Saturday, May 29, 2010

Where's Our Car - Final Team McManus Run

During our marathon training runs, Team McManus has had many, many funny moments -- my bra strap coming undone in the middle of a meltdown during a Charles River Run, my husband losing me while we were running around (around being the operative word) Jamaica Pond so today as Team McManus did their final training run until December (our beloved daughter leaves next Sunday for Nashville) it is only fitting that we had another adventure.

We started out today's training run (Tom and I training for the Harvard Pilgrim 10K and Ruth Anne training for the Country Music Half Marathon) planning to run around Castle Island. My husband missed the exit off of the expressway so since the next exit was Wollaston Beach, we decided to go there 'for old times' sake'. First we had to measure the mileage as we couldn't remember the distance end to end. Our goal was for 5.4 miles and somehow after the fact we realized Tom measured 5.6 miles -- we walked the last mile back to our car .... or did we?

It was a hot sunny day but there was a lovely sea breeze. The sun reflected off of the vast ocean and while we ran we talked about various happenings in the lives of Team McManus. I felt overwhelming gratitude for feeling as well as I do -- I remembered that first walk I took on Wollaston Beach in March of 2008 as we were just beginning to run. I could only walk 20 minutes! Our plan was to stop at the car on our second lap and get the ice water. As we ran we couldn't find our car. My heart rate was beginning to climb and I knew that I needed water. We stopped at one water fountain but expecting that our car was just a little way down the road, did not bother to really hydrate. We made it to the end of our run and -- no car....

We stopped at the Dunkin Donuts and they were so kind to give us a large cup of ice water. You thought we were on Survivor as we rationed this one cup of ice water among the three of us. We walked and walked and we got to one spot where my husband swore he parked the car. He was convinced someone had stolen it! Of course we only had one key with us and we have a keyless ignition. He said his wallet was in the glove compartment. I kept knowing that it was impossible for someone to have stolen our car. (I will add a spiritual side bar here. We were sharing our driveway with a family and decided that we really needed to reclaim our own space and enjoy our empty nest without worrying about being responsible for another family's car. For a moment, a flash from the past emerged -- was I being punished for setting a limit? I heard God's tender Voice of Love saying to me, 'is that how you believe the Universe works? Don't you know by now how important it is that you take care of yourself? Don't you know I love you? Can you please release your thoughts about punishment?') Meanwhile, my husband went up to a State Police Car who just happened to be patrolling the beach. He told him that he thought our car had been stolen. The trooper was so kind and said, just keep walking -- it's not stolen. This happens to people all the time. My daughter walked ahead and yelled out, 'here it is!' It was funny how all 3 of us thought the car was in a space different than where we had parked it -- but all we needed to do was have faith, patience and trust.

I've been blessed with the gift of inspirational poetry which has helped me to heal mind, body and spirit -- I'd love to share my gift with you. You can order "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" and "Set Sail for a New World:Healing a Life Through the Gift of Poetry" through my website New World Greetings. Remember that 20% of book proceeds are donated to two causes near and dear to my heart!

After you order your autographed, signed copy of my books, browse the samples of original poetry I create through New World Greeting Cards and celebrate and commemorate with a one of a kind poem.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Slow And Steady...
Slow and steady wins the race, the turtle knows is true
Deliberate, intentional each step is One with You.
Follow in the turtle's footsteps, each moment sets the pace
The time to feel God's Presence and Her Tender Loving Grace.
The tempo of my heartbeat - a rhythm steady strong
The time piece of life's symphony that plays my own life's song.
I follow where You lead me intuition lights the way
Your love to guide my footsteps every moment every day.

Yesterday my husband and I were doing our training run for the Harvard Pilgrim 10K. It's been wonderful to be running again and the last two weeks I have done a 14.9 minute/mile. Yesterday I was feeling fatigued but knew we had to get out and do our run. We decided to do 6 times around the reservoir near our home to get in our 5.4 miles. There was a stiff headwind. I had done a lot this week in preparation for my daughter's graduation party next Sunday. I had several requests from customers of New World Greeting Cards and am getting ready for the launch of my second book of inspirational poetry, "Set Sail for a New World:Healing a Life Through the Gift of Poetry." I knew that I could not run at any faster a pace than what I was running.

