Saturday, January 31, 2009

Help for those suffering from cancer

As many of you know, cancer has played a big role in my family. I lost both my only sibling and my father to cancer, and my mother is a lung cancer survivor (so far). And I, like everyone I know, have also had many, many friends who have fought this insipid disease, and some of these friends have won and some haven't.

Having been in the position of cancer patient caregiver, I've seen many different things that can work to help cancer patients. In addition to traditional Western methods (chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, etc.), I've seen nutritional programs, prayer, acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation and imagery all play a role in cancer recovery.

My father considered himself an atheist. Despite this, he used both meditation and imagery daily in his fight against cancer. Although he eventually succumbed, when he was first diagnosed he was given a year and a half to live. He extended that time, through many different treatments and Herculean will, and he lived 9 more years, years that saw my nephew grow into a young person, saw my marriage, saw me enter a doctoral program at his alma mater. These were huge life events for him, and we're all delighted that we were able to share those times with him.

Diana Losciale edited PINK PRAYER BOOK.

From the Amazon page:

Here in one special book are the prayers, hopes, fears, and comforts of women who have had breast cancer and the families affected by the disease. The all too common diagnosis of breast cancer can send a woman into such a frightening place that the support of others becomes terribly important, and their prayers essential. This book can turn the "mourning into dancing" for thousands of women. --Cokie Roberts, ABC News, NPR, author and breast cancer survivor.

Product Description
Inspired and written by breast cancer patients and survivors, and the mothers, daughters, sisters, brothers, husbands, and friends that surround them, Pink Prayer Book is deeply personal, yet universally evocative.

From the first realization of diagnosis through treatment, recovery, and the hope of lasting remission, Pink Prayer Book offers prayers for the journey into healing. Incorporating Scriptures and Psalms, this book offers support within a joyous healing network. These wonderfully personal prayers lift hearts and voices to ask for God's healing and never-ending love.

Diana is now putting together a second collection, and she's putting out a call for help:

"I am trying to reach people in every state this time and would appreciate your sharing this if you would consider it.
This is NOT an evangelical book.
It will be, simply, a collection of originally written prayers.
All contributors whose prayers are accepted for publication in the book receive two copies of the book.
And a byline, mentioning their name, their relationship to the cancer survivor AND the state/country from which they hale.

I know. This is a bit of a presumption on my part; but I learned when doing PINK PRAYER BOOK book that it doesn't hurt to ask. Those who can write and share a prayer jump right on doing it; others demure, which is totally cool.

In case you would consider participating and even in sharing this request, here are the "rules":
1) Original prayer written by cancer survivor OR friend OR family member.
2) Length: Anywhere from two lines to 20 ... or more.
3) Include name, email address, relationship to cancer survivor (i.e., survivor, friend, family)
4) Can be any faith; or, along the lines of a mantra or "something special" repeated as verbal offering.
5) The book will be divided into 3 sections which they can keep in mind as they write, or not! (a ) prayers upon hearing the diagnosis b) prayers during treatment and healing c) prayers on surviving and thriving

That's it!
Of course, I am putting this collection together in the next 6 weeks and would love to have prayers within the next 2 weeks or so. I have found that if people are interested and want to do it, they just go ahead and do it.
Prayer writers do NOT have to be writers. Nor professionals at all in terms of writing."

This is a generous offer from someone to allow us to make a difference in the lives of cancer patients and in the lives of those who love them. I know I would have taken a great deal of comfort from such a collection.

I know that many writers read this blog, but more importantly, that many compassionate people read this blog.

If you feel you can help, please send your writing to:

dlosciale at sbcglobal dot net

Thank you, and have a lovely Saturday!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What's Cooking Wednesday: Why I Love Mark Bittman

Please go to The Fairy Blogmother for more What's Cooking Wednesday participants.

I've long been a fan of Mark Bittman. D wanted to "learn" cooking some time ago and I got him Bittman's How to Cook Everything for his birthday. D hasn't used it much, but I have. Constantly.

The one area where he leaves me somewhat cold is baking. I haven't had the best success with his various baking recipes, so when his "No-Knead Bread" was tearing up the internet, I was skeptical.

I also often don't have the planning time to put dough in the fridge for a day or two. I wanted something where my boys could eat bread and then I could make some more. Quickly.

Well, another issue I had with it was it called for a dutch oven, and I believed I needed a cast iron dutch oven, which is something I don't own. A more savvy friend told me, however, that an enameled dutch oven was just fine, as long as the cast iron was underneath. It was. And a love affair was born.

The gorgeous photo will have to wait for later, as I forgot to take pictures with my last loaf, and my current loaf is rising as I write this.

Suffice it to say that we now have gorgeous loaves of tangy, artisan bread for a mere $1.67 for 16 BIG slices. Suffice it to say, I couldn't be happier.

Want in on the goodness? Go here (and you can also find the gorgeous photos that I didn't supply this week).

NOTE: Do NOT try the whole wheat recipe - it doesn't seem to work that well. I'm still working on a no-knead recipe for decent whole wheat bread - if you have any ideas, please let me know.

Happy Wednesday!

Oh... and for my calorie-counting friends, here's the nutritional info, provided by

Fat: 1.1g
Carbohydrates: 18.1g
Protein: 2.6g

A serving = 1/16th of the loaf. It's a decent sized serving.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Congratulations, Mr. President!

Apparently, when Malia saw Lincoln's second inaugural speech on the wall of the Lincoln Memorial, she commented on the length.

Her dad answered her, "Malia, that's not long."

Malia looked at her dad. "First African-American president -- better be good."

He was.

The emotion felt across the world this morning was palpable. I celebrate especially with the African American community, but I really celebrate with all Americans as we can look forward to a new age.

My father and my sister have been lost to cancer. I think, more frequently than I should, about lives cut short.

I told myself this morning, that no matter what my fate or lifespan, I was privileged to see this day.

I was privileged to be able to share in this moment with millions across the globe.

"Our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed."

While these words usher in the challenges ahead, we can be secure in the fact that we have a true leader.

Time to get to work. Mr. President, just tell me how to help.

I'm yours.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I found some especially affecting tributes on these sites today:


Widney Woman

NYC/Caribbean Ragazza

I haven't completed my blog reading for the day, so I may add more.

Where did you find interesting/touching tributes?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

For today, this makes me happy...

I found this quiz over at HotMamaMia's place The Pittsburgh Deli:

Your Word is "Love"

You see life as possibility to form deep connections with a few people.

Relationships are the center of your world, and you always take time to bond with those you love.

You are caring and giving. You enjoy helping those you love.

And when it comes to romantic love, you feel passionately ... even in a very long term relationship.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Where Am I?

I'm here...

... helping my Mom through Tuesday.

And I'm here at Janowrimo.

Writing, writing, writing. I've got a new widget. It goes with my new WIP:

Life is good.