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British Columbia, Canada
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The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. ... Albert Einstein

I'm a creative. I don't know how to be anything else. Everything I see, hear, smell is fuel for my muse. I've had several careers, but was never content until I found my niche.

Now, I run a home-based studio, FyreWork Designs where I freelance as a photographer, writer and designer. I wear many hats, but love what I do. I enjoy working in variety of artistic venues: digital alchemy, multi-media as well as mixed media. I often use my photography as a springboard to create fanciful images.

You'll find variety here, complete with comments as the muse sees fit. You've been warned ;-)

Oh, and in case you didn't know ... I'm a cancer survivor. Every day I wake up, I've survived!


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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Look at Me Glow ...

Courage is the discovery that you may not win, and trying when you know you can lose.
.... Tom Krause 

I love feeling like this ... fatigued, nauseous, and non-productive.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve wanted to post. Honestly ... I have.

However it’s been hectic and just a little stressful. I took part in this amazing experience called NaNoWriMo. I’d tried last year, but fell short of the goal. This year, I decided to put my heart into it and succeeded. Yay me! I’ve got a manuscript ready for polish that I hope to start shopping around come the new year. One hurdle overcome.

I also just started a course of radiation in the hopes of shrinking one of the tumours at the base of my spine and a couple more small ones in my right hip. That had me in a bit of a funk. But then doctors do that to me.

I just came back after getting the 2nd dose ... 10 doses over 10 days ... and strangely, I’m finding the pain and stiffness already diminishing. Hurray! It’ll be wonderful to be able to walk again like a real person, instead of just limping along. That’s the hope.

I’ve been told I probably shouldn’t do anything like ride a bike or cross-country ski for fear of fracturing the hip, and I’ll be good.... for now .... But I’m determined to rebuild the bone to be better and stronger. Shades of bionic ... lol

Anyways ... loving the steroid pills I have to take for the nausea ... NOT! It didn’t help yesterday. Was violently ill. One of my favourite pastimes is hanging my head over the porcelain throne. Let’s hope today goes a little better. I don’t have time to be sick. I’m a volunteer photographer for the help-portrait event this Saturday and that’s so important to me. Not to mention, working on my novel, checking in with clients ... well you get the point.

In the shower today ... where I do a lot of my serious thinking, I realized how much I miss my middle daughter. But in reality, I don’t know that I’ll be making the effort anytime soon to talk to her. This is not the first time she’s abandoned me in a time of crisis.

I’ve been hitting my head against the wall, trying to figure out where I failed as a mother. Was it because I got sick? I never thought it was in the plans. I never thought I’d get cancer. I never thought I’d have to stare my own mortality in the face on a daily basis. I try not to cry, because well ... it really doesn’t fix things. However it is a release and I’ll take that as I can.

I also have to remember she’s still a baby ... only 22. And at 22 life hasn’t handed her enough heartaches to really understand the word compassion ... I did my best to shield her from as much of life’s nastiness as I could. Maybe that was the problem. I never gave her the opportunity to be accountable for her actions.

What is saddest of all, is that though I’ve longed for grandbabies, I don’t know that I could trust myself to get involved should she be lucky enough to have kids ... yes ... I think that far ahead. I’m a writer, don’t ya know ... we plot and plan and theorize and focus ... and we forever dream. But sometimes these dreams turn to nightmares where I love my grandbabies with total abandon only to have her pull them away from me. Don’t think I can go through that kind of loss again. It hurts enough when she pulled herself away.

Ahh to see the world in black and white again. Except that as you get older ... you begin to see the gray ... oh so much gray. Perhaps that’s the lesson she’ll have to learn.

As for me, I take it one day at a time. One hour, if things get really harried. But always I have hope ... and always I believe that everything is for a reason.
Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Glory Theirs, The Duty Ours ...

Marcel Prudhomme
In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
....  John McCrae

Today ... Remembrance Day ... nations gather to remember the fragility of life and the ultimate sacrifice made by the many, so that we could live in peace and freedom.

I grew up hearing stories from my grandmother of the many hardships my family had to endure, in France, during both World Wars. No one escaped the horrors and suffering. She lost many of her siblings, and other family members, in the course of these wars. I remember the pain etched on her face as she recalled the past and loved ones lost. She often talked of my grandfather, who served in the French army. He ended being sent to a German POW camp during WWI, and times were so difficult, he had to eat rats in order to survive.

