Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Garden Update

We've now started pulling three different heirloom tomato varieties out of the back yard garden. The one pictured below is a Green Zebra tomato. It's a delicious! I've been eating them raw with a little bit of salt. It's the perfect summer treat. Here are just a few snapshots from my time in the garden yesterday.








Monday, June 29, 2015

Room to Live | aka Living Room

My mom was visiting Dallas this week. It's always such a pleasure to have her here. But nothing is more pleasurable than sitting in my living room over a cup of coffee with cream and talking with her while the morning comes up in the front window. It's that wonderful liminal period when the kids aren't demanding anything of me, the dog is calm and I can just sit and chat and listen and enjoy my mother's good company.









Friday, June 26, 2015

Time Passes



Yesterday was my brother's birthday. Joel would have been 36. We haven't quite reached the one year anniversary of his death, but already I'm feeling the stretch and salve of time, working away at my grieving muscles. Saying his name doesn't sting anymore.

The following image came to me by way of a friend. I have no idea who wrote it, or what periodical it was torn from. But it soothes me when I think of my brother.



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

That Certain Yellow

My garden is filled with yellow this time of year. I have squash blossoms, little melons, lemon cucumbers, marigolds, dill blossoms and sunflowers ready to explode at any moment. These cheery fruits and flowers all possess that certain exalted shade of yellow that shouts, "I'm alive and you must notice me!" We all have that golden kernel inside of us - that certain sun-drenched essence that exudes vitality, faith and desire all at the same time. Sometimes I wish we humans were as obvious with our inner light as these fruits and flowers.








This lively and robust yellow has been speaking to me. It's all over my garden and I want to get it into my house. Perhaps it would be best on a piece of furniture, or a painting, or even a wall.

Then, a few weeks ago, I covered Howard Jackson's home for Houzz.com. As soon as I saw the front door, I knew I had found it: that certain yellow. After telling him how much I loved the color, Howard was so kind to give me the left over paint from his front door.

It's Babouche from Farrow & Ball and it is the dreamiest yellow I have ever laid eyes on. I'll let you know what I do with it!




Tuesday, June 23, 2015

It Takes a Village | Crowd Funding for Charlie


We've just launched a crowd funding campaign for my son's handicapped accessible van!
Please watch the video below and check out all of the details HERE.


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A LITTLE ABOUT MY SON, CHARLIE: 

Charlie Greenman was born on August 4, 2010. It was soon discovered that he had suffered two strokes in utero. He has since been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy - all complications due to stroke.

When Charlie came into the world, doctors told us that Charlie would probably never walk or talk. As of this summer, Charlie is doing both and showing no signs of slowing down. This is due, in part, to the excellent physical and occupation therapy Charlie receives.





THE SITUATION: 

However, a new conundrum has come up for our family. Charlie's efforts to be mobile require all sorts of assistive equipment. We need space for both his wheelchair and his gait-trainer when we travel.

Also, Charlie has just hit 50 pounds and is in the 90th percentile for height. My husband, Jack and I carry him everywhere, lifting him in and out of wheelchairs, gait-trainer, grocery carts, chairs and cribs. But the most difficult transfers take place when we need to get Charlie through the car door and into his car seat.


THE SOLUTION: 

A handicapped accessible van for Charlie! We have just purchased a used Toyota Sienna from a neighborhood family. There is plenty of room for his equipment, but the best part is that it's already adapted for handicapped accessibilty. A new, fully adapted van, would have cost in excess of $60,000. We feel very fortunate to have found a used one in great condition for $26,000. 

But now we're in a bind - one which so many families of special needs children find themselves. We simply do not have the financial resources to pay for both Charlie's life changing therapies and also cover the necessary cost of his handicapped accessible van.






 THE GOAL: 

We're hoping to raise $26,000 for Charlie's new ride. Every dollar we receive goes directly towards paying down our car loan and allows us to continue our monthly payments towards Charlie's many therapy treatments.

THANK YOU to everyone for your past, present and ongoing support of our son, Charlie! Our family could not do it without you.  And a special thank you to Kenna's Kids for their amazing support for Charlie over the past three years.


Visit our Go Fund Me site to donate and share our story on social media.
For more information about Charlie, visit HelpCharlieHeal.com.




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Full disclosure: Go Fund Me takes 8% off the top of your donations, 
while Paypal only takes 3% in fees. Charlie's Paypal donation button is below
if you prefer that to Go Fund Me.

Thank you for all your love and support!


