Thursday, December 31, 2009


Friends are stronger than darknessImage by gilderic via Flickr

We spent Christmas with my brother and his lovely family.

We left their home and their company on the 26th, to Eastern Texas, to our second home.

Big boy has been obsessed asking his dad and I about our friends from each stage of our life.

We were sharing with our kids about friendship and the different friends we've made along the way.

I told him about my elementary school friends, some of whom I am blessed to still be friends with as we have continued our friendship through life. They have shared my best and my worst. Our lives have moved to different directions, but we still have that special connection of knowing each other for more than three decades.

I also shared that I made beautiful friends during my ballet years. I haven't seen them, but I hold them close to my heart.

Then we moved to Law School friends. Dh and I share many from those years as we went together to Law School. My dear friend Tere now lives in Spain and my dear friend María José lives in the same city, but family life has gotten in the way of us meeting more frequently, although we love each other dearly.

We talked about some of their friends' moms, whom have become friends of mine. We have shared watching our own children grow and blossom. We share many values that we want to pass on to our children and friendship helps.

We arrived home. There, on our mailbox, was a little box for me. I opened it and I found a beautiful angel ornament from my dear friend Sharon. Even though the lateness of the hour, I still had to share more about my friends with my children.

I have met the most amazing women and men through grief. The death of my own children placed me in a sub-culture no one wants to belong to. I was to reach out in pain and met the most wonderful people on earth.

I had to talk about my MISS friends. I am blessed to have met many of them. Still, I haven't met - face to face - most of them. These are the most compassionate, loving people you could ever meet. We have shared the worst pain we have experienced and we are there for each other. We would willingly through ourselves into the pit of sorrow, to cyber-hold each other hand and slowly and gently get out of there to face another day.

Together, we have learned to take one day at a time, sometimes, just remember to breath in and breath out.

We have learned to live life again, even amidst the pain. We have learned to laugh and enjoy our time on earth the best way we can.

We share grief and rage and happiness and memories. But most important of all, we share our beautiful children.

I know I have said this before, but I am honored beyond words to have met these great children through the eyes of their loving parents.

It was time to go to bed. The children were yawning and tired.

Thank you, thank YOU my dear friends for making my life better. Thank YOU for filling it with love and compassion and grief and joy. Thank YOU for still being there for me, after all these years.

Thank YOU Sharon, this post is dedicated to the beautiful memory of smiling, gorgeous Shelby.
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Sunday, December 13, 2009


one lit candleImage by max's pixs via Flickr

Yesterday, my godson received his first communion. His parents celebrated their 11th wedding anniversary.

Eleven years ago, I was not able to attend their wedding. I was left in the US, waiting for my baby to leave my body by her own. The doctor decided that it was safer to be nearby in case I went into labor.

As we were celebrating as a family to joyous occasions, I could not help traveling through memory lane.

My husband came back for his brother's wedding and my mom traveled to be with me in case I needed to go to the hospital.

That day the genetic specialist called and gave me our diagnosis. I needed my dh to be by my side, and I couldn't tell my mom what I had learned.

I was my baby girl's tomb and life seemed not worth living.

As I wrote on my last post, I survived the pain and the sorrow, and eleven years later I am a better person because of my dead children.

Today is National Children Memorial Day: a worldwide event to remember all those precious children that died before their time.

No matter where you live. Please lit a candle at 7:00pm so during 24 hours, all around the world, candles burn in memory of the children that are loved, MISSed and that make this world a better place to live in.
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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Time goes on... and so does life

death and life are the same mysteriesImage by massdistraction via Flickr

Eleven years ago yesterday, I woke up in the middle of the night with the gut feeling that my baby had died.

One week before, we had a successful ultrasound. The baby was healthy and thriving. Its little heart was beating fast and we were ecstatic.

I remember waking up my husband and telling him that I knew the baby had died. I had the urgency of picking up a name: for a boy, José Luis; for a girl, Carlota.

