Be inspired…

Do what you love and love what you do…

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Sometimes without even knowing it you are causing a ripple effect with dreaming your dream and just doing it.

I myself, hope that I do this with my children. Working hard in life in any manner builds character and just tells your spirit you can do anything if you try.

I can honesty say, I love what I do everyday.  I may be a little stressed out at times or want to just take a stay vacation and say “calgon, take me away”!

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You younger generation have no idea what I am talking about but the “hip older generation does”…

If I did not design jewels everyday, I think I would have missed my calling. I know why I am here and what I am supposed to do,  I think?

23rd Random Act of Kindness

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Oh dear, I am in trouble…

Sitting waiting, wondering what is taking so long I am thinking to myself. I see a doctor walking towards me in the waiting room and he says, “Laurie, will you come with me please”. Well, you know this is not going to be good news.

We go back into the examination room and two other people come in the room and I know, oh man, this is really bad. My heart starts to go a million beats a second and my whole body has this shaking that will not stop. The doctor proceeds to tell me they have found a calcified tumor in my breast that looks like cancer and I need to find a specialist as soon as possible.

My Mother was just diagnosed with stage three-breast cancer 3 months before so my sister and I thought it was a good idea to get checked. I had been many times before with no issues but this time was different. It was the look in their eyes. The look you know you are in deep trouble. The look that has tears in it. The look that feels sorry for what you about to go through. The look you never want to see.

I was walking out of the office in a daze, with my imaging, doctors note in hand and I entered the elevator and saw my OBGYN who had delivered all of my babies. He knew I had this appointment today and we had become very close over the years. We are about the same age and had children at the same time. He also knew I never took things very seriously. I had been in his office the day before and he found this lump and set up the appointment with the radiologist for the next day. He looked at me with the look that I knew he had heard already. Man, does bad news travel fast. I looked at him and just broke down. I do not cry EVER, so this was truly an event. We walked outside the building, I am just sobbing uncontrollably and we sat on a bench. I cried for about 10 minutes, and then I was done. I actually never cried again. We started to make a game plan.

 By the time I reached my car I had an appointment with the best surgeon at Georgetown University Hospital in two hours. Sometimes it is really nice to know people who can work that quickly. While driving from Bethesda to Washington DC I called my husband to fill him in but with an attitude I was fine and everything will be ok. I did not want to alarm anyone and I was truly very good in bad situations, I always have been.  Something comes over me and I just do not stop until everything is in place. If you are sick, I am your girl. I will do everything in my power to make you well.

So finally after a very long wait, this tall blonde beautiful women comes into the room and looks at me and says, “So I hear we have a problem!” Look at it this way; you will have great new boobs. I just started to laugh so hard I almost peed my pants. I knew she was the doctor for me. Her opinion of this awful tumor was no different then the other doctor, so I knew my life was going to change forever.

So the dreaded day comes and I am in this bubble gum pink robe with these wires poking out of my boobs. They had found more tumors that needed to come out. My sister Shelly came with me because I really never said how serious this was to my husband and my children. I needed this to be very understated so I could make it through. I had told very few friends and family about this and wanted to almost keep it a secret.

As Shelly and I were walking down this hospital hallway, we both started to laugh uncontrollable; you know the nervous laugh where you cannot stop. Literally, we were told to stop three times. We just could not, every time we looked at each other it just started again. I think it may have been the “I am gonna die” jokes they did not like. They come to get me and I was walked into this room where your robe comes off and you lie on this table with your arms out like a cross. My doctor says, “I hope you do not mind but I have some of my students that will be in here for the procedure”. I am fine with that until I see 15 doctors that looked 12,  whom all want to touch me. I just went with it, made friends with all of them before they put me out.

I wake up in recovery and find my sisters eyes. My doctor and nurses are looking at me saying how do you feel? I’m okay but why are all of you looking at me like that. I have very low blood pressure so I have a hard time with anesthesia and I was having some issues with coming out of it. Worried looks is all I see and to make things even worse she says it does not look good for me and we have to wait a few days for pathology. At this point, I am starting to prepare myself for the worst. My first thought is my hair, how will I look bald? Seeing a person go through chemo is no picnic and I wondered to myself, would I be a trooper like my Mother.