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Dark Eden

This morning, in the first hours of dawn, my son Charlie woke up screaming. He does this periodically. He's not hurt or waking from a bad dream, he just wants out of his bed. He's almost five years old. Most kids his age are in a twin bed and when they want to get up and help themselves to cereal in the kitchen, they do.

But not Charlie. He's still in a crib and he cannot walk. And he cannot help himself to much of anything. So when I hear the early morning shriek, that's my cue to to stumble from my bed into the hallway and help him out of bed, into a clean diaper and into the kitchen for some breakfast, which I spoon feed him.

I am not telling you all this for attention or pity (God, I hate pity), but to illuminate my next thought: Serenity can exist anywhere. Yes. Anywhere. After Charlie is settled and fed and diapered and The Wiggles are streaming on the screen, I sneak away for a cup of coffee and a stroll, albeit a quick one, through my little back yard garden. Why? Because I'm seeking serenity. I need to hear that it's all going to be okay. And if you listen closely, that is what plants whisper when you walk by. "It's all going to be okay."

It is only 6:34am. I've been up for 15 minutes and I still have an entire day of childcare ahead of me. I also have lots of work calling my name. But for these next few minutes, I feed the chickens, snap a few beans off of the bean pole, fondle an almost ripe tomato and greet the morning with a deep breath.

This is my Eden. The almost ripe tomato, the coffee, the kid who can't walk, the one who is still asleep, the chicken scratching at the ground, the prickly cucumber stems, the rising sun, the power line, the clothesline, the camera hanging around my neck to snap photos for the blog, the slight smell of ammonia wafting from the coop that reminds me its time to change their bedding - all of it, my Eden.








Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Happenings

Life is really full this month. Solo parenting has made the usual crunch of deadlines even more crunchy and I feel words like "have to" and "must" creeping into most of my sentences. My first question when things feel constrained is usually, "Is it really a must do situation?". Normally my response is, "Well, no." But this week most of my to-dos actually need to happen.

The cool thing is that these to-dos are in service of some really cool events and organizations. Here's what's on my plate this week:



Kenna's Kids

Kenna's Kids is a nonprofit organization that reaches out to individual families with children experiencing life's medical challenges at a young age. Their biggest fundraiser of the year is a huge golf tournament, which is always the last weekend in June.

The basis of this nonprofit organization is built around the pay-it-forward concept. The growth of the organization and support of additional families comes from those who've been helped in the past. We are one of those families. My son Charlie was a beneficiary in 2012, which is why I'm gearing up for the Kenna Cup Golf Tournament in Frisco, TX. I'm volunteering and coordinating past family updates and even trying my hand at creating a video for the players about past families and their children.

Please support this year's families by participating in the Ball Drop. With the help of the Frisco Fire Department, golf balls will be dropped from high above the chipping green. The ball that ends up closest to the hole or first one in the hole wins TWO ROUND TRIP tickets anywhere in the continental United States. Ball drop tickets can be purchased for $10 HERE. The ball drop will take place at the Frisco Lakes short-game/chipping green immediately following the Kenna Cup afternoon tournament on June 27st 2015. Winner will be announced at the Annual Kenna's Cup Dinner & Awards later that evening at Frisco Lakes Club House in the Frisco Lakes Community. You do NOT have to be present to win.




School Garden

Im also finalizing a proposal for a school garden in our neighborhood school where my children attend classes. Our neighborhood school is a Title 1 institution, which means that we have a large majority of students live at or below the poverty level. These beautiful, curious kids have no connection to nature or their food sources, so a designate outdoor learning environment seems like a no brainer. All of my paperwork is due by the end of the month, so I'm cranking it out! This is a preliminary sketch I made of the proposed garden.




Statera Conference

I'm an artist and actor, but I'm also a writer for Houzz.com and Creative Director for a non-profit organization called Statera Foundation. Statera is dedicated to gender parity in the theatre and this summer, we're hosting our inaugural conference. It's going to be so fantastic! But there's a lot to do. And as it always goes, when you have a small but committed team of go-getters, the ideas get big, the time frame gets fast and the work-load gets serious. If you're interested in attending the conference (July 31-August 2 in Cedar City, Utah) than register HERE. If you believe in gender equity in the arts, I encourage you to get involved





P.S.

I'm kind of peeing my pants because I was featured in American Theatre a few weeks ago! This photo is from the world premier of "Sense & Sensibility" last summer at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. When you're a baby in college, training to do something, you dream about things like being in American Theatre Magazine. So when it actually happens... well, you want to tell the world!