This Little Light of Mine

It’s been a long road. I kept telling myself that over and over, and somewhere along the way I got tired of hearing myself say it — first joking about it, then realizing how true it’s been. Then I started to think about just how exhausted I was — dragging myself around with a leg that didn’t move well, even though the femoral nerve was pretty much back, and learning that the cancer in my pelvis was now debilitating my hip and it created a stress fracture. The pain was getting worse. When did it all change so quickly? So it begins again…………..

I looked to God for the answers. I talked to him everyday, all the time, like he was with me, like I always did — but where was he, I couldn’t hear him anymore? I felt… hopeless. Whoa, what is going on? I completely trust God. I focused on that, but somehow, I don’t know I believed it anymore. He wasn’t answering my prayers. Okay, so his plan and mine aren’t meshing right now — I get all of that, but it was making me very sad. I prayed for God to send me light.

I knew that somewhere along this long road, I had to recharge the light inside of me. I was always so full of positive light in everything I did — always living large. That light got me through some of the darkest moments without ever losing faith or hope over the past 15 years. As disappointing as it is that I have to deal with this again, it had to still be inside of me.

Green trees with the glorious sunshine.

Green trees with the glorious sunshine.

When I was a kid, I would love to lay on my back and look up through the trees, at the stars shining like diamonds in the sky, under the Christmas tree with all it’s twinkling lights, or at the clouds on a blue-sky kind of day. Debbie and I used play a game — who could find the best shape in the clouds. There was always a dog. A face. The mane of a wild stallion. Maybe a cross. Or a streak of light breaking through the clouds. I used to pretend that streak of light would break out of the sky and shine directly on us from the Heavens. Hmmm. It had been a long time, but I decided to meditate and take myself back to our grassy front yard on a puffy cloudy, warm and sunny day to imagine this exact scenario. Only now Debbie and I are adults, but we still see some of the same things. I focused on the streak of light and imagined the light coming from Heaven into my body. I would send some to Debbie too, because she was fighting her own battle. Then I prayed, “God send us light.”

The plan came sometime in late February that we would genetically test my tumor cells. You’ve probably heard about that kind of stuff, but do you really know anyone who’s been through that? So regardless of my condition, it gave me something to be excited about! Well, the process was delayed by three weeks with an administrative error, but I eventually got the testing and the results, and there was a new drug — a targeted bio-agent that would kill my cancer cells. There were actually four, which I hear is fantastic, but only two had been approved by the FDA and my doctor sent both to my insurance company for approval. In the meantime, one of my other doctors did a cryoablation to help get rid of some of the pain I was having. About the same time, I got the news that the bio-drug was approved by my insurance company. We finally had a treatment plan!!! I thanked God for he was unveiling his plan, while continuing to pray. I had to wait three more weeks to start the treatments. This new drug would only “target” my cancer cells and not touch many of my normal ones, therefore there would be very little side effects and no hair loss. I was starting to shine.

One morning I woke up and the sun was coming in from the window in the bathroom on the back of the house. We have these nifty dual view honeycomb shades — you can pull them down from the top and a more sheer fabric appears, while still blacking out the bottom. We keep all the blinds in the bedroom and bathroom about 12″ from the top so we get a lot of natural light into the rooms. Well, that morning the sun was so intense, it shone through the sheer fabric and directly hit the large statue I have of Mother Mary that sits on my dresser — she stands about 22″ tall, looking down with her hands outward. And that light shone across her tiny hands and belly. I couldn’t believe it. I imagined the light was coming from Mary’s hands to me and I prayed, “Mother Mary, send me light.” Things were getting better. This was a sign. I was shining brighter!

All it really takes is a little morsel of some happy news in the right direction to put me on top of the world. If that happens, you can’t bring me down. I had my worst and best day this past Tuesday, in that order, and ever since then, this little light of mine, shines once again. I had gone to the hospital to have my blood work done — something I have to do every week during treatment. I had planned to take myself, but for some reason, the pain in my hip and leg was greater than it ever had been. This had me worried, but it didn’t matter at that very moment, I had an appointment at 9 am, so my sister took me. After my blood was drawn, my nurse took my temperature and blood pressure, and said, “Pam, do you have a fever?” It was reading 100.3°. I was like, huh? Yes, I mean, I’ve been having low-grade fevers all weekend, I’m not surprised. I promised her if it reached 100.5°, I would call my doctor.

