Writers Sharing The Lighthouse Wave!

Happy Girl on computer“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
― Anne Frank

The Lighthouse Wave appreciates that writers change the world one word at a time. Writers have the ability to inspire, motivate, touch lives and even change history.  Their words flow in poems, songs, essays, blogs and are a tool to brighten a day and change the world. The following are writers that I know who are living The Lighthouse Wave! Be inspired by their stories then go out and shine for others – Denise

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Laureen Knudsen Cured Herself From a Cancer Diagnosis and Shares Her Healthy Secrets With Others!

Friendship is one of the greatest gifts bestowed upon mankind and I was lucky enough to be given the gift of Laureen Knudsen – my lifelong friend.  We met in the ninth grade and have been best friends ever since.  She is a true and loyal friend who I admire for all her strength, honesty, compassion and intelligence…the list could go on forever!  Here is a page from her blog that I hope will inspire each of you as she inspires me every day:

“I appreciate you all following me and reading my blog. I started it because I wanted to help people who were searching for a healthier balanced life including food, beauty products, work-life balance, and fun. I love creating party designs and have quite a few posts about how to DIY your own party. I also have a lot of health posts, including healthy recipes. The healthy posts are due to my need to keep myself alive. Yep. As hard as it is to admit, daily I work to sustain my health so I won’t sneak into the cancer range.

Eight years ago, I went to my doctor for my annual exam. I have thyroid and blood pressure issues (that is for another post) and I needed to have my blood drawn to make sure my medication levels were good. I mentioned I was tired so my doctor also ran my Sedimentation (Sed) rate. The Sed rate is an indicator of inflammation in the body. Usually your Sed rate is under 20. A reading of 100 is a sign of serious illness. Mine came back at 92….92! I was shocked and scared. What was going wrong in my body?

The doctor sent me to a cardiologist and after weeks of heart monitoring and other tests we determined my heart was good. So I was sent to a Rheumatologist. Maybe it was arthritis or a joint issue. I could deal with that. Weeks of tests again showed nothing. But the Rheumatologist had one more test for me, which was a blood test. I don’t think I will ever forget the day of my appointment with him for the results. This was an in-person kind of result, not a phone call. He told me I might have a blood/bone marrow cancer so he was sending me to a Hematology Oncologist. I think my world stood still. Blood cancer? Bone marrow cancer? If I was going to get cancer why couldn’t it be something that they could remove? I was 42 years old. I was in the prime of my life. I was just a little tired. Isn’t everyone a little tired?

The Hematology Oncologist did all sorts of test. He redid the blood tests, took x-rays of every bone in my body, tested my kidneys, and sent me for a bone marrow biopsy. I was just under the cancer levels for multiple myeloma and was pretty much told that the disease would progress until I had cancer and then I could discuss treatments. I was sent to places that specialize in treating severe cancers and who are supposed to provide hope. I received no hope. Don’t get me wrong, my Hematology Oncologist is wonderful but they are taught that there are no cures for certain things. Something about this diagnoses made me curious. Our bodies want to work correctly, and mine was not. If I gave it the right stuff, whatever that may be, why couldn’t my body fix itself?

Doctors had no cure, so what did I have to lose? At the time, I read that MM is caused by either exposure to chemicals or a virus. I couldn’t do much if a virus caused this, but I could control my chemical exposure. So began our purging of our cleaning products and our food. My husband started cooking and would cook only organic food. We researched and cleared out all toxic chemical from our cleaning products (vinegar is wonderful).

laurieI added only clean things into my body while doing all sorts of cleanses to get the toxins out (contact me if you want the details, I am happy to share).  And guess what? It worked! My numbers stabilized. I went from having blood tests every 3 weeks to now, once a year. My numbers still go up and down (up is bad) but I have remained stable. YEA ME!

