Christmas Trees

Why do we have Christmas trees at this time of year? How did this tradition start?

In ancient times, before Christianity, many people believed that those plants that remained green during the winter protected them from evil spirits. It was a common belief that the sun was a god who became ill and weak causing cold and dark days to remind them that the sun god would soon be well.

In the early history of Egypt, the sun god, Ra, had a hawk for his head and a bright sphere in his crown. The people used green palm fronds during the winter solstice to celebrate life’s triumph over death.

The anticipated return of green farms and orchards in early Roman times was celebrated by decorating their homes with evergreen boughs.

In northern Europe, the Celts and Scandinavians celebrated everlasting life by decorating their temples with the greenery of evergreens.

From a cancer patient: On that Chemo Christmas Eve of 2014, I made room for that sparse little tree in our portrait because no matter how crappy I felt, I wanted to capture the promise it symbolized in the moment — it’s cold and dark out now, but green survives. I will survive…Even during my personal season of darkness, I never stopped searching for the smallest hint of green in a world with cancer — and with that green, a promise of life.

Please read this article about a man who helps cancer patients get free trees for Christmas.

According to Dr. Jill Sidebottom of NC State University, there is no higher risk for cancer for those living in or near the forests of NC. In fact, cancer rates in NC mountain counties are for the most part lower than other counties in North Carolina. This has been true since the 1990s. Read more at:

When you decorate your home with a tree, wreaths, and garland, think about the promise of new life, healing, crops, and sunshine that evergreens have represented for thousands of years. Due to the arctic blast affecting most of the continental USA, we need the warmth, smells, and promises of Christmas trees and garlands.


I welcome you to today’s blog which I hope will give you some interesting information to help your health AND to celebrate certain people.

On my blog dated Feb. 13, I shared about the “Broken Heart” syndrome. This condition actually can occur from a stressful situation which causes muscle weakness in the left ventricle of the heart.

Research has also shown that 1 in 6 people who have this syndrome had cancer . Those cancers are breast, lung, internal sex organs, and the skin. The exact correlation is still being investigated. These patients were more likely to pass away within five years compared to those with broken heart syndrome who did not have cancer.

Some of the larger medical institutions have now developed cardio-oncology departments for closer observation and treatment for such patients.

Through my 13 years of being a cancer survivor, I have not met anyone who has had this phenomenon (to my knowledge). However, it is important for everyone, the survivor and his/her care partner, to be aware of this condition.

Which brings me to those who are care partners (caregivers or caretakers). February is the month honoring those who are silent heroes and heroines. I prefer the title care partner because I see the relationship as one of partnering: asking, saying, listening, responding.


I am deeply grateful for my husband, Jim, who has been my care partner every minute of this unplanned journey with ovarian cancer.

My book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir is available at no cost from now and until March 14. It is important that every woman know about this cancer which is called as the silent killer. If you want a copy of the book, please send me your name and address at


“Life after a cancer diagnosis can be a reality.” <

The first Sunday of June is the designated date to celebrate survivors and acknowledge that a cancer diagnosis is not always a death sentence. It is a day to encourage those who are currently living with cancer.

According to the NCI, there are approximately 17 million cancer survivors in the United States, and it is predicted that by 2029, it will increase by 29%.

On June 10, I will celebrate my 12th year of ovarian cancer survivorship. Despite having two recurrences, it has been a journey of faith, strength, and growth. I have learned from other survivors how to not let cancer rule my life.

What Cancer Cannot Do: It cannot invade the soul, suppress memories, kill friendships, destroy peace, conquer the spirit, shatter hope, cripple love, corrode faith, steal eternal life, nor silence courage. (Anonymous)

In honor of this day, I am giving away signed copies of my award-winning book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir. To receive a free copy for yourself or a loved one, contact me through my website.

Let’s celebrate together. Let’s choose to not live in fear. Let’s educate ourselves about the realities of cancer. Let’s treat our bodies with a healthy lifestyle.

Thank you for stopping by today. I welcome your comments.


For those of us who have lived or are currently living with the challenge of cancer, you might find inspiration from these quotes:

When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: You haven’t. (Thomas Edison)

When it rains, look for rainbows When it’s dark, look for stars. (I Had Cancer)

It is often in the darkest skies that we see the brightest stars. (I Had Cancer)

Your illness does not define you. Your strength and courage does. (Unknown)

Many people are suffering from abuse, poverty, addiction, and other social issues. I encourage everyone to find strength, guidance, and peace with these quotes:

Love and peace of mind do protect us. They allow us to overcome the problems that life hands us. They teach us to survive… to live now… to have the courage to confront each day. Bernie Siegel

Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourself a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Helen Keller

It’s not whether you get knocked down. It’s whether you get up again. Vince Lombardi 

One of the things I love about books, is what I learn from them. There is always a lesson even if it is a mystery, paranormal, erotica, or other genre. Here are quotes from my book Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir.

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, when the road you’re trudging seems all uphill, stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit, it’s when things seem worse that you musn’t quit. (Joe O’Keefe)

The more you praise and celebrate life, the more there is in life to celebrate. (Oprah Winfrey)

There is an answer to the suffering you see, and though it isn’t easy, it’s still as simple as you and me.” (Author Unknown)

Thank you for reading this blog. I welcome your comments. Perhaps there is a quote that has inspired you. If so, please share it.


This time of year brings to mind joy, family, and giving. Unfortunately, for some people, it also can bring sadness, loneliness, and greed. Here are five practices to create an abundant life all year.


When we are grateful it expands our life into one of joy, kindness, and openness. It opens our hearts. We see life through sunshine rather than clouds. Our mind shifts from negativity. We speak with love and compassion.


As we give so shall we receive. There is nothing wrong with wanting something as long as it comes from the heart. When we receive something as simple as a compliment, it lifts our spirit. Receiving is not about the newest gadget, toy, or article of clothing. It is about receiving gifts from the heart or soul.


An important lesson many of us must learn is to accept or recognize what a situation might be. It does not mean you agree with it. It means that once we accept, then we can choose to change. For example, once I accepted the fact that I had cancer, I chose to live with a renewed purpose of helping others with cancer and advocate for awareness and raise money for research.


Making a commitment to a person or a cause opens us up to success and joy. We will set goals, establish methods, and surround ourselves with others of like minds. Commitment comes from the mind. We must have positive thoughts and believe in our ultimate goal. Frustration or negative thoughts can be changed through the practice of meditation, using imagery by seeing ourselves succeeding, and seeking support from others.


When we express our passion or our commitment, we open ourselves to abundance. It is a success based on how we live with grace, how we give and receive, accept, and commit. A favorite expression is doing the right thing for ourselves and others. Only then will we have abundance and grace.

May the blessings and the true meaning of the Thanksgiving season be with you.