Dogwood Challenge Week 4: Portrait Headshot

The Story Of Sadie

When I found out this week’s challenge was a head shot, I struggled.  I’m can take pretty good portraits, but it’s not my all-time favorite type of picture. I don’t really like taking pictures of people.  I have a hard time going up to a stranger and asking them, “Hey, can I take your picture?”  I had to ask right away if a portrait meant human.  When I was told portraits are whoever, or whatever, I want them to be.  So I knew, who I wanted to take a picture of.  And she has quite a story…


No this is not the picture I submitted, but it is her goofy personality.  From the time I was a little girl, I always wanted a Siberian Husky.  I grew up in Minnesota, and huskies are kind of a part of life there.  When I went to college, our college owned a team of them.  We used to feed them, play with them, and just being around them.  Huskies are a unique breed of dog.  They are unlike any dog I have ever owned.  You often hear about the negative attributes– they are stubborn, they run away (A LOT– just look at my Facebook feed, when I am begging my local friends to help me get my damn dog back), they are ferocious hunters, and they can be loud pain in the asses.


Sadie is all that, and more.  We found Sadie, rather Sadie found us in 2010.  We lost our dog Scooter to cancer just one year after Zeus died from suicide by diaper genie.  We had moved to Ohio, and Ryan needed a dog.  I perused Pet Finder on mission from God.  I found Sadie. She was being kept at a double-wide in a 3′ by 3′ cage.  Her family had adopted her, but left her rearing to an 8-year-old boy.  She was wild.  Her hair was every where.  She cried, barked, and was just a brat.  After getting the OK from the landlord, I brought her home.  After about six weeks of intense behavior training, she became my dog.


For the last six years this dog has been my constant companion.  She was there when my dad died.  She was there when my daughter was diagnosed with ADHD.  She was there when we fought the school district.  She has not left my side through cancer treatments.  She lays by my feet through the nausea, the tears, and the frustration.  In 40 years, I have never have had a dog that was my companion.  Sadie is my dog.  When we first got her, I asked Ryan what Sadie’s name should be.  Without missing a beat, he said, “Sadie Lady Dog-Dog…”  So here’s the picture I submitted to the Dogwood 52-week Photography Challenge Week 4:


Dogwood Week 3: Artistic Red

This week is a chemo week.  Chemo weeks are full of mostly lows, and not many highs.  I don’t really start feeling better until the next weekend.  The photograph for this week’s challenge was supposed to be artistic, and I fell kind of short.  I am not feeling very artistic.  I have been playing around with Lightroom and Photoshop.  I snapped some pictures of the flora and fauna around our house, and then used Lightroom.

I love my home.  It has been a bittersweet six years.  I’m trying to capture my favorite things about the house.  One of my favorite things is the wild life that hangs out in our neighborhood.  I find it ironic that the holly berries don’t change red until after Christmas.  So after I take down all the holiday decorations, my house looks like a Christmas card.  There are cardinals, holly berries, and pine cones all over the yard.


Dogwood Photography Challenge Week 2: Landscape

In 2011 we moved, yet again, to Florida.  This was our fifth home in seven years.  I had a love-hate-love-hate relationship with Florida.  Florida is a place of endless summers, beautiful vistas, and wearing flip flops in the middle of January (and pulling stickers out of your feet after you take a picture of said vistas).  I was excited to move to Florida, what’s not to love– Disney, oceans, and lots to do.  But after we got here, my son was neglected at school, and we ended up pulling him out of school after a heart wrenching experience.  My parents moved down here, and I fell back in love with Florida.  In 2015 and the early part of 2016 was disaster after disaster starting with my dad passing away, and ending with me being diagnosed with cancer.  Now that we are leaving again, I am in love with Florida and I’m going to miss it.  That being said, I’m ready to leave.

I had a tough decision regarding my picture submission for week two.  I was tempted to take my camera with me to my doctor’s appointment this morning, but wondered if I would be in the mood if I got bad news.  I did not receive bad news, in fact I received some very good news.  I thought about going out after I got back, but I was sleepy, and there were some showers in the area.  At about 3:00 PM the showers cleared out, so I decided to go to the park near our church and capture the orange hues of a setting sun against the emerald backdrop of our beautiful bay.


