Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What comes next?

Surgery was a month ago. Since then I have been sleeping, writing, painting (a little) and playing with my children.


Each child alone is a pleasure, although the two together are baking soda and vinegar.

I'm not saying which is which.

Finally, Laurent took smallest monkey to France, where smallest monkey will spend a whole month alone with his grandparents, because we all needed a break, including Emile.

He might even start maternelle, preschool, there, for a short while.

Everyone gets a break, but I miss him like crazy.



Starting tomorrow, I will be going to Boston every day for radiation - that's three hours round trip for 15 minutes of being turned into the Hulk. I'm doing it because they will also be giving me more chemo, and I apparently love chemo that much...

Every day is hard. It's a mixture of crabby because I might die within the next five years, and blissed out because life is so beautiful, and crying when I hug my family. It's extremely emotional.

On the lighter side, I've written 27,000 words for NaNoWriMo. Yes, that leaves me a bit behind for 50,000 words by November 30th, but I'm still pretty pleased with myself. I didn't stop at 12,000 words, for example.

Also, I'm writing a guest blog post for Katie Dunn, "The 8 Point Dystopian YA Formula." I'll let you know when it's live.






116 comments:

  1. hi Julia
    I just found your blog by happenstance and wanted to tell you a few things. I don't know what to say about your cancer. I know more than I want to about it having lost a dear friend to it when she was 28. And what is there to say except it sucks and you are facing it with such grace - if that's at all a comfort to you. I am also an ex-painter (or a painter on a veeeery long sabbatical) and a writer. I am in awe of your continuing artistic output - writing and painting. I don't know if I'd have the strength of character to keep going through treatment. I also think your paintings are simply lovely. I want to own some, in a completely covetous way. (I've seen your etsy paintings. are the tree paintings using the wood material as texture going to be on there?) I wanted to say these things to you even though I'm a complete stranger because your blog and your paintings have moved me today. Thank you so much for that. And all the very best to you and your family. (PS I'm a Maggie Stiefvater fan, too!)

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  2. I am with you, Julia, this is very moving. Thinking of you very much.

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  3. Thank you, Fofie. I'm glad to hear that words can convey a little bit of this perplexing reality! Probably because you already know it, right?
    Take care,
    Julia

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  4. Alex, I am sorry that you lost a friend. From this end of things, the other end looks very hard to me -- that is, losing someone, watching someone suffer, is another hard place altogether.

    After these holidays, I will indeed be putting some of the landscapes up on etsy (autocorrect keeps changing that to easy, and it is that!)

    I am so grateful to painting and to writing, as maybe you are, too, for their ability to help me be with and love the present.

    Good luck with your own adventures!

    Take care,
    Julia

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  5. Hi Julia, yourpaintings are gorgeous! Keep being strong through your ordeal, my thoughts and prayers are with you today!
    Happy blitz day!

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  6. Julia, First you have one of my favorite names:) I read this post and felt so much strength in you even with all the struggle mentally and physically as you fight cancer. I totally get the soda and vinegar children (I have some of those, myself). Wishing you health and strength this holiday season. And WOW, just WOW, you participated in NaNo and did over half as of the 20th. Not bad ad all.

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  7. Hi, Julia! Stopping by to wish you a happy blitz day!

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  8. Hi, Julia. This is my first time visiting. I learned about your blog from DL Hammons. Best wishes with the radiation and chemo. You are in my prayers.

    Happy Blitz Day!

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  9. Such an amazing person you are - 27k written, family and painting - amazing courage and energy. May fortune shine your way and the best happen. #blogblitz

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    1. Thank you, Susan. May the best happen for you, too. I'm sure it will.
      Take care

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  10. Julia, your paintings are gorgeous! And {{{{hugs}}}} for your journey. Happy Blitz Day!

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  11. Your post moved me, Julia, and I'm grateful you shared it. Your words - and your art - are lovely…. Take care!

    Stopping by from the Blitz!

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    1. Thank you so much for coming to visit and share your time, Madeline.

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  12. I am visiting your blog from the blitz team courtesy of DL Hammons. I am so sorry to hear about your struggle with cancer, I had tears in my eyes as I read this post. I send you and your family my very best wishes.

    Enjoy the blog blitz!

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    1. Thank you, Suzanne. I send you my very best, too! I am glad you are part of the team.

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  13. I hope you're still doing well with NaNo. Hopefully the fact that today is your Blitz Day (thanks to DL Hammons' Blog Blitz) will bring a smile to our face. Words fail me when I think of your situation, you are so brave. Good luck.

