Thursday, February 24, 2011

I Am Clear!!

The news is in: I am clear!! No Cancer, no further treatments will be needed. I am healing well and I am starting HRT today. Thank you for your messages and notes of love and prayers for me and my family. I marvel at the Lords hand that has been involved and the love shown to me.
My care at the Huntsman Cancer Hospital was top notch. They care about the whole person with any and all my questions and concerns answered. I feel so blessed. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Fight for My Health

I first want Thank everyone for your expressions of concern and your prayers for me. To give an update, Yes, I have cancer markers in my blood and benign and malignant cysts on both my ovaries and a tumor in my uterus. I am scheduled for a full hysterectomy on Feb 18th at the Huntsman Cancer Hospital.  The hope is that all will be contained and no further treatment will be necessary. If not, a round of chemotherapy and/or radiation might be needed.

We really won’t know more until after the surgery and things have been sent through pathology.  I am doing alright, still weak and sick but content that I can have surgery and start to feel better soon.

I know this will not be easy, but I find this news good news. I know that might sound strange, but I needed to know and now we can go forward from here.

With all my Love,

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Choosing Charity: That Good Part

“Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another’s weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other.”   _ Elder Marvin J. Ashton

Choosing Charity: That Good Part by Bonnie D. Parkin

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dangers of Food Additives and Preservatives

About Additives and Preservatives 

The period of time post World War II marked an era of change for the food industry. During this time, manufacturers began to investigate and employ all sorts of chemical substances into food products in order to increase shelf life, flavor and consistency. However, limited studies were performed during this time regarding the actual safety of these additives. Naturally, the bulk of these chemicals underwent laboratory testing, typically on animals, and if they passed a certain amount of surveillance, they were deemed fit for consumption. Some of these chemicals were deemed appropriate for human consumption but only in specified amounts.

The trouble with such tests at the time was that they were not conclusive regarding long term safety of certain substances. Some additives are not always excreted by the body and, instead, are stored in small amounts which over time can cause toxicity within the human system. Sometimes, as decades would pass and more information became available about the long term effects of certain preservatives and additives, some of these substances lost their stamp of approval and were banned from the food industry.

The Dangers of Food Additives and Preservatives

The additives and preservatives in commercial foods today have typically received the Food and Drug Administration's approval. However, consumers are catching on to the inconsistencies of the FDA's surveillance. It is not an uncommon occurence whereby the FDA will approve a substance that will later become is removed due to the outcry of medical professionals. The FDA will also approve substances said to be safe, but only in very small amounts. This means that studies exist which indicate larger amounts of the substance in question are not safe. Moreover, there is little done to control the consumption of these foods within the human population. The average American who lives on a processed and fast food diet may be consuming undetermined amounts of a chemical substance that simply hasn't been tested proficiently at certain levels for long periods of time.

The rise in cancer since the 1940s has been used as an indicator for many alternative health professionals to deem the condition of most processed commercial food to be adulterated, unnatural and unsafe. So, what exactly are the dangers of food additives and preservatives? Again, this question lies in an ambiguous field. Certain preservatives such as BHT are very prominent in packaged foods as they are an excellent preservative agent for fats. BHT is an antioxidant and many consumers will hear the word "antioxidant" and feel this chemical must be a good thing. However, scientific studies have yielded information regarding BHT's negative effects on human behavior and health. These studies are not fully conclusive because some individuals metabolize the agent differently than others.

The Gray Zone

There are many naturally derived preservatives and additives that still have a negative effect on human health. Oftentimes it is difficult to truly test these agents in a realistic medium because, as mentioned previously, various individuals metabolize these substances differently than others in their test group. Some chemicals are outright toxic, while others fall into a gray area where only a small percentage of consumers experience detrimental effects.

The safest approach regarding additives and preservatives is to avoid them in favor of whole foods and a healthy diet that steers away from processed food products. The live active enzymes found in raw plant based foods not only avoid the additives issue, but they promote a healthy body as well. Unfortunately, if you aren't buying organic, you may find yourself dealing with issues like pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics in your produce, meat and dairy foods. It is very difficult for the average consumer to fight the additives craze that currently affects a gigantic portion of the food industry.

Researching any suspicious ingredients on nutritional labels is the second line of defense. The Internet contains a wealth of information regarding additives such as caramel color, maltodextrin, and modified food starch. Some ingredients can secretly harbor substances like MSG and gluten which can be highly problematic for sensitive individuals. Diligence and knowledge are the most effective weapons of a wary consumer.

post from LoveToKnow

Friday, February 4, 2011

Valentine's Day Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Valentine's Day used to mean long, romantic dinners at nice restaurants with wine, dessert, and flowers. Now, though, at least for those of us with kids, the idea of getting a sitter in the middle of the week just to sit in an overpriced restaurant is absolutely not worth the trouble.

