Category: Charity Faith Love (Page 2 of 7)

Look Underneath The Breast, To The Heart

Being born into the female club, is an honor and joy, but can also be a burden. Sure we can have kids and men can’t, but we can also get certain cancers men can’t. So today I wanted to talk about breasts (not that men can’t get breast cancer, but I want to talk about breasts today). Even though it’s not October, we need to think about curing breast cancer every.single.day. Sometimes talking about breasts makes readers uncomfortable, but I can tell you having a biopsy is uncomfortable, getting a cancer diagnosis is uncomfortable and having a mastectomy is uncomfortable (I held my grandmother’s hand while she went through all of those things). So not only do I know of this discomfort personally, I also live life as if I am carrying a little a time bomb. All three of my last mammograms showed ‘something suspicious’. Every time, an ultrasound shows it is just the same watery, benign (annoying) cyst. But what about my mom, my aunts, my daughters? Genetically some of us are now at higher risk, it’s like living with a hidden stalker always wondering where or if it will rear its ugly head.

So I like to participate in things that raise awareness, and, more importantly, money for the cure. The cure is out there and we need to find it and tell cancer to get lost. So this year I am a participant in Bewb Fest 10. Lotus is donating *ALL* her BH Ad Revenue for July to Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. Which means the more page loads: the more MONEY. So not only I am participating but I am sending YOU THERE. Directly to the page! A lot of my online friends are my age and a little conservative and the sound of this may make you uncomfortable. But many of my readers are young and, shall we say, less inhibited. BE NOT AFRAID, all the photos in the contest are tasteful. So I ask that you go over and vote for your top three. (Why yes, there is a contest! And prizes. AND YES I WANT TO WIN!!). You can vote (FOR ME) as many times as you want (the more times you visit the page, the more revenue is raised and the more money is donated). Although the contestants are listed alphabetically, their photos are anonymous. BUT, I am going to give you some hints so you can vote for me! 1) My photo is probably considered the least racy/sexy of them all. 2) When you see my photo the color ORANGE will be prominent. 3) And lastly, you may be able to see the reins of a horse in my hands. Okay, enough hints. I think you should be able to figure it out. Head on over to Bewb Fest 10 have fun, vote, raise money and awareness!

A Tale Of Two

When Chelsea King went missing, we (as I am sure all area residents did) felt dismay and concern. Bear and I (as well as MacD, Nannygoat and Mr. Vixen) were hit especially close to home. That is our field. That is our place. Yes it’s a community field, but it was our community field. My children grew up there. Learned to fly kites there, played softball there, hiked the trails with our dogs there, Gram and Gramps took Ladybug to the park there every Saturday morning for years, we celebrated birthday parties there. My first time trying roller blades was there, as was my first big fall off roller blades. The boys had epic paint ball competitions there. Lloyd proposed marriage to Nannygoat on the trails near the waterfall. This was a place of many years of joy and activities for us.

Between Bear and I, Bear was absolutely convinced Chelsea had fallen on the trails and was hurt. We know the trails and it can be rough terrain in areas. Falling into a culvert, being unable to get out seemed like the obvious and only scenario to Bear. Being young, healthy, full of faith and innocence; she was so sure. I was hopeful this was the case, but not certain. A sick feeling in my stomach, mother’s intuition maybe, or just a sense of foreboding.

When they called for volunteers on Saturday morning, despite the pouring rain, Bear and I suited up in our best hiking gear, purchased two rain ponchos and headed off. By this time, my brain was entertaining the thought that she hadn’t fallen. That she wasn’t lying somewhere hurt and waiting to be found. Bear’s faith, however, remained untouched by the length of time and the fact that 100s of deputies had been searching for days and not found her. As we fought the traffic jam near the search HQ for nearly an hour, we noticed volunteers beginning to walk away from the area instead of towards the check in point. We asked several of them what was going on. It turned out too many people had shown up for the search. All volunteers were being turned away for now. We were asked to come back the next day.

