Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sewn in Love

(Photo: Trenton and Jocelyn in their new "Dick and Jane pyjamas)

Christmas Day offered quiet moments, delicious food, and a couple of good King's Cribbage games. Dad, my brother - John, Gilles and I celebrated quietly together December 25th. It was the lull before the storm.

Boxing Day saw 26 relatives descending upon our humble abode! A niece and her boyfriend and another young lad, surprised everyone by coming. She lived in Calgary but they recently decided to dig up the tent pegs and return to Ontario. It was a good surprise for my big sis' who was speechless for about five minutes after seeing her daughter in the doorway.

We feasted and laughed. Little munchkins ran hither and yon and the tangle of tinsel and wrapping paper littered the livingroom floor as gifts were exchanged and laughter ensued. It was certainly a good time.

The next day we had our immediate family get together. More presents. More food. More aching legs! But it was worth it. I loved the day. Trenton and Jocelyn were a joy as they giggled and played. Jocelyn seemed much more interested in tissue and wrapping paper than what was actually in the box.

Buying gifts for my grandchildren was far too easy a task for me this year. Self control was the exercise of the day when I went shopping! I think I had the most fun, though, making the Dick and Jane pyjamas for my grinning pair. It was a time for me to contemplate and really think about my pair of beautiful grandbabies as I stitched seams and sewed on piping. Even when I accidentally cut Jocelyn's pants pattern out upside down, I didn't sweat it. Thank goodness I had lots of fabric. I did have quite a time hiding my sewing paraphernalia on those days Amanda popped her head in the door. "Stay out of the back room!" were the orders. I knew she knew I was up to something! But in the end, the results were positive. The pjs fit. And they look so sweet - my own little Dick and Jane! It was fun 'sewing' in the love!

Thank you God for the lingering Peace and Joy and for family. Thank you God for getting me through the chemo and the challenges of this past year. I sure wouldn't want to have missed these past few days.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Pondering

Christmas Eve. I sit in the padded pew with my Dad next to me. Gilles is in the balcony and shoots a little smile and wave as he buckles down and attends to the sound system for this, the candlelight service. Before the lights dim I look around and see Kathy and Larry. They lost their beloved son in a car accident in September. I see Theresa and Dirk. Their sweet son went to be with Jesus at the tender age of 17. Behind me Jane sits. She sees my short chemo hairdo and touches my shoulder. Her dear hubby died on my mother's birthday. December 15th. Liver cancer; inoperable; terminal. We hug and share cancer stories.

Dad needs to peel off his jacket. He is warm. He gets clammy. Last week when that happened I rushed him to hospital. His clamminess had progressed to dizziness and nausea with a bad headache last week. I thought a stroke was imminent. I didn't want that to happen tonight. Not at church. Not on Christmas Eve. It doesn't. Dad settles down and he feels 'okay.' He is in a hurry to get to the car, though.

Why does God allow bad things to happen? It's an age old question and some have even tossed the notion of God aside because of this quandry.

But the answer lies in the manger as we consider the events of Christmas. Like Pastor Kramer said this evening, Jesus came as a Saviour. His eventuality on this earth included death upon a cross for our sake. For our sin. His swaddling cloths became blood drenched rags as He bore it all for us. Our sin-ravaged world bears the consequences of Adam.

As I celebrate this Christmas Eve, I am happy and joy-filled. Jesus is real. Jesus is the reason. Jesus loves me this I know. He also loves my Dad. Teresa and Dirk. Larry and Kathy. Jane. And He loves you too. Merry, Blessed Christmas.

This Christmas represents only the opening act to something more marvellous than we can imagine. Trust the Saviour who lay in the manger and stay tuned to life for the rest of the story.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Igniting the Spark

I write a monthly column in a drama newsletter when all is right with the world but I had been quite lax over the last year. But they did ask me to write something for Christmas if I could so I did a little while ago. Here is the article that was recently published in DramaScene. For some reason I just wanted to share it here today:

Cancer? What do you mean I have cancer? Other people get cancer. Not
me. I barely contract a cold. I don’t even get a headache unless I’m hungry. So this is a joke, right? My physician assured me the tests left no doubt. I had ovarian cancer and the clock was ticking.

I suddenly felt like I had been thrust into a lead role for which I was ill prepared.
I had no opportunity for rehearsal. The spotlight was beaming down on
me as I stood center stage, agape and alone. The audience was staring back at
me in anticipation and I had forgotten my lines.

In a nutshell, it has been quite a summer in the Belec household. Six months of intense chemotherapy treatments following major surgery have encompassed my life. My hair has fallen out; my eyebrows have disappeared and I no longer have eyelashes to flutter. The fatigue has been the worst with the pain running a close second.

“Be still and know that I am God…” He whispered in my ear as my journey through the valley of cancer commenced. “Not thy will but Mine be done.” God had not left me comfortless. Just as He promised. Never before had I felt so close to God. Never before had I truly focused on the power of Jesus. Never before had I thought so earnestly on trusting God.

Throughout my journey I have realized the kindness of friends; the dedication of family; experienced marriage vows in action (in sickness and in health…) and stood in awe watching the power of Jesus in my life. I have become aware of the tyranny of the urgent. I have learned patience and persistence. I have recognized the futility of vanity and the unconditional love of those who really do walk the talk.

And now Christmas is here. The tinsel and the lights don’t fool me one iota. I love the atmosphere, the fine food, the gifts and family activities that make Christmas fun, but the most important part and the motivation for festivity is to celebrate the “Way” in the manger. I pray that I won’t take my eyes and heart off Jesus this Christmas for even a moment. I was blind, but now I see. I pray that you, too, will keep Christ in Christmas and as you celebrate in your own special way you, too, will realize the “Way” who came that we all shall live.

Forgive me for not being faithful in writing my column for a very long time. I know God has some wonderful things in store for me this new year. I am trusting that one of them is climbing back on board the DramaScene wagon. Blessings, joy and peace for a love-filled Christmas celebrated in His honor.