I told my husband that I felt as though this was a 'garbage run' -- a term runners use when they feel sluggish. My husband said, 'It's only a garbage run if you let it be a garbage run'. He was right -- here I was on this glorious Spring day with everything in bloom, the greenest Spring I can recall in a long time. The sun was glistening off of the water but somehow I had that clock stuck in my head. My dear friend Kate Loving Shenk writes a Daily Prayer Blog. The topic has been time; in one of her blogs she wrote about people being addicted to time. I realized that on this training run I was addicted to the time. Several weeks ago I told myself that I was going to run a 15 minute mile and would do so without the use of my watch. When the training run was over, sure enough, I had run a 15 minute mile. When I am not training for a race, I focus on the heart rate to ensure that I am getting a good cardiovascular work out. The goal is health and fitness. I was amazed at how easily I could slip back into the obsession over not going fast enough. Thoughts of trying to keep up as I walked with a limp, being called 'easy out' in gym class and feeling left behind continue to need work as I weave the remnants of polio into the fabric of my life. I need to remind myself of my own philosophy -- Life's journey is about showing up, running with all your heart and finishing what you started.

Halfway through our run, my husband pointed out that there was a turtle in the water; a sign from God that I needed to relax into the rhythm of this glorious day and give thanks that I am able to get outside and run 5.4 miles. And then this morning, during my meditation the above poem flowed into my heart.

Wishing you a day of peace, harmony and allowing the steady rhythm of your beating heart to guide your footsteps and love to light the way.

Thank you for reading.
God bless
With my love and gratitude,

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

If I Never Had Polio & Post Polio...

The other day when Team McManus was on a run, my daughter turned to me and said, 'See mom, if you never had post polio, we all wouldn't be out here running and having a wonderful day together." So that got me thinking -- what if I never had polio or post polio syndrome -- what would I have missed...Well for one thing, I wouldn't know the freedom of releasing fears and overcoming limitations like one has after releasing the earthly ties of a hot air balloon.

I would not know the amazing runners that I met as a result of training for the Boston Marathon. Runners who were brought to tears and their hearts overflowed with joy to hear of my inspirational journey. I would never have run the Boston Marathon. I would not be the bearer of a message of hope and inspiration. I would not know the touch of grace at age 5. I would not have passion and burning desire to go beyond limitations and accomplish the 'impossible'. I would not know the joy of leading an extraordinary life.

I would not know Frankie Picasso and the wonderful guests she has on the Unstoppable Frankie Show on Blog Talk Radio. I would not have met Trapper Sherwood via Twitter because, if I were not diagnosed with post polio syndrome and still worked at the VA as a social worker, I never would have found out about Twitter. My daughter would not know a remarkable man who has helped to open the path for her to follow her bliss on Music Row in Nashville. I would not know Kate Loving Shenk and Joan Adams and all the phenomenal people I have met through Kate's prayer blog and spiritual teachers on their show Moon, Moo and You. I would not know that I could not only survive a life changing diagnosis but that I would go on to thrive and be an inspiration for other women facing similar challenges. I would not have met Karen Linamen, Bruce C. Brown, Caroline Dowd Higgins or Peggy Pepper Wilkinson who have included my inspirational story in books they have written. I would not know the beautiful people at Marathon Sports. I would not know about Rotary International and the beautiful people I have met through speaking at various Rotary Clubs.

I would not have heard Itzhak Perlman play at Lincoln Center and bring the crowd to tears and cheers. I would not discover my inner beauty and learn the life lesson that what I wear on my feet or how I walk or run or what hair style I wear do not matter -- what is in my Spirit is where true beauty lies. I would not know courage, determination, fear and the entire gamut of the human tapestry of life's emotions. I would not know God's Unconditional Love for me on such a profound level.

To turn this around -- I am so grateful for polio and post polio syndrome -- for the gift of poetry, for the magic and miracles which abound in my life everyday, for the opportunity to help children and adults crippled by polio in remote parts of the world, for the beautiful people I have met on line and in person, and for all that is yet to unfold in my life.

The Gift of Polio (From New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry & Musings for a New World)
Thank You, God, for the gift of polio
which brought me so close to You
While paralyzed I saw Your face no matter what I'd do.
Many wonderful people, You sent them to me at age 5
Perseverance and triumph life's lessons learned
but my Spirit could not yet thrive.

At age 53 the gift was sent to me a second time,
Having time to sit and feel, to heal I started to rhyme.
The second time more worse than the first
yet Your love and wisdom I found
From pain and weakness and fatigue a remarkable Spirit rebound.

