Saturday, October 31, 2009


A year ago today, this is what I wrote to you in my blog. I was just diagnosed with Breast Cancer for the second time. Why am I repeating this blog? For a couple of reasons actually. One... is to remind me that even though at that point, I didn't want the new day to come because I didn't think I could handle it, I did and I am still here today. Second reason is... in the past 2 days I have talked to 2 more people who are going down the same road of facing cancer, and I wanted them to know of my thoughts and feelings then and now.

Jeff said to me a year ago ...."I wish we could just fast forward life to 4-5 months from now or longer" he knew that somehow we would probably survive all of this, but didn't know how or what toll it would take on all of us. He was scared, I was scared and so I just wanted you to know what I feel like a year later. I sadly didn't get to fast forward any of that whole experience, I had to go through each day and each moment and it was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

October 2008

Nights are the worst

Why is it that the night time is the hardest when you are sick, lonely, sad or concerned about something? It is like the whole world is asleep and you are left completely alone with your thoughts.  All of these things just kept racing through my head and I couldn't seem to stop them long enough to let sleep come in.

So here I am again, it is early in the morning and I have been awake for hours. Now this blog was not meant to be a reality type blog, but a motivational blog. But it seems for the moment that I need to express a couple of personal things that have come front and center in our lives.

Yesterday we got the results back from my MRI, it wasn't good, I have a large tumor in my left breast. The same breast that I had cancer in almost 7 years ago. I haven't had that unbelievable fear like last time and so for some reason I am shocked about the news. I am not sure what I accomplished yesterday...not much but the reality of I am going to have to go down this road again is becoming all too clear.

Almost 7 years ago when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, I remember crying and being depressed all the time,for the first few days and the kids did the same. It didn't take me too long to remember that I was the mom, the heart of the home and that I needed to some how pull myself together. I asked Amy yesterday if she was really alright, her reply was classic "I'm ok MOM, if you are ok?"

And so I need to be ok, for my sake, for my families' sake. We have fought this battle before, and I am sure we can do it again. I wish that I wasn't so TIRED,it is much harder to fight when you are this exhausted but... we will.

So I keep thinking to myself what I tell other women who I counsel about when things of this magnitude hit their lives? The first thing is to get all the information, next to pick their team mates, who are your main supporters that become so vital for you?  Make sure you only pick people who believe in you and support you in whatever decision you make, people who trust that you have the wherewithal to make the right decision. There are tons of people out there willing to give you their opinions and remind you of all the things that could go wrong and tell you what to do,even though they have never been in this situation before. Personally, I wouldn't pick them to support you. Making decisions like these are Big and you don't need any bad energy that some people have to share. I would tell these sweet women to get back to the basics, find out what their core beliefs are? Do they believe in a God or not? That is real important, because these situations make you face exactly how much you can take and it is vital to know that you don't have to do any of this ALONE unless you choose to. And last ,but not least I would say to them have FAITH, faith to know that we all have the answers inside us to the tough questions that come in our lives. Faith that your Heavenly Father will be there and will help you fight these battles. Faith in the Savior Jesus Christ, He truly understands what we are going through and will help comfort us and give us a peace that the world doesn't have to offer. The women like I mentioned before that I have met along the way in life are amazing women and they all seem to be tougher than they even imagined that they could be. Everyone of them come from all walks of life, all different religious beliefs but understand that we are given these things for a reason and we all have been the better and stronger for it!

So I will try to remember all these things that I have shared a million times with others and apply to my own life! I am a fighter and I will fight this battle ....yet once again. I wish that I could write a personal letter to each of my dear friends and tell them just what JOY that they have brought into my life. That is another thing that happens to you when you get news like makes you sappy!  So  beware!  :)

The sun will be up soon and hopefully I will be ready to take on yet another day. They say THE GOOD THING ABOUT THE FUTURE IS THAT IT ONLY COMES ONE DAY AT A TIME!  So true

Today, I feel hopeful for the future (opposite of a year ago), my fears are more under control and I feel happy more often. I have things planned that I want to do in the next year or so (haven't quite made it to looking too far into the future). I still get pretty scared and nervous when I have to go into check ups ( that is the same so far). I am still going to the hospital for treatments for lymphedema ( still working on surviving the effects of surgery and radiation ). I don't study as much now about my cancer, still a bit scary to read all the time. I am still tired and trying hard to continue to listen to my gut, especially when it tells me to slow down and rest. I am quilting again, that is one of my passions and I redid my sewing room. ( I think that was a big sign to my family and friends that I was getting better and hopeful for the future, I've got lots of quilts yet to make!) I am more thoughtful and tender with my family because I could imagine what it would be like to leave them and I am grateful that Heavenly Father let me stay a little longer. Then last but not least knowledge that God lives and Jesus is the Christ has increased and been strengthened a 100 fold. I could never be where I am today without that knowledge and testimony. So I share it with you, please don't try to go through life and all it's struggles alone, you don't have to, it was never intended for you to do it all on your own.

I apologize to repeat a blog but felt impressed to do so. I appreciate you and all of your support . Thank you and Happy Halloween!


Friday, October 30, 2009

Everything can't always be your way!

As a little girl I remember my mother telling my brothers and I often...that things can't always be or go our way. Of course we would continue to tell her why we thought our way was not just the best way, but the only way in our eyes. Now I am sorry to admit this, but I have said those very same words to my kids. Some times it does seem like... if only things could go just like we want them to, then life wouldn't be so hard. I was thinking about this today and laughed to myself if I really did live in world that everything happened the way I wanted it to.
For instance, my children still would be living at home and crawling around or I would be carrying them, because I wouldn't have wanted them to try walking and I certainly didn't want them to take that chance... if it meant they would have to fall down and get hurt. They still would be eating only baby food because I certainly wouldn't want to make them try and eat something if they didn't want to eat it, even though it was good for them. (they would probably be a bit under nourished too! Of course they would still be at home, because I wouldn't want to send them out into the world where kids can be mean and cruel and on and on...I think you get the picture!

Yes, I guess my mom was right, we can't have things like we always want it. And the truth of it is, that it probably wouldn't be good for us ...if we did. Life is all about learning, hurting, and growing. A lot of times that means that there might be some hard times involved. I have to admit that as a mom the hardest thing for me is to watch my kids struggle and or suffer. I just would almost rather have it happen to me than them, it is that hard to watch. But every day I realize that they are learning and that many of those lessons will be vital for their I can't take all the bad things away and I shouldn't take them away.

So what do we do (especially us mom's) when we see our kids or family members struggle? I believe that we continue to support, love and believe in them. We should always pray that they will have whatever it takes to handle the trials they are facing. I remember a year ago when I was waiting for the final information on the size and stage of my tumor, my first thought was "I am so glad this is happening to me and not to Jeff or one of my kids". Now, I understand that it doesn't always happen like that but as a mom, you would take the pain and struggles any day....if you could. Not that you should but....if you could.

