{Semi} Wordless Wednesday

{Semi} Wordless Wednesday

National No Bra Day {and why I hate it}


I was going to wait until the day to post this, but after seeing some posts already on Facebook about it feel it may be better served beforehand to educate.

This is a day that I dread, one that makes me cringe.  As many of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  And October 13 has been deemed national No Bra Day or Free the TaTas.

I am the daughter of a woman who not only fought breast cancer but won that fight. And not only one fight, but multiple times. Her fight spanned across many years, each one being tough in it's own way.  From 1981 through 1989 she battled and fought.  And throughout it all, she only asked God for one thing...to allow her to live long enough to raise her daughter.  

From her perspective, those years had to be frightening.  The first surgery she had in 1981, she nearly lost her life.  The cancer was more advanced than they first anticipated, and a partial mastectomy had to be performed.  The next battle resulted in a complete mastectomy.  And the last battle included chemo and radiation.  

When she first found out she had cancer, I was only six years old.  I can remember playing with the neighbor kids and waving to her as my Grandpa took her to the hospital for her first surgery.  I can remember hearing whispers of her condition when I was around.  I can remember crying, because I just wanted my Mama home.  I can remember the look on her face the first time she showed me her changed body riddled with staples.  I can remember the nights she spent sick from chemo and radiation.  The days her stomach would only allow her to eat rice.  And the morning I found her passed out on the floor because her white blood cell count had dropped.

The intent of this post isn't to gain sympathy, but rather to give you a glimpse of what the reality of breast cancer is.       

Her and I have had many, many discussions about ‪No ‬Bra Day and Free the Tatas. And to a breast cancer survivor, to a woman who fought to live so she could raise her daughter, to a woman that spent many days sick from radiation and chemo these campaigns are completely offensive. Not only offensive but also belittling and demeaning to the pain and suffering she endured.

This is a great post from a survivor and I think sums up most of their thoughts on this:
The thought of seeing bra-less women flaunting two body parts that I have lost to cancer — more than I already see this on a regular day — does not feel all that supportive. In fact, it feels quite the opposite
I don't understand how on earth could a day where girls and women are encouraged to post and share photos of their braless breasts is to be “supportive” for women who are living with or who have died from breast cancer, or who have managed to ‘complete’ the arduous treatments and disfiguring surgeries required to put them into remission?

And as my Mama said:
It's as much as them saying "Look, I have them and you don't."
This day, which many buy into, is nothing more than sexualizing breast cancer. It's sexualized by social media users who use the campaign as an excuse to post pictures of themselves topless with no intention of promoting breast cancer awareness or donating to research charities.  And that, my friends, is sad. Breast cancer isn't sexy, it's devastating.

I suggest we change October 13 to National Check For Lumps Day, or perhaps National Get Yourself To The Doctor Before It’s Too Late Day. Cancer patients don’t have time for cuteness when it comes to the potentially fatal disease they’re faced with. They do, on the other hand, have an appreciation for realism and action.

Ask a real survivor what you can do to promote breast cancer awareness or how you can honor her fight.  Their answers would include get a mammogram, run a race, donate to the Susan G. Komen Foundation or simply be there for someone fighting a battle.

Taking your bra off isn't the answer.

{Semi} Wordless Wednesday

Hello. Goodbye.

Hello October, goodbye September
Hello rustling leaves, goodbye hot summer sun
Hello comfort food, goodbye cookouts
Hello campfires on crisp autumn nights

Hello pumpkin flavored everything, goodbye boring flavors
Hello trick-or-treating, goodbye quiet evenings
Hello mums, goodbye daisies
Hello busiest photography month of the year, goodbye free time

Hello scary movies, goodbye walking outside in the dark
Hello fall decorations, goodbye naked walls
Hello pumpkin candle, goodbye lilac candle
Hello season that makes me want to knit, goodbye unbusy hands

Hello colorful leaves, goodbye greenery
Hello infinity scarves and sweaters, goodbye tank-tops and necklaces
What are YOU saying hello and goodbye to?