The path to this point is fraught with twists and turns, however. I had a bout with depression, weight gain, and slip ups. I will post more about these as time goes on. So please enjoy my blog, my recipes, DIY pieces, and my party designs. I will continue to give information on how I am bringing by body back to health. And finding my new normal, which continues to change.” Check out my blog – http://imagineseedo.blogspot.com/

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Penny & Garry Marshall – Writing Books to Inspire

good penny picturePenny Marshall is a great actress and director! She has made some fantastic movies like Big, Awakenings and A League of Their Own, been on the popular television show Laverne and Shirley, and now has a very funny book, My Mother Was Nuts. Penny writes about growing up in the Bronx, getting pregnant and married at a young age while living in New Mexico, marrying Rob Reiner and dating Art Garfunkel. She also shares some very serious life subjects like abortion and drugs. Penny has been through some difficult stuff but she manages to turn all of that into to humor. She lived by simple rules: “try hard, help your friends, don’t get too crazy, and have fun.” In 2009 she was simultaneous diagnosed with a brain tumor and lung cancer which she battled and motivated her to write the memoir in order to share the truth about her life and dispel any incorrect gossip.

Fortunately, she’s recovered and spends much of her time devoted to charitable efforts including working with BIANYS, the Brain Injury Association of New York State. She supports a number of charities including The Felix Foundation.  She also supports the charitable work of The Lakers Youth Foundation. “To stay alive, you gotta keep functioning….whatever it is you want to do,” Penny said.

good garry pictureSiblings Penny and Garry Marshall share a complementary and loving relationship. At a recent event, Garry began the evening by introducing his sister, “Two of my most exciting words in show business – Penny Marshall.”

Garry Marshall is known for his televison hits like The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, and Mork & Mindy, and movies like The Flamingo Kid, Beaches, Pretty Woman, and The Princess Diaries.  He has been a writer, director, and producer for more than five decades. In his book, My Happy Days in Hollywood, Garry tells of his early life in the Bronx to his exciting times in Hollywood.  He worked with many greats like Henry Winkler’s Fonz, Julia Roberts, Robin Williams, Anne Hathaway, and many others. This hilarious memoir is even more touching when you realize Garry’s personal philosophy has always been that life is more important than show business. Garry Marshall still works hard as a director and producer while doing charity work in his spare time.

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Elizabeth Stewart Writes and Fights for Her Son Jeremy!

liz and jeremyI have know Elizabeth Stewart my entire life. She is an amazing mother, daughter, friend and nurse!  She had difficulties in her early life as she married young to a man with a drug addition.  They had two boys only a few years apart but Elizabeth got a  divorce when the abuse started.  She ended up moving into subsized housing and going on welfare. However, Elizabeth used the system the right way and gave herself a helping hand up.  Elizabeth had dyslexia and was never a very good student but she set her sites on becoming a Registered Nurse.  It took her eight years but it paid off and now she is making six figures as a Registered Nurse in the VA Hospital in San Diego, California. Now Elizabeth is fighting to save the life of her son Jeremy.  She writes:

“Right now in California, people are being laid off, pot holes in the roads are getting bigger, college fees are increasing and the homeless population is astronomical, yet the state is handing out life sentences for nonviolent crimes.  The California Three Strikes law is financial suicide. No other state in this nation is foolish enough to compromise their budget in such a manner. In California life sentences are being handed out for crimes without violence.  I am talking about a life sentence of 25 years or more. Have our legislators lost their minds when they wrote this law?  Why was this never explained to voters?  Could it be the politicians’ knew the voter would have rejected this outrageous law under these circumstances?

jeremy1I know this from personal experience: my own son is currently serving seventy years of incarceration rather than eight years for his crime.  That is a death sentence for him as well as for me. About now you’re asking yourself what did he do Murder someone, serial arson or rob a bank at gunpoint? No, there was no violence. Jeremy, my son lights up my world just as most children do for their parents. He enjoyed Sunday school and was always helping out neighbors by carrying their groceries, taking out the trash or just listening to them. He has a heart of gold and loves to hand out hugs. This is my son.