My father was a young teen when WWII broke out. I remember the faraway look in his eyes when he told me how he was conscripted to work in mines, while helping, in secret, the French Resistance.

My mother’s brother, my uncle, served during WWII with the Canadian army. And though I never met him, I’ve been told he fought with the Royal 22nd Regiment: Canada's famed Fighting 'Van Doos'.

Today, and every November 11th, I make a point to remember them. I wear my poppy proudly, and fight back tears as I tell my children about those who fought so they wouldn’t have to. I have been fortunate. My kids have been fortunate. We live where freedom is a right and war is an unknown.

I lived in Petawawa, one of Canada’s largest army bases, for a few years, as a young bride. It is where my eldest daughter was born. Many of my friends were in the military, and though Canada’s role back then was more of a peacekeeping nature, I know the sacrifices they were making even then. I saw families separated for months on end, so that we could help nations in far off places. Our role today has increased, but our mission remains the same -- to assist those that have asked for our help.

Today, as we go about our daily lives, and enjoy the many luxuries we have, we need to remember, not just on this day, but each and every day, that some of our finest men and woman are waking up in a world a million miles away from our own reality. The lucky ones come home and resume their lives with family and friends. Others come home, broken in body and spirit. Others never come home and leave a legacy of tears.

Let us continue to support our veterans and all those who proudly serve this great country of ours, now and in the future.
Sunday, November 7, 2010

Kick it to the Curb!

Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.
.... Phyllis Diller 

Phew! October is over. Breast Cancer awareness month. I really don’t want to made aware. I am more aware than I ever wanted to be. But just when I thought I could forget about the *C* word ... November comes along. More cancer awareness.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the attention we’re giving to this dreadful DIS-ease. But I want to know more than just about the treatments. I want a cure. I want to know WHAT causes it. I want it stopped. I don’t just want to be aware.

This is not something where you can just get it, and then be free. It changes your life. It changes everything. Forever.

I don’t have the luxury of looking forward to retirement in peace. I hope I get there. But my concerns are whether I’ll make it to this spring. Or to see my son graduate high school. Or to hold my first grandbaby. I sometimes feel like the little engine that could ... I think I can ... I think I can ... I think I can!

And it doesn’t just affect me. It affects everyone. My son doesn’t remember a time when I was just ME. I used to be so active and strong and full of pep. Since he’s been six, he’s seen me bald and crying and hurting. My girls? Well, they’ve had to watch this too and wonder ... will they get the same sentence?

I saw a news report the other day where someone was marketing a t-shirt that said F*ck Cancer. Well that’s what I say. Give it the finger. It doesn’t belong to me. I don’t want the ‘gift’!! I’m returning it.

Thanks for all the awareness, but now we need to do more than just stand up and fight. We need to kick cancer to the curb!

Scenic Sunday
Friday, November 5, 2010

On the Inside Looking Out ...

You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.
.... Jack London

So, I’ve embarked on a bit of a fun ride, for now. I’m literally escaping reality for a while and it feels good.
For the rest of this next month -- the next 25 days to be exact, I’ll be working furiously to finish my novel. If luck is with me, my manuscript will be ready to be shopped around before the new year.

Writing has always been an escape for me. It’s a place where I can create my own world and control the elements within it. Well ... most of the time. Sometimes characters have their own mind. However, unlike the real world, nothing is beyond my ability to change it.

I’m looking at more tests soon and I’m trying hard not to focus on it. Even though I’m getting better, there’s always that fear, that never-ending fear. And so, I’d rather retreat into a place I know: a place of my own making. As a result, this is a perfect time to retreat into never-neverland.

This is National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo for short. It’s a month where those crazy enough to take on the challenge find that their lives revolve around word counts, plots, characters and scenes. Everything else fades to black and for me, it’s a wonderful meditation.

This particular work-in-progress isn’t my tell-all story; I may tackle that one during the Script Frenzy in April. Although I've been told, from those who know my story, that it’ll have to be written as fiction. Few would believe my story was real.

And this book? It's a paranormal. Well ... I won’t give it away, but I’d be careful if someone whispered my name ...
Sunday, October 24, 2010

Aiming for the Stars ...

"We don't have an eternity to realize our dreams, only the time we are here."
.... Susan Taylor

Once upon a time, a million years ago in a land far away, a baby was born. A beautiful little girl, that seemed to come from the skye. I held her close and tried to freeze time. But time, like squirming babies, will not hold still. And I wept, as I cherished the moments that time would soon steal away.

