It occurs to me...

A friend & I were talking about haircuts and color the other day.  She had been talked into lightening up her hair the last time she was getting her hair cut because lightenend hair makes "older" women look younger... 

And she hates it.

So it got me thinking.  Exactly what makes someone an expert on changing the looks of someone else and making them look "better."

After all...

God made man on day 6.  AFTER He had created everything else.

He created every creature - on the earth, in the sea and in the air...  every color, every size and every shape.

And He never once consulted a man (or woman) to get their opinion.

Maybe, when we're sitting in a chair, we're consulting the wrong "expert."

Miracle Upon Miracle

Read this morning:  two week old infant pulled from the rubble in Turkey - alive.  Not only alive but later, at the hospital to which she was taken, declared healthy. AND...her mother and grandmother were also rescued, alive and well.

Remember the 4 month old baby rescued from the tsunami debris?  Read about her here.

I will probably never know why some survive and some do not but I will take hope from those who are found...  Hope.  Always, always hope!

Enjoy today's miracles.


An Anniversary... of sorts

Two years ago today my sister and I sat with my mother, mentally holding hands if not physically, waiting for my mother's doctor to come in the room and explain the pathology report.  We'd been waiting for the "official word" since getting such good news on the day of Mom's surgery. 

The doctor didn't disappoint.  Stage 1C.  Only stage C because the tumor ruptured either right as they were going in or shortly before.  It had a slightly "deflated" look the Doctor had told us, like a balloon losing air.  It meant instead of Stage 1A, she'd be a C. 

My mom was still a bit stunned about all of it and not quite believing "good" news was at hand.  Should we have been more pushy?  Should we have advocated my mother get a second opinion, no matter how much she loved her doctor?  I don't know.  We'll never know.  The doctor who had so confidently told my mother "If we can cure anyone, we can cure you" has moved to Vermont.  Trust me - this is not a doctor bashing post.  We all liked my mother's doctor very much and still strongly believe she did every single thing she possibly could to battle my mother's cancer.  It doesn't stop the mind from running through a list of questions on occasion that it probably shouldn't, though.  We can't change the outcome now, we can only share what we have learned in the hopes that someone else in the same situation WILL ask the pushy questions, WILL advocate for that second opinion.

After all...

Nineteen months later we were burying the woman the doctor was so confident she could cure.  And hence I get to the reason for my post. 

October is breast cancer awareness month.  Did you know that September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month?  No?  I didn't either - and my mother died of ovarian cancer.  I am aware of it now and I am starting to dabble in learning about this insidious disease that kills more women than are cured once diagnosed.  Few women diagnosed with ovarian cancer beat it.  Very few.  Too few.  I know - it is important to be aware of the risks of breast cancer, according to one article I read it is the 7th deadliest cancer.

I am also aware of the horrific agony a woman with ovarian cancer suffers.  My mother was a beautiful, vibrant, laugh so loud her laugh almost hurt your ears kind of person.  She would "go for a walk" that could take hours to finish.  She'd spend some of her free time shopping in different places and she almost never bought something for herself.  She'd spy something for someone else.  Always. 

As her cancer progressed, as the chemo ravaged her body even though it was almost totally useless, she became ashen and quiet, she almost never laughed.  You'd get a smile but rarely a laugh.  She spent the last few months of her life in her spot on the couch.  Barely able to move.  We'd make her get up and take a walk around the house.  Her reward?  A foot rub.  A woman who literally logged more miles walking in her lifetime than a dozen breast cancer race for the cure walkers would log in 5 years of walking had to be coerced to take a walk around her 1800 square foot ranch home. 

Where am I going with this post?  To this place.  I'm asking you to take some time, dig around - learn.  Ovarian cancer is often silent, with symptoms many women pass off as other ailments.  Progress is being made but it is oh so slow.  It's a year away but next September I plan to do thirty days of ovarian cancer awareness.  In the meantime, I'll write posts like this on occasion.

