Wednesday, October 13, 2010



Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul…” 

                  --Emily Dickinson

Good evening, dear friends!

Such a beautiful day today!  Definitely felt more like summer here on the central coast than fall….

This month, as we all know, we concentrate on Breast Cancer Awareness…all things pink and hopeful.  Celebrating brave women who fought it and survived…and remembering those who fought a very hard fight, and are no longer with us…there are a few in my family in both categories…

(I just realized while re-reading this that today, October 14th, is my Grandmother Smith’s birthday…the beautiful LaPriel I’ve told you about before…)


…she died far too young from this terrible disease.

LaPriel, Clayn, Karen & Julie, 1964

This is our little family…my Mom--Karen, Dad--Clayn (LaPriel’s son), and me…we just came in from a swim in Grandma’s backyard.  This was taken in 1964…not to long before she passed away.

Over at Splitcoast, they are also focusing on this important cause…and in the Crafty Secrets’ forum this week, the challenge is to make a card that expresses encouragement…

…here’s what I came up with:


A beautiful image from Crafty Secrets’ new “Little Blessings” Creative Scraps…not much more to say…a simple card with a wonderful message...

I love this sweet birdie, and as I worked on the card, I just heard over and over in my head the beginning lines from Emily Dickenson’s famous poem, “Hope”…

“Hope is the thing with feathers,

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune—without the words,

And never stops at all.”

bird 2

…which brought very strongly into my mind my mother, who has fought her own fight with cancer, and has won.

In 1992, my sweet mother was diagnosed with fairly advanced breast cancer, and was quickly scheduled for surgery.

She didn’t know if her body would be the same as she had always known it when she awoke after surgery…and it was not.

bird 1

She remembers very vividly laying in her hospital bed in a darkened room after the surgery…the anesthesia had worn off and the reality had set in….as well as the fear.

She was all alone in the room.  She wondered if she would ever be the same again.  What did the future hold?  Could she make it  through what lay ahead of her?  She was very afraid…

As she lay there, we were on our way down the hall to visit her, and were trying to explain to our three-year-old daughter, Chelsea, why her grandma was in the hospital…

hpqscan0001_edited-1 (Chelsea, just a couple of months after Mom’s mastectomy…and, very appropriately, in a pumpkin patch at Halloween time!)

…as we rounded the corner into her room, she said, in a loud, little child voice, “What’s wrong with my Grandma?!”


As soon as my Mother heard that, she heard a voice in her head say that her reaction at that very moment would make all the difference, and she turned over in the bed and said very strongly, and with a smile on her face…

“There’s NOTHING wrong with your Grandma!”

She said that was her turning point…the moment hope re-entered her life. 


Were there more scary moments?  Of course there were!  Still are…but hope and faith remain strong…


…now, 17 years later, my Mother is strong and healthy, though she still hates those twice-yearly exams! 

But she goes to them just the same, and still has a clean bill of health, which makes my father very happy…

Dad & Mom 3 2010

…and it makes all these people very happy, too…

The Whole Fan-damily! 1

“Hope is the thing with feathers”…

…and sometimes it’s brought into the room by a three-year-old girl…


“Hope is the thing with feathers,

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune—without the words,

And never stops at all.

And sweetest in the gale is heard;

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,

And on the strangest sea;

Yet, never, in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me.”

                                           --Emily Dickinson


I hope you have a most wonderful night…

Sweet dreams.



  1. Julie, you always create such lovely things.

    I love your theme this evening. So many lives are touched by breast cancer. I am so glad to hear your mother has a clean bill of health after 17 years. Praise the Lord. My Mom is a survivor (7 years this Saturday) and my aunt is a 10 year survivor. I held the hand of a dear friend as she went to Heaven 2 years ago. She fought the fight and kept the faith, but in the end it was God's plan to take her home. And another dear friend just had it a second time (the most aggressive kind) and had a double mastectomy. Thank goodness we are in a time where when detected early it doesn't have to be a death sentence.

