That girl on the beach is me. A long time ago. It has always been one of my favorite images of my life back then, and also a favorite of my two daughters. It was originally a photograph taken by my college roommate, but the above is an oil painting. A very special painting by an incredibly gifted young woman. More on this in a minute.
Today’s blog has nothing to do with cookbooks or cooking, but it contains a message that I will repeat every year at this time. One year ago at this exact time, I was recovering from uterine cancer surgery. I just had my one year check-up yesterday and I am happy to say I am still cancer-free. Not that it’s been an easy year, because it hasn’t. Cancer is a hard word to get out of your head, but I am doing better with it. I am going to report back every year at this time and talk about this, because all I want to do is help someone else. My cancer was diagnosed in the early stages, but I was lucky. I knew deep down something was wrong, but I didn’t go to the doctor right away because I thought my symptoms were just a part of the aging process. I was lucky that I was in the early stages when it was discovered. My reason for this blog is to encourage every woman reading this to get regular check-ups. If something seems a little off, like extreme fatigue or pelvic pain – or even leg and/or hip pain- or even if you just don’t feel quite right for some reason, please see a doctor immediately. It could be nothing, or it could be something that needs more testing. Early detection is the key. Listen to your body. I can’t say that enough. Your body talks to you. Listen.
Now let me tell you how this beautiful painting came to be. My daughter Kara has a friend from childhood, Amy Lind, who used to amaze everyone starting as early as grade school, with her incredible artistic talents. She is now a very well-known artist, and her paintings will astound you. Please go to her website www.AMYLIND.com and be prepared to have your breath taken away at her work. Amy has received many accolades including being named to Southwest Art magazine’s “Artist to Watch” and the Editor’s Choice for “Up-and-Coming Talent.” Her paintings have graced the cover of top national publications American Art Collector, and Art Calendar. Amy’s paintings can also be found published in the New York Times best-selling children’s book, “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On: Things About Me.” Her work hangs in both public and private collections around the world. And now in my house. I am so honored to have an Amy Lind painting.
As I mentioned, my girls have always loved the photo of me on the beach, and decided as a way to cheer me up after my diagnosis, to commission Amy to recreate the photo in a painting. This was all done a year ago, and when my birthday came around last month, Kara was home to help celebrate. She informed me that I had a huge surprise and to also get Kristina, my other daughter, on Skype, so she could also watch me open the box. I opened the very large box to find the painting. It means so much, not just because it is now a family treasure, but it reminds me to live life to its fullest because I have such wonderful girls who took the time to arrange this gift that was given from the heart in a time when I needed comfort and support.