Thursday, December 17, 2009
Did I just hear Santa?
Christmas greetings from Romeo and Lady.

PS How adorable are they?

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Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
7 chimed in

Wednesday, December 16, 2009
The Giving Tree
When I was young, I remember reading The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I remembered the story as a poignant story about being willing to give whatever you have to benefit those whom you love. Rereading the story as an adult, I am not so sure I would interpret it the same way; however, I reconnected with the story when a dear friend had a tree planted in honor of my mother.

When my mother passed away, my friend asked if she could have a tree planted in a local park in honor of my mother. It took me a few months to be able to go forward with it emotionally, but in fall 2008, a beautiful tree was planted in a very sweet neighborhood park. When my mom first moved to California she immediately wrote to her family telling them of the purple trees in California. It seemed only appropriate to request a Jacaranda tree with its lovely purple blossoms. My sisters and I have enjoyed picnics by the tree and we have visited the tree on occasions even sneaking my doggies in for a visit at a park that doesn't allow dogs (what park does not allow dogs?). Since the park is so close to my office, I frequently go there on my lunch hour and check on the tree. I feel close to mom there. It feels good to be there.

I have watched the tree grow over the last year or so. It is a beautiful little tree with five strong branches, one for each daughter. It will grow to provide shade for the children who play in the park, it will provide a beautiful burst of purple color in the late spring and summer when it blooms, and it will watch over the weddings and birthday parties and other special events that frequently happen in the park. It is in fact a giving tree, much like my mom who gave everything she had for those she loved.

On November 30, her birthday, I went by for a visit. Much to my surprise there was a beautiful blossom at the very top. Strange because Jacarandas bloom around June. You can't really see it too well on the photo from my phone's camera (try clicking it to see it larger), but it was such a special and sweet gift to see such life and color crowning the tree on her birthday.

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Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
7 chimed in

Friday, December 04, 2009
Faith or Fear?
Life as a survivor has had its challenges. After my first diagnosis, I lived in fear of recurrence. In some ways I felt like I had to go out and do a lot of things in case there was a recurrence and I wouldn't have a chance. Although saying it, it sounds like I went traveling, and sky diving, and other fabulous things. Not so much. I took on challenging projects and got involved in events that have some social benefit (Race for the Cure, Relay for Life, etc.). I tried to give to the greater good thinking in some tangled way that karma would protect me from a recurrence.

If you have been reading along in the last year, you now that is not exactly how the story went. Somehow, through powers greater than myself, I was empowered during the second trip down the cancer journey. I powered (literally) through treatment and have been working on creating the life I want without cancer. I know that cancer will always be a part of my life, but I realized that it doesn't have to be a part of my present or future. Cancer is part of past. This time around I am respectfully putting cancer in its rightful place and moving forward fearlessly.

I determined I have two choices: I can live in fear of recurrence or I can live having faith in my healing. If I can believe 100% in my healing, the fear has no place in my life. I can be afraid that the cancer will come back, or I can live and embrace the life I do have. I thought this would be easier said than done, but really the opposite is so much harder.

Living in fear is hard. It is burdensome. It robs the joy from even the simplest of pleasures. It permeates every fiber of your being and follows you like a shadow. Shedding fear takes a leap of faith: faith in your God (however you describe or call God), faith in yourself, faith in the Universe. Honestly, though, what is there to lose? I can continue to walk carrying a heavy burden or I can simply put it down and move forward without restriction.

Once you leap into fearlessness a whole new world opens before you. It's brighter -- literally there is more light and more color. You can recognize all the love and positive energy around you. You start to attract people who feel the same energy you feel. The difference is amazing.

I welcome the close of a very difficult year and the beginning of a fearless future. Who is with me?

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Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
4 chimed in

Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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    "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12