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Sedona Hummingbird Festival – The Most Beautiful Place in America to See Hummingbirds!


Press Release

From McKenzie News Service
PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sedona Hummingbird Festival – The Most Beautiful Place in America to See Hummingbirds!

There will be three days of thought-provoking presentations and discussions by the world recognized hummingbird and conservation experts on a variety of topics: how to attract them, how to garden for them, and efforts to protect endangered hummingbirds.

Photo Credit: Beth Kingsley Hawkins. Hummingbird being hand-fed by Sabine Pool. View Larger Image

Sedona, Arizona, May 26, 2015 – The 4th Annual Sedona Hummingbird Festival invites residents and visitors alike to the Sedona Performing Arts Center and the greater Sedona area on July 31st and August 1-2 for three enchanting days of hummingbird presentations, banding demonstrations, sunrise breakfasts with the hummingbirds, shopping at the Hummingbird Marketplace, a hummingbird art exhibit, as well as hummingbird garden tours, birding trips, and more. The Sedona Performing Arts Center is located at 995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road, Sedona, AZ.

The Festival is sponsored by the International Hummingbird Society, a Sedona-based nonprofit education and conservation organization formed in 1996. The purpose of the festival is to promote the understanding of hummingbirds and to raise funds to protect some of the endangered hummingbird species.

The festival is timed to coincide with the presence of large numbers of southbound migrating hummingbirds which pass through Sedona on their way to wintering grounds in southern Mexico, with some coming from as far away as southern Alaska. The influx raises the local hummingbird population hundreds of percent and increases the number of hummingbird species from 2 to 5 or even 6. Some local residents report having seen 500-2,000 hummingbirds every day. This is based on nectar consumption, as there are far too many of them to count manually!

There are several free events where attendees can come to experience hummingbirds first hand by visiting several identified “hummingbird hotspots” where there are large numbers of hummers. They can also watch individual birds be “banded” with unique identifying anklets for on-going scientific research.

One of the more popular events requires a ticket purchase and advanced reservations. People are encouraged to sign up early for the “Sunrise Hummingbird Breakfasts,” enjoying the wonder of watching hummingbirds having their breakfast in a beautiful garden setting designed for the hummers.

The core platform of this event is the Symposium which presents the opportunity for attendees to learn about all things hummingbird. Held at the beautiful Sedona Performing Arts Center, there will be three days of thought-provoking presentations and discussions by world recognized hummingbird and conservation experts on a variety of topics: how they are cared for in aviaries, how to attract them, how to garden for them, and efforts to protect endangered hummingbirds (tickets required).

The keynote speaker this is year is Julie Zickefoose, a world renowned author, blogger and naturalist. She will make two presentations. On Saturday, she will explore the intersection of birds and spirituality in our lives. On Sunday, she will lead a presentation on how nature has the power to heal us and bring us closer to the creative power that resides inside us, waiting to be released. George Fenwick, a recognized author and authority on conservation, is the president of the American Bird Conservancy. He will discuss how we can work together to encourage and enable conservation as well as how he has been helping to lead these efforts for over 30 years.

Noelle Johnson, is widely recognized horticulturalist, landscape designer and author. She will present a fascinating talk on “Creating a Mini-Hummingbird Garden in a Container.” Lisa Tell is the Director of the UC Davis Hummingbird Health and Conservation Program as well as a full-time faculty member in their School of Veterinary Medicine. She will do a presentation on how the UC Davis program is helping protect hummingbirds and their habitat.

Other presenters, their bios, and synopses of their presentations can be found at: http://www.hummingbirdsociety.org/presentations2015

Learning extends to gardens, first with hummingbird presentations but also with self-guided Garden Tours to private gardens in the greater Sedona area.

Of course, attendees come to experience Sedona. No wonder the festival’s tagline is “The Most Beautiful Place in America to See Hummingbirds.” Located at 4,500 feet, Sedona largely escapes the extreme temperatures of southern Arizona. And its “red rock” beauty is known around the world.

Finally, attendees come to meet other hummingbird lovers and create friendships that can last a lifetime.

Tickets: 3-day pass to all daytime presentation sessions, July 31 – August 2: Adult $50 ($55 at the door). Children under 12 free when accompanied by an adult. 1-day pass to daytime presentation sessions: Adult $18 ($21 at the door). Tickets can be purchased at http://www.hummingbirdsociety.org/purchase-tickets-2015.

For more information, call the Hummingbird Society at 1-800-529-3699 or (928) 284-2251.

Full Event Information: http://www.hummingbirdsociety.org/hummingbird-festival

– END –

View this press release online with photos:
http://mckenzienewsservice.com/news/Sedona-Hummingbird-Festival/index.htm

MEDIA CONTACT: Ross Hawkins
Email: ross@hummingbirdsociety.org
Phone: 800.529.3699
Media Visits: Please inquire

Sedona Hummingbird Festival
Sedona, Arizona
Web: http://www.hummingbirdsociety.org/hummingbird-festival

