Angel Foundation Winter Retreat

February 16, 2019

Jeannie Ann’s Grandma Has Breast Cancer by Davies and Nobens took me today to Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in St. Paul to attend the winter retreat of the Angel Foundation.  Angel Foundation is a Twin Cities-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to provide support to local adults with cancer and their families. For more than fifteen years, their programs have helped families facing cancer find more everyday moments of joy.

The JOY was evident today in the faces of the families attending as well as the organizers and volunteers.  What an awesome way to spend a Saturday morning and part of the afternoon on a cold winter day in February! 

The Winter Retreat is part of the Facing Cancer Together program which gives parents and caregivers the tools they need to parent through cancer. Kid-friendly activities provide education, emotional support and social experiences for the entire family.

My part today was to share Jeannie Ann’s Grandma Has Breast Cancer with the young children, preteens and teens.  Kids at whatever age are a resilient group able to grow, adjust, and deal with the stuff life throws at them.   Today’s group of twenty some kids all shared the defining attribute that a loved one in their life was facing cancer.  The love, understanding, respect and strength that I experienced within this group was truly inspiring to me.  The lessons that I learned today were many;

  • As I began reading Jeannie Ann’s story, a young boy about 6 raised his hand.  He wanted me to know that his mother had breast cancer like in the story. He started out by saying, “My Mom has . . . “.  His head went down to the table and his older sister finished the sentence for him.  The youngest participant was the first to respond leading the way for his cohorts.  I was thrilled.
  • After completing the story, I asked the students to interact by drawing, writing, pantomime, comparing Jeannie Ann’s story to their own story.  A 6th grade young man picked up a pencil and wrote totally undisturbed by anything happening around him.  He later shared his Mom’s tribute.  (I only share a portion.) “My Mom and I joked and called it her baseball baby and we laughed hard but in a week it wasn’t funny anymore.”
  • “Hey wait, I didn’t get to share mine yet!”  “I want to share mine too.”  Two members of the group were finishing up when time ran out.  The group just automatically stopped moving and respectfully listened to the last two share their responses.  I was amazed!
  • I’d ask a question of the older group expecting to hear who in their family was dealing with cancer.  The first young man told us his mother had breast cancer and continued on to tell us about how he had to learn to be more patient with her angry outbursts.  Following suite, one of the girls added that she began to appreciate the little things that bring joy and happiness. 
  •  A lovely young gal choose to sit with her back to me as I read the story.  She didn’t want to share when the opportunity to do so came up.  Yet she was the first to step up to have me sign her copy of Jeannie Ann’s Grandma Has Breast Cancer.

All of this and more in two back to back half hour sessions.  It truly was an amazing opportunity that I was honored to have come my way.  Thank you Angel Foundation.  I’m a fan of what you are doing for cancer patients and their families.

A Huge Hug

February 15, 2019

Jeannie Ann and Grandma are all set for the Book Launch Party for Jeannie Ann’s Grandma Has Breast Cancer by Davies and Nobens. The big event will take place on Tuesday, February 19 at the Regina Senior Living Chapel Lobby on Nininger Road in Hastings. Hastings Breast Cancer Support Group is hosting the party with festivities starting at 3:00 and ending at 6:00. Comments and a book reading by Diane Davies will happen at 4:00 with cookies, coffee, book sales and author signing taking place throughout the event. Everyone is welcome. Stop in and take your picture with Grandma and Jeannie Ann. Hope to see you there.

A Huge Hug

Life in the Neck New Friends

Life in the Neck New Friends will be at the LA Times Festival of Books on April 13 & 14 making more “new friends”. What is a neck?  The dictionary defines it as a long narrow strip of land along a river.  Great Grandma Davies always called it our driveway! 

The neck is filled with snow this winter. Minnesota, near the Twin Cities, has had 16+ inches . The animals have a hard time trying to find enough food to keep them warm and alive with snow this deep.  My husband and son-in-law have filled an antique farm wagon with ears of corn to feed our wild friends.  Birds, deer, squirrels and turkeys take advantage of the free lunch.  We have a coyote hanging around waiting for a hand out.

The neck is a beautiful place to live whatever the season. For that reason, it works perfectly as the setting for my Life in the Neck series of children’s books.  Introducing school children to the Minnesota animals that make their home in the neck has become my dream vocation. As a retired first grade teacher, I ‘ve read thousands of books to hundreds of children.  My dream has been to read my own books to children.  I’m doing just that!  What more could I ask for?

Jeannie Ann’s Grandma Has Breast Cancer by Davies and Nobens

As a breast cancer survivor of fourteen years, I saw  the lack of breast cancer information for when someone close to a child is diagnosed with this life threatening disease.  How do I tell my child or children about breast cancer?  Where do I go to find help in doing this inthe right way?  How do I involve my child in myjourney? 

