Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What is TRUTH?

Quick Performance Update: 12/11 at Ft. Magruder Hotel and Conference Center, Williamsburg, VA (private; Ol' Bess Christmas Program); 12/13 at First Baptist Norfolk, VA (private; Christmas storytelling)
Other Dec. performances:  Virginia (Williamsburg)
Upcoming Jan. 2014 performances:  GA (Atlanta); VA (Aldie, Middleburg, Purcellville, Williamsburg, Norfolk), WV (Nellis)

Is it okay to change the truth of a personal story’s ending?  For instance saying, “the ending is not what I wanted it to be, so I’ll make it more…inspirational, funny, or adventurous.”  I have heard some storytellers say that it’s fine to take some liberties with the truth.  I just read a comment quoted from Kendall Haven (and I am paraphrasing, since I can’t find the original), “I am telling the truth as it was supposed to have happened”.  Others are purist to nth degree.    


[Short side note:  I think Kendall Haven is amazing, www.kendallhaven.com.  He would never remember me, but early when I started on the road he encouraged me and I will never forget that.  Amazing speaker.  Intelligentsia of Storytelling.  Read his book “Story Proof”.]  

When I tell a personal story, I try hard to keep it to the truth….as I know it.  If you ask my sister, my parents or my son if certain stories I tell are truthful, they will say “not always”.  My sister says I exaggerate so much, she never knows the truth.  [Remember she is my “baby” sister, and not always to be believed.  J]  However, upon further dissection, when I ask her about a story, she has some of the same elements, just told through different eyes.
The other side of that is, she (and the rest of my family) tell stories that I don’t remember at all.  I have tried to plunge into my mind’s depths and I come up empty on their story.  [Stop, don’t go there:  I don’t have just emptiness in my mind’s depth.]  Sometimes one of them will tell a story that they feel I should definitely know and I’m clueless.  Does that make their story a fabrication?  No, because what is important to one person is irrelevant, or so disturbing or embarrassing to be remembered.  (I don’t have any embarrassing moments in my life…..at least that I remember.) 
Let me be more specific.  On my most recent CD I share my personal story about meeting children for the first time at an orphanage in Vietnam*.  The story ends with a good feeling, because that is where I chose to end it.  I didn’t end it at the point when my missions team colleagues found out that the children had been initially afraid of me, and they were distressed.  I didn’t like that ending, there was too much explanation needed.  Or I could have changed the ending to have a more “Kumbayah” moment.  However, the ending I chose is just right (at least for me), not everything sewed up tight, but a satisfied smile.

The truth is not always flashy, it’s not always funny, it sometimes makes us look bad.  However, that truth sharing could be just what someone else needs to learn.  And if we really are struggling with how a story ends, well, go and listen to my friend, and one of storytelling heroes, Bil Lepp, and make your story the great tall tale.  Only a “Half-Dollar” of truth needed in a tall tale.  Enjoy my truthless (except maybe a few parts), “Malawian Hippo Love Story”  http://youtu.be/Iz95311ZYp8      

What are your thoughts on changing the end of your stories?

*Oh, and here is "Vietnam Missions Trip:  Orphanage".  Is it the right ending?  http://youtu.be/I524NFKOqTE      




Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Nursery Rhymes for Learning Times Part II

Quick Performance Update: 12/7 at House Concert, Virginia Beach, VA (contact tellspence@cox.net to see if space available to attend)
Other Dec. performances:  Virginia (Williamsburg, Norfolk)
Upcoming Jan. 2014 performances:  GA (Atlanta); VA (Aldie, Middleburg, Purcellville, Williamsburg)
Okay, finishing off my previous blog  -
This is continued about Ol’ Mother Hubbard and my discussion with the 3rd graders.  Just a reminder, I brought 4 third graders up and I had them switch off acting out what the dog does. 