Well, I got home later than planned, and my digital manager,  Jen and I had a call at 10:30. So I rushed in and up the stairs  — it’s like being in slow motion with my crutches and the pain! — Jen and I wrapped up in 15 minutes, because I could barely stay awake for the call. My eyes were so heavy — I could not stop it — something was pulling me to sleep. Pulling me… I woke up with a jump, completely soaked from head to toe, like I had taken a shower. Wow, it was so strange. So, so, so strange. I stood up, I had no pain. No fever. What had just happened to me? It was a sign. And today, my tears were happy ones.

God heals in unexpected ways — maybe it’s just some relief from the pain for a few days while I go through the process, or less anxiety as God speaks to my mind to tell me it’s going to be okay. While this journey is way too long in my opinion, I am following his plan for me.  Today I send light to all of you, my friends and family who have prayed tirelessly for me over the past few months. This too shall end, and nobody looks forward to that day more than me.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Ohhh, this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine.

Always B E L I E V E !

Serve God joyfully. Let there be no sadness in your life: the only true sorrow is sin.
— Thirsting for God by Mother Teresa

A Lesson from Dad

Today was the first day I had to drive in the snow all season. First, we haven’t had any snow until last week, and traffic was at a stand still in many places. It was actually ridiculous, because everyone knew it was coming for two days. I can never understand that. 

Today we were at a meeting in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, and it lasted until about 3:30 pm. When we came out, our vehicle was completely covered, as were the roads. It wasn’t a white-knuckle drive back to the office, because we took our time. After all, I had my staff with me too. And as we drove north, the snow was less and less, which was a relief! After dropping off my staff at the office, I continued on home. As I was coming through our housing plan, my neighbors were snow blowing and shoveling their driveways — we had less than 1″ of snow! It was almost comical.

My Dad snow blowing the driveway after a big snowfall. Gosh how I miss him!!!

My Dad snow blowing the driveway after a big snowfall. Gosh how I miss him!!!

Then, as I was looking through my photos to update my cover picture, I came across this photo today of my Dad. There he was smiling at me as he ran the snow blower in the driveway at home. I try to think what he may have been saying to me — I don’t remember, but whatever it was, he was making a joke, because he was laughing. I can tell by the look on his face. Memories flooded back! I thought, “wow, what a perfect day for this photo to pop out at me.” We lived in the country with beautiful pine trees everywhere and no neighbors in sight. The snow would stick to the branches — it was diamonds sparkling on the limbs. Now that I live in Cranberry, and I do have neighbors, it’s not quite the same. Okay, it’s nothing like how I grew up. The serenity is gone, and now I live in a fish bowl.

My Dad worked hard to give us the home we grew up in, and he loved the land where he built our home. He taught us to love the outdoors and enjoy the beauty of it. Every year we hiked the entire property, and Dad would spray his land markers with fluorescent paint. He’d show us different mushrooms or where deer traveled by the markings on the trees. We’d hike to this one high spot where you could see over the entire area. It was just amazing. My Dad was so amazing. There was nobody like him. And in the winter, he’d help us make a killer sledding hill, and he even got us these giant inter tubes from someone he knew that had large equipment. Dad made sure we always had fun.

I believe that God gives us these opportunities to see the beauty in life. If I never saw a sunrise or a sunset — wow, how I would have missed out. Or if I had never seen the ocean, or built a snowman — wow, again how I would have missed out. Sometimes we’re in such a rush, we miss all these stunning things around us. All these things that help us find serenity in our lives.

So today, I unexpectedly came across a flood of memories with just one picture. One photograph that I’ll cherish forever. One photograph to remind me to stop every once in a while and enjoy what is all around me. A lesson from Dad.

Always B E L I E V E !

Not a Care in the World

Well, the season for Pittsburgh Steelers is officially over. It was fun, and we can thank the Steelers for giving us a couple of extra weeks to celebrate. I was most impressed by a few Steelers who showed us what you can do if you put your mind to it, fighting through the pain of injuries. They’re an inspiration to us all.

