Tag Archive 'uterine cancer'

Aug 27 2012

The Big ‘SEE’: Ten Eye-Opening Lessons Learned From Cancer – #95

My diagnosis of uterine cancer over 3 years ago created an ‘emerge and see’ situation, forcing me to emerge to a higher perspective and see clearly what I needed to do to save and enrich my life. Cancer, like any life calamity, is a wake-up call. It opened my eyes in many profound ways — that’s why I call it The Big See! Here are the top ten things cancer has helped me see more clearly:

1. I see that it’s natural to feel fear about cancer. Cancer is scary. When I try to rise above my feelings, that just positions me better for them to bite me in the butt. Feelings deserve to be heard and honored. Instead of sitting on my feelings, I sit my feelings on my lap like a child and let them speak to me. Once they’re held and heard they start to relax and move through. Emotion is energy in motion.

2. I see that even though my mind always told me that I’m the biggest scaredy cat in the world, what I’ve actually discovered is that I am someone who has the courage to be present with my worst fears, one breath at a time. We have more courage and spirit than we know. When first confronted with adversity, it can seem that life has turned on us; but instead it has turned us ON! It has turned on the big, bright, luminous light of our soul, igniting our courage and strength, inspiring us to put on our big soul panties and deal with it.

3. I see that my experience with cancer has catapulted me into the here and now, helping me to value this moment and cherish life. With time possibly limited, I am motivated to deeply immerse myself in the present moment, savoring it like delicious candy, and to my great delight, time has stretched like taffy into a sweet eternal Nooow!

4. I see that when worries are nipping at my heels, that’s a reminder to take a deep breath, surrender, trust, and ease into that state of grace place where everything works out. Being in a state of grace is being in the flow where synchronicity occurs, coincidences happen, just the right people, books, and events present themselves, and things work out better than I can imagine. It is the realm of unlimited possibilities. It is my “Trust” fund, which I have access to at any time.

5. I see that when our world is blown apart, we are freed from the safety and inertia of the familiar, and are challenged to make changes, take risks, and follow our hearts desire. Cancer has transformed my “someday” dreams into “today is the day, now is the time.” There are many stories of people whose illness has completely healed once they started following their bliss and living a purposeful life.

6. I see that my ego and my soul have very different agendas: my souls passionate agenda is to learn and grow and evolve my consciousness, while my ego’s agenda is to have fun and avoid suffering. When cancer came a calling, my ego wailed in a Mr. Bill whine, “Oh Noooooo. Not another learning opportunity!” My spirit said, “Oh Yeah! Another opportunity to grow! Bring it on!” My ego moaned, “We are in deep doodoo!” My spirit exalted, “Rich compost, yay!” Ego scolded, “Now we’ve gone and done it…our fear has drawn the cancer to us!” Spirit exclaims, “Cool, cancer! It will help us come face to face with fear, feel it fully, and make friends with it!” Ego wants to run for the hills and be safe. Spirit wants to fly like an eagle as high as it can go, fully experiencing life, including fear. In times of crisis our frightened ego may feel like the sky is falling, yet our awakened spirit remembers, “I am the sky.”

7. I see that my thoughts can create heaven or hell, depending on where I’m choosing to dwell. I choose to see that cancer has composted a rich and fertile soil for me, from which is sprouting creativity, inspiration, love, and learning. It’s a fertile time or it’s a shitty time; same substance, different attitude.

8. I see that when I focus on deep breathing it boosts my immune system, activates the lymphatic system, triggers the relaxation response, and energizes and enlivens me. When I’m fully breathing, I’m fully alive. When I’m shallow breathing, I’m shallowly alive. As Elizabeth Barrett Browning said, “He lives most life whoever breathes most air.”

9. I see that as I’m facing my fear of death, I’m embracing it, rather than bracing against it. Leonard Cohen wrote, “If you don’t become the ocean you’ll be seasick every day.” When I come into harmony with all that floats and flounders about in my ocean, I am at peace. AND, since what you resist persists, maybe now that I’m no longer resisting death, it won’t be persisting!

10. I see that Love is the answer – loving my family and friends, loving what is, loving all my feelings about what is, loving myself for not loving what is. It’s all about love. The energy of love is tremendously healing, it boosts the immune system, and it just plain feels good. The word ‘heal’ literally means ‘to become whole’. As I love every part of me, including cancer, I become whole.

