purpose of promoting breast cancer awareness.

SeasonedSistahs Book Club

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Rose, pictured in purple, lost the fight in 2013. In the blue is Betty, in the orange is Chris, and, yours truly, in the burgundy.

These were my four Seasoned Sistahs we created SeasonedSistahs Book Club.   In fact, these women held such a special place in my heart; when, I created this blog I selected the name SeasonedSistah2.   This photo was taken when we attended a book signing, something we often did as a group.   Our love of reading, fiction and non-fiction, books written by African-American authors brought us together.  We met for more years than I can remember to discuss the book we had selected to read for the month.  Over time we begin to feel more comfortable in each other’s presence; and we, expanded beyond our individual space and found the courage to share the unnecessary baggage that we carried, past and present, that prevented us from living our life to the fullest.  After I moved to Florida, the three remaining members continued to meet until Rose’s health deteriorated in early 2013.

I am Grateful to all the women, in the three photos, for the positive impact they had on my life.  Through my snail letters, I want to  express gratitude,  say thank you, and share the present with the girlfriends who were there to experience my past.

 

Gratitude Sunday – September 28, 2014

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My Rocking Chair

Yesterday, Fed Ex delivered the cushion for my recently purchased rocking chair.

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Soon lower temperatures will arrive in Florida.  And, I look forward to the upcoming days of rocking in STILLNESS and QUIET as I look within for peace, love, and happiness.  And, I AM GRATEFUL.

More and more, my life is expanding toward showing respect, expressing love, and performing acts of kindness to those whose path I cross.  And, I AM GRATEFUL. 

 

Pay It Forward: Honoring Mr. Hugh Sutherland

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Mr. Hugh Sutherland’s birthday is today, September 26; and, and I chose to dedicate this post to honor his memory.

Through blogging, I met his wife, Karen Sutherland, and found out that she was “encouraging family and dear friends to honor his memory with acts of kindness.”

 So, I decided to join other bloggers in the first annual Pay It Forward Tribute

My Act of Kindness:  Friday, September 26

When I moved to Orlando, almost five years ago, the first person to reach out to us was our next door neighbor.  Not so long ago, I wrote a post about our unusual friendship.

It didn’t take long to find out that we had something in common – Breast Cancer.  I was a two-year survivor, having been diagnosed in 2008.  And she was a seven-year survivor, with a recent recurrence.   Today, she is under 24-hour hospice care in her home.

She lost her mother, the only remaining member of her family, to breast cancer maybe a year-or-so before we met.  But she has a strong support network in the neighborhood.  In addition, her over 35 years of working with a worldwide christian organization has led to forming many long-term friendships throughout this country as well as others.

Today, I made the weekly delivery to my next door neighbor’s home — flowers and a card:

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Last week, when I made my delivery of pastries from Paneras, she was feeling well enough for a short visit.  But, I left with a heavy heart for her conditioned had worsened.

Two weeks ago, I sit with her for almost five hours laughing, talking and sharing photos of my summer vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.  She is originally from Boston and now says she regrets never taking the time to visit this Island.

I will continue my weekly deliveries, always with a note, that Hubby and I are just a Hug Away.  

Thank You, Karen Sutherland

I am grateful for the opportunity to honor your husband by sharing this Act of Kindness.  Karen, I so look forward to your comments on my blog posts.  I am always uplifted, enlightened, motivated and inspired when I hear from you.  One day, I hope you will decide to create a blog that I could follow.  I value your written words.

Exercise & Breast Cancer

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Sharing Healthy Information thanks to Breast Cancer Yoga for posting this on her blog.

Breast Cancer Authority

Exercise to Prevent Breast CancerBy: Michael Gregor, MD

We’ve known that physical activity can reduce breast cancer risk, and appears to work especially well at preventing estrogen-receptor negative tumors, the hardest ones to treat. But only last year did we figure how much exercise was needed. We’ve known that light exercise doesn’t work, like a leisurely stroll. It appears useless for preventing breast cancer. And we’ve known that fewer than 10 minutes a day of even good exercise doesn’t work either.

How many minutes of moderately intense exercise — hiking, biking, swimming, aerobics, or even just fast walking — does one need, on average, every day to significantly decrease breast cancer risk?
Less than 10 minutes doesn’t work, but how about a full 10? 15? 30? 45?
Or a full hour a day?
Well, It’s not 10.
It’s not 45.
And it’s not 15.
We need an hour of exercise every day.
Darwin was…

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Poetry – September 22, 2014

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Me and My Obstacles

I have Breast Cancer, but it doesn’t define ME.

Happiness, joy and peace guides ME.

I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, but it doesn’t limit ME.

Exercise, prayer and meditation moves ME.

I have Fibromyalgia, but it doesn’t control ME.

Yoga, mindfulness and music distracts ME.

Living in the Present Moment empowers ME.

Grateful, my  obstacles do not restrict ME.

And, believe it or not, this works for ME!!

–Poem by:  SeasonedSistah2 

Tenney Park: Sad and Happy Memories

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The Photos

A long-time friend, sent me an e-mail with the attached photo:

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She took the photo early one morning, on her long, long walk to her job at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Getting to work is not the only reason for her early morning walks.  She also uses this time to meditate and felt this might be an option for me.  Something to consider.  But, for now, I plan to sit on the lanai at 5:00 a.m. with the fans swirling overhead, to meditate until the weather cools down in Florida.

Let me move from walking and meditating to the photo.  Having lived in Madison for more than thirty-five years, I emailed and asked, “What Lake — Monona or Mendota?”

She didn’t answer, but sent the following photos.  Then, I knew the answer – Lake Mendota.

TenneyParkSign

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Summers 1970 – 1973

I remember, the summer afternoons, spent with our three children, in this park and on that beach.  It was many, many years ago; and, I have Sad and Happy Memories

Hubby and I were both full-time students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  We were living, I am certain, below the poverty level for a family of five  (GI Bill, student loans/grants, and Hubby’s part-time jobs).

Sad Memories:

Mentally, I allowed worrisome and non-productive thoughts to enter my space; and this disengaged me from spending quality time with my family.  Unanswerable questions controlled my thoughts.  Like, WHAT IF —

  • We made a mistake by returning to college at our age?
  • We can’t find a job after graduation?
  • Hubby can’t find another part-time job when this one ends?
  • We can’t pay back the student loans?

Sadly, my WHAT IF questions were continuous and endless.  And, regretfully, I was not able to enjoy and embrace what was happening in the present moment during this period of my life.

Happy Memories

Even though I was not always in the present moment during these summer days, I know our children enjoyed the time we spent at Tenney Park.

Regardless of the WHAT IFs, I have many Happy Memories of those sunny afternoons, sitting quietly, and watching our Happy children — wading in the lake, creating in the sand, and playing in the park.

Hubby joined us for dinner at the end of his work day.  Tenney Park was our evening dining place during the summer.  And, we had some of our best times and meals there.  Most days, I cooked something on our portable grill.  And, occasionally we had enough money to treat the kids with pizza or burgers from a fast food restaurant.

Happy, that today, I am learning to:

  • Let go of the past;
  • Live in the present moment; and
  • Accept what may happen in the future.

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Postscript – Thank You to Two Special Friends

The Librarian, for the photos in this post.

Cupcake, for the photos taken in an earlier post, “July Vacation Days:  Happiness in the Presence of Children.”   (Special Note:  We share a beautiful granddaughter, Little Cupcake.)