When I read this quote the other day ...


it reminded me that we need not to wish our problems and struggles away, but pray about them and see what it is that we need to learn and grow from? Let us try to teach our children all the important things they will need in life. When they walk out that door each day or to leave for college or marriage, let's make sure that they have  packed with them... all that they are going to need to face the world. I hope we will all try to remember that more often and also take the time to support, love and comfort those of our loved ones that are going through times and situations that are hard to watch. Knowing that you will always be there for them is a great comfort. I should know ...that is exactly what so many of you have done for me throughout the years! Thank you for that!


"God allows us to experience the low points of our life in order to teach us lessons we could not learn in any other way. The way we learn those lessons is not to deny the feelings but to find the meanings underlying them"            ~ Stanley Lindquist


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Consistency and curiosity... make all the difference!

I was reading a story about a motivational speaker who had just finished his speech when someone came up and said,"that was a great speech, but..motivation doesn't last."

His reply to him was, "Bathing doesn't either. That's why I recommend it daily!"

Isn't that true about everything in life? There are small but simple things that if we do them consistently, they can and will make a huge difference in our lives. I think that there will be days, that we are not as diligent and I think we can tell and feel it. So like the speaker says...I recommend it daily. What if we daily did those small and important things, wouldn't our world be different? Wouldn't our perspectives be different? Wouldn't our HOPE be better too?

I loved this quote from Marjorie Pay Hinckley...

"Oftentimes the thing that makes the difference between a good student and a poor one, a good learner or a bored human being, is just a little curiosity. If you have it, cultivate it, feed it. Never let it go. If you do not have it - get it. Wonder, watch, ask questions, be alive. It's just that simple"

I think we need to be curios how to be happier, more successful, and more hopeful. Look at those people around you that seem to truly be happy most of the time. What do they have in their lives, that are missing  in yours? Think about those people that everyone loves to be around, what small and simple things do they do that makes them so darn likeable? I think we need to be more curious and more consistent in our thoughts and actions. This is something that I have to work on too. Each day, I try to figure out what little thing I could do that would help change my life and the lives of my family for the better.

I hope that we each will try a little harder each day to make life better! Thanks for the little and big things that you have done for me, to make my life a bit better!

"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak."  ~Hans Hofmann,

"Everything we possess that is not necessary for life or happiness becomes a burden, and scarcely a day passes that we do not add to it."  ~Robert Brault


Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I got a call tonight from a dear friend who had some bad news to share with me. As I listened I could feel my heart aching for them and their family. Since our family had been through a similar experience this past year, I knew some of what they were feeling. No one feels the exact  same or has the same things happen in life but I knew enough, that they are going to have a tough road ahead and I prayed that something that I said might have given them hope, peace or help in any way. This particular friend and their family have a great faith in the Savior Jesus Christ. I feel like, no matter what comes their way... because of that strong believe and faith, they will make it. I know that when I say that I will keep them in my prayers, that they realize the magnitude of such a simple act.

Yes, the world continues to have sadness and suffering in but it also has much happiness and joy too! I love this quote that I read the other day, I used it in my motivational speech in Indiana a week ago. I think if we can remember what this quote says, and gain our strength and comfort from the Savior that indeed we will be able to not only handle what comes our way, but grow from it also.

"We know not what lies ahead of us. We know not what the coming days will bring. We live in a world of uncertainty. For some, there will be great accomplishment. For others, disappointment. For some, much of rejoicing and gladness, good health, and gracious living. For others, perhaps sickness and a measure of sorrow. We do not know. But one thing we do know. Like the polar star in the heavens, regardless of what the future holds, there stands the Redeemer of the world, the Son of God, certain and sure as the anchor of our immortal lives. He is the rock of our salvation, our strength, our comfort, the very focus of our faith."   ~ Gordon B. Hinckley

"Faith is to believe what we do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what we believe."  ~ Saint Augustine

I hope and pray that each of us will try to think of someone who needs our faith and prayers. Prayer is powerful and it changes lives! Thanks to each of you who have prayed for me and my family, we needed it, we felt it and we are grateful for them. Good night dear friends!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I heard on the radio as I was driving today, a woman telling her story and asking for a song to be dedicated for her and her family. She mentioned that she had been in and out of the hospital for the past week, and tonight she and her family were a bit worried because the test results will be coming in tomorrow. The radio announcer was kind and compassionate and told her that she would pray... that everything would come out already for them tomorrow. I was grateful to hear this DJ not promise her that things would be alright, but that she would pray that they would be alright. I guess I like that better, because when we do that we are seeking for the additional strength we need from the ONLY source that can give it to us like that.

I remember well this time last year when I was going back in for additional tests. There were people that told me that they were sure that everything was going to be fine and that I shouldn't worry. Now having had cancer twice, I have learned that no one should predict your future...good or bad. I try to be way more conscience now, on how I respond to people. I know that they are worried sick about what the test result might be, it is the unknown that is unbelievable, and that waiting period is the worst. I remember how hard it was to decorate for Halloween  because I was so nervous about going in for further testing. I knew what that could mean so I was already scared. I now know things like saying  "I know for sure it will be alright or that you are probably worrying for no reason, are not something I should say. The truth is... we don't know what is coming next, but no one is offended when you hear someone say..." I will pray that everything will work out for you". Yes,everything will work out but it doesn't mean you won't have to go to you know where and back first.

This year as I am coming closer to my year mark, I have noticed that I am getting a bit nervous. I am not sure why exactly? Maybe because I am afraid that if I get comfortable and relaxed in my life that something will happen again like it did last year. Just when I was excited to be getting ready to celebrate 7 years on being cancer free, then it hit me again. I know that it isn't much of a life to always be looking over your shoulder to see if and when cancer is going to return. But it is also a bit nerve racking to stop thinking about it and starting to enjoy life again, it almost seems too good to be true. But I realize I need to start having more fun, start living more, start planning things more and pray (myself) that everything will turn alright. Life isn't probably ever going to be easy for me, but I just pray to be made equal to what ever task it is that I am to handle in the future. I also  pray that I will not worry to much about the future and enjoy each day.


So for now, I will keep looking at this sweet baby of ours, and remember the small and simple things in life. Remember to stay in the here and now, so I can enjoy each minute of each person, each day and each season.

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts and feelings with you. What an incredible part you have played in my life and for that I am Eternally grateful. Good night dear friends.


"The problem of life is to change worry into
thinking and anxiety into creative action."
   ~ Harold B. Walker

Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen.
Keep in the sunlight."
  ~ Benjamin Franklin 

"If you believe that feeling bad or worrying long enough will change a past or future event, then you are residing on another planet with a different reality system."  ~ William James



We are not alone!

Yesterday, I was going to do my blog but I was just too tired. I really need to get over this jet lag.

