Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Best Donate a Dinner Ever!

Thanks to you, we will be able to feed more seniors than ever this winter.  We introduced hundreds of people to Loaves  and  Fishes Centers, and  raise more than $200,000!
If you didn't get a chance, it's not too late to donate a meal. Thank you for helping us reach our goal.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Incredible M.O.M. follow up!

What an incredible experience and amazing privilege it was to participate the first West Coast Mission of Mercy event at the Convention Center. We as professional Dentists, support staff and volunteers from the community helped to provided 7,844 procedures valuing $829,119 to 1,554 patients in the two days. The Oregon Dental Association worked tirelessly to organize this event that would effect so many lives, more than could have been imagined. It was an experience that I have been having trouble putting words to, but one week later I have to try to express some of what this entire experience meant to me. 
As I rolled out of bed at 4:30 am I complained that I was "cold" because the heat had yet to kick on, since we normally don't rise that early. I was "tired". It was too early to eat, but I was "hungry". As we drove up to the Convention Center at 5 am I was stunned to see people already lined up around the large complex. Some, we were told, had been there since the night before in sub-freezing, raining conditions, and most arriving at 4 am with the hopes of having their dental pain and problems relieved. There was no guarantee that they would all be seen that day, but hopes were high. At that moment I realized a new meaning to the words "cold" ,"tired" and "hungry". 

 As I sat at the table welcoming in the prospective patients, and giving them their name tags, I was overwhelmed with emotion and totally humbled by the experience. Each and every cold, wet, tired person that stepped into the building,sighed with relief, knowing they had finally made it into the warmth of the convention center. They knew that they would be treated that day, was grateful, gracious and cheerful. They blessed us and praised us  for the time we were giving them to provide the much needed dental work. Some of the patients had lost healthcare and jobs due to the tough economic status of our state. Some where living out on the street. Some were struggling with drugs and alcohol. Many had small children and babies in their arms, having been waiting for hours in the cold. 

What a reality check for my own life and comforts! I do try to live each day honoring my blessings and feeling grateful for my truly wonderful and full life, but this day took me to a new level of appreciation and gratefulness. I know that even with my intent to live a grateful authentic life, things do slip by me in the day to day rushing, that I might not notice and be fully grateful for. What a gift and lesson I learned from the people who came into the Convention Center. There were thousands of people in line and we were only able to let under one thousand in the first day 12 hour day. Some people that were not able to be seen on Monday, remained on to wait in line, sleeping out, with the hopes of being seen on Tuesday, even though the temperatures were falling to record lows with freezing rain and snow. 

Some of the media chose to focus on the fact that not everyone in line was treated, or that standing out in the cold is akin to the pain of dentistry. I tried to see beyond that ignorant attitude and did go as far as to write a letter to the editor of the Oregonian, addressing that form of "journalism". Most of the coverage of the event was very positive.

I know we can all learn something from the attitudes of the clients that showed up for MOM. In the afternoon, I escorted patients to continue with their treatment or those who were already done for the day. Some patients where happy to have teeth extracted to relieve their pain, some had their long neglected teeth filled and others left happily with new teeth where no teeth had remained and left with smiles on their faces for the first time. They wrote comments on cards that were posted in the break room throughout the day. One women wrote, that she had been a victim of domestic violence and as a result had her teeth knocked out, and that now she could finally smile with her new teeth. The day was filled with tears of joy and sorrow for many of us. Everyone was treated with respect and everyone left with a feeling of pride. Some people now being able to eat with a comfort that they had never known.

I was filled with pride for my husband Michael and his trusty assistant Alvina providing 12 hours of dental care with barely a break, who are seen in this great picture taken during the day~~
I was also so proud to have been a part of such an amazingly important event. Next year we will work both 5am-6pm days. We went home this time after working just the Monday double shift, feeling incredibly exhausted but pumped with so much adrenaline, so many personal stories to share with each other as we had a wonderful, grateful, warm dinner together. The food tasted so much richer to us because our day's experience. We were filled with such a sense of satisfaction, accomplishment and gratefulness, and such an array of emotions that I am still trying to process.I don't know of anyone on either the giving or receiving end of this event, that was not deeply effected. I for one, have been touched and changed forever having had the honor of working at M.O.M. What a Thanksgiving gift I have been able to receive through M.O.M.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Donate Dinner- Help feed seniors this Thanksgiving! It's not too late

