Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Going Bald!

   Here we are, facing chemo treatment #3, and I am feeling pretty good.
I was preparing myself, my sister gave me a pixie haircut for the weeks
prior to baldness to make the transition easier.
  But  then  I was upstaged by beautiful Joan Lunden shedding her blonde locks!
I was shocked that she has breast cancer!
It stunned me when her photo appeared, splashed all over the news,
 just as I was facing the same exact  thing!
 She's amazing. A couple months ahead of me, with the same treatment plan.
  Chemo to try and shrink it, followed by surgery, then radiation if needed. .
After a few tears, Joan inspired me.
 She says, "It's a tough, challenging journey,
 but I'm making it into something empowering!
I am cheering her on, I will follow her progress  with great interest.
I will pray for her, my sister, my hero.

Joan Lunden  'I'm a Warrior'
cover of People Magazine, October 6,2014
photographs by Ruven Afanador

Martino Cartier Salon, 304 Hurffville Crosskeys Rd. Sewell, N.J.
Yes, I got buzzed too!  Isn't he a hunk!
My family was there to cheer me on!
Amy, sister Beverly, me, Julie, and Miss Emilie.

      I started losing my hair, just as they said I would.  So I got buzzed and
 I got my gorgeous wig from Martino Cartier. He's  a wonderful stylist of South Jersey's 
premiere salon who gives beautiful wigs to women and children with cancer so they
 can feel beautiful,  and  by "Loving them more than the world has ever known, and
 making them feel cancer free,  if only for a moment", gives dignity and confidence.
 Thank you Martino, for taking away one of my biggest fears, that I would look sickly and unattractive.   Now I can try to keep things as normal as possible.

There, That's better!

He has a charity called "Wigs and Wishes" , powered by Friends are by Your Side
through which he also grants Disneyland trips to children and their families.
 I was thrilled to attend  his fabulous gala event at Lucien's Manor,  the other night,
 and he raised $250.000.00. 
Paula Abdul was there at A Night of Wigs and Wishes!

Daughter Amy was my date for the big night!

Fabulous decor and  extraordinary flowers and table settings at A Night of  Wigs and Wishes,
 powered by Friends Are By Your Side

  I am amazed every day by the courageous women who are fighting breast cancer
and surviving, then go on to encourage and inspire.
Survivors who are friends of my friends,  are calling me to cheer me on and tell me
 they are here for me if I need to talk.  Other patients   I meet at the hospital treat me
 like the newest "member of the  club".

Thank you Kathy, for this beautiful Mass Card.

     I am touched by the outpouring of love and concern by  my friends and family.
 So many wonderful people I am meeting because of this disease.

 People are praying for me. I believe that God is healing me.  I claim his promises.

"And all things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer,
 believing, you shall receive."                                                                                                       Matthew 21:22

Having breast cancer changes everything now for the rest of my life.
 And my family's lives are forever changed.   Life-threatening, scary thing it is.
 Makes you realize that you could lose someone who you thought would always be there.

Amy got a side shaved off,  and  hot pink streaks in her hair,
 for support during Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

  I don't want to miss a minute. I hug everyone I see.   A little tighter, for a long time.

My little Emilie, now is 5 months old!

 I already knew the little things are really the big things,
 but this takes it to a new level .
 My faith is growing, I am clinging to the  healing words of scripture.
 because they give me courage and tell me that I am not alone.
 My friend Marie gave me a marvelous CD,  by Debra A. Groller,
that taught me that I am healed by Jesus' stripes!

"By His stripes you were healed." 
 I Peter 2:24

"That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet saying: He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses." 
                                                              Matthew 8:17

I am blessed to have so much support and love from my family. 
They are spoiling me with special gifts and treats, cards, calls and extra attention!
 My doctors and nurses are so diligent and caring.  Fox Chase Cancer Center.
So I am doing great!
Thank you  so much for your prayers and positive thoughts!

                                                       Love, Linda                  


Monday, September 8, 2014

Bad News

For my 60th birthday I got a diagnosis of breast cancer.
 Yes, There it is, I said it.
 I've been having a terrible time telling everyone about it,
 that's the hardest thing for me to do.  My worst nightmare,
  heartbreaking and scary to my children, (especially my daughters),
 my grandchildren, my parents, sisters and friends.
  official website pinkribbon.org/About/History/tabid/199/Default.aspx
 Now that my dear ones know, as many as I could reach,
I have decided to share this journey so maybe it will help someone else.
 It is advanced so I must get aggressive treatment.
  A port will be inserted on Sept. 11, and I am starting chemotherapy on Sept. 15.
After a few months, I will have surgery, and then radiation treatments.

I feel very healthy, and strong, and hopeful.
 I know that God will take care of me and meet my every need,
and I believe in the power of prayer and I am praying for a miracle.
 Please believe and pray along with me.