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    1. Yes, it is quite a surprise! Thank you so much for your kind thoughts, Tim, and your visit!

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  14. Julia,

    I followed you over here from Katie's blog because I loved your article. You sound like an amazing person, and your art really speaks to me (I'm an oil painter myself).

    Take care of yourself as best you can. I'll send prayers to you, and your family.

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    1. Hi Katie,
      I would love to hear about your own writing experiences!
      (The post you mentioned, for anyone who wants to visit Katie Doyle's great blog: http://writingreadingandlife.com )

      Take care, and good luck in all your work.

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  15. Hi Julia,
    I too am a triple negative breast cancer survivor (so far) so we are pink sisters in a club that I wish had no other members. It's been 3 years since my diagnosis and although the fear of recurrence is still there it is now overpowered by an absolute love and appreciation for this life, a gift many do not experience to the same degree as those of us who know it may be cut short too soon. With your art and writing you touch so many people who in return will send you their love and support! I pray your recovery continues to go well.

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    1. Vicki, I am sending you all the strength I have.

      Yes, it is a hard club, with astounding requirements...

      Your words are wonderful, that "the fear of recurrence is overpowered by an absolute love and appreciation for this life" - you are right, and I am, dare I say it, happy for you, and for me, that we get to feel this, even as we go through all the rest.

      Much love, and some tears,
      Julia

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  16. Your artwork is amazing. Happy Blitz Day!

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  17. Your pieces are beautiful.

    I'm sorry you have to go through this. But I'm glad you're near enough to Boston because they offer so much for cancer patients. My husband used to work at Dana Farber.

    I'll be thinking of you.

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    1. Yes, Dana Farber is a truly beautiful phenomenon, and I am grateful every time I go there. Thank you, Theresa.

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  18. I hope today finds you well and happy! And also, you kicked butt in NaNo! Even if you didn't reach 50K, you still wrote more than anyone else who didn't participate

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  19. 27,000 words is brilliant. You've got 27,000 more words than when you started - every word counts

    Good luck with your treatment.

    And Happy Blog Blitz Day!

    Chippy

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    1. Thank you, Chippy! Although some of those words will surely be deleted... Perhaps, if I'm lucky, to be replaced with better ones?

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  20. Your perseverance is inspiring Julia! Hang in there, and I'll be pulling for you!

    Oh...and you've been BLITZED! :)

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    1. Wow, have I ever! What an intriguing idea. Kudos to you for having imagined this!
      I'll sign up for the next round, now that I know you are doing this.
      Take care,
      Julia

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  21. Beautiful, beautiful paintings, Julia. And congrats on the 27,000 new words! You've beat my by about...um, 27,000 new words. It's been a EditMoNo for me.

    Radiation and chemo, blech. The only good thing about them is that they're getting you healthy. Good luck with all of it, and I hope your little one has a ball in France!

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  22. I love the art you posted! And I hope the treatment goes well!!

    And Happy Blog Blitz Day.

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  23. Hi Julia,
    I've just discovered your blog thanks to DL Hammons' Blitz. I'm so sorry to read about your cancer and I wish you the best as you continue your treatment. Your paintings are gorgeous and I'm so glad to meet you. Take care.

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    1. I'm glad you joined in, and thank you for your kind wishes.

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  24. Your paintings are lovely. I am meeting you through the Blitz today and I just wanted to say that I'm sorry you're dealing with cancer. I hope your trips to Boston feature many audio books and a whole lot of cancer killing. Sending my very best your way, today and in the coming days.

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    1. Thank you, Corinne - I'm reading Malarky now, and am very impressed by it. Good reading to you!

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  25. I love your paintings. Beautiful! Here's hoping the treatments do their job--not the one to make you sick, but the other one. Chin up, and thank you for the hopeful tone of your blog post. You're a light, lady.

    Oh, and you've been blitzed.

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  26. I discovered your blog through DL Hammons' Blog Blitz. I'm glad I did. The artwork s beautiful. I hope your treatments go well and that you have far more than a few years left in this beautiful world. I'll keep you in my thoughts, and perhaps I'll drop by from time to time to check out your blog.

    Happy Blitz Day!

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    1. Thank you, L.G. I hope we both get to appreciate what is here for many years to come!

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  27. I hope everything goes well for you Julia. Have a great week.

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  28. Congratulations on your 27000 words - it's better than none at all. I'm sorry to hear about your situation - I can't imagine how you feel right now.
    The paintings are beautiful, by the way.
    Happy Blog Blitz

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    1. Thank you, Laura. The writing kept me busy, at the very least!

