The Sort of Hope Who “Benefit”-ed .

^ A collage I made of some of  favorite moments from my first 10 day Inpatient Ketamine Infusions, April 2010.  As luck would have it, my little (though much bigger) brother was in Philadelphia at the same time on business- got to see him for the first time in yearrrrrrrrrrrrrrs. Didn’t remember it too much sadly 😦  Two AMAZINGLY generous , selfless women ( who also both have RSD!)  Heather and Susie  flew in from their respective states, Rhode Island and Texas at their own expenses to help me through my infusions. Susie took the first week, Heather took the second. My first friend in this life- Scotty also lives in Philly and I got to spend some time with him ! My mom and dad were with me off and on. Mom mostly on, dad mostly off. My sisters stopped in and my family (bottom center) stopped in over Natalia’s sectional weekend which I got to watch via webcam- the gym skyped me in ( got special permission) because I wasn’t allowed to be there during treatment and it broke my heart. I had never missed any of her competitions prior to that.  My husband and my children were not with me during my 10 day. I only saw them that day and again at the end of my infusions. We did skype several times during my treatments when I was lucid enough for conversations. Though Natalia will tell a completely different story.

That first round of infusions was made possible by the kindness of my facebook friends, friends in this incredible community , people from my churches ( old and new ) and yes, even strangers.  The money from those fundraisers carried me through to this year. I turned a few special treatments away. But basically, we made it work. And I am so very grateful.

Hope for Hope basket bingo was held yesterday. I can’t even begin to describe the emotions that go along with being on the receiving end of something like that-a charity event of that magnitude. How do you even begin to thank the people involved in helping to keep you “in the game” for the next year or two ?  for the countless hours of work involved in organizing something like that? The blood, the sweat and yes, the tears. (though  most of the tears were mine!)

To my delight, my event was like a long overdue high school reunion. Most of the people who came out to support me were friends from my high school days, some old friends from church and family of course, and some friends of my parents that I hadn’t seen in quite a number of years. It was like “going home”.

I was overwhelmed with the generosity of local merchants and especially my baseball family, Berkshire Baseball who went above and beyond for myself and my family.

I am still trying to digest it all.

The organizers of my event, Trinity’s Helping Hands, were even generous enough to allow me to save the leftover beverages and non perishables to take to the event that I help out with in a few weeks called “The Cups of Compassion” for the homeless people in the city of Reading ( I blogged about that previously.)

Though I still have mixed feelings about having allowed my father to have spearheaded this for me, I felt a little bit better after remembering something I read rather recently. I shared it as a status on my facebook yesterday. It’s from a book that a friend of mine wrote. His name is Dan Clouser. Dan is the president of Berkshire Baseball and one of the most generous people I have had the good fortune to meet in this lifetime. Mr C is a neat man. He is generally quiet and very unassuming. But his smile and laughter are so contagious.  His book is called ” The Beauty of A Diamond ~ Through the Eyes of a Coach.”  It is a must read for parents, coaches, players, heck, for human beings in general. 

Anyway, it goes something like this ~ “The important thing to understand is that everyone in this world has been helped by someone along the way. No one here can simply go it alone. We may try from time to time, but we all depend on someone along the way. The sooner we all understand that, the world will be a much better place.” ~ Dan Clouser  The Beauty of a Diamond , through the eyes of a coach

Yesterday was a very long day, physically and emotionally. As I (literally) crawled into my bed, I fluffed my pillows and got distracted by a lovely bright red ladybug. I always seem to find them on “special” days….. Or, perhaps, they find me.  ❤

The Compassionate Sort of Hope

Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up.  ~Jesse Jackson                                                    As someone who , due to circumstances beyond her own control, has had to be on the receiving end of the giving, I know all too well that life doesn’t always go the way you intend it to. So when October dealt us a snow storm last year, and left our organization with quite a bit of leftover concessions, I offered up the suggestion to donate the goods to a local shelter. As a board member of our local visitors bureau, our  President took that suggestion one step further. I baked cookies, took a giant caraffe of coffee for our table of visitors, signed my daughter out of  school, grabbed our smiles and off we went. The end result was nothing short of the best Christmas gift I have ever received!  I can’t wait to be a part of it again this Christmas.  These photos are from last year’s Cups of Compassion. (again, I didn’t know a whole lot about how to use my Nikon back then.)  If you are ever feeling bad about your lot in life, all you need to hear is someone ask if they may have a slimjim to take home to give to their daughter for her Christmas present. It brings a whole new perspective to your situation.  I wish more of the world would be grateful with what they had and less worried about what the Jones’ were doing…http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=354010   http://www.bctv.org/special_reports/basic_needs/cups-of-compassion-in-downtown-reading/vmix_cb56409e-2b4b-11e1-a938-0019bb2963f4.html

The Busy Sort of Hope

~Couldn’t wait to be able to photograph my daughter and her friends cheering in the daylight… but instead got home and  learned a very valuable lesson~ will come in handy in the future, so remember it,  *especially* should you ever wish to become a skydiver or a professional bungee jumper, or anything , really… ‘always, always, check your equipment before you use it!’

