sign up to save a life today

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Our cousin Brian has Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, or CML. He was diagnosed three years ago and, until very recently, his meds were keeping it in check. That changed, and now he needs a bone marrow transplant. You can help without leaving your home.

I’ll tell you how after I tell you a little about Brian. Technically, he’s my husband’s cousin, but after 34 years he’s my cousin, too. We spent time with Brian and Peggy in their beautiful home on the water in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida, in February. We hadn’t seen them in about a decade and so enjoyed catching up and hanging out with them. They’ve built a wonderful life together on the Gulf Coast, and we can’t wait to visit them again.

“Please consider saving the LIFE of someone from your heritage with 70 different blood disease like sickle cell or blood cancers like leukemia.

Go to join.bethematch.org/TeamBrian to join as a committed new member online if you’re ages 18-44 and willing to help any patient in need. A kit will be sent to you. Just mail it back ASAP. Help us bring awareness by sharing this online link. Remember: YOU could be the CURE!”

Here are three ways to help:

Sign up to join the Be The Match donor registry without leaving home.
You can click here or text teambrian to 61474. Fill out the questionnaire, and they’ll mail you a cheek swab kit with a postage-paid return envelope. You only have to go as far as your mailbox to do this. (#couch2cure) If you are between 18 and 44 years old, it is free. That’s because most patients respond better to younger cells.

Share this information.
Share it on your social media platforms. Email it to your friends, family and coworkers. You won’t be just helping Brian, you’ll be helping the 12,000 patients who search the database for a match each year.

Make a donation.
When Brian receives his transplant, he will have to stay in the hospital for a month. After that, he will need to live within 10 minutes of the hospital for 8 to 12 weeks. Insurance will not cover these additional living expenses. Go to their GoFundMe page for the details. Every little bit helps.

Click for GoFundMe

Brian and Peggy during our visit with them in February.

Every three minutes, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer. Thousands of patients with a blood cancer like leukemia or other disease like sickle cell anemia need a marrow transplant to survive. Most don’t have a matching donor in their family. They turn to Be The Match®, a non-profit community of donors, volunteers, researchers and health care professionals that delivers cures. The Be The Match Registry is the largest and most diverse worldwide. But many patients, especially those of diverse ancestry, still can’t find a match. YOU could be their cure.

Thank you for reading this. I hope you’ll consider one or more of the ways to help listed above. Please comment below if you’d like graphics to share on your own social media platforms. I have information in Spanish as well. Let’s all work together to save some lives!

remembering my brother

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People let me tell you about my big brother. He was warm-hearted person who loved me ‘til the end.

You know how big brothers are. One minute they are playing “fatty cheeks” and seeing how many pecans they can fit in your cheeks, and the next they’re helping you through some of the most difficult times of your life. I don’t want to sound conceited, but I had the best big brother in the world. And now I’m brokenhearted without him.

Norman, who I dubbed Bubby from an early age, had the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever known. He loved God, his family, his country, the great outdoors and OU football.

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a day in Sonoma, California

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Of our four days in Sonoma County, one was spent in and around Sonoma, a historic city in northern California at the heart of the renowned Sonoma Valley wine-making region. Its history is fascinating.

According to VisitCalifornia.com, “In the mid-1800s, the town now known as Sonoma was just a collection of ranchos, governed by Mexico. Even though the U.S. government and the State of California took over the territory not too long after that, you can still sense its heritage. The centerpiece of town, Sonoma Plaza, is still anchored by the northernmost Franciscan mission in California—and it’s even the birthplace of the California State Bear Flag, created by Americans rebelling against Mexican rule. Today, however, Sonoma Plaza is lined with charming shops, tasting rooms and popular restaurants.”

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where to eat in Sonoma County: four faves

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We just got back from a wonderful, wine-filled week in Sonoma and Napa. It was an actual work trip for our liquor store. How sweet is that? Before I get to the wine, and there’s so much wine to discuss, I want to tell you about four restaurants we loved in Sonoma County. Two were recommended by winery employees. Locals have the best insights on where to, or not to, eat. The other two were found on Google.

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good boy

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We said goodbye to Jackson yesterday, and the nest feels very empty right now. It’s been 10 years since we adopted him as an adult, but it seems like yesterday.

At the time, we’d just moved into a new house and were dog-less for the first time since 1986. That lasted about three weeks. I started looking at rescues in the paper, then moved online and spotted an ad for Red, a black lab coming from a kill shelter in Rawlins, Wyoming. His name came from the color of his collar; they had so many black labs that that’s how they identified them.

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remembering Mom on her birthday

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Mom

I’ve been struggling to write this tribute to Mom for almost a year. She passed away last February, and though I’ve worked on it several times I’ve just now been able to finish it. Since today would have been her 85th birthday, I’d like to share some of what made her so special. Continue reading

ruffing it with fido: how to take your dog camping

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Camping with Fido

Guest post by Aurora James

Spending time in the great outdoors with your canine companion can be quite a treat. However, if you’re planning on camping or spending the night, there are a few things you will want to do to prepare. With these tips, you’ll be ready to enjoy whatever nature throws at you. Continue reading

a tribute to outlander

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Memorial Wall at Culloden Moor

I’d love the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon if it was pure fiction. Her storytelling takes hold of me and won’t let go until I’ve finished each book, which I’ve now done a few times. The fact that the series is based on real events and many real characters, and the lengths to which she has gone to make it as historically accurate as possible—except perhaps for the whole time travel thing—makes me love it even more. This really hit home when we visited Scotland in 2013. Continue reading

travel tuesday: weekend in steamboat springs

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Sunrise at Stagecoach Reservoir State Park

Sunrise at Stagecoach State Park

Our first official outing with our new truck camper was at Stagecoach State Park, about half an hour outside of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. We’ve camped there a couple of times over the years, but this campsite was the best yet. We completely lucked into it, too. It was the very last site available, and just so happened to be right on the lake. Score! Continue reading