The following is my post as guest-host on Frosting For the Cause for Saturday, March 12th. I wanted to keep a record of it here in my blog as well.
Cancer is such an ugly, UGLY word. I really can’t think of another word that causes such despair in my heart so quickly, and if there’s one thing I really hate about cancer is that it doesn’t discriminate in how it chooses victims. Too often, cancer picks family & friends of MINE.
Growing up, I can remember my Great-Grandma Ruth and what a sweet, sweet lady she was. She was an avid crocheter, and she was always ready with a glowing smile. At a very young age, she taught me how to make one of the best foods on the planet – plain hot dog buns grilled in butter! – and she traveled long distances just to see us. (We lived in East Texas, but she lived in North Texas – easily a 14-hour drive!)
But despite being sweet as sugar, she was a fighter. She battled breast cancer in the 70′s and she lived to tell the tale. By the time I was in elementary school, my memories of her included her large, large left arm – an after-effect caused by the breast cancer surgeries of the day. (Her lymph nodes were removed, and without them, toxins built up in her arm, swelling it to massive proportions.) I don’t remember her complaining about her plight, though. I think she was far too busy making gifts for others and enjoying life! She lived to a ripe, old age, and died in 1995, years and years after her bout with cancer. What an inspiration!
But she isn’t the only great lady in my family, and this next one is even closer to my heart: my older sister, Erica. We’re 3 years and 3 months apart in age, but for all of my younger years, everyone thought I was her mini-clone. Even after my own kids were born, I thought they favored her in appearance more! We’ve been secret-keepers and secret-blabbers for each other for years, and I laugh every time I remember putting “stink berries” in her underwear drawer as a gag when I was young. Boy, she didn’t think it was funny when she found them!
Just as she was celebrating her engagement and planning her wedding, she was hit with terrible news: possible cervical cancer. I was absolutely devastated myself FOR her, and I spent days crying my eyes out. Erica, on the other hand, remained strong, doing what she needed to do. She didn’t spare a moment for moping, and she has made a beautiful life for herself despite the predictions, refusing to worry about the future. She is an excellent seamstress, making quilts for all her family and friends. She even made the dresses that she and I are wearing in the picture above, and she was only in high school then!
You might be able to tell from the photos that my mom is definitely Irish stock. In fact, my Uncle James chose to be wed on St. Patrick’s Day many years ago, and Erica and I had important roles: she was the ringbearer, and I was the flowergirl. She did her job proudly, but as a tiny girl, I was too scared to face the wedding crowds, and I hovered instead in the back of the church. My Uncle James teases me about it even now!
Coming from such proud heritage, I had no trouble deciding what to make for my ‘Frosting for the Cause’ contribution: leprechauns, of course! I’m definitely not risking a pinch!
Aren’t these guys just so fun?! I bought a 4-pack set of St. Patrick’s Day cookie cutters, and then I set to dreaming. I tried to imagine drawing a leprechaun into just the shamrock shape, but I just couldn’t pull it together (the stem part would’ve made the head too small). Instead, I thought of using the hat, shamrock, and horseshoe to make an entire leprechaun that you can take apart!
These big dudes require a lot of steps, but I promise – nothing is difficult! You can definitely do it, and here’s how…
If I waited to put these in order – or to write stories – with each of these pictures, they would never be ready in the same timeframe as our holiday newsletter. In short, I will just put a small caption beneath each photo. Enjoy a glimpse of our 2010!
The big, family tree at night in the snow.
A.J. – 12, Jack – 9
Fall Portraits that I took in September.