Meet Maria

 House is undergoing renovations. 

Puppy, a nervous wreck. (“Help! Where’s my spot?”)
Sleep tight, Claire! Overnight guest beds down with paint pots by front door








Clouds of dust, pails of paint –

Inside the coat closet

I gasp, run for IPad.  Just remembered something …

Tap. Click.  Got it!

Take a look at this …

… something Daughter said eight years ago.

Flashback to …

Several dark months when light in home is dimmed while Mother (me) undergoes treatment for late-detected breast cancer. Pretty much confined to bed.  A simple journey to the bathroom and back is long, exhausting.  Endless pilgrimages to hospital and clinics.  Can’t do much else besides.   Completely sapped of strength.

One day Daughter says –

“I guess God allows the pit to get so deep, so we can see how high his ladder can go …”


How high can it go?
Not high enough.  


Grammatically incorrect t-shirt!

Words to heal or kill- power of tongue to build up or destroy …



Perspective alters instantly.  Pit is deep, very deep – yes – but ladder goes high, so high.  Begin to count blessings.  Endless list.  

People who love and care –  

  • Husband, Daughters, Family, Friends, Church (Kitchen lies idle. Meals come in unsolicited for seven months straight.
Puppy, constant companion.  If eyes could heal ..
  • Maureen, who accompanies me to chemo sessions, sees me safely into house, remains awhile in driveway crying for me before driving away. 
  • Brother-In-Law, Jonathan, who spends 4 hours a day for a week, driving me to radiation through freezing rain and snow storms, so exhausted husband can have a break..
  • Puppy’s unwavering eyes on me. Doesn’t move from my bedside. (Never wanted a dog.  Can’t do without him now)   
  • Top notch medical care. Stellar surgeon and oncologist.
  • Knowing that everything happens for a reason.
  • Prayer.  Someone IS listening.

Etc. Etc. Etc.


Husband wakes up each morning and says, “Good morning gorgeous!”

I cry the first time I hear him.  I’m grey,   bloated,  bald as an egg.  

He isn’t joking.

He’s my man








Meet Maria –


I see Maria one morning at the chemo ward.   A pretty woman.  She begins to cry when the needle is inserted into her vein.  My heart aches.  In two weeks she’ll be as bald and as I am, with black nails and all the awful trimmings.  I don’t want her to suffer as I have. 

I place a hand on Maria’s and murmur, “You’ll be all right.”

She says, “How do you do it?”    img_20150801_202032

“You wake up each morning and ask for strength for the day.  At night say ‘thank you’ for the grace that took you through. Live one day at a time.  Don’t think about tomorrow.  It’s too frightening.”

We meet every three weeks at the hospital, talk on the phone.  Dark moments.  Shared strength.

Maria makes it.  So do I.  Sisters. There’s something about shared suffering.  Eight cancer-free years for us both this year.  Oncologist tells me I’m one of her success stories.

How high the ladder goes …


Celebration time.  Hyrrah for Maria!         


_20150710_103346                                                   Pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness

 Detest the wig.  Makes me itch, gets into eyes –

Unloved.  Hardly used the wig.

Husband wears it to sixties hippy-themed costume birthday party some weeks back!

Happy Hippy Husband.  Despised wig finally comes in useful!

That’s my man!





Won’t ever forget that moment when head feels scratchy. Realize hair’s growing back.

What a feeling …


Gorgeous full moon last week.  

Playing hide-and-seek over neighbour’s roof …

Roses still blooming in Garden –




                                                                                              Standing tall.  Me in a puddle of sunshine.















Hope is a precious thing.  Joy is priceless.  

Until next time,


PS: The pictures in this post are all clicks from my IPad and phone.  Please share your thoughts and leave a comment.  Thank you for dropping in. 

A dog’s life. Puppy sleeps in. 