That being said, I had such an incredible weekend. Sold soup to save the boobies on Saturday. Watched our team play in their second to last tournament of the season.  Brought home silver. Lost a 9 game winning streak.   Was on the go from pre-dawn hours to post- sunset non stop both Saturday and Sunday.

Today I worked on perfecting the art of recliner sitting. Recovery day for me. I can remember my doctor telling my husband that if he needed me to do something I would need about 3 days to rest up before the something and about 3 days to recoup after the something. I can’t remember a time that I had 3 days of nothing. Except the last coma treatment that I had. Dr S calls my coma treatments forced relaxation for me.

I’ll relax. I swear. As soon as my kids do.

Here’s a little peak at my weekend. – most of the baseball shots are through a fence. certainly does change the look, doesn’t it-            darn fences. )

{ **Incidentally PHOTOGRAPHER FRIENDS **– I am shopping for a photo hosting site … suggestions??}

The Sort of Hope Who Likes Pink

How the color pink affects us physically and mentally:
Stimulates energy
Can increase the blood pressure, respiration, heartbeat, and pulse rate
Encourages action and confidence
Pink has been used in prison holding cells to effectively to reduce erratic behavior

Every year my son’s baseball organization- Berkshire Baseball- plays in a tournament to help raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness. The boys proudly wear their pink shirts and swing pink bats ordered just for the day. We moms help in this effort by donating baked goods to sell, make bbq and soups or the like. We have all helped to raise thousands of dollars every year for the cause.

These  photos are just a few of my favorite pictures from last years’ event. I did not know half of what I know now about my treasured Nikon nor how it really worked last year at this point. I say this for a reason.

This event is an effort near and dear to my heart as my best friend is a breast cancer survivor having been diagnosed at the very young age of 36. I watched her battle breast cancer with such amazing grace. Sat with her through all of her chemo treatments. She is one of my inspirations. Her strength gave me the strength I needed (continue to need) to fight my disease.

I now personally know at least 5 women who have battled breast cancer. Some have beat the monster, some have battled valiantly and yet still found that this life held other plans for them. Like my disease, there is no known cure for  Breast Cancer. It is incomprehensible to me that in this day and age, we cannot figure out a way to abolish this disease or at least make it less deadly.

What a difference this past year has made for me as an artist, a photographer.  Maybe someday, with our help,  that year- those 12 months- will make a difference for the countless number of women who are diagnosed with Breast Cancer.

{ I will come back to this post after we finish our tournament and upload some of my new pictures.}

The “OoOoh SoOo Far Behind” Sort of Hope

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.”
― Groucho Marx

My days… my afternoons, my nights.. where do they go?

Sometimes I think that they get swallowed up by that mystical force that steals one of the socks from the dryer… ( St Elmo’s Fans?) Sometimes I am certain that they get lost in the time sucker that is facebook or in reading/ viewing this whole new glorious world of word press . I am, however,  fairly certain that a large chunk of my time is sucked into recouping in my lazyboy and most others I am all but positive my minutes are buried under the mountains and mountains of clothes that my children insist upon calling dirty laundry.

But for sure I can guarantee that a large part of my life is spent here… either at a baseball field watching my son do what he loves, or at a soccer game watching my daughter cheer, or editing such events. Sometimes I wonder how many pictures of such said events I *truly* need and people *truly* wish to see but then I see the comments people post, the way the kids post them so proudly and I just keep snapping and editing.. repeating the cycle. Looking for the picture I haven’t yet taken. Or a way to take it a wee bit differently.

My time does indeed fly like an arrow straight through my heart, because no matter how busy I am I try as hard as I can to keep up with my two kids. And no matter how much it hurts or how hard it is, I keep fighting every day because I also know that one day all too soon, they will fly away.

Maybe then I’ll get caught up.

The Sort of Hope that is Passionate

Passion.

It is a quality I both admire and respect in athletes. My kids have it in abundance for their respective chosen sports. Their friends have it, too. My husband still has it for his first love- baseball. I think I’ve found it for photography.

Rather than try to write about it and fail miserably, I thought I’d share my weekend full of passion-the rated PG (for language, not content) kind of passion- with all of you. The passion for what you do, accomplished by using my passion for what I do. I hope in every photo the passion for what these kids are doing is evident to you. Their story… their happiness, their success, their sadness and their failure. I will finish by sharing my very favorite quote about passion…

Passion, it lies in all of us, sleeping… waiting… and though unwanted… unbidden… it will stir… open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us… guides us… passion rules us all, and we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love… the clarity of hatred… and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion maybe we’d know some kind of peace… but we would be hollow… Empty rooms shuttered and dank. Without passion we’d be truly dead. ~ Joss Wheadon

(I have another blog entry called “the mood of the moment” that I try to update semi-regularly with some of my other favorite quotes and favorite self portraits-check it out)

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The Sort of Hope Who Went to Berkshire Opening Day

*all rules for photographing balls were followed* I happened by the SeaDogs vs Spinners and found this shot.