Thursday, December 29, 2011

Survivor Sadness

They said she lost 30 pounds in two weeks. Seems like a lot. But they said she just stopped eating and drinking. Diarrhea, dysphagia and dehydration took over and the diagnosis was in. Ovarian cancer. No one was sure what stage, but it didn't sound too hopeful.

She was the sister of my friend's sister in law. I didn't know her but once I heard the words, ovarian cancer, I knew she was now my sister, too. I asked plenty of questions and quietly decided that I would find a way to help or to at least encourage, pray and introduce her to hope. But, sadly, it wasn't to be. Within 24 hours of her diagnosis, I learned that this dear woman had slipped into the arms of Jesus because of this wretched, whispering disease - ovarian killer cancer -  just two days before Christmas.

When I heard this I wept. I felt guilt. I felt sadness. Why should a sister succumb and I still get to sit around the Christmas tree and gaze upon the beautiful eyes of my children and grandchildren? I wake up every morning three years post battle and resume my activities of daily living? Yes, I know about the stages and the importance of finding it early and treatment and strategies and successful chemo...

So why was my cancer found in the early stage? And why was the chemotherapy I endured  deemed successful? Why am I in remission and why is my sister dead?

I am glad I am still here to tell my story. It surely was a blessing that my t
ime was not up (I am not ready [at least in my mind] to cross into glory. I still have a long to-do list.)  But when I hear of other women who are afflicted and die according to statistics, I weep and wonder.

Meanwhile I continue to carry the torch of hope. I try my best to tell my story to those who will listen. I also try to listen better to others who want to tell theirs; I pray longer and trust God more. I try to laugh more and care less about silly things. There is plenty of advice out there about how to `live like you were dying.` So that`s my goal these days; because I sort of know what that feels like.

But today, my heart is heavy. I will battle the guilt in my own private way and I will wear teal for you, my your memory.

Say `hello`to Jesus for me...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom!

There's me sucking my thumb, as usual!
   Not sure, Mom, if that was you who just made everything - including this lovely sepia picture of you, Grandma Williams, Poppa, Rosemary and me, fall off the wall. You always did have a flair for the dramatic and I remember you telling me often that when you moved on to greener pastures you would find a way to get in touch with me and let me know that you are A-okay. I keep watching the tea cups! Nothing yet. But you sure got Gilles' and my attention a few minutes ago. And not only did the framed photograph go flying, so did the mirrored cabinet, the inukshuk that Laura made for me, the lovely little china ornament that Sue gave me a long time ago, the glass framed picture of Rosemary and her grandbabies, the miniature piano and its wooden stool. Nothing broke. When Gilles and I turned around to look after the  spectacular crash - not an iota of glass, mirror, wood or anything else was shattered. The top of the inukshuk fell off, but it wasn't attached anyway. Everything else was intact. We couldn't believe it. That seemed more than a little odd!
     As I contemplated the law of physics and the height from which all this fell, it occurred to me. Today would have been your 85th birthday. I am thinking that you were perhaps reminding me not to forget. You always did like reminding us about this special day. You always loved the celebrations, didn't you, Mom?
     As I sit here contemplating life, assessing all the pre-Christmas busyness, the wonderful crew who will be appearing on our doorstep, Saturday, the Sunday out of town party and how I really should make a list and check it twice, I suddenly realize once again how very much I miss you.
     It's been four and a half years since you went to be with Jesus, Mom. Most days I cope and think of you often. Other times, like now, I am once more reduced to a bubbling little girl who longs for her mommy's arms. Christmas does that to me. I know how you loved Christmas and getting together with all the grandchildren and great grandchildren. The quiver is growing, Mom. You would be proud - and ready for a long nap after the big day - "Glad to see them come...but glad to see them leave..." was your 'no beating around the bush' mantra!

