Essence of Laurel

Essence of Laurel - inspirational art and writings by Laurel D. Rund

Let’s go fly a kite! Up to the Highest Height!

“Imagination is the highest kite one can fly,”  Lauren Bacall

So….Let’s go fly a kite! 

Let’s go fly a kite! Art from the Heart by Laurel Rund

I see children as kites.  You spend a lifetime trying to get them off the ground. You run with them until you’re both breathless. They crash . . . you add a longer tail . . . you patch and comfort, adjust and teach.  You watch them lifted by the wind and assure them that someday they’ll fly.” Author: Erma Bombeck

Let’s Go Fly a Kite”

 (from Mary Poppins)

With tuppence for paper and strings,
you can have your own set of wings.
With your feet on the ground,
you’re a bird in flight!
With your fist holding tight,
to the string of your kite!

Let’s go fly a kite
Up to the highest height
Let’s go fly a kite
And send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let’s go fly a kite!

When you send it flying up there,
all at once your lighter than air!
You can dance on the breeze,
over ‘ouses and trees!
With your fist ‘olding tight,
to the string your kite!

Let’s go fly a kite
Up to the highest height
Let’s go fly a kite
And send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let’s go fly a kite!”

Written by Robert B. Sherman

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Coming Full Circle

In honor of this coming Mother’s Day – I am sharing one of the most meaningful pieces (for me) that I have written.

♥ ♥ ♥

Many of us carry within us words that define our life stories.  I have several words, and for a long time the predominant one was “loss.”  I spent many years feeling deprived of the love of my mother, her presence and her story.

Ina, my mother, died 13 months after I was born.  For most of my life, I felt like a “motherless child.”  She became a ghost-like fantasy to me, which is probably why I liked fairytales so much as a kid. Maybe I was wishing for a happy ending.

My father remarried when I was four (not a fairytale ending by any means) and the stories and pictures of my mother were buried in the vault of the past.  Because Ina did not have an extended family, she got lost in the ether.  It felt to me that the only evidence of her being here on this earth was the existence of my two older brothers and myself.  I wondered about this woman who gave birth to me, and questioned whether I would have turned out differently if she had lived.  Loss became the prevailing theme in telling my life story.

Ina Fleisig


After experiencing the loss of my husband in 2009, and gaining a new perspective on death, I have come to understand that I did get to be with and know my mother during that nine-month gestation period in her womb.  Ina left her loving imprint on me, providing the fertile ground that has nurtured my spirit and helped grow me into the person I am today.

The vision I have always “seen” of my mother’s hands gently protecting and guiding me throughout my life, and this ephiphany, has shifted me.  I have come “full circle” to a place of belief and love for what time we had together.  Laurel


COMING FULL CIRCLE .. a letter from a daughter to her mother


Coming Full Circle by Laurel D. Rund

When I picked you from afar, I knew that you would gift me with life. With intention and purpose, I floated into your womb… absorbing your molecules and making them mine.

While tethered to you, I was cared for and fearless as you willingly provided nourishment, safety and unconditional love.  I was enveloped by the sounds in the depths of your belly, and your heart and mine beat together in a life-forming synchronistic rhythm.  Within the sanctuary of your womb, I grew from a seedling into a tiny being … swimming, kicking and moving about unabashedly.

The nine months I spent inside your belly strengthened and prepared me for what was to come in the “outside world.”  As the time of gestation was  coming to an end, I tried to hold on, to resist the next part of my journey ~ I must have  a known that our time together on earth would be cut short. 

Nonetheless, you pushed me forward. Your body urged me to move into the world, like an ocean wave crashing towards the shore.   As I gulped in my first breathe of air and cried out, you breathed a sigh of relief, knowing with certainty that I would survive.

And then, as a sign of your enternal love,  you bestowed upon me the unique and beautiful name to which I answer.  I am and always will be your Laurel Diane.

Not until the afternoon of my life have I come to appreciate and be grateful for the the bonds that were built during those first nine months we spent together.   Although you had only one precious year left on earth to be with me,  your loving imprint is permanently affixed to my heart.

  Laurel Diane Rund- 9/2013

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Mother’s Song by Kathy Zavada

Just Be

Today is a celebration.  On May 5th 2010,  four years ago,  I met the man who has gently and unconditionally taught me how to love again.   Here, in honor of our 4th anniversary, is the story of Philip and Laurel.

JUST BE!   by Laurel D. Rund

It’s funny about how you meet that special someone in your life at the most unexpected time.   I was getting my hair cut and colored one day without any thought other than, I really, really need to have my roots colored.   Picture this, a woman sitting in the hair salon chair with her hair sticking up as if she had stuck her finger in an electrical socket.  Now come on, this is supposed to be a place where you can look your worst so that you can look your best ~ right?

The woman who does my hair was also working with a gentlemen sitting to the left of me (he was preoccupied with his iPhone.)   I paid him little mind, why would I – this was my personal space to relax and be pampered.  Out of the blue, my “hair dresser” introduced me to the man sitting to the left of me, her next customer. After squirming with internal protest (I was thinking … HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME,)  I put on a smile and politely said hello.    Then I quickly turned my head to back to her and said “ARE YOU CRAZY!”

Well, the rest is history, as they say. This man and I began to talk. He liked my name, Laurel, and asked what color flower it was (clever pick-up line if I say so myself).  I carefreely said, “if you really want to know who I am, go to, my website”… knowing that it truly represented the woman I am today, including a picture of me without my hair standing up at all angles.   (Thank goodness I also wasn’t having my eyebrows colored, because then I would have looked like a combination of the Marx brothers being electrocuted.)

It took a few seconds for this guy to go to my website (thank you iPhone.)  I watched in amazement, once he found the site, as to how he reacted to my art and poetry.  It seemed to startle him in a good way, and it was then that we actually began to talk.   We could have been at a coffee shop or having a glass of wine together, the imagery of where we were quickly faded away. It was what we were “seeing” in each that piqued our mutual interest.

The long and the short of it is that we did meet for dinner, then a movie, and then on and on and on.   What I was experiencing and feeling started to make me nervous because I wasn’t, repeat wasn’t looking for someone and there didn’t seem to be any any red flags which said danger ahead.  Having spent the last year plus getting back on my feet after losing my husband, and building a new life for myself, I didn’t want to “lose my freedom.”  You know ~ I am Woman Hear Me Roar!

What did this mean to me?  I was re-emerging and discovering the woman I am today, and didn’t want to go into a relationship that would sidetrack me on this journey. I had made new friends, discovered my creative spirit and spirituality, and was bringing joy back into my life.