So Call Me Pollyanna

So the last days of summer are upon us.  The sudden scorching temperatures have been a bonus. Sort of.  Late walks with Puppy sans sweater –

Continue reading “So Call Me Pollyanna”

Mama Mia!

Love how morning light spills all over Garden.   Continue reading “Mama Mia!”

Brake For Butterflies!






It’s me again … 

I’m in the parking lot with a cartful of groceries when I see this bumper sticker  –


I whip out my phone and click.  (How could I not? 🙂 )

Okay –



                                                                                                           wondering where this is going, right?

 I jotted down some thoughts to share.   



I resort to  paper and pen.  (If you’re under thirty, don’t judge those of us who do –





… got distracted!  Sorry, where was I? Oh, butterflies …






at myself.  I asked – 

Is it possible to


   and still


 from life’s knocks?

How can you

_20150623_101616 , no matter what the circumstances?

 How do you measure

_20150428_141718                                                                                                                          ?



I know I’ll never be the

_20150620_121419  , a _20150615_173042

_20150620_115759 , or a 


.  Who cares if I’m not




?  I don’t yearn to


 at the best restaurants, nor do I  seek


all the time. 

This I know, however.  Each new day is a 


  – not just the


 –  but every moment of my life,


.  Of course,



How wonderful not to always have to


.  I’m happy as I am, though. 


or not, I don’t


than I have.  I  know I’ll never be

_20150617_154611 , but I can be a


.  I can make


to be


 – because this is how I feel inside.

 So what sort of 


 brake for butterflies?

I’d like to think a butterfly-braker is someone who could live as if every single day is a


, who understands that simple things are of



 .  If you are


 –  and we all do from time to time,  because often




 the precious things.  

Love, faith, family, friends


 and if these things are yours,


 Are some words hard to say?

  • I’m sorry. 
  • I need you
  • I miss you
  • I love you 

Say them as often as the need arises.  And then some more.


 can turn an entire situation around.

 Do you really believe that success can be measured by the


 piled up in a bank account?

How could you ever know


 the glittering façade of a life that looks 


              on the outside?








  .  Be


to be turned


by unexpected serendipity.

Tell yourself each morning that



It’s not all about possessing stacks and


of stuff, you know.

Take a minute to

_20150618_161740 and breathe slowly.  Just think –



_20150618_162311Only once.  But …

You can make the choice to feel young for as long as you live and be


with each passing day.

Age is only a number, I tell myself.  What counts is how I feel inside, right?




You have only one life to live.


 it with all  your might!  

Brake for butterflies.


Dance under the stars. 


Hold hands.  Smile a lot.




And always remember … you’re never too old to dream!

Someone To Believe


 “There’s no emergency contact in your file, ma’am.  Could I have a relative’s name?”

 “I’m the only one left. They’re all gone.”

 All gone?

I’m at the local hospital for my annual mammogram and bone density test.

(Oh, by the way


… I’m a grateful breast cancer survivor.  Seven years.)

The perplexed secretary persists. “How about a friend?”

“All gone,” the old lady replies.  I exhale when she adds, “I can give you my husband’s name and number.”

The secretary is as relieved as I am.

I find a seat and await my turn. The words scream in my head –

 All gone … the only one left …

 How awful. 

What happens when the husband goes? 

Has she outlived her children? 

Did she have any? 

Not one friend?

Awful.  Awful. Just awful.

I lean back and close my eyes for a moment.   Faces come crowding into my mind.  My heart swells with gratitude. 

The random digital clicks on my mobile phone provide me with a gallery of pictures that inspire the ramblings on this blog.

This one


reminds me to  be thankful for the people in my life who might think I’m a little weird, sometimes outright crazy, but still believe in me. 

They root for me.  They encourage me to


 They cheer –




– and shower me with


when yet another door seems to slam in my face.  They give me a reason to hang on, keep dreaming.

I am thankful for those who believe that



This is my prayer for you, reader – and for myself, of course!







Just think –


Because it’s 


                                                                                                                                   you know!