CONDENSED VERSION:
Sedona Hummingbird Festival – The Most Beautiful Place in America to See Hummingbirds!
The 4th Annual Sedona Hummingbird Festival invites residents and visitors alike to the Sedona Performing Arts Center and the greater Sedona area on July 31st and August 1-2 for three enchanting days of hummingbird presentations, banding demonstrations, sunrise breakfasts with the hummingbirds, shopping at the Hummingbird Marketplace, a hummingbird art exhibit, as well as hummingbird garden tours, birding trips, and more. The Sedona Performing Arts Center is located at 995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road, Sedona, AZ. There will be three days of thought provoking presentations and discussions by world recognized hummingbird and conservation experts on a variety of topics: how to attract them, how to garden for them, and efforts to protect endangered hummingbirds. The festival is timed to coincide with the presence of large numbers of southbound migrating hummingbirds which pass through Sedona on their way to wintering grounds in southern Mexico, with some coming from as far away as southern Alaska. The influx raises the local hummingbird population hundreds of percent, and increases the number of hummingbird species from 2 to 5 or even 6. Some local residents report having seen 500-2,000 hummingbirds every day.
TICKETS: 3-day pass to all daytime presentation sessions, July 31 – August 2: Adult $50 ($55 at the door). Children under 12 free when accompanied by an adult. 1-day pass to daytime presentation sessions: Adult $18 ($21 at the door). Tickets can be purchased at http://www.hummingbirdsociety.org/purchase-tickets-2015. For more information, call the Hummingbird Society at 1-800-529-3699 or (928) 284-2251. Full Event Information: http://www.hummingbirdsociety.org/hummingbird-festival

CALENDAR LISTING:
Event Name: Sedona Hummingbird Festival
Event Date: July 31 and August 1 and 2, 2015
Event Location: Various locations In and around Sedona, Arizona
Admission: 3-day pass to all daytime presentation sessions, July 31 – August 2: Adult $50 ($55 at the door). Children under 12 free when accompanied by an adult. 1-day pass to daytime presentation sessions: Adult $18 ($21 at the door).
Web: http://www.hummingbirdsociety.org/hummingbird-festival
Contact: Ross Hawkins, ross@hummingbirdsociety.org, 800.529.3699
Description: The 4th annual Sedona Hummingbird Festival invites residents and visitors alike to the Sedona Performing Arts Center and the greater Sedona area on July 31st and August 1-2 for three enchanting days of hummingbird presentations, expert lectures, birding trips, sunrise breakfasts, garden tours, and more.

This press release was sent from McKenzie News Service (www.McKenzieNewsService.com).
PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU PUBLISH A PRESS RELEASE:
Paul McKenzie: paul@McKenzieNewsService.com

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by Jesus Belzunce on

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Words of Wisdom For Today — A Short and Simple Important Quote…


Dearest Readers:

Today while driving, I read an interesting quote on a church marquee. Arriving home, I chose to revise it, especially since it is such a small but oh, so important quote:

“DON’T WORRY ABOUT PEOPLE WHO TALK ABOUT YOU BEHIND YOUR BACK… THEY’RE BEHIND YOU FOR A REASON!”

I thought it was a most appropriate quote for back-stabbing friends…or maybe — they really are back-stabbing enemies. I’ll let you decide!

ARTICLES, Family, Motherhood, On My Soapbox!

19 Kids, and Counting…The Disgraceful Duggars!


Dearest Readers:

I confess…I WAS a recent semi-fan of the TLC program, 19 KIDS, AND COUNTING… Surfing on the TV one night, I discovered the program, 19 KIDS, AND COUNTING, so I watched it. I noticed how all of the girls wore long skirts with slightly below-the-knee hemlines. When I watched one of the programs where they went to the Georgia Aquarium, and they swam in Lake Lanier, GA, I was curious IF Mom and Pop Duggar would permit the girls to wear swimsuits or shorts. They did not.

Why I Started Watching 19 KIDS AND COUNTING

This program brought back my childhood, strict with all of the rules we had to live with. Attending church, which I enjoyed until I heard the ‘speaking in tongues’ ceremonies. I sang in the church choir. I practiced the golden rule; nevertheless, I still chose to wear my shorts – against my fundamentalist grandfather’s approval. Watching 19 KIDS AND COUNTING. I was curious IF any of these 19 children EVER disobeyed their parents. On the episodes I watched, never did I hear any child rebel, disobey, or mutter anything their parents would not approve. I realized, with cameras rolling, they obviously edited anything where the children did not follow the ‘holier than thou’ mentality of their parents.

This isn’t normal, I thought. Children on this program never dispute, shout, or fight with their siblings. Just what is wrong here? Obviously, I was on to something.

Many of the episodes of 19 KIDS AND COUNTING brought back memories to me. Memories of my childhood and how I dressed. As a little girl, my grandparents did not ‘approve’ when I wore shorts. Young girls were never to cut their hair, since it was a sign of glory and holiness, according to my grandfather…and young girls were NEVER to show their skin. He wanted us dressed in high necklines, preferably in white. Virginal and pure. At 13, when I had cleavage, I disgraced them by wearing a V-neck T-shirt and shorts. Disgraceful! I must say, I did not wear the Daisy Duke shorts and when I bent over, you could see absolutely nothing with the exception of tanned, firm, athletic legs. At 15, I wore shorts and T-shirts and my grandfather alluded that I was ‘cheap…’ Actually, he described me as a w—-. When I confronted him with ‘how can a virgin be a wh—;’ he refused to speak with me.

Attending high school, I wore clothes that revealed – NOTHING! Necklines were high, usually turtle neck. If I wore a blouse, it was buttoned all the way. No skin revealed. Skirts were long and cumbersome to wear. When I committed the most cardinal of sins by wearing makeup, my grandfather gave me a new name. The Scarlett Woman. The Tramp…and of course again – The Wh—! I continued wearing makeup! After all, if the pastor’s wife at the church could wear makeup, why couldn’t I?