When I told the story of my fears about this newfound relationship to someone very important in my life, she said to me “Laurel, if you are afraid of losing your freedom, you are not truly free. SoJust Be.”    Yikes, those words said it all – and I got it!  

 I thought I would be invisible after my husband’s death. What I didn’t realize is that I just needed to look into the mirror of life and really “see” me. The rest has been falling into place – one day, one hour, one minute at a time.

Can we will we? by Laurel D. Rund and Philip W. LeberSo, I released my fears and decided to let our partnership form itself as it was meant to be.   This man, whom I care very deeply about, has been united with me in a wondrous way because he understands my need to keep true to my “Essence” ~ the woman who emerged after the storm of loss and grief. And I, too, understand that he needs to do the same for himself.

Somehow through a mysterious force, we found one another.  Slowly, tentatively, but with intention, we each told the story of our life’s journey. Sharing what lies beneath our outer facades, revealing long-felt feelings, fears, hopes and dreams. Whether by fate or by plan, a synchronistic encounter offered each of us a beautiful and healing balm ~ the gift of renewal and love.

Romance in my 60’s has come with many unexpected gifts.   Time compresses, wisdom is stored within and called upon, and I have finally learned to “Just Be.”


For All Intents and Purpose – A Life Redefined! Angela Long

For All Intents and Purpose – A Life Redefined!

Contributed by Angela Long

For All Intents and Purpose – A Life Redefined!

In early 2004, I was a busy mom of two active children. My healthy, happy bundles of joy (ages two and five) were destined for greatness, I was sure of it. Why? Because I was fortunate to be home with them, having the privilege of spending 24/7 helping to shape my children into excellence;  teaching them all the things things I had learned in my lifetime.

At that time in my life, that was my intent and purpose. Good days were good, and bad days were…. well, not so good. My happiness hinged on how well my children behaved and performed, because that was a representation of how I was doing as a mother and a person. But, my biggest struggle was that they had minds of their own and preferred doing what they wanted to do when they wanted to do it!  All of my wisdom and knowledge seemed to fall on deaf ears, especially for my five-year-old. My hope was that one day I would figure out that magic formula to help him see the light and follow this path to great success that I had laid out for him and his sister.

Then in February of that year, at the age of 35, a twist of fate happened.  I heard these three little words that would forever change my view on life … You have cancer.”

It was an aggressive breast cancer that had spread to my lymph nodes and was considered to be late stage II.  I was suddenly thrown into a world where my health and my needs had to come first. My children’s future depended on it!

My biggest worry was if I didn’t survive this, there would be no one to shape my children into the excellent human beings they could become. I carefully followed the doctor’s recommendations of treatment, a total of six surgeries, eight rounds of chemotherapy, and a year of targeted medicine specific to my type of cancer.

During that time, I was forced to rely on others to help care for my children and me. As someone used to doing it all, this was very difficult.  It made me feel weak; more so than the chemotherapy poison that was being injected into my body. Fortunately, the love and support from my wonderful husband, family and friends helped to ease my pain, fear, and sense of overwhelming vulnerability.

Throughout my treatment, I couldn’t wait for it to be over so that I could get back to my normal life. However, when my treatment was complete, I didn’t see things quite the same way as I had before my diagnosis. My view on life had been redefined for me without my permission. I was left to figure out a whole “new normal.”  Who was I?  What I was doing? Where I was going?  And, the consuming thought ~ the fear of my cancer returning.

I felt much like a caterpillar in its cocoon. I was going through the motions of life, but had pulled away from it, too. At a time when I should have been embracing my every breath, I was finding it hard to breathe.

A gradual transformation happened, and realizations came to me one-by-one over the next several years. I learned to cope with the fear of my cancer returning by focusing on creating visions of a healthy future. Through study and experience, I discovered that my thoughts could either feed my fear or, alternatively, help me to heal…I chose the latter! 

I knew that my needs had to remain a priority and as the kids got older, this got easier to manage. It was then that I decided to become a life-long student of health of my body, mind and spirit through fitness, nutrition, meditation and mindfulness.

I realized that my life’s intent and purpose was out there waiting to be revealed to me ~ in addition to my treasured role as a mother.  I embrace my everyday and the joy of that day, especially when it helps others.  My happiness and delight is found through experiencing life, taking chances, using my gifts, and expanding myself through learning, loving and living.

Facing cancer opened me to many life lessons. Ironically, many were taught to me by my smart, independent and capable children.  I’ve transitioned from being their director and teacher to more of their observer, encourager and guide.  Though I still see my most important and treasured role as their mother,  I have come to understand the only change and greatness I am responsible for is that within me.



Bio for Angela Long

Angela LongSince her breast cancer diagnosis in 2004, Angela Long has been drawn to helping others through what she has learned along the way and enjoys discovering others who share that passion.

Angela is the founder of Breast Investigators, an online comprehensive breast cancer resource networks to help others find the information, care, and support resources they are in search of. She is also the host of Girl Talk on Health, a monthly meet up in Sarasota, Fl where she invites expert guest speakers to freely share their knowledge to help women improve their health. Angela strongly believes that by sharing information, it helps empower to have better conversations with their doctors about their own best care and make informed decisions with regard to their best health.

breast investigators Angela is a tireless fundraiser for non-profits and educating family, friends and acquaintances on the importance of breast cancer screening and early detection. She also helped many other breast cancer survivors during their journey through treatment.

But even with all of this, Angela felt the need to do something more and decided to take her advocacy work online. Through her volunteer and advocacy work in her community, she began seeking out and studying national organizations and foundations that offer information, support and programs that serve those affected by breast cancer in addition to those that promote the prevention and cure of cancer.

It is Angela’s intention on to create a platform where women and men can gain from the knowledge of experienced and authoritative members of the network, learn of local events and resources available to them, and connect with others. She believes that, together, we can take the mystery out of breast cancer.

Contact page for the Essence of Laurel websiteDo you have a story to share?

A budding writer – my granddaughter Katie!

A budding writer has emerged…

On January 26th, my 11-year old granddaughter Katie called and asked if we could Facetime.   She seemed to be very excited about  something … so I hung up the phone and we connected iPad to iPad.  The techie world offers many of us in long-distance family relationships face-to-face time and often they contain special moments.  This rates as was one of my top ten!

Katie flopped down on her bed, held up the iPad to her face, and proceeded to tell me that she had written a story for a school project about her Grandpa.  She said  that when she read the story to her teacher, both the teacher and Katie had tears in their eyes.  You see, Katie’s Grandpa Marty (my husband) passed away in 2009.  She is a sensitive and creative child, and she misses him.