For me, cancer created a rebirth that’s grabbed me by the ankles, turned me upside down, and spanked me vividly alive! I’m seeing the world through brand new baby eyes. Cancer has been an illuminating, eye-opening, I-opening Big See!

How about you – in what ways have your life calamities opened your eyes and enriched your life?

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

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Aug 13 2011

No Hurry, No Worry – #77

Years ago I saw a movie in which a busy, stressed-out woman was diagnosed with terminal cancer and, understandably, she was terrified.  She started working with a Chinese doctor who taught her the healing power of relaxation and told her to repeat the mantra, “No hurry, no worry.” She said those words often and followed his healing regimen and was eventually cured! Those words have stayed with me over the years and I often say them to myself whenever I feel stressed. “No hurry, no worry.” Or, as my teenage niece says, ”Chillax!”

There’s a direct correlation between stress and illness, especially cancer. We all have cancer cells in our bodies and a strong immune system is what keeps them from multiplying. However, STRESS SUPPRESSES THE IMMUNE SYSTEM, and in some people this allows cancer to grow out of control. Stress also creates an acidic condition in the body, which cancer thrives on. In addition, stress creates inflammation, another dangerous breeding ground for cancer and other illnesses.

When I think about what probably most contributed to my having cancer, the answer is stress. Many years ago I was aware of how much tension I had in my body – I noticed a habitual clenching, particularly in my stomach and pelvic area. I had the thought, “If I ever have health problems, this is where it will be.” Sure enough, three years ago all hell broke loose down there, starting with a ruptured, necrotic, gangrenous appendix, the worst my doctor had ever seen, followed by the discovery of uterine cancer, and finally recurring uterine cancer.

Since stress turns off my immune system, in order to heal I know I need to relax. I can hear a frantic part of me imploring, “RELAX OR DIE!” But it’s hard to relax with a cancer diagnosis – while tension is a precursor of cancer, it is also a natural reaction to it once you have it. Therefore, I am diligently committed to cultivating a relaxing path of “No hurry, no worry”, which includes meditation, exercise, visualization, and trusting that I am loved and guided and right where I’m supposed to be.

Lately, I’ve added a new refrain, “Viva La Vagus!,” in celebration of the amazing vagus nerve. (I’ve been singing the Elvis song, Viva Las Vegas, in my head all day!) I’ve recently learned that the vagus nerve activates the immune system, and deep, slow, abdominal breaths activate the vagus nerve. I was alerted to this when my brilliant scientist friend, Peggy LaCerra, wrote on Facebook, “When people are panicked because of an illness, I tell them to simply take 10 VERY DEEP breaths repeatedly throughout the day because, when we breath deeply, the diaphragm drops to the bottom of the thoracic cavity. The vagus nerve – the main ‘neural cable’ of the parasympathetic system runs through the diaphragm muscle. When the diaphragm drops down and then rises and drops down and rises repeatedly, it stimulates the vagus nerve and initiates a shift back to a parasympathetic state.” The parasympathetic state triggers a relaxation response and activates the immune system, helping our bodies heal, repair, and renew.

I’ve since been researching the vagus nerve and found that taking the deep, slow, abdominal breaths that trigger it promotes healing in numerous ways: it oxygenates the body (cancer hates oxygen), creates alkalinity in the body (cancer is said to flourish in acidity and wither in alkalinity), helps control obesity (which is another risk factor for cancer and other illnesses), reduces inflammation, makes our lymphatic system work better, improves memory, fights depression, lowers blood pressure, enhances brain and heart activity, purifies our blood, aids digestion, rejuvenates our skin, and reduces pain. Deep breathing delivers a wealth of health benefits! And it’s completely FREE! I just need to remember to do it!

The healing power of breath is not news to me. After all, my e-mail address of the last ten years has been JanBreathe, because I wanted to remind myself to breathe. I’ve also studied breath work with breath master Gay Hendricks, and learned well the importance of conscious breathing. Yet…I forget, I go unconscious and revert back to my old habitual shallow breath.

