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Out Damn Golf Ball…in other words #FORE!

[Cross-posting this update from my FB status, which is a little health update.]

Was getting ready to post an update about a recent “interruption” to my health this fine lazy Sunday mornin’ and I caught this update from my friend Suleika Jaouad and her ridiculous adorbs bff Oscar in re: her own recent “interruption”. Thought it was pretty spot on with my own circs, minus the lyme disease and add a golf ball.

So here’s the scoop on my interruption aka #damngolfball:

Recently I had routine scans on an ovarian cyst my gynecological oncologist has been keeping tabs on, with the intention of removing it come winter. It seems that since my last scans in March, the cyst has doubled in size (along with the left ovary it’s attached to, and my uterus–sorry if that’s TMI…but once I had a scan that said my uterus was “unremarkable”…and I just wanted to set the record straight once and for all;). Anyway, so basically the cyst has an inflated ego, having gone from nickel to a golf ball size. I’d like to stress that it still looks to be just a cyst. Hulking out and throwing a fit. Which means the ball is literally in my court. Which means it’s #myturn.

So here’s the game plan:

Tomorrow (Aug. 3 at 1:30pm) we are saying #FORE to that damn golf ball. I’m having a hysterectomy/oopherectomy/thewholeshebangectomy. Just taking care of ALL the biz. I don’t feel like keep dealing with these potential ‪#‎fuckcancer‬scares. (In a way, it’s going along with my decluttering phase in our recent downsizing from the full quiver of the Evanshire to our empty nest aka The Love Shack. I’ve been working through a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up to help us streamline from a quarter of century of marriage, homeschooling for 16 years, and from 3500 sq. ft. to 1000. One of the principles in fitting into this new best nest is that we can only keep the things that bring us the greatest joy. This golf ball is NOT bringing the joy. And I don’t require the services of my ovaries and uterus any further. So they must go, along with so many good books that we just took to Half Price the other day. Except I got $56 for the books, which I traded for some Vinyl records. I will not be trading in, upgrading, or replacing the golf ball or any of the other parts. ‪#‎gonegirl‬)

My oncologist feels pretty good about things not being cancer, so that’s the story I’m sticking with, too. Of course she will biopsy everything and make sure everything’s groovy, but there’s no reason to think it’s going to be anything but a damn golf ball of a cyst. I’m good with the game plan. Not looking forward to tomorrow. #shakennotstirred a little, not gonna lie. Not looking forward to being benched from running, which is my chief stress management technique. But it will be good to get that damn golf ball the hell outta me, which will literally eliminate some stress. So hopefully it all evens out.

The “interruption” has seriously been the hardest part for me to swallow. I had planned on having this done in January, when I didn’t mind being sidelined from running for 6-8 weeks. I. LOVE. Summer. Even running in the heat. Winter is my discontent. Running in the Brrr… freezing cold is NOT. my. fave. So I’d already wrapped my brain around the surgery. Just not STAT.

I have what WAS a very full to bursting upcoming schedule:

  • training for a marathon in November #monkeywrench
  • a trip to Denver to see my sweet Amanda NEXT FRIDAY:(
  • my 7 year cancerversary celebration/Dave’s & my 50th bday Hawaii 5-0 holiday that was supposed to be at the end of August
  • an upcoming Grace project road trip in September that I am cleared to go on even if I won’t quite be 100% YET

I threw a pretty big damn pity party for myself about it all the weekend the golf ball threw down the gauntlet. But now we have a good game plan and I’m getting ready and getting set. Getting both the proverbial and literal houses in order. Got prayed over at church last night. Fasting (liquids–Doc’s orders) today. Got flying colors in my hair. And gonna ‪#‎runhappy‬ ‪#‎runfree‬ ‪#‎runwhileican #chasethesunset one more time tonight before I carpe the diem out of the sidelines tomorrow. Surgical scrub after. Coffee before midnight (to stave off a headache on top of everything else tomorrow.) Chased by a glass of wine to keep balance in the force.

Please pray my veins work tomorrow. They weren’t cooperative at the pre-op testing last Wednesday. My right arm and hand are both a little beat up from it all, so I have a little anxiety about the nurse getting stuck trying to stick me again. Also obvi, pray it is just a cyst.