Love Glynis

Glynis M. Belec

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Achy Breaky Body

These past two weeks have been a whirlwind. I have been a bit of a sick puppy. My throat has been like gravel and my coughing was enough to shift a reading on the richter scale some nights. Buckley's and Halls have been a staple in my diet of late but I am gradually weaning myself off and am learning to tolerate the aches and pains and the residual effects of the chemo, still. My achy feet have to be the worst. I am thinking I might make a date with my doctor to discuss some of these nasty twinges and stabbing pains that pop up out of nowhere and seemingly unprovoked. Sigh. I sure hope this nonsense ceases soon. I long to be able to jump up and boot, scoot boogy through my day, like I did before all this cancer nonsense.
Right now it is three thirty in the morning and that wretched insomnia has returned. Hopefully I can nod off for a couple of hours for I have a million things to do today! Meanwhile, I thought this a good time to post an update on my blog. Carp diem!

Amanda and Jason have moved to Drayton. That is good news although the move did not transpire as planned. Their new digs were initially something to be desired but we have all been pitching in to help spruce up the place and clean up. They ended up staying with us for 10 days until the work was done on the house and it was declared fit and ready. Needless to say I have been busy with unpacking boxes and helping with Molly Maid duties. Poor Amanda has been sick, too along with Trenton and Jocelyn. And on top of that, Jocelyn has been teething. So some days as we tackled boxes and suitcases, it was somewhat akin to the blind leading the blind.

Now that we are all on the road to recovery, things are starting to take shape. Amanda is such a good Mommy; she knows her priorities. So I am glad that I am able to help even a little with the daunting task of finding a spot for everything.

I hope to get back to my regular posts, so forgive me if I have been a little lax lately. Christmas is peeking around the corner so I need to shift my thought process soon. I love Christmas and so look forward to opportunities for getting together with everyone. I have so much to be thankful for and especially having friends like you who care. :)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Way in the Manger

Christ did not come to earth so that we can hang tinsel and cook turkey. His birth in a lowly stable was not about maxing out credit cards or elbowing others in busy malls and stores. Commercialism was not rampant on that silent night so long ago.

There is nothing wrong, in my eyes, about families getting together and enjoying relationships at Christmas; and if that means exchanging gifts and diving into a glorious feast, then that is fine, too. But when I see the craziness that is part of the season, then I wonder.

I wonder, first, why people celebrate Christmas when they don't believe in Jesus. Afterall, Christmas is just that - Christ's Mass - a time of praise and worship. A time to celebrate the arrival of a tiny Babe into a lost world.

I wonder why schools can have Christmas programs but aren't allowed to mention the name of Jesus.

I wonder why mall music can consist of Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Frosty the Snowman but if they dare play Away in a Manger or Joy to the World it is a sign of intolerance and people become offended.

I wonder why retail clerks are instructed to say Happy Holidays or Season's Greetings but wishing someone a Merry Christmas is not politically correct.

This past year, since I have been ill, God has opened my eyes to much. I have had plenty of opportunities to wonder. I have concluded through a lot of my wondering, that God is God no matter what. Even if people choose not to believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Light of this world, He still reigns.

Christmas is what happens in our hearts. I am praying that your heart is warm with Jesus as you make plans for your own celebrations and that we can all together, remember the Way in that lowly manger who had no crib for a bed. The little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head. Are you humming yet?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The "Homecoming"

"What happened to your hair, Grandma?" Trenton asked yesterday as he rubbed his chubby fingers over my fuzzy head.
"Do you mean why does my head feel funny?"

I hugged my sweetheart grandson a little closer.

My locks and even a few eyebrows and lashes are starting to make an appearance now that my chemotherapy treatments are finished, thank goodness. At first, getting used to being hairless was a bit of a stretch for this vain old gal.

Eventually, though, I got used to it and I really don't mind going without a hat, even in public now. I definitely never wear any chapeau of any description within my own walls. Too hot. Too bothersome. Too indicative that vanity still gnaws.

It's been almost six months since my locks departed. That's a significant portion of Trenton's life when I think about it. Grandma without hair has been the norm for a while. So as he ran his little fingers along the top of my head yesterday, Trenton got a bit of a surprise.

"Grandma's hair is starting to grow back," I told the little munchkin.

Trenton looked at me with that irresistible grin and then stroked my head once again and made the most precious statement:

"Grandma. Your hair is coming back home!"

So there I have it. My hair as it slowly emerges really is coming home to roost - right on top of my head. And for that I am grateful. I'm not particularly fond of the hue, however I keep telling myself - at least it's hair.

I remember when Trenton asked the very same question when I lost my hair back in June. "Where is Grandma's Hair?" became the title of a rhyming picture book manuscript that I wrote as a result.

Here's a taste:

Where is Grandma’s Hair?
© 2008 Glynis M. Belec

I looked in the bathroom
I looked behind the chair
I looked in the cupboard
Where is Grandma’s hair?

I looked in my bedroom
I looked in my bed
I’m worried about Grandma -
There’s no hair on her head.

I called up the doctor
On my plastic phone
But he would not answer
There was no dial tone.

I looked in the laundry room
I looked on the shelf
I looked in the basket
I can’t find it myself.

So I went up to Mommy
And asked her what was wrong
“Grandma’s hair has disappeared -
It used to be so long.”

“Grandma has a sickness,”
Mommy’s face looked sad.
“The doctor called it cancer
But the news isn’t bad.”

“When Grandma went to hospital
The doctor said, ‘Don’t fret.’
We’ll give her some medicine
No need to be upset.”

I went into Grandma’s room
She was wearing a hat
She gave me a hug and asked,
“Shall we have a chat?”

‘Yes,” I told my Grandma
“Where is your hair?
I have looked in every room
I even said a prayer.”

“The medicine the doctor gives,
Sometimes makes me sick,
My hair fell out but then he said,
‘It will soon grow back in thick.’”

Then Grandma told me something else
She said, “Come over here.”
She winked and opened up a drawer
And then she pulled me near.

I did not need to search again
For Grandma’s long, lost hair
When I looked inside the drawer
I laughed at what was there.

Grandma called them “hair hats”
Blonde, black, brown and red
Wigs of every size and shape
To cover her bald head!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Follow the Leader

[Photo: Amanda ~ Chip off the old block~]

A funny thing happened on my way to adulthood. I was followed. My children were apparently eyeing me all the way. That delightful old adage - do as I say, not as I do - got tossed out the window. And no matter what I said, my children become more of what I did.

I spent most of the day yesterday helping Amanda pack for her impending move. With a 6 month old baby and a busy little two and a half year old, Amanda has to work double time to get her kit and kaboodle packed and ready for relocation. So I was happy to help. She's a bit stubborn like her momma' so I had to convince her to let me help and that she didn't need to do this all by herself.