What a difference between the two playoff games the Steelers played in. The first was the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals were mean, spiteful and angry football players — just a poor example of bad sportsmanship for us all to see. As the game went on, they played dirty with unnecessary late hits, taking out not only our quarterback, but our best wide receiver — he ended up unconscious with a concussion. And the player who hurt both these players was just so proud and boastful — it was abominable. When Ben Roethlisberger, our quarterback, was wheeled off the field, the Cincy fans were cheering and some of them threw things at him. I never saw such a disgusting display of poor behavior. I honestly think very poorly of Cincinnati right now.

I don’t normally pray for outcomes of football games. But this is one game that I prayed to God that we would be victorious, because it was just not right that the behavior they displayed was rewarded with a win. And then there was an incredible turn of events, as the Steelers were moved down the field to score the win. It was not only unbelievable — it was miraculous.

Steelers Party Selfie (at Peters' Pub)

Steelers Party Selfie (at Peters’ Pub)

What a difference one week makes. The Steelers played the Denver Broncos this past weekend. While we lost the game, the team and fans showed respectful sportsmanship. And I can circle back around to Big Ben, who played his heart out with a painful shoulder injury. It’s the first time in his career that he took a shot for the pain to get through the game. That’s an inspiration to me.

I live my life everyday with managed pain in my hip and pelvis. Some days it’s hard to get out of bed. But then my mind starts running through all the things I have to do that day. It still takes me two hours to get ready, and that’s rushing — being on crutches is just not easy in the morning. I’ve never been a morning person, and now I’m getting up at 6 am! I set the alarm an hour before, because I take some pain medicine, so I can actually get up at 6 am. My daily responsibilities are endless and many people count on me. Some days I dream that I’m snowed in with my husband in a little cabin in the middle of nowhere with the fireplace crackling. I think of it all the time. I have not a care in the world.

But, then I volunteer for everything I can, make time to spend with friends and family, talk to my Mom often during the week and find time for my husband. Life is too short to do any less.

So, always keep the faith and believe that God truly does have a plan for you. I may not always understand the plan I’m on, but I still believe. And for each of the Pittsburgh Steelers, well, somehow the nastiness that goes on with their sport is all part of each God’s plan for them.

Complete Trust in God
Do not look forward to the trials and crosses of this life with dread and fear. Rather, look to them with full confidence that, as they arise, God, to whom you belong, will deliver you from them.

He has guided and guarded you thus far in life. Do you but hold fast to his dear hand, and he will lead you safely through all trials. Whenever you cannot stand, he will carry you lovingly in his arms.

Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow. The same Eternal Father who cares for you today will take good care of you tomorrow and everyday of your life. Either he will shield you from suffering or he will give you the unfailing strength to bear it.

Be at peace then and put aside all useless thoughts, vain dreads, and anxious imaginations.

Always B E L I E V E !

Angels Among Us

Every time I meet someone new at the office, we exchange smiles and pleasantries, and I always get a question about why I’m on crutches. I suppose it’s just human nature to ask what happened and offer support and sympathy. It’s the same for acquaintances, like someone at church, to ask the same question. It’s tiring, but I appreciate the caring and kind words. I guess we all have challenges in our lives. I can look across the conference table with a new client and not really know what challenges they face. I carry mine openly for everyone to see.

I go through all kinds of feelings with the healing of my leg. Sometimes I think it’s a harder burden to bear than chemotherapy was for me. I mean chemo was just a few days of sickness, and the side effects were bearable. But with a leg that I cannot fully use, I can’t do the simplest of things — like carrying a glass of water into the living room. I can’t carry anything really. Or I have to get creative — find a bag with handles to carry items in. I’ve even ordered these screw-on ice picks for the bottom of my crutches. I’ve been worrying about the coming snow and ice. This infliction is the most fear and suffering I’ve ever endured.

For physical therapy, I have to pack the night before. Tom has to carry the heavy bag to the car, along with my purse and computer. Every. Single. Day. And then it takes me 10 minutes to get down the stairs to my car, only after the two hours to get ready in the morning. At least I can drive using my right leg. Then someone at the office has to come down and unload my SUV so that I can climb the three flights of stairs at work. I guess have lots of angels in my life and many blessings too, but it’s a horrible place to be dependent on someone else. When my husband said his vows at our wedding, I don’t think he ever imagined anything like this. I told him he’s made his penance for the rest of his lifetime. But I think he’s secretly counting down the days until I can wait on him hand and foot — and trust me, I’ll be so glad to do that!!!

