Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Today I am sharing a couple of the photos for my friend Julie that I took a week and a half ago here at my courtyard. I have a report that dear Jules is doing well this week and I am thrilled, as I know she wants special time with her children. I watched a news piece about her that was televised Monday night on Fox 13 News. It featured her sharing the idea of the living memorial service that I attended. Next Monday, four of Julie's good friends will be coming to the studio to start volunteering with Soulumination and I am so thankful for their care and consideration. Julie, you are inspiring me and others to live in the moment and to step forward as new challenges and opportunities arise. I will keep you posted but I am thinking of expanding the mission of Soulumination through my contact with some special women, Mary Tudor, Julie, Camari, Mary O'Leary, Vicki Ashberg and Lisa. I am thinking that we will work with parents who have terminal conditions and children between newborn and age 18. This would be giving children who lose a parent the same legacy we give to parents who lose children. The exact direction and scope will be carefully considered, but I feel something guiding me to new horizons while keeping me safely in touch with needs of the current projects.

We are not actively seeking help in the administrative area, but are open to letting someone with special heart and skills into the organization. I feel that in time the right person will find his or her way to Ballard and Soulumination and these amazing families. Someone who will stay with a little foundation for years and grow and thrive in the love and spirit of the work. Sarah is currently taking on bigger tasks and longer hours as we say goodbye to Christine and wish this lovely woman the very best in life.

I finally had the honor of meeting a very special 16-year-old girl I had been hearing about for almost eight months. She was well worth the wait, and I am so happy to say that I have been successful in connecting them with a wonderful oncologist at UW Medical Center who will guide them to help in the holistic approach to treating her tumor. She is alive today, according to her family, due to a macrobiotic diet that is extending her life. This dear girl suffers from a very rare brain tumor, but shows such spunk and style that she knocked me out. Her entire family was lively and loving and it was indeed an honor to be with them. I chatted with her mom and I will hopefully have releases soon so I can share this very special young woman with all of you.

On Thursday my good pal Courtney came for her photo shoot. I have been working with her and her family for a number of years, and even though Courtney was always in a wheelchair and wasn't verbal, she seemed so part of everything that I didn't understand her condition was such that she was a perfect candidate for Soulumination photos. Courtney's family was gracious enough to do a promo shoot for the Husky Nation Project before she even had her Soul shoot. I am also sharing a photo of Courtney with you all today. It was really nice to have time with Courtney and her parents without her lively and vivacious little sisters, who have always grabbed my time and concentration while Courtney patiently let us do our wild and crazy thing in Seattle parks. So Thursday was her day alone with my camera and her mom and dad and I feel that our bonding is solid and that she knows she is a favorite subject of mine.

I am so proud to say that we had help from our volunteer photographers on many fronts again. Susan Doupe made her first outing for Soul and worked with a very special family in Gig Harbor with a ten-year-old son who is one of our newest Soul Children. Sandra Coan worked with two families at Children's Hospital, graciously allowing me to enjoy a mini-retreat with some of my best friends and my daughter Llewelyn. Her shoots were with two beautiful baby boys and she is very pleased with the results, so it will be a pleasure to view the finished prints. Tara Clark did a follow-up shoot for a beautiful baby girl I had met briefly at Children's. I have viewed a disc of her work and it is very lovely, and I know that family will be pleased with the results.

My assistant Sarah and I are very busy here indeed and I send my heartfelt thanks to my volunteers, Brenna and Allison, for helping keep us on track. We are hoping to chat with a couple of people who are interested in helping us with the book work. Our new helper Zoe is working on fundraising ideas and board member Lori Sawyer is working on the yearly newsletter. At our board meeting, we determined that we can keep increasing the number of families we serve with each passing month. Thanks to so many loving donors we can move forward and add to the numbers, plus we have plenty of willing and incredible talent to work with families, so we are not limited by my schedule. We hear often from our wonderful associate in DC, Sarah Mattingly, who has shown devotion and talent in so many ways. We are just trying to work out details for Sarah and me to attend and show Soulumination work at the NTSAD family conference to be held in Maryland. It would be so wonderful to be with the Tay-Sachs families and to work with Sarah for a special presentation.

I close as always, in love and peace, Lynette