The Illustrator’s Notetaking Bible {Book Review}

The Illustrator's Notetaking Bible
by B & H Publishing
About the book:
The Illustrator’s Notetaking Bible combines two hot trends: Bible journaling and adult coloring. Through unique illustrations included on every page spread, readers, illustrator’s, and notetakers alike learn to engage the biblical text in a new way. The exceptional design offers a unique balance for everyone from seasoned artists to the creatively challenged, allowing for guided creativity and meaningful personalization of the Bible reading experience. From filigree, Scripture quotes, and unique images, these line-drawn illustrations are waiting to be brought to life.
One thing I've always loved since I was little is coloring.  As I got older, it changed into other artistic outlets like scrapbooking, card-making and art journals.  When I saw this Bible combined all of those things, I lept at the chance to review it!

This Bible has over 600 drawings and verses, filigree designs, swashes and doodles.  Some of the designs span two pages, while others are only one page.  It has wide, lined margins on the pages which is perfect for art journaling or note taking during sermons.  The pre-drawn designs are a light gray color and easily covered with pencils or markers.

I have used markers, watercolors, watercolored pencils and colored pencils in this Bible and the pages withstood all of it.  I was really apprehensive to use watercolors and markers, afraid they would crinkle or rip the page or bleed through.  But to my excitement they didn't!  You can see the examples of what I've done below.

Adult coloring books are a hot trend right now.  You can find adult coloring books for just about any theme.  It relieves stress, relaxes you (read this as puts me to sleep) and helps you focus!  What a better way to relieve stress than coloring in your Bible!

I have to say, the creative lettering pages are my favorite.  I'm a sucker for great fonts and love mixing them.  The lettering in the Bible is superb!

And for those of you who don't feel you're artistic enough for this Bible, don't worry, there are many designs already on the pages!  All you need to do is color them in.

B & H Publishing Group provided this book to me for free in exchange for this honest review.


Today's prompt: Something that made you laugh or cry recently. It could be a video, a picture, a post, a memory. Anything that moved you.

Last week I spent some time reading back through all the statuses, posts and pictures on my Facebook from when I was sick.  With tears in my eyes, I was reminded again how blessed I am to even be here.  I was reminded of how even on my sickest days, I felt myself surrounded by love.  I was reminded of those times I was being prepped for surgery, knowing so many people had me covered in prayer.

If you're new to my blog, and haven't heard my story, I'll share it with you.  It's a true testament to how good and faithful God is, and how He brings beauty from the ashes.

In October of 2011 I went in for a routine laparoscopic hysterectomy. One of the first cuts the doctor made hit a main artery. A 9 inch incision, 2 units of blood, 1 unit of plasma and 1 unit of platelets later I woke in ICU. I had nearly died during the surgery. And during the surgery the doctor also missed a huge cyst on my left ovary. Four months later I went in to have that removed.

During that surgery, the same doctor put a clip on my ureter and put a hole in it. Three days later I had emergency surgery for a kidney that hadn't drained in days. They installed a stent, hoping that would help the ureter heal.

Over the next 7 months, I had 8 surgeries to replace the stent. Each one would get corroded and calcified and cause a kidney infection, which would knock me on my butt. Finally the doctors at the Cleveland Clinic determined I needed a ureter reconstruction.

In October of 2012 I had a 14 hour surgery to repair my damaged ureter. While they were operating, they also found I had a partial bowel obstruction and that was fixed as well.

The surgery was a success! But sadly, my kidney had too much damage done to it. It was no longer functioning at all and was causing more harm than good. In February of 2013 I had my kidney removed. It was a routine surgery but unfortunately, I had a small stroke during it, awaking to a completely numb face on the left side.

Thankfully over time, my body healed itself and the stroke is barely noticeable. Although I do still have days where the drooping on the left side of my face is very noticeable.

I have issues with abdominal scar tissue, but that is an issue I'll always have. My body just seems to love that stuff and grows it like crazy. I've had another surgery for lysis of adhesions to fix another partial bowel obstruction and free up what it was wrapped around.

Throughout all of this, the support I had was so, so amazing.  My husband drove me all over for doctor appointments, surgeries and follow-up appointments.  The days I could only sit in a chair, he completely jumped in and picked up my slack with my littles right by his side helping.  My church family and friends brought us meals daily so I could just recoup and not worry about cooking.  The number of people faithfully praying for me still brings tears to my eyes.  