She went to the tailor's to buy him a coat;
When she came back he was riding a goat.
She went to the hatter's to buy him a hat;
When she came back he was feeding her cat.

She went to the barber's to buy him a wig
When she came back he was dancing a jig.

         [The jigs took on many forms from almost breakdancing to kicking their feet as if they were in an old time musical.  Lots of video of this by teachers, unfortunately none from me.]

 She went to the cobbler's to buy him some shoes;
When she came back he was reading the news.
           [Did you know that everyone reads the news by crossing one leg on top of another?  At least in Portsmouth.]

She went to the sempstress
     [Even I didn’t know this word.  I took a chance and said like a seamstress, and was right, although rare in use.]
To buy him some linen;
When she came back the dog was spinning.

    [So every student spun around in a circle.  I then taught about the spinning wheel and we practiced our body movements of spinning.  Q from me:  What fairytale character pricked her finger on a spinning wheel?  One little girl:  Sleeping Beauty.  Applause]

She went to the hosier's to buy him some hose;
                [Well, I had two little boys that put their heads together when asked about this word and kinda laugh, but then decided to give a better answer than what they heard on the street.  So they said, “the thing you spray water with”  Wise choice, boys.  Then I asked them what I wore on my legs?  “Stockings”, “leggings”.  I warned them, “you’re gonna laugh”.  They held their breaths and I said, “In the old days we called them PANTY hose.”  Peals of laughter, because I had said the 3rd grade word, “panties”.  I was officially the best Storyteller ever.]
When she came back he was dressed in his clothes.
     [I had the boys and girls face each other. Oh, and I didn’t use the word dame, but “the woman”.]

The Dame made a curtsy,  [the girls did a curtsy] The dog made a bow;  [the boys did a bow] The Dame said, Your servant;  [the girls did a curtsy and said, “Your servant”] The dog said, Bow-wow.  [the boys did a bow and said, “Bow Wow”.  Again, the joy of student laughter.  They had never heard the word, “Bow Wow”]
Afterwards the kids were talking about all the new words and new interpretations of words they had.  They particularly were pleased by “hose” and “bow wow”  Again, who knows what they’ll tell their parents, but for right now, they are excited about learning.  I have a project I’ll get to (maybe next year) to be entitled:  “Nursery Rhymes in Learning Times”.

More information about the origin of this nursery rhyme written in 1805  see Old Mother Hubbard explanation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Mother_Hubbard)
So what nursery rhyme has that wonderful language that I should tell next?  :) 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Nursery Rhymes for Learning Times Part I

This month I was part of program:  “Heart and Soul for Reading” that is being done at 3 schools in Porstmouth, VA, who were having low scores on reading comprehension on the 3rd grade benchmark tests.  I presented my program, “Ole Skool Classics” Storytelling, which focuses on older, classical stories without the Disney twist, along with nursery rhymes and other poetry, and encourages kids to want to read old stories, and create their new versions.  One of the poems I did was “Old Mother Hubbard”.  Who woulda thunk that poem would have so much to offer?  I decided to invite 2 boys and 2 girls to come and act out the things the “dog” does at the end of the verses, and I, along with the 3rd graders, learned a lot about words along the way.  I thought you’d enjoy a time with me and the 3rd graders at Douglass Park Elementary, as we explored this poem.

Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard,
To give the poor dog a bone;
When she came there, The cupboard was

      [I asked them to complete the sentence.  Their answers:  “full of dog bones”, “closed”.  Finally, “empty”.  Yes, and another word for that is…]
And so the poor dog had none.

 She went to the baker's to buy him some bread;
When she came back the dog was dead!
      [The children loved playing a death scene]
She went to the undertaker's
     [Q from me:  What’s an undertaker?  Every hand goes up and their answer, emphatically and with smiles of knowing:  A Wrestler with WWE.  Teachers laugh.  I chuckle and then absolutely agree with them and ask:  Why is he called the undertaker?  Answers:  Uh, because he’s big.  My Answer:  Undertaker is a funeral director, he buries people.  They call him the undertaker because……and they all scream out:  He buries people!  They are super excited and one kid remarks, “I’m gonna tell my brother.”]

