Thursday, December 13, 2007

phone tag-you're it!

I just received yet another "new and improved" free cell phone from my carrier. I have been saving my phones, since they are all in working condition. Than, last week, I came upon an idea, one that I feel is apropos for the "Forgotten Ones Fund". I remember how many times I have been situations that I wish I could have had a phone to call for help. Too many times in fact. The women, men and children that are in shelters or homeless, need a way to protect themselves, and what better way than to provide a cell phone. You can get them set up to call 911 without cost to the holder...I encourage you to donate your "old, but still usable" phones to this worthy cause. Call your local city and they will be only too happy to provide you phone numbers of shelters and other places. The recipients will be so grateful and don't forget the wall chargers to accompany the phones. What a wonderful philanthrophic way to help provide a safety net for many in need of that "911" call.
I also want to encourage you to clean out your closets and drop off your wearable extra winter gear (coats, scarfs, gloves.) You can call your local hospital and drop them off. They can REALLY use them. There are many wards filled with poverty stricken people that are ill, physically and mentally. A lot of the people in the psychiatric wards only have the clothes on their backs. I promise you, this could be the greatest holiday gift you could provide. There are so many ways to give. These are just a few examples. I have a friend that is a nurse at one of the local hospitals. I went with her to the psychiatric ward, and brought a bag of clothes. I never realized that my warm coats, gloves, sweaters, that were in my closet, could bring such bright smiles of gratefulness. It could be the catalyst to go forward in their lives. There is much sadness that can be slightly alleviated this Holiday season, One person's seemingly outdated coat could be another person's way to keep warm this winter! Provide hope!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

lost blogs found....a new beginning

Wishing you health, happiness, and hope for the coming hectic days.
I will be very busy gathering gifts and elves to share the Holiday season for the ones that can appreciate the gift of caring...
Please take the time to put a smile on the face of a fallen angel...Here's an idea!
I experienced this yesterday when I was coming home. I went to fill up my car and thought it would take 40 dollars to fill my tank, but much to my surprise the tank made it to only 30 dollars. I had already paid so I asked the woman to put the 10 dollars on to the next gas customer that came was a nice feeling, and I drove out of the station hoping that I had replaced a frown of frustration regarding the gasoline prices, with a smile...pass it on, it felt wonderful...

To help others you must take care of yourself..

Forgotten Ones Fund/To help others you must take care of yourself.
Last week,it was my Dad's first year since he passed
It has taken me one year to get over the pain of all the years of watching him gasp for breath. Devoting all my time to his needs. I know now that I am doing the right thing, by moving on with my life.
Time has been good to me and provided me with many tools. One of them is realizing that I can't please everyone. There will always be the doubters, the naysayers. Even your family can try and break your spirit.
I have taken time the last month to take care of myself and design a program initiating conscious awareness. To help others, you must take care of yourself. It has been a month of self reflection and plans. Plans and packing. I have come to the awareness that no woman is a mountain. Even me! I am not a rock. And I have feelings. I am now planning a move, and it has taken a lot of my time. I wanted to discover what direction my energy will take while I am in the midst of this huge house to consolidate, and the chaos that can ensue, (including, the painful temporary storage of most of my studio). I have already finished the first draft of my new project.
I know that there are a myriad of help centers. I have visited many places in my life, but it seems that many children are suffering as much as their abused parents. I also believe that teaching parents how to survive is my one of my attributes. I have written and have now begun to finish my cookbook. I have incorporated recipes that are fun for children and adults...the theme of the cookbook includes one of my popular surreal themes; synonymous with my art and name.
The book is filled with healthy meals that provide parents,singles and children to work and be creative with food. The book is packed with ideas and ways to survive within a budget. I have been working on this project for quite some time. The sad demise of rising food prices have also initiated me to finish this project. There are ways to by pass high food costs and provide creative nutrition.. I have also included practical and fun ideas, and a way to choose meals with different time constraints. I hope to eliminate the fear of "trying new meals"..
They are cost effective, low fat and healthy. There are creative and fun ways to get out of the "fast food" track.
I have based this book on my Mediterranean diet background. I started my love of cooking healthy meals from my Italian Grandmother and Father, Frank Mastini.
I will be donating a percentage of proceeds to fund programs that will reinforce the self esteem of many, and give them hope, I have gone to some area schools to donate my time to teach kids how to help and heave fun in the kitchen.
It has been a long month. Another health scare, but it turned out fine. I know that we all have guardian angels.
The wigs I have donated have made a huge difference for the delighted breast cancer survivors, the feedback was wonderful... (See previous blog).. I am also developing a plan with my radiologist at the hospital, to initiate a fund to provide wigs, and attractive scarves to women that are bravely enduring chemotherapy. A little goes a long way. Now that the cold weather has set in, I have been busy making hats and scarves...we can all use those now!
I want to thank Madame Arcati once again for her thoughts and ideas she has addressed personally to me, which I have respectfully appreciated.

