In Our Own Words

In Our Own Words

This space will hold writing pieces from our members here at CSC!

Positive Intentions

January 02, 2019

A better me, that’s what I want!
Extra pounds, I must confront.

A body healthy, strong, and lean,
The new me, a water drinking machine.

Self control, to eliminate vices,
Excessive sugar, choosing spices.

Self improvement, expanding the brain,
Leaning from others is my gain.

Giving of self brings a thankful heart.
Sharing with others, wisdom to impart.

I choose accountability with my time and money,
And leaving spaces for things that are funny.

It’s 2019, a fresh new slate,
I better get started before it’s too late.

By: Sheryl DeLoach

The New Normal

December 12, 2018

Today, as the old year fades to a close, I find myself in a new place, shuttling between my old life and my new life. I find I’m enthused by the possibilities that lie ahead, but still dragged down by the sadness behind me.
My wife and I had been married one week shy of 53 years when she passed away in May of this year.
Looking ahead to next year: My most positive thought about next year is that this year will be over. It has been a year of losses on several levels, and I hold my breath until 12/31/2018.
Next year feels more promising as I adjust to The New Normal, an expression I became familiar with recently. The New Normal.
I have a quote posted on my office door at home that I say aloud each morning:
“I shall look upon this day as a gift,
not to be squandered.”

My plan for the new year is to squander no more days, no more hours, to be dragged back to the past as seldom as possible. I wish for the usual: good health, an on-going connection with family and friends, continued interest in the events and places that are out there within my grasp.

My plans are probably over-reaching, but workable, at least partially.
- Finish and publish a book of essays, blogs, columns.
- More discipline in my writing, in exercising, in involvement with others.
- A less cluttered life and house, with lots of “stuff” gotten rid of.
- Travel on a highly selective basis, beginning with New Orleans in April with my son and daughter for a French Quarter Blues Festival, and some time back in New York City.
- And finally, to learn to be more patient, and constantly remind myself to tell my friends how much they mean to me.

My hope for the new year is an absence of the dreaded “c” words: cancer, chemo, clinical trial, cardiac, coping and condolences.
I want to be able to look back on 12/31/2019 and realize I have changed in positive and uplifting ways, that I have taken significant strides towards my new life. That “The New Normal” has gradually become “Normal.”

By: Gerry Mandel

This is My World and Welcome to It!

November 07, 2018

I’ve Been Through Some Stuff
(When is Enough – Enough?)

Life is definitely a roller coaster ride
Hitting the waves, wrestling the tides.
You’re up and down with emotional bliss
While coming quickly around the curve,
Is a sweet, juicy kiss;
Knocking you backwards against the wall
With lots of “I’m sorry’s” doesn’t say it all.
At some time you must take a stand
Which way to go – Who’s in command?
But what I truly love is:
He’s Yours and You’re His!


I’ve been through some good and bad times
With family, friends, and acquaintances of mine.
There’s a sister who’s chosen to dismiss me as a relative
She refuses to acknowledge the love I desire desperately to give.
“She’s ill”, I’m often told. “Don’t be upset.
Someday she’ll remember your love
And cuddle you like a pet.”
It makes me sad knowing she’s not the same sister I love so much.
Dementia hurts so badly sometimes, but I just can’t give up.

By: Pat Ross


November 07, 2018

Keep me dear Lord. Keep me. Keep me yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Keep me from all harm, pain and sorrow. When I’m lost and can’t find my way, Keep me dear Lord. When I know not what to do or say – Keep me.

For on you I depend each day I awake, to defeat the bullies infesting my faith. Keep me Lord in your comforting arms, where eternal peace is my good luck charm.

Keep me dear Lord for times I forget which way to go
My memory takes a twist and my recall comes so slow.
Keep me on track
For the directions I lack.
Let your gentle touch strengthen and bring me back.

Keep me dear Lord not to speak in haste. Harsh words leave such a bitter unpleasant taste.
They can’t be broken, once they are spoken. They burn hearts, create enemies, and tear souls apart.

Keep me dear Lord in a positive frame of mind
Keep me moving forward, leaving misery behind.

