August 27 Housewarming

On August 23 I had a angiogram and became incredibly ill (probably from the anesthesia).  I received an invitation to attend a housewarming.  My spiritual advisor, Marie, was hosting a housewarming at her home for the young couple who recently purchased it.  We (her students throughout all these years) were invited to say good-bye to the safest place I have ever been.  I had cancelled all my appointments after my angiogram because I felt so sick but I could not miss this.  I spent 25 years healing in this house.  I was always there for classes and the occasional reading.  But sometimes I would go upstairs to the bedroom with the single bed, mural on the west wall and total safety to just absorb the energy of the house and let go of issues while I closed my eyes to rest/sleep through the entire class.  As poorly as I felt, I was compelled to go say good-bye and express my gratitude to the house.  Also, I wanted Marie to meet my heart.  I also wrote a letter to Marie (expressing gratitude).  I knew the house would  be packed and I wouldn’t be able to talk to Marie for any length of time.

I walked in the door and recognized many people from classes over the years.  I also met the young couple who bought the house and told them a few stories that expressed how I felt about the house and wised them well.  The house would be in good hands.

The conversation with other students turned to isolation.  We all look for safety and we all knew we were standing in our safe haven for the last time.  Several people indicated that they were trying harder not to interact with society which means they will not make themselves available to anyone outside the circle.

I understood their perspectives but I also expressed mine.  I told them that my job is now to let people take what they need from me- whether it is to hold their space, protect them from energies they are not prepared to deal with (such as the 2016 election outcome) or help change perspectives that will allow us to see each other with dignity, bravery and tenderness.  We know how to protect ourselves so we can dissolve the hopelessness that afflicts so many others.  As difficult as assimilation may be, it is necessary to reach out to as  many as we can to create a shift towards treating each other with acceptance and no judgement.  We (the students) know how to connect  with and support each other.  I hope they can trust that process.

Marie will still be teaching and doing readings at her new  home.  However, I am so grateful for that little blue house.  I am glad I went.



Frank Mayers

Frank Mayers has been a huge influence in my Toastmasters experience.  He passed away on September 30.  I had  not seen Frank in several years mainly because I don’t go to conferences, conventions other district meetings unless I have to.  It takes me several days to recover due to my introversion,  I love seeing all these people but the noise and constant activity leave me physically and emotionally drained.

The first time I met Frank.  It was 2007 and my first  time as an Area Director.  Frank happened to be a member in two of the  six clubs in my care.  The first thing he said to me was “All you have to worry about is putting on a good contest and nothing else”.  Laughed and told him it was a good thing he was cute.  Later, I leaned  over and  whispered in his ear that I would tell what I think and would listen to me.  He didn’t say  anything else.

As I attended district events I discovered what everyone else knew about Frank.  He was a curmudgeon and a heckler.  I think his goal at district meetings was to be as disruptive as possible.  It was interesting to watch district leaders try to shut him down.  Don’t tell anyone but I was entertained.

Frank helped me so much that year.  He was the Chief Judge at my first area contest (Liz Moore was my Toastmaster),  There were other members in the Viking Toastmasters Club that were near and dear to my heart.  Nancy Anderson and Jeanne Fabiano made sure all the money was collected at my contests (back then it was a tradition to have a big spread and we had to pay for our own trophies).  Les Anderson (Nancy’s husband) was the Toastmaster  at my second contest and Les, Nancy and Jeanne were the committee for my High Performance  Leadership project.

Frank did whatever I needed him to do.  He came to my Youth Leadership program and talked to the kids about Robert’s Rules of Order.  The kids loved him and one of them challenged him to a dance off.  At first I was horrified and then I realized this child did not see Frank’s disability but Frank complied.  I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.

As a side note:  John Marzitelli was there and gave a speech on protecting their hearing.  On other occasions, Bonnie Laabs gave a poignant speech on rocks, Roger Revak talked about a class reunion and the girl that got away, Wayne Doe called every  child by name during his speech and a few others who taught us the importance of knowing your audience.

One of the times I attended a Viking meeting I was asked  to speak and Frank was my assigned evaluator. He apologized to me.  I told him that I was honored because I felt he gave the most meaningful evaluations and I knew he would teach me how to do better.  And that is what he did.  Also, I had mispronounced a word and corrected me in the mosts tender and gentle way.

Whenever I saw Frank I was excited and I would hug him.  He always looked confused so   I don’t know if he appreciated it or not but I did it anyway  because I knew there was a meeting and I would have  to listen to his heckling.

Frank was always supportive, knew everything about Toastmasters and I cared very much for him.

I invited him to my speech contest that was in September.  He didn’t come and now  I know why.

I am not going to say “rest in peace”  but I will wish him “happy heckling”.  I think he is rocking out with Tom Petty.

