Saturday, August 30, 2008

There's no such thing as a free lunch....

But there are free financial planning seminars.

Here's the scoop... You've all heard me talk about my "money guy," Anthony Patton. What you may not know is that Anthony is apparently the only male on the planet who is brave enough to be one of the Team Tiara Walkers. Whether or not we'll get him to wear a tiara on the actual walk remains to be seen.

Tiara or not, Anthony rocks. Anthony has raised for Mass Mutual to give us $5000 for the Breast Cancer 3-Day. That's right! $5000!!! Do you have any idea how many mammograms that will pay for??

All we have to do is invite our friends to a SHORT finanacial planning seminar. We get $250 for each 20 people who listen to this extremely likable guy explain why financial health is as important as health-health.

AND he provides the snacks!!!

If you'd be interested in hosting a seminar in your corner of the world, please shoot him an email at anthony.patton@tx.rr.com He'll go just about anywhere in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana (well, maybe not Coastal LA this week).... you get the drift!!

Anthony will do all the work -- he'll set up the location AND bring the snacks. You just get to bring your friends!!!

AND help save lives!!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Why Trampolines are so Dangerous in Texas


Change I Can Believe In....

I promise this isn't going to turn into a political blog, but my friend Mary and I were just visiting about why I won't the Drink the Kool-Aid with the Democrats.

I've come to the realization that Obama isn't offering Change I can believe in.

Here's what that would look like.....

A cure for breast cancer. Right here, right now.

To knock off that last 7 pounds. What the heck! How about 12!

A complete wardrobe from J. Jill, supplemented with a few items from Coldwater Creek and a healthy dose of Ann Taylor.

A pair of Wave Runners -- because one just wouldn't be enough.

Four 50-yard-line season tickets for Aggie Football complete with a parking place with my name on it and a pass to any festivities that include food.

Full maid service at my house.

36 Hours in a day, because 24 just isn't cutting it around here.

A summer-long tour of Europe with my family.

And while I'm not up for a boob job (although Biggsy would be thrilled!), I wouldn't be opposed to a lift. And maybe a little "work." Nothing extra. Just a matched set that didn't need to be tucked into my waistband when I run.

Now, that's change I can believe in!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Past Eight Years

I watched Obama tonight.

Not so I could be swayed or to discount the misleading things he said or the fact that the Democrats prey on the less fortunate. I mean, seriously, how many of the poor without boots, or even boostraps, do you think were in the audience tonight? They certainly didn't show any of them on TV.

And I kept listening as Obama went on and on and on about how bad the last eight years have been. And you know, I have to say I just don't agree.

Here's a snapshot of what the last eight years have been like for me.

The night Bush was elected, I was as big as a house. November 7, 2000. Exactly two days before Abbie was born. Although we were in Austin, I watched the celebration on TV. When you're that big, who wants to go to a party anyway? But that's where my eight years ago starts.

Since then....

Abbie was born.
We skiied Tahoe with the Depners and Pins.
Grandma Lolly passed away.
We bought our first house, 2108 Germantown Court, Plano, Texas.
Biggs graduated UT MBA.
We bought the Honda (which we still have).
We moved to Plano.
Biggs started working for Deloitte.
We joined Pitman Creek C of C.
We did all the things young families do.
We were glued to the TV on September 11 and for days afterwards.
We got Jake. (I'll spare you all the Jake got out of the yard, dug a hole, barked all night stuff.)
Kaitlyn was born.
Mom married Milton.
We traded a few vehicles around and ended up with an Expedition -- Aggie Maroon.
Biggs lost his job when Deloitte closed his division. He worked as hard at finding a new job as he'd ever worked at anything and started working at Dresser about two weeks later.
My Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.
We kept doing all the things young families do.
We moved to Farmer's Branch Church of Christ.
Biggs bought me an IPod.
I began doing the Breast Cancer 3-Day -- something that has truly changed my life.
Hurricane Katrina hit and God orchestrated a series of events in our lives that still blows me away.
We built a house in McKinney.
We moved four times that summer, eventually landing in our new home on October 30, 2007.
Dad gave the girls a huge playhouse for Christmas.
We bought a flat-screen TV the day before the Superbowl.
Sara Beckett came to live with us that spring.
We had a birds-eye view for watching Farmers Branch fight illegal immigration.
Biggs got transferred to Houston.
We bought a house in Houston.
We moved, my Mom got sick, and she went to be with Jesus.... all in the span of four weeks.
We replaced some of our hand-me-down furniture with new furniture.
Our new neighborhood has six community pools.
Five of the eight houses on our street have pools in their backyards.
We reconnected with old friends.
We've enjoyed LOTS of great times at the Creek.
Our kids go to an Exemplary-rated elementary school.
We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary with a trip to Vail.
Suzi Bruin and I were flown to LA to shoot the TV, radio and print publicity for the 3-Day.
Biggsy bought me a bike.
My Dad took us all on a cruise for Christmas.
We went to Costa Rica with Biggs' work.
We traded for a new Expedition.
Grandpa Jack passed away.
The girls and I travelled all over this summer.

That's pretty much the last eight years. In no way is it an exhaustive list. But my point is, things haven't been so bad. True, we've been through some really rough stuff -- but that can't be blamed on the Republicans. In fact, the healthcare that my mother received in the last few years was second-to-none and her final hospital bills were almost entirely covered by insurance. Our family has been blessed financially and spiritually. We've added two beautiful daughters and one dog to our household. (I got it!!! If we have to blame something on the Republicans, let's blame Jake's lack of training!) I'm just thinking that "eight more years" doesn't look all that bad to me.

I watched that scene tonight, and truth be told, if they really thought about it, I'm guessing the majority of the people in that stadium tonight would have to admit the same thing!

Everyone but me has been to Disney World!

Tonight's Dinner Conversation....

Abbie: Why haven't we been to Disney World? Everyone in my class but me has been to Disney World.

Mom: Everyone?

Abbie: We could go on Friday and come back on Monday. They have a hotel.

Biggs: Well, Abbie, do you know how much it costs to go to Disney World?

Abbie: (Thinking....) About $300.

Biggs: Per Person, Per Day.

Abbie: (Thinking.... Wheels Turning.... Thinking....) Well, you and Kaitlyn could stay here.

I Ain't Your Mommy

Okay. I went to the dentist yesterday. Normally not something that brings humor to my life, but it's gotta be done.

So I'm sitting there in the chair, and the hygienist kept referring to me as, "Mommy."

"Hang in there, Mommy. We're almost done."

"I need you to rinse with this, Mommy."

"I'll be right back, Mommy."

Now, granted, I'm not quite "hip," so it took me a while to figure out that being "Da Bomb" was a good thing.

But I ain't her Mommy.

Stress May Raise Breast Cancer Risk in Young Women

"Young women who experience more than one stressful life event are at greater risk of developing breast cancer, but a general feeling of happiness and optimism may help guard against the disease, Israeli researchers report."
- more...

More than one stressful life event? I'm in trouble if that includes:
Getting Married
Job Changes
Moving
Death in the Family
Having a Baby

Aren't those the five leading sources of stress? I've had 'em all!!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

John, Maureen, Michelle, Kathryn, Leigh & Brian -- Their Story

Hi to all,

This is why we will walk.

In life we strive to accomplish goals, jobs and for me lists of things that keep me running daily. Last April, I met D’Lyn Biggs and she spoke with a super-charged enthusiasm about a Three- Day walk for Breast Cancer organized by Susan G. Komen for the Cure. At that time I started to think about how important my committing to the cause really is.