I get a big kick out of how alike we are. She is very independent but she has a lot of my traits. Some not so good. Yesterday it was confirmed that I have created a junior packrat. She is just like 'yours truly' for stashing and saving. I totally sympathized with some of the 'but I might need this later' comments from my darling daughter. Our similarities are obvious in many areas.
There were moments, yesterday, when I knew she wanted me to tell her to toss out something but then we would both think of good reasons for keeping said object. Take the collection of wine bottles from the many weddings. They did have nice labels and photos of the happy couples. I remember the same dilemma when I moved. I was so glad when I ended up purging my own collection of photograph-adorned wine bottles.

Finally we made a decision. She would only toss the empty photograph-adorned bottles. The full ones she would keep. We felt bad tossing the happy couples into the recycling box. But we moved on. And so the day continued. Decision after decision.

Packing is not an easy task for packrats.

On the whole, we actually did well sorting and discerning between need and want. However, I must say that our packing session likely took a little longer than perhaps might be considered the norm. There were so many decisions to make. But we had lots of laughs along the way and we both came to the conclusion that we have a lot in common.

As I watch my big-little girl interact with her own little ones, I see me. She speaks with my grandchildren in the same manner I spoke to her. She disciplines them the same way I disciplined her. She loves them as much as I love her. We have the same sense of humour. The same bossy nature. The same desire to please.

I left Amanda's house with a smile on my face and three bags of 'stuff' I might use (no wine bottles). Then I thought of a poem I wrote a while back for her birthday card.

Sometimes I watch you.
I watch the way you look at your children, my grandchildren.
I watch and wonder where the years have gone and how it is that you are now a mother.
Then I see the dependent, adoring way your children look at you.
I remember when you used to look at me like that.
But time marches on
You, my once desperately, dependent daughter have become a fiercely independent woman.
Did I teach you that?
We had our moments of conflict.
We faced joys and challenges together.
We overcame grief and sadness.
We triumphed.
I love spending time with you.
I appreciate when you ask me for advice.
It makes me feel valued and worthy.
Our relationship is special.
We are more than mother and daughter.
We have become friends.
(God has blessed me beyond measure!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

With the Cross of Jesus...

On Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 I had the privilege of attending a Remembrance Day service with my Dad. Amanda, Trenton and Jocelyn were there, too. When my children were younger and we were heavy into our homeschooling years, I would always make sure we attended the service and spent the day with Mom and Dad and other veterans. My parents are both WWII veterans.

Dad was in the Royal Marines and Mom was a VAD in the navy and she was also in the ATS (Auxilary Territorial Service). When we attended this special day with my parents each November, we went not to celebrate war, but rather to celebrate life and freedom. We were grateful for the sacrifices that my parents and others made so that we can live in the true north strong and free. We all learned so much about people and attitudes and about both the heartaches and the victories of war every time we went. We heard the stories and shared in some of the memories.

Amanda and Trevor always enjoyed going and they particulary enjoyed going to the auditorium at the Parkwood Veteran's Hospital and sharing fellowship, cake and stories with many veterans.

(PHOTO: Dad [with the eye patch] and some of his Royal Marine Buddies at the cenotaph in London, Ontario on November 11th, 2008)

I remember the Mountie in full dress. Trevor thought the big man in red was so tall. He was compared to Trev, at the time. Now I am sure my sweet long-legged 6'3" son would tower over him. I think being there every year helped foster a respect and appreciation for what some of these men and women went through so many years ago.

(PHOTO: Amanda and Trevor 1992 at the Parkwood Veteran's Hospital in London. Visiting with Staff Sgt. James)

Life is fleeting, so I have discovered. I have nothing to complain about in my situation when I really stop and take stock. At least I never had to stare down the barrel of a gun or fear that I may tread on a landmine. I never had to worry how to stretch out rations to feed my family, nor did I have to hurry them to a bomb shelter or feel sick as the sirens blared for the third time in one day.

Dad and I were actually interviewed for the London Free Press this past Remembrance Day and the interviewer said something interesting to me. She spotted my bald head and said, "It looks like you have been fighting a battle of your own..." I thought about that comment later and I guess there is some truth to that. So if those wonderfully dedicated and decorated veterans survived and overcame their battles, then I can do it too. I'm thinking about that song again...On ward Christian Soldier, Marching off to war. With the cross of Jesus...going on before!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hope and Hallelujahs

We made it through the day. My appointment at the cancer clinic has come and gone but I am having some troubles wondering about what to do with my emotions. My own oncologist was vacationing in Nice, France - his home town, so there was another doctor filling in for him. This wonderfully gifted, hospitable doctor, accompanied by a student doc, attended to me with honesty and a forthright manner. Gilles and I had met this doctor before during a couple of my chemo sessions, so he was not a stranger. He actually has the greatest bed-side manner. :)

First, the news is not bad about my post-chemo check-up. I had bloodwork and it showed no problems. There is another blood test which I had - the CA125. It takes about a week to get the results back, so I am sure if there is an issue, I will get a call. I also had a physical examination which revealed nothing untoward. Another positive indication that things look good.

The jumbled feelings I am dealing with at present derive from some of the fine doctor's words. He basically told me that he cannot say 'all is well' because there are no guarantees. His approach was 'nothing is for sure' so we will wait and see. I didn't want to hear that. I wanted to hear things like, "Cancer free..." "Clear sailing..." "Everything is looked after and you have no need to concern yourself..." "we were able to zap all the malignant cells..." Instead I heard things like, "I cannot say for sure that this won't return..." "We just don't know..." "There is a 50/50 chance of recurrence..."

I guess I sort of knew all this in my head but I wanted to dance out of that cancer clinic today with a new breath of fresh air and a carefree spirit. It didn't happen and I am doing way too much thinking.

My 'fill-in' Doc talked about some deep seated feelings I have on occasion and stressed my right to be concerned. He also alluded to the fear factor and how I must be very fearful and have thoughts about death and what might happen and the like. Given my good news, as far as today's tests are concerned, I wondered why he would talk about that, but I guess he was attempting to draw me out and discuss my feelings on the 'what-ifs.' It was actually a nice opportunity to talk about my faith. Gilles started it and told the good doctor that we have a strong faith and that sees us through so much. Then I told him that I do not fear death and where I will go one day is not a cause of stress for me. My biggest sadness trigger is leaving my family, my friends, my grandchildren, my loved ones...we had a good chat about that and much more.

