Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 22)

PROTEST

A street I’ve walked 100 times
Within the city’s core,
Where restaurants frame the scenery
Most empty by the score.

Here once the lonely mingled
Their purpose blind to self,
Now thousands deep in shoulder
The poor combined with wealth.

Through masks or over top them
They chant in synchrony,
“I cannot breathe,” although they can
To echo George’s plea.

Colors blend, becoming shades
Too hard to tell apart,
And for the time these strangers walk
They beat within one heart.

But still that heart is broken
For yet another turn,
As souls approach exhaustion
Deep hatred’s unconcerned.

But march they will and march they do
The world calls out his name,
With tear in eye and prayers on high
Dear God, this has to change!

Leana Delle
June 6th, 2020

Tonight I Wept

Ironic that I thought of one of my most memorable patients on Nurses Day? Maybe, maybe not, but there he was, just the same.

It’s been 30 years since I looked after Paul in Vancouver. He was in his early 40s, if I’m not mistaken, and he loved life. Everything about it. Including driving in his convertible with the top down, something that precipitated the skin cancer that would eventually metastasize and take his life.

Paul is one of about six patients that I carry with me everywhere I go. Each a real person. Each a treasured soul. Every one of them touching the lives of everyone they met.

And tonight I wept. Because every year or two, one of my six creeps back in through the walls I’ve painstakingly constructed. They come to break those down and remind me that I’m human. Sometimes, it’s not just my six, but all of them. The numbers countless; the stories heart wrenching. On those days, I’m worthless.

Too dramatic for you? Then you’re not a nurse. And as much as you pretend to empathize or honor those who are, you have no earthly idea. You can’t. Nor do you want to.

And so, my tears fell today, not just for Paul, but for the many scared, exhausted, and disheartened nurses on the frontlines who will carry untold numbers of souls with them through their remaining days. Because laypeople hear stories about final words, and Skyping goodbyes, and the acts of heroes, but they’ll never comprehend.

I feel for each and every one of my peeps during this horrendous health crisis, knowing that years from now they’ll be sobbing for more Pauls than I saw in my entire career. That as many times as they’ll try to numb the emotions and dampen it down to survive, it won’t completely work. Each face of each victim will come back, as will the faces of protestors. The naysayers. Those who have turned this into a political issue, instead of the health crisis that it is.

Sure, they’re heroes, but they’re first and foremost people. They have hearts and souls and feelings and limits, and I ache knowing how they’re being pushed to meet those with each death and each show of denial.

Paul will come back again after today. He always does. Him and all of the others. And I’ll welcome him as I always do. And I’ll feel bad that I couldn’t have done more. And I’ll wonder how is wife and kids are doing. And again, I’ll weep.

My profession is suffering right now, and they need our support. Not pot banging and hand clapping, but true support. They need us to stand up and say, “We’re going to do our best to put an end to this for you, because we get that it’s unbearable. None of you are caring in vain.”

I pray for my colleagues, and their families, because what they’re seeing right now is irreparable. Time does not heal wounds like these. It simply adds on layers of salve in hopes that they become more bearable.

Yes, Happy Nurses Day indeed. Some of us understand what you’re going through, right down to our very core. And we will hold each of you in our hearts during this trying time and always. You will never be weeping alone.

Nancy Rosen – The Girlfriend Takeaway

She’s Frankie! Well, she’s the real artist behind Frankie, Lily Tomlin’s lovable character on the popular Netflix series, Grace and Frankie. And what an artist she is!

Nancy Rosen has been making art for as long as she can remember, her journey starting after she followed a childhood friend to art class. Her teacher at the time, Mrs. Forecast (best name ever, by the way), lived down the block, where she had a little store front. Now Nancy has a store front of her own.

“It’s always what I’ve done,” she says.

She explored a lot of different creative pursuits: jewelry, macramé, strung beads, silver smithing, leather making. And she started her own business, Nancy Cohn Painted Fabric.

“After I got out of art school, I was this snotty little artist, and I quickly realized that I needed a job to pay rent […], so I ended up working at a factory that painted hand-painted fabric. Then I started my own business. I did that for several years.”

At a young age, people showed interest. In fact, a girlfriend’s family began collecting early, owning pieces of her jewelry and some abstract paintings from the 70s. That girlfriend, Robbi Rotolin, would eventually become Executive Producer of Grace and Frankie. When they needed some legit art in Frankie’s studio, Robbi added Nancy’s work to the list of potential choices. Hers reflected the character the best.

