Friday, November 30, 2007
This is one of my favorite recipes for Christmas. The first time I had them, it was back when Leiza Morales and I ran the S&S Senior Tea at A&M. Rene Stewart brought a batch to the tea, and we had a ton left over -- I think I ate them all in one sitting. I still have to stop myself from eating an entire batch in one sitting.
I make these each Christmas and think of Rene. She was one in a million.
Rene Stewart’s Honey Bars
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. soda
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup oil
¼-1/3 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
1 cup chopped nuts
Combine and blend dry ingredients. Add oil and honey and mix. Add egg and nuts and mix. Pour into greased 10 x 15 jelly roll pan and pat into corners and sides. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes.
1 cup powdered sugar
1 T. water
2 T. mayonnaise
1 tsp. vanilla
Spread mixture over bars while still warm. Let set until almost cool. Cut into squares.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
We were supposed to go to the Creek this weekend for Abs' "official" birthday party, but the weather has just been horrible. So we stayed in Houston and got a lot done. Biggs did the lights on the front of the house while I did the trees and such on the inside. I'm not completely done, but I've just about got everything but my village done.
I really thought it was going to be hard to decorate this year. I braced myself for it to be all emotional and everything. But surprisingly it wasn't. It was just really, really sweet. We've all collected Christmas ornaments for forever and a day. And it was a very positive trip down memory lane for me. So many of my Christmas decorations are linked to Mom in some way or another, and I loved putting them up.
Here's our tree in the family room. Anthony & Cheryl -- note the Santa pix are on the mantel right where they belong!
Not all of my Christmas ornaments made the move from McKinney in one piece -- but check out the bows on the staircase that did really well!
I've never been big on theme trees, but Jacquie got a new tree last week and donated her old one to our dining room. I've been telling everyone it's my "Jesus tree." Doyce and I used to trade dove ornaments each year, so those are all on there, along with all the angel, nativity and heart ornaments in the house.
The china cabinet even got in the act. The top shelf has Biggs' grandmother's singing angels and Mom's "Noel" angels that she got from Grandma and Velma Lee. Growing up, we all had a great time turning them into the "Leon" angels from time to time. The china doll and blue willow tea set were Mom's as well. See? Sweet memories....
Finally, here is one fairly naked Christmas card tree. As you can see, we've yet to get any Christmas cards to hang on it. So ya'll better get busy!! Our cards will be out as soon as I get a picture, get it printed, order the cards, address the envelops and write and print the letters! Whew! Better get busy!!!
It’s time for our 8th Annual Cookie Exchange!
Saturday, December 8 9:30 a.m.
At the Home of D’Lyn Biggs
15802 Applerock Trail
Cypress, Texas 77433
Please RSVP if possible.
Here's the scoop: Bring at least 3 to 6 dozen cookies or pieces of homemade candy with each 1/2 dozen in a separate plastic bag. One bag of cookies will go into the "tasting party" and the others will go into the exchange. You'll go home with the number of cookies you brought -- minus 1/2 dozen. Now... We're talking homemade cookies or candy here. If the only kind you know how to make is chocolate chip, then by all means, bring those. But let's try to have a good variety!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
My heel was perfect all through the 3-Day -- something that can only be attributed to the power of prayer. But since the 3-Day it's gotten worse. I saw a new podiatrist on Monday. This one came highly recommended by another 3-Day walker and fellow "Talent," Sherry Taylor.
I have a crush on this new doctor. Not the same kind of crush I have on Craig Biggio. Not nearly as big a crush, and not because he's cute or anything like that.
I have a crush on him because he's going to fix my foot. And at this stage of the game, anyone who's positive about fixing things is my kind of doctor.
First, he started by flattering me -- not a bad place to start. He said I was too young and too small to have this problem. I AGREE!!!
That enormously high arch that I have is the trouble maker. No arch support or insole of any kind works for me. So... He taped it, did an ultrasound treatment and prescribed Lodine. All of this is geared at reducing the inflammation. It does feel much better.
But we all know 5 minutes of prayer can accomplish more than 5 weeks of treatment. So please be praying that this will work. So much of who I am is tied up in being active -- whether it's cooking or walking or shopping -- I don't ever sit. This has really been hard for me. Thanks for your prayers!!!
Pumpkin Dump Cake
15 oz. can pumpkin
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cinnamon
12 oz. can evaporated milk
1 box yellow cake mix
1-2 sicks butter, melted
Mix pumpkin, eggs, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and milk together and put in 9 x 13" pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix on top of mixture. Pour butter on top of dry cake mix (a thin layer). Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with Cool Whip.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Got it?? More and more I'm hearing about young women -- younger than the "recommended mammogram age" -- who are being diagnosed with breast cancer. My friend Denise was 33 when she was diagnosed 3 years and 15 surgeries ago. I recently heard about a 19-year-old who has breast cancer. There's a Mom from Kaitlyn's preschool class who looks beautiful with her head covered by a scarf -- but not by choice. This is no fashion statement.
