Remember to click the GIVEAWAYS tab to enter the current giveaway!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

other silver strands

I'm so happy to announce the winner of my latest giveaway
(check out her blog ~ she is one of the wittiest bloggers ever!)
and THANK YOU to those who entered - don't give up ... a new giveaway as soon as we hit 100 followers!
I'm anxious to hear about silver strands in your life ...
to get you thinking, here are the silver strands my Mom gave to me before I left her home this weekend. She's had this bracelet since I was a little girl. I plan to wear it often so I can keep her with me.
Silver Strands come in all forms:
a smile, a kind comment, a meal, a visit ...
and Silver Strands are all around us, we just need to keep our eyes and hearts open to recognize them.
Any Silver Strands you'd like to share with me?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Dear Mom

You taught me how to love
how to give
how to share
You taught me to find fun
to find joy
to find peace
You gave me confidence
gave me values
gave me life
The least I can do is give you my hair
I love you Mom

Thursday, May 27, 2010

... sisters ...

FIRST: If you haven't entered my latest giveaway, please click here to enter ... winner will be drawn this Saturday.
Oh! Guess what? I actually styled my hair with mousse today :)
Can you tell?
Ok, that's beside the point.
There are 3 of us sisters in my family. Jennilyn just arrived to take my place with my parents. I leave in a day and a half. Though many states separate us and our others sister, we are really never far apart.
"If you don't understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child."
Linda Sunshine
"Sisters is probably the most competetive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship."
Margaret Mead
Do you have a sister? Want to share a memory?

count your blessings

Remember when the "gratitude journals" were trendy?
I heard from a friend who heard from a friend who heard from a friend.... about writing in a journal daily
"Today I am grateful for ___________"
and listing 5 or 6 things.
Sometimes it is a stretch to come up with anything.
But those are the times that counting blessings are really important.
There's some sort of magic in being grateful.
"When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost
Count your many blessings name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
Are you ever burdened with a load of care,
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear
Count your many blessings every doubt will fly
And you will be singing as the days go by."
Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1856-1922
Right this second I am grateful for the smell of freshly cut grass.
What are you grateful for?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

earth laughs in flowers (emerson)

"People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us."
Iris Murdoch
A fairly Honourable Defeat

Monday, May 24, 2010


See my Mom's goregeous silver strands? I've always loved my Mom's hair. It was a little sad for me to see it go. BUT ... knowing the surpise soon coming, my anticipation outweighed my sadness.


It was a busy day, so we still need to get it all fluffed-n-stuff, but here it is - straight out of the box and onto Mom's beautiful head. I was anxious to see the comparison here. I had thought my hair was so much whiter ... look at all the dark strands! But still, a pretty good match, wouldn't you say?

The wig came from an amazing place: Savvy Sheitels The people there are really wonderful - sensitive, smart, easy to talk with. They totally worked with me to get this high-quality wig at a reasonable price. They understood the whole sentimentality of it. And look! Even without any work at all, the wig is gorgeous.

Now, something to think about:
"If we are to walk with head held high, we must make our contribution to life."
Thomas S. Monson
At this stage of my life, this statement is synonymous with Mom.
What does this quote mean to you?
ps: if you haven't already entered the giveaway, check it out (a couple of posts down)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

3 random thoughts

1- My Dad makes amazing breakfasts! He's pretty good at lunches and dinners too, but breakfast is his specialty. Ok ... you may not like seafood or avocados, but please! this is amazing!

2- "My life cannot implement in action the demands of all the people to whom my heart responds."
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

3- If you haven't already, please enter the giveaway on the post below ... winner drawn and announced on Saturday.

Friday, May 21, 2010

giveaway CUZ we did it!

thank you Thank You THANK YOU
We did it!
50+ followers!!!
And that means a giveaway for you, my faithful friends.
The giveaway is a
pamper-yourself gift basket
which includes "Mom Interrupted" and other fun things
including (but not limited to)
Because, how can one possibly pamper oneself without chocolate?!?
To enter:
leave a comment
if you want additional entries:
1- become a follower (or tell me you already are one)
2- blog about this giveaway with a link to this blog and leave me a link to your blog
3- mention this giveaway on facebook
4- tweet about this giveaway
Now, onto another fun matter ...
Did you know I have been a TV show host? It's totally and completely FUN.

this is my "headshot"

It's one of my passions.So I'm excited about auditioning to host a show on Oprah's new network.

click here

Wanna take a look and vote for me?