Now, the 3-Day walk in Fort Worth is a goal I want to accomplish. My daughters Michelle and Kathryn will be walking with me. My daughter Leigh wanted to do the walk as well, and she, without a doubt, will when she is 16. This year she will be there with John and Brian cheering us on and encouraging us to finish. I tell our story with love in my heart for all the women mentioned and all those who have been touched by the disease. My girls and I look at the walk as a celebration, uniting lives in hope, strength and courage…

In 1996, my husband John lost his wife Tama at the age of 35. They had three young and beautiful girls: Michelle 7, Kathryn 5 and Leigh 2. The loss John, the girls and their families experienced is immeasurable. In my heart families who lose so much and can look to the future and live, not forget but live, are truly survivors also. With loving memory of Tama and in her honor we will walk to celebrate her life, strength and courage. It is our hope that our actions will help make breast cancer a speed bump in the road we call life and not a stop sign.

With this thought I think about this year and that Breast Cancer is running amok again. Two more women… John’s sister Jane McNally, and my brother-in-law Bob’s sister Terry Condon. Both have been diagnosed, both are receiving treatment. We will walk with love to honor their lives, their strength and their courage with the faith that they will be survivors and will perhaps honor us by walking with us next year.

A disease can render us helpless or we can fight…we will think of all we know fighting diseases and walk towards the finish… a cure.

May God Bless each of you, and thank you in advance for helping the fight.

Love,
Maureen

A Note from D'Lyn: Maureen and I met in Costa Rica on a trip with Dresser this spring. I'm afraid I was extolling the virtues of the 3-Day on and on and on.... And there I found out what a toll breast cancer had taken in their lives.

I am so glad Maureen, Michelle and Kathryn will be walking with us this year. Having done the walk last year after Mom passed away, I know how much healing I gained from it. I think it will be an amazingly powerful weekend in the lives of the entire Parrish family.

As hard as it was to lose my mother as an adult, I can't imagine having to grow up without her. The price this family has had to pay has been far too high.

For their family, joining the walk will not be easy. Each walker has to raise $2200, relying on our friends and family members for help. The Parrish family must raise $6600 for Maureen and the girls to walk. I know you'll agree with me that that's a significant amount.

If you'd like to help sponsor Maureen, Michelle or Kathryn in the Walk, please go to our Team's Website and click on any of their names. Thank you so much for your help -- for making it possible for them to do this walk, and once and for all take a stance against breast cancer.

Monday, August 25, 2008

More 1st Day of School Pix

Here's the "Official" 1st day of school picture! Little did I know at this point that Kait's shirt had a hole in the side.

All ready for 2nd Grade!
The Bus-Stop Gang
All Aboard!

Kait's teacher is Mrs. Windle!


Abbie has Mrs. Bowman!

At the end of the day, Mom was a Bus Buddy -- which meant I rode the kids' bus to make sure everyone got off at the right stop. Kait was excited to get to sit across from me.


Weekend with the Bennetts

This was our "2nd Annual" back-to-school Creek Weekend. Really, nothing so official as that sounds, but we did have a great time
.
Mark Bennett brought his boys down for the first time. We got all the kids (and me!) up at 4:45 on Saturday morning for a trip to the bay. Mark caught a keeper Redfish, but other than that, not a lot to brag about. The kids, of course, had a blast!



Does this Make me an Empty-Nester?


Hello World,
Today I sent my baby off to Kindergarten. Well, I sort of sent her. You see, she wanted to ride the bus more than anything. She's been talking about riding the bus for the last year. This child who barely missed the cut-off date for Kindergarten last year was more than ready for this morning to roll around.

Her Mamma wasn't.

Kaitlyn is my cuddle-bug, my little monkey. She loves to jump up, with those skinny little legs wrapped around my waist and hang on. She loves "kissies." She runs far more than she walks -- seldom walking very far before breaking into a run. She's getting more and more athletic all the time. She's sweet -- unless she's ready to pick a fight with her big sister.

Sure, she can be whiney at times, but that's more my fault than hers. I must admit to "babying" her at times. With her being as cute as she is, it's awful hard not to baby her.

But this child is fearless. She loves to ride anything that can be pulled behind a boat. She does flips off the diving board and dock that most children her age wouldn't even attempt. When we fish, she's the "shrimp girl" -- gleefully fetching live shrimp from the bucket for me to use as bait.

This is the child who potty-trained herself before she was two. And pretty well taught herself to ride bike without training wheels.

She loves books. She loves the library. She loves chocolate chip cookies and milk and ice cream and pizza. She loves chicken salad.

She has the cutest splash of freckles across her nose and a deep tan that reminds me of my childhood.

I wonder what life has in store for Kait. Will she run cross-country in high school? Where will she go to college? Will she be a doctor, a teacher or a stay-at-home Mom?

This morning I walked Kaitlyn & Abbie to the bus stop. Took a few pictures and put them on the bus. Unable to find my car keys, I rode my bike to the school and waited for their bus to unload. Walked them to class. Took pictures with their teachers. Said Hi to my friends in the office and left.

The girls were thrilled to be back at school. These two embrace learning. They love making new friends. School was made for kids like ours.

I can't wait to hear what stories they'll have to tell when they get home!

Wendy Dutton & Laurie Drews -- Their Stories

Hi everyone!
My name is Wendy Dutton and I am walking for my grandmother, Violet Abelman, and for the mother of one of my dearest friends, Laurie Drews.

Breast cancer has unfortunately been a part of my family for generations and as my mother and I have always said, we will be lucky if either one of us is not affected by it. It is the sad fact however that the odds are against us and that we will probably be stricken with this disease at some point of our lives. I joke about it when we do have these discussions, that I would be glad to get rid of my boobs (because after two kids I am looking like one of those woman you see on the cover of National Geographic that live in the jungle and are gravity-challenged) but honestly, I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. I wouldn't be doing this walk if I wasn't serious about it.

My grandmother, Violet, found out that she had breast cancer when she was 29 years old. Back in those days, there wasn't much hope, but she had a double mastectomy and after being in remission for many years, ended up losing her life when the disease returned in a more aggressive form. She didn't deserve to go through the pain and suffering that she had to go through and it is hard for me to understand why at this point in history, a cure has not been found. I know that one day it will happen though and that is my main motivator now for doing this walk.

I have to admit, I was hesitant to join the team at first but I owe my final decision to one of my best friends and to one of our team members, Laurie Drews. Laurie lost her mother recently to breast cancer and to hear her tell the story of watching her mother go through what she did is absolutely heartbreaking. Laurie put her life on hold to sit with her mother everyday and care for her until the cancer won the battle. I don't want another daughter, mother, sister, whomever it may be to have to watch another loved one lose this battle.

I walk for my grandmother, for Laurie's mother and for every woman that has lived with this disease and for those that will have to face up to it one day until a cure is found. I am already over my halfway point of reaching my goal of $2,200 and I am hoping that I can get the rest donated through emails to family and friends that have not yet responded. I keep sending out my message at least monthly but I am still worried I won't be able to fulfill my obligations to the team to meet the amount required. If you have extra and feel the need to share any donations, please help or you could donate to Laurie as I know she been unable to raise as much as she would have hoped to by now. My email address is wdutton2002@yahoo.com and Laurie's is l_ldrews@hotmail.com.