I remember when, as a little girl she would cry, telling me she never wanted to leave home. Even when I would tell her that one day she’d grow up and have her own life, she would stubbornly tell me that she was always going to stay with me. 

Although I taught her to be strong, I never thought that she’d be the one to walk away. And that has delivered the hardest blow.

I have three wonderful children -- three brilliant masterpieces for whom I cannot claim responsibility. But children are never to be seen as extensions of ourselves. That can lead to such sorrow. Rather, as the great Kahlil Gibran said when asked:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archers sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also loves the bow that is stable.
Friday, October 22, 2010

Remembering Spirit ...

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”

.... Albert Einstein

October 20th, people everywhere were asked to wear purple in honour of six gay boys who tragically committed suicide. Six young lives that were cut short as a result of bullying. Purple was chosen as it represents spirit on the LGBT flag. And it is this spirit we need to sustain.

How very sad to think that the pressure became so intense, for these young boys, that they saw no other way out than to take their own lives. What a dark place they must have gotten to, that this was their only form of escape.

I am writing this because as wonderful as the symbolism of wearing purple on this one day is, we need to remember that bullying needs to be quelled the rest of the year. We all need to find ways, no matter how small, to show we can make a difference.

Don’t laugh the next time you hear a ‘gay’ joke. Don’t just stand by if you hear someone being ridiculed because they don’t ‘fit’ in. Be a voice for those that can’t speak, for those so downtrodden and sad that they no longer see the light.

People need to understand the devastating and long-lasting effects this kind of bullying causes. Some people are strong enough to weather the insults and rise above them. Others buckle under the weight of depression.

As the sister of a gay man. I know the suffering he’s endured at the hands of those wishing to make him feel inferior. I know how it has affected his spirit, his joy and his outlook on life. It’s a weight he’s never been able to remove. He’s faced unending discrimination and has been badly beaten for no reason, other than the fact that he was gay. He`s a professional, with a brilliant mind. Isn`t that what counts? Why can’t people see the wonderful human being he is.

Let’s take the time, not just on October 20th, but each and every day, to remember to give a hand to those who’s spirit needs strength ... not use hurtful words or violence. Let’s stop discriminating against those we perceive as different. What we need is tolerance. Tolerance to let others live their lives in peace.

I have wonderful friends and family who are gay and lesbian, and I personally think the world would be much more sombre without their voices and exuberance. This world is made up of so many different individuals ... each and everyone of us is unique. We should stand united, not divided, to ensure that no one else’s family goes through the suffering and pain of losing a loved one so senselessly.

Scenic Sunday
Monday, October 18, 2010

Fairy Tales ....

"Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn't you - all of the expectations, all of the beliefs - and becoming who you are."
.... Rachel Naomi Remen

The following is the comment left by 'threadpuller':
actually all the comments here, besides your own are tagged 'anon'. skepticism is important, esp. when one sounds critical~like your accusations! i don't know your situations, except as you portray them, so help me comprehend: you were a passive victim? a faultless saint, seeking blog martyrdom-?by the way, what is your motive? seeking validation, or "poor you" by sycophants? back pedal as much as want, but i smell a thinly veiled agenda, as well as hatred...unless i am guilty of "psychological projection"(ever heard of it?)if i strike too close to home,will you poison pen a blog about me!?in your salacious attempt at expose, maybe you have revealed too much-about yourself! be courageous, explain the "third side"=take responsibilty for a fault entirely your own! MetaPhysician, Heal thy Self!! (you are a self proclaimed reiki master, no?) is anyone else wondering about the rancour of her one-sided character-assasination? is the tone not inconsistent with manufactured persona of sage?of course you're only human-not unlke the rest ofus, incl. your family...walk in light, feet in shadow (never took a step on the left-handed path?)wishing you strength!it would be unfair to pick on someone sick, after all. how bout pics of narcissus or posey"s(sic)

Because I believe in presenting all sides and preserving what is left of the truth, I will attempt to deal with some of the concerns voiced by a very angry ‘commenter’. I know who it is, and I know why they’re doing it. But that’s not really the point, is it? 

So ... threadpuller do you really want to ‘comprehend’ or do you simply want to find a new avenue of attack?

“Would be unfair to pick on someone sick, after all” is nothing but a nasty attempt to point out that I have a DISease – one that almost killed me this summer. That being so, WHY, pray tell, would the decent and kind soul you claim my sister to be, act in such a disgusting manner?

