Monthly Archives: January 2018

The Greatest Love: A Book Giveaway

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As a girl, I loved tracing patterns with my hands. I did this often in church, going over and over the symbol on our red Lutheran hymnal. Turns out that tracing can bring us peace, harmony, healing, and forgiveness. The technique is called “Tao Source Calligraphy.”

Here’s one figure that you can trace. Give it a try right now, and as you do, think of someone you need to forgive or a sadness you’d like to overcome.

The Greatest Love was written by  Dr. & Master Zhi Gang Sha, a world-renowned healer, humanitarian, spiritual master, and 11 time New York Times bestselling author (along with two other contributors). I knew little about ancient Chinese wisdom until the publishers sent me this neat little book to review.

While the book discusses chanting as well as tracing, I was most struck by the tracing. Here’s a link on The Greatest Love website that shows the official way to do the tracing  (toward the bottom of the page). 

Here’s a description of The Greatest Love sent to me by the publisher:

Feel the greatest love. Experience the greatest love. Embody the greatest love.

The greatest love is love that truly lasts and has no conditions. It is the love of a mother for her child. It is the love we read about in poems. It is the love we long to have.

We all have challenges that keep us from experiencing this greatest love. These challenges may present themselves in your health, relationships, or finances. With this book, learn how to unblock your life in 30 minutes a day with the power of unconditional love, the greatest love, which surpasses the human and enters the love of all creation.

Practice the simple, joyful exercises within this book, and receive powerful blessings from Dr. and Master Zhi Gang Sha, a world-renowned healer, humanitarian, spiritual master, and 11 time New York Times bestselling author, Master Maya Mackie, who also embodies the purest love and compassion, as well as Master Francisco Quintero.

The power of greatest love can melt all blockages and harmonize all separation and all that is not love. Carry this treasure with you to apply its wisdom anywhere, anytime, to enrich and bless your health, relationships, finances, intelligence, and every aspect of life.

Read more about the book on The Greatest Love website.

Giveaway: The publisher is offering  a copy of The Greatest Love to one Friend for the Ride reader. For a chance to win, please enter a comment by February 15.  U.S. only. Thanks!

Amazon: You can find the book here.

Dr. and Master Zhi Gang Sha is a medical doctor trained in Western medicine in China and is certified in Traditional ChineseMedicine and Acupuncture in China and Canada. A renowned spiritual teacher and 11 times New York Times bestselling author of 24 books, he is also a Grandmaster of several Eastern Arts, including qi gong, kung fu, Tai Chi, feng shui, and the I Ching. He has been recognized as a Shu Fa Jian (National Calligrapher Master) and appointed to the position of Yan Jiu Yuan (Honorable Researcher Professor) by the State Ethnic Academy of Painting in China.

Master Sha is also the founder of the Love Peace Harmony Foundation, dedicated to raising consciousness worldwide and to helping to provide direct assistance to people living in need. He has received widespread recognition for his humanitarian work, including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission Award, the honor of September 21, 2014 being named “Dr. and Master Zhi Gang Sha Day” by the Council of the City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii, and Commendations from both Los Angeles County and the Hawaii Senate.

Master Maya Mackie is a UN Ambassador for Peace and a Certified Master Teacher, trained by Master Zhi Gang Sha. Born in Lebanon, as a young child Master Maya lived with her family in West Africa and observed the great inequality in living conditions and opportunities that exist in the world. Now based in Europe and a mother of three children, she is honored to support the United Nations development programs through fundraising events for the underprivileged and underdeveloped areas in Lebanon and the Middle East. With compassion and unconditional love, she offers classes and workshops worldwide, teaching spiritual wisdom and practices.

Master Francisco Quintero is a Certified Master Teacher trained by renowned spiritual teacher and humanitarian Master Zhi Gang Sha, and the author of Divine Joy: How to Find Joy in Daily Life. A leading teacher at the Tao Academy™, Master Francisco has developed training programs worldwide. With his expertise, wisdom, and knowledge, he has assisted in training over 6,000 soul practitioners and teachers around the world.

 

Paintings for Children and Other Whimsical People: Art with a Story

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When I began my acrylic painting class last February, I mostly did it for adventure. Something new! Playing with paint! I posted my paintings on Facebook so my friends could see what I was up to.

I was delighted when my friend Rachel commented that she loved the colorful, simple quality of my work. She thought the kids she worked with would love it too. She commissioned three paintings for her office at Dogwood Psychology Center for Children and Families. She requested an elephant, a giraffe, and an owl.

Elephant is giving advice to two bird friends. Giraffe is making a tower of magic spots. Owl is deciding what color frosting she wants on her birthday cake.

