Good Hands

While walking on a treadmill at a gym in January 2015, Julie Jo Jamison Jones (J⁴) lost the feeling in her foot. Two days later, after symptoms persisted, she checked herself into Barrows Neurological Institute.

J⁴ called me from the hospital, “ come here now.”

J⁴ had a brain tumor, and according to the neurologists, the tumor metastasized from cancer in her lung. The diagnosis – stage IV lung cancer.

The following April, my daughter and I set out on a long-anticipated 5-week trip to South America to celebrate my daughter’s college graduation. I felt terrible leaving J⁴ who I’d promised to be by her side during cancer treatment.

My daughter and I contemplated how we could include  J⁴ in our travels.  I asked my mother if she had any ideas.

Two days before our departure, at 11 PM, my mother called with an idea. 

Years before, my mother had purchased colorful wooden angels from an artist at a Chautauqua art fair.  My mother suggested we contact the artist and see if we could order the angels for our trip.

I phoned the artist, Cheryl, owner of Louise’s Daughter.

Last minute, but it was worth a try.

Cheryl answered my call from the other side of the country while she grocery shopped.  I asked if I could purchase 60 angels and if the angels could arrive by the following evening. Unable to guarantee, Cheryl assured me she’d try.

The next night, on the eve of our departure, the angels arrived.

And what’s followed, has been miraculous. 

The angels, now known as J⁴ Angels, are spreading across the world. Handcrafted by Louise’s Daughter, the J⁴ Angels arrive at our hands via a FedEx package, and as life happens, find their way into the hands of warm-hearted, supportive, and deserving people.

Together, we’ve become a choir – 

A choir of angels sent out into our world one person at a time, lifting each other to a higher ground and rejoicing with gratitude for all that’s good.

When a J⁴ Angel makes it into your hands, please know that someone somewhere sees the Light in you. You are a beacon of hope.

In the name of eternal friendship, you, too, are a messenger in our growing circle of kindness and support.

Hopefully, your J⁴ Angel will remind you to rejoice –

For you are in Good Hands and good company!

 

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The Things We Lost in the Storm

Now, THIS is phenomenal storytelling and a tale of turning such tragedy into an inspiration -wow! #AnguillaStrong

Vanessa Explains...

There used to be a time when losing your roof during a hurricane in Anguilla was an anomaly. Anguilla (which rhymes with vanilla) is a small, little-known island but, as the northernmost Leeward, built with the threatening shadow of a heavy storm in mind. As such, hurricanes which would wreak havoc in other islands or the US mainland rarely blow over our houses or take our roofs. I remember during Hurricane Lenny when someone in our village actually lost their roof. Everyone went out to look at the tragedy, offering assistance to the distraught family and listening with rapture to the story of what it was like for the hurricane to go with the roof. When I meet people in the shop now, in this post-Hurricane-Irma life, they greet me with “Vanessa, what the storm do you?” and I respond, “We lost our roof.” Half the time the person…

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