Reliving all the trauma of special shoes and such
I discovered so many incredible healers who brought a loving touch.
I had no clue I had such strength and the ability to grow
No matter what the outcome, deep gratitude I show.

And from that place so dark and deep, my body could not move
I took the reins and gained control, this time with nothing to prove.
This gift so precious, I live a new life, gratitude flows from me
My heart and soul are filled with Grace
and each day's a gift from Thee.

To help me help others crippled by polio, and to support the research at The Salk Institute you can purchase copies of my books of inspirational poetry.

20% of book proceeds are donated to The Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Hope Charitable Trust.

Are you tired of spending endless hours trying to find the perfect greeting card for a special occasion only to come up just short of what you want to say. At New World Greeting Cards we begin with the missing ingredient - we begin with YOU! Remember - it's more than a card it's a gift from the heart.

Thank you all so much for reading.
God bless, be well and live each moment to the full
With my love and gratitude,

Friday, May 7, 2010

Feathering the Empty Nest

One month from today it will be official -- my husband and I join the ranks of empty nesters. On June 6th my daughter moves to Murfreesboro, Tennessee (just outside of Nashville) to follow her dreams. Her twin brother moved out almost a year ago and while she was in Nashville for ten days, my husband and I had plenty of practice time to be empty nesters. She also works long hours so while she has been living at home, we have had a lot of time to spend together. Fortunately, we trained for the Boston Marathon and if a couple survives those LOOOONG training runs, they can survive anything - even having a whole house to themselves.

It's taken me just about three years to master this thing called 'retirement'. On May 25th, 2007 I walked away from my career as a social worker and into God's loving arms to heal my life. I must confess that I have not been a master at transitions. Change for me has always been sudden, traumatic, jolting but now I have the opportunity to experience change in an entirely new way by working through and transforming the traumatic events of the past that no longer need to rent space in my mind. So one of the ways to experience this new phase of my life is to feather the nest with love, joy and life experiences and adventures.

Today was one of those 'magical' experiences. For years I have listened to Magic 106.7 and heard Candy O talk about the Exceptional Women's Luncheon. I was drawn to the event but did not know why. I would always feel a sense of sadness because it came right around Mothers Day and Candy would suggest that it would make a great Mothers Day present. Through serendipity, I met someone who pitched my Exceptional Woman story to Candy. Because of time constraints they could not get me in for an interview before this year's luncheon. But I decided I wanted to attend - I felt I was guided to attend and so I bought my ticket. I always imagined it would be so cool to share this with a girlfriend but I was prepared to go by myself. Then, last week I met up with a friend whom I hadn't seen in months! Martha Huntley of Room for Change. We met at networking events and belong to a mutual admiration society. I told her that I was going to the Exceptional Women event and she said that sounds like fun - send me the link. So we went together!

I was moved to tears by the inspirational stories of the women recognized today. In addition to the award winners, they paid tribute to the Exceptional Women who have been interviewed on the radio show. I was humbled and proud to be among them. I have 'pitched' my story to Candy O on several occasions; even 'bumping' into her at a concert. As always, there is Divine Timing even with needing to postpone my interview until after the luncheon. My message needed time to be honed. I bring awareness to polio and post polio syndrome and I am the voice for the End Polio Now campaign. I am the voice and heart and hands for the children in India who walk on all fours because they have been crippled by polio. I am the voice of hope - working with Hope Charitable Trust that we can take care of the world's polio kids and create a polio free world. I am also a shining example of how, with God, all things are possible.

You can't judge a book by its cover, unless it's my 2nd book of inspirational poetry - photo above. Thank you to Publish America for creating a wonderful cover to embrace the words God has given me to share with you. When you purchase copies of my books of inspirational poetry 20% of book proceeds are donated to Hope Charitable Trust & The Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Graduations, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries -- so many celebrations - so little time - so relax - let New World Greeting Cards collaborate with you to create an original poem to celebrate and commemorate life's special events.