     Not sure how you celebrate birthdays in heaven but just know that we are thinking of you and praying for you today. Happy Birthday, Mom. All my love Glynis (who is now off to pick up the mess!) xx

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Some things are just worth shouting from the mountain top! What amazing news. Way to go University of Guelph and the doctoral students on the research team.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Marine Motivation

    Four tiny fish swim around and around in the square glass container with the purple rocks. It's a tiny tank but Rosemary, my sister and fish aficionado, told me that the four little bubblers would be fine in there. She told me not to expect my new pets to grow very much, though. Because of the confines of their new home, growth would apparently be limited. Fish grow according to what they perceive to be their boundaries. I looked at the gigantic goldfish gamboling in my Dad's pond. I teetered between feeling good about having rescued these four little blighters from a life of possible peril and feeling guilty that they would never get as big as the other poissons in the pond.

It all started with Dad's desire to have a backyard water garden of sorts. As I mentioned, my big sis' knows a lot about fish and setting up an outside pond. She had her own for years. So to make Big Poppa happy and to complete his landscaping request, she made him a terrific backyard pond. I was so impressed with her handiwork and how asthetically pleasing she created it to be.
Be Fruitful and do your Math!

Rosemary did such a fine job, though, that the environment was seemingly perfect for that age old command to Be Fruitful and Multiply. And multiply, they did. Over the summer we watched numerous hatchings happen. There were gold ones, white ones, black ones, black and white ones, black and gold ones, white, black and gold ones; you name it, the combinations were there. In the end there must have been at least a hundred extra pretty little finned critters vying for a spot in the pond.

And the answer is!
A decision had to be made. The original sixteen big boys (and obviously girls) would be crowded out if the junior swimmers stayed. There was only room for about 20 in the original pond, according to Rosemary's rulebook. So the others had to go. We started thinking about what to do with the extra goldfish. My daughter put her hand up and said she would take a dozen. I remembered a lovely square glass fishbowl that sat silent in my pantry, so I piped up and offered to take a few. The rest we decided, would go to JJ's pond. We all pretended not to think about all the stocked bass in Rosemary's son's pond. We didn't want to consider the possibility of the other 84 or so leftover critters being bass bait. We didn't dare tell that part to Dad. He would sooner make his pond bigger and save them all. But since that was not feasible, we described the vastness of JJ's pond and how happy the extra fish would be (as long as they were fast swimmers and knew how to hide!)

We did our duty and Rosemary and I lowered the motley crew destined for JJ's pond into the big Rubbermaid ® container with the holes poked in the top. I picked out four cuties for my bowl and my daughter saved her 12.

So now here I sit gazing into their square glass home. I like watching them swim around but I still feel a little guilty about taking them away from their spacious environment and not giving them an opportunity to 'lay low' in JJ's huge pond. At least there they might have grown and reached their potential size.

As I look at this gaily coloured marine quartet swimming around in their limited enviroment, call it odd, but I find myself comparing their existence to my own. Then I wonder if I have got myself into a bit of a fishbowl mentality in my writing life. Am I denying opportunities that God has placed right in front of my face? Do I need to talk less and listen more (to His still small voice?) Somedays I feel like I am doing nothing but going in circles. I have a million ideas swimming around in my head but it seems I get nowhere - fast. I know I have a lot of personal things happening but surely I can find significant time to expand my own fishbowl.

Maybe it's a good thing that I adopted my four fishies. Maybe it's a good thing that they are in a prominent place in my house to serve as a reminder. Maybe it's time I find ways to expand my own boundaries and make sure I am doing what God tells me to, rather than what I think. I am pretty sure God doesn't want me swimming around for too long in my self-imposed fishbowl. In fact, I'm having a little trouble navigating around. Time to get back to the drawing board and review my plan of action. Swim said the mamma fish, swim if you can...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

On Being Thankful - A Perspective about Attitude

I wish I was wiser.Why can't I get published more?
How is it that other people get 1000s of hits on their blog and I only get hundreds?
If someone asks me a biblical question and I cannot answer it, I feel less of a Christian.
We don't have our sod in yet and we have lived in our new house for over a year now.
I am too fat.
I am too wrinkly.
I am too tall if I wear high heels.
I am directionally challenged and get lost too often.
I forget all the time. The chemotherapy fried my brain.
My book isn't finished.
I have to look after my Dad every day.
I wish I could draw or paint
It's too cold.
It's too hot.
My feet hurt
I have to pay the dispensing fee on my medication
I don't know what to make for supper
My husband snores
Some people gossip at church
I've nothing to be thankful for today. Everything went wrong.