I’m Diane Davies, retired elementary teacher and award winning author.  My newly released book,  Jeannie Ann’s Grandma Has Breast Cancer  illustrated by C.A. Nobens, has the answers for you to these difficult questions.  Grandma’s breast cancer journey is told through thevoice of six year old Jeannie Ann who with the help of her loving family  learns to face the fears, emotions and needs overwhelming what her family is experiencing.  Cancer, tumor, mastectomy, chemotherapy, pain, love, death, prayers are all a part of the story that Jeannie Ann shares with us.  Written with honesty, love and understanding, Jeannie Ann’s Grandma has Breast Cancer, is sure to impact the family of a cancer patient positively.  C.A. Nobens caught the simple yet powerful message of Jeannie Ann and helped me to tell the story through her beautiful and perceptive illustrations.

With two corporate sponsors, Ames Construction and Vermillion State Bank, as well as many friends on the Jeannie Ann Go Fund Me account, I am able to gift these books to cancer care centers throughout the state of Minnesota.  If you work at a cancer care center and would like to see these books available for your patients, please contact me at dianedavies48@yahoo.com or call 651-436-7234 for more information.  Help with the shipping costs would be most appreciated.

To date, we have gifted nearly 650 copies of Jeannie Ann’s story.  But it is never too late.  If this is something that touches your heart and you would like to help, please use the contact information above or make a donation at Jeannie Ann’s Go Fund Me account.  You can visit my website at http://www.dianedavies.com for more information.

 

 

 

What the heck is a neck?

Life in the Neck New Friends by Diane Davies and illustrated by Margarita Sikorskia will be participating in the LA Times Festival of Books in San Diego on April 13 & 14, 2019.  I’m the author, Diane Davies, and I’m happy to be making my first post on the Author’sLounge Blog.  As a wife, mother, grandmother, retired elementary teacher, supervisor of student teachers for UWRF, and a fifteen year breast cancer survivor, I’m proud to be here.

I started my writing career in 2004 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  The writing helped me to wrap my head around what was happening to my body.  My journal that I kept for the 300 some days of my journey became, with my English teaching daughter’s urging, my first book From There to Here A Breast Cancer Journey.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

After twelve years of survivorship and with the help and guidance of Beverly Vote, Publisher of the Breast Cancer Wellness magazine, I published Breast Cancer Saved My Life.  With the experience of living beyond my own used by date, I took the lessons learned from my journey and viewed them with new eyes giving me increased wisdom and clarity.  These new insights became my second book.

As a first grade teacher for twenty-six years, I had read thousands of books to hundreds of children.  Written on my bucket list was the entry – write and publish a children’s book so that I can read my own story to my students someday.  August of 2018 found me doing just that with the publication of the first book in the Life in the Neck series.  Life in the Neck New Friends won the prestigious Mom’s Choice Award at the Gold Level making me an award winning author which I’m proud to share on the Author’s Lounge Blog.  Delaney the deer, Rocket the rabbit, and Cardinal Red meet and learn about friendship, cooperation, and the busy world around them.  But when danger comes to the Neck in the form of Old Coyote and a fire, will their bond be strong enough to beat it?  I guess you’ll have to read the book to find out that answer.  The summer of 2019 will bring out Book 2 Life in the Neck Squirrel Trouble.  All of the friends from the Book 1 appear once again along with three fun-loving little red squirrels, Chatter, Whistle and Squeak, and Eli, my grandson.  Eli and his Dad built a log fort in the forest of the neck.  The squirrel family move in even before all of the finishing touches arecomplete bringing a lot of chaos.  Stay tuned to find out what happens this summer.  Have you figured out yet just what the heck is a neck?  If you have, let me know by leaving a comment at the end of the blog.

Following my breast cancer journey, I felt a real need to reach out and help others with their own journeys through the dreadful disease.  Jeannie Ann’s Grandma Has Breast Cancer written by me and illustrated by CA Nobens is my way of filling the gap in the need for breast cancer information for patients who are dealing with the questions of young children at the same time as the disease.  I found very little out there on the subject so Jeannie Ann came into being.  She is a typical six-year-old.  When she learns the her grandma has breast cancer, it brings up the fears, questions, emotions, and misunderstandings that come with facing a medical challenge of this magnitude.  With her loving family by her side, Jeannie Ann learns about what cancer can bring – tumors, mastectomies, chemotherapy, pain, and loss, but also hope.  Jeannie Ann’s story is written with honesty, love, and understanding for children of all ages.

All of my books can be found for sale on my website at www.dianedavies.com along with information on how you can bring me to your conference, convention or classroom for guest appearances and book signings.

I live in the Neck, right next door to theanimals making their home there. You’ll find me in one of the two houses with my husband, Papa Butch, and right next door you’ll find my granddaughter Elsie, grandson Eli, and their Mom & Dad.  I love my role as Grandma Diane and our whole family enjoys our life on the St. Croix River between Minnesota and Wisconsin.  Minnesota happens to be our mailing address however Wisconsin is what we see off of our deck.  Life if good in the Neck.  Thanks to Author’s Lounge Blog for allowing me to tell my story.  I hope we run into one another again soon.  Thanks for reading!

Tenacity

October 25, 2018

My blog post today is a vocabulary lesson with a couple of pictures to act as a reminder of the words’ meaning.

I have been told by a few of my mentors and friends that I am tenacious! Is that a good thing to be or not? The dictionary tells me that tenacious is an adjective meaning determined or stubborn, persistent, tightly held, able to remember many things, sticky or clinging, and not easily disconnected. Both tenaciousness and tenacity are nouns. Synonyms are listed as stubbornness, obstinacy, resolve, firmness, persistence, insistence, doggedness, drive, determination, and steadfastness. Antonyms are irresolution and flexibility.

So is being tenacious a good thing to be or not so good? As with a number of words in the English language, the context and perspective of how the word is used helps to determine the word’s meaning. Obstinacy and doggedness seem a far distance from drive and determination when describing someone’s personality. Then on the other hand is the antonym flexibility really the opposite of stubbornness or clinging? I guess it is depending on the circumstances of how it is used.

I took the photos below of the silo on the Davies family homestead inDenmark Township. How would you describe that tree growing twenty feet out of the top? Is it stubborn, or persistent, or full of resolve, or determined? Is it flexible or inflexible? There is not a branch on the trunk until it leaves the top of the silo. And inside the trunk is seriously about twelve inches in diameter! It must have grown tall and then widened out. Is that flexible or insistent? In my mind that is one tenacious tree. Unfortunately it is becoming the source of its own demise. As the top of tree sways in the wind, it is slowly but surely, round for round, knocking the tiles down that make up the silo. Perhaps that is all part of its tenacity!?!?!   What would you call it?

 

 

 

 

 

Contest – Win finger puppets of Delaney, Rocket and Cardinal Red

Win these finger puppets of Delaney, Rocket and Cardinal Red!
Hi Friends! By signing up to join my mailing list you will be entered into a drawing to win these three adorable finger puppets to help tell the story of Life in the Neck New Friends. To enter please fill in your email address on my website at www.dianedavies.com and click on subscribe. Hurry! Contest ends November 30, 2018. Winner will be notified by email. YOU could be the Lucky Winner!

Fall Rainy Lake Style

October 24, 2018

What is more beautiful than a fall day on the lake with a clear blue sky and sunshine on all of God’s handiwork? The fall season on Rainy Lake is pretty much at end with the majority of leaves having already fallen. And yet, if you look closely, Mother Nature is not quite ready to step into the next season. On this granite outcropping close to our dock, the little red squirrels have been busy tearing pinecones apart to find the seeds. They love to leave these little glorious piles everywhere!

A fewred leaves of a plant struggling to hang on to the granite surrounded by the pine needles of the year gone by. The subtle color so beautiful with the rock and bright sunshine.

This is perhaps my favorite photo. I’m standing on the float of the plane and watching the yellow leaves dancing on the water. The sunlight made them look like gold coins floating on the surface. With all of the frost this morning adorning the grass and rooftops, can winter be far behind?

                                                              

Gathering In

October 22, 2018

Fall is here again and we are all busy “gathering in”! So what is this gathering in that we are doing? The dictionary tells us that gather is a verb with lots of meanings;

  1. Form into a group
  2. Harvest something
  3. Collect data
  4. Attract a following
  5. Accumulate something
  6. Find inner strength
  7. Surmise something
  8. Bring somebody or something close
  9. Lift somebody or something up
  10. Wrinkle brow
  11. Pull fabric together
  12. Put pages in order
  13. Prepare molten glass for blowing
  14. Form pus-filled head

As a noun it only has two meanings; 1. Fold in fabric 2. Molten glass ball

In my experience, this time of year means the gathering in of family back into the home. Summer finds us scattered to all kinds of activities, camps, vacations, and cabins. As school starts and weather gets colder and the days shorter, we form back into the family group once again. Board games, puzzles and good books to read are found once again and made accessible.

Harvesting something is certainly a big part of the gathering in process. Our farm neighbors are busy in their fields bringing in the year’s crops of corn and soybeans to sell or to store for sale later when the prices are higher. Those that garden are busy gathering in the fruits of all their summer labor, the squash, peppers, tomatoes and potatoes and all the rest of the plot’s offerings.

We gather the leaves, clean up the flower gardens, put the lawn furniture away, turn on the heat, clean the fireplace, cut and split the wood, spray the box elder bugs, wash the windows, make the sauerkraut, find the snow blower and shovels, dig out the winter clothes and boots and coats . . .   Oh my – that list makes me tired! We do need to find our inner strength to get it all done. I’m just glad that I haven’t found any pus-filled heads or molten glass for blowing. I’m afraid that would do me in.