Katie also told me that when she was writing the story, she felt as if Marty was standing beside her the whole time. It gave her the goosebumps.   I believe Marty’s  spirit watches over the family, and that he was indeed there with Katie.  I also know that he had a great big proud grin* (*his trademark) while watching Katie write her story because it was about him and golf balls.

The kicker here is that Katie made that call to me on Marty’s birthday.  I felt as if he was being celebrated and remembered – so it was also a gift to me.

I am sharing Katie’s story to let her know how proud I am of her – my budding writer.  Katie’s enthusiasm, creativity and sensitivity are evident in her story.   Katie Megan Rund is now a contributor to the Essence of Laurel website, and I am a proud grandma!

Note: The tree Katie refers to in her piece is a memorial tree planted in Marty’s name in my backyard. It faces my office window and a pond is directly behind it.

I love you oodles and oodles Katie.  Grandma Laurel

The Golf Balls

by Katie Megan Rund

It was a sunny day and no clouds were in the sky. I stepped outside and breathed in the fresh, cool, summer air. It was time to collect the golf balls. Golf was my grandpas favorite sport and picking the golf balls up, reminded me of him. I couldn’t even wait one more second. I was jumping up and down. It was our first time collecting them and I was so excited. I could hear the wind calling my name.

Now, we walked around the lake to find some golf balls for my grandpa’s tree, It was really hot out and we were all sweating like we were just working out in a gym. Phil [My grandma’s boyfriend] checked his phone and saw that the temperature was 108 degrees. It was bizzare!

We suddenly heard a Splish! Splash! I finally found a golf ball! ” It was just a fish.”, I said in a depressed way.

 “Maybe a whole school!” my sister said. The fish were wide-eyed  and I knew they wanted to be caught. We all tried to catch the fish with our bare hands. Phil, wearing a Tommy Bahama t-shirt suggested we find out what kind of fish it was, but we couldn’t figure it out. My sister stomped her foot on the ground.

 Phil said, “ I found a golf ball pretty ladies!”

“Me too!”, my sister said.

“Me three!” I said. We all found golf balls!  I reached down to pick up the golf ball and I felt a chill in my spine. In my head I was thinking “I miss you, I miss you, I miss you!” I dipped my hand in the fresh, cold, lake water and scooped up the golf ball. For a moment I felt relief.

We all rushed over to the tree and put the wet golf balls under. The tree was just like my grandpa. He was tall and so was the tree. The tree was safe and so was my grandpa in heaven. I picked up a white and black plaque that had so much meaning to me and I cried for a second. I put it down and went inside. I felt like my grandpa was right by my side the whole time.

Katie and her Grandpa Marty




My Journey to Eckhart Tolle by Michele Penn

 My Journey to Eckhart Tolle by Michele Penn

How did I get two New York Times best-selling authors to agree to collaborate on a book with me?

I want to inspire and encourage each of you to live the magnificently happy and fulfilling life that you deserve. My book with Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie, Peace in the Present Moment (Hampton Roads Publishing, October 2010) was the result of a journey to presence and to finding my life’s passion and purpose. This story is intended to teach “what you believe, you can achieve.”

It began with a marriage filled with verbal torment.  For years my ex-husband verbally abused me and one day, in an emotionally violent rage, he threatened to kill me.  That pivotal moment is when I  finally found the courage to leave the marriage.   Today, I have learned to forgive my ex-husband because that experience became the catalyst which changed my life.  Instead of losing my life ~ I found it!

Peace in the Present MomentWhen I read Eckhart Tolle’s book, “A New Earth,”  it taught me the importance of being present and awake. And when I read the “The Flowering of Human Consciousness,” I felt as if Eckhart was in my head.  Words had never before touched me in this way; I was opening up to the a new way of experiencing life.

As I began my metamorphosis, for some unknown reason, the sight of flowers enthralled me. I felt the soul of each flower and was transfixed by its unique inner beauty. Where had they been my whole life? Why had I not seen them before?

Eckhart says that “seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the beauty that is an essential part of their own inner most being, their true nature.”  When he wrote that he was “increasingly drawn to and fascinated by flowers,” I understood exactly how he felt.  I felt conscious without thought when I was photographing flowers!

Something Oprah Winfrey said came to mind:  ”believe your thought and act upon it!”   I knew my photographs of flowers were unique and spirit-filled.  Then came an epiphany, a vision … I saw my photographs paired with Eckhart’s quotes and I instinctively KNEW that he would connect with my flowers as profoundly as I connected with his words.

Acting on that thought, I designed a mock-up book of my photos paired with quotes from “A New Earth.”  I then visualized and felt what it would be like to have this book on the shelves of Barnes and Noble.  I wasn’t wishing for this ~ I had a knowing deep within me that the book already existed!

Synchronistic events began to occur in my life.  At a conference, I  ordered a candle to be shipped to my home, and when it arrived it was the wrong color.  I called the woman who sold it to me at the conference and left her a message. When she called me back, she said “things always happen for a reason.” I believe that as well,  but couldn’t imagine what the reason was for this error.  As we continued our conversation, we talked about our lives, spiritual paths, and my dream to have the book of photos and quotes come to life.

It was then that the “reason” for the call revealed itself.  The woman told me that she had written a book and, believe it or not, her publisher had just done a children’s book with Eckhart Tolle.  My connection to Eckhart Tolle manifested itself because of this telephone conversation.  So yes folks, “thoughts become things!”

This wonderful woman then offered to contact her publisher to see if he would be open to hearing about the book.  A few days later, she confirmed with me that I could indeed email some photos and my idea to the publisher, Bob Friedman. Because he was doing this as a favor, she asked me to keep my message short and sweet as he was very busy with “manuscripts from floor to ceiling to review.”

I sent Bob Friedman an email describing my vision.  Although he loved what I had to say and said it was a great idea …  he also said that we could never get Eckhart Tolle to agree but would be happy to put me in touch with other spiritual authors. However, my inspiration, vision, dream and passion was the connection to Eckhart Tolle.   I told Bob Friedman that if we could just get Eckhart Tolle to look at my work, I KNEW that he would feel the same inspiration and passion that I did.