 

Rachel’s idea that I paint for kids hit a happy chord with me. Next, I painted a scene for a favorite second grade class at Hillsborough Elementary School where my friend Julia teaches. The school’s mascot is a dolphin, and their motto stresses kindness and cooperation.

Here is Dolphin kindly rescuing a baby bunny, who landed himself in big trouble by NOT cooperating with his parents and going out too far on his boogie board. A highlight of 2017 was delivering this painting to Julia’s classroom and talking with her students about the creative process.

A few weeks later, my friend Binnie asked for two paintings for her granddaughters. Binnie wanted the elephant (at top), and she asked for a giraffe and two bunnies going to Stinky, a Brooklyn restaurant frequented by her daughter.

Here are the paintings, framed by Binnie and on their way to Brooklyn for Christmas.

My friend Nancy encouraged me to donate a painting to a fundraiser for the Burwell School, an historic house in downtown Hillsborough. I got carried away and did three paintings, all Hillsborough scenes (with a twist).

This is Yveette, the Giant Frog, trying to decide if she wants to move into the Stickworks sculpture on our riverwalk.

In the painting below, Stegosaurus and two bird friends arrive in Hillsborough. Wouldn’t that be a blast!

Here is Hippo pondering history on the lawn of the Burwell School.

At the fundraising event, I really sweated it as people selected art to buy. I’d told mysel I was NOT going to get upset if my work didn’t sell, but I could hardly concentrate on the white wine or the delicious mint brownies.

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One painting sold at the end of the event and the site manager had offers on the other two, thanks to Facebook publicity.  I’m pleased that some grownups bought my paintings just for themselves.

Hippo landed herself in the after-event publicity.

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Close to Christmas,  interior designer Vicki McDaniel, requested Dolphin for her grandson and a hot air balloon painting for another child. The little girl’s name is Nellie Jane, and her mom is wild over hot air balloons.   

 

Thanks to the enthusiasm of these kind folks, I’ve decided to launch a small art business. Here’s the description:

I create custom paintings for nurseries, kids’ rooms, medical offices, schools, and  other places where kids and whimsical adults will enjoy seeing them.

Each of my paintings comes with a bit of a story. The owner gets to fill in the rest!

For more information, email me at BKYounger@gmail.com. Paintings may be any size you like and done on canvas board or stretched canvas, ready for you to frame or hang without framing. Prices range from $25 to $100. Shipping is additional.

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I’m into painting toys, too. This is grandson Maze’s toy turtle and a favorite ball. Sadly, they’ve lost their kite. Turtle is gently nudging Ball back to the beach cottage after this unfortunate occurrence.

Cheryl’s Cancer Story: Moving Forward/Survivorship

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Thank you to my good friend Cheryl Morgan Maxey for this four-part series on her breast cancer, from diagnosis to the completion of her treatments. Cheryl amazed me with her upbeat attitude and courage. We hope her account will help others going through the same journey. Take it away, Cheryl!

Survivorship is a whole new world. You can call yourself a survivor the moment you are diagnosed, but it’s a difficult word to own. Those early days of diagnosis and treatment are a blur, and I am thankful for social media where I was able to publicly document my journey.

Somewhere around the time that I completed radiation, the local American Cancer Society “Relay for Life” events were going on, and I was invited to take part in a survivor dinner.  But I wasn’t ready to be a survivor yet. I was still entrenched in the treatments and what they were doing to my body. One of my oncologists told me that it was ok if I wasn’t ready to participate in a survivor walk yet… or even if I never wanted to. As a cancer patient, I had to make my own rules about what I wanted to do and how I wanted to define my survivorship.

And my counselor told me that as you get to the end of the treatment, you go through the grieving process. At the beginning there’s a rush for knowledge: diagnoses, treatment options, tests, therapy, surgery. Then it all ends and you’re left bewildered about what you just went though. Thought it all, I kept repeating “Keep Moving Forward.” Each cycle, each treatment, each portion of the plan completed was moving me onward. Each bike ride, each hike, each slow walk through the woods as I grappled with nausea. Forward.

I first claimed my survivorship that September. I still had 3 months of treatment to go, but I was in the home stretch. I had friends that had participated in a 3-Day walk in Hilton Head called the LocoMotion the year before. It looked fun, and I had joked about wanting to join them the following year. Then I found the lump.

After my diagnosis, I knew I had to join Emily and her family that year. She and her sister paid my registration, and we all met at Hilton Head that September. On Day 1, they called the survivors up to the front. I was overcome with emotion standing with my breast cancer sisters. We then moved to the start line and led the beginning of the walk. Moving forward.

The next month, I also participated in the Making Strides against Breast Cancer walk with my sister, my sisters-in law and a cousin. This time the survivors ended the walk going down a pink carpet, showered with applause.