I wish I was wiser.
My students love me and think I am pretty smart. Kyle asked me yesterday if I know the meaning of every word in the dictionary when we were discussing vocabulary. He made me smile.
Why can't I get published more?
God has me just where he wants me in my writing career. I am thankful that I write a regular column, that I recently won a couple of prizes in a writing contest and that my writer's group value my teaching and some of them are making contacts and getting published. I also like it when I can grasp snippets of time in my busy day to write.
How is it that other people get 1000s of hits on their blog and I only get hundreds?
Thank goodness people are reading my blog. If I were to line up 100 people that would be a lot of people who are being reached by my words. What if I encourage even one? What if one person draws closer to God because of something I wrote? What if one woman was saved from later stage cancer because she read something on my blog about detecting ovarian cancer early?
If someone asks me a biblical question and I cannot answer it, I feel less of a Christian.
I have quite a few different Bibles. If I need to look something up, I can use any one of these translations or I can use my laptop computer to search for answers. Most of all I can pray without fear of persecution and ask God to reveal things to me.
We don't have our sod in yet and we have lived in our new house for over a year now.
We finally own our own home. It has a been a bit of a journey but my happy hubby did a lot of the work. We have been trying to spend wisely and divvy our paycheques. We always have a roof over our head and we work on the finishing touches when we have the time and the money. I think the sod will be in before the snow flies!
I am too fat.
I sure don't get cold too often! :) My grandchildren love to snuggle. My reflection is only surface. I love my stairs - they are a great place to get extra exercise.
I am too wrinkly.
Miss J. said that when I laugh I get lines on my face. I love my laugh lines. Laughter is the perfect cover for wrinkles.
I am too tall if I wear high heels.
Grace and finesse were never for me. If I wore high heels, I would likely end up having to wear support stockings - not a pretty sight.
I am directionally challenged and get lost too often.
Only Onstar and Google Maps know how often I get lost. They are not about to tell.
I forget all the time. The chemotherapy fried my brain.
But the chemotherapy also fried the cancer cells. Another good check-up again this past month. So far, so good. One day at a time sweet Jesus.
My book isn't finished.
My book is at least underway and I received some positive reviews from an editor I met at a writer's conference.
I have to look after my Dad every day.
My 85 year old Dad has all his marbles, is still able to live alone, trusts me with his affairs and still calls me Dinny (my childhood nickname)
I wish I could draw or paint
I can write and teach.
It's too cold.
I have a full wardrobe and I live in a warm house.
It's too hot.
I have an oscillating fan by my bed with a remote control. We have air conditioning in our new house. We live in Canada. Soon the snow will cool me down.
My feet hurt
I don't need a wheelchair or a walker. If I have pain, I have medication that is paid for through a drug plan from my hubby's work.
I have to pay the dispensing fee on my medication
I read about the man who has a terminal disease and he has to pay for his own medication - $3000 a month.
I don't know what to make for supper
I have a choice. I have food in my freezer, produce in my garden and I cannot recall the last time I ever had to go hungry because the cupboard was bare.
My husband snores
I have a man who loves me despite all my foibles; who has stuck around for 34 years as of next February and who brings me a cup of tea in bed then kisses me good morning (every morning.)
Some people gossip at church
Our church is a loving caring safe place and when I was first diagnosed with cancer I had over 100 cards decorating my wall. People visited regularly and I had meals for weeks and then some. Some of the ladies organized a team and looked after my garden and flower beds all summer long. My congregation prayed without ceasing for our family.