By: Pat Ross

The World of My Design and Welcome to It

October 17, 2018

I read a quote from Lilly Thomlyn that read, “Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.” What those words mean to me are the essence of the world I live in today. Six and a half decades are behind me and that has created a lot of past! So as I live in my world of now, I reflect at times on the past, sometimes with pleasure and sometimes with regrets. I have some control over my now, but absolutely no control over the past. Or could it be that I have more control than I think? If my perception of the past changes can I actually create a better past? Forgiveness for me means letting go of resentments. Resentment brings pain to the heart, forgiveness can be instrumental in releasing that pain. I think of forgiveness as a scissors. I use it to cut the strings of resentment that bind me to a past hurt and keeps me from being the best me I can be in me present world. The forgiveness I want to offer is not only to others that make up my past, but to my past self for not being perfect and displaying humanness. For making choices in my past world that would not be made in my world of today. The life that has been lived has served me well. The moon beams and sunshine have had an equal share with the thistles and thorns of life. Both molding me into the woman of today. A woman who is very aware that she can create the world she chooses to live in. Memories are the envelope to the past. I read once we have memories so we can have roses in December. How the past is perceived by us, has a direct bearing on how we are living and how much we are enjoying the world of today. Another beautiful quote is “Life can only be understood backwards, but must be lived forwards.” I would like to rearrange the words of Lily Thomlyn to read Forgiveness means having great hope for a better past. I enjoy roses in December even if its only in my mindful memory. They are as real to me there as they are in my garden in June! My world today has the meaning and depth that it does because I have been willing to look backwards and apply forgiveness.

By: Deborah Collier

This is My Super Power

September 26, 2018


I awakened early with the slight tossing of covers around me as I felt the presence of his body exiting the bed. He walked quietly to the bathroom, each step carefully leading to the next in the dim morning darkness, trying passionately not to disturb my soothing sleep.

I secretly smile as I realize how much we have synchronized our daily needs and actions as we grow older together. We seem to awaken at the same time, speak the same thoughts, and even decide to wear the same color clothing when we dress to begin our daily routines.

I have you Heavenly Father to thank for this “togetherness”. I am so fortunate not only to have you at my right hand from dawn to sunset to shake down any mountains of doubt or confusion that chooses to attack me, but I have him who has walked every step of my “new normal” with me during the unforeseen changes in my life. Together we have grown in peace, understanding, thoughtfulness, and of course LOVE.

As each new day unfolds challenges to celebrate life, I rejoice in the path of trust that the Heavenly Father and I will explore together. Where I am weak, He is strong. When my mind wanders to the land of forgetfulness, He gently strolls me back to reality. He’s never caught off guard because he’s busy guarding me from unseen dangers around every bend. When my heartbeat rushes frantically at each doctor’s visit wondering if everything inside me is going as well as it looks on the outside, He soothes me to inhale and exhale at his command and restores my confidence that “He’s got this” and together we shall overcome.

Togetherness with Christ in my life and my spouse at my side, there’s nothing I need to fear. I am grateful each day knowing these two “constants” are working together for my ultimate good. Tragedies will be trampled. Sorrows will be silenced. Joys will be rejoiced. Because life changes every day, its confident to know that “togetherness” will conquer all.

By: Pat Ross

What Gives Us Our Super Powers and What Are Their Values

September 26, 2018

Super Powers and Their Values

Our Super Powers come from our innate feelings of security. It’s what makes us happy, comfortable, enthusiastic, and somewhat competitive. It’s where we fit in and nestle among others with the same aura. It’s who molded us to choose our favorite activity, career, or talent that just seems to pull into gear whenever we’re faced with urgency to respond, assist, or comfort others. It’s when we come to that fork in the road when a decision must be made rapidly without hesitation and we arrive with unique solutions or antidotes to solve any problem or circumstance that even surprises us sometimes. It’s how we know we’ve done our best at the spur of the moment to satisfy ourselves and those around us.

The values of Super Powers are they make your world more peaceful and those around you enjoy being in your presence. Super Powers make you appreciate your talents and the joy they bring to others. Super Powers give you the freedom to be who you are, when you want to be, how you want to be, what you want to be, and where you want to be without fear or doubt because you are in control.
Being punctual is a value I honor dearly. It stems from my Super Power of Patience requiring me to allow time for others without neglecting my own needs. This allows me to appreciate getting to my destination without rushing in traffic, assignments, or appointments. Super Powers are valuable tools to carry around everyday. You never know when you may need to use them.

