Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hair's to Nya

I thought writing
this post
would be easy
I thought writing
this post
would be fun
and don't get
me wrong
it's not that
this post
is the opposite
it's just that
this post
is everything
I never expected
...and isn't that
the lesson here
life, in a way
is everything
never expected

one thing
that stands out
for me is
walking this journey
along side
my loved ones
pales in comparison
to living it
one can only
what life
would be like

and the reality is
to see cancer
from a front row
to witness
the life change
the transformation
of a spirited, innocent child
to a weathered, wounded warrior
it ignites fire
a fierce force
from within
and fuels intentions
of love
of hope

I've walked the hallways
of Roswell's 6 North
enough times now
arts and crafts in tow
ready to keep a smile
on our Nya Noodle's
beautiful face
and this time
the last time
knowing my hair
my locks of love
were mine
for a limited time

our baby girl
lay quietly in bed
say lady...
I brought some fun
do you feel up for
drawing... nothing
stickers... nothing
hey! Aunt Amanda
wore her hair down
you want to brush it
for the very last time
she picks her head up
she smiles
we get comfortable
and hair brushing it is

what is it
about hair
that girls
of all ages
are attracted to
we love it
we obsess over it
we play with it
we style it
we cut it
we grow it
we compliment it
just one
of the many many
physical traits
that reveals
what we look like
but has nothing
to do with
more importantly
who we are

I will admit
I think we all
can admit
that even though
we may think of
ourselves as beautiful
whether it be
on the inside
or even on the outside
when we think
our hair looks good
we actually
feel... beautiful
why is that

when it came to
the day, March 11th
there were a lot
of emotions
yes, there were
some nerves
some excitement
but I was surprised
by the anger
by the sadness
something about the day
hit me with a dose
of reality
of cancer
of a child
who I love
who didn't
have a choice
and that
just hurt

and then
I felt that flame
the heat of love
the light of hope
all the intentions
all the actions
of others
this little girl
her family
and me
this was simply
meant to be
so I took
a deep breath
Hair's to Nya

what comes next
again... never expected


over 13 inches
to another girl
to help her
feel... beautiful

that made me
feel beautiful

the kids
my kids
what will they think
what will they say
you look like me Mommy
you look beautiful Mommy
really, you like it
it's still just you Mommy
and with that
words of wisdom
from a 3 year old
it's just hair people
it's still just me

and would ya know
hair... 13 inches of hair
me... my fire
my fierce force
my courage created
over $2,500
of love and hope
for this beautiful
beautiful girl
Hair's to Nya

to this day
well after March 11th
the love and support
the funds are still
pouring in
I truly never expected
an experience
such as this
it's indescribable
to fully express
the gratitude
that encompasses
each and every
kind gesture
to simply and appropriately
define it... it's

Thank you!!!
Keep Smiling

Saturday, February 22, 2014

my role

I knew
from the moment
I decided
to cut my hair
that this was
going to be
a life lesson
a teachable moment

my role
in my classroom
is yes, to teach Art
but certainly
my lesson plans
expand far beyond
the edges of the paper
the tips of the paint brushes

I think every teacher
every person really
wants to make
a difference
and certainly
in small ways
in most ways
we all do
but when we find
the opportunity
the courage
to make a big difference
rare and lucky
are we to experience
the big reward

I never imagined
I'd be telling
a story like this
I never imagined
I'd get to see
I'd get to feel
the ripple effect
of how one person
can truly make
a chain reaction

We recently changed
semesters in school
I said good bye
to a group of  students
after 20 weeks
of instruction
and hello to
a new group
for the remainder
of the school year

knowing my old students
would see me
and my hair
after March 11th
I wanted to share
what the drastic change
was all about
before they left
my classroom
considering Nya's diagnosis
was in the Fall
they all already knew
her story
there was no way
I could teach
without them knowing
how my life was changing
in a season of change
even at that time
it created great
meaningful conversation
discussions of lives
effected by cancer

So I told them
and shared my poem
reminded all of those
middle school minds
that is was
not about the hair
it never will be
about the hair
it's about
the choice
the decisions
you make, daily
that come from
your heart
that effect people
and show them
your true self
your true colors
your true beauty
don't be afraid
be courageous
be inspired
some were shocked
some were in awe
some even shed a tear

I made a point
not to ask
for donations
yes, my family and friends
were being asked
to sponsor me
but all I wanted
from them
was awareness
and actions
be mindful
be beautiful
and I wished
them all well
as they walked
out my classroom door
for the final time

