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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Smash Journal cover

Coffee of the Day - Pumpkin Spice

Hello to all of my beautiful followers and readers! Guess what? today I am actually going to show you a crafty!!! I know.... you are picking yourself up off of the floor because you think all I do these days is talk talk talk about icky cancer stuff. well no, today you get to see the cover of my Smash journal. not that thrilling I know, but at least it is a papercraft project! ;)


I've been working on this in bits and pieces. a lot of time has been spent waiting on drying. there is so much shine and sparkle that doesn't come through the scanner. I think there are a total of 4 shades of glimmer mist as well as walnut ink spray on there. I also used a wonderful pearl white paint as the base and rock candy distress stickles to accent parts of the dress as well as all of the flowers. so you'll have to use your imagination, dear friends. :)

The paper doll pieces come from the She Art collection by Christy Tomlinson. aren't they wonderful? I die cut the grass using some of her paper line and a MFT die. the ruffle ribbon is May Arts and the butterfly is Prima. it reads, 'She left her fears behind.' Doesn't that just seem so perfect for this journal?

I've been making journal tags for things that have been going on so far. Photos are ready to be picked up at Wally World, so then will get started on the inside pages. I'll post as I get each one completed.


Chemo went okay yesterday. Had a bad reaction to one of the medicines during the actual treatment, but the nurse was so kind and sat with me while I returned to normal. My friend Mel had sent me a mag she was featured in from the UK, so I took that with me to read. Another friend, Tracey, made a special bracelet for me, so I made sure to wear it. I was surrounded by my wonderful friends yesterday! thank you! feeling puny since returning home, but that is to be expected. at least this is all temporary. gosh, I have retained so much fluid and look like a hairless water buffalo in this photo. sheesh.....

I do want to be sure to mention this most lovely blog post by Krista of Saturated Canary. She has drawn an adorable cancer support image that she is offering for free to anyone who follows her blog. She also was so kind and gave me a sweet mention. Thank you, Krista! :) hugs to you!!!! please be sure to leave her a note of thanks and tell her I sent you over. she is such a generous and kind soul.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Grace

Coffee of the Day - Pecan Pie



But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Yesterday David and I spent a few hours out and about enjoying the beautiful day after my hospital trip. It was pure joy to spend the day with my hunny bunny. (he rolls his eyes every time he hears that I call him that on my blog. tee hee!) Nothing spectacular happened - lunch out and a trip to our fave antique mall, but just spending the day with someone you love with all your heart & soul can bring joy in the most amazing ways. We finally had a chance to really talk about all that is going on in our lives. and as all of you know, communication is crucial in ANY relationship.

When we returned home, we had a surprise that threw us both for a loop. The family of one of Ryan's best friends gifted us in a most amazing way. Between this family and another family dear & close to us, we are now able to start paying toward our insurance deductible. The tears were flowing as we thanked God for providing through these kind & generous people. I told David how undeserving I felt for all that has been done for us. I truly don't deserve the outpouring of love all of you have bestowed. But you have done it anyhow, and it isn't stopping. As David and I talked it through, God reminded me, this is what grace is all about. In my weakness, He provides because of His unfathomable love. and He uses everyday people to show this love to each of us.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for allowing God to use each of you. You can't possibly understand how much you have touched the hearts of each person in my family. If I don't tell you individually, know that your kindness does not go un-noticed. I see it. but most importantly, God sees it. and He smiles. :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Will I ever look like a girl again?

Coffee of the Day - Salted Caramel Pecan

Well I just got home from the hospital after having the first round of scans done. I am so blessed to have the most kind and friendly people at the hospital we use. They are always so very nice to me and that really does make such a big difference, especially as often as I am there.


David cut my hair yesterday to get ready for chemo. (photo taken this a.m. at hospital) it's not just short, it's pretty much a buzz cut, but with little spikey bits poking up here and there. oh my. I don't resemble anything female anymore. look like some odd creature that is asexual. if I weren't wearing pink crocs and a pink hoodie, you wouldn't know exactly WHAT I was...... once all of my hair is gone, no one will be able to tell if I'm a girl, boy, cat, dog, hedgehog, or elephant.....sigh. but you will look at me and think, 'oh my, that person is SICK'.

I have never ever wanted to be defined by my illnesses, whatever they were - whether it was my seizures or chronic fatigue or my tremors (that have gotten really bad lately) or the cancer. but we as humans can't help it. you see a woman without any hair and your mind automatically thinks 'chemo/cancer/sick'. I do it, we all do it. and I do NOT want cancer to be all that I am. I will NOT let cancer be all that I am.


So many people have told me that I need to journal about all I am going through, so David was so nice and let me buy a Smash book when I was at the grocery store the other night. They just happened to have a brand new display of the Smash products, well at least I think it was a new display. I hadn't been to the grocery store in forever. So of course I grabbed the pink one after calling Dave to ask him about it. I've got the cover almost completely decorated. I'll post it as soon as it's finished. I've been working on some journaling tags for the inside. Have forwarded a few photos off to Walmart that Dave will pick up for me later so I can add those as well. All of the cards I've received will go inside. I think this book will help me a lot. I have a few stamp sets I want to pick up for this - some Unity Brave Girl and She Art, Saturated Canary, MFT Fight Like a Girl, and a few others. they seem to fit so well what I am going through and what I want to say.

