Prov. 31:25

Cancer is a word, not a sentence.

Hi! My name is Jenny. I have been married to my best friend for 33 years, I have two wonderful children and on June 30, 2015 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am determined to get well and I know that with the strength my Lord provides and the love and support of my family and friends, that will happen. The road to healing is a difficult one… however I strive to be thankful for the blessings I have, to find joy in every day and maybe in some small way be a blessing to those I come in contact with. The support and encouragement that I find on this blog makes my heart smile and helps me to realize that I am not alone. All of you are so much appreciated and help me more than you will ever know. So thanks for stopping by....if you would like please leave a comment after my post....I would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Warmth and Comfort of a Quilt

Hello Dear Friends,

I have finished it! I am so happy I could just well….do a happy dance! My pink and white quilt is done. The last tie has been tied, the last stitch in the binding has been completed and the last thread has been cut. The needles and pins, threads and scissors have been put back in their rightful places and it is just my quilt and I….together….sharing a quiet moment in time, reflecting on the journey, relishing in the fact that at long last this quilt has been completed, maybe not as I first envisioned it but lovely just the same. Handmade with love that is hopefully felt in every stitch! Remembering when it all started…….

The year was 1996…and yes you did read that correctly…grins….My family and I had just moved into our house and I had the desire to make a quilt! As I unpacked boxes, set up my kitchen, hung pictures and worked to make our house into a home I thought about this quilt. I decided on a pink and white gingham fabric and I knew I wanted it to have hearts appliqued on it as well. (You know me and my hearts…lol) Once we were settled in and the last box was unpacked I set about gathering my supplies. I found the perfect fabric, cut out my templates, washed and dried my fabric and was now eager to begin. I planned to cut out my first squares that evening after the children were in bed. I did not count on a precious baby girl starting to teethe that evening and become extremely fussy. No one would do but mommy….so mommy rocked and cuddled, sang and walked back and forth and looked longingly at the pile of fabric sitting neatly on the table. Scott knew how important this quilt was to me and he knew how eager I was to begin it so my “ knight in shining armor” patiently began to cut my squares for me. Now this was before my cutting mat and rotary cutter and to this day this is one of my fondest memories….Scott cutting my squares for a quilt I was so excited to make and me rocking our baby girl to sleep. At the time Andrew was just 4 years old and Emily was not yet one. Tiny little children that needed their mom….so my days were busy indeed. I loved absolutely everything about being a mom so I knew that this quilt would not be done in a hurry. I worked on it in spare little moments of my day. These little moments became very special to me and now have become the special memories of which this quilt is made.

I remember…..

Emily taking her morning naps to the gentle whirrrrr of the sewing machine.

Me quietly sewing on the quilt while Andrew would play nearby with his fire engines and Emily with her baby doll.

Sitting outside on our patio with a heart block in my hand appliqueing it on to the white fabric while Andrew and Emily played outside in their sand box or played with our sheltie Laddie.

I remember sewing on this quilt one night when Andrew was really sick with pneumonia and Emily had strep throat and as I watched my two precious children sleep I took one little stitch after another….each stitch a prayer…and each stitch keeping me grounded so fear would not take over and I could be calm….

I also remember working on this quilt right after my Grandma died. I remember promising her that I would keep her love of needlework going strong and that I hoped she would be proud of the things I made.

And after baths were taken, favorite stories read, teddy bears and rabbits tucked under covers for cozy sleeps with their child…..I would sit in the now quiet house, with the lights just bright enough for me to see and stitch and sew this precious quilt together….piece by piece…stitch by stitch…remembering the day and how blessed I was to be a part of this family and how much I loved my little boy and my little girl and how proud I was of them and all their little accomplishments.

