Tag Archive: Love


In a few hours,  I’ll be heading South to a town 70 miles away to stand along side the Relay family I’ve yet to meet but with whom I’m proud to walk as a united front in a battle against stupid cancer – a disease that strikes too many, too soon, and too often.

It’s a mouthful of a sentence….

      But it’s even more of a mission.

And it’s what Relayers do.

I count among my blessings the honor of having been called to serve as a Hero of Hope.  As such, I share my time and my story in hopes of spreading… well … HOPE… at community events and Relays across Central Texas and beyond.  I’ve been serving in this roll since 2012 and have shared different elements of my story more than 100 times in almost as many places.  But today’s message – as it forms in my heart and the nuggets of which pour through my thumbs as I ponder – is especially difficult … but that’s what makes it most important.

I’ve been asked to visit the community of Seguin, TX to speak at the Fight Back ceremony.  It’s the 3rd piece of the triad of Relay (Celebrate!  Remember!  Fight back!) and tonight, it’s the one that hits closest to home.

…because tonight, as I speak as a Caregiver and a Survivor,  I will carry on my heart an incredible love story. 

It’s not mine.  But it’s one I was privileged to witness. 

It’s the story of Rick and Joann.

Because it’s their story, I can’t begin to know the details, the dates, the specifics….but my GOODNESS do I embrace the love and hope.  The strength and courage. 

         And, again, the love and hope.

Rick and Joann were high school sweethearts.  Theirs was a home filled with love – and two beautiful girls – when stupid cancer attacked.

It came for Joann… a young woman whose own mother had died of breast cancer before she could see Joann as a bride, a wife, a mother…  Her treatment had been horrific and the disease too advanced… and based on this, Jo wondered if she’d even be able to fight.

       But how could she not?

The Caregiver was now the Survivor.

For Rick and for her girls, she battled.  Her treatment was swift and aggressive – but it was also fueled by faith, hope, and so much love.

And she triumphed! 

           THEY triumphed! 

And against all odds,  their family grew when a precious and beloved son was born.

The family grew and it flourished and then suddenly, without warning,  and with a savagery they could never have known was coming, stupid cancer attacked again.

This time, it was Rick. 

He wrote in his message for Relay that year that cancer had tried to kill his wife, tried to kill his brother, and now it was coming for him…

Stupid, stupid cancer.

The Caregiver was, again, the Survivor.

His battle had triumphs and challenges and highs and lows.  New treatments held out hope several times… until the scans showed stupid cancer had returned.

The thing that never changed,  though, was his commitment to his wife and family, or theirs to him.  Being able to witness this kind of love was a blessing in and of itself.  I marvel at it still….

    … 4 years to the day since stupid cancer stole Rick far, far too soon.

I marvel even more at the love that endures… as Joann wrote today – what she wouldn’t give for another day with her Love, but what peace she feels knowing he’s celebrating his 4th birthday in Heaven.

So why is this the story on my heart as I prepare to fight back?

I think it’s because I’m mad. And I’m sad. But I’m also so proud and filled with love, hope, and joy.

The cancer that stole Joann’s mom was diagnosed early in Jo — and not only beatable, but beaten!

And the manifestation of this stupid disease that stole Rick too, too soon is being demystified by the researchers as we speak.  And as we learn more, we’re ever closer to the days of early diagnosis and beatable, treatable outcomes.

I feel the love and the promise of the day in which their 3 wonderful kids and precious grands will no longer have to live in fear of the words “You have cancer.”

I pledge with my whole entire heart, to do all I can in that fight.

For Rick and Joann.  For their love.  For their hope.  For their fight.

For that glorious day when early detection and viable treatment options are the story for EVERY diagnosis…

For the magnificent day when every diagnosis is followed by THE CURE…

I FIGHT BACK!!!!

And I invite you all to join me.

Together we can and we will.

Together we Relay.  Together we win.

Then sings my soul….

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On Being Teeta

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Oh how my soul does sing…

15 years ago, I was planning a wedding – my 2nd – to a man with kids.

I loved them then because they were his.

Their relationship was fragile.
Difficult at times.
But his kids were the pieces that completed him.

And I loved them for it.

Through their ups and downs, I watched and loved….
As he grew.
As they grew.
As all our hearts grew together into the single beat of family.

We beat as a family parallel…

One of the strengths I admire and treasure most in his kids is their willingness to, alongside their relationships to their mom and previous stepmom, to love me and let me love them.

A family.
A family parallel.

And then came the Grands.
And the heartbeat of our family,
took on a deeper, stronger,  tangible beat.

The kids — his kids I love as deeply and as dearly as my own, not only for who they are to the hubs, for for who they ARE, and who they are to me — have blessed us all with beautiful,  perfect darlings.  They have their Bubbie, their Honey,
…. and they have me.

And so.
Here I am.
A Teeta.
Not a grandma by birth but by a family parallel.

And OH, how my soul does sing.

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Reflecting on this Easter Sunday was much tougher than I imagined it would be.   There were so many moments to savor:  the sight of my beautiful grandmother in church for another Easter service,  the Hubs and his mini-me Grand sitting on the grass playing with Hot Wheels from the egg hunt,  all the wonderful food and family time, …
But ultimately it came down to this.
Cascarone Wishes.

May every day contain a bit of Easter.
With rejoicing and rebirth,
Faith and hope,
Family, food, and fun.

May you have just the right amount of confetti in your hair.
And most importantly, of course, the sheltering arm of someone who loves you draped across your shoulders.

Then sings my soul….

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Found this treasure today and it made me think
Maybe I was born for this…

A ponderer of thoughts
With a way for words.
A student of the world around us
With a penchant for the click of the keys.