But now, knowing that the best chance I have of completely healing from this life-threatening illness is having a strong immune system, and knowing that deep breath triggers the vagus nerve which in turn triggers the immune system, I’m all about breathing deep, slow breaths all day, every day! I want to live, and, also, it just plain feels good! What I’m finding as I’ve been focusing on deep breathing is that it energizes and enlivens me. When I’m fully breathing, I’m fully alive. When I’m shallow breathing, I’m shallowly alive. “He lives most life whoever breathes most air.”-Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

I can see where early in life I unconsciously adopted a life strategy to breathe shallowly as a way to blunt my feelings. The flaw in that strategy is that shallow breathing contributes to stress, tension, illness, anxiety, depression and more things to feel fear about. Fully breathing is committing to being in my body and feeling my full aliveness, including being willing to feel all my feelings.

One of my favorite cartoons shows in the first frame a man sitting at a desk with a blank look on his face. In the second frame his eyes are wide open and he looks vitalized and excited. In the third and final frame he once again has a blank expression. The caption reads, “Herb has a brief but intense near-life experience.” As I breathe deep, slow breaths throughout the day, I’m having a prolonged and intense near-life experience! I’m feeling invigorated and calm at the same time.

Being a multi-tasker, when I can remember, I add a smile to my breathing, (stimulating healing endorphins), and say the words “I love you” (activating healing oxytocin). As an added bonus to all the health benefits, I’m finding that focusing on deep breathing is an instant portal to the present moment. That’s the place I want to be.

“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

I say a big YES to fully breathing and being fully alive, fully in my body, AND fully healed! I’ll breathe to that!

How about you? Are you committed to fully breathing and being fully alive? No hurry, no worry – just take some deep, slow breaths and join me in a spirited chorus of “Viva La Vagus!” Here’s to a stimulated immune system and a stimulating life!

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

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Jul 11 2010

Best of Jan’s Juicy Nuggets – Issue #55

Last Wednesday I was interviewed about my cancer journey on Pamala Oslie’s weekly radio show. Pamala is a high caliber psychic and author in Santa Barbara who receives my newsletters, felt inspired by them, and wanted me to share some of my learning with her listeners. I was nervous but also thrilled to think that sharing my experience and tools might help people. Being of service helps this whole thing make sense to me, it makes it all worth it. Tom was there at the interview as well and got to share some of his learning and experience living with a loved one with cancer.

Prior to the show Pam asked me to make a list of some of the things I’d be most excited talking about. I reread all my newsletters and culled from them the juiciest bits. Here are some of those juicy bits. (Most of them were covered in the interview. Below is a link to the archived tape of the interview if you’d like to listen to it).


I first found out I had uterine cancer just before my 60th birthday. Having something growing in my uterus at the time of such an important birthday made me wonder, “What wants to be born into my life?” I realized that I had been stagnating — I’d done the same work for 27 years and was no longer inspired by it. I’ve always wanted to do inspirational writing. That was my dream. I would tell myself, “Someday I will write.” Cancer kicked my ‘someday’ into ‘WRITE NOW!’ It shook me awake and compelled me to take a risk and live my dream. That’s when the newsletter was born. Have you given birth to your dream?


As someone on a spiritual path, I believe that life is all about soul growth and all about love. I see this cancer growth as a growth opportunity and I want to get the most growth I can from it! I’ve asked myself, “What can I learn from this cancer? What wants to be loved here?” I see the tumor as an energy blockage. How am I blocking my energy?  I realize that the belly and pelvic area of my body have sometimes been unloved parts of me. I haven’t brought a lot of breath and awareness to the area. I’ve felt shame about some of the bodily functions there. I’ve also blocked chi energy there by clenching in fear. I am now breathing fully into this area, ventilating it with healing energy. It has got my full loving attention. Is there a part of your body and emotions that you haven’t loved?


The Buddha talks about the two arrows of suffering. The first arrow is called primary suffering — it’s when we have a physical pain or an emotional pain, such as the loss of a loved one. The second arrow is called secondary suffering and it is self-inflicted when we react to the primary pain with resentment, resistance, distraction, or wallowing in victim energy. Those reactions lock the pain in. This has been a challenge of mine, to not get sucked into contractive victim energy. Finding ways to free myself of secondary suffering and move into expansive energy has been my life work. Are you trapped in secondary suffering? The following are valuable tools I’m using that might be helpful for you as well.