It took awhile for me to complete the quilt top as you can now see. Andrew and Emily were growing up. I was actively involved with Andrew in his preschool and then kindergarten and first grade. I was busy with Emily and her little friends and I was actively involved in our church. I then started homeschooling both children and our days became busier and busier…lol. Little League, Basketball, Horseback Riding and Soccer became a part of our lives. Sidewalk chalk ,markers and crayons were replaced by bicycles and skateboards.  Weeks would go by and my pink and white quilt would wait patiently in its basket for me to pick it up again….which I always did … and then finally one day the quilt top was completed…..

I love hand quilting and I knew that would be the next step on the journey with my quilt. I guess I was overwhelmed, I wasn’t sure how I wanted to quilt it, nothing seemed right. So my little quilt was put aside but never forgotten. Never. I loved this quilt and I would find myself taking it out often and laying it on my bed, looking at it and remembering all those times I worked on it, trying to figure out what to do with it from here. Never having any of my ideas feel right somehow.

This quilt has traveled with me, believe it or not. When my parents both had major surgeries I brought the quilt with me to L.A. both times. I would take it out of my suitcase and lay it on my lap and be comforted by it. It traveled to San Diego for the same reason when my MIL had surgery. It has been to Morro Bay and felt the sea air…grins.

Our lives have changed yet again. My children are all grown up… honestly I turned around and there they were all grown up….I am battling cancer…. But the pink and white quilt top was just the same as it had always been. Maybe that was what it was supposed to be. I just didn’t have the energy to quilt after I was diagnosed with cancer. I just couldn’t for some reason. And then this summer I was reading a blog post about a quilt a woman had just finished…a TIED quilt. I stopped and thought a moment….yes this could work for my quilt! I went and picked up my pink and white quilt and laid it yet again on my bed and realized that yes I could finish my quilt this way…by tying it! I was so excited! I picked it up and held it close to my heart….” You will be finished after all”  I thought as I smiled, and placed it gently back in its basket, with a final loving pat! I layered it with comfy thick batting, after all it deserved to be cozy, and found a soft ,white muslin for the backing. I picked a darker pink fabric for the binding to match the darker gingham squares and I pinned it all together. I used pearl cotton to tie it with and actually managed a few rows before I ended up in the hospital. When I came home again there was my quilt waiting for me, still in its basket. I picked it up and held it close and once again laid it across my lap. It worked its magic yet again and brought great comfort and joy to me. I slowly began tying the little knots. One row was finished and then another. Soon a few more rows were finished and before I knew it I had tied the last knot and I was feeling better too! And stronger. I sewed the binding to the front of the quilt and then began hand sewing it down in the back. One little stitch at a time. I wasn’t in a hurry, I just sewed at my own pace, remembering all the times I had worked on the quilt before. I thought about how much had changed since I made the very first stitch but more important I remembered how much had stayed the same. Love! Faith! Family! Friends! The important things were still constant in my life! How thankful I was for that! The last stitch was finished!

My VERY favorite part of making a quilt is when I take it out of the dryer and hold that warm, cozy quilt to my heart and just hug it! It is that moment that I think WOW! I made a quilt! A real quilt! One to hold on to, to cuddle with and to love! For those of you who have made a quilt you know exactly the moment I am talking about because we all know that quilts are a commitment of time and they don’t get finished in a hurry…lol….most don’t take 20 years though…winks!

When most people see this quilt they see fabric squares sewn together. They might see the imperfections, the squares that don’t always match up, the hearts that are not quite centered. When I see this quilt all I see are the memories that have gone into its making.  I see my children growing up, I see my husband lovingly cutting fabric for me…because he loved me…and that is what love does. I have felt its comfort over the years and its healing as I tied it after my stay in the hospital. If you look closely you might even see a tear stain or two when the nostalgia made me cry or when I was working on it after my Grandma died. Mostly though I just see its love….because that is how I made it…with much love…every stitch a hope…a dream…a prayer….a memory!

The quilt is finished now and right where it belongs! Where it was always meant to be. For you see this was never “ my” quilt. I made it for my daughter Emily. It has always been for her. The little girl in my arms that night when Scott cut the squares for me now holds the quilt in her arms, now cuddles under its softness and now feels it warmth!