I've heard that they are going to lower the recommended age for your first Mammo because so many young women are fighting the disease. (Right now, the powers that be recommend that you have a baseline Mammo done between 35 and 39. Then, after 40 they recommend you have yearly mammograms.)
Hopefully everyone will get on the bandwagon soon. But even if that happens, you are (and will continue to be) your best defense. What should you do?
1. Self-Exams are your #1 line of defense. If you aren't sure how to do a self-exam, go to www.Komen.org and download the "how-to" card. Whether you prefer to Check your Chi-Chi's, Knead your Knockers, Squeeze your Oranges or whatever.... The point is you need to get very familiar with your breasts. They're yours, and God gave them to you for KEEPS. Whether they're little mosquito bites or big melons, they're perfect just like God made them. To keep them that way, you've got to get friendly with them!
2. Mammograms are of utmost importance. If you have a family history they're hugely important, but did you know a large percentage of the women who are diagnosed with breast cancer are not considered a high risk because they there's no breast cancer in their family trees??
I had my first Mammo at 35, and I had another one this year. No, it's not comfortable. But from what I understand, it's nowhere near as bad as chemo!
3. Be proactive!! ASK to have a mammogram. ASK to have an MRI if you think you need one. And please, please... If your doctor sees something suspicious and wants to "just watch it" awhile, please get a second opinion!
This is not a disease to play around with.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Okay. I just had to post a link to a dear friend's website. It's www.tshirtsbycaroline.com
Carol is a sweet friend from Plano. We first met her at the Jr. League's Neath the Wreath Christmas show in 2001 -- the weekend Abbie turned 1. Mom had come in for her birthday, so we decided to check out the show.
Mom loved Carol's shirts, and after that buying one each year became a family tradition. I've been trying all week to track her down (we both moved this summer), but no luck until tonight when I stumbled on her website. Her shirts are great. They hold up really well -- they're a great quality.
My girls have had a ton of "Carol" shirts -- I Love to Swim, I Love to Flip, Big Sister, Little Sister, Princess, Nativity, etc. She does all the artwork and production herself -- she rocks!!!
I know some of you are thinking ... that's a whole year away. What if you decide to have a baby, move, go on vacation, etc?
Well, let me ask you this -- where's that a problem? Even if you don't get to walk for some unforeseen reason, you've still raised money to help stop breast cancer. You'll still be saving lives!
So get out there and sign up. Half of the crew positions are already filled, so if crewing is your dream you'd better get a move on!!!
Enter the word "SPIRIT" as your discount code to save the $35!!!
Sunday, November 11, 2007
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups applesauce
1/4 cup oil
4 whole eggs
1 1/2 cups pumpkin (one can)
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix sugar, applesauce and oil together well. Add eggs, beat well. Add pumpkin. Mix. Sift flour, soda, salt and cinnamon together. Add flour mixture to batter. Add vanilla. Pour into muffin tins and bake 15 minutes. Cool and ice if desired.
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 pkg. (3 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 box powdered sugar
1 Tbl. vanilla
Mix butter, cream cheese, vanilla and sugar together. Beat well. Spread on tops of muffins.
Note: When making this pie, you'll want to use a deep dish crust -- and there's a strong chance you'll have pie filling left over to make a few mini pies for your kids!
Classic Pumpkin Pie
1 1/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg (at my house, that's "freshly grated by McCormick's" nutmeg)
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
2 cups pumpkin
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup milk
Prebaked and cooled deep-dish piecrust.
Preheat oven to 375.
In bowl, whisk together brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Add pumpkin, eggs, cream and milk; whisk to combine.
Pour filling into prebaked piecrust; bake until center is set, 60-65 minutes, covering edges of crust with foil after 30 minutes if it browns too quickly. Transfer pie to wire rack; let cool completely, at least two hours before serving.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Then yesterday, while hugging her, I noticed her hair smelled really good. And I commented on it.
This morning, Biggs discovered her beauty secret.
Apparently, Kait has become enamoured with the scent of Wal-Mart's grape hand soap, so much so that she wanted that scent to follow her all day long. So she's been squirting it on her hairbrush before she combs her hair in the morning.
I LOVE how her 5-year-old brain works!
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Carl, I love you.