    Thank you for such a wonderful post :)


  2. Goodmorning Julie...lovely card you the family story.


  3. What a beautiful story .. just a beautiful post all the way around Miss Julie! Loved it!

  4. Hello Julie!

    This is a really beautiful story about your mother. She`s very great! I wish your mother the best!
    I`m a nurse and worked long time at the cancel station. I know, what your mother and your family felt. (Sorry for my bad english)

    Your card is so wonderful.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Have a great day

  5. The card is beautiful as always Julie, but I love your words. It is odd how our lives are so similar in so many ways. In 1984, my mother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, just six months after she and my father had separated. She had a complete radical mastectomy and then reconstruction at a later date. It was a very scary time for us all. Thankfully all these years later, she is still clear of that dreadful disease, and God willing it shall remain so. I know how you felt and I am no stranger to the gift of hope. It is what enables each of us to move forward in life, for without it what would we have? I love these words by Emily Dickenson. She is my favourite author along with Jane Austen. Thanks so much for a beautifully written poignant post about a disease which strikes fear into the hearts of us all, and about hope. ((((hugs)))) I love you loads my dear friend. You bless my life in countless ways, most especially with your words and many talents. xxoo

  6. So happy to hear your mom is doing well, Julie.

    Beautiful cards, as always!

  7. Dear Julie,
    a beautifull post, and a happy one,- for your family-
    Your card is so sweet ,beautifull, and the message on it, I will send back to you,dear.

  8. Absolutely a beautiful and touching post. October is always a hard month for me and your poem is filled with wisdom. I have printed it out where I may see it often. Amazing thoughts on two very amazing women, both who have touched my life greatly.

  9. Such an inspiring story, Julie! I was so touched by the determination brought to your mom by the sound of your daughter's fearful question - the turning point. We never know what will give us strength, but something always will. Blessings to you all. Lovely cards, too. ;)

  10. This post has brought tears to my eyes. I rejoice for your Mom's victory and your beautiful retelling of this story. I lost my Mom to breast cancer 33 years ago and I miss her every day. So many advances in treatment in the past 33 years and for that I am truly grateful...there is hope for so many more women. Lovely card, too!

  11. LOVED this post. Very touching. So glad your Mother is still here. Cancer is so very scary, yet if we let it, it can be a life lesson giver in all aspects!! Both of my parents died from Cancer...hard, but full of "good things"!

    The card is just perfect...priceless!

  12. Julie,
    You always touch my heart so much. I am so happy for your mom. And for all of you. What a beautiful story about your mom and daughter! My grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer at fifty and had a double mastectomy and radiation at fifty. She died at ninety-three. Treatment was not as good in those days and she had radiation burns that never went away. I remember her dressing them each day. She lived a very full life and I adored her.

    Your card is so beautiful. I had to enlarge it to see what you had done "up close." Truly a gorgeous card. I loved you reminding us of Emily Dickinson's poem, which I love.

    Thank you. You are truly a gift!


  13. What a beautiful post Julie. I had goosebumps as I read through it. Love that poem by Emily Dickinson. And love that hope came to your mom in the voice of a child. I do hope you are having a great day. Blessings, Tammy

  14. What a special post today, you brought tears to my eyes. Your mother sounds like a wonderful woman, I'm so glad your daughters are getting to grow up with her in their lives!

  15. Hi. Thanks for sharing the story of your family and your mother. I'm so glad your mother is doing so well. {My name is also Julie, and my maiden name was Smith.} Have a lovely day.
    ~ Julie

  16. What a poignant story. It touches me in such a wonderful way. I will celebrate my survivorship on Saturday the 16th. My wonderful daughter Erin mentioned this in the first comment.

    Like your mother, my granddaughter was a source of strength for me. She was 5 at the time and monitored my progress regularly.

    Cancer does change us, but in many ways that is not always bad. I gained a lot from the experience and met people I would never have met otherwise. It is amazing how many of us have a connection with someone who has had this disease!

    Thank you for your lovely card and poem, your love for your mother and grandmother shows through both and are very inspirational.

  17. Just lovely Julie. My brave Mom lost her battle with breast and lung cancer in 2004. She taught me so much during her last few months that have made me stronger in so many ways. I proudly wear pink all year long, a little more loudly during October (me and Mom's birthday month). Hugs to the brave warriers and survivors!