He told me to make an appointment for another ultrasound as soon as the doctor was open, and so I did. At 1:00 pm, we found out that our baby had died. She measured exactly the gestational age she was supposed to be.

In a blur, I went home and packed, and my husband made reservation to fly as soon as possible to our US doctor.

Today, eleven years ago, our worst nightmare was confirmed: our baby died. She had a neurotubal defect that claimed her life.

We spent together the next 20 days. I was not ready to let her go, even though I knew she was already gone. During those days, we had so many tests and exams done, that most of our time was spent at the hospital.

Finally, on December 22, I decided to have surgery to end my pregnancy.

I never got to see her or hold her. Her little body did not survive spending 20 days dead, nor the surgery.

We later found that she was a girl: thus Carlota was named.

Nobody remembered her yesterday, except me and my MISS friends. I am used now to the forgetfulness around me.

My body remembered in a not-so-funny way. I came down with bronchitis and laryngitis a week ago. Our bodies always remember those horrible, tragic moments, even if our minds try to block it out.

Eleven years ago, I was sure I would not survive the pain and sorrow of loosing my baby girl and her brother and sister, in less than 2 years. I thought I would die of sadness....

... Eleven years later, I am a survivor. I enjoy life -most of the time- to be honest. I love those three children that were given to me to be raised, they feel my life with joy and wonder. I love my husband more than I did back then. I am honored to have known so many wonderful children, whose lives ended before their time, through their loving parents' eyes.

Sweet girl, you will always, always be loved and MISSed. No matter how long I live, I will always remember you. Thank you for choosing me to be your mommy, you and your siblings have been the greatest teachers one could hope for.
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

When in doubt...

La parabola del Buon Samaritano Messina Chiesa...Image via Wikipedia

There is a principle in moral and ethics that states: "when in doubt, don't act".

I have found to exceptions to this principle. Both in Canon Law, regarding the Sacraments of Baptism and Anointment of the Sick.

If there is the slightest possibility that the person who will receive the Sacrament is dead, it is better to administer the sacrament instead of not doing so.

I believe that the same exception applies to compassion.

If you think that the person needs your support, please reach out. It is better to be told not to do so, or that there is no need to be compassionate, than leave a needed person alone.

When working with bereaved parents, we are trained to watch their body language and look for the signs to approach them in a more personal level.

In my experience, a hug is always better than leaving them alone. If you are not comfortable hugging, maybe you could reach out squeezing their arm or patting their back.

When in doubt, never, ever leave someone in pain by themselves.
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Center for Loss and Trauma - MISS Press Release


November 16, 2009

CONTACT: Dr. Joanne Cacciatore: 602.574.1000 or Katherine Sandler: 480.861.7511

MISS Foundation Helps Traumatized Families in the Center for Loss and Trauma

Phoenix, Arizona (November 16, 2009) --- The MISS Foundation, through the Center for Loss and Trauma, is opening their doors to help families suffering traumatic loss. Traumatic experiences traverse culture, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, religion, and region. No one is exempt.In the midst of such psychological despair, there is a sense of grief that cannot be explained or described or captured or contained.

The Center for Loss and Trauma is one place where compassionate psychotherapy, counseling, and research can occur, as well as the bridging of vitally important supportive resources to help families in need. Located in North Phoenix, this unique center specializes in providing services to those affected by traumatic experiences, death, grief, and various types of loss. The Center for Loss and Trauma also serves military families, those coping with the death of a child, bereaved families, those affected by natural and mass disasters, victims of crime, families going through divorce or separation, and those suffering reproductive losses.

The mission of center is to C.A.R.E. for the most vulnerable members of society by providing highly specialized, expert counseling to those affected by traumatic loss; advocatingwith others so they may find hope, healing, and happiness in the aftermath of trauma; providing a place where compassionate research can occur; and educating individuals and society at large about the experiences of the bereaved. Dr. Joanne Cacciatore, LMSW and CEO, is a researcher and an expert family and individual therapist in the field of traumatic death and bereavement. James Jones, LMSW, is a Vietnam veteran and specialist in PTSD. Kathy Crowley, LCSW, has extensive experience working with individuals with chronic illness, abuse, and family stress.

