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Thursday, June 21, 2012


Meet Julie Weiss, Marathon Goddess

She is running 52 marathons this year in an effort to raise hope, money and awareness for the pancreatic cancer cause.  Holy Cow!  Not just 1 marathon (which I think would be a rather admirable feat), but 52 marathons!  In one year!  Wow times fifty-two!  Amazing...Strong...Passionate...


Julie runs for her father.  He passed away from pancreatic cancer just one week shy of her qualifying for the Boston Marathon, a goal that he dreamed for his daughter.   This cancer is cruel, devastating and heartless.  It's aftermath can cripple even the strongest among us, but for Julie it only strengthened her resolve to do something positive.

She is chronicling her story here at the marathon goddess website.  Truly an inspiration (have I said that yet?!).  But the truth is, someone needs to carry on the fight.  Pancreatic cancer is a formidable foe and too many of those in the fight are not here long enough to bring awareness and funding to the table, let alone raise hope for those following behind.  Families and friends must stand up and bridge the gap for our loved ones. 

But what can I do??? 

I'm just one person... That's what I thought, until I heard Julie's story!  Her unique philosophy can apply to each of us. 

Find your passion, bring out your spirit and let it shine.

For Julie it's running marathons, for you it may be organizing a Purple Light Vigil for your community, or perhaps spending 10 minutes this next Tuesday, June 26th, participating in the National Call-In Day where supporters place calls to their Congressmen and plead the case for more pancreatic cancer funding and awareness.

Maybe your passion is caregiving, advocacy or baking...

Find your passion.  Bring your spirit.  Let it shine. 

Every now and then I find myself crazy inspired by the genuine beauty of the human spirit.   For Julie's Dad, for my mom, for the many hundreds of pancreatic cancer patients and their loved ones, let the fight not be in vain.

When you do what you love, for those you love, that is where the miracles happen.  Together we can make a difference, and pave the way to a happy, healthy, cancer free life.
                                                                              ~ Julie Weiss

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Focusing on the Fight...

Sometimes life seems to hand you more lemons.  And just when you finally thought you were finished making lemonade...

That appears to be the case for Good Morning America anchor, Robin Roberts.  Several years ago she successfully battled breast cancer, bravely sharing her journey with GMA viewers around the world.  Many of you may have heard her announcement this week concerning a new health crisis.  The following message from Robin appeared on GMA website this past Monday:

 As many of you know, 5 years ago I beat breast cancer. I’ve always been a fighter, and with all of your prayers and support, a winner.

Sometimes the treatment for cancer can cause other serious medical problems. Today, I want to let you know that I’ve been diagnosed with MDS or myelodysplastic syndrome. It's a disease of the blood and bone marrow and was once known as preleukemia.

My doctors tell me I'm going to beat this -- and I know it's true.

If you Google MDS, you may find some scary stuff, including statistics that my doctors insist don’t apply to me. They say I’m younger and fitter than most people who confront this disease and will be cured.

Today, I will start what is known as pre-treatment -– chemotherapy in advance of a bone marrow transplant later this year. Bone marrow donors are scarce and particularly for African-American women. I am very fortunate to have a sister who is an excellent match, and this greatly improves my chances for a cure. As you know from my recent interview with Mark Zuckerberg, organ donation is vitally important. Many people don't realize they can be bone marrow donors. I encourage everyone to sign up on a donor registry like

I received my MDS diagnosis on the very day that Good Morning America finally beat the Today Show for the first time in 16 years. Talk about your highs and lows! Then a few weeks ago, during a rather unpleasant procedure to extract bone marrow for testing, I received word that I would interview President Obama the next day. The combination of landing the biggest interview of my career and having a drill in my back reminds me that God only gives us what we can handle and that it helps to have a good sense of humor when we run smack into the absurdity of life.

Bottom line: I’ve been living with this diagnosis for awhile and will continue to anchor GMA. I love what I do and the people with whom I do it. Along with my faith, family and friends, all of you at ABC News give me the motivation and energy to face this challenge.

Going forward, it’s business as usual at GMA, which means I’ll be right here every day with George, Sam, Josh and Lara. When I miss a day here or there, I’m fortunate that some very talented friends at ABC News will fill-in. When I undergo the transplant later this year, I’ll miss a chunk of time.

When I faced breast cancer, your prayers and good wishes sustained me, gave me such hope and played a major role in my recovery. In facing this new challenge, I ask humbly for more of your prayers and love – as I will keep you in my mine and update you regularly on my condition.

Love and blessings,


MDS, Myelodysplastic Syndrome, is a fairly rare complication of chemotherapy treatment for cancer.  And you know, I can't help but thinking how terribly unfair it is.  Cancer of any kind is bad enough.  The harrowing effects of chemotherapy almost as bad, and just when you begin to take a deep breath that the worst is over... MDS rears it's very bad, ugly head.