Then someone was arrested in connection to her disappearance. Details were sketchy, but for certain they had found an article of her clothing and DNA linking to convicted sex offender. My heart sank, as reality set in. Bear would not give up hope that Chelsea was out there somewhere still. Possibly hurt by this man, but fighting on and just waiting to be found. She had to work the next two days, so we were unable to join the search. But during those two days, our lives were rocked by more revelations.

That Saturday night, they released some details about the man being held in connection with the case. His picture was all over the TV. As was the address at which he was living. This wasn’t just our park, this was our neighborhood. That home was just two blocks from our home of ten years. Fishboy’s mother lives a scant few houses away, as does his aunt’s family. Nannygoat walked past there on a daily basis during the years surrounding his first conviction and she was 14 years old at the time; the same age as his victims. Less than a block from Bear’s elementary school, where she walked to and from 2nd-6th grade. On Sunday morning, Sparkles came by to help with a shed Mr. Vixen is building. He also had news. Apparently when his pregnant girlfriend had watched the news the night before, she had recognized the man being held. Her sister called her and confirmed it. She allowed me to read some of her court papers. You see, she was one of the girls who testified at his preliminary hearing 10 years ago. She was one of his victims. Thank God, not one of the victims who were so badly beaten that resulted in the crimes he was actually charged with. She was one of the “lucky” victims, if there is such a thing, who got away. Still, she was wounded emotionally and the fear of testifying during that time still haunts her to this day. So haunted, that she had never shared with anyone but her family. You see, we know her because she lived in our neighborhood. These are our kids who were hurt. It could have been my daughter, they are nearly the same age. Sadly, during those two days, one last revelation was revealed: that the suspect had lived not far from the high school where Amber Dubois had disappeared during the time she went missing nearly 13 months ago. I felt this was too much coincidence. We had just moved into this city when Amber had gone missing and I had tried to join in that search also.

The day of our search efforts dawned chilly, but clear. Bear was now certain we were looking for a body. Certain of this myself, I wondered what they would have us do? Certainly they didn’t want a bunch of volunteers tromping through possible crime scenes? We were assigned to a group, given a leader and our leader was handed a grid map of the area we were assigned to. It wasn’t any where near the park or the trails. It was actually near where Amber Dubois had disappeared some 13 months ago. Turns out we were not searching for a missing 17-year-old girl on this assignment, but for the possible remains of a 13-year-old girl who had been missing for over a year. We were instructed on what to look for (bones, clothing, shallow graves and such) and what to do when we found something. I listened with stunned disbelief. What am I doing? Can I do this? What if we find bones or a grave? Could I handle it? Could Bear handle it? Our group gathered. Leaving no stone unturned, no holes uninvestigated, and tromping down every inch of vegetation on the overgrown hillside; we searched. Fingertip to fingertip, lined in neat rows, step by slow step for three hours. At times calling to the police officer who was our leader when we found something suspicious. The officer would check what we found. If it warranted further investigation, we tied an orange flag at the area. Bear and I had used up all six of our flags. And then someone’s phone rang. And then another. They had found Chelsea’s body. It was unconfirmed, but we were headed back to search HQ. As hundreds of volunteers milled around, drinking donated water and eating donated food, we waited for word. After a time, quietly, a lead volunteer went from small group to small group. He laid his hands lightly on our backs and stated it was confirmed. We held each other and wept. For her parents, for Chelsea and for our community. We were interviewed by the news. Bear was asked if she knew Chelsea and said no. And then she told him why we had come: That we had to come and that if she was missing she knew her parents would need help. Later that evening, when we saw our snippets played out on the news about how close-knit our community is (me) and Bear’s statements about being there for a stranger’s family who needed help, we cried again.

During the week we watched as our community reeled from the discovery. As news crews filmed in front of our old neighbor’s homes and in front of trail heads where we walked daily. One particularly enraged neighbor was filmed angrily screaming at two boys who painted over some graffiti that was painted on the suspect’s parent’s home. Although I understood his rage (fueled by fear for his children, I am sure); I commended those boys for what they did. No child in the area needed to see that kind of stuff. Parent’s were probably having a hard enough time explaining what was going on to their children. When they replayed that newscast later when everyone was home from work, I found out that the angry, screaming man is Fishboy’s uncle. The threads of this community are inexorably tied into my family.

