When I was a teenager I helped take care of one of my grandmothers and as a young adult I helped take care of another one. Grandma Johnny lived with us for awhile and I can well remember giving her baths and dressing her. I was worried that she would be embarrassed, and so I tried to keep her talking and act like it was no big deal. In our bathroom we had double sinks and a huge mirror, I remember the look on her face as she saw herself in the mirror,she was in her 80's. That is where she would sit or stand as we tried to bath her. She was much to fragile to put in the shower and we couldn't get her in a bath tub. I prayed hard to know what to say to her to try and keep her happy when we did our daily bathing ritual. Finally I came up with something to say that made her laugh and so I continued to say it each time. I would wash her off with a warm washcloth and some soap and so as soon as I got the water ready in the sink and the washcloth out I would give her directions..."Grandma, I will wash down as far as possible, and I will wash up as far as possible but you have to wash POSSIBLE!" She would laugh every time, we both would, and it seemed to make it bearable to have her granddaughter bath her.
I loved my grandmother and have always had a very special spot in my heart for the elderly. I think they have such wisdom that we would all be better off, if we could slow down our lives a bit and take time out to visit them more and learn about their lives. When both of my grandmother's were in a nursing home (at different), I felt a great need to get over there and see them as much as possible. I knew they were lonely and one day my grandmother thanked me for coming and always bringing the kids to see her. She said, "you guys are the highlight of my day, the nurse comes and sits me where she wants me and here I sit all day looking at the same wall and the same people, then you come in with the kids and I get to see lots more!"
It saddens me to realize that there are so many people out there that are older and so lonely, years ago I was asked to teach a class on respecting our elders and appreciating who they really are. This is an article I found and I loved it, and have never forgot the old woman's words. it stops you and makes you realize that we only see at first glance, the surface of people and we are missing a lot more if we don't take the time out to spend with them and really get to know them. So I hope you read this and then immediately go out and visit an elderly neighbor, or someone in the nursing home, or write or call your Aunt or Grandmother who is alone. We really need them as much as they do us! Night dear friends!
When an old lady died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Dundee, Scotland, it was felt that she had nothing left of any value. Later, when the nurses were going through her meager possessions, it's quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital. One nurse took her copy to Ireland. The old lady's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the North A slide presentation has also been...And this little old Scottish lady, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the authoress "" Goes to show that we"".....
AN OLD LADY'S POEM
What do you see, nurses, what do you see?
What are you thinking when you're looking at me?
A crabby old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply""
Who seems not to notice the things that you do,
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe....
Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill....
Then open your eyes, nurse; you're not looking at me.
I'll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of ten...with a father ! and mother,
Brothers and sisters, who love one another.
A young girl of sixteen, with wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon now a lover she'll meet.
A bride soon at twenty--my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.
At twenty-five now, I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide and a secure happy home.
A woman of thirty, my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last.
At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my man's beside me to see I don't mourn.
At fifty once more, babies play around my knee,
Again we know children, my loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead;
I look at the future, I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing young of their own,
And I think of the years and the love that I've known.
I'm now an old woman....and nature is cruel;
Tis jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles, grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys, I remember the pain,
And I'm loving and living life over again.
I think of the years....all too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, nurses, open and see,
...Not a crabby old woman; look closer...see ME!!
You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair. ~Douglas MacArthur
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I went by to visit a dear friend today and it was such a treat just seeing her. She has not had the perfect life, but yet she makes an incredible difference in those around her. She would definitely have every right to feel sorry for herself and how her life turns out but instead...she makes a difference. I do believe that is part of our test here in life, our responsibility is to learn from our experiences and trials and then make something positive from something so negative. I know from personal experience that it isn't as easy as it sounds. Some times it is down right hard but each time I do... I feel better, I feel happier and more peaceful about my life and the circumstances that have happened.
So tonight in honor of my angel friend who has touched my life and the lives of many others by her kind heart, sweet smile and willingness to find the good in every situation, I include this poem and some quotes. Thanks so much for each of you. Many of you have inspired my life in the same way as this dear friend. Thanks for your faith, courage and example! Night!
Authors B.J. Gallagher and Steve Ventura wrote the book Who Are "They" Anyway?
They said that the most important words of personal responsibility are as follows...
The 10 most important words:
I won't wait for others to take the first step.
The 9 most important words:
If it is to be, it's up to me.
The 8 most important words:
If not me, who? If not now, when?
