MARCH 2015
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Charleston, SC Keynote- Cindy with Susan Melvin-President, South Carolina Chapter-Scleroderma Foundation
Charleston, South Carolina Keynote
Cindy with Susan Melvin, President of the
SC Chapter-Scleroderma Foundation
Hi Friends!

March is a month of transitions where I live. The flowers start blooming and the days are warmer and longer, especially with Daylight Saving Time beginning on March 8th. I'm not a big fan of short, cold days because I love the outdoors. Spring is definitely my season and it makes me happy.

I hope you are finding something that makes you happy as well. Spring always feels like a fresh start to me, so if you haven't found your happy, there is no time like the present.

Remember to spring those clocks forward and enjoy Spring!

Hugs, Cindy 
featured article |Spring is Springing  
The word 'spring' makes me smile. It sounds like a happy word to me. Perhaps this is because I think of a spring in one's step and envision some happy person walking down the street whistling as birds chirp and flowers bloom along the path. Whatever the reason, what better time to dust off those winter blues and, on March 20th, celebrate the first day of spring?

I remember the year I visited a friend in Denver. Arriving at her townhouse in my coat, gloves, hat and every other item of clothing this Florida girl owns, we pulled into her snow covered yard. Though I was freezing, she excitedly led me to see her crocus (which I had never heard of), as the hardy spring-blooming bulbs were just beginning to push up through the snow. We knelt down for a closer look and, sure enough, there was a bright green leaf and a little purple flower bud breaking its way up through the crusty surface. I was amazed. Talk about resilience!

Somehow, buried in the earth, the crocus seems to simply know when its time has come to grow and, in spite of fragile leaves and delicate blossoms, it not only survives harsh conditions but thrives. Over the next few days of my visit, my friend and I watched this little flower (and a few of its friends) unfold its leaves and slowly open its bud to bloom.The little patch of snow miraculously transformed into a garden of beautiful blossoms.

I find nature and all the beauty and wisdom she offers such a gift. As I've traveled around the world speaking to patient groups and conferences, I've been privileged to meet thousands of men and women seeking a better quality of life in the face of very difficult circumstances. It occurs to me those of us living with chronic illness are quite like the crocus: We are sometimes fragile facing the harshest of circumstances, yet we gain strength as we move past obstacles. We get through it. Winter passes, spring arrives. We survive. We are renewed. And we are beautiful.

This month I intend to set aside my health worries for a little while to make room for possibility. I will slow down enough to notice and celebrate the many sights and sounds accompanying this season of renewal and hope that you do too - wherever you may be.

Happy Spring Y'all!
 
books |What Cindy's Reading
Cindy with new friends Linda McNamara and Karen Kemper, authors of a wonderful book I reviewed last month, If You Have to Wear an Ugly Dress, Learn to Accessorize: Guidance, Inspiration, and Hope for Women with Lupus, Scleroderma and Other Autoimmune Illnesses.

Resilience: Two Sisters and a Story of Mental Illness
by Jessie Close and Pete Earley

How could I resist a book titled Resilience? Especially one about Glenn Close's sister? I couldn't and I'm glad I didn't. I listened to this as an audiobook, because I always like listening to memoirs narrated by the author. If you are not familiar with the story, this is the memoir of Glenn Close's sister, Jessie, who suffered with undiagnosed bipolar disease until she was fifty. Her son, Calen, has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. This is a raw and honest portrayal of living with mental illness and its impact on the individual, their family and those who love them. Jessie is honest and the inside look at mental illness is heartbreaking. I was reminded over and over again about the challenges of living with invisible illness. Our society simply does not always understand or know how to support those affected. Jessie is from a family with wealth and much of her treatment was very costly. As Jessie and her son use their unsinkable spirits to work to end the stigma of mental illness, I'm also hoping that one day all those who suffer from mental illness will get the help they need, and the stigma that is often attached to mental illness will become a thing of the past in our society. Sending my love and support to Jessie and Calen and all those whose lives are impacted by mental and invisible illness.


The Death Class: A True Story About Life
by Erika Hayasaki

I bought this book because I have a friend who teaches a class on death and dying at Florida State University and it has always intrigued me. This story is written by a journalist who shadowed Dr. Norma Bowe, the teacher of the class, and interviewed students over a four-year period. The resilience of both the instructor and those whose lives she touches is remarkable. I have always felt that we truly appreciate life more when we are confronted with death and our own mortality, and this book confirms my belief. The stories of Dr. Bowe's impact on students' lives made me want to rush out and do great things in the world to help others. I highly recommend reading this book.


For fun (because, remember, I can only read medical and challenging stories so long without a mental break) I also read this month The Girl on the Train, a psychological thriller by Paula Hawkins. I could not put it down!

encouragement
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quotes

Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.

        ~Robert H. Schuller 

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Spring is nature's way of saying, 'Let's party!'

        ~Robin Williams

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An optimist is the human personification of spring.


       ~Susan J. Bissonette

 
I would love to speak to your group. Simply contact me at cindy@cindyconey.com and we'll work out the details!
 
ABOUT CINDY CONEY Nationally recognized keynote speaker and resiliency educator Cindy Coney has assisted thousands in moving beyond "coping" with limitations to recapturing joy, balance and freedom through her speeches and pioneering educational training for patients and healthcare professionals. Diagnosed with lupus in 1980, Cindy has traveled the globe to share her story of thriving after a chronic diagnosis. Read more.
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