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!
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