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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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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.

MellowYellowMondayBadge
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!
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