Category Archives: relationships

The BRAVE Interview #15 October 2017: Allyson Bright

This month, we are meeting Allyson Bright!

 

  1. WHO are you? I’m 36. An artist, a woman in love, a widow, a crafter, a teacher, and a seeker of joy. I live in Wisconsin with my boyfriend, TJ, and my Beagle, Gracie.
  1. WHAT is your One Brave Thing?  It’s hard to pick just one – honestly, it’s been a journey. I was 32 when my husband died by suicide. After that, I found that I had to face new fears and learn how to create a new life for myself.About nine months after he passed, I went away for a week by myself. I was having trouble trusting my own decisions and I knew I needed to leave my comfort zone in order to move forward. The trip was transformational and ultimately led to my decision to leave my home in Iowa and move to Wisconsin for a fresh start.  Art journaling and crafting were such a vital part of my healing process, and I really wanted to share that with others. My ultimate brave thing was to leave my day job in order to start a business teaching art classes and offering coaching services. 
  1. WHEN did you do it? I started my company, Determined to Shine, about 18 months ago. It’s been a bit of a crazy journey, to be sure. But without a doubt, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.
  1. WHERE did it occur? Right here in Madison, Wisconsin.
  1. HOW did you make it happen? One step at a time! Determined to Shine has grown into so much – weekend retreats, several online workshops, and even one-on-one coaching services. Sometimes it can seem like all of that happened at once, but it’s been a gradual process. For those looking to make a career change – don’t let the size of the task overwhelm you! Pick apart each task into small chunks, and just get started.
  1. WHY did you do it? The idea for Determined to Shine had been in my mind for several years. Ultimately, I realized I was just going to have to take a leap and be willing to fail. I didn’t want to wake up in three more years and still be talking about it. Taking that leap was terrifying, and I had to build my plan along the way. But everything that’s worth anything is scary. Determined to Shine has brought so much joy into my life and the lives of others – I can’t imagine what life would be like if I hadn’t done that one brave thing. 

Thank you, Allyson, for sharing your brave story with us!

Allyson is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Scrapbook Projects Illustrated.

You can find Allyson’s FREE online class here: 30 days of Art Journaling. I have taken this class myself and I enjoyed it very much. I highly recommend all of Allyson’s classes. Find them all here: http://www.determinedtoshine.net/

Check out Allyson’s online book club: Get Artsy Book Club

Click here to find out more (act fast! It’s almost time for this!) about Allyson’s Determined to Shine Fall Retreat!

Read the other BRAVE interviews here: https://kwrites.com/?s=The+BRAVE+Interview

If YOU would like to be interviewed for this series about something brave you have done in your life, email me at kmcwrites@gmail.com!

Advertisements

The BRAVE Interview #14 September 2017: Sylvia Wesley

Here is this month’s BRAVE Interview with Sylvia Wesley! Enjoy!

  1. WHO are you? I’m a 61-year-old white woman—wife, mother, nurse, and pseudo-bon vivant!
  2. WHAT is your One Brave Thing? Sometimes I feel like just living every day is a Brave Thing and it is difficult to choose a single event!  As a nurse, it seems like so many of my ‘brave things’ encompass caring for people—my dad and my brother, who both died of cancer; my mom with multiple surgeries; friends with HIV/AIDS.  As a mom I gave birth to twins who were 10 weeks premature and their first 6 months of life was pretty hectic, to put it mildly.  As a wife, still being married after 38 years could be considered brave—but probably the bravest aspect there is that I married a black man in 1979, only 12 years after the Supreme Court ruled interracial marriage was not illegal, and our early years involved some struggles in a very white New England. So, after all that, I decided to choose a joyous adventure as my One Brave Thing—I went to Burning Man!
  3. WHEN did you do it? 8/28-9/1, 2006
  4. WHERE did it occur? Black Rock Desert, NV
  5. HOW did you make it happen? Mostly my daughter made the initial experience happen.  She had been going to Burning Man for a few years and always marveled at how awesome it was and she was sure I would love it.  So for my 50th birthday, I was given a ticket to TTITD (aka ‘that thing in the desert’).  Which meant I would be sharing camping space with 38,000+ other adventuring nomads for a week in rather hostile environmental conditions, and only knowing one other person.  A little scary having to be self-reliant in an unknown situation, camping with my daughter’s friends who only had her assurances that I was ‘fun, non-judgmental, fully capable of taking care of myself, and would not act like everybody’s mother.’  So I packed my bags and flew to LA.  We readied all our camping equipment, some party outfits, food and water for a week, and did a 12 hour ride/drive-share to the event with a heretofore unknown person.  After 12+ hours, in a very small mini-van, we were all fast friends.  Getting to and from is just as much of an adventure as being there!
  6. WHY did you do it? For the adventure!  It was one of the best experiences of my life—the bigger-than-life art, the music, the people, the sense of oneness—all magnificent.  I came away with a whole new sense of self.  And as my daughter predicted, I would want to go every year after that, and did so for the next 7 years.  ‘Life’ has since interrupted my annual trek, and I have not been for the past 3 years, but look forward to resuming visits to my personal Mecca in the near future.

