Have you ever said something so stupid you wanted to smack yourself? Yet you refrained because you didn't want to intensify the deep shade of crimson that was already spreading across your face? No? It's just me? Then learn from me, grasshoppuh.
Several years ago (pre-Tamoxifen - so I can't blame that) I was with my folks and kids visiting a friend's personal observatory. He used his telescope to show us the many constellations visible in the clear night sky, impressing us with all of their names. Now, I took astronomy in college; I'm not entirely ignorant of God's heavenly creations. So, what did I ask this intelligent, amateur astronomer? "Who named the constellations? The Native Americans?" Never mind those Greek and Roman names of constellations. I don't know why that question shot out of my mouth. I must have been thinking of that well known American Indian constellation, "Numskulled Bear."
Now let's fast-forward to last Sunday when I attended my first ever walk for breast cancer awareness. It was the Decatur Morgan Hospital Foundation's 8th annual Lee Lott Power of Pink Walk.
I had the honor of introducing myself to the walk's namesake, Lee Lott, and picking her brain about how she became associated with the annual event. She was diagnosed with stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer a little less than a decade ago. I won't share her complete story here because I didn't tell her I planned to do so. That's all I need is for friends to view me as some 60 Minutes investigative reporter that blabs everything without their permission.
(FYI...I didn't get the memo to dress cute and in pink. Look how adorable Lee looks with her pink tutu and fun strands of beads. Instead I channeled my inner Johnny Cash that day. "Love is a burning thing...and it makes a fiery ring..." Go ahead and sing it, I can wait.)
Now that you're done singing you're thinking, "When is she going to get to the embarrassing part?" Well, here it goes. After visiting for several minutes with Lee and hearing her story, I told her how glad I was that I finally got to meet her. She politely smiled and said, "We've met before..."
After a slight hesitation, "Oh, yes!" I responded, "Just two weeks ago at the art thingy." I couldn't even think of the word exhibit. For that, I'll blame Tamoxifen. How could I have forgotten meeting someone so amazing and vivacious? Here's proof that I not only met her, but actually stood next to her for a group photo at that art thingy.
See? There I am to the far right on the front row. Aaaaand there's Lee Lott right next to me. Yeah, I could have smacked myself.
Lee, however, was so gracious. Hopefully we all are quick to extend grace to others. You never know what someone is battling, if they lack sleep, if they're medicated, perhaps need to be medicated, or simply their brain for whatever reason isn't firing on all cylinders. Despite the awkward faux pas it was a pretty wonderful day.
I got to meet up with other members of The Rack Pack. Again, they all got the wear- something- cute- like- a- fun- pink- fuzzy- boa- or- scarf memo. Interestingly, one of these gals (won't say who because again, I'm not Morley Safer) and I discovered we were both diagnosed with breast cancer last year on the same day, November 4th. Another precious person (I won't point her out because, again, I didn't obtain her consent) and I discovered we have a mutual friend from my hometown in KY who now lives in Nashville, TN. She's actually related to him and I feel as if I am, so that almost makes her and I related. Like third cousins. I plan on having Thanksgiving with her but she doesn't know it yet.
I enjoyed chatting with Darlene and her family during the 1-mile walk. Not sure if she planned on me talking her ear off, but when you're with me sometimes these things happen. Come to think of it, if I talked less I probably wouldn't say as many stupid things, but then I'd miss out on meeting people for the first time, again.
I'll leave you now with one final picture that includes my Johnny Cash-inspired look. Hope you have a blessed weekend and that you make time to spread some joy.
For the youngins who aren't familiar with "Ring of Fire" I hope you'll watch this video from Home Free and Enjoy! (I think they should be in all black - they didn't get the memo.)
When I was a kid we’d hop in the car and take long drives in the country just because we could. People must have had more time back then. We’d drive for miles and see nothing but pastures and crops then a house would appear like a lone ship in the middle of an expansive ocean.
I’d wonder who lived in the house and why they chose to live so far from civilization. What did the homeowner do for a living? Did it require them to make frequent trips to town? Where was the nearest grocery store? Did they have kids? If so, where did they go to school? Would the bus drive that far to pick them up? Were there any playmates near them? What did they do about trick-or-treating? If someone had a heart attack, how long would it take them to get to the nearest hospital?
Questions flooded my mind – some morbid – that resulted in sadness over the thought of people living isolated lives. Apparently, I wasn't the only one concerned. Look at this that I found online...
I bet my favorite person ever - Jesus - would have cared, too. He was all about community. The very first public miracle He performed was at a festive wedding in the town of Cana that I bet He and His mother looked forward to attending for months. They celebrated amongst friends until the wine ran dry and Jesus’ mother requested that he do a “beer run”, if I may use today's modern parlance. He acquiesced and the partying continued. I bet the conversation was rich and the laughter bountiful.
Our Lord lived in community by surrounding himself with the twelve disciples, all whose personalities were as different as snowflakes. If you want to read about this ragtag bunch of men, ThoughtCo’s guest author, Mary Fairchild, has done an excellent job of researching and describing each disciple that you can read about HERE.
Jesus worshiped in community by going to the temple each week, which serves as a model for all Christ followers. And Christians are reminded by the author of Hebrews (don’t know who that is…maybe Paul) to regularly meet with each other, in part, as a source of encouragement.