The 7 most important words:
Let me take a shot at it.
The 6 most important words:
I will not pass the buck.
The 5 most important words:
You can count on me.
The 4 most important words:
It IS my job!
The 3 most important words:
Just do it!
The 2 most important words:
The most important word:
"Your future depends on many things, but mostly yourself"
"It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference" ~ Tom Brokaw
"We all have ability. The difference is how we use it." ~ Stevie Wonder
"You can't fix every problem, but what you can fix, you must." ~ Bono
"We cannot change the past, but we can change our attitude toward it.
Uproot guilt and plant forgiveness.
Tear out arrogance and seed humility.
Exchange love for hate ---
thereby, making the present comfortable and the future promising." ~Maya Angelou
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
This first quote should have gone with my post for yesterday about books and life, sorry I just found it!
" If you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realizing that you are the author and every day you have the opportunity to write a new page." ~ Mark Houlahan
I am not sure what it is about quotes that inspire me... but they do. Maybe it is because they are short and to the point! I have been studying about eating better foods. I went to a friend's house last month and she has mostly gone to a RAW diet. Now most of you probably wonder why anyone would do that but...man, did I ever feel better when I was there.
Ever since I was a little kid, I was always sick. I never had any thing normal like a cold, instead I had bronchitis, never just a cold sore but instead over 20 fever blisters at a time. Yes, health was never my blessing in life. I have strived hard to do all that I can to make my body healthier, I am sure some of you are laughing ...because all you have ever known is a sickly Lynn. But I actually do try, think what I might be like if I hadn't tried? When we were first married and Amy was little girl, I was sick a lot and then I realized Amy had a ton of allergies too, just like me. Then Brad came along and he seemed to have lots of fevers and bronchitis too. Next came Lauren and she had one ear infection after another. There came a time that I couldn't tell which PINK MEDICINE (antibiotics) was whose in the fridge. I remember well the day that I realized something had to change, Brad was laying on the floor and wiped out from all the medicine he was on. Now as a mom I constantly worried how to help my kids be healthier, but I hadn't even figured that out myself yet.
So I finally called my cousin who was a known GRANOLA WOMAN and I asked her where we should begin? She gave me tons of books and ideas of ways to start. So Jeff and I studied and prayed about it and decided to throw all the medicine away and change our diet radically ( I am in no way suggesting that anyone else should do this). I still remember how worried my mom was that we were doing this, I tried to convince her that we had done our homework, but I don't think she really believed it. It did take a while for everyone's body to sorta de-tox and for us to get things out of our cupboards that shouldn't be there. We went off of Dairy, Red meat and Sugar. Within months, the kids were better and I was better. We know longer even needed our weekly allergy shots.
Long story short, we still got sick but found a much better way to live. I did it all, made the homemade granola, fruit wraps, juiced every day and found all kinds of new recipes. Lee and Lauren used to think that fruit leather was the best treat. But life got busier and busier. Peer pressure got worse and worse on the kids, because they ate so differently. I even had one of the kid's teachers tell me that if I didn't start letting the kids eat sugar that one day they would probably be closet eaters and weigh over 200 pounds. (that is the truth) So I felt like maybe I had gone over board and felt like I should back off. ( But I have to admit now that I do NOT believe what she said was true at all!)
I have to admit, I never should have done that but....I did. After my first battle with Cancer then I sorta got back into the healthier eating habits and realized that I felt better again. Still time and being busy didn't help me take the time to prepare my meals like I should have. Time, everything seems so rushed now days, I guess that is why FAST FOOD places are booming. So a couple of weeks ago I pulled back out the OLD JUICER, I ordered a NEW DEHYDRATOR and I borrowed some more books from my friend. As I was reading in one of them this week, I found these neat quotes, they do apply to me and my life. I do believe that our food has a lot to do with the health of our bodies. So with that in mind, I went to Yakima Fruit Market today and purchased my 25lb bag of carrots and lots of other vegetables. I think I could actually see my kid's eyes roll when they helped me carry everything in.
