Friday, December 9, 2016

Be The Ripple

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” ~~Jane Goodall
For all of you who are wondering what you can do to make the world better or to make yourself feel better or just focus on anything besides all the crazy stuff happening in the world, I give you Jenna. Like 99,166 others in the US today, Jenna needs a kidney. But this isn't just about a 31 year-old artist and writer who desperately needs an organ, it's about all the people whose lives will be changed as a result of her receiving a kidney. Her mom Karol, for one, who has been a fierce warrior championing on behalf of her daughter while at the same time celebrating all those who get what she still doesn't have: a healthier daughter. 

A rare urological defect destroyed Jenna's kidneys when she was young. Finding a match for Jenna is especially difficult because she has high antibodies. Because of this, it is necessary to find a pool of eligible living donors to increase the odds of finding a match. Jenna has blood type O, but even if a willing donor does not match her, she can still receive a kidney through paired donation, which is a “swap” between two incompatible couples. By donating a kidney to another patient on Jenna
s behalf, that donor allows Jenna in turn to receive the other patients donors kidney. Although Jenna lives in California, her donor can live in any state, and all donor medical costs are covered by her insurance.

When we help someone we often think in terms of our actions as being limited to what we can see in front of us, but what we give to one person, we give to the world. Each kidney recipient—not to mention their extended families and coworkers and friends—are affected by their loved one receiving a kidney. By helping one person, you help the collective. Each of our deeds, good or bad, creates a ripple. Beyond one’s belief in a higher power, all we have to sustain our hope is the grace of our fellow human beings to help us through our struggles. I don't have any more spare kidneys to give away, but I plan to keep throwing stones into the pool until that waiting list is at zero.

For more information about being tested to see if you are a match for Jenna, please visit the UCLA Living Donor Intake page. You can learn more about Jenna by clicking on her video, "Are You My Type?" or follow her journey by going to her Facebook page. In addition, if you would like to contact Jenna personally, you may send her an email. And you can SHARE this post because somebody out there is a match for Jenna. 

Now let's do this.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

What Are You Reading?

You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.  –Paul Sweeney

I grew up where it got cold in the winter. Dreadfully cold. Blue lips and frozen snot cold. I no longer suffer through long months of dreary weather but even here, where winter means the occasional stormy rainfall, it changes you. I notice the low light first, as if drawn from a corner of the sky rather than parading above my head like a prom queen. Then comes the cooler temps and the desire to burrow in with a good book in the early evening or bring one back to bed with my coffee in the morning. Snuggled under a warm blanket and sipping espresso,I discover new worlds to carry me through the longer dark of winter.

The more I write, the more I read. The more I read, the more I make friends with new books and authors. I used to tend to stick with my favorites like Jodi Picoult, Barbara Kingsolver, Anne Lamott, Elizabeth Berg and others. Although I still enjoy their books, I'm currently delighting in the discovery of new writers, new voices, new things to say. Or maybe not new things but new ways of saying them. In any case, I'm swimming in a sea of sentences neatly woven together to create a wave of wonderful stories. 

I'm halfway through Donna Everhart's "The Education of Dixie Dupree" and realizing our young protagonists would probably have made good friends. My coming-of-age book set in the same time period won't be released until Spring of 2018, but I can see why the author and I share the same publisher. Our stories highlight the challenges of square-pegged girls who don't fit in neat, round slots. Miss Dixie is feisty but resilient in a world she can't control. Much like I feel about our greater world these days. But don't take my word for it, get your hands on a copy for yourself. (FYI: Contains difficult subject matter but life is difficult, isn't it?)

On my to-be-read list is "Lift and Separate" by Marilyn Simon Rothstein. I chose this book for it's lighthearted humor and relatability. Not the 32-DD lingerie model part but the sudden realization that the life you imagined turns out to be just that--imagined. The real one starts where the mirage leaves off. I've only read the sample and I laughed out loud, the true sign of a book that I will most certainly enjoy. 

I have a road-trip in my near future and have chosen the book "Everything We Keep" by Kerry Lonsdale to keep me company for endless hours on the I-5. Described as a page-turner, it's exactly what I need when I want to keep from banging my head on the steering will as the seconds drag by. I've also ordered Lonsdale's newly-released "All The Breaking Waves" because the daughter has psychic qualities--another mirrored theme in my debut novel. I'm looking forward to reading both.

And finally, I've just ordered "Secrets of Worry Dolls" by Amy Impellizzeri. I'm a sucker for mother-daughter relationship stories. Throw in a little magical realism and you've got me for sure. I could use a worry doll about now, given the outcome of the recent election. Possibly a slew of them. In any case, I can't wait to hunker down with this book. 

What about you? What are you reading? Feel free to include links to Goodreads or the author's website but no sales links please. And if you like a book please do the author the favor of leaving a review. It helps us. Not just our egos, but it helps the book get more exposure. This is especially important for debut authors and newly-released books. Now pass the creamer and shhhh...I'm reading over here.

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