Simply Scrumptious: Harvest Salad

I just HAVE to share about the salad I made last night. Not only was it so delicious that we had it one day at a cafe and then two days later recreated it ourselves, but it is SO SO healthy! Low-fat? Check. Low-cal? Check. Low-sugar? Check. Bursting of flavor? Check. Multi-layered and multiple textures? Check, check. Full of antioxidants and nutrients?? YES! Man - it is the kind of salad that stands alone, is vegan/vegeterian/gluten friendly, and can be adapted year-round to incorporate seasonal flavors and options. The restaurant calls this a Harvest Salad. I spent some time last night while chowing down on said salad thinking about a good name for it... I can't come up with anything better! There are so many fruits and vegetables that "harvest" really is an appropriate name. It is the food that is in season, that has recently been harvested, that will satisfy any harvester's grumbling tummy. So, I shall stick with Harvest Salad.

After all this buildup, you must by dying to know - what is this salad?! Well here we go: quinoa (complete protein, low-cal, whole grain, gluten free super food!), roasted brussel sprouts, roasted butternut squash, toasted pecans (or any nut would work...we just only had pecans as Texas has a bountiful supply of them), crumbled feta cheese, chopped apple, diced bell pepper, and a truly heavenly avocado-cilantro vinaigrette. Wowza!! Yes, it really is as wonderful as it sounds.

My sweet friend Debby and I had this salad on Friday for lunch in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We split this one and another salad as neither of us could decide which to get... and this one was certainly the winner. We spent every bite discussing the combined flavors, the individual textures, and the overall deliciousness. We were still talking about it late into the night, and the next day, and the next day. So, we decided that not only did we HAVE to recreate it, but we owed it to the salad to recreate it. The result of the recreated salad? Heaven. Delight. Acceptance by even the more skeptical male members of our party.

So, here is my interpretation of the recipe. It should feed 5 people comfortably.

1) Prepare one cup of quinoa with two cups water. Put both quinoa and water in saucepan, bring to a boil, place lid on pan, and simmer until done. "Done" for quinoa means there will be a saturn looking ring around the grains and all the water will be gone. Takes 10-15 minutes. Set aside.

2) In 375 degree oven, roast butternut squash and brussel sprouts. The sprouts cooked faster so we did them in separate pans. The sprouts were cut in halves and tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper. The butternut squash was peeled, de-seeded, cut into cubes, and tossed in some olive oil, salt and pepper. When they are tender and a desired texture, they are done.

3) Dice a red bell pepper and an apple. Mix with 1/2 cup of feta. Set aside.

4) Toast chopped pecans in a small saute pan on the stove. I used about 2 teaspoons sugar and a few dashes of paprika with the pecans and then, when hot and a bit toasty, splashed a few squirts of worcestershire sauce. Set aside.

5) For the vinaigrette, I combined the following in a food processor: 1 cup cilantro, 1 large avocado, 1 clove garlic, 1 jalapeƱo, 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon honey, salt, pepper, and the juice of a lime. Blend well and then slowly mix in 1/4 cup of olive oil. Depending on the consistency, you could add a bit more oil.

6) Compile the ingredients. Simply mix the quinoa, butternut squash, brussel sprouts, apple, bell pepper, feta, and pecans together with the dressing. The restaurant garnished our salad with fresh chopped herbs and that was SO good - good option for future Harvest Salad makings.

So, now that you know the secret to the most delicious and satisfying salad, you too should go whip it up! It is simple yet wonderful. Enjoy!



The Recent Life of a Nomad

As I reflect back on 2012 and my accomplishments, experiences, mistakes and memories, I am realizing that for an entire year I was never settled anywhere. In the past 12 months, I have lived in an apartment, a friends house, my grandparents' house, my grandmother's house, and various places in between. Between west Texas trips, the bone marrow donation, thanksgiving, midland trips, two weeks in France and Christmas, I have spent many weeks living out of a suitcase and my car. My storage shed has gained items and lost items depending on where I was living and what season it was. I don't think that my suitcase has been unpacked for longer than a week since June.