Please ... I urge you to tell me her side? Or the stories you’ve been told ... I can assure you they are lies. It’s all she does. I don’t think she would know the truth if it dropped at her feet. It’s part of HER illness.

You didn’t strike too close to home, and my agenda is NOT ‘thinly veiled.’ I’m rather vocal about it. However I don’t like leaving things unfinished. I promise this isn’t going to be a poison blog about you ... I really couldn’t care less about who you are. But you’ve made some false accusations, and I’ll try to clear them up. After all ... it is MY good name you besmirch while you hide behind the curtains.

My reason for this blog was to highlight that it wasn’t a bad diet that contributed to my illness, but the endless stress I had to endure on a constant basis. My entire life, I was told I was responsible for being the ‘big sister’ and rescuing my siblings. I can’t tell you the countless times I had to run to my sister’s, at my mother’s urgings, because she was too drunk to care for her kids. Or she was facing yet another drama. Every time it was my life that had to be put on hold. It was my kids who suffered. But I can’t remember a time when she was ever there for me. And I certainly had my own saga to endure. Over time, one gets drained. After all, I’m no saint ... or a martyr ;-)

“Self-proclaimed Reiki master?” Ummmmm, you’re not familiar with Reiki, I understand. One becomes a master through work, learning and attunement from one’s teacher. So, no, I’m not self-proclaimed. I’ve earned the rank. And as such, I am using Reiki to help heal my wounds, both past, present and future. Hence, this blog. Nothing is by coincidence.

What is it I want? Pity? No. Revenge? No. Validation? Yes, definitely!! Perhaps a recognition that all the horrible things that were done, DID happen. And an apology. When someone has been wronged ... they usually ask for an apology. I want ... I DESERVE no less. But I dream in colour.

What was my crime in all this? Well, I’m not sure. I’ve wrestled with that. Was it because I was smart? Was it because my hair was red? Was it because I was older? Was it because I was my dad’s favourite? I know I wasn’t my mother’s. I was the bane of her existence.

Or perhaps it was that I was insulting ... yes, I can have a nasty tongue. But in my defence, I don’t come out firing until I’ve been hurt. The intensity of my anger is directly proportional to the amount of hurt I’m feeling. I did not try to turn her children against her? I did not try to lure her husband to bed, or make passes at her boyfriends. I did not take her to court on nothing more than trumped up lies. I did not abandon her out of jealousy and ignore her sons. I did not leave her when she was sick. But these and more she’s done to me.

So I ask again ... what was my crime? Why is it okay for me to be hurt and maligned with no accountability for malicious actions? I’ve tried turning the other cheek so many times there isn’t an inch to spare. Each and every time my help was needed, I was always there. I’ve been doggedly loyal. I just can’t fake it anymore and pretend its okay. THIS is why I’m writing this. Should I have turned my story into a movie-of-the-week? Or write a tell-all book? Would that have been better?

BTW, I love the vocabulary you use ... was it for my benefit or yours? The problem is that when you use BIG words like that, one assumes a certain degree of intellect which also includes proper grammar, spelling, and syntax. But shame on me for assuming. Perhaps you were so busy looking words up in the dictionary you forgot to proofread. ;-)

See more beautiful flowers at Today's Flowers
Saturday, October 16, 2010

Forgiveness?! ...

"It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend."  .... William Blake

I've been in deep conversations with myself for a while now. I know I need to forgive the past, so that I can create a better future. But there are so many layers. So much that has been done that was never acknowledged. However, in order to let go, I have to forgive the unforgiveable.

Writing about this now, is my way of finding closure. My hope is that each time I tackle past hurts, I can turn the page and forgive the person that caused me unnecessary pain.

But I'm struggling. It's very difficult. I can forgive so many things. It's really not in my nature to hold a grudge. But it's hard to forgive those you thought had your back, only to find they were busy plunging daggers into it.

I came across a lovely meditation yesterday on Reiki and forgiveness. It was a sign, I thought. I'm a Reiki master and am always teaching that in Reiki there are no coincidences. I've been battling with myself over this forgiveness theme for a while. So when I saw this meditation, I tried to focus on it. I went to sleep last night trying to pry the cold, icy grasp of anger from my gut, and replace it with an inner calm. It didn't quite work.

I'm still striving to sort out so many things, but I'm determined to find a solution. I've worked hard on forgiving most of those who have hurt me in my life. I had lessons to learn. I get that. But some things, I just can't get past. Not yet, and I'm working so hard to do just that.