Yes, I am going to try again to eat better and cook better for the family. I am not sure that is exactly what they want... but as a mom, I have to admit I feel much better about giving them good food verses junk food. I think this is exactly what I need to help me remember to take time out to prepare our meals, slow down and really enjoy life. I have had people in the past make fun of me and how I fed my family. But up until last year, it it had been over 13 years since any one in our family had gotten a prescription. So that can't be that bad? Have any of them turned out to be closet eaters? I don't think so, but I am sure they will go on Oprah and blame me if they do! :)
I just want to do all that I can to try and beat cancer and any other disease that is out there. I know that isn't strictly done by eating right, but it does help strengthen my body. I am trying to change in all the areas of my life not just my eating habits. What is wrong with a girl who always goes to the self help section in the book store? At least she is keeps trying. Wish me luck, or I should say...wish Jeff and the kids luck!
"Look and you will find it: what is unsought will go undetected." ~ Sophocies
"To remain young, one must change." ~ Alexander Chasea
" Health is not simply the absence of sickness." ~ Hannah Green
" As I see it every day you do one of two things: build health or produce disease in yourself." ~ Adelle Davis
" It is not the length of life, but depth of life." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
" I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning." ~ J.B. Priestly
Monday, April 27, 2009
The last few days I have been in pain again from working in the yard Saturday. I sorta knew that the consequences might be tough, but I have to admit to you that it felt wonderful to be in the sun and in the dirt. So now I am paying for it. I also am on some de-toxing supplements from my doctor and that is adding to my total YUCK feeling. I head back to him on Thursday, so I will know more then. As for now, I have just been icing my neck and arm and hoping that soon I will feel better.
I had a lot of things planned today but... I didn't feel like doing any of them actually. I guess that each day will just have to be a new adventure. I am trying not to get down about my health and lack of energy but today... I did do that some. I found this poem that went along with my thoughts today. I know this is short but I need to head to bed, I pray tomorrow that my body will be a bit stronger, it would be nice to have a few good days in a row!
Good night and thank you!
"READING A BOOK IS LIKE
TURNING THE PAGES OF LIFE:
SOMETHING NEW AND UNEXPECTED
ON EACH PAGE.
WITH THE JOY AND THE LAUGHTER
COME THE PAIN AND THE TEARS.
BUT WRAPPING OURSELVES IN A
BLANKET OF HOPE, LOVE, AND PRAYER,
WE READ ON." Tauna Hicken Wilkinson
( This is the only picture that Lauren had of a book, my life hasn't quite been like Pride and Prejudice) :)
Sunday, April 26, 2009
First of all, I need to say that the gratitude quote that I wrote in my post yesterday ,was from Melody Beatte. I am sorry that I left that out, I usually don't forget, but I was pretty tired when I was writing. Today was Sunday and of course I was grateful again, that I felt good enough to go to church. I actually wondered if I would get to because my back and neck were hurting so bad. The weather was beautiful yesterday and Jeff and to work on our garden spot in the back yard. I was ashamed at how messy and over grown we had let the back yard become but... I guess we did have a bit on our plate this past year! Anyway, I pulled a few weeds and mostly showed Angie all the bugs that lived in the dirt, we had a great time. It is so fun watching a 2 or almost 3 year old discover things for the first time. Jeff and I enjoyed every minute of it. But of course because I was actually doing something, my back and neck gave me trouble all night and I really wondered if I was going to be up to going to church. But I was determined to go and am I ever glad I did. Yes, I was still in pain and very tired but the message today was about choosing happiness and Joy, plus... always being grateful.
I also remembered a short movie that I saw on the web site... SimpleTruths.com called Finishing Strong and I think both topics go together. It is just so easy to get down on ourselves and our lives, if we only look at what happens to us. Here are a few gems that I got from that inspiring movie.
BECAUSE WHEN ADVERSITY STRIKES, IT'S NOT WHAT HAPPENS THAT WILL DETERMINE OUR DESTINY; IT'S HOW WE REACT TO WHAT HAPPENS." __ Mac Anderson
"LIFE IS 10 PERCENT WHAT YOU MAKE IT AND 90 PERCENT HOW YOU TAKE IT." __ IRVING BERLIN
How will you take it? How will you choose to respond to life and it's challenges? Will you choose to finish strong?
"MOST OF US HAVE FAR MORE COURAGE THAN WE EVER DREAMED WE POSSESSED." ___ Dale Carnegie
BELIEF... "TO ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS, WE MUST NOT ONLY ACT, BUT ALSO DREAM; NOT ONLY PLAN, BUT ALSO BELIEVE." Anatole France
ATTITUDE..." HOW YOU RESPOND TO THE CHALLENGE IN THE SECOND HALF WILL DETERMINE WHAT YOU BECOME AFTER THE GAME...WHETHER YOU ARE A WINNER OR LOSER." ___ Lou Holtz
"IT IS NOT WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU, BUT HOW YOU REACT TO IT THAT MATTERS." __Epictetas
NOTHING CHANGES UNTIL SOMETHING MOVES, PURPOSE. HOW WILL YOU CHOSE TO RESPOND? THE CHOICE IS YOURS....FINISH STRONG!
