Friday, February 12, 2016

Family Motto

I think this statement defines my family, encompassing much, from job changes and insecurity to graduating early to a cross country move to numerous cancer diagnosis. It has saved us. And it will pull us through yet again, even across miles. Funny how I see it at work every day.  Three weeks ago I found a lump in my breast. I immediately had my order changed from a screening mammogram to a diagnostic one along with an ultrasound. From afar, my Dr. was all over it. Suspicious they said, along with "you have dense breasts". A biopsy was quickly scheduled and within two days I had those results, positive for cancer. Wednesday, My Handsome Prince and My Sissy accompanied me to the GBMC Breast Care Center. This is a recap of my day:
Wow! What a day, marathon in length and overwhelming with information.  I did not realize how many factors there are in the various ways breast cancer presents itself. Needless to say I would have been happy to have remained naive. I have a small, aggressive tumor, nothing unusual. Treatment will take about a year. It's nothing they haven't seen or done many times. My treatment protocol begins with treating the whole body first with chemotherapy for approximately 3 months, intravenously about every 3 weeks. I'll get a break for a few weeks then will have outpatient lumpectomy along with a possible lymph node biopsy(currently there does not appear to be any invasion-woohoo!). After chemo has knocked out any stray cells and shrunk the lump and the lump has been removed, radiation will take care of anything possibly left in my breast. There is one medication that is a cancer cell growth inhibitor that I will be on for a full year.
That's only a small portion of the information I received. There was nothing we did not like about my Doctor her communication, her thoroughness, her explanations. I will not seek another opinion. I DO have an appointment with an oncologist next week which I believe will cover the treatment plan, yet again. 
I received a pink rose which I still can't decide is sweet or just a really sucky consolation prize. Phrase for the day? "You have very dense breasts". Yeah, I know. (Wish I got money every time they said that)
Good news? I'm getting out of jury duty, I think.

I circulated that as an email to my family, my friends, my ministers, and I have started spreading the word that I would like prayers, meditations, strength. I am overwhelmed, this time with love and gratitude. 

I had been thinking about resurrecting my blog, filling it with creative endeavors. This is not what I had in mind but it, along with my knitting, will be therapeutic.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Rockin' The V

My friends and employers started the V stance at work. We stand arms raised in a V and send out our wishes for a good day. Yoga, prayer, whatever you want to call it, it feels comfortable for me. My feet rooted firmly to the earth and my energy flowing out, and my heart open and ready to receive. Feels so much more natural than to be closed up with my head bowed, hands clenched. So yesterday on my walk on a trail, I unloaded my thoughts concerns, joys and thanks. I stood at the water's edge, listened to the wind and the waves and was renewed and refreshed. I think I am gonna keep on rockin the V.

Monday, April 21, 2014


It was a lovely weekend, a lovely day, like old times. The only thing missing was church (well, and other family members) and that's not due to lack of faith, belief or desire. It just happens that way when the whole gang is visiting.  We hung out, played games, cooked delicious food, drank good beer and just rejoiced in our time together, in good health, rejoiced for future events and I know a few of us rejoiced for the risen one.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Today I am 50

And I am genuinely content, satisfied, dare I say I? Happy. I have made significant changes in my life the last several months. I have discovered things about myself this year and drawn on an inner strength that I did not know existed. I have loved the man in my life so fiercely and protectively and he is still here with me, 28 years and still counting. My girls are both in good places in their lives, though not without challenges, and have faced their Daddy's illness with such grace and strength that I am brought to my knees.  I have  renewed friendships and really made some genuine ones here in Delaware. I have developed my knitting to a higher level and it has brought me so much peace, meditation. One year ago, I was crying in the shower, dreading the day. It was the day we were to visit the medical oncologist and get the schedule of treatment. And afterwards, dreading dinner out, something I usually thoroughly enjoy and anticipate, making nice after receiving who knows what kind of news.  It was not the way I wanted to celebrate my birthday and yet, I survived the day. And look, I survived the year, on top. Happy Birthday to me. This year, My Handsome Prince threw a party for me like no other. Today, it's been a day spent with my Maminka, who came over for breakfast in the morning (another joy, that we can do that), an incredible post from my Sissy, another from my eldest and a phone call from the youngest and my father, knitting, working out, being serenaded by my trainer and her daughters (another reason to love her), knitting, snuggling with my Little man, and best of all chillin' with My Handsome Prince, making plans, watching movies and just being us. And here I am full of attitude for what's to come, for I know that I am in the moment with my contentment and there are challenges ahead.

The Rest of the Story

Remember this post? Well, I knit the hat, packaged it in a little gift bag and managed to stand at the front of the stage at DFH while my favorite musician, Anders Osborne, performed. I was close enough to smell his spearmint gum and felt like a little girl holding this package, all nervous to present it. At the end of his set, he exited  and everyone cheered for his encore. Before he began, I lifted up my bag, and with a tilt of his head, a surprised look on his face he said "for me?" And I nodded. The joy and smile on his face was perfect. I gave a gift, no expectations, and the response was genuine.
But wait, there is more.
This year, during a morning check in on my iPad, I came across a photo in my Facebook news feed and exclaimed "No way!"  I turned the screen around to show My Handsome Prince and he knew right away. He said, with some pride in his voice," He's wearing your hat". A professional photo of Anders Osborne performing, wearing the hat I knit for him. How cool is that? I saved the photo to my album and that was the end of that.
But wait, there is more.
My handsome Prince planned a party for my 50th birthday. It was at our favorite pub, the same place where Anders performed, the place where we have found our community of people, the place that we look forward to going every single week.  Family and friends from near and far joined us and it was a great evening. At one point, MHP wanted me to open the gift from him, a large package wrapped in brown craft paper. As I opened, I laughed. It was a photo of Anders, focused on his guitar, wearing my hat. It was signed, Dana, thanks for the hat, Anders. And I laughed again. Just call me knitter to a rock star! 
And now you know the rest of the story.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