 I want to live.  I have many reasons to live, precious family and friends,
a lot of joy in my life and I shall concentrate on all my blessings,
 my favorite things,  keeping healthy, and working hard to conquer this.

My calendar is filling up with important  treatment appointments. 

My grandchildren bought me  a drink cup and car magnet.
   So sweet, 17yr. old Gary placed one on his car as well!

 Wonderful scripture, beautiful vintage images and sound spiritual guidance from a dear blogger friend
I can always find  Inspiring scripture, sound guidance and beautiful graphics
 from  Abby at Little Birdie Blessings.

I decided to blog about it, because I hope this story will help someone. 
 It will help me to talk about it and share what I learn along the way.

Now I'm in the biggest fight of my life. 
  But good things will come out of it. 
 Already it's shown me some things. 
       1.  My divorce was not the worst thing that could ever happen to me.
      2.  I've learned not to ignore anything that I feels out of the ordinary.
                                   My advice, Please don't put off getting it checked out before it grows, gets worse.                                   
 3.  My faith will help me be strong.                                                
             I have the Lord by my side and He cares for me.                             
     Tonight my mother sang to me the song, "Does Jesus Care?",  
 and it is sweet comfort to me now!

Casting all your cares on Him,
 for He careth for you. 
I Peter 5:7

Love, Linda


Monday, August 4, 2014


 I am getting tougher, stronger, like a weed.
  Hope I'm a good weed as useful as clover, sweet as honeysuckle.
Here's some weeds I've been encountering this summer.

Honeysuckle vine

 In May and early June, honeysuckle vine grows along our woods.
 They're  very fragrant, and I take cuttings for my flower arrangements.
As children we liked to bite off the ends and suck the nectar.
 But I've seen it take over and strangle shrubs and vinca in gardens.
 Is it a good weed or a bad weed?


Notice this pretty blue flowered weed growing along roadsides?
It is chicory.   Also called Italian dandelion.
The young leaves are edible in salads and the roots are dug up,
washed and roasted, ground, then brewed as a coffee substitute.

Queen Anne's  Lace

 Queen Anne's Lace grows in fields at my warehouse,
and I like to cut it for adding to flower arrangements.
 It is the host plant for Black Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillars
Wild Carrot, is another name for this plant,
 and it has medicinal uses and you can  even make a jelly with it,
 but you must be very careful!  Because it closely resembles Poison Hemlock,
 once used in ancient Greece to execute criminals, which Socrates was killed with.

 Always make sure you don't eat plants that you are not absolutely certain are safe.

Bishop's Weed

 I planted  Bishop's Weed in my yard too.
  It's a lovely  variegated groundcover 
that also is very invasive, but my friend has a circle garden full of it,
 and it stays contained in the edged, mulched area.    
Also called snow-on-the-mountain, and goutweed,
 I saw some at the Longwood Gardens.

Creeping Jenny

 I  now  love this pretty trailing plant in my backyard,
 around the paving stones,
 But I pulled it out  for three years, thinking it was just  a weed.
  Creeping Jenny is a pretty yellow flowering groundcover.
 I also saw this plant spilling out of a pot of flowers at Longwood Gardens.

                                                      The edible weed- Dandelion  Taraxacum Officinale
Actually, I eat these nutritious weeds, in salads,
 and cooked as a green vegetable, but they do have a bitter taste.
   Vineland, N.J. is the Dandelion Capitol of  the World . 
They have annual Dandelion Festivals celebrating it's culinary uses, 
Dandelion flower fritters,  a tea made from its dried roots, 
and they make delicious dandelion wine too!
 They were brought to America by the colonists as a garden vegetable. 

Trifoleum  replens is the true Shamrock

White Clover,  may be considered a weed in your lawn,
 because it attracts bees who could sting your bare feet. 
But it is persistent and hardy and has many benefits.
It serves well  as a cover crop, a living mulch between rows, 
 is a  nitrogen-producing soil builder, and an important pollen
 and nectar source for bees and butterflies.
It is also a valuable survival food, high in protein,
 and grows abundantly almost everywhere. 
It can be added to salads, or steeped into an herbal tea. 
Infused dried red clover blossoms are supposed to be good
 for lactation, Julie, and help the lymphatic system! 

Milkweeds are prevalent in our gardens, but I let some grow,
 because they are important food for the hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.
It is the "host plant"  for the Monarch butterflies, the only plant the
baby caterpillars can eat. .

Asclepias   or Common Milkweed

But when a weed grows where you don't want,  it's a pesky nuisance.
Many an hour I've spent pulling weeds!  Good exercise, right?
  Here's a popular weed-killer that's going around on Facebook,
My cousin Jeannie posted it,  and I tried it on the patio and it works!
  I'll try to find the origin to give credit due.

But  here's a stubborn weed that you'll probably need help with! 
 I never heard anything good about this  noxious weed!