A lot of peeps have asked if there’s anything they can do. I don’t exactly know yet. But I do know that as soon as I am up and at ’em, I’ll be good to go to WALK not run, but advance token to the nearest marathon—which I’ve already registered for this coming November. #themarathontrainingmustgoon… So I’ll be filling up my dance card with walking partners, if you are local and fancy a walk with me. Also, since the Love Shack is on the 3rd floor, I wouldn’t mind the encouragement to get down the stairs to the mailbox, if you wanna drop a postcard or a snail in the mail. The addy is P.O. Box 882, West Chester, OH 45071.

Thank you, all you crazy beautiful peeps for basically being LOVE, and for all the kind words and texts and messages and phone calls. I know I’m pretty much the luckiest girl and feel like the gratitude I feel for y’all is probs one of the coolest superpowers I got in the arsenal. ‪#‎thisgirlisonfire‬ So thank you. _/_

I’ll update here/FB/Instagram/Twitter/Tumblr ASAP.

Cheers and love and thanks again,


Words With Friends


Cheers, love, and Happy New Year, all YOU crazy beautiful peeps! I’m lifting a glass and clink-clinking, to YOU, to our health, and to an uber fab 2015!

And now for some cocktail chatter…

I have a question for y’all: What’s the word?

My friend Julie Sweeney turned me on to this idea a few years ago, where she chooses a word that sums up her focus or intention for the year. Well, yesterday, I finally settled on my word for 2015, which felt like an appropriate thing to do on Epiphany…it’s Jubilee. Been hovering about it ever since I started this 50th trip around the sun heading for the big 5-0 this September. Jubilee is, according to THE Google: a special anniversary especially celebrating 50 years of reign. (Note to self: invite Lorde to bday bash. practice royal wave.) It’s aka a year of remission for sins and universal pardon and freed slaves and debts forgiven and mercy raining down, which I’m down with cuz #lovewins. AND there’s also Jubilee the Marvel comic book superhero who has superhuman power to generate pyro technic energy plasmoids out of her hands. Whoa. (Joules. means. energy.) Which a stressful situation helped her manifest. Whoa. (Cancer is pretty much the most stressful bitch I ever met.) Now before you start running away from me whenever I’m trying to high five ya…please read your comic books and highlight the part where Jubilee used her superpowers for good…and relax. I zap cancer not you. You, I just high five. Or give a peace sign. Or maybe blow a kiss. No plasmoids. Pinky promise. (Note to self: Need yellow trench coat.)

What’s YOUR word? Post below and let’s keep one another’s intentions close to our hearts this happy new year. Cheers and love and x’s and o’s, Joules

Birthday Presence

I have a little tradition I started when I was thirty-something that, when I can remember not to forget, I write a sonnet for my birthday. A poetry selfie, if you will. So my birthday was Saturday and I turned lucky seven to the (super)Power of Two! And here’s the sonnet. It’s called Sonnet #49 because that’s the super secret code name I came up with when I did the math.


Sonnet #49


Yes, of course I’d like to know if you will

Still love me when I’m Sixty-four and my

Hair is blue. But. It knows that song well

Already, and you have not said goodbye—


#thingsthatmakemesaywhew . . . because

Who knows what color it will be next week?

It’s only hair. And ‘tis what it is, ‘twas

What it was, ‘twill be well, not mild, yet meek.


Not like a mouse. I mean, I like cheese, but—

Now is not the time for shrinking back. Not

At my age. Alice sure knew what was what

When she ate that cake: Took a bite and shot


For the moon. ‘Twas her one shot which is all

We all get. So let us eat the cake y’all!


Besides the birthday sonnet, I also uploaded “The Birthday VLOG” to my Year of Living Sincerely series on YouTube. Kinda a talkie selfie, if you think about it a little. Anyway, so here’s the video. And since it’s a talkie, I’ll let it introduce itselfie.


Sometimes The Stars Align

This is how Maya and I met.

My little warrior sister Maya the Magnificent
My little warrior sister Maya the Magnificent

Maya’s mama posted this pic on my Facebook wall, after they saw a video I shot at a Stand Up To Cancer event we had for my 2-year cancerversary in August 2010. The video was my daughter’s entry in SU2C’s “Up To You” music video contest. The challenge was to put your own spin on the song. The top 3 would be featured on the SU2C show that September.