Instead of mailing the mock-up, I asked if I could fly up and meet with Bob so I could present my “vision” in person (wanting to see his face when he opened the book.)  He agreed and we decided on a time when the CEO would be there as well. After my meeting with Bob,  he called in the CEO and the marketing director, and they all loved the mock-up.  Again, they reiterated that it was a LONG SHOT to get Eckhart Tolle to even look at my book, but since I was so inspired and determined, they agreed to send it to Eckhart’s publisher, Namaste.

Weeks and months went by.  Because I was manifesting that it was already DONE, I didn’t once question whether Eckhart would get to see the mock-up, or whether he would like it.  And then the phone call came in from Bob Friedman.  He said, “I am in shock, but because of your genuine spirit, passion and belief, we are on second base. Namaste loves it and has agreed to show it to Eckhart Tolle.”  I never for one minute doubted that this would happen! 

After some time, I received a phone call that Eckhart loved the idea too!!  He wanted to do the book with me!!   I was very excited but,  because I had been vibrating in the knowing that it was DONE,  the news didn’t surprise me! My friends and family, on the other hand, were shocked and impressed. They couldn’t believe that I could manifest something like this.  I was living my purpose and on my way!

Eckhart said he wanted to include Byron Katie in the book as well, which was another wonderful happening.  I eagerly signed the contract and was told that the book was due out later that year. But, four months later,  I got a phone call from the CEO of Hampton Roads telling me that they had decided not to print the book.  He said that they were canceling the contract because of the economy ~ that it wasn’t financially feasible to do a four-color book.

When I got off the phone, I was disappointed but didn’t get upset. I knew this was just part of the journey because the book was already DONE.  With my belief in tow, I called the CEO back a few days later and had an incredibly positive conversation. I talked about how the world needed to be inspired by this great combination of quotes and flowers. I talked from my heart and soul. And then… he agreed!  We were back on track and the contract was renegotiated.   ‘Peace in the Present Moment‘ was published in October 2010….

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”  Wayne Dyer

Peace in the Present Moment

I never met Eckhart Tolle during this whole process.  In June 2012,  I attended his retreat at The Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. Eckhart spoke for days, and I loved every minute of it. He was enlightening, funny, motivating and inspirational. The first night I tried to talk to someone who could get me to see Eckhart, to no avail.   I finally spoke to Eckhart’s manager, who told me that he doesn’t see or speak to anyone personally at conferences. They keep him very protected, he rarely does book signing and I was told that press interviews are virtually impossible to schedule.

My persistance paid off when Eckhart’s manager finally agreed to ask him if he would meet with me privately. I gave a copy of Peace in the Present Moment to his manager so that Eckhart would know who I was. The next morning, he told me that Eckhart had been too tired to discuss a meeting, but said he would try again that evening.

The following day I heard someone call my name.  I looked around and saw Eckhart’s manager over a sea of 500 people. I waved to him. He came up to me and said Eckhart would love to meet me at the end of the conference. Of course!   I knew it would be an incredible experience.

At noon on a Wednesday ~ a day I will never forget ~ I was escorted into Eckhart Tolle’s room. Eckhart wanted to hear my story from start to finish, wondering how I was able to miraculously get to him. It was an incredible 40 minutes. Eckhart thanked me for creating our book! How amazing. He hugged me for what felt like five minutes. It was a dream come true.  We signed one another’s books and took some pictures and then he asked me to sign a book for Oprah, because he was going to be seeing her soon and wanted her to have a copy. That was another dream come true!  We all know how much Oprah loves Eckhart Tolle!

Peace in the Present Moment sold out in the Omega bookstore. Those who bought copies asked me to sign them and tell them my story. Hopefully, I  inspired many people to use Eckhart’s teachings and manifest just like I did. Being able to uplift and encourage others was an incredibly satisfying experience.

Today, I continue to manifest amazing things into my life. I attracted the man of my dreams by using the law of attraction and the power of the present moment. And, I am living the life I always imagined … knowing full well that all of us can be “awakened to our life’s passion and purpose.”   I have found mine – have you found yours?


Michele Penn Bio ~ Michele Penn

Michele Penn is an author, inspirational speaker, award winning photographer. Creator of the book Peace in the Present Moment with New York Times best-selling authors Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie. She lives in Sarasota, Florida, with David, the man of her dreams, where she finds great inspiration from a community rich in art-appreciation. In Peace in the Present Moment, Michele Penn’s breathtaking floral photographs add peace and a deep stillness to the wisdom of Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie. Her close-up photos, which Michele likes to call floral “soul shots” are a symbol of enlightenment. Her attention to detail and  ability to capture the soul of the flower sets Michele apart and makes her work truly inspirational.

With her second book, Dance in the Garden, Michele combines her “soul shots” with quotes from some of the most influential people of Dance in the Gardenour time. She intends to motivate the reader and bring them into a space of stillness to quiet the mind.

Michele is also one of 32 authors in Faces Behind the Pages that Inspire, a collaborative effort of some of the most amazing and inspirational Pages on Facebook.

Michele was raised in Short Hills, New Jersey, attended Millburn High School and graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University. Her three beautiful children, Freddy, Nicole and Melanie, fill her life with inspiration. As an award-winning photographer, inspirational speaker and business owner, her intent is to enrich other people’s lives.
To purchase Michele’s DVD’s and CD’s
Sign-up – Michele’s website
Michele’s “I Am” app

Kate A Woman With a Relentless Spirit

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

Kate A Woman With a Relentless Spirit
Contributed by Sidney Andrews

As author of “A Fall to New Heights” and “Journey into Thought” I am compelled to share some of the inspiration gleaned from my awesome forty year partnership with Kate, a woman of faith, trust and courage, the likes of which I’ve never seen. I’m presently working on her autobiography titled “Kate, a Woman With a Relentless Spirit.”

Kate is the youngest of nine children. At age seven she contracted polio and was hospitalized for two years, after which followed three summers in a rehabilitation facility for muscle transplants in her hand to allow for the functioning of her fingers, allowing for the only upper mobility she’d have. Unlike many who suffered the loss of use of their legs, living out their lives in a wheelchair, or with cumbersome steel braces, Kate was left with no shoulder and upper back muscles, no use of her left arm and only partial use of her right arm from elbow to finger tips.

The sky is the limitAs Kate has told me, “If it weren’t for both my mother and father who didn’t coddle, but rather encouraged me to be all that I could be, my life would have been one of bitter survival and feeling sorry for myself.” She was told there wasn’t anything she couldn’t accomplish!  Kate grew up believing the sky was the limit and pushed those limits for all she was worth. She discovered, as encouraged and lovingly inspired by her parents, that believing in herself and the power of her inner spirit would guide and teach her the ways of living a productive and joyful life of meaning and purpose.