The Center for Loss and Trauma also houses the MISS Foundation, a non-profit family bereavement organization, which offers free services to bereaved parents and siblings.Psychotherapy is provided on a sliding scale basis to those in need.

Dr. Cacciatore passionately explains, “Society’s only appropriate response is offer unconditional support and compassionate care so that one day, having been upheld and cared for, those who have suffered from such trauma can reach out their hand to help another. It is the only way to truly heal."

For more information or to schedule an appointment at The Center for Loss and Trauma, please call 623.979.1000 or visit us online at For information on the MISS Foundation’s services, please visit and the MISS Foundation’sPSA can be found at

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Center for Loss and Trauma - MISS Press Release

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Survivors of Suicide, November 21, 2009

Inconsolable Grief, by Ivan KramskoyImage via Wikipedia

I follow some blogs.

Many relate to grief, parental loss, the struggle of everyday life, parenting, art, cooking and crafts.

I love to read what my friends share with me. This is taken from my dearest friend Kara, Kota's mom.

Suicide leaves a lot of unanswered questions inside the loved ones of the person that couldn't take his/her pain anymore and decided to end it. I am not talking about ending his/her life, I believe that those that attempt suicide just want their internal pain to stop, one way or another.

I am a survivor of suicide. A dear family member killed himself when I was 11 years old. Obviously, the fact that he had died by his own hands was kept from me until I was 18 years old. That was when my world shattered for the first time. I loved him dearly and I know he loved us more than life itself, so you can imagine that I couldn't comprehend why he killed himself. It took me a lot of grief work (repressed for 7 years) and a lot of therapy to make my brain understand the why's and to let my heart forgive him and the rest of the family for his death.

If you or anyone you know are survivors of suicide loss, please take into account the following information:

On Saturday, November 21, 2009, simultaneous conferences for survivors of suicide loss will take place throughout the U.S. and internationally. This unique network of healing conferences helps survivors connect with others who have survived the tragedy of suicide loss, and express and understand the powerful emotions they experience.

Each conference site is organized locally, but they’re all connected in spirit as participants across the globe watch a special 90-minuteAFSP broadcast together on that day. In the U.S., conference sites will show the broadcast together from 1-2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and international sites will show it from 1-2:30 p.m. local time. Many conference sites plan their own local programs around the broadcast, including panels and breakout groups, all aimed at helping survivors heal.

For those survivors of suicide loss who don't live near a conference site or who find it difficult to attend in person, the 90-minute broadcast will also be available live on the AFSP website from 1-2:30 pm, Eastern Standard Time, with a live online chat immediately following the program. It will then be saved on the website so that survivors can watch it again throughout the year at anytime. For more information see the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:
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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Butterflies & Dragonflies

Cairns Birdwing, the largest butterfly in Aust...Image via Wikipedia

The tragedy of child death leaves the family in a profound chaos.

It doesn't matter the age of the child at the time of death or the cause of death. Each family member has to work hard to redefine him or herself, to find their new role within the family and to find a way to survive.

Little by little, as the first months go by and the emotional anesthesia draws away, the bereaved parents search for new ways to reconnect with their dead child... maybe because they are not ready to say good bye, maybe because love trascends death.

Paraphrasing Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, death is the final liberation from the cocoon, the butterfly is free to open its wings and fly away.

It is curious how bereaved parents, from different cultures and from different parts of the world, identify the presence of butterflies - and in some cases, of dragonflies - as special visits from their dead child.

I know that for many strain from the subculture of parental bereavement, this idea is completely deranged, but who are we to judge how a parent copes with the death of their beloved child?

Wouldn't it be more compassionate not to judge and appreciate the beauty that nature offers?

Every time you see a butterfly near you, with its beautiful colors, imagine that someone who is not physical presence is saying hi.

When you see a dragonfly, with its transparent wings and its color body, flying erratic nearby, think of a kiss someone special is sending you from above.