Cancer is ugly, no matter its type.  People lose their battle against cancer every day.  When we were going through this whole process I must have said a dozen times that I'm not the first person to lose my mother and I won't be the last.  However...if just one woman starts wondering a bit about that upset stomach that never seems to go away, tied to that embarrassing gas that seems to have a mind of its own...it will be wonderful.  If the statistics can be changed so the number of women who survive ovarian cancer becomes something other than appalling, it will be overwhelming.

And one last thing...if you have had your ovaries removed, please do not believe you do not need to watch out for gynecological cancers.  Read this.   


A Girl Can Dream

Ok...  I am no technological genius so inserting these pictures into my blog without getting myself arrested for copyright infringement or something isn't a skill I have as yet mastered.

So...  go here and see what I would oh so love to have in my backyard (make sure you click on the "inside" picture, too).  Imagine the happiest of happy dances and that would be me, lounging in such luxury and beauty...

Go ahead.  I'll wait.

Back?  See what I mean?  Did your leg start to twitch just a little bit?  Starting the happy dance, too?

Oh if only...  I mean - if I'm going to dream I might as well dream big, right? 


A Beautiful Giveaway

For anyone out there who is a lover of vintage dishes, beautiful tea towels, divine pillow covers and a whole lot of other gorgeousness...  head over to Jennifer Rizzo's blog and enter to win her lovely Vintage Tea Collection and Winter Nesting giveaway.

We're talking $400 worth of beautiful merchandise out of her store and an extra $100 gift certificate for jewelry.

For a look at the full Vintage Tea collection, click here.  Beautiful...

So as always?  Go.  Enter.  And please, please, please let me know if you win!!!  Good luck!


Learning Lessons

I learned something new yesterday and there are no pictures because I simply did not want to gross anyone out.

What I learned?  Never self-diagnose.  Back in 2002, I noticed a spot on my hand.  It was an annoying spot, all red and it would crack and bleed and then scab over with this lovely white crusty stuff.

I thought it was eczema and would put some Neosporin on it and cover it with a band-aid when it would get "out of hand."

Then sometime around the beginning of September, I read an article online about skin cancers and how to identify them.  Well, one of those big-name-scary-sounding-carcinoma's sounded and looked an awful lot like the  spot on my hand.

I was still pretty sure it was eczema BUT I decided after 9 or so years of it not spreading, not getting better and being generally annoying PLUS a friend of mine passed away in April of skin cancer, I should go get it looked at.

Yesterday was the day.  Popped into a dermatology office, met my new dermatologist (lovely lady, by the way) and she looked at it for about 5 minutes.  First?  The good news.  It does not present like skin cancer.

Did you hear my "WHEWWWWW"?

It does "present," though, like a big-ol-gobbley-gook of Latin terms & phrasing so it sounds important - wound.

Yup.  A wound.  That never healed.  Nine years I've been walking around with a glorified cut on my hand.  Dealing with the itching, the bleeding, investing in bucket-loads of Neosporin and what's the outcome?

Six weeks of some potent hand cream medication and that spot should disappear.

Notice I say should.  This doctor seems nice AND savvy...  she isn't saying anything about an absolute cure until it's cured.  She thought it a bit odd that I didn't injure my hand in any way and that the spot hasn't spread or gone away on its own in over 9 years.  So...if it's not gone in 6 weeks, I get to go back.

Because then it's not what she thinks it is...

Oh goody.  :)

I'm not even going to consider all of that, though.  I'm looking at it from the glass is 1/2 full this time.  Six weeks of applying some hefty cream to my hand and I'll be FREE.  FREE...  YAY!!!  No more pain, itching, bleeding...  Neosporin can go back to being in the medicine cabinet for my son, not me... 

That's what I'm talkin' about!!  Oh - and never self-diagnose!!