I survived all of this solely because of God's amazing grace and love. He has a beautiful, perfect plan for my life that didn't end during those scary surgeries. Now it's up to me to make sure I'm fulfilling it.

I am so blessed to have the most amazing husband, parents, children, church family and friends. I love you ALL and could never thank you enough for all you've done for us over the years!


Today's prompt: A family recipe (if grandma allows, of course!)

When I was growing up I was blessed to not only have a Mama that grew her own food, but canned it as well. Not only my Mama, but all the women in my family. Many family gatherings would include a circle of women chatting about their recent crops and what they were planning on canning with them. It was a given that once I had a household of my own, I would follow in all their footsteps. And proudly, I have.

This is the spaghetti sauce recipe that my Grandma, Mama and now myself use. It's absolutely our favorite and store bought sauce doesn't even compare to it.

Spaghetti Sauce
  • 1⁄2 bushel tomatoes
  • 2 bulbs garlic
  • 4 hot peppers
  • 3 lb. onions
  • 1⁄2 cup salt
  • 1 1⁄2 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp italian seasoning
  • 8 cans tomato paste
  • 2 cups oil

Put everything into a blender and puree. I cut the stem part off the tomatoes, quarter them and put skins and all into the blender. I also leave the seeds in two of the hot peppers to add some heat.

Bring it to a boil and cook until thick. I cook mine for 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally.

To can, pour into jars. Place rings and lids on jars, making it fingertip-tight. Place on a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool.


Today's prompt: Fall favorites. Share your must-haves for this season.

It's no secret, Fall is my absolute favorite season. So this topic is incredibly easy for me to write about. Let me be more specific...

Fall Favorites 
Leaves changing colors. Pumpkin flavored creamer. Ladies Bible Study. Knitting. 
Boots with every outfit. Truck pulls. Cozy Scarves. Pumpkin Candles. Golden light. 
Carving Pumpkins. Scary movie marathons. Burlap Wreathes. Crisp air.
Curling up with a book. Friday night football games. Chili. 
Bonfires. Dressing in Layers. Halloweentown. Mums. Thanksgiving.
Caramel Apples. Craft shows. Warm soup on a cold day. Hay rides. Pumpkin patch.
The smell. Driving through falling leaves.  Trick-or-treating.
Decorations. Boot socks.  Thanksgiving.  Fall festivals.  Apple butter.
Wearing layers.  Boot socks.  Christmas is around the corner.
Potato soup and bread bowls.  Annual family photo shoot.


Today's prompt: Something you wish more people knew or believed.

Empowering women to love their body, as is, is one of my passions. So many times, we let the wrong factors define our worth. We allow failed relationships, body image, abuse, past choices and health to define us. We allow feelings of being useless, ignored, ugly, overweight, unloved or forgotten to circle around us. Sadly, we repeatedly allow these factors to define us. We allow our feelings to dictate our identity.

In those moments of weakness, where the lies seem to continually circle around, refuse to give in to them. Remember that you are loved, as-is. And retraining your heart to know that is absolutely worth the fight.

I have lived life in a size 12 body and a size 24 body, and every size in between. I have been called fat, a cow and lots of other names. I have been told I have such a pretty face, if I would just lose some weight. Mean words that are said without a second thought, but they stay in my head for years. I have carried oh-so-much shame around with me over those years. And it seemed no amount of self-help books, dieting or trying to sort it out in my head ever worked. I had an unhealthy and unfortunate amount of shame and self-loathing toward my body. I could not imagine why God would give other girls perfect bodies then give me this one. And to be honest, I was a little mad at Him for that.

Learning to love myself regardless of my size was one of the most crucial turning points. 

Women today are continually exposed to what society sees as the ideal body. The perfect hourglass shape with no arm flab, a thigh gap, full lips, perfect breasts and a flat tummy. And if you don't have those, then you aren't beautiful. We believe from the time we are little girls that we must have these things. If we’re not the ideal beautiful, then we should be ashamed and not feel like we are good enough.
“I am unwaveringly ME; and the same goes for YOU. No matter what you’re struggling with, embrace what you have to offer, love yourself right this minute and start affecting positive change for yourself and others.”—Whitney
What does Jesus think of us? What does He think our worth is? Well, He thought you and I were worth dying for! And if He thinks that much of us, why would we ever allow others to degrade the life He went through so much to save? He thinks we are worth far more than rubies! {Proverbs 31:10}

Some days, without fail, old insecurities will come knocking on the doors of our hearts. We’re tempted to tell lies about ourselves to ourselves when we’re rejected or knocked down or feeling not quite … enough.