By: Pat Ross

Overcoming Obstacles

September 23, 2018

Adversity makes us stronger,
When the storms of life rage on.
We somehow build up courage,
With an optimistic dawn.

No wallow in self pity,
For how things used to be.
Living life determined,
Focused on reality.

Taking each small step forward,
Looking onward toward the goal.
Persevering past the thicket,
Encroaching darkness takes its toll.

Reaching for the sunlight,
Coloring the daytime sky.
Slipping past the struggles,
Reaching rainbows before they die.

By: Sheryl DeLoach

Patience vs. Perseverance as My Super Power

September 19, 2018

I am aware of Patience unfolding more frequently when I feel bombarded with a multitude of commitments occurring simultaneously. I somehow managed to overload my “Calendar of Events” on the same date. Usually before indulging in these commitments, I patiently ask the party involved to hesitate until I check my schedule. If nothing is conflicting I give a green flag. But somehow, all of a sudden, a multitude of commitments show up on the same date and I want to participate in ALL of them. The red flag has flown! I have to juggle something to make this work. PATIENCE WHERE ARE YOU?

I think I’ll trade you in today for another Super Power because my patience is running out. I need to get out of this mess somehow so I choose to transform Patience into Perseverance. Yes, through Perseverance I have more stability in accomplishing these multitude of commitments that have clouded my schedule. I’m determined not to allow them to intercept my mind and control my reactions. I’ll be persistent in finding a solution. I know there are alternatives and I’ll explore them. One at a time beginning with the order of urgency. Which is most important? Is there a possibility of rescheduling the date and time? Can someone else attend in my absence and refer back to me? There’s nothing difficult about this. No doubt about it. I have Perseverance and I will survive because I am Persistently Patient.

By: Pat Ross

The Super Power of Mindfulness

September 19, 2018

We are all super hero’s with super powers whether we know it or not. Life is a timeless and essential drama for the purpose of growth. This business of being human is no easy task! As life moves forward it keeps dishing out plate fulls of beautifully prepared food and sometimes crap that no one wants to touch. How can we digest both?

We do it one bite at a time. Savoring both the delicious and what’s undesirable. Realizing the nutritional value of each bite. Each dish prepared for us, in a way that is exactly what we need, in exactly the right proportion. Never too much and always enough. Sometimes the trials of life are our greatest teacher. Helping us to develop qualities that we couldn’t otherwise possess.

The Super Power of Mindfulness is what keeps us on coarse. For me, to be mindful means thinking about what I am thinking about, and then noticing what emotion my thoughts evoke. Our minds sometimes have a mind of their own, not able to stop. Mindfulness reminds us that we are in charge. We can stop the endless chatter and focus on the beautifully prepared smorgasbord of not only delicious, wonderful thoughts but also the undesirable. It is all our choice.

Being mindful is realizing that we have the ability to prepare our own plate with what nourishes our souls or with what depletes who we are. At times we may have to become a culinary genius, and completely recreate an unsavory dish to one of our liking. We do this gently and with love. Always having the awareness that we have choices in how we perceive everything.

By: Deborah Collier

Courage is...

September 13, 2018

Courage is just dreams with shoes on! Dreams give life. Dreams belong to every vibrant, living being. Dreams define our past self and more importantly our future self. Dreams keep the spirit alive and strong. What is the secret to giving the mind the ability to dream? I have learned that whatever the age, 2 or 102, the ability to dream comes from the heart and should be nourished to stay alive. However, it takes courage to dream. It takes even more courage to run after that dream.

Courage has many different faces, and wears many different kinds of shoes. Sometimes combat boots are needed, and sometimes sandals. In the toughest of times it might be necessary to put on your hiking shoes so you have the ability to move through the mire of life. If we are in the process of chasing our dreams than time for the running shoes!

Courage is never bare foot and unprotected. Courage is what has kept me moving through time with a smile.

Little did I know how courage would be my protector. Protecting me from my own thoughts mostly, helping me to realize that I have the power to use my mind to see things as I want them to be. It’s been said, Experience is not what happens to you, its what you do with what happens to you.

I have learned that it is up to me to determine what kind of shoes need to be worn. That’s when wisdom is called upon. Wisdom allows us to put to best use the knowledge we have gathered.

Courage, Wisdom, and Inner Strength propels us into the future us.