I found this story and it made me think of two of my family members who have lost their mother's this past month. I remember when my mom died that the hardest times were their birthdays and the holidays. I had a hard time watching everyone go back to their normal busy lives when mine felt like it never would be the same without my mom. But this story reminded me that we aren't alone and that our loved ones that have gone on, are probably closer than we think. I pray that their hearts will heal and that their memories will sustain them. Try to take time out of  your day and call or send a card, to someone who has had such a loss. Time might be passing quickly for us, but it goes much slower for them.

Three Yellow Roses

Author Unknown)

I walked into the grocery store not particularly interested in buying groceries. I wasn’t hungry.  The pain of losing my husband of 37 years was still too raw.  And this grocery store held so many sweet memories.

Rudy often came with me and almost every time he’d pretend to go off and look for something special. I knew what he was up to. I’d always spot him walking down the aisle with the three yellow roses in his hands. Rudy knew I loved yellow roses.

With a heart filled with grief, I only wanted to buy my few items and leave, but even grocery shopping was different since Rudy had passed on. Shopping for one took time, a little more thought than it had for two.

Standing by the meat, I searched for the perfect small steak and remembered how Rudy had loved his steak. Suddenly a woman came beside me. She was blond, slim and lovely in a soft green pantsuit. I watched as she picked up a large pack of T-bones, dropped them in her basket, hesitated, and then put them back. She turned to go and once again reached for the pack of steaks.

She saw me watching her and she smiled. “My husband loves T-bones, but honestly, at these prices, I don’t know.” I swallowed the emotion down my throat and met her pale blue eyes. “My husband passed away eight days ago,” I told her. Glancing at the package in her hands, I fought to control the tremble in my voice. “Buy him the steaks. And cherish every moment you have together.” She shook her head and I saw the emotion in her eyes as she placed the package in her basket and wheeled away.

I turned and pushed my cart across the length of the store to the dairy products. There I stood, trying to decide which size milk I should buy. A quart, I finally decided and moved on to the ice cream section near the front of the store. If nothing else, I could always fix myself an ice cream cone. I placed the ice cream in my cart and looked down the aisle toward the front.

I saw first the green suit, then recognized the pretty lady coming towards me. In her arms she carried a package. On her face was the brightest smile I had ever seen. I would swear a soft halo encircled her blonde hair as she kept walking towards me, her eyes holding mine. As she came closer, I saw what she held and tears began misting in my eyes.

“These are for you,” she said and placed three beautiful long stemmed yellow roses in my arms.”When you go through the line, they’ll know these are paid for.” She leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on my cheek, then smiled again.

I wanted to tell her what she’d done, what the roses meant, but still unable to speak, I watched as she walked away, tears clouding my vision. I looked down at the beautiful roses nestled the green tissue wrapping and found it almost unreal. How did she know? Suddenly the answer seemed so clear. I wasn’t alone.

“Oh, Rudy, you haven’t forgotten me, have you?” I whispered, with tears in my eyes. He was still with me, and she was his angel.

"To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die." ~ Thomas Campbell

The angels are always near to those who are grieving, to whisper to them that their loved ones are safe in the hand of God."  ~Quoted in The Angels' Little Instruction Book by Eileen Elias Freeman,

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Forgotten Your Dreams?

I am always looking for ways to help me think about the future and to dream. I have never been very good at dreaming. When I was a little girl and my abuse was severe, I used to dream of living somewhere else, dream of running away to a safe place, but not dreams of doing something fun for me. Fun just wasn't in my agenda back in those days. Then as I got away from home and felt more safe, I noticed that I dreamed of things like...make sure that I marry the right man, at the right time, for the right reason and in the right  place, I dreamed of having a home that was safe and the ability to raise healthy and happy children, that was a dream that drove me for many years. Then Cancer hit and my ability to dream started fading fast, rarely did I think of the future...I was just trying to figure out how to survive each day.

One of the things that I counsel other survivors about now is the ability to somehow be able to enjoy life again after cancer. To learn how to dream again and to be happy. Having something to plan for and to look forward to, is a very healthy thing. When I received this email about DREAMS, I thought it was very appropriate for how I struggle at times, it encouraged me to dream more, I am still learning that. I hope when you read it that it might spur you on to dream big and enjoy life more each day. Good night dear friends!


An Excerpt from: Even Eagles Need a Push
by David McNally and Mac Anderson
Forgotten Your Dreams?
After a change in head coaches at the University of South Carolina earlier in his career, Lou Holtz, then a defensive coach, found himself unemployed.
"I was unemployed for over a month, a long time for someone like me who had worked since he was nine.  I felt very defeated. Our savings account was down to four figures: around $10.95.  With a growing family to support, I was feeling pressure.  It would have been an unbearable period, if not for my wife.  She could not have been any more supportive or encouraging.  Beth never complained.  She went to work as an x-ray technician to help keep us in groceries.  She also brought me the motivational book, The Magic of Thinking Big, by David Schwartz, hoping it would help me feel less depressed.
In his chapter on goals, Schwartz writes that anyone who is bored by life has probably forgotten his or her dreams.  He invites readers to get back in touch with them.  As a first step, we are asked to list all the things we have ever wanted to accomplish:  I had a lot of time on my hands, so I took out a pencil and paper and divided my list into five categories:

As a husband/father
Simply for excitement
It was the in fifth category that I let my imagination run wild.  Here are some of the things I included:
Jump out of an airplane
Land a jet fighter on an aircraft carrier
Travel the ocean in a submarine
Go white-water rafting on the Snake River at Hells Canyon
Be on the Tonight Show, starring Johnny Carson
Attend a White House dinner with the president
Meet the Pope
Go on an African safari
Become a scratch golfer and play the top 50 golf courses in the world
Run with the bulls in Pamplona (provided I was matched with a much slower person)
And on it went.

  I had 107 goals on my original list.  Suddenly, I was looking at my life differently and was excited about the future.  When I told Beth that I was determined we do all of them, she said, "Gee, that's great, honey, but why don't you add "I want to find a job."  Good note-the list expanded to 108. So far, we've managed to achieve 102 of those dreams-including dining at the White House and meeting the Pope.  We're still working on the others.  From the moment I made that list, we became participants, rather than spectators, in our life.  You do the same and you'll find you don't want to spend so much time sleeping; you'll be afraid you might miss something! There are 26 other amazing stories in our Even Eagles Need a Push book.  So, come explore the power of encouragement and see how it can change someone's life forever...maybe even your own. (*Excerpted from You Gotta Read This Book, by Jack Canfield and Gary Hendricks)



Making your mark on the world!

I do believe that everyone has a mark or difference to make in the world. I have spoken many times about this same subject, but I believe in it so much...I think it bares repeating.

I love this quote by ...Elaine Cannon

"There are two important days in a woman's life-the day she is born and the day she finds out why."  This is true for everyone I think. Understanding what you were sent here on earth to do is quite a big deal. It seems once  you figure that out, your whole world has more purpose. It seems like some people don't quite figure out their purpose until something drastic happens in their lives and then their lives seem to be going in a different direction. I think illness or disease makes you decide things a bit quicker than the average person too.

