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SusanDolphinDelaney

Healing and Empowerment for Women

Category Archives: Writing

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I wept when I saw this photo on Facebook today. I weep as I write this. Science Fair was my salvation!

I was a teen when my family hit really hard times.

Fortunately, I was a kid who was a native of Washington DC. Four generations of my family had nourished our minds and souls at the Smithsonian Museums.

When I was a girl, Mother would pack me a sack lunch and pin two streetcar tokens to my blouse and off I would go to spend the day at the museums on the Washington Mall.

Natural History was my favorite one, especially the Hall of Minerals. I loved crystals.

Later, my science fair project would be about crystals. I grew crystals in a strong electrostatic field and observed the changes in their behavior under the influence of that field.

Even as my family was collapsing around me, I continued with my project. I did well in the school fairs and the regional fair. When I was a senior in high school, I won first Grand Prize in the Regional Science Fair and won a trip to the International Science and Engineering Fair in St. Louis.

As a result, I won enough scholarships that I could attend college. I completed my BS in Chemistry in 3 1/2 years.

Later, I would earn an MS in Human Physiology.

And later, my MD.

All because of Science Fair.

When my daughter started first grade I started volunteering to judge school, district and regional science fairs. I did so for 16 years. I judged twice at International.

My daughter was a science fair kid, too.

I coached her science fair classes starting when she was in 9th grade.

I taught the science fair kids to watch three movies:

* October Sky, because science fair CAN be your ticket “out”.

* Space Monkeys, because sometimes the judges give it to the monkeys.

* Cool Runnings, because, “If you are not OK before you win the gold medal, you won’t be OK after you win it.”

I am happy to say that science fair taught my wonderful daughter poise and grace under fire from science fair judges. She’s an alumna of the International Science and Engineering fair, too. She’s a PA and holds her own BS and MS.

So, you see, I wept when I saw the photo at the top of this blog. Because of science fair, I have three degrees. Because of science fair I’ve written two books, three columns for national magazines, many articles for national magazines and now this blog.

Thank you, Science Fair!

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A bead artist in one of my Facebook groups was bemoaning her cracked fingertips. I will share what I wrote to her, in case you are suffering as well.

I am a doctor/artist and I wrote a comprehensive health care guide for women who do crafts. It won a Gold Medal for Health Communication and was a Main Selection of the Doubleday Cooking and Crafts club.

One whole chapter of my book is on the fingers.

Here is what I am doing this winter for my cracked fingertips. Every night I put a teaspoon of sugar in my palm and pour in about a teaspoon of olive oil. I scrub down my hands, the backs, palms and fingertips. I rub my fingertips in my palms in the sugar scrub to burnish off dead skin and to stimulate the blood vessels.

Then I wash off the sugar with water under the tap, then most of the oil with hand soap.

I keep my fingernails very short so that the skin on the tips is uniformly tough, so that it resists cracking.

At bedtime I put 1/2 teaspoon of sweet almond oil in my palm and I massage it into my hands, especially my nail beds and fingertips. The massage not only delivers the oil to my skin but opens up the capillary beds so that maximum sturdiness of the skin develops.

If you want my book, many Amazon Booksellers have it for 1 cent plus $3.99 shipping (this keeps me humble; if you buy from Amazon Booksellers I won’t make even that one cent, which is fine).

If you need it today you can get it from C&T Publishing as an e-book. There’s a hot link to the C&T listing on my author website http://www.susandelaneyauthor.com.

BTW, C&T was the best publisher a gal could dream of!

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Today at my church, we presented the fourth graders with their own bibles. The youth minister had wrapped the bibles in five different layers of “gift wrap”. First a mailing envelope, because it was a Special Delivery. Then festive gift wrap. Then a map, because the Scriptures would take the kids to places they’d never been. Then newsprint because of the “Good News” in the bible. Finally in gold paper to mark the bibles as treasure.

It was a beautiful ceremony, but seeing the fourth graders stand there makes me tear up every year because, statistically, it is fourth-graders that are sexually abused by clergy, altar boys and altar girls. They are so little!

Sexual abuse is a fourfold catastrophe for the child: physical, emotional, spiritual and sexual. It creates a shattering of the child that takes years to heal.