Open your heart and close your mind for a bit... remember: love is stronger than death.
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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October 15th - Infant and Child Death Awareness Day

There is no greatest tragedy than the death of a child.

The terrible reality of child death is one that many families experience everyday. It does not matter the circumstances of death and the age the child had at time of death.

That family is facing the horror of burying their child. We are used to believe that our children are supposed to survive us, not the other way around.

My older children died before their time. For a long time I believed that I was alone in my grief. Those close to me, turned their eyes away at the sight of my tears. My world had stopped, why everyone wanted me to move on?

One sleepless night, while surfing the Web, I found the most compassionate woman I have ever met: Dr. Joanne Cacciatore. She grant me permission to translate some of her writings. That is how I came in touch with The MISS Foundation.

I have been given the opportunity to reach out and give back the support I received back then, in my early grief.

I have been a MISS Volunteer for the past 11 years of my life. I found my MISSion: I am the voice of those three little babies that died before their time.

I am thankful to all those families that have allowed me to walk with them through their grief journey. I am honored to share their most intimate feelings and thoughts. I am honored to meet their children through their loving parents' eyes.

I am thankful for the MISS Foundation for letting me give back. I am thankful for the wonderful people I've met, my dear friends Kara, Janice, Debbie, Lissy, Wendy, Kerrie, Tracy, Lorri, Rhonda, Karin, Sinead, Tazzy, Vicki, Sharon, Shanon, Kelli, Anna, Michele, and so many others.

I am thankful to Dr. Cacciatore, for having the strength to reach out after tragedy stoke her hard.

I am thankful for Chey, for sharing her special mom with the rest of the world.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

MISS-ing Ingredients Cookbook deadline extended

GREAT NEWS: The MISSing Ingredients Cookbook Deadline Extended
MISSing Ingredients: A Re-member-ing Cookbook
MISS is creating a hard cover re-member-ing cookbook, and we need your
recipes and memories/dedications in honor of your children to be a part of this publication.
The original deadline has been extended. We don’t know for exactly how long as we have secret celebrities who have also agreed to participate. We are excited to report that these special celebrities who are sharing their recipes and dedications AND we also have additional sponsors, which allows us to make a bigger and better cookbook!
100% of the proceeds to benefit MISS!
For those of you who have already submitted your recipes and dedications in the last couple of weeks, THANK YOU!!
And for those of you who submitted your recipes a few years ago, send me an email. I did receive a list of those recipes, but I want to be sure that I have yours.
Take a look at the MISSing Ingredients Cookbook Cover designed by Kara Jones,
There is NO FEE to submit your recipe and memory!!
Recipe Submission Instructions:
2. Enter WEB ID: 13500-09VA
(a password is not required)
3. Click on "Short/cut Online"
4. Select (2) in drop down for # of parts in multi-part recipe
5. Select menu category from drop down
6. Enter Recipe Title
7. Enter Ingredients
8. Enter Recipe directions in Method section
9. Title your Memory in the Part 2 Subheading
10. Skip Ingredients section of Part 2
11. Enter your dedication in the second Method section
12. Hit Submit
(the software isn’t designed to provide a confirmation, if you have a question as to whether your recipe was received
Frustrated, confused, it just doesn't make sense???? Email your recipe and
You can PRE-ORDER your copies now! Cookbooks will be mailed directly to you!
Cost of cookbook: $15/copy + $5 s/h
(100% proceeds to benefit MISS Foundation)
For additional information and downloadable PDF flyer here:
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Monday, October 5, 2009

Busy blogging

California Institute of TechnologyImage via Wikipedia

I haven't been here to write lately.

The school I work for is getting ready for the case the AH1N1 virus hits hard again and has all of its teachers blogging.

We are blogging about the subjects we teach. I have been busy transferring my teaching notes into those blogs my students have access to.

In fact, last Friday and today, my students presented exams after studying the contents of my subject in my blog.

Honestly, I have enjoyed some of it, but I've missed being here and blogging about something and nothing in particular, instead of writing about what I am supposed to teach in a classroom.