“And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
OK, so those are instructions for Christians, but I believe everyone can benefit from a community. We must plug into one if we’re to impact others as well as benefit from other people’s positive influence.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” ~ Proverbs 27:17
Are you part of a vibrant, supportive community? Do you have what I’ll call breast cancer battle buddies to help get you over the hurdles that a cancer diagnosis and fight have placed in front of you?
Thankfully, I can attest that I am part of several communities…you can call them tribes if you wish…from our local breast cancer support group all the way to the town in which I live. Let me share just a few examples about how I feel supported by my town. They’re by no means first-person experiences but their impact is felt nonetheless.
We recently started getting the local newspaper, The Decatur Daily. Imagine my surprise a couple of weeks ago when the paper that landed in our driveway was pink! You may not be able to tell from the picture, but each page is literally pigskin pink!
And there were several stories pertaining to breast cancer awareness. Thank you, The Decatur Daily, for making a difference!
Then there’s the car dealership down the road from me. The pink ribbons that Lynn Layton Chevrolet displays during the month of October on the front of its building are so large that I’m fairly certain they’re visible from space.
(I man that Thank you, Lynn Layton, for showing us that you care!
When our breast cancer support group, The Rack Pack, planned its annual Bunco Bash and Silent Auction fundraiser earlier this summer, Stovall-Marks Insurance…a local insurance agency…said they’d cover the cost of everything. EV-ER-Y-THING! If you’re in need of insurance and live in Decatur, please consider giving them your business. I have a link to their website HERE.
I believe my southern, mid-sized community is amazing.
Some of us are cynical by nature and may be thinking, “Companies that display pink in October feign support as a marketing ploy to get people’s business.” In some cases, that may well be true but I’d prefer to assume the best and not judge anyone’s motives. Besides, their efforts…genuine or not…bring into people’s radar a disease that I wish didn’t exist.
But since I can’t wish the disease away and must deal with it, I’m thankful for supportive communities. And I realize we all have different needs at varying stages.
If you’ve recently been diagnosed, maybe you’re like I was just a short year ago and don’t want to be near anyone else with cancer because it serves as a harsh reminder of what you’re going through. I get that. When I finally went to my first breast cancer support group meeting it had been months since my diagnosis. There were two other women there that night that had been diagnosed that week! Our needs are different and that’s ok. Just know that when you’re ready, chances are there’s a support group full of amazing women that meets in your area…unless you live in the middle of nowhere. Then thank the Lord (I mean that literally) for the internet and telephones.
Oh, and should you live miles and miles from your nearest neighbor let me know, because I have a few unanswered questions for you…
(If you’re in need of a support group, check out this link from BREASTCANCER.ORG)
I despise pantyhose and wear them about as often as athletes compete in the Winter Olympics. (For the record and the curious, Pyeongchang, South Korea will host the 2018 Winter Olympics beginning on my son’s birthday, February 9th.) Pulling on nylons without creating a run is such a formidable task that I think the International Olympic Committee should consider adding it to their list of new sporting events.
I loathe hose.
But today was different. It was special. I got gussied up complete with my nude colored stockings for The Rack Pack’s 2nd Annual Brushstrokes for Breast Cancer Exhibit and Online Auction reception.
Wearing this necklace that I found at a local consignment shop somehow made me feel extra artsy…as well as the funky pattern in my dress. (A beret would have been a nice finishing touch, but I established in the Pink Ribbon Plunge post why I don’t wear hats.) It didn’t dawn on me until I arrived that the pineapple is pink. Kinda fitting, I’d say.
There are more than fifty stunning pieces on display at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center in Decatur, AL that people who attended this afternoon’s reception got to see up close and in person.
And you almost need to see the paintings in person to truly appreciate the textures, fine details, and just how vivid some of the colors are.
Here’s one of the youngest artists, Olivia Groves, age 9, standing next to her painting entitled Miss Stylish.
In addition to paintings like these…
There are also pieces of jewelry...
Then there’s this incredible piece, a copper tree called Stout created by artist William Bates. His work is featured in galleries all over the world. The Rack Pack was grateful for his donation and that he drove several hundred miles from near Mobile, AL to be with us for today’s reception.
A couple more pieces...
Me again in nylons. I really should stand with my legs together.
Here’s one of the pieces I bid on called The Journey by Carey Key, painted with acrylics and gold leaf. It would look perfect in my dining room once I get new wallpaper…and new furniture…and maybe some new flooring.
One of our local news stations recognized just how special of an event this was and sent out a reporter (I didn’t notice if she was wearing hose or not) to interview the Rack Pack’s founder and Vice President, Cindy Meadows.
Cindy is pictured here with other founding members Suzanne Horsley (middle) and Courtney McCollum (through the power of deductive reasoning - right). I’ll let you in on a little secret: all three of these women are featured in Joy is Contagious…Cancer Isn’t!
The exhibit runs through October 27th and everyone is welcome to bid online, you just can’t bid on the one called The Journey (I’m kidding, sort of.) To view the pieces and/or bid, click on Brushstrokes for Breast Cancer.
Well, I’ve rolled my pantyhose off and I’m going to bed.
Ahn Nyeong Hee Ju Mu Se Yo. (That’s Korean for good night.)
Funny that the title "Author" appears above this description yet I have no idea what to share about myself in this space! How about my first name is Kim. My last name is Tisor. Tisor rhymes with miser, though I try not to be one.
For more information about me, please visit the author page.