Impressions

Somebody left his mark

Somebody left his mark

Check this photo out.  My friend Donna took this photo of an impression a bird made as it landed on her truck windshield.  As there was no birdy-body, it’s to be assumed that this wayward avian was able to recover from the impact and fly away, probably a bit dazed, and most likely making a mental note to avoid dusty windshields in the future.  Donna says she could imagine if a bird had smacked into a clear windshield, perhaps seeing something within the truck it wanted, but for the life of her, she cannot fathom what attracted this bird to a dusty piece of glass.

Whatever reason led to this bird’s amazing visit and subsequent impression, it got me thinking.

We all make a mark wherever we go; sometimes in a big way by helping a neighbor remove a tree stump, and some impressions are much more subtle.  Think about it.  As you go about your daily activities, chances are at least once you will interact with one or more other senscient beings, some human, some, in this bird’s case, non-human.  You click on a live chat, leave a voicemail, send a text, shake somebody’s hand, offer a smile to a child crossing the street, write a note, visit your grandma, pat your dog, or sit down to dinner with your family. 

And with each interaction, you leave an impression.  One would generally hope to leave a good impression – isn’t that what we’re taught as kids?  But even if the time spent with another was less-than-ideal, at least you always have an opportunity to make amends, clear the air, dust off the disagreement, and make things right.

All of us are on a life path uniquely our own.  Yet, as British poet John Donne reminds us, … “no man is an island.”  The waves of influence created by us and others wash upon our shores and reverberate throughout our lives.  Some waves are barely perceptible, others, like tsunamis, create chaos and transfiguration.

It’s up to us to remember these impressions and hopefully leave our imprints as an inspiration to others.

Radio Star Volume 2

Well hopefully I said something of value to folks the other day on the radio with Michelle Vandepas of  Your Divine Purpose Unleashed on Live your Purpose Radio/Blog Talk Radio on the 15th.  I was quite nervous, but Michelle was a great host and I think I was able to convey my simple message.  Please take a listen by clicking on my show and let me know what you think!  I’ll be eager to see all my reviews!  Thanks for all your support!

Back to School in Style

Spreading the Good Will

Spreading the Good Will

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Now those lyrics may normally be heard on the radio around Christmas but for millions of parents across the nation and around the world, these words convey an entirely different meaning…

…school is back in session!

And while their parents may be thrilled at the prospect of shipping off their kids for another fun-filled  year, the students more than likely are not terribly enthused.  The task of finding classrooms, memorizing locker combinations, and piling on hour of after hour of homework somehow overshadows the excitement at returning to the old classrooms. 

The only thing kids probably enjoy in preparation for the new school year is the annual ritual of school shopping. 

Now when I was a kid, it was mandatory to visit the ubiquitous Buster Brown shoe store to be outfitted with decent footgear for the first day of school.  This part, for me, actually wasn’t too bad.  I enjoyed all the fussing of the lady helping me try on my new lace-ups, and certainly secretly thrilled in the smell of the leather.  Buying a pretty new dress also was something to look forward to as my mother and I visited our local department store.  And so it was that on the first day back to school, I’d be resplendent in my red gingham dress, matching red socks, and spiffy new footwear shining in the sun.

Fast forward a few years and now as the mother of an emerging fashion-conscious tween boy, I find myself in the bittersweet position of rejoicing in his starting back at school and feeling the sting as I part with more money than I’d like to outfit him for his new middle school experience.

As I mention in my book, Second Hand Roses: Lessons From the Junktiquing Road, this whole buying-retail thing now, with my years of thrifting experience clouding my judgment on what constitutes a normal price for things, I take great umbrage to the thought of parting with more than $10 for a pair of jeans!  A visit to Sears a while back found me on more than one occasion laughing out loud at the prices displayed on the racks. 

“Avoiding the sidelong glances of the saleslady stacking T-shirts nearby, I muffled an indignant snort or two as I scoffed at the temerity of the store to price a simple hoodie at well over $50.  Are they serious, I thought to myself, looking over the cheap plastic zipper, destined for breakage within a month or two.  The thing looked no more substantial than an overgrown sweatshirt; the only seeming justification of such an outrageous price being the tiny label stitched in the neckline. Did they expect the wearer to turn the jacket inside-out, so as to impress anyone with sharp enough eyes to see the tag?” 

Nevertheless, my son has his heart set these days on certain brands and while I could afford that $50 hoodie, quite frankly it’s more often than not that I have returned from a thrifting run at my local Goodwill, bag full of clothes, (some of those very name brands he so covets),  paying LESS than $50 for at least five outfits.  And they’re outfits he can wear with pride, labels and all, and no one is the wiser as to how much actually got spent on them.  He’s cool for one-quarter the price, at least!