So I hope I'll have more time and share with you some of my past experiences, because this is more personal and honest than writing about school subjects, don't you think so?
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009


WaterwayImage by paul.derry via Flickr

Dh and I spent a weekend away. The kids spent that time with my parents and apparently they had a blast.

It was so difficult for us not to talk about the kids while away, trying to relax. We are so used to talk about the children that we forget to share our thoughts with each other.

Daily routine takes over our lives. We hardly have time to check with ourselves, that we forget to check with our partners.

We enjoyed our time together immensly.

We ate out, enjoyed each other's company, but always with that shadow that indicated that someone is missing: our kids.

We are back now, and at least I, feel refreshed. I needed a break from school, homeworks and daily obligations to face them with love and energy.

Thanks dearest husband for taking me away for a few days.

I love you dearly.
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Monday, September 21, 2009

Generation Next?

teenagersImage by Feuillu via Flickr

After the first subject I taught today, my students had a lecture with some guys from "Emprende México".

I was hoping I was going to be able to get off as soon as the lecture started, but the principal's assistant said that I had to stay with my girls for the length of my class.

I stayed, thinking to myself what a waste of time it was, and thinking of all the things I could be doing instead.

I stood up at the back at the class as these guys began their presentation. I suddenly realized that I had taken a seat and that they had a lot to say. And that what they were saying was quite interesting.

They were trying to motivate my students to become their better selves, no matter what they choose to do after finishing high school. The key word here is "choose".

Then, the speaker began telling them what sociologist named their generation.

This is where I took the title for today's reflexion.

This generation is called "generation next". Why?

Because nothing that they have or do is good enough. They are waiting for the next thing, the next job, the next relationship to be better. They are not willing to work hard on what they have to make it better. They are not willing to take care of their property, because they hope that the next one will be better. Not best, just better.

I was astounded of what I was listening. And surprised myself when I noticed myself nodding.

During my ride home, I was thinking: is this why there are so many divorces around? Because they are waiting for the next partner to be better, not even the one?

What are we teaching our teenagers? Are we teaching them that people are not things? That relationships are worth the effort?

Are we setting an example? In which way?
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

It is cold!

Heavy Rain ShowerImage by AlmazUK via Flickr

We are only in the middle of September, and the temperatures are dropping by the minute.

We've had a lot of rain since the beginning of the month, which is OK because we were not getting enough water, but since the rain began, summer ended.

As in the rest of the world, we are expecting a resurge of the AH1N1 virus to join the already dangerous seasonal flu virus.

The kids go to school so early in the morning that I feel sorry for them. I hate them leaving when it is still dark and when is so cold as today. I hope they don't get sick. It breaks my heart to see them feeling miserable.

Lets hope that the temperature rises a little bit before fall begins. If it doesn't, we may have a horrid winter.
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Monday, September 14, 2009

The difference

A teacher writing on a blackboard.Image via Wikipedia

Have you ever wondered why some countries have excellent education and others don't?

I believe that a very important part of the teaching process are the teachers.

I know that good students will do great wherever they are.

The difference between a good teacher and a bad teacher in a school setting is palpable. A good teacher will make his/her students become their better self. A bad teacher will not inspire his/her students to soar. They will just be happy to pass the subject and forget about it.

I have been a teacher for almost 19 years of my life. I have been teaching High School, Law School and Law in a Master's Program all those years.

In my Country, teachers do not make a lot of money. It is mainly the gratification to be able to share one's knowledge with others and what we learn from our students what matters.

Today, I got my first paycheck. It is an embarrassment for all paychecks.

I knew the money was not going to be much. But I feel insulted, having a Masters Degree, to get paid so little, less that $200.00 USD a month.

I spend 8 hours per week with my students. But for every hour I teach, I have to work a couple of hours at home.

Just a rant...
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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Love and Marriage

Magical White WeddingImage by ronsho © via Flickr

Yesterday, a dear friend of mine got married.

We weren't able to attend, but I was there in spirit, be sure of that.

