Winner of “What We Have” Giveaway.


Thanks to those of you who were nice enough to read my review and enter the book giveaway.  I wish I had a book to give each of you as I think you would enjoy it.  Buy your copy or check the library, but do put this on your reading list.

The winner is:

Donna Albert

I’ll be in touch on how to get your book to you.  Thanks, again, to all who entered.  Check back with LoneStarLifer as I will be having more reviews and giveaways.


All photos & writing is property of LoneStarLifer. 2010.

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I {Heart} Faces Beach Fun.


This week’s I ♥ Faces photo challenge is “Beach Fun.”  We are not beach people.  Well, I’m not a beach or sun person.  Big J grew up in Florida and lived on the beach, but since moving to Texas 24 years ago, he has seen very little salt water.  The nearest beach to us is Galveston but we just don’t go there.  We have good friends in Corpus Christi and see them every year or so, so if we get to a beach, Corpus is our destination.  When I saw this week’s challenge, I knew my photo choices were purty slim.

BUT, I love this picture of Little J as this is his first time playing in the Gulf of Mexico and he was so enjoying racing the waves.  The water may not be as pretty as Florida or the Caribbean, but the smile on his face says it doesn’t matter.

See more beach fun at I ♥ Faces

All writing and photos property of LoneStarLifer. 2010.

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What We Have. A Review. (With Author Q and A)


Amy Boesky was always looking over her shoulder.  She knew a sharpshooter was following her, but she could never make visual contact.  Amy wasn’t alone; her two sisters and mother were also being shadowed.  Other members of Amy’s family (their black and white pictures hanging on the wall in Amy’s home) had fallen, and Amy was aware of the tick-tock of the clock, wondering if her name was next on the list.  The novel: What We Have: One Family’s Inspiring Story about Love, Loss, and Survival.  An international spy novel?  No, a wonderful memoir by Amy Boesky, chronicling how fear of developing ovarian cancer (the sharpshooter) dictated many life decisions, and how she took back her life.   In the pages of this poignant, familial, often humorous book, we watch Amy’s transformation as she names and faces her fears, finds strengths she never knew she had, embraces the goodness around her and chooses to live her life as normally as possible.

At age 32, Amy has a great job as an assistant professor in Washington DC, a new man named Jacques and a baby on the way.  The future lies before them.  But Amy has deadlines.  She and her sisters have set age 35 as the cut-off date for having babies, afterwords having preventive surgery to hopefully protect themselves from ovarian cancer.  Amy’s mom Elaine and older sister Sara have already had the surgery and Amy is marking the calendar as each day of her life moves closer to 35.  Adding to her stress is Jacques, whose inner clock runs on an opposite timetable.  Trying to find balance between the immediate and the “it will get taken care of” is yet another plate Amy tries to keep spinning.

Boesky has an honest, authentic voice as she describes the first year of motherhood.  The exhaustion, the baby’s inconsolable crying (was it colic?), the sweet moments when everything goes right, the breastfeeding issues, the slow transition from nervous and anxious to competent and comfortable.  As Amy narrates this season of life, her descriptive, heart-felt writing kept me involved in her challenges and cheering when she achieved success. In the midst of this first year of babyhood, Amy accepts a new teaching position and the family moves to Boston, living in a rental house with green shag carpet.  Keeping in daily contact with her mother and younger sister Julie is Amy’s touchstone.

Amy shares more of  the year following the Boston move, but I want you to read the book so I’m not giving too much away.  Turning the pages through that year, I observed changes in Amy as she grows in her love for her expanding immediate family, finds a home that matches their hopes and budget, and lives through dark days with an unwanted outcome.  Boesky sees that life can be lived in fear, or it can be lived with gratitude for the gift of each day that comes to us, for the preciousness of family love and time spent together, for the unknown possibilities and surprises. As I traveled with Amy, I, too, felt that life, the good AND the bad, is to be lived and lived bravely.  I have long believed and marveled in the elasticity of the human spirit, and reading What We Have validated my trust in coming through the worst and being able to stand tall on the other side.

Reading What We Have was very personal for me.  Breast cancer is the sharpshooter in my family and Boesky echoed many of the concerns and fears I have dealt with in the past.  There are no simple answers when grappling with genetic testing, preventive measures, disclosing or staying quiet.  And as Amy points out, those decisions can change as we move along our timeline.  Combining what has gone before with what we now know, living each day deliberately, is the best we can do.  Finding peace in those decisions is up to us.

Thanks to Gotham Books (and Jess) for the opportunity to read and review What We Have.  I was provided a free copy of the book, and  would like to share the book with one of my readers, so please leave a comment and include contact information.  Comments will be closed on Wednesday, August 25 at 11:59pm and the winner announced within 24 hours of closing.

I was very fortunate to be able to have a short Q and A session with Amy Boesky.  Thank you, Amy!

Lone: Before you wrote What We Have, did you  have much discussion about this portion of your life with your girls? When the book was published, did you have to share more than you were ready to share? Or was it a good catalyst for discussion and options? Have they read the book , and what do they think?

AB: This is a great question, Paula. I did talk with them, in varying ways and at varying times, but I think writing the book (which has been happening slowly over the past 5 years or so) really did help as a catalyst, as you put it so well. The girls read drafts, especially of the prologue and conclusion, and we talked a great deal in relation to their reading.