“They rent a lot of my stuff. […] Frankie’s studio was modeled after my studio. […] I took a box and filled up 60 lbs. of my crap and sent it to them – a little stool, all these gourds, palettes and paint. I sent them the rags that I’d used to make paintings for them.”

How cool it must be to tune in to each episode and see your creative space recreated. And your artwork displayed!

I personally love Nancy’s work and have since bought one of her pieces. I hope to acquire more.

“I work from life. Everything I do starts from a real, live person, so I’m constantly inspired. I walk down the street inspired. It’s like the web in my life. It’s not like something that comes over me. It’s what I do every single day, so one thing leads to another and it leads to another.”

I asked if she’s trying to convey anything in particular through her work, or if it’s individual to the piece.

“I’m not out to make any big statements about anything. I’m just kind of walking through the world. I tend to draw from women – it’s just more interesting to me. It’s just kind of my walk through life. […] kind of how I see the world. […] And I don’t ever make up anybody. Any piece of art you see that I do is actually from a live person that I end up knowing quite a bit about.”

One of the best things she’s discovered through the Grace and Frankie gig is not only the opportunity for people to find her work, but also the rewarding role of inspiring others – and people of all age groups!

“I’m in encourager, so I can push people up the hill.”

Each interview that I do on my podcast, Girlfriend, We Need To Talk! provides me with something I know I need: a swift kick in the butt to do more. To follow the creative nagging inside my head that yearns to be fully expressed. Nancy’s interview was no exception.

“You just have to show up. […] Just go to your studio. If you get a little paralyzed, just walk in the studio and read a book, have lunch. Show up, be in that environment, and once you start, you draw an apple, and then you’re going to draw a table. One mark talks to another mark, and then you’ve got to make another mark to compensate for that mark, but the key is you have to show up. You can’t talk about it, think about it, you’ve got to do it. That’s my advice.”

Timely, indeed. I’ve been showing up to write everyday since. Oh, and I ordered some paint and a few canvases. Never having painted before, it’s anyone’s guess what I’ll produce.

“The point of making art,” added Nancy, “is that it feels good. At the end of the day, does it really matter what’s on the piece of paper? The journey matters.”

Gotcha, Nancy. I’ll be sure to remember that. And, thanks!

Missed Nancy’s interview? You can listen to it HERE. Also available on iHeart Radio, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher Spotify, or wherever your favorite podcasts live.

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Madeleine Black on Forgiveness – The Girlfriend Takeaway

“We all are so much stronger and braver than we realize.”

In the late 1970’s, at the age of 13, Madeleine Black was gang raped by two young men at knifepoint. Threatened with her life if she told anyone, she kept the secret of her trauma locked away in her psyche where it wreaked havoc for years.
“It silenced me for years, alongside my shame and my guilt and my fear.”

That silence, like it does for so many, took its toll, including an eating disorder, drug and alcohol abuse, admittance to a children’s psychiatric ward, and an attempt at suicide. She had completely shut down, likening the keeping of that secret and shame to holding a beach ball under the water. The pressure was immense, and eventually, as part of her healing and recovery, she decided to forgive.

“I didn‘t need them in front of me to tell me that they were sorry. It was a decision I could make quietly inside in […] my heart. But I’m not saying that in order to heal you have to forgive. This was my choice, and I’m not saying that I will ever forgive the act of rape, because I won’t, but forgiveness just brought me peace. It was my key to freedom.”

Madeleine’s journey to forgiveness did not happen overnight. It was a process of stripping back the trauma layer by layer over time. It took attention and intention. She had to keep at it. As one can imagine, this was not an easy story for her to share. Once she did, however, others began finding their way to forgiveness, as well.

As women, we have to remember that the bravery we show in sharing our stories gives others the bravery to do the same. It creates empowerment and fosters healing. Madeleine took a long time to find her voice and her words, but she now says that she’ll speak out about rape and shame and hope until her dying breath.

“We never know where it ripples out to […]. I do think that if we hear a story at the right time in our lives, it can just totally set us off on a healing journey, because I really believe if we can find our voice and speak our truth, then we start to stand in our power. We start to reclaim what was lost.”

So many are grateful for having heard Madeleine’s story, and now you can hear it, too. Someone helped her find her voice; perhaps her interview will help you find yours.