Wasn't that great? I need to remember these things more often, especially on my BIGGER THAN ME days when everything seems much more than I can handle. I need to realize that I can make the needed changes in my life and that I can truly finish strong. I know that the challenges that I have experienced, have made me dig down so much deeper than I probably ever would have chosen to dig. And in all that digging, I found out that this Lynn, is much tougher than even I thought she was. Thank you for believing in me, even when I didn't believe in myself. Your support was life changing for me, I will forever be grateful for that.
" THE FIRST STEP TOWARD CHANGE IS AWARENESS. THE SECOND STEP IS ACCEPTANCE." __Nathanel Branden
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Well, I missed writing yesterday, mostly because I was so tired from the day that I went right to bed. The day started out early, a dear friend and I drove to Smokey Point for me to visit Virginia's Feminine Boutique virginiaboutiqueaol.com . I had heard a couple of survivors say that is where they got their prosthetic and bra fitting done. Since I had such a hard time at Nordstrom, I thought that I would try this place. The drive took about 30 minutes and that wasn't bad at all. The store opened at 10:00 and I had the first appointment there. But when we arrived early, I was shocked that by a quarter till, there were 3 other cars there.
What a great experience it was to go there, the store is run by 2 sisters (identical twins) and their grandmother. They just renovated a home into their shop and Vanessa was the sister who did most of the fittings. She has been in many hours, 2 1/2 years exact to be qualified to do this job. The not only do mastectomies but for all other types of bra fittings. The spirit of that place was great, Vanessa knew her stuff, she didn't rush, she was compassionate and kind. She worked with me for almost 2 hours and made sure that the prosthetic and bras that I had were the perfect one for me. So now I am the proud owner of a new prosthetic and I have to say it feels great to look normal again. It will take a while for me to get comfortable with a bra again, since it has been so long, but Vanessa said to just wear it a couple hours a day to get used to it.
Anyway, what a treat it was to have someone so kind, so sensitive and knowledgeable to work with me. It was totally a place that I would recommend for anyone (ESPECIALLY) a survivor to go. I can't wait to share with my friends at Evergreen Hospital my experience there. Plus, I was able to share while I was at Virginia's the cancer gifts that my friend and I have designed and made. They liked them and bought two items. They are going to show them to their grandmother and see if she would like to start carrying them. That was exciting too!
Once I came home from that trip though I was wiped out and I knew that I couldn't do anything else that day. I had hoped to check out PRINTING places to have our tags made, but that is going to have to wait till next week.
So I am just grateful that someone suggested that place to me, grateful that I was able to get my new prosthetic (which I have lovingly named Mandy) remember I named the last one Sally, but she had to be returned. And I am grateful that I feel more normal and confident in my clothes. That may not seem like a bit deal to others, but it is to a survivor. Even though I am extremely tired, I am extremely grateful. Good night dear friends!
"The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings." ~ Henry Ward Beecher
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Well, today is our youngest son Lee's 16th birthday! I am starting to feel old all of a sudden. I can well remember the day he was born and how excited we were to have him join our family. He has a baseball game tonight and so we will have to celebrate this weekend. Lee has loved any type of BALL since he was born. He always had a ball in his hand and he knew how to use it too. When he was just a little over a year old, were in the park playing and Lee of course had a ball (this time it was one of Brad's baseballs that he was playing with). A lady in the park near us, picked the ball up (when he kicked it to her ) and gave it back to Lee and then she said " Can you throw me the ball?" I was close by, and I realized that she thought he couldn't throw the ball very hard because she was way too close to him. She put her face down and said "ok, throw me the ball". I tried to stop him before he threw it but it was too late. He threw the ball right to her HARD and knocked the sun glasses off her face. She was ok, but shocked that he could throw with such accuracy. So it is fitting today that he is playing ball on his birthday. That definitely is a talent he has been blessed with.