To: D'Lyn Biggs
I, Carla Sandusky, being of sort of sound mind and heavenly body, do hereby officially lease you 50% of all calling rights and daughterly privileges for the rest of this earthly address for my one said mother, also known as "Aunt Nelva" to certain parties. These are anytime minutes and privileges, renewable by simply bragging on her bread. Someone will always answer, though intelligible, useful responses are not always guaranteed. The satisfaction of knowing someone who loves you is touching your same frequency is guaranteed. Service is comparable to On-Star...never consider yourself alone. You have the back-up you need 24-7; please, please just use it. It may not be exactly what you had, but this new plan will try to meet most of your needs, once you get used to it. Nothing is ever as good as the original version; thanks to God that He makes things perfect in the end.
Signed with a kiss this 8th day of November, 2007, with invisible, indelible ink. XOXOXOXO
First, Team Tiara bought me a beautiful bracelet in celebration of the 3-Day. You can see a picture of one like it at www.alamobreastcancer.org/powerofpink.html
I love it and wear it on my left wrist with my Mom's bracelet. One is a remind of a woman who loved me very much. The other is a reminder of 16 women who love and share and are determined to make a difference.
Another thing that makes me happy -- Milton sent me a dozen pink roses to thank me for doing the Walk. Beautiful roses -- a pink ribbon bouquet. What girl doesn't love flowers?
Another thing that makes my happy -- Abbie's 7th birthday is tomorrow. This child, who is such a treasure and was a miracle from the start is going to be SEVEN! She doesn't want a traditional birthday party -- for her birthday party she just wants to go fishing at the Creek. But thanks to soccer and all that goes with it, we can't go this weekend or next. So we're going the weekend after Thanksgiving. We'll be there for the Boat Parade. How cool is that???
I can't let her actual birthday go by unnoticed. I've invited several of her little friends over for a playdate tomorrow and have ordered a cake to surprise her with. Biggs doesn't get back until late tomorrow, so we're going to wait to do a birthday dinner with Mimi and Pa on Saturday night. Abbie, being Abbie, wants Chinese -- so Chinese it is!!!
A girl who doesn't know me all that well managed to touch on the one thing that's my biggest insecurity right now.
The details of what was said, and how, and what all was involved aren't important at all. She lost her Dad not that long ago and is grieving deeply. I'm still grieving deeply. We aren't completely rational 100% of the time.
But it brought to light another loss. I can't call my Mom.
From the time you're just a wee little one, who do you run to when you're hurt? Your Mom.
Then you grow up, and who do you call when you're hurt? Your Mom.
And when it seems the world has got your number, and you can't get anything right -- you call your Mom.
When I was in college and broke up with a boyfriend, I called my Mom.
When I was pregnant with Abbie, and the doctors told me they thought I'd lost her, I called my Mom.
Last spring, when a dear friend hurt me to the core, I called my Mom.
And she always had my back.
But now, I can't call my Mom.
In the span of a month this summer, we left our home and our friends, the church that we loved, our support group.... and lost my Mom. And I'm still reeling.
Spending two straight weekends immersed in the realities of breast cancer was carthartic, but incredibly raw at the same time. I've been incredibly blessed, but it still hurts.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
I'd rather just sit here and continue to bask in the warm glow left from this weekend.
I walked yesterday -- six miles. And I think I cried for about 5.5 of them. It wasn't that I was sad -- although the sadness never really goes away. But it was just that all this emotion had to have somewhere to go.
But I've got to walk. Thanks to the crew in L.A., I managed to gain THREE pounds! Yikes! And then I come home to two plastic pumpkins of Halloween candy. How is it that my children don't like the "good" candy? Oh no.... They'll leave all the Reese's and Kit Kats and all that jazz for me -- they just want the Tootsie Roll Pops. So I've eaten more than my fair share of chocolate since I got home!
Please continue to pray for my new friends. For a healing miracle for my new friend Stephanie. For Sherry, Tina, Lois and Denise to remain cancer-free. For Denise's reconstruction to finally be successul. (She's had 15 surgeries since she was diagnosed three years ago at the age of 33.)For healing of the hearts of those of us who have lost our Moms: Jeaneanne, Amy, Mary and me.
And please pray for little Sophie as she has a brain tumor removed (for the second time) the week after Thanksgiving. Pray for peace and strength in their household and for quick and complete healing for Sophie.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Jewel was a hoot! She kept us all laughing! Here she's teaching the "young uns" to line dance! (Yes, Suzi qualifies as a "young un.")
This guy is extremely important. He ran this little tent that was stocked with food all the time! AND what's more... He's my "2 degrees from Brad Pitt" guy. Last week he was on a movie set where he made Brad Pitt a tuna sandwich. Just. Like. Mine! (Would you believe he pulls down $125K a year catering on sets? Too cool!)
Megan & Amy. Amy lost her Mom while she was a sophomore at A&M. I loved what she had to say about the 3-Day. That it finally gave her a chance to stomp her foot and voice her opinion. Megan and Amy were also walking in honor of their mother-in-law, a survivor.