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Sylvia!

If anybody wants to learn more about the culture that is Burning Man, go to https://burningman.org/

Read the other BRAVE interviews here: https://kwrites.com/?s=The+BRAVE+Interview

If you would like to be interviewed for this series about something brave you have done in your life, email me at kmcwrites@gmail.com!

Coming full circle (and announcing a free class!)

When I was in elementary school, I was in a new school every year.

Every. Single. Year.

No, my parents weren’t in the military. My father was disabled, and when money got tight, we got moving.

Kindergarten: The Hancock in Medford. First grade and half of second: The Emerson in Malden. Last half of second grade and third: The Parker in Billerica. Fourth: The Hajjar in Billerica. Fifth: The Davenport in Medford.

Maybe you noticed that Billerica is up there twice in a row. We actually didn’t move that year, but as luck would have it, the town built a new elementary school to accommodate its growing population and (you guess it) I was zoned to move to the new school.

Oh, happy day.

Moving can be hard for anyone at any age, and I was no exception. Every time I made a friend, we moved, and I had to begin all over again. As I got older, it seemed as if everyone was already paired up with a best friend, and had been forever. I always felt like the odd girl out. Like I didn’t belong.

And then something wonderful happened. I discovered my BFF’s in books!

Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking were among the first and are still my friends today.

Of course, Judy Blume’s books were part of my life back then, and the one that immediately comes to my mind when I think of that time is this one: Are You There God? It’s me, Margaret.

I have been thinking a lot lately about how reading books can help us find meaning and insight into our lives. Even in fiction–maybe especially in fiction–it’s the story we connect with, and how it resonates for us in our real lives, and through which we can find comfort and clarity.

The phrase, “Go back to go forward” popped into my head not too long ago, and it kept popping in, over and over, so I thought, hey, I have to do something with this.

About the same time, Margaret was also intruding on my thoughts

Pretty much everyone I know that is past puberty has read the Margaret book. Maybe because I have been re-reading other books lately that impacted me, it occurred to me that it might be very interesting to re-read this particular book now. Maybe that’s why it was so persistently intruding in my thoughts. It wanted me to read it again!

And then I had another thought: maybe other women would also enjoy this.
And my free mini-course idea was born!

You can join the Facebook group now to get notified when the free course is available. As of now, I expect it to be ready on the Tuesday before Labor Day (August 29, 2017). Once it’s live, this link should work to sign up for my free mini-course, GO BACK TO GO FORWARD! 

Feel free to share this with anyone else who has read this book and might enjoy coming with me on my learning curve to take this free course!

Dance this mess around

My husband and I went to see The B52’s last night. As far as date nights go, this was a great one. We stopped to eat on the way to the show at Margarita’s. I got a Blood Orange Margarita, and it was AWESOME. Note: There is no photo of the margarita because, sadly, I forgot my phone in the car and I my husband thought I couldn’t go the duration of the meal without it, so of course I had to prove him wrong. 🙂

Anyway, The show was great.

Except for the opening band, which was meh, therefore they shall remain nameless.

The show start time was 8:00pm, but The B52’s didn’t come out until 9:15pm. By then, it was pretty hot in there. Fred (one of the lead singers, for the uninitiated) made note of this, and then disappeared for a few songs. We thought we’d lost him, but the ceiling fans came on and thankfully, Fred came back out.

The played most of my favorite songs, including “Roam“, and “Deadbeat Club“, which is my current favorite.

They did an encore of three songs: “Planet Claire“, some song I never heard of with a telephone number in it, and (finally! finally!) “Rock Lobster“.

When they played “Dance This Mess Around“, and I was, you know, doing that, I had a moment when I realized that I was doing this same exact thing about 35 years ago. I was singing at the top of my lungs, dancing, and throwing my hands in the air like I just didn’t care (nod to Cameo‘s song), at some club in Boston that I can’t recall the name of.  It was a glimpse of how it is to live in Einstein Time, and it frikkin’ rocked.

