Fight like a girl

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Changes with Food Purchases in our Home

My husband and I made some changes with our food purchases and consumption recently.  I have a few 'homesteaders' that I watch on youtube and they had some great tips for saving money on the food bill.  

One thing we decided to do was to shop somewhere besides the grocery store.  I already buy honey locally and shop at our local Dollar General.  Now some may wonder why I shop at the DG. Well, one reason is because it's only 4 miles from my home and the other is it carries a lot of what I need.  I buy canned beans, bread, rice, four, sugar, greeting cards, laundry soap, dish soap, bottled water, cat food and litter, etc.  The two main things I buy from there is cereal and snacks.  The price of cereal is very reasonable.  At the local grocery store the price of one box of cereal is rarely under $4.  At DG, I can buy their off brand for around $2.50 or less per box. The snacks are another item that are priced very reasonable there. Granola bars, chips, cookies, etc.  Again, they are off brand, but pretty good.

I shop at Aldi's or Walmart for my meat and produce.  I don't buy much meat though; mainly chicken.  We freeze and can our deer meat and I buy bacon and pork  locally.  

So the change we made was we started buying whole turkey's, turkey breast, hams, etc.  We purchased a slicer and slice the meat and freeze it.

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Turkey, chicken and ham at the deli, sliced, is around $5.99 a pound and up.  We found this 9 lb. turkey (roasted) for $24.99. That averages out to $2.78 per lb.  That sure beats $5.99! 

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So my husband sliced it up and froze the slices in 1.5 lb. packages/ freezer bags. We will use this for sandwiches.  

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Another change we made, is I purchased flour, yeast, butter, and rice (the staples) in bulk today from Sam's club.  Now, I know the membership fee at Sams isn't cheap, but we'll find out if it's worth it or not.  I wanted to find a store where I could buy things out of bins, by the pound, but the closest store around here is over 2.5 hours away.  Anyway, I purchased some food grade 5 gal. buckets and a large tin to store these bulk items.  

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Make sure you store your food in the "food grade" buckets.  They are BPA free and are made for dry foods as well as liquid.  They also have an air tight seal!  I bought this one above (white with red lid) at TSC for around $5.  The metal one with the lid was around $19.99. 

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I placed the yeast in a glass mason jar and put it in the refrigerator as directed on the package. My idea here is to make our own bread rather than purchase it.  One thing I have learned by watching these homesteading videos is the more you can make from scratch at home, the better.  

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My bread turned out amazing!  It is so moist and thick just like we like it!  This is definitly going to be a normal item for us.  The price of bread in the store is $2.89 (+ or - 50 cents) and I'm sure I can make it tons cheaper and let's face it, better in taste.  

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I found this great HUGE jar at a yard sale and it has a rubber seal under the wooden lid.  I put a coffee mug next to it to show how big it really is.  It holds approx. 8 lbs of flour.  I keep this right on my counter for quick access.  

So please comment if you have any great tips for me or if there is something that you've tried that hasn't worked for storage, baking, or purchases.  :)

God Bless & happy baking!  :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Hair growth and Hair washing diary

So this post will be a little bit different than my usual.  I decided to grow out my pixie.  Everyone who knows me knows that I love to change up my hair quite often.  I don't think I've ever kept the same hair style for more than a year.  I've been wanting to try a bob again, so I haven't cut my hair since October.  Now I have had my mom trim up the mullet in the back, but other than that, no cutting anywhere else.  From the pic below it doesn't look like it's long, but it has grown out a lot in the past 3 months.  The sides are 1/2 way covering my ears now; they were cut around my ears.

I've recently have started using coconut oil as a moisturizer.  LOVE IT!  So that got me started in researching hair growth, moisturizing, and washing.  I've watched some of the "no poo" hair videos on youtube.  This is where women do not use any shampoo.  Yes, it's true, no shampoo.  Although it's a nice 'natural' concept, I am not going to do that. However, I have decided to only wash my hair twice per week. Yep, 2 x's per week!  For me, the shorter my hair is, the better it styles when it is dirty.  So here are a few tricks I've learned so far:

*  Use little styling products the first day.