Child Molestation Charges

Yesterday, May 22, 2015, the news was hot with a topic about 19 KIDS AND COUNTING. Apparently, Josh Duggar committed a dreadful sin as a 14-year-old – seems he molested five girls. http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/21/us/josh-duggar-child-molestation-allegations/index.html
When I read these reports, I was flabbergasted, to say the least. Now, Josh Duggar has apologized and he has resigned his impressive, political position in Washington D.C. with the Family Research Council. Reportedly, his wife, Anna, knew of his ‘sins’ before she married him and she was impressed that he confessed these behaviors before their marriage.

Josh and Anna have three children now. The oldest is a girl, Mackynzie. Two boys – Michael and Marcus and she is pregnant with their fourth child – a girl. Sometimes I cannot help being curious as to why this family reproduces like rabbits. What about the quality of time with children?

The reports are endless about the Duggar Family. I will not elaborate more, but I would suggest – IF you read these Internet postings, keep in mind, many are simply chat areas.

Duggar Disgrace

Yes, the recent news is a disgrace, and what makes it even more disgraceful is the fact that Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar chose to keep the molestation quiet. Their program, 19 Kids, and Counting did not air until 2008 after the molestation charges were swept under the Duggar Family rug. Disgraceful. Absolutely disgraceful!

I Was a Victim of Child Molestation

As a young girl and teenager, I was a victim of child molestation. One of my uncles touched me. We were riding in his delivery truck. He chose to turn onto a dirt road. No houses were around. He suggested we should ‘pick blackberries.’ I was 15-years-old at the time. Yes, I was wearing a T-shirt and shorts. Scandalous, aren’t I! I was 100% naïve. Trusting, especially of my elders.

My uncle moved closer to me – touching my legs, his hands probing and searching, rushing towards my chest. I grabbed his hands, pushing him away. I reached for the door handle, got the door open and jumped outside. I ran as fast as I could. On that date, I failed to bring my inhaler, so the dust on the dirt road reacted with my asthma and I had difficulty breathing. Wheezing and coughing, I stopped, hearing my uncle’s delivery truck moving close to me. I ran the other way. Laughing, he pulled ahead of me, demanding that I get in the truck.
I screamed. No one heard me.

My uncle forced me inside the truck. I slapped his face – HARD. I screamed and I cried.
Hysterical and horrified that I would be raped, my uncle said he would drive me home.

“I don’t believe you. All you want to do is to touch me. I want to go home.”
I opened the door again. Still wheezing, I walked as fast as I could. My uncle said he would take me home.
“I can walk.”

“We are at least 10 miles away and you’re going to walk? That’s a long way.”

“I walk home from school – a 10-mile journey. I can walk home.”

My uncle was shaking. I suppose he was fearful I would tell someone what he did. In my childhood I knew no one would listen or care.

“If you tell any body I touched you, no one will believe you. I’m a deacon in the church. Who’d believe you? You’re a teenager. You’re wearing shorts. You tempted me by how pretty you are. I’m a deacon, “ he repeated. “ You’ve got beautiful legs I wanted to touch…”

Recognizing he was afraid, along with the fact that absolutely no one in my family would believe me, I slid into the passenger seat of the truck.

“If you move one hand off of that steering wheel, I will get out and I will tell somebody,” I said. “You are not raping me or touching me again.”

Later, after arriving home, I rushed to take a shower. Scrubbing my body hard with the hottest water we had, I cried in the shower. As hard as I scrubbed, I could not get the feeling of his probing hands off of my body.

Years later, when my uncle died, my mother phoned me. “You need to come home,” she said. “Your uncle just died.”

Inhaling and exhaling, I bit my lip, and then I spoke, more of an enraged shout than my normal voice.
“May he rot in Hell,” I said, tears stinging my face, as I relived his probing hands.

My mother was annoyed. “Why do you feel that way about him?”

“Because the bastard tried to rape me!”

Our discussion continued while she confessed that he had been charged with rape twice, but never convicted. She wasn’t surprised by my confessions.

Now that I read the reports about Josh Duggar, I feel compassion for him – just a bit. Apparently, he received a bit of ‘help’ when his parents sent him away to a ‘retreat, to work on construction jobs.’ [???]
I am hopeful he did make amends and ask God for His forgiveness; nevertheless, reportedly there are five young girls who will never forget his probing hands touching their bodies in private places. Unforgiveable!
Yes, I am hopeful the five girls who have not been revealed were able to move forward after these events. Child molestation is something a victim never forgets. After my experience, I prayed, but never confessed what happened to anyone within my family. Never did I speak to my uncle again, and when I saw him in church, I turned away, never giving him a chance to speak to me. As for blackberries – for me – they are truly the ‘forbidden fruit.’

For the Duggar Family, I pray that the entire family learned a valuable lesson from this experience, and I pray that they will finally realize that no family is perfect; nevertheless, I suppose I was a bit wiser just by watching them. I recognized how hypocritical they are. Jim Bob always comes across as Mr. Lovey Dovey, especially with his wife, Michelle; however, if you watched her closely, you recognized she was a bit reserved. Sometimes pulling her head away when he kissed her in front of the children, after preaching to all of them that the girls must ‘court with a purpose.’ A courtship that leads to engagement and then – marriage. No kisses and only side hugs – until marriage. In one of the last episodes I watched, Jim Bob confesses that he and Michelle kissed LOTS before marriage??? Hypocrites’!

I hope and pray the five girls involved with the incidents with Josh Duggar are able to move forward like I did. Never did I share the child molestation incident with anyone, with the exception of my husband in 1982. On that night, my husband was able to understand exactly why and how I responded to certain touches. After therapy, I am happy to say, I no longer fear probing hands. Yes, as my father taught me, I was able to move forward with life, and not look back.

I hope the five girls involved with this Duggar Disgrace will be able to do the same. As for Josh Duggar, I hope he and his immediate family will remain close, and I pray he does not repeat his previous history with his children.

