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We are entering the time of year when even people who don't ordinarily use candles start lighting candles for dinner or holiday gatherings.

I use candles all year long. I've been known to make my own. Candles for times of prayer, special remembrances, celebrations, or just to help me rest, write or be still--no matter the reason, I find the soft steady glow of a candle to be comforting.  


"It is better to light a candle than to sit in darkness."
                                                                    -Chinese proverb

By far my favorite kind of candles are beeswax. I have bought them here and there in my travels--food co-ops, bookstores, specialty gifts, wherever I have found them --because you can't always find beeswax candles, and not just beeswax--100% beeswax. Imagine my surprise when I learned that there is a very special place right in my backyard where 100% beeswax candles are made and sold!

A friend was visiting me and we stopped in at the Fair Trade/ Eco-Friendly store on the main street in Stanwood called Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow --and not only did they have some 100% beeswax candles, but they told us all about nearby Quiet Light Candles. Several enthusiastic and informative articles have been written by the local newspapers about the Orthodox Nuns at the Convent of the Meeting of The Lord who devote themselves to prayer and use the candle making business to earn their living.



Quiet Light Candles has a wonderful shop (you can watch a slideshow on their home page) with many local artists represented. There are so many unique candle holders I had to walk around the shop about three times in order to really see what all is there! The shop is open on Saturdays and by appointment. As a first time visitor to the shop you will receive a unique gift of hospitality in the offer to pour your own tealight and have the opportunity to learn about the process of working with beeswax. Your tealight will be set and ready to take home when you are done browsing in the shop.


Besides the lovely light they provide, another gift of burning 100% beeswax candles is their health benefits. With chemicals and additives in most everything these days it is encouraging to find something simple like a candle made of real beeswax produces not only a beautiful glowing light, but also cleanses the air as it burns.

A visit to Quiet Light Candles--online or in person, is a great adventure to a place where wonderful products are made by hand with love.

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Stop awhile...
rest in the 
gentle light,
remember you 
are held by the 
Light of the world....
the Light no darkness 
can ever overcome.

 
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Yep, that's right. You just never know. 
I was walking with a friend at a nearby outlet mall when we found saw this sign. An outlet raising money to help at-risk teens graduate from high school? How cool is that? Very cool in my book.


Keep looking. 
Hope is all around us.
In lots of little ways people are working to give others hope. Share what you find. 

The Tutu Project

5/25/2012

 
I saw Bob Carey on a morning new program the other day--and he is my new favorite hero. Far too many friends and family members have  had to face the journey through breast cancer. The Tutu Project -- Bob and his pink tutu are raising money for women with breast cancer. What began simply enough has transformed into HOPE and inspiration. I hope you will visit The Tutu Project website and Facebook page. I promise you will marvel and laugh--then please pass it on.

Start with today

5/4/2012

 

It is an every day choice.

 
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I took this picture at a favorite spot where I like to stop for just a few minutes of rest. 
Sometimes I write for a few minutes in my journal. Other times I read a poem and walk for five minutes. And, there are the days when I just need to sit, hear the waves meeting the shore, and  breathe in the air. I do love the rocks and broken shells. I find a few follow me home most every visit. 

It may sound like I go there every few days, unfortunately that is not possible right now. Even so, my making time to give myself a few minutes away makes all the difference in the world.

We all need places like this...but having them isn't enough. 
Find one and then make the time to go there and be rejuvenated. 

Do you have a place? What is it? Library, beach, park, museum....where do you go when you just need to take a breath and be for a few minutes or longer?

Thank you for your comments here. Your sharing may help someone else looking for encouragement and hope. Thank you!

Lucille Clifton quote is from her poem 'blessing of boats' and can be found
in her book Quilting: Poems of 1987-1990
 
I am very pleased to welcome Katyann as guest blogger today. This young woman is wise beyond her years and today she shares with us the a candid view of the struggles and realities of living with a chronic illness. 
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How many spoons do you have today?
I started my blog, Lupie Life,  in 2010 after I realized that it was time for me to come out of “the closet” so to speak.  My life had been flipped upside down in early 2009 when I became gravely ill with an illness that not even some of the best doctors in the region could figure out.  After many months of “I don’t know,” “Sounds like this,” “That’s not my expertise,” and “It’s all in your head”; I was finally diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and I can happily say I am doing much better than when I was first diagnosed.  However I can’t say anything glamorous about Lupus, it actually really sucks.  Lupus likes my liver, my kidneys, my heart and the whole nine yards.  For those of you who do not know what Lupus is, it is a chronic auto-immune disorder where the immune system is over-active and attacks the body thinking it is a foreign invader.  The immune response is caused and inflammation is the result.  On any given day I can suffer from swollen joints, joint pain, fever, fatigue, muscle pain/weakness, mouth sores, brain fog, rashes, excessive hair loss, sun sensitivity (when the sun is actually out) and an over all feeling of malaise.  I am only eighteen years old.  

My blog has been my place over the past two years to dump, to inform and to grow.  On it I talk about issues surrounding Lupus few people are willing to even utter a word in regard to.  I also give insight on what it is like to be a chronically ill teenager and a perspective few ever run across.  Thanks in part to my blog, I have gone from not even being able to say the word “Lupus” to talking freely about it and not being afraid to say what I want to.  There is always the delete button on a blog, where as in conversation… not so much.  