*  Use a little texture paste called Surf Hair by Garnier, strong hold; runs around $6.  (Click Surf Hair above to take you to product.)

*  By the 3'rd day, I use some dry shampoo.  I make my own at home; recipe can be found here:

*  Use powder (I use styling or volumizing powder) when it starts getting flat; it helps create volume.  I use ROCK ON by BTS; purchased at Sally's for $6.  (Click Rock On above to take you to Sally's.)

*  Brush hair out before bed to pull any oil that is on the scalp through the hair.

*  Change my part!  Amazing how side swept bangs to the opposite side can give you a whole new do!

*  Occasionally I use a small barrel curling iron on day 3 or 4 to put tight curls throughout my entire head.  Then I finger through it and put a headband on.

*  Another great fix is hair accessories!  Clips, bows, bandanas, hats, ear warmers, headbands, scarves, etc.  Don't want to mess with it?  Cover it up!  :)

I will show you day by day how my hair styles and feels with washing it only twice a week.  ( I wash Sat. and Wed.)

I've noticed that day one (washing day) my hair isn't very manageable.  It wants to do it's own thing, fly aways, etc.  I do use the blow dryer but try to towel and air dry most of it.  Occasionally I'll use moose in it, but didn't on this day.  I also use a flat iron just to smooth out the waves.  

Here is a pic of  DAY 1  hair (washed in am):

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Please excuse the lack of make up.  We were snowed in so I didn't put the normal 'barn door paint' on.  ;)

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As you can see, there is something funky going on in the back.  I need some poof or flatten the upper chunk.  lol.  I only used a little hairspray today.   (I use RAVE hair spray; $3 at Rite Aid.)

DAY 2  hair:

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As you can see I changed my part already.  It just wasn't doing what I wanted and it looks longer parted on this side.  Again, my goal is to get it to a bob.

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Day 3 :

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Yep, it's bandana day.  lol.  But to be honest, I really didn't feel like messing with it today.  If I would have spent more time on it I'm sure I could've had a cute do, but that is what's great about the bandana!  I didn't use any styling products. I just ran the flat iron in a few funky spots (from sleeping) and ran my fingers through it.

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Honestly, I think my hair looks better today, than the other days. It's dirty, and seems to be more obedient.

Day 4 :

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Today, my hair is pretty dirty.  However, it is more manageable than any other day.  Really.  I took a curling iron and put small curls all around my head.  I sectioned the top of my head into two sections, front and back.  Then curled the top as well.  Then I took my fingers and combed out my hair and fluffed.  I used a headband today and then fluffed my hair more around the headband.  Then I sprayed hairspray all over.

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Here is the back.

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I do want to mention that before I went to bed last night, I combed through my hair really good wide brush.  Then I put my homemade dry shampoo throughout my hair.  I sectioned it like I would if I was coloring it. I used a little brush (see pic below).  Once in my hair, I used my fingers to rub the dry shampoo into my hair/scalp. 

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Tomorrow I will wash my hair and start the process over. :)

Years ago, there was a lady that I attended church with.  She had short hair and it always look so stylish and cute!  I asked her one day what her secret was because her hair looked so perfect all the time.  She said that she only washed her hair once a week!  She went to her stylist and had her hair washed and styled on Saturday's.  I only seen her on Sunday and Wednesday's and her hair looked perfect both days, but I always wondered what her hair looked like on Friday night.  lol.  ;)

So if you are going to give this a try, I hope these tips will help. Remember, no one knows that you aren't washing your hair everyday.  Good luck!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Attention Unschoolers, advice needed!

This post is a little different than what my readers are used to.  In the past if I wasn't writing about homeschooling, I was writing about cancer.  So this blog post is more of an advice request.