A quote by Khanos I truly love is:

“There’s a future version of me who’s proud I was strong enough.”

By: Deborah Collier

What is your superpower?

September 12, 2018

Today my superpower is awareness.

Awareness of how fortunate I am that along with being a passionate woman, a thriving grateful survivor, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an empty nesting dog mom, I am blessed with being a friend and having friends.

Friendships can sometimes take a backseat when life happens and my role as strong woman, supportive wife, guiding mother, doting Grandma Sunny come center stage.

But last night, you know that lovely time right before sunset – friendship swirled all around me while walking with my best walkin’ and talkin’ buddy – and then randomly meeting up with another of my beloved friends and inspiring mentor. It is such a gift when special friends in my life meet one another.

Friendship piled upon friendship piled upon friendship.

Awareness on a late summer evening of this precious gift of girlfriends.

Now that’s super!
…and it’s that simple.

By: Chris Filcoff

When You Least Expect It

September 01, 2018

Pam Wilson is a writer, licensed Master Social Worker, Book Coach and creator/facilitator of Write ON! a community-based writing program that empowers participants to find their voice and inspire change in the world. See the work at: This program has been successfully implemented in middle school, high school, home-school and community groups.

Pam recently began work as the Writing Instructor for the Cancer Support Community of St. Louis. Presently, she writes a blog about her oh-so-interesting life where she puts her unique spin on everyday happenings and the journey of being human at:

To kick off our new space of sharing and in hopes of encouraging others, Pam has shared the first post!

Life can take so many twists and turns. Like ideas, it seems. One idea morphs into another and gradually we find ourselves living our ideas as we live our life. 

A few years ago I had this idea; it literally dropped into my head one morning on the beach, “Combine writing and social work-let people inspire others with their writing thereby inspiring themselves.” The program was called Write ON! and I was all in trying to figure out how to get this idea into the world.

I have no idea what made me think of the Cancer Support Community, but I did and sent my ideas to Renata. We met and she liked the idea and the concept enough to let me try implementing it as a volunteer. I was excited and nervous, and I knew that it was a good idea. My mission has always been to hear other’s voices. Now there was a place for this to happen.

This original group met three times and then I took it to other community groups, a middle school in the city and a home school all girls Writer’s Circle. If participants wanted to post their writing anonymously, I set up a Facebook page for this. As a writer, I love putting my ideas into the world and I wanted to offer this to anyone who wanted to try, who maybe didn’t know how or who wanted to remain anonymous.

Last May, WHEN I LEAST EXPECTED IT, I received an e-mail from Dannie inquiring if I was interested in talking about coming to CSC as a writing instructor.

It was a no brainer. I believe my e-mail read, “YES. YES. YES. YES!!!” Only I had more exclamation points.

Updating my resume with a high-school friend I realized that since the original program at CSC Write ON! had had a really good run. Different groups had been writing for almost two years and each and every writer inspired themselves and me in some way. I knew that a writing group at CSC could be inspiring and I wanted to be part of it. I also generated 34 ideas to bring to my meeting with Dannie which my very smart friend told me to bring 5-6!

Talking with Dannie was a good lesson and exercise in recognizing what I had been doing and learning and how I wanted to grow personally and professionally. I knew without a shadow of a doubt and every cell in my body that I wanted to be part of CSC. I also knew, in that way we know this would be full of twists and turns AND that I would be inspired in ways I had not imagined.

It was and is important to me to be ALL IN and to encourage and inspire others. Therefore, I was incredibly nervous how the classes would go. I have my own style and fortunately Dannie encouraged me from minute one to BE ME, use this style and to try anything and everything. She is a welcome unexpected twist in this adventure as well. Dannie and the staff support the instructors in such a kind, gentle way it enables me to support the energy of the writing group each week.

And energy there is!

This is My Super-Power is the first class I’m teaching as the Writing Instructor and I am humbled and grateful for these twists and turns. Our energy is supportive, easy, kind and fun. The group is relaxed and we encourage one another to think, write, share and write even more. The value of writing and sharing in a group gives our voices a space to live.

I hope that the writing classes continue to inspire and challenge us. To help us reach out to others and look inward with our writing. With each written and shared word we are empowering ourselves to find out voices. Recognize our voices. It’s living in the present and knowing our words are preserved for the future…full of things that we might not expect.

By: Pam Wilson, MSW, LCSW

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