I look forward to our challenge and to meeting each and every one of you during the 3-day event. God bless!

If you'd like to support the Breast Cancer 3-Day, please make a donation to Laurie or Wendy. Thanks so much!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

"The Girls" are a Go!

Well folks, we decided tonight was the perfect night for "The Girls" to get to work! So.... Carla and I snuck out tonight and planted them in a couple of yards to get them going. I have to say.... We're not very sneaky. In fact, we're just not sneaky at all. It's kind of hard to be sneaky driving around Fairfield in her farm truck.

We planted "The Girls" in the yard of two families that we thought would have a great sense of humor about helping us launch this latest fundraising activity. Stay tuned for news!

Friday, August 22, 2008

I'm Up, and I've Had It.....

Kaitlyn woke me up at 12:30 to let me know we had potty issues upstairs. I'm pretty sure there's a Polly Pocket down in the toilet somewhere. For the most part, our little friends know not to use that potty until Dad gets it fixed (may be awhile), and it works sometimes.... but sometimes not. And those are generally the times that we forget to tell our new friends. So not really sure what awaited me, I trudged upstairs -- plunger in hand.

And was met with a toilet that would really look right at home in some gas station in Mexico.

Which brings me to something that's really been bugging me today. I'm up, after all.

I don't give a flying flip how many houses John McCain has.

For the most part, I consider myself a Republican. Now, there are some places where I'm not as Republican as some of the people we've been to church with in the last year. But overall, I'm pretty much a Republican. I think abortion has some gray areas, and I'm all over stem cell research if there's a chance we're going to need it to save the life of my husband or one of my kids someday. But for the most part if I had to choose a label I'd be a Republican.

I'm in the 54% of Americans who are tired of hearing about Barack Obama.

I watched the interviews from Saddleback Church and really was impressed with how McCain handled himself. And was really quite amused by how uncomfortable Obama seemed at times.

But seriously, I don't know how to say this strongly enough. I don't care how many houses McCain owns.

I'm guessing more than one of them is probably an investment property. In fact, most of them could probably be considered that. When you've got that much money, you need to invest in something. Why not have a condo or whatever rather than having to hole up at the local Holiday Inn when you're in town?

But whether or not John McCain has one house or seven has absolutely nothing to do with this country being in dire straits economically. I think that has to do with two main issues. (God Bless Phil Gramm and McCain for attempting to address this at times. It's a shame they get screwed in the media for attempting to point out the truth.)

1. The media has convinced us the economy is in the pits. That's all we've heard about for the last two years. We're headed for a recession. All that doom and gloom. Listen to it enough and it's bound to happen. It's just like with kids. If you tell them they're stupid over and over, they tend to believe it. But if you tell them they can be anything they want to be if they work hard enough, they shine!!!

2. We are an "I want it, I must have it" generation. Listen gang, I am the worst. If it weren't for Biggsy being the planner he is I'd be riding a Jet Ski into the poorhouse. Seriously, this is a nation where everyone who has the will has a Wii. Every kid has a one of those little hand-held Nintendo DS thingies. Flat-screen TVs. You can't even have a conversation with someone without their crackjack buzzing. We've all got A.D.D. We've all got the shiny object syndrome. We're so busy chasing the latest and greatest. And guess what? There is no way we can afford it. So what do we do? Put it on a credit card. 18% interest? No problem! I'll just switch it to a no-interest card when I get one in the mail and pay it off later. (Dude! I know what I'm talking about! I've been there! I'm not proud of it, and I praise God I'm not on that credit card merry-go-round any longer. It wasn't easy, but it's done.)

But Wait!!! We can't pay off our credit cards because gas prices just went to $4.50 a gallon. So I'll sit here and whine about how it costs $150 to fill up my Expedition EL. What's up with that? We've created the fuel crisis by driving these things. Now it's time to deal with it. Get a bike, for Pete's sake. Or take the bus. Carpool. The price of gas isn't coming down -- not really.

But the biggest grandaddy no-brainer of them all is the mortgage industry and this "housing crisis. " Obama was on TV today lamenting the fact that someone with seven homes can't relate to someone who's barely hanging onto the one they have. I know there are extenuating circumstances sometimes, and my heart breaks for the people who are dealing with the loss of a home. But we could see this coming 7 years ago. When Biggs and I bought our first house in Plano, we paid about $135,000 for it. Fresh out of MBA-land with no cash reserves left, we didn't have any business buying any bigger or better.

But you know what? We could have gotten a loan for much, much more than that. Same thing when we bought this house. We could have bought a way bigger house than what we did. But we wouldn't have been able to eat. Or put furniture in it.

But what happened? That "I want it and I want it now" syndrome took over and people did just that. They bought these big houses they had no business being in -- and they knew they had no business being in. And then, when they can't make the payments, it's suddenly not fair. The mortgage industry shouldn't have "let" them buy those houses. Oh my word!!! Stand up and take some responsibility for your own actions.

But here's the rub. I'm really torn on whether or not I want McCain to be president. There's no way I could be a Democrat. I like it that Biggsy makes a good living, and I like being able to use it. I'm not for giving it away. I'm not for supporting all the bajillions of things the Democrats want to support. I'm NOT for universal healthcare -- the media should really talk to actual people from Canada before pushing that one any further. I think people who are down and out should get off their couches and get to work.

But the problem is that whole media thing I talked about before. If McCain wins, we're going to continue kicking some serious butt in Iraq and be glad we did it. And I think there's a better chance the terrorists will leave us alone -- or at least we'll be listening in on them enough to stop them in their tracks. But in the meantime, we're going to hear four more years of the media blathering on about how terrible the economy is and how horrible the recession is and how it's all the Republicans' faults. And you know what will happen? That will set the tone and everyone will believe them and it will probably all come true.

But if Obama wins at least the media will be all warm and fuzzy. They'll convince us that everything's going great -- and it won't matter one bit that we have to wait to a year to get our kids in to see an ENT because with Universal Healthcare it's all rainbows. And that little housing problem will be history because they'll bail everyone out -- so they can jump right back into a new house that they can't afford. And the terrorists? They won't have to sneak on airplanes. We'll just open the door.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Taunda Jenkins -- Her Story

I told my sisters-in-love, Amy and Cissa Newberry, that they were crazy last year when they decided to walk the 3 day. This year they tag-teamed me until I agreed to join them. So in Nov I'm going to walk 60 miles in the Breast Cancer 3 day. Why??? Well, because I have two beautiful daughters. I would love for breast cancer to be cured in their lifetime. This is a problem that I don't want to leave for their generation to solve.

Everyone knows someone whose had breast cancer. When I was 18 my grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a lumpectomy and radiation. That was in 1992. Thankfully, she has been healthy ever since. So, I'm walking for all the wonderful girlies in my life, young and not as young. ;o)

Taunda Jenkins
Grace is not void of effort. It is void of earning.

Ephesians 2:8-10
If you'd like to donate to the Breast Cancer 3-Day and help Taunda reach her fundraising goal, please check out her website.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Christine Swan -- Her Story

I guess I really don't have a story per se. I just wanted to do something good. I also wanted to support my sister-n-law Angie Swan, who is also walking. Her mother was a survivor.

There are also friends of my family who are survivors with whom I am honored to walk in their name. My aunt and two uncles and someone very close to my mother all died of some sort of cancer and although it wasn't breast cancer, I still feel honored to walk for them as well.