Kate recalls as teenager how she was made fun of and the boys wouldn’t date her. Tearfully, at age thirteen she talked with her Dad about her deepest feelings; his reply was, “Honey, polio is never going away. If I could, I would take it from you, but I can’t. You have a choice Kate; you can either whine and cry through life or smile and find joy in each step you take!”

So, Kate – a woman with a relentless spirit – did just that! She went on to marry and has a beautiful daughter. Unable to lift her daughter, her husband would place the baby on a blanket on the living room floor, before leaving for his twelve hour a day shift, and there Kate would feed, dress and change her diapers using her teeth and toes to fasten the pins.

Kate had been married for eighteen years before we met at a prayer meeting in the summer of 1973. She and I have shared a spiritual partnership ever since.  At age thirty-eight, wanting to be an equal partner and help me, Kate went back to school to obtain her high school diploma. From there, after searching for a job and being turned down for two years, Kate was finally hired at the Massachusetts University Medical Center, where she ultimately introduced and developed a program for hiring, training, and accommodating disabled persons in the work place.

For twenty-one years Kate tirelessly gave of herself; inspiring, challenging and changing many a disabled person’s life for the better. Ultimately she traveled the USA teaching and training employers in the art of creating an environment where disabled persons could flourish and contribute to society.

The program she created and established was the first of its kind in the country and became the foundation that other employers built upon. Because of its success Kate was awarded the Governor’s Award, and was invited to Washington where she received the Presidents Award for Excellence in creating opportunities for employers and the disabled to meet with success.

Was Kate’s life of service without obstacles, problems, or skepticism? Absolutely not! Still, she was never once deterred from her vision and passion to make a difference in the lives of others, and to teach that what we see is but a fraction of who we are.

Kate and I retired and moved to Florida in the spring of 2003, where she began volunteering as a receptionist for the newly opened Port St. Lucie Civic Center. Her professional position may have come to a closure, but not Kate’s desire to continue inspiring others and giving back to the community. Kate has truly been a bright light for those whose lives she’s touched, and at the tender age of seventy-six, continues her amazing journey to live her best life. I’ve been honored and proud to share her amazing and inspiring journey.

More about Kate and I can be read in “A Fall to New Heights.” The lessons to living one’s authentic truth and best life can be found in “Journey into Thought” Awakening to Spirit.

Who, and wherever you may be on your journey to living your authentic truth and best life, never give in and never give up the essence of who you are.


Sidney Andrews Bio ~ Sidney Andrews

Sidney Andrews is an author, public speaker, freelance writer, retired nurse and the mother of three grown children. She resides in Florida with her partner, Kate, of forty years.

Her latest book “Journey into Thought” Awakening to Spirit, was one of twelve top books selected by the Cyrus Web Conversations Book Club, for 2013.  “A Fall to New Heights” received honorable mention in the Hollywood Book Fair in 2011.

Author web site and blog at:

Journey into Thought A Fall to New Heights

Why handwrite a note of thanks or gratitude?

Why would you take the time to handwrite a note of thanks or gratitude in today’s busy world? 

People want to be appreciated. When you take the time to choose a special card, handwrite a note of thanks or gratitude, and then place the ‘elusive’ stamp on the envelope, address and mail it … that gesture will make a lasting impression on the recipient.

How to write the perfect thank you note

Today, a note penned by hand is making a resurgence. It is one of the things considered to be tangible, beautiful and valued.  When you give the gift of handwritten words that say thank you or  I am grateful to another human being, it is an act of grace.

Many treasured pieces of Pony Express mail have become family heirlooms, or are on display in museums as reminders of a time gone by … they are keepsakes!  Can you imagine what it felt like in the 1800’s when men riding horses carrying saddlebags of mail across a 2000-mile trail delivered letters or notes to family, friends and business acquaintances?

In the cyberspace world of today, we connect with each other through email, text or through social media … Facebook, Linked-In, Pinterest, Twitter, et al.  The messages between us flash by in a nano-second and disappear just as quickly.  Do you want your message of thanks or appreciation to end up in an electronic trash or junk file?   Wasn’t your intent to leave a “lasting” impression with your words?

It is rare to receive or send out something that has been handwritten.  Your notecard will get attention from the moment the recipient sees the envelope, interspersed among the pile of bills and junk mail they receive, until the time they open it.  And, if you’ve chosen carefully and found something which has a beautiful image,  it more than likely will be placed on display on a shelf, refrigerator door or tabletop.

Just think about this …   isn’t there something about a handwritten card that stops time for a moment and  makes you want to hang on to it?  Hand-penned cards are making a comeback and will  make a lasting impression!

That’s why you should take the time to handwrite a note of thanks or gratitude to family, friends, loved ones, clients or potential clients.  It will be the gift that keeps on giving.  My best,  Laurel

fountain pen

Emerging notecard by Laurel D. Rund

To purchase my Fine ‘Art from the Heart’ notecards, click here!


Emerging Voices … A bridge to LIVING ON!


the newly released eBook edition 


“Emerging Voices

Living On: A Journey Through Loss to Renewal” 


*TWO DAYS ONLY!   November 4-5, 2013


Emerging Voices by Laurel D. Rund

When you experience a loss of any kind,  there are rivers and canyons of grief which cannot be crossed without a bridge.  On that journey one needs a way through sorrow’s rough terrain to the other side of grief, to a place of renewal and healing.  That is what my book Emerging Voices is … a bridge to Living On!

Emerging Voices … Living On: A Journey Through Loss to Renewal  is meant to serve as a healing catalyst.  The art and poetry within is testimony to what can happen when we accept loss and grief in all its forms, allowing for the discovery of a new perspective … a bridge to Living On!


*****Read the 5-star reviews*****

Emotional disclosure, a pathway to healing. Laurel’s words and images allow a deep exploration of a personal gracefilled healing and reflection. Powerful pondering…beautiful words and incredible art.”  

Find your favorite spot to rest for awhile, turn off all the background noise, sit back and open Laurel’s book for an exquisite voyage over some of life’s more emotive seas. Laurel captures the pain, the joy, the highs and the lows of it all. She draws the reader into her world, gives us a taste of it, and sends us on our way to find our own blessed path through transition and loss. This is a book about life’s “endings and beginnings” that gives us a chance to look over the shoulder of someone who has journeyed through heartbreak to a place of hope and renewal. It is a profound read and a visual feast, one that you’ll want to experience over and over.”

read more reviews on Amazon:


Remember - it’s FREE for only two days - November 4th and 5th, 2013.  Click on the link below to receive this gift from the heart and remember to share the book with friends and family!