My own abuse by a clergyman happened when I was five. That’s me in at age five on the cover of my book.

My faith is strong again now. People remark on it. I would not wish on anyone what it took for me to get it back!

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I have a Pinterest board “Justice for Kids”:

http://www.pinterest.com/susanddelaney/justice-for-kids/

It is based on the “Legend of the Starfish”: A woman is walking along the beach at low tide. Every time she sees a stranded starfish, she reaches down, grabs it and throws it into deep water. A man is walking toward her and when he gets to her he asks her what she is doing. She explains. He says, “it doesn’t matter, you can’t save them all.” She throws the starfish in her hand into deep water and looks him in eye kindly. “It matters to that one.”

Every time I come across a photo of a starfish on Pinterest, I pin it to Justice for Kids and add the words, “It Matters to That One”.

Protect one kid.

Save one kid.

Believe one kid.

Call the police if a kid discloses abuse of any kind. It is THEIR job to investigate, not yours.

It matters to that one!

p.s., it’s grand if you can save more than one!

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When my daughter was away at college I sent her a letter every single day. I always included an item from our shared past in the envelopes.

I had taped movie stubs, fortune cookie pronouncements, tags from when her car was repaired, programs from her schools into the family calendar for years. I also had a huge box of her school drawings and papers.

Each day when I wrote I’d include one or more of these items. I’d also include a photo, a cartoonI thought or an article or photo from the paper that might interest her. You can see the pig snouts peeking out of a stock truck in the photo above.

As a haiku poet, I’d also sometimes include one or more of my haiku, especially ones of scenes we’d shared or ones that were actually about her.

I reverse scrapbooked again this week. I’d saved the tickets from the Butterfly exhibit at Natural History, the IMAX ticket and the ticket to the International Spy Museum. I mailed them to her in a card as a memento of our trip.

BTW, she has kept every single letter I sent her. They are in her old room here and they fill a laundry basket.

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Some time back I acquired three Yellow Submarine tee shirts from Threadless. I actually started with just one, but got such positive reactions to wearing it that I ordered another two when they went on sale.

Wherever I go people smile and comment about the shirt. Recently, however, they have started singing when they see it.

A few weeks back, on my trip to DC, I was browsing the gift shop of the National Gallery of Art. A super-preppy guy, a clerk in the store, likely a summer intern, saw my tee shirt and burst into song!

The next day, I was wearing another of them and was moving through the security checkpoint at the airport. The guy who had just x-rayed my bags saw my tee shirt and started singing, “We all live in a Yellow Submarine”.  Immediately, the woman behind me in line started singing it, too. We three sang it all the way through.

The funniest reaction I ever had to the shirt came in Hot Springs Arkansas. I’d just finished a hike along the “Promenade” in Hot Springs National Park (where I got a half dozen grins and comments about the shirt) and went downstairs to meet my haiku friends for dinner in the hotel restaurant. Only one friend had arrived. He looked at my shirt and started naming all of the gray submarines. Turns out he was a submariner when he was in the Navy. He DIDN’T EVEN SEE the yellow one!

I finally understood the Threadless name for the tee: Know Your Submarines.

BTW, I took the picture after I finished knitting a “brain” hat. I’m wearing it in the photo….

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This year I found myself aching with happiness over the coming of spring. I knew just which yards  had daffodils and where all of the peach trees are. I followed the progress of the Bradford pear buds and of the cherry trees in the medians near my home and office.

Before this year, I thought that I had decorated for the seasons for my daughter. As I watched the daffodils sprout, the buds swell and then bloom I realized that I had a deep-seated need to know the seasons and their unfolding, to follow this unfolding and to enjoy it.

The Japanese have 72 five-day seasons. They are geniuses at observing this unfolding. I once accepted the challenge of a haiku poet who was a visiting scholar at Harvard to create a calendar of 72 five-day seasons for North Texas, where I live. It took me three years to get it right.

It took me until this year to understand how deeply I needed  to observe the 72 five-day seasons.

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I was about to go out for lunch and I noticed that the basket of rubber duckies in my waiting room was lit by a sunbeam. I whipped out my iPhone and snapped this photo. The Easter ducky was most lit up.

his ears burning

the Easter ducky

blushes

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