Lone: Since the end of the story in 1993, have you seen more promising medical news/studies about ovarian cancer?  Are you involved in any kind of studies since you have had the preventive surgeries?

AB: I continue to see my doctors at the Farber, and I know they are involved in a number of promising studies. But personally, I haven’t been involved with them. I think for me a big part of having surgery was the deal I made with myself that I could live a “normal life” (whatever that means!) once the surgery was done.

Lone: For a reader who has a hereditary family disease (mine is breast cancer), what would you hope they take with them after finishing your book?

AB: Another great question. I don’t believe in “one size fits all” when it comes to living with difficult choices. But I do feel that I want to make the hard questions more public—bring this into an arena where more of us can talk about it, consider ways in which we can make hereditary cancers easier to live with for the next generation.

I was provided a free copy of What We Have for this book review.  I was asked to give an honest review and the opinions stated in this review are strictly my own.  I was given no compensation.

Writing and photos property of LoneStarLifer. 2010. (Book cover provided by Gotham Books.)

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Flashback Friday. 8-20.


Flashback Friday is the brainchild of Tia over at Christopher and Tia. Go on a flashback with me.

A very young *young is relative* mom with a very young son.  I bet we have 100 pictures of Little J before he’s two months old!  And that was before digital cameras.  I’ve been going through the pictures, sorting and throwing away the duds, getting ready to send another batch to ScanDigital for scanning.   Why did I keep dozens of bad pictures, thinking I had to keep every shot that was taken.  I kept this one because I was having a GOOD HAIR DAY!

That little baby just turned 13 and started 7th grade.

For you younger mothers, let me share something from my heart.  You are stronger than you ever imagine you could be.  You WILL get through these days of scattered toys, spilled milk, temper tantrums, too little money and too little sleep, too many diapers, putting in and taking out of the car seat.  Take every giggle, every wet smooch, every book time, every quiet moment of love, every this-little-piggy-went-to-market and tuck them away in your heart.  Pull those treasures out and run your fingers over them when you think you cannot go one minute longer.  The past 13 years have alternately sped by and drug on, but each day is 24 hours and you don’t get that time back.

Little J, I am proud and honored to be your mommy.

Flashback Friday Button

P.S. If you are ready to start digitizing your photos, please give ScanDigital a try.  And even better…here’s a coupon code to get $20 off $100 of services.  Get ready.  Here’s the code. Rf448378

All writing and photos property of LoneStarLifer. 2010.

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Wordless Wednesday. 8-18.


From Answers.com: On Wednesdays all over the internet, bloggers post a photograph with no words to explain it on their blog. Hence the ‘wordless’ title. The idea is that the photo itself says so much that it doesn’t need any description.

Look for more fab Wordless Wednesday posts here:
wordless2

All writing and photos property of LoneStarLifer. 2010.

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Guest Blogger: Local Dog Has Meltdown Moment


The following is an email that one of my best friends “J” sent me yesterday.  It was too adorable to keep to myself.  Don’t I have talented, funny friends?  I love me some girlfriends!!  Earlier this year, @kidtogrownup and I hosted a Twitter party and “J” was right there to donate prizes.

“J” is an award-winning Mary Kay director and can ship wonderful Mary Kay product to wherever you live.  Check her out at http://www.marykay.com/jmosley/default.aspx?tab=home .

Louie

Local Dog Has Meltdown Moment

(West TX)  Three month old standard poodle, Louie B, described his reaction to being omitted from the most recent edition of Reader’s Digest, which featured “Amazing Pets” as “heartbreaking”.  Louie stated, “I’m the cutest puppy alive, and that in itself, is amazing. I can’t believe they left me out.  They put a surfing pug on the cover. Puh-leeese!”  The puppy continued, “I hate them. I will eat every Reader’s Digest that is within 2 miles of my yard. After they are shredded on the floor, I will let you guess what I will do to them next!”

In a fit of anger and boredom after flipping through the August, 2010  “Amazing Pets” edition, the puppy laid on the floor and cried, “I hate this camera, too. The pictures my mom took with it made me look fat, so I’m eating it, too!”

Described by his mother as a “sweet puppy” who has occasional bursts of wild-eyed romping, Louie appeared much calmer after destroying the magazine. When asked how he felt later that day, the amber colored poodle replied, “If a magazine came to your house and had the sexiest people alive on the front cover, and none of them were you, wouldn’t you be upset? I’m French. What did you expect?”

Before racing out of the room to find his stuffed frog squeaky toy, Louie offered this bit of wisdom. “Some days you’re the floor. Some days you’re the peepee. Learn to tell the difference. Stop and smell the poo in your own yard before you smell the poo in your neighbor’s yard. And always use your puppy-dog eyes to fool your people. It will work every time. This Reader’s Digest thing will be over by nap time. I’m over it, and I’m not sorry for what I did.”

All writing and photos property of LoneStarLifer 2010. (With thanks to “J” for this post.)

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Sphere of Color: Purple.


The Verbena pic above is my entry in the Purple Parade in the Sphere of Color at Pixosphere.com.  I took this picture back in the spring when I got to take a solo drive through some beautiful parts of Texas and take pictures of the abundant wildflowers.  Do you have purple you can add to the parade?

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All writing and photos property of LoneStarLifer 2010.