With all this back and forth business, I am learning to fully embrace the old saying "home is where the heart is" as I do not have a place to call my own nor are there any prospects in the near future. I am getting pretty good at packing up my car and heading off to the next place on my unknown agenda. Really, the only thing keeping me from truly being a nomad is that I don't think nomads travel about with a fully packed SUV of stuff. They probably don't have a mixer, blender, tv, crockpot, entire closet, box of shoes, or filing cabinet with them at all times. But, in the sense that they move place to place and barely let the grass grow beneath their feet, I am totally a nomad. Not necessarily by choice or desire but by an openness to try something new, "find myself" and where I belong right now in this world, and be the best person I can where God leads me.

When I came out to marfa just about two months ago, I really thought it would be for a while - at least longer than two months. I expected to get settled, get a job in the local community, get a place where I could unload my stored belongings and just enjoy for a while before packing up yet again. I envisioned myself becoming very involved in the community and really never wanting to leave. After all, that's been my hope and dream for a long long time.

And, yet, here I am packing up my car once more, headed back to midland without a job and with the hopes to settle in, get involved in the community, make a name for myself. Yes - I change my plans a lot. But I feel good about this new direction and I feel really good about the way I have spent my past few months. Because I quit my job, I was able to really invest myself in the process of and healing after the bone marrow transplant. I was able to really enjoy making Lindy's wedding cake and the experience of being involved in her special day. I had the whole week of thanksgiving to spend with my parents. I was able to spend two weeks with my best friend in France and then all the time I wanted in Dallas for Christmas. There was no hurrying back to work between Christmas and New Year's Eve - just enjoying the holiday season. I was able to come to this tranquil place in Far West Texas for refreshment and prayer that I did not realize I needed until I was in the midst of it. Marfa has always been a place for me to rest my spirit and just BE so I have spent much time just learning how to be alone, to take a step back and look at my life, to be okay with backtracking a bit.

I feel good about 2013 and have a number of personal goals for this new year and new phase in my life. My spirit has been refreshed, my mind has been cleared, and I have been reminded of all the great people and opportunities in my life. Here's to a new year, a clean slate for us all and an excuse to change things up a bit.

Hugs from my Marfa porch,


C'est magnific!

Let me begin by acknowledging that I probably misspelled the title of this blog. It has been a number of years since I studied French and the spelling of words seems I have slipped my mind. That, and the fact that I followed my years as a French student with three years of studying and a number of trips immersing myself in the Spanish language. You'd think that after so many years of ieducation in two different languages, I would be able to speak in at least one of them! Alas, this is not the case. But, at least I have the jist of things whereas, had I been traveling in Asia or the Middle East, I would be a poor, lost foreigner with absolutely no idea what is going on. Scary!!

So here I am in the beautiful country of France, visiting my bet friend and college roommate (Rachel) for two weeks. Yes that's right - two whole weeks to be together and soak up that place that she currently calls "home". Our first weekend was spent in the German/France border town of Strausborg. What a delightful town! The buildings were colorful, the river wraps itself around the city center, and the cathedral was (naturally) breath-taking. The town has the oldest holiday market so there were decorations everywhere - even places you would not expect. There was quaint wooden market stands throughout the town selling local wines, cheese, meats, jewelry, goods and regional souvenirs. Our favorite stands were those selling vin chaud - hot wine that is a lovely and warming fusion of cider and sangria. For one euro, you buy a souvenir cup that serves as an economical way to prevent many cups being used on refills throughout your time in strausborg. Perhaps we should find such a method in the states to prevent so many styrofoam and red solo cups from only being used once? Just a thought...

In strausborg, we stayed with Julien - a professor for young students in history and geography. Julien was the most excellent host. He made supper for us two nights, went to the bakery in the mornings for fresh breads and pastries, made is coffees, and took us around the city. He imbibed in much wine with us claiming that he drank more wine that weekend than ever before in one weekend - and he's the French one! I believe that his fest experience with Americans was with us and I sure hope that it was worth his efforts and time. He was a wonderful friend and host and definitely won us both over.

I am, at this moment, snuggled up on Rachel's bed having just eaten some lunch. My book is calling out to me so I believe that I will take it to a cafe. So much more fun to read while sipping a boisson chaud (hot beverage??) and people watching. Nothing quite like it. But then again, I saw some nutella crepe stands that might be needing my tasting skills. We shall see where my feet guide me!