What a lot of us do, then, is the at-home Valentine's dinner. Dim the lights, light some candles, break out the nice china and glassware, and make your favorite dinner -- complete with Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake for dessert. Lo and behold, you've got a very nice Valentine's Day for a lot cheaper than you would if you'd gone out.

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake (adapted from

•1 1/2 cups crushed Oreos, about 18
•2 tbsp. butter, melted

Truffle mixture:
•1 pkg. (6 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
•1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
•1/3 cup seedless raspberry preserve

•3 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
•1 cup sour cream
•1 1/4 cups sugar
•3 eggs
•1 tsp. vanilla


•2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
•3 tbsp. whipping cream

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.

2. For crust: Combine cookie crumbs and butter. Press mixture firmly over bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.

3. For truffle mixture, melt chocolate chips in small saucepan over very low heat, stirring until smooth (you can also do this carefully in the microwave). Remove from heat after chocolate melts. Beat one 8 oz. package cream cheese in small bowl until fluffy. Gradually beat in raspberry preserves and melted chocolate; set aside.

4. For filling, beat three 8 oz. packages cream cheese in large mixer bowl until fluffy; beat in sour cream and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Pour into prepared pan. Drop truffle mixture by spoonfuls over top of filling, being careful not to swirl mixture. Bake until set, 75 to 90 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.

5. For glaze, melt chocolate chips with cream over very low heat; stir until smooth. Spread over top of cheesecake; let some drizzle over side. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, several hours or overnight.

6. If desired, just before serving, garnish with dollops of whipped cream and fresh raspberries.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

How to Write a Thank You Note

A part of this post is from We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice In Christ where she found some good advice in Martha Stewart Living.

This comes from Margaret Shepherd, author of the book "The Art of The Personal Letter." Here's what she says:

Rule #1 Avoid starting with "Thank You".

I am guilty of this, big time! But every time I start with "Thank You" it feels like I've gotten to the punchline prematurely! :) Ms. Shepherd also suggests that this shows a lack of imagination. (Booo....) So let's not let Ms. Shepherd (or your recipient) think for a moment that you lack imagination! Instead, before you sit down to write, get creative about how you'll begin.

Rule #2 Instead, begin with "You".

Shepherd suggests that it's best to start with "You". That way, you're making the letter about the recipient instead of about yourself.

Rule #3 Acknowledge the relationship that you have with the recipient.

I like to recall special memories that I have of that person or moments that we've shared.

Rule #4 Use conversational language.

Of course, this will depend on the degree of formality of your relationship. Remember you can be fairly formal and still show a lot of personality in your writing. A thank you note, by definition is personal, so be yourself.

Rule #5 Be specific about what you are thanking them for.

For instance, if you are thanking a teacher for helping you to develop a specific skill or character trait, give them examples of how you've used that in your professional or personal life. If you are thanking them for thinking of you or serving you in some way, let them know how their service made you feel. Be descriptive, specific, and focus your compliments on them.

Rule #6 Offer up compliments that you have received from others about the gift they've given you or share examples of the positive ways you've been affected by their kindness.

People like to hear great anecdotes. These will be the parts of your letter that people will most likely remember, cherish, and re-read long after the note is originally received.

Rule #7 Begin and end on a positive note.

This is a no-brainer. Be positive. Be delightful and delighted, and express the joy that their influence on you has brought to your life. I like to share a quick quip or repeat something that the recipient of my letter is known for saying, or that remind them of an "inside joke" that we share.

I wanted to share this great information because I love the idea of Thank You notes but I hate my hand writing, so right off the bat I find it difficult to start. Then knowing how to convey what I want to say is another issue. I love getting Thank you notes and have saved most of them I have ever gotten. Some people are so good about writing them, I want to be better at writing and sending them. There are so many amazing people in my life I want express my gratitude to.   

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I love my Sister

My Sister Lisa and her family. I am so proud of her, I miss her so much and I hate that we are so far away from each other. Look how stylish and trendy she is and she is so very talented.
I hope I can grow up to be like her someday.

And her sweet family is growing!

From Lisa - 10 Reasons we are thrilled to have another GIRL!!

1. I can start typing things pink now, just for fun.
2. I can design a girl's nursery! (we were living in one room shoe box when Paige was a wee babe)
3. I can use all those girl clothes I collected through the years that I bought on clearance, intended for "baby showers".
4. I can also get out all my favorite Paige clothes that her little body used to wear.
5. I can name her after my mom.
6. Paige will have a sister.
7. The boys will have a little sister.
8. Steve and I will have "daughters".
9. There's nothing like your husband holding your baby girl.
10. The perfect "caboose" to our family!

And, lastly, I would post the "It's a Girl" ultrasound, but one of my goals in life is to never have any of my children's rears on the internet. (good idea)

Call me old fashioned ;)