The Lesson Of Long-Term Marriage by Lorraine Devon Wilke

The Lesson Of Long-Term Marriage:

What’s Better Is So Much Better Than What’s Worse

Contributed by Lorraine Devon Wilke 

Twenty-three years ago today I got into a car with a very handsome man dressed in blue pants and a white shirt, drove a couple of hours to a courthouse in the very bucolic town of Mt. Vernon, Washington and, during the lunch break of a local judge, and in the presence of the bailiff and court secretary, married the man to whom I am still married today. The bailiff fired off a few snapshots from my then-cheesy 35mm camera (pictures I, years later, Photoshopped to the excellent results below!), we had lunch at a nearby cafe where a bottle of champagne and a slice of pecan pie with a bride & groom atop awaited us, then we drove north to Vancouver to spend three days at the Pan Pacific Hotel as our rainy, wondrous honeymoon. It was perfect… and when people ask if I ever regret not having a wedding, I assure them I still think it was perfect, to this very day.

There is much to be said for weddings done right (I covered a few of those HERE) and certainly the topic of marriage is a deep and many-layered one (in The Warmest Chord my own heartfelt perspective is offered), but on this anniversary, from where I sit many years beyond that glorious Pacific Northwestern day, currently miles away from my stoic, stalwart husband who continues to deal with the ramifications of brain injury, the message of marriage I have to share is a different one than I had 23 years ago.

It’s a stronger one; one built more on wisdom, resilience, commitment and compassion than wild romance and youthful lust. Though, don’t get me wrong; I’m all for romance and lust, revel in it whenever it presents itself (which, as most of us would attest, is never enough!), but life teaches that any long-term relationship survives within an unpredictable mix of emotion and events… and the way we respond to both. And the longer I live the more I realize, while I may not be able to predict events that come flying my way (damn that unpredictable universe), I can do something about how I interpret, respond to, and learn from those unfolding moments.

The Lesson Of Long-Term Marriage by Lorraine Devon Wilke Love is a funny thing, too. It keeps you attached and aware of that other person; sensitive to their needs and emotions, impacted by the events of their life that can overlap your own. Sometimes those intersections are lovely, sometimes they’re… challenged. As any couple knows who’s dealt with illness, adversity, injury, or any of those kinds of unexpected events that knock us off our feet  - a job lost, a disease diagnosed, a family member’s death; a brain injury – marriage can become about endurance and tenacity, a balance between attachment and detachment, even an ability to let go when needed to allow life to reorganize into some different while you’re away.

As the wife of a husband dealing with brain injury, I’ve learned about that part of being married. I’ve learned (as I wrote years ago in Love In the Age of MTBI) how circumstances can change and impact a marriage, make it more complicated and mercurial, shake it up in ways that can both take your breath away (and not always in a good way) and make you realize how strong your relationship really is, strong enough to endure the dark corners stumbled upon repeatedly and sometimes without warning. When pain episodes strike, when the walls go up and the lights go down and you realize plans will change, warmth will take a holiday, communication will be backburnered in lieu of necessary isolation and silence, it’s then that you face the reality of what you and your chosen one created back on that magical day, years earlier, in a courthouse in Mt. Vernon…

The tether. The bond. The connection. You can pull apart because you have to, because you both need time to regroup and recalibrate, but you never stop feeling the connection. The love. The sense that you are family and you will get through this to a happier time, a better time.

And while away, if you’re smart, you’ll take the opportunity to pursue your own “vision quest.” You’ll pay attention, listen, learn, and remember that thoughts impact reality; you’ll readjust your own view of life to get stronger, more compassionate and loving… to him and to yourself.

And if, during that time, an anniversary pops up, you’ll pay attention to that, too. You’ll look at that person – from wherever you are – with all the love you feel, all the belief you have in what’s good and right, and you’ll … celebrate another anniversary. Another year of marriage.  Another worse endured for all that is better.

Because what you find when you step away, when you take that breath, and look at the reality outside of pain and the adversities life throws at you, is that what’s better is so, so much more than what’s worse. Worse, you can overcome; better, is the life you’ve created and will continue to create. That’s the lesson, the true gift of a long-term marriage.

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Essence of Laurel

 Lorraine Devon Wilke

Lorraine Devon Wilke

Follow Lorraine Devon Wilke on Twitter, Facebook, The Huffington Post, Addicting Info, and her blog @ Rock+Paper+Music. You can view her fine art photography at Fine Art America; details and links to her music and other work @




Self-Empowerment - Laurel D. Rund 8/27/2013

Self-empowerment by Laurel D. Rund

The Web of Life by Laurel D. Rund ©2012

The hiatus from the art show circuit has been one of self-empowerment.  It has given me time to shift gears, learn all kinds of new techie things, be creative and recharge my batteries.

I’ve written new blog pieces for Laurel’s Journal, added inspirational narratives to Metamorphosis-Your Stories, and revised, updated and republished my book Emerging Voices.  A sweet sense of self-empowerment came from the book project,  because I did the work myself ~ from “soup to nuts.”  Although I must admit, at times, when I hit a bump in the road, I did feel like I was nuts!

I have redesigned and updated my Essence of Laurel website, after having dived into the intriging  and awesome world of WordPress.  I love the feeling of being self-empowered to learn, create and apply new techniques to my business and art. Video tutorials have become my favorite “cyberspace” tool.

In addition, I  joined several local entrepreneurial networking groups.  New relationships have been formed and my head is swimming with ideas and questions about what social media to use, keywords, search engine optimization, marketing plans, number of visits to my website – whew!  I perservered, although at times it felt overwhelming, with a lot of  information to absorb and sift through.  The main point is, as I keep on LEARNING,  I  become self-empowered.

It has been a reinvigorating and revitalizing time…and from where I sit,  life is good. Little did I know that when I wrote the piece “I am Open” – I wasn’t kidding!

Which brings me to the upcoming art show season ~ an exciting time for me.  The weariness of the previous season’s art-show circuit has dissipated (something akin to labor pains, you forget the actual pain after awhile and fall in love with what you’ve given birth to.)  My baby, Art from the Heart, has evolved and I am eager to get back out there to showcase my work and mingle with customers and fellow artisans.