I basically am exhausted. The week has been a long one and a busy one with lots of travel and headwork. I just need some down time. Some time to think; to relax; unwind and to pray.

Cancer, no question, is life-changing. I just want things to be the way they were before, but they are not. They never will be. So I will accept the things I cannot change and forge on. I heard a song this past Tuesday...Remembrance Day...Onward Christian Soldier.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Let the Little Children...

When I go to heaven I sure hope God lets me help in the nursery. I love children of every age and ilk. I love their innocence and their honesty. I love their forthright display of feelings and their demands for basic human needs. Feed me, I'm hungry. Change me, I'm wet. Cuddle me, I'm lonely. Total dependence. Total faith that a loving mommy or auntie or grandma...will tend to their needs.

Today I picked up Amanda, Trenton, Jocelyn and Janice and we headed to my niece's home for a baby shower. Gilles, my happy hubby, has six sisters and this niece is on his side, so you might well imagine the estrogen that was circulating.

The sisters and daughters, daughters-in-law and nieces and girl cousins and toddlers and babies and pregnant mommies present were a joyous feminine crowd (with a few baby boys tossed in for variety) and were a tribute to God's instruction to go forth, be fruitful and multiply.

"It's like we're at a day care centre!" one grown up gal said. I agreed. It was lovely. Babies and children squiggled and squirmed. They gurgled and drooled. They even joined in the games and played tape the bottle on the baby - a variation of 'pin the tail on the donkey.' It was fun. It was fun to celebrate Lisa's soon to be baby arrival. It was fun to be with family. Most of all it was fun to gaze upon all those little sweethearts who were no higher than a chair leg, but a lot more active.

When Jesus said in Matthew 18:3 -"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven..." I am thinking he was pointing out to us (stubborn people,) that we need to be more like children and to have that simple child-like faith. Being a follower of Christ isn't hard. It's child's play really when you consider the mechanics.

As I watched the little ones play and laugh and focus on the moment this afternoon, I thought how we big people get our knickers in a knot sometime about things that really don't matter. I'm thinking that if we took a few lessons from the little munchkins around us, we would be a lot less stressed and would be a lot more likely to find pleasure in the world around us.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Tyranny of the Urgent or Sunshine and Sandboxes

Trenton did not look too happy when he heard the answer to his question. "Where are my toys, Grandma?" When I told my sweet grandson that we had put them away for the winter, he looked at me with a crooked smile and a wrinkled forehead. I imagine in his little two and a half year old brain, that did not make sense.Why on earth would I put away the toys when today was a perfectly sunny, playable day?

Big people like to plan and prepare and 'get ready.' Children live for the moment. If it's sunny the toys should be there.I wonder who's right? It's good to plan and prepare and to think ahead. But should it be the rule all the time? I mean take this afternoon - we missed out on a good old fun day in the sandbox because the toys were tucked away for the winter.

Since being diagnosed with ovarian cancer back in April of this year, I have had my eyes opened a few times about a million things, including the tyranny of the urgent. I know God was prodding me into something. He used my situation to teach me plenty about trust and focus. He showed me how to appreciate who I am, what I have and how meaningful relationships are. I discovered that slowing down and sniffing the chyrsanthemums or playing with grandchildren or finding joy in the butterflies and bee balm, or visiting with friends takes priority over tasks.

I didn't like the cancer or the chemotherapy. The loss of locks made me shiver and quiver about my body image at first. The trips to London to face the prods and the pokes were not something I looked forward to. But I continue to marvel at the lessons learned through all this.

In Romans 8:28 it says, " We know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him , who are called according to His purpose." Even now, I am able to see how God is -and has been, making good out of my situation. For that I am truly thankful. Okay...I am off to hug someone.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Everytime Trenton sees this picture, he says Grandma and Papere are wearing puppies on their heads. I think we look more like we are sporting caramel sundaes with a cherry on top. If the truth be known, we are actually adorned with Chip and Dale heads. This delightfully mature vision of us was snapped when we were on our wonderful trip in Florida.
And just one more reason to smile...yesterday I received the report back from the doctor's office about my mammogram and ultrasound. The news is mean mean the news is good! The two suspicious areas turned out to be naught more than a couple of rotten little cysts. Phew. Sweet relief.
Now the next hurdle is November 13th at the cancer clinic in London. I'm thinking positive that all will be negative! Did I say that correctly?
All's well with the world today. One day at a time sweet Jesus! Now I am off to have a caramel sundae for breakfast. xx Love Puppyhead #1

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Pressing Appointment

[Photo: Mammogram Machine]

I'm thinking many of my female readers will understand better the subliminal message embedded in the title today. Yup' the mammogram is over and the ultrasound complete. Not a pleasant ordeal. Of course it's a little too early to get the results but the lovely technician told me that although she did see two areas showing up on both the mammogram and the ultrasound, she said they appeared as nothing 'scary' and were likely cysts. So for that I am relieved although I still await the report from the radiologist who has to read and confirm it yet.
I'm not sure if this next little tid-bit is good news or not. My hair is starting to grow in. But the part that I am wrestling with is the hue of the locks. My eyesight isn't quite what it used to be but I am seeing either gray stubble or some lovely platinum blond making an appearance. I choose door number two but I am thinking that the truth of the matter is that door number one is the order of the day.
I'm a little ticked about this because the deal was that I would lose my hair and once it started coming back again, it would grow in unlike it was before the chemotherapy. All sorts of wise people said I might get tight little curls and a totally different colour once my locks returned. Well, I already had hints of gray before, and so far the stubble is shooting skyward, making me look like I had an awful fright. Perhaps it remains to be seen. Perhaps this 'light' colour is just a tease. Maybe it, too, will fall out once the lovely auburn locks take root and take over. Sigh. More waiting.

[Photo: Envision my face (without the ketchup) with this hair...Thanks Trenton!]

Yes, it seems a big lesson God has taught me through all this is patience. Waiting for results; waiting for appointments; waiting for chemotherapy and now waiting for my hair to grow in.