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  29. I'm here early for the Blog Blitz. We've heard what you're going through, and there will be a whole buncha people showing up with well wishes, and I kinda wanted to put myself where you could see this just so I could send a hug. I can't imagine how frustrated you are with chemo, and how painful and scary and honestly BIG everything is for you right now. But I really believe there's someone out there watching and loving you--big and beyond us and the loved ones who don't know what to do or say with all the things you're going through--and I hope that no matter what happens, you'll find yourself safe and happy and warm in his arms at the end of everything. I don't know you, but I believe in you! I believe you can beat this. There's a beauty inside you that's flowing out through your paintings, and I hope that hope and beauty helps keep you going and seeps through you and heals you--and that you keep going anyway when that reservoir inside you dries. May it never dry out--may you feel refilled and strengthened every day. God bless--really.

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    1. Petre,
      Thank you for your kind thoughts and words. It really is an avalanche of thoughtfulness, and I thank you and everyone who has stopped by.

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  30. I'm so impressed that you're getting in a steady word count. Looking forward to your YA dystopian post. Happy Blitz Day!

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    1. Thanks, Sarah. The YA dystopian post was fun to write and think about - a great distraction!

      The post is over at:
      http://writingreadingandlife.com/2013/11/29/guest-post-8-point-dystopian-plot-formula-julia-gandrud/

      Take care,
      Julia

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  31. You amaze me. You really do. Always stay strong.

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  32. 27,000 words is an amazing feat. During last year's NaNoWriMo, I only managed about 14,000.

    Your artwork is lovely!

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    1. 14,000 is nothing to sniff at. Good luck in your writing.

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  33. I lost a woman who was like my sister to breast cancer one year ago. Another of my friends is battling it. I have a 17 year old student fighting osteosarcoma. I am amazed at the strength and courage of the human spirit. To say nothing of what the human body will endure in an effort to survive. Bless you for being positive and encouraging in your battle. I'm praying you win it.

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    1. This is not easy, this daily work of dealing with cancer, no matter what end of it we have been touched by. And I agree, it is stunning what the human body and spirit will do to stay around. In many ways, it is easier with having children, because I do it for them. Otherwise, I may have stopped months ago.
      Take care.

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  34. Happy Blitz Day! Keeping you in my prayers. I hope you win this battle.

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  35. I love your painting. It's beautiful. Stay strong and hopeful. I hope you beat the cancer. I really, really do. I'll lend you what strength I can during this trying time. Peace to you and your beautiful family.

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    1. Thank you so much, M. I appreciate your generous thoughts!

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  36. What beautiful artwork. I'm so sorry you're sick, but I'm sure your positive attitude and the support of your friends and family will help you lick it! Kia kaha (be strong).

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  37. your paintings are beautiful. You are very talented. Happy Blitz Day!

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  38. Beautiful paintings, and your words really touched me. Thank you for sharing, and congratulations on tackling NaNo!

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  39. Boston has some awesome hospitals and doctors. I hope you do well with the treatments there. Painting, when you're able, might help to take your mind off of it. I'm an amateur artist, though my media of choice are colored pencils and markers.

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  40. Happy Blitz Day. I'm sorry for your trials Julia but it's great that you try to look on the bright side. I'm glad you were picked among the two blogs to be blitzed today, your story is inspiring. Also congrats about taking part in Nano. Even though I'm kind of one of the 12,000 people.

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  41. DL Hammons asked us to come by and offer support, and we will all most likely do our very best from here in the blogosphere. Sometimes this can be difficult - do we let our hearts speak for us - do we, in an effort to be caring, say all the wrong things, or do we read your post, see your sorrow and sneak away without a word. I hope we say the right thing - and wish you all the best - health, healing, and love. That prayers and blessings are sent your way and meant from the heart as you take this very lonely journey through the valley - with the assurances that virtually we are with you in spirit and with love and hope for the very best! At least that is what this visitor is doing.

    Another blogging friend Shannon is going through her own terrible journey - please check out her blog if you haven't already - she is inspiration magnified. Her name is Shannon E. Kennedy and her blog is Green Monkey Tales at http://greenmonkeytales.blogspot.com/
    I am truly wishing you all the best - especially a very quick healing!

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  42. Julia, considering everything you've been through, I'd say that word count is a big win for NaNo.
    Keeping you in prayer.
    And happy Blitz Day.

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  43. Your paintings are gorgeous, and your story is moving. My best wishes to you.

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  44. Your art is beautiful. And my heart goes out to you and your family. There's not really much I can say, except I'm rooting for you and I respect and admire you for your strength in what you've had to go through.

