Monday, November 30, 2009

Beauty Marks

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - Lovely couple, aren’t they? You should meet them in person. Jamie is not only beautiful, but fun, spunky, funny and just a joy to be around. She’s an attorney AND a great bowler. Rigo is a teacher and a coach, more importantly is a gentleman – looks at his wife like she hung the moon. They have a sweet little son named Blake, and his parents refer to him as a miracle. These are the kind of people I really love to be around; they are compassionate and kind, and you know just by meeting them you have been blessed. Why are they being featured on my blog? Because Jamie is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed at age 27. That’s right, 27. She also just happened to be pregnant with Blake during her treatment as well. And after all of that, what does she say on her blog? “We have it all. Live is good.” How’s that for a good strong dose of inspiration? :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

WARSAW, INDIANA - I’m glad that I am here. Not just physically alive, but of course I am thankful for that every day. I mean really here in little Warsaw, Indiana. If you would have asked me 10 years ago if I would have chosen to come here I would have laughed out loud, of course not! But now that I am here, and can see what my family has been blessed with in this place, I am grateful. I have a job for the best company on the planet that allows me to talk to people who are going through one of the most difficult times in their lives, and have the opportunity to give them comfort and hope. My husband has a job in a church that is a warm, comfortable and amazing family – and growing all the time! My children go to wonderful schools, and the town is just the right size for me to wave at folks at I go on my evening walks. Thanksgiving is a good time for reflection of that for which we are grateful, and in spite of some bumps in the road in all of our lives, it is nice to know that sometimes we are just in the right spot. And remember to be happy there, even if it wasn’t in your original plans. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Moms of the Pink Power Variety

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - There were 9 of us in total, all of us mommies who have been through breast cancer. Three of us were pregnant during that journey, which is kinda daunting. One of the mommies is having a rough go with her radiation, so she couldn’t even join us for the party. :( The common thread, other than the cancer thing? We are all pretty fierce about finding a cure. We all work – hard, and daily – to do what we can to find a cure or to help other women who are going through treatment. At no time during the weekend did I hear anyone complain about a having too small of an office or not being able to climb the corporate ladder. At some point in maturity (staring death in the face helps with this, too) you realize that if you pursue things like that, you are chasing empty dreams. These girls? They know what matters. Amy realized that there was no one to watch the children of chemo patients, so she created a safe, special kids-only waiting room for them while mommy gets treatment. Tracie is in the services business – her non-profit ( helps connect patients and provide things like hot meals for their families. Jamie is… well… she’s getting her own blog post because I can’t express her cool factor on just one post. We were all connected and treated to an amazing getaway by the Kids ll company. And this company is the rare kind that I will say simply: if you ever are offered a job to be with them, take it. I don’t care how far you have to move your family, or what position you are offered, go. Their compassion is felt from the very top and runs throughout all the employees. They started a line of baby products that donate a portion of the proceeds to breast cancer to ‘give baby girls a brighter tomorrow.' Thank you, Bright Starts, for donating to our charities. Thank you, Sarah, for making it all happen! The next time you have a baby shower to go to, please buy Kids ll products. And be sure to explain to the new mommy that the gift you are giving actually has a deeper impact. For all of us!

Friday, November 20, 2009


COLUMBUS, OHIO - I never met Stefanie Spielman, nor have I met her husband, Chris. She died yesterday at age 42 from breast cancer, leaving Chris and 4 young children; Madison, Noah, Macy and Audrey. Please keep them in your prayers. While I don’t know them, I do know a friend of theirs – and I know their story. If you don’t, I’d like to take just a moment and share it with you. They were college sweethearts, Chris the All-American football linebacker and Stefanie the love of his life. She was 30 and pregnant when she found the lump during a self-exam, sadly this isn’t such a surprise anymore is it? Stefanie later found out the tumor was malignant and also miscarried. To hear of someone so young being diagnosed; I fear we are almost numb to these statistics. She said once "I know there's a reason God gave me breast cancer, and I'm supposed to do something with it." Chris quit his job with the NFL to be by her side during her journey. He shaved his head when she started chemo. This type of quiet valor is almost completely inconceivable. I often see husbands who are supportive and kind, but I am sad to tell you I also see husbands who are not either of those things. Chris seems to be exemplary in this position - and the second man I’ve met or heard of this year in the NFL who were just wonderful when their wives went through breast cancer. Makes me look at football in a whole new light, let me tell you that! Chris gave up so much to be near Stefanie when she needed him most, but I would guess if you asked him today he wouldn’t even have to tell you it was worth it. I’m fairly certain you could see it in his eyes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - Lia from is awesome. Not just a little cool or kind of a nice lady, but one of those amazing people who truly take your breath away with her generosity. She was a nominee this year (again!) at the CMA’s and invited me to join her as a guest. That qualifies as amazing in my book. So the show was spectacular – the best show I have ever seen. Our seats were great, you can see how close we were to Taylor Swift during her performance.