I live very much day by day.  Some days are good; others are downright dreadful.  On my good days I go and enjoy life as much as I possibly can.  Sometimes even doing things most people would dread doing but it is funny how illness can change a person.  All of the sudden weeding in the rose garden is a privilege and no longer a dreaded task.  Bad days I look for simple little things to help get me through.  Being bed bound is not my idea of good fun; however there can still be positive notes that come from it.  One such thing I have found is the space, my body may be trapped but my mind is free.  External motivators such as pets or having a set task for the day can really help me to get out of bed. 

Hope is infused into me knowing the people who surround me love me and support me no matter how I am feeling.  I don’t root my hope in things like a cure or a new break through treatment; instead I have found hope in the world that surrounds me.  I have made the choice to allow hope into my life.  Darker days can be a struggle for me to find and allow hope within me.  My emotions run rampant as my body throbs and feels beaten from the disorder.  It is the small things in life that build my bigger picture of hope, even if all it is is witnessing someone smile or a bird sing. 

I have a very positive outlook and perspective life now.  There are many parts of my life I have no control over and I realize this.  So instead of stressing over what I have no say in, I work on controlling what I can.  Thanks to Lupus I have a deep feeling of empowerment and understanding from what the disorder has put me through.  In many ways it has been a blessing in disguise.  Lupus has opened me up to hope, a new level of comprehension and has helped me to figure out what I really want to do.  Unlike other people who are my age, I lack the energy most days to bounce in six different directions at once.  Instead I can only do one thing and I choose do it well. 

I don’t know what the future will bring me, the past is gone and embracing the present along with whatever it holds is the only thing I can do.  Surrounding myself with hope, strength and the desire to keep on going even when things seem hopeless. 

A first stop for information on Lupus
 Lupus Foundation of America is an excellent first stop to learn more. There is lots of good info about Lupus on it and it is a reputable source :)  

What is with the spoon picture at the top of this post? Spoons are for me the easiest way to give a physical representation to an abstract concept.  Healthy people don't think about how much energy it will take to say get dressed or get the mail.  I on the other hand have limited energy and when it is gone, it is really gone.  I wake up every morning with only so much energy and have to choose how to use it.  I use my "spoons" through out the day and budget them wisely.  For every task I do, a spoon is lost.  Sometimes they all run away from me (possibly with the fork and knife..) and I am in bed all day lacking energy to move.  Using the spoon theory I have found really helps to take a "you don't understand" situation to "here let me show you" scenario.  I hope you all have many spoons today :) 
 --Katyann Wilson
                


Hope Received!

3/5/2012

 
A sweet friend sent me this amazing bead--made into a necklace--with a beautiful swirl, and H-O-P-E. It couldn't have come on a better day. It was an important afternoon to be reminded that I am not alone--not that I  had forgotten it--but even so, a letter, a word, a postcard, a call, any reminder that we don't walk through hard days alone is a good boost to the spirit. The gift is special, but her seeing this bead and thinking of me, and then doing something with the bead for me...that means even more. 


Thank you to all my dear friends and family, near and fa, r who make the effort to stay in touch through mail, e-mail, visits and calls. 

Beads of Courage

3/1/2012

 
A friend sent me a newspaper article about this amazing program: Beads of Courage . I think this is a remarkable creative and tangible way of not only reaching out to children, siblings and families at a time of real need-- it also teaches them how to own and tell the story of their journey using colorful beads that mark milestones along the way. 


Please read, listen and read about Beads of Courage and visit their blog to learn some individual stories. Then pass on the link to people you know who can be helped by this information themselves--or have friends or relatives in need of it. 
And, consider donating or challenging a few friends to donate with you--perhaps in memory of someone. 

Here is a list of Hospitals that Support Beads of Courage.

The story of how it all started is also found in this article, Beads of Hope, in Ladies Home Journal
 
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Where did you find it?
Hudson, CO. One of our patients gave me one today. I work for a surgeon and she came into see us today. As we were talking about our cancers hers being breast, mine being colon. I was sharing with her a story of a women working at Target and I went through her check out line you could tell she only had one breast and wore a lymph-edema sleeve on her arm. You could see that she had one breast, I asked her if she was interested in getting a free Bra and breast prosthesis and she said "I wish". I can't afford one. I explained to her who I was and what I did for a living. And offered her my phone number so that I could hook her up with a free bra and prosthesis through a local women's store who donates them for free. It was at that time she gave me a Hope bracelet.
What did you do with it?
I kept it.
Are you wearing it today?
Yes, I am wearing it now.
What hope do you want nurtured in 2012?
My hope is to excourage other cancer patients never to give up. There is always hope in every situation. Without hope we lose the battle to fight! 

Cindy, your story made our day! So pleased
you received a hope bracelet.  Thank you for sharing
the story of your work and your hope for 2012.
We share your hope and you will be in our prayers.
Thank you for volunteering as a Hope Ranger--your
bracelets will be sent in the next few days. 
 
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We had gorgeous sun today, however, walking along the sidewalk this afternoon I found a water spot in the shape of a heart! How could I pass up taking the picture and playing with it?

I needed a lift today and this made me smile. Hope it will bring a smile to your face too!