Maybe the time has come to release your beach ball. Maybe it’s time to forgive.

You can hear Madeleine’s inspiring interview by clicking HERE (also available on iHeart Radio, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever your favorite podcasts live).

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Kat Edmonson – The Girlfriend Takeaway

“The dream is a gift. […] We don’t have to force anything out of it, and wherever it leads us is where we’re supposed to be.”

Kat Edmonson knows what it is to dream. Many of the rest of us do, too, but her dream has become a reality and an inspiration to others. Her new CD, Dreamers Do, speaks to the unfolding of a dream, from its initial inception to its obsessive gnawing and never-ending pursuit.

I could go on and on about how brilliant her fifth CD is (and it is), but I’ll sum it all up by saying BUY IT! Dreamers Do has now made it to my top 10, and that isn’t an easy mark to hit. What I’ll elaborate on here, instead, are the endless insights I’ve gained from listening, both to the music and to her responses to my questions.

“I have something that I learned, specifically from the making of this record. […] I needed to make it to answer this question: Is it ever too late to dream?”

Jesus. Who among us hasn’t asked that existential question? I’ve found myself tortured by it more than once in the last few years, but Kat blessed me with just the right words of encouragement.

“Every time I returned to this question, […] and I got really quiet, I knew I had to keep going.”

But what if you’ve consistently kept going (and going and going and going), and you feel like you’ve been sold a bill of goods? She shared some wisdom on that, too.

“There’s a quiet power in merely having a dream […]. Expecting something specific out of the dream, by all means it’s great to have a goal and to go in that direction, but the dream is more powerful than the goal.”

Hmm. Oddly, I’ve heard the popular quote, “It’s not the destination; it’s the journey,” a million + times, but something in the way she laced her words together gave its meaning new wings. After all, Kat’s strength is in words – speaking, writing, singing, conveying sentiment – and she recognizes purpose in their interpretation.

“It’s a very adult decision that I’m doing this […]. I’m not here to ask permission, and maybe by doing this, everyone else will feel comfortable to be themselves, too.”

And there in lies purpose for us all. As we live our passions and stand up to fear, we can take solace in knowing that someone is watching. Someone, because of our actions, will brave their what-ifs and take their crucial step forward.

I feel like I’m always taking steps forward, but there are a few key areas in my life that have been left behind and won’t stop nagging. Kat Edmonson may have created a monster, because I’m about to step it up.

If you’re in need of a swift but gentle kick in the butt, you seriously won’t want to miss this interview. You might just find yourself stepping up, too.

Listen by clicking HERE.

Also available on iHeart Radio, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever your favorite podcasts live.

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About Her New Album

Grand Champion Funkster?

Yes, that could be me! 🙂

By some random chance, Jonathan Senior, of Funky Thinkers, found me through LinkedIn. This connection has since led to some seriously funky fun! A few years ago, I taught a crash course on writing that was facilitated by Jonathan, and over the past several months, I’ve been competing on his interactive conversation show online called FunkQuest. I’m loving this!

Well, after 25 Funksters and 42 episodes, little old me has made it to the grand final round. The prize is the title, but how cool to add “Grand Champion Funkster” to a resume? I mean, really?!

The only way I can do it, however, is if enough people vote for moi, so you can help (yes, this is a shameless ask). Simply email “VOTING” to Leana@FunkyThinkers.com You will NOT get signed up for emails or put on any lists. It’s a one-time, super generous thing, and I’d love you for it.

You can watch the final competition by clicking this pic:

THANK YOU, FELLOW FUNKSTERS! And if you’d like to be on the show yourself, just send me a message, and I’ll hook you up.

Stay tuned for updates!

Grandma Joy – The Girlfriend Takeaway

“I feel sorry for all these poor ladies who don’t have a great grandson like I’ve got.”

Great grandson, indeed, and the first and only man to ever be on Girlfriend, We Need To Talk! Why did I break with the show’s tradition? Because this story belongs to two people, not just one, and thanks to them both, we’re able to virtually tag along.

In the middle part of the last decade, Brad was chatting with her grandmother, Joy, when he discovered that she’d never seen a mountain. He decided to fix that and maybe even help her climb one, so at 85-years-young, Joy’s adventure of visiting every national park began.

“I decided, I’ll do it. I don’t mind trying something once. You never know. If you don’t ever try, you have regrets the next day you didn’t do it.”