We met Rex in Dallas, and were thrilled to see him in L.A. Rex writes a lot of the material for Opening and Closing ceremonies and is responsible for a ton of the other stuff associated with 3-Day Marketing.
This is Cissa. She lost her cousin to breast cancer this summer. Cissa rocks. In her still portraits, she looks like she's about 12. She's precious. And she has three kids under the age of five. YIKES!
Suzi & I pose with Kait & Julie -- two of the other masterminds behind the 3-Day!!! Kait designed much of the logo wear and buttons that we all love!
This picture is for my Mom. She loved to take pictures of pretty skies out the windows of airplanes! This is on our flight home last night.
More pictures to come!
Sunday, November 4, 2007
So it was hard. It felt canned. I was so disappointed, I asked to be brought back today -- even if they were going to give us the day off.
And they brought me back.
And in many ways I feel redeemed by that. Today was a completely different atmosphere. With the exception of a couple of people who went sight-seeing since they weren't shooting today, we were all there. And the energy was amazing.
(Yes, Biggs, it was AMAZING!)
As I've said earlier, each one of us who was there has a story. And I'm not really sure why Suzi and I were brought out here, but I think it was so we could be a part of Stephanie's story.
You see, dear, sweet, precious Stephanie has a layer of baby fuzz on her head where her hair is growing back in. We rubbed it for good luck. She was our little Buddha.
Stephanie had four hours of chemo on Thursday then flew out here Friday. That's four hours of drugs being pumped into her body to hold at bay the breast cancer that has invaded her. It's in her liver. A new drug for bone cancer was added on Thursday. Four drugs -- she had no idea what the combination was going to do to her physically.
Stephanie gets tired -- we knew she did. But she and her son David walked the walk in Dallas last week. And then they came out here to make a precious memory. And they did. And in the process they changed all our lives as well.
This morning we cheered and danced and celebrated to help keep Stephanie "in the mood" while she did still shots. Cheers like "Knead your Knockers" and "Polish your Apples" and "Check your Chi-Chi's" and "Squeeze your Oranges" and my all-time favorite.... "We must! We must! We must preserve our Busts!!!" (Judy Blume would love that, wouldn't she?)
That was the highlight of the weekend, I think. Being a part of something so precious.
This morning they did group still shots with Stephanie -- and I was so HONORED to be included in those. With tears running down my face.
When we were done, they pulled me back over to video and let me finish what I started yesterday. They all knew I wasn't happy with myself -- that somehow I felt I'd let my Mom down. And this is what I shared....
I think so much of what the 3-Day means to me was exemplified in this weekend. Suzi and I were talking -- why do we have such a connection with these people we just met? Or the ones we meet while we're on the walk? And I think it's because in many cases we've almost lost them -- and we didn't even know it. They've faced cancer -- in many cases multiple cancers -- and we never even knew. We've been blessed by them -- but we almost missed it.
They're calling us to get on the plane. So I've got to run. Pictures and more tomorrow.
Friday, November 2, 2007
Anyway, we're here safe.... Ensconced in the Embassy Suites and looking for something to do. You could put about 10 people in our shower -- it's that big -- but it really doesn't sound like a plan. Happy Hour downstairs at some point. Nah.... We'll find something. Oh, and get this. In the morning, they're going to send us a fax to let us know what time we need to be downstairs. This whole fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants trip would do Biggs in. Luckily, I'm not a planner!!!
Note: Friday night a group of us ended up eating Italian. Mmmmmm.....
We're travelling with the PVC pipe "flagpole" that we used on the walk. They told us to bring everything -- so we did. And while you can't take a can of hairspray through security, you can take a 5-foot piece of 1/2" PVC. Go figure!!! We've had so much fun telling everyone where we're going and what we're doing. For Ben: Thanks so much for the tip about flatulation in the "puffer" machine. We're happy to have learned from your experience and thrilled that we didn't have to spend 3 hours in security!!! (That may have been too much info for some of you -- sorry!!!)
When we get there, we're supposed to board a van with Susan G. Komen on the side. Personally, I was hoping for a limo, but I guess we don't rank that much.
You know, to be on this trip you have to have a story. And it really sucks to have a story. But I take heart in the fact that there is no way I can tell my story without telling how God orchestrated it all. So I pray that I'm able to bring Him glory on this trip!
There are four Aggies on the trip -- I'll be in good company. One lost her Mom when she was a sophomore at A&M. 19. YIKES. There's a woman who did 4 hours of chemo yesterday. There's a 2-time breast cancer survivor. A man and his wife who walked the 60 miles hand in hand last weekend. A woman who lost a best friend. And me. And Suzi. I'm humbled and honored to be joining such an amazing group. And I can't wait to get to know them all!!!
More details later!