I never did mention it, but over the weekend, Ryan was in the HS musical. They did 'The Wizard of Oz' and he had several parts. I was able to go yesterday. how wonderful to get out, not only to see Ryan & his friends do such a wonderful job, but to catch up with so many great friends of ours as well.

I'll post again after chemo on Wed. and I see how I do.
Love to all of you! Jennifer

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Disney Movies & Toenails

Coffee of the Day - Toasted Almond

Happy day to all of you! it is the most absolutely beautiful day here! :)


I have been sitting at my computer, which is right in front of my front porch window. There is a pair of robins who have taken over the nest that sits on the beams of our porch. They are so busy getting ready for their family to grow, darting here and there, and serenading me with their lovely songs as they work. Other bird friends pop by to say their 'hellos' as well as chippies and squirrels. it's just like a little Disney movie coming to life right outside my window! what fun! :) or who knows, maybe I'm just delusional these days..... grins! but I prefer to think of it as a happy reminder of the joy that can be found everywhere if we just stop to look.

So many of you have left such wonderful messages of love and support. You can't even begin to know how much these mean to me and my family! thank you! your beautiful cards sit in a basket right by the front door so everyone can look through them. I haven't been able to thank all of you individually, but know that each and every card has brought a smile to my heart, as well as to every person in my family. :)

I have spent countless hours on the phone with my insurance company, and they have agreed to approve my upcoming tests and treatments. We do have out-of-pocket expenses that will be more than I even want to think about, but at least they are stepping up as long as all of my treatments take place in 2012. so I've been busy getting as many appts. scheduled as I possibly can to get things moving along. next week is going to be VERY busy with tests and chemo starting.


It's funny, surgery didn't bother me. in fact the night before I was more concerned about making sure my toe nails were painted. I didn't dare go to the hospital with gnarly toenails! ;) and yes, the nurses DID comment on the pretty color! tee hee! but this chemo thing scares the doo-wops outta me. I'm going to have most of my hair cut off this weekend to get ready for the hair loss. my dr. told me that it will be falling out. That's not such a big deal, but chemo - gosh. you KNOW you have cancer then. there is no mistaking it. and even when your dr. gives you the survival percentages, it's never 100%. the tests next week will let us know how far it's spread. well, they are the first step. it's that whole 'Triple Negative' thing......

yep, I'm walking with God. but right now I'm on tippy toe. on my pretty painted toe nails.... sure glad He has a firm grip on my hand.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

One Heart, So Proud and Strong

Coffee of the Day - Pumpkin Spice



Isn't this the most glorious photo? it was taken yesterday of the entire student body of Chardon High School out on the football field. my heart is just bustin' buttons for all of them. Ryan is standing on the 50 yard line, at the top point where the 2 halves come together. one of his best friends is the guy wearing the white shorts; Ry is wearing black shorts.

Chardon HS has also won a Cleveland radio station contest called 'Rock Your Prom'. They will have a DJ to host prom as well as some other special lighting effects, etc. to truly make this a prom to remember. Thank you to everyone who voted.

On a much different note, my insurance company has decided to not be as co-operative as they could be with my entire cancer journey. So all dr. visits, tests, treatments, etc. from here on out have been cancelled. We just don't have the money to pay for it all ourselves and I flat out refuse to have my family get further into debt over this. it so isn't worth it.

If I truly say that I trust God with each and every step I take, then I need to actually do that. the days ahead will be no different than the ones I've already taken. He has EVERY ONE OF THEM covered. He has already planned out this path - it is up to me to trust Him. If I really do believe He walks beside me, then where is the fear? I go with a host of mighty warriors as my bodyguards! talk about a team of superheroes! :) so what do I have to fear from cancer? absolutely nothing! if it returns, then we deal with it. I can not walk in fear of the future or 'what ifs'. That is not what faith is about.

So I will continue to find joy in each & every day I have. I will continue to rejoice in the sunshine. I will continue to seek out the song of the birds every morning. I will continue to find the blessings my precious Heavenly Father has hidden in the day, just for ME! :) and I will continue to love the people He has so graceiously blessed my life with. that would be YOU!!! :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

One Month ....

Coffee of the Day - Mocha Mint


One month ago today I found a lump in my breast. who would have known just how much my life would change from that day to this. who would have known just how much the lives of my huband, my sons would change. what about my other family members? my friends? have their lives been touched by this?

In one month I have been to the hospital so many times I have lost count. I have been scanned, x-rayed, had so very much blood drawn, and had a tumor removed.

But in one month I have received more love than this old Texas girl could have ever thought possible. I have seen friendship acted out through food deliveries, flowers & gifts brought to my door, the most beautiful cards appearing in my mailbox, and my inbox is filled every day from people all over the world checking to see how my family & I are doing.