First, though, I must express the beauty and power of the cathedrals here. I have been inside cathedrals before but never with the free time and life experience that I have on this trip. Today, I was able to just sit in the Orleans cathedral and soak up te magnificence of such a structure. With the chorale Christmas music playing and the holiday decor, it was that much more breathtaking. One of my favorite books, Pillars of the Earth, did an excellent job in preparing my mind for experiencing cathedrals. The book illustrates the time, man power, talent and precision that goes into constructing a cathedral - especially considering that these were before modern calculators, cranes, and technology for easier and quicker building projects. Just sitting, with no talking, texting, or distractions around, one cannot avoid the pious history and the power of an all-knowing, all-seeing, and all-loving God. What a place to be.

Bon soir...for now!


my two families.

"I'm thankful because I have two families...and not too many people can say that."

The final line in one of my favorite shows, Chicago Fire, seems to nail exactly how I have felt for the last week. Well, really it's a feeling that I have been blessed to have all my life. But, it came into great perspective last weekend as one of my life long friends, Lindy, married the man we have all prayed for her to find. I can't really say that she found him, or vice-versa, as it was an act of God that they were brought together at the right moment. God's timing is so much better than our own. Sorry for the sidetrack....

Lindy is second of three children in her family - her older sister, Katie, is also a life-long friend and her brother John is the subject of many of my previous posts. I loved, and will always love, John whole-heartedly and enjoyed years of friendship and fun with him. Lindy has always been like a sister to me. I have preferred to think of her as a "soul sista" ever since she gave me a CD mix with the same title. It's such a true title as we are not related by blood but life, love, and similarities have brought us together. I love her like I love my sister. I want her to succeed in life, to love fully, and to receive the love that she deserves. Lindy and I have always been connected by our love for baking and eating baked goods. I helped her with her first wedding cake and recently was honored by getting to make her wedding cake (see picture!). We both loved John so much and dealt with the enormous lose that his death left in our lives. We are both the middle of three children and the youngest of two daughters - I like to think this plays into things :) Lindy is a very special person to a very huge group of people. Her husband, Michael, is one lucky guy to have won her heart. I look forward to getting to know Michael in the years to come and to see their marriage and relationship grow.

Okay, okay - back to the quote at the top of my post! I had to discuss Lindy to elude into the point of this conversation with myself. I have two families. Many people do not even have the blessing of having one family. Death, divorce, dramas - many reasons can lead to the destruction of a family unit. Unfortunately, it seems to be more common than I realized for people to be estranged from their families or those who love them. One lesson my mom recently taught me was that holding on to past offenses can ruin a future with someone. How sad and heartbreaking that people do this to themselves as often as the experiences of life separates families.

This is what makes the family unit so special and holy - it takes consistent effort and grace and love to keep the unit together, connected, and to not allow separation from something trivial, much less something major. Grace, kindness, and forgiveness does not always come easy. But, it is so worth the effort to have a group of people who love and support you standing around you, watching you live life, and cheering you on - despite the bumps in the road and in the relationships.

How do I have two families you might ask? Well, I was born into one wonderful, crazy, food-loving, movie-watching, and leisurely family. We enjoy being together - especially when chips and salsa or cheese and bread are involved :) Now that we are all of legal drinking age, it adds to the fun when we have some new wines to try or whiskey to sip on or maybe an eclectic selection of beer to sample. My family makes an effort to be together for holidays. We tease each other - and sometimes hurt feelings. We forgive, love, laugh, and encourage. Both of my siblings inspire me in different ways on a regular basis. My parents give me something to look forward to in marriage, parenting, aging, and retirement. They raised us on Christian values and live in accordance to the same lessons they taught us. My parents support our crazy plans and love us even when we screw up...and we have all had plenty of screw-ups. My siblings and I are very close to our cousins, Hannah and Kate. The five of us more resemble siblings than cousins, actually, and both sets of parents have been supportive, encouraging, and loving throughout our years. My grandparents, aunts, uncles, and parents have spent the better part of their lives praying for us kids to be believers in Christ, to love life, to love others, and to be honorable people. My family enjoys and values our times together. Life has shown that family togetherness is not unlimited - we are blessed and fortunate to still have the unit intact. We appreciate each other more because of the events and losses we have experienced together. I am blessed and lucky to have this family of mine - even especially with all our quirks and crazy.

