candle lighter two plus one

{Disclaimer: Sometimes, I can’t publish except through Live Writer which always messes with the fonts, placement, etc. I do apologize as this changes the look, feel, and readability of the post.}

candle lighter two plus one

imageHard to believe that this is already the fourth time that I’ve turned my attention to the candle lighter award. Each time, the person highlighted had her own unique role within the chronic illness and health activist community; the candles lit burned brightly for different reasons and in different ways. Sunshine and Chaos’ Sunday Quotes (among her other postings) is always something to look forward to – each week quotes around an (inspiring) theme provides a candle to light and follow. A Picnic with Ants sheds light on Meniere’s disease and her day to day dealings with its spins, sounds (or lack thereof), all the while remaining true to her calling as an artist. Her companion blog, Creative to Heal, highlights her unique and special kind of artistic endeavor. Her candle reveals how creativity can merge with chronic illness to present a picture of healing. She was a finalist in the WEGO health activist blog awards. Miss Chronically Creative, (whose blog is, not surprisingly called Chronically Creative )through her soul-searing and soul-searching journey, recorded in her blog along with her special talents as an artist as a card maker (among other things) and manicurist extraordinaire, shares with her readers with her own hope and courage. She lights embellished candles that shine brightly.

I give you this brief review to highlight how even though each candle lighter has something unique to offer to the chronically ill and health activist community, their blogs and goals are intertwined. The telling of tales about of their particular illness, offering up some of the artistic talent and humo(u)r that shapes their worlds and colo(u)rs their blogs. And most importantly, all lighting candles to show the way through the shadows of chronic illness and chronic pain. They prove that the world doesn’t have to be a dark place without hope and sunshine; their unique candles offer us light to find our way home.

It is this intertwining, the concept of shared goals and melded spirits that I want to highlight in this, the 4th candle lighter award. Judy of Creativity to the Max, and Laurie of Hibernationnow became friends through the magic of the cyberverse. Their connection is both playful (follow the comments and threads about blob fish for example) and inspirational. Both deal with issues of chronic health; their activism recently hono(u)red by nominations for WEGO health activism awards.

Of Laurie (Hibernationnow), her nomination for Health Activism Hero read “Quite simply….she is my hero. She has a writing style that touches my heart. She is honest and real.” I’m sure that Laurie is a hero to many who value her writing skills, her descriptions, her imagery. How chronic illness is only the backdrop against which she writes.

Judy received two nominations: one for Health Activist Hero: “The name of the blog is Creativity to the Max, in honor of Max, the most magnificent dog. Judy shares her incredible creativity; her positive attitude about her own chronic illnesses; the art therapy she uses in a broad range of workshops; her wonderful sense of humor, her caring, compassion, understanding, and sheer whimsy. I have learned about everything from blob fish to how write a haiku to how to journal to deal with chronic pain. Creativity to the Max is worthy of a WEGO award, and Judy and Max make a very special and wonderful team.” The other, for Hilarious Health Activist stated “Judith (Judy) – Is an incredible woman! She brightens my day every time I read one of her post. She can talk about a serious subject, but still have a humorous twist on it. Some of her posts are just fun. She encourages creative expression! Her co-writer on her blog, Max, her overly creative dog! She brings a humorous touch to having fibromyalgia, heart troubles… Her Haiku’s are legendary. She is a therapist herself, and is always there to help someone in need. I’m so happy, I found her!”

Ringing endorsements of the impact and inspiration Laurie and Judy have on the health blogging community. They complement each other in how chronic health issues become intertwined in stories about life from an honest, respectful, and sometimes very funny perspective – Judy the artist with words and images; aspects of her incredible self-discovery art therapy projects she shares with the cyberverse through her blog. Laurie evokes images with words that weave tapestries; tales of love, of life, of hope. Fiction mixed with reality; real life countered with flights of fancy. Laurie is very active in several of web/blog based writing experiences/experiments such as mellow yellow monday, carry on tuesday, haiku heights and plinky prompts. And, as Judy’s nominee suggests, Judy and Max can turn out fantastic haikus based on the challenge word of the day/week.

Their comments intertwine telling stories on their own; about dealing with chronic illnesses; limitations and wide horizons; light against the shadows. Therefore, I nominate them together for the candle lighter award.

Kate Kresse, of Believe Anyway, originated the Candle Lighter Award to: . . . “light a candle in the darkness that envelopes us all at times. I want to lighten loads and light the way. I gravitate towards positive people and positive blogs. I want to start a blog award that reflects my love for the positive in the blogosphere.”

Kate asks little of the winner – I link back to her comments when my candle light award blog has been posted. If you choose, you can pass the award along to anyone you feel deserves it. You can award it as many times as you like, all that Kate asks is that you link your post back to her site if you give out the award. Simple, really; an award that doesn’t expect anything of the recipient!

imageJudy and Laurie also share a unique bond with their furry companions. While Laurie’s Callie may not compose Maxikus (Max haikus), she is the inspiration for much of Laurie’s writing and a constant and unconditional loving companion. As Laurie writes in her blog post: A Love Letter to my Dog: “I wanted to save you, to save myself. . . . You were never a dog that needed to be walked continuously you preferred to be at home, safe in our tiny house that was always filled with warmth and lots of love. . . .I love you, Callie. You are so important to our family; you always have been.”

imageJudy is Max’s human; he plays an active role in Judy’s blog through his poetry, commentary, and response to comments. Judy says of Max: dedicated to the most creative soul I know.” Max replies: “WOWf to MY world! I am proud to be the #1 healer of life altering conditions and that’s why I have this blog. My Human would be a sick puppy if it weren’t for me. I walk her, lower her blood pressure, give her lots of rewards when she does what I want her to do and make her laugh a lot. . . . Lickingly yours, LLLLLLLLLLL Max”

Each blogger has a cadre of followers/admirers often overlapping. For instance, Mo will leave a funny and/or thoughtful comment on Creativity to the Max or Hibernationnow blogs; her comments ensure smiles and encouragement. Her presence on both blogs is a welcome and welcoming experience. Her own blog, Mo is blogging . . . I think is funny, thoughtful, insightful, and informative.

I want to add the candle lighter award another category (if the rules so allow): the candle lighter comment award. Recognition of the important role comments are in keeping blogs and bloggers inspirational and a shining light against the shadows. It is that depth of emotion; the evocative feeling; the support and encouragement; the level of understanding that raise comments to a higher level. My first comment candle lighter award goes to Tammy, who despite her own chronic illnesses that literally takes her breath away from the pain and can shrink her world down to her bedroom. Yet, all the while, she is raising an incredibly beautiful and special teenage daughter, is an understanding and loving mother to an older son and his family including some incredible kiddlewinks, and now being a part-time caregiver to an older family member.

Tammy adds comments of insight, encouragement, honesty; she is a pain warrior and an incredibly strong woman who shares her emotions and experiences on her blog and through her comments on blogs such as Hibernationnow. She is active on facebook; providing uplifting quotes and images; and sharing snippets of her life, joining threads of conversation. She deserves recognition for how her comments on blogs and her actions on facebook are so inspiring and inspirational. Her blog posts are written from the heart with searing and painful honesty. Her poetry expresses her emotions and provides an outlet for her pain. Using powerful words and images, her last few blogs reflect just how much she is going. Even then, she tries to respond to comments left on her blog, and follow other blogs as well.

This 4th candle lighter award really is going to three people – interconnected through the cyberverse in ways impossible due to geography and mobility in the real world. All three light candles that create concentric circles of light; push back the shadows; and suggest promise of better days to come.