Kind of Funny Flashback

My middle school ID cards the 2 years prior to my leukemia diagnosis

My middle school ID cards the 2 school years prior to my leukemia diagnosis

 I wrote this short story for a school assignment a mere four months before I was diagnosed with leukemia when I was 13. At the time I thought of this rhyming story, obviously I possessed not even the slightest inkling that I was only months away, like the squirrel, from being shaved myself.

The Squirrel With No Hair

Sam Squirrel envied sheep, fluffy and white. He gazed at their antics all day and night. He visited them in the meadow where they would play; to be a sheep would make his day.

One day their coats just disappeared. No fur was left; it had been sheared. Sam thought they were pretty, pink and bare. How he wished he had no hair!

So Sam went to Wise Owl, who used his claws, to shave off Sam’s fur, even on his paws! Now Sam Squirrel felt ridiculous without his fur coat; so he walked to a lion’s castle and fell in the moat.

Sam Squirrel’s life ended that sad day, on the moat’s hard bottom, he lifelessly lay. The sheep grew their fur back, fluffy and white. To stay a squirrel for Sam Squirrel was what was right.


The moral is to be who you are; if you don’t, you won’t get very far. Bad things could happen, you never know. Imitation is not the way to go!

By Amy Barta

March 26, 1997

To Facebookers etc.


Much love to you all for helping me bring in my 11th anniversary of turning 20! The entire day was as (this next adjective is for you Kimberly) SUH-WEEEEET as my birthday breakfast “chocolate kreme filled” donut.

From a morning text greeting by my stylish nephew adorned with a pair of his older bother’s CLEAN underwear atop his cute cranium, to a wonderful Mongolian BBQ lunch with my cool sis Carrie, to devouring the restaurant’s complimentary birthday sundae for midday dessert with my gorgeous niece, to enjoying pizza in the evening with my amazing aunt, one can easily glean that I had a “relatively” remarkable day!

Let’s all raise our virgin mango daiquiris to toast another . . . bunch of years, shall we?



Snapping photos with a simple click is the most efficient way to document this day with my hardworking & wonderful Dad. So I did, as you can see. I readily accepted the offer to go to work with him today, because it’s the best way nowadays that we can enjoy a large chunk of time together. Here comes a “D-E-T-R-O-I-T” ladder poem, for no other reason than I feel like it to record special memories that blossomed today with my Dad:

D riving all around the city for 10 hours to various businesses

E ating lunch at our favorite spot Mexican Village

T alking during our quality “car time” – like my Dad telling me how a building we visited that used to make ice cream is now used by different owners to make a popular milk product

R eminiscing how starting around age 6, I used to accompany my Dad to work as an industrial salesman & get free stuff at bakeries & plants, like fresh-off-the-line hotdog buns or a freshly made bag of chips; additionally, driving on Livernois my Dad recalled taking me into the Coke plant where we had to wear hair nets & safety glasses

O n multiple occasions hoping we’ll get some sizable orders for a profitable workday

I nquiring & hearing about the stories behind my Dad’s customers, like the kind man at the laundry factory from Romania who has been in the U.S.A. – which I heard the man refer to today as “the greatest country in the world” – for 16 years & speaks English remarkably well, although he admitted he wants to improve even further

T hankful I am for another “Detroit Dad Day” to put down in the books!



Game Plan for God

Remind the people to . . . be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone. Titus 3:1-2

If you claim His Name, do right in life’s “game.” I don’t know about you, but I find more success in the game of everyday life if I follow, & stick to, what’s most important to me. The most important thing in my life, as I claim to be a follower of God, is living out my faith. Not just talking about it. Doing it. Make living to honor your professed faith in God your top priority. If we claim to follow Jesus, our actions need to demonstrate that claim.

I decided it’d be a good idea to think of every day as a game. Think about it: in a game you strive to achieve the best results. Why not apply that thinking each day?

♦ 1st Play of the day: Commit the day to God RIGHT WHEN you WAKE UP. With God in my mind from the start, I tend to be a lot more conscious of my own actions.

♦ 2nd play throughout your daily “game” of life: Live to forgive. ***You know, the Bible says to forgive each other just as Christ forgave us. Forgiving people CONSTANTLY helps to start each day anew, sans holding stressful grudges as well as not wasting lots of time & energy by being upset or angry. What would Jesus do? I ask myself when I encounter a problem with someone. Forgive.


♦ 3rd play throughout your daily “game” of life: Love like Above. ***Getting along with other people, in EVERY AREA of life – family members, those you work with, strangers (like store cashiers, people you pass on the street) – is often a big challenge for me. Jesus embodies love, & we’re supposed to act like Jesus if we claim to follow Him. To me that means displaying kindness, generosity, peacefulness and forgiveness all my waking hours. (Don’t get me wrong, that’s the ideal way to go, if only my continual losses to reach that mark wouldn’t so frequently block my way.)

Things both big & small will go wrong for sure, but try to expect crisis to pop up on occasion; when you realize that difficulties are inevitably a part of life’s game, you can be better prepared to handle them when they arise.

I’m going to end with a quote my sister Sarah had in her room growing up: Under a picture of a basketball hoop, the line – which serves as a spot-on reminder not to keep a record of people who’ve hurt you by their own actions (it takes more energy to remain angry than to forgive) – read “God calls us to play in the game, not to keep score.”

H.B.O.T. on the Double

Having had a grand total of 80 Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy treatments in 2011 (the topic of HBOT and its effects on me is first discussed in my post back on June 24, 2013), Gary the technician with a FABULOUS personality & skill was what gave me energy to continue all those monotonous treatments. That is why, at two different times, I wrote poems for Gary that he was delighted to receive:

HyperGARY Oxygen Therapy

Above the rest, Gary is a considerable cut,

When he puts you in a chamber and seals it shut.

No matter your present mood or current plight,

Gary’s uplifting cheer makes a person delight!

“A Guide to Excellent Patient Relations” could be a title to Gary’s outlook,

“Therefore encourage one another,” he acts out daily, straight from a verse in the Good Book!

(1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Tucked in tightly with a water bottle, eyes on a DVD, lounging in your oxygen cocoon,

Recline assured you get tremendous treatment from the guy born the 18th of June!


Hydrogen Binds with Oxygen Terrifically 

Lack of water, in my case, has an effect of gravity,

For dryness in my mouth can cause a cavity.

I call for no special treatment, me you don’t have to coddle,

All I ask for in the chamber is the standard water bottle.

I don’t want any part of my condition to go south,

Especially efforts I take for a squeaky clean mouth.

Expert Gary operates the air tube much better than fine,

I just like to have what you get when hydrogen and oxygen combine!


I Love My Friends

How much fun I enjoyed with my incredible friends this week! From playing “Sequence,” “I Spy,” a game I made up called “Guess What I’m Doing,” & rhyming a whole bunch of words with my pal Jake to being pumped up in Jess’s musical & spontaneous exercise workout Thursday night to beating Aaron downstairs Friday morning at an impressive 5:40am, one can easily see how & why lasting memories were made.