This was my sweet Amanda’s spin on the song. I shot the film (that’s why I’m not in it) and my sweet Mikeyy edited the video. The band behind her is the rest of The Kicked-in Fence: her brothers Matt (guitar) and Mikeyy (djembe) and their friend Dustin Boudinet (guitar). All the lovely peeps are the kinds of friends I got by with a little help from. A few of them I miss because they have since finished their own cancer battles. Which only makes this video more precious because it captures a moment when we all stood up to cancer together. It. was. magical.

Amanda got 4th place in the contest. But the point is, this is the ripple Maya caught a wave, or rather a high-5, into our lives on. After Maya saw the video, she asked her mom to take that epic pic of her giving me a SU2C high-5 and standing up to cancer with me. Is their anything more precious?

Me & My Mini Me
Me & My Mini Me

The reason I bring this all up, besides the fact everybody’s always asking me about how Maya and I met, is because the Stand Up To Cancer show is on TV tonight.

6 years ago tonight, I happened to flip on the TV and catch the first Stand Up To Cancer show, while recovering from my double mastectomy and my first chemo cocktail hangover. I know this sounds super self-centered, but I felt like it was made for me TV. Like maybe somehow the stars aligned and the big dipper was pouring out the proverbial spoonful of sugar over the Evanshire. (Of course, I took it shaken not stirred, in case you’re wondering;)

Anyway, so Maya’s got a birthday coming up next week and I thought it would be super fun for her if a bunch of peeps wanted to send her SU2C high-fives and/or postcards from wherever you are from. Post the pics in the comments or email them to me and I will make a video of them all for Maya. Send postcards to: Joules Evans, PO box 882, West Chester, OH 45071 [Attn: Maya].


Life Interrupts: Flight of Lovely Dragonflies Event—Delayed



The Flight of Lovely Dragonflies

Unfortunately our featured guest, New York Times “Life, Interrupted” writer, my beautiful friend Suleika Jaouad, has been hospitalized this week and cannot make it to Cincinnati. As you can imagine, we have decided to postpone the event. I’m super sorry to deliver this news but I know everyone understands that Suleika’s well-being is our first priority. I will keep everybody posted on the new date and deets as soon as Suleika busts out of the hospital so we can make a new plan. Meanwhile, please everybody, keep her in your thoughts and prayers, and let’s send her lots of love and good vibes as she deals with this interruption and plots her escape.

Typical of Suleika’s thoughtfulness, style, and grace, here’s a message she wrote from the hospital:

I’m writing from my hospital room at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City to say that I’m so sorry that I will not be able to attend The Dragonfly Foundation’s May 8th fundraiser honoring Maya the Magnificent and other young patients enduring cancer and bone marrow transplants. Although I’m stuck in the hospital, my heart, best wishes and congratulations are with you all in Cincinnati. I am overwhelmed by what you had planned for the event!

As a young cancer warrior myself, I was looking forward to sharing my story with you. The event was extra special to me because my mother Anne Francey was accompanying me and bringing her gorgeous paintings to Cincinnati to benefit the Dragonfly Foundation.

We know that life is unpredictable, and sometimes can be “interrupted.” However, it is Spring and hope is in the air! Please know that everyone associated with the “Flight of the Lovely Dragonflies” fundraiser, myself included, are determined to reschedule the event as soon as we possibly can. The Dragonfly Foundation’s website, Facebook page and Twitter feed will provide information about the new date of the event.

Please know that you have my deepest gratitude for welcoming me so warmly to Cincinnati. Thank you to Art Design Consultants, all our amazing sponsors, Joules Evans, Bonnie Collins, and all the wonderful people who purchased tickets to attend the event. I could not be more grateful for the support you have shown me, my darling friend Maya, and The Dragonfly Foundation.

If you so choose, The Dragonfly Foundation can provide you with refund, but I really hope you will wait for me. I can’t wait to thank each of you personally.

With gratitude, Suleika

Speaking for myself and my planning committee… we can’t. freaking. WAIT! till she busts out of the hospital so we can reschedule this event and make it happen! And speaking for the Dragonflies, here’s a sweet message to Suleika from one of the Dragonfly families:

P.S. In accordance with the rebooking of the Flight of Lovely Dragonflies event, my scheduled “haircut”…

…so yeah, that “haircut” will still go down in accordance with the rescheduling of the event, provided I can raise enough bucks to pay these crazy little warrior sisters of mine aka my dragonfly barbers.