Enjoy the quilt my precious Emily and always feel its love…..because that is how I made it…Handmade With Love! For You! Love, Mom!

So what does a person do when the quilt they were making is finished and their heart is too full for words but their fingers are itching to work on another quilt? Why you start on another quilt of course! That is exactly what I have done and this quilt is just as special to me, just as sentimental as the pink and white quilt has always been. But that is a story for another day!

Take care my friends!


Thursday, September 8, 2016

A Hummingbird Story

A Hummingbird Story
Written by Jenny Lawson

Once upon a time in a land far across the ocean, (I always start my stories this way because some of my dearest friends live “across“ the ocean) there lives a friend named Jenny. Jenny lives in a little gray and white house with her husband Scott and her two children Andrew and Emily. When Scott and Jenny were first married Scott hung a wooden bird feeder in a tree branch outside in their garden and so began a family tradition. No matter what the weather little birds could always count on fresh seed to eat and a quiet place to rest their wings or build a nest for their families.

When the leaves on the trees started changing to beautiful reds, oranges and yellows more little birds would come to eat the seed. Now the weather was cooler and sometimes the wind would blow so hard that the little feeder would sway back and forth and some of the seed would fall to the ground with the leaves, but the little birds did not worry. They knew that Jenny would fill the feeder up again and some of the bigger birds would eat the seed on the ground and be happy too.

Sometimes the weather was very, very cold. Sometimes the roof of the little wooden bird feeder would be covered in snow. Blue Jays and Cardinals would come to feed from the little feeder and there would always be seed. Little Sparrows could cuddle right up next to the bird feeder and stay warm next to the seed.

When Spring came the rain would come but the little wooden feeder would keep the seed nice and dry and while the rain would water all the little flowers in Jenny’s garden the little birds would stay dry under the overhang of the feeder and enjoy a little seed snack.

Soon it was summer and the sun would shine very brightly in Jenny’s garden. The little birds were coming to eat the seed out of the little wooden feeder and it would give them the shade in which to help stay cool. Jenny noticed however that the little birds seemed very hot and thirsty. So she placed a bird bath filled with nice cool water next to the feeder. Now the birds were very happy indeed and they spent many happy hours enjoying the seed and swimming and cooling off in the birdbath. They would sing all the time and their little songs made Jenny smile throughout the day. Jenny would stand by the windows or the door to her garden and just watch all the little happy birds enjoying her little patio.

One morning when Jenny was watching the birds she noticed a very little bird flying among her flowers. This little bird was VERY tiny and it was flapping its little wings very fast. Jenny was very excited because it was a hummingbird. Hummingbirds are very special birds and Jenny was so very happy to have him in her garden. She quickly went out and bought a hummingbird feeder and filled it with sugar water, a special hummingbird food. Pretty soon this little hummingbird brought his friends to Jenny’s garden and soon there were LOTS of hummingbirds flying outside. The sparrows and doves, orioles and finches all welcomed the hummingbirds to Jenny’s Garden and every one was so happy.

Scott and Jenny, Andrew and Emily all had so much fun watching the hummingbirds. They would not only fly very fast from one place to another but by flapping their wings very quickly they could hover in one place. They noticed that their little feet were so tiny that they could not walk on the ground and sometimes it is hard for them to shuffle on a perch. These little birds use up so much energy during the day that they actually need to eat twice their body weight every day. That is why Jenny puts so much sugar in their food so they can keep their energy level up.

One day, very early in the morning, even before the sun was up, Scott was awake. He opened up the windows of their little house and went outside to water all of Jenny’s flowers for her. He made sure that there was plenty of seed in the little wooden bird feeder and that there was plenty of sugar water for the hummingbirds. Everything was ready for the new day. On his way inside to get his coffee….Scott LOVES his coffee in the morning….he noticed a hummingbird sitting very quietly on the hummingbird feeder. It did not move. All the other hummingbirds were flying to and from the feeder getting their breakfast, but this little hummingbird did not fly away or even get a drink. He just sat there. And sat there…..and sat there….