For me, I have always known that my mission in life was to serve others, to help and encourage and help them see the best in themselves. I was meant to make at least a new friend each day and to continue to be that person's friend for life. I have been blessed to do that and I can't even count how many BEST FRIENDS I have!  Yes, I am truly rich.

Since battling cancer this time around, I realized that another one of my purposes is to help those who have to fight cancer, like me. Cancer changes you, hopefully for the better. But all of a sudden, time is very valuable and you don't want to waste even one minute of your life. People are more important to you and your relationships with them Yes, even though having cancer has been one of the worst things in my life, it has also been one of the best!

Today I was able to go to a book signing of an author that I have come to admire. His name is Jason Wright, he is the author of the book that has become a favorite to many, called THE CHRISTMAS JAR. Now just in time for the holiday season, he has 2 new books out. I was thrilled to meet him and have him sign a book for me. I wanted to thank him personally for what his books have meant to me. Yes, his books have been incredible and the best part I think about THE CHRISTMAS JAR  book is the fact that not only was it a good read and a sweet story, but it also made people want to start a CHRISTMAS JAR as their new tradition. His book left a mark with me and many others. His book is making the world a better  place because people are acting upon the charity that he mentions about in his book.

I hope some day to write about my life, but for now I am satisfied to be writing this blog and hopefully give my readers something to hope for and think about. A place to be inspired and lifted up, a place to know that they are not alone in their struggles, and if I accomplish that...then I will feel successful. Yes, just like Jason Wright, we all need to be looking, thinking and planning was to fulfill our mission or purpose in life.

I know many of you have made a difference in my life and for that I am very grateful. Good night dear friends!

Friday, October 23, 2009


Today I went back to Physical Therapy for the first time since my trip back East. It felt good to have the massage and I also got to talk to her about some of my lymphedema questions. She is an amazing therapist and one with not only great knowledge but great compassion. Something that I think some Health Care professionals struggle at having. Since my trip, I noticed that the lymphedema has gone further down my arm and that is a concern. I was gone only 2 weeks and I was diligent in doing my massages and wearing my arm wrap no avail. I am discouraged because how long will it take me to find out about the lymphedema draining suit that I am trying to get, so I can do the therapy in my home each day instead of going to the hospital. It has been almost 6 months since we first applied to get it, then we were rejected last month and now we are trying to appeal that. TIME....maybe for them (the insurance company) it hasn't been very long, but to the survivor suffering from this...the TIME seems to be lasting forever. I can't just not worry about it, it won't go away and if not managed it can get worse. It is not like my lymph nodes will ever grow back. I think this is part of the stuff that survivors have to worry about on a daily basis, doesn't really seem fair but is life with cancer.

The good news today was that I got to spend time with Jeff, he had the day off and so we just spent the whole day together. That was TIME well spent and one that seems to heal me.

I loved this poem on TIME, we all have the same amount, but some days it seems less or more than others...depending on what is going on in your life and in your heart. It was just a great reminder to me to remember this check list and see how I am spending my TIME each day!

So thanks for all the TIME  you have shared with me in my life. Good night!

Take Time

(Author Unknown)

Take time to think. Thoughts are the source of power.

Take time to play. Play is the secret of perpetual youth.

Take time to read. Reading is the fountain of wisdom.

Take time to pray.  Prayer can be a rock of strength in time of need.

Take time to love. Loving is what makes living worthwhile.

Take time to be friendly. Friendships give life a delicious flavor.

Take time to laugh. Laughter is the music of the soul.

Take time to give.  Sharing brings joy to your heart.

Take time to work.  Work is the price of success.

Take time to dream.  Dreams show you what is possible.

Take time to do your work well.  Pride in your work nourishes the mind and the spirit.

Take time to show appreciation.  It’s the frosting on the cake of life.





Thursday, October 22, 2009

I am only one!

I personally know that each person ( each one person ) can make a difference in someone else's life. There have been many ONES that have had a profound effect on my life personally. I read this story and was so touched that I wanted to share it with you tonight. I hope after reading it that you will take the time to look at your life and see what ways you are influencing those that you are with on a daily basis. Remember...

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” ~ Helen Keller

We all can do something each day! Thanks for each of you that have done that for me and my family! You have made all the difference in the world to us!

Changed Lives (Author Unknown)

In 1921, Lewis Lawes became the warden at Sing Sing Prison. No prison was tougher than Sing Sing during that time. But when Warden Lawes retired some 20 years later, that prison had become a humanitarian institution. Those who studied the system said credit for the change belonged to Lawes.  But when he was asked about the transformation, here’s what he said, “I owe it all to my wonderful wife, Catherine, who is buried outside the prison walls.”

Catherine Lawes was a young mother with three small children when her husband became the warden. Everybody warned her from the beginning that she should never set foot inside the prison walls, but that didn’t stop Catherine!

When the first prison basketball game was held, she walked into the gym with her three beautiful children and she sat in the stands with the inmates.

Her attitude was: “My husband and I are going to take care of these men and I believe they will take care of me! I don’t have to worry!” She insisted on getting acquainted with them and their records.

She discovered one convicted murderer was blind so she paid him a visit. Holding his hand in hers she said, “Do you read Braille?” “What’s Braille?” he asked. Then she taught him how to read.Years later he would weep in love for her.

Later, Catherine found a deaf-mute in prison. She went to school to learn how to use sign language. Many said that Catherine Lawes was the body of Jesus that came alive again in Sing Sing from 1921 to 1937.

Then, she was killed in a car accident. The next morning Lewis Lawes didn’t come to work, so the acting warden took his place. It seemed almost instantly that the prison knew something was wrong.

The following day, her body was resting in a casket in her home, three-quarters of a mile from the prison. As the acting warden took his early morning walk, he was shocked to see a large crowd of the toughest, hardest-looking criminals gathered like a herd of animals at the main gate. He came closer and noted tears of grief and sadness. He knew how much they loved Catherine.

He turned and faced the men, “All right, men you can go. Just be sure and check in tonight!” Then he opened the gate and a parade of criminals walked, without a guard, the three-quarters of a mile to stand in line to pay their final respects to Catherine Lawes.

And every one of them checked back in. Every one!


"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence"  ~

Helen Keller

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The heart

Tonight I flew home from back East and I have to tell you that the thing that touched my heart again, were all the wonderful people and friends that I was able to meet and see again after many years. Some friends it had been 3 years, others 8 years and some almost 30 years since we had seen each other. Still my heart was glad that we were able to renew our friendships  or make new ones. I was blessed to spend this last week with a dear friend and her family. She has a boy and a little girl and both of them captured my heart. Every day we got to spend time either, working on projects, studying homework, walking, sewing, playing house, cooking, and on and on. Yes, I was Aunt Lynn to them but even though we aren't blood relation, I felt like I was leaving my family today and I cried.

How grateful I am to have been a part of their lives for just a short while again. They certainly have made a profound difference in mine and I hope we get to continue that friendship for many years. I loved this quote and thought that it went perfect for my day.  I hope you enjoy it!

