Beauty in the Ordinary

This is not about being brilliant, or extraordinary, it's not about wanting to be famous, or making headlines, or trying to impress...this about sharing a 'gift' each day with the lift the spirit of people when they read this blog, to show them the beauty in the ordinary.
"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." Raold Dahl

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Bread and Memories

Clever Cro at Cro Magnon has a post today all about beautiful, artisanal french bread.

It started me thinking about memories and how powerfully they can control how we live our day-to-day lives.

My earliest memory of bread is wonderful.  While visiting my paternal grandmother on Canvey Island just outside of London, my cousin and I would often be sent on the early-morning errand to fetch the breakfast loaf from Nanny's local bakery.

Denise and I would arrive to the aroma of warm bread being taken from the oven, and then we would carry the hot, crusty parcel home in the brown-paper wrapping, all the while sharing a freshly-made jam-filled doughnut given to us by the baker.

It's a memory filled with great love given me from my extended family; wonderful smells of sea air and warm loaves, and the taste of that crusty, butter-laden breakfast toast that the bread would be turned into when we arrived back at Nanny's house.

Because of this memory, I have had the pleasure of enjoying bread all my life.  Hunting it down, baking it, sharing it, eating it.


Cancer...that memory is painful, ugly.  It gives me a bitter taste in my mouth and a hard muscle contraction right in the middle of my chest.  In recent sessions with the psychologist, I've come to understand that my earliest experience of the disease is warping how I should be reacting to my husband's current condition.  

My dad was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was twelve.  He went through multiple operations and treatments over the next six years, finally succumbing at the tender age of 45, I was 18.

Fast forward to the past twelve years and I have kept vigil at the bedside of two young women as one died of carcenoid cancer and the second of ovarian cancer.  And then there was my sister, Lynne, just three years ago, another victim of breast cancer.

So now here we are with our current predicament of prostate cancer and this bitter-taste sits in my mouth all day long.  

But what I am learning is that it doesn't have to. 

I do have the power to change my reaction to this.  I'm working very hard to disassociate my current reaction from the memory of that young girl's of oh-so-many years ago.  To fix how I look at this cancer in the bright light of reality, not memory.  This disease is different, treatments are so very much better, and the prognosis is very good.

It's an ongoing task, and sometimes I fail miserably, but each day with the help of my friends, my sister Victoria, and especially my wonderful husband (yes...he's doing much better coping than I am!), I'm making great strides forward.

We can choose who we are.
It's a daily choice, and it's not always easy, but it certainly is doable.


  1. J - I'm reaching out my hands to you. You're so right. The treatment is getting better all the time. Our Christmas and New Year will be a bit of a struggle this year ..... but come the Spring ... the best is yet to be. Sending love back to you xx

    1. I'm thinking about you Molly, and yes, let's keep our eyes on the prize!

  2. This resonates with me as I dealt with 40 years of illness with my Mom and five cancers with my Dad. I have been made to realize by others reactions, that I view illness and death quite differently than those around me and at times my attitude scares the daylights out of my daughter.
    We are molded and shaped by experiences true.... but we are using non drying clay, if you will, we can always reshape it... <3

    BTW I am absolutely in love with that grey puppy.


    1. I love that OGM...non drying clay...let's keep ourselves as moving targets.
      and I've asked Santa for a puppy for Christmas!!! I doubt it will be the gray one, but I'll love it to bits anyway.

  3. Dear Jacqueline

    The image of you returning from the bakery with fresh bread and enjoying your donut is beautiful. On such occasions when I went to the bakery who was not so generous with donuts, I resorted to pulling a hunk from the loaf and mother always would say "there must be mice in that bakery, there is a hunk missing". Memories are powerful and I will keep you in prayer that you are given the strength to carry on in a positive way.

    Helen xx

    1. I'm a work in progress Helen, but moving forward happy to say.

  4. Sending encouragement and healing thoughts your way. Thank you for sharing these stories. Be brave and know that others care.


    1. every little good thought helps Sanda...thanks for taking the time...

  5. My childhood memories of bread are very similar. It was always me who cycled down to the bakery, bought the fresh 1 shilling loaf, and returned with one corner nibbled. It's probably why I am still obsessed.

    The husband of an old school friend of my wife's, is a renowned world expert on Prostate Cancer. When they visited this summer, he was VERY encouraging about its treatment. One of my neighbours was operated for Ovarian Cancer last week, I hope she's OK. It seems as if its blight is everywhere. My very best wishes to you both. Cro x

  6. I hope she's okay too Cro - that one's a bitch and a half.

  7. Wow! I take my hat off to you Jacqui. I lost my Mum to cancer when she was 49 and I was 24 and it still effects me to this day. The bitter taste never leaves me especially as I get older. You are braver than you realise Angel xx

  8. Only as strong as those that surround me Vanessa...thanks for the wonderful thoughts.


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