There is some irony in my not story. Last week, I was diagnosed with FCBD (fibrocystic breast disease) which isn't breast cancer but needs to be monitored and can cause great pain. But I thought about this walk in depth as I was sitting in the waiting room at the hospital awaiting my ultrasound. I'm always running things that I'm doing or need to do in my mind so I was thinking about the walk and the women was fought this battle. The irony is that I signed up to walk to do something good and then there I was getting treated.

I don't think that my minor situation is anything close to what those brave women endured. I can only imagine what they and their families went through. So while I'm trying to live a better life and do some good, I'm putting myself out there for any women who needs support. In doing this, I've also cut 9 inches of my hair and sent it to Locks of Love, who has accepted it on behalf of those children who are in need.

Thanks for caring. I feel blessed to be part of this.

Christine

If you'd like to support the Breast Cancer 3-Day with a donation in Christine's name, please check out her website.

When the Fashion Police go Olympic

Okay. Growing up with Billie Sue for a Mom, I knew well and good that your shoes should match your hose which should match the hem of your dress. (Having bowed out of the pantyhose thing years ago, I generally skip that part of the rule.)

And I know full well that you should have darker colors on bottom, with lighter colors on top. Horizontal stripes make you look fat. Bright colors are somehow supposed to make you look happy -- or is it thin?

But whoever knew you could be tossed out of the Olympics for not wearing skivvies that match your shorts?? Now... You and I both know that there's nothing tackier than a black thong under white slacks -- but apparently that is a fashion faux pas of Olympic proportions!!!

From a Friend....

My friend Amy sent this and I had to share. Please pass it on.

My Reasons

Do you do them? Do you do those monthly breast self-exams? If not, heck even if you do, please read on for the best reasons ever to do them.

Don’t think you’re a candidate for breast cancer…… keep reading!

I just turned 36 in June. I eat organic food. I don’t smoke. I use only natural household cleaners and personal care products. I abolished plastic from my home. I breastfed each of my two children for a year. There is no family history of breast cancer.

Ask any of my friends and family who they think is the least likely person to get breast cancer - they’ll tell you it’s me. We were all wrong.

Like so many women out there, I rarely did breast self-exams. Why would I? I would never get breast cancer. Then one day, just two weeks before I turned 36, I was in the shower and I felt it. I stood there frozen. I felt again. There was really something there. And it wasn’t small. How could something so big be there without me noticing it before? It couldn’t be cancer, it was too big. I would have felt it before.

I got my cousin, a nurse, to feel it. Most likely a cyst, but have it checked. So I go to the Doctor to have it checked. Most likely a cyst, but lets send you for an ultrasound and mammogram. Ultrasound shows that it is not a cyst, it’s a solid mass. Off for a biopsy. The Doctor who does the biopsy tells me that funny things happen to women’s breasts when they are breastfeeding (I was still breastfeeding my son). He thinks that’s what happening here, but can’t say for sure until they get the pathology results.

Pathology results: Its cancer. Off to see a surgeon. It’s also in the lymph nodes. Not good. Off to see the Oncologist. Lymph nodes affected on the other side. Really not good. Off for a lung x-ray, bone scan, liver ultrasound, MRI, PET Scan, and another biopsy. Start Chemo. Yuck!

Well chemo isn’t really all that bad. As long as you don’t mind needles. My chemo is called DDACT - Dose Dense ACT. The strongest there is. Goodie! Kill the cancer. I go once every 2 weeks and they hook me up with an IV, after drawing blood and check to see that my blood counts are ok. Then there’s all the anti-nausea meds, which do help with the nausea, but they make you constipated, and you still don’t feel like eating anything. And you’re tired - that’s the chemo. And then there’s the steroid they give you for a couple of days after the chemo. It’s supposed to stimulate your appetite. That doesn’t work. But it sure sends you on a hell of an emotional rollercoaster after you stop taking it!

And let’s not forget the daily injections of neupogen, to help stimulate my bone marrow to make more white blood cells. Need white blood cells to fight off infection. Chemo kills your immune system. So you can’t be around anyone who’s sick. Like your kids. The neupogen makes my bones ache. Really ache. Like no ache I’ve ever felt before.

And my particular type of Chemo makes you lose your hair. I still have it, but I am told that it will only be about another week. No maybes. I already cut it all off because I didn’t want my three year old daughter to see long clumps of hair falling out. And if I’m lucky, the cancer will be Estrogen positive, so they can give me Tomixifen to block the Estrogen receptor sites. Tomixifen, which will make me go through menopause on top of everything else.

After the chemo is over, I will have to have a mastectomy, then 5 weeks of radiation - 5 weeks, 5 days a week. Then another 16 weeks of chemo. And if you think these are the reasons I’m giving you to do your self-breast exams, they’re not. And it’s also not because I want you to avoid the heartbreak of telling your parents that you have cancer and watching their hearts break because their baby has cancer. And it’s not because I don’t want you to have to sit in an Oncologist’s office and watch your husband burst into tears when they hand him a book called “What happened to Mommy’s Hair” to read to your children. Of course, I don’t want anybody to have to go through those things, but they’re not the reason’s I’m telling you to do the exams.

It’s because worse than any of the tests, the needles, the drugs, their side-effects, or the tears, is your mind. When you lie in bed at night and think about your children (I have a three year old daughter and a one year old son), and think that there is a of the possibility that you won’t see them grow up, that you won’t be there for them, that at one and three they probably won’t even remember you, you’ll just be some woman in a picture that everyone says is their mommy. It’s the thought of your husband getting remarried and that you’ll be replaced with a new mommy, one that didn’t die.So do it for them. Do it for those beautiful babes that you tuck in each night and kiss ever-so gently. Your beautiful babes that need their mommy to guide them and love them. Your beautiful babes. Do it for them. Do it now.

So here's the deal. Do your exam and then post a picture(s) of your reasons for everyone to see!I have also stared a website below. Please forward it to everyone you know.

http://shelleyschulte.tripod.com/index.html
Thanks
Shelley

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"I'm going to have cute boobs till I'm 90"

I think Christina Applegate rocks. In case you've been hiding out in your hurricane closet, Christina just recently underwent a double mastectomy because she had breast cancer. She's 36. Let me say that again, just so you can make sure you read it right.

She's 36.

And she's been open about this fight she's in. And she's publicly displayed a great attitude. And I think she rocks!!

Younger and younger women are being diagnosed with breast cancer. This isn't your Grandma's disease. Remember, she's 36.

Don't forget to Knead your Knockers and get your mammograms!!! You are your best defense!

Redshirting your Kindergartner

Redshirting kindergartners is something that realy intrigues me.

I wouldn't go so far as to say we planned for our kids to have fall birthdays. Planning has never been my forte, even when it came to having kids. But I did hope that we would have kids who had fall birthdays -- for the very reason that they would be the oldest kids in their classes.

I had a bajillion different reasons for that -- it would give them more time to master the ABC's before heading off to Kindergarten. In the long run, looking ahead to high school and all the nightmares that it offers, our kids would (hopefully) be among the more mature students in their classes.

But all these people who are "redshirting" their kids are just throwing it all off -- and I can't say I blame them one bit. My friends who have taught say that while a very young Kindergartner might be able to handle the first couple of years of school okay, the problems really begin to show up in 4th or 5th grade -- when they're the least mature kids in their classes. This is supposedly more a "boy" thing than a "girl" thing.