The heart of a child

(Author Unkown)

One hundred years from now

It will not matter

What kind of car I drove,

What kind of house I lived in,

How much I had in my bank

Nor what my clothes looked like.

One hundred years from now

It will not matter

What kind of school I attended,

What kind of typewriter I used,

How large or small my church,

But the world may be a little better because

I was important in the life of a child.

Tonight Jeff and Angie came to the airport to pick me up. I am telling you, seeing that little red head run toward me and hugging me while saying "oh nana, you've been gone sooooo many days, I missed you", that touched my heart too. And of course seeing Jeff and the kids again, made me realize the truth about the saying ... "HOME IS WHERE YOUR HEART IS". It was a great day, I was able to meet and get to know some incredible people on my flights, I know when you watch the news it makes you wonder if there are any good people left in the world. I am here to tell you that they are and they were on my flights with me.

I am grateful too for my daughter Lauren calling me and making sure that my blog went out each day, since I had no access to a computer.

Good night dear friends, it is good to be HOME!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009



May GOD especially BLESS whoever created this one

A woman, renewing her driver's license at the County Clerk 's office
was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation.
She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.

"What I mean is," explained the recorder,
"do you have a job or are you just a......?"

"Of course I have a job," snapped the woman.

"I'm a Mom."

"We don't list 'Mom' as an occupation, 'housewife' covers it,"
said the recorder emphatically.

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the
same situation, this time at our own Town Hall.

The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised,
efficient and possessed of a high sounding title like,
"Official Interrogator" or "Town Registrar."

"What is your occupation?" she probed.

What made me say it?
I do not know.
The words simply popped out.
"I'm a Research Associate in the field of
Child Development and Human Relations."

The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair and
looked up as though she had not heard right.

I repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words.
Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written,
in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.

"Might I ask," said the clerk with new interest,
"just what you do in your field?"

Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice,
I heard myself reply,
"I have a continuing program of research,
[what mother doesn't)
in the laboratory and in the field,
(normally I would have said indoors and out).
I'm working for my Masters, (first the Lord and then the whole family)
and already have four credits (all daughters).
Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities,
(any mother care to disagree?)
and I often work 14 hours a day, (24 is more like it).
But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are
more of a satisfaction rather than just money."

There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice
as she completed the form, stood up and personally ushered
me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants -- ages 13, 7, and 3.
Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model,
(a 6 month old baby) in the child development program,
testing out a new vocal pattern.
I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy!
And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than
"just another Mom." Motherhood!


"Mothers are fonder than fathers of their children because they are more certain they are their own."~Aristotle

"A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie." ~Tenneva Jordan

Monday, October 19, 2009


From Lauren:  "Isn't it interesting how such little things is life can bring about such happiness. To a child a balloon or a small toy becomes a wondrous gift that they have just received. As we grow older sometimes those little joys seem to fade. But I have found that with my mother those things never have faded from her life. Just being able to create something new for someone else to treasure has given her the joy and happiness she needed as she struggled through her cancer. And if there is anything that I have learned from my mother, it is that one should never lose sight of the simple yet important things in this life time."

  • Balloons
    From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cancer Book
    By Allyson Hellyer

In my family, taking a vacation together was our greater treasure. The four of us would load up the family truck and prepare for the transcendental bliss that came with a lawn chair by a beach. Those trips were the things we looked forward to the most each year, a time for us to reunite without the stress of jobs, school, piano lessons, and dance classes. However, when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in the summer of 1999, our vacations went on hold.

Nearly a year later, my mother and I took a trip to Disney World. Because she was still recovering, I had become the adult, responsible for the two of us. I saw to it that her head was covered, that she took her medicine, and that she stayed calm. Our trip to Florida was no vacation for me. While my father was away on business each day, I was to take care of my mother as best as a ten-year-old kid could.

I dragged our bags into our hotel room as I watched my mother scratching her bald scalp under her wig. Ever since she had lost her hair, tension had grown between us. I had come to see her as someone who once was my mom, but who now was this balding woman, weakened by life's sorrows, barely able to hold up the corner of her lips when she smiled. I was not on vacation with my mother. I was on vacation with a ghost.

On our first day, I rented a wheelchair and pushed her around like a child in a stroller. When my arms would start to throb, she would mumble quietly, "Ally, I'm an adult. I can walk." I would push harder, pretending I didn't hear her.

As we entered the park, she saw a man selling balloons and like a child, she requested a specific one, refusing to accept any other then the one she originally wanted. I tied the silky ribbon around her thin wrist. The yellow balloon became a second sun in the sky.

The weather was mild that spring, but regardless, I tucked my mom into the wheelchair with a blanket. She wanted to walk with me, but I still refused to let her. When she wanted to take her wig off, I told her I was embarrassed. I pushed her around from ride to ride, stopping occasionally so she could try and stand, take a pill, eat, or greet a character she loved.

It rained on the second day. As I was preparing our backpack with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I heard my mother crying in the next room. I opened her bedroom door quietly. I saw the balloon she had bought the day before, deflated and sagging in the corner next to the bathroom. My mother was sitting on her bed, her feet dangling like the ribbon that held the balloon. Her wig was spinning in her hands and her head gleamed like Mylar in the lamplight. She began crying into the wig.

The door creaked slightly. She looked up at me. I stared awkwardly at the mother I loved and mumbled a question, asking if she was ready to go. She wiped her eyes on the sleeve of her shirt, nodding. I walked over and sat down beside her, my feet dangling like hers off the bed.

"What's wrong?" I mumbled. She nudged her head towards the window.

"It's raining." I looked at the top of her head and noticed the rash that had spread across her scalp. I told her I had an umbrella.

She lifted up the wig to put it on her head. She smiled at me weakly. I could feel the sadness pouring out of her eyes.

As I gazed at my mother, I realized I was ruining our vacation. This was our time to be together, to experience what we had been denied since the cancer had moved in and monopolized our lives.

The day before, my mother had felt alive for the first time in years, and I had stifled her in every way. I had refused to let her heal. We were in "The Happiest Place on Earth," and I wasn't letting her live. I realized that my mother didn't need another doctor. She needed her daughter.

I looked at the floor, ashamed of my behavior, and told my mom she didn't have to wear her wig anymore. She looked up from the window and stared at me in disbelief. I smiled back. She ripped the wig off her head and threw it on the bed. She grabbed a scarf from her suitcase and I helped her tie the knot. In the wheelchair, she reached for the extra blanket. I told her she didn't need it and I packed an extra sweater, just in case.

She soared through the park, smiling at the gray sky, holding my hand, and feeling as alive as the children surrounding her. I bought her another yellow balloon that we tied onto the backpack. She told me she liked that one best.

I remember my mom was hopeful that day, and not worn down by her cancer. She welcomed whatever would come next, and I was ready to follow her lead. I just wanted her to be happy. With a deep breath, I let her be herself, and watched as she reached for the clouds, embracing life.


"The Grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for."