Enough to make the strongest run for the hills... But, of course, that really isn't an option.  And Robin appears to be facing this fight with the same determination and purpose as her breast cancer diagnosis.  During her on-air announcement this week, she was visibly shaken and emotional, sharing a vulnerability that touched a deep chord.  And then she sat up straighter and said, But, we have to Focus on the Fight, not the Fright.

Focus on the Fight, not the Fright.

What a profound statement for anyone facing the Cancer Battle.  Because of course, fear is such a very real companion on this journey.  It tramples over our Hope, claws its way into our Heart, and takes up residence in our Soul.  We can deny its reality with friends, but in the dark of the night when we lie awake wrestling, the nightmare of this insidious disease leaves its mark.

Maybe the answer is not in Denying the Fright, but in refocusing our energies to the Fight.  Naming the fears, researching the options, preparing your battle plan, leaning on faithful family and friends, these are just a few ways to Focus on the Fight.

Easy?  You know the answer to that.  Someone once said that Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.  Well, let me say that we must be living some kind of life so far out of our comfort zone!  And truly, we are.  The infinite tenderness and love we shared with mom near the end was Life at its most fundamental and powerful. 

That's the kind of Love that will Focus the Fight and destroy the Fright...

May your Fight be renewed with Grace and Hope.  My Love, Jane

Monday, June 11, 2012

Fabulous Fish Fry

It was a success!  Fattening, messy and  noisy.  But a resounding success! Not everyone could make it, but those who did had a scrumptious time.

A Family (and Friends) Fish Fry might just be our new summertime tradition...

Smiles for all...
Even little Aubree!

Simple Joys... Sweet, Sweet Success...

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Legacy Making Habits

There is nothing that will shape your legacy more than your habits. Why? Because we are invariably the sum of the choices that we make in our life. And those choices are greatly influenced by our habits...good and bad.  Aristoltle probably said it best, "We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence is not an's a habit."

I heard a speaker explain it this way:

"Here's a little test to understand the power of our habits. Cross your arms as you normally would, and look down to see which one is on top.  Invariably half of you will have your right arm on top (Leroy did) and the other half will have your left on top. (I did.)  When you crossed your arms for the very first time, you might have been still in your playpen, and you've been crossing your arms the same way ever since. Now, cross your arms again, but this time put the wrong arm on top. It feels extremely weird! If I were to challenge you to cross your arms the "wrong" way for the rest of your life, could you do it? Probably. Would it be difficult? You bet it would!"

Interesting, isn't it?  (Which arm did you have on top?)

Here's the point: Habits - good or bad - are difficult to break.  And we are what we repeatedly do...

Which I'm finding out is pretty accurate.  I wondered many times after mom passed away if our family would hold together.  Not because of any discord, or conflicts, but mainly because we all knew mom was the glue that held the family together.  She was the one who made sure everyone's birthday was remembered, she was the one who planned all the special events, she was the one who coerced all the teenagers to come (and have fun!), she was the one...

But, somehow, someway, we're doing it..  I like to think it's the Legacy-making Habit that she ingrained in all of us.  We are what we repeatedly do!  And we do like to get together and have fun.

So, tomorrow we're having a Family Fish Fry at my brothers.  Just because...

My mouth is watering already!  Leroy and I are in charge of the hush-puppies and the strawberry shortcake.  It will be stupendous!

And a new Family tradition will begin.  Mom would be delighted.  She left us the grand tradition of family, fun, food and fellowship, here, and here, and here!  The list is endless... Mom loved to bring us all together.  In this, the Legacy lives on...

...beliefs become our thoughts,
thoughts become our words,
words become our actions,
actions become our habits,
habits become our character,
character becomes our legacy…
                                                                                    ~Mahatma Gandhi

Praying your weekend is filled with Legacy-making Habits of the best kind!

Living on in Grace,  Jane

Friday, June 8, 2012

Chihuly in the Garden

Sounds a tad racy, doesn't it?!

A little Chihuly in the Garden... Moonlit nights, rose-strewn pathway, gardenia scent in the air...Well, for goodness sakes, who knew it was a famous Venetian-trained Glass Blower Exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum?!

Amazing Artistry!

This piece is called The Sun and is made up of over 1,000 individual, hand-blown pieces.  It is breath-taking in its scope, standing almost 3 stories tall and taking over 4 days to carefully assemble in the garden.  (Can't imagine packing that crate for travel!)

The artist, Dale Chihuly, creates free-standing glass sculptures with flare and drama.  These art pieces have been exhibited at museums, gardens, architectural environments and galleries throughout the world.  We are blissfully fortunate to have his exhibit showcased here at the Dallas Arboretum.

So, of course, it was a must-see trip to the Garden this week with good friend and adventurer, Tina!

Here are just a few of the magnificent pieces in and around the Garden:

And, then there's Chihuly at Night...
even more Magnificent I'm told!

Stay tuned...