It’s hard to always be positive. I have had more tears in the past six months than I’ve had in my whole lifetime. Nobody see those tears. Only smiles. Again, if I didn’t have the crutches, nobody would know there was a challenge in my life. But, I’ve made the best of it. I completely trust in God, and somewhere deep down, I know this too shall end.

Bronner's Christmas Store

Tara, Debbie, Mom and Tom at Bronner’s.

We put the summer on somewhat of a hold, but managed to get through the important things. Things like Megan’s graduation party, a tour of Heinz Field with my cousins from Charleston, SC, MarketSpace’s 10th anniversary celebration at Kennywood Park and our team building event at Nemacolin. Sure, we had to modify things, and someone else always had to do things for me — all those angels in my life. We did site visits for MarketSpace’s new office space, took a disastrous trip to the Outer Banks, NC and managed to still take our vacation to Martha’s Vineyard. We rated it our top vacation of all time. Now, I’m looking at an island off the coast of Seattle! Sadly, we had to cancel our Aruba trip. The airport is just too much for me, and Tom learned from the other trips that managing both sets of luggage is a major chore for him. And of course, I can only stand there feeling guilty. But, we still took a couple of days off work and went to Bronner’s Christmas Store in Frankenmuth, MI instead. Tom and I planned our company Christmas party during that road trip — it was the perfect time to do that. And we celebrated Christmas with our team last Friday.

I know you haven’t heard from me much this summer. It’s just been hard for me to find the inspiration. But thinking back over the summer, I realized that God had provided so many opportunities to be thankful for the blessings in my life. And just yesterday, one of my staff text me their appreciation for the Christmas party, “I’m so grateful that I found you and MarketSpace!” My heart just melted, and that one line changed the course of my Christmas.

I had been praying for God to send me an angel to help me get through this. And he surely did — they’re all around me. It really confirmed that they are those who love me — those angels who are always there, always ready to lend a hand, never expecting anything in return. My family and my friends — Tom, Debbie, Dona, Jen, Trish, Mo and all the staff at MarketSpace, my Mom, Fr. Bob, Megan and Tara, and Gert, Val and my closest friends from St. Gregory’s, my dear friends Karen, Greg, and Tracy. And for all those friends and colleagues that I missed mentioning here and those that pray for me or are thinking of me. I’m thinking of you too. And right now, the tears that roll down my face are tears of joy and not sadness.

And as I go through this Christmas season, I’m going to pray for those who struggle every day, yet I do not know their need. For everyone is struggling with something. And for all my angels. I promise to try to always appreciate and pray for you.

Always B E L I E V E !

PS: I learned that making 250 meatballs in a roaster without being able to do it all by myself is not a good idea. Tom, you really are a saint.

Speaking from Within

Change is coming. As the season is turning from fall to winter, I can hear the subtle signs of change in the air. And, it’s been many seasons in the making. 

The past week at mass, Father Mike talked in circles about changes among our parish and cluster. He didn’t state anything for certain, but asked us all to keep an open mind. What I like best about his homily was that he made it relatable to us. He used himself as an example of how much he loved his own parish in the South Hills. Yes, all of his family’s most important moments in life happened within the walls of his church. And for us, it’s within the walls of our church that our faith has been supported and nourished. It’s difficult for us — it’s personal — our church is the compass that guides us. I can relate to this for my family parish of St. Rose of Lima has sadly already undergone the first phase of change.

I wanted to jump up and say, “You get it! Thank you that you don’t just speak the words that are politically correct — that you speak the words inside of your heart.” And I say this, because it’s a sign that Father Mike cares about how the changes are going to affect all of us. And that I can follow and support for the “Church Alive” campaign has not come with a lot of positive vibes for me. For the first time, I finally see the vision for this campaign. As in Ecclesiastes, everything has a season. And for the church, maybe it’s a great renewal of sorts. As hard as that will be for all of us, I will stand by my faith, no matter what it means. And it’s time that those who left our church find their way back to us.

Always B E L I E V E !

Thanksgiving is about a month from today. In honor of Thanksgiving, I’m going to post one little thing at the bottom of each blog post that I’m grateful for.

Today I was driving along Franklin Road in Cranberry Township on my way to physical therapy and passed a row of the most gorgeous, color fall trees in bright oranges, yellows and reds. It made my day!