Thank you, Frank, for all the gifts you gave me.

Side Effects

I am only on half the medications most transplant recipients are on.  I should be grateful and I am grateful that they are few.  It is difficult but they do not entirely incapacitate me.  The headaches are constant and sometimes I get migraines. The pain makes me really tired.  I sleep a lot.  My thinking gets fuzzy.  I’m not as patient and I feel like I get short with people.  My hands shake.  It’s hard to peel vegetables, hold a knife steady, pluck my eyebrows and even though I am done with physical therapy, I have a long way to go to walk like I did before.  My heart is doing great!!  Everything else needs to catch up.  I don’t know how long it will take me to get off the insulin but I should be done with the prednisone after Thanksgiving, if not before.  I hope my skin and hair return to normal, as well.

I decided to stop going to the transplant support group.  It depresses me.  Years after their transplants, patients are still on insulin and have energy for only a few hours a day. I think the ones that are doing fine don’t go to these meetings.

3 Month Visit

I was released from wearing gloves and a mask everywhere and even though I was still confined to home, I started visiting Toastmaster clubs which is part of my job as an Area Director.  I needed to visit each of 6 clubs by September 30, conduct an officer training event by August 31 and organize an Area Speech Contest in the same time frame. Traditionally, Area Directors start their year sometime in June and ends July 1 the following year.  Guess what?  I had my transplant on May 28 and I was confined for the first three months and was not allowed to be around large groups of people.  My dear friend Ravi did the officer installation ceremonies in my place but did not tell them why  I wasn’t there.  I went to my first meeting on August 16 against protocol but I was feeling desperate.

On August 17, all the restrictions were removed.  I was doing really well. However, my doctor cancelled my angiogram because my creatinine was high and he was concerned that the dye would harm my kidney.   I went back on August 23 for the angiogram and my creatinine was lower but not great (it never is usually because I don’t drink enough water).  I don’t know why but I got really sick (probably  from the anesthesia).  It took me about a month to get past this during which I had to complete the tasks listed in the previous paragraph.  I feel I have been successful in making the connections with all the members and how the clubs conduct their meetings (each one is different).  They have all welcomed me and made me feel comfortable.  A  few of them I have known for many years and I was able to rely on them for help.

I have attended each club at least twice.  I started and completed physical therapy (I kept falling because my brain and my heart can’t communicate any more and some of my medications cause muscle weakness.  I am almost done with cardio rehab (7 visits left) and I should be down to three meds by Thanksgiving.  I go for another biopsy tomorrow.,

I really expected to walk out of the hospital and be able to do everything normal like I did with the LVAD.  Now I know that it could take me until next summer (I have a hard time accepting that).  Getting back into Toastmasters as an Area Director was the best thing I could have done to get better faster.  Everyone has been so understanding and accepting.

A Lesson From My Teacher

A few months ago I was trying to figure how I felt about what was going on in the world. I couldn’t get upset or angry about politics, war, torture or injustice.  I felt rather guilty about giving everything over and letting the universe take care of it.

My teacher sent out the following  letter from Brenda Hoffman and I was able to breathe and be comfortable with my feelings.  Now I can get to work with my “God job”.

Let it Be

Dear Ones,

Even though you crossed the Rubicon to 5D, you continue to feel the need to care for others – either personal relationships or global interactions.

But you now have different areas to discover and explore. Your time caretaking the earth, your friends, family, and community members – even those of the ethers – is over.

Dissipating your inner-power through caretaking is counter-productive. For there are enough humans now following you to take up the banner of personal and global rights and freedoms. Such is no longer your area of concern – or expertise.

For those following, you have a different agenda than is true for those of you at the forefront.

It is no longer your concern that those following rebuild earth as you feel appropriate. For you are of a different age both chronologically and spiritually. That which you think important might have little to do with those who follow. Just as is true for different earth generations.

Did many of your parents not believe that the freedoms you proclaimed in the 1960’s and 1970’s outrageous and counterproductive? So it is now. Do not concern yourself with how earth love evolves, for you are at a different place in a different time.

You probably believe that if those following relied on your dictates of how it should be, the earth would quickly shift to joy. But you are now of the ethers as much as of earth. So you sense a broader range of possibilities than is true for those still in the earth trenches.

Your vision is more like those of us in the ethers than of those of the earth. So it is that many of those following you must experience a bit of pain before they realize their true power, just as was true for you.

And just as was true for those of us of the ethers, you cannot remove their pain with a few creations here and there. Those yet fully of the earth must realize their self-love before they dare rise up in protest.

Many of you reading this message might be in fear – thinking that the earth love and joy you so desire is a never-arriving miracle. Such is not so. For you created the path that those following will discover much more rapidly than was true for you. And once those following you create their path of love and joy, others will create their path in even less time – and on and on.