To buy him a coffin;
When she came back the dog was laughing.

She took a clean dish to get him some tripe;

      [Yeah, that’s some food, you can still get it in the store, I don’t like it.]
When she came back he was smoking his pipe.
      [This was going to interesting territory.  The kids acted like they were smoking cigarettes and I had to tell them no.  Then Teachers and I tried to explain pipe.  One kid said yeah, I know a pipe and started to talk about the pipe used with drugs…..uh, moving on to the next verse.]

She went to the alehouse to get him some beer
     [lots of laughter  they are 3rd graders];
When she came back the dog sat in a chair.

She went to the tavern for white wine and red;
When she came back the dog stood on his head.
     [no child stood on their head; but we all had fun imaging it]

She went to the fruiterer's to buy him some fruit;
When she came back he was playing the flute.
     [Each child held the flute like a trumpet or trombone.  I showed them how a flute was played, and EVERY STUDENT played a flute.  It was a wonderful sight.]

 Afterwards the kids were talking about all the new words and new interpretations of words they had.  They particularly were pleased by “undertaker” and “flute”  Who knows what they’ll tell their parents, but for right now, they are excited about learning.  Gotta love nursery rhymes and how much learning there is to done through them.

See Part II next week

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Quick Performance Update – next week: 11/6 at Douglass Elementary School, Portsmouth, VA; 11/7 at Brighton Elementary School, Portsmouth, VA; 11/8 performing with Sarah Brady in A.C.T.S. (Anointed Chaos through Theatre and Storytelling) at First Baptist Norfolk, 312 Kempsville Rd., Norfolk, VA, 7 to 8:30 pm, OPEN to PUBLIC 
Other Nov. performances:  OK  (Tulsa, Edmond, Moore City, Oklahoma City); Virginia (Aldie, Middleburg, Norfolk)
Upcoming Dec. performances:  VA (Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg

So lately I have felt overwhelmed with….well….with everything. Ever been there?   But I am learning that “overwhelmed” is not a bad place to be sometimes.  So in case some of you are there, I thought I’d share some thoughts on the subject. 

1.       The greatest way I have of dealing with being “overwhelmed” is to stop trying to do it all.  There are only 24 hours in a day and 8 of them I am sleeping through.  Then I have to eat and go to the bathroom (more often than I’d like sometimes).  When I make that infamous “to do” list, I invariably have more on it than I can do in one day.  I know some time management people say only put on what you can accomplish in a day.  The truth is I don’t know what I can accomplish in a day because my days vary so much.  So, I have learned if I have done anything on the list – I have succeeded.  The other things, well, they’ll get done….or they won’t get done and the time to do them will run out – so be it.

2.       God can use, and does, when I am “overwhelmed.”  Just because I think nothing else can fit on my plate, doesn’t mean that God thinks my plate is too full.  I have been learning to entrust Him with my schedule, verbally giving Him my schedule each day.  Then when things change – and they do – I know God put that change there, because He knows what I need and don’t need better than I do. 

3.       A Sabbath is important.  Yes, in the middle of all the things to do I must have a Sabbath day.  No, not just a Sunday (or a Saturday, or a Friday sunset to Saturday sunset) in the strictest since of a day – sometimes my travel and performance schedule don’t allow that.  However, I must find a day within my seven days where I need to rest, rejuvenate, review and revive.  That’s the time I spend in reflection and in relationships.  I have to step away from it all.  We all need to step away and remember why we are doing any of this in the first place. 