Now yes, I was
I figured maybe, a girl
might donate
her lunch money
and for that
I would be
touched and grateful
but actually
at the end of the day
on my desk
was a crumpled up
wad of money
that when opened
had a post-it attached
that read this...

signed, Jacob

I randomly
found him in the hall
and gave him
a hug
he had a shy smile
and a twinkle in his eyes
he was the quiet kid
with a heart of gold
I knew that
I've always known that
but I was blindsided

so of course
12 dollars
is a chunk of change
for a middle schooler
so of course
I called mom
shared this story
with her
offered to give
some or even all
of the money back
the thought alone
had filled my heart
overflowing with emotion
and pride, mom said
it is his money
it is all that he has
it is all that he earned
he can spend it
as he likes
and she couldn't think
of a better way
we laughed
we cried
we hung up the phone

about a week later
Jacob's schedule is different
he no longer has Art
he walks into my room
he hands me an envelope
inside a letter and money
my hands shaking
my heart pounding
my eyes filling with tears
I read about how...

his mother
so touched
from Nya's journey
by my actions
her son's donation
emotional after
our conversation
at work, her boss noticed
calls her into his office
checks to see all is ok
she continues to explain
he offers to donate $100
IF she cuts 6 inches
of her own hair
and... she does!!!
and adds more money
of her own
all that she can do
the least that she
can do
to help

and with that
again... I have
no words
to adequately express
the wave
the overwhelming
sense of gratitude
how people care
how good intentions
create courageous
kind actions

to everyone
who continues
to pray for Nya
the emails
the texts
the letters
the donations
I am
my family is
eternally grateful
the love and support
is what
Keeps us Smiling

my campaign
isn't over yet
if you are inspired
please consider
making a donation
I would be honored
I am humbled
by how my actions
are effecting
people's hearts
and helping to create
an easier journey
for our princess warrior
Nya Sophia

Saturday, February 8, 2014


There are times
when writing
feels like pulling teeth
calling for creativity
that just isn't there
and then there are times
when the inspiration
springs so quickly
I have to run, literally
before the fear
of losing my thoughts
defeats the act of

I will admit
I wrote the following
a while ago
in the Fall
when it was all
still fresh
the chaos of life
swirling about
but it came to me
in an instant
spilling from pen
to paper so perfectly
that in a time
that felt so wrong
the intentions couldn't feel
more right

I bring to you
with the hope of
from a little girl
for a little girl
who's journey
touches my heart
and moves
my soul

Hair's to you
Keep Smiling

the real definition
isn't about
appearance, looks
never has been
isn't now...
nothing beautiful
about Leukemia
but in the healing
in the hair loss
the real definition
is revealed

is a spirit
an air of confidence
an act of bravery
the strength
of rising above
becoming more
than a diagnosis
accepting circumstance
finding courage
in the situations
life throws
in your face
your beautiful face

you are beautiful
with and without
your hair... so
Hair's to you
I'm cutting my hair
in honor of
you... Beauty!
Keep Smiling

I'm asking
my family and friends
to please consider
sponsoring my quest
to raise awareness
and support
my niece and her family
in their courageous
fight against cancer
a beautiful life

On March 11, 2014
I will be cutting
over 10 inches
of my hair
and donating it to
Locks of Love
a charity committed
to creating hair pieces
for children
who bravely
and beautifully live

If you are inspired
to share in the spirit
of Courage
I would be honored to
cut for cash
all donations will go
directly to benefit
Nya Sophia
and her road to

Family and Friends
I will graciously
accept cash or checks
addressed and sent
to me
if you are a
cyber supporter
please feel free
to leave a comment
with your email address
and I can contact you 
with more information
on how and where
to send the love

With this being my
first post
in the New Year
a year
unique and special
my one word
my one focus is
I am inspired
by the beauty of

I thank you
for following
and continuing
to follow
my blog
my story
your support
has been

My wish is to
share that feeling
with a family
my family who needs
to feel that kind
of love
of hope
in this
New Year
 Keep Smiling!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Keep Smiling