I've nothing to be thankful for today. Everything went wrong.
The brilliant sun shone down on me as I was outside gathering the last of my fresh tomatoes off the vine. One of my students thanked me implicitly for the help I gave her on her project and with her math this afternoon. My granddaughter said she wanted to stay at my house today instead of going home. My sister said she appreciates me. I am sitting here looking at photographs of my family who are all coming for dinner on Thanksgiving Day. I am so excited. Jesus love me this I know (for the Bible tells me so!)

" filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:18b- 20

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Eight is Great!

So last Wednesday I tread with trepidation once again, into the cancer clinic. I had been shifted from a check-up every six months back to every three months because of a few suspect problems. I wasn't really worried because deep down in the recesses of my soul, I know God has everything under control. Admittedly I am notorious for snatching things back and then fear rears it's ugly head. But this time I really tried to trust, to rest in Him, to count blessings and to smile.

The oncologist and I had a good chat and after a thorough check up, we discussed a few more things and then he filled out a requisition for bloodwork and sent me on my merry way. The lab, tucked in the corner of the cancer clinic, beckoned me and as I crossed the threshold, the memories surfaced. I took a number and a seat. Then I stupidly wondered where the candy dish was.  Each time I had had my blood work done prior to chemo, the kindly volunteer had always offered me a sweet treat. But there was no candy. There was no yellow-clad volunteer, either.

Within a few moments a young gal called me in and I climbed into the big leather recliner and assumed the position. As the blood gurgled slowly into the tube, I prayed. I always pray that God's will be done, but I also always hope that my will matches His!

And the good news did today.  I called back to the cancer clinic - just as my primary care nurse had told me.  Normal readings for a CA 125 are between 0 & 35 U/ml. My winning number today was 8! It beats the 1500+ that it was prior to chemo!

 So now, I do my best to not think about what might have been and try to focus on what's in store tomorrow.  I will get up, inhale, give thanks for that breath, smile and then tackle the day. Bring it on.  Life is good one day at a time!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ovarian Cancer Canada Kitchener Mini Walk of Hope

It's here. Amanda and I have been rushed off our feet and busy as those proverbial buzzing critters for the past while, but the Walk of Hope is ready to roll and is scheduled for take-off tomorrow morning at Victoria Park Kitchener. For some kooky reason I am feeling a tad emotional right now as I contemplate what we are doing. A few minutes ago I looked back in my journal to see what I  was doing on September 11th, 2008. 

                            "This was my fifth chemo-day. It was long and I was tired..." my journal entry begins.

Yes, that stinkin' bittersweet poison that dripped away choking out the cancer cells. Hard to forget those times.  Chemo took its toll. I still have tell-tale effects that I don't think will ever go away - tingling in my toes and feet; memory pauses (that's a nice way of saying stupidly forgetful); sleeplessness and other niggling things. But I made it through thus far and I am jolly-well grateful and am enjoying survivor-status. I can handle and truly live with those  leftover reminders, when I think about what might have been.

God didn't quite have my heavenly room ready, I guess and I am thinking He had some other plans for this noisy girl. Hopefully I am on the right track.

Doing my part to help spread the word and raise awareness about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer seems to be a bit of a passion - one of the reasons for my involvement in this Walk of Hope tomorrow. Maybe I am supposed to be a mouthpiece - not exactly one of my weaknesses.

As I hit the pillow tonight, I am praying for sunshine tomorrow, for a great crowd, for an injury free walk, for sisters everywhere who are dealing with ovarian cancer to realize they are not alone and for this event to leave a sweet taste in the mouth of participants and volunteers alike. An extra prayer tossed in for the tent not collapsing or me not forgetting what I am supposed to say, for some divine appointments and for anyone battling the disease to feel HOPE.

Yours Truly September 2008 at the Barrie Walk of Hope; we've come a long way baby!
(I think I am wearing the same shoes tomorrow at the Kitchener Walk. Yikes! I need to go shopping.) 
Thanks everyone for your support.