Starting young.
Books and songs in the lap of my mom.
And this.
Definitely this.

Another of my treasures is my dad’s old steamer desk where he wrote oh, so many words.
It is huge
And heavy
And goes with nothing.

Nothing, that is,
Except my heart,
And the words that pour forth from it.

Then sings my soul….

Carrying Their Love on my Hands

This morning — and every morning — as I got dressed and ready to head out the door,  I stopped and gave praise and thanksgiving as I put on my rings.

This is nothing unusual….

But also this morning,  I received a private message asking about musings  I’d shared about said rings via post several years ago.

Wow!  This slice of my life had resonated and echoed and she wanted to use it in a Sunday School lesson…..

Wow-er, still!!!

As a writer,  this was a tremendous moment…. 

Aside from a brief dabble into the world of blogging in 2012-13, my writing has been confined to Facebook posts of the things on my heart and in my day….

I know I have a history of oversharing.
I know I can be a bit much.
I know…..

But she REMEMBERED something I’d written!
And that felt good.

Of course, I have no idea when I wrote that piece or how I might find it back again…

But (also of course) I had no problem sharing again the story of my rings.

What follows is the response to her request:

I’m so honored.
While I have no idea how to find that post back again,  I have that same feeling every single moment as I get ready for the day.

Every morning,  as I reach for my rings I feel the love of those from and for  whom each piece became a part of me.

I start with my wedding ring.
It was my husband’s mother’s before it was mine.
It stands not only for the commitment between my husband and myself, but also serves as a connection to his beloved Mom who passed away not long before we started dating.
Although we never had the chance to meet,  I feel her love, approval and blessing each time I put it on.
On the same hand,  I wear my James Avery Mother’s Love ring — a gift from my children — the beat of my heart.
And so “armed” with the love of my immediate family,  I am almost ready to head out into the world….
But not quite….

On my right hand,  I have a little more variety from day to day.
The constant is the small pinky ring my grandfather gave to my grandmother on their 40th  anniversary.   It’s a simple silver cross – and each time I slide it on my finger, I feel not only their love,  but also the love of our Heavenly Father.
Beside it, on my ring finger,  the options rotate to match my mood and my attire.
Sometimes it’s my grandmother’s turquoise ring.   Sometimes it’s the simple ring I bought for myself on the day my daughter overcame a particularly scary illness as a babe.
Sometimes it’s the wavy ring that makes me think of the waves of my beloved ocean….

But always,  it’s something.

And always,  I feel myself moving forward into the world armed in the strength of those who went before me,  those who stand beside me now,  and always,  always,  always, the blessing of God above.

Thank you for remembering and bringing this simple blessing back to the forefront of my thinking and my heart.

Then sings my soul…..

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Then sings my soul!

It’s usually my tag line,  but with these boys and their cousins, it’s where it all begins.

Then.
Sings.
My.
Soul.

I came into my stepkids’ lives when they were older.  
Their relationship with their dad was complicated,
And I wasn’t quite sure where I fit into the equation.

Over the years, I have come to know them as incredible human beings.
I love them dearly and I believe they love me.

And then came the grands!!!!
Oh my goodness!
The grands!!!!

Tonight I walked to the oldest’s baseball practice across town.
(Yes, walked….but that’s a Slice for a different day.)

I did it just for the chance to breathe some of the same air.

I knew he’d be busy.
I knew his dad – my oldest stepson – would be busy too.
But I knew I’d be able to see them in their element.

My stepson is step dad to this precious boy, our oldest grandson.
He is at every practice.
He is at every game.
He loves this boy…
And he parents this boy….
And he makes a difference!

And my soul does sing….

It sings to see the love and strength of their connection.
It sings to see the pride in B’s eyes.
It sings to see that B and he know right where they belong.

And then.
As the sun set over the field and the night hawks moved in….
When the evening couldn’t have been any more beautiful….
When it was time for me to walk back across town….
One of the team moms asked if I was I.’s mom.

“No,” I said.
“I’m one of the Grandmas.”

And I knew.
I absolutely knew….

I’m right where I belong as well.

Then sings my soul….

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Those hands….
Those precious, precious hands.

Each Tuesday,  I travel to the next town after work.
I travel to visit.
I travel to talk.
And I travel to pay tribute to those hands….

Those precious, precious hands.
The hands of my grandmother.

95 years in the making.
95 years of living, loving and service.
95 years of hard, hard work.
95 years of nurturing….

95 years of love in action…
… through the bread she kneaded and baked.
the clothes she cut, pinned, basted, and sewed.
The veggies she planted, tended, harvested, and canned.

95 years of doing whatever it took for her family to thrive.
Cooking, canning, sewing…
Taking in ironing so that her girlchild could take piano.
Working tirelessly at home and out, if she had to.
Working the fields,
Working at the five and dime,
Whatever it took…

For the last 25, these hands have been solo,
Mourning their partners, my grandfather’s hands.
For 25 years, she has managed the house and continued to do all that she could — all while waiting for the day her hands reunite with his.

95 years…
and now frustrated by having to sit idle.
Hands at rest for the first time in 95 years….

Hands it is my honor and good fortune to pamper just a bit,
to thank with the caress of my touch,
the smoothing of her skin,
the trimming, filing, and shaping of her nails,
and the painting….in her favorite colors: Vivacious, Red Carpet, and Bubblegum.
The dolling up of those beautiful, marvelous, precious, precious hands.

God’s work has been mighty through
those hands.
God’s work is mighty in those hands.

Those precious, precious hands.
The hands of my grandmother.

Then sings my soul….