So much can change
in an instant
just when you think
you can scoop
all of life's
precious moments
in the palm of your hand
and hold them tightly
suddenly perspectives shift
and everything falls
straight to the floor
and when there is
nothing left to do
but pick up the pieces
you realize
your holding old memories
to a new puzzle

our Nya Sophia
my 6 year old
innocent niece
was diagnosed with AML
acute myeloid leukemia
cancer of the bone marrow
just 2 weeks ago
and life has since been
will forever be

my sister, Lindsay
and her family
need all the love
support and prayers
we can manage
to send their way
follow their journey at
Roswell's Carepages
by signing in
and searching the blog

it's a lot to process
for everyone
emotions are still
very raw... yet
I have taken
what my sister said
from the very beginning
to heart and soul
our mantra is
Keep Smiling

so please
in this new month
of gratitude
and family
hold your loved ones
close and tight
wrap your arms around
everything in life
and Keep Smiling

we did manage
to complete
the October checklist
of pumpkins
of carving
of costumes
of candy
all with the resistance
of struggle
of heartache
of chaos
of independence

in our home
three is challenging me

times two

but I've learned
with all things
every stage
brings new boundaries

brings new beauty

we are finding
our way

figuring out
what shapes
create a scary

and what shapes
create smiling


and speaking of
shapes and smiles
the end of the month
brought about
the end of a 6 month
Eye exam hiatus
Easton went back
for yet another
vision test and ireport

after an almost 2 hour
waiting room adventure
we marched right into
the exam chair patched
and ready to read
with a little snack bribery
enforcement and encouragement
Easton's Eye tested
the best yet... 20/30

it shocked the PO
just so that he even
questioned if he was peeking
peaking, through a patch?!
so onward we go
consistent relentless
continue to patch 8 hours
daily... it's working
Keep Smiling

we also scheduled an EUA
exam under anesthesia
as if we don't have enough
reasons to visit a hospital
the Tuesday
before Thanksgiving
please pray
glaucoma stay away

oh yeah and
new lens prescriptions
to follow the exam
this is all exactly
what I expected
and for that
I am grateful

these two though
are you looking at
these photos?!!
here he is
helping her down the stairs
nice and easy
pretty princess
make way for
polite pirate

they LOVED
trick or treating
door to door
ding dong
delighted and dancing

check out this
pirate's booty

hey kids, sit below
your pumpkin
no, NOT under it
goofs gotta love em

gotta grab em
and take what
I can get

photo ops of
twins with twins
will never get old

Keep Smiling!!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

the third year

Come Party in Our Garden

Where you will see

Bulldozers, Backhoes, Butterflies and Bees

Easton and Azalea are turning 3!

It was a beautiful day... Saturday, September 28, 2013

We celebrated as a family

and with family

that special day
three years ago
to the day


I remember it
like it was
just yesterday
and yet it feels
so very far away

He was born first
Baby A at 9:20 pm
head first
pulled from my abdomin
he let out one
single loud cry
they dipped him over 
the large blue curtain
I saw him
will never forget
the blood stained 
my baby boy
then immediately
as fast as I saw him
he was taken away
his breath stopped
my heart my mind my body

She was born second
Baby B, our mystery
at 9:22 pm
anxiously awaiting her arrival
worried wondering
she wanted to come
into this world sideways
Dr. said one leg and one arm
poked through the opening
ended up jumping
with both feet first
assured she was delivered
heard her sweet voice
singing for all to hear
don't fear Momma
we are here
I never got to see her
until it was over

Easton practically died
after birth
his initial Apgar score was 0
they had to ventilate him
stabilize him
and then Daddy went with him
as they rolled him
past the proud Grandparents
waiting near by
then up to the NICU
for more needles, wires and monitors
6 weeks early
was too premature
for his little lungs

Azalea, my sturdy flower
she was why we delivered
so early
no longer thriving in utero
she was wrapped tightly
in a white hospital blanket
and placed in my arms
in the recovery room
for a few moments
that felt like a lifetime
tiny, teeny tiny itty bitty baby
her sweet small round face
looked like an angel
snug in my arms
no family no cameras
just me, her and a nurse
she was on her way to the NICU
where eventually she too
would be ventilated, poked and wired
but this moment
this was mine and hers
our time to shine
my only "motherly moment"
on their actual

For a long time
these and other memories
of our challenging beginning
made me mad
made me sad
but now they fuel me
make me feel
knowing seeing
how far we have come
I will take sticky
cheese puff fingers and face
any day 
especially on his

and that face
those eyes
3 years ago
I had no idea
his future
would look like this
on a whole
nother level

one day
but not
on this day

this day
the third
of many to come

still feels new
yet somehow
feels old








yet again...

Happy Happy Happy
Birthday to my
Dear Easton


Happy Happy Happy
Birthday to my
Sweet Azalea

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