This year has not been easy for our family.  With my husband having a stroke in Jan., me being diagnosed with breast cancer in April and cancer treatment taking over my summer and fall, this year has not been organized to say the least.  I've been thinking a lot about unschooling.  This is my 12'th year of homeschooling and I've researched unschooling, but thought it was crazy idea.... until now.  

After all my experience, I've learned some things over the years.

#1.  Why do middle schoolers need to learn Algebra?

#2.  Why do we teach spelling when spell check is on every electronic device offered to man?

#3.  Why do we put so much time into teaching cursive?

#4.  Why do we have such strict schedules on our homeschool routine and bedtimes?

#5.  Why do we need to teach our children things that they will never use or apply to their lives?

So I will address each question with MY opinion.  #1., I have never used Algebra.  The highest math I took in high school was Algebra 1, never used it.  I understand that certain careers have certain requirements.  But one thing I know as a homeschool mom, is my kids.  I know my kids.  So unless they are going to college, Algebra is over rated.   #2. I do teach spelling, but again, over rated.  I attended to public school.  I had weekly spelling tests and I am probably in the top ten worst spellings ever.  Hmmmmm.  #3.  Cursive.  I've read that it helps with Dyslexia but we don't dwell on it.  When my boys were younger, I taught cursive.  It's not mandatory to write cursive, so why spend so much time on it?  I do agree that you definitely need to know how to read it and sign your name of course.  #4.  My youngest doesn't really have a strict bedtime. He gets about 9-10 hours of sleep per night.  Except for my husband, we go to bed between 11 and 12 every night.  We use no alarms.  I usually get up around 8:30am and my son around 9:30am.  We start school around 10:30 and school until about 2 with a short 30 minute break for lunch.  I want my son to get the sleep that his body needs. That is why I don't use an alarm.  I know what you are thinking.  Why let him stay up so late?  I am a night owl and my son and I spend our 'quality' TV time at night.  We watch sitcoms, laugh, and spend time together.  He is 12.5 yrs old and wants to watch TV with me every night.  What teenager wants to spend time with their mom anymore with Ipods, cell phones, Ipads, etc in the mix?  Sorry, taking advantage of our 'TV time'.  As far as daily routines, we try to keep one but lets face it.  Life gets in the way.  Radiation treatments, hospitalization, etc.  #5. Why do I need to teach my son how to find the square root of 81 or where to find the predicate nominative in the sentence?   I would rather teach him to measure the square foot of a room for hardwood flooring.  Now that is worth learning and will be applied to his life.  Why does he need to know about chemical reactions?  There is a thing called common sense and we do teach that.  ;)

So, I don't expect answers to these questions but would like to hear from unschoolers.  I don't want to be the unschooler who lets their children play video games all day or whatever they want to do.  But I do want to be the unschooler who "teaches" outside the box and teaches what they will apply to their lives and what they do need to know.  I don't want to fill my son's head with all of this useless information when I only have a precious five years left to teach him.  My goal as a homeschool parent is to teach my sons how to be good Godly men, who are helpful to others and can support themselves and their families.  For those of you who don't usually read my blog, my oldest is 19 and graduated in 2013.  My middle son, just tuned 17, and is a freshman in college.  So my youngest, who is 12, is my last homeschool son at home.  My oldest 2 are very book smart.  We're talking 3.5 or higher gpa's.  But my youngest is different.  He is smart too, but he is more hands on, high energy, and challenging.  He doesn't like to read (and Dyslexic), and hates to write.  Yes, I do teach writing; we use Excellent in Writing.  He likes to think outside the box and figure out other ways of doing things.  Make sense?

So attention UNSCHOOLERS, what advice, tips or info. can you share?  :)

Saturday, November 7, 2015

My letter to the patient with the "C" word.

Dear Cancer Patient,

   Don't let this news that you've received crush your hope.  You need hope.  I was asked to write a letter to encourage you.  My breast cancer story may not be like yours, but I do know what you are feeling and going through.