I Have A Teenager…


Thirteen years ago today I gave birth to my first born.  This little boy has taught me the most indelible lessons one could learn.  He taught me about how patient, kind, and enduring love is.  He is one of the most honest, loving, human beings on this Earth.

The story of his birth is amazing.  I found out at around 7 months that I was pregnant with, but at one point in the pregnancy, his twin reabsorbed leaving an empty placenta.  I had severe pre-eclampsia, and nearly went into cardiac arrest during the c-section.  A few hours later, I got to meet him.

The first couple of years of his life was harrowing.  He tested positive for PKU, but it was a false positive.  He caught rota virus at 3 months old, and was hospitalized in Germany.  His daddy deployed to a war zone for five months (which was a blessing considering the Army unit we were stationed with was gone MUCH longer).  At 12 months, he had a severe reaction to the MMR vaccine and was hospitalized yet again.

After he had turned a year, his development slowed down considerably.  Eventually, at 26 months old, he was diagnosed with autism.  He is on moderate to severe end of the spectrum.  He is barely verbal, but often what he says and does is profound.  He has the capacity to change the people around him.  Most, who meet him, work with him, or educate him are never the same.

He has made me a much better person.  He is wonderful person, and I am privileged to be his mother.

Week One: 52 Week Challenge…

I signed up for a few weekly challenges this year– a weekly photography challenge, a weekly writing challenge, and a weekly savings challenge…  I decided to combine the weekly writing and photography challenge, posting both items on my blog.

Each photograph tells a story, sometimes they are long stories, sometimes they are short ones.  That’s what makes photography, painting, drawing, and even mosaics I do– art.  I decided this last year that I shouldn’t stress about making money with art, that I should do it for the sheer joy of it.  Same thing with my writing.  I should write for the sheer joy of writing.  I read a book a few months back that said, “The best way to de-clutter your life is to hold something, and ask yourself, if it brings you joy.”  I decided to do that with my hobbies…  Life is to short not to do something that brings you joy!

So the story– 11 months ago, I was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer.  I am told that it is chronic, and not likely to go away.  I will be on and off chemotherapy for the rest of my life.  I intend on that being a long time, but who knows.  I have no symptoms of cancer, the side effects of treatment are a different story– I can no longer run (due to skin issues), I cannot be out in the heat, fatigue, and digestion issues.  I decided a few days ago, instead of laying in bed waiting to die, I was going to do things I enjoy.  So here’s the first picture from the Dogwood Photography 52 week photographic challenge :).


Happy 2017

Looking back on 2016, It was ROUGH.  My rough patch started on January 29th, with an unexpected journey to the ER, and ended with my continuing the fight of my life.  It would be easy for me to make a list of New Years Resolutions.  Something that may include– lose weight, eat better, drink less, be more patient with my kids, and all the usual trappings that I promise myself that I would like to accomplish in the upcoming year.  This next year is a little different, besides my “What The Hell, I Might As Well” list, here are my New Years Goals:

1. I want to live.  Yeah, my number 1 to 1000 goal is to be still alive in 2018.  This may be obvious to many readers, but I have learned that it is not a guarantee.

2.  I want to get my health back.  I would love to continue to hear my oncologist state that besides cancer, I am the healthiest individual he treats with cancer.

3. Finish that G-D Novel.  I need to finish it.  I’m so tired of telling my family that I am writing it, but it’s not done yet.  Well, I want it finished.  I have about 20,000 more words to add.  I’m also tired of trying to decide whether to send it to a publisher, or publish it myself.

4.  Continue working on my fan fiction.  See number 3, but more geeky.

5.  Do more of what I enjoy.  I got a gift card from my husband for Christmas, so I decided to spent it on what I enjoy.  I enjoy reading, so I bought some Carrie Fisher Books.  I enjoy painting, so I bought a few Paint By Number  kits.  I enjoy fitness, so I bought some low-impact cancer DVDs.  I enjoy writing, so I am going to start writing more on this blog, and finish number 3 and 4.  I enjoy photography, so I joined the 52-week picture challenge.  I enjoy packing all my shit up, and moving across the country (oh wait, I don’t enjoy doing that, but that is happening).

So that’s about it…  Five goals this year, instead of my normal 10, and they are pretty straight forward.  Happy New Year!  Hopefully, this year we won’t be staring up into the heavens, and saying WTF God!