In the spring, I participated in the Run Like a Diva series with James’ sisters and cousin, and we held hands as we crossed the finish line.

In September, I returned to Hilton-Head for the 3-Day, Island hopping Pledge the Pink event, rebranded from Locomotion. Our team had grown from the previous year, and we had such a great time celebrating both my and my new teammate Hope’s statuses as survivors.

The theme this year was Superheroes, and we put on our capes and gave cancer the ka-pow! We walked for each other….and for those who can’t or are no longer with us. During the walk, I thought about all the women that came to me after my diagnosis and hugged me, saying “You’ve got this!”

I still see someone from my team of oncologists every three months. I check into the clinic every month to have an injection to keep me in menopause, and I know I have another surgery in my future to lower that percentage of recurrence a little more by having my ovaries removed.

Prior to each appointment, I feel myself getting worked up; it is truly PTSD. I break out in tears when I receive good news about another clear mammogram.  You don’t “get over” cancer the way you do the flu or a cold. It’s part of you. You join a sisterhood.  And together, we keep moving forward.

Cheryl Morgan Maxey is a two year survivor of breast cancer. She lives in Hillsborough with her husband James a speculative fiction writer, and 2 cranky cats. She and James love to spend time exploring greenways and rail/trails on their bikes, tromping off trail in the woods, and adventuring in their kayaks. Throughout the year-long treatment for breast cancer, Cheryl remained active and continued to log miles by paddle, foot and bike.

Since James is a writer, he also chronicled Cheryl’s diagnosis, then her year of treatment, on his blog.  They used “Training for Cancer” as their way to announce her diagnosis on social media.  A year later, he penned “Climbing above Cancer” to wrap up Cheryl’s  year of treatment and her victory climb at Hanging Rock.

Cheryl’s Cancer Story: The Countdown

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Thank you to my good friend Cheryl Morgan Maxey for this four-part series on her breast cancer, from diagnosis to the completion of her treatments. Cheryl amazed me with her upbeat attitude and courage. We hope her account will help others going through the same journey. Take it away, Cheryl!

I was very open about my breast cancer diagnosis and my treatment. After telling my family and a handful of friends, my diagnosis was announced publicly by a blog post my husband wrote called “Training for Cancer.”

We both shared it on our Facebook pages and told the world about what we were about to face. I used my Facebook page as a way to document the process. At each treatment, I counted them with a photo and posted the photo as the treatment began. The first cycle was a breeze, and I had minimal side effects.

The second cycle hit me hard, and I quickly learned that out of state travel in a car the week after treatment was NOT a good idea.

As I continued to struggle with delayed nausea, my husband, James, was always reminding me that there was an end in sight. “You know you’re going to feel ok today and like crap by next Tuesday, then back to your current normal by the weekend. And then you only have 2 more times to feel like that, and it will be over.”

I should have taken a picture from my surgery, but I was able to document all my other milestones. Radiation therapy ended in June, and I still had 6 months of IV treatment to complete. Every three weeks I was able to cross another treatment off, and at the end of the year I was down to my last treatment.

 

During radiation therapy, I knew I had 20 treatments. After each one, I counted down….. 15, then 10, then single digits! I was so excited about my last treatment, I almost forgot to make a sign to hold.

I wanted some way to celebrate the end of treatment. Should I have a party? Should we just go out to dinner? James suggested we hike up to the top of a mountain and wave a victory flag. My last IV treatment was mid-December, almost exactly a year after I began treatment. I bought 2 yards of pink fabric, some ribbon, and we headed up to Hanging Rock the following Saturday. It was cold and misty, but I climbed those steps and over the rocks, and I cried. As we neared the top, a cloud bank moved in and snow flurries started to swirl about.

We nearly had the top of Hanging Rock to ourselves. I pulled out my victory flag, tied it to my walking stick, and stood atop one of the rocks, clinging to a nearby pine tree. The wind was gusty, and I was holding a 2-yard sail in my hands. I let go of the tree and reveled in the victory.

Cheryl Morgan Maxey is a two-year survivor of breast cancer. She lives in Hillsborough with her husband James a speculative fiction writer, and 2 cranky cats. She and James love to spend time exploring greenways and rail/trails on their bikes, tromping off trail in the woods, and adventuring in their kayaks. Throughout the year-long treatment for breast cancer, Cheryl remained active and continued to log miles by paddle, foot and bike.  Here are the kitties, Ali Cat and Greta.

Since James is a writer, he also chronicled Cheryl’s diagnosis, then her year of treatment, on his blog.  They used “Training for Cancer” as their way to announce her diagnosis on social media.  A year later, he penned “Climbing above Cancer” to wrap up Cheryl’s  year of treatment and her victory climb at Hanging Rock.