Will I continue to watch a reality show? I doubt it. After all, those reality shows are edited, revealing only the good times, — not the reality of bad times. At least the Duggars were not bleeped like a lot of those idiotic reality shows! I pray Jim Bob, Josh and Michelle are praying for forgiveness, and I pray the five girls will learn that not all men are monsters on the prowl. Shame on you, 19 Kids and Counting! You are a disgrace to religious families! You allowed this dirt to be swept under the rug and remain there while you pretended to be a close, almost perfect family. Shame on you, TLC! Shame On You…19 Kids and Counting!

Chattahoochee Child, Free Writing, Friendship

Backstabbing Friends — What It Is And How To Cope…


Dearest Readers:

All of my life I have experienced situations with — and I USE the term loosely — “Friends.” I consider friendships something to be cherished — the chosen few — the friend we stand by through thick and thin. If you read my blog regularly you will know I have written about friendships many times; nevertheless, never have I discussed backstabbing friends. Not until now. I suppose recent assignments have got me thinking.

Have you ever experienced backstabbing friends? You know the type — in front of a crowd, they hug and kiss and pretend to be such good friends…Turn your back and you can almost feel the knife twisting inside of you. I have always thought backstabbing friends are filled with insecurities. When they criticize you with hurt and discontent, yes, it does hurt — but only for a while. My theory has always been when I am your friend, I am loyal to you. I trust you. I believe we are friends because God has a purpose for us. However, if you become vicious, let’s just say — I have no use for this type of friendship.

I’ve been wrong many times, and now, I am skeptical of friendship relationships. I keep to myself most of the time, simply because I do not need backstabbing friendships — AT ALL! Good friends — we all need good friends, just not the poisonous back stabbers!

You might be curious as to the definition of backstabbing friends. Who they are. What they are…and Why? In a nutshell — backstabbing friends are indeed insecure. Ridiculing you — behind YOUR back makes them feel equal. Powerful — in all reality — they are powerless. Perhaps they do not understand how vindictive, deceitful, conniving and UGLY they really are. They have loose tongues…and when they see you coming…suddenly, they retreat. Yes, they will whisper…Yes, they will pretend and when you turn your back — the game is on.

Backstabbing friends are users. They will pretend to have the upper hand, hoping you will share your secrets with them…and if you do share — trust me — those secrets are spread like a California wildfire!

I’ve dealt with backstabbing friendships in the Corporate World too, finding them the most destructive.

Today, I am proud to say, I do have many friends; nevertheless, only a few close ‘best friends.’ My best friends know who they are so I will not reveal their identity here. Never have I shared secrets with anyone — not even my husband. I suppose I am from the old school – ethics and morals taught to me by my amazing grandmother. She always said I should be pretty on the outside — but beautiful and Godly on the inside. “Never reveal secrets to anyone,” she said…and “NEVER break those secrets shared. Be kind to others and never do unto others what you wouldn’t have done to you.”

My grandmother was an incredible, soft-spoken woman. Living in a mill village, she was the therapist lots of people would come to — to vent — to cry…and sometimes, just to scream. Highly religious, she taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School in the Pentecostal churches, and she practiced her beliefs and faith in her daily life. She never turned anyone away and when I asked her why the people came to her she always smiled and said, “She has a burden we needed to lift.” No explanation of what was stewing, just words of wisdom. Many times I was curious as to how nice, caring and angelic my maternal grandmother was, compared to my mother. Now that I am just a bit wiser, I realize my mother chose to be more like my maternal grandfather — backstabbing friends — only these were blood relatives. It is a bit difficult to turn away from them!

Dealing With Backstabbers

How do I deal with backstabbing friends? Normally, I kill them with kindness, and then — I STEP AWAY!  The highest compliment is to prove by your actions and your diplomacy how kind and diplomatic you can be — even when the enemy is nearby. Suppose I forgot to mention — backstabbing friends are enemies…and you’ve probably heard the cliche about enemies… “Keep your friends close — YOUR ENEMIES closer.” And that is how I deal with them. I might speak. I might laugh, and I might compliment — while watching them with a careful eye. Getting close again — not on your life!

I refuse to resort to the destructive tactics of backstabbers. I am cool…calm…and collected… If these backstabbers invite me to an outing, my calendar is always full…after all, I have stories to write, important things to do.

I prefer to keep my private life – PRIVATE! Once betrayed by a backstabber, never do I trust them again.

I simply do not need passive-aggressive, backstabbing people in my inner circle of friends; after all, I lived with a mother who was passive-aggressive, almost bi-polar and meaner than the most vicious snake one could ever meet.

Backstabbers cut like a knife, and I imagine they are extremely lonely people. After all, living well, being happy and complete within yourself — well — to me it is priceless!

Think I’ll continue being a fair weather friend. After all, I am horrified of thunder and lightning. I don’t need all of that drama from untrusting, cruel people.

Backstabber friends — just stay away! I have bridges to cross…journeys to take…and much life to live!

 

http://www.lifescript.com/well-being/articles/b/backstabbing_friends_and_co-workers.aspx

 

 

Chattahoochee Child, Family, Free Writing

Chattahoochee Child – Walking Into the Fears of Cancer…


Dearest Readers:

Periodically, I post a few stories from the book, “Chattahoochee Child” — my latest work-in-progress. Hope you enjoy!

 

The morning my father and I learned to forgive each other started like most mornings in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Resting motionless in bed, he reminded me of a frail injured bird with crippled wings. His body was thin. His skin the color of mustard. Peach fuzz of a cotton soft beard kissed his face. My heart broke for him. My arms ached to reach inside his weakened body to pull the cells of cancer away.