I can still remember my 16th birthday, and how grateful I am that Lee is in a much better place at 16 years old than I was. I was engaged to be married the summer before my senior year of High School and no, it wasn't too Jeff either. I would go on and tell you the whole story, but it is too weird... and I am just grateful that 7 years later that I got to marry Jeff. Some day I am going to write a book so I am sure there will be a whole chapter on my Weird Dating Years, so stay tuned.
Today has been one of those Bigger Than Me days. I guess that I have been doing more than I should have lately, because today I hit the wall! I have been home all day and decided that I am going to have to be more careful about my schedule. It is just that I was basically in the house for 6 months, (other than treatment and Dr appointments) and it feels so good to be out and about now. I love being around everyone, I can still remember not wanting to see anyone or better yet...I didn't want anyone to see me. I was so afraid that those feelings would last forever, how grateful I am that they didn't! So I rested quite a bit today and tried to catch up on bills and other things that I have simply just not done lately. Cleaning ....just hasn't been a big priority lately, actually neither has cooking or laundry or....:) I just want to spend what energy I have on things that I really enjoy and that feed me... good energy. I sound like I am trying to get out of work but...it just feels like too much lately. Oh well, I am sure this too shall pass.
I have been teary eyed today, just thinking about Lee getting older, Lauren graduating in 2 months and I will be turning 50 this summer. I feel like I have lost so much time and experiences with everyone, because of all my illnesses, oh how I would love to feel GREAT every day and be out of pain. I know my back and neck pain will probably be a part of my life for a while but I just have missed doing so many things with Jeff and the kids.
Then I have to remember how blessed I am to even have them, there are many who have never married or had children, many who have way more health issues than I. I need to remember to keep things in perspective, I have much to be grateful for. So for now, I will enjoy Lee's 16th birthday and count my blessings that he is healthy and strong and a wonderful young man. I love him dearly and I am so grateful to be his MOM.
Thanks for listening. Hope you know that means a lot to me? Love, Lynn
"When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses." ~Joyce Brothers
"Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body." ~Elizabeth Stone
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Today I was grateful because I woke up with a bit more energy. I went to Everett today with a fellow survivor to a Support Group that she has been a part of for awhile. It was a bit further than I would normally want to drive, but I am so glad that I went. My new friend and survivor, has been so helpful and kind to me. She is the one that had her mastectomy 2 months before mine and she is also the one that had such a wonderful support group and experience with the whole thing. It was fun getting to know her better, what a strong and amazing woman she is!
The Support Group that we went to today had about 12 of us there plus the social worker, who was powerful and energetic and compassionate all wrapped up in one. Today was more of a sharing day they said, I have never been, but some times I guess they have guest speakers and other days are more like today.
I haven't wanted to go to a support group up until this point because of a number of reasons. One is because I didn't want to take the time and energy to go and sit for an hour or more. Two is because I didn't want to hear everyone's horror stories and get more scared and Three is because I felt like, between my family and friends that I had all the Support system I needed. But today since this friend had invited me I decided to try it out. It was great! The ladies there were in at different places on their journey through cancer. Some of them just beginning, some in the middle and some who have been in remission for 9 years. There were ladies who were still in the scared part of the early stages, some who still were trying to get information to know what was coming next, some who were battling it for the 2nd and 3rd time. It was all over the board, as far as diversity in our situations, our supports systems and our personal experience with our battles.
I didn't get scared, instead I felt a lot of compassion for the ones that were scared and felt drawn to help them in some way. We passed around a paper with phone numbers or emails (which ever you felt comfortable with) and they made copies for everyone, so we could support each other if needed. So I need to get some more of Lauren's cards made up and send them out. All in all, I was impressed with the courage of each lady, old to young...their lives have been changed forever. Cancer has a way of doing that.
Some of the things that the teacher said today I will share with you because I liked them...
"The difference between Power and Control is Power has influence"
"What you are going through right now is only a snapshot in time, just a moment in your journey"
"People who don't support you or that judge you are those people, who just don't get it. They are either uneducated about cancer, afraid of cancer, too self focused to help you, or just plain cruel with their words"
"If you judge people, you have no time to love them."
- Mother Teresa
"We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot." __Eleanor Roosevelt
So it was a great choice to go there today, make new friends and watch more courageous woman in action. I am tired and need to head to bed but didn't want to miss the chance of sharing this part of my day with you. Thank you for being my Support Group, you have been a life saver to me and my family!
"I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much." ~Mother Teresa
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Now that Jeff has a motorcycle, he watches the weather every night to see what tomorrow is going to bring. If it is not suppose to rain, then he gets to ride to work. He didn't ride it a lot during the winter of course but now that the weather is getting better, he can hardly wait for morning.
