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A different type of activism...


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When the trend was daisies, we put huge daisies everywhere in our homes. In the 1980s our decorating styles were gilded, much like the people in the news -- Princess Diana and Donald Trump.

Lynette Jennings caused the audience to laugh at some and confess to other decorating and design trends during her lecture Tuesday. Jennings, an author of decorating and design books and producer of home decorating programs that have aired on the Discovery Channel, spoke as part of the Matrix:Midland festival.

"Nobody in Florence designed the beanbag chair. I can guarantee that," she told a near-sellout crowd in the Midland Center for the Arts Little Theatre. Jennings said design trends like the macramé wall hangings and shag carpet of the 1970s were not products of the design gurus in Europe. The wildly popular daisy on everything in the 1960s, for example, came from Jackie Kennedy's propensity to put daisies in guestrooms.

In explaining where trends originate, she also pointed out that following trends can fill your home with things to which you're not necessarily attached.

"If you don't love it, sell it, get rid of it," she said. Filling your space with things you love and are attached to makes a house feel good, she said, and the houses that felt good inside were the homes she and her crew were drawn to when choosing homes to air on Jennings' programs.

It's been a while since Jennings has chosen homes to feature on new shows, not because she has seen it all but because she reached a milestone in her life when things didn't have the "feels good" ambiance for which she searched.

"There's a question that I've been running into out and about these days: 'Where are you?'" she said. "I decided I was going to get a physical ... because I had been putting it off for a while. That day I went for a physical, they did a mammogram, they wanted a second picture, they did a biopsy at 3 o'clock in the afternoon and I was diagnosed with stage 2 B-cancer. Breast cancer."

The battle to beat breast cancer was a tough road, but Jennings said the toughest part is the second battle. For years she got fan mail from cancer patients thanking her for her show's motivation and inspiration. She wanted to help them, but never understood what those fans were talking about until she faced the emotional recovery after cancer.

"After they give you your last treatment, you go home, you recover, they give you a PET scan and CT scan, they scan your body from one side down the other, they bring you into the doctor's office and they say, 'You're done! You're finished! You're cured. Get out of here, we don't want to see you for three months.' They give you a pink balloon and a big hug and you get to the car and that's about as far as it lasts. Because then, the words that are on every survivor's lips are, when you go through this, 'Huh? what's next?'" Jennings said.

In three weeks, a group of cancer patients will visit Jennings' 7,000-square-foot Colorado ranch home for a retreat. But they will not be out on the range alone.

Because of Jennings' desire to help artists in the United States develop their crafts, she also has lined up artists to come to her ranch. The artists will work with the cancer patients to help answer the "what's next" question through showing them their work.

Her effort is called the Lynette Jennings Foundation and she plans to work with legislators and health care providers to help get funding for the emotional recovery after cancer.

http://www.ourmidland.com/site/news.cfm ... 2542&rfi=6

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