I have another family. This family has stood beside me in moments of great joy as well...and those of great heartbreak, grief, and pain. This family consists of peers my age - give or take a few years - but also their families. We have all kinda adopted each other as our own. This family is my Campmeeting family. Most of them are related and have allowed my little family to join the crowd. We have grown up together, knowing that, at the very least, we would reunite every August. Our ages range from 17ish to 31ish...plus little Anders who is just 1.5 years...ish. A few additions have been made over the years and more will come to the group as the rest of us get married and have babies.

But, this group is special. This is a group that is not entirely connected by blood, but completely connected by love, acceptance, and Christ. We make an effort to reconvene at Campmeeting each year. We go out of our way to attend the weddings and funerals that the in-between times bring to the table. We catch up right where we left off - even if it's been over the standard year. We discuss literature, philosophy, and theology. We play silly games and have jam sessions on the porch. We take late night walks and can sit for hours just TALKING. Not many from our generation take value in such experiences and, yet, we not only value them - we THRIVE on them. We laugh and cry, rejoice and grieve, listen and share together. We are a group of individuals who feel more complete and content with life when we are all together again. We are a group of individuals who set their annual calendar from August to August, rather than January to January, because that is when Campmeeting will bring us together again.

I love this family of mine. I know that they will support, encourage, and love me no matter what life throws at me. They loved John too but reached out to me when he died because they knew I would be hurting so much. They love Lindy and made an effort to be at her wedding, to support her, to honor her marriage by witnessing and celebrating the moment. They rest secured in the knowledge that we will be together again when Jesus takes one of us Home. We thrive on the hymn God be with you til we meet again because we personally feel the power of the lyrics. At the wedding last weekend, it became clear to many of us just how special and rare this experience and bond is. My uncle's toast to the couple proclaimed the uniqueness - even he considers all the "kids" of the group to be his own. It is so rare and unique to have a group of people who are so crazy about each other and their families that we accept them as our own.

During this season of thankfulness, I must proclaim my eternal gratefulness for this blessing of two families. I have two families that accept me as I am, who challenge me to be better and stronger, who understand my crazy and emotional side, and who love me despite everything. I have been blessed more than I deserve and love them all.

thank you, Jesus, for this blessing.


p.s. a few more pics just because I'm proud to have these people in my life!

My Family!

The Campmeeting Family!

Epic Capture of Cousin Love


Positive Impacts, #3

Today is the (almost) two week marker since my bone marrow donation. I still have little scab/sores/bumps above my rear but they no longer hurt or get rubbed by my waist band - phew! Just being dramatic - it really was not that bad. The surgery was on Tuesday, October 23rd and just took a few days of puny-ness in my childhood home before I was back to moving around. When I was given a donation date and the "go ahead" for the procedure, I started having that hodgepodge of emotions again: excitement, anxiety, hopeful, nervous, inquisition, and slightly flabbergasted by the whole thing.

Yes, I had one day of total freak out. I was not nearly as giving and peaceful about the whole thing as I came across. Here's how I felt on that day of extreme emotions: What am I doing putting myself in potential danger for someone I do not know and most likely never will? Why am I volunteering for anesthesia when some people do not survive anesthesia?? What if she does not survive and my bone marrow was worthless and her family is sad and she is dead??? Morbid, yes, but, according to the papers I had to read and sign as consent to the procedure, totally normal. Among many documents that they had me sign, I literally signed a form stating that I understand the possibility of the patient not surviving and I will not take it personally or take blame for such an occasion. Whoa. That's pretty major - not take the blame for the death of another person?? Put myself in danger, albeit very small odds of danger, for someone I don't know and might not survive?? Yes, I am ashamed to admit that I had moments of such thinking. But, the desire to follow through, give something of myself, and hopefully be a part of a new life for a woman and her loved ones won in the end. I knew that God was going to use this experience for some reason. If the odds are as small of matching us together as winning the lottery and we beat those odds, I passed all the health requirements and testing, and she was healthy enough for the transplant, clearly this was something God intended to happen...for SOME reason. It's wild that He always has a reason and, sometimes often times, we never know the reason.

So, after more blood tests, an EKG and then another EKG to just be sure everything was good to go, a physical in Lubbock at the Cancer Center (yikes), a chest x-ray, a few more blood tests, and a number of signed consent forms, we set the date for the donation. Our first date came and went as the patient's cancer relapsed so we had to put it on hold. Two weeks later, I flew to Ft Worth for the procedure.