Monday, August 15, 2011


A few weeks ago I had the privilege of meeting Maybelline. She was a pretty dark haired woman probably in her mid-forties.  She, and just over 200 residents of the community of Sandy Lake, had been evacuated and were now being housed in the arena in downtown Arthur. The residents who arrived in Arthur, not too far from where I live, were offered temporary accomodation there because their community was being threatened by forest fires. Sandy Lake is a community of about 2,800 residents and is close to the Ontario-Manitoba border. Arthur residents had kindly tossed a bit of a lifeline. I thought that was such a great gesture, reaching out to those in need. I wanted to help.

My delightful grandchildren in tow, we walked a little aimlessly into the arena intent on dropping off some games, toys and children's books to help offset the boredom some of these poor, displaced folks - especially the children - must have been experiencing as they anxiously awaited word that they could return home. And I also wanted to ask how else I could help.

Along with the items I had sorted to give away, I thought it might be a good thing to tuck in a few of my own books hoping that someone might enjoy them. So I did. I signed a few copies and included them in the box. At the arena, I received direction from the Red Cross gal at the desk and she told me where to take my package.

That was when I spotted Maybelline. There were many people milling around, quietly sharing words, drinking coffee, watching and waiting, walking back and forth. Everyone was busy and focussed on something. Except Maybelline.

There was just something about her. Something that made me want to sit and listen to her story. Her smile lit up her face. She stared at me. White girl bringing in 'stuff.' I suddenly felt a little sheepish.
After I had finished emptying my box, I found myself clutching one of my books - A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider. She smiled again and seemed to beckon me to sit down. I did. I asked if it was okay, and she said, yes.

Before 30 seconds had elapsed she was already sharing her situation and how devastating it was for her and her two teenage children to be taken away so suddenly from their home. She had no idea what was happening, although she did tell me that they received daily updates and she was hoping that by Thursday they would be able to return home.

Maybelline looked at me with those deep brown eyes and told me how grateful she was and how nice everyone was to her. She was humbled by the generosity of the local people. I asked her if she might like to read my book. Her face lit up and she tossed me another helping of her special smile. I handed the book to her and we continued to chat a little longer. I learned that she was a single mom with two teenage children. She was in Arthur with some of her other family members - aunts, uncles and siblings. But she described how many other Sandy Lake residents had been separated from their families as they faced the evacuation and she talked about how she really did not know what to expect when she would finally be allowed to go home. No one really knew. The unknown was particularly hard on everyone, she told me.

We had a nice chat. Looking back now, I should have asked her to come to my house for dinner. I should have asked her what else I could do for her. I should have given her that ten dollars in my purse. But I didn't. Maybelline and I said our farewells after a while and before I knew it I was in my vehicle with my grandbabies, heading home.

I kept wondering if I missed an opportunity. But later, I turned to page 207 in A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider - the book that I had given to Maybelline. The title was Bannock and Sweet Tea...then I knew why I had to give her a copy...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Since You Left...

Dear Mom,

Since you left not much has happened, but really, a lot has happened. I guess my initial thought is that nothing happened because life came to a screaming halt the day you died. But although that seemed to happen at the time, and I didn't want to go on without my momma', somehow the sun came up the next morning and life continued.

 It surely doesn't seem like four years since you asked for that last cup of tea in the back bedroom at our house. "Hurry," you told Rosemary as she held that cup to your lips. Being the dear British soul right to the end, you knew your last sip of earthly refreshment had to be a cup of tea. Good for you. It makes us all smile when we think and talk about that sad and glorious day. We consider the day sad, because we had to release you. But we released you all together into the arms of Jesus and now we know you are pain free, oxygen free, wheelchair free and That's the glorious part.

 Did you notice how Dad visited your grave every Wednesday for two and a half years? He sure does miss you - how could he not after being in your life for 55 years? But we are trying hard to keep him happy, safe and comfortable. "Look after your Dad,"  you told us. We're trying. He's liking it here in Drayton in his little house. He has lots of friends. You would be proud of how he gets out to socialize at least two times a week now! He heads up to The Crest for coffee every Tuesday and Thursday like clockwork on his scooter. Once in a while they have an evening dinner there and they always invite him to come. He packs up his cutlery and plate and usually goes with a smile on his face, although I know he wishes you were by his side on your scooter! We are all glad he is getting out, though. The house gets a little lonely for him somedays.

