The Prayer Shawl

“Shawls … made for centuries universal and embracing,
symbolic of an inclusive, unconditionally loving, God.
They wrap, enfold, comfort, cover, give solace,
mother, hug, shelter and beautify.
Those who have received these shawls have been 
uplifted and affirmed, as if given wings to 
fly above their troubles…”

I had just settled into my chair at the dining room table when the doorbell rang.  Charlie got up to answer and I heard a brief welcome to the guest, and then… a familiar voice…  And it rolled through my memory banks…someone from church?  One of my hangout buddies?… a teacher friend?  Yeah that was it.  The person at the door was someone I knew from my years in the field of education. Give me just a second, says my mind.  You know this person. And then my brain got in the groove.  Thought processes were reconnecting around and past all those wires and probes which now exist among the brain matter. The “call” I have made to my brain is instantly  transferred to a classroom in the OLD Armand Larive building.  The students are in a special needs classroom and they are making cute and useful items that will be sold to make money for other classroom projects.  I hear the cheery yet soothing teacher’s voice, a voice you can sit and listen to for hours and never grow tired from life’s wisdom embedded in the stories she shares. She’s at my house, right now, standing at my door.  Its  her, that amazing teacher  who knew instinctively how to make learning real and functional.

I have seen this teacher many times in the years since we worked together in those classrooms at the OLD ALMS, the ancient walls almost falling in around us.  Our paths have crossed here and there, and although I have always enjoyed the crossings, there were too few and too short. (Note to self…change that!)

When I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, I said to God “What am I supposed to do with this?”  God’s answer was simple enough.  “Do some good”.  Simple yes,  vague Yes. “What do you mean God?  What specifically do you want me to do?”
I am a person who deals better in concrete answers and solutions.  Yet, not having a direction I usually come up with something!
So without  a specific direction, I started raising money for Parkinson Disease Research…probably some of that  money is responsible for these wires in my head.  Raising the $$ was a good thing. RIding with Pedaling with Parkinsons helped me physically , and dollars raised in the sweltering heat of IOWA backroads in July of 2014 and 2015 has helped YMCAs set up programs for individuals and small groups using stationary bikes.

Along with doing “good”.  I realized I needed a support group.  So I started one and it is “good”.  

I took some journeys,  of mind, spirit, soul and body.  And I began writing about them.  These stories have been shared on FaceBook and in my blogs. Some lucky  people even have heard me read them out loud!

Its these stories now that seem to be doing the most “good”.   I expose my heart and soul, and now my brain, to the world so anyone who takes time to read the stories  may see the hope I have.  There is hope in the miseries of daily life, and in the pain and inconvenience of significant disease.  There is hope that we will move beyond the physical where we experience the discomfort of our human weakness and illness and into the spiritual where we move beyond pain into freedom and peace.

The teacher at the door now is making her way to the kitchen.  She has a bag for me.  In the bag is a beautiful crocheted prayer shawl.  She has made this… FOR ME!  and while her hands slowly  stitched, her lips spoke prayers for my well being and healing.  And in the course of her prayers for me, she also was healed. Isn’t that the way it goes…do something for someone else and you also experience the blessings? The shawl is warm and soft and comforting, and so very full of prayers and love.  So true to form for this teacher, who makes the practical into the most meaningful.

Thank you Andrea.
Thank you for the gift of the time and talent and prayers,
But also thanks for helping me know that I am doing my part as directed
“Do some good”.

Everybody.  Do some good.  That is your job for today!

Published by Carol Clupny, author The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman's Remarkable Journey with Parkinson's Disease

I am a middle aged woman with Parkinson's Disease. When I was first diagnosed I spent a lot of time researching the disease. Seeing a video of a man in the advanced stages of the disease attempting to get out of his chair and then "freezing" as he tried to walk across the room got me off my butt and moving. Great adventures on the Camino de Santiago and with TEAM Pedaling for Parkinson's across IOWA, as well as the day to day adventures of life have lead me to writing. My first novel, a memoir, was published early 2019. It is called, you got it THE RIBBON OF ROAD AHEAD. Living with the degenerative neurological disease Parkinson's, ULTREIA is a word that guides me. I have chosen it as the name of my business ULTREIA BOOKS. It comes from Latin and old French and means "unfailing courage". In the old days, pilgrims would call "Ultreïa" to each other as encouragement "Go up, go further!" Nowadays we would say "You can do this thing". It takes courage to live with Parkinson's. May I face each day with unfailing courage. Ab Here is more about me; I was living an active lifestyle riding horses, hiking, climbing and snow skiing when at age fifty I was diagnosed with Parkinsons. Retiring from my career as a speech-language pathologist I decided to “take to the road” to battle the disease. My first steps, walking out her door to the mailbox, lead to trekking over 1000 miles of pilgrimage trails on the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain. A dusty bike discovered in the garage resulted in four rides on the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa with the Pedaling for Parkinsons Team. These adventures inspired me to write a memoir The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman’s Remarkable Journey with Parkinson’s Disease. I blogs about my everyday life as a middle-aged woman in the mid-stages of Parkinson’s disease. My honest, humorous, and casual narrative style brings the reader to an intimate understanding of my resilience and acceptance. My blog, sharing the name of my book ”The Ribbon of Road Ahead” can be found at After completing a Masters of Science in Speech Pathology from Eastern Washington University I received certification in School Leadership and Administration from Lewis and Clark College. I provided speech pathology services and later became a program director completing 32 years in the wide geographic expanse of eastern Oregon. Active in the Oregon Speech-Language and Hearing Association I received honors of the association and the presidential award for work on recruitment and retention of speech and hearing professionals. Il presented numerous papers and projects at local, state and regional professional conferences. I was appointed by Governor Ted Kulongoski to two terms of the Oregon Board of Examiners of Speech Pathology and Audiology, the state’s licensing and consumer protection agency. Since my diagnosis in 2008, I has become active in the Parkinson’s community as an advocate, an Ambassador for the Davis Phinney Foundation and support group facilitator for Parkinson's Resources of Oregon. I was appointed the regional patient representative for the Parkinson's Foundation’s Women with PD TALK study. In September of 2019 the Michael J Fox Foundation selected me to participate in the Parkinson’s Policy Forum in Washington DC. As an attendee at the World Parkinson Congress in 2016 in Portand, Oregon, I presnted a poster session examining the decision making process for patients considering deep brain stimulation. At the 2019 WPC in Kyoto, Japan I presented a poster on vision concerns of women with PD and lead small group discussions. Myr book The Ribbon of Road Ahead has provided many speaking opportunities for Carol. In 2019 and early 2020 she visited 24 support groups in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California to share her thoughts on living well with the disease. In addition, she has presented talks for The Center on Aging in San Francisco, Parkinson's Place in Las Vegas, Northwest Parkinson's Foundation in Richland WA and virtually through their HOPE online program. In late 2020 I rejuvenated her voice and narrated her book. It became available as an audio book in 2021. As part of this project I read stories over the airwaves on RadioParkies Australia with DJ Madonna and in Great Britain with DJ Johnny Parky. She and her husband Charlie have two adult sons. They live on a small hobby farm in eastern Oregon. Contact Information: Carol Clupny PO BOX 128, Hermiston, OR 97838 (541) 720-4256

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