Since I found out last week that the chemo and radiation treatment didn’t eliminate the cancer, I’ve felt scared and sad and have been having many a “good” cry. A good cry is when I feel the energy fully and allow it to pass through, without putting spin or story on it. This allows it to move through quickly, like a rain shower, and I feel clear and cleansed afterward. A “bad” cry is when I’m circling the drain in a sad story, in a tailspin, like a dog chasing it’s tail of woe, round and round I go, and ‘poor me’ down the drain. A bad cry is very draining!


Sometimes I am gripped by fear. When that happens I move toward the fear by bringing my awareness to my body. I notice where I’m feeling the fear, such as shallow breath and a tight stomach. Then I name the feeling, saying, “I feel scared.” No spin, no story, simply, “I feel scared.” I begin to breath more easily. (This works with anger and sadness as well).

Next I bring loving kindness to the fear, my compassionate witness talks to the fear, saying, “I know that you’re scared. It’s okay to feel scared. This is scary. I’m here with you. I love you. I’ll take good care of you.” More breath and more expansion happen. I’m now ready to TAG myself, affirming Trust, Acceptance, and Gratitude and I expand even more.


One of my greatest learning in all this is to accept that this is what’s happening. Accepting isn’t giving up, it’s coming into harmony with what is. It’s letting go of the contractive energy of regret and resistance (secondary suffering), and coming into the expansive energy of surrender. That expansive energy leads to a state of grace where guidance and solutions appear. It’s a state of flow where everything I need comes to me. It’s a state of wholeness and oneness with all that is. It’s a state of being where healing can happen. The words healing, health, holy and wholeness all have the same root.


Singing, dancing, laughing and smiling creates endorphins, enhances the immune system and puts us in an expansive state. Reverend Michael Beckwith says that praying and playing are the same energetic. Chinese healer Chunyi Lin advocates that smiling generates healing love energy. He has a great acronym for SMILE:  Starting My Internal Love Engine.

Play is also a powerful shift tool when we’re stuck in negative patterns. When I notice my cynical attitude is taking over, I play with it! I give it a name, Cynny, and I exaggerate her grousing, I let her rip! This brings her out of the shadows, into the light, into wholeness, and I expand into the playful, prayful state of grace. Plus, it’s just plain fun!


Knowing that my time here may be limited has galvanized me into the present moment. I want to be fully alive while I am alive, fully here and now. I’m seeing the world through present-moment baby eyes, brand new, drinking it all in. Tom and I look into each other’s eyes, really seeing each other, feeling the eternity of the present moment. When I find myself thinking about the future and worrying, I affirm, “Present moment, only moment.” When I’m fully in the present, time actually expands and it’s beautiful. In truth, right now is all there is. I am here now.

It is such an honor and so gratifying to me that you are reading these newsletters and that they may be of help to you in some way. It was a thrill to be on the radio, for the same reason. I truly feel that I am right where I’m supposed to be. I am doing my soul’s work. This moment is perfect just as it is.

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen


Here is the link to the radio interview http://www.netbriefings.com/event/auracolors/Archives/radioshow/index.html

You can also access it by going to Pamala’s website, Auracolors.com, click on Radio Show, then Archives, then Podcast.

There is a wealth of other wonderful archived interviews with fascinating people such as Kenny Loggins, Gay and Katie Hendricks, Dr. Bruce Lipton, Swami Beyondananda, Mike Dooley, Dan Millman, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Terry Cole-Whitaker, Ceasar Millan and many more. I listened to several yesterday as I was getting a blood transfusion (for severe anemia) and it put me in an expanded state. Pamala is very personable and an excellent interviewer who brings out the best and the depth in people.

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Mar 20 2010

Hand in Hand with my Big Soul Self – Issue #46

On Thursday I consulted with alternative Dr. Issel in Santa Barbara about my recurring uterine cancer. I told him that 3 months ago my gynecologist didn’t feel any mass inside me, and now I have a tumor bigger than a golf ball. He was alarmed that it had grown so large in such a short time and said I needed to do something immediately. Even though he favors an alternative approach, he said this is like a train and it needs to be stopped. He suggested that chemo and radiation might stop the train, at least temporarily. And then do the alternative. PANIC!

