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Amy Gutierrez was 18-years-old when she started writing for my first website, BreastCancerSisterhood.com. I always knew I wanted a young person to write from their perspective about their mother’s cancer diagnosis, but I never dreamed I’d meet someone as wise and compassionate as Amy. Children and teens have a difficult time when a parent is diagnosed with a serious illness, but often they don’t have an outlet to address their feelings. By reading Amy’s blog kids could relate to a young woman who helped care for her mother while living her own life. Amy is now 28-years-old, a graduate of Emerson College. She’s working in the publishing industry and is engaged to be married.

Amy Gutierrez is even more committed, now, to the things she believes in. I want you to meet Amy.

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No, this isn’t a reference to a gunshot wound. First used in 1916, it’s a metaphor that refers to something that gives us renewed energy or enthusiasm, generally from the effects of vitamins, narcotics, or drugs.

Jump to 2019, and in my case it means steroids.

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Remember Rene Russo’s Italian Riviera colored smoothie in the Thomas Crown Affair? The enticing blue-green concoction that made many of us decide—then and there—that we wanted whatever she’s having? While I began drinking green smoothies, I must have used the wrong recipe.

Instead of having a man on my arm like Pierce Brosnan, I wound up with kidney stones.

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Here we are, the beginning of a new year. I don’t make resolutions. Instead I set a few goals and post them where I can SEE them. I’ve set three goals for this year, and I’m going to approach them a bit more light-heartedly than ever before. Continue Reading

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BRENDA COFFEE, AGE 23, AT THE OCEAN CLUB, PARADISE ISLAND, BAHAMAS. Photograph by Philip Ray.
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Poetry has never been my strong suit, but today I found a poem I wrote decades ago. I was old enough to have experienced deep loss and overwhelming fear, and yet, I had an inner strength and resilience. If nothing else, I’ve always been resilient. Since then I’ve discovered the answers to most of the questions I posed in my poem. Some of my assumptions were wrong, particularly the one about God, plus now I know dessert is always worth the calories, and when in doubt… overdress.

Wishing each one of you a happy and healthy New Year filled with love, forgiveness and optimism.

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FAVORⓇ SMOKELESS CIGARETTES, Photograph by Brenda Coffee, ©1010ParkPlace, 2018
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This week Good Morning America (GMA) reported the Surgeon General declared “vaping” to be an epidemic among teenagers, and there are few treatment options. What GMA and the Surgeon General failed to say is cigarettes, vaping and the current e-cigarettes are more addicting than heroin. How do I know this? For 20 years nicotine and smokeless cigarettes were my business. I coined the terms “vape” and “vaping.”

This is the story of the sinister plot between the Federal government and the “Big Six” tobacco companies to put the first smokeless cigarette out of business because it wasn’t in their best interest.

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Our journey began early July, 2016. We went to a nearby RV park, in-spite of the ridiculous Texas heat and rain, to try-out our new motorhome. Within the first half-hour Turk made a newbie mistake.  Randomly pushing buttons, he accidentally turned off the 12-volt switch which shut down all power to the coach, including our AC.  Continue Reading

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Pixnio Free Images
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The day after Christmas it will be eight years since James went for a walk and died, unexpectedly, of cardiac arrest. He was the glue that held our family together, and his death was devastating for all who loved him. A few weeks before he died his son dropped out of law school and was hoping Dad would “fix things.” Instead of healing and fixing, there were “instances of regret” that Christmas. In an attempt to make sure he’d never run the risk of hearing what Dad thought of him, I believe his son cut me out of his life. 

I haven’t heard from him since. 

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I just picked up a copy of Magnolia Journal, Chip and Joanna Gaines’s magazine, because I loved the title of the cover story, “The Thrill of Hope.” The subtitle of the article, ‘Choosing to live in hopeful expectation’ is pretty much my definition of optimism and a positive attitude. But look at that subtitle, again, if you will…

Optimism is a choice.

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