~Allan K. Chalmers

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Core Values

Why are core values critical to our success in business and in life? Because our values are critical guides for making important decisions. And when in doubt they cut through the fog like a beacon in the night.
John Blumberg has written the best book I've ever read on how we build value...with values. And if there was ever a time in the history of this great country that we need to re-visit our core values...the time is NOW.
Enjoy an excerpt from John's new book, Good to the Core...Building Value with Values.

Excerpt from; Good to the Core,
by John Blumberg

I was in Honolulu to speak at a large national conference. I scheduled an extra day onto the trip since I had never been to Honolulu and because a few great friends were also at the conference. The day after the conference, we awoke at the crack of dawn to visit Pearl Harbor. As we stood above and looked down upon the sunken USS Arizona, the depth of our experience came to life. It was moving and humbling.
Upon our return to the hotel, I had some time to spare before departing to the airport. A couple of my friends and I decided to rent a raft large enough to hold three adults. We targeted the white-capped waves, out in the distance, as our destination. With the incoming waves, we had a hard time getting away from the shore. At first, there seemed to be enormous momentum keeping us "grounded." Slowly, but surely, we began to make progress. It seemed to get easier. We eventually got within a few feet of the whitecaps and decided to board our raft and relax as a celebration of our efforts. It was in our moment of pause that we felt the reality of our situation. Drifting two feet out and one foot in. Again, two feet out and one foot in. We all felt the unsettling formula of our ever-so-gentle drift out to sea. We immediately abandoned the raft and grasped for safety, with one arm holding the raft and the other arm aggressively swimming. I have never scissor-kicked so hard in my life.
Twenty minutes later we had made minimal progress. Out of nowhere, a lifeguard on a kayak appeared on the scene asking why we were so far out. Feeling the comfort of his presence, we laughed for a moment, lightly commenting about our distance from the shore. He wasn't laughing.
The orange balls had warned us, and we unknowingly ignored them. Infrequently placed across the ocean's surface, they created an invisible line on the ocean's floor. They silently warned us not to drift beyond them regardless of our vision or mission. "You see those big orange balls on top of the water?" the lifeguard inquired. We could see them, but they didn't look very big from where we were still struggling in the water. They did, however, give us the insight that we were basically five times farther out than we should be. I think the lifeguard was trying to teach us a lesson. He didn't leave us, but he didn't assist us either. Forty-five minutes later we walked up on the shore. I was shaking from exhaustion. I began, for the first time, to feel the numerous cuts on my legs and feet from the sharp coral rocks lining the ocean floor.
We had briefly noticed the orange balls on our way out. We had paid little attention to them and certainly had not given any thought to their significance. We had been too focused on our mission to get to the white-capped waves in the distance!
We don't go running away from our values. We go drifting away, and one day wake-up in a place we never meant to be, drifting in a direction we would have never chosen.


"The noblest worship is to make yourself as good and as just as you can." ~Isocrates

"We are here on earth to do good for others. What the others are here for, I don't know."  ~W. H. Auden

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Truths to Live By

In life there are so many unexpected things, that it would be nice to have a sort of map or a set guidelines to show us the way through those things. But as they say, 'life is never easy' or fair most of the time. So here are just a few of what you might call truths in life.

Maybe God wants us to meet a few wrong people before meeting the right one so that when we finally meet the right person, we will know how to be grateful for that gift.

When the door of happiness closes, another opens, but often times we look so long at the closed door that we don't see the one which has been opened for us.

The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch and swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you've every had.

It's true that we don't know what we've got until we lose it, but it's also true that we don't know what we've been missing until it arrives.

Giving someone all your love is never an assurance that they'll love you back! Don't expect love in return; just wait for it to grow in their heart but if it doesn't, be content it grew in yours.

It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone, but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.

Don't go for looks; they can deceive. Don't go for wealth; even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright. Find the one that makes your heart smile.

There are moments in life when you miss someone so much that you just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real!

Dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go; be what you want to be, because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, enough hope to make you happy.

Always put yourself in others' shoes. If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts the other person, too.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. Happiness lies for those who cry, those who hurt, those who have searched, and those who have tried, for only they can appreciate the importance of people who have touched their lives.

Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss and ends with a tear.

The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past. You can't go on well in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying



"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." ~Abraham Lincoln

"Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile." ~Albert Einstein

"Nothing else matters much -- not wealth, nor learning, nor even health -- without this gift: the spiritual capacity to keep zest in living. This is the creed of creeds, the final deposit and distillation of all important faiths: that you should be able to believe in life."  ~Harry Emerson Fosdick


Friday, October 16, 2009

Everyone Has A Story

On my way back to Kentucky I was able to meet and spend time with some interesting people. Some I had things in common with and others, there were night and day differences between us. Although it was a long and tiring trip on my body, my spirit was energized to meet such wonderful and interesting people.
One lady told me about how she was taking care of her mom who has had cancer; she had been flying back and forth to be with her for months at a time. What a wonderful daughter to spend that kind of time and attention to her mom. Another person was about to have her boyfriend propose to her at the airport when she got off the flight (she was more than a little bit excited to say the least!). Another girl was flying to Kentucky to meet her fiancé and go with him to his grandmother's funeral. She had an incredible spirit about her and even though we just shared the same table for dinner...I felt privileged to have met her. Then another person was a grandmother who with her husband had custody of their little 13 month old grandson. They were past the age of raising such a little ones, yet you could tell when they looked at him, they would do anything for him, even if that meant raising him for awhile. It was a treat to watch.
Then when I got here, I was able to meet and spend some time with a lady who did me a favor 3 years ago without even knowing me. She came and met a dear friend of mine, whom she didn't even know and tried to make her and her family feel welcome in the area.
Yes, there are good people all around us and the point is that we need to try to slow down life just a bit... so that we have the chance to get to know them and their STORY! Because everyone has a story.
Thank you for being such an important part of my story!

"Our greatest strength as a human race is our ability to acknowledge our differences, our greatest weakness is our failure to embrace them." ~Judith Henderson

"Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see." ~C.S. Lewis

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Meeting New Friends!


This was a great weekend; I got to come visit a dear friend of 32 years for the whole weekend in Indiana. The part that really struck me was that after 8 years since we last saw each other...we just picked up from where we left, that is true friendship. I was honored that she would want some of her friends to meet me and so for the whole weekend I was able to spend time with my new found friends.
These friends of hers were ones that she knew from Bible Study each week. She had asked these women to pray for me all these years and I believe I was the one honored to meet them. It was touching to be able to meet them and personally thank them for their faith and prayers, as I have said many times...that is no small thing. Prayer truly does change things. I also had the honor of going to church with all of them on Sunday and that was a real treat. Although the meeting was a bit different than I was used to, the music and the spirit were touching. My dear friend's husband sang and played in the band and although I knew that he was a musician ...I had no idea how good he was. Wow, to have that type of talent! The pastor's message was something I needed,
he spoke about not only reading the Bible but learning how to apply it's principles in our lives. He mentioned that it shouldn't be something that we casually read, but one that we use in every aspect of our lives. For answers to our questions, peace for our trials and problems and for comfort.  He promised that if we would make scripture reading a regular part of our lives then ...we would see our lives change for the better. I personally know that to be true.
So thank you to all my new friends back in Indiana, for their kindness, faith, prayers and example. Yes, it was a perfect weekend.
Thank you also for all of your faith and prayers through this whole journey of mine. I pray that my thoughts and prayers will make a difference in your lives too!