I’d been straddling the fence between alternative and conventional, but this pushed me over. Toxic poisoning be damned, I’ve got a train roaring up my butt! Tom got me an appointment the next day to get a PET CT scan (he found a relatively low-priced one in Ventura). That is the first step that needs to happen before we can proceed.

This week I also saw Pam Oslie, a trusted Santa Barbara psychic, and she told me she saw the little girl in me who was scared and unhappy with life and didn’t want to be here and wanted to go Home. I’m well aware of her, I have always had one foot out the door. As a child the world seemed an unfriendly place with a cold, critical mother and a distant father. Even though I am so happy now in my life with Tom, and despite all the work I’ve done on this, that part of me still exists.

Pam said I needed to convince little Janny that life is good now and we want to be here…or else little Janny is going to go Home and take me with her. She’s a powerful little thing! On my wall I put a picture of myself when I was two years old with my round baby face and wispy blonde hair. Next to it I put a picture of Tom when he was two. Little Tommy is looking over at little Janny with a twinkle in his eyes and a sweet smile on his face. Janny looks like she’s been crying, she looks mad, sad, and scared. I look at her and say, “Look who’s next to you. He’s really nice and fun. He really loves you a lot. He’s taking good care of you. He wants you to stay and be with him.”

Yesterday while driving with Tom to get the PET CT scan, Janny was nervous, terrified of clinics and hospitals, she would rather die than go to those scary, pain inflicting places. My big soul self takes little Janny by the hand — we are going through this together. In the waiting room I held her in my lap and kept talking to her. “I’m here with you, I’m taking good care of you. I won’t let anyone hurt you. You can trust me. It’s okay to let yourself feel scared, or mad, or sad. I’m not afraid of your feelings. You can feel anything you want.”

The nurse who was performing the scan was nice, her name was Janet like mine, and her middle name was Lee also like mine. (Turns out that our fathers had a thing for actress Janet Leigh). As she was about to inject the material into a vein in my hand, Janny clenched in fear. I talked to her, “This is a nice lady, she’s here to help us.” Feeling a slight prick, “There, that wasn’t too bad, was it? We can do this.”

I imagine that the solution that is coursing through my body is friendly, is here to help me. I know that how I think and feel about something affects me more than the thing itself. If I imagine it as toxic and fear it, then that thought will make it more toxic. If I imagine it as healing and helpful, it will be received by my body in that way.

I was then led into a warm, small, dimly lit room and laid down on a comfortable cushy chair and told to relax for 45 minutes not moving as the potion moved through my body. I held little Janny in my lap, imagining that healing light was filling us and surrounding us. “This is nice, isn’t it? Peaceful.” This was a time to really talk to her. Thinking of sweet Tom in the waiting room I said, “Look who we’re with, a wonderful man. And we’re having so much fun with him and he loves us just the way we are. We’re learning so much together. We have fabulous friends, and live in a beautiful place. Life is really good now. We’ve found our way to a safe and happy place.”

As I’m lying there a fart escapes me, and little Janny clenches in a fear and shame reflex. What if the nurse comes in and smells it!? Hearing my mother say “Ish.” I learned to feel embarrassed and ashamed about this part of my body and have always been downtight (maybe the lack of chi and life force in that area has contributed to the problems I am now having). I say to Janny, “That was so good that you let that out! Good girl.” I smiled, imagining angels applauding. Little Janny started to relax on my lap, breathing softly, then farted again. The angels cheered and applauded wildly.

Janet Lee comes in and leads me to the CT scan where I lay down and with arms over my head I surrender and am slowly rolled into this box. I close my eyes, afraid of tight spaces, I’m in a bit of panic. I open my eyes and see the top is just inches away. It feels like a coffin. (Note to self: Cremation). Breathing slowly, I become my big soul self, holding this scared child, loving her, talking to her gently and sprinkling us with healing, shimmering white light. We actually relax and almost nod off in this enveloping box.

After a half hour, Janet Lee rolls me out and sends me on my way, telling me, “Don’t go near little children for the rest of the day, since you’re radioactive.” I smile to myself, walking out hand in hand with my little girl, glowing as I reconnect with my beloved Tom in the waiting room. This was a healing experience for me.