This past Sunday, as we were decorating for RolyPoly’s baby shower breaking news came on. As we switched to the news channel they announced the remains of Amber Dubois had been found. Bear and I sat on the couch, arms around each other praying out loud that we honestly hoped it wasn’t in the area we had searched. Where we had hung our orange flags. Neither of us thought we could handle that. It wasn’t, but we held each other again. Bear whispered in my ear as I cried for the parents, that she was still here. And I thanked God for that, but as I looked in her eyes I saw it. The loss of her innocence. Gone was that youthful naivete, replaced with a dawning knowledge that her world was not the place she had believed it was.

I am not, in any way, trying to take attention away from the actual victims here: those girls who were abused and beaten; the two girls who’s young lives were taken from them too soon; those families whose lives are forever altered by the loss of a loved one in such a horrific and tragic way. But whoever did this, didn’t just victimize them. They victimized an entire community. They victimized my family too. Our hearts were abused and beaten by the death of these girls. Our memories of a place we considered safe and filled with joy, are now tarnished forever with the stains of the blood of innocence. Our grief and pain is not as great as theirs, but it exists just the same. And after the rage subsides, we will find a way to change things. Change something or anything. Some how, some way we will find a way to help those leading us to make a change that might save lives some day. That is our promise to Chelsea and Amber. And to our community.

A Quickie Is All I Have Time For

Hi there! Happy Holiday season! Between babysitting and sewing (and Survivor tonight) I only have a moment to stop by. But I had to share the great news about Great! The MRI results we were waiting for from this post came back this afternoon. It is not cancer. It is a calcification. Nothing to worry about. Such a great relief. Best (and probably only) present I’ll get this year!

You may now return to your previous scheduled evening!

WW~A Season Of Giving

This Wordless Wednesday is not so wordless. I wanted to share with you how wonderful my family is by showing you my tree, but without words, it wouldn’t make any sense. This year things are so tight, I wasn’t going to have a tree. Not even a cheapo from the local hardware store. Last weekend, my kids and my mother all got together and conspired to get me a tree. It is all over decorated now with my Great Grandmother’s glass ornaments and the ones we have collected throughout our 27 years of the holidays together. I think it’s beautiful.

I also wanted to remind you all that the Blog • Bid • Hope auction benefiting The Liz Logelin Foundation and Anissa Mayhew. Begins today at the following sites. Adventures in Babywearing, Buried with Children, Mayhem & Moxie, Scary Mommy, 7 Clown Circus, The Extraordinary Ordinary, & Mama’s Losin’ It. Each has a variety of different goodies to auction. Bids start at $10 and bidding ends Friday. If you want to bid on the item I donated from ApronFrenzy, it is listed here at Holiday Baker’s Delight. I gave what I have to give and it circled back to me in the form of this lovely tree. Check out the auctions and see what you can give, if you win an auction the rewards are great.

Christmas 2009


The love we give away is the only love we keep

 

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This past year has been quite trying for me and my family. But nothing has been bad enough to change the essential me. The person who wants to help everyone. The person who wants to give back for all the wondrous blessings I have received from my online community. Thanks to Carissa, at GoodNCrazy, I heard about an event being sponsored this week. You all know, I have love in my heart, but not two pennies to rub together. Putting food on my table is becoming increasingly difficult; however, I have aprons. You know, the ones at ApronFrenzy, that everyone loves but not everyone buys? (feel free to go buy one now) So I volunteered. They picked this beauty to use in the auction. And I am excited to be part of such a wonderful benefit. IMG_4441

This week seven different blogs will be acting as hosts for the auction.  They include: Buried with Children, Mayhem & Moxie, 7 Clown Circus, Scary Mommy, The Extraordinary Ordinary, Mama’s Losin’ It, and Adventures in Babywearing. All auction posts will be uploaded on Wednesday, December 9.  The auction will remain open until Friday, December 11 at 5:00 PST.  I believe my item will be auctioned on 7 Clown Circus, but be sure to check them all out and I am sure you will find gifts for everyone on your list!