I had so much fun (as I talked about my Metaphysical Monday video this week)! The best part? The B52’s were having so much fun too! We’ve all heard of bands that are not in love with the idea of playing the same songs over and over, the “fan favorites”, at their concerts, but this band didn’t get that memo.

If you ever have the chance to see them live, GO!

This is the best photo my iPhone could get of them, and it’s awful, but it’s all I have, so I’m posting it here at the end.

Goodbye, my friend

A very dear person passed away over the weekend.

I met Karen when I worked with her at Sirona several years ago. We worked together via the telephone, so actually our voices met first! As many of you may know, you can tell a lot about someone by their voice. I liked her right away.

She was a supervisor, but she was every inch one of the gang as well. She was always a calm, reassuring, even loving presence at work. If Karen was on the job, I always felt better knowing that. When I was new in my role, of course I made some mistakes. When Karen was the person in charge and I needed to reach out for help, she was one hundred percent there for me. She somehow made me feel like she had made that exact same mistake dozens of times, just last week in fact. And hey, it was no big deal! Oh, and here’s how to fix it. And by the way, here’s  how to do it better next time. You may have heard that “Nurses eat their young.” Well, Karen never got that memo. Karen nurtured her young.

There is little that is more comforting in nursing than knowing that your supervisor has your back.

I did get to meet her in person as well, in 2013. We were part of the Sirona Seedlings at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. I was new to the company and didn’t know a lot of people yet. My daughter came with me, and we walked the track for a while, and we lit votives to honor my parents who had both died from cancer. My mother had the same cancer that Karen endured. Anyway, I was humbled by the grace of this woman who, just a short time after the event, sent out a heartfelt email message to thank each of us for coming, by name, and she included what it was that each of us had done to participate.

I still have this message. I still have my Sirona Seedlings T-shirt. And I still have Karen in my heart.

Farewell, Karen. Like so many, many others, I am better for having known you.

Who am I really?

My husband was very inspired this year with his choice of birthday gift for me.

He got me the MyHeritage DNA kit.

 

Me: How did you know I wanted to do that?!

He: Because every time a commercial for it came on or anyone was saying they did it for the last year, you said, “I want to do that!”

Me: Oh. Right.

Lesson: Repetition is your friend, married people. 🙂

Anyway, this will be the gift that keeps on giving, because I decided to write about it. I did the (pretty easy) test the next morning. The directions said not to eat or drink anything for an hour before you do it, so first thing upon arising was my best bet. Sure, I had to defer my first sip of morning coffee for twenty minutes, but it’s a small price to pay! I am going to find out what I’m made of!

Fear: What if I’m not really Italian?

I am feeling the fear! I am doing it anyway!

Stay tuned.

The BRAVE Interview #9 April 2017: Charlotte

Please enjoy this month’s BRAVE interview with Charlotte!

Who are you? I am a Registered Nurse, a Mom to 3 adult children (where has time gone?!), and a 5 month Golden Retriever named Charlie. I was born and raised in Maine, and have lived here ever since. I live in the small town of Limerick, Maine, a quiet country town.

What is your ‘one brave thing’? My One Brave Thing?  Let’s see. I have done a few brave things up to this point in my life, but the one I’d have to say that tops all was taking care of my terminally ill brother. He was 51 yrs old when diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, mets to the brain. His wish was to get home to Maine to die. I had no choice but to be brave, and honor is wishes. It was a very difficult, emotional time.

When did you do it?  In June 2007, my brother called me from the hospital in Florida, telling me he was very sick and needed me to fly down to help him.

Where did it occur? Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

How I made it happen: flew down, packed up his apartment.  I rented an RV, and found portable oxygen, filled his meds and things for the trip. Right out of the hospital, we were on our way home to my house. It was a rough ride in the back of an RV. I stayed back there with him, while my fiancé and my brother’s friend took turns driving. I wasn’t sure my brother would make it all the way, but he said he was okay each time I asked. I had spoken with hospice while traveling, and I got things set up for when he arrived. My bother lived only 5 days here, but made it to where he wanted to be, and that was home!

It is an honor to print your story, Charlotte, and I thank you so much for sharing it with us all!

Read the other BRAVE interviews here: https://kwrites.com/?s=The+BRAVE+Interview

If you would like to be interviewed for this series about something brave you have done in your life, email me at kmcwrites@gmail.com!