The Flight of Lovely Dragonflies—Press Release

The Flight of Lovely Dragonflies

Cincinnati, OH— Emmy Award-winning New York Times Well columnist, cancer survivor and health advocate, Suleika Jaouad will be featured at an event to benefit The Dragonfly Foundation on May 8, 2014 from 6-9 PM at ADC Art Fine Art’s “Gallery in the Sky”.

Suleika Jaouad is the writer of The New York Times Column, “Life, Interrupted”—which chronicles her own journey through cancer. In addition, the video series that accompanies her column earned her a 2013 News & Documentary EMMY award win. Suleika and her mom, renowned artist Anne Francey, will be the featured speakers at “Life, Interrupted: The Lovely Flight of Dragonflies” event to benefit The Dragonfly Foundation of Cincinnati.

The Dragonfly Foundation’s mission is to bring comfort and joy to kids and young adults enduring cancer and bone marrow transplants. The Dragonfly Foundation provides support to patients (and their families) from their date of diagnosis until they are 5-years free of their disease. Dragonflies range in age from birth to age 30. The Dragonfly Foundation also enhances quality of life programs at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Cancer & Blood Diseases Institute.

To view the video from Suleika’s EMMY award-winning “Life, Interrupted” series, which inspired this event: “A Family Gets Cancer” please click HERE.

Local Dragonfly Maya “the Magnificent” Collins will also be a special guest, as she and Suleika have formed a special bond through following each other’s journeys with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).

“Life, Interrupted: The Flight of Lovely Dragonflies” will take place at ADC Fine Art aka Cincinnati’s “Gallery in the Sky” at 310 Culvert St. Suite 501, Cincinnati, OH 45202.

Tickets are $25—a limited supply of 200—are available through The Dragonfly Foundation. Both Anne Francey and Maya the Magnificent will have art available for sale at the event, with a portion of the proceeds benefit the Dragonfly Foundation.

For inquiries about the Life, Interrupted: The Flight of Lovely Dragonflies event, contact Joules Evans at or 513.265.4063. For information about The Dragonfly Foundation, visit the website at For more information about Suleika Jaouad, visit her website at Follow @Suleikajaouad on Instagram and Twitter.


When Reality Takes a Bite

[My first attempt at spoken word. Rough cut and raw. A poem for my beautiful friend V, who put the V in living sincerely.]

When Reality Takes a Bite

Sometimes reality is sweet

LIke a Gala apple

aka a party in your mouth

if you do the semantics.

Here’s some antics

—When my mother-in-law eats an apple

She doesn’t just eat the apple

She eats the core

Which is pretty much the definition of sucking the marrow

When it comes to eating apples.

(Hard core to the “Outlaw.”)

—My husband dressed up as Johnny Appleseed once when he was a boy.

All he did was stick a pan on his head

And he went trick-or-treating like that

But boy he raked it in.

Sometimes life is sweet like that.

And maybe there’s some genetic predisposition to it all?

I don’t know this but

I do know #thatawkward moment there’s a worm in your apple.

Neither half of the apple

Nor the worm in your mouth

is sweet.

And there ‘aint enough tequila to knock that sucker back.

Cuz sometimes reality




And you try and spit it out

Cuz it’s too hard to swallow.

Like when the doctor calls and you feel the tug of the rug

Pulled right out from under your reality

With ONE word.

My word began with a big damn C.

I don’t know what your word begins with.

All I know is…

Sticks and stones my ass. 

That one God-damned word

Knocked all three of my kids down

To the ground

on August 20, 2008

at 5 o’clock.

We were huddled around the phone

When it rang.

I dropped the phone

After the doctor said the word cancer

Because my kids fell sobbing, to the floor

And I needed both hands to do the math:

1 lap, 2 arms, 3 kids

2 breasts

but they’d have to go


but they did their job.

And if you read my book then you know they were hot

Like the tears falling down my kids faces

When I gathered them up off the floor and drew them into my bosom

One last time.

And I wanted to pay the archer to shoot the crab

Cuz it’s God-damned pinchers woke up my babies

To this reality.

I’m a Libra so this seemed a just-ified sentence.

Oh, for the gavel big enough to take down the big damn C.

(Rock-paper-ROCK) bigger stones have been rolled away.

(Rock-paper-SCISSORS) don’t stop believing’! Let’s cut this shit out!

(Rock-paper-PAPER) show me the CURE.

