“Gumbo Diplomacy”

As we near the end of this year’s commemoration of Black History Month, it seems appropriate to pay tribute to a woman whose life story is that of a Black American girl who rose from humble beginnings in the segregated South to a place of honor and influence in our country. I hope you’ll spend 10 minutes watching this TedTalk video of Linda Thomas-Greenfield, our newly appointed ambassador to the United Nations, as she describes overcoming adversity and being strengthened by it--with compassion, kindness, and a smile.

Who Was Jon Swift?

No—I’m not referring familiarly to the Gulliver’s Travels guy here. This Jon Swift, I’ve learned recently, was a legendary figure in the blogosphere. There’s a connection between the two, of course. But I’m getting ahead of myself. In early December, I received an email from a man name Batocchio, with a lovely invitation. Would I be interested in submitting my favorite post from my blog to The 2020 Jon Swift Roundup: “The Best Posts of the Year, Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves”?

Letter to a Dying Friend

My husband and I lost a decades-long, treasured friend in October, nearly two months after we first learned that he’d been hospitalized with a dire combination of heart, lung, and kidney failure. We’d spoken with him when he’d been moved to a care center, and he said then that he’d had enough—no more procedures, no more indignities....But he wasn’t as ready then as he’d thought. When he came home from the care center, he had some good time with his family. He told us he was spending most of the day out of bed, walking with a walker, and that his arms and legs were getting stronger.

In Recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (With a Big Assist From a Dynamo Fellow Blogger)

My mother had bilateral mastectomies—five years apart. I vividly recall that shortly after she was first diagnosed, she called me into her room to show me the spot on her breast: no discernible lump—just a horizontal line masking the cancerous cells below. She wanted to alert me in case I ever saw something similar on my own body. She/we were lucky: after the distressing surgeries, she needed no follow-up treatment and died at age 83 of heart failure. Many women—and some men—are not so lucky.

In the Presence of John Lewis…

Last night, Georgia Congressman John Lewis, one of my personal heroes, died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 80.

It was four years ago that I attended a political rally in a church in a neighboring community. Congressman Lewis had come to town to try to help a younger candidate win a seat to join him in the House of Representatives.

The church was packed with a heartwarmingly diverse crowd: all variations on the color spectrum, differing faiths or no faith, young and old, men and women.

Wherein My Personal Blogosphere Expands Via a Fun Exchange With a Super New Acquaintance

I’ve often said that I’m one happy blogger: I love to write and to research new topics; I’m grateful for your feedback; and—this was one aspect of blogging that I hadn’t anticipated but is becoming one of the most valuable—I feel personally enriched by meeting so many extraordinary, talented people from all over the world.

The most recent is Judy Dykstra-Brown, a poet, writer, artist, and lecturer who blogs at Life Lessons. She’s a prolific blogger, posting something—sometimes several things—every day. That energy alone boggles my once-or-at-most-twice-weekly blogger mind!

Help With A Critical Endeavor: Providing Meaningful Comfort to the Sick and Dying

I have been fortunate to connect with Abigail Johnston, a dynamic woman who has selected a title for her blog that's a perfect description of her and her mission: "No Half Measures: Living Out Loud With Metastatic Breast Cancer."...

...I am pasting her most recent post, "Ring Theory," below because its approach to communicating with seriously ill people--and their loved ones--provides information that I think we all need. And, when we eventually find ourselves in the center of the ring, I believe we will all hope that those around us are similarly well-informed.

Reading My Friend Peter’s SNAFU Letter at Christmas Time

’m not terribly fond of Christmas letters, which sometimes resemble those Facebook entries in which people tell you all the details of their day, including every morsel they ingested.

But there was one letter I always looked forward to receiving. It was from my friend Peter, my colleague at the continuing medical education company that was my last job before retirement. Technically, I was Peter’s “boss,” a word I loathed, as I really believed in a collaborative work environment. But with Peter, it was irrelevant: he needed no bossing. 

Though his position was medical editor, he possessed two masters degrees and a PhD. It was our/my great good fortune that he wound up in that office. He was brilliant.