Got two hours?Greet customers and hand out Donate Dinner cards... it's as easy as that!
YOUR participation will raise crucial funds to feed the increasing number of local seniors in need of a hot nutritional meal.
The 5 days before Thanksgiving, Nov. 20 - 24, 2010.
At 28 local grocery stores. We still need volunteers at all of our locations, however the stores listed below have the greatest need. Please click on a store if you would like to volunteer.
To view a list of all participating stores, click here.
For more information, visit the Donate Dinner website at www.donatedinner.org

~~~and not for the sake of winning but for sheer delight and gratitude....

Last nights dance was incredibly and especially rich for me. We began with our blindly chosen line from Mary Oliver's poem "Invitation" for inspiration. I just loved the line that chose me

........."and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude"

The line conjured in my mind the idea that I don't have to always have the answers and explanations for everything. I don't have to always struggle to "figure it out". That sometimes there are no explanations. Things just are what they are. The beauty is in the process of life, just because........... It also made me think of my recent submission to the Portland Building for the installation "Waiting". I am making it for the sake of sheer delight and gratitude. That is enough. Whether it is chosen and seen by the public would be an added honor but I am satisfied with the process of creating it for the sake of itself. I am grateful................

Invitation~~ Mary Oliver

"Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air

as they strive
not for your sake
and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude—

believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing

just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in this broken world.
I beg of you,

do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.

It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life."

We ended dancing to the incredible song by Tina Turner called "Beyond". I had never heard it before. Its words are so amazing. It is part chant, part spiritual, part Buddhist prayer, and the words deeply touched my soul. If you have a chance to listen to this 7 minute jewel of a recording, you will be enriched beyond words. She fills you with a spiritual energy that is palpable. I can't find the lyrics written anywhere, but maybe this is for the best. It has to be listened to in order to fully experience the power and beauty of her most recent collaboration. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


This morning was another delightful time at Cesar Chavez Elementary School reading with second graders, as part of S.M.A.R.T., or Start Making A Reader Today. Willante was out today but I had fun reading  with Alex for the first time, and reading with my regular student Soloria. These kids are so enthusiastic about reading, especially on the book give-away days, when they get to increase their personal home library, courtesy of Scholastic Books. It excites me and gives me hope for our future readers and the power of knowledge made fun! I am so happy to be a part of this great program!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Returning Home, Settling into the Autumn, My Rich Life Overflowing with Abundance!

It seems like such an eternity since last I wrote. Being away from home traveling, as wonderful as a trip can be,makes for it hard for me to not be home; in my home in Portland and settled into my home in my body. I am settling in now to the growing darkness and rain, the comforting yin feeling of Autumn, my favorite season. 
I have been savoring the past weeks dance, with my dance family, to Mary Oliver's Wild Geese again, a perfect poem for the season. It resonates so deeply for me in the depths of my soul.
"You do not have to be good. 
You do not have to walk on your knees 
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. 
You only have to let the soft animal of your body 
love what it loves. 
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. 
Meanwhile the world goes on. 
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain 
are moving across the landscapes, 
over the prairies and the deep trees, 
the mountains and the rivers. 
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, 
are heading home again. 
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, 
the world offers itself to your imagination
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place 
in the family of things."

I have also been frantically working to meet some deadlines. I am so proud that I got my proposal submitted to RACC for the Portland Building Installation space for 2011 on time. I have the hopes of installing my ongoing piece "Waiting". I continue to work on it and the idea continues to evolve for me as I grow to understand it even more. To date, I have 79 chairs and will be making 29 more to reach my intended goal of 108 chairs. I will also create other pieces to be a part of this site specific, interactive space. I remain hopeful, yet I am determined to not let the acceptance of this piece by the committee, be the determining factor of its inherent worth. I am, afterall, creating it for me. Having the privilege of sharing it with others would be an added benefit and bring in other peoples experiences and energy. Now I continue to wait.................

In addition, I finished the 6 x 6 piece that I have donated for the auction to benefit the Audubon Society's Wild Art's Festival 2010 that will be held the weekend of Nov 20.

Yesterday was a wonderful art play date with my fellow creative spirit Eddy. We scavanged some of Portland's haunts and then made it over to The Community Warehouse, where we chose our pieces that we will transform for this year's Chair Affair.(Did I actually bring home THREE chairs this time??!) I cannot believe another year has past and that it is that time again. (Before, during and after pictures will be posted in the upcoming months). I am excited about the event again, and plan to be a part of the planning of it as well. 
Next weekend I will volunteer with Michael at M.O.M., Missions of Mercy.
I will help with the Oregon State Dental Society to provide $1 million worth of free dental care to 1,500 to 2,000 people in just two days! 

The following weekend I will once again work with Loaves and Fishes The Meals on Wheels people, Donate a Dinner , to try to raise money to provide meals to home bound seniors during the holidays.

Now begins the wonderful planning stages leading up to my favorite time of the year,Thanksgiving. I have so much to be grateful for as always. I am expecially grateful that this year I will be able to chop and cook in the kitchen along side my favorite culinary student and master chef in the Grishman kitchen, Jenni,  since my wrist surgery in February was successful and I have my life back!!