September 11, 2015 – the perfect day to reflect on the beauty that is – and some special kids

Probably my most memorable experience related to the date of September 11th is getting to go to NY in 2011, to Ground Zero, with a bunch of 10-year-old kids, each one born on that tragic day in 2001. Little did I know when I was watching the fiasco  on television news, something like we’ve never seen before, that so many amazing souls were being delivered to planet earth. A blessing, each one of them.

This particular group had been part of a book we published called Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 911. And, as is the tradition to reflect on the positive here at HCI , (and personally as well), working on this book proved to be cathartic for many on staff. We were proud to pass that experience along to our readers. Who knew ten years later I’d be sailing on the Circle Line with this group of “models.”

Naturally, the media wanted to follow up on these kids and see how they were doing. That included media from Europe as well as the US. These kids got photographed (again), written about, and broadcast over the airwaves all around the world. I got to be there to help coordinate their efforts. In between the spells of rain, the air that day felt palpable and my eyes stayed moist. The monument wasn’t finished yet but the cavern where it was being built exuded an odd power.

Here it is a few years later and I can’t help but feel like I gained something tremendously valuable by working with Christine Pisera Naman, the author of Faces of Hope and the mother of Trevor, one of the children born on 9/11. Lemons into lemonade is too pedestrian a term for what this project means but, I’ll settle for that expression now. Lemons are in almost every dish I prepare and turning around an unfortunate experience into a blessing is a lifelong practice, or at least ambition, of mine.

I dedicate this album of photos – which I think might be my best yet – to the souls who departed that day and to the ones that came in. And, to the rest of us in the wings, finding ours.

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Late spring and the slippery, sneaky sunrise…

All these photos, all these inspirational quotes, all these moments inspired by my terrace view. Never for a moment do I forget how lucky I am. But more than lucky I realize how much I am spoiled. I realize this each spring when the sun decides to hide from me. How my apartment is blocked and situated just so and If I only had that east facing corner unit I could see the full glory of the sunrise EVERY day of the year. How will I deliver real time photos to you when this happens? What a wonderful problem to have.

Every routine, no matter how divine, can become stagnant and mechanical if we don’t have these interruptions. What the absence of the sunrise causes me to do is look elsewhere for beauty and that pursuit of awe that seems to sustain me. Clouds to the south and west become more interesting. Their tips infused by the rising sun’s light in the distance. The shimmer of the ocean in great expanse in front of me and the pinks and oranges in smudges across the sky. I am pulled out of automatic pilot mode and thrust into the moment. Into the presence of now. Cliche as it sounds, it’s these testing moments that cause growth.

I’m told that my beloved sun will be back for daily snaps very soon. Until then, I’ll enjoy the shows of Mother Nature in any and all of her surprising and wonderful permutations. And, in the meantime, I hope you enjoy this edition’s slide show. I made it just for you!

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Remembering mom, Mother’s Day, and the sunrise and sunset of it all…

Mother’s Day is bittersweet for me. Three years gone, it’s sill hard to believe that my mother is no longer with me. This year her day falls on May 10th. My eldest sister will have to share her birthday with all the moms of the world and I’ll be remembering mine from Paris. How she would have loved to vicariously visit the city of love with me. I would bring back photos on my iphone, sit close to her in her small kitchen, and take her on the trip I’m about to have. And, she’d meet my fiance, John. How unfair it is for her to miss these landmark events in my life. As my number one cheerleader, she embraced every adventure of mine that she wasn’t able to have herself. Sharing them with her was almost part of the experience for me.

But loved ones come and go, and as I age, they seem to go more frequently. Many are in picture frames than glance back at me from dressers and desks and all are in my heart. Mom and Dad. Grandma Esther and Grandpa Benny. When I meditate I feel their presence as part of the particles in the atmosphere that surround me. I sometimes revel in the idea that everything that ever was still is– taking varying forms at different junctures and remaining as an integral part of the cosmos. My cosmos, when I have these visualizations, feels warm and full, comforting and hopeful.

And, the book, my book. My mother’s refrigerator wouldn’t have been large enough to pin up all the clippings its garnered. They’d have to find space around the one Miami Herald clipping that she shared with me where we were photographed together for another book story. She looked happy and proud in her denim ensemble holding tight to her body her blue leather shoulder bag. She loved books, she would have loved my book, and all because of how she loved me.

I miss you mom. I would have taken you to a fancy brunch this Sunday maybe not in Paris but some place you’d like.  I would have put a special copy of my book in a basket with daisies and chocolates and written a message to you that would last a lifetime. So instead, here I write: Thank you, mom, for encouraging my creativity, supporting all my endeavors, and loving me unconditionally. I love you to the moon and back, Kim.

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