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Live what you believe!

I love this story, see if after reading this it reminds you of someone you know. They are the best living proof of the scriptures that you know! We all need to be more like this and we definitely need more friends like this, if we did then think what a better place this world would be.

Thanks for the examples of kindness you have been to me. Good night dear friends.



The Living Bible

His name is Bill. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans, and no shoes. This was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of college. He is brilliant. Kind of profound and very, very bright. He became a Christian while attending college.

Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church. They want to develop a ministry to the students but are not sure how to go about it.

One day Bill decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair. The service has already started and so Bill starts down the aisle looking for a seat. The church is completely packed and he can't find a seat. By now, people are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything. Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit, and when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet.

By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick. About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church, a deacon is slowly making his way toward Bill. Now the deacon is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, and a three-piece suit. A godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane and, as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying to themselves that you can't blame him for what he's going to do. How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor?

It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man's cane. All eyes are focused on him. You can't even hear anyone breathing. The minister can't even preach the sermon until the deacon does what he has to do.

And now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty, he lowers himself and sits down next to Bill and worships with him so he won't be alone.

Everyone chokes up with emotion. When the minister gains control, he says, "What I'm about to preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget." "Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some people will ever read!"





Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Our time in history

This was a very sobering letter but one that I thought had a lot of wisdom in it from such a young person. May we all read it and check if any of these things are taking away from our lives or away from the lives of our families. May we remember it is vital to learn from the past.

Our Time in History

A Columbine High School student wrote:

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.

We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less.

We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time.

We have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but less solutions; more medicine, but less wellness.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.

We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life.

We've added years to life, not life to years.

We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.

We've conquered outer space, but not inner space.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.

We've split the atom, but not our prejudice.

We have higher incomes, but lower morals.

We've become long on quantity, but short on quality.

These are the times of tall men, and short character; steep profits, and shallow relationships.

These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition.

These are days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes.

It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom.


We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future."   ~ George Bernard Shaw

"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."  ~ George Santavana

Monday, October 12, 2009

No Santa Claus...ridiculous!

You guys know me, I listen to Christmas music all year long. I am teaching the songs to my granddaughters. I love this story. We are all Santa's helpers. Please remember that he is real, before we let the non-believers take over! Christmas will be here before we know it! Yeah!!!!!

I hope you enjoy this story even though it is October still, I am not trying to rush anything but just a quick reminder to keep believing!


Santa Claus

I remember my first Christmas party with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"

My grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her world-famous cinnamon buns.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything.

She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus!" she snorted. "Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad. Now, put on your coat, and let's go"

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second cinnamon bun. "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything.

As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.

For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobbie Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class.

Bobbie Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out for recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobbie Decker didn't have a cough, and he didn't have a coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobbie Decker a coat. I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.

"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down.

"Yes," I replied shyly. "It's ... for Bobbie."

The nice lady smiled at me. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons, and write, "To Bobbie, From Santa Claus" on it. Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobbie Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa's helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobbie's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going."

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his doorbell and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobbie.

Forty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my grandma, in Bobbie Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

"Alas! How dreary would be the world if there was no Santa Claus!... There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this " ~ Francis P. Church



Sunday, October 11, 2009


I know this story is a bit long but well worth the time it takes to read it. It is all about choices and how important the choices we make each day are. Each of our choices effect someone, maybe some one we know or someone that we have come in contact with that day. I think this story is a perfect reminder to take the time out each day to pay a little more attention to our choices, because if we do... then we might have the same type of results ( life changing ) as this taxi driver did. Have a great day!

The Taxi Ride

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. It was a cowboy's life, a life for someone who wanted no boss. What I didn't realize was that it was also a ministry. Because I drove the night shift, my cab became a moving confessional. Passengers climbed in, sat behind me in total anonymity, and told me about their lives.

I encountered people whose lives amazed me, ennobled me, made me laugh and weep. But none touched me more than a woman I picked up late one August night. I was responding to a call from a small brick four-plex in a quiet part of town. I assumed I was being sent to pick up some partiers, or someone who had just had a fight with a lover, or a worker heading to an early shift at some factory for the industrial part of town.

When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself.

So I walked to the door and knocked. "Just a minute", answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

"Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness. "It's nothing", I told her. "I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated". "Oh, you're such a good boy", she said.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, "Could you drive through downtown?" "It's not the shortest way," I answered quickly. "Oh, I don't mind," she said. "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice".

I looked in the rearview mirror. Her eyes were glistening. "I don't have any family left," she continued. "The doctor says I don't have very long." I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. "What route would you like me to take?" I asked. For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I'm tired. Let's go now." We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair. "How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse. "Nothing," I said. "You have to make a living," she answered. "There are other passengers," I responded. Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. "You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said. "Thank you." I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light.

Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life. I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life. We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware – beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Letting go and dealing with what we have been given

I have heard this story before but I think it is one that can be retold, in order to help us remember that there are a lot of things in life that we do not like or that bother us. Understanding what they are and how to deal with them or even how to let go of them is ....the hard part.

I know for myself that some times I just get into to certain habits, habits of how I think about something. When I realize how much it bothers me then I know I need to change something. But old habits are hard to break. I used to be a PLEASER, even at the cost of my emotional or physical self....I wanted to make everyone happy. I did not want someone to be disappointed in me. For some reason, I thought I had to do everything right for every person. It was a big day for me to realize that I CAN'T AND WILL NEVER MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY! I will disappoint people, let them down and even though I don't do it on purpose, I realized... that is life and we are all human. We will make mistakes. Learning how to forgive myself was huge. I used to punish myself for a long time whenever I made a mistake or disappointed someone. I just have to do the best I can and make the best with what I have been given in life. That was a life turning point for me. Too bad it took me over 40 years to figure that out! :) 

I guess we are all  still learning huh? So today, I will try to remember the oyster story and how he took what life gave him and made something worthwhile out of it. Have a great day and remember just do the best you can but always be willing to let go of the old you and old habits for something better!




Author Unknown

There once was an oyster
Whose story I tell,
Who found that some sand
Had gotten into his shell.
It was only a grain,
But it gave him great pain,
For oysters have feelings
Although they're so plain.
Now, did he berate
The harsh workings of fate
That had brought him
To such a deplorable state?
Did he curse at the government,
Cry for election,
And claim that the sea should
Have given him protection?
"No," he said to himself
As he lay on a shell,
Since I cannot remove it,
I shall try to improve it.
Now the years have rolled around,
As the years always do,
And he came to his ultimate destiny ...Stew!
And the small grain of sand
That had bothered him so
Was a beautiful pearl
All richly aglow.
Now the tale has a moral:
For isn't it grand
What an oyster can do
With a morsel of sand?
What couldn't we do
If we'd only begin
With some of the things
That get under our skin.