I want to scream at my sister who has tried for years to alienate my kids by telling them lies. All the while, she was the unfit one who walked out on her little baby boys to pursue men and drugs. Why would she try to hurt me with untruths about things that never happened? Was it to justify her own bad behaviour? If it had stopped, perhaps I could have just let it go. But she continues to this day taking great delight in her fabrications. How does one forgive that? How do you overcome hurt after hurt after hurt?

I have prayed about this ... asking for guidance. And then, when I read that article yesterday, I realized it gave me the opportunity to forgive the person, without condoning the act. So ... here goes.

I forgive you, Linda. I know you have an illness and I should be the better person. So I forgive the soul that you are. But I don't think I can ever forget the terrible things you've done to me. Maybe someday, but not today.

 Today's Flowers and Bluberry craft and hobby time

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Searching for Truth ...

"As she has planted, so does she harvest; such is the field of karma."
.... Sri Guru Granth Sahib

My sister is a bitch.

There. I’ve said it. It feels great to finally find that release in being honest. I don’t have to pretend anymore. I don’t have to bow my head in shame thinking it’s me that is at fault.

To carry on the theme of Thanksgiving, I’m grateful that I can finally call my sister out for the obnoxious person that she is. She is a despicable human being who has stooped to levels I didn’t know existed to make my life a living hell. I’ve wrestled with writing this post for a long time. How much should I say? What should I hold back? However, if this is about my healing, then I need to be truthful in all aspects.

Time and again I’ve tried to voice how I felt, but between my sister and my mother (two peas in the same pod) I was constantly told how I was deluded. I must have imagined it all. However, after years of therapy, I was led to the conclusion that they both suffer from altered reality. My sister is a cross addict, a recovering anorexic and a nymphomaniac ... a rather bad combination. My mother ... well she has her own issues, to be discussed later.

Thankfully, over the years, I’ve had witnesses to my ‘imaginary’ trials. Real, live people without whom I’d have truly gone insane.

Had my sister even apologized for the heinous things she’s done, perhaps I could have forgiven her. But not once, has she ever acknowledged any of her transgressions. I won’t get into those now, but bit by bit, I’ll deal with them here. This way, perhaps, I can finally let go the past and the pain that haunts me.

For years, I tried to help her find what she needed. I was there to comfort her over her numerous breakups. I helped her get into rehab when she’d hit her bottom. I refused to enable her habits when everyone else turned a blind eye. But rather than be grateful, she tried her best to destroy every happiness I had.

She’s run the gamut from making passes at my boyfriends and husbands, to taking me to court on criminal charges based on nothing but lies, to trying to convince my kids that I abused them. She even abandoned me when I was diagnosed with cancer, never even enquiring how the surgeries had gone. Why? I have no idea. Except for the fact that she’s mentally unstable.

Why am I telling you all this? Because after years of her abuse and lies, after being so ill this summer I thought I would die, she wanted to come up to ‘help’ me. Again, like a fool I believed she had changed and finally wanted to make amends. Although in retrospect, I’m not sure she wanted anything more than a free vacation. Less than a week after she arrived, refusing to spend any time with me, she craftily orchestrated an argument, so she could leave and go to my youngest daughter. She, along with my mother as her trusty sidekick, did their best to convince her that it was all my fault. This has now driven a wedge between my daughter and I that may take a very long time to heal.

It’ll be interesting to see the kind of karma my sister ends up having to pay back. What goes around always comes around.

And sometimes payback’s a bitch too.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Time to Give Thanks ...

"If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is 'thank you', that would suffice."
.... Meister Eckhart

Today is Thanksgiving. And I’m searching through misty tears to find what I am grateful for. I have to claw past the heartache to find it. So what am I grateful for?

I’m grateful I’m not on the streets. I’m grateful for the love and loyalty of my eldest daughter. I’m grateful for my friends. I’m grateful that I am getting better ... I hope. And I’m grateful for finally having had the courage to shut the door on those that have damaged me beyond repair.

Since this is a time for looking at the positive things in our life, I will stop here. Tomorrow, I will pick the reins back up.
See more beautiful pictures at Today's Flowers and MellowYellowBadge
Sunday, October 10, 2010

Searching for the Garden ...

"Sadness is but a wall between two gardens."
.... Kahlil Gibran

I love the wisdom of Kahlil Gibran. And as I sit here quietly, I am nonetheless searching the recesses of my mind for the path to that 'other' garden. I hope to find it soon, as this sadness at the way that things have gone, is keeping me from finding the happiness I long for.

