Tuesday, January 1, 2013


I think about 2012 as my bipolar year- marked with periods of tearful happiness and some of the lowest lows I have yet to encounter in my 45 years on the planet.  But there have also been those days of just being- the day to day living that happens between the thunderstorms and sunshine.  The days I take for granted. 

I am someone that generally likes to look for what might not be readily observable to most.  Some say it is because I am oppositional.  If everyone believes one particular way, I am the one trying to figure out why we are all wrong.  I understand that life is complicated.  That rarely is it black or white, but rather it is uncomfortably gray. 

It would be easy to discount 2012 as one of the worst years of my life.  The year that I was diagnosed with cancer.  The year I watched my body fall apart under the spell of chemotherapy.  My year of isolation and too many tears to count.  The year where I looked in the mirror to see someone I didn't recognize. And what is worse, I didn't carry this burden alone.  It was shared with my family.  Although I wanted to find ways to protect them, my children had to bear witness to something so hard for their little hearts to comprehend.

But 2012 was also the luckiest year of my life.  The year I was diagnosed with cancer.   Caught before it metastasized to other parts of my body and killed me.  Lucky because I have health insurance- and opted last year for the best insurance (even though we were thinking about cutting it to save money). Lucky, because I live thirty minutes from the Stanford Women's Cancer center, where I have a team of amazing oncologists, surgeons, nurses, and radiologists who are not only brilliant but also caring.  Lucky because I believe in my heart that the chemotherapy did what it was asked to do, and killed every last cancer cell in my body.  Lucky because through this experience I have been showered with so much love and support from people in all parts of my life-  high school friends, college friends, students, close friends, and family.    Lucky, because I have spent the last three months adoring my son all day and being here when my daughter came home from school.  This time with them has been the greatest gift.

I also feel blessed because my diagnosis has given me clarity.  Nothing like an introduction to your mortal self to understand what isn't working in your life.  So, I want to make some changes in 2013.  I don't want to work 5 jobs and still feel financially overburdened.  I want to be closer to my family.  I want to spend more time with my children.  I want art to be more central in my professional life.  I want to live 2013- and every year after that eyes wide open and with intention.  I am in the process of creating some art with these intentions in mind, but more on that later.

For my art piece today, I wanted to create a lucky talisman that I can bring into 2013.   I honestly feel that 2012 birthed a warrior in me that I really didn't know existed.  I am lucky that she is part of me. She is my lucky talisman.
After drawing her and adding color, I scanned her and printed her on some nice shrinky dink paper.  Baked her at 300 degrees for five minutes  and voila!  My own little pocket talisman.  I might make an even smaller one- but for now, she is perfect.

I set her up so she watches me while I am on my computer.  If she could speak she would say, "Hey You!!!   You are strong.  You can do it.  I know you can.  Don't waste your time feeling sorry for yourself.  You have been blessed with many gifts.  Use them.  You are a survivor."


  1. Deann, you are such an inspiration! I love the idea of a pocket talisman you made for yourself - one more example of your strength. Much love to you in 2013! Cheryl

  2. Those are beautiful intentions and an inspiring post, Deann. I love your lucky Taliswoman! I think you could market this for other women who need support or a simple reminder that they are strong and courageous. I'm envisioning Taliswoman underpants...

  3. I agree with Kenda. Your Taliswoman would be an inspiration. Happy New Year to you and yours and may this year bring you health, comfort, and peace.

  4. I forgot to ask about the paper you used. Is this paper that you baked or clay cut out? I like the idea.

    1. Hi Gloria
      It is "shrinky dink" paper that you can buy for your inkjet printer. It was pretty easy to use and worked great. I think you can buy it on amazon. Thanks for the sweet comments:-)

  5. Love this.... It brought tears to my eye when you wrote what she would say to you! We will def walk away from this a different animal..

  6. Mariposa, thank you again for art but also for our thoughts about 2013 and I guess the future. Eyes wide open and with intention is kind of how I want to head out this year too. So far so good after many dark weeks but your thoughts resonate and I will try to keep them in mind when I deviate...
    Hugs, Marian