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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Guest Post: A Personal Victory Over Mesothelioma

Hi gang! So...I've never had a guest post on my blog before, but when I was contacted by Heather Von St. James a couple weeks ago requesting to share her story about her battle and ultimate victory over mesothelioma cancer here at Lovely Scribbles, I was curious what brought her to my blog and why she wanted to tell her story here.  This was her answer...

 I came across your blog because I typically try to reach out to moms, because I feel like they, and their readers, can relate the most to my story and gain the most from it. And of COURSE adorable little Chloe helped to seal the deal ;) I knew you'd be able to relate to my story not only because you are a mother but because you have a young little girl, just like I did when I was diagnosed.

If you follow my blog, you know that while my focus here is ultimately on crafts, calligraphy and decor, it's also a place for me to share my life's story, my struggles and all of the joys I find in being a mommy to my baby girl Chloe.  I cannot imagine what Heather went through as a new mom battling a devastating disease like this, but I am incredibly inspired by her fighting spirit and her positive attitude.

Being a storyteller myself, I understand the importance of sharing and taking in the stories and journeys of others, and I hope that if any of you reading this post today are struggling with cancer or any other sickness or battle in your life today, that you will be encouraged by Heather's story.

I'll let Heather take it from here...

 A Personal Victory Over Mesothelioma

When I found out that I had cancer I was devastated and shocked. I remember it like it was yesterday, even though it happened on November 21, 2005. My doctor told me that I had malignant pleural mesothelioma. I instantly felt like my world was about to end, especially thinking about my young daughter, Lily, who was 3 ½ months old.

I had always wondered what it would be like to face a life-threatening situation. It was one of my worst nightmares come to fruition. It was at this moment that I understood that I was strong enough to face whatever came my way, for my beautiful daughter.  I began to see Dr. David Sugarbaker from Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is one of the best mesothelioma doctors in the world, and he allowed me to see that I could fight it. I began researching the disease and found the statistics to be disheartening. There are not many people who survive and live a long, healthy life after diagnosis.

I decided that I was different and that I could beat this disease. I began treatments, which were horrible and tiring. My left lung was removed in a major surgery, as well as the lining around it that housed the tumor. I underwent this procedure in Boston, which is 1900 miles from home. I missed my six-month old daughter terribly, but she stayed with my parents while I underwent treatment to try to save my life.

After the surgery I began radiation and chemotherapy. I continued raising Lily in the best way that I know how. I was not able to be well during the first year of her life, and I am thankful for all of the support I received from my friends and family. She had no idea what was going on, which was for the best. On her first birthday a large group of friends and family got together to celebrate both of our lives. I finished my final radiation treatment soon after and was determined to stay cancer free for the rest of my life.

I learned many things during my year of cancer treatment. I battled more fiercely than I could have imagined; I also learned not to take things for granted. Life is precious and I enjoy the small, beautiful moments that come my way every day. Walks in the park, Lily’s laugh and rainbows have different meaning for me now. Life is for the living and I plan to do my best to live hard each and every day.

I was lucky enough to meet a lot of people who changed my life for the better during this experience. The cancer survivors are particularly touching because I know how much they value their lives and the people around them. The people who did not make it also touch my heart because I know that they attempted to fight a terrible disease: mesothelioma. I hope to raise awareness because of them.

Each day I work to enjoy life’s precious moments. There is always something to be grateful for, and that is what life is all about.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Easter Tablescape & Place Cards (very belated)

Hiya gang! I am a bit on the fly today, and I'm totally behind on blogging (surprise, surprise), but I thought I best get this post off before Christmas.  Yes??

Soooooo, this post will be a little more picture heavy and whole lot less wordy, as I tend to be.

And they all shouted, "Yahoo!"

Alrighty then, let's dive in.

First of all, I have to tell you all that I absolutely love Easter.  L.O.V.E. love it.  It's such a sacred and beautiful holiday to me.  It's a chance for me to celebrate my risen Savior Jesus Christ and all that this special day means to me...and that knowledge was my inspiration for my place cards this year...Because He Lives!  Have yourself a little look-see...

The white wooden bunnies, the egg salt and pepper shakers, lovely fresh flowers and the pretty colored mason jars were all finds from Target.  Love them. Incidentally, I live a block from Target, which makes spending money on unnecessary stuff I will use once a year pretty DARN easy. 