4.       Marketing is best done when you are the busiest.  If you are in the world of marketing, you know this is a truth.  However, sometimes as Storytellers we think, “I’m so busy I can’t market right now.”  Throw that thinking away.  You see when you are the busiest you are the most attractive to people who want to hire you.  When I am booked solid (and early), then when others call I have to say, “Sorry, too late” [not quite like that], and inevitably that gives me 2 opportunities: 

a.       Can I suggest someone else for that program?  (networking always brings more business – “you reap what you sow”)

b.      Why don’t we schedule for next year now?  So get with some of our great marketers in the business:  Stephen Hollen (www.stephenhollen.com), Kim Weitkamp (www.kimweitkamp.com) , Slash Coleman (the Twitter man, www.slashcoleman.com) and Doug Lipman (www.storydynamics.com) and maybe even me (sheilaarnold39@aol.com).  Learn from them and in the midst of your crazy – market yourself.  Remember, when grants end, when schools/organizations are on to the next “new” thing, when it seems to dry up, if you have been actively marketing, you will have the next gigs already coming to  you.

5.       I should have a #5 because most people have 3, 5 or 10 points to make.  I don’t have a #5 – so I will let you share your #5 with me in the comment area.  What do you do when “overwhelmed” and what have you learned while being “overwhelmed”?

 Well, it’s time for me to stop writing this blog and get some of that other work completed.  One last note for you:  “You are not alone.”  We entertainers, performers, artsy-fartsy kinda folk seem to live in a realm of “appointed chaos”, but then that’s what makes us take the stage, act like a character from a fairy tale, charm our way into the doors of schools, libraries and organizations; and, what makes us dare to be different. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Thank You, Friends

Quick Performance Update – next week: None
Other Jan. performances:  None
Upcoming Feb. performances:  CA  (North Hollywood); GA  (Savannah); IL (Dunlap, Gurnee); VA (Ashburn, Carrolton, Chesapeake, Hampton, Herndon, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach)

Yesterday, Jan. 22, was my 48th birthday!  I had a great day – relaxed, reflective and blessed.  Blessed mostly by all the wonderful birthday greetings I received via Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as face-to-face, by phone and text.  What a delight that I had so many ways to receive wishes, encouragements and notes.  I determined that I would respond to each greeting personally, which I didn’t have the time to completely do, but was so moved.  I am blessed with friends.  So for my friends, enjoy my original story/folktale, “Why the Leaves Change Their Colors”, a story about friendship below. 

       Thank you to friends, both near and far; those I saw yesterday and those I haven’t seen for well over 10 years; those who I met when times were glorious and those who I met when I was in pain; those who I have been constantly close and those who seem further from my heart, but never lost; those who are my storytelling buddies, my sisters and brothers in Christ, young folks who have allowed me to be a part of their life, my family and my loves.  Thank you, my FRIENDS.

What is Ms. Sheila reading?  Started reading Stephen Vincent Benet’s John Brown’s Body.  Loving it!  STILL reading:  Anecdotes Illustrative  of New Testament Texts

Most interesting thing researched this week?  Philip Reid was an ex-slave who helped put together the woman of freedom on top of the Capital Dome during the Lincoln presidency.  Cool! 

