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I just finished reading a book that touched me on so many levels that I was compelled to write about it. This doesn't happen too often. This book left me laughing and sobbing uncontrollably at the end. It's a story about genuine friendship and coming of age, family and the mother-daughter relationship, and health. It chronicles the journey of a friendship from the 70s until the present and incorporates music (how powerful music is and can bring back memories in an instant). The book is Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah.

First of all, I have friends from different eras of my life. The high school friends (Saadia, Jen, and Carrie). The college friends (Kristina and Holly), the mommy friends (Barbara and Joy), the neighborhood friends (Cheryl and Robin) and then there are a few new friends who I anticipate I will remain friends with for a long time (Vanessa, Louise, Pam, Diana). I have found something special in each of them: their genuine nature; their ability to be compassionate; their love and acceptance of me for who I am. I can count on each of these girls for anything and their friendship has lasted the test of time. I am blessed to have these friendships. While reading this book I realized that each of these ladies has come into my life when I thought I was alone in this world and brought things to my life I didn't even know I needed. We all need special woman in our lives. To quote the author, " As I've gotten older, I've really begun to see how profoundly important we woman are to each other. Men and careers and even children can come and go in our lives, but our friendships are forever. " True friends are few and far between. Thank you friends for being my valentines.

Another theme of the book is about the mother-daughter relationship. The mother-daughter relationship is magical, complex, powerful, transformative. There's nothing like motherhood that makes us reassess how we were as daughters. Who we are in the present is colored by the differences in how our mothers raised us. That is definitely seen in the main characters in this book. One had a loving, slightly over protective mother and the other a drug addict who was never present for her child. I think back during my childhood and think about all the things my mother did for me. Yes, she was overprotective, but that was her loving me to the best of her ability. We will all mess up our children in some small way, but at the end of the day, it's love that really matters. She would play with me and never miss a birthday celebration. I don't recall too many mother-daughter heart to heart conversations, but I think that was the generation...a lot was left unsaid. I don't think I was a horrible or bad teenager either. I did what I was told and only wanted to please. I do recall one time when I was trying to assert my was prom and my Mom wanted to call the parents who were hosting the after prom party and I refused to give her their number. I just wanted some trust, but now I understand wanting to be protective and keeping your child out of harm. I have no idea if she ever found their phone number or called, but it felt good for me to refuse and stomp away. Afterall, I was leaving for college in a few months. I just want to thank my Mom for being a special woman in my life and for putting up with me. You made me who I am as a wife and mother. You are amazing!

The last theme in the book I wanted to discuss is health-related. I have my Master's degree in Public Health, so this is an important one for me. If I can help one woman look out for warning signs, I have made a difference. One of the characters in this book gets a rare, aggressive form of breast cancer called Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC). The character in the book was diligent about mammograms, breast self exams, and annual gynocological visits. She even went to the doctor for treatment of a bug bite on her breast and was given antibiotics. Unfortunately, what everyone thought was a bug bite was IBC. Symptoms of IBC may include redness, swelling, and warmth in the breast, often without a distinct lump in the breast. The redness and warmth are caused by cancer cells blocking the lymph vessels in the skin. The skin of the breast may also appear pink, reddish purple, or bruised. The skin may also have ridges or appear pitted, like the skin of an orange. These symptoms usually develop quickly—over a period of weeks or months. These symptoms can be typical of other things, like a bug bite so diagnosis can be missed. If you want more information about IBC please visit the National Cancer Institute.

Now, that I finished talking about the touching nature of this book. You are probably asking, "why the hell are you writing about all this on a jewelry blog?" Well, the only answer I can give is that this book touched my HEART and I wanted to share it all with you. It's a must read for the summer.

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