I am not out to conquer the world. I realize to succeed, I must do it in baby steps, and ignore the negative people and comments to protect MY health.
My passion is what keeps me going.
I will miss the beach. And the sand between my toes.
I know that this move is a positive step for me to put the past behind and the future lies ahead. I might not be a mountain but I can remove the roadblocks with hope and determination. Keep smiling. Ciao. steph

"A smile from steph to you.."
Thank you so much for your note on "Forgotten Ones Fund" Madame Arcati...
Today I am donating a wig to a lady that has breast cancer..I was in the
pharmacy the other day and noticed a woman very anxious and weary with an
obvious worn out looking "chemo" scarf that had seen better days...her clothing
likened that observation.
She was asking the gal at the cosmetics counter if she might know where she
could get someone to style and cut a wig, but she didn't have any money to get it professionally styled. Someone had given it to her and it
was out of style, and very old. She had sadness and pain in her eyes..I asked
her if she would like one of mine. And she was so grateful that I felt her happiness and surprise.
Last year after seeing my surgeon and told that I didn't require chemo, only
radiation, I passed a wig shop on my jubilant ride home and found my car
steering me into the wig shop that we were coming up to on the corner..Every
time I passed by on my to my surgeon's office, I held my breath...I went
in and started looking around; the gal asked me what I was hoping to find for
myself. I told her the story and she and the other stylists all started to
talk and it was a "girls" moment..I had a ball trying several on, becoming all
my favorite movie stars. I loved the blonde Lana Turner look. The experience was not only fun, but made me count my blessings... I went home, put on the long blonde wig and wore it to Starbucks, where I am a regular customer. The crew had a good laugh and did not recognize me! I put it on my antique mannequin when I returned home
and waited for the right moment. Here it was. She said she loved my hair
and I told her I had one that was very similar to my haircut and also a long
blonde one. She opted for the shorter "steph" look...We both beamed as she
scratched her name on a torn piece of paper from her purse with her name and
number on it..I am giving it to her today...
I wanted to share an uplifting story..just one person CAN bring so much joy to
a person and all it requires is will come to you ..I promise..

And along came a stranger ..

