Beads of Courage: Zentangle and Dad

“The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.”~Thomas Paine, English writer

This week’s Diva Zentangle Challenge #171 is all about courage. Beads of Courage, to be exact. This program gives glass beads to critically ill children for every procedure they have done to them. This is a recurring post because the topic is so near and dear to Laura’s heart. Check out the link above and see the beads her youngest son “earned” during his first year.


Diva Challenge 171: the whole chain

My tile last year used beads scattered throughout the tangles. This year, I chose a template of beads from the book Tangled Fashionista by Sandy Steen Bartholomew.

I wanted bright colors. In fact, the first time I looked at this, I thought of a particular pink glitter pen I have and adore. I shrunk the size down to 5″x7″ to make this challenge more manageable, closer to the size of a tile while still providing freedom and room to tangle with larger-nib pens.


Beads in black and white and glitter, oh my!

This challenge reminded me of my Dad, now gone from this earth just over 9 years ago. Nine years. How quickly that time passes, how much I still miss him, how seamless the adjustment to him not being just a phone call away.

Anyone who knows me knows that my relationship with Dad was closer than with Mom. Nothing critical against Mom, but Dad made more effort to stay in touch with me after I left home for college and then Real Life. Maybe it was because of his health; he suffered from heart, kidney and lung health issues. Oh, and cancer, too; let’s not forget that. Cancer wasn’t what killed him, but leave it to Dad to go over the top. I could see him embracing life as much as he did death.

These past few months, I’ve been working more deeply on the book I’m writing about him. My Father’s Memoir (simply my working title) has been an ongoing project spanning years, nearing final edit for a proposed September release. Most recently, I’ve been working on Dad’s Death Scene, Part 1, so this challenge resonated with me. If Dad had received Beads of Courage for all of his procedures since his first diagnosis, I dare say his chain would barely fit in a standard banker’s cardboard box.


Experience Beads of Courage

Yet he lived his life as colorful as my Zentangle Challenge here. I am releasing a special chapter on Father’s Day, a free eBook on Kindle that serves as an intro to the novel. If Dad were here, he would say, “Ah, don’t make such a big fuss over me.” However, he would approve of it being free. Why?


Delicate beads in Penn State blue and white

Dad religiously clipped coupons from the Sunday Pittsburgh Press (later the Tribune-Review). Coupons were not the only reason he and Mom bought the Sunday paper. He was an old fashioned guy and actually read the physical newspaper, inky fingers and all. Every week, he called to tell me down to the penny how much he saved at the grocery store: $13.50; $17.25; one week he saved over $25, he said with a whistle-sigh. Beware his prattling if it was a double coupon week! Because of the money he saved, my husband and I started buying the Sunday paper in Delaware. It became a friendly competition between us to see who saved the most money, and we discussed it during our phone calls. Despite Dad mailing me coupons he knew I would use, he still won most weeks.

As such, Dad would grudgingly accept me fussing with a free eBook about him because he believed in my writing and because he was always looking for a good bargain. Moreso the bargain, I’d expect. That was Dad.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. 1 Art Lady Kate Tangles
    Jun 11, 2014 @ 22:20:43

    Loved hearing about your Dad, and a lovely Zia!


  2. Annette Carlo
    Jun 12, 2014 @ 03:33:28

    What a beautiful story!! It’s amazing the stories that everyone has shared with this weeks challenge!! I love your Beads of Courage Zia!!! Beautiful colors and shapes of your beads!!! Your Dad would probably wear that proud! (Especially if it didn’t cost him anything! :0) ….) Share Humanity :0)


    • dwhirsch
      Jun 12, 2014 @ 07:23:11

      Annette, I do believe you’re right. Dad would have worn a chain like that–he would have remembered every bead–and talked doctors, nurses and your ears off describing each one!


  3. Annemarie
    Jun 14, 2014 @ 02:05:43

    What an impressive tribute to your Dad!!!! Thanks for sharing


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