Let's just say, I had no idea what to expect. I did some research, read some blogs, but never got a good idea of what was going to happen. I had my mom, mistakenly, telling me it was a simple procedure and the internet telling me that it was much more than that. I put on my brave panties and just went with the flow, something I am not very good at. We arrived at Cook Children's Hospital in Ft Worth at 5:15 a.m.  and signed in. Of course, it's a children's hospital so nurses and administrative personal kept referring to me as "mom" - most women my age are there for a child. Strange moment - no, mom is the woman next to me and I am the child! Sidetrack... We checked in, took yet another urine sample, and were introduced to my pre-op patient. Sadly, I do not remember her name - a constant failing on my part. But I remember this: she was kind, cheery (especially for pre-6 am), informative, and interested. She was gentle with the many prodding's one has to have for an IV and more blood work. I was disappointed to find out that your pre-op and post-op nurses are not the same person. I, personally, would like to have the same person all the way through...oh well. As one who has only ever had the standard wisdom teeth removal surgery, this whole experience was new to me!

While mom sat in a standard hospital room chair, I dressed in an ever attractive patient gown and snuggled up to warmed blankets on a reclined bed/chair thing. Great invention, by the way - to have pre-warmed sheets. I need one of those devices... Jamie, my Be The Match counselor, arrived shortly and so did more nurses, technicians, my whole surgery team, and 3 members of the anesthesia team...all at once...all sharing information that seemed fairly important as my life would soon be in their hands...poking my veins for more blood tests. Oh. My. Goodness. Too many people in one tiny room asking too many important questions! I took it pretty well - my mother was a little overwhelmed. For a woman who has spent her life handling medical situations well and who is always very composed, it was interesting to see her in a reversed role: watching her own child be in the patient chair. I guess the situation is different when it's your own daughter, or son, in the chair about to undergo a surgery that you thought was more standard and simple than it sounds the morning of, sitting in the room with so many doctors, nurses, and personnel. Whoa. We made it through though and we are the wiser because of it. It is not a challenging procedure but it is anesthesia, nonetheless. It is not a lengthy surgery, but it is surgery, nonetheless.

Best part of the morning? The sedative before rolling me into the surgical room. Whoa baby, no wonder people do drugs! For a few moments, everything is so relaxed and cozy and free. Don't get me wrong, I have no intentions to seek this feeling again. But, it sure was a nice treat and a warm, cozy feeling before counting backwards, zoning out, and waking up 1.5 hours later only to think you had just dozed off. So odd to "wake up" and think no time has passed when the reality is that over an hour has passed, you lost over a LITER of bone marrow, and were medicinally reawaken. Weird. During the surgery, I was given a pint of my own blood back - giving this blood was part of the pre-op process in Midland. I "donated" blood to myself in case I needed it after the surgery. Why did I need the blood, one might ask? When bone marrow is taken from your bones, your body feels the need to fill in the gaps. So, my body flooded the now empty bones with blood which, in turn, made me slightly anemic as my body was "short" on blood. The body regenerates this blood and the bone marrow over a short time but, as I have an extensive history of fainting, they did not want to risk the in-between time. So, I had a transfusion of my own blood to help my 5'9" structure not fall to the ground or the bathroom floor while fainting. Thank you, medical team. Been there, done that, not so fun!

The recovery from the bone marrow donation is not lengthy or painful. Yes, I was sore and had a day or two of feeling slightly flu-ish. But, they gave good painkillers. And, a cozy fire, good book, and your sweet dog to lay on your sore body goes a long way. Worst part of recovery? Being so bloated from the anesthesia and painkillers. It feels like you gained about 10 pounds in one day. Not fun. Not pretty. I stopped using the medicine they gave me after I realized that the side effect was tight fitting pants, constipation and swollen belly syndrome. No thank you.

So, should you register for the bone marrow registry? Heck yes. Was this a huge time commitment and financial burden? Not at all - they pay for everything and you could be back to work after a day or two of recovery if necessary. Was this an experience that I will forever appreciate? You bet. Go now - www.marrow.org and register. It's worth it. It could literally save someone's life. Remember, if they are at the point of considering a bone marrow donation, especially from someone unrelated, then they are normally out of other options. There are over 2,000,000 donors in the registry - and that is not enough. Many patients are just treating the cancer, waiting for a match to come up in the registry. Maybe you are the exact person that they have been waiting for?

