Celebrating My Birthday, Fellow Alopecians and My First (virtual) Visits to Africa!
I was born on the night of a full moon at three minutes past midnight 54 years ago today -- something good was brewing from the beginning! "WHO KNEW?!" as my dad is fond of saying, the unexpected twists and turns my life would take to lead me to where I am now. The last few weeks have been full of the things I love -- traveling, connecting, sharing my books and message, spending time with family, seeing longtime friends and making new ones. You have heard me share about the Children's Alopecia Project which I am a BIG FAN of and a mentor for, and they have upcoming camps available all year! Though it's been awhile since I attended a National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF) conference. Thankfully my friends Lori (grandma), Rachel (mom) and Sage a six year old in South Florida who recently lost all of her hair (watch out world) - pretty much insisted I attend this year. It happened that it was in DC and I was going to be at my Aunt's in Maryland basically that same week! Some things are meant to be! Thirty four years ago I attended my first NAAF conference in DC, when I first decided I was going to stop wearing wigs after 19 years! It was awesome, though I'd only been back once. Well, it was about time and what a GIFT! Including the surprise VIP guest Congresswoman Pressly from my home state of Massachusetts, who recently lost all her hair. There really is something special about being around people who totally get your experience, and being able to be there for people who haven't gotten to acceptance yet on the rollercoaster ride of Alopecia Areata. I was able to present to the young people and tweens, and share with them a cartoon I saw many years ago as a tween myself in the NAAF newsletter... it was a sketch drawing of a parent and child in a doctors office. The doctor saying, "Congratulations! Your child has Alopecia!" The parent looking puzzled says, "Congratulations?!" To which the doctor answers, "Yes, I have never met a young person with Alopecia who doesn't turn out to be an extraordinary human being." It's funny how authority figures can influence us- even in the form of a cartoon. I was fairly depressed and confused at that time in my life, but I also know I took that to heart. I had a great conversation with the tweens, asking them what they thought that meant. They understood that our challenges are often what help us become our best and brightest selves! It might do us all well to remember when we are going and growing through tough times - our biggest gifts and blessings present themselves when we heal, transform or learn to embrace the situation. I'll let the pictures and smiles do the rest of the talking!
For my birthday today -- please consider calling someone you haven't spoken to in awhile and letting them know they are loved -- YOU ARE TOO! I LOVE YOU!
PS...I'm having a good time road tripping with Mom back now in Massachusetts for possibly a month - if YOU are here let us know!
PPS...I presented at my Aunt Sandy's Senior Community Mercy Ridge in Maryland - it was my first time doing this and it was super well received! I am available to do more -- "Before You Go, Know You Are Loved!" I don't have the pics yet - I'll share them next time!
This week I had the awesome opportunity to virtually visit two libraries In Malawi and Ghana, Africa - thanks to Village Books Builders and the awesome work their doing to champion for literacy+ in our world and for our children! Their precious names, faces, and the questions the students asked will stay in my heart. The marketing director Julie commented on how nice it was that in return I asked the children questions -- I could have done that all day long! I love being with our young people. I love, love, love that I was able to teach them my signature cheers "I AM A GENIUS!" and "I SHINE!" With enthusiasm, all the way in Africa they copied me as we said...
"I AM A GENIUS!" (hands out with thumbs up)
"I LISTEN TO MY HEART! (hands over our hearts)
"I USE MY BRAIN!" (hands on our head)
"I AM A GENIUS!" (hands raised over our heads thumbs up!)
Please feel free to use this cheer at home and in your classrooms! It can also be said, again with enthusiasm, like you meant it, "I AM A GENIUS, AND I APPLY MY WISDOM!" -- that was how it was passed along to me from my mentor Dr John Demartini.
We're booking fall visits - find out more here school programs