Seems I am not the only one out there checking out thrift stores these days for back-to-school fashions.  Check out this link.  Fox News apparently has latched onto the idea as well. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfsQOOPcC0Y

Now that’s what I call stimulating the economy!

Grandpa Charlie’s Medal

Distinguished Flying Cross

Distinguished Flying Cross

Trudging down Lynwood Lane on my way home from school one afternoon, something caught my eye.  Had I been engrossed, as usual, with watching for robins stalking worms I might have missed it.

 But this time, my attention turned to a curbside box.  Left out for the trash collectors, it sat, sagging slightly, its marker-scrawled side hinting at the contents within.

  My steps slowed as I approached, watchful for curious neighbors peering out their windows.  Sidling up to the box, I read, “Grandpa Charlie’s war stuff BASEMENT.”  The lid askew, likely from a gust of wind or perhaps a frustrated raccoon, I could see something twinkling inside.

  I stood there, a force drawing me to this nondescript container of old stuff.  Looking around again for anybody noticing, I finally ventured one hand into the box. 

 Grasping something metallic I quickly snatched my hand back to my pocket and ran home in the growing rain.

 I barely remembered to hang my raincoat on the hallway hook and shake my boots onto the mat as, with heart pounding, I darted upstairs to the safety of my room.  Shouting a greeting to my mother, I clambered up my bunk bed ladder to my bed.  I took a deep breath and unclenched my hand, revealing my booty.

 What dropped onto my pink floral bed sheet was the first icon of what was to become a lifetime of scavenging.  It was a World War II medal. 

 With its violet and white striped ribbon slightly tattered and pin bent, it was not much really to look at. Yet it held my attention for a long time as I read and re-read the letters, “RAF.”  The engraved date of 1942 on the back had been almost rubbed away, along with the recipient’s full name.  Stapled to the corner clung a tattered piece of paper reading, “Charlie’s medal.”

 Charlie.  So he must be the original owner of “Grandpa Charlie’s war stuff BASEMENT.”  I wondered about that for a long time, so long in fact that my mother had to send my brother in to see if I was napping and had not heard her call to come down for dinner.

 “Whatchoo got?” demanded my four-year-old brother, Jason, his grubby hands clutching a Hot Wheel.

 I stuffed the medal under my pillow.  “Nothing, just my pillow,” I replied.

 When I climbed down from the upper bunk my life had changed forever. 

 For the next few weeks I studied the medal, now carefully hidden behind a book in my room.  I’d sit up late at night turning it over and over in my hands, feeling the raised letters, sliding my fingers over the ribbon’s fibers, and occasionally poking myself with the bent pin.  I dared not show the medal to my family, preferring instead to keep it secret. 

(It wasn’t until years later that I discovered this was a Distinguished Flying Cross, an award given to officers for acts of valor, courage or devotion to duty done when flying in operations against the enemy. )  Apparently Grandpa Charlie had been a war hero.

I returned to the site of my discovery, often dawdling on the way to school, but the now-empty curb revealed no further trinkets.  Too shy to knock on the door, I’d linger on my rounds to and from Courcellete School, hoping to catch a glimpse of whoever chose to discard such a treasure. 

 I wondered if it had been new homeowners who had found this box of war memorabilia and simply opted to toss it out rather than examine its contents.  Or had Grandpa recently passed away and holding onto his possessions had become painful to the family?  No further deposits of anything more interesting than a broken lampshade made it to the curb, yet each trip past the house always drew my gaze up the long driveway to the curtained windows.  I had so many unanswered questions, and dreams brought my imagination to a time of war and bravery, fear, and relief. 

 That following Remembrance Day, along with many other Canadians, I proudly wore my poppy.  I sat in the assembly at school, listening to our principal, Mr. Moult, reminding us to never forget the sacrifices our fathers, uncles, and grandfathers had made.  I committed to memory the poem by John McCrae, In Flanders Fields

 Pinned proudly next to my poppy shone Grandpa Charlie’s Distinguished Flying Cross.

 From: Second Hand Roses: Lessons From the Junktiquing Road, copyright 2009 Dawn Edwards

Sharing the Wealth

One man's trash...

One man's trash...

I just read an amazing story about a postal worker from New Jersey who took the time to visit his local thrift store and procure items for his relations back in Ghana.  He was just honored by the National Association of Letter Carriers for this wonderful deed….

….On the Chicago Tribune website, from AP-  “National Humanitarian of the Year, Emmanuel Anim-Sackey, 50, of West Orange, N. J., who sifts through northern New Jersey thrift stores and yard sales to find used clothes, shoes and school supplies to send back to impoverished families in Abetifi-Kwahu, a village in his native Ghana.”

What a beautiful, yet so simple thing to do.  His time, money, and efforts may have won him some acclaim here but I’d hazard a guess that he’s even more of a hero back in his native country.  See, this gentleman took a look around him, realized that we as a country are truly rich by most of the world’s criteria, and decided to share the wealth. 

