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Yesterday a dear friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer. My heart sank and then I remembered that even in the pain, cancer cannot steal joy. As we approach Easter, I’m reminded that cancer cannot destroy the hope we have in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I also remembered this “Survivor’s Speech” that I gave at a RELAY FOR LIFE rally in Hollywood, Florida in 2006.  I must have saved a copy of it because it meant something to me.  I hope that now – 9 years later – these words still ring true and will have meaning for someone else.  To encourage someone who needs to be encouraged, bless someone who needs to be blessed and inspire someone who needs to be inspired. And to my fellow cancer survivors and to those who are presently in the struggle, I still say, “God bless you.”

Opening Ceremony Survivor’s Speech
RELAY FOR LIFE
Hollywood, Florida
Friday, April 28, 2006

My name is Karen King.  I was diagnosed with cancer in December 1996 – almost 10 years ago!  To my fellow cancer survivors, I say “God bless you!”  I know many of you have suffered and are suffering more than I.  It is an honor to represent you and my hope is that I represent you well.

I think that we can all say that cancer changes things.  During my 9 months of treatment I prayed a lot and asked myself many questions and I came through that time learning many things.

#1   My life is precious to me and every day is a gift…a gift not to be taken for granted.  And as  cancer survivors I know we can all appreciate having hair – in any amount!  We can all agree that there are no longer any “bad hair” days!”

#2   People like you have great capacity for compassion and kindness and for this we as survivors are so grateful and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

#3   Faith and hope are real.  As a Christian I have great comfort and peace knowing that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Lord of my life.  Cancer deepened my faith and increased my hope.

Many people have worked hard – very hard – to bring about this Relay for Life.  We appreciate their efforts and the efforts that each one of you has given to support the American Cancer Society and the cause to fight cancer in all of its forms.  As you walk the track today I ask you to pray for wisdom.  Pray for wisdom for researchers to unlock mysteries about this disease.  Pray for wisdom for doctors who treat cancer patients.  Pray for wisdom for families as they make important decisions.

Finally, I pray that all of us will be wise about this disease and what we can do to prevent it.  We as survivors are members of a club that we don’t want you or anyone in your family to join – the dues are too high.  It has been said that people change their lifestyles for three reasons:  fear, pain and wisdom.  So I pray that you will be free from fear.  I pray that you will be free from pain; but, most importantly, I pray that we will all have an abundance of wisdom to take what we already know about cancer and be proactive and live a healthier life – physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Thank you.

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BOATLIFT 9-11

BOATLIFT 9-11

In the decade-plus years since 9.11, I had never heard this story.

After the terrorists attack of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2011, Manhattan shut down – all subways, tunnels, bridges, and trains were closed.  People ran to the water’s edge.  Realizing there was no way off the island, some even jumped in the water.  Others trying to flee began to overload boats that were already anchored there.

Coast Guard 9.11

US Coast Guard Pilot Boat #1 knew that they could not handle this situation alone and they made a brave decision.  The Coast Guard sent out a radio alert to boats in the area – asking any and all boats to respond to Governor’s Island.

And the boats came.

 

This YOU TUBE video is a story of the courage, compassion and heroism of these “regular citizens”.

The largest sea evacuation* in history, in less than nine hours, nearly 500,000 civilians were rescued from Manhattan by boat.

May God richly bless these people who took action and came to the aid of fellow citizens in their hour of dire need – disregarding personal harm for the sake of those they did not know.  I thank them from the bottom of my heart for their immediate response.

*The next largest sea evacuation was Dunkirk in WWII when 330,000 British and French troops were rescued over a period of nine days.

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Happy Birthday to me!!!