The Weeping Willow, or, Why the leaves change their colors

            Once upon a time before the dinosaurs ruled and people walked the earth, before cars and convenience stores, the trees were always green.  The trees were always green and they were always happy.  They ALL were happy….except the Weeping Willow.
            “Oh me, oh my, how I wish I could turn colors.  I could be red like a cardinal, orange like a….like a….like an orange.  I could be yellow like a daffodil and brown like the ground.  Oh me, oh my,” cried Weeping Willow.
            He took his request to the angel of the trees, who in turn took Weeping Willow’s complaint to God.  He knocked on God’s door and God answered, “I’m open.”
            The angel went in and told God Weeping Willow was complaining.  “Again?” asked God.  “Haven’t I given him enough?  Isn’t this the same Weeping Willow who used to be a little tree, but he wanted to be big, and I gave him that?”  The angel nodded.  “Is this the same Weeping Willow who used to have his branches sticking straight out, but he wanted them bent to the grand, and I gave him that.”  Again, the angel nodded.  “So, what does he want NOW?”
            “Well,” the angel hesitated, “He wants his leaves to turn color.”
            “Turn colors!?” boomed God.  “Tell him no.”
            The angel of the trees came back and told God’s reply to Weeping Willow.  The Weeping Willow complained and grumbled some more.  He whined all the day and most of the night.  He whined until finally Mr. Oak had had enough.
            “I’m tired of you complaining, Willow,” Oak said, in his deep bass voice.  “I and some of my friends are going to the other side of the land so we don’t have to hear you.”  So Mr. Oak and his friends left for the other side of the land.
            “Oh me, oh my,” whined Weeping Willow.  “My friend, Mr. Oak and his friends are gone and I’ll miss them, but I’d be happy if I could only turn colors.  Red and orange and yellow and brown.  Oh me, oh my.”
            Weeping Willow continued to cry all day and even more of the night.  Finally, Ms. Sycamore had had enough.
            “I cannot stand another day of you grumbling and whining,” she told Weeping Willow.  “I must leave now.”  So Ms. Sycamore left with some of her friends to the other side of the land.
            “Oh me, oh my,” cried Weeping Willow.  “Now Ms. Sycamore has gone away, but I’d be happy if I could only turn colors - red like a bow tie, orange like a…like a….an orange, yellow like the sun, and brown like a lion’s fur.  Oh me, oh my.”
            And Weeping Willow whined and cried all the day and all the night.  He complained and grumbled until all the trees left for the other land.  Weeping Willow didn’t stop, and soon all the bushes, the shrubs, the flowers and even all the animals left for the other side of the land.  When the dirt and grass were just about to get up and go, the angel of the trees decided take charge.  Again he went to talk to God. 
             He knocked on God’s door and God answered, “I’m open!” asked God.
            “It’s Weeping Willow again,” said the angel as he entered.
            God put his head in his hands.  “What now?”
            “It’s still the colors.”
            “What colors does he want to be?  Purple?  Silver?  Gold?”
            “No, sir,” asserted the angel.  “He’s very certain of his colors.  He wants to turn red, orange, yellow, and brown.”
            “Red, orange, yellow, and brown, eh?” God mused.  Well, God thought.  And, God thought.  And, God thought.  Finally, God said, “Okay, tell him yes, I’ll give him the colors.”
            Immediately the angel delivered God’s reply to Weeping Willow who rejoiced greatly and, to the joy of grass and dirt, ceased his complaining, grumbling, whining and crying.
            The next morning Weeping Willow woke and saw his leaves had turned red.  “Oh, looky, looky.  My leaves have turned red like the robin redbreast and apples and a big red balloon.”
            Soon though, his leaves turned orange.  “Oh, don’t I look beautiful.  My leaves are orange like a…like a…like an orange tree.  Hmm, I wonder what else is orange.  Oh, yes, like a pumpkin and a carrot.”
            A little while later Weeping Willow’s leaves turned yellow.  “Ahh,” he sighed.  “This is wonderful.  My leaves are yellow.  Yellow like the shining sun and the daffodils and dandelions.  Oh, I love the yellow, they make me shine.  Uh, oh, something’s happening … oh, goody, now I’m turning brown.  Brown like the lion’s skin and the bear’s fur and my friend the dirt.”
            But as Weeping Willow’s leaves turned brown something began to happen to him.  The Weeping Willow began to die.  You see, he didn’t realize that when he asked for his leaves to change colors, he was also asking for his very lift to be taken.
            Mr. Oak and Ms. Sycamore and all the other trees, except Mr. Evergreen, heard that Weeping Willow was beginning to die.  They grieved and approached the angel of the trees.
            “We know,” said Mr. Oak, “that Weeping Willow cried, groaned, complained and whined greatly and is probably getting what he deserves, but we do not wish for him to die.”
            “Yes,” affirmed Ms. Sycamore, “he is our friend.  Please, tell God that we’ll turn colors, too, so Weeping Willow will not die alone.”
            The angel relayed their request to God.  God was so amazed by their love and friendship for Weeping Willow, that He allowed them to turn colors.  However, He promised, because of their friendship and love, that in the spring they would live and become green again.
            So that is why the leaves change their colors.  Oh, and Weeping Willow, he never cried, grumbled, complained or whined again because he had the best wish of all – FRIENDS!

