Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cupcakes, Cancer and a Cow

I got to see some good today!  And I'm pretty sure--as in positive--that the cow suit is responsible for the opportunity. Hooray Cow Suit!

My friend Paula Ames runs Cake Creations. She is a masterful cake artist who creates the most beautiful and tasty cakes and cupcakes you'll ever experience. Truly. Her creations ARE an experience.

On her Facebook page on Mondays, she asks her fans for nominations for her Tasty Tuesdays surprise cupcake delivery. She picks a different theme each week, and since I've known her, she's recognized teachers, first responders, law enforcement officials, kids with courage, and cancer survivors to name a few. Throughout October (which is known as breast cancer awareness month) Paula is asking her fans each week to help her recognize people in any number of cancer's insidious circles. 

Today's nomination request read as follows:

I would like to recognize the people who SUPPORT the people who have this awful illness. Not the doctors and nurses, but the friends and family that are always there, that drive to treatments, that make meals, that provide a shoulder....

Paula was set to leave on vacation today, so my cow suit and I got to make the surprise deliveries for Tasty Tuesday! I was supposed to pick two, but I begged her to let me pick three. She obliged.

Eben Curtiss
My first delivery of the day was to Eben Curtiss at Hawthorne Middle school. I went to Hawthorne middle school as a kid. Today's walk up the steps, despite the cow suit, was comfortable and familiar. I asked one of the young boys raising the flags to open the door for me and he only snickered a little bit as he beat me to the entrance. I love it when kids are courteous to the cow.

I checked into the office, and the secretary led me to Eben's class.  This is what I wanted to say about Eben that appeared in a nomination from his mom Kim and sister Tenly.

He has been the best brother a little girl could ask for! He never left her side for a minute! He has gone to every doctor’s appointment and MRI, and CAT SCAN. He held her hand for many pokey needles and endured a few hospital stays and being away from home- ALOT! He empties puke buckets and has helped change sheets and clothes when she couldn't make to to the bucket. He is a bit of a worry wart. Sometimes I feel the poor kid takes a back seat when things with Tenley get crazy and he has never once complained!!

Cupcakes may be small little tokens but they can sure bring some sweet sunshine and happiness to people dealing with the mess that cancer makes. 

BUT...as I was leading into it, I glanced up. I was afraid that I was going to make Eben too sad with all of those words, so I talked about how he shows courage and support and how embarrassed he must be to have a cow call him out in front of his friends. His class clapped and sighed and I encouraged them to show good to others like he has shown his sister.

A Hiccup for the Heifer
My second delivery wasn't home!!  I was so sad. I'm still so sad. Sad enough in fact, that I've written a card to the nominee (a cow card) and I'm going to tell her about my trek through Chubbuck, standing on her porch and ringing her doorbell in my cow suit while her neighbor was pulling out of his driveway. She has a child with cancer. 

As I was leaving her house full-handed with a dozen cupcakes, I was torn with what to do. I texted Paula--what are the rules? WHAT ARE THE RULES?  I'm a cow who sometimes struggles with freedoms outside the corral. She said, "do whatever you want."  I rolled my cow eyes at her.

As I was driving, names and faces of friends I've known for years flooded my mind. I was involved with the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life for over seven years with our team Cows for a Cure and then Ryleigh's Herd.  I thought of my entire team and their individual stories of supporting their loved ones through treatments, battles and losses. I was overwhelmed and couldn't make a decision. I thought about Bob. He'd love them and then I wouldn't be stuck in the judge's seat. 
My dog Bob admiring the maple cakes the night before delivery.
Patricia Barnhill
But then--because of where I was in Chubbuck--it hit me!  My pal Pat Barnhill! She lives just blocks away from where I was, so I called her.  
Pat and I in our coordinating autumn attire
a couple years ago on her birthday.
"Hi, Pat. This is Billie. Hey, I know you've got a book group today. Would you like some cupcakes?"


"Well, actually. I'm two minutes from your house, so I'll be in your driveway shortly in a cow suit with some cupcakes for ya. I'll explain when I get there."

Thankfully Pat already knows about and accepts me for my cow suit shenanigans so this wasn't too weird. Although I thought she could "use" the cupcakes, Pat is exactly a testament to what Paula hoped to recognize today.

At 85 years old, Pat has seen a lot of cancer. She herself is a survivor and her husband Ken died more than a decade ago from lymphoma. She was absolutely Ken's support, but the thing about Pat that makes her so deserving of today's treat is how she reacts when she hears of people she knows going through treatment. 

Pat always cooks a meal or makes a cake and rallies the troops. She no longer drives, and as frustrated as she gets about how that affects her , I know she feels great frustration because it's affected her ability to help and serve others. She still cooks, though, and finds people to be her courier. She makes phone calls and writes letters (old school, real, handwritten letters) to help and comfort however she can. She is relentless in reaching out and so are the ladies in her book club. 

Pat is also humble as all get out and she's probably going to scold me for all of this, but hey--at least I didn't use the picture I have of her in cow horns.

When I got there, Pat was still getting ready for her day & preferred
not to have her picture taken, so I snapped the room
where all of her book club ladies will be in a few hours.
Dr. Michael Callaghan
My final delivery today was to Dr. Mike Callaghan at the Portneuf Medical Center Cancer Center. Dr. Callaghan championed the development of a guest house for patients who have to travel for treatment. 

Look how Dr. Callaghan holds the box
so the pink in my ears just pops! Bam!
Although Paula's instruction for today's nomination was intended to "steer" folks toward supporters outside of the medical profession and focus on friends and families, Dr. Callaghan's efforts facilitate precisely that. With a guest house close to the cancer center, families can be together at times when they need to be the most. A high level of emotional support is critical in cancer care, and thanks to Dr. Callaghan and PMC's new guest house, more people can be the kind of support their loved ones need.
As I was finding a parking place, I noticed the campers
that some families still use while loved ones are
going through treatment. Especially in the winter months,
a guest house is invaluable.
Paula and Cake Creations do Tasty Tuesday to encourage people to think about and see the good in people. The good around us. The good in life. I'm usually pretty good at seeing good, but I'm grateful to Paula for lending me her Tasty Tuesday lens to see good a little differently today.

You don't need a cow suit...Go see something good! Go be something good!
(ahem) One of the business cards I was supposed
to remember to hand out today with my delivery.


  1. I am pretty sure I know who missed out on some yummy cupcakes. Thank you for trying. Sorry you missed her.

  2. How touching! We tend to forget those behind-the-scene-people who care for our cancer patients,,, Thanks Paula and Cow-friend for inspiring us to love on these people!

  3. Thank you so much for surprising Eben in your cow costume today! He said you didn't embarass him to bad! You made him smile and feel proud ;)
    I'm sorry your second delivery wasn't home to see the cow at her front door with a box of delicious cupcakes! She is so deserving of some yummy treats! I love her and
    I love your blog!! Total fan!