He knows I love quotes and so he told me one that he found the other day about motorcycles...I am not sure how I was suppose to put that in my blog but he was so excited about it, so here it is ....
"CARS...MOVE PEOPLE BUT MOTORCYCLES...MOVE SOULS!"
That certainly has been true with him, I have never seen anyone enjoy something so much. Many wives have said, I can't believe you let him get a motorcycle, first of all ... I should say that I bought it for him and second of all...I guess after this whole cancer experience I have realized that I can't live in fear about everything. It is probably one of the best gifts I have ever given to him and so it was worth it, because it MOVES HIS SOUL!
The last couple of days have been hard for me because for some reason my energy level has been low again. I am not trying to over due, but just am tired as soon as I get up. I have a call out to my DR and hopefully he will tell me what he thinks is going on. But for now, I just need to appreciate that I am getting up each day and I am still feeling better than I was a month ago, so I am trying to count my blessing.
I also am getting quite stiff in my arm and incision area and a bit more tender, not sure if that is normal or not but I am getting that checked out too. I so want to be done with this whole process but I have to remember it is ...a process and I have to take it one day at a time. So when I read this article about weather, it seemed to fit for today. I need to enjoy and appreciate each day and the lessons that are to be learned from it.
"Any day I'm vertical
is a good day"
...that's what I always say.
If you ask me,
"How are you?"
I'll answer, "GREAT!"
because in saying so,
I make it so.
When Life gives me dark clouds and rain,
I appreciate the moisture
that brings a soft curl to my hair.
When Life gives me sunshine,
I gratefully turn my face up
to feel its warmth on my cheeks.
When Life brings fog,
I hug my sweater around me
and give thanks for the cool shroud of mystery
that makes the familiar seem different and intriguing.
When Life brings snow,
I dash outside to catch the first flakes on my tongue,
relishing the icy miracle that is a snowflake.
Life's events and experiences
are like the weather -
they come and go,
no matter what my preference.
So, what the heck?!
I might as well decide to enjoy them.
there IS a time for every purpose
And each season brings its own unique blessings.
Adversity is another way to measure the greatness of individuals. I never had a crisis that didn't make me stronger.
I know that there are different seasons in our lives to teach us different things and I have to admit, I didn't want Cancer for second time.But I have once again, had an incredible journey and have learned things that I know that I would have never learned in any other way. I have met people, who have taught me so much by their courage and faith. Yes, it has been a hard road but oh ....I have grown so much. So I am going to head to bed and remember to be grateful for what ever the weather is ...in the morning!
Monday, April 20, 2009
Well, Mother's Day is coming soon and as always I begin to miss my mom more and more. When I was a young mother, I really didn't like Mother's Day because my expectations were too high. By the end of the day, I was usually in tears because the kids just couldn't be that good... for a whole day, but they were little and my mom told me "this too will pass". And it did, now on Mother's Day I just enjoy the day and being around the kids, all whom are old enough now to feed themselves, buckle their own seat beat and are completely potty trained...I really wondered if that day would really come. :)
I have a dear sister-in-law who is about to lose her mom. For almost a year she has watched her mom grow weaker and weaker. It is taking a toll on her heart and I am miles away and can't really do as much as I would like for her. So tonight's post is in honor of her and her mother, I know her heart is breaking and I wish that I could tell her that it will be alright but, it won't be for awhile. It is a terrible thing to lose your mother, it is hard to go on each day without being able to pick up the phone and hear her voice. No one quite understands you like a MOTHER does. But I believe that our mother's who are on the other side, stay close and watch over us.
A MOTHER IS WAITING
JOHN TODD WAS BORN IN RUTLEDGE, VERMONT, INTO A FAMILY OF SEVERAL CHILDREN. THEY LATER MOVED TO THE VILLAGE OF KILLINGSWORTH BACK IN THE EARLY 1880s. THERE, AT A VERY EARLY AGE, BOTH OF JOHN'S PARENTS DIED.
ONE DEAR AND LOVING AUNT SAID SHE WOULD TAKE LITTLE JOHN. THE AUNT SENT A HORSE AND A SERVANT, CAESAR, TO GET JOHN WHO WAS ONLY SIX AT THIS TIME. ON THE WAY BACK, THIS ENDEARING CONVERSATION TOOK PLACE.