Developed by Sheila Arnold, 1990.  Written by Sheila Arnold, 2001

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Network: The Way It’s Supposed to Be

Quick Performance Update – next week: None
Other Jan. performances:  None

A little over a week ago, Historic Character Presenter & Storyteller, Gwendolyn Quezaire-Presutti of Woventales Productions LLC (www.woventales.com), called me and let me know she had been contracted for a program which, due to surgery, I couldn’t do.  Okay, back to the beginning (as my Mother always starts her stories), I was requested for a program on Jan. 21, but surgery was pushed back, so I informed the contact person I was unavailable, and asked her if she wanted me to send some names of performers/presenters.  The contact person said yes, and I began a search for persons that did both Historic Character Presentations and Storytelling.  I sent an email to those folks and asked if they were available, and three persons were available.  I sent the names back to the contact person, and the rest, as they say, is history. 

When Gwendolyn and the contact person informed me that a good fit had been made, there was excitement on both sides.  Gwendolyn had a new gig and a new business connection.  The contact person had been able to make connection for a new program quickly and with the confidence of a recommendation from another performer, and our relationship remained intact and positive for future performances.  And, me, well, I felt fantastic.  This is the way it is supposed to be with performers – always looking for opportunities for others as well as myself.  How easy it would have been to just say, “I can’t help you, sorry” and give no other information.  Or, I could have sent out a general – “Hey, here’s a possible gig” and send the contact person’s information and let the shoot out begin – making her life more difficult.  But that is not the way it is supposed to be.  I, as a professional, should maintain the relationship by providing professional recommendations in a thoughtful manner which highlights other professionals and makes it easy for event producers. 

So, what is my point?

A)     Make Connections with other persons in your professions – online and at conferences, etc.  Gwendolyn and I met as LinkedIn connections.  [Okay, here it is, a SHAMELESS PLUG FOR LINKEDIN….oh, and it’s where the contact person met me as well! - www.linkedin.com]  Have you joined something?  LinkedIn?  Twitter?  Facebook?  Pinterest?  Connect with others.  Attend conferences, go to professional development and see what is outside of your world.

B)     Make your connections count.  There was a woman on LinkedIn that encouraged people to write a short note once you connected, so I have been doing.  Many of those little notes have turned into friends, not just acquaintances.  Contact people when you will be in their area, not just for “business”, but to have a cup of coffee and get to know each other.  Inform people you are connected to about performances, activities, events, professional development – THAT DOES NOT INCLUDE YOU  ONLY!  Yes, we all want people to attend our performances, but when it’s all about you – you’re no different than the telemarketer.

C)     Be wise about recommendations, BUT MAKE THEM.  I only make recommendations for people I have great confidence in.  I have seen them perform, work, talk, etc., OR I know of their caliber from other trusted friends.  When a request comes across my desk/email and I cannot meet the request, I immediately start looking for those who can, and ASK the requestor if they WANT recommendations.  (Yes, I do ask if I can do the program at a later time, but I need to help them with this event as well.)  Then I look through my list of friends (and yes, I keep a list of my professional friends).  I talk to THEM before I recommend them, to see if they have dates available.  No worse feeling an event requestor can have – to get a recommendation about someone not available.  Ugh!