This beautiful lady - inside and out - is full of love. The love she has for her children is palpable. The love she feels for her second daughter, Cheyenne, made her reach out to others through her grief and founded The MISS Foundation.

I am honored to know her five children. I am honored to know her. I am honored to call her friend. She is like a sister to me.

I know that D will make her happy. Who wouldn't be happy spending the rest of his life with such a caring, loving, compassionate lady?

Dearest Jo, may you and D find in each other your soul partner, may your lives be full of love and happiness. I love you dearly.
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Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11

The pre-9/11 skyline of Lower Manhattan, Augus...Image via Wikipedia

I think anyone who witnessed the attacks to the World Trade Center Towers in New York City will never forget.

We were at home, getting ready for our days. Our baby boy was a few months old and he was playing in his floor mat. I was already bathed and dressed. My dh was taking a shower. And we had the tv on.

At first, we saw fire on the tower. I was watching the news as they showed the second plane hitting the tower. I told my husband and he said that it was probably an accident. I believe we all thought that at first.

The truth was too horrible to be true.

I had support group meeting at 9:00am. So baby boy and I left. We continued to watch the tragedy on a tv that was on at the cafeteria we held our meeting.

The world we knew will never the same from that day forward.

Today, I hold those that lost family and friends on the attacks close to my heart. May they find the comfort and strength to live without the physical presence of their loved ones.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

The MISS Foundation announces...


Calling all MISS parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends! Two new MISS Fundraisers are about to be launched, and we invite you to participate and please send this email to others and post it so that others may also participate!

First up:

MISSing Ingredients: A Re-member-ing Cookbook

MISS is creating a hard cover re-member-ing cookbook, and we need your
recipes and memories to be a part of this publication. The first 200
recipes and memories entered will be published.

Deadline for all submissions Monday, October 5, 2009,
unless the 200 maximum is reached prior to that date.

There is NO FEE to submit your recipe and memory!!

Recipe Submission Instructions:

1. Visit
2. Enter WEB ID: 13500-09VA
(a password is not required)
3. Click on "Short/cut Online"
4. Select (2) in drop down for # of parts in multi-part recipe
5. Select menu category from drop down
6. Enter Recipe Title
7. Enter Ingredients
8. Enter Recipe directions in Method section
9. Title your Memory in the Part 2 Subheading
10. Skip Ingredients section of Part 2
11. Enter your dedication in the second Method section

Frustrated, confused, it just doesn't make sense???? Email your recipe and
memory to:

The cookbook will be available for purchase and delivery in December, 2009, just in
time for holiday gift giving.

You can PRE-ORDER your copies now! Cookbooks will be mailed directly to you!
Visit the MISS Store at:
Cost of cookbook: $15/copy + $5 s/h
(100% proceeds to benefit MISS Foundation)

For additional information and downloadable PDF flyer here:

Second up:

heARTwork for the Holidays- Home Art Fundraiser

MISS, in partnership with, is hosting a
heARTwork Home Art Fundraising campaign. Your heART creations are
transferred onto items like notebooks, coffee mugs, aprons, ornaments,
pillows, tote bags, laptop stickers and more. MISS receives 35% of

You create art on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper, send heART and product order
form and check made out ot the MISS Foundation to either your support group
facilitator or to Kids Kreations by Friday, October 26, 2009. Your art will
beautifully transformed into a forever keepsake.

- Just is time for the holidays-

We invite both children and adults to explore one of the following themes:
What does your life look like now?
(new normal since the death of your child)
When I think of you...

Or... make a keepsake from your beloved child's footprint or handprint
(must be scanned and saved on disc as a graphic file like a jpg)

You can make artwork on your own or host a heArtwork night for your entire
MISS chapter.

All art and order forms must be submitted by Friday, October 23, 2009.

AND we are offering a challenge to each of our MISS chapters: The chapter
that sells the most heARTwork items will win credit towards scholarships to
the 2010 MISS Foundation Conference.

Have questions?? Call or email Kathy at 480-861-7511 or

For additional information please download full information flyer here:
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