If you would like to help promote the auction on Twitter this week they are planning to use the hashtag #blogbidhope. Want to follow all the hosts  on twitter so you don’t miss a thing? Here’s their twit details:

Kacey & Francesca: http://twitter.com/mayhemandmoxie
Kathy: http://twitter.com/mamakatslosinit
Angie: http://twitter.com/angiescircus
Jill: http://twitter.com/ScaryMommy
Jen: http://twitter.com/buriedwithkids
Stephanie: http://twitter.com/babysteph
Heather: http://twitter.com/HeatheroftheEO

Huge thanks to the hosts and the organizers of this event. It’s wonderful people like you who help me keep wanting to get up in the morning and visit the internet.

Sincerely

I know this is a bit late, but I have had some distractions. It is still very heartfelt:

To all of you who donated money, said prayers, lit candles, sent positive thoughts, etc. thank you for your generosity. Your friendship, support and incredible kindness has been a tremendous blessing during these difficult times. Our gratitude for you is unending. Thank you.

If Only The World Could Stay Purple Forever

This post is about an outpouring of love from a community that many people don’t know exists or, if they do, don’t believe is as good as ‘in real life.’ This past week, the sudden passing of Maddie shocked all of us. What wasn’t shocking was the response of the blogging/twittering community. At least it was not shocking to those of us who have experienced the online community’s outpouring of love when we needed it. I have always had a hard time when family or friends questioned my online friendships. How is it any different from friendships I have with people who have moved away? I don’t see those people very often or at all anymore, but that doesn’t diminish the feelings we have for each other. So why would anyone think that just because I haven’t met someone in person, that my feelings can’t be as genuine or real as with someone I see daily?

Communities like the one I grew up in 40 years ago don’t exist much anymore. These days we hardly know our neighbors, let alone have block parties. The growth of online communities, especially what the media dubs ‘mommy bloggers’ has created new communities that span across borders, across miles and across oceans. We support each other, inform each other and keep each other in touch with the world while helping to raise our children and our grandchildren. We give emotional support, advise, and expose ourselves to others who have experience to share.  It is a powerful, loving and nurturing community that knows no bounds. And, honestly, our response this last week has done much to restore my faith in mankind.

I urge those who can, to continue to honor Maddie by supporting the March of Dimes. When my grandson, Collin, who was born prematurely last August, died we asked for donations to MoD instead of flowers, so the MoD is a cause I believe in and support.  It is my sincere wish that no one have to go through what Maddie’s parents and Collin’s parents had to endure and I hope that someday because of MoD research they won’t have to.

If you are new to my Den, you may not know that in January of this year, for the first time since I was 16 (that is 30 years people!) I became unemployed. Since being laid-off, due to the current economic woes in our country, I have been unable to find employment. My husband is unable to work and (so far) unable to collect disability, so I had been our sole source of income for the past two years. I still have one child at home, and trying to support a family of three on unemployment is not easy nor is it comfortable. Still I gave what I could to MoD in Maddie’s honor, just as I did in Collin’s honor last year. The point of this little digression will become clearer in a few moments.

I have been reading the numerous posts in honor of Maddie and following as much in the Twitterverse as I can. All the posts have been moving and emotional, but none touched me the way a post by Kristen (I now see it is updated and her situation is very similar to mine). When my oldest grandchild was born (Ladybug), she suffered two massive strokes and was transferred to the NICU. She wasn’t expected to live and spent nearly two weeks there. By a miracle and the sheer force of prayer and love she did survive, but those days were some of the hardest I have ever suffered through. That night after reading Kristen’s post, I could hardly sleep. I talked to Funsize (Collin’s mother) and Nannygoat (Ladybug’s mom) and decided that we were going to have to form our own little movement in honor of  Ladybug, Maddie, Collin and all other little babies and their families who have had to spend time in the NICU.