20130723-103521.jpgMy twin sister Kathy and I celebrated our birthday this month and for the first time in many years, we were together ON our birthday!  It took some planning since she lives in Florida, I live in Oklahoma and we always see each other on the 4th of July when our entire family meets in Perry, OK at my brother’s farm.  But this year was a special year.  Turning 60 deserved some special treatment.  After spending a week in Oklahoma, we started our journey with an overnight stay at my brother’s house in Arkansas and they treated us like royalty.  After fishing in their pond, they sang “Happy Birthday” to us with cards, cake and candles.  But that’s another story…

20130723-105954.jpgWe are not “shop ’til you drop” types; but for our birthday, we decided to create a day together at the little shops in downtown Melbourne.  We had lunch at a Cuban restaurant called “Le Bon” – it was a French restaurant and the Cuban brothers who own it hadn’t had time to change the name yet.  They had coffees (thus the glass jars) and an amazing menu with hot sandwiches and a dessert called Arepas.  Our Le Bon arepa was filled with guava and cream cheese served hot!  Delicious!  So imagine this….very friendly, nice Cuban brothers in a restaurant called Le Bon serving South American corn cakes called arepas.  I love Florida!  I love America!

The necklace I’m wearing is very colorful and made of bones – I bought it at a little shop called GO FISH, a Christian company that supports and sells crafts made in under-developed countries.  Okay – I love the necklace, but I love even more to think about someone in Peru making this by hand for me.  I am such a spoiled American – maybe this necklace will remind me of that so I don’t forget.

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Because the next stop was a cute shop called Unique Treasures and I found this darling outfit.

Now I don’t have a picture of what iSissy2 purchased (my older sister is iSissy1 and I’m iSissy3), but I will take one later…when I can slow Kat down long enough for a picture!

The pictures below are worth a thousand words.  We had a fabulous dinner at home, then our husbands surprised us with chocolate cake, singing Happy Birthday and candles – special candles that don’t blow out.  Even if you are 60, it’s funny when you blow out a candle and it re-lights.

But the really funny story was when Bob and Robert told us about making the chocolate cake – they used a tape measure and calculated the volume of the mixture so they could decide what pans to use.  When they said they thought it made sense, Kat said, “I’ve never used a tape measure when baking a cake…”  We cracked up laughing!!!  We love our guys!!!

Hope you enjoy our collection of birthday pictures!

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Happy Birthday to us!  Happy Birthday to us!!!  And many more!!!!

 

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This mourning dove became the object of our admiration and affection.

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The landscapers had leaned the ladder against one of the posts on our carport. Within an hour, there was a nest and that was that. In “googling” Mourning Doves, I learned they are not very good nest builders. That’s the truth – it was just twigs laying on top of a ladder!  But what she may have lacked in nest-building expertise, she made up for in perseverance and courage!  She built her nest and waited.

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Then the rains came.  Wind, hail, thunder and lightning came.  Numerous freezing nights with wind blowing, hail pelting, rain falling all at the same time.  During a tornado warning, we took cover and when we came back, she was still there.  Remaining strong and unrelentingly loyal.

And then something wonderful happened.  She was rewarded.  Baby birds!  I was so relieved!!!  She made it…she did it!!  Yea!!!  I learned about squabs, fledlings and perseverance.  WOW!  Now I know.  Mourning doves are beautiful creatures – inside and out.

NOTE:  After the babies flew away, the next thing we knew she was nesting again above our back door.   Now wait a minute!!!

Thanks to Bryan Reynolds, freelance nature photographer, enjoy these beautiful photos!

Courtesy of:
Bryan E. Reynolds
Executive Office, President and Founder
Butterflies of the World Foundation botwf.org.

Mourning Dove

 

  Mourning Dove BR4

    Mourning Dove BR3

 For every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. — Psalm 50:10-11 (NIV)

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BEFORE

 

To receive an “occupany certificate” last May, we had to have grass and at least two trees so we planted a Cleveland Select Pear (with beautiful bark) and a small, wimpy “it will grow” crepe myrtle; but that was about it.

Our plan was to wait until spring break this year to landscape so that everything would have a chance to be established before the blast of summer heat arrived; however, we weren’t able to get it together for several reasons – one of them being hard freeze warnings in April.  We love Oklahoma weather!

 

 

 

 

 

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AFTER

 

 

A couple of weeks ago, we hired a professional – Stephan Cook.  We love what he did with cherry laurels, azaleas that apparently do not require shade, Indian hawthorne, something called kaleidescope something-er-other, some grasses, a Japanese maple, an evergreen called Cedrus deodora “Kashmir” along with moneywort and begonias.

