Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Layla

I'm in the midst of recovering from one of the most difficult times in my life.
I moved to New Zealand to study art for a year without ever having been there, knowing no one, and having no money.
I laid on a picnic table at dusk, in the Grand Canyon, and watched hundreds of bats hunt for their dinner.
I dropped out of college twice before returning at age 30. And I kicked ass.
I was on a trip going from Fort Worth to LA when my train derailed in Palm Springs.

Layla, age 36

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Michele

Was put up for adoption at birth, but spent 2 months in a Catholic orphanage and another 16 months in a foster home before being adopted.
I became a Christian at age 7, but rededicated my life to Christ at age 36.
Volunteered, with my oldest son, cleaning apartments at Ground Zero the week after Thanksgiving, 2001, after 9/11.
My daughter made me a grandmother in 2010 to Lillie Ann Mae.
Shot pool with both my sons.

Michele, age 46

Bets

I have painted beautiful paintings in many beautiful places around the world.
I have run many, many miles.
I have learned how to love, and love unconditionally through raising 2 children.
I have mourned the loss of family through death and estrangement.
I have written 2 thank you notes to families who have donated their loved ones' corneas so that I may see.

Bets, age 60

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gina

I am 53 and have kept a daily journal since 7th grade(1977)
Since age 18-50 i was in some sort of mental institution 34 times and one nursing home.
One state mental facility there was an art dept. (i might mention i was there 1yr) out of bordom i checked it out. much to my surprise i became an artist in my own right.
I have sold 6 originals and countless #'s of prints.
I co-founded & establish a mental health organization to educate,train and empower the mentally challenged w/bi-polar disorder,schizophernia,depression and schizoffective disorder. It's called Advocates of Abilene,inc.we apply for grants. The first year we recieved a $15,000--7yrs later we are recieving 3 grants>$60,000,25,000,15,000 grant.

Gina, age 53

Rich

I've been mistaken for Larry Bird...a lot.
I've driven more than a million miles.
I married my soul mate.
I've been a professional clown.
I've been voted Boston's Second Funniest Professional.

Rich, age 48

Clara

I sang "America the Beautiful."
I ate hot cheese curls.
I rode the train all night.
I buried two teddy bears.
I named a cat.

Clara, age 23

Monday, January 16, 2012

Alaina

Had a baby at 18, gave it up for adoption.
Married a musician at 31.
Traveled to Italy and Mexico.
Received a Masters degree at 58.
Continue to regret giving my baby away.

Alaina, age 59

Janice

I have been humbled by the faith and perseverance of a refugee family from Rwanda whose education in their homeland was discounted by ours, but rather than sulk, they sucked it up, started from scratch and began again.
I have learned what it is to "live on hope" from a homeless woman who spends all of her monthly disability check on bus fare and living in shelters or on the street, chasing a lover she's only known over the phone.
I have accepted the invitation into the sacred space of numerous people's lives to stand vigil with them at the bedside of loved ones as they draw their last breath.
I have become close friends with a few certifiably sane folks, sitting around a table every other Friday for several years, in a donut shop owned and operated by Boat People from Cambodia who've made it big selling hole-y food.
I've lived in the Valley, worked on the stage, owned a restaurant/catering service, been editor of a magazine, taught school, and graduated from seminary at age 50 only to learn that life has just begun!

Janice, age 56

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Catherine

Lived in 41 different homes between the time I was born and high school graduation.
Moved as an adult across the country with only $60 - no apartment or job - and succeeded.
Had lots of sex in my 20's but no orgasms - and more sex in my 50's with many orgasms.
Went broke in my 40's and discovered true friends.
Launched a career as a nude model at 51 - and found that you can be fat & fifty - and fabulous!

Catherine, age 52

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Vivion

Hiked the Grand Canyon during a lightning storm.
Sat a 3-month meditation retreat at a Korean Zen monastery.
Hauled water and chopped wood - out of necessity, not on holiday.
Witnessed births and deaths.
Learned that love takes inexhaustible forms.

Vivion, age 47

Holly

I earned an A in calculus after a lifelong struggle with math.
I ran through traffic to intercept a street fight.
I learned to draw when I started over.
I climbed a volcano even though I'm scared of heights.
I listen.

Holly, age 41

Friday, January 13, 2012

Erin

I've changed careers 3 times.
I've gotten married.
I graduated from college despite a disability that held me back.
I taught English to a class of Brazilian teenagers.
I went to Nicaragua on a volunteer trip and didn't really end up doing any volunteering except for painting a post for a half an hour.

Erin, age 32

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tom

Played the Mad Hatter, 1st acting role, in 'Alice in Wonderland', in Mrs. Mowrey's preschool, Newport RI, aged 10 approx, 1937. Stuffed younger brother George (the Dormouse) into the teakettle facsimile.
Years later was Prospero in 'The Tempest,' (American Theater Co, Portland OR, in the 70's); wept openly (but managed to keep the lines clear) in the epilogue. Retired.
Sailed the Atlantic twice, once as the ship's cook, with four others, each time in a 45-55 ft. sloop.
Learned to pray.
Almost drowned.

Tom, age 85

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Meg

Made a little girl's Christmas dream come true even though I didn't know her.
Wrestled in Blood (literally but at least it was stage blood.)
Kept making art to make people smile even when I was dying inside.
Broke too many bones and took too many hits from those I loved.
Held my grandmother's hand and remembered her stories when no one else would.

Meg, age 22

Clara

Began a drama class for autistic teens.
Survived a suicide attempt.
Found someone I trust above all others.
Come out as pansexual.
Fell in love when I thought love was just a myth.

Clara, age 17

Monday, January 2, 2012

Margaret

At age 10, I wrote down my life goals for an assignment: own a dolphin, fly a plane, visit a rainforest, write a book.
At 14, I won a baby bottlenose dolphin in a contest, her name was Tina, she lived at an oceanarium.
At 34, I got my pilot's license, won an airplane and went on to become a flight instructor. I used that plane to fly scientists over the Pacific Northwest rainforests for the next 10 years.
My book was published in 2008, and I'm working on an expanded revised edition.

Margaret, age 54

Karen

Bone marrow donor.
Traveled to Africa and taught students at a private school.
Graduated with a B.A. in Visual Arts Studies.
Survived a car wreck in which my vehicle rolled several times on the freeway.
Met Mrs. Coretta Scott King and Kristie King (wife and sister of Dr. Martin Luther King.)

Karen, age 32