God, thank you for the colors of fall.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Martha’s Vineyard 1985
Thinking back to the summer of 1985, I was 17 years old and going to be a Senior in high school that coming year. My brother, Bob would be going to Duquesne College in the fall and my sister, Debbie would be a Junior in high school. Tommy would have been nine years old. And Aunt Mary, my Mom’s sister came with us, who in addition to being our Aunt was also a good friend.

I have so many fond memories from that vacation in Martha’s Vineyard — and I have wanted to return ever since that year. I think that vacation was bittersweet — not knowing at the time it would be our last big trip as a family.

Martha’s Vineyard 2015 — What had changed?
I’m glad we ended up going the last week of September over my birthday — during off season. It was probably about as busy as it was in 1985 during peak season. I can’t imagine what it would have been like in peak season if we had gone in June! I would think there would be traffic gridlock on the island and in the towns. We had a hard time finding parking almost anywhere we went. Of course, they recommended alternative forms of transportation, such as biking, but that’s kind of hard to do on crutches!

We noticed lots of contractors — I mean at every turn. Maybe everyone hired contractors at the end of the season. But these guys had big trucks with ladders over the top and buckets hanging off the back. And they didn’t stop at stop signs or yield to other vehicles whatsoever. The streets were narrow around Edgartown, and you could barely get by their vehicles. Thank goodness I had mirrors that flipped in, because I swiped a telephone pole more than once.

I can only imagine the Millers of 1985 coming into Edgartown with our big truck camper! It’s quite a different atmosphere today. The shopping in Edgartown is only for the luxury shopper. There would be nowhere to buy a water purse filled with glitter or pop beads today. Most of the stores were clothing stores and were exclusive and expensive — and we all know that’s just not us. They cleaned up the docks in a bad way. Gone were the birds — the cranes and the seagulls. I used to sketch those birds on the docks in Edgartown. They even built a restaurant where the fishing boats came in. It was so clean and there was no fishy smell. I’m sure that was part of the island’s tourism plan. Sometimes forward progress makes me sad.

I couldn’t wait to get to Chappaquiddick Island! I wanted to see what had changed and what had stayed the same — I have such vivid memories there. The Dike Bridge has been repaired and expanded — obviously a tourist destination — and you had to pay $280 to drive your vehicle across your bridge and out onto the beach. I remember the carefree day that we spent as kids crossing the bridge, watching our step so we didn’t fall through and going out onto Leland Beach. Deserted. Just us. It was amazing. We carved messages in the driftwood. Today, it is a nice touristy thing to do, but I’m so thankful that we had that day back in 1985.

Martha’s Vineyard had become a true tourist destination in every sense of the meaning. Regardless, we had the best vacation we could ever imagine.

Tom and I went somewhere everyday, despite the rain that had moved in on Wednesday and the fact that I was on crutches. We found great bar & pub restaurants — and even tried new food choices. We didn’t have fast food for an entire week, because it’s not allowed on the island (except for a Dairy Queen that was grandfathered in before it became law) . The fact that it was next to the last week of the season — almost everything in Oak Bluffs was 50% off. Oh, did I mention Oak Bluffs? I don’t remember that town at all from 1985. And wow, was I missing out!!!

Oak Bluffs was my kind of shopping! One entire street was dedicated to typical tourist souvenirs. And everything was 50% off. My favorite shop was Craftworks, a store that had artist works from all over the country (not 50% off)! I love glass work and bought the most beautiful bird plates and platter. I also purchased handblown glass pumpkins just in time for the holiday!


This town was nothing like I had ever seen before. There were rows of “gingerbread houses” — all with slightly different architecture and colorful paint. Some of them were bed & breakfasts, but we’d never stay there. We found plenty of parking in Oak Bluffs — maybe it was just the time of day or the fact that it was cold and raining, but we loved it.

Going to the Gayhead Lighthouse was a challenge for me that I refused to give into! You had to climb stairs, then a gradual climb to a steeper climb where we could finally get photos of the lighthouse and cliffs. Coming down was more of a challenge. I was afraid of losing my balance, so I asked Tom to walk in front of me! That night I had to use the ice pack!