I am at home talking to some friends who are checking up on me, Shelly had left to go back to Boston and I am just recovering from the surgery. It was a snowy, gloomy day and I was in bed feeling a little sorry for myself. I get a phone call from my doctor and she says, “Are you sitting down”? I am thinking, oh man, here is comes, the dreaded words of, you have cancer. I could tell in her voice that she was holding back tears and that just really threw me off and I was just waiting, almost hurry up already. She starts off with, I had them run this twice just to make sure but you have just won “the lottery”. I have only seen this 3 times in my career and you are the luckiest girl. NO CANCER…

I jumped out of bed so fast it would make your head spin, yelling for my kids and husband, guess what NO CANCER. Are you sure Laurie, my husband says? Yes, I won the lottery. They are all hysterical and I am running around the house jumping for joy and just so elated I am not sure what to do next. I start to make some calls to my family and friends to let them in on the news so no one has to worry anymore. What all of them said to me was you have no idea how many people were praying for you. I would have been so mad at everyone if I had known anyone knew about my situation. They all know how fiercely private I am and I do not want anyone to feel sorry for me. Unbeknownst to me, I had been put on everyone’s prayer lists, that friends of friends were praying for me, Churches were praying for me, strangers praying for me. Even our children’s school was praying for me. I had know idea that the world could be so kind and people you do not even know have your back in the worst of times…

The power of prayer and my miracle. Thank you to all of you for your random act of kindness.

 

Hello Pa… Goodnight Pa

 

 

Pa's Moon

Tonight is so significant to me and I have three reasons why.

Hello Pa, Goodnight Pa

On this 10 day of August,  tonight will be the largest super moon of the year in 2014. As I gaze at every full moon ever since I can remember,  it has just been something I do,  but since Pa died 5 years ago, I never miss it. I tear up because this man meant so much to my life and who I am today.

I visited Pa right before he died and I can remember flying over to Mumbles, a small village in South Wales with my Sister Shelly in first class for the first time on an overseas trip using points I had accumulated from the purchasing power of our restaurants. We were delighted because we knew this was going to be the hardest trip we had ever taken especially the flight home. We had spent much of our younger years traveling to South Wales to spend the Summers with our beloved Nana and Pa and we had an incredible loving relationship with these two people who loved us unconditionally, especially our Grandfather.

It had been hard for them, Nana was put into a hospital because she kept calling the fire department because she said someone had stolen the top floor of her home and they would find her in the closet. She was suffering from dementia and in South Wales they put you in a “mental hospital” for that if you can not be controlled.

Pa was also suffering from this terrible disease but he had home care which was perfect for him. Each morning I woke up and it was literally like the movie “50 first dates”. He was such a loving little thing. I would sit on his bed next to him and I would say “good morning sunshine”! He would look and stare for a very long time and say with a slight twinkle in his eye, “who are you”?  I would look and say, “Pa, look into my eyes, you love me remember”?  He would look back and say “I know I love you but I just don’t know why”? I believe that your eyes are the windows to your soul and you will always find your truth there. This would go on throughout the day with my sister and I both bringing his memory back so that by the end of the day, he remembered us and we would just laugh all night. Then it would begin again in the morning.

Pa knew where Nana was and believe me it took us two days to convince him he had to come. We had not yet visited Nana because we were trying to get him situated, talking to his doctors and just trying to recover from jet lag. We set off to the hospital which would literally be one of the worst moments of my life.

WE entered this long, sterile and very cold hallway that led to where they keep all of the patients. It was an overcrowded area full of elderly patients, people crying and screaming and it was just horribly depressing. I knew then it was going to be bad. My body started to shake, my mind was swirling and the only thing I could think of was to find her. I was frantically looking into every persons eyes and I could not find her until I heard a voice “Sylvia, is that you”! It was Nana and my mind knew from her voice it was her but her body was so frail. You see, Nana was a bigger women but this women was so small, petite, quiet and just a shell. Sylvia is my Mother and I look exactly like her so I can see how she thought it was her. Everything was in the past for her. You never knew exactly what year she would be in.