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  45. Hi Julia! It's great to meet you. I wish I could give you a big hug for what you're going thru. I can only imagine the ups and downs like you say. And missing your baby like crazy. But here's a big cyber hug anyway.
    Your artwork is gorgeous. Keep writing and creating. It really does soothe our souls.

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  46. Your paintings are beautiful!

    I'm stopping by from the Blogger Blitz run by DL Hammons, and just wanted to say I'm very sorry for what you've gone through, but it seems that you are appreciating the great parts of life and trying to make the most if it as well.

    Wishing you all the good health you can get! xx

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  47. Robin, I'm glad I only have two children, as I don't know what a third ingredient would do to us...

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  48. Positive thoughts and vibes coming your way. Take good care of yourself.

    BAZINGA!

    Happy blitz day!

    Heather

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  49. Love the paintings. It is nice to meet you. I am here to wish you a Happy Blitz Day!

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  50. Hi Julia -- I'm Julia as well! And I'm also doing NaNoWri Mo. Glad to hear you were able to write in the midst of all of your treatment and taking care of family. No wonder your emotions are all over the place. Sending ((hugs)) across the blogosphere.

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  51. Your art is wonderful. I am also writer and painter and I think they are both amazing ways to relieve a lot of what we carry inside. My prayers are with you. From the blog blitz group.

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  52. Lovely paintings. Sounds like you've found the key to healing. *hugs*

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  53. Beautiful pictures! Happy Blitz Day to you!

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  54. Julia--this isn't an easy path to walk. It's an emotional seesaw between hope and fear and hope again. I think the thought of what it does to our families also add to that seesaw.

    What I really like about you on this journey? The positive I see? You're dealing with the scary of now but...have you noticed? You're still stepping forward into the future with your writing and painting. That shows your spirit. Don't ever discount the strength of those steps on the this battleground you're fighting with such courage. That spirit can make all the difference in the winning. Seriously.

    Btw, I love your grazing Rhino!

    Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers and sending more positives to give you the winning armor to win!

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

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  55. I can't even imagine doing NaNo and chemo simultaneously. I can barely handle NaNo and motherhood. Sending healthy thoughts your way! Happy Blitz Day!

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  56. Sending you healing thoughts on your Blitz Day! :)

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  57. Hi Julia, After going through all the treatments with my husband, I'm pretty sure I know what you're going through. I wish you the absolute best and will be thinking of you and sending good vibes your way. Oh, and Happy Blitx!

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  58. Technically, it's still Friday, so I didn't miss your blitz... I'm just a wee bit tardy. Good for you on the number of words your got in for Nano this month. On top of dealing with chemo and radiation, you still managed to get more words down than most people ever do in a month's time. Hang in there. Your attitude will go a long way to seeing you through. Remember: cancer is a word, not a sentence. It's nice to meetcha.

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  59. Hullo Julia!

    Hope things start looking up for you - all the best with your treatments and hope you managed to do well for nanowrimo!

    Happy Blitz!

    anna
    Deeply Shallow

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  60. Hello, Julia! Your paintings are beautiful. You're going through a difficult time, but it's wonderful you're writing and creating...giving the world your beauty every day. You're in my thoughts and prayers. Keep it up with your NaNo novel, too, woohoo!! :)

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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  61. Hello! Hope you're having fun getting Blitzed! I wish you all the best with your writing and your health.

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  62. I'm pleased to meet you through the Blitz. I'm sorry you're going through this, but from what I've read you have a wonderful spirit and passion for what's important in life.

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  63. Let me start by saying this:
    Your artwork is absolutely breathtaking! There's just something about it that sets me at ease.
    I have two little ones right now, and I spent my first overnight (and out of town) away from them. The oldest is six and the youngest is one and a half. I was absolutely beside myself with worry, though it was completely irrational. Hopefully you get to talk with the wee one over the phone/web/Skype/something!
    Many prayers for you on the road to recovery! It sounds as though you have a wonderful support system. <3 I look forward to reading more posts from you...
    Blitzer,
    Ren

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  64. Well done with NaNoWriMo; I've had to give that up since having my son! Your pictures are gorgeous. I can't even imagine what you're going through, but know that the blogosphere and the universe is rooting for you. Much love x

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  65. Loving the art :) happy blitz day

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  66. Hi Julia, also popping in from the Blitz! I love your artwork! And I hope that the trips to Boston weren't as draining as I imagine they were/are.
    Suzanne @Suzannes Tribe
    xx

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  67. Hi Julia. This Blog Blitz message is coming to you all the way from sunny South Africa!
    Your paintings are gorgeous! And 27 000K is something to feel proud of!
    You are amazing! Stay positive!
    Writer In Transit

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  68. I'm sure your Emile's cher grandparents will love having him around and he'll enjoy being spoiled rotten. My inlaws are French, too and our family's been living here in France for ten years. The Maternelle will be a lot of fun for him. I'm sorry about the struggle's you and your family have had. I was directed here by DL as well and I'm so impressed by your artwork and your attitude. God bless!

