cancer without a captial

Tomorrow my Dad goes in for surgery for the treatment of Prostate Cancer.  I hate that I just capitalized the word “Cancer” when capitalization is reserved for titles and days of importance.  I will no longer capitalize the word cancer.

It’s ugly and destructive and doesn’t deserve a capital.


can I minimize it even more?


Rather than giving cancer anymore power that it has already taken from us as a family, and from my strong father, I’m going to declare today as a day of gratitude.  There is so much in life I am grateful for, and one is that I get to see some of my family tonight, and will be able to spend the day with my Dad tomorrow as he kicks cancer’s ass.

Here’s to my Strong, Funny, Outgoing, Talk-Your-Ear-Off Dad with a capital D.

Thank you for your continued…




From my Grateful Heart to Yours,


It’s the Little Things

The other day, as I was going through my kid’s papers they bring home from school, I came across this gem written by my son Lucas that made my heart melt.

It brought tears to my eyes and made me realize the little things DO matter to my kids. They notice!  I haven’t made buns in so long as it’s a day-long project, but my kids often ask me to.

This letter has given me a kick in the pants today.  I have declared today as stay-at-home and make buns day.  🙂

I also love that he wrote “My Mom likes to scare me.”  We have a fairly new game where I try to scare him, but he always succeeds in scarring me while I’m attempting to scare him.  I am easily frightened so I’m not sure why I thought that game was a good idea.

These little seemingly unimportant day-to-day activities is what shapes childhood memories.  I forgot that!  I have memories of my own mom making buns, and waiting impatiently for the dough to rise on the dining room table.

I remember my mom giving us girls 10 smarties when Mr. Dress Up came on.

I remember my Dad giving me a ride to school in his grain truck when I missed the bus (I was chronically late for the bus), and his grain truck back firing as he pulled away. Actually, I think he could make his grain truck back fire at will and he just did that to make a point not to miss the bus anymore.

I remember after-school afternoons with my Grandma Perkins where we watched “Thunder Cats” followed by “Wheel of Fortune” followed by a game of Skip-Bo.  My Grandma Perkins would always say “Sick-a-Moose” when her cards were bad.

I remember my father helping me pick out my very first car (a little two door mustang) which I paid for with my own money earned through sheep 4-H. It was a standard, which I didn’t know how to drive, but he taught me in 5 minutes and told me to drive home from Bonnyville (where I purchased it) to Vermilion.  I drove part of the way home with the parking brake on.

I remember holding a special glass bottle in the shape of a bear while my sister Roxy washed my hair in the oversized sink.  We would lay back on the counter with our hair in the sink, gripping the glass bottle which we could only hold when we got our hair washed.

I remember the game of counting how many pails of coal it would take to fill up the furnace, and when I think about it, I can still smell the coal within that memory.

I remember looking for our stockings on Christmas morning.  Mom would hide our stockings the night before, and we would find them first thing Christmas morning, and in turn we hid Mom’s.  Mine was usually hidden in the dryer.  With 6 kids, one runs out of hiding places.

Ahhhh, I digress.  The point is…the moments you create that are special and unique to your family is exactly what your kids will remember.  Sometimes one just needs a kick in the pants to remember that.  Thank you Lucas, and I do love you kids to bits.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to run and punch down my dough. 🙂

From my heart to yours,


Another Update on my Boggle from Dad

Your support, positive thoughts, and prayers are working!  They doctor has pushed for my father’s surgery to take place earlier than January.  His surgery has been changed to December 1st which is quickly approaching! He’s grateful and thankful for the earlier date, but of course is stressed about his cattle.  He has lots of support, so no need to worry 🙂

Thank you everyone!  Your continued prayers and positive thoughts are appreciated!

I will leave you with a favourite picture of my Dad taken when he was a young pup. 🙂

From my heart to yours,


The Heart of Life

“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin–real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a dept to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.” Alfred D. Souza

I’m so thankful for recent insights into life.  There were so many times I have waited for the next life step, not realizing I was missing out on the stage of life I’m in right now.  I get caught up in the busyness of life. The stuff that doesn’t matter in the end. All of that is just part of life, but the most important part of life is connecting with those you love.