But in those moments of weakness, I refuse to give in to the lies. I will continue to tell myself I am loved, as-is, not as I think I should be.

Retraining my heart will take years. But I know it is worth the fight.

Let me speak directly to your heart. Believe it, sweet girls. Pretty please with cream and sugar on top. Know that what Jesus says about you is genuine - that you a treasure, of great worth, a woman with infinite value. No matter what size you are.  No matter what you look like.  No matter what anyone says. No matter what you've done. No matter your past. No matter how you feel. It’s true!


Today's prompt: A list of your favorite blog posts you've written.

Oh, how fun this prompt was! I always love going back and re-reading past posts I've written. Here is a list of my top 10 favorite blog posts ever.

1.  Parenting A Child With Anxiety - This post is so very special to me, and so close to my heart. With this blog post, I want to give you a glimpse into parenting a child that has been diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, slight OCD and Dyslexia.

2.  Why I'm Not Raising A Feminist Daughter - This explains why we teach submission, headship and living a Christ-centered marriage. While it might not be the worlds opinion, we are following Gods word. That will bring joy, peace, contentment, fulfillment and freedom! And in turn, your life will bring glory to God. Isn’t that what it's all about?

3.  An Open Letter To My Husband On Our 20th Anniversary - Twenty years ago, we became husband and wife. At 22 and 20, we were just a couple of kids so madly in love. We didn’t know a lot back then, but we knew one thing for certain: we belonged together.

4.  Saving Your First Kiss - We need to recognize the kiss as an incredible gift that God has given each one of us to fully embrace and enjoy in the right context. Instead of lowering its value and blowing it off as just-a-kiss let’s view it as a precious, sacred gift.

5.  Dear Body - Remember when we were little and we were friends? You weren’t good or bad or fat or thin or ugly or beautiful. You were just me.

6.  Walking Through Valleys - I am walking in a wilderness right now. A wilderness full of friends walking hand-in-hand, while I walk alone.

7.  I'm Tired Of The Not-Enoughs - I had all the right words for her but I was too busy living with not enoughs, I couldn't model this truth for her.

8.  An Open Letter To Those Who Have Walked Out Of My Life - I will always love you. I know that sounds unbelievable for me to say. Especially since you're the one who chose to walk out of my life. But those words hold true.

9.  Piece By Piece - Sometimes a difficult day comes out of nowhere, surprising you with its emotions and frustrations.

10. Kindness Matters - Kindness is honestly one of the greatest gifts you can give someone. As Christians, kindness is something He expects from us.

Snuggle Time Psalms {Book Review}

Snuggle Time Psalms
By Glenys Nellist
About the book:
Did you think the book of Psalms was only for adults? Think again! Snuggle Time Psalms, written by Glenys Nellist and illustrated by Cee Biscoe, is the perfect way to introduce little ones to the poetry book of the Bible. This padded cover board book uses simple concepts, rhyming text and adorable art to help children engage with the Psalms. Beginning with “Bedtime Peace” and ending with “Wonderful Me!” this collection of fifteen bedtime poems enables young children to discover the One who holds them in his arms, leads them like a shepherd, created them just as they are, and cherishes them with a love that never ends ... snuggle and see!
When my Sunday School littles hear me say I have a new book for us to read, they instantly run to my bag to see what magic it holds.  As soon as they saw this book, and the adorable cover, I heard immediate shouts of now, now!
This cute little board book is just the perfect size for little hands!  The illustrations are just precious. There are fifteen bedtime prayers that will bring the psalms into your little ones life.  Each page contains a psalm paraphrased for little ones. Some of the words seem challenging or difficult for young children to understand but I just took that as an opportunity to explain the word in terms they would understand.  I had their undivided attention throughout the entire story, they loved it!

This book was provided to me free of charge by Book Look in return for my honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.