"Letting go of your past and memories are also extremely hard. Even though old memories can be tormenting, yet you might hold on to the past and refuse to move forward. However, by refusing to let go of the painful past, it'll serve as a roadblock to love."

"Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward."   ~  Unknown


"Letting go doesn’t mean giving up, but rather accepting that there are things that cannot be."  ~ Unknown

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Keep it simple!

I read this proverb today and thought how true it is. Life is pretty simple but many times we let things of less importance busy us and we forget to just do the more important things. Righteousness in the heart, what does that mean? If you look it up in the dictionary it means....

. Adhering to moral principles.

I believe that means not only choosing to be moral but making sure even the thoughts and the intentions of our heart are moral too. I think that is harder to do than one may think, only because the whole world is constantly pushing immoral and enticing things in our faces all day long. Either it is on the TV or billboards, magazine covers to the Internet, yes...everywhere in the world you can see those around us who seem to be beautiful, talented, popular and they are making immoral choices each day, the kicker is that the world also tries to make them look like they are happy because of that. I think the scripture in the scriptures that say "wickedness never was happiness" would apply here.

So let's all make a conscience effort to check our hearts. What we desire day in and day out, is usually what we will end up with in life, that is a sobering thought if our morals are bad. I am grateful that we all have our moral agency, we can choose to be stronger, happier, and strive for a more righteous heart. I believe like this proverb says, that is where it all begins.

Thanks to each of you for your example of a righteous heart to me and my family!

A Chinese Proverb

"If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character. If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation.
Where there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world."


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Too Busy, can't do it all!

Today would be a great example of having too many things to do and not enough time to do it all. I am getting ready to leave on a trip and of course I want everything to be done before I leave. I am beginning to realize that I am tired already and I haven't even really begun my day yet. Why is it I think I have to do it all? Why don't I remember, that if I do all that I can then the rest will be taken care of somehow. First of all I think it is because I am a mom, it is hard to leave your family and not think of trying to cover all the bases before you leave. Which I personally no I can't, so why am I so stressed out? Plus, when I get like this then I forget to take the time out to connect with my family, say my prayers, read my scriptures, and take care of myself. I think that is why I liked this funny story so much. It was funny but there are alot of truths in it. So after reading it again, I will slow down, prioritize my day and enjoy the day I have left with my family.

Satan's Scheme

Satan called a worldwide convention. In his opening address to his evil angels, he said, "We can't keep the Christians from going to church. We can't keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can't even keep them from forming an intimate, abiding relationship experience in Christ. Once they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken.

So let them go to their churches; let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time, so they can't gain that relationship with Jesus Christ.

This is what I want you to do, angels. Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!"

"How shall we do this?" shouted his angels.

"Keep them busy in the nonessentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds," he answered. Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow.

Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6-7 days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. As their family fragments, soon, their home will offer no escape from the pressures of work!"

Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice. Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive. To keep the TV, VCR, CD's and their PC's going constantly in their home and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly. This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ."

"Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers. Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day. Invade their driving moments with billboards.

Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogs, sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services and false hopes.

Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines so the husbands will believe that external beauty is what's important, and they'll become dissatisfied with their wives. That will fragment those families quickly!"

"Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation exhausted, disquieted and unprepared for the coming week.

Don't let them go out in nature to reflect on God's wonders. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, concerts and movies instead. Keep them busy, busy, busy!

And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences and unsettled emotions." Go ahead, let them be involved in soul winning; but crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Jesus.

Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause. It will work! It will work!"

It was quite a convention. The evil angels went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get more busy and more rushed, going here and there.

I guess the question is: Has the devil been successful at his scheme?


Wow, you would think that I should already know this by now? Oh well, I guess we all need little reminders now and then!




Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Quilts...stitched with love!

Jeff and I moved into our house 8 years ago on Halloween night. We were so excited to get a house big enough for our growing family, and one that was in such a wonderful neighborhood. We finished moving all the boxes and furniture in by 5:30 PM, then had a quick dinner, decorated our entry way and waited for our new neighbors to come trick or treating... so that we could meet them.

Two of my neighbors were quilters and they asked me right away if I had ever quilted?  I explained that I loved to sew but never quilted and couldn't even imagine being able to do that. I have always loved quilts seemed so hard and that it would take a lot of time and patience. My grandmother and my Aunt quilted by hand all the time but there again, that seemed way beyond my abilities. My neighbors just smiled and said "we will have  you quilting before long!". They kept their word and before I knew it, I was going to my neighbors for quilting classes. I even talked another one of our other neighbors to come with me. Now some 7 years later, I am quilting all the time and I love it!  Of course it did help to be an Aunt and a grandma ( NANA )  because then you have beautiful little ones to wrap your quilts up in. I love these girls and it does my heart good to see them with their quilts. Aren't they too cute?

"Families are like quilts, stitched together one piece at a time."

When I go back East, my dear friend and I, plan on quilting. I am even bringing fabric and projects with me. It is hard to believe that it has only been 7 years that I have had this addiction... yes,that is what quilting is an addiction (but a good one). Now  I can go to any quilt shop and hold my own when I am speaking to them. There is a certain lingo that goes with quilting, just like there is with anything else. For instance, when I heard quilters in the shops talk about FAT QUARTERS I actually thought they were talking about a body part that you got from sitting and quilting for hours. :) Actually a fat quarter is a certain size piece of material! So now, I can walk the walk and talk the talk with quilters and I am loving it!

When my cancer hit this second time, I found myself wanting to make as many baby quilts as I could so if something happened and I didn't make it through my cancer that each one of my grandkids in the future would have something special and made with love from their Nana! It didn't take me long to realize that I didn't have time to think like that, I needed to get busy studying all that I could about my breast cancer and how once again I was going to fight it. After my mastectomy, I didn't have the energy or feel good enough to do anything with my sewing. I knew that I must be getting better this summer when I finally started to get back to my sewing room and had a desire to quilt again. It has brought me a lot of comfort to make these things for those I love and I pray some day when I am gone that they will remember how much I loved them.

"Our lives are like quilts - bits and pieces, joy and sorrow, stitched with love."

I love the attitude of quilters too, they are very compassionate and caring individuals mostly. Quilting does take a lot of time and patience but they think the loved ones that they are doing them for, are more than worth it! If you make a mistake, a quilter will say " that just makes your quilt unique!" Yes, I am fitting right in with those quilters and for sure my quilts are unique but definitely made with lots of love. It has taught me that any amount of my time and effort is worth it for those I love. Need to go and start quilting something before I leave. Thanks for always being there. Have a great day!

"Quilts are like friends, a great source of comfort."