There are 62 national parks altogether, and Joy and Brad only have two locations left now to visit: Sequoia and Alaska. Alaska has 8 parks of its own, so they’ll be spending a lot of time up there, which is planned for this coming summer. But as much as this trip has shortened their bucket lists, it has also provided a space to address fractured families and the beauty that comes with reconnecting. Joy and Brad lost a decade of life that they didn’t get to share together, but they’re making up for it now on the road.

“I really recommend [this] for anybody who’s trying to reconcile with somebody that they care about and love. I think when you’re in a vehicle, and there’s nowhere to go, you have that time. A lot of conversations that are much needed will inevitably emerge from the silence, and I think that, good or bad, tough or easy, those are conversations that need to happen, and […] it’s all for the best in the end,” Brad stated.

All of their trips were by vehicle until they had no choice but to fly. And, you guessed it. Joy had never flown before, either.

“It’s a long way down. I kept my fingers crossed. I don’t know if it helped or not, but I did.”

Joy is turning 90 this month, but she shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, this trip has made her look visibly younger. You just have to follow their Instagram posts to see the evidence, but Brad’s watched it firsthand.

“Her coordination and balance have improved and her mobility has improved, but I see it in her eyes, as well. There’s just no getting around the healing power of Mother Nature.”

They both admit to feeling a bit emotional as their 4 years on the road draw to a close, and I think I can speak for many of their followers when I say that we’re feeling it too. Thankfully, there are plans for a book on the horizon, and I can’t wait to get a copy.

This is definitely a story of connection. It’s about the love of family, the absurdity of ageism, and the strength of the human spirit, and I feel personally blessed to have spent just a few minutes talking with Joy and Brad. I can now close my eyes at night and hear not only nature and the crackling of a wood fire but also a conversation that spans generations and reminds us all of what’s truly important in our lives.

I think Brad said it best:

“No matter how ordinary we see ourselves, we all have the ability to have an extraordinary impact on other people.”

And my biggest takeaway from Joy?

“People keep telling elderly people, You’re old. You can’t do that. That’s the worst thing they can do.”

Grandma Joy’s full interview can be heard but clicking HERE.

Also available on iHeart Radio, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever your favorite podcasts are playing.

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Girlfriend, We Need To Talk

A Podcast Change of Direction

Wow. My podcast is a year old! Hard to believe.

Yes, Girlfriend, We Need To Talk! is moving into its second season, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Interviewing 52 outstanding women from around the globe has brought me inspiration, connection, and some pretty amazing new friendships. #blessedgirl

As some of you know, I started the show a year ago, because I missed having deep, get-to-the-heart-of-it conversations with girlfriends. We’re lucky in this lifetime if we can develop even a couple of relationships that deliver in this way. With one bestie lost to breast cancer, and the other living miles away, I decided to be proactive in connecting with inspiring women who had something say.

I loved every one of these interviews, but some highlights of the last year included Dr. Betty Edwards, author of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, leadership expert Sally Helgesen, style influencer Debra Rapoport, and most recently, Joy Ryan and her grandson, Brad, of Grandma Joy’s Road Trip. And suffice it to say, that after each conversation, I’m inspired to try something new.

The show’s new season will see a couple of changes, including a new spiffy intro and delivery every other Monday (versus weekly), with my blog post, The Girlfriend Takeaway, coming out on alternate weeks. In this way I can focus on some exciting new projects and continue to bring amazing women into your headphones that will hopefully make a difference in how you see the world and conduct your life.

And I’m THRILLED to announce that my first interview of my second season is with the incomparable KAT EDMONSON! I had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with her recently at The Kessler in Dallas, TX, and I can’t wait for you to hear what she had to say about our inner most wishes and dreams. Her episode will air on Monday, March 9th.

Thank you SO MUCH to those who have followed the podcast for the last year and continue to show their support. My hope is that you gain great insights into your own potential through these interviews and that you consider yourself outstanding just the way you are.

Women rock, girlfriends, and we become unstoppable when we share our stories and build each other up. Never, ever stop believing.

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Tanya Wills – The Girlfriend Takeaway

“It’s not just a hobby; it’s not just something to dabble in or keep me busy. It’s who I am.”

Tanya Wills had a life before music. It just wasn’t the one she was meant to live. She’s now walking on her most genuine path with a grateful heart.