I've had a couple of friends along the way who didn't redshirt their summer-birthday boys, and ended up holding them back in 1st or 2nd grade when school became just too much for them. I can totally see that. Kindergarten isn't the Kindergarten we all knew -- Kaitlyn's already covered all that. Kindergarten is writing stories and learning fractions and doing science research papers. YIKES!

So now that Kaitlyn is about to start Kindergarten -- with a September 17 birthday, no less -- she's likely to be nowhere near the oldest in her class. She could very well be in the middle somewhere. In the long run, it's a good thing I'm not a planner!

The Germans are Coming! The Germans are Coming!!

Gudren called Nelva to let her know they're flying into Boston on September 3. They'll walk the Freedom Trail for a few days, then they're going to make their way to Texas via the Grand Ole Opry and the Kentucky horse farms. (Wouldn't Abbie love to be in their suitcases for that??)

But the best part ever? For the first time, they're coming to visit me!!!! I can hardly contain myself. When the Germans come it's like Christmas and birthday and Valentines all wrapped up in one. In Old Fluvanna, we really got jazzed about the Germans. People have been known to paint houses, redecorate bathrooms and host big barbecues.

Mike and Gudren are the kind of people who really live life to its fullest. Everything is an adventure. Everything is fun. They love everything Texas!!! I can't wait!!

Tonight is the Snow Cone Social!!

Tonight is Keith Elementary's Snow Cone Social, and as the first day of school (Monday!) quickly approaches, I can hardly contain my excitement. No... It's not because I'll have both girls in school and my days to myself again. It's because I love the start of school!!!

When we were growing up, we'd take a make a big shopping trip to Lubbock. New clothes. New notebooks. Picking out spirals with what we hoped were the coolest covers. And REAMS of notebook papers. Mom would find a deal somewhere -- like 250 sheets for $.10 and she'd go crazy buying notebook paper. She would store it at home in the little cabinet to the left of the dishwasher, and it was always fun to see if the "year's supply" she bought in August would last until May.

Our trips to Lubbock for school supplies were always a really big deal. I always wanted the big box of crayons with the sharpener. But with three kids, Mom was practical about that. No sharpener for me. I think that was a holdout from being a teacher herself -- she knew there was no way the sharpener and box would last with me at the helm.

We'd come home with new clothes and try to do a fashion show for Dad. Being the manly-man he is that wasn't really his cup of tea. But that didn't stop us from planning and figuring out our first day of school outfits way far in advance!

The first day of school, Mom would line us all up for a picture. True to form, we were always running late, so Mrs. Underwood would be sitting outside with the bus waiting for us to take our pictures. There are more than a few awkward first-day-of-school pictures around with me in them. My awkward phase lasted from 2nd grade through last week. So there are plenty to choose from!

My kids miss out on a little bit of all that. Being in Houston, the clothes they've worn all summer work just fine for the start of the school year. Unlike good, old Borden County, they can wear shorts -- so there isn't this mad scramble to buy jeans before school starts. And it's not going to be cold enough for jeans until November or so -- no hurry there. I buy the "good" backpacks, and both the girls' still look good enough for school.

School supplies are "streamlined" as well. We buy ours from the PTO -- they're already in the girls' classrooms, all labeled and ready to go.

So where's the thrill?? The girls don't seem to miss it, but I do and that's making me a little sad.

But don't worry -- I've got a plan. Luckily, Abbie's tennis shoes are on their last leg!!! So we've got school shoe shopping to do!!! Whoo-hoo!!!

Update: I was just talking to Granny Nelva about this. We decided the start of school was much more exciting growing up because we didn't see our friends much over the summer. Growing up going to Borden County, we were all so scattered. Kate Ph. was off at Waldemar every summer, and Kait Po. was way up in Vealmoor. You might see someone at 4-H camp or something, but that was about it. So when you got to the first day of school, it was always cool to see how everyone had changed -- and how they hadn't. And now you know the rest of the story.

Emily Frost -- Her Story

From Emily:

I am walking because I feel that this is a disease that we can fight and win! I have had friends, colleagues, and relatives fight this battle, some who have won and some who have lost. I want to doeverything I can to make our public aware of what we can do to help beat Breast Cancer in every way possible!

If you'd like to make a donation to the Breast Cancer 3-Day, and help Emily achieve her goal, please check out her website.

Elizabeth de Moraes -- Her Story

D'Lyn's Note: Eli was a member of Team Talent -- the group of 17 flown to LA to shoot the 3-Day TV commercials. If you want to see her in action, scroll to the bottom of the page and watch the commercials -- she's the one with the halo! In a twist that only God can add to a situation, Eli's husband Andre now works for Biggs' company. How cool is that??



From Eli:

There are a number of reasons why I started my journey on the 3-day, which I will share in another email, but the most top of mind reason I walk this year is to honor the memory of a dear friend of ours, Stephanie Gaworski, who unfortunately went to be with God and Jesus today.



She was an amazing example of courage to us all and will be sorely missed. With two teenaged kids, a wonderful husband, parents and family and friends left behind, our hearts truly are aching right now. If you go to the Dallas page on the 3-day site (and if you are walking in Dallas, which I believe most of us are), a picture of her and her son grace the top of your personal donation page. We had a FABULOUS time during that photo/commercial shoot where a number of us had a pleasure and honor of meeting them and getting to know. You can also hear them in the Breast Cancer 3-day Documercial. We HAVE to keep fighting to find a cure, guys. This cancer robs us of life and that is just not right. I'll write more later, but have to first absorb what happened today and the numbness that is coming from it. I love you all and look forward to us all joining forces to eradicate this disease.Elizabeth (Eli)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Are you Ready for Some Football???

Hey gang!

My friend Nichole has a pair of Cowboys tickets for the Cowboys / 49ers game on November 23rd. They are level 1, 29 rows back, inbetween the 10 and the field goal line. They also come with a parking pass. As you all know, this season is the cowboys last season at this stadium, and it's been sold out for months! She is doing a silent auction type thing, and just taking offers, and the highest bid given to her by the end of the month will win. ALL of the money is going towards the Breast Cancer 3-Day and Susan G. Komen for the Cure! She was going to sell these on ebay, but she would much rather them go to someone who appreciates the cause, and what they're for! Please pass the word on if you know anyone interested!

To bid on the tickets, email Nichole at: nicholeearls@yahoo.com

Friday, August 15, 2008

Mindi Mahon -- Her Story

Why I'm Walking In The 3Day - Mindi Mahon, Edmond, Oklahoma

My story comes from a beautiful woman who's made a great impact on my life. When I was in 7th grade, I was allowed to take private voice lessons. My dad had contacted Staci McAuley and this is where my relationship with her began. I took private voice lessons from her for 7 years and piano lessons the latter year and a half or so.

During this time, I didn't only acquire musical knowledge and fervor, but also a love for Christ and the way to live as a Christ-centered mother and wife. Staci was always the Christian female influence and mother-like influence that my own mom couldn't provide for me. I looked to her for advice and as a listening ear because she continually opened her heart to me.

Our relationship was always more than just student to teacher. We shared lots of tears but more importantly many many laughs! Often as she played the piano to accompany me when I sang, we'd trip up during a song, and we'd get to laughing so hard that we couldn't continue. We laughed so hard that tears streamed down our faces and our cheeks and bellies hurt.

I was devastated when Staci got diagnosed with breast cancer. She's endured rounds and rounds of chemo and radiation, a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgeries, a "remission" that was false, a "return of cancer" with a vengeance, growing tumors, cancer that spread into her lymph system and bones, steroid medication, gamma knife surgery on a brain tumor, then finally brain surgery to remove the tumor, peralyzation of the entire right side of her body, and the loss of daily activity with her husband, 2 daughters, and her own hobbies.