What a wonderful surprise I received yesterday when I was scrolling through the blogs I follow and read Melissa's (Made in the South) post.  I am humbled to be listed as one of the 15 blogs she chose to share The Versatile Blogger award with.  Thank you, Melissa.  It's an honor.  I have to admit - I was surprised at first but I haven't been able to ditch the smile it brought. 

The rules of the award are as follows:
1.  Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.
2.  Share 7 things about yourself.
3.  Send it to 15 other bloggers and let them know you awarded them.

So - first - 7 things about me:

1.  I can often be found in my pj's at 6PM.

2.  I grew up in New Jersey but don't have the accent.

3.  The jewler had to lay me down behind his counter the first time I got my ears pierced.  My mother & grandmother were with me and they were afraid I was going to pass out.

4.  My most favorite dinner in the winter is breakfast (French toast, pancakes, bacon, sausage - the works)

5.  I once talked to a prank caller for 2 1/2 hours.  He asked me if I would talk to an "obscene phone caller" and I told him only if he promised not to get obscene.  He asked for my phone number at the end of the call.  I declined to share it with him...but my friends all thought I should get my own 900#.  Clean, of course.

6.  I climbed a mountain when I was 7 months pregnant.  Never saw my father so angry in my life...

7.  When my son was 3 1/2 years old I put him in my Hyundai Excel and drove him from New Jersey to Washington State.  In 3 1/2 days.  He asked my father, when we called him from Montana, if his house was lost.  It was a long ride.

And then, I have to pick 15 bloggers to receive this award.  Hmmmm.... 

Heatheahlee @ Butterfly Genes

Peaches @ Aunt Peaches

Heidi @ The Red Dollar House

Patricia @ Jonesbones5

Kimberly L. Smith @ Life that Matters

Gary @ New Life'n

Deborah @ The Fairfield House

Jenni @ In Him Our Hearts Rejoice

Richella @ Imparting Grace

Leslie @ Pampers, Play Dates and Parties
Stephanie @  A Year of Slow Cooking

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I chose each blog here because I may not always agree with what is written but these people make me think.  Sometimes I'm simply entertained.  Sometimes I'm taught something new.  Other times?  I have to look deep and figure out what do I really believe... and why.  

Thank you again, Melissa.  I'm grateful for the award and for the opportunity to share these 15 bloggers.



Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

~2 Corinthians 12:7b-10

I have to keep relying on God to keep me strong because seriously, I can see the cracks in my veneer.  I have to keep hold of the hem of His robe because if I forget and let go with even just one finger, I start to crumble...

This grief, this grief that is like a rogue wave?  It threatens to wash me away every day.  I look around and see faces and know I am NOT the only one suffering with the loss of someone so close.  I think of those parents who have lost their children, babies...  I think of friends who have lost beloved sisters and brothers...  Loved ones who have lost a spouse (including my father).  And - I am not the only person I know who has lost a parent.

It is in that knowing that I resolve every day to not let that wave carry me away.  If they can do it, I can do it, too.

Truth is, though - I need the help that only the arms of Jesus can provide.  If He weren't holding me up, I wouln't care that everyone else can do it.  I'd crumble.  Melt.  Fall apart.  I wouldn't care about anything or anyone and I'd curl up in a self-pitying ball and just...stop functioning. 

Those are the thoughts swirling in my head.  So...as I face another onslaught from that stupid rogue wave, I turn my face heavenword and I cry out to the One who holds the world.  He holds me, too...


It's Fall!!

And one of my most favorite accessories for fall is a scarf.  So versatile.  So many choices.  There almost isn't an outfit you can come up with that can't carry off a scarf...somehow.  Maybe evening gowns...

But I digress.

Fall & winter has me wearing a scarf almost every day.  Can't do it in spring & summer, they're too warm for me but the moment it cools to 60 & the rain starts?  I'm wrapping them around my neck.  Was reading through my normal blog-roll today and came across this tutorial on Emily's blog.  It's fun to watch and now I have a go-to place when I want to change up how I'm tying my scarves!  Oh how I love the internet.  And fall!!!