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Five Tools That Build a Lasting Love

My husband, Randy, loves road trips.  I prefer getting to a destination as quickly as possible and search online for flights.  Most often, his choice of travel prevails and once again we load the car with luggage, plenty of snacks,…

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And a Child Shall Lead

I have driven this same route multiple times for the last three years.  It is the road to my mom’s and I make frequent trips to visit and help her with the challenges of aging.  The only thing different about…

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Choosing Joy

A Chance Meeting I will never forget turning the corner and seeing her for the first time.  She radiated a smile that seized my heart and my eyes would not let go.  Who was this young girl, and what was…

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Hope in a New Year

January 5.  Five days into a new year and I’m still struggling with the culmination of the Christmas season.  I wrestle with this emptiness every year.  The more I put into the planning, the preparation, the surprises, and carrying out…

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A Dozen Christmas Roses From My Dad

I guess you could say I'm a kid at heart, especially when it comes to Christmas.  I'm the first to put up the decorations, and the last to take them down.  I partly blame my dad for my obsession with…

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A Christmas Miracle or Two

Christmas approached, but not with the usual anticipation and joy typically characteristic of the season.  At least not for Afton.  It was nearly a year since the unexpected death of her husband and the music, smells, and festive decorations only…

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Don’t Mess With Tradition

A Tempting Proposal It all began with good intentions.  Randy knew I worked hard on Thanksgiving day (not to mention the weeks leading up to it) and he wanted me to relax and enjoy the holiday.  I taught school at…

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How I Took That First Step on the Chemo Road

The day has arrived; a day I never thought would be part of my life.  A whirlwind of uninvited events has led me to this door—the entrance to the oncology waiting room.  Leaning against the heavy door, I finally gather…

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The Story Behind “The Cancer Effect”

When I was told I needed a biopsy on a suspicious mass discovered in my left breast, I was completely lost.  The shock of the news sent me spinning and I didn’t have a clue how to proceed.  Each step…

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The Silver Dollar Lesson

It was the early sixties, and like many ten year olds, I had a collection. I remember the collections of some of my friends which included anything from a big ball made of chewing gum foil wrappers to the typical horde of marbles…

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Bears Are a Good Thing

When I was going through my cancer treatments, I received an assortment of beautiful flower arrangements, thoughtful cards, chocolates, and a floppy grey teddy bear.  All were appreciated and served their purpose of bringing a smile to my weary face.…

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Why I Wrote

One of the most rewarding outcomes of writing and publishing The Cancer Effect is to see it finding its way into the hands of those who could benefit from my journey.  I’ve been intrigued by some of the stories I’ve…

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Always a Mother

Joy.  Pure joy.  That’s the only way I know how to describe the feeling I had when my newborn baby girl was placed in my arms.  I instantly fell in love and have remained in love for forty years and…

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Debbie’s Story

"My name is Debbie.  I am a lung cancer survivor.  I was diagnosed in 2010 with non-small cell lung cancer.  It doesn’t matter what kind of cancer we are dealing with, we all experience the emotional trauma of the disease.…

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Anne’s Story

“When I learned that I had cancer, I was shocked.  When I was told that I would need a mastectomy, I was frightened.  When Dr. K, the oncologist to whom I had been referred by my surgeon, announced that I…

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Enter, the Cancer Demon

For those of you fortunate enough to have never met the Cancer Demon, let me introduce you.  He (I assume it’s a “he”), lies silently in wait until another victim is diagnosed with cancer.  This shrewd character tip toes in…

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A New Approach to Eating the Elephant

I’m avoiding the traditional formality of making New Year's resolutions.  I’m done with that. Trying to come up with an improvement plan for an entire year doesn’t work for me.  The best part is I’ve finally come to terms with…

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Lessons From Gingerbread

Gingerbread houses.  I tried to get out of making them this year, however forty-three years of tradition is not easily tossed aside.  Amidst the protests, I succumbed and began gathering molasses, flour, sugar, and spices. What was I thinking?  Did…

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A Dozen Christmas Roses From My Dad

I guess you could say I'm a kid at heart, especially when it comes to Christmas.  I'm the first to put up the decorations, and the last to take them down.  I partly blame my dad for my obsession with…

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A Faux Thanksgiving

A Tempting Proposal It all began with good intentions.  Randy knew I worked hard on Thanksgiving day (not to mention the weeks leading up to it) and he wanted me to relax and enjoy the holiday.  I taught school at…

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Because of Lisa

Four days after publishing The Cancer Effect, I heard the news that no one wants to hear.  Lisa, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer only months before I received the same news, passed away.  It couldn’t be.  I didn’t…

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The Best Things

Recently, Randy and I gathered our six children and their families into one lodge, nestled in a remote area of Arizona, away from any store, restaurant, or amusement park.  It was the best reunion we ever had. At first, we…

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A Page from “The Cancer Effect”

As each day went by after my first chemotherapy, I felt increasingly worse.  I received my treatment on Wednesday and true to prediction,  had reached a low point on Saturday and Sunday.  Nausea was managed by taking the prescribed medicine every four…

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Lighten Up, Mrs. Bretzing

As another school year nears an end, I recall the feelings I experienced as a teacher during those final weeks in May. The students are restless, the teachers are tired, and we can almost taste the sweetness of summer vacation…

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