Scott went inside to get his cup of coffee and still the hummingbird did not move. He watched from the window as he sipped his coffee from his favorite mug and still the little bird did not move. Finally he went and woke Jenny up and told her about this little, tiny bird. When Jenny looked outside the window the little hummingbird was STILL sitting on the little perch of the feeder. He had not moved…..not one little bit. Scott and Jenny even went outside and stood right next to the hummingbird feeder and the tiny little bird did not fly away. Was the little hummingbird okay? Will he ever be able to fly again? Oh my goodness….now the little bird is hanging UPSIDE DOWN! Wow! What is happening to this little bird?

As Scott and Jenny stood and watched this little bird trying to decide if he was okay a beautiful but very LARGE black and yellow oriole bumped into the hummingbird feeder and the tiny little hummingbird was pushed off his perch! Scott managed to catch him before he fell to the ground and guess what? The little hummingbird still did not wake up! He was breathing but was sound asleep!

He lay in Scott’s hand as Jenny petted him. He still did not wake up. He finally moved just a little bit to a sitting position but he was still asleep. Scott tried gently to place him on a branch in the tree but he could not hang on because he was….that is right….you guessed it….STILL ASLEEP! Jenny finally made a little, tiny bed for him from a little, tiny box and they gently laid the hummingbird inside. They placed the little box in the shade of their patio on top of their little table and quietly watched the little bird.

They ate breakfast and watched the little hummingbird.

They said “ Good Morning” to Andrew and Emily and watched the little bird.

Jenny washed the dishes and watched the little bird.

The sun came up. The gentle rays of the morning sun finally touched the little hummingbird’s wings and as Scott and Jenny, Andrew and Emily watched the little bird opened his eyes, stretched his little wings, looked around him in some surprise because he didn’t know how he had gotten into the box and quickly FLEW away to his home in the tree where his family was probably waiting for him. And guess what? Every day this little hummingbird flies from his home in the tree to get a drink from the feeder. He is always awake now! He never, ever falls asleep on the hummingbird feeder….and I think it is because he knows it is much safer for little hummingbirds to sleep in their houses at night instead of on hummingbird feeders where they can get bumped off by bigger birds and end up in little boxes.

So if you ever see a hummingbird sleeping, or hanging upside down don’t worry. They are in a condition called Torpor. In Torpor the hummingbirds lock their feet on a perch, lower their body temperature and slow down their heart rate to just a few beats per minute. They do this to protect themselves from the cold! When the sun warms up their little bodies that is when they know it is okay to wake up!


Hope everyone is having a great day!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Summer Days

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye”
~The Little Prince~

Hello Dear Friends…..

The summer days are slowly, and I mean SLOWLY, making their way toward autumn and as I look on the calendar and the month before me says September I always find myself doing a double take and asking “Really? It’s September already?”  So far the calendar does not answer me back but one day when I ask this question for the millionth time it just might….grins… September has always been my favorite month of the year. Maybe it is the school teacher in me that loves the smell of newly sharpened pencils and brand new text books waiting to be opened up. Maybe it is the sense of anticipation of starting something new and seeing all the eager faces of precious children wearing their new school clothes and carrying new backpacks that puts a smile on my face and a tug at my heart strings. Maybe it is the color of the sunlight that isn’t shining quite so brightly and the cooler breezes in the morning and evenings or the little leaf that is turning yellow and gently falling off the tree in the still summer wind. To be honest I am ready for autumn. I am ready for the hot weather to move along and the cooler temps to take their place! I am ready to snuggle under quilts and put pumpkins on my front porch. Oh yes it is September and I am glad……but still just a little bit surprised!