Dad was rebelling after the diagnosis, stating in a firm voice that he would not shave his face UNTIL he was given the freedom and luxury of eating food. Meanwhile, the beard continued growing.

Although it was the holiday season of 1997, I could find no happiness or excitement in decking the halls or decorating a Christmas tree. The patriarch of my family tree was terminally ill, destroying my belief in the humanity and meaning of life. Why was it always the good people who suffer the most? Life just wasn’t fair.

During that Christmas holiday spent inside four cold walls of a hospital room, I remember staring outside, watching cars speeding by, ignoring traffic lights. I glanced at Christmas lights blinking off and on, counting the precious moments of life we, as adults, get locked into believing will be forever.

“How much longer do we have?” Suddenly, I shared an unspoken conversation with God as I looked up into the skyline asking why this had to be.

On that particular morning, Dad’s forehead was hot to the touch. I took his temperature. 103.  Sighing, I reached for the phone near his bed. “I’ll get the nurse to check your temp,” I said.

He watched every move I made. “You’re a good daughter,” he said. “I love you.”

I stopped dialing the phone. “I love you too,” I said, realizing he had never expressed those words before. His generation did not believe in showing affections and I was moved to the point of tears.

“Barbara,” he said his voice only a whisper. “I’m sorry for everything.”

I bathed his forehead with a cooling wash cloth, “No need to be sorry for the past,” I said. “You were the parent. I was the bratty, rebellious teenager.”

Dad’s facial muscles struggled to smile. “You always were stubborn and persnickety,” he said as he coughed.

“Just like my father,” I teased. “You rest. We can talk later when you’re stronger.”

“I’m glad you’re here. I can always count on you, even when things are difficult.”

“All of that’s in the past,” I said, brushing a blonde strand of hair from my face with an apricot manicured nail. “The past is history. The future a mystery. This moment is a gift, and that’s why we call it the present.”

Dad’s eyes fluttered. “I’m tired and sleepy.” He said.

“You close your eyes and sleep. I’ll be here when you awaken.”

November, 1997 until July,1999, were years of change, heartache and indescribable fear as I slowly watched my dad melting away from me from the effects of esophageal cancer, the Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy [PEG tube], commonly referred to as a feeding tube and chemotherapy radiation. I watched his tall, sturdy frame slowly bending into an emaciated body that could no longer fight or walk without assistance. It was truly the most painful time of my life.

After the week of Thanksgiving, 1997 my dad phoned, telling me he was a bit nauseated and thought he had cancer. I snickered. My dad did not have cancer. He was the picture of health. He took care of himself, walking daily, eating healthy foods and he lived a good life. Never drinking or smoking. No, Dad doesn’t have cancer. Not my Dad.

The next morning I took Dad to the Emergency Room at Roper Hospital in Charleston. For over eight hours, we sat while medical professionals took blood samples, x-rays and scratched their heads. Deciding to refer Dad to a gastroenterologist, we left the hospital, got a bit of dinner and I drove him back to his apartment. During dinner, he struggled to swallow his food. He apologized for taking so long to eat. When finished, over half of his meal remained on his plate. He did not request a take-out box. I suppose I knew something was wrong, I just did not want to admit that my dad was getting older and weaker each day.

In early December, Dad and I met with the gastroenterologist. An endoscopy was scheduled for the next morning. I phoned my boss letting her know I would not be at the office the next morning. I detected a bit of disappointment with her but remained firm. After all, my dad needed a test. All of my interviews and presentations could wait. Corporate America simply had to understand. My family was important to me.

The next morning, feeling confident Dad’s tests would be negative, I sat alone in the waiting room of the hospital, watching people passing by in a rush, reading newspapers and magazines, and sitting. How I wish I had remembered to pack a book or magazine. I watched the clock tick away. One hour. Two hours. My stomach growled. I hadn’t eaten anything and it was almost lunch time. My cell phone rang, but I couldn’t answer it since the hospital did not permit them to be used while waiting. And so I waited and waited.

Moments seemed like hours. I glanced up at the clock again, stopping to notice my dad’s doctor was approaching. His eyes did not look at me. He held his head down. He sat down by me.

“We found the problem.”

“Oh. He’s just not eating properly? Isn’t that his problem?”

“No. Your dad has cancer. Cancer of the esophagus. Terminal cancer. I’m sorry to say it, but he probably has less than six months to live. He needs a PEG tube so we can get nourishment into him again.”

I sat motionless. Nothing was fazing me. My mouth flew open and I felt dizzy.

“Are you all right?”

“My dad has cancer. You’re saying my dad is dying? My Dad? This can’t be. He’s taken such good care of himself. You must be mistaken.”

“Have you noticed how thin he is?”

“Yes, I suppose. I did notice he didn’t eat much at Thanksgiving. I’ve been so busy at work. I guess I just didn’t pay enough attention.”

I knew my speech wasn’t making sense. People were passing by me, and all I could think of was the dreaded word – cancer.

I thanked the doctor. When he left, I turned my phone on and called my husband.

“Can you…can you please come to the hospital? Please?”

Garrett knew me well. When he arrived at the hospital, I fell limp in his arms. The tears I refused to cry suddenly poured out of me and I screamed. People stared at me, but I didn’t care. My dad was dying. Cancer. Cancer. CANCER.

The next few days were a blur to me. I returned to work, although my heart wasn’t there. All I could think about was my dad and the approaching Christmas holiday season. How could I possibly celebrate Christmas while knowing my dad is battling cancer? What if he chose not to fight cancer?