  18. An emotion invoking post!! My maternal grandma died of breast cancer. My mother dies of throat cancer. It is an ugly vicious disease. I am SO happy your mom overcame it and is thriving!!! Your cards are lovely as always too!

  19. Your photos are fabulous! I love your card!

  20. Beautiful card Julie! So glad your mum is one of the ones who won the fight and that your daughter helped her to realise her victory. Hope those exams keep coming back clear!

  21. Julie what a lovely post of hope. Thank goodness your precious mother is fine, as is mine (28 years). I loved your story...she sounds a lot like my mother who always has a positive outlook on things. Blessing to you and all the lovely ladies in your family! xo Paulette ... I forgot to say how BEAUTIFUL your card is. That would brighten anyone's day! :)

  22. I love hearing stories of survival, I am a survivor as well. Diagnosed at age 36, with a 16 month old son and no family history with people who could encourage me and show that you can survive. About a year later, I emerged, scared, and reeling with the reality of life after treatment. What I'd like to do is encourage everyone interested in observing the month to really get informed. Please know that genetic ties are a very very small percentage of those diagnosed. Thanks for sharing, Julie!

  23. Another beautiful post. Lovely card!
    Hugs Hanne

  24. Hi Julie,
    What amazing art...what an amazing story about your mom, God bless is a miracle and I am so profoundly happy she has a clean bill of health...what a beautiful couple!!!!
    And I love your "A Penny for Your Thoughts" and Hot Air Balloon card--wow!!!

  25. A very touching post Julie.

    I think we all know someone who has been struck by this dreadful disease, in fact a work collueague of my daughter, another humanities teacher lost her battle this week, still in her 30's and with a yound family.

    Your recation with those beautiful roses is adorable.

    B x

  26. One of my most
    favorite sayings....
    delivered beautifully
    as only you can, Julie!
    Imagine if your sweet
    grandma had been diagnosed
    today; our technology has
    come so far and she probably
    would have lived much longer.
    My best friend is battling
    it out with bc now; she has
    had such wonderful care....
    and so quickly after diagnosis...
    I sure hope our amazing health
    care system remains intact!
    Thank you for this very uplifting
    post, Julie : ) !!

  27. Ehat a wonderful post. I think we have all been touched by Cancer in one way or another as it attacks the body in so many ways. I love your card and your phoos are wonderful with smiling faces Hope & Faith are true measure to live life by God Bless you and your family

    Love Dawn xx

  28. Sweet story! and gorgeous card! It's always so fun to find fellow "shabby girls" :) I'll drop by often and do come visit me too! I'd love to have you!


  29. Lovely post, Julie, and so nice to read another survivor story . . . the card is beautiful!

  30. Another WONDERFUL post Julie! Love all the photos and memories you share with us! And have I mentioned your BEAUTIFUL creations ... always an inspiration to me!!
    Hope you're having a sun-shiny day & lots of fun! Hugs to ya!!

  31. Your card is so beautiful and your family's personal experience with this terrible disease touched my heart. Your dear mother is obviously a very special lady. I too love Emily's sweet words and the comfort and strength they inspire. I immediately thought of a verse by Rabindranath Tagore that I always remember: "Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark." Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for sharing!

  32. Your words are beautiful and meaningful Julie to those of us who need such reminders to do things that make us feel uncomfortable. I needed these words today. Thank you. Elizabeth

  33. Hi Julie, this was a very touching post! I too have had family members affected by this terrible disease, I pray all the time for a cure! Your card was so touching and beautiful! Have a wonderful weekend! hugs~~~ Daphne

  34. What an inspiring story of hope. That poem is in fact one of my very favorites.

  35. Julie girl,

    I come here to see what you are creating and which family members of yours that I will meet next...and I ALWAYS LEAVE SO INSPIRED!!!!
    You keep things real and post about things that we can all relate to. That's what I love about you!

    You are amazing...has anyone ever told you that lately??? I just thought you needed hear that today because it is SO true!!!!