Amanda, Janice, Ruthie, Janine, Annie, Angie, Jenny all had babies after you left. Can you believe that? Ruthie actually has had two little darlings since you went home and Annie is pregnant with her second right now. Maybe you already knew this, though. Did you get to kiss each little angel before they left heaven? So many great grandbabies for you and Dad. You would have been ecstatic, I am sure. I think Jocelyn looks like you in that one picture. Remember the one of you, Auntie Gwen and Auntie Val swimming in the sea - the one where you are all wearing those bathing suits that Nana knitted for you? Jocelyn has your curls and a bit of your stubborn, beautiful independence!

Rosemary has been such a blessing since she moved close to Drayton and her biggest job was last year when she made a fish pond for Dad. It continues to be both a challenge and a thrill. Rosemary has the challenge and Dad has the thrill! The fish are being most fruitful and know their math very well - especially their times tables, if you know what I mean.
Dad has some in the aquarium (or should we call it the birthing room?) inside the house and the big ones are outside enjoying the heat in the pond these days. I guess Rosemary has created a happy home for the fishy family!

Have you noticed Dad's back yard? Lots of flowers and plants, huh? The new shed was a great acquisition - now the garage won't be so full in the winter. Each winter we bring in that lovely hibiscus tree. Dad likes looking at it every day next to the pond. It's bit of work looking after Dad's garden but well worth it when we see how it makes him happy.

Sue tries to get down to see Dad most Wednesdays but sometimes she doesn't feel so well since that
(Mom - Enid Latham 1926-2007)
stupid lupus took up residence. She bought herself a nice little house in London and works hard looking after her big old German Shepherd babies. Sometimes she takes them to dog shows.

We don't see John a lot, but that probably isn't a big surprise to you - the happy recluse? When I do talk to him I always hear your voice saying "Put the flag out!"  I know he misses you a lot, too and when we do get together and your name comes up then I see him being a little teary.

Eight months after you departed for a better place, Mom, I ended up with ovarian cancer. I think you knew that, though, right? I'm saying that because when I was journeying through some of those valleys, I would sometimes sense that you were nearby. Gosh, I am so glad that that did not happen when I was still looking after you. We would have been in a bit of a mess, wouldn't we? I'm not sure why God allows things to happen like that, but one thing I do know - His timing is perfect! They say I am in remission now but they are keeping an eye on me so they switched me back from six month check-ups to three again. one way...but I am glad in another. They do say early detection is the key, although the new kid on the block - doctor - told me that if my cancer does come back then it means the chemotherapy that I endured for six months didn't work and I would be considered terminal. Methinks those are pretty harsh words. I do wish I had my original oncologist back but he ended up leaving the hospital and going back to France. Oh well. I remember some of the doctors you and I dealt with over the years as you dealt with your many different ailments. We don't always hit it off with everyone, right.
I have to run, Mom. It's getting late and I need my beauty sleep. Gilles, bless his heart, is already sleeping soundly after a hard day's work.  But I did want to say one thing before I go...thanks...thanks for being a wonderful mom and my best friend. Thanks for caring and for quoting those lovely words to us often - "To thine ownself, be true..." (was that from Hamlet?) And most of all thanks for opening the door to Jesus when I was very little and for teaching me how to pray...maybe you did not know that then, but you really did give me words that opened the door to me getting to know my Lord -                                    May four good angels guard my bed,
                                    Two at the foot, two at the head,
 And keep me safe all through the night,
                                  Until I see the morning light,
                                   Thank you God; goodnight. AMEN 

(Thank you, Mom, and may four good angels be guarding your bed now. Good night. Love you - forever) xx

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tyranny of the Urgent

"I just don't have enough hours in a day!"
Thus the familiar, woeful moan echoes in my mind once again. So much to do. So little time.