However, none of this has stopped her from loving people, living life to the fullest, and most importantly, trusting God. She is a force to be reckoned with, as she sets the bar high. I hope to be half the person she is one day.

Staci, and her family, are the reason I am walking. She is my inspiration in so many unexplainable ways.

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.
Romans 12:12

Hope you're having a wonderful day!

With love from,
Mindi

If you'd like to make a donation to the Breast Cancer 3-Day in honor of Mindi's walk, please go to her website.

My Momma Would have Loved this Website!

Well, that is, if I'd driven out to Fluvanna, turned on her computer for her, booted it up, logged onto the Internet, logged onto the website, and done the scrolling for her. While she was great at owning a computer, she wasn't so big on actually using it.

But I digress.

Check out CakeWrecks!

Alright Ya'll, I Need Your Prayers!!!

I have a prayer request. While I have a ton of heart for the 3-Day and love the fundraising end (and I'm good at it!) and the spirit, it seems my feet really aren't that functional. Between my ultra-high arches and the plantar fasciitis, last year was a chore. This year I've developed neuromas in both feet -- what's happened is that my feet are so small, and my bones so tightly knit together, that it causes nerve damage when I put too much stress on them. Between the bikini bootcamp, water arobics and training for the 3-Day, I put way too much stress on them. Yesterday I had shots in both feet and it continued to throb overnight.

So here's my prayer request... Please pray for healing in my feet and for me to find a way to 3-Day without putting my mobility as an 80-year-old at risk. I'm not sure what that path is going to be for me next year -- should I take a year to crew? Should I be a walker who's mainly a fixture in the sweep vans? I know there's a lot of service that could be done there. Should I apply for a staff position again if any come up, now that I'm not doing the preschool shuffle every day??

I covet your prayers.

Love ya,
d.

Nastia Wins the Gold!!!

Yea!!! When we lived in Plano the girls took gymnastics (or gymnashtics, as Kait says it) at WOGA -- the home of both Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin. So tonight I sat on the edge of my seat watching that beautiful girl bring home the gold with skills I'd watched her hone in the gym.

I've been quite the Olympics addict all week -- staying up every night to watch the swimming and gymnastics. And I'm so glad I have! It was really neat to see Nastia win tonight -- and to see her Dad by her side.

Here are pictures of my little gymnasts at the 2006 WOGA Spring Meet!



Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Her Voice Campaign

This isn't fully up yet, but it's going to be cool. Check out the Her Voice Campaign they're doing at this year's 3-Day!

Cooking for the Cure

Hi all,
If you'll remember, we tried to get a cookbook fundraiser going this year, but it didn't quite pan out. So... We've opted to try another route. We've started a blog called Cooking for the Cure.

Check it out for recipes, tips and tricks -- along with a personal story or two!

Please help us spread the word, so we can drive traffic to our site -- we'll have a Google ad sense on there ASAP. If any of you out there in computer land know how we can get increased ad revenues for the 3-Day, please let me know!

Hope you have fun Cooking for the Cure!!!

Big Hugs,
d.

Friday, August 8, 2008

I LOVE it when HE does that!!!

I can't really tell you what it's been like this year being the Team Leader for Team Tiara. Our team for the 3-Day has grown so huge, so fast -- it's been quite overwhelming at times!!!

Fundraising is one area that has really stressed me out. It just has. I know it shouldn't, but it has. Making sure all our "chicks" get to walk has been crazy!!!

A couple of days ago, I posted a few of my teammates stories. If you haven't read Debra Adams' yet, please do. Hers is a story of long-distance friendship. A friendship I can relate to since I was an exchange student in Germany when in high school. My friend Britta is a dear, sweet friend -- and the idea of losing her to breast cancer or something else is really more than I could bear.

But Debra lost her friend. And decided to take a bold step and walk in her memory -- even though raising $2200 in a fairly short amount of time seemed huge.

Guess what? Today God showed her in a VERY big way that HE takes care of her. A friend of hers from high school donated $1000. AND his company has matching funds. In one phone call, she received $2000 -- more than she needed to complete her fundraising. How cool is that? Yes, God is GOOD!!!!

Sargent Fun

The girls and I got down here late yesterday afternoon. Pa is busy doing prep work for his big shindig tomorrow, and well... We're at the library.

So I've been reading Eat, Pray, Love -- Great book! To borrow a quote from it....

The mosquitos down here are big enough to rape chickens.

Yep. Pretty big.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

New Decor!!

Hey! I have to shout-out a huge Thank You to Sam (Porter) Giffords for rescuing my blog from the Blah, Blah, Blah, Blahs!!!!

Sam, you rock!!!

Karen Kingsbury Fans

Wow. I just watched this link. It's a movie trailer for what one of Karen Kingsbury's fans thinks would be the perfect cast to play the Baxter family. And oh, they are so right!!! If you're a fan of Karen's Life-Changing Christian fiction, you'll appreciate this!

Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah

Okay. I need some blogging help. Does anyone know how to change my blog to a cool design -- rather than the limited choices offered by Blogger?

And does anyone know how to put links in a blog entry so that I don't have to post the whole string link thingy but can just put a key word that it will link to?

I'm a slow girl, but I mean well.

Oh! We're headed back to the Creek today. The girls and I will probably be back up here next Tuesday or Wednesday -- not totally sure when. Pa is on his way to Sargent as well. Know what that means? More pix next week!!!

Cross your fingers that we get one of those tagged Redfish. If we do, we win a Boat / Trailer /Truck combo. If Abs wins it, she gets a Scholarship / Boat / Trailer. Stay tuned for news!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Lori Davenport: Her Story

D'Lyn's Note: I have to say, I think Lori has a huge heart and a great deal of humility. She's new to the team, and hesitated to ask for help. But her story really hit home with me. I, too, tend to get caught up in my own little world, forgetting that not everyone is in the same place I am.


From Lori:
I am walking because I can be so self centered and trapped in my own little world. I do not have anyone in my life that has breast cancer but I have had a couple of family members die of cancer and have a few cancer survivors in my life. I have seen my grandmother fight her battle with leukemia but have really been helpless to do anything. And as people start to win their battle, I get caught up in my little world again and forget that there are women dying in their beds listening to the sounds of their children playing.

Suzi Bruin came back from her walk with such enthusiasm last year that I thought I needed to be inspired to think more of others and to teach my children to do the same. I want to walk for all of those ladies that are suffering, have defeated it and for those that will one day be struck with it. I am walking for awareness and for my future daughter-in-laws and granddaughters, my nieces and my neighbors who may be touched by breast cancer in the future. I am walking for all the sad stories I have heard since I signed up just 3 weeks ago. I am walking because I can and others can not. I am walking to remember to thank God for each day that I have with my family.

I have emailed letters to all my contacts and have been wearing my pin. I have a little over $300 in donations so far. I plan to send my next email campaign out soon and am thinking of some sort of fundraiser that I can do. I would appreciate any donations that anyone would like to help me with but I honestly do not feel like it is fair to ask at this point. But, on the other hand, I want to walk, too, so I will leave it in God’s hands.

If you'd like to donate in Lori's name, and help her reach the $2200 minimum required to walk, go to http://08.the3day.org/goto/teamtiara and click on Lori Davenport.