We were cleaning for our the Christmas celebration we were hosting and found some old gift tags. They were from a present from my friend and I kept them because she made them. They were creative, lovely and I liked them. One of them read something along the lines of 2013 will be the best year yet! I voiced aloud, oh yeah, the best year yet, very sarcastically. There was a pause and then My Handsome Prince said but it was. And then he listed all the great things that had happened, most importantly the fact that he made it through. So yes, 2013 was the best year and do you know what? So will 2014. Happy new Year. May we all find the best yet in every year.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Campbell Hall

One of my tasks as Manager of the Conference Center was to go through each building, check them and lock them up. In Campbell Hall, I would run up the stairs, listening for the tap, tap, tap that almost sounded like someone following behind me. In the hallway upstairs I would stop, inhale deeply and be still, feeling the spirit of the place. I've said this before, but I believe that a place holds and absorbs the spirit of those who frequent it. Nothing is more true than this at the Christian Church Conference Center and Campbell Hall. On the day of the celebration for the life of Campbell Hall, the spirits began to leave in the form of tables and benches, windows and doors, shingles branded with it's image on them, a couple newel posts but most especially in the hearts of this who where there. They continued to ebb out as the fire company used it for training purposes, busting windows and going through the roof. And more the day the pickers came and took the rest of the doors and windows. By the time the actual demotion began, Campbell Hall was just an old building, past its prime, ready to go. As I watched the demolition I was giddy with excitement.  Finally! From a management standpoint, the building was difficult.  As I watched the demolition, at one point the entire east wall was gone and the stairs were exposed and I lost my composure. I cried tears of memories, smells, sounds. The demolition was fascinating, an art. The operator was precise, managing that huge thing like it was a surgical instrument. And it was done well. 
Now it is time for new experiences. We have a new building being built over the next several months. It will be handicap accessible, have air conditioning, two (count them!, two!) screened porches, ample meeting and lodging space. It will have its own sounds and smells. Those who frequent it will bring their laughter, tears and spirit. More couples will meet in this building, maybe sharing their first kiss on the elevator, and eventually marry (my sister met her husband at Campbell Hall). And people will examine their faith, question their faith, find their faith in God. How freaking awesome is that?!

Monday, November 11, 2013


A month or so ago I received a note asking me if I would consider speaking at the retirement celebration for my boss. I was humbled and honored and panicked at this request. I asked for a few days to ponder and pray and then accepted. I fretted over this last month knowing what I wanted to say and wondering how to tell this man what an impact he has made on my life. And to do it without choking. Last night was the celebration and this is what I said to that man:

I first met Lari Grubbs at the Centennial celebration forLandsdowne Christian Church.  I did what I usually do meeting someone in the region, stuck out my hand and said “Hi I’m Dana Miller from Christian Temple”.  I saw him again a few weeks or months later at another function and did the same thing “hi I’m Dana Miller from Christian Temple”. He smiled with that twinkle he has and said “I know who you are”. 

Lari Grubbs knew who I was.

A few years later I applied and interviewed for the position of manager at the Christian Church Conference Center.  The most experience I had was with the church.  Lari warned me my learning curve would be steep, that he was there for me day or night, I believed him and offered me the position. 

Lari Grubbs knew who I was and what I could do.

My experience working with Lari has been easy. My husband likes to use the phrase User Friendly in the military. This has definitely been my experience. I knew several things working with Lari.  I knew he was available.  He once told me he could answer the phone in the middle of the night, attend to the matter and fall back asleep. I knew he trusted me. His confidence in my ability to care for the Conference Center and the people of the region gave me a greater desire to serve and do good things. I knew that communication was key and we had an open line.  And I knew he had my back.   I always felt like I worked with Lari rather than for him.  I always called him my boss but Lari was more my guide.  My questions, problems, comments were met with a question in return in order to form a thoughtful solution.  And a joke was always thrown in to lighten the situation.

At the celebration for Campbell Hall, Lari publicly recognized me and appreciated me.  He asked me later if I felt appreciated.  What I didn’t tell him that day was that I always felt appreciated by him.  At the end of every conversation we ever had, Lari would ask me two questions.  He would ask me “Do you know I appreciate you? Do you know I love you?”

Lari Grubbs knew who I was, knew what I could do, loved and appreciated me.

This season was a challenge.  Personally, I was not in a good place, balancing the care of my husband, care of myself, and the care of the conference center.  In June, Lari arrived as usual for YAC.  Upon seeing him, I began to talk incessantly about everything going on at the center.  He just stood there, let me ramble forever and when I finally exhausted myself, he opened his arms, held me in his embrace, and said “there, there, I’m here, it’s ok”. Like a parent to a child.  And that was exactly what I needed.

Lari Grubbs knew who I was, knew what I could do, loved and appreciated me and knew exactly what I needed

Lari Grubbs has been my boss, my minister and will continue to be my friend. So Lari Grubbs, I ask you two questions. Do you know that I appreciate you? Do you know I love you?