Friday, April 15, 2011

Five Things Friday

Ooops. I got so busy with my job working on the Quad-Cities Christian Writers Conference last week that I forgot all about Five Things Friday. The first time I remembered it was sitting in the morning session listen to the great Mike Brewer speak.

To make up for forgetting, this week I think we need at least two lists this week. And as I'm writing I'm also learning more about how the things we love are truly gifts from God given to reveal to each of us how very much He loves us. I'm just finishing up Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts, and going deeper and deeper into the idea of thanks for the gifts God so freely bestows.

What blessings come from counting our blessings!
I challenge you to join me and Ann and so many others. Open your eyes, begin counting the gifts that God is giving to you.

Five Gifts

  • 26. Serving the QCCWC, amazingly talented, giving people, getting to spend time and serve God's Scribes, Apostles of Ink, and other servants of The Most High. I’m overwhelmed that God would use me to be a part of this wonderful blessing. ( I think I just had the spirit of my new friend, Gail, overtake me!)

  • 27. A new sister and friend in Dr. Gail Hayes, Lioness for the Lord & Daughter of the King.

  • 28. The delicious smell of Amaretto coffee wafting through the house—yum.

  • 29. The tree budding outside my bedroom window. We moved it last fall and didn’t kill it! Hooray!

  • 30. The power of written words to move the heart and change lives.
And Five More Gifts

31. Bright orange tulips in my yard 32. Papa Goose fasting while guarding Mama Goose noshing.

33. Mama Goose sitting on her nest.

34. Glowing green buds bring life to dead red sticks.

35. Promises of strawberry sweetness

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Forgotten Garden

"You make a life out of what you have: not what you're missing.”
from The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

"The Forgotten Garden" by Kate Morton is an elegant Victorian, Gothic sort of story with mysteries, secrets, forbidding estates, abandoned children and even a few pirates, spread over 3 generations and two continents. Fascinating!
I really LOVED this big, long book that moved right along at the speed and intensity of an old time roller coaster. It's not the easiest plot to keep track of due to multiple families and time periods, but the charm and resiliency of the characters and the suspense surrounding their circumstances are mesmerizing. I think I read about the last 250 pages in one afternoon and long evening.

Beginning with a tiny girl abandoned on a ship, a mysterious English estate and "The Authoress," writer of imaginative fairy tales, this book is a fast paced read that keeps it's early promise as it twists the stories of three women into a tapestry of entertaining and beautiful prose. As soon as one mystery is solved another is begun, weaving a tales of betrayal, loss and love, in this tale reminiscent of Dickens, Bronte and maybe even a bit of Agatha Christie.

If you enjoy a suspenseful, complicated, involving story, filled with unusual people and places, this book will entertain, delight and ultimately satisfy your taste for a genteel armchair adventure, plus at over 500 pages, it delivers a nice, long read!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Five Things Friday

Five Things I Love

21. Green fingers of Life springing up through the winter's dead brown.

22. That my father chose my name. Gail, from Abigail, meaning “Father’s joy”

23. Having a father who loved me no matter what.

24. Growing up in a family where laughter was more common than tears.

25. Knowing I’ll see my dad again.

Seven years ago today my father, Samuel L. Poag, Jr died of esophageal cancer. He was diagnosed in the fall of 2003 and passed away five months later. Considering he was only given three months to live, we were glad to have the extra sixty days with him. In honor of Dad and in the hopes of raising awareness of this killer I’d like to share the following information with you.

April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month

Esophageal Cancer: What You Should Know

Esophageal cancer is a very difficult disease to cure, and early detection is essential. The Saint Barnabas Health Care System in Livingston, NJ, provides the following information about esophageal cancer for better recognition and understanding of this condition. Some facts about this condition:

  • Men are about three times more likely than women to develop esophageal cancer.

  • The chance of developing esophageal cancer increases with age.

  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus is more common in African-Americans.

  • In the United States, the rates of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus have increased in the last 20 years.

  • Risk factors include tobacco and alcohol use, gastric reflux and Barrett esophagus, a disorder in which the lining of the esophagus (the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach) is damaged by stomach acid.

  • The most common signs of esophageal cancer are painful or difficult swallowing and weight loss. Other signs include: regurgitation of food, chest pain unrelated to eating, discomfort when swallowing solids or liquids, indigestion or heartburn, hoarseness and cough; and vomiting blood.

  • A physician should be consulted if any of the symptoms listed above occur.

  • BALTIMORE, March 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Esophageal Cancer is the fastest increasing cancer diagnosis in the U.S. – up more than 400 percent in the past 20 years – and it usually a death sentence. Perhaps most shocking, for Americans, it is usually caused by persistent heartburn or acid reflux disease.

  • In the U.S., someone dies of this disease every 36 minutes.

Until two years ago, there was no national advocacy organization fighting Esophageal Cancer. But the Esophageal Cancer Action Network (ECAN, ) led by top physicians, business leaders and families the cancer has touched, is tackling this devastating disease head on. ECAN is working to make sure those with persistent heartburn become aware of their risk of developing a disease that kills more than 80 percent of those who develop it.

Esophageal Cancer has such a poor survival rate largely because it is usually discovered at late stages. That's why ECAN's early detection message is so important. With early detection, new medical procedures have produced cure rates of 98 percent.

ECAN's Executive Director Mindy Mintz Mordecai is emphatic about the importance of screening for Esophageal Cancer. "These new developments in treating the precancerous and early stages of the disease make early detection of this cancer so important because, if we find it early, people can now be cured – they don't just get a better chance of survival – they can be cured!"

Information from and