Thank you!

Check it out!

Kelley Lamy just sent me this link. It's great! I can just picture Biggsy doing this....

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1030697/weding_party_dance/

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Creek Pictures

Hi all!
Tropical Storm Edouard really turned out to be a non-event. But at least I have the chance to post some pictures for you! Enjoy!



Sitting in the inner tube on the boat was the PRIME SPOT this week. Abbie sat there until I needed her help. You see, Biggs was on the wakeboard, and Kait's attention span is about as long as a gnat's. I need Abbie to help watch him because I WAS DRIVING THE BOAT!!! YIKES!!!



I have NO pictures of Biggs wakeboarding because I was trying to keep from hitting a dock. AND I have NO pictures of me wakeboarding because, well, I never got my hiney out of the water. But let me tell you.... I did get a good workout trying.



Here's how it works.... My feet are so small I have to wear my water shoes with the wakeboard. So I'd get them all set and get the board strapped on. Then Biggs would bring me the rope. But he didn't get it RIGHT to me, so I had to swim for it. That meant I'd have to flip over onto my tummy. Not a huge deal, but not exactly a breeze either.



So I'd swim to the rope and get it. But then I'd have to flip back over because you can't start out on your tummy. Bit more of a deal, but I'd get there. That's when the problems would start. At this point, every time, I'd have my back to the boat. Needing to turn around, I'd psyche myself up and one, two, three.... umph. Nothing Happened. So I'd take the board off one foot, turn around, re-strap and be ready to go.



Biggs would hit the gas. The rope would fly out of my hands, and I'd have to start all over again.



This went on for the better part of an hour. I never got up and eventually switched back to the kneeboard.



But I didn't even think to take any Advil that night.



On Friday when I woke up, I couldn't walk. I couldn't stand. It hurt to sit. There was not a part of my body that didn't hurt. So if you're looking for a good work-out.... Way better than a bikini boot camp.... You should try being REALLY bad at wakeboarding!!!



Here's Abs with the trip's first Redfish -- not a keeper, but still worthy of a picture. Abbie catches more Reds than the rest of us combined. I think they like her hair!
This would be Kait at the end of a loooooong day on the water!




Jay, Kelley and Matthew Lamy spent the weekend with us. Here's a picture of Matthew with his first fish!!!
As Kaitlyn says, "You know, Abbie has that much hair every morning!"


Going to the beach in the mornings was pretty much a staple of this trip. The girls loved it! I love this picture of Matthew!


Mud Girl strikes again!
Man! What a Hottie Biggs is!

Kait and Abbie had a great time with Matthew. He was kind of like the little brother they've never had. He was totally into whatever they had going on. He'd say, "Whatcha doin'?"




So... My parents took us up to Red River when I was in junior high, and I remember A'Lise catching lots of fish. But I really don't remember ever catching any myself. I don't even think I had a fishing license until last Friday. But I'm not sure. Anyway, I caught my first "keeper" ever (besides Biggsy, of course!) this weekend. A big, 22.5 inch Redfish. But there's more to the story....
I wasn't exactly fishing. I have a rod and reel that I use and am trying to get good at using. But I wasn't to the point where I was using it yet -- I was trying to get Kaitlyn started. Kait's not really into fishing. She's really a better "runner." She gets us bait out of the bucket -- looking for little shrimp that are good jumpers. And she's really good at that. So I was trying to deal with her and get her started and really not paying attention. And then I noticed my bobber was way under. So I started reeling. And the fish started fighting. And it fought. And I reeled. And it fought. And I reeled.
It might not have been such a big deal if I'd been using that good rod and reel, but I was using my nephew Kodie's little green rod with a Zebco 404 on it. Kind of a Wal-Mart special. We'd already had to glue it back together a couple of times. Not quite the set-up for a big fish.
But that little thing and I hung in there. The reel was going, "bzzzzzzzzzzzz........" The fish was everywhere -- headed for the bay. But we got it in the boat and it was this big (I'd love to say beautiful, but ugh!), slimy fish!!! Of course, I called my Dad and Pete to brag!! And we ate it Sunday night and it was YUMMY!!!


Here are Jay and Matthew on the tube. The fun part was realizing that Jay didn't have a life jacket on and then watching him put it on while the tube was still moving -- without flipping it over! That's talent!

Abbie & Kait decided just riding on the tube wasn't enough excitement. They needed to stand up and dance!!!

Finally, here's another installment to the creek decorating. I got the fishies on the wall painted this trip. Aren't they cool??

More pictures to follow next week!!!







Carrie Donnelly: Her Story

My story is likely not as dramatic as some. But it is my story, so it is very dramatic to me. I am having difficulty raising funds this time around, as I have only lived here in Texas, a year today. I really don't know much of anyone yet...and my family back home is pretty much estranged, and it would be less than appropriate for me to ask most of myfamily to donate. I tried that two years ago, and was met with very unpleasant results.

As far as friends go my Christmas card list it is short, having an autistic child who you home schooled for several years, kind of keeps one out of the loop.

When I did my fund raising before, I had help from a former walker, turned staffer due to an injury. Even with that I had to self donate over $500, I cannot do that this time. I do not even have a credit card to give them.

Anyway, here is my story. I have watched cancer affect many lives, not just breast cancer, all sorts, as I am sure most of us walking have. I have also seen those who in spite of the cancer were strengthened, and though their lives were changed they turned it into blessing. I will focus here only on those who dealt with breast cancer.

The first time breast cancer got personal was with my Aunt June. It was almost 30 years ago, I was a teenager. I remember it so well, because breast cancer was still whispered about. My uncle though, Texan through and through, did not remain silent. Coming from a prudish family it was kind of a shock for me to hear him speak about it openly, without shame. He planted a seed in me, and for that I am grateful. My Aunt quietly had her lumpectomy, and received her radiation. Today she still survives, she is well into her 80's!!

My second experience with breast cancer was a cousin on the other side of my family. Barbra and I grew up together. She was several years older than me... I loved her dearly. She was a typical California girl. Blond, tanned, beautiful. She married her long time sweetheart of 13 years... when she was in her 30's. Soon after they had their only child, a beautiful daughter, the smacking image of Barb. When their daughter was only 7, and Barbra was only 38 the breast cancer came and took her quickly.

She fought a short battle, but was determined to beat it. And though she lost her life, the cancer did not win. She died peacefully in her rose garden, as was her wish. She was strong and amazing until the end. What struck me most was being at a funeral where everyone was so young. Just feeling, no one should ever have to grieve such a young friend, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a momma. Her mother my Aunt Gwen, had proceeded her in death, 3 years before, from liver cancer.

Years later I found myself face to face with my son's 5th grade teacher, she at 27, was fighting for her life. She had to have a double mastectomy...chemo and radiation, again, only 27! Being a former school teacher myself, I volunteered to teach her class when she just could not make it, when she was just to tired, or just too distraught.

She had two boys, who were only 10 & 12, and her husband had just got back from Iraq. Being that this job was her only form of income and of health insurance, I worked for herwithout pay, so they could get by. That was when I decided to walk. But I got ill myself and had to undergo several more surgeries... I promised I would walk if I got better.