Sometimes I look at my fellow prolific writer friends or supermoms & (grandmoms) and I wonder how they do it. I try not to, but when I read and hear about their lists of accomplishments, envy rears its ugly head and a pity party commences.Thank goodness, though, God has been keeping a close thumb on me lately and reminds me often how blessed I really am.

The other day as I sat in the cancer clinic again, waiting (what a waste of time) my turn, I tried not to think about all the things I could be doing instead. Then I looked up and noticed the sun shining through the clinic skylights, lighting up the room with a sort of divine brilliance. Then I thought about the Son who lights up my heart. The envy slipped away and I counted blessings instead.

1.  I am upright, breathing and I have hair
2.  I am a wife, a mom, a grandmom and my family loves me and my friends love me - warts and all.
3.  God forgave me [and continues to do so.]
4.  I love to teach.
5.  I love to write.
6.  I get paid to teach and write as a profession and I do it out of my own home so my hours are flexible.
7.  I am at the cancer clinic for a check-up, not chemotherapy.
8.  I got to attend five books signings in May, four in June and there will be one more in July just because I had one little short story published in Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider.
 9.  98 people wished me Happy Birthday on Facebook; 2 wished me a belated one.
10.  Jesus Christ is my Lord and Saviour (How much more blessed can I be?)

Psalm 90:12-17
Oh, teach us to live well Teach us to live wisely and well! Surprise us with love at daybreak; then we´ll skip and dance all the day long. And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us, confirming the work that we do. Oh yes, Affirm the work that we do! AMEN

Friday, May 20, 2011


A while ago I made the decision to 'treasure the moments.' I decided I would trust God and although it is a wise move to think ahead and to plan one's life up to a certain point, I want to live day to day with Jesus at the helm. Miss J was born almost three years ago. I recall telling her, when she was a wee bairn in arms, that one day we would have tea together. Today it happened

Miss J was to spend a few hours with Grandma. As usual I had a list as long as my proverbial arm. As I thought about deadlines and duty, I felt a little God prod reminding me about the way I have been signing my 'Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider' books lately.

Over the past month or so, I've had the privilege of joining other authors [and then one day alone] at different events to help promote, sell and sign this great Canadian authored anthology. Most of the time when I flip the page to my bio and story, I scribble my name along with the words - Treasure the Moments.
Today, I felt God ask me - "What does that really mean?" 'Twas shortly after that that Miss J asked me to read her a story. Four books later I asked my darling granddaughter if she wanted lunch. "Pancakes," came her request. "Do you want to help me make them?" The giggles and anticipatory glee that filled her face was confirmation that this was to be time well spent.
We stirred, mixed, measured and tasted. . No way were we to sit at the kitchen counter or at the big table. This was going to be a picnic teaparty and Miss J was orchestrating it. She found a perfect little wooden tv tray in Grandma's pantry along with the tartan tin that held the little brown china teaset. The table was being prepared. Miss J knew where the cloths were, too. She picked out a few grubby ones but I didn't deny her. She liked the colours but instead of putting them on the table as a cover, she placed the two cloths on our stools. We were to sit on them. I would oblige. As I stood on guard beside the hot grill, Miss J set our table. Eventually we sat down and giggled through our pancakes and maple syrup and our tea-milk was deliciously delightful in the mini cups. There were a few uh-ohs as Miss J miscalculated how much to actually pour. But it was such a blessed and almost a holy time, if I can dare say that.
What a privilege it is to be a grandma. What a treasure it was today to feast on chopped up pancakes on our little plates. What a blessing it was to sing and to rock little Miss J to sleep after lunch and to tell her how much Jesus loves her. Next time I sign a copy of Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider and write in my little trademark notation - Treasure the Moment, I will remember this day. And I will treasure it. Thank you God for the poke...

For where your treasure is, your heart will be also...Matthew 6:21

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gold - Peace of Mind.