   I was diagnosed with breast cancer (stage IIa) at age of 41.  I have no BC in my family.  I wear non-aluminum deodorant and eat fairly healthy (very little processed food) and live a pretty healthy, active lifestyle.  No rhyme or reason for this BC.  I am the 1 and 8 statistic.  I had a lumpectomy, 31 treatments of radiation and I will be taking Tomoxifin for the next five years.  I chose not to do chemo. due to the chemo. treatment would only decrease my recurrence of BC by 4 %.  My Oncotype score was a 22; which is a higher number and with the research I've done, it was recommended to do chemo. But again, with the percentage that low, I declined.  It's been one month since my last radiation treatment and my skin is still healing, but very well and looks healthy.  My energy is increasing but not completely back up to wear it was before my radiation treatments.

   The doctors and nurses were wonderful.  They are ready to give you tons of information that you should know about your cancer.  At least they did me.  But I will tell you what the doctors DON'T tell you.  They don't tell you that it is ok to cry and be upset.  When I was going through my radiation treatments, the nurses/techs every day would ask me how my day was going, ask how I was feeling or ask me how my radiation site was.  I always gave a positive answer because I was feeling positive.  Well, about 4 weeks into my treatments I started feeling pain, discomfort, itchiness, tenderness and my positive attitude had left.  Now, I don't want you to confuse this with faith.  I still had my faith in God and my hope that he would see me through this.  I just lost that positive exterior that I was holding onto.  Again, the nurse/tech ask me how I was doing.  I told her that I can't complain because there is someone out there worse than I am.  There was someone who is throwing up from the chemo or crying because her hair was falling out.  I cannot complain.  She looked at me and told me that just because there is someone else going through worse, doesn't mean I can't have my time to complain or feel bad.  It was ok.  I am so thankful that she told me that.  I was starting to feel like I was living a fake life so to speak.  On the outside I was smiling and not complaining.  But in the inside, I was torn, tired and just wanted to crawl into bed and be alone.  Another incident was in church one morning I had a very special friend of mine come up to me during prayer time and ask me how I was.  I broke.  I cried on her shoulder and told her that I just couldn't put on the fake smile and say I was ok, because sometimes I'm not.  I was just tired of being positive.  She hugged me, prayed for me and told me that I didn't need to be positive all the time. That not being positive has nothing to do with my faith.  I can still have faith in God and not be positive.  I held onto that.  I needed to hear that.  Everyone around me was watching how the "Christian, spirit filled woman", was handling the 'c' word.  

Well guess what?  I beat it.  It's gone.  I am cancer free.  I am positive again.  I lost it for a short time, but I'm back!  :)  Amen!

So my advice to you is:

Don't compare your cancer treatment to others.

Everyone's treatment is different.  Everyone's body is different. Keep focused on getting through it and being healthy again.

Don't give up hope or faith in the Lord!

Never give up!  You are here for a reason.  The Lord has a purpose for your life.  You can't have a testimony without a test.  Keep in the Word.  Look up healing scriptures and hang onto them.  Write them on note cards and hang them everywhere you go in the house to remind you to fight!  

It's ok to have a pity party, cry, and complain!

You have every right to complain!  You go right ahead!  Don't let people that have never experienced cancer tell you how to feel. When your done, wipe the tears and press on!

Don't listen to all the advice you get.  

People will tell you not to do this, or that.  Do natural, don't use those drugs.  Let me tell you, I was the person who said that I would never do chemo or radiation; all natural only.  Well, my advice is to pray about it and do what you need to do.  People WILL send you emails about 'this' kills cancer and 'that' kills cancer.  It's your body.  You have to do what you think is best.  So weed out that advice and focus on what your doctor advises.  Those who aren't in the situation, have NO idea what they would do until they are sitting across from the Oncologist and he/she tells them they have cancer!

Listen to your GUT not your HEART.

I can't stand that saying "Follow your heart".  The Bible says that your heart will deceive you.  You follow the holy spirit.  It's that little voice (or what I call my gut instinct) inside you.  Follow it.  

Do your research.

