Quote of the Month
"Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. The real miracle is the love that inspires them. In this sense everything that comes from love is miracle." -- Marianne Williamson
Miracles of Love
When Ellen was twenty-seven, she woke up one morning blind in her right eye. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Within a month, her sight returned, but her life was changed forever. Through the miracle of modern medicine, a positive attitude, and an active lifestyle, she kept symptoms at bay for the next fifteen years.
Ellen and her husband Glenn were avid hikers, spending as much time as possible outdoors. Once on a week-long vacation to Banff and Jasper National Parks in Canada, they hiked an average of ten miles a day. Twelve years ago she began to have trouble walking. They talked about how to adapt their active outdoor lifestyle to her physical limitations. One suggestion among several was kayaking. Since a kayak requires a significant cash outlay, Ellen didn't give it serious consideration. For Glenn, however, a plan was born.
That year when the family gathered for Hanukkah, Glenn's plan came together. Ellen opened a sweater from one of her sisters. She went to the bathroom to try it on. When she came back she was so focused navigating down the stairs and around wrapped packages, she didn't notice the 9-foot kayak Glenn placed next to her chair. The family waited patiently for her reaction to the extravagant gift, but none came. After about five minutes, one of her young nieces couldn't take it any longer. She said, "Aunt Ellen, look down."
Suddenly the boat filled Ellen's awareness. It was as if she hadn't noticed the Queen Elizabeth II anchored in her bath tub. She was overjoyed with their new toy. Glen acted from love when he made the financial sacrifices necessary to get the kayak. He was willing to do what ever it took to ensure her quality of life and independence. It was a kayak she could load into the back of their SUV by herself and go kayaking on her own.
The kayak was a hit. The following season Glenn bought a tandem kayak so that he and Teva, their dog and constant companion, could join her on the water.
Now in their mid fifties, Ellen and Glenn continue to have an active life. Their hikes have become strolls around the neighborhood, with Ellen using a cane or Glenn's arm for support. She can play nine holes of golf, with companions moving her ball to within striking distance of the golf cart. But in her kayak, her physical challenges disappear. In their kayaks, all is well in Ellen and Glenn's world.
Miracles of love are even stronger than miracles of modern medicine.
Kidz for a Cure
Congratulations to Madison Lewandowski, a nine-year-old girl in Santa Barbara with a big heart. She started out raising money for charities like Girls, Inc. and for Hurricane Katrina victims. Then she decided to sell some toys she'd outgrown. After her four-year-old sister added her own toys to the pile, she realized she could be on to something. She encouraged other kids to donate their gently-used toys for a rummage sale. Using her philanthropic talents, she founded Kidz for a Cure to help find a cure for pediatric cancer.
This year's Second Annual Kidz for a Cure Toy Sale was more than just a simple rummage sale. It was a celebration with music from the Newcats (a talented band consisting of children), face painting, a clown, food, and a silent auction. In two years, Kidz for a Cure has raised over $6000.
Madison knows what happens when the magic of philanthropy meets the miracles of love and modern medicine.
In-Home Art of the Spark Workshops
If you are in the Colorado Springs or Denver area, it's easy to host your own Art of the Spark workshop. Each 3-hour session is $15 per person or $25 per couple. If you want a 6- or 9-hour workshop, it can be scheduled over several evenings or a weekend.
Each couple or person would need to have a book, and the hostess gets a free copy. The book can be purchased online at http://www.artofthespark.com/ or at the workshop. The minimum number in a group is 8, but the more the merrier. My husband, Jim, assists so we can break into two groups and plan surprises for your sweetheart.
It's the wedding season. And what do most newlyweds want even
more than toasters or towels? Lasting love, that's what! If you
have friends or family getting married this summer, The Art of
the Spark would make a great wedding or shower gift.
If you are hosting a bridal shower and want a fun and unusual icebreaker, try Romance Bingo.
Last but not least, include a pair of Fringe Ticklers in your gift. Cookie, the happy owner of a new Fringe Tickler, said, "I had no idea from your description and the picture on your website that it would feel so wonderful and relaxing." Isn't that what newlyweds deserve?
I collected three treasured possessions on a recent road trip. The first was a beaded necklace purchased in St. Augustine, Florida when Francesca, our workshop leader, challenged me to try on something I wouldn't normally buy. The second was a sparkly stone given to me by a darling 6-year-old girl named Antonia. I met her and her family while hiking in Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Texas. Finally, I got a recipe for pomegranate margatinis from our friend, Bernie Craft, in South Carolina. I'm keeping the necklace and Antonia's generous gift for myself, but I'll share Bernie's recipe with you.
Celebrating with Food
My favorite salad dressing is an old Eckrich family recipe. Thanks to my dear friends, the Eckrich girls, Louise Ostrow and Annie Pai, for sharing it.
- Blender Dressing
Cut back on the pepper if you must, but I think it's what puts this dish above an ordinary omelet. I stumbled on this by accident when the lid came off of the pepper shaker.
- Peppered Asparagus Frittata with Smoked Gouda
What's a margatini? It's this delicious beverage made with tequila and triple sec like a margarita, but served in a martini glass. Thanks to Bernie Craft for sharing his recipe.
- Pomegranate Margatini
Until Next Time
If you enjoyed this free newsletter, please forward it to friends. I care about people and how they celebrate. If you have any stories you'd like to share, please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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