I meet with my oncologist on Wednesday and he will tell me the results of the scan. Has this spread to other parts of my body? I am scared. I don’t know if I’m going to do chemo or radiation or alternative treatment. I do know that I will be immersed in my big soul self, embracing and loving little Janny, loving my fear, loving this life, and letting in all the love that is coming my way. Thank you all for your love and support.

Is there a part of you that could use a hug right now? Breathe into your big soul self and embrace all your wounded little ones, as we love, hug, and heal ourselves into wholeness.

In Love,
Jan Jacobsen

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May 06 2009

Family Legacy – The Amazing Relay Race! 5/6/09 Issue #11

Last night I had a dream that I was at my grandmother Signe’s house with my husband Tom. She wasn’t home. Tom and I were in her bedroom, laying on her bed, talking. I was feeling scared that my grandmother would come home and find us on her bed; I was afraid she might think we had been “doing it”.

Suddenly, I heard her enter the house, walking quickly down the hall towards us. Startled, we guiltily jumped out of bed. I tried to smooth the covers but they got caught on me and instead I pulled them off. Busted! She stood at the doorway looking at us. She was not smiling. I told her, “We weren’t doing anything.” I knew she wouldn’t believe me. I felt a sense of shame, like I was bad and had done something wrong.

My grandmother Signe (long deceased) has been in my consciousness lately; I’ve been writing a story about her and her mother, my great-grandmother, Johanna. The story is focused mainly on Johanna. There is an intriguing family mystery involving her. She came to the United States in 1881 from Sweden, a pretty young girl in her mid twenties, and worked as head laundress at the Vanderbilt mansion in New York. She became pregnant out of wedlock and family rumor has it that the father was possibly one of the Vanderbilt sons. (This has never been confirmed.)

Johanna moved away and gave birth to the baby, my grandmother Signe. She lived in secrecy about who the father was. In those days there was a great stigma about having a child out of wedlock. I’ve been wondering lately, is there a legacy of shame in my family that got passed down either genetically or behaviorally or both? I know that my mother had a shame-based attitude. I have also felt the terrible weight of shame in my life; as a teenager I became deeply depressed and suicidal, feeling that I was bad, and that I would never be loved. Shame is more than the feeling that we’ve done something wrong; it is the feeling that we are something wrong.

As I’m exploring this, I’m wondering if an inherent imprint of shame around sexuality could have been one of the factors in my having uterine cancer? My mother also had uterine cancer. It is not unreasonable to think that blocked energy in a part of our body makes that part susceptible to disease.

Sometimes I imagine that I am helping to heal this ancestral legacy of shame. Maybe the work that my ancestors didn’t finish, I can help finish; as if I am in a relay race, carrying the baton forward. Carl Jung has written about this:  I feel very strongly that I am under the influence of things or questions which were left incomplete and unanswered by my parents and grandparents and more distant ancestors. It often seems as if there were an impersonal karma within a family which is passed on from parents to children. It has always seemed to me that I had to answer questions which fate had posed to my forefathers, and which had not yet been answered, or as if I had to complete, or perhaps continue, things which previous ages had left unfinished.”

I awoke from a dream 20 years ago with these words resounding in my mind, “All you have to do in your whole life is to love yourself. That is all you have to do.” The shame and deep depression that I’ve felt in my life have galvanized me over the years to focus on learning to love myself, every square inch of me, the inside and the outside, the upside and the downside. I feel like I have made great strides in that direction. In the past I often felt the impulse to hide myself, as if to conceal my imagined ugliness.  I now feel compelled to reveal myself, to be completely open, honest, transparent, and self-accepting.

My great-grandmother Johanna had tremendous strength and courage to sail to a foreign land, to have a child out of wedlock, and to keep and raise that child. I like to think that strength and courage are also part of our family heritage. Two psychics have told me that my grandfather Charles (Signe’s husband) is nearby and is sending me love.  It is comforting to think that I am being watched over. As I carry the baton forward, facing, revealing, and loving all of who I am, I imagine my ancestors cheering me on from the sidelines.

Do you have a family legacy?  How is your amazing relay race going?

 In Love,

Jan Jacobsen


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