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Originally published in Pure Inspiration, Summer 2009

Just Like Riding a Bike: Turning Adversity into Opportunity

Imagine this: You heat your oven to 375 degrees, the right temperature to bake a pumpkin pie. Then you sit in a chair next to the oven and pull down the very hot door. Still seated, you lift the pie pan full of liquid ingredients from the counter and then try to slide it onto the appropriate rack, from the side, without either burning yourself or sloshing the pie filling all over the place. Not very easy, is it?

Rosemarie Rossetti, who bakes a mean pumpkin pie, has become an expert at such maneuvers, and many others far more complicated. She had to. The beautiful house in Gahanna, Ohio, she shares with her husband, Mark Leder, was not built to accommodate wheelchair users like her. (see pdf here)

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Originally published in Pure Inspiration, Winter 2009

Ben Vereen: A Neon Sign for the Spirit

Ben Vereen laughs a lot. It’s a rich, round, vibrant sound full of joy and wonder. That same vitality of spirit jumps out of his photos too—the gleam in his eyes, the beacon of a smile, the jaunty tilt of his head. Is this just a publicity pose or does he feel this way all the time?

“How can I put this?” the award-winning entertainer queries. “We have a choice.” He laughs again. “Depending on your day is how you will deal with that day. You could deal with it from the high ground, or you could keep yourself in the middle of the marsh and be battling with it. I like to stay on the high ground. That way, you can see all things clearly.” (see pdf here)

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Originally published in Sculptural Pursuit, Winter 2007

Valarie James and the Las Madres Project

A diaper bag stuffed with infant’s clothing and a birth certificate broke Valarie James’s heart. That break  moved her to create a new sculpture technique that reveals the heart of the migrant experience.

James, a sculptor and arts educator, often walks  her dogs in the desert around her home in Amado, Arizona, an area near the U.S.-Mexico border  that has been a migrant path for centuries. She sometimes meets undocumented immigrants in  heart-wrenching encounters during which she can  do little except offer food and water to the frightened, exhausted travelers. More often, she comes across items they have left behind in the unforgiving desert. One day in 2004, she found the cast-off diaper bag on the ground, surrounded by the mother’s scattered clothing. Who were this woman and her child? she wondered. What happened to them? These thoughts haunted her, creating “a question mark in the sand,” she says.  She carried her poignant treasure back home. (See pdf here)
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This article first appeared in the Nov/Dec 2006 issue of Science & Spirit.

Let There Be Sleep

In a nation flooded with artificial lights, artificial stimulants, and, perhaps, an artificially inflated drive toward productivity and excitement, a simple good night’s rest can be surprisingly hard to find. (continued)

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