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Friday, April 27, 2012

Doing Good: For Raven

Raven McKnight is an esteemed editor at Loose Id Publishing. She needs our help.

Years ago, my dear friend and mentor Maureen emailed me with the grim news that she'd been diagnosed with multiple myloma, which is a form of bone cancer. She had no insurance and relied on Medicare to fund her treatment. She was given four months to live. But Mo defied the odds and outlived that initial prognosis many times over. Why? Because she opted out of the lethal form of chemo that Medicare approved and entered an alternate treatment program that focused on nutrition and food supplements.

She lived four years past the time she'd been given.

The medication she opted for was not terribly expensive but was beyond her budget, and her treatment center was in Seattle, while she lived in Colville, to the east. With the assistance of her friends in town, she made her appointments. With the assistance of her friends all over the country, we kept her supplied with the medications that kept her alive.

Raven is in a similar situation. She needs medication but cannot afford it. The sad fact is that we live in a time and a country where we have to rely on ourselves to fund our medical treatment. Way back when, the first President Bush spoke of community charity as"...a thousand points of light." Well, its time to light those candles. Insurance programs fight us, and the government programs we've paid into for decades are denying us. So its time we make an effort to take care of our own.

Raven's authors have put together a collection to help fund Raven's meds. The target goal is small...only $800. And for the smallest contribution of $1.00, you are entered to win downloads of e-books that Raven's authors have donated. There are other prize packages as well.

We have the choice about where to send our money. I don't have much, but I've decided to take the monthly contributions I generally send to my causes and divert it here. Make a small sacrifice...give up a couple lattes or swap lunch out for a brown bag lunch. It doesn't have to hurt and it can do a world of good.

For Raven:

Monday, April 23, 2012


I have a friend who has an interesting habit. Once a month, she throws the master breaker on her house, cutting off all the power. She powers off her phone and laptop. The car remains off-limits. She spends the weekend reading, doing crafts  or just vegging on her deck. She lives in the mountains so the only sounds are the wind in the trees and the animals in the forest around her. She prepares food that doesn't need to be cooked, or uses her barbecue.   When the sun goes down, she and her husband go to bed.

My friend claims that the continual pulse of electricity and power in her house put her in a state of never-ending anxiety. Since she started this, her migraines and other stress-related ailments have reduced and she has a better grip on dealing with life the rest of the month.

As we go through our daily lives, we are surrounded by a never-ceasing web of power, noise and distraction. I'm guilty of being online far too much. I read the news, check out Twitter and Facebook, read my email and before I know it, I'm signing petitions, sharing news articles and find my blood pressure rising steadily. In my house, the TV is almost always on, I've perfected the ability to block it from my senses. The washing machine runs on and off through the day and my mother watches TV on high. Sometimes there's a radio playing in another room.

Years ago, Marie Osmond did a TV spot with her two oldest brothers. I can't remember their names, but both men are hearing impaired. The PSA was about noise pollution. We don't often think about noise as being pollution, but we are always surrounded by a barrage of sound. Right now, its early in the morning (the only time I have to myself these days) and I'm listening to the fan in my room, the hum of the washing machine on the deck and the buzz of the refrigerator. A big wind gong is softly chiming in the breeze. I also hear the low drone of the nearby fiberglass plant, and a neighbor in the far distance is running a weed trimmer. As the day moves on, the noise level will increase.

For me, the weekends I spend at dog shows are my times to unplug. While I'm not as dedicated as my friend, I spend the day outside regardless of the weather. I hang with friends, my family knows not to call me unless there's an emergency, so my cell is quiet. When I'm not on the show grounds, I'm in my motel room with my dog. I don't watch TV, write or read my Nook. I'm online just enough to check my email. I have no clue what news is breaking in the world, what politician said what about whom, or what the latest Internet meme is. I don't worry about anything more complicated than figuring out what to have for dinner.

Have you ever shut off power to your house? Maybe during a snowstorm, the wires go down. The silence is strange and wonderful; its during those times I realize just how bombarded we are on a daily basis. Try it sometime, just unplug for a day. No TV or computer. Hang the laundry on a line instead of running a dryer. Read a book or simply go outside and listen to life around you, whether you live rural or urban. Separate yourself from the power supply and try some silence for awhile.

Believe me, it'll all be there waiting when you come back. :)