Baubles, bangles and the beauty of enduring love

If you've lived long and well enough you may have met a person who is so genuinely good they inspire you to be better. I met two of them about 25 years ago -- and they happen to be married to each other. 

Sam and Tina Sansone quietly helped me through the worst of my single parent days by somehow convincing me regularly that my daughter and I we were doing them a favor by joining their family activities and taking an occasional "extra ticket"--  or other indulgence I could never afford -- off of their hands.  So subtle was their technique, it was years before I realized all they did for us. 

More than anything, they demonstrated daily that it was possible for two people to love each other and their children completely and build a life that seemed completely out of reach to me at that time.

They adored, supported and cherished each of their three children in a way that had me taking mental crib notes.  Charming, charismatic, creative Tracy was a ball of energy. Bright, beautiful, focused Cory provided a wonderful role model for my daughter. Their brother Vince was quieter and at times complex, but most of my memories of his childhood have him laughing, playing sports or antagonizing the girls. 

Vince had clouds I mostly missed, but Sam and Tina were vigilant and did everything humanly possible to meet and beat the storms.  They recognized his issues and worked hard for and with him. But his disease fought back viciously and played dirty,  Vince died of an overdose just before Christmas a few years ago. 

Amazing Cory channeled her pain into leaving a fast track career with an international  accounting powerhouse  in order to help others as a life coach. She wrote candidly and beautifully about what Vince taught her on her blog  (http://www.corythomsen.com/my-brother-the-teacher/)

Tina had an inspiration ( http://www.friendsofvince.com/?p=16) and Tracy and her friends jumped in with both feet (because that's still the only way Tracy does things) to honor Vince's memory by helping other children in the community. Tina, Cory and Tracy are creating and gathering art to sell for help others in Vince's memory. Their first craft show is coming up next week and a variety of sales events from simple craft fairs to elegant home gatherings are on the schedule. 

If you make jewelry - or any other kind of art you could share -- please consider contributing a piece to the effort. Yes , there are thousands of good causes we can help every day. But trust me that this is an expectational effort by exceptional people. 

Over the past few years I have become an enthusiastic and almost-adequate beader. What I can now do with a needle, thread and bits of glass relaxes, amuses and sometime astounds me. Each project starts with a potential recipient in my mind and thinking about that person throughout the process only makes it sweeter.  This is the first that I can't picture the eventual recipient as I work through each piece.

But I know it's for Sam, Tina, Corey, Tracy and Vince and the purchaser will , by definition, be a beautiful person. 

You can email Tina directly at  info@friendsofvince.com or call her at 832 877 1084. I would be delighted to pick up any pieces in WNY through this Friday and in Houston next week. Whether it is jewelery or an art piece - please include a recommended sales price. One hundred percent of the sale of your piece will go towards valuable opportunities for children who have few.