We went onto South Beach the same day we arrived. We knew rainy weather was coming, and I was determined to see the ocean! It was tough-going on crutches— sinking in about 10″ — but I figured it out. There were probably about 10 people on the beach. Nobody was in the water that I can remember, even though Tom said it was really warm. I could see vehicles out on the beach about two football fields away. We found the entrance to that area, and I tried to talk Tom into taking my SUV out there. But he was too afraid we’d get stuck in the sand and have no experience with what to do. He was right.

We wore shorts on Monday, because it was so warm and even considered going swimming. Tuesday, we wore jeans with a light jacket and by Wednesday, we dug out anything we brought that resembled winter clothing! It was COLD.

Even our ferry ride back to the mainland was an adventure for us! We moved our trip up to 8:00 am (from noon), because our family in Pittsburgh was worried about the hurricane and the weather. They wanted us to get off the island while we could, and we didn’t have anything planned for Friday. After all, we heard that Hyannis had already canceled their ferry transports. We got there about 7:30 am and were second in line. A freight ferry had just unloaded and the crew asked each of the cars that were lining up for the 8:00 am ferry if we wanted to get in early and catch a ride on the freighter. We were like, “Sure!” Tom said, “Can we get a spot near the elevator, because my wife is on crutches.” The guy laughed and said, “There is no elevator and you stay in your vehicle.” And that was that.

Of course, every time we boarded the ferry, both in Woods Hole and now in Vineyard Haven, we got harassed about our Steelers license plate on our vehicle. Tom would always talk scores with them and it was all in good fun. Once we boarded, we realized after about 15 minutes that we were the only vehicle facing out to the ocean, and the gate they closed was some kind of mesh net. Are you kidding me? The ferry was already rocking from the rough water. It turned out to be terrifying and exciting all at the same time! I was texting with my sister the entire time, and Tom was keeping his foot on the brake and emergency brake. We actually talked about what to do if our SUV plunged off the backend of this freighter. I mean — the water was rough! The waves were crashing over the sides at times. And it was rocking! But, we got to the other side safely and got an early start home.

I’m sure that Tom got sick of hearing the phrase, “30 years ago…” as I must have said that a hundred times, remembering all kinds of small things as we toured the towns in Martha’s Vineyard. But, that was 30 years ago, and I love the trip we took this year. It is now my new Martha’s Vineyard with Tom. So maybe one day we’ll be saying, “10 years ago when we were here…” and remember those days fondly.

Always  B E L I E V E !

4th of July – Red, White and Blues

American FlagRed, white and blues? Yes, I have the 4th of July blues. It’s a gorgeous day outside. The only warm and sunny day we’ve seen in two weeks. Our jet ski is still parked. No fireworks. No cookouts. No firecrackers with the neighbors. No Pina Coladas. I’m stuck inside. Yes, I am in the background of the 50 stars of the blue field.

I still love our independence, even though the world has gone crazy. Happy 4th of July, and I hope you have some great opportunities to celebrate!

Grad Celebration

Megan’s graduation party was on June 28. I was so disappointed that morning as I hobbled around, still using my walker.

A quick update to an earlier post “I Give It Up“. The PET scan showed cancer cells in my pelvis that the doctors never thought was cancer. This was a huge find, because we had missed it the last couple of scans. So yes, my doctor was aggressive on this round, getting all of it! But in doing so, also froze my femoral nerve in the process. I woke up, completely unable to feel my leg. My doctor told me it would take 3-5 weeks to get my mobility back to full strength. Most of my leg came back while I was in the hospital, everything but my femoral nerve. So that means I can’t walk, because my knee buckles and I fall. Yesterday I hit four weeks, and I’m just beyond frustrated that I’m still on crutches. I’m having a hard time with it — mentally more than anything — my biggest fear is that my femoral nerve is not going to come back anytime soon. My doctor assures me that it can take longer, but will come back. Ugh, I’m so impatient, and I have so much going on at work — I need it back now. Physically it’s hard with three flights of steps at my office. And three flights at my home. 

So back to Megan’s party. I was so bummed out that I am still on crutches and not able to go around and visit all the relatives. I had planned to take photos of everyone! Tara took the outdoor photos for me. Thank you, Tara, you’re so good with the camera. It also rained the entire day. The entire week before and the Saturday before. Everything was saturated. But that didn’t phase Megan. They moved their tent to the driveway and everyone managed to stay dry.


