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Brenda’s Blog

— Life —

Depression by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 ImageCreator
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Most of us have experienced depression from time to time, but did you know the worst thing we can do about it is to do nothing? If you’re like me, perhaps you’ve had situational depression that resolved itself when the circumstances that caused it were resolved. Or like me, if you’ve also had a longer, more severe depression that blankets you in a dark shroud, you may decide that like your less severe depression this, too, shall pass. But what if it doesn’t? I don’t know if this is a medical term, but sometimes I’ve thought of myself as functionally depressed. 

In other words I show up for life and get my “to do” lists accomplished, but it can be a struggle. 

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— Life —

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When we’re in the midst of a storm it’s often difficult to see past our worries and fears and find solid ground. For me solid ground is not when the sun comes out and the birds start chirping. It’s when I have clear vision and can think logically and make good decisions. That doesn’t mean I don’t cry and give in to my feelings, sometimes, but if I do, I don’t let myself stay there for long. At some point there will be plenty of time to breathe a sigh of relief, or grieve, but for now….

I need to be the one person I know I can always count on.

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— Life —

ANNIE (LEFT) AND LULU, EIGHT WEEKS OLD, THE DAY I BROUGHT THEM HOME.
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Like many women who’ve had breast cancer, sometimes I think about why I’m still here. In part it was due to the type and stage of my cancer, my good physical shape and the great medical care I received, but I always come back to my faith in God and my determination to survive. And when I think about the word “survivorship,” and all the courageous people, dealing with their own set of problems, it may sound strange, but also I think of my 16-month-old puppy, Lulu. 

At birth, if you’d calculated Lulu’s odds of surviving, they would have been slim to none.

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— Style —

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Have you ever been put in the awkward position of telling someone they need to blow their nose, or they have spinach in their teeth? While that can make us, and them, feel uncomfortable, it’s not as difficult as handing your business partner a pair of tweezers and asking her to pluck her chin hairs… Now. 

She had a crop of hairs on her chin that stuck straight out, but it was the ones that looked like curly fries that bothered me most. 

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— Style —

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Last week I spent a lot of time in airports, waiting for the rain to stop and trying to read Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. I love this book because he wrote just like he talked. From page one, paragraph one, we’re reminded that his cutting wit was as sharp as his knives. Even so, like a deflated soufflé, my attempts to read his irreverent banquet fell flat. Who would have guessed Anthony Bourdain would be derailed by an airport full of poorly dressed passengers… mostly men over 50? 

Maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s telling when the best dressed person in the airport is a nun.

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— Life —

ALL PHOTOGRAPHS ©ADRIAN VILLETA
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While trying to flee the heat this week I discovered a book of artistic photographs, each a true work of art, and then found myself slipping down the rabbit hole to learn everything I could about the man who created them. Adrian Villeta, a photographic artist from San Juan, Puerto Rico, blurs the boundaries of photography and painting. In his gorgeous new book, Adrian Villeta Poetic Vision—the forward written by Gloria Vanderbilt—Villeta’s imagination and attention to detail knows no boundaries.

As Villeta says about himself, “I have always lived in an imaginary version of reality.”

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— Life —

ALL PHOTOS ©BRENDA COFFEE, 2018. THE CHURCH AT THE BOTTOM OF COPPER CANYON.
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Have you ever dreamed about going somewhere and then discovered the reality of getting there was more than you’d expected? This may not come as a surprise, but that’s happened to me more than once. The problem with having a bold, adventurous nature is you reach the point where you think you can go anywhere and do anything.

Making my way to the bottom of Copper Canyon, Mexico, to see an old Spanish church was one of those trips.

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— Life —

ALL PHOTOS ©BRENDA COFFEE, 2018. THE CHURCH OUTSIDE BATOPILAS, MEXICO.
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Thirty years ago the road to Batopilas, Mexico, was a real life rollercoaster gone off the rails. Nestled at the bottom of Copper Canyon and framed by the Sierra Madre Mountains, Batopilas began in 1708, as a remote silver mining village. Complete with legendary silver barons, lost Jesuit gold mines, bandits, Indian revolts, the secluded Tarahumaras and a serial killer priest… I had to go.

Ten heart-stopping hours later, including a side trip to convince a woman to come back from the dead, we arrived.

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— Life —

PHOTO BY BRENDA COFFEE, ©1010PARKPLACE, 2018
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I’ve only had a handful of manicures in my entire life. Perhaps that’s because pretty, polished nails used to last me 10 minutes. Digging for crystals in abandoned silver mines and changing racing tires made for chipped nails. Don’t misunderstand… I’ve always filed my nails, worked hard to make sure my cuticles are in good shape, usually a coat of clear polish, and as my friend, Sherrie, says, “I keep my toes polished except when I let them winter.” In the last six weeks, however, I’ve had my nails polished twice. Both nail salons alarmed me.

Did you know your nail technicians could be victims of modern day slavery?

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— Life —

PHOTO FROM CNN
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Last week a woman who went to my church took her own life and this week designer, Kate Spade, and cultural and culinary journalist, Anthony Bourdain, hung themselves. Like you, I’m stunned and saddened, but the more I learn about suicide, I realize we shouldn’t be surprised.

According to the Center for Disease Control, each year, more people die from suicide than from car accidents. The suicide rate in America has increased 25 percent in the last 20 years.

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