In one month I have never lost faith in my beloved God. He has never once left my side through this path we now walk. I am not a super-Christian by any means, so please don't put me on any pedestal. I don't belong there. instead look at the One I belong to - my Heavenly Father who guides my path, shows me the beauty that fills this world and the next, and keeps His promises to never leave me when the going is a bit rocky. or VERY rocky. There will always always be a reason to smile, if I make that choice.

Today we learned that we caught the cancer early. What a blessing indeed! It is an agressive cancer, so I start chemo in 2 weeks. I'll have 4-6 treatments of chemo, 3 weeks apart. 6 weeks of radiation every day will follow that. Right now I am fighting pneumonia that I picked up while at the hospital last week for surgery


But remember this - the sun still shines; the birds still sing. and YOU are loved with an everlasting love! Jennifer

Friday, March 9, 2012

Chardon Proud, Chardon Strong

Coffee of the Day - Coconut Macadamia


One of Ryan's teachers sent me a link to her flikr acct today. I asked, and she gave me permission, to share it with all of you. My heart was just bursting with joy as I looked through this album. People from all over the world have been sending cards to Chardon High School to show their support. Student office helpers spend hours opening cards and placing them on EVERY student's locker as well as throughout the school halls. Banners line the hallways as well from schools, some many miles away.

Never ever doubt that love prevails! :)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lrmonaco/sets/72157629526531147/

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Post Surgery Update...

Coffee of the Day - Texas Turtle (chocolate, caramel, & pecan)




Hello my wonderful family & friends! Surgery went well on Tuesday. I ended up not going in until about 3 pm, which was much later than we were first told, but that is okay. It meant we had a lovely visit with a dear friend of ours who popped by to say hello. :) I must say I am just overwhelmed by the kindness that has been poured out upon me and my family through all of this. so many beautiful flowers, gifts, cards - especially handmade ones!, emails, texts, phone calls.... gosh, the list just goes on and on. :) Thank you to each one of you who have expressed such love and concern. your prayers have touched each person in my family. I've heard that so many of you wore pink on Tuesday to show your support! how that makes my heart sing! :)


I ended up having 3 lymph nodes removed, but thank the dear Lord in Heaven, none show signs of cancer! left behind a doozy of an inscision though..... I must say I am most proud of my ginormous zombie scar from the tumor removal - it packs a whompin' 6" or so of pure Saw-like terror! grins! and oh lawsie, does it hurt. so I'm not being the brave mommy one itty bitty bit for this freak show..... I'm taking my pain meds like a good girl and sleeping like a baby. tee hee! nurses in recovery told me the tumor was about the size of an orange, so it was much larger than they thought from the beginning. just happy it's gone! ;)


We get test results on Monday when I go back in for a follow-up visit. Originally we were supposted to find out tomorrow, but the pathology lab has been backed up, so now it will be Monday.

So that's it for now. again, thank you so much to everyone for your kindness! love to all of you! Jennifer

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Oh my stars..... what a week....

Coffee of the Day - Starbucks Decaf Caffe Verona

Dropping in to give y'all an update on this crazy, sad sad week......


First off, my prayers go out to so many in my little community of Chardon. Of course the families who lost their most precious children are at the top of that list. We can not possibly know the heart-wrenching pain they feel right now. May they find some degree of peace and comfort in God's loving arms. But there has been a trickle down, almost dominoe effect to this shooting tragedy as well. I have watched students, parents, Chardon HS almuni who have been struck numb by this as well. My prayers are for all of us. May we all find comfort in each other and in the knowledge that God has not left us. His love for us still stands strong, just as we do. We will not let this one act define us, but we will instead overcome with grace and love and strength and yes, forgiveness.

The prayer services were absolutely beautiful. David has been serving as a grief counselor at the schools. He and another pastor held a luncheon at Pizza Hut on Tuesday to begin grief counseling for the students and parents. There was a wonderful turn-out and Pizza Hut ended up donating all of the food. The red ribbons and yard signs all around town are a sign of our coming together. The students who have come to Chardon from all over the Cleveland area to show their love and support let us know that school rivalry comes second to friendship. The acts of bravery by CHS teachers, police force, sheriff's dept, and others just goes to show that we might be a small village, but we are mighty in love and loyalty. I am so proud to be from Chardon! I am so proud to call this my home! :)



as for my cancer treatments - I go for surgery on Tuesday, March 6. I will be having a lumpectomy with 6 weeks of required radiation. Once my lymph nodes are examined, we will find out if chemo is necessary. We'll also discover by week's end how far the cancer has spread. I can't even begin to tell you how touched I have been by the many cards, flowers ( especially from my DTeamies!!! y'all so rock!! ), emails, phone calls, and such that have arrived. The outpouring of love is tremendous! My heart is overwhelmed by each one of you! Thank you so very very much! :) I hope to send out thank you notes at some point in time......

Right now I am just so very tired. Have a hard time moving my left arm around. You can actually see the lump above my skin now, so that is a bit freaky. At first we thought it was just due to swelling from the biopsy, but it's gotten larger rather than shrinking back down.

Will keep y'all updated as we get news. Love to EACH ONE OF YOU!!!! You are so amazing!!!! :)
Jennifer