   My worst nightmare! Poison Ivy grows everywhere and is hard to destroy.
  I've had several very bad cases of  itchy-oozy  poison ivy rashes through the years.
 I am extremely allergic. There are lots of people using organic weedkillers,
 but this plant is hard to kill and the roots must be killed.
 The toxic oils from the plant can get on your garden tools and pets too.
I've even heard of people getting allergic dermatitis from the wind blowing
the  plant's oils on them.
 I always wash well with strong detergent, when I think I've come in contact with it.
  Old timers swear by Fels Naptha Soap.
  To kill poison ivy, I use a glyphosate herbicide
 like Ortho brush-B-Gone Poison Ivy Killer Concentrate.
 Dig roots out only with extreme caution and protection, and never burn it!
 Tommy told me about a villian that Batman knows named Poison Ivy.

Poison Ivy, Batman's foe

Lego Batman character

On our daily walks, I try not to eat the wild mushrooms, berries, and dandelions
 in front of the kids, afraid they will think it's okay to eat any wild plants they see.
 If I pick something, Tommy cautions me, " be careful, that's poison ivy!"

 My sister Beverly was doing some playful trick  photography
 with a huge toadstool she found in her yard yesterday!

In my life, I need to be
"weeding out- Separating and getting rid of the unwanted."
 It makes more room and time for the good stuff.
I hope I can tell the difference, between what I should get rid of, and what I should keep!

  Happy Weeding!  Linda

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy Birthday America!

Miss Emilie is all smiles in her red,white and blue!

She is 2 months old now! 

Mommy tries to eat health  (and quickly)and Jersey blueberries were beautiful and bountiful!
 Brunch.  I really wanna make a fancy flag cake, or fruit kabobs like I've seen on other's blogs,
 but with the new baby and toddler we are just lucky to be able to  even get out shopping for fruit
and have time to fix the simplest of meals.   Maybe I'll make these:

Yummy treats I saw on facebook.

  Recently Julie made some delicious lactation cookies. These are so good, you had better make a batch of regular cookies too, so the rest of the family will keep their hands off of Mommy's cookies!    The two special ingredients that help increase milk production are brewers yeast and flaxseed meal.
  I found them at Whole Foods, but most health food stores, and many grocery stores carry them too.

Lactation Cookies
2 tbsp. flaxseed meal and 4 tbsp. water
1 cup soft butter
1 1/2 cup  brown sugar or half brown /half white
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla 
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3-4 tbsp. brewer's yeast powder
3 cups whole oats
1 cup chocolate chips

First, measure 2 tbsp. flaxseed meal into a small dish and add 4 tbsp. water,
and let soak, about 5 minutes.

Mix butter and sugar together, add eggs and beat till nice and fluffy.

Then add flaxseed and vanilla, and mix.

 Next add combined dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt and brewer's yeast..  Mix thoroughly.

Add oats, and chips and mix. 

Drop onto non-stick cookie sheets by rounded tablespoonfuls. and bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

Julie enjoyed a cup of Mother's Milk Tea with her treats. It has galactagogues,
herbs that help nursing  mothers breastfeed.   Fennel and anise give the tea a licorice
 taste and fennugreek, coriander and blessed thistle help with milk production too.

She's got a great supply stored already for when she returns to work.

      We've had a few outings with the babies, and I've gone off  to some of my jobs,
       resuming my work with regular customers and  Selective Residential Services projects.
       I love seeing all the flags flying!  Especially now, in these troubled times,
       I think it shows respect and appreciation, affirms that we are still a great nation!

   I went to work at a friend's home the other day. Her flag has a solar light to illuminate it.
   I was delighted to see her front porch, and her pretty porch rail boxes and planters.
   I love her winning combination of  yellow begonias, asparagas fern, lamium,
   sweet potato vine, and coleus.

 I help some of my clients with landscaping and weeding. I've been hearing that we shouldn't
destroy milkweed, because it's a major food source for monarch butterflies.
 So I am trying to leave some growing at my daughter's.

Here's a healthy  Milkweed specimen thriving at my friend's.
Actually it's kinda pretty, don'tcha think?

Tommy is growing like a weed too!  Today he modeled a vintage Big Bird Lovie, blanket toy for me.
To get him to pose, I had to bribe him with the promise of a Batman movie and some M&Ms, (don't judge).
 I have listed Big Bird on my Etsy, along with some other nifty things.  See!   I'm still able to do a little work, even though it seems like I am just playing with the grandbabies all the time, but could you blame me?

 Fireworks Celebration at Art Museum   Philadelphia, PA 

I hope your 4th of July is blessed!
 I think while we are celebrating all weekend, with various family cookouts, and friend's parties, 
we must remember to be thankful for being able to live in America, land of the free, 
because of all those brave ones who have sacrificed so much to keep us free.   

Love, Linda