Category: Blog

At the Gala celebrating the Big Reveal for Hadassah's Breast Strokes 2017.

Breast Strokes

It has been a very interesting year for me. Last spring my daughter graduated from high school. In the

My son and daughter at her graduation.

My son and daughter at her graduation.

final moments she ended up at GA Tech. In June she started Tech’s summer school, living down the street from my son/her brother. I found myself alone without my children for the first time in 21 years. I filed for divorce at the end of June after 28 years of sharing a life together. I went to yoga everyday, and focused on mindful living.

August 10th I was rear ended by a woman texting. She did $5,000 worth of damage to my car, and I was injured in a bad way. The divorce was final on August 11th. Within a week of the accident, the whiplash was so bad that I could hardly sit up in bed. No yoga, no painting, no guitar playing. I had to lay in bed wondering if the pain would go away.

My former husband and I remained living together until the house finally closed after being sold twice. I moved into the most adorable rental house in October that my dear friend owns. I have always wanted a house that looked like a spaceship, and I FINALLY got it.

 

During this scary time MANY MIRACLES happened. The most incredible friends showed up out of the blue at the perfect time showering me with light when it was DARK. Because of the neck injury, I could not sleep, I could not excercise. I just sat there missing my kids while in pain and could hardly play my guitar or paint. I had two performances and had to tough it out. The Orthopedic surgeon did several tests and found I had incurred a bulging disc as a result of the accident and put me on prednisone 3 times, pain killers, and sent me to the physical therapist, etc, etc.

I had been asked in July if I would paint in November breast cancer survivor’s physical breasts with body paint for a charity called Breast Strokes, hosted by Hadassah. Hadassah is an American Jewish volunteer women’s organization that fundraises for community programs and health initiatives for all people. Growing up most of my best friends were Jewish so this was a no brainer for me. With all of my heart, I was honored to paint for this organization.

I am actually in many ways a very shy person, so I was a bit nervous. I had never used skin paint before.

A photograph of my survivors and the butterfly I painted on her skin.

A photograph transferred to canvas of my survivor breasts with the butterfly I painted on her skin.

My first survivor asked for a butterfly. She had one breast, and was left with only part of the other breast with no nipple. As we talked and I transformed her idea onto her skin, her breasts took flight as did her spirit. It was so incredibly humbling for me to sit with her and transform her scars into an image she treasured. I received so many incredible gifts from her. Her courage and strength were contagious and transforming to my heart.

The next survivor I painted was from Texas. She has lived in Atlanta a long time but yearns to return home. She wanted the yellow roses of Texas, bluebonnets and the outline of the state. This was extra serendipitous because I had sung a Willie Nelson song earlier in the year for a different charity and I just love him. It turned out she loved him too, so we bonded immediately over

The yellow roses of Texas, bluebonnets, and the state image all painted by my hand onto the skin of a Warrior woman named Libby.

The yellow roses of Texas, bluebonnets, and the state image all painted by my hand onto the skin of a warrior woman named Libby transferred to a canvas.

Willie. As I started to paint her breasts I got the idea to turn it all into a giant tattoo. It was fun how it all came together. We drank wine, laughed, cried a little and she will forever hold a place deep in my heart.

My experience painting these survivors filled me with hope and in awe of the resilience of the human body and spirit and the witnessing of women who actually punked breast cancer and are thriving in ways they never imagined because of the power they found in themselves during the battle for their life.

I continued to ache through the Holidays and on Christmas morning decided enough was enough. I consistently thought of my survivors. I quit taking all medicine and started going to yoga again. Sometimes I just sat there doing nothing if it hurt to do the pose. I started juicing and meditating daily. My neck is getting better all the time, I am happily divorced and I am enjoying life alone tremendously learning I am stronger and more capable than I ever knew. Every time I use my hammer drill I get a little cocky and think I’m Wonder Woman until I almost fall off the ladder.

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With my sweet Texan survivor next to her sold canvas print of her breasts with the bluebonnets, yellow roses, and state outline I painted with skin paint onto her body.