I find myself recounting my story to people who wonder at how I keep getting back up. They don't realize that sometimes we just don't have a choice. All you can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other. I think that by telling my story, in fits and starts, perhaps I'll finally find the release I need and forgive myself for having taken so long to stop the toxicity I've endured since childhood.

I often wonder how things could have gotten so skewed. I've lost so many things in my life. I've been misunderstood, misjudged and maligned. And still I try to get up and look for the tools to tear that wall down. I long to witness the lushness of beauty again. But right now, I'm still on the wrong side of the wall and the garden has withered.

Scenic Sunday
Sunday, October 3, 2010

Life Is a Gift

"If you haven't any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble."
.... Bob Hope

As I sat thinking of what I'd write today, I got an email from a good friend. It made me realize all the things I have to be grateful for, and that today was not a day to complain. Here is the email ...
There was a blind girl who hated herself because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She told her boyfriend, 'If I could only see the world, I will marry you.'
One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her. When the bandages came off, she was able to see everything, including her boyfriend.
He asked her,'Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?' The girl looked at her boyfriend and saw that he was blind. The sight of his closed eyelids shocked her. She hadn't expected that. The thought of looking at them the rest of her life led her to refuse to marry him.
Her boyfriend left in tears and days later wrote a note to her saying: 'Take good care of your eyes, my dear, for before they were yours, they were mine.'
This is how the human brain often works when our status changes. Only a very few remember what life was like before, and who was always by their side in the most painful situations.
Life Is a Gift
 Today before you say an unkind word - Think of someone who can't speak.
 Before you complain about the taste of your food - Think of someone who has nothing to eat..
 Before you complain about your husband or wife - Think of someone who's crying out to GOD for a companion.
 Today before you complain about life - Think of someone who went too early to heaven..
Before whining about the distance you drive Think of someone who walks the same distance with their feet.
And when you are tired and complain about your job - Think of the unemployed, the disabled, and those who wish they had your job.
And when depressing thoughts seem to get you down - Put a smile on your face and think: you're alive and still around..

Scenic Sunday
Friday, October 1, 2010

A Jumbled Mess ...

"No one lies so boldly as the man who is indignant."
.... Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Today was another of those days where you have to wonder what makes people tick. Why the need for hurtful lies and sneaking around at the expense of someone else. 

Each day I get up, wondering, hoping I'll make it another three years to see my youngest son graduate high school. I go through these treatments and face the fears, all the while looking for the light that keeps me moving forward. But just when I think I've reached a time of respite,another boomerang comes and clips me.

I was sick this summer ... very sick. My birthday I spent in bed, unable to lift my head off the pillow. I didn't really notice, though as the next couple of months were not much better. At times, I felt like giving up, as I found myself with no support. My son's dad, in his bid to eak out more money from the system, took my son to live with him, under the guise that it would be best not to see me so ill. I felt I'd lost my baby ... for two months he rarely called and I never saw him. I was just too sick to focus, but a hug, from time to time, would have been needed.

Today, was a bit of a scary day. I get that way whenever I'm about to 'test' out a new drug. The good thing is that I should be able to get my hair back, but it's not without it's potential reactions. 

However, just before going to the hospital, I received some news that devastated me financially and emotionally ... I'm now being told I'm no longer MY child's primary caregiver. What the $%#^? I thought his father was my friend, heck I'd supported him many times. But he decided to go behind my back and now I just have to take up the fight. There's more I could say. But right now I'm still too angry and I could say something I may regret. My hope is that, one day, my son sees his father for the man he truly is ... but that day is not TOday ....

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Peeling Back the Layers ...

"Joy lies in the fight, in the attempt, in the suffering involved, not in the victory itself”
.... Mahatma Gandhi 

Today's been difficult, emotionally. I'm good at intellectualizing situations, but to process them on the emotional level can sometimes reduce me to tears. Like the photo I've posted today, there are many subtle layers to my being: many masks I choose to don. And what this blog is forcing me to do is to remove them, making me feel a vulnerability I'm not sure I'm ready to face.

More pictures at Ruby Tuesday ....
Monday, September 27, 2010

I Lift my Eyes ...

"Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength."
.... Author Unknown

Time seems to go by so quickly; sometimes I turn around and everything has changed. Yesterday's toddlers now tower over me and I've yet to understand how that happened.