And not just the pink one

But the greens and the blues

All of the hues

Even the Walter Whites.

Everybody trying to Livestrong.

But especially the kids.

Oh brother where art thou gavel?

Cancer is a

Cancer is a bitch wine

I’ll drink to that.

I can testify to that.

Cancer. is. a. bitch.

But especially, when it picks on kids.

A couple of weeks ago I went to a little girl’s funeral

She was 8 years, 7 months, 9 days YOUNG.

The Piano Man said “Only the good die young”

And on days like that I believe him.

Days like that I wanna slam that damn gavel down

God (slam) Damn (slam) Cancer (slam)


She’s resting now.

But there’s no rest, for the rest

No peace

Till we make war on cancer

—All the cancers

And knock them all down one by one

Like dominoes.

That same day

The day I witnessed that gross injustice

Of a young mother beside herself beside her little girl’s casket

And I’m here

—If I’m here for any reason

—And there has to be a reason

—I’m. still. Here.

to testify

to such



That same day

That. same. damn. day.

A man

(he happens to be my age)

And has a son

Who hangs out with my sons.

Well that day that boy lost his daddy

To the same damn cancer that poisoned Apple.

Because there isn’t an app for that yet.

The evening of that same day

I visited a beautiful friend of mine who is dying

from the same damn pink elephant of a cancer

that doubles as a pink monkey on my back.

I took her some groceries

But no apples.

She didn’t ask for any and I didn’t buy any.

Her husband said maybe some Lucky Charms.

So I brought the biggest damn box I could find, and some milk.

And since Valentine’s Day was around the corner—

Which feels very far away when your friend is dying—

I found a Dorie from Finding Nemo Pez dispenser—

Which seems like a funny Valentine—

But I never ever saw anyone keep on swimming

Like she kept on, keeping on swimming.

But I know how this story goes and I know she finds Nemo.

I’ve been taking my time

Eating mine

But my Pez dispenser is empty.

Oh, my heart.

This scar.

And this scar

Beneath the pink ribbon

Beneath this big c

(I copy”write” that shit)

I used to suck on a green apple Jolly Rancher

To keep me from the hurly burleys

From the tin taste when they accessed the port

To pour in the poison

—24 chemo cocktails

Damn, bartender.

Still…paying that big damn tab.

You’d think I hate green apple Jolly Ranchers by now

But I don’t.

They remind me I’m alive.

And that sometimes even when reality bites

It can be sweet.

And I’m thankful they “handled” the aftertaste”

Of accessing the port

Cuz that poison “handled” the cancer.

God damn cancer.

Where’s that gavel?


My beautiful friend died at 8:04 yesterday morning.









I can try and spit it out all I want

—And I want

But there it is

Right here

on the floor next to me.

I can try and wipe away the bitter aftertaste

But I don’t have any sleeves.

And even if I did,

The spooge would be on my sleeve.

I’d still smell it.

I can try and step on it

Smash it into the ground

This same ground

But we’ve been there before

It stuck on my shoe

And all I did was make a little


I can try to kick it.

Been there, done that

Made a mess.

And it’s going to take more than Bounty to wipe up this mess and put it

In the trashcan.

I wish it were that easy.

But fuck easy.

Fuck cancer.

If Dorie can find Nemo

Surely we can find a cure.

Beauty Mark

[This morning at 8:04 my beautiful friend Vanessa took flight “to be with stars and clouds in the sky” as that hard but beautiful text whispered into my ear when I awoke. All words like that must be whispered because there is never enough air to really say things like that out loud. And such things deserve that quiet kind of reverence. I will write a proper tribute to honor V at the proper time and when I have caught my breath. For now I don’t feel like gasping for air or grasping for words. For now I shall hold my breath and commune with her in that space. For now, here’s all I got.]

V's Wave

I will miss you V.
But I will see you waving
When birds are flying

In V formation.
Soaring sincerely, soaring
Like they do. Like you.

Epiphany Eyes

Happy Epiphany, everybody! I hope everybody had the most wonderFULLest 12 days of Christmas ever! I’ve loved the adventure we’ve been on this Christmas season, our #denveryoloswagcation2013slash2014 #familyvacation to move Amanda and Gary to Denver. (Pics on instagram under those hashtags.) Last night, the 12th night, Matt & Mikeyy flew back to Cincy because UC’s new semester was supposed to begin today. But the #snowpocalypse happened and they ended up getting a snow day. I doubt they are complaining too much but the parting of the redheads is always the hardest part.



