Monday, September 18, 2006

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's to the Hill I go!

I'm off to Celebration on the Hill! I am looking forward to this experience and opportunity to meet with the legislative aides, Senators Dole and Burr, and Congressman Jones. We are hoping to make a huge impact and have Congress put cancer research and cancer related issues back at the top of their list.

There are many Americans in an uproar about all the deaths caused by the current conflict. Here's a fact: As many Americans die in 2 days from cancer as the number of people who died on 9/11. I'm not justifying the deaths caused by this war or supporting it, that is a separate topic and post.

Cancer is killing Americans on our own soil, and it isn't picky. Cancer attacks children, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, Supreme Court Justices, athletes, doctors, writers, CEOs. It doesn't care how much money you have, what religion you practice, what race you are. Cancer creeps into your life when you least expect and takes over your body, life, and mind. One in three people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime (I'm pretty sure the war casualties do not amount to this). Cancer is a killer that we can stop.

So what is Congress doing about this? Cutting funds for research and trying to eliminate guaranteed insurance coverage for cancer screenings (such as mammograms, colonoscopies, pap smears). I don't need to tell you how I feel, you already know. So let's stop this killer for once and all.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Tribute to Maynard Spence

Today I am taking time to write about one of the victims of 9/11. On the fifth anniversary of the attacks, each of the 2,996 victims is being honored by bloggers across the web. Please visit to learn more and find the blogs honoring all 2,996 victims.

Maynard Spence (42) was born and raised in North Carolina, attended Atlantic Christian College and was living in Douglasville, Georgia. He was employed by Marsh & McLennan and on the 99th floor of the South tower for a meeting on September 11, 2001. Maynard's life was taken by an act of terrorism.

I found many tribute sites with messages from friends and co-workers. Mr. Spence was a great man, very caring with a hearty laugh. I know that he is missed by his family, friends, and co-workers. As I was researching about "Jiff” (his childhood nickname), I couldn't help but wonder what his life was like. I was unable to find anything about his personal life, but I imagine that he was the kind of man that always would throw a few coins into the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas, and tell you a joke when you are having a bad day. The guy in the office that everyone wanted to have lunch with.

I found one tribute that was in The New York Times on December 13, 2001:
Barbara Spence was thumbing through a cookbook several weeks ago, when she noticed a note stuck between the pages among the cookie recipes. It read, "I love you, M."

The M was Maynard S. Spence Jr., 42, her husband, a man with a deep devotion and a flair for the romantic. A few years earlier, Mr. Spence had exhausted an entire pad of sticky notes to his wife and hidden them around the house; even today, Mrs. Spence is finding them.

His love notes may have been stealth, but his presence was not. His laugh was big and deep, and colleagues at the Marsh & McLennan office in Atlanta — a construction safety consultant, he was at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 for a meeting — always knew when the gregarious, seemingly perpetually happy Mr. Spence was in the vicinity.

"It was the most honest laugh you could imagine," his manager, Gary L. Pohlmann, said of Mr. Spence, whom family and friends also remember for his love of barbecue and pickup basketball. The laugh, Mr. Pohlmann said, was one that "everybody in our office continues to wait to hear."

Maynard, you will never be forgotten.

Please visit
The Maynard Spence Foundation for information about scholarships of construction safety education.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Where are you?

St. Therese's Prayer:

May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.

As my 10 year high school reunion approaches, I have been looking through our reunion site and reading about what my classmates have been up to for the last 10 years. Some of them are doing exactly what they planned, and others are far from what any of us expected. Did I ever think I'd be married to a Marine or myself be a Cancer Survivor? I had no idea 10 years ago that Ian was going to be my husband, but he's more perfect than I ever could have imagined! There have been many times in the last 10 years when I wondered if I was where I was supposed to be.

Now I can see that I am, and I was where I needed to be. Exactly where I needed to be. I just couldn't see that at the time. I hope I can remember that I'll be placed where I am supposed to be as the military moves us and life happens. "May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be." You are where you need to be, it may not be your plan, but it is some one's plan.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

It was a dark and stormy night....

Tropical Storm Ernesto came through last Thursday night. Jack and I were up for about 2 hours during the night because the wind and rain woke up both up. After I had been awake for about 20 minutes I went to check on Jack, he was trying to hide his head under his stuffed animals. So we watched the Weather Channel for a while and he cuddled on my lap, perfect for a stormy night.

The next day we had lots of clean up to do. It was still windy on Friday, but we got most of the way picked up. Lots of branches, sticks, pinecones, and pine needles everywhere. A few sections of our trellis got damaged (you can see it in the first picture), and I started repairing that on Saturday. Sandie had a great time running all around in the wind and fetching sticks. Jack was helping by picking up single pine needles; I was glad he was occupied so I could get the big stuff.

We had 2 pretty good sized piles of branches and such (second picture is of the larger pile). Our neighbors pile of sticks was about a third the size of ours, but we do have more trees than our neighbors though. Hopefully the city will do pickup early this week so I don't have to look at the piles much longer.

Now you are probably thinking, where is Ian during all this? The last picture says it all.

Okay, well maybe he's still in Afghanistan.