I had been messing around with non-ammonia hair colour stuff pre-chemo, every time I spotted a cluster of gray hairs making their debut. But I'm thinking now - why bother? I've been bald for so long, I am starting to get used to it and am not in the least bit afraid to take off my hat in public. So what's a little salt and pepper? At least it's hair. So, yes, my hair will keep growing and I will deal with it and have a nice day anyway.
Oh, yes, that was another well-learned lesson. Vanity, vanity, it's all vanity!

(But I'm still hoping for a few darling curls like Trenton!)

Thanks to all my sweet praying friends for caring and special thanks to Casey who knows what she is talking about!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Dance

Tap...tap...tap...swoosh...swish...swoosh. That's the sound of me dancing and twirling and raising my hands for joy. No, it's not the cumulative effect of drugs. Nor is it any menopausal idiosyncracy.'s just my little grandma jig in overdrive. The news is out. Extra! Extra! Read all about it! God is good.

My dear son and sweet daughter in law told us last night that they are going to have a baby. Yes heard it here. (They said I could tell!) I am head over heels happy for them. I am collecting grandchildren so I am so excited about this next little munchkin who is scheduled to make an appearance early next summer. Janice and Trevor will make wonderful parents and I know this new little soon to be arrival will have so much love and affection showered upon him/her every moment of the day. I can't wait. Another loved and eagerly awaited baby to help fill this old world with joy. I'm loving it. Now I'm off to do another happy dance [albeit a bit lame] but it's happy nonetheless!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Prayer Request

It's 1 am. I'm having trouble sleeping again tonight. I'm thinking about Monday. I'm thinking about Monday for two reasons. One, it's Gilles' birthday and I am looking forward to sharing his special day. And two, I have to go to Listowel hospital to have a repeat mammogram and ultrasound. I am likely blowing this out of proportion in my mind, but I am wondering why the radiologist wants me to come back for a check up. So...if you feel inclined...could I ask for your prayers so that my overactive mind doesn't blow this out of proportion? I am already on edge a little waiting for November 13th to roll around. That is the day I visit the oncologist who will declare my chemo treatments a success (or not.) I am trusting Jesus and appreciating family and friends. Thanks for listening to this insomniac prattle. Night night.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Life According to Bert and Ernie

Bert and Ernie are best friends. These goofy ageless characters have survived well over the years and ne're a wrinkle decorates their fuzzy faces. Even though these slappy-mouthed characters have been around for over 35 years, they remain the same physically and emotionally (puppitarily speaking that is!) as when they were first created. Why is that?
Amanda and Trevor used to hold a particular fascination for the puppet pair when they were little munchkins and now Trenton, my grandson, recognizes and enjoys the funny characters.

I was pretty tickled when we saw Bert and Ernie in Renfro Valley, Kentucky so I had to take a picture. Anything to impress Trenton. :)

I look at this photo now and I think back to the dynamics of the B & E duo. Ernie was a happy fellow who had hare-brained ideas and a simplistic attitude, while Bert was his intelligent yet grumpy side-kick.

Bert was happy talking to pigeons while Ernie found joy singing Rubber Duckie You're the One for Me!

They didn't lead a complicated life. Nor did they make mountains out of mole hills and when conflict ensued, they worked it through. Next episode they were still the same predictable characters and all was well with the world. I'm thinking that I can glean a lesson or two from Bert and Ernie.

Here are ten things I can learn from Bert and Ernie:

1) Be thankful that God has not created me as a puppet.

2) Free will is a great gift when used wisely and within biblical boundaries.

3) Even if I have hare-brained ideas, I need to think positively and persist

4) Take time to stop and smell the roses (or talk to the pigeons)

5) If something goes wrong, take a bath with a few rubber duckies

6) Sing in the tub

7) If I am sad, I should talk about it

8) If I am feeling grouchy, I should seek out my best friend

9) Wear vertical stripes - they are slimming

10) Every relationship needs a measure of predictability coupled with a bit of a double dare attitude.

Have a wonderful day, evening, night and morning! xxx

Horsing Around!

(Photo: Yours Truly and my sweetie riding the buckin' bronco that I said I was going to avoid)

While passing through Kentucky on our trip south, we saw the sign for Renfro Valley. It's a place we had heard of but had never seen. The country scenes were wonderful so we decided to take a bit of a detour and check it out.

Unfortunately, because the summer season was over, the actual tourist area was not open but we were still able to explore a little and at least window shop. There was a general store that was open, though, so we had a gander around there for a while.

As we strolled the deserted park and shop area, we had lots of fun and took some pictures. I saw this horse and asked Gilles to get on so I could take his picture. He obliged. Then he told me to climb aboard and he would get a snapshot of me. I did so, but I hadn't noticed the fifty cents that he had pulled out of his pocket. He reached over and stuck it in the slot and I was off to the races. My dearly beloved took great delight watching me rock back and forth on this big old horsey as he flicked to the video switch on the camera! If I can figure out how to download the video, I'll show you what a nit-wit I looked.
I'm thinking how glad I am that God created us with a sense of humour and a laughter mechanism. I love to laugh. I always have trouble figuring out why some people walk around with a long face. There is so much to be grateful for in this fair land. I'm thinking one of the best gifts we can give to one another is a smile. I know I sure do appreciate it when I get one or two or more!

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'm Back, Finally!

(Photo: Gilles and I on New Smyrma Beach. We solicited a young girl to take our mug shot!


It's been a while. I don't know where to begin. Florida was amazing; Nashville thrilled us; and the weather couldn't have been better. Gilles and I had slipped away for a week to celebrate the official end of my chemo. I was a little concerned because we left not too long after my treatment. I only experienced a little queaziness, though, on the first leg of the long car ride, but it disappeared quickly and Gilles made sure we had lots of stops so that I would have plenty of opportunities to stretch my legs and grab a breath of fresh air.

I have a friend who lives in Ocoee, Florida which is very close to Orlando. It was so wonderful to see her and her sweet hubby and to catch up on all the news. Fran and Rick took us on a Disneyland monorail tour the night we arrived and we had a wonderful time watching the fireworks and touring the beautiful Grand Floridian hotel and 'stealing a dance' on the impressive floral carpet in the lounging area. Our time together with Fran and Rick was only two days, but we made the most of it and filled the hours with chatter, reminiscing and exploration. We learned about everything from palm trees to gheckos to not messing around with alligators!