Jeremy had attention deficit and in junior high he began “getting stoned”.  A counselor once described it as a way of self-medicating. Of course, as a mother I panicked and called our local church for help.Life seemed good for a while, but then Jeremy entered High School and the problems started again. So I put Jeremy in a private school “Rescue Academy” for teenagers with learning disabilities and drug addiction. The cost was outrageous for a single mom. I had enough money to cover the first year at the private school and it was a financial hardship.  The year came to an end I had to place Jeremy back in the public school system, a place not set up for struggling children. I requested a meeting known as Individualized Education Program or IEP with the school department to assist my son with his special needs but my request was denied. Jeremy dropped out of High School and began making poor decisions including stealing from his own family. The drugs had taken hold of my child.  When you’re on drugs you mind is not your own.

Danny, his brother, reported him to the sheriff’s department for using his credit card without permission. Danny was hoping Jeremy would wake up and stop stealing and using. Months later Jeremy broke into a home while the family was out and took some odds and ends for quick money. Jeremy was arrested and received his first strike. He was incarcerated for 10 months. I hoped it would be a wakeup call to turn his life around. After his release, he began seeing a young lady named Raechell and he was so happy. Then, Jeremy started hanging out with his using buddies.  One of these friends called him in the middle of the night for a ride when his car broke down.  Jeremy ended up involved in another burglary scandal for stolen possessions. His friend had stolen items on him the night Jeremy gave him a ride.  Jeremy swore that he had no knowledge of the property that had been stolen, but he was a convicted felon, with a previous robbery conviction.  Jeremy acquired his second strike and served a little over a year.  While Jeremy was in prison, his son David was born.

Upon his release Jeremy and Raechell moved into an apartment where all seemed well until Jeremy’s work hours decreased.  I don’t know what was going through my son’s head, but I know he started using crystal methamphetamine.  Life can be so rough.  Jeremy made some poor decisions and was arrested for entering two homes and taking jewelry. Seventy years for taking jewelry worth less than price of an old car.  In any other state Jeremy would have received 6-8 years.  This is mad.  Jeremy was given more time than a murderer or rapist.  I could not believe what was happening right here in the United States of America. The punishment handed down is from medieval times. Wouldn’t our Forefathers be ashamed! What about the Eighth Amendment, cruel and unusual punishment?  No wonder California is going broke. These thoughts replay in my mind almost every night. I bet most Californians have no clue this is happening in our state.  I know I didn’t, until it happened to my family.

I believe in justice and paying back society for your crimes, but what happened next was just crazy.  My young son of 25 years was arrested.  The district attorney made no offers and Jeremy was forced to go to trial. The attorney I hired never prepared us for what was about to happen next.  Jeremy was convicted October 2010. Judge David Gills of San Diego issued two strikes each for 25 years plus 10 years (X2) for breach of contract. The judge referred to it as “two nickels doubled up.”

Shortly after Jeremy’s most recent arrest my granddaughter Heatherly, was born. I still do not know how I will ever explain this situation to his children? What do I say, “Your daddy’s never coming home”? Jeremy has to do 100% of the 70 year term before he is eligible for parole.  In 70 years I will not exist and Jeremy will be 96 years of age.  Really, the state is willing to pay for my son to remain in custody until then?  The current state cost of incarceration is over $62,000 a year.  The price tag is over Four Million Dollars to house Jeremy.  I say this is financial suicide for California and my son is only one of the thousands lock up for life in California because of Penal Code Classification and California Three Strikes . The Accused has become the victim and your tax dollars are paying for this, Ouch! The legislators need to get serious and amend the Penal Codes leading to Life in Prison for Nonviolent crimes. Our community needs to stick together and demand change. Please join my fight to change this law.  Write to your egislators, Senators and the Governor.  Write to the newspapers.  Join California United for Reasonable Budgets, CURBS and share my son’s story with everyone you know.  Demand they change these Penal Codes leading to life sentences for nonviolent/ non-confrontational crimes.  Life should only be reserved for the worst of the worst.  I say use the money on rehabilitation and education rather than prisons. California Three Strikes is wrong.  This is way too much time for a crime of Property theft. Check out my website http://www.jeremysstory.com/ for more information.