My prayers were answered one afternoon after a stressful day at work. I walked into my dad’s hospital room. He was resting while watching TV. An intravenous solution was attached to his arm. I touched his cold, resting arm while watching the IV solution of chemotherapy slowly dripping into his body. An amber colored bag covered the solution as it dripped…dripped…dripped ever so slowly into the veins of my father.

His eyes opened slowly. “Chemotherapy,” he said. “The doctors think it might help me live longer.”

My hand squeezed his and I felt his icy cold skin. “Are you warm enough?” I asked.

“Yes, I’m fine. You stop worrying about me.”

I squeezed his hand again. Tears were dancing in my eyes and I turned away. I did not want my father to see me crying. On that day, I recognized a new closeness and bonding between us. Gone was the angry, bitter-tongued father of my youth, replaced by a kinder and caring man who trusted me.

“We’ll fight this together, Dad.” I said, looking deeply into his eyes. “Together. I will be here for you every day. I love you, Dad. Together we will fight.”

Dad squeezed my hand. “You’re a good daughter,” he said. A tear fell down his face. “Will you wipe my eyes with a tissue. They’re watering.”

Still the tower of strength emotionally, Dad would not admit he was crying. I wiped his eyes and kissed his forehead. “I love you, Dad. Together we will beat this monster of cancer.”

During the holidays of 1997, I watched my dad battle chemotherapy radiation with courage and faith. I visited him daily and with each visit, we bonded. Before leaving at night, I would bend over to kiss his forehead. He whispered, “I love you.” Something he never did before cancer knocked on his door.

Cancer changes people. Suddenly life appears to fall into place. The little things in life become important again. No rushing around. No deadlines to battle. No appointments to break, or arguments to tolerate. All that is important is that one special, precious moment of life. Even when Dad had a rough day, we made the best of it. We strove to see the sunshine and sunrise. Life appeared to be simpler, with one exception. Daily I prayed for God to give Dad and me just one more day. One more day to touch his hand, one more day to kiss his forehead and to whisper three simple, caring words that gave me strength. “I love you.” Eight precious letters of the alphabet that guided me in the mornings, during the unexpected stress of each day, and covered me with a blanket of warmth at night. “I love you.” We expressed those words daily. Every day and moment we shared was precious.

After three chemotherapy treatments Dad was so weak, his blood counts so low, the doctors decided his body did not have the strength necessary to receive additional chemotherapy or radiation treatments. His throat was extremely sore, creating more difficulty with swallowing. The medical terminology I was learning educated me about esophageal cancer and other words I hadn’t learned before cancer knocked at our doors. Dysphagia, the inability to swallow. Skilled medical care – meaning 24-hour medical care and, of course, the detested PEG tube. What Dad and I described as an umbilical cord. Since he had a PEG tube, we decided it was necessary for him to reside at a convalescent center. He made friends at the nursing home and adjusted well. I visited him daily, praying for a miracle.

Our miracle granted him additional time with us although his quality of life weakened. He could not swallow food without regurgitating it, so the PEG tube was used, against his wishes. Slowly every quality of his life ended. The ability to enjoy food. The strength to take daily strolls without the assistance of a walker. The independence to live alone, without the assistance of skilled medical care. Father Time was slowly ticking his life away. Tick. Tock. Tick Tock, until he was almost a vegetable lying in his hospital bed.

On July 6, 1999, I arrived at the nursing home thrilled that I had his checkbook in my handbag. Dad kept close tabs on his checkbook and always asked about it. I was pleased that I had balanced his checkbook, and paid the nursing home for another month of nursing care. I was confident he would be pleased that he did not have to ask for his checkbook this month. I was prepared. Approaching his room, I turned my head, acknowledging a nurse. She was pushing a portable oxygen machine. “Oh, that isn’t a good sign,” I said to her. She did not acknowledge me, but followed next to me. Placing our hands on the door of my father’s room, I exhaled. The nurse suggested I wait outside. I was told I could not enter. I knew the time had arrived, and although I had prepared for this moment, his loss tore into my heart and soul. A woman I had never seen before took my hand, moving me to a chair. I was hysterical. She sat next to me, holding my hand until my husband arrived. I have no idea how he knew that Dad was dying. Someone had called him. Much to my surprise, that someone was me, although I do not remember making a phone call. All I can retrieve from that ‘moment’ was the strange, kind woman holding my hand, whispering words of encouragement to me.

The next morning, I drove to the beach, before sunrise. Standing along the shore, I knew Dad was at peace, and in time, I would be thankful that he had the final say. Walking along the shore, I noticed a sandpiper, appearing to follow me. Was this a sign? I would like to believe it was. The tiny sandpiper running next to me was a symbol that Dad and his spirit were now united with his twin brother and his family. Truly, it was a beautiful sunrise on that morning, July 7, 1999. The first morning of my new life as an orphan.Never would my dad and I harmonize a gospel song. Never would we spell vocabulary words, or whisper ‘I Love You.’  A fresh new morning of life for me, although inside, I felt nothing except a deep, debilitating grief.

 

 

Press Releases

4th Annual Southwest Virginia Wine Festival


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

                                    

Contact: Anne-Lewis Vowell

Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway

276.492.2423 | sales@myswva.org

4th Annual Southwest Virginia Wine Festival

Featuring the best of the region’s wines, cider, mead and craft beer at Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway.

ABINGDON, VA –One of Southwest Virginia’s most distinctive assets is its wines, cider, mead and craft beer.  The Fourth Annual Southwest Virginia Wine Festival is the perfect way to not only experience these assets, but also learn the stories and meet the makers behind the wines.