On Saturday night, Hadassah had The Big Reveal where all the breast paintings were printed on canvas’s and auctioned off. I went alone and immediately bumped into my beautiful Texan survivor. We took pictures, hugged and together said a million things with out saying a word. All of the survivors inspired me profoundly. During the holidays these woman gave me a real reality check.

I will always view breasts in a completely different way for the rest of my life. They are miraculous. It is amazing that something so beautiful that feeds an infant into self sustaining life can also be the thing that kills a woman, a mother, a sister or a daughter. I pray Hadassah finds a cure, I pray this disease becomes obsolete…….. most of all I pray that anyone currently battling this disease knocks it in the trash, and any one who has already conquered this beast continues to thrive and inspire. You all more than inspired me!!!

At the Gala celebrating the Big Reveal for Hadassah's Breast Strokes 2017.

At the Gala celebrating the Big Reveal for Hadassah’s Breast Strokes 2017.

Graiven works for my friend. He brought me to Jaco and back to San Jose, and also taught me spanish!!! Such a sweet human being!!!

Traveling Alone In Costa Rica

Room2Board

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It was 10:00 am in Jaco, Costa Rica when I wrote this….Up since 4:30am. Went to a lap pool
with my host Brian and swam for 30 minutes, and am now sitting at the “Room2Board” hostel pool after an  incredible healthy breakfast, resting before I go surf.

I traveled here by myself as my daughter wanted to hike the Appalachian trail alone with her dad for her senior spring break. My baby girl and I had our mother daughter trip out west last summer, so it was time for her to do the dad daughter trip.

Two weeks ago I was at my friends birthday party and commented how I was bummed because I wasn’t going anywhere for spring break. She said why don’t you go to Costa Rica and stay with my family and perform at our hostel, so now I sit here mid week enjoying an incredible day with beautiful RED wild toucan’s flying above me, iguanas fighting over fruit, and a sunsets that far exceed any I have ever seen before.

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Jaco. Costa Rica Sunset

I am just so thankful. I can’t express my gratitude in words because I am so overwhelmed with the kindness of my friend, her brother Brian, the young travelers I’ve met, the Costa Rican’s, and the beauty this Universe has blessed us with….

Yesterday I awakened at 7:30am to hike Miro mountain with 4 woman I met at the hostel and my friend’s brother Brian. He runs the hostel. He is pure joy to be around!!! I told him that, and it turns out his sister’s middle name whom invited me is “Joy.” How cool is that? I have never met so many young adventuristic souls in my life. The hostel is filled with 20 somethings, but

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Miro Mountain, Jaco Costa Rica

I’ve also met the coolest professional women in there thirties. Last night Brian and I  had dinner with two best friends, one from Denver, the other from New York. I have been invited non stop to do the funnest things by all these wonderful ladies. This is important because there is a lot of talk today about the importance of women supporting each other and being more inclusive, and I can say with my whole heart that “room2board” attracts this kind of energy, and is a definite reflection of the family that owns it.

Zach Brown is on the speakers here at the pool, and I have had a blast at the music festival called

Mike Love making music I loved.

Mike Love making music I loved.

“Jungle Jam.”  Friday night I was blown away by a musician from Hawaii named Mike Love. His songs were beautiful, thoughtful, and they deeply touched my heart.

Jeff Sipe and Otiel Burbride played Saturday night. I am loving how I can travel to another country, be surrounded by beautiful country music and the blues from my fellow Atlantan music brothers!!! The jungle jam was sooooooooo incredible.

Otiel Burbridge and Jeff Sipe jamming at the Jungle Jam.

Otiel Burbridge and Jeff Sipe jamming at the Jungle Jam.

When I got invited to come to Costa Rica I almost fainted when I found out there was a music festival. I sat on a blanket in the middle of a jungle and listened to “Fire On The Mountain”, and it was a profound experience. My life is such a “Fire On The Mountain” right now, but the evening brought me a great peace. I literally started falling a sleep as they played, and if you know me, that is a miracle. To close my eyes in a jungle, to a jam of a Grateful Dead song would seem impossible, but the music wrapped me in a blanket of love under some beautiful stars as I sat thanking god for the moment.