Get on the web and read.  I went to youtube and followed some strong women who have put their cancer story online for all to see. I'm glad they did.  It really prepared me for the treatment.  Look up your treatment and read the side effects, the risks, and the benefits. Be smart.

I hope this helped.  I also encourage you to write your own letter to a cancer patient or blog and tell your cancer story.  It does help others.   Feel free to visit my blog at
I am also a homeschool mother who is raising animals on a small farm.  My cancer story begins on June 14'th, 2015.  If it inspires you, leave a comment.  Also, please visit Cure Forward for more information on clinical trials for cancer patients.

Your Friend and Cancer Survivor,

Tina R.

Monday, October 5, 2015

I made it!

My calendar is full of X's.

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I finally made it through the 31 radiation treatments.  Honestly, the 6 or so weeks of treatment felt like forever.  I felt the lump in my breast back in Jan. / Feb. and this whole 2015 year has been a total blur.  Needless to say that this 2015 year has totally sucked! Starting out the year with Tim (my husband) having a stroke, at the age of 40, on January 27'th wasn't a great 'bring in the new year' event I expected.  So finding the lump was just a aggrivating find. I finally went into the gyn and had it checked out in April, then in May had testing.  Finally, here it is October 5'th and I can say that I did it!  I am now in remission!  I start Tamoxifen next week for five years.  I am claiming healing and don't intent for this to return.  I will not give any time to the thought!  

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 My youngest son rang the bell for me today.  He was so excited! We celebrated by eating out Mexican food.  

Thank you to all my friends and family for helping, supporting and praying for me during this journey!  I couldn't have done it without your prayers and support!  A new chapter of my life is opening, WITHOUT CANCER in it, and I'm ready!

The paper I am holding in the pic is a scripture, Romans 8:11 that says,  

"If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead 

dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the 

dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through 

his Spirit who dwells in you."

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Radiation Update

Only 2 more to go!  I'm so happy that I am almost done, however I am physically in pain at this point.  My breast is constantly itching, sore, inflamed, red, swollen and in pain.  I am continuing with the lotions, ointments, ect.  I even started using ice packs on it to cool it down.  The ice packs are the ones with gel in them.  The hospital gave me one after my diagnostic mammogram months ago.  I'm so glad I kept it!

I wanted to show you all what the machine looks like.  So here it is.

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There is a white sheet over the mold that they made for me to lie in for treatments.  This will put me in the same position every time. The mold it self is like a bean bag material and blue.  They place a clean white sheet down each time and then a clean white towel over my chest so only the area for radiation is exposed.  

The huge round thing overhead moves around the body.  It gets extremely close without touching me.  The white square area on the right on the machine and the screen looking square on the left get extremely close as well, but again, do not touch me.  The bed moves closer to the machine, then the technician puts me in place using controls. She is very precise on making sure everything is exact.  This makes me feel very safe.  ;)  The tech then leaves the room and lets me know when it will start using an intercom.  I have to be very still but allowed to breath normal.  The radiation itself doesn't last long.  Then the tech returns and moves the bed and machine back into this position so I can get up.  

Anyway, I wanted to share this with you.  The machine itself looks a bit scary, but once you get in there and settled, I just don't think about anything but getting it over with.  I just listen to the KLOVE radio station they play for me and when that BEAM ON light comes on, I say my prayer of protection and then it's over.  

My skin is starting to get deep red and peel already where they are doing the last 5 treatments (target area where my scar is).  The duration of the radiation seems to be double the length.  I'm not sure if this is correct, this is just how it seems.  The radiation beam is on for a much longer duration during these last treatments.  Long as in, 20 seconds instead of 10?  I would count, but I am concentrating on praying during that time.  My nipple area is still red, swollen and inflamed and the underarm area is starting to heal. Slowly but surely I am healing.

Only 2 more left!  Amen!  God is good ............. all the time.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

8 Days of Radiation left ......

I only have 8 days left of Radiation therapy and I have to say that what I am going through was NOT expected.  This past week has really been hard..... a my testimony.  Although I still have STRONG faith, I have lost something.  I have lost my positive attitude.