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William Shatner Celebrates Life!

best william shatner (2)William Shatner’s career has spanned 50-plus years!  He is known by most people as Captain James T. Kirk on Star Trek and as the title character on TJ Hooker. William Shatner has overcome his share of hardships to be successful.  He built himself up after having very little money, in the 1970’s he lived in a truck bed camper and he continues to suffer from tinnitus from an accident on the Star Trek set.

William Shatner has written a few books but his latest, Shatner Rules, is filled with anecdotes about celebrating his life and work. There are funny “rules” to how he lives his life as he jabs at himself, and former co-stars.  Through all the humor, this book is a truly inspired message to say ‘yes’ to life, its challenges and opportunities. William Shatner worked hard to build himself and now he is able to live The Lighthouse Wave and give back to others.

Today, William Shatner lives to give.  He sold a kidney stone for $75,000 to benefit Habitat For Humanity. The money was used to build houses for victims of Hurricane Katrina.  Also he established the celebrity Hollywood Charity Horse Show in 1990 which benefits numerous charities and has raised more than $1.25 million.

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Joan Collins Lives To Give!

joan collinsThe beautiful and ageless Joan Collins is widely known for her role in Dynasty as Alexis Carrington but she had a long career in acting and writing. Collins has many bestselling novels including Prime Time, Love & Desire & Hate, Infamous, Star Quality, and Misfortune’s Daughters. Also she wrote Secrets, My Friends’ Secrets, Joan’s Way: The Art of Living Well and “The Joan Collins Cook Book” and memoirs Past Imperfect, Katy: A Fight for Life and Second Act.

In a documentary called “Brave New World” Joan discusses being raped at 17 years old.  She describes being drugged and raped when she was still a virgin by the older Irish actor Maxwell Reed. Joan noted that Reed showed her pornographic magazines and then gave her a spiked drink. “The next thing I knew, I was out flat on the sofa in that living room and he was raping me,” she says. “And what he had given me was a drug. He had drugged my drink. It wasn’t my fault but I didn’t know, I went out with him.” She went out with him numerous times and eventually married him because, “Well I better [marry him] because you know, he took my virginity,’ she says. She notes that, “I really hated him, but I was so filled with guilt, that he had done this thing to me.” She now says that it  took a very long time to be able to really trust any man and went on to marry four more times.

Joan has supported numerous charities for many years. In 1982, she spoke before Congress about increasing funding for neurological research. In 1983, she was named a patron of the International Foundation for Children with Learning Disabilities.  The Joan Collins Wing of the Children’s Hospital of Michigan was opened in 1988. Joan was appointed an honorary founding member of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. She was awarded the lifetime achievement award from the Association of Breast Cancer Studies in Great Britain and became a patron of Fight for Sight. Joan supports several foster children in India for over 25 years.

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Angie Dickinson Writes About Her Daughter’s Asperger’s Syndrome

angie dickinson good pictureI met Angie Dickinson as a child and had the pleasure of visiting with her again recently.  She is an actress who has appeared in more than 50 films and starred on television as Sergeant Leann “Pepper” Anderson in the series Police Woman. She was married to Burt Bacharach for 15 years and had one daughter named Nikki. Their daughter was born three months prematurely and suffered from chronic health problems, including visual impairment and Asperger’s Syndrome.

Angie Dickinson’s story was a feature article in Los Angeles Magazine and teaches us the joys and difficulties of life with an autistic child. Angie’s story is interesting, humorous, and pensive as she tells of Nikki’s struggle with Asperger’s. Angie has also been involved with hundreds of charity events and even spoke before congressional subcommittees to urge legislators to increase funding for Alzheimer’s victims.

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