D)    Finally, help those in your profession rise, by sharing what good things you have learned.  Here is my thank you for setting the example:  Kit Rogers – sending out requests that are sent to National Storytelling Network - http://www.storynet.org/; Mark Goldman – sending out his newsletter that consistently shares storytelling insights as well as other programming, just love his newsletter - http://www.storytellermark.com/newsletters/Newsletterz.asp?NL_Date=12/31/2012; Karen Chace – whose blog is the “go to” for storytelling research and sharing without hesitation - http://www.karenchace.blogspot.com/.  These, and others {I truly failed to mention Don "Buck" Creacy and Kris Hillenburg}, have been shining stars of how we need to help each other. 

Print copied from Karen's blog about "A Rising Tide" - seemed apropos
I met some tellers, a long while ago, that I wanted to share with about other opportunities to do storytelling performances.  It took them a while to believe I really wanted to assist them, because they had met another performer before me who said they would help, but then that person came back and said, “I can’t really help you, because you’ll take away my business.”  Wow!  That’s the way it ain’t supposed to be, so let’s be better! 

 What is Ms. Sheila reading?  Yes, I am STILL reading:  Anecdotes Illustrative  of New Testament Texts published by The S.S. Scranton Company, Hartford, CT (1901).  It’s a long book, but lots of new short, short stories that I can, as Dan ? would say, “give as gifts to others.”
Most interesting thing researched this week?  More of an observation:  Sometimes the hardest thing in healing is just giving yourself permission to listen to your body as it heals; sometimes my body has to shout – “Sit down.  Lie Down, or I’ll take you down.”

Friday, January 11, 2013

Surgery: Health for Artists

Quick Performance Update – next week: None
Other Jan. performances:  None

I had surgery (hysterectomy) this past Tuesday, Jan. 8.  Although in some pain and having some soreness, I know the end result is I will be a healthier person, and for that I am glad. 

Getting to this point started because of a performance in March of 2012 where I passed out at the end of program.  Through an overnight stay at a hospital in Vancouver, WA, I was diagnosed with uterine fibroids.  Great friends in that area watched over me and made sure I comfortably arrived back home and the process began to a)  get health insurance and b) get the best possible care and have some physical resolution.

The health care insurance was my challenge, because I have asthma and with that pre-existing condition, insurance was too high.  Then came Obamacare!  I am a testimony to the positive effects of Obamacare and getting healthcare for my pre-existing conditions.  I pay $288/month to cover myself and am grateful beyond belief. 

I encourage all artists to get healthcare insurance, particularly since now it’s a little easier.  Here is the suggestion I was given, and used: 

A)   Get services from a Federally Qualified Health Center - they charge on a sliding scale fee and even if you pay full fees, it's often less than a private practice. There are many in our area (VA). See Access Partnership's link for a listing: http://accesspartnership.org/19.html

B)   Check to see if you qualify for Pre-Existing Condition Health Insurance Plan. The rates are very affordable and since you have a pre-ex condition, it's doubtful you can get insurance at a reasonable price. Also, be aware that even after you purchase coverage from a private insurance there is often a pre-ex period (3-6 months and sometimes a year) before that condition is covered!  website: http://www.pcip.gov.

If you have insurance ideas and suggestions that are viable and affordable for artists, please share with others. 

Time for me to get back to recuperating (which means sleeping a lot and using great drugs - J), so let me finish by saying thank you to everyone who has been open to sharing how they dealt with certain prescription drugs and with surgery.  Your insights helped me make good decisions.  Your prayers, thoughts and texts have reminded me that I am loved and cared for, and quite blessed with my cross-country friendships. 

What is Ms. Sheila reading?  Still reading:  Anecdotes Illustrative  of New Testament Texts published by The S.S. Scranton Company, Hartford, CT (1901).
Most interesting thing researched this week?  I found out the prayer, “Now I lay be down to sleep” was written in the 18th-century.  How cool that I can add this to my 18th-Century storytelling presentation and Historic Character Presentations.