And the place cards. Oh my, the place cards. It feels like an eternity since I created (and posted, for that matter) place cards.

It was about time. :)
Last, but most certainly not least, Easter was extra special this year because my husband and I got to spend it with our little bean.  We decked her out in an adorable Easter dress, courtesy of my mom.

Those grandmas are something special, I tell you.
Then we got comfy...
Finally, we wrapped up our special day with bath time.
Followed by lots of giggles.
All in all, I would say it was a pretty perfect day.  Happy Monday, gang!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Picnic in the Porch...and Other Anniversary Ideas

Well, hello there!  So...I have this terrible habit these days of taking loads and loads of photos and never really doing anything with them.  BUT, I thought these pics might be fun to share with you all.

You see, while it's been 10+ years since my hubby and I first began dating, last Friday was our 4th wedding anniversary.  I told my husband that I would plan something this year and that he could do the planning next year.  The unfortunate problem was that I had no clue what to do.

I kept calling my husband at work whining, "I have no idea what we should do for our anniversary."

Since guys (okay, most guys, my husband included) could care less about planning some big, exciting event, I was dead set on planning something...anything.  Just for kicks.  To be honest, I don't get too bent out of shape about these things, but I do like a good challenge every now and then.

The problem was that I had zero ideas.  ZERO, I tell you!  (Part of my brain left me when I became pregnant, and I have yet to find it.)


Two days before my anniversary, it hit me.  Being a working mom and not seeing my sweet baby girl as much as I'd like to, getting a babysitter was out of the question for me.  However, I decided that we could still do something special right at home...

...And it started with a treasure hunt. Yes, indeed, I planned a treasure hunt for my beloved, with little gifts to go along with each clue.  I hid clues all over inside the house and outside in our backyard, too.

I felt all clever and stuff, as if no one in the whole wide world had ever planned a treasure hunt before me.  Hehe.

My husband looked at the clue below, and read it over and over again and said, "Where is this?"  To which I coyly smiled and responded with, "Babe, think about it.  We only have one picture on the wall."  (We still haven't hung our ridiculous amount of framed art, except for one lonely picture).  I LOVE that he played along, though. :)

Oh, and these envelopes you see with the months printed on them, well, that idea I snagged from this lady over here.  I had no idea what her blog was before I stumbled upon her on Pinterest, but she's got some fab-u-lous ideas.  The idea is to create an envelope with a date card and plans for each month.  Being the rockstar that she is, this particular gal even purchased gift cards and all that jazz ahead of time for the date envelope gift for every month of the year.

I'm exhausted just thinking about it.  As for me, I printed out date cards yet to be filled out in empty envelopes.  Sorry, honey, I tried!

Date card:

I did, however, manage to get him some good gifts from gift cards to socks because what guy doesn't burn through socks?  He commented that the socks were his favorite gift, by the way.

The final clue in the treasure hunt lead to a surprise picnic in our "almost finished" porch/sunroom-thing.  I tried to make things fun, and yet keep it SIMPLE.  Here's a little look-see at our anniversary picnic. Disclaimer: we need new flooring, so pleeeeeeeeeeease don't look too close!  Now you went and had a close look, didn't you? You stinkers!

The super cool picnic basket I quite literally stumbled upon at TJ Maxx the night before our anniversary, so, of course, I had to buy it.

Looking for your own picnic basket? Here are a few ideas to suit any tastes.

Plaid Chardonnay Basket with Wine Service for Two

Piccadilly Willow Picnic Basket

Terazzo Carrier for Four, Striped

Picnic Time Vino Wine and Cheese Basket for Two

The Couture Collection Willow Basket

Corsica Insulated Wine and Chese Basket

I also bought the absolute, yes, absolute most amazing cupcakes here in the Twin Cities from Sweet Retreat, which is conveniently and dangerously located across the street from my office.

Everything turned out so well, and my husband and I had a wonderful time laughing and just hanging out at our indoor picnic, all the while our sweet, little bean snoozed away.

Perfect. :)

Happy Anniversary, my love!

Speaking of my sweet, little bean...

She's growing like a weed!  A pretty cute, little weed, that is.

Happy Wednesday, gang!


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