You know I'd LOVE your votes!
(you can vote as many times as you want)
Hey .. in fact, I'll give you one extra entry if you
1- vote for me
2- blog about my audition with a link
3- facebook about my audition with a link
4- tweet about my audition with a link
WOWIE - that's lots of opportunities to win this totally pampering giveaway!
Lots of hugs to all of you.
Giveaway will end and winner announced on Saturday, May 29th

Thursday, May 20, 2010

drum roll please ....

This is me with my Dad.
Do we look alike, or what?!
(must be the hair ... hehehehe)
Speaking of hair:
HOLY SCHMOLY my hair has grown!
Yeah, you can sort of tell in this picture, but even since this picture was taken on Sunday it's grown - my Mom says she can see some curl in it now. Yipee.
Mom gave me a scare when she said that it could grow in completely straight (and I'd deserve that for all the hours I've spent straitening my hair!)
Anyhoooo ...
Before I get to the really exciting news of this post I just want to say that my Dad is amazing.
Feeling down and need a good laugh? Feeling down and need a good cry? Feeling up and want to celebrate?
The truth is that Dad is the perfect person to be near. I don't know how he does it, but sometimes he has me laughing and crying at the same time. Right now, I'm so thankful that my Mom and my Dad have each other. And that I have them both. Blessed. That's what I am.
Now ... drum roll please ...........
This blog has been up only a month and I'm so excited that there are already nearly 50 followers! The news is that as soon as we hit 50 I'll have a really, really nice
pamper-yourself giveaway
Yay! I'm so excited for this!
I've already been promised an autographed copy of "Mom Interrupted" as well as a few other wonderful things for this gift basket.
So follow please! And invite your friends to follow! The more the merrier.
xoxoxooxxx to all of you.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I spent a few minutes in my parents' backyard
picking spearmint leaves just to smell them,
examining the wild strawberries just starting to grow,
and standing under these trees for the shade.
Just being near these trees made me want to breathe deeply and relax.
They have such a calming, peaceful influence over me.
Today my Mom and I set some goals together.
We each want to learn something new ~
I'm going to help her make cards
and she's going to help me paint a watercolor.
I want to paint these trees.
So looking at this picture I immediately think of the peaceful feeling, standing under the trees.
But a closer look (for the purpose of art) reveals a whole lot more than how they make me feel ... shadows and highlights, lines, colors ...
(I'm not an artist, but a real wanna-be)
I realize people are like these trees. Really.
Isn't it amazing how just the presence of some people can speak peace to our souls ...
and that aura makes me want to get to know them,
to see their shadows and highlights.
Anyway ... lots of rambling here. But today's thought is peace.
What creates an atmosphere of peace for you?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

a little boost

I love this photo of me and my oldest daughter when she was just a few months old.

Things over here are going well but every day I feel myself slipping a tiny bit. Luckily I have wonderful parents, an amazing husband, darling children, wonderful friends, and a whole lot of empowering blogs that buoy me up and keep me smiling.

Why don't you check out some of them?

Ruth Writes about the strength and beauty in each of us.

Over at Luxe Chandelier, Steph Anne posts a picture of beautiful self without any make-up on as part of a small confidence movement spreading around the web, head over to Fat Mum Slim to receive a healing dose of empowerment.

How do you stay cheerful, even when things feel heavy?

Monday, May 17, 2010

advantage ....

Hey Friends! Let me start by saying there IS more than one advantage to having almost-no-hair. Today, in the Texas heat and humidity, the big advantage I see is NO FRIZZIES.

Oh, and listen! If you're in the mood for a real tear-jerker but want it to be really-real, pick up a copy of "Mom Interrupted". I love how the author says it how it really is. You know how we tend to idolize those who have passed on? Like they were never really human? John Viehweg doesn't talk about his lovely wife that way. Which is why I really believe she was an incredible person! I believe he paints a true picture of her and that's why I cried so much at the end ... I felt like I'd lost my own best friend.
I always love to get a good book or movie review from a trusted friend. So, my blogging friends: what do you recommend?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

small = great

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Mom was not only surprised at my lack-of-locks, but actually sad. That is, until she read the card:

The card was signed with many, many names. Mom and Dad both were touched by the long list of people contributing to the wig, thinking of them, and mostly those praying for them. As a PS~you've not only made my day, but my parents' also as we've read together your sweet comments.