Sunday in church I had a wonderful friend come back and pray with me (she is also our pastors wife).  She knew I was hurting. Although I couldn't hear her words during that prayer with all going on in church, I felt the holy spirit in her.  I poured my heart out to her telling her that I am just so tired of being positive all the time.  I told her how everyone was watching me and watching to see how I react to this cancer.  She assured me that they were watching, but they were watching to see my faithfullness, which I have never lost. She told me that it was ok to not be positive and it was ok to feel this way.  Just because I was not positive, didn't mean that I lost my faith.  She was (and is) so right!  I do have faith, more than anyone could ever know!  Honestly, at this point, my positive attitude has been trampled to death.

Before you read on, I want to apologize for the picture below.  It is graphic.  There is nothing wrong or sinful with showing this picture, I am covered.  I want you to know that I am not posting this for any other reason than to tell my cancer story.  So if you are offended, I do apologize.

So, I mentioned that I lost my positive attitude.  This is why.  

This is my 23'rd radiation treatment.

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I cannot express the pain, soreness, itchiness and discomfort of wearing clothes at this point.  The word 'sunburn' has a whole new meaning.  But unlike a sunburn, which feels better each day, a radiation burn gets worse after each treatment.  Not just because of the obvious - the getting burned over the current burn...... daily - but because of the powerful radiation rays that continue to burn you weeks after (so I'm told).  So even though I have only 8 treatments to go, I am told I will continue to have these symptoms and burns for a few extra weeks.  If it wasn't for my youngest son still living at home, I'd be topless all day in the house.  A nudist colony never looked so good!  Haha, only kidding!  If I don't make jokes and laugh, I will burst into tears.

The good news is that I only have 3 more treatments to the area that is pealing and raw (under the arm) and around the nipple (not shown of course).  The last 5 treatments will be to the scar area where the cancer was removed.  Those last 5 treatments are more directed to that area so I will have some relief.  I hope.  The dark spots in the picture is where the skin is drying out and dying, and will peal.  Underneath my breast (where the skin touches skin) is raw.  I try to place the 100% cotton T-shirt in there so there is no skin on top of skin.  That helps.  All day I am constantly (every few hours) putting some kind of ointment, aloe gel or lotion on the entire area.  This whole situation makes leaving the house just not worth it.  Just in case some of you are wondering why I've been a hermit.  ;)

For those just starting this radiation process, you MUST get the following things and have them.  

You will need:
Eucerin lotion (moist)
Aloe vera 100% (NO other additives like alcohol, etc.)
Triple Anti-biotic cream with pain reliever

All of these can be found without a prescription at the local store or pharmacy.

Everyone reacts differently and not everyone may have the same amount of treatments.  I had 31 treatments ordered due to my Oncotype score which was 22 and may have to do with the fact I declined chemo.  Your Radiology Oncologist will discuss the number of treatments with you.  You have every right to discuss this number (and ask why) with them.  Please don't feel like you cannot ask questions.  Even the WHY question.  You have every right to know all you can about what kind of treatments and how many.

Yesterday I spoke with my Radiology Oncologist and told her what was going on with my skin.  She told me that if I started experiencing any oozing, she would let me have a few days rest from the treatments.  They do add these on at the end, so you don't get out of them, just postpone them.  I only have one small / tiny blister forming so I am pressing on.

I am not looking for sympathy.  Like I mentioned above, a testimony must have a test and boy, am I being tested!  I could not have gone through all this without my prayer warriors!  You know who they are.  ;)  I have some amazing family and friends who really pray for me daily.  Thank you!  I needed them and STILL need them!

I do still have my strong faith.  My God has blessed me!  I did not have to go through chemo. and this cancer was caught early.  I am very blessed.  I have almost beat this cancer!   Next Friday (if all goes as planned) I will be ringing that bell and I will be that OVERCOMER that God claimed me to be!