(Photo: Fran and I being 'goofy' with the hats at Disneyworld in Orlando)

Later when we went to the beach, I felt like a little girl as I played in the sand and stared in awe at all that was unfamiliar. This was my first trip to Florida. I thank the Lord that He made this trip possible and that Gilles and I were able to enjoy our time together. The memories are etched in my soul and, although it was a quick trip, it was a memorable one.

When Gilles and I went to the New Smyrma beach in Florida before we headed to Nashville I actually had a little cry. It was odd but for a brief moment I had a bit of a synesthesia experience. As I smelled the sweet unique ocean odor, I was transported back in time. When I lived in England, my family made frequent trips to the ocean and we paddled in the ocean often and created sandcastles in the sand. I remembered those family times and missed my Mom.

Nashville was a whole new experience, too. At the Grand Ole Opry we enjoyed a nostalgic trip back in time and had the privilege of seeing Little Jimmy Dickens, Stonewall Jackson and Jeannie Shepherd, to name a few. Gilles was raised on country music so he was more 'in touch' with these country music legends than I was but I got great pleasure from seeing him enjoy the Opry. The next day we toured the little honky tonks on the renowned Nashville strip and were treated to some more boot stompin', knee slappin' bluegrass and country music. Yeeha!

(Photo: Jypsi- a great little bluegrass group that we heard play on the Nashville strip. The groups all play for tips as they try to make it to the big times in Nashville.)

I am so thankful that Gilles and I had the opportunity to run away for a while and to experience some quality time together without anticipating a needle in the arm or worrying about meeting with the medical experts to discuss what was coming next. Sweet relief.

So now we wait. My treatments have ceased and I am thinking positive. November 13th will tell the story, though. That's when we visit the oncologist again for the final report; was my chemo a success? At the last visit my bloodwork indicated that things looked good. However that element of 'what if...' still lurks and worries my soul. But I am trusting God and know that He has a plan. I'm hoping that His plan and my plans are the same this time around, though. We shall see.

I never cease to give thanks for all my friends and family who take the time to read and pray for us. I continue to be amazed at the outpouring of love that comes in many forms. That includes the fact that you are even taking the time to read this erratic blog! Thanks for caring. xxx

(Photo: Smooching outside the gates of the wedding chapel in Disneyworld. The fireworks started right after that!)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Can't wait.

I'm going to try and make this post a little longer than my last one. :)

I did start out with good intentions yesterday morning and then lo and behold I ended up having another not so good day. Hence, the mere 'good morning.'

I have been having some tricky issues with my feet. Since this last round of chemo I have had nasty pain and tingling plus some other issues were causing me grief and making me pop the pills which, in turn made me drowsy. The sniffles are gone today, but they had me sit up and order in some Halls, though. It all added up to a bit of a tough day.

But all seems a little calmer this morning, athough Gilles and I both got up at 4:30am. By 5:15 we were downing our oatmeal and brown sugar (which I had forgotten had cinnamon in it - sorry hon') Oh well, rising before the dog and the local roosters makes for a gloriously long day. And didn't I say I was feeling better? That means I can get lots done, right? Or so I thought.

I did a few things awhile ago and just as Gilles was leaving at 7:45, I had to lie down. I felt like I had performed an entire week's housework.

I guess that is my body telling me to take it easy; to do things in measured amounts and to stop trying to rise and conquer everything before 9am. I hate it when I'm not right.

Well, I am actually motivated to do a lot today because the big weekend has arrived. I have to pack. We are heading to the sunny south for a few days. It's a bit of a flying visit - we are spending two days at my friend, Frannie's and then we are heading back home via Nashville. I am pumped (yes I still have steroids in my system) to soak up some Florida rays - at the discretion of my sunscreen, of course.

Now I am in a little bit of a quandary. Since my steroids I have gained a little pudge so of course not much fits well anymore. I avoid the mirror at all costs. So I am opting for the cool, loose dress look - do they still make moo-moos (how do you spell that?) Sigh. I guess this isn't about looking good on the sand. I won't mind if some think I am a colourful beached whale. At least I will be sporting a thankful grin.

I am so looking forward to being with Gilles. He has been so good to me and deserves a change of scenery and routine. We are both looking forward to spending time with Fran and Rick. They have been such a long distance blessing to us.

But I know the part Gilles is really looking forward to is when we hit Nashville, Tennessee! Yeehaa! Bring on those rhinestones and chaps, boy's. Ya'll are gonna' be hearin' some stories in a week or so!

God is so good and I am so thankful. I'm thinking I might stay away from the ridin' the buckin' bronco machine, though.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


My Dad is King. I know time has a way of marching forth in all its glory and knocking the wind out of the sails of men and women as they journey on through the alotted days. The jewels in my Dad's crown might be a little faded, but nevertheless, they are still jewels and still shine brightly in my view.

They call it 'old age' and stubborn. I call it power and persevererance. Dad is a trooper and a fighter. He can be rendered tender hearted and vulnerable some times but then he can return stalwart and strong in the face of opposition. That's a powerful lesson to those who bemoan their fate in this temporary dwelling we call life.

When Mom died in July 2007, it was one of those times when I saw Dad at his most vulnerable. How could he go on? His life partner was gone after 57 years. He was lost, alone, and broken-hearted. His children tried to fix it and make it better but there is no substituting for something inexplicable in a relationship. It has been a long haul, but Dad is making it. He sees beyond the grief now, although his daily conversations with Mom convince him that she is a mere breath away and he never forgets her. He is seeing the importance of family and longing for the joy of reunion. Some misunderstand him perhaps but I know in his heart he longs for those times of joy and special moments.

I need my Dad. I need all my family but Dad represents something that cannot be replaced by words. His embrace represents the Heavenly Father's love for me. His love extends beyond the past and the challenges. When I first stood before my Dad after my first chemotherapy when my hair had fallen out, I took off my hat and hung my head. He wiped my tears and told me I looked just like I did when I was a baby - except bigger. My cancer does not conquer him. He constantly prefaces his conversations with "...when things get back to normal..." He will not enter into the mindset of my cancer not being completely eradicated. That's good balm for this soul.

