Sunday, October 25, 2009

From the vine to the bottle!!!

Friends from Sejourne Winery called... they were getting a lot of their grapes delivered at one time, and were in need of help sorting. Harvest is a busy time for all the wineries around here... and we were only too excited to help out.

Our job was sorting the grapes... They arrive in these large bins, and we go through.. pull out the debris (leaves, etc), then pull the nice grapes...

and put them in this....

Then.. magically (or by some genius of engineering), the grapes get removed from the stems and put into a large container... where they, depending on variety, they may stay up to a month to ferment. These are Pino Noir that have been fermenting for a month.

Then, the above grapes are put into the press... and look!! unaged wine coming out, ready to go into the barrell!!!

It was amazing to watch (and be part of) the production process of a product we have come to enjoy so much! Thank you to the Howard family!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Locks of Love

So, I went in for a hair cut yesterday... nothing extraordinary about that.... I told my hairdresser I wanted to cut off some length, get a little more style that is easy to maintain, etc. I told her I was up for most anything. She then told me if I went "This" short... I would have 10 inches- enough to donate my pony tail to make wigs for children and women affected by cancer!!! Now, this was only a couple inches shorter than I had, why not? It is only hair, and grows back!! So, now I have this new do.... :) It IS a little shorter than I wanted, but will grow to the perfect length in no time!!

Thinking about cutting your hair? Look into having yours donated!! What a great cause.. especially during October which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pregnancy Loss Remembrance Day

Today is a special day for many women and families.... it is a day for those who have suffered a loss of pregnancy or stillbirth. While I have been blessed to have never suffered this loss directly, I know a lot of friends and family who have. I know that I will never fully understand the impact this loss has on a woman or her family, but I do know my heart aches for them... Tonight I lit a candle for all of you.. a candle that represents the little one that left before you really got to know him/her... the little one waiting with God to embrace you when you enter His kingdom. Until then, may these candles bring you a little closer to healing and peace.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Be Pink!!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Most women know this. Most women have been touched by this disease either directly or indirectly. My great grandmother had breast cancer. She got it when she was pretty old, and had her breast removed... to her it was no big deal. It was late in life, she expected to be ill as an old lady, she had no side effects, no chemo, no cancer. Just no left breast. She used to joke that they were saggy anyway, so it was one less thing for her to worry about.

Then about 5 years ago, one of my best friends from high school called me. She was crying. She told me she had breast cancer, and she thought she was going to have to have surgery immediately to remove her breast as the tumor was growing fast. She called me on a Monday, and thought the surgery was going to be on a Friday. My heart dropped. We were not even 30... she was too young, too beautiful, too sweet for this to be happening to her.

In the end, she did not have the surgery that week.. instead she began a long, windy road to becoming a survivor that began with chemo and along the way included stops at radiation, mastectomy on one breast, then on the other breast, and reconstruction. All along the way, she was a role model of strength and love. She met each struggle with conviction, faith and and unfailing sense that she would survive!! She did. She became cancer free, and has been for a while now.

Her journey with breast cancer did not end there, though, as she began working as a volunteer with others who were diagnosed with this disease. Her journey took to her conferences and mission trips in places like India and Australia!!! A few weeks ago she wrote about her most recent stop on this journey, and a realization that she wanted to do more than survive... she wanted to thrive. In her words...

"After having breast cancer 5 years ago, I thought I knew what it meant to survive and I think I had the right idea: you look the odds against you straight in the eyes and walk forward never giving in. The dictionary says “to endure or live though.” Check- did that and doing it every day... I also thought I knew what it means to thrive: “to grow or develop vigorously; to flourish.” I feel strong, happy and blessed. I feel that I’m continuously working toward being a better person as well as seeking fulfilling experiences by taking the time to truly appreciate all that life has to offer. ...and though I know the definition of thrive; I really felt it in my core being. I am actively participating in the joyful journey to succeed in my survival. The world can throw its curveballs, fast balls, ticking time-bombs…you name it and I can take it! If I don’t feel like I can sometimes, I know there is an amazing wealth of support and energy that I have just discovered and it is infinite and beautiful. When I look at the pictures, I see all the amazing and beautiful eyes that revealed souls of gold and I start to smile and tear-up. The world will never be the same and I’m all the happier for it. Thank you for helping me survive to thrive!"

Shelley has just started a new job in Alaska, working to provide additional support and resources to other women who have breast cancer.. I wish you luck in this new job, and know that many women will be greatly impacted by the work you do!

Thank you Shelley... for being you... for being someone who shows us all how to go beyond surviving.. to thrive!!! I love you.