WEEDS . . . You Gotta Just Love 'Em!

I am a person who for the record really hates weeds. It seems I've been having to do a lot of weeding lately, both personally and in the actual yard. In the course of eliminating the insidious little suckers, it gives me and you a lot of time to think about the landscape of our life and property.

For instance, literally speaking, if you don't stay a step ahead of those pesky invading weeds, they will literally take over your lawn, garden and in my case, cracks in the driveway. Oh, I could run with the weeds in the cracks analogy, but I won't digress. I have come to the conclusion the reason weeds bug me so much is because I have always been a person to focus on the joy and beauty in life. Be present to what is right in front of you. Attend to what has gone awry before it gets worse. Don't let one little aspect of SWS, etc. choke out the good times. Nurturing good feelings whether giving or receiving them has been at the core of my being and when I have to focus on the irritating "weeds" it annoys me and slows me down.  Attending to the weeds forces me to focus in on one little area rather than the whole landscape . . . of course maybe that's the purpose.

In relation to Sturge-Weber syndrome, Klippel-Trenaunay and Port Wine Birthmarks, our proverbial weeds creep in when we do not take care of ourselves physically and mentally. Take your medication on time and make those laser appointments to get laser treatments for the birthmark is imperative to keeping your "landscape" nourished and flourishing. Be mindful of when you are getting dehydrated, too tired or stressed and take time to recharge your batteries. It is so important so you can maintain a healthy outlook on life to the best of your ability. Exercise is also key to a healthy body and mind! Loathe as I am to admit it, as I fight to take back my marshmallow-like body to one of a lean mean fighting machine - I do feel better after I get out in nature and walk. Yes, I get to see the weeds people are not attending to in their yards, but I also get to see the beautiful gardens of those folks who are mindful too.

Let's face it, whether it's our physical landscape or our beautiful bodies, we only have one. Give yourself a break when you slip or slide in maintaining either one, but, don't stay down! Your assets are worth the effort and you'll feel a sense of accomplishment for having maintained them. I feel that way about the Sturge-Weber Foundation.

I am proud of how all of you have nurtured the programs and research with your time, talents and treasure. I appreciate all the volunteers who, along with us, attend to the weeds by doing tasks that need to be done, but we rarely get time to do. I'm excited to walk with everyone in our upcoming annual Routes to a Cure walk at the Cincinnati Zoo and cheer on those of you who are doing local walks or virtual walks online. Every mile and every penny raised keeps the weeds at bay and nurtures vital programs that serve so many in need.

Here's to the dog days of summer when we toil in the hot weather to keep the weeds at bay so we can enjoy the playtime so richly deserved after all the hard labor!

Karen Ball
Founder and CEO
The Sturge-Weber Foundation