If you are still privileged to have your Dad around, take a moment to think about your relationship with him by focussing on the positive. Remember the good times. If there are past hurts, allow them to heal. If there are resentments that you think are unforgiveable, think upon those who have forgiven you then project that forgiveness. Do what you can to enhance the relationship with your father. Time is fleetiing and before we know it, we will be shedding tears at a funeral, wishing we had not wasted time in trivial pursuits and arguing over who is more right. "Daddy, I love you," are the foundational words that motivate and prepare the heart and soul for whatever lays ahead. Are they so hard to say?


I miss my mother a lot. No matter how old one gets, there's just something about a mother's arms that make things seem a little better. Since being diagnosed with cancer, I have secretly longed to be rocked and to be soothed and to be held close to my mother's heart. But that never happened. Mom's heart failed. On July 20th, 2007, Mom breathed her last and she went to be with Jesus. That was nine months before I even had an inkling about my journey into the sea of untoward cells and the seemingly endless rounds of chemotherapy.
I am glad Mom was not around to see me travel down this cancer road, although I will admit that I selfishly desire the comfort and consolation only a Mom can offer. Mom's frail heart was wearing out and I had been spending quite a long time caring for her. I can't help thinking now how grateful I am that Mom did not have to know and worry about me being sick. There were times when she would tell me that I was making myself sick. She would admonish me and remind me that I needed to take care of myself. I would laugh at her and hug her and then she would give me that wonderful maternal look. Yes I miss my mother. I look forward to that wonderful reunion one day. I will hug her and love her and tell her 'thanks.' (I don't think I did that enough.)

So why am I writing this right now? I guess you might call it a fit of passion, a silly whim or perhaps menopausal stupidity...but I want to remind you to remember your mother. Go call her. Or hug her right now. Tell her you love her; that you are sorry; that you miss her; that you are thankful for all that she did for you. Tell her that you appreciate how she laboured for you in so many ways over the years, from childbirth to child- rearing; from fighting fevers to fighting on your behalf. Make sure your Mom knows that you love her and that you respect her. Thank her for giving you life. You won't regret it. One never knows when the darkness will come and then time becomes the precursor to all those things left unsaid...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Holy Nudge (Journal entry Thursday, October 2/08)

I step into the chemo ward
An angel in blue whisks me into a bed;
"Your last treatment."
She smiles and checks my chart.

A sharp prick triggers my brain
I put on a brave front but my soul cries out, "Not again!"
But I soothe my little girl soul
Reminding her that the final moment at the cancer clinic
Is here.

I hand out farewell cards and cookies and fruit and "Hot Apple Cider,"
As if to seal my departure
Nausea creeps in; pain infiltrates and I am fatigued
The enemy reminds me,
November thirteenth is a long way away.

That will give you plenty of time to worry and fuss and cry...

Then I feel a gentle touch; a holy nudge; a peace that defies explanation
Jesus reminds me - there is no reason to worry;
He is on the throne.
Battle weary - I lean my head in His lap
And turn my stress into rest


Saturday, October 4, 2008

The End is Near

In one sense, it seemed that October 2nd, 2008 would never arrive. Now that it has come and gone, it has done so in a hurry. This was my final chemotherapy session and I am rejoicing. I have to have a follow-up on November 13th to make sure the Taxol/Carboplatin team has done it's trick and eradicated all the nasty cells. I am thinking positive and praying that the outcome is going to be positive but for some silly reason, I have a very irritating thought that keeps tickling me and saying "you're not in the clear yet."

I asked Angela, my writer friend who struggled with cancer, too, if she thought I was being neurotic by having this niggling thought in the back of my head. She assured me that she has not met one person who is not nervous about getting follow-up results. Even she, after ten years, still gets anxious awaiting test results. So that made me feel a little better.

Angela (Angelina Fast Vlaar) has written an amazing and encouraging book called The Valley of Cancer - a Journey of Comfort and Hope. Angela sent me the latest edition of her book a while ago to help me find strength and focus. And help, it did. The book is a beautiful compilation of private thoughts and emotions which are offered in poetic and journal form. I cried many times when reading some of the entries. At other times I laughed and knew that there was a unique aspect to this encouraging book. If you get a chance to read it, don't hesitate. And if you know anyone with cancer, then I suggest you buy a copy and pass it on. It is such an encouragement as Angela shares her journey in an intimate and spiritual way. Here's her website if you want to have a look:

I am feeling a little under the weather right now, but this is to be expected. It usually takes me a week to get over the treatment. I barely have the energy to move, and am feeling very fatigued at the moment. I have basically parked myself in Gilles' comfy chair and stayed there. The most I have accomplished today is flipping on the trusty laptop and sorting through a pile of papers. It's such a weird feeling after my chemo. Before all this cancer nonsense, I would jump out of bed, put on my superhero cape in the morning ready to face the world. I am lucky now if I can expend the energy to get dressed. Yesterday and today, my attire has been my nightie. We'll see how motivated I am tomorrow (sigh!)

But I have to get cracking by the end of next week. Did I tell you Gilles is taking me to Florida to celebrate? I am so excited. It's been a very long time since we have been on a holiday. I have a girlfriend in the sunny state who has been waiting a long time for us to come visit. I can hardly wait to see Fran and her hubby, Rick. And she tells me the temperature is 85 degrees. I can handle that. :) So Franny in Florida is my motivation to get cracking and snap out of this chemo rut. I have been blessed in so many ways. God has given me lots of positive things to focus on during this not so pleasant 'cancerous' summer.When I left the clinic yesterday, it was bittersweet. First I was leaving my terrific angels who faithfully administered my treatment and loved and encouraged me in a professional manner. I will miss Maureen and Kay, the first nurses to attend to me and to treat me with tender and compassionate care. I will definitely miss Patrick's lifting laughter and Elly's smile. I will miss Charlene's bedside manner and Aly's kindness. I will always remember Lilliana who was the first sweet nurse to introduce me to the chemo. I will miss Judy's cheerful attitude and Alison's friendly efficiency. I will miss all the others, too. I can't remember all the names but I remember faces. Thanks God for equipping them all with such gifts. Dr. Lanvin is a sweet and gentle doctor, my oncologist who cares deeply for his patients. He sure made me feel secure in my journey. And when Dr. Lanvin was away, Dr. Sugimoto stepped in with his superb bedside manner and an amazing ability to calm fears and reassure the downcast. I will see a few of these faces, I am sure when I have my follow-up and for that I will be glad.