Dave and I fly back tomorrow night. It’s going to be weird coming home to an empty nest but I’m not going there yet. We have this whole day of Epiphany to spend with Amanda and Gary, and then tomorrow we will wrap this family holiday vacation moving adventure, put a bow on it, then hug our baby girl really tight and leave her to begin her Once Upon a time in Denver.


Anyway, speaking of epiphanies…(here’s a mediation and a prayer that I’ve drawn from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis:

I like milking a holiday for all it’s worth. I don’t think this is an entirely bad disposition. Lucy Pevensie saw things this way, and, to be honest, I want to see what Lucy saw.


It was just a place to hide. A wardrobe. But Lucy saw further up and further in, even from the very beginning of The Chronicles. She saw Narnia.

Lucy saw Mr. Tumnus to be a friend; and wasn’t that part of Aslan’s plan in redeeming the fawn, who ended up laying down his life for his friend, only to have Aslan breathe on him and give him life more abundantly? May my eyes see with redemption (not my own, of course, but Christ’s) like that.

When Mr. Beaver said those lovely words: “…Aslan is on the move—perhaps has already landed…Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays….” ~The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Just the mention of his name. Oh that my heart would respond like that to the name of Jesus. Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” I believe that; I just don’t know that I always feel that, like I imagine Lucy felt at the mere mention of the name of Aslan. Even before she knew him. I believe; help thou my unbelief! ~Mark 9:24 (The inspiration for the tattoos on my wrists.)


Lucy saw Aslan when none else did, or could. Open my eyes, like that, O Lord. And help me follow you, even if I end up walking alone.

Lucy saw the “loveliest story I’ve ever read or ever shall read in my whole life…about a cup and a sword and a tree and a green hill…and ever since that day what Lucy means by a good story is a story which reminds her of the forgotten story in the Magician’s book.” Is this story not the “gospel”? The cup, that Aslan, like Jesus, did not pass, but drank. The sword (that killed him, like the one the soldier stuck in Jesus’s side). The tree (that Jesus hung on, like the stone table beyond the last tree). The hill (where the stone table was, like Calvary) where he drank deeply of that cup…and suffered…and died. Is this not what Christ has done, and do we not take and drink from the cup in remembrance of him, sharing in his sufferings so that we might also share in his resurrection?

Lucy saw Aslan die, shared in his suffering; she saw him alive again, shared in his resurrection. She embraced that life more abundant as she embraced Aslan when she saw him alive again. Lucy ran her fingers through Aslan’s mane, hid her face in it, tasted and saw that he was good (though, of course, he is not safe) and continued to live “by the Lion’s Mane”.


To the very end, Lucy had eyes to see Aslan and his kingdom come. Where the inside is bigger than the outside. Always, further up and further in. “…Lucy looked this way and that and soon found that a new and beautiful thing had happened to her. Whatever she looked at, however far away it might be, once she had fixed her eyes on it, became quite clear and close as if she was looking through a telescope. She could see…Aslan’s country….And then she forgot everything else, because Aslan himself was coming….” ~The Last Battle I wish these words to describe me.

I pray for epiphany eyes like that. Eyes that are fixed on Christ. Eyes to see his kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. Glimpses of grace, everywhere I look.

I like how the Book of Common Prayer puts it, “give [me] that due sense of all thy mercies, that [my] heart may be unfeignedly thankful; and that [I] may show forth thy praise, not only with [my] lips, but in [my] life, by giving up [myself] to thy service, and by walking before thee in holiness and righteousness all [my] days; through Jesus Christ, [my] Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honor and glory, world without end.”


12 Gifts of Christmas [unwRAP Mix]

Happy 11th day of Christmas everybody! So, the traditional gift for today, would be 11 pipers piping—which makes me lmao a little because of the interesting twist that song could take here in Colorado these days. Anyway, just sitting here at the coziest little coffee shop in my daughter Amanda’s new hood, sipping not on a pipe, but a Cortado, and watching all the fluffy snowflakes make a white canvas of Denver for my baby girl to begin writing the next chapter of her story on.