 

 

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Finishing touch?   Birdbath…my idea!

And with that, I say, “Thanks for watching and sharing in the building of our little house!  Come by ‘n sit a spell and I’ll make some lemonade!” 

God bless you every one!

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Unbelievable!  Beautiful!  Incredible!  We’re pretty certain you will agree!

As an Oklahoma native son from Tulsa, Thomas Shahan’s love of nature began to focus on anthropods – yes, spiders – for their beauty!  Interestingly enough, his subjects are not in the Amazon rain forest or on a remote island somewhere.  Thomas captured these creatures – not in jars or in man-made traps, but through the art of macro-photography in their natural surroundings in Oklahoma.  These creatures are in your back yard – or at the very least, in the fields of rural Oklahoma – in our neighborhood!

Prepare to be amazed!!

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Thomas’ work has been featured in National Geographic December 2011, exhibited in museums abroad, highlighted in a Smithsonian on-line article entitled “Locking Eyes with Spiders and Insects” and now his work has come home to Oklahoma!  Don’t miss it!  Sam Noble Museum of Natural History

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Exhibit dates: February 2 – September 8, 2013

Just for fun, the museum had a bigger than life spider – I believe it is a “jumping spider” at the entrance of the museum for photo opps – and it was easy to smile OR act scared!!!!

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Thomas Shahan with me at the museum where there were tables and docents explaining the life of insects!  Then upstairs to the exhibit hall – beautiful!!! 

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This enormous poster greeted you as you entered the hall along with this picture of Thomas.

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Thomas Shahan – Macro-photographer & Artist

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This biographical sketch is worth squinting to read!

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Then there were many people…

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See Thomas patiently talking to everyone and probably answering the same question a hundred times:

“HOW DO YOU DO THIS???”

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Bob and I got to share some fun times with Thomas’ family – you see, they are good friends!  Thomas’ mom took this picture and I have no idea what she said, but it must have been funny!

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Me with my good friend – Thomas’ mom – like a friend who let our son move into her dining room for a summer when we were living in Florida and he had no place to live. That’s another story and another memory, but the Shahan’s – they’re the best!  They fed and sheltered our son for an entire summer!  Need I say more?

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AND Wayne Cohen of Flaming Lips fame…

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Congratulations, Thomas!  We are very proud of you and have a new appreciation for the incredible beauty of spiders!   My personal feeling is that this is a reminder that:

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.”  I Corinthians 2:9

God’s ability to amaze us is infinite.  We can’t even begin to imagine it.  I now see spiders in a new way – now I know they are beautiful and wonderfully made!  And this is just a taste of what God can do.

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Merry Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

We loved having Taylor home for Christmas so that we could all be together.  Some highlights were going to church and singing the Hallelujah Chorus.

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Taylor got to see the house for the first time…..

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We celebrated Christmas with Bob’s mom and family in Enid.  The kids hit the trail to run on Christmas Eve proving that Christmas CAN be about happiness, heaven AND health!  Here’s an unbelievable statistic…Johnathan has logged about 1400 miles running this year!!

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We loved going to Perry Farm to spend Christmas Day with my brother and my family.  As always, it’s a place of hospitality, good food, laughter and family memories.

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Taylor with his Mema at her cabin.  Mom lives near my brother’s house in a little place he built for her on his farm.  That kitchen still produces the best cornbread dressing and pies in the world!!!

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Mom received foot warmers from Richard and Suellen – along with hand warmers and the red robe…it’s all about staying warm which can also be accomplished sometimes while holding a dog and a cat!! (Not shown.)

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Taylor gave us all gifts…

AND Christmas socks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taylor lives in Jacksonville.  Sarah and Johnathan live in OKC.

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And we still live in Norman.  We have only said “we’ll never move again” about three times before, but this time we know it’s true.

We hope you are well and we hope we will see all of you in 2013.  Have a happy and prosperous new year!

God bless you all!