So it is you must believe that all is wonderfully well on earth even if it does not appear as such most days. The earth chaos and upheaval are designed to awaken those who have not yet discovered their inner-power – or their need to find beliefs beyond earth.

Those who follow you will carry your earth baton as you move to other pieces of your being that have more to do with personal exploration than caretaking earth.

Even though some of you remain totally enmeshed in the current earth chaos, such will change shortly. Not because you do not have earth power, but because the call to discover new you will be stronger than the need to caretake earth or any entity.

This time is confusing in many ways, not the least of which is that there are many Universal/earth patterns competing for your attention. None of those patterns are incorrect, merely not necessarily where you wish to focus. That is the crux of the issue we are discussing.

You are evolving from caretaking others and earth, to discovering your new being with your new powers. Powers that are beyond what you expected. Your joy will be or is in discovering new you instead of caretaking earth and others as you have done for eons.

Perhaps that concept seems unloving, but it is little different from what you experienced throughout your earth lives. When you are an infant, exploration of your environment and learning to walk and talk are your key interests. As a teen, it is discovering complex relationships and adjusting to your new body. A young adult is concerned about child rearing, food, shelter, and work which eventually evolves to retirement issues.

At each life stage, you have different interests and expect that your interests are also the priority of others in your age range. You know that those younger or at a different stage will caretake or evolve those pieces that no longer interest you. So it is now.

You are at a different stage from those following you. Allow them to find their way, just as we encouraged you to do so. You created your path. Now trust that those following will create a path that is right for them as will be true for all who follow them.

Let go and let be.

Just as you are not exactly like those of us of the ethers – you are an original being with new interests and talents because you have had different experiences than us.

Perhaps you remember with laughter, the fear most of your parents expressed as you put on your tie-dyed blue jeans and protested just about everything their society held dear. The earth did not fall apart, it merely evolved into something that many of you are trying to maintain just as your parents and grandparents did at one time.

Universal life is change. And the change most of you are now adapting to is that you are of the earth, but in a new body with new powers and new directions. Allow that to be as you become more of new you with the knowledge that the earth of old is shifting and changing as rapidly as you are due in large part to your efforts.

So it is change continues. Change that will create the new earth of love and joy you have long pined for. And your current role in this shift is to follow your joy. So be it. Amen.



Another friend I have that allows me to  go anywhere is Sherry.  Like Amy, she does all the talking so I don’t have to.  She tells people my story along with her own (she is a liver recipient).  Like Amy, everything we talk about has meaning.  There is no chit chat.  Since her transplant (she only had a few weeks to live) about three years ago, she has seen her eldest daughter marry and has two grandsons from her youngest daughter.  Even though Sherry and I have known each other for decades (her husband and my sister-in-law are siblings) we have only recently become close.  She allows me to engage with people my own way and I don’t become drained socializing with a large group of people.  I am so lucky.

Twins “Donate Life” Game August 18

On August 17 I was released from wearing the gloves and masks just in time to go to the Twins game.  Fortunately, I had started physical therapy on August 2 due to my falls and I was walking much better.  However, I was escorted by Amy O’Connell (an avid Twins fan) and she supervised me during this entire time..  We walked over to the LifeSource booth and had our pictures taken by the National Kidney Foundation group with our Donate Life T-shirts on and they also took a picture of me with a “living donor” sign.  We then made posters for the game.  There was food set up for us and I swear it took Amy at least an hour because knows everyone and everyone wants to be in Amy’s world.  I’m not kidding – she is for real and I am so fortunate to be able to call her “friend”.

I did okay until we had to go down the stairs to our seats. It was difficult for me because the stairs were so high. It was obvious to everyone that I was having trouble.  My brother Scott and sister-in-law sat a few rows behind us and Amy gave her Rod Carew bobblehead to Scott (only the first 10,000 people received bobbleheads).  I had promised mine to Uncle Jeff to go along with his autographed photo of Bart Starr.

Thanks to Amy, I was able to be around so many people.  I don’t have to talk to anyone unless I want to.  Amy told everyone my story and I was able to listen to everyone else’s and  really enjoy being surrounded by people.  I don’t remember anyone that Amy was not able to connect with on a personal level.  I really believe she knows everyone.  Truly believe Amy is a gift.

Since the game she has had two major losses in her life and the most recent was her mother.  Amy handled both of these losses with so much grace.  I learn so much from her.

Here is an example of her connectivity:  I got my hair cut recently and my stylist has a four year old daughter who happens to be pretty good at handling a hockey stick.  My stylist is concerned because she want her to get hurt.  I know someone who would be happy to talk to about that (Amy’s 12year daughter is a well known hockey player).  Thank you, Amy, for taking great care of me and everyone else.