Performing and singing started at an early age, but Tanya never considered herself a singer. As a result, she didn’t become one. Instead, he married, worked as a police officer for 20 years, and raised two children. Her husband had trouble understanding her artistic passions, but she couldn’t shut them off.

“I got depressed. I lost myself, and it became a real struggle.”

Eventually, her childhood love of music became an incessant nagging, and she had to find a way to bring it back into her life.

“There’s no denying it. You can try, but be prepared to be miserable.”

She forced herself out there, starting with swing music and eventually forming the Tanya Willis Quartet with Bill Bridges, Jordan Klapman, and Ron Johnston.

Her advice if you’re experiencing incessant creative nagging?

“Those things are your passion. They’re just who you are. You have to find a way to do that.”

Take into account that Tanya started this rewarding journey in her forties, so it’s more than doable, regardless of age.

“It’s never too late to start new stuff. Ex-cop, single mother for a while with two kids, moving into starting a new business […], deciding to shift into being a jazz singer and creating a CD before she’s almost 50. It’s never too late. It’s a number. Do what you’re excited about. […] And be authentic, that’s the thing. Be true to yourself. That has carried me through some bumpy patches.”

Ah, yes. There is my biggest takeaway, and one that consistently shows up in my interviews with women. Authenticity! When we stop being what the world wants us to be, we shine, shine, shine!

“I think until you take your last breath, it’s a journey of discovery. Hopefully it’s exciting along the way.”

Amen, girlfriend!

You can hear Tanya’s inspiring interview by clicking HERE. It is also available on iHeart Radio, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. And check her out on YouTube!

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LeNora Faye – The Girlfriend Takeaway

“When are you having kids?”

It’s a question almost every young woman hears, especially if they’ve recently married. Many, however, avoid giving an answer. Why? Because a barrage of further questioning is sure to follow.

Enter LeNora Faye. She (along with myself, incidentally) has chosen not to have kids, and she’s here to tell you that if you feel the same way, you’re not alone and you’re not crazy.

“For me, I just never felt that motherhood looked appealing to me.”

LeNora is the woman behind The Bitchy Bookkeeper, a childfree lifestyle blog that addresses this very issue. She’s also one of three women who started the web series Childfree Girls. Contributing from her home in Calgary, she cohosts with Kristen Tsetsi in Connecticut and Isabel Firecracker in Columbia. Don’t you just love technology?

Canada, of course, is a more liberal-minded country, and pro-choice offers more options, but rarely is there conversation around the decision to not ever get pregnant in the first place.

“We’ve got birth control so that we can decide when we want to have kids, but nobody talks about deciding to not have kids.”

She (and again, myself) wants to make it clear that those who choose not to have children don’t judge those who do. And it certainly doesn’t mean that we dislike children. Hardly. It’s simply a matter of choosing one’s own path, and for some of us, kids aren’t on it. It doesn’t mean we’re selfish, because a non-existent entity can’t be denied. And it doesn’t mean we’ll regret it someday. I, for one, can speak to that. LeNora just wants to raise awareness for those who may be secretly dreading backlash for their decision. Or those who wonder if there’s something wrong with them for not wanting what everyone else wants.

“People may feel like they don’t want to have children, but the awareness of a choice is not always there. Not with my experience.”

LeNora was not aware of a childfree community and remained focused on her ambitions and goals for years. It wasn’t until 2018 that she became overwhelmed with the desire to talk about her choice. Well aware that it’s nobody’s business whether she had kids or not, she just felt it wrong to stay silent. She started acknowledging her own feelings about it and began reaching out to other people.

“I’m all about creating positivity and making the life that you choose the best it can be. I just want to talk and have these conversations about this particular topic, because I love talking about it, and it just brings positive awareness. You can go through life, whatever stage you’re at, and make the most of it.”

Agreed!

I loved my conversation with LeNora and could have continued it for hours. And even if you don’t understand our choice, or don’t agree with what she has to say, you may get some insight into that one friend who just doesn’t want to be a mom. We’re not all cut out for the role, you know. Not anymore than some guys aren’t meant to be dads. Guess what. That’s perfectly okay.

If you want to hear LeNora’s insightful and passionate interview, click HERE. And if you want more info on the topic of childfree living, check out what this outstanding woman is up to below.

Thank you, LeNora! I wish I’d had your blog and web series when I was in my twenties. Truly.

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