Art from the Heart by Laurel D. Rund


The 2013 Art Show Calendar of Events is now available on the Essence of Laurel site. In the near future, the calendar will include the shows I am participating in through April of 2014. I am proud to say that I am the featured artist at a one-woman show for the month of September at the Solo Gallery/Arts Council Manatee County.   The opening night for the Art from the Heart exhibit will be September 6th, 2013 from 6-9:00 pm at the Village of the Arts “First Friday Artwalk.”

And, so it begins … Tales from the Booth

New from Essence of Laurel. 

I am creating (giving birth to) a new blog called “Tales from the Booth” which will be about poignant and memorable encounters that I have experienced in the Essence of Laurel booth.  It will contain stories which I’ve compiled over the last three art show seasons.   And,  I  have made a promise to myself to capture the tales as they happen this season, before they become ethereal memories.  

Hmmm ~ a vault of “Tales from the Booth” … another way for me to be self-empowered, to build a treasure trove of stories that are about hope and inspiration.  

 “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” Plato

Essence of Laurel art booth

 Thanks for visiting.  As always,  I am the Essence of Laurel.


“Art from the Heart” One-Woman Show

Art from the Heart

I am pleased to announce that my Art from the Heart will be featured at the Solo Gallery/Arts Council Manatee County – 926 12th Street West, Bradenton, Fl., for the month of September 2013.

The opening night for the Art from the Heart exhibit will be September 6th, 2013 from 6-9:00 pm at the Village of the Arts “First Friday Artwalk.”

The Village of the Arts is a vibrant community of artists living and working together in Bradenton. It is Florida’s largest art community, and over 30 businesses call the Village home. Galleries, studios, healing arts, jewelry, fashion and books can all be found as you wander the streets of this charming area of restored 1920′s and 30′s cottages.  If you’re in the neighborhood, please stop by and say hello!  Laurel


Art from the Heart exhibit September 6, 2013 artist Laurel D. Rund

Grief’s Toolbox – by Glen Lord

Grief’s Toolbox

contributed by Glen Lord


If you were to have met me in early 1999, in most people’s minds, I was living the American dream.  I had a successful career having received four promotions in three years, a wife and four year old son, Noah, and a great house in the suburbs. Like any other family we had problems but, looking back, I know that we were truly happy.

In June our doctor told us that Noah needed to have his adenoids and tonsils out because of chronic ear infections. We scheduled it for a Friday thinking that by Monday we would be returning to normal and ready to start the summer.  The surgery was reported uneventful but Noah’s recovery was fraught with difficulties. After many phone conversations with his surgeon he was finally admitted into the emergency room. Monday morning, though no better, he was discharged and we took him home.

Five hours later Noah hemorrhaged from his surgical site and died at home with my wife doing CPR desperately trying to save him. Noah died from medical error following a routine surgery. Monday, June 14th, 1999 ended not with excitement for summer plans but with a life torn apart … it was as if my wife and I were standing still as the world around us continued.

A friend of ours showed up on our doorstep with a bag from a bookstore. So desperate to help us, but not at all sure where to turn, she had purchased all the books that she could find that had anything to do with grief. A stranger gave our names to the local Compassionate Friends, a self-support organization for grieving families. With these limited resources, I took my first steps of the grief journey.

Noah’s birth had changed me; my world became so much bigger than myself. There was this little life that depended on me for everything. My ability to love deepened that day.

Noah’s death changed me again and the world became even bigger. I now saw a world full of hearts that hurt just like mine. I craved to be with people who understood the loss that I felt, the overwhelming devastation. I clung to the stories of how they reinvested in life and found joy again.

As impossible as it seemed to me … I had to believe that there was hope to be found.
 those who had found it were guiding lights in my darkness.

Grief's Toolbox

As I continued on my grief journey,  I realized that there were many more resources available but they were difficult to find, especially for those newly bereaved. I thought about how helpless our friend felt with only a bag full of books to offer us.

I knew that there had to be a better way to reach out to those who are earlier on this road. I saw how differently we all grieve and that each of us needs different tools to find hope.

This realization inspired my wife and me to found The Grief Toolbox - a community of grief resources. The Grief Toolbox provides many tools for those who grieve and those who want to help; there are thousands of articles, grief related artwork, a grief group locator, a marketplace of grief and memorial products.

Most of our contributors are bereaved themselves and want to reach out to help others. The Grief Toolbox continues to expand the offerings to the bereaved.  We have produced an original DVD series designed to be used in a facilitated group and we continue to invite others into the community, such as The Birdhouse Project.

I have learned that joy and sorrow can and do co-exist, and that life can be good again. 

Noah is a part of my life. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him.  I no longer see him as a four year old little boy who relies on me for everything.  Instead, he is where I draw strength. I am more than just myself, I live my life for both of us.

My hope is that in the work that I do, I help others to find hope and joy in their own lives. If you are interested in joining our community, please do not hesitate to contact us … we are here for you.

Essence of Laurel

Glen Lord of the Grief ToolboxBio – Glen Lord

After the death of my son, Noah, I became a fellow traveler on this grief journey. It was at my first TCF meeting that I found much needed love, support, understanding, and most importantly hope that I could be whole again.

I have been involved in the Compassionate Friends on many levels and positions. As a member of TCF,  I have been involved in the 2005 Boston Conference, Boston North Shore Newsletter; fund raising and publicity for the Manchester, NH chapter. I have been a member of TCF in NJ, MA and NJ. and am currently a facilitator in my local Nashua/ Manchester chapter, serve as the 2013 Fundraising Chair for the Boston National Conference, and serve on the national Board of Directors.

Utilizing my strong background in sales, finance and marketing and operations management,  I have extensive experience developing multiple organizations, and have held executive level positions in multiple Fortune 500 companies. I  am presently CEO of ARC Marketing Inc as well as The Grief Toolbox, and a Managing Director of Easy Rich Development International.

The tools to finding hope again are different for each person…

The Grief Toolbox

© 2013 Glen Lord The Grief Toolbox, Inc.

This realization inspired me to cofound The Grief Toolbox ( ,  a community of grief resources. The Grief Toolbox provides many tools for those who grieve and those who want to help; there are thousands of articles, and grief related artwork, a grief group locator, a marketplace of grief and memorial products. The grief journey can make us feel lonely but we do not travel alone.

I am an executive producer of the Walking Through Grief® series, and a speaker and presenter on grief and loss.  Noah’s death, and all the stumbles along this grief journey, has changed many of my priorities and allowed for extensive personal growth.  I spend as much time as I can with my family and two adopted teenage sons.  

Through the work of Grief ~ I have found purpose, passion and hope.