Here's my little piece of inspiration for today:
Always remember this ~ the smallest act of kindness, even just a kind comment on a blog post, doesn't go unnoticed; and it can be the means of turning a rough moment into one filled with love and gratitude. Have a great day, my blogging friends!

Saturday, May 15, 2010


I have been blessed to be witness to the most tender moments I can imagine.
Can you see the glistening tears pooling in my Dad's eyes?
My parents have been married 58 years.
The looks I've seen them give each other since I arrived yesterday
are reminiscent of watching newlyweds.
Who can doubt that this marriage is eternal?
Loving relationships are not only rewarding in this life - but I know they continue into the eternities.
That's my little bit of inspiration for today.
Tomorrow: pictures of Mom's surprise at my buzzed head :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

quick update

My sweet friends ...
I'm traveling and only have a moment right now.
But I wanted to let you know how much your words mean to me. I get so excited to read your comments and am grateful for the friendships forming.
Also ... I'm traveling because I'm here with my parents for my mother's 2nd chemo treatment.
More on that tomorrow - but I wanted to fill you in on the BIG UNVEILING.
When I came to the door with a scarf on my head, my Mom made a comment about how she'd be needing a scarf soon with her hair already coming out. She was surprised, to say the least, when I took the scarf off to reveal a buzzed head. My mom's always loved my hair and she said something like, "Oh Denalee ... I didn't want you to lose your hair!" Of course, there were tears ... but even more tears when I said, "I didn't lose it - it's being made into a wig for you" and then the tears really flowed when I gave her the card from all the people who helped make this happen.
And I cut the remaining curls from my mom's head tonight. It was an emotional time for the 3 of us.
Pictures and more tomorrow.
xoxoxox to all of you.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

3 little blessings

the girls and i planted a grape vine a month or so ago ... it's VERY arid here, so we've been babying it along and today when i stepped out to check on the vine, look what i saw! yeah, the picture is blurry ... but LOOK! GRAPES!!! i don't know about you, but that seems so miraculous to me ... that dry ground produced juicy grapes!

then when i picked up bryan & sierra from school they were standing with a bunch of others near a tree. impatiently i tapped the horn. sierra came running and asked what i suggest they do with the itty-bitty bird that must have fallen out of the nearby tree. well ... it's obvious! bring it home and let's see if we can keep it alive and send it on its way. blessing #2.

and # 3 ranks right up there with the other 2 blessings ... in today's mail was a smart little package addressed to me. it had come all the way from the uk - inside was a the sweetest note and this super-cute scarf. sarah, you're a doll. especially to take the the time out of your amazing travels to think of me.

today is all about blessings.
what blessings came your way?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

our glorious selves

I'm reading this great biography about Peter Barton. The author only knew him a few months before he passed away ... on one of his earlier visits with Peter, Shames talked about Peter's weakened physical condition and how amazed he was when Peter slipped over to the piano and started to pound out some really great songs, lifting both of their spirits. Then Shames said:
"I wondered if perhaps everyone, facing death, became extraordinary; if maybe each of us had untapped reserves of nerve and strength that might prove surprising, even glorious, at the end."
So here's my challenge to you, my blogging friends:
let's find those untapped reserves while we're strong and healthy and be glorious now!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


(mothers day flowers picked by Azure ... thanks sweetie)
the wind is blowing like crazy today so i
hurried outside to pull the clothes off the line before they blew away...
the cutest little hummingbird
zipped right past me and hovered above a nearby bush.
how it could control its location
when the wind blew our back yard into a shambles
completely amazes me!
this hummingbird took my breath away
i'm thinking of you, dear readers, and hoping you get a breathless moment today

Saturday, May 8, 2010


First, thank you all SO much
for your sweet words.
Next, we have a WINNER!
Grace won the Color Connection Giveaway
And lastly, here are pictures from the "shearing":
Before (with grandson, Gage, who drove 10 hours with his parents to be here)
During (with my 3 daughters & my husband)
And after:
What's great about almost no hair?
morning prep time cut in half
the vegas heat is doesn't feel so hot
sleeping is way more comfortable

Friday, May 7, 2010

did it!

the quality is super poor ... working on uploading it in a better format.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

today i love ...

Flip Flops!

who doesn't love flip-flops when summer finally arrives? in guam they're called zories. i used to babysit 3 little kids who now all call flip-flops zories. they've moved, and i have to wonder if we've started a trend ... will all their friends start calling them zories too?

... and sheesh! it's in the mid 90s today - way too HOT for cooking inside, so today i love grilled veggies on the barbie!