...homeless doesn't define who you are...
..along came a stranger..
I was in my garage when I heard a faint knock on my door, after asking who he was I opened the door. He greeted me with a warm smile holding a bottle of Mountain Dew. He had no tools, or lawn mower, and he came on foot. "would you like me to mow your lawn?" he asked...
It was obvious from the height of the grass that I definitely needed his help...the teenager that had been doing it, flaked out, and I hadn't seen him for weeks.."yes", I answered..there's a lawn mower and trimmer in the garage"..
He got right to work and I was amazed how polite and anxious he was to please me...I was surprised that I felt the sincerity...I might not have earlier in my life. I could have called a service but wasn't thinking about it at the time...It's not usual for me to open the door for a stranger..but my gut told me that we needed each other. And we did. After the grass was cut and trimmed, he climbed up on my roof and fixed the gutter guards and performed other much needed work I found for him to keep him busy...I talked to him as he worked..I was anxious to know more about this quiet man, I wasn't concerned about his outer appearance. I learned that he had lost everything to his misfortunes in love...drugs had taken his wife and all his possessions... He didn't have a home, car, money, but what he had was hope. I was inspired and as he left I knew that I would see him again.
A week later he appeared again and said he was ready to help clean my garage. A chore that I was putting off for quite a while...and I had mentioned to him when he had been there last time..As I stood by and told him what to dispose of and what to keep I was once again surprised at how happy this man possessions to speak of, but that didn't seem to matter to him...his smile and attitude almost made me ashamed that I had been pouting about my plight silently for weeks....alone and afraid. He asked if something was bothering me and how I was feeling, when he saw the heart monitor I still sported...I told him that I had been startled the night before and awoken abruptly by a banging on my door. A man was yelling and saying over and over again "hello"!!! in a tone that had me sitting up in bed with my cats in a stalking position... they too had heard it. I remained frozen while the solar lights that surround my home stayed lit..when the lights went out I crept around the home and peeked out the one.
He seemed very concerned and said that I shouldn't be alone..The garage was stifling and I found myself getting light headed and needed to lie down..I had been having cold sweats and some palpitations. I pressed the monitor on me and called the EKG in for them to record, but not before Jim made sure I made it to my bed, and he ran out to get me Gatorade...I needed electrolytes and he wanted to help. He brought me a wet wash cloth and we waited to see if the doctor read the EKG and would call me if needed..he didn't ! I was feeling better..later that night I received a call from Jim that he didn't feel comfortable and couldn't just let me stay by myself after what I told him about the incident the night before and worried also about my health ...he insisted on sleeping in the truck he borrowed. I protested, but he wouldn't take no for an answer. I couldn't let him sleep in his truck though he tried to convince me it was ok. I asked if he wanted to shower and I gave him a clean shirt and a pillow and sheet..he slept on the couch and I slept for the first time in a week. When I woke up he was gone and all the stuff we were going to take to the dump had magically disappeared. He had graciously taken it to the dump, without even telling me.
The next day I spoke to my cousin, and she hired him and let him stay in her Dad's house that was being renovated. He had passed away and she needed help. Now he has a truck and he is working a steady job...
(I have since put in an alarm system!)
I keep thinking that if he didn't have that job that day he knocked on my door, where would he have gone? He might have gone back to the crack house he left when he left his wife....though I will never know, it made us both feel needed, and that is what mattered...
Don't judge a book by it's cover. If I had fixated a bit more on his tattered and dirty clothes I might have been inclined to say no. But I have learned that when you have an instinct about someone and they have a kind smile, and an eager spirit don't assume the worst.. there is always hope.. He was my angel...
look around you and be kind. You would be surprised that miracles CAN happen..and so much more..he renewed my spirit and helped me look at myself in a different light..if he ever needs my help, I will be there for him as he was for me...with a warm bed and hot meal..and cash in his pocket.
Labels: Homeless, hope, kind smile

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A look back...lost blogs found!

Forgotten Ones Fund

Forgotten Ones was set up to help the women, men and children that do not fit into the system..I have spoken about this at length on Madame Arcati blog
I have experienced times in my life that I needed a helping hand and this is what my charity is set up to do. I have already contributed many furnishings to women and their homeless families and help in the form of clothes, and other furnishings. I have given them all I could give of my time and proceeds from my art work.
I am proud to have been a part of her site and related my experiences so that others won't be intimidated by the system. I can make a difference. One person can. It has been a long road to get here, but I am making it a cause that I am adamant about. Madame Arcati has been so kind in her support to me including putting up my art for sale. A percentage of these sales will go towards a helping hand when needed. I know what it is like to be ina place where you never thought it could happen to yourself... NO one should have to suffer from all kinds of abuse and years of knowledge on this topic...I feel that a smile can light up the sky.. Please go to and to read my intervie.. Thank you....your comments, questions are all happily accepted (I moderate for your privacy)...