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  69. Rough time, but you are handling it with so much grace!
    Happy Blitz :)

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  70. Those are lovely pictures. I hope you are surviving the chemo, and life is settled down some during the holidays.

    Be well and happy. Great NaNo stats :)

    ........dhole

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  71. What gorgeous paintings! I pushed through the NaNoWriMo challenge this year too. You're doing great! Sending you strength. :)

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  72. Hi Julia,
    Nice to meet you. I'm on the Blitz team. but so hopelessly behind on email I'm always late.
    I'm sorry to hear of the valley of the shadow of death you're walking through. Please know there's an entire community of folks who truly care and I will be praying for you.
    I think that you even attempted NaNo is a victory in and of itself! Good job.
    Your art is gorgeous.
    My kids are baking soda and vinegar, too only I never thought of that analogy and I'M NOT STEALING IT. They are 14 and almost 17 and still just as explosive as when they were 3 and 5...only now something usually breaks instead of just screaming and hitting each other...sigh. Parenting is a grand adventure.
    I've never battled cancer, but I have multiple chronic health issues and a handicap parking plate as a result. I do have some idea of the relentlessness of unpleasant treatments and sitting on the sidelines of life, while hugging our precious family close and praying for more time. If you want someone to talk to, feel free to email me. My email is tndowney at gmail dot com.
    Tina @ Life is Good

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  73. Hi Julia. I came by your blog as part of the BLitz from D.L. Hammons. I am so glad you were included as we have something in common, namely Cancer. While I am not a Cancer patient my life certainly had been changed by it. I have lost my brother, mother and father to this horrid disease. I am planning to write a book one day called the other Cancer survivor, talking about my experience on the other side of the table.

    I am very interested in your Dystopian themed blog and intend to add you to by blog roll so I can keep up with you. I will add you to my prayer list and pray for healing, comfort, strength and peace.

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  74. Hi Julia. I'm a day late for blizt day but I still want to wish you well and tell you your paintings are quite beautiful. Keep writing.

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  75. Julia, the blitz led me your way and I'm glad it did. The whole blitz gang was a major comfort to me back in July when I lost my wife unexpectedly. I hope they've been a comfort to you as well. I've lost too many loved ones to that heartless 'C' and I pray you kick it clean out of your life.

    I also do a bit of painting even though I'm lacking in talent. I do better with words, but I enjoy both. Keep at it when you can. They'll be heirlooms one (hopefully far distant) day, priceless and cherished by those who treasure you.

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    1. Hi Jeff,
      I'm very sorry you lost your wife. It's amazing to me how many of us are touched by this illness.

      I am very happy that painting brings you something, as it does to me. Sometimes, it's like the crazy wonderfulness of life opens the door for me during that time, and lets me marvel.

      Although sometimes it's just an exercise in frustration and confusion, I have to admit.
      Take care.

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  76. Happy Belated Blitz, Julia! I hope it brightened your day! :)

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  77. That's 27,000 words more than you had at the beginning of November, so you win!

    You've been blitzed!

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  78. I'm late for the blitz, but I wanted to stop by and wish you a very Happy Blitz Day!

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  79. Popping by on the blitz. May you find the strength to endure in the health realm.

    Come on by for my Countdown to Kitschmas ~

    http://thriftshopcommando.blogspot.com/2013/12/countdown-to-kitschmas-day-1.html

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  80. {{hugs}} to you and happy belated BlogBlitz day!
    Those are gorgeous paintings, are they yours?

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  81. Hi Julia,

    Wow. It's been so many years since I've had any contact with you. I am so saddened to learn of your cancer and the state of affairs you must be enduring. Please know that you, your little ones and Laurent are in my prayers.

    I have enjoyed reading some of your posts and will read more when I am not so tired. So good to learn more about you and your life, your art and writing. I enjoy your work.

    Love,
    L.J.

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    1. Thanks, L.J. It's nice to hear from you.
      I hope you are still enjoying your own drawing, or whatever artistic form you may have moved into.
      I wish you and your family health and happiness!
      Take care,
      Julia

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