The memories that my family and I made this summer are very precious to me. The ocean with its cool breezes and salty water lapping at my feet, the sand in my shoes and the little shells and treasures that I found were priceless to me. I collected some sand and shells and other little treasures and made them into a hurricane lamp to remember the day. I love seeing it on my table and it always makes me smile. The lake that we visit often has become a favorite place for me to go, the hot air balloon that was suddenly over my house one morning, the flowers that bring me so much joy, the hummingbird that Scott was able to hold,  a trip to Disneyland and sunsets from my front porch. Memories! What a special gift they are! These memories carried me through the month of August and into September and I was so very grateful for every picture I took, for every smile that I shared, for every hand that I held and for every simple little moment I spent with people I love.

On August 5th I started my 3rd round of chemotherapy. It was a Friday, sunny and hot, and I wish with all my heart that I could say it went well, but to be honest it went very badly. There was just way too many medications for my body that had already gone through so much. By Monday I was really sick and by Friday I was in the hospital with a white blood cell count of .4 and a fever of 100.9. Now for a healthy person that fever is considered ok, that is, when you have a normal white blood cell count of between 5-10. I was not even half of one. To make a long story short 5 days in the hospital, 6 antibiotics and a super bug later I am home recovering. I cannot tell you how thankful I am to be home, to be recovering with my family, to be able to enjoy just simple little pleasures like new books from the library or a chance to work on a quilt or a sampler. To be able to watch a sunset from my front porch, to be able to share moments of my day with people that I love, to water my flowers and watch them bloom, to hold my kittens and to laugh! Do you know what a wonderful gift laughter is? Joy! What a wonderful blessing to be able to choose joy, to share that joy with others, to see how contagious joy is,.,how it can spread! Oh my goodness I almost forgot…..Chocolate Chip Cookies! How absolutely wonderful they taste…. Homemade, fresh from the oven! My new favorite food! Do you know when Scott and I were dating I would bake him chocolate chip cookies and mail them to him all wrapped up in a shoe box? When they would arrive at his house he would open up the box, pour himself a glass of milk and just enjoy! Oh yes another favorite memory! Here is another thing I just absolutely love! Handwritten letters and cards! Are they not the most wonderful thing to get in the mail? I read these words recently on a blog I follow and I just loved them….it is exactly how I feel…“ These days there are few things as special as a word written to you by someone who cares in their own handwriting. I believe our handwriting….no matter how good or bad…. is actually our own  little piece of art.” Emails and texts are wonderful….I use them all the time….but when someone takes the time to write to me, or to make the card or paint the card themselves  that really is a treasure to me! Thank you to all of you who have taken the time to write to me while I have been traveling this road! It means more than I can ever say!

All these simple little day to day things all come together and make up my life! Life! What a wonderful. precious gift that is! What a wonderful gift to be able to wake up and have a whole day to live, to make a difference, to be a blessing to someone. My days are not always good. Some days they are just down right bad….sighs…but what a wonderful gift to have shared that day with someone I love! What a wonderful gift hugs are, or shoulders to lean on or hands to hold. When I was in the hospital I did not realize how very sick I was or that some people do not survive what I went through. All I knew was that I was never for one minute alone! I could not have any visitors except Scott and he had to wear a gown, a mask and gloves….poor guy….but he was there….every day and every night! I have to tell you too that my Lord was there, as close as my breath, and He never left! All of those prayers that were said on my behalf He heard! And He answered! I am recovering, I will be okay and I will continue my journey. (Although my oncologist and I are going to talk and find out just what route my journey is going to take now because I promise you I will not do this again!...LOL) The view outside my hospital window was hills….small hills and in the distance mountains….. and the verse that came to mind so often? Psalm 121:1

I will lift up my eyes to the hills-
From whence comes my help?

Wow! Thanks everyone for reading my ramblings! I just wanted to touch base and let you know how I am doing and off I go! Another thing I love….writing!

I hope you all have a wonderful day filled with something that brings you joy, someone that makes you smile and something essential that you can see with your heart!