Hugs and best wishes from Marfa,


Positive Impacts, #2

With John in August 2009

When John was diagnosed with Lymphoma, his family looked into the option of a bone marrow transplant. While his family went through the testing process to see if any of them were matches, a number us on the sidelines submitted our information to the Be A Match bone marrow registry out of support and encouragement. Naturally, I hoped that somehow I would turn up as a perfect match for John. I knew the likelihood of that actually happening but what a physical way to show your love and support by giving your best friend bone marrow! Then we really would be connected in a way beyond friendship. Even though the reality of one of us matching John was slim, we saw the importance of a patient being able to find a match. Bone marrow donation saves lives – it is often a last resort treatment and provides hope and health for many people who will die from cancer. The opportunity to maybe possibly help someone survive this terrible illness by simply signing up is one of which we should all take advantage.

When one signs up to donate bone marrow, the process could not be more simple. Often times, friends and family of lymphoma or leukemia patients will hold a drive to advocate the bone marrow registry, make people aware of the process and allow them to sign up. Or, you can go to www.marrow.org and click “Join the Registry.” They will ask you some questions regarding health and personal information and then allow you to order a registration kit. By order I do not mean pay – everything with the process from signing up to the pain pills after the surgery is free of charge to a donor. The registration kit is simply a pair of large q-tips that they ask you to swipe inside your cheek. The cheek cells collected on the q-tip is enough for the registry team and system to establish your tissue type. You simply mail the completed kit (no postage payment either!) back to Be the Match and they take it from there. Your information is inputted into the registry of over 20 million donors, world-wide. Doctors can then do a massive search of all donors to find the best matches for their patients.

In April 2012, I was contacted by Jamie who would soon become my advocate and coordinator for the donation process. She introduced herself, stated that I had previously signed up to donate bone marrow through Be the Match, and have been initially matched to a patient with leukemia – would I still be interested in donating? After a brief attack of many different emotions, I said yes. What have I gotten myself into? What are the risks to myself in going through this process? Why couldn’t this call have happened three years ago saying I matched John?

Jamie informed me that they would need further information to see if we are more than just initial matches but that it could take weeks or months to know for sure. Like I’ve said, the chances of actually being able to match and donate are similar to those of winning the lottery. The cheek collection gives enough info to do an initial connection but blood tests, health records, etc confirm whether a patient and a donor are compatible or not. I went that week to have about 7 tubes of blood drawn that were then sent for testing and examination. I filled out an online questionnaire asking a number of questions about my personal health, family health records, lifestyle, etc. Lots of information and blood tested, yes, but it is all done with the intention of making the best and most accurate match. The entire process is aimed at both the health and safety of the patient and the donor – they wanted to ensure that I could not only be compatible with my patient but that the surgery and donation would not put me at any risks. FYI, a potential donor should be aware of the possibility that unknown disorders, diseases, or other health problems might be detected in the research process. It is the responsibility of your coordinator (Jamie in my case) to inform you if anything comes up irregular. I was a bit frightened that some unknown blood disorder or other disease would come up in my blood work – I am paranoid like that. But, fortunately, nothing irregular came up.

In fact, I never heard back from Jamie concerning the donation until August. She was calling to say that I was one of two matches for my patient. I was second choice meaning that if the first donor did not work out, I would be contacted. Am I still interested? Yes, very much so I replied. Another six weeks passed before hearing from Jamie. This was THE call saying that I am THE match, am I interested, and get ready because it moves fast from here on out!

Again, I was excited, nervous, overwhelmed, anxious, and grateful that I was healthy enough to be able to do this for someone in need. I was, and still am, in awe of the blessing of good health that I have. My health is something that not everyone experiences – and I was able to share a small bit of my blessing with a complete stranger. Y’all, that is cool! I hope that more people take advantage of that opportunity! It is a complete miracle and wonder that someone’s tissue and blood can match so exactly to another’s allowing the patient’s bone marrow to be replaced and replenished.

My next post will be about my experience from that call telling me I am THE match until now, one week after the donation. Already wanting to sign up? See www.marrow.org and get the collection kit sent to you! Literally, you just swab the inside of your cheek and send the kit back to the organization. So simple and, yet, potentially so monumental for someone in need!