The SWVA Wine Festival is scheduled for Saturday, June 13, 2015 from 1p.m. to 5p.m. at Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway. Tickets are $20 per person in advance or $25 per person the day of the event and may be purchased online at swvawinefestival.com or at Heartwood.

“Last year’s event was a great success. We had a great turnout that day to taste the wines of eight of our best wineries,” said Todd Christensen, Executive Director of the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation. “And now going into our fourth year, we have craft breweries planning to attend. This event is very exciting for us because it’s a way to not only showcase, but educate people about the great natural and creative resources we have here in Southwest Virginia.”

The 19-county, four-city region produces an extensive range of award-winning wines, as well as cider and mead, all of which will be poured by participating Artisan Trail members − Abingdon Vineyard and Winery, Davis Valley Winery & Vineyard, Foggy Ridge Cider, MountainRose Vineyards, Rural Retreat Winery & Vineyard, Stanburn Winery, Vincent’s Vineyard, and West Wind Farm Vineyard and Winery − during the event. There will also be tastings from area breweries – Damascus Brewery, and Old Glade Brewery.  Light hors d’oeuvres and a souvenir wine glass are also included in the ticket price.

Online ticketing and more information about the June 13th Southwest Virginia Wine Festival can be found online at swvawinefestival.com or by calling (276) 492-2400. Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway is located at Exit 14 on I-81 in Abingdon, VA, for more information visit them online at heartwoodvirginia.org and at facebook.com/HeartwoodVirginia. This event is sponsored by Clinch Valley Printing, FM94, ‘Round the Mountain: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Trail, The Crooked Road’s Mountains of Music Homecoming, and the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation.

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Domestic Abuse, Family, Motherhood

Reflections — On Mother’s Day…


 

Dearest Readers:

Perhaps this essay will be another chapter in “CHATTAHOOCHEE CHILD.” [My latest work-in-progress]:

Mama wore her best house dresses when she was in a good mood, which wasn’t often enough. Those days, it felt as if the sunshine from the window kissed the living room with colors of the rainbow, at least for me.

Mama would smile at me and say, “Honey, can you curl my hair?”

After I shampooed her hair, I curled it with jumbo rollers. My fingers shook as I rolled her hair. If the curl was too tight, she’d get a headache.  She screamed in pain while her hands slapped my face. If it was too loose, the curl would flop and she’d remind me I had no talent to style hair, or do anything right. Her actions spoke volumes about her lack of love for me.

Sometimes, she smiled into the mirror, nodding with delight when finished. During those special moments with her, I took the time to make my Mama up with makeup. Her skin was olive, as smooth as a baby’s behind. No wrinkles or age spots. When I lined her eyes with black velvet eyeliner, she could equal the beauty of Cleopatra or Elizabeth Taylor. I never understood why Mama failed to make skin care and make up part of her daily routine.

Mama never believed in routines. She lived her life only for the moment and the next handout from someone else.

“It don’t matter to me or to your daddy if I fix myself up,” she said. “He doesn’t care about me. Why should I?”

Never did Mama hug or kiss me with her acceptance. I dare not ask if she liked her hair or makeup. I knew better. The sting of her palm on my face told me when I was not meeting her approval. I prayed she wouldn’t notice my anxiety, or my trembling hands. When I asked how she wanted her hair styled this time, she looked in the mirror, scratched her head, pulling the gray strands out.

“Stupid girl, you should know how I like my hair styled! Cover the gray roots,” she said. “Tease it high. Don’t let nobody see how gray I’m getting. I don’t care how it looks, as long as the gray roots ain’t showing.”

She refused to get her hair colored, afraid the chemicals would do something to her brain. She said, “Cancer runs in our family. We can’t take a chance to get that disease ‘cause it kills. My great grandmother had head cancer. She had such bad headaches her mind was gone. Don’t you put no chemicals in my hair. I don’t want my brain, or my head fried with cancer. You listen to me, Rebecca Sue. Don’t let nothing fry my head.”

 

May, 2002 was the last Mother’s Day I shared with my mother. Reportedly, she suffered a fall at Savannah’s apartment in early April. Savannah shouted at her, shoving her down the stairs. She was in a hurry, and she was tired of taking care of her ‘old lady,’ so she chose to leave our mother suffering on the floor. That afternoon a home health nurse came to check on our mother, discovering her lying face down, her clothing soiled from body fluids and feces. Her face was pulled down to the left side, left lip bruised and battered. When she struggled to move, she could not. The nurse documented her condition, diagnosing a possible stroke.

The home health nurse phoned me. “I suspect your mother has suffered a stroke. She’s at E-R now.”

“I’ll make arrangements and leave later this afternoon. It will take at least eight hours before I can be there,” I said. “Where’s Savannah?”

The nurse hesitated, suggesting I should speak to the doctor on call when I arrived.

I knew something was questionable. This was not the first time my mother had injuries while under Savannah’s care.

On Mother’s Day, Mom was still in the hospital. On that morning, I arrived early, placing a pale blue gift bag on her bed. Her eyes opened. She glanced at the bag, struggling to speak.

“B-Blue skies,” she muttered. Her right arm moved to touch the bag. I reached inside the bag, removing a blue gift box. I opened the box slowly. Mom’s eyes blinked as she struggled to smile, admiring the cultured pearl earrings inside the box.

A few minutes later, I placed the pierced earrings in her ears. Mom sighed, touching the right ear with her right hand. She slurred ‘thank you’ and fell back to sleep.

I stayed with my mother all of that Mother’s Day, feeding her and making her comfortable. That Mother’s Day was the last Mother’s Day we shared.