One person I will miss the most, is a special friend I met on my first chemo visit. Cindy. Cindy is a beautiful soul who has breast cancer. I just looked back in my journal and I chuckled at part of my entry: "I really want to talk to Cindy. I hope we meet again." There was just something about her that told me she was someone I would like to get to know.

God had a plan. Cindy and I had the same schedule for chemo. We ended up sharing blogs and e-mail addresses. We laughed and made the most of our IV moments together. I am praying so much for her. Cindy has three beautiful little girls, a busy pastor hubby and a love for God that is obvious and real. She has a long way to go yet and is anticipating surgery soon. I am really going to miss Cindy.

This whole experience has been life changing. Cancer. Who'd have thought it? In some bizarre sort of way, I feel that I have been privileged; that I have been able to see life from a different angle; I have sensed the spirit of God in a way that was oblivious to me in the past. I think I am now able to understand the emotions of someone going through the valley and if I can support even one person on their journey then this will have been all worth it. I remember when I first started on my own journey, my friend Dale had given me a book that talked about counting it all joy. The biblical reference for that directive was found in James. At first, I had troubles counting cancer all joy...but now when I sit back and realize the good that has, and continues to come out of it, well I am starting to see the joy. I will fight this dreaded disease. I will talk to anyone who needs to hear my story but I will also see the joy and the good. Things happen for a reason.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sight and Sound

(Photo: Bill, Gilles and John hiding with their last
Timmies for a while)

Our trip to the Sight and Sound Theatre in Lancaster, Pennsylvania last weekend was the best. It was quite a trip. We shared lots of laughs a few secrets, quite a few meals and wonderful conversation. But we didn't share motel rooms (none of us would have slept much!)

The trip down was a little tricky for me, at one point. I experienced some nausea and was sick a little bit. And like the drug-induced dim-wit that I am, I packed every medication going except my anti-emetic. Luckily my trusty friend, Yvonne, had some Gravol and Tums tucked in her purse so she graciously tossed me a few now and then. We had been driving for a long stretch so maybe that was the issue. It took us about 10 hours to get there (I won't make reference to the little wandering in a circle moment we had- their secret is safe with me!) But after the final sickly episode on the way down, I was all right. The rest of the trip was uneventful a far as me making a scene, and they didn't boot me out after all. Mar\ybe they took a vote. I am hoping Gilles was the tie-breaker! :)

Although we had our fair share of rain, it was still a lovely time. Before we went to the play, we did some nice typical tourist touring. We even did the Amish tour. It sort of sounds silly since we live in Mennonite and Amish country here, but maybe it was because being there gave us license to stare and take pictures and look up close at some things?
We saw beautiful farms and saw everything from dairy to tobacco to fields of corn, mules and work horses. It was lovely and everything was so well kept. The Amish children stared and waved. We even had a tour in an old mill. Fascinating. In the city they were selling everything Amish. Perhaps a bit of exploitation noted in some places?

In the Amish bakery where we enjoyed some freshly baked sticky buns and tea, I met a little boy and his Mom. It was a bit of an awkward meeting for the mom at first. The sweet little lad had beautiful blue eyes and they grew wide as saucers as he looked at me. Then I heard him say to his sister, "Look at the lady with no hair. She's bald!" Then he told his mother and she desperately tried to hush him up. I just laughed. I think Mom could have died a thousand deaths when she realized I had heard the conversation. So I went over to the curious little lad and asked him if I made him afraid. He went quiet and his mom took over. Her first words effused with apology. I told her I didn't mind one bit him saying what he said. Then she went on to explain how her older son had leaukemia and had lost all his hair a year ago. She thought the younger brother would not have been as shocked seeing someone else bald. I told her how different it would be seeing a woman bald compared to his older brother. We had a good laugh

(Photo: Beauty and the [bald] Beast)
and the little lad started to warm up to me and ask questions. I could have hugged him. He was so cute. I love it when children ask me questions about what is wrong with me. Sometimes I think it is good that I am bald, because then it allows people - especially children an opportunity to learn.

(Photo: The Magnificent Sight and Sound Theatre; people were exiting buses galore)

Once we got to the theatre, I was overwhelmed initially. The outside was a feast for the eyes. Then when we entered the building, wow! The theatre itself holds over 2000 people. The presentation we saw was called, In the Beginning. It was the story of Creation. The disclaimer at the beginning did say that there was some fiction aspects that were included to enhance the story, but most of the show was biblically accurate. I was very impressed.

Many of the animals on stage were real and obviously expertly trained. The skunk was the scariest live critter! Other live animals included doves, dogs, pigs, ducks, horses, ponies, alpacas, and more. Even the mechanical animals - elephants, giraffes, polar bears, and a magnificent serpent along with the costumed ones - gorrillas, orangutans and a baby elephant - were pretty convincing, too. The message of God's love for His created world was amazing. The magnificent acting and singing filled the theatre. It was hard not to be moved at a spiritual level. The Fall of Adam and Eve was heart-breaking yet meaningful as the story progressed. But the wonderful hope at the end, was a cause for many tears. Tears of joy, and anticipation and appreciation for all God does in our lives. I walked away with a renewed love for God and a confirmation of His desire for all creation to come to know Him and dwell with Him forever.

(Photo: Gilles and I standing in front of the impressive Lion and the Lamb statue in front of the theatre)

After the play, we headed out and had a wonderful meal together and teased the very obliging waiter. I overdosed on raspberry lemonade and I left our grinning Ben a lovely Canadian loonie as part of his tip.

Later we ended up jumping from town to town looking for a motel because we thought we would get a head start on the way home and head back in the general direction of Canada for about an hour or so. It was almost midnight when we eventually found a motel that would take six straggly tourists in.

The following day our return trip was filled even more with conversation and more laughter. This trip with our sweet friends, Bill, Ann, Yvonne and John was a wonderful distraction for me and good trial run for our Florida trip! Did I tell you Gilles has planned a lovely Florida surprise for me for after my last chemo treatment? How sweet is he? Now all I have to remember is to take my anti-emetics along! More on this later.

For now I am just feeling so thankful and in love with life and all that God has created. That includes you who are privvy to this blog. That means that somehow we are connected and God has allowed me the privilege of having you in my life. Bless you and know that I do appreciate you so much. I just wish there was a bigger word than "thanks." love Glynis