Because I am unemployed, it is cookies and other homemade goodies we will be bringing the NICU nurses. And because I am a crocheter there will be little booties and caps for the babies! (I see now that Meghan has a link to patterns on her page here). ASIDE: I am always late to the party. Although I thought of this idea Wednesday night, I am just now writing it down and when doing the links I see that a lot of great minds think alike!). I know there are a lot of you out there who are having difficult financial times also, and I had hoped that if you crochet or knit you could make some preemie caps/booties and send them to me to be added in the gift bags. Or if you don’t have a crafty bone in your body, you could donate from the list of things from Heather’s NICU survival pack or things we wished we had such as: tissues, hand lotion (make sure it is non-scented), chapstick, energy bars, gum/mints, mouthwash, toothbrushes, toothpaste, hairbrush, disposable cameras (I can’t tell you how much we needed one as only parents were allowed into the NICU), wet wipes, a notebook and pen, nursing pads, purple gift bags (to hold the stuff) and I am sure there is more I forget.

I am especially looking for donations of notebooks. I kept one while Ladybug was going through her ordeal. It kept a journal of thoughts, but was also EXTREMELY useful for taking notes when we had doctor briefings (so I could google the stuff later) and remembering specialists names, numbers, etc. I have tons of fabric from my etsy store and I am going to cover each notebook and make it a little more special. If you have any ideas for other items (I know so many of you have done the NICU scene) or would like to donate, please feel free to contact me at vixen at vixensden dot com.

I belong to one of the most amazing communities on the planet and I am proud to be a member. You people really, really rock.

PS: We should have a catchy name for this adventure…anyone have ideas?

I Know This Feeling And It Sucks

Madeline Alice Spohr – November 11, 2007 – April 7, 2009

Today the world gained another bright star in the sky, when Maddie left. I asked you to support the March Of Dimes back in October, and I ask once again. I know theis feeling from when we lost Collin and if we can do one thing to help Heather and Mike through this difficult time let it be in their beloved Maddie’s name. Click on the purple box with Maddie’s picture and pray that someday we can save all the little babes.

Lord, whose ways are beyond understanding,
listen to the prayers of your faithful people:
that those weighed down by grief
at the loss of this little child
may we find reassurance in your infinite goodness.

Edited to add from AMomTwoBoys-forMaddie:

A PayPal Account has been set up to assist Heather and Mike with any upcoming expenses. You can donate by sending money, via PayPal to formaddie@hotmomreviews.com. All money received will go directly to them

If you want to show Mike and Heather your love and support in person, further details on services for Maddie will be available as they are arranged. The service will be as soon as possible, and they’re asking that everyone wear purple. If you are in the Los Angeles area, or want to be in the area for the event, the March for Babies Team Maddie walk is Saturday, April 25th. Click the March of Dimes link for more information.

Human beings are the only creatures that allow their children to come back home

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This week’s theme/prompt is: HEADS – Anything round

I am very sure that these have probably made the rounds several times before, but I get such a laugh out of them I just had to send them round again!

Why do we love children? (number six is my personal favorite). Also don’t forget to go see the new Christmas apron over at ApronFrenzy and some new pictures/new layout at Vixen’s Pixels.

  1. I was driving with my three young children one warm summer evening when a woman in the convertible ahead of us stood up and waved. She was stark naked! As I was reeling from the shock, I heard my 5-year-old shout from the back seat, “Mom, that lady isn’t wearing a seat belt!”
  2. On the first day of school, a first-grader handed his teacher a note from his  mother. The note read, “The opinions expressed by this child are not necessarily those of his parents.”
  3. A woman was trying hard to get the ketchup out of the jar. During her struggle the phone rang so she asked her 4-year-old daughter to answer the phone. “Mommy can’t come to the phone to talk to you right now. She’s hitting the bottle.”
  4. Read More

So Many Thoughts, So Few Words

Sometimes things get to be too much. The pressure of every day life seems heavier and harder to carry. This has been a difficult year for me, in many ways and it continues to be so. I have been laid up and knocked out for the last few days after somehow throwing out my back (no, it could not have been picking up a slightly heavy 3-year-old with a full leg cast).

In spite of the feelings of pain and new suffering and sadness this week (God Bless you little angel, Grama will meet you in Heaven some day , tell Collin I love him too) I seem to feel some hope. Hope for what I am not sure, it is just a sense of well-being that seems incongruous to the state of my life right now, but is unshakeable all the same.

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