Now that phrase, “share the wealth,” was bandied about for a while back during the presidential campaign last  year.  But for all the outcry and debate, truly what is wrong with helping our fellow man; to give from those of us who have so much to those for whom clean water is a luxury rather than a common happenstance?  Isn’t what we all learn as children?  Sharing, cooperating, caring, having empathy, compassion, and love are all values instilled early and hopefully traits we carry over into our adulthood.  Whether it’s lending a neighbor a hand with felling a dead tree, bringing a casserole to a new widower, or even shipping a box of clothes to distant lands, it’s this spirit of altruism that connects and binds us all as a society, a race, a community, an amalgam of all things human. 

In these hard times, we’ve all tightened our belts, cut back on luxuries like vacations (preferring the new-cool “staycation”), and some of us have even learned from our grandparents to grow a Victory garden to supply us with food from our own toils.  Giving to others may seem impossible right now, as we are faced with dental bills, threats of layoffs, rising costs of living, and worries about our own circle of friends and family.  All the charities are taking a hit these days as donations are down.

But taking a cue from Mr.  Anim-Sackey, the time to consider the welfare of others even as we pray for our own salvation may be, curiously, the best time to share the wealth.  It doesn’t have to be in the form of a huge monetary donation.  We usually always have a half-hour a month to set aside in the service of others; be that serving food to the homeless, tutoring a struggling student, or collecting clothes to clad our far-flung relatives. 

Anne Frank may have put it best with her simple reminder, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”

Sharing the wealth may ultimately reap riches on us all.

To learn more about the other inspirational folks delivering our mail:

www.nalc.org

Let’s Get Cooking!

Just grillin'

Just grillin'

One of the many benefits of shopping at places like Goodwill, besides the obvious price-point issue, is that many times you can update your kitchen and literally feed your inner Rachael Ray just by paying close attention to the cookware aisle.

Check out this pan. It’s an All Clad 12-inch grill.  Borrowing directly from the Amazon.com website, the description says it’s a “high-performance grill designed with a heavy gauge, hard-coat anodized aluminum exterior for efficient, balanced heat conductivity and long wear. Quantum-coated nonstick interior. Solid-cast stainless steel handle. Carries the All-Clad limited lifetime warranty.” 

Sounds great doesn’t it?  If you only had the $49.99 in your pocket, plus shipping!  And that’s a bargain, compared to other sites, which list it as high as $89 and above! 

Now most of us these days can’t shell out this kind of cash for such a fine piece of cookware.  But as this lucky Goodwill shopper found out, with a little perseverence, occasionally these gems can be unearthed beneath the stacks of plasticware and mismatched cutlery.  What did I pay for this fabulous All Clad grill?

Three dollars.  Yes, you head that right.   For a whopping three George Washingtons, less than a footlong sub at a famous restaurant, I whipped that bad boy into my cart and home faster than you could say panini sandwich! And was this beautiful grill in a sad state of affairs to find itself wedged in between an old turkey roasting pan and a juice extractor?  Nope!  Probably because it was an All Clad, it was sturdier than its less-expensive counterparts and able to withstand the trip to Goodwill most likely jumbled in a large donation box.

See, thrifting is not what you think.  With a little patience, knowlege of product value, and luck, sometimes the most amazing things can come into your life that up to now may have been cost prohibitive.  Sure, we’d all like to be able to trek to the local gourmet cooking store and walk out with thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise, but as I see it, that trend is morphing into one of a simpler outlook.  Now even those on the most modest budgets sometimes can come away with items of superior value, intrinsic or otherwise. 

So next time when you’re in the market for a new frying pan, swing by your local Goodwill.  You just might be amazed at what you find.

Bon appetit!

The Shadow Effect, Volume 2

Can you face it?

Can you face it?

 

Lurking in the Shadows

I’ve just finished watching The Shadow Effect by Debbie Ford. 

Let me pause for a minute while I catch my breath. 

Okay, now I think I can, hopefully, give some semblance of a cohesive review.  First off, let me NOT recommend this powerful movie to the following people:

Those in denial

Those caught up in substance abuse

Those in difficult relationships

Those for whom “change” is a scary word

 

Okay, did we clear out the room?

 

Now let me invite in the following folks, as each would find something in this film of benefit.  These folks include:

Those in denial

Those caught up in substance abuse

Those in difficult relationships

Those for whom “change” is a scary word

 

What just happened?  It seems that this moving piece of art has something to offer to all of us; we are all on our unique life paths yet interconnected in so many ways and all of us are seeking one elusive thing.
Love.