Yes, it's been a while. I have been putting off talking about it. I didn't want to consider the 'what-ifs.' But now I feel better. The tests are done. The results are in.
After my six month routine visit to the cancer clinic in April, there was some indication for concern. My oncologist was less than encouraging when it came to doing tests to confirm or deny. "If the cancer is back then it means the chemo did not work and then you would be considered terminal," he kept telling me. I had trouble making him understand that I am the kind of person who needs to know. And if the cancer was back then I would deal with it. He tried to convince me that they would not do anything until I had more severe symptoms. (I still can't get my head around that.) But after a lengthy discussion and a few tears, my oncologist finally decided he would order a colonoscopy and a CT scan.

First came the colonoscopy in Palmerston. Dr. Omole was a gem and really did show compassion and understood my concerns. He promised to do a thorough check-up. And he did. I was put on the top of the list for the test and within one week I was back at the cancer clinic clutching my 'clean' report. Relief #1.

I headed up to Walkerton the following week for the CT scan and as I lay on the examination table - the dye coursing through my body - I relived my first scan that took place on that very table three years ago. The memories surfaced as I recalled how my life changed forever.  I discovered the hand of God; the unconditional love of family and friends and how much I am not in control of a single thing.

But here I am. Back on stage and the news is good. The CT scan shows no indication that the cancer has resurfaced. Relief #2.

I have an appointment next Wednesday at the cancer clinic. My doc wants to see me. I am sure all is well. Maybe he wants to say he told me so. Methinks I will thank him for giving me peace of mind. It is as gold...

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Rockin' Good Time!

The Sunflower Seeds Team Trying to be Serious!
 To say that Zeal for Teal was less than a blast, would be doing the day a disservice. Close to ninety participants gathered at the Drayton Arena this past Saturday to scrapbook and make cards for the cause. Zeal for Teal is an amazing day out for busy gals. Our theme this year was 'The 50s' and it surely was a hoot. We enjoyed door prizes every half hour; hula hoop challenges; bubblegum blowing contests; delicious food and snacks; a sweeeeeeeet candy bar; superb vendors and more! The gals who took time out of their busy schedules were the top of the pops! What great attitudes and the laughter that we shared that day should be bottled and sold - we'd be rich! And to think everyone did it to help raise awareness and funds for our Sunflower Seeds team Walk of Hope for Ovarian Cancer Canada is humbling. Thank you to all who joined in the fun. We can't wait to see you all again next year!

Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider release announced at Zeal for Teal 2011!
I was thrilled to have sold 9 signed copies of this book on Saturday. With the sale of every book I donate $5 to Ovarian Cancer Canada and $5 to The Word Guild. The Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider contains a portion of my cancer story - page 92. If you want me to send you a signed copy of this delicioously inspiring anthology written by 37 Canadian writers, let me know! $19.99 plus shipping or you can pick it up or I will deliver it if you are close by! On May 7th I am doing a signing at the Studio Factor in Drayton (2-4pm). Then on May 14th I am doing a signing with 5 other authors at the Chapters Bookstore - King Street in Waterloo (1-3pm)!

Claudia Connor (centre) the National Coordinator for the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope joined us at Zeal for Teal and was even able to find herself a Pink Lady jacket. What a thrill to have Claudia with us this day. She blessed us all by telling us a little of her story - she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when she was 33 years old. She is the perfect person to plan and coordinate these walks across Canada. We cannot wait to get involved in preparing for the Kitchener Walk of Hope to be held on September 11th, 2011.

Meet our most amazing diner cooks - Yvonne Timmerman (left) and Ann Kabbes (2nd from right). We had nothing but compliments about the meatloaf, homefries, and mushroom beans! Thanks ladies. You are the top of the pops!

My special angel. Amanda is the brains behind the day. Zeal for Teal began with a dream and a purpose three years ago. I am honoured to be blessed with such a gal and she has been there for me every step of the way. We make pretty good teammates! Thanks Amanda - you really do rock!

Visitors were welcome at Zeal for Teal. Hope you enjoyed your lunch Trenton!