... and on a day like today i absolutely love my flower skirt.

i'm really, truly excited to hear from you ... what is it that YOU love today?

PS ... this is my last night with my
silver strands ... they come off tomorrow night! I'm so excited and
can't wait to share the event with you. We'll have my grown kids on skype participating from afar. My husband and 3 kids at home will perform the "shearing"
*wish me calmness*

Monday, May 3, 2010

my 1st giveaway AND more on Yayoi

I know this is a long post
but believe me ... it's worth reading!
and at the bottom of the post is info on this amazing
mother's day giveaway
Let me tell you about Yayoi. Japanese-born, Yayoi has an amazing command of the English language. In fact, she’s done TV work for both Japanese and American stations. From her picture you can see why she’s in high demand. What you may not be able to tell from her picture is that Yayoi has a heart of gold. Which makes what she’s lived through heart-breaking. Not only has Yayoi survived breast cancer, but she has survived losing everything dear to her. She refers to this event as the “Hostile Takeover”. One morning in 2003 she went to work as usual. By the end of the day she no longer had access to her two daughters, her personal belongings, or her house. Her abusive husband had been planning and scheming, and his actions were hostile, to say the least. This man who under NO circumstance should have been awarded custody of his daughers (details left out to honor their privacy) now had full custody. In Yayoi’s words, “I stood as a witness to what a gross misuse of money, power and religion can do”. Of course, losing her daughters was the worst of it. But imagine how she felt as people who didn’t know the truth looked at her and judged. She said, “I saw miracles unfold before my eyes and knew that God loved me. I had to learn to hold my head up high even though I knew that I was being criticized by those that did not know what really happened. I knew that God and I knew the truth and it didn’t matter what anybody else thought.” Yayoi made the determination to find peace and joy in life. And although she didn’t like this particular plot, to “bloom where [she was] planted” that is exactly what she's done. “I only filled my mind with gratitude. If I couldn’t think of anything, then I would go through the alphabet A-Z thinking of people, places, events, food, color, animals … whatever it took to be grateful, until my heart was truly filled with gratitude.” One of my favorite phrases I’ve learned from Yayoi is: “Everything that happens to me is for my highest good and greatest joy”. (Louise L. Hayes) So this Mother’s Day, as was the case for the past many Mother’s Days, Yayoi will not be with her daughters. Here’s what she’s doing instead:

Yayoi is a survivor in the truest sense of the word!


Ooooh! I’m so excited for our very first GIVE-AWAY!

Color Connection is giving away an

ESSENTIAL COLLECTION (essential for every woman!)

AND a lipstick of your choice (I think that is also essential!)

Here’s how you enter:

1. go to their site and pick out the lipstick color you’d like if you win (button on the right-hand side of this blog post)

2. leave a comment here telling me which lipstick you’d pick

Additional entries by:

1. become a follower of this blog

2. blog about this and leave a link to your blog in a comment

3. email your friends and family about this giveaway and include me in the email:

4. follow me on twitter (SilverStrandss … yup, there are 2 s’s on strands)

5. tweet about this giveaway (once per day) and let me know you’ve done it

6. use your facebook status to link others to this giveaway and tell me about it

Good luck! Winner will be chosen and announced on Saturday, May 8th .

Saturday, May 1, 2010

delayed ...

... but with good reason.
Today was the day that the silver strands were to come off
but I've had so many people offer to cut
their strands to send to the wigmaker with mine
so the wig price will be reduced! Good people everywhere!
So I'll give my hair time to grow while waiting
for the rest of the strands to arrive.
In the meantime, I got an incredible message from a friend I've never met in person
(isn't it wonderful - the strong bonds we can make though worlds apart?!)
Included in her message was this quote:
"I have spoken here of heavenly help, of angels dispatched to bless us in time of need. But when we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil. Some of them we walk with and talk with-here, now, everyday." Jeffrey R. Holland, "The Ministry of Angels"
I know that to be true. So many of you are these Angels.
I've got a wonderful story to share with you tomorrow about my friend, Yayoi.
But here's a little teaser to bring you back tomorrow:
Yayoi is a mother of 2 beautiful daughters.
She can't spend Mother's Day with them, but instead of wallowing in self-pity
Yayoi will spend Mother's Day as an Angel.
Check back tomorrow to read the particulars.

For those of us who are blessed to spend Mother's Day next week with our own mothers
or with our children, we are indeed fortunate.
For all of us, Yayoi's story is inspiring ...
especially near Mother's Day.