It makes me sad that I forgot this important lesson until my father was diagnosed with cancer. I will tell you though that in the days since his diagnosis, I feel so blessed to have real conversations with my Dad.  Time just doesn’t seem to matter right now, where in the past we were always so rushed.  “Can’t talk long, I’ve got lots to do”.  I now tell him at the end of every conversation that I love him.  I’ve never really been good at expressing that to him.

I was always in such awe of my friend Trina’s family.  She would get a phone call from someone in her family, and she would say at the end “I love you so much” and when she saw them in person, she would give them a hug along with an “I love you”.  I asked her one day “Do you always tell your brother you love him every time you see him” to which she replied “Of course”.  My favourite thing about Trina is her big honest heart.

The people in your life that love you will be thankful when you show how much they mean to you, and it can be in little ways too.  A kind word, a hug, a run to Timmy’s for a coffee, a just-because card, a note left to find on the kitchen table. It all matters.  Life is about connection. It’s about savouring the little moments that shape a year.  I want my kids to have a childhood filled with “I love you’s” and they will never be too old to give me a hug (I have and will chase them down for one).

This is exactly the reason photography is so important to me. In the beginning I didn’t really know the type of photography I was going to specialize in. Family photography kind of chose me because I feel the importance and the respect within documenting that connection.

Life is all about choices, and to live a life with happiness and gratitude in your heart is absolutely a choice.  Looking back on my blog posts, each post is less and less about “weight loss” and more about life lessons.  However, it’s all connected. It’s the Mind, Body, and Spirit connection that shapes each of our lives and it’s in our control how each of those elements work together to create our own identity…not only the person we are within, but also the person we put out there to others.  We’ve been given one life, one body.  That’s a gift that shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Why is it we don’t appreciate our health until we are sick.  We don’t appreciate the summer until it’s winter, and the winter until it’s stifling hot. We don’t take the time to connect with loved ones until there’s no time left.  I know not everyone is like that, so forgive the blanket statement.  It’s just something that was on my heart.

Time is precious my friends. Life is precious.  Just because you feel something in your heart, doesn’t mean those important to you know that. Let it out! It’s completely freeing! lol

So next time you see someone you love, I would encourage you to show them that in whatever way you can.  I know men aren’t always good at showing how they feel, but I have to tell you as a daughter who was recently told by her father that I was missed and loved…it means the world and it absolutely matters.

From my heart to yours,


An Update on My Boggle from Ralph

So in true Ralphy-ism (he messes up words all the time…it’s so funny), my father has asked me to update my “Boggle” with news regarding his health.

He chose to go with the surgery rather than the radiation, and his surgery is scheduled for January 5th, in Edmonton.  The Doctor wants him to undergo surgery as soon as possible and January 5th was the earliest available date…unless they have a cancellation.  He was told the type of Prostate cancer he has is fast-moving. Your continued prayers are greatly appreciated.

He also wanted you to know that his cattle drive went “101%”. He has never had this much help with a cattle drive in all of his life and he’s very thankful.

So from our family to yours, thank you so much for all the messages of encouragement, support, and most of all your prayers.

It’s a great reminder of the strength of the human spirit and how friends and family are always there for one another to lend support and a helping hand.  Life is good my friends.  Give your loved one a hug right now, and tell them how much they mean to you.  Life is precious and the love within a family is a gift.

A special thank you to Jason Robertson and Bill Walls who are raising funds and growing a mean Moustache for Movember in the fight against Prostate Cancer.  If you would like to make a donation, just click their names.

In this month of Movember which is devoted to Prostate Cancer awareness, my Dad is gearing up to Kick some serious Cancer Butt. 🙂

From my heart to yours,


Authentic Self

I had the pleasure of having the most honest and real conversation with a friend recently where we discussed being Authentic.  I have to blog a bit of my thoughts before they escape my head! There’s an expiration date to these thoughts.  lol

Sometimes it’s scary putting yourself out there and having the courage to just be you.  However, in doing so you put out your Authentic self to others and it is then that you can build REAL, authentic relationships with those in your life.  Personally I would rather have a handful of authentic friendships, than many surface ones.  It took me awhile to learn though, that in order to build authentic friendships, I in fact had to be authentic and let my guard down.

