Brandon's Story (part 1)

This is Brandon about 25 years ago. He was just shy of 3 and a half when he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) on October 23, 1985. On that same day, I was celebrating my 4th birthday... It's just a weird coincidence but it's pretty crazy to think back and realize that around the time I was telling off the neighbour boy for blowing out my birthday candles, my future husband's family was being told that their son was very sick and discussing treatment options to fight the cancer that was attacking his little body.

25 years later it's all too easy to brush aside or trivialize what his family must have been going through because he's okay today. Because they were lucky enough to be blessed with the miracle of remission.

But did you know that when you have a child who is diagnosed with a cancer like ALL, the doctors will never tell you that he or she is cured?

Kilimanjaro fundraising - $1999.00 (12.5%)

I suppose I should just add the extra dollar to make the official total $2000, huh?

This project is really incredible. It's taking up a lot of my time and energy, but I don't think I would have it any other way. In the last couple of weeks I've been totally encouraged (again) by the support that I'm getting from all sorts of different places.

Here are some updates:

The final "total" raised for my second round of pancakes for wishes is $536.00. I currently have just under $400 of that, and have a few final deliveries to make this week to make up the difference. Like last time, I decided to just absorb the costs of the mix and jars so that everything people gave for the mix is going directly towards helping me reach my fundraising goals. THANK YOU to everyone who ordered the mix this time. Some people liked it even better than the first mix, and I didn't think that was possible! A special thank you to Leino for ordering 20 small jars and passing them on to his next 20 clients at Esto Image in St-Lambert.

A few weeks ago I was blessed with a nice big chunk ($250) when one of my husband's co-workers decided that the proceeds from the end of year barbecue for the Centennial High School "Talented and Gifted" (T.A.G.) students would go to charity - and she picked this project! Thank you so much to Brandon for talking about the project at school, to Amber for her idea and desire to support and to all the kids who were attended the barbecue. Every donation helps and this one certainly made a dent in my efforts to reach my objective.


When will I get it together?

[photo by Lel4nd]

“When you feel that you have reached the end and that you cannot go one step further... What a wonderful opportunity to start all over again, to turn over a new page.”

- Eileen Caddy

I feel like I've been trying forever to figure out the right way to get organized, to manage my time better, and to get rid of the clutter ("stuff", physical, emotional, etc.) in my life. The inner dialogue that goes along with this struggle is funny (or weird or pathetic or...) and goes a little like this...

I really have to just go through the house and get rid of everything that I don't use or wear or need...

If I could just convince myself to wake up 30 minutes earlier every morning, I think I'd have more time to take care of me... work out, pray, enjoy a cup of coffee in silence... uh... that's more than 30 minutes isn't it?

But I don't want to wake up earlier. I. really. like. sleep.

Maybe if I stopped spending time on facebook... yeah... we should just get rid of the Internet... um... maybe not...

I'll get it right this week. I'll write lists, get up earlier, make myself a schedule... that'll do it.

This week, I'm going to make a list of all the things I need to do... and a meal plan for the next few days..

So... how should I organize my list? Should I make 3 lists? 4 lists? Menu... Kilimanjaro fundraising... new recipe for blog... work-related... people to touch base with... craft ideas for Layla... stuff to do around the house...

Oh my goodness.

I don't know what to say when people are impressed with how much I have going on at the same time. On the one hand, I think of other people I know who seem to manage way more... I think (I know) they're more intentional in their time management than I am, otherwise I have no idea how they do it. On the other hand, I think to myself "uh... I'm not managing as well as you think I am... I get overwhelmed too...

I just don't want to say no... and the good feeling I get from the exciting, encouraging moments seems to consistently outweigh the wanting to give up moments when I feel like I'm running around with no sense of reason or direction (the phrase "chicken with my head cut off" comes to mind... though the mental image that comes with that is not quite what I'm trying to describe!).

I'm not trying to be self-deprecating here - just honest. I'm struggling lately - with a million and one to do lists I'm not getting everything that I want to get done, done. It's not to say that I haven't been encouraged, that I haven't seen successes, or that anything is going "bad". I'm just feeling a little overwhelmed.

And what I'm about to say is more for me than for anyone reading... I need to remember this "advice"...

"Life is a marathon, not a race" - take it one day at a time, one step at a time. Do not get overwhelmed by the things you cannot change or control. Do not get overwhelmed by the things you can. You can only do one thing at a time, so do it... and do it the best you can. And try to remember to take a moment every day to step back and count your blessings... and remember what life is all about... to quote a teenage pop star "It's about the climb"!

I feel better already.


a.o.k. "trial" gourmet (27) Pizza, Soup and ACCIDENTS

I've been slacking when it comes to a.o.k. and even more when it comes to a.o.k gourmet. It isn't so much because I have nothing to write about... my mind is always buzzing and I'm still making food... but my life has been busier than usual lately. As usual, when things get busy, some thing(s) get put on the back burner.

But, hey, I'm here today, right?!? And I'm going to share my lovely Thursday  with you...

First there was the pizza dough mishap...

I started out the morning with plans of making pizza dough (I really enjoyed backseat gourmet's recipe which I shared in my last a.o.k. gourmet post... and home-made pizza has been our weekly menu ever since). I wanted to try Simple Bites' recipe this time around.

Dear Brandon...

I've written two "dear Layla" posts and 2 "dear Meaghan" posts... it only seems fitting that I finally take the time to sit down and write a "dear Brandon" post.

To my favorite person in the world...

12 years ago we started to crush,  6 years ago we said "I do", 3 years ago we became parents... and here we are today... home-owners, parents, a teacher and a communications professional, best friends, lovers... and still individuals with our own passions and dreams, ideas and opinions about where we are now and where we're going next...

Back to work? Right for me... Right for you...

Back to Work is a short series dedicated to the good the bad and everything in between for a mom returning to work following a year on maternity leave. Did you miss any of the other parts? Read them here: Part 1: Already Time / Part 2: First Day / Part 3: Balance?

Part 4: Right for Me…Right for You…

If you are a mom, you will eventually have to answer the question “Will I stay home with the kids or go back to work?”

While many women choose to stay home and take care of their kids, statistics show that more than half are deciding to work outside the home and that a significant number of moms are getting creative and finding ways to work at home. More than ever before, your response to the above question does not have to be either/or. You have options, especially if you’re willing to think outside the box.

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