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Youth for Understanding needs “Welcome families!”

When I fly, and I fly often, I usually read a book or work on my writing.  But on my flight to Iowa, I met Pamela Van de Walle of Silver Spring, MD who works for an international exchange student organization named Youth for Understanding USA.  We spoke a great deal about her life and I hope to write more about her in a future post.  (I am sure she will join the Walking Gallery one day!)  I am writing about her mission here because one of you who read this post may be able to help. If you have a spare room and the willingness to host an international student on a long or short-term basis please contact Youth for Understanding USA ASAP.  Or if you are unable maybe you know someone who can help!  I cannot host due to my frequent travel schedule, but I offered to help…

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The Landscape of a Life

This weekend I painted Donna Cryer’s jacket in a park filled with children.  I was running a booth at a local fair and representing Christ Lutheran Church, my art and the wonder of playing with Legos.  Our booth was a very different type of booth from the others in the park.  Most booths were operated by local organizations as fundraisers.  The Lions made popcorn, the Cub Scouts made French fries, and so on.   Each booth team was working so very hard on fundraising that they had little time to explain their mission or talk to potential new members.  When I registered our booth as a non-profit, I was quickly asked, “What are you selling as your fundraiser?”  I responded, ”Oh, we aren’t focused on fundraising, we just want to let the kids to be able to play a free game and learn about activities at Church.”   Yep, we were rather…

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Lab Power

I love Google image search.  I must admit when I research someone I begin with pictures.  Pictures can tell you so much about a person.  I thoroughly enjoyed researching Lisa Donnarumma as the picture that I saw again and again was of a dog.  A particular type of dog seems to be associated with Lisa.  Lisa likes labs.  She enjoys their spirit and exuberance.  They are not very good at sitting still and have a little trouble doing exactly what they are told (like many e-patients).   Lisa loved her own lab Caya and wanted the world to see her smart special friend.  She enrolled Caya in an agility trial with the New England Community of Canine Agility in 2008.  As they waited Lisa realized Caya might be the only lab in a sea of Border Collies.  As Caya barked within a crowd of obedient dogs, Lisa wondered if they could…

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Return Flight

When I paint about members of the Walking Gallery, I learn such amazing things.  I see blog posts written before twitter was even born.  I read books that describe tragedy and learn about rare and often fatal medical conditions.  I delve into Facebook pictures and twitter comments of yesteryear.  All this I do, in an attempt to walk within the story so I can depict the soul. My challenge in creation is the quiet ones, the modest ones.  The one that only exist as a mention in a pdf or a chair in a committee, their deeper story is as hard to find as Hansel’s fateful crumbs. This is the jacket painting of Karin Jay.  It is entitled “Return Flight.”  In this painting, Karin stands as a girl throwing paper airplanes in the air.   These airplanes are the colors and shapes of The Joint Commission logo where Karin worked for…

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Silent No More

I was honored to paint a jacket for fellow widow Alice Mwongera.  You can find her on twitter as @voice_patient or on Facebook.  She decided to speak out and try to change the world. Alice lives in Nairobi Kenya and a few years ago her husbandwas very ill.  His kidneys were failing and in desperate need of dialysis treatment. They went to the public hospital. Their private insurance was depleted due to her husband’s long illness and there were no other choices.  They waited for six hours in the busy waiting room. In that room they waited, knowing each minute the condition worsened.  In that room a marriage and a life ended.  Alice’s husband died without receiving appropriate care.   She went home a new widow to care for her young daughters.  Soon tragedy struck again.  Six months after her husband’s death Alice’s brother Morris Moses developed a bad cold and began to…