Daymaker - a person who performs acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place.
~ David Wagner
, author of Life as a Daymaker; how to change the world by making someone's day ~

DayMaker - any thought, word, or deed that spreads happiness, compassion, or fruitful ideas.
~ Annis Cassells ~

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Awake Party

Last weekend, we celebrated our dear friend Trudy, who is courageously dealing with end-stage cancer. She wanted to have her party while she was still here to enjoy it. She wanted to see the people who mean a lot to her and, as she said, “hear the nice things they say about me.” 

Trudy’s garden and yard had to be immaculate, after all, she’s the president of the Bakersfield Green Thumb Garden Club. She worked hard to make it happen, hung in there on days when she didn’t feel up to par.  With Trudy’s eye and guidance, and partner Sylvia and sister Rebecca doing the heavy lifting and physically intensive jobs, the setting shone picture-perfect.

Sylvia, Rebecca, and Trudy
Trudy sent out the word, and we all came -- family members, lifelong pals, new friends, motorcycle buddies, and garden club friends. Some traveled from as far away as Arizona and Los Angeles, Aguanga, Littlerock, Sacramento, and Redding, California.  Folks from all over town where Trudy has become dear also showed up. The gals from the Speedway convenience store down the street and Joe from the Bulk Yard were on hand. 

An informal open house-style party, characterized by laughter and stories of Trudy and her antics brought us all together. Ever gracious, though tiring as the day progressed, Trudy took time to visit with each person. And, yes, it was emotional, but that’s to be expected. We care deeply.

Sylvia had spent many hours lovingly creating a slide show that showcased the important areas of Trudy’s life. To everyone’s delight, it ran constantly throughout both afternoons.

Sunday morning, friend Chelli, who had driven in from Arizona the afternoon before, rose with a mission in mind. Her early morning shopping trip resulted in a bountiful array of scrapbooking materials and a small photo printer.  As people arrived at the house later that day, she took pictures of them with Trudy. The guests then created a scrapbook page that displayed the photo and their message for Trudy. Participating in this way initiated a wonderful memory for each one of us while creating the epitome of a memory book for Trudy and Sylvia.

An Awake Party. Not a wake. That’s what Trudy wanted. It gave us a chance to pay our respects to her and to let her know how important she is to us, how much we love her. It’s a priceless gift each of us can hold in our hearts, a gift for which I am beyond grateful.

~ xoA

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sister Time

There’s nothing like a sister. Try three sets of sisters. Three sets of sisters who relish their time together. That’s the happy occasion when the Cassells, Calhoun, and McDole women get together for Sister Time during the week of Relay for Life.

My sister ReeniĆ© flies in from Detroit. Judy’s sister Jan comes in from Reno.  Then, my two daughters Amina, from Los Angeles, and Asila, from North Carolina, round out the sextet. 

The Sensational Six: Reenie, me, Amina, Judy, Asila, and Jan

Originally, the Relay was our reason for gathering. Now, in addition, we rendezvous because we enjoy each others’ company and want to have quality time together. Over the years, we’ve instituted several traditions. Some have been set aside as we attempt to honor and support each others’ health needs.

A few traditions have remained constant from the beginning. Somewhere in our schedule, we must fit in a trip to Lamont for dinner at El Pueblo, our favorite Mexican restaurant. Most of us order their signature shrimp dish, Cancun, but a few branch out and try other delights. 

‘ Treats’ is  of another enduring tradition. In a ceremonial atmosphere, each sister receives small gifts from all the others. After this year’s fun-filled exchange, we all agreed that this practice is so neat because these little gifts are sought out with each person in mind and presented with love. 

The most wonderful aspect of Sister Time is reconnecting. We take time out of our busy lives to be present in the circle of sisterhood. We catch up with each other in real conversations, face-to-face. We reaffirm our bonds and spread the love

There’s nothing like a sister, but there’s really nothing like spending quality time together. We can’t wait until next year. 

~ xoA