JOHN: WILL SHE BE THERE?
CAESAR: OH, YES, SHE'LL BE THERE WAITING FOR YOU.
JOHN: WILL I LIKE LIVING WITH HER?
CAESAR: MY SON, YOU FALL INTO GOOD HANDS.
JOHN: WILL SHE LOVE ME?
CAESAR: AH, SHE HAS A BIG HEART.
JOHN: WILL I HAVE MY OWN ROOM? WILL SHE LET ME HAVE A PUPPY?
CAESAR: SHE'S GOT EVERYTHING ALL SET, SON. I THINK SHE HAS SOME SURPRISES, JOHN.
JOHN: DO YOU THINK, SHE"LL GO TO BED BEFORE WE GET THERE?
CAESAR: OH NO! SHE'LL BE SURE TO WAIT UP FOR YOU. YOU'LL SEE WHEN WE GET OUR OF THESE WOODS. YOU'LL SEE HER CANDLE IN THE WINDOW.
SURE ENOUGH, AS THEY NEARED THE HOUSE, JOHN SAW A CANDLE IN THE WINDOW AND HIS AUNT STANDING IN THE DOORWAY. AS HE SHYLY APPROACHED THE PORCH, SHE REACHED DOWN, KISSED HIM, AND SAID, "WELCOME HOME!"
JOHN TODD GREW UP IN HIS AUNT'S HOME AND LATER BECAME A GREAT MINISTER. SHE WAS MOTHER TO HIM. SHE GAVE HIM A SECOND HOME.
YEARS LATER HIS AUNT WROTE TO TELL JOHN OF HER OWN IMPENDING DEATH BECAUSE OF HER FAILING HEALTH. SHE WONDERED WHAT WOULD BECOME OF HER.
THIS IS WHAT JOHN TODD WROTE IN REPLY:
My dear Aunt,
Years ago, I left a house of death, not knowing where I was to go, whether anyone cared, whether it was the end of me. The ride was long, but the servant encouraged me. Finally I arrived to your embrace and a new home. I was expected; I felt safe. You did it all for me.
Now it's your turn to go. I'm writing to let you know, someone is waiting up, your room is all ready, the light is on , the door is open, and you're expected! I know. I once saw God standing in your doorway...long ago!
____Excerpted from Moments for Mothers
"I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life." ___Abraham Lincoln
"God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers." ___Jewish proverb
Sunday, April 19, 2009
The sun is out and it is Sunday and I am grateful. I get to go to church again today, there have been so many weeks that I didn't go, that I am now looking forward to each one. What to wear is still a big issue for me, especially since it is getting warmer out. I look and feel much more secure with a hundred layers on. Oh well, I will have to start looking for something to wear soon. I think this is the week that I will finally get to go pick out a new prosthetic and bra. I finally with the help of a friend, just sewed my own pockets in a sports bra and have been just adding my batting filled ME inside but... that isn't as natural looking as I would like and so....whatever, I need to just look forward to getting a more normal looking figure....:)
This has been a hard week emotionally, things have been going on that are tugging at my heart and much of them if not all of them, I really can't do anything about...and that hurts! I am trying to remember all the counsel I give my kids about turning your problems over to your Heavenly Father and knowing that after you have done all you can do, then you need to have faith and hope and just wait. That too is hard to do. This is one of the quotes that I shared with a family member who was struggling, it is good for me to always remember this too. I wrote it down in my journal a while ago and I don't remember who wrote it, sorry about that.
"LIFE IS TRICKY. IT IS FILLED WITH GLORIOUS MOMENTS AS WELL AS TIME OF PURGING, PENETRATING DISAPPOINTMENT. THERE ARE DAYS DESIGNED TO NEARLY CRUSH US UNLESS WE HAVE THE ASSURANCE THAT WE ARE NOT ALONE IN THIS LIFE.
WE NEED TO KNOW NOT ONLY THAT GOD IS AWARE OF US BUT THAT HE WILL HELP US -IF WE BELIEVE IN AND SEEK AFTER HIM. WE CAN EXPECT TO HAVE CHALLENGES, DIFFICULT DECISIONS, AND MOMENTS OF SHEER TERROR. IT IS OUR FAITH IN GOD THE FATHER AND HIS SON JESUS CHRIST THAT WILL FILL US WITH PEACE AND HOPE, EVEN AMIDST UNCERTAINTY.
FAITH PROCEEDS HOPE, AND OPTIMISM IS THE OUTGROWTH OF HOPE!"