For me, the best part of the day was seeing all my relatives. It started when my cousin Teresa, her husband Mike and their son Noah drove 12 hours from Charleston, SC for the party. They stayed with Tom and I. They drove through intense fog with a long backup in the mountains of West Virginia on Rt. 77, followed by rain, then hard rain, and through a tornado warning before reaching our house. I was so happy to see them!!! And it was great to spend time with them. We even managed to squeeze in a tour of Heinz Field on Monday, and they accommodated me with a wheelchair for the tour. They brought Tom and I “Charleston Strong” t-shirts in remembrance of the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The back said “Pray for Charleston.” It happened on June 17, so it was so real, so close and so fresh for them. I guess it’s personal when it’s in your own city. It caused me to pause and think about that. Teresa told me that the church turned the other cheek and is praying for peace and love — that the people of the entire city is standing behind them and praying for peace. They created a Unity Chain on the Ravenel Bridge where thousands turned out — hand in hand — stretching across the bridge. I couldn’t believe it when she told me that a group from the Ferguson shooting and riots came in to protest their peace and start screaming racism. The church ignored them and they soon went back to wherever they came from. That disgusted me that there are traveling hate groups with the goal of throwing the race card whenever they can, and trying to get riots started. They are the ones who continue the cycle of racism when in reality, the rest of us see everyone as equals. Are they so miserable that they fill the void with hatred? I just don’t get it and it’s just so ugly.

At the party, everyone was there. From the Miller side, I was happy to see my cousin Karen and her husband, Bill. I was bummed that I couldn’t go outside and sit with them for a while. I also saw my cousin Kathie and her husband, Ritch. And my cousins Patti and Dave. I didn’t get a picture of them either — what a bummer! Well, I did get one of Karen. Karen also brought her Dad, Uncle Jim — my Dad’s brother. And my Dad’s other brother, Uncle Frank was there with his wife, Aunt Ruth. I miss seeing Kathie, Patti and Aunt Ruth at bingo. If there were others, I probably missed them as I was stuck inside with my crutches.

From the Knowlson side, besides Teresa, Mike and Noah, there was my second cousin, Barbara and her husband Rod. Teresa and Noah were fascinated with her sixth sense stories. Noah couldn’t even sleep on Sunday evening — he said he fell asleep around 2 am, because he kept thinking about all the stuff Barbara had told them. My second cousin, Chris and her husband, Del also came, as well as Arlene and her husband, Jerry, and my second cousin, Nancy. I hope I didn’t miss anybody.

My Mom’s friend, Marcia came with her daughter, Nancy. And there were family from the Pettner side, including Tonya and her children, including Allison, Derek and Jason, Brenda and her Mom and her husband, Tom, and their children Katrina and Kyle. From the Pettner side there was also Fay and her husband, Frank and their son, Matt, and Val, Scott’s sister from Texas with her family, and others that I just don’t know very well, as well as Hookstown fair board members, Debbie and Scott’s card party friends, friends of Megan’s, and friends from MarketSpace, including Jen and her husband, Mike and daughter, Béla, as well as Trish and Dona with her husband, Greg and two daughters. And friends like Belinda and her husband, Ron who I knew well from St. Rose. There were probably 150 people that attended.

Of course the immediate family was there — all of us kids, myself and my husband, Tom, Father Bob, and Tommy and his fiancé, Gretchen. Debbie spent the entire day in the kitchen. Some of her friends came that were in her wedding. And Lori and Harold were there with their granddaughter, Brianna. And Brianna’s mother, Elaine and father, Greg. I loved holding Brianna, she’s such a cutie!

And food — there were roasters all over Debbie’s kitchen with stuff cabbage (my Mom makes the BEST), homemade meatballs, pulled pork, Pittsburgh potatoes, kielbasa, fried chicken, potatoes salad, linguini salad, homemade gnocchi spaghetti dish, fruit salad and six or seven desert salads. Megan made all the baked goods that included cake balls and cookies. And I made buckeyes, in honor of Megan attending Ohio State, but I forgot them!!! So I have 15 dozen of buckeyes in my freezer.

I can’t believe that Megan grew up so fast and is going to college this August. She is so excited. I know that everything will change from here. But it’s a good change, and I pray to God that he watches over her. I know my Dad will be watching over her.

ALWAYS B E L I E V E !

It’s almost a week after the party and I’m still on my crutches. Please pray for me that I heal soon and can walk again very soon.