Sunday, September 29, 2013

Back to Blogland?

Oh, you know me - I flit in and out of "blogland" - lately I can't seem to find the time or motivation to post much.  Most of the reason behind that is I haven't done much tatting at all this entire year.  And even with a long time of resting my hands,  I still find my limit to be about an hour of tatting at a time - then the base of my thumbs start to ache.  If I do much more I pay for it for the next few days.  As I planned, I haven't done any art/craft shows this year, although my patterns sell steadily and I do have some tatted jewelry in a little fiber arts store in Reading - Some Things Looming - so I'm technically still in the tatting business.  At a much reduced level, obviously.

I love this thread color from Handy Hands - Charcoal Medium (607) - and have been working with it off and on for a few weeks (fabulous design here by Yarnplayer as well).

Simple Drop Earrings (bottom) by Elizabeth's Lace

It works really well with contrasting thread and beads.  I tend to be a bit monochromatic in my designing, so it can be challenge for me to put different colors together and be pleased with the results.  With this thread it seems to be easier, perhaps because it is somewhat of a neutral color.

Well, it's back to the laundry for me - enjoy this Sunday and be blessed!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

In Loving Memory

...of my mom, JoAn. For those of you who have seen me at shows, you know she was my regular companion.  She was not only my mom - but a great friend as well. She was an RN and a wonderful nurse.  She worked in several different specialties, one of them being oncology - caring for and treating patients with cancer while battling her own disease, breast cancer.  Her final job was working in hospice, once again treating patients in their final days, caring for their families and loved ones and helping them with their grief and pain; all the while dealing with and coming to understanding her own mortality.

Joan K. Gehris
December 29, 1945 - December 5, 2012

Me, my mom, and my sister last Mother's Day at a "Fancy Nancy" party.

I wrote the following letter to my mom several years ago, and share it here to help you understand the kind of person she was.

Dear Mom,

Today in church we had a lady talk about her experience with cancer.  She has stage 3 non-Hodgkins lymphoma.  Not that that’s really important though – what struck me was something she said.  She said that it is wonderful to be a cancer survivor.  Everyone who has cancer hopes to be a cancer survivor, but ultimately, not everyone is.  “But,” she said, “it is much more important to be a cancer conqueror.

I couldn’t imagine what she meant by that, but she went on to explain.  A cancer conqueror is someone who never lets their cancer beat them.  I mean in everyday things – getting up in the morning, going to work, living life as fully as you can while you go through your treatments.  Not holding a pity-party for yourself.  Doing what needs to be done.  Doing things you want to do.  Thinking of and serving others.  Being content in the midst of what can be a horrifying and devastating illness.  Having joy despite the circumstances, and letting others see that joy come through you so it blesses them as well.  Displaying peace through the pain.  If you can do all these things, then cancer cannot beat you.  You have conquered it – it has no hold and no power over you, and though you may still have symptoms and side effects from treatment, you are free from cancer.

What a powerful message that was.  And the whole time she was giving it, you know what I was thinking?  I was thinking, “Wow! That’s my mom to a T!! She is a cancer conqueror if ever I knew one.” 

I know I’ve never said this to you, but I sure have said it to other people I know - I really don’t know how you do it.  I sometimes think if I was going through the same things, I couldn’t be nearly as strong.  Your witness to those around you is a testimony to your strength, determination, positive attitude, and that you can be free from cancer even when you have cancer.  What an awesome way to live life!! 

I wanted to write you this note and let you know what an encouragement you have been to me (and so many others) throughout your experience with cancer.  You have never let it stop you from doing what you needed to do. Throughout the whole process you have continued to work and serve others who were going through some of the same things you were going through.  I am sure this side of Heaven you will have no idea how you have touched so many other people through what you do at work.  You have been a blessing to many, I’m absolutely sure of that.  I really don’t know what other word to use other than “ministry” – it is your ministry to others, and you show them God’s love with everything you do for them.

You have also never let it stop you from doing anything you wanted to do.  I will always remember going bead shopping with you that day while you had the severe radiation burns on your shoulder and neck.

Never once did I hear you complain.  Never once were you cranky.  I’ve never seen you hold a pity-party for yourself.  You display contentment.  You are joyful through your circumstances, and you bless others because of it.  You show peace through your pain. Mom, you have conquered cancer – it has no hold and no power over you.  You are free from cancer.

My prayer is that you will also be a cancer survivor, for as long as possible.  But I want you to know that no matter what happens, you are a living testimony to all those around you of a “cancer conqueror.”

I love you,


It was a very tough fall and winter, and it has taken me quite a while to write this post.  We had been dealing with my mom's cancer for so long (she was originally diagnosed as 42) that it seemed at times she would live forever.  Even though we had her for almost 25 years after her original diagnosis, I have to say the end came much too quickly for me.  I miss her every day, and often think about all the things she will not be here to share with us - things as simple as family dinners and as important as weddings and her great-grandchildren. I have decided not to do any art shows this year, mostly because of my hands and the difficulty I have tatting now; but admittedly because I also cannot imagine my mom not being there with me at any of them.

I know it gets easier with time but right now the grief is still overwhelming.  I still cannot really talk about it without a lot of emotion but it has been good to write some things down.  Thanks for letting me share a little about my mom - is does help to think back and celebrate the wonderful person she was.