“Sing praises to him; tell of his wonderful acts.  Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.  Look to the Lord and his strength; seek His face always.”   Psalm 105:3-4

 

 

 

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Wise Men Still Seek Him

Every Christmas we find meaning and incredible joy to realize that Jesus was born and came to us to be our Savior and our Lord.  How in our wildest dreams could this possibly be?  We want to be like Mary who submitted her will to God’s will and whose soul glorified God,

like Joseph who listened and obeyed,

like the shepherds who, when they heard the great announcement, hurried to find Jesus,

and, finally, like the Magi – the Wise Men who traveled by night following a star for many miles to seek Him.

We love our nativity – we love Christmas, but even more, we love Jesus Christ – because without Him this would all be meaningless.  We have much to celebrate for “in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”     Matthew 1 / Luke 2

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Glory to God in the Highest!

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Grand Tour

We watched as boards and bricks turned into a home so we wanted to share a little Grand Tour with you.  Thank you for sharing this special time with us and for celebrating a vision that became reality by the very real blessing from God.  We pray that the house will be a place that will be warm and inviting to welcome old and new friends.

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We hope you enjoyed seeing the new house!

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20121007-220023.jpgThis is a great recipe – fresh, easy and beautiful.  Serve on a platter or on an individual dessert dish with the wine sauce drizzled on the pear and the plate.  Your guests will be impressed!  Here’s the recipe and below are more delicious ideas.
   Poached Pears in Wine Sauce
Halve 2 small pears lengthwise, leaving the stem attached to one half.  Carefully remove the core from both halves.  With the skin side up, use a sharp knife to cut the pear halves into thin slices, cutting almost, but not quite to the stem.
In a medium skillet, stir together 2/3 c rosé wine or orange juice, 1 T sugar, 2 inches stick cinnamon, 1 t lemon juice and 4 whole cloves.  Bring the wine mixture to boiling.  Place the pear halves, skin side up, in the skillet.  Return mixture to boiling; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer about 7 minutes or until the pears are just tender.  Use a slotted spoon or spatula to remove the pears from the skillet.  Place pears in dessert dishes.
Boil the wine mixture, uncovered, in the skillet for 3 – 4 minutes or till reduced to ¼ cup.  Remove the cinnamon and cloves.  Pour wine mixture over the pears.  Cover and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.  If desired, garnish the mint sprigs before serving.

Fall in Love with Better Health
Shaklee Brunch Menu
Karen King   405-321-2122
www.solutioncenter.myshaklee.com

Orange Cranberry Walnut Bread
Creamy Chopped Cauliflower Salad
Bran Muffins        Poached Pears

Orange Cranberry Walnut Bread
Combine 2 c all-purpose flour, 1½ t baking powder, 1 t baking soda, ½ t salt and 1 c sugar in a large mixing bowl.  Set aside.
Mix 1 beaten egg with ½ c orange juice, grated rind of 1 orange, 2 T melted butter and 2 T hot water.  Fold flour mixture into egg mixture until blended.  Do not beat.  Gently fold in 1 c raw whole cranberries and 1 c coarsely chopped walnuts.
Spoon into greased 9-in x 6-in loaf pan or smaller pans of choice.  Bake at 325 degrees for 60 minutes; test in center with wooden pick.
Cool on rack 15 minutes before removing from pans.

Creamy Chopped Cauliflower Salad
Whisk 5 T reduced-fat mayo, 2 T cider vinegar, 1 small finely chopped shallot, ½ t caraway seeds (optional), ¼ t freshly ground pepper in a large bowl until smooth.  Add 3 c chopped cauliflower florets (about ½ large head), 2 c chopped heart of romaine and 1 chopped tart-sweet red apple.  Toss to coat.

Bran Muffins     Fresh muffins whenever you need them.  Refrigerate for up to 6 weeks.
Mix 5 c flour with 1-15 oz box raisin bran*, 2½ c sugar.  Add 1 t salt, 5 t baking soda and 1 c oil.  Add 4 eggs beaten, 1 quart buttermilk and 2 t vanilla.
Fill muffin pan ¾ full.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 mins.

Enjoy!

 

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