So I am going to try and remember this wisdom this coming week. I worry about things that I can't change and what I should be doing is making sure that I am doing all that I can, and just pray and have faith on the rest. Things always do work out, not always the way we want them to, but they do work out for our best interest and the interest of those we love.
Have a wonderful Sabbath and thanks again for your friendship and support.
"I BELIEVE EVERY PERSON HAS A HEART AND IF YOU CAN REACH IT, YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE." __ Uli Derickson
Friday, April 17, 2009
I haven't written in the past couple of days; it seems like my days are getting fuller but by evening ,I am too tired to do anything, even to write. I am grateful though that I have been getting more strength and able to look forward to a few things. Today I went to the Hospital for a meeting with the Gift Shop person, he doesn't own it but he runs it. Anyway, I presented to him the gifts that we have been working on for cancer survivors, everything from pillows, seat belt covers to inspirational cards. He liked it and even decided to carry about 7 of our times....I am sooooo excited.
My dear friend Chris is the one who sews and makes all the crazy things I come up with in my head. She has been so patient,during my radiation treatments... I would call her in the mornings and tell her what all my ideas are from the night before. Then she comes over and I explain in detail what I am thinking of. By the next day or so...she has got it already made. She is so talented, it is amazing! My son Bradley designed the logo which is great too. I can't wait to have that logo on every gift. Lauren and Amy are working on the inspirational cards and my niece helped write the story for the children's capes. Yes, it by far has been a family affair.
I now have to find a place to have my tags made and then I believe we will have most of what we need. I am so excited to have these gifts available for other cancer survivors. I truly hope that all of this some how is supported because, it would be wonderful to have these gifts available to all cancer patient, in all the hospitals. It is hard enough fight cancer, at least these gifts could help some with comfort and hope. Each gift will have it's own inspiring quotes. I believe that in a month or so, is when we are going to make the presentation of the gifts in the gift shop. I am soooo excited.
I spoke to a friend today about the choices we make in our lives. How hard it is to see some things, like attitudes and habits that we have created in our lives. Before you know it, how we see life is different... and sometimes very sad at what we are excepting as ...our life! Everyone sees life through their own colored glasses, all the experiences in our life cause that to happen, So even if someone thinks that what they are seeing is perfectly right, it doesn't mean it is. It just means that is how they see things. The crazy part is just respecting each other and trying our best to examine our thoughts and habits and see how CLEARLY we are actually seeing things. It takes a lot of work to examine our lives and check on what we think and believe. So when I found this story tonight it reminded me to pay more attention to my thoughts, actions and attitude and make sure that I am truly trying to make the right ones, because that is what my life is.
I hope you have a great weekend and know how very much I appreciate all your friendship and support. I am truly blessed because of you. Thanks!
The Carpenter's House
An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family.
He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by. The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.
When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. "This is your house, " he said, "my gift to you."
What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.
So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized that we would have done it differently.
Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity. The plaque on the wall says, "Life is a do-it-yourself project." Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.
"I've learned that it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be."
"I've learned that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel."
"I've learned that either you control your attitude or it controls you."
"I've learned that two people can look at the same thing and see something totally different."
"I've learned that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become."
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
There have been many times in my life as a mom that I realized the only reason that I accomplished and did some things, was because I was a mother. I already told you the mistakes I made trying to be a super mom, but I do think that I made some good decisions as a mom , not a lot ....but some.
One of those good decisions was to not let Cancer beat me or destroy my life. Since this is my 2nd time fighting this terrible disease there were some lessons I already knew and that helped ...sometimes. I knew that my kids were watching how I was going to fight this cancer. I have taught them their whole life that they are NEVER ALONE! That they have a Heavenly Father who loves them and knows them and that He will never give them more than they can handle. I taught them to never give up, to continue to have Faith and Hope. I taught them that there is something to learn in EVERY experience in Life, but some of them you might not totally understand right now.
So when my cancer hit ...yet again! I had to remember all these things that I taught my kids... and as their mom; I had to live them. Many of you have told me how brave and strong you think I am. Well, I would love to tell you that I am all that, but sometimes I really believe that the reason I try to keep getting back up and fighting is because of my kids and now... my granddaughter. I know that they watch everything I do and I need to teach them by living what I have taught. So I am grateful for them and for their ever watching eyes and sweet spirits that continue to bless my life.
I had a lady the other day asