Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Trunk or Treat


Do Not Worry

Matthew 6:25-34

New International Version (NIV)

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Submitted by Karen MacMillan

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Curse of the BFF

I used to have a school days book that my mom recorded all of my keepsake information in about school from K-12.  Starting in Kindergarten, the question was asked "Who is your best friend?"  I remember even from when I was really young always feeling pressure to have a best friend, a BFF.  Growing up in a fairly small school district, I always had a group of close friends, but always longed for a best friend.  It seemed like everyone around me had a best friend.  Someone that she always hung out with, talked on the phone with, someone to be inseparable with.  As I've grown older...much older...this desire to have a best friend has never left me.  I've always had close friends, and some that I considered my best friend, but then something always happened and we ended up drifting apart.  It is something that has been a constant longing in my life.  Lately I've been reflecting on how many great friendship moments I've missed out on because of my longing for a "best friend."  Why do I feel like my life is lacking something because I do not have a best friend?  What's wrong with having lots of great close friends? 
Now in today's culture the terms BFF and BESTIE seem to be everywhere.  My three young daughters are no strangers to the terms.  However, I have found myself being very careful with letting them label their friendships.  I do not want them to fall in the BFF trap that I have been lost in since Kindergarten.  I want them to appreciate all of their great close friendships and not get caught up in having one BFF.  I want them to look around at all of the great girls in their lives and count them all as blessings, instead of feeling left out because they do not have one specific BFF.  I feel like as a culture, we are setting our kids up for disappointment with stressing the BFF or BESTIE terms.  Maybe that's too negative of me, but I'm just trying to be realistic. 

Just recently I've come to terms with a lot of stuff in regards to this matter.  I've had numerous people trying to be sympathetic attempt to encourage me with things like "Jesus is your best friend," or "Your husband is your best friend,"  or even "Your mom is your best friend."  And while there may be truth in each of those statements, they are not the same as having that BFF that everyone is talking so much about.  So, I'm choosing to be grateful for the amazing group of people that I am blessed to call my friends.  God has brought SO many wonderful people into my life through so many different circumstances.  And those true friends, the ones I know would be there for me at the drop of a hat, that pray for me, and would never turn their back on me, those friendships are the ones that mean more to me than some BFF title.  I prefer to think of that term now as Blessed Forever Friends.  Because my life has been blessed forever because of those people who I can truly call my friends,  I refuse to get bogged down with negative feelings about myself because I do not have a BFF.  And I refuse to let my daughters grow up feeling that way about themselves.  I want to break the curse of the BFF for myself and my daughters. 

By Lisa Powell

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Now Is the Time

The Journey Team at Christ UMC hosted their 2013 Women’s Conference at Christ UMC on Saturday, Oct 19. The key note speaker was Melissa Bishop, the wife of their Senior Pastor Shane Bishop. There is always this misconception about pastors' wives which puts them in this mold of perfection, born a Christian from the womb and still going strong. I know firsthand this is not the case for many pastors' wives, I am from a line of pastors in our family: my grandmother, my aunt, my mother-in-law, or just read the book “Choose Joy” by Kay Warren, Pastor Rick Warren’s wife.
Life as a pastor’s wife is not a cake walk; Melissa didn’t say a word about what I just described, that was all my interjection, but she did want to make certain we knew up front her life has been full of struggles just like the rest of us women, and by listening to her, possibly more struggles than most. She continues to struggle but she wants to live “intentionally for Jesus Christ.” Here are a few of Melissa’s comments.
  • We hear from the Lord in our struggles
  • We are called to be ambassadors for Christ
  • God pursues me when I should not be pursued, but he does it anyway, please hear that…..God pursues me when I really should not be pursued…that is great news!!
  • We need to be a “yes” person to Jesus when he calls us to do something, scared… do it anyway.
  • Being broken happens, but staying Broken is a SIN…..ouch…!!
  • Please don’t live God’s sacrifice in vain
  • You know the past is the past, the past can paralyze us….let it go
  • Use the Word of God; it’s the only book we have
  • Failure is part of the equation….failure gives us a chance for a do-over
  • We learn in the crash of life
  • If you keep getting up, God will make us stronger.
  • What holds us back is the “condition of our heart”-God knows our heart; he knows everything in our heart - Psalm 139 asks God to search our heart, he wants our heart to be blameless.
  • Comparison is prevalent with women, why do we do that, men don’t do this…it would be weird to hear your husband say “oh I wish I was like ….” Oh yes, women do compare themselves with other women. Think about this………
Melissa was absolutely charming, witty, funny, and very intentional. I was moved by her pure honesty from the first words out of her mouth. I had not planned to attend the conference this year because my husband and I were going out of town, ended up not happening, so I decided at the 11th hour to attend, and all I can say is “Praise the Lord” for getting me there. The Holy Spirit was moving mightily, and boy oh boy did I need his presence.
The time is now, just like her coined words say,
Melissa talked about her devotion time, sounded so familiar to me. Get up early to spend time with the Lord, and then you notice that
  • the stove has a crumb on it or..
  • the water in the dog’s bowl is low or..
  • the magazine is not in the right place or..
  • the picture is crooked or..
  • the floor needs to be vacuumed or..
  • you remember you didn’t put anything out to thaw for dinner..
Goes on and on then it's too late to intentionally spend time with the Lord. I also suffer with distraction almost ADHD ish…..it is necessary to fit God time in even if it is all throughout the day or in the car while driving by ourselves. I love to talk out loud to God during my prayer time. I still struggle with the reading of the Bible every day; it will have to be intentional, just not going to magically happen for me or for anyone.
It has been a very long time since I have felt the Lord move so mightily in my life, and when the Holy Spirit wants to get your attention, it can be exhausting but worth every ounce of energy……. I am so grateful to the ladies at CUMC and to Melissa Bishop, BUT first and foremost to Jesus who knew the condition of my heart and knew I needed to hear from him.
By Julie Ford

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I Cheated with Rolls Slathered in Honey Butter on Day 19

So, my daughters have treasure map behavior charts in an effort to promote positive reinforcement.  Upon completion of a chart, the daughter in question is allowed to select an activity of her choosing.  In this instance, my youngest chose a restaurant, "The place where they weigh you to see how much you pay."  Thus, the buffet at Ponderosa* was calling her name, which, in turn, ultimately shouted my name, too.

In the beginning, I did fairly well with my selections:  a fried chicken breast minus the skin, brocollini, ice water with lemon . . ..  Then, the waitress asked if we would like any Texas toast or rolls to accompany our meal.  A huge fan of both, I requested the rolls because I knew this was what my family preferred.  My hub had already acquired multiple small tubs of honey butter from the salad bar in anticipation.

The rolls, which look like mere hamburger buns bathed in butter, were set in front of us on the table.  With dilated pupils, I dived in thinking, "What harm could come from just one?"  Well, one led to two, which then led to the trifecta of rolls being consumed.  Had I mentioned breads doused in any kind of butter are one of my weaknesses next to sweets?

Anywho, lethargy soon set in after returning home, so my CPAP and I were settled in earlier than usual at 9 p.m.  Usually an all-night sleeper, to my surprise, I woke due to thirst.  When I walked to the kitchen, I saw the clock read 3 a.m.  Ugh!  I felt wide awake, and I soon heard, my gastointestinal system was at full attention, too.  When woman blessing Christin, the instigator of this cleanse, said, "It's truly amazing how our body is a machine," she wasn't kidding.  By the way, she cheated, too, early on with eight whole dark chocolate covered raisins (really?!?!).  My machine, much to my hub's disappointment, was retaliating to the honey butter rolls with a cacophony of sounds, if you catch my drift.  

With only two days left on this twenty-one day cleanse, I have learned a great deal about myself and my lack of willpower.  Eating healthfully does affect this machine of a body for the better, and I excel at this feat when I simply avoid temptation all together.  I attribute my career high bowling score of a 157 (oh yeah, Baby), my sounder sleep, and my overall amiable spirits to a more toxin-free body.  Lent this year will be a breeze now that I have attempted a trial run.

By Courtney Winkler

*On Tuesdays, children are charged the price of their weight in pennies for the buffet.  The girls look forward to stepping on the scale near the register.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Join Chicks with Sticks!

When I first came to Troy UMC, I expected to serve in some capacity. Based on my “Spiritual Gifts Assessment” and experience at a previous church, I was certain that I would serve in a capacity of caring and servanthood. But to tell you the truth, I was pretty burnt out and was not anxious to jump back in and do “what I always do.”

In the meantime I met another new member crocheting after a TGIW meal. I knit but wanted to learn how to crochet. She offered to teach me. That is how Chicks with Sticks started three years ago. We now have not just a knitting/crocheting group, but truly a ministry that serves at several levels. We teach and share with each other and/or anyone who would like to join us. Simple fellowship has grown into a special bond of caring and supporting each other. The items that we create are blessed each week and then donated to charities both near (here in Troy, Belleville, Granite City) and far (North Dakota, Japan, Columbia South America.)

It is true that for everything that is given, blessings are received tenfold. I have found my place, my passion in serving. I know for certain that this has been an endeavor led by the Holy Spirit.

I would like to take this opportunity to invite others to join us to learn, visit, and share. You may want to come every week or maybe just occasionally. Perhaps our scheduled time doesn’t work for you, but you would like to donate items that you work on at home. All are welcome. We meet every Wednesday evening at the church from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Call me if you would like more information, or just show up! My phone no. is 345-6608.  My e-mail is cindyw@wisperhome.com.

And by the way, I never really learned how to crochet, but my knitting has really improved.

Serve Joyfully!

Cindy Whitcomb

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Reemergence of the BFF

As a child growing up in the 70s and 80s, my friends and I each maintained a running list of our friend hierarchy. No, this list was never actually written in black and white. One desired no evidence lying around to be used as ammunition in future fusses with friends. Instead, the friendship list evolved daily if not hourly in our young, immature minds depending on the shift of attitudes and perception of behaviors. The goal of each young girl, however, was the same- to attain the top position on the other girls' lists, numero uno, or simply stated the BFF, Best Friend Forever. 

In the later 'tween and teen years, the BFF title seemed to gain in significance. Now, “BFF” was used in the closing of notes passed back and forth between friends in class and in the halls during passing periods. More importantly, those three letters, BFF, were quickly searched for after a friend signed one's yearbook. The presence of these letters representing Best Friends Forever signified a sense of security, in essence an oath from the teenaged author, that would last not only for the remainder of the school year, but also encompass the summer months and endure beyond graduation.

Then, in my late 20s and early 30s, reality sunk in. . .. Best Friends Forever represented a childish ideal that did not translate well into adulthood. During this time, before the dawn of social networking and instant communication, friends still had to put forth effort to continue the BFF mentality, this effort which did not feel like effort in one's carefree youth. Yet, time constraints due to dating, marriage, employment, divorce, children, remarriage, house repairs, and the like, eliminated lengthy letters as an option, and costly phone bills were not feasible. So, the BFF, once a person of importance, became a distant memory of the past.

This is not to say that friendships were not prevalent in my adult life, but not to the degree of ease and certainty as the BFF once experienced in my younger years. Intriguing people have been met and admired through work and social encounters, but a fair share of unmentionables have crossed my path along the way, too. Initially, these unmentionables seemed to mirror the BFF of earlier years, but they, too, soon faded away, moved away, or I ultimately enlisted a getaway from the friendship.

So, to my surprise, I never thought in my late 30s, I would have a chance encounter with a woman who would renew my belief in the BFF. Perhaps, one may say that I had closed the door on the notion of a BFF and simply accepted the “fact” people enter and exit out of other people's lives. Savor and learn what I could from the lost relationship and not dwell on the heartache and loss of what I believed had been a true friendship; I had my health, my happiness, my husband, and my two daughters. Acceptance set in; I had come to terms with my BFF worldview until fortuitously a metaphorical door presented itself in the form of Bug Camp.

A stay-at-home thirty-seven-year-old mother of a two-year-old toddler and five-month-old baby, I found myself enrolled in a three-day children's camp geared towards the study of insects. Lugging my diaper bag, carrying the infant carrier, pushing the stroller, holding the registration forms, and keeping my toddler in tow, I looked over to see another woman in a similar predicament. A familiarity existed, but not simply as a result of the ages and number of her children. I had seen her before, but could not place her. We smiled politely at one another, exchanged pleasantries, and then followed the teacher's directions to quiet down and join the circle.

On day two, I could rack my brain no further and needed to know how I “knew” her. Upon approaching her, we realized that we had participated in Wiggles Gymnastics together nearly a year previous with our then only children. Laughter ensued when we realized both of us felt that Wiggles Gymnastics would be better relaunched as Parents Do the Work while Workers Watch Gymnastics, but that is a story for another day.

Day three was a joy at camp. This woman and I helped one another complete bug crafts and sing the correct words to the bug songs. Our final Bug Camp event was walking on a nature trail and observing various critters in their natural environments. We walked stroller to stroller for the duration. An uneasiness rapidly emerged, however, as we approached our cars and began loading our gear. Another year or more may pass before we crossed paths again if ever, so I needed to take action; I asked for her e-mail address.

Nearly two weeks elapsed before I sent the first e-mail. My thoughts swung from gratitude at the thought of a potential friendship to panic at the wonder of whether she was truly an unmentionable in disguise. Finally, I decided to take a risk by clicking on the send button and then anxiously awaited a response. When I saw her name in my in-box, I think I felt a flutter of excitement. The length of her response impressed me, and I hung on every typed word. Even after my appendectomy, I lumbered awkwardly downstairs to the computer in order to check for her e-mails. A birthday invitation to her daughter's third birthday soon followed, and I asked her if she would be interested in joining my book club; she accepted as did I.

Numerous birthday parties and three (failed) book clubs later, she is “Frick” to my “Frack.” Together we are solving the world's problems, reviewing the latest movies, and critiquing our husbands one day at a time. She tolerates my sloppiness, and I admire her cleanliness. I volunteer her for Vacation Bible School activities, and she recruits me for Pee-Wee Soccer duties. She observes my color-coded book collection with a smile, and I dismiss her attempts to skip kettle bell with a shake of my head. Who knew that my 40s would present the reemergence of the BFF? I suppose the old adage does hold true; if one door closes, inevitably another one will open with an unlimited threshold of possibilities.

This essay is dedicated to woman blessing Sarah B. on her 36th birthday, 10/17/13.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Do You Have Your Ticket?

The Hunger Games Trilogy Book Club

Submitted by Courtney Winkler, "I have my ticket reserved for the 11/21 double feature beginning at 5 p.m.  Join me!"

Friday, October 11, 2013

Just a Blubbery Blurb

Around 3:45 this morning I violently jumped out of what I wished was a nice deep sleep.  I don't typically remember my dreams, a lot is going on in my life right now and I suppose my subconscious is telling to slow down a bit. 
Like I said, I don't usually remember my dreams, but when I do they are normally just silly, random dreams.  Not this morning though.  As I'm writing this, just over an hour ago I was ripped from sleep with the vivid images of my youngest son taking off on his bike really fast when a car turns the corner.  I see the car and yell "STOP!!!" And before his little bobbly helmet head could maneuver out of the way he was being slung up in the air, over the hood, and into the ditch.  

I'm still shaking.  I'm still drying my eyes.  I'm still trying to erase the images from my mind because I know they are not real.  I tend to overanalyze things so I'm refraining from turning to Google and explaining what this nightmare means.  Mainly because I already know what it means.  Ya see, just before I thrashed out from under my covers I saw myself drop to my knees and pray.  I didn't run to help my son.  I ran to God for help instead.  He would help my son.

I admit that I'm not sure how I would handle that situation in real life.  The thought of not running to my son is confusing, but the thought of knowing God was going to help us is comforting.

Now, maybe I can drift off to a more pleasant dream.  I've got a fun filled four day weekend ahead.  Until then...
by Jessica Dudley 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Please Don't Text and Drive

Why Couldn't It Wait?

Submitted by Courtney Winkler, "When I read this young woman blessing's essay, it made me think of my own stupidity of driving while talking on the phone in my late 20s.  After finishing my call, I lost control of my car, crossed lanes, and went down a steep ditch into a corn field.  Luckily for me, it was corn season, and the stalks managed to stop my car only after knocking out my back window and completely totalling my car.  A softball coach at the time, I usually took a player home after every practice.  On this one particular morning, she was not in the car with me.  Thank you, Lord."

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fun with Thank You Cards

Repeatedly finding the repetition of the word "fun" minus any explanations, elaborations, and/or exemplifications in my English 111 student papers, I had no choice but to deduce that activities these young adults find "fun" may well be the same activities a forty-something, such as myself, finds "fun."   Thus, some time spent making cards for the purpose of thanking others, a cherished pastime of mine,  was in store for our next class together.  At the very least, perhaps after a class spent creating cards, students may think twice about choosing the familiar "fun," and, instead elevate their writing with more mature vocabulary choices.  

Instead of the anticipated moans and groans of disdain, what I found were more than willing participants for this card-making workshop.  Young men and women alike cared for the appearance of their cards by making use of the stickers, colored Sharpies, and paper puncher while their words were chosen with care and creativity.  Although a majority of cards were sent to the tutors at the Writing Center on campus, students were given autonomy over whom they would like to thank.
In truth, the results far exceeded my expectations.  Reviewing the cards for revisions, I could not help but smile at the depth of their thoughtfulness and sincerity.  A child of the original Star Wars era, a former high school English teacher, and a devoted fan of The Hunger Games trilogy, the letter below resulted in a rash of goosebumps on my skin: 
Mrs. Meyer,
I’m writing to you today to thank you for teaching me the ways of the Force, also known as English. Your teaching abilities have influenced me greatly, and I could not have asked for a better teacher. Though we had our differences at first, butting heads like a pair of male goats fighting for the position of alpha, you have brought me so far, not only maturing as a writer, but as a young lady as well. If it were not for you, I would not know what a well written paper should consist of, nor would I know how to go about writing it. Again I thank you for being the best influence a scrawny high school student could ask for. 
Best wishes, and “May the odds be ever in your favor,”
Carliann Huelsmann
So, have some "fun" today and every day by sending a thank you to an unsuspecting someone.  You will be thankful you did. 
by Courtney Winkler

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I Cheated with Kit Kats on Day 2

Woman blessing, devoted friend, and gluten-free health nut Christin convinced me to partake in a 21-day cleanse with her.  Up for most anything, I agreed especially after she told me her father-in-law, a cancer survivor, participated in this program and then tested completely free of the Big C.  What can I say?  (1) Looking at her (she is beautiful both inside and out) and (2) hearing this (cansah free), I was sold.  I figured it couldn't hurt.

Yummy Sauteed Zucchini and Onions
Today is Day 3, and I am still living to tell about it.  Three pounds lighter, my stomach has not imploded, much to my delight, due to all of the healthful foods and the 30 pills I must swallow daily.  Instead, I feel a slight spring to my step and perceive a faint glow to the skin.

Brussel Sprouts, Carrots, and Onions Prepared for Roasting
Being the concerned physician assistant and friend she is, Christin checks in often throughout the day for progress reports.  I, in turn, report changes in my bowel movements (normal) as well as my fall from grace (Kit Kats).  Could one blame me?  Halloween candy makes me weak in the knees, and we have acquired quite the stash (prepared for those Trick or Treaters).  
To my relief, I told Christin myself because my 7-year-old not only threatened to tell Christin, but ended up e-mailing her.  The e-mail read, "Mom ate a Kit Kat.  She said she couldn't take it anymore."  Thus, my girls took it upon themselves to hide the goods in order to help me.

Candy Hidden in a Dresser Drawer

Believe it or not, I am looking forward to the days ahead in order to see what happens at the end of this 21-day metaphorical hike uphill.

Dear Lord,
Thank you for the body you have given me.  Please assist me in my attempts to treat my body as a temple.  
In Your name, I pray,

By Courtney Winkler

Save the Ta Tas!

   Life introduces people to many firsts . . .  first solid food, first bike ride without training wheels, first kiss, etc.  Females experience firsts exclusive to their sex:  first menstruation (icks), first brassiere (my dad's reference to this item of clothing), for some, a first birth, and for the fortunate forty-year-olds a first mammogram.  As of yesterday, October, 18, 2011, I am one of the fortunate to have completed all of the above.
     Interestingly enough, I can remember crying at the sight of my first menstruation and wishing it away.  The tears fell not from fear, but from the dread of becoming this "woman" with all of her adult responsibilities.  I wanted to simply remain the girl I was without having to deal, for starters, with female hygienic issues.  Then, ultimately the dread of having to wear a bra.  Witnessing the boys in elementary school snapping girls' bras created a further sense of doom.  I liked to run, bike, and swim.  I didn't want these growths sticking out of my chest and hampering my tomboy lifestyle, so I tucked my undershirt in tight in order to smash what little development had occurred and hunched forward a bit in the hopes of fooling my mom (and the boys).  As you can imagine, the jig was up in due time, and I found myself mortified standing in Kmart alongside my mother who was scanning the lingerie racks for my size (I didn't want to be a size anything).  Blue light special or not, I wanted to run for the hills.
     Now, at age forty, I have learned to tolerate the twins and have no problem searching the lingerie racks at Kohls for what I refer to as "boob cages."  Although the "ta tas" fell short when I attempted to breastfeed my squirts, I had to give them some slack due to complications with preeclampsia.  All is forgiven . . .
     Facing the mammogram, apprehension ensued since my right twin was beginning to act out with some spontaneous discharge and red streaking.  Thus, instead of a routine mammogram, I had to first meet with a breast surgeon.  Prior to our meeting, I was ordered a heavy dose of antibiotics in case of infection and am pleased to announce the red streak vanished.  Yeah team!  However, since the surgeon felt a nodule, a mammogram and ultrasound was the plan du jour.  Given a pink robe (with missing belt) to wear, I was kindly escorted to a waiting area with other women wearing the same pink robes (belts included).
     These ladies seemed cool and collected and spanned various age ranges.  A beautiful silver-haired lady was entranced in a book (should have taken her picture for my blog) while a youthful twenty-something was hurriedly texting.  I wondered if I looked as cool and collected when I knew I was full of uncertainty and trepidation.  I responded to e-mail via my phone and then scanned the room while a woman was sporadically appearing from behind a door marked "MAMMO" and calling various names . . .  "Miss So- and- So" with much kindness in the tone of her voice.
     Having once taught an ethnography (a branch of anthropology dealing with the scientific description of individual cultures) writing course, I realized at that moment in time I was immersed in a culture whose story needed to be told and told and told.  Giggling on the inside, these ladies and I were, in essence, on the same team with our pink "uniforms."  Although on the same team, we simply nodded to one another and/or smiled.  No strategies were discussed amongst ourselves or high-fives exchanged.  Perhaps, this could be deemed our private time for individual preparation (finding our zone) before the big game.
     Noticing a framed set of tiles on the wall, I knew I needed a picture, but attempted to be inconspicuous while taking the shot.

Assuming these were tiles created by breast cancer warriors, I wanted to take the time and savor their work;  "An apple a day didn't keep the doctor away" and "Duct tape fixes everything; try it" were two of my favorites.  Alas, though, "Miss Winkler" was called, and I was able to glimpse what was awaiting behind that door. . .
    Finally coming face to face with the opponent, I was not looking forward to what my buddy referred to as the smashing of the boobs.  After a brief history was entered into the computer, I was asked to disrobe one side of my upper body and place the body part in question on the machine.  The clear tray lowered and lowered and lowered onto my poor "girl" and felt like someone had placed a concrete block in its place.  "Ouch," I mumbled as my breast seemed to be separating from the skin near my shoulder.  Yet, after being told to hold my breath, the clear tray was quickly lifted, and the radiologist was soon adjusting my other "girl" on the machine.  Luckily, there was no time for modesty;  the radiologist manipulated my "twins" with experienced, deliberate movements, and I was told to return to the waiting area.  Crossing my beltless pink robe in front of me and carrying my jacket and purse, I returned to my seat in the waiting area and noticed some new faces had joined the "team."
      Just as I was eyeing my bag and wishing I had prepared better by including water in it, a voice interrupted the silence asking if anyone was interested in a bottle of water.  With a grin on my face, I retrieved some water from the trick or treat bowl she was carrying and promptly quenched my thirst.  Score!  
     While wondering what the stories were of the other women seated on this metaphorical pink team bench, another voice called me by my first name and escorted me into the ultrasound room.  Lying on the bed next to the ultrasound machine, I was thinking how reassuring it was to have a woman surgeon, woman ob/gyn, and woman radiologist when entered a young, tall, dark, handsome male doctor stage right.  Nice!
     After he and his supervisor both had a look with the ultrasound, I was informed I had an enlarged duct in my right breast.  Told my surgeon would come up with a plan, I was walked back to the initial examining room and told to dress.  Through the thin walls, I could hear ladies exiting their rooms and told to schedule mammograms for a year from this date.  Yeah pink teammates!
     Soon, a knock was heard on my door, though, and coach (i.e. the female, close-to-my-age surgeon) entered the room and thoroughly explained the duct excision procedure I was to have.  Responding with, "Sounds great!  Let's do it . . ."  I really just wanted to exit the office, make a call, and hear the voice of my number-one fan, the hub.
     Feeling better having shared the news with my lover and best friend, I purchased a breast cancer awareness cookie from the cafeteria (chocolate cookie with pink M&Ms) and pink bulbs from the Siteman Cancer Center in order to benefit breast cancer research.  Thrilled with the odds of my procedure being nothing but routine, I couldn't help but think about the other women I laid eyes on earlier in the day in the waiting room and hoping their news, too, turned out to be just as routine.

Courtney Winkler (Originally Posted 10/19/11)