Now, I may not be everyone’s cup-o-tea. Not everyone will appreciate my weird sense of humour, the fact that I get a kick out of Awkward hugging a complete stranger, or that I sometimes break out into spontaneous dance (which often looks a lot like a spasm of some sort).  And guess what…that’s OK.  I certainly don’t click with everyone I meet either.  Not everyone that comes into your life has to be your best friend.  Having said that, you can still build authentic relationships with those that are in your life.  I guess one just has to be OK with the fact you may not be accepted by all.

I was also reminded how important this is in the world of photography. I need the subjects of my photographs to let their guard down with me and just be exactly who they are.  Sometimes that means feeling vulnerable, and when there is a lens in your face, that can feel uncomfortable.  I have no interest in photographing the surface, I want to photograph what’s inside; that amazing vibe and inner spirit each of us carry within.  I have learned though, that in order to capture that, I need to give exactly what I want from them.  So, it means letting that guard down and not worrying if I look foolish in the process.

I have also noticed in the world of photography that there is a lot of elitism as is true in many professions.  It’s easy at times, to get trapped in envying others in your same field, but my path is not the same as theirs.  It feels good when a photographer I admire puts value on my work, but I’m not taking pictures for them. I do what I do for those I photograph. I want to be different. I want to have a point of view that is uniquely my own. I want to put out there exactly who I am as a photographer so I attract those who appreciate and connect with it.  I don’t believe you can get to that space if you don’t put your authentic self out there.  Do you agree?

I have been told in the past by women who become friends of mine, that they misjudged me on first meeting. I come off at times as stuck up, or unapproachable (I’m more of an awkward small talker). I’m trying hard to change that, but I’m not quite sure how.  It’s something I will have to continue to work on I guess.

There is this woman who I see at my daughter’s school everyday. She is confident and I can see where she would come across as intimidating. Today as she was saying hi to me, she fell off the curb as she walked and then she laughed at herself. That’s when I knew I liked her…the moment she fell off the curb and laughed it off.

As this is an area I struggle with, I would also like to encourage you as well to let your guard down along with me. Be authentically YOU.  Challenge yourself to let the REAL in within your relationships and move away from the surface stuff.  There are many women I have met that I enjoy hanging out with, but we never really move away from the surface stuff, so it’s difficult to build on a friendship if that’s the case.  Sometimes that’s OK, as I’ve said in the past, I believe there is a purpose for every single person that comes into my life.  Some are close friends, some are comic relief, some bring me peace…and yes, even the ones that have hurt me in the past are there for a reason. They teach me to cherish what I have, not to sweat the small stuff, and to value what’s important in life.

When you come to a point in your life where you need to lean on others for support, the surface stuff doesn’t matter. It’s all about your heart.

From my quirky, odd and awkward at times, but open heart to yours,


P.S. Thank you L.  You have the soul of an artist. You are one of the most authentic women I have had the pleasure of meeting.

Prayers Please

When an event happens that shakes you to your core, you remember what you were doing at that exact moment.

I was editing a photo of a Father cuddling his children when my Mom called to tell me that my Father had been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer.  My mouth dropped open and time stopped. I asked her to repeat it as there was no way my vivacious, talkative, charismatic Father could have cancer…this just couldn’t be happening.

Yes, it was true.  I called my Father and we talked and we cried.  As soon as my hubby got home from work, I drove home to Vermilion as I needed to see him and he’s only a couple of hours from me. The next week I met up with my Mom, Dad, and sister at the Hys Centre so my Dad could have a bone scan to see if the cancer had spread beyond the prostate. Our family came together and for those sisters (there are 6 girls in my family) that couldn’t make the trip for the appointment, we texted back and forth through out the day.  The wait for the results seemed like an eternity, but I am so happy and thankful to tell you that the cancer did not spread to his bones.

This week, he is seeing the doctor to discuss where to go from here.

So with the permission of my Dad, I am posting this to ask for your prayers as he undergoes treatment for prostate cancer.  He is such a strong man, but he needs support and prayers.

This summer I wrote a post on my photography blog about my Dad.  Give it a read if you have time and you want to put a face to his name…Ralph Dicke.

I will leave you with a favourite song of Dad’s. It’s also fitting that this version is by Johnny Cash.  My Dad reminds me of Johnny Cash and he loves his music.

Thank you so much for your support.

From my heart to yours,