Finally, in 2006 I was able to walk. Yippeeeee!!I wanted to walk last year, but with our move and some serious family problems, it just was not the time. But God is good..I am back, and so desperately want to walk. I look back and see all the breast cancer those in my life have been touched with, and it is mind boggling. I have 4 siblings, all married, and each of their spouses mothers have had breast cancer.... 2 long time survivors. My one sister's mother in law is receiving treatment as I type this. My youngest sister in law, who is in her 20's, lost her mom before she married my brother, just a few short years ago. Her mom was only in her 40's.I have to walk for my nieces and my sisters in law, if for no one else.

This is my story.
Carrie Donnelly
www.walking4life.com

To donate to the Breast Cancer 3-Day in Carrie's name, please go to http://08.the3day.org/goto/teamtiara and click on Carrie's name.

Thank you!

Kathy Chamberlain: Her Story

This is my second year to walk in the 3 day. Last year I made a personal committment to walk. I trained by myself and was going to walk no matter what. My initial inspiration for walking was selfish, I must admit. I needed to take better care of myself and needed to get my body healthy. As I pondered this decision, I felt I must be committed to something greater than myself. I thought of things that have affected my life, my friends, my family, and those individuals whose path I have not crossed yet. That is when I became a Breast Cancer 3 Day Walker.


I met D'Lyn and Team Tiara the morning of the first day. We were connected through our sisters. The team was warm and welcoming. The experience of the 3 Day walk was made richer for me by being with them and hearing their stories. I finished the walk and immediately signed up again even though I was in slippers and had blisters all over my feet.


Cancer has touched my family in many ways. My paternal grandmother, my father, my sister's best friend, all have had cancer. My mother's best friend is a breast cancer survivor. My boys never got to meet their paternal grandmother because she died of breast cancer when their father was 18. I saw the effect the loss of a mother can have on a young man. I had a personal scare with breast cancer 3 weeks after finishing the 3 day last year. I have experienced where and how the money we raise is spent.


I had difficulty raising all of the money last year and made up the difference myself. This year I am not in a financial position to do this. My family is small and so is my circle of friends. I have sent out over 80 emails and 20 letters. I have asked people I have met at my trainings. With another walker, I have had 2 bake sales at my school. My mother and sister have asked their friends. And I have not given up! But, the sad fact is, I have only raised $377.

Obviously, I need a Knight. I believe strongly in this walk and the reason we raise this money. I am truly committed to the training and the fundraising, but I need some help with the fundraising.


Kathy Chamberlain



To make a donation under Kathy's name, please go to http://08.the3day.org/goto/teamtiara and click on her name.



Thank you!

Debra Adams: Her Story

Update: Success!!! God is Good!

Hi ya'll,
We've gotten to that point in the 3-Day year where I've met the minimum $2200 required to walk in both Dallas and San Diego -- Can't wait for either! But unfortunately, some of my team members haven't had the easiest time of fundraising. I'm going to put some of their stories up over the next few days. If you feel inclined to donate under their names, please do! If you do, please let me know -- so I can stop hounding you (personally) for a donation this year. If nothing else, these stories will help illustrate that we desperately need to find a cure for breast cancer.

Thanks for all the support that you give our team. You rock!

Big Hugs,
d.

Here's Debra's Story:

MY STORY AND WHY I AM WALKING...
When I was in eighth grade, approximately 13 years old, we had an assignment in our English class involving signing up with a high school pen pal exchange program. You could select the age, gender, and nationality of your desired pen pal, and then the service would facilitate you getting in touch with each other so you could begin writing (pen and paper letters mind you, before the invent of e-mail). I opted for a female about my same age in the UK, and was delighted when I received contact information for a girl named Liz Budge in Bedfordshire, England. We began corresponding immediately and learning about each other’s families and culture. All through high school, and more than one move for each of us, we kept writing and occasionally calling, and developed a remarkably close friendship. She visited me for the first time in the early 90’s and then again a couple of years later – hosting her was such a joy, and she was greatly entertained by the rodeo and Dallas Cowboy football game I took her to. Liz loved Mexican food and margaritas, and was so amused with all things Texan! Our lives evolved and we grew, but we never lost touch. Liz had a rather exciting life I thought, as she served in the Royal Air Force and then in civil service as (what we would call) a “911” operator. Shortly after we got married, Lewis and I traveled to Europe to visit Liz and her husband John, and their 2 year-old daughter, Abigail. It was such a fabulous vacation, and our relationship was like we were girlfriends who just lived around the corner from each other – not “across the pond.” We had truly grown up together, albeit thousands of miles apart. A couple of years later, Liz had another daughter, Harriet, and Lewis and I had Julia, Olivia, then Ethan. Liz and I both had our happy families and beautiful homes, and were content with our lives -- but sadly, that was about to change.

In mid 2007, Liz informed me that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I was horrified and in shock, but I prayed and provided her with all the moral support I could from afar. She commented that she was nervous about her upcoming chemo and losing all her hair, especially because she could not find any good hats to wear. The next week, I sent her a book on how to tell young children about cancer… and a box full of colorful, funky hats to lift her spirits! She underwent months of chemo and in February of this year got the “all clear” from her doctors… the cancer was gone and she was well again. We rejoiced together and I honestly felt as if all my prayers had been answered. Our oldest daughters – her Abigail and my Julia – had become pen pals by this time, but via e-mail, not the “snail mail” we started with. Once again, things were back on track and the future was bright.

I received an e-mail from Liz on April 15th of this year explaining that after a series of infections, the doctors had determined that her cancer had returned and metastasized to her liver. The devastation I felt was amplified by Lewis explaining to me that this is precisely what killed his mother, years before I even met him.

On May 12th of this year, on my 41st birthday, I received an e-mail from John, sharing the sad news that my lovely friend Liz had passed away – in her own home, listening through the windows to the sound of her 3 year-old and 9-year old daughters play in the family garden. Liz was just 39 years old.

I am told that even until her last breath, Liz never lost hope that some day, someone would find a cure for this horrible thing called CANCER! In her last weeks, she would tell her husband, “maybe today they will find the cure, and I can take a pill and it will all be gone.” I lay awake at night still thinking about Liz and the sadness of her last days, knowing that she would soon be taken from her beautiful daughters and loving husband. In her final weeks, John told me that she labored over boxes of items for her girls – special boxes to be opened on their 13th birthdays, 16th birthdays, for their weddings, and so on – knowing that she would not be there to share those moments with them. She was dying, yet she was selfless and utterly hopeful – a true testament to just how special she was. I miss my friend dearly, and I am haunted each and every day by thoughts of her sorrowful demise. And so, to show the love I have for her, and to pay the deepest, most heartfelt respect to her memory, this year I have made the commitment to participate in the D/FW Breast Cancer 3-Day event.

I have sent out 125 e-mails and 45 letters to date, with more to follow, but only have about $225 in contributions. I am desperate (as in need "big-dog" help) and fear I will have to drop out and not get to walk. I am truly heartbroken about this too, so ANY help would be greatly appreciated. It will not, however, deter me from continuing my fund-raising efforts for this worthy cause. Thank you so much, in advance, for you kind assistance!

To donate to Debra, check out our Team Website at http://08.the3day.org/goto/teamtiara. Just click on her name and it will take you to her personal website where you can make a DONATION!

We're Home -- for now....

Well, we had to take a break from our vacation. Tropical Storm / Hurricane / Thunderstorm Edouard was headed right for Galveston -- which meant that the Creek would get a lot of rain and wind -- not fun when your house is up on stilts. So we came home to Houston to wait it out -- and will head back down there as soon as we can.

I'll try to get some pictures up this evening if I can. We've had a great time, but were pretty worn out and the break probably isn't such a bad thing!