Monthly Archives: September 2013
From 2002-2006 I had the incredible privilege of working with homeless, mentally ill persons in downtown Dallas two days a week.
Homeless Services had no official “team leader”, but on the days I worked I was the de facto team leader.
Each Tuesday and Thursday morning I’d send out an email to the whole team, using “Starfishers,” as my salutation.
I’d remind the team that although we could not “save” every patient we served that day, we could save some of them.
And we could touch them all; we could make each and every one of them feel that they matter. We could look into their eyes, listen to their stories and honor their feelings.
In my Starfisher emails I told the team stories of patients who had triumphed over addiction and homelessness. I encouraged them in their noble mission.
When I left, the team gave me a wonderful snow globe:
I will admit that I tear up sometimes when I see it.
The rotating center star says “You are a Star” and the inscription is to “Dr. Susan Delaney, The Ultimate Starfisher”. The music box plays “I Believe I Can Fly“.
I hope that you will look around you today for beached “starfish”. Look around you for the abused, the lost and the lonely. Pick one of them up and share your love with them.
It matters to that one.
When we entered the zoo, we saw a carousel. We love carousels and ride any one we can find. Apparently it is in our blood. When we go to DC we ride the same one that my mother rode when she was a girl. My daughter rode an ostrich and I rode an okapi.
We visited the African exhibit and when the time to see the cheetah cubs came, we moseyed over to the area.
The twin cubs, Kamau and Winspear, were amazingly cute, as you can see for yourself. They are being raised with a black lab puppy, Amani (which means peace in Swahili). He is just their age and the hope is that the puppy will help gentle the cheetah brothers down. We were very sad that the puppy was not present!
You can see a video of the cubs and the puppy here:
Then on to Norma’s Cafe, a South Dallas Institution that had not been on our radar until recently. We asked our waitress to bring our “mile high” slice of coconut cream pie right away, lest they run out of it. It was so fetching that we began to eat it while we waited for our meal. The pie was divine, still a little warm from the oven. I ordered a serving of the home made potato chips to go with my battered cheese sticks. Words cannot convey how delicious and right the chips were. I could not finish either the cheese sticks or the chips.
Later, I will preheat the oven to 500 degrees, along with my baking pan. When they are up to temperature I will add the cheese sticks and a few moments later the home fries.
(I will take this opportunity to offer a tip for reheating fries in a hospital room or a hotel room: blast them with your hair dryer!)
The oven will do for today’s reheating.
Stuffed, with leftovers in boxes, we eased into the car and drove home.
My Fitbit says I’ve walked 5266 steps so far today and that I’ve gone up three flights of stairs. Yes!
I stepped outside into the dark. The air felt wonderfully cool after our scorching summer.
The moon was high and bright, almost overhead. I saw my dear Orion near the moon.
My moonshadow was a compass before me as I strode eastward down the street.
As I approached the light pole on the corner my moonshadow faded and was replaced by an opposite-pointing street-light-shadow. I did my stretching against the light pole and then more stretching against the huge rock on the corner.
The edge of the sky lightened to pink as first light came.
By the time I rounded the block a lovely pink and grape horsetail shone in the eastern sky.
There are so many “best time”s of the year. This is surely one of them.
Yesterday was my first craft show.
I’d picked a one-day craft show at a church for getting my fee wet. It turned out to be a wise and wonderful path. The church, All Saints Lutheran Church in Arlington, TX, was warm and welcoming. The helpers wore huge “Ask Me” badges and huge smiles to match. So many were “encouragers”. One woman, a peppy high school coach who runs marathons, said the most amazing thing to me. When I asked her for another chair for my daughter, she said, “I’d be blessed to get one for you.” How cool is that?
My first sale was to another teacher, this one a veteran of 40 years in the classroom and still loving it. She bought TWO of my higher-end pendant/earring sets!
She fell in love with my verdigris and copper pendant with pearl drops.
She also fell in love with my wasabi/navy gingko and its earrings.
What happened next was magical. My daughter had shopped the whole craft fair, wearing one of my other gingko pendants. She came back and told me that all of the vendors were crazy about it. (NOTE TO SELF: Next time send her around with business cards…) Vendors began to appear at my table, saying that they had to come and see my work. They all said the same thing: “You are an ARTIST!” I cannot convey how wonderful it was to hear that from other artists!
Soon another vendor bought another one of my gingkoes.
Then a vendor bought Rivendell for her daughter who had come by five times to admire it.
Then a vendor bought two pendants. She’d wanted Rivendell but waited too long. So she bought the gingko pendant right off of my daughter’s neck and commissioned me to make another version of Rivendell.
Another vendor kept coming by and touching another pendant/earring set. She liked that it had some glow-in-the-dark clay (I will mention that she kept an Elvis dollar bill in her cashbox, a delightfully wacky woman).
She said she’d come back for it if she made enough to cover it. I gave her one of my 10% discount-if-you-come-back-cards. People kept coming up and fingering “her” pendant. She’d call out to me every time she made a sale how much she had. Finally, seeing someone else very interested in “her” pendant, I walked over and said she could have it for what she’d earned, which, by then, was within $2 of the discounted price. She was thrilled. She came right over and I strung it on some “bug tail” (thin “rat tail”) and she put it right on.
It was exciting and a bit exhausting. I was so glad I chose a church fair for my first one, the helpers and the customers were so very nice.
I learned to send my daughter around with business cards while wearing my jewelry.
I learned to use a 10% discount card if my customer says, “I’ll be back.”
I also learned, glory be, that other artists recognize me as a true artist!
My punchbowl runneth over. I have made another seven pounds of Beads of Courage to send into the Tucson office. (400 beads)
Beads of Courage are presented to very sick kids in 60 hospitals across the US every time they have a needle stick or an x-ray or another procedure. The beads serve as a record of their courageous journey.
I make them from my scrap polymer clay at the end of every clay day.
It is a privilege to serve these kids as they struggle courageously against life-threatening illness, often cancer, but many other conditions as well.
If you make beads, I hope you will visit http://www.beadsofcourage.org and learn how you may serve these precious kids as well.
If you scroll down on this blog you can find a free tutorial on how I use scrap clay to make my beads.
After weeks and weeks of dry we have had 12 hours of gentle, abundant rain.
And I am grateful.
Last night as I walked at sundown the sky was partly clouded. A single raindrop hit my arm, and I took hope.
When I got home I turned on the hose and washed the spiderwebs off of the garage door, watching the water fall and imagining rain.
By 9 the rain had come.
This morning I walked in the rain. I put my hoodless cycling jacket on so I could feel the rain on my head. I gave thanks with every step. It was wonderful to see rain on the sidewalk, rain in puddles and rain splashing in the curb streams.
The last two times it rained I had also hosed off the spiderwebs on the house, the first time in the back yard and, before a later rain, around the front door. Each time I imagined that the water I was seeing was rain.
Agnes Sanford, a powerful woman of prayer, said that when we imagine the result we are praying for, that it creates a container for God to fill.
I have plans to keep that hose at the ready. We are still in a drought and we need more rain to break it.