On September 11, 2002, my mother died under ‘questionable circumstances.’ Savannah spent that night with her at the hospital. When Savannah phoned me in the late evening of September 12, she appeared intoxicated. Her last slurring words to me were, “Do you think they’ll do an autopsy?”

 

Two years after her death Garrett and I drove to Columbus. We dropped by the cemetery to see my mother’s grave. The years of mental and physical abuse from my mother were buried with her. I placed a bouquet of red roses on her headstone, kissed it and whispered, “I know we were never close, but I hope you’ve found peace now. May you rest in peace, Mom. I loved you.”

Thinking about my childhood, the physical and mental abuse, I found it strange that Savannah was repeating the vicious cycle of physical abuse while I found peace, refusing to allow violence or abuse of any kind within my family.

 

On Mother’s Day, 2015 I reflect on my mother, our estranged history together and the questionable circumstances of her death. Savannah buried her in a closed casket. Due to another bout of acute bronchial asthma, I was unable to get to the funeral. Perhaps there was a reason for an autopsy to be performed, but now, my mother rests in peace. I hope and pray she died peacefully. Mother’s Day is always a day of reflection, sadness and curiosity and I pray that all mothers will have a wonderful day enjoying motherhood.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who truly know the definition and love affiliated with motherhood. May your day be filled with the love and best wishes of family on Mother’s Day.

 

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Music Notes, Press Releases

The Top 10 Workout Songs for May 2015


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

The Top 10 Workout Songs for May 2015

Fort Wayne, IN – May 5, 2015 – While every month brings with it a crop of new tunes, May’s releases bring an unusually high number of fast songs and remixes. Both are ideal for your workout as quick tunes naturally lend themselves to momentum and remixes give proven hits a second wind.

On the uptempo end of things, you’ll find songs above 140 beats per minute (BPM) from pop phenom Meghan Trainor, rockers Florence + The Machine, and breakout star Katy Tiz. In the remix department, you’ll find a club cut from Kelly Clarkson, a collaboration between Maroon 5 and Nicki Minaj, and a version of “Uptown Funk” that dials up the intensity of an already boisterous track.

Just as a remix can breathe new life into a familiar favorite, a few new songs can liven up an entire playlist. So, take a listen to some this month’s highlights, see what moves you, and put the winners to work.

Here’s the full list, according to votes placed at Run Hundred–the web’s most popular workout music blog.

Natalie La Rose & Jeremih – Somebody – 105 BPM

Meghan Trainor – Dear Future Husband – 158 BPM

Mumford & Sons – The Wolf – 153 BPM

Maroon 5 & Nicki Minaj – Sugar (Remix) – 121 BPM

LunchMoney Lewis – Bills – 126 BPM

Florence + The Machine – Ship to Wreck – 142 BPM

Tove Lo – Talking Body – 120 BPM

Kelly Clarkson – Heartbeat Song (Nebuer Remix) – 135 BPM

Katy Tiz – Whistle (While You Work It) – 162 BPM

Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk (Dave Aude Remix) – 124 BPM


To find more workout songs, folks can check out the free database at RunHundred.com. Visitors can browse the song selections there by genre, tempo, and era—to find the music that best fits with their particular workout routine.

Contact:
Chris Lawhorn
Run Hundred
Email: mail@runhundred.com
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Press Releases

Resting Easy in the U S


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Candy Harrington, candy@EmergingHorizons.com

New Lodging Guidebook Features Unique Properties for Wheelchair-Users and Slow Walkers

Cover of Resting Easy in the USRIPON, CA – May 1, 2015 – If you’re tired of staying at cookie-cutter chain hotels, then pick up a copy of Resting Easy in the US; Unique Lodging Options for Wheelers and Slow Walkers, and get ready to think outside of the box. Penned by veteran journalist and accessible travel expert Candy B. Harrington, this accessible lodging guidebook is the result of nearly two decades of in-depth research, meticulous site inspections and copious reader feedback.

This handy resource includes accurate access descriptions and detailed photographs of over 90 properties across the US. From B&Bs, guest ranches and lakeside cottages, to boutique hotels, rustic cabins and deluxe yurts, variety is the key word in content. And although access varies from property to property, each one possesses a unique attribute – be it the location, the owner, the room, or maybe even the entire lodging concept.

Each Chapter includes:

  • A detailed description of the access features of the property, including often overlooked access details such as bed height and toilet grab bar placement.
  • Numerous photographs of each property, including detailed bathroom shots.
  • Measurements of showers, pathways and doorways that are outside of the ADA accessibility guidelines.
  • Candy’s take about what makes the property unique, plus a detailed evaluation of who it will and won’t work for access-wise.
  • Accessible sites, attractions and trails located near the property.

“There are so many different choices in accessible properties today, and I’m thrilled to be able to share some of my favorites with my readers,” says Harrington. A must-have resource for all travelers, Resting Easy in the US is a good guidebook for seniors, parents with stroller-aged children, Baby Boomers, folks who just like to take things a littler slower and anybody who uses a cane, walker, wheelchair or scooter.

Known as the guru of accessible travel, Candy Harrington has covered this niche topic exclusively for the past 20 years. She’s the founding editor of Emerging Horizons and the author of several accessible travel titles, including the classic, Barrier-Free Travel: A Nuts and Bolts Guide for Wheelers and Slow Walkers. She also blogs regularly about accessible travel issues at www.BarrierFreeTravels.com.

Resting Easy in the US; Unique Lodging Options for Wheelers and Slow Walkers ($15.95, 395 pages, 6 X 9 paperback, ISBN 978-0692430576; $15.95) is available atwww.RestingEZ.com.