about page, lifeisaprettyword.com

My name is Monica Sword. I am Lena's mother. As a writer and artist, I show others how they may mindfully find their way to a more fulfilling existence. 

My life was not always this way.

Three family members’ deaths at an early age caused me great sadness, especially the death of my only child, Lena. I struggled to balance home life with a challenging career. Physical manifestations and discontent from this imbalance contributed to losing my way. I yearned to create a deeper connection with the beauty in nature, people, and the universe. 

I tried everything from happy pills to talk therapy. Important life relationships started and ended. My library was full of self-help books. I tried going back to school. I set up a basement studio hoping I would make time for creativity. While these activities kept me busy and much was learned, nothing seemed to make a difference. 

Then I discovered the problem wasn’t with my work ethic or what I thought people expected of me. The problem was how I was applying my conscientious, high-achieving style. 

Once I saw that honoring my passions, being mindful of my emotional reactions to life events and devoting time for self-care can restore a purposeful life, a creative mindset developed that helps me do my best work.  

My grief experience will not end and yet my life can be a wonderful flow of writing, painting, drawing, and connecting with others.  


You are here to risk your heart.
— Louise Erdrich

The Lena Kay Rufus Memorial Scholarship Fund

The Lena Kay Rufus Memorial Scholarship Fund is managed through InFaith Community Foundation. The fund provides scholarship opportunities meeting a variety of needs. To date, the following organizations are fund recipients: 

Here is the "story behind the story" of the children's book "Hoofen Floofen Island." This storybook, originally written by 10-year old Lena Kay Rufus, will delight you and your little ones. Monica Sword, mother of Lena Rufus (deceased at age 22) talks about the motivation for publishing "Hoofen Floofen Island."