Thank you for reading - God bless & be well.
With love,

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Appreciation - understanding the meaning or quality or magnitude of something
Gratitude - a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation

It's been a lazy, hazy summer's day here in Brookline. It is only May 2nd but the temperatures and humidity are on the rise. We also have a boil water order. There was a water main break which affected the water supply to hundreds of thousands of households. Times of crises either bring out the best or the worst in people. There were fist fights which broke out in stores which were not prepared with a supply of bottled water to meet the demand. There was talk on the news about this lasting for weeks - although my news station of choice. Channel 7 WHDH Boston talked about the best case scenario that this would be over by Tuesday. There was talk of record heat. I decided to use this hot, hazy day to take stock of the blessings in my life for which I feel so much appreciation. As I put in my laundry, flushed my toilet and ran the dishwasher, I felt so appreciative that the engineers were able to keep water pressure up. I felt so much appreciation for my husband who lugged in two cases of bottled water last night from the grocery store and for the fresh fruits and vegetable which now grace the inside of our refrigerator.

The practice of gratitude is one that I have incorporated into my every day life. I reflect on what I am grateful for every morning before I get out of bed (beginning with the wonderful bed from which I get to begin to create my new day). But for me, appreciation is a deep feeling - an understanding about the meaning and magnitude of something in my life. I will confess right here and now that I did not appreciate my town of Brookline. While my children were in school and I was a working mom, I felt as though I did not belong in this town. Of course, it was not the town I felt I did not belong to -- it was a deep seated feeling within myself that I did not belong anywhere. I just found external reasons for validating these feelings about myself. The myths I harbored about feeling unworthy, unfit manifested themselves in my inability to appreciate the incredible blessings in my life. But when the Universe hit me with a 2 x 4 in December of 2006, I awakened to the blessings in my life and when I began to feel gratitude and look for the blessings wrapped inside the crisis, moving out of the victim role, my life began to heal and I began to blossom.

The other day I was waiting to meet someone to talk about our mutual businesses, our life's journeys and to connect over a cup of coffee. While I was waiting I looked across the street at the train stop - St Mary's Street and I became so appreciative for the town I live in. These past few weeks I have had the opportunity to attend events in downtown Boston and I felt a renewed sense of appreciation for this beautiful city. I attended a retirement party for a former colleague at the VA. I saw many of my former co workers and I felt a deep sense of appreciation for the opportunity to have known them and worked with them. I even knocked on one of the physician's doors to tell him how much I appreciated the opportunity to have worked with him. He was so surprised and not one to show a lot of emotion, but I could see how I had touched his heart by this simple gesture.

As my regular readers know, I was recently featured on a Channel 7 News Sports Story. I provided the executive sports producer with my documentary, "Keeping the Pace" and a CD of photos which a photojournalism student took during our last training run and on Marathon Monday. The sports producer had not returned the CD/DVD to me via mail but since I was going to be right around the corner from Channel 7 for the retirement party, I asked him if I could stop by to pick them up. I expressed my heartfelt appreciation to him, to Rhett Lewis, the reporter and to the on air staff. As we talked,I asked him, just out of curiosity, what footage was copyrighted which would not allow me to upload the news story or which would not allow it to be on the Channel 7 website. It would have been easy to focus on the fact that I was not allowed to upload the story or I could (and did) focus on the deep sense of appreciation I felt that they had chosen to feature my Boston Marathon run. He told me it was the documentary footage -- I laughed and I told him that I owned the copyright for the documentary footage. We both laughed and I hugged him expressing appreciation that I could now share the story on line to inspire others with what is possible in this life.

Have you expressed your appreciation today for the blessings in your life? Have you felt that deep stirring in your soul -- that feeling that no matter how external appearances may seem, nothing can shake your center of Love? Have you told the people in your life how much you appreciate them?

Okay - shameless self promotion segway (and this was not intentional-honest to God) -- one of the wonderful ways you can express your appreciation to someone special in your life is with an original poem from New World Greeting Cards.

Be sure to check out the Grateful Chics for extraordinary items to express your gratitude. "Gratitude Beads help you remember the GOOD in your life & to stay grateful for our:
CREATOR (1 large bead)
PEOPLE (3 medium beads)
& LITTLE THINGS or EVENTS (6 small beads).
Use them as prayer beads or meditation beads; hanging on a keyring, in a window or rear view mirror; clipped on a belt, purse. Remember 10 GOOD things in your life every single day!"

I am grateful to Joy and Tracy for the love and light they bring through their creativity and spiritual wisdom as Grateful Chics.

One of the ways I express appreciation for the blessings in my life is to give to others. When you purchase copies of my books of inspirational poetry 20% of book proceeds are donated to The Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Hope Charitable Trust

I am so appreciative to you my readers -- thank you for reading
With love,