The people there were so much fun, even during the commercial breaks it was a good time. Afterward, I was fortunate enough to meet a few other great people. I’d referred to Randy Travis before on this blog, so it’s no surprise that he was the one singer I wanted to meet the most. He was gracious and sweet, and even thought I was funny. And all this time I thought I was just a riot in my own head! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; if you don’t like country music you have a hole in your soul that needs to be mended. :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - I am not a dangler. I am not even close. But I know one when I see one, and in my opinion, my favorite team has quite a few. I’ve loved the Blackhawks for decades; so much so that when they didn’t televise the home games in Chicago (don’t ask), I used to listen on the radio. My teenage daughter Alexandra’s first word was “Krivokrasov”, and my youngest daughter, Isabella, sleeps with a practice puck under her pillow. We don’t even have a rink where we live now, but they love it through my enthusiasm. So last season, while I was ‘watching’ a game on twitter (couldn’t get the game at the hotel), I connected with a few great fans and we all started chatting. Then I connected with a great lady at the home office who told me that the players’ wives sell autographed pink (gasp!) pucks during Hockey Fights Cancer night (October 24) and they had chosen the Vera Bradley Foundation to be the recipient. It isn’t often that I am told about an event that makes me pull the car over to cry with joy, but this one sure did. This is a FANTASTIC team that has really make incredible strides in reaching out to their community and to charities as a whole. Thank you, Ashley and Pat for making this happen. Thank you, NHL, for caring enough about fighting cancer to create this amazing event. And Mr. Patrick Kane, if you happen to read this, that teenage girl who knows about Krivokrasov thinks you are heaven on ice. You have my permission to friend her on facebook. :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Irene & Co. Event, Version 2.0

PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA - While tactfully avoiding any references to Andrew Jackson's march to New Orleans through this wonderful place, I would like to share with you how very cool Panama City is (especially from a historic nature). It was a refuge for runaway slaves and native Americans, it was a paradise for exploring conquistadors; really, it’s just a spot people have liked to visit for a long, long time. Irene & Co., a Vera Bradley retailer, has not been around quite as long as the conquistadors, but is nonetheless a well established favorite of locals and visitors alike. Irene and her husband Ron already did an event for the Foundation this year, but when they heard I’d been invited to speak at another retailer in the area, they decided to do another one a few weeks ago! It was a lovely evening, and I got to spend some time visiting with Donna Bell, a wonderful news anchor who’s heart is very much into the mission of finding a cure. Love her, love the whole crew. I recommend Panama City – even if you are just passing through, be sure to stop at Irene’s and say thanks for caring so much about breast cancer survivors!

Friday, November 6, 2009

On the Line

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - Apparently in football they have this thing called the ’50 yard line’. It seems to be an important marker for aficionados – they want their team to cross said line with great regularity, they want the opposing team NOT to cross, they want to make sure their seats are as close to it as one can possibly come, that kind of thing. As a hockey girl, I was only vaguely familiar with said line. Until the day that I put my foot on it at the Indianapolis Colts game (the Sunday, October 4th game). Then I got the whole picture; I was standing in the middle of the field when the soldiers brought in the flags, the national anthem was being sung and the Blue Angels flew over the open stadium. All this before the team even came in! When the Colts ran in, the crowd erupted and a few of the guys came over to us and gave hi-fives and hugs. Some were wearing pink tape and others pink shoes (no one had mentioned how fun the footwear was at these events, I might have attended earlier had I known!). Why on earth was I there, how on earth did this come to pass? The Indianapolis Colts decided to honor breast cancer survivors and one fabulous surgeon from the IU Simon Cancer Center (my own wonderful Dr. Bob Goulet) and I was selected to be one of the survivors on the field. Thank you, Colts, for making such a day for so many important women. And their friends. And their families. We all go through it together. GO TEAM!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Seeking Your Frill

Me, Heidi and friends at the Frill Seekers Party, October 8

SANDESTIN, FLORIDA - Yes, I know I look a fright. It’s hot down there in the panhandle of Florida, give me a break. :) But look how cute everyone else is in that picture, can you even stand it? Heidi (no, not me, the one next to me with the great hat) just lost her mother-in-law to breast cancer in the middle of planning this event for the Foundation. It was so poignant to hear her give a tribute to the lady who had just lost her battle. It was a fun auction and a great lunch, really rather impressive for a new Vera Bradley retailer to jump in so passionately for the cause with so much on her pretty pink plate. But she did and I love her for it! Thank you, Heidi and Peyton, for such a wonderful day. I hope yours is the last and only event in which someone faints while I am speaking. Yikes!!!