I ran to her with tears in my eyes that was about to turn into the ugly cry as I just knelt and put my head in her lap. I am not sure how long I stayed there. She was really in a catatonic state and heavily drugged. My heart just fell to the floor until I felt the rage start to over power my body. I looked at my Sister and we both were thinking the same thing. Get a wheelchair and let’s go… That is just the way we roll. First instinct, lets take her and leave. Then, I started to scream, “where the hell is the doctor”. In England no one screams and they certainly do not act like me. I wanted answers and I wanted them now. I think I scared every single person in that place and swore I would report all of them for negligence and neglect. I do not mess around when someone has hurt my family and you should run,  not walk from me if this ever occurs. Americans take it upon themselves to solve issues, the Welch are way to polite but slightly spicier than the English, not my style. I’m a true Gemini, sweet, bubbly and charming but also in your face, never back down & explosive…

My Grandfather just kept saying “Marion, I will take you away from here my love”… He is just the sweetest, most loving man I have ever known. Long story short, we had Nana out of there the next day into the best nursing home overlooking the sea. That is how she spent the last years of her life with the best care and loving people around her.

If you are wondering why the moon is so significant and why August 10 is so important. Well, the moon firstly, is something I shared with my Grandfather. Every time we left him to go back to America, he would say “darlings, every time you see the full moon I will be thinking of you and you will think of me so we will always be together”, which I have done and will always do. Secondly, it is my Nana’s birthday today and I would love for all of you to wish her a lovely day in heaven, she would absolutely be over the moon, no pun intended.  Thirdly, it is my 24th Wedding Anniversary, married to a brilliant, loving and beautiful man, David which coincidently he is taking me to Amaluna “Cirque du Soleil” performance at National Harbor which means “Mother Moon”. Fate…

We lost Pa shortly after that trip on a full moon January 10 (the largest moon of the year in 2009). I was not there but I know he did this for me… If you don’t believe now, I don’t know what to tell you…

I love you Nana and Pa…

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7th Act of Kindness

Jamie Winslow

 

Written by Jamie Winslow Co-Founder of SMGA

It stands just a few miles away, we’ve all sped by it hundreds of times, but how much thought have we ever given to what goes on in that massive structure just off the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Cedar Lane. As a result of realignments and closures, the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center was formed by merging the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Bethesda Naval Hospital. It is the largest military medical center in the country and often the first destination of care for warriors wounded and injured during global conflicts.

 

For the past eight years, one local Maryland group has been bringing the game of golf as a form of mental and physical rehabilitation to the post-9/11 wounded and injured warriors from Walter Reed/Bethesda. Co-founded by two life long Montgomery County residents, the SMGA (www.smga.org) has grown beyond its humble roots. Today, the SMGA operates at more than eight locations across the country, conducts hundreds of golf clinics each year, and has given away nearly a thousand sets of customized, fitted golf clubs.

 

Although more than 2000 wounded and injured warriors have taken at least one lesson at an SMGA sponsored location, the organization, until just recently, was an all volunteer organization. More than 90% of all the funds it takes in directly benefits warriors’ recovery through the game of golf, and many warriors credit golf for literally saving their lives. To hear the SMGA tell it, recovery, particularly the wounds associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), can last a lifetime and golf is a game that can be played for life. The SMGA program, from instructional clinics and lessons to equipment and golf course access is designed to mirror that lifelong timeline.

 

The success the SMGA has had over the years has involved random acts of kindness too numerous to count. Facilities such as Olney Golf Park and the country clubs at Argyle, Manor, and Norbeck have opened their doors to SMGA warrior golfers; PGA of America golf professionals have given hours of instruction time; local companies and individuals have provided funding; and local restaurants such as the Green Turtle, Ledo’s Pizza, Subway, and Urban BBQ have donated countless slices, subs, and sauces to the lunches that are provided at each clinic.

 

While this is only one warrior’s story (http://www.pgamediacenter.com/videos/2013_BeyondTheGreen.cfm?vid=2&seek=934), without even really knowing it, our community has come together to deliver a random act of kindness to those American heroes who have given so much to protect our nation’s freedom.

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