 

For that’s what this film is ultimately about.  Love of those around you, whether they be good to you or bad.  Love of those whom you may never meet.  Love of those passed on.  Love of your family, biological faux pas as that may turn out to be.  Love for the policeman issuing you a ticket for speeding.  Love for the politicians who set policy and law whether or not you voted for them.  Love for the lost, the abandoned, the addicted, the frightened, the imprisoned, the diseased, the forgotten.  Love for yourself.

Why love when the title has to do with shadows? 

Because it’s only through facing these shadows; these demons haunting all of us as individuals and as a society that we can emerge into the light of beauty, transcendence, and love.

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a woo-woo video that will make you run for your favorite  metaphysics books.  It has no pretty images of pastoral nature scenes.  Black and white, stark and dusky, this film strips it down to one thing and one thing only.

Do you love yourself enough to face your shadows?  It asks you, “What do you dislike most about yourself?” 

Wow.  Now for most of us that’s a hard thing to face.  Then Debbie Ford goes on to suggest that some of the worst characteristics you see in others is a case of one finger pointing at the offending person and THREE fingers pointing back at you.  Are you projecting your innermost failings onto others in order to make yourself feel better?  Do you find it much easier to condemn others rather than change yourself?

It’s that gnawing tiny voice in the back of our minds that keeps us up in the wee hours.  It’s true, as the film says, 

WHAT WE CAN’T BE WITH WON’T LET US BE.

What does that mean and how can we finally BE in the moment and accept and LOVE ourselves?  Debbie Ford and her incredible contributors remind us that it’s only when we face these shadows, drag them out into the light, accept them, and forgive them and ourselves that we can truly find love. 

How many of us are yearning to find closure, to finally conquer those beasts rising up within us, yet embrace them too and learn from them and use them as a tool to move on and improve our lives? 

In this incredible, beautiful, daunting picture, this question comes up again and again.  Can we face our shadow and instead of hiding from it, try to gain something instead?  This is an important tool for anyone seeking something better for themselves; to rise up and cleanse themselves of past errs and violations, to purge pain and instead clothe themselves in the arms of….

 

Love.

 To purchase the DVD
http://store.debbieford.com/product_info.php?ref=59&products_id=16

To buy the online version:
http://store.debbieford.com/product_info.php?ref=59&products_id=18

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/debbie_ford

Featuring as guests in The Shadow Effect
Deepak Chopra
Website:  http://deepakchopra.com/
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/deepakchopra

Marianne Williamson
Website: http://www.marianne.com/
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/marwilliamson

James Van Praagh

Website:  http://www.vanpraagh.com/
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/JamesVanPraagh

Mark Victor Hansen

Website: http://www.markvictorhansen.com

For the two disc set

 http://store.debbieford.com/product_info.php?ref=59&products_id=17

 

 

Radio Star

The Old Marconi

The Old Marconi

I’m going to be on the radio promoting my book, Second Hand Roses: Lessons from the Junktiquing Road on Blog Talk Radio with Michelle Vandepas of Divine Purpose Unleashed.com on 15 September at 3 PM Eastern.

 

 

 

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/LiveYourPurpose/2009/09/15/Life-Purpose-Budgeting-Abundance-and-Thrift-with-Dawn-of-2nd-Hand-Roses

 

I am so excited to share my stories of learning from my forays into the world of secondhand and hope you will tune in!

I have a favor to ask.  Can you email me and let me know about one thing you’ve found of special importance at a garage sale, yard sale, thrift store, antique store, or online?  We are all collectors; you, me, and the rest of us in society and while it’s true you can’t take it with you, it’s sure fun to play with stuff while we’re here! 

I truly believe that some of the most beautiful, meaningful items I have found via my junktiquing trips have in their own ways colored my life and enhanced my outlook.  I’d be lost without my precious china teacup found years ago at a flea market; it’s delicate faded paint around the rim only hinting of tea parties of years gone by.  A treasured book sits in a place of honor, having come by way of eBay to replace a childhood friend.  And how would I display my books were it not for the altrusim of others donating their unwanted bookshelves?

I can’t wait to share my experiences in living life fully through thriftiness and I wonder if you’d do me the honor of listening in and perhaps contributing a memory or two or your own?

Thanks and as they say, “stay tuned!”

Come to the Fairgrounds

My little home in the country!

My little home in the country!

I have always been proud of my little town and marvelled at how fortunate I was to set down roots mere steps from one of the more popular antique markets in the country.  Now it seems that the big publishers are finding us as well and agree that secondhand is the way to go!

Check out this great photoshoot in my Fair City.

http://tinyurl.com/sandwichantiques

Maybe I’ll see you at a booksigning there!

Go to the Library

Celebrating Banned Books Week

Celebrating Banned Books Week

You! Yes, I mean you! It’s time to visit an old friend. Get off the couch, unplug the phone, put down the remote, step away from the net, and take a walk down to your local library. It’s time to reconnect with some old pals.

http://www.loc.gov/index.html