And it’s just as enchanting to begin a happy new year here, with her, in this storybrook-like setting, which is where I find myself looking forward to 2014 and the 12 gifts (otherwise known as New Year’s resolutions) that I am giving myself. In no particular order. They are a mixture of personal goals, bucket list items, birthday candle wishes, and pie in the sky dreams.

  1. Last year I ran 5 half marathons to celebrate my 5 year cancerversary. This year I’m upping the ante to 1/2 a dozen 1/2s (Choices, choices! …Charleston, SC/Heart Mini/Flying Pig/Grand Canyon/Little Miami/Air Force/Cleveland/Cincinnati) and crossing my fingers for a full.
  2. Dave and I have already signed up for the Grand Canyon 1/2 marathon in May, which allows me to open one big fat bucket list item of seeing the Grand Canyon with a side of Circ De Soleil Beatles.
  3. Schedule my writing as a priority into my days to whip my WIPs (Homeschool Happy Hour…it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, kids and Bottoms Up…”Getting Over” Cancer) into books.
  4. Finish recording the audio book version of Shaken Not Stirred…a Chemo Cocktail.
  5. Develop my own yoga practice outside of my classes. Consider taking yoga teacher training so I could help other cancer survivors learn yoga.
  6. Learn to make origami cranes. So I can make a 1000. Praying for my survivor peeps as I make each one. Then give them away one by one.
  7. Take the stairs whenever possible. The first time I went to Paris we took the elevator up the Eiffel Tower. It has driven me crazy ever since. When my sweet Mikeyy and got a second chance to go back to Paris with high hopes of finally climbing the stairs, they were closed.
  8. Drink 1/2 my weight (in ounces) of water per day. Between the aftermath of chemo, my difficulty in sitting still, and my beverages of choice (black coffee/red wine) I struggle with staying properly hydrated. Need to focus on this, and always be sipping on the H2O’s. I used to give up wine for Lent every year before I got cancer. But then the year I got cancer my sweet Amanda was sad about me giving up anything for Lent, since she felt like I already had so much taken away, so I didn’t give it or anything up that year. I miss the spiritual discipline and look forward to resuming the practice. It’s always been a pie in the sky goal to one day give up coffee (for Lent) since that seems the hardest thing, as I cannot not drink coffee every day, without giving myself a headache. Bread and wine are the next hardest, and elements of my diet that I will offer up this Lent. I love to cook and especially enjoy pairing wine with my meals; beyond that, I am basically a carbohydratarian at heart. So this is a biggie for me. But I’m taking back something cancer tried to take from me: the practice of this spiritual discipline.
  9. Now that the Redheads have all flown the Evanshire, it’s time for simplifying, de-cluttering, streamlining, organizing this hobbit hole for 2. In order to help me wrap this gift so I can have the pleasure of opening it, I have hired a part-time personal assistant to kick my ass into gear and keep me on track. This will also free me up to write.
  10. Make memory book photo albums for the Redheads. I bought the albums after my sweet Amanda’s sweet 16th birthday when she gave me the idea. But somewhere between the last time I developed an actual role of film, and the proliferation of digital cameras in the Evanshire not to mention copious amounts of digital pictures, and a couple of computer crashes to boot, it became an overwhelming puzzle to sort all these snapshots of our life. My hope is to give each of my Redheads their memory book photo album for Valentines Day this year. With a little help from my friend and personal assistant.
  11. Write poetry, Blog and Vlog once a week. They are all good for my writing. Poetry + Prose = Beauty. Blogging is a good way to connect with my tribe of peeps, to test drive stuff I’m working on with them, and to get valuable feedback from them. Vlogging yanks me out of my comfort zone, which is behind the screen, not on it. For me it’s boot camp to tame the shy.
  12. Recently I googled: Cancer, Writing, Yoga, Retreat, thinking I needed some kind of kick-starter to this next chapter in my life (after cancer, empty nest, book 2).  I found what I was looking for on the very first try. I signed up and later this month I am roadtripping to Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in the Berkshires and I can’t wait to unwrap that gift to myself.

So that’s my 12 gifts. If you haven’t already shared your 12 gifts or New Year’s resolutions, whatever you want to call them, please feel fee to do so in the comment section. Also please link your blog if you have one. We can cheer each other on!

Tomorrow is the 12th day of Christmas, and I will be writing about my word for the year. Have you already chosen on? Or has a word chosen you? I’d love to hear and be inspired. Please also share that in the comment section.

Cheers, love, and happy unwrapping!