I am a Baby Boomerang

A stroll down memory lane …

I was going through the library of my very first posts and found a gem which I wrote  in 2010. It was originally called “Baby Boomer Anger” … but I’m not angry or sad anymore, so I tweaked the poem and the title, and feel it is more representative of who I am today ~ the Essence of Laurel!

Baby boomerang by author of Emerging Voices, Laurel D. Rund

Baby Boomerang

Here I am, a  female Baby Boomerang!

Defined as a member of a massive group

that influences the powers to be (ha!) …

a group of women whose lives were shaped by

having our consciousness “raised”.


Even though I have aged with courage, grace, and vitality,

I used to believe that our youth-oriented culture

ignored women in their sixties as lacking in power and beauty.

After all, most women’s magazines stop counting after one’s fifties ..

something like  ”here’s beauty advice for the 20, 30, 40 or 50 year old.

Oh my, what happens to all that advice when you hit the big 60!


Once again I found myself searching, questioning,

seeking self-realization and validation.

Why should a woman in her sixth decade feel less viable,

snapped back in time to the uncertainty of her purpose?


It has taken me awhile to “get” that life has gifted me

with a treasure trove of experience and awareness.

My sleeping voice has once again been raised up

from complacency  to consciousness!

I am a sage who has learned an important life lesson -

that the “best of times” is in the present moment, not the decade!


Now, at this time in my life,

I happily own my “Baby Boomerang” status ~

with the understanding that the only person

who shouldn’t overlook me is ME!

And you know what?

I love the woman that I AM today … wrinkles, crinkles and all!

Laurel D. Rund

(c) July 2010 – June 2013


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All I Want is a Room Somewhere by Carol (Ki’ihele) West


Contributed by Carol (Ki’ihele) West


When I first met the man I was to marry he was, more or less, camping in a friend’s house with a coat closet for his “things.”  When he opened the door of this overstuffed closet, he was likely to have an armful of falling debris. I thought it was just a guy thing, and paid it little mind.

After a few months of dating,  we moved into a house with a garage on O’ahu.  Soon the garage no longer had room to hold the cars as he had filled it with engines, transmissions, car parts, tools, boats, sails, and anything that happened to catch his eye. I didn’t, at the time, realize that this propensity would take over my life.

We soon moved to the island of Maui and had a big yard that began filling up with, to me, junk. To him, they were all things that would eventually be “useful objects.”  After we got married, we wanted to build a home of our own, so we moved to the island of Hawai’i where land was still inexpensive. Thinking we would be able to start with a nice clear acre of trees and ferns, I packed just a few of my few things. He packed up the entire back yard!

Our home was small but sweet. My husband worked at home rebuilding cars and building boats and I went to work. Our family grew ~ we had two boys who didn’t seem to mind the junk in the yard – it was what they were used to.  But, all I wanted was “a room somewhere” far away from the junk that surrounded our home.

All I want is a room somewhere! by Carol West for Metamorphosis - Your StoriesIt took a long time for my husband to fill that acre and then, without my knowledge, he bought a second acre. Against my protestations he proceeded to fill the second acre and I finally began to realize he had what is now called a hoarding disorder.

Through all of this, the house remained my uncluttered domain until one day my husband moved a huge desk from the upstairs into the living/kitchen area and began stacking things on it.

Soon, I had to squeeze myself through the yard (I could no longer park on the lot), and had to bang on the door to get in, as I could no longer open it from the outside.  I felt violated.

Promises … promises … no action! … After 30 years of marriage, I could no longer tolerate living on such a beautiful island in what the county had now designated an illegal junkyard.  I finally asked for a divorce.

Endings and Beginnings … I didn’t want the house, but did get the second acre of land.   With my savings, I was able to build a little home.   The cottage is all mine, even though I still have a credit card debt to pay off.  It took me a long time to even put furniture in the house.  I needed open space, wanted clear floors, and yearned to feel the breeze blowing through all the windows with nothing to impede its flow.

I slept on a cot with my cats and felt free. In time, I did buy the necessary bed, chairs, and a table. I planted hibiscus and plumeria, fern trees and papaya and now have a lovely garden – never taking my surroundings for granted.

Today, my home is once again a magical place. I am joyful, at peace and rejuvenated.  I marvel at the fragrances in the air, feel every flutter of wind, and go to sleep with the sounds of the coqui singing in the night and the waves hitting against the cliffs.  It is just “loverly”!

“All I want is a room somewhere,  far away from the cold night air

With one enormous chair. Oh, wouldn’t it be loverly?

Lots of chocolate for me to eat. Lots of coal makin’ lots of heat

Warm face, warm hands, warm feet. Oh, wouldn’t it be loverly?

Oh, so lovely sittin’ abso-bloomin’-lutely still.

I would never budge till spring crept over the window sill.

Oh, wouldn’t it be loverly!

Loverly, loverly, loverly

Wouldn’t it be loverly!”

My Fair Lady – “Wouldn’t it be Loverly?”

By Lerner and Loewe

Laurel Rund's bird logo


Carol West contributing author to Metamorphosis - Your Stories                       Bio – Carol (Ki’ihele) West

I sailed to Hawaii with my family on a 40ft. sailboat at age 18. I had spent the summer on O’ahu the year before and had fallen in love with the islands. I’m still in love with the islands after 51 years.
I went to college at age 30 and earned my RN degree, but found I didn’t like nursing so I found another job in the health field and worked as a Chiropractic Asst. for 24 years. I had flexible hours and was able to be off on Tues. and Thurs. afternoons which allowed me to take my two sons to their soccer and baseball practices and the weekends free to attend their games.
But, I found it increasing difficult to be at home among all the junk so decided to take a hula class to get me out of the house. One class soon developed into twice a week and kept me sane.
It became a passion  for me and when the boys moved away for college, I began to pursue hula seriously, dancing and teaching four times a week. I made all the costumes for my hula halau’s performances. Sewing was something I have always enjoyed doing. I had made my own clothes and those of my son’s and husbands for years. When I retired at 65,  I finished my cottage and then I needed an outlet,  so I opened an Etsy shop sewing hula skirts, tops, shirts, etc. for hula. I have had my business for 15 months and have had a steady clientele.
Sew Me Hawaii by Carol West
I put a lot of aloha into my creations and love the fact that I am, in a small way, helping to perpetuate hula.    Do you know someone who dances hula or just loves Hawai’i?   Then, e komo mai–come in, kick off your shoes and browse through my shop of hula pa’u (skirts), tops, shirts and Hawaiian fabric gifts, handmade in Hawai’i with aloha.
                                                         *(^^)/    Ki’ihele