A few days ago I went on a monkey tour with some new friends. The monkeys literally jumped on my head. We also came upon a sloth and her baby. They were the sweetest little creatures I have

Monkey on my head.

Monkey on my head.

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Mamma Sloth and Her Baby

ever spent time with.  The trippiest thing were these little lizards they call Jesus lizards because they walk on the water. I am going to edit the video into slow motion at some point so you can see. I just have to figure out how yet.

I spoke of the sunset’s earlier, but quite honestly they are impossible to describe. Truly they look unreal. I went out to the beach with some

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Yoga On The Beach

of the new friends I’ve made, and we did night yoga. It was INCREDIBLE!!! Soooooo beautiful. After watching  the sun set, one of my very favorite things to do is to just go on the hostel rooftop terrace and lay in the hammock and stare at the stars!!!

Friday morning I went to the farmers market and enjoyed the best coconut water ever. They just took a machete and chopped the top off and stuck a straw in it.

Drinking A Coconut

Drinking A Coconut

Pure heaven in the mouth!!! I could drink a Costa Rican coconut every single day for the rest of my life. Especially after surfing.

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I LOVE Surfing!!!

The surfing is a blast but it’s a serious workout. Way harder than running a 5k. I am a bad news bear on the surfboard but I LOVE it. I realized it is 3 yoga positions. First it is cobra, then it is a tree pose laying down….. into warrior 2. Thankful to “Sana” at home in Atlanta for teaching me yoga for the last five months. She was preparing me for surfing with out even knowing it. I can’t wait to get home to atlanta and practice tree to warrior 2 every day, because once I get that down I am going to be catching some serious waves.

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Me and my teacher Marina

I think EVERY woman in there forties on should take up surfing. I want to design a line of surfing clothes for the woman who wants to learn to surf seriously. I wanted to concentrate on the wave and not get distracted. The first day my suit was not appropriate. It was sooooo annoying. The next day I went into town and bought a
men’s shirt. I ended up wearing the guys shirt and my bathing suit skirt cover up on bottom. I know it looked ugly with me in that shirt and that skirt, but I wanted to focus on the wave and not my body parts hanging out!!! It worked too. I felt like WONDER WOMAN riding that wave. I want to design a line for women so they can wear a cool skirt surfing,keep covered and focused, and then walk up to the pool lounge and feel beautiful.

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The Art Gallery Tico Pod

One other incredibly cool thing I have found in downtown Costa Rica is an art gallery called Tico Pod. Jaco, Costa Rica is known for the saying Pura Vita, which means the pure life and the gallery is
filled with paintings that ingulf just that!!! If you vista Jaco, you must visit this incredible gallery!!!

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Entrance to my condo at Club Del Cielo

This trip is ending but it has definitely introduced me to a new journey I am beyond excited for. If you have not traveled alone, I would highly suggest it because I’ve never felt less alone. The people I am meeting are just incredible. I am inspired and can’t even wait to write some new songs, and paint some new songs, and get into a regular yoga practice. If this trip looks as amazing to you as it was for me to experience, then visit Jaco, Costa Rico. I did not post pictures of the waterfalls or the zip lineing but they have that as well. The Hostel is called Room2Board. I can not even wait to send my children here to visit alone. I stayed in a condo and ate at the hostel. The condo was incredible and is called Club Del Cielo . You can rent a condo for a great price if you prefer. When I go back, I will stay at the condo, and put my children up at the hostel. I Have had several songs inspired by this trip and look forward to sharing them and the art work that goes with them. Thanks for visiting a reading!!!

Brian and I Before Jungle Jam.

Brian and I Before Jungle Jam.

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Monkeys In The Mangrove.

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More Monkeys In The Mangrove.

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Wild Lizards.

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Another View From Hiro Mountain.

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Poisonous Tree Frog On My Walk.

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Yoga In An Abandoned Building On The Mountain.

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Giant Crocodiles On The Way To Jaco.

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Woodpecker On My Morning Walk.

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Visiting The Farmers Market.