All I've ever been ... all I've ever known ... is being a mom. Sure I've had my work: careers even. But as an artist, I know my greatest masterpieces are my kids. That's what has made this disease so difficult to bear. Would I be there for them when they needed me? Would I get to see them grow up?

Yes, cancer CAN be lived with ... even beaten. I've managed to stay ahead of it for nine years, but it's not been without a price. I can't tell you how many notes to my kids I've jotted down during times when fear overtook. Little snippets that would help them remember me and what I wanted for them, should I not get through a particularly rough patch.

I remember sitting down, notebook in hand, just before the very first chemo session. I furiously scratched out  a will and gave it to my then partner, in case something went wrong. He likely thought I was crazy, but it made me feel better knowing that who got what family heirlooms was decided. I'd already written each of my three kids a note days before and told him where they were so he could pass them on. I still have them somewhere ... in a safe place ... along with the dozens of other ones I've written over the years.

But as with anything ... there is a purpose. Nothing is by accident. I don't take time for granted anymore. At least I try not to.I've learned to appreciate each day that dawns, each birthday I make it to ... every holiday I get to cook and clean for ... all the while still grumbling and complaining about the ache here, or the scars there.

I can't turn back time. I can't make my three, wonderful kids small again. But I can appreciate the sunlight on my face as I watch them become all that they can be. As long as I'm still breathing ... it's a good day!

See more beautiful pictures at Today's Flowers and MellowYellowBadge
Monday, September 20, 2010

Finding Gratitude ...

"The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude."
.... Oprah Winfrey

What a rainy weekend!

This past Saturday, along with a group of fellow photogs, I attended a photography workshop in a beautiful, local regional park. When I first arrived, I was excited. I saw the potential to add countless shots to my portfolio. But an hour in, the dark clouds that had been taunting us since our arrival, decided to release buckets of rain. Even despite the dense foliage of the trees, we were scrambling to keep our gear dry. Many of us didn't last more than another hour.

As I drove home, I looked at the beauty all around and felt such a sense of peace. I was grateful that I was living in a place that never ceased to inspire me. I wanted to stop feeling sorry for myself. It didn't serve any purpose, but rather just made me feel powerless. How could I be anything but fine when there was magic everywhere.

See more beautiful pictures at Today's Flowers and MellowYellowBadge
Sunday, September 19, 2010

On the Road to Camelot ...

“When you have come to the edge Of all light that you know And are about to drop off into the darkness Of the unknown, Faith is knowing One of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or You will be taught to fly”
.... Patrick Overton

It was nine years ago, that I received the diagnosis that would forever change my world. Nine years since I walked gingerly to the edge.

I knew I had no choice but to step off into the unknown and join a club about which I knew very little. I can't tell you that I learned to fly, not then ... as many times I felt smothered.
I would wake up in the wee hours of the morning, unable to breathe, the fear so palpable I didn't think I could face another minute alone. It was then, that the poem "Footprints" would come to mind. I know that my prayers were answered when I found myself being carried more times than I can remember.

This was a time where, if I'd had doubts about a Divine Source, those doubts were laid to rest. Although I am deeply spiritual, I'm the least religious person there is. Brought up Catholic, I've spent most of my life, singing both in choirs and solo. I make no bones about saying I love churches for the acoustics. But I'd sing anywhere, if they'd have me.

I remember the support I received from my choir mates. Those nights when the doorbell would ring and someone was bringing me food. The words of encouragement when my hip-length, red hair fell out and I had to use a wig. Of all the things I had to endure, I think this was one of the worst. I was losing my identity.

But I digress. I didn't go bald right away. However, the fear of dying, and leaving my children without a mother, haunted me from the time I heard the words, "I'm sorry. The results were positive."

Scenic Sunday            Best Posts
Friday, September 17, 2010

Looking North ... The Search for Faith ...

"When the world says, "Give up," hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
.... Anonymous

Fall is fast approaching and as I watch summer's last frenzied gasp, I realize that we all need to have faith. Faith that the flowers will once again bloom. Faith that the sun will rise tomorrow. Faith that I will once again be whole.

Today, I got some good news. It made me smile and gave me the lift I needed. But I hesitate to share ... superstitious am I. But this news helped me to grab on to faith just a little more tightly.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Refreshing the Soul ...

"The innocent and the beautiful have no enemy but time."
.... William Butler Yeats

“The margins are unclear,” the doctor’s voice said over the phone. “We’ll need to do a biopsy.” With those words, I remember hanging up the phone, feeling numb.

I’d just gone in for an ultrasound to check on a couple of cysts that had been present for quite a few years. I really wasn’t sure what to expect ... but not this. Facing Breast Cancer was NOT part of my life plan. So, dutifully, a couple of weeks later, I went in for a needle biopsy. It wasn’t as painless as they claimed. I felt more uncertain after the procedure. What were the odds? I was afraid, confused ... and sad. What if?

Panic hadn’t quite set in, but I did started promising to eat better, sleep better, ease up on the stress.  I felt alone even though I knew those around me were concerned. It was then that I realized I was about to start down a path where no one could really follow.

The biopsy was performed just before a long weekend, and the results were going to take some time. So we made plans to go to our in-laws ‘camp’ ... a log cottage, two and a half hours down a logging road, set just back from an idyllic, serene lake. I needed to think and this was perfect. I remember taking out one of the canoes and rowing out to the middle of the lake, with no one else around, and screaming. What I felt was primal and raw.

Since my sister and I shared the same in-laws, her family was there too. And, although it was a relatively peaceful time, that tranquility was not to last. Just days after our return home, I got the dreaded phone call. The tests were positive. I felt detached from reality. My youngest was only six. The future became fuzzy and although I wanted to cry, the tears would not come. It was the last time for many things. It was the last time I felt strong. It was the last time I felt innocent. It was the last time I saw my sister for a very long while.
Monday, September 13, 2010

New Week ... Fresh Start ...

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
.... Eleanor Roosevelt

It's Monday. It's raining. It's quiet. There's a dreariness to the air, but I'm feeling an optimism I haven't felt in a long time. I search my soul for the joy I know is still lurking.

Whether this exercise is futile, or cathartic ... only time will tell. But I have been absolutely blown away by the messages of support I have been getting.

This is not about soliciting sympathy, but about fostering understanding. And I invite anyone to share ... their smiles, their warmth, their pain. Perhaps together we can start being little pebbles of good fortune.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Where to go from here ...

“One cannot be deeply responsive to the world without being saddened very often.”
.... Erich Fromm

I've been mulling over where to go from here. In the last few weeks I've been doing a lot of introspection. I've never been one to be public with my personal life, so this is leaving me feeling rather vulnerable. How much do I say ... what do I hold back. Even when I was first diagnosed, only a very few people knew what I was going through. I chose to keep things private as I didn't need anyone's pity.

Interestingly enough, what amazed me the most, was who chose to walk away in my time of crisis. I'll get into that more later, as I still feel fragile when I think of it. I always thought family was there to support each other ... I was always there when needed. But when the time came when I couldn't stand on my own, I found the goodness of strangers came to my rescue, while someone I'd trusted let me fall.

For more great scenic shots please visit Scenic Sunday!
Friday, September 10, 2010

Stand Up ... Believe ... Hope!!

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.
.... Charles Dickens

I have not posted for quite some time. I've been busy trying to get well again. I have cancer. I have been living with this disease for over nine years now. Most of the time, I am okay, but the beast is always lurking. After watching Stand Up For Cancer, I thought I would begin sharing my journey.

Through all the trials and tribulations, I have had some key people by my side. However, like a very good friend and mentor once told me, it's amazing to watch who will support you and who will simply walk away. People you thought would never let you down are the very ones that deal the worst blow. Yet there have been wonderful people who have come into my life that have made all the difference. To them my gratitude is endless.

I thought I'd start by posting a piece I designed when I first was diagnosed. I donated one of these prints to the chemo room where I've spent many long hours. My hope is that it inspires others to believe and hope!

I am a mother, a friend, a writer, an artist ... a survivor. Please, take a moment to help someone find the hope they need to beat this disease. Together, we can ALL Stand Up To Cancer!
Sunday, January 17, 2010

Quiet Harmony ...

"There is a harmony In autumn, and a lustre in its sky,

Which through the summer is not heard or seen,

As if it could not be, as if it had not been!"

.... Percy Bysshe Shelley

For more great scenic shots please visit Scenic Sunday!
Thursday, January 14, 2010

Celebrate Change!

Happy New Year! The last few months of 2009 were hectic and never-ending ... or so it seemed. I had no time to breathe, let alone post. But one of the things that we can always count on is the fact that things will always change. And so, in celebration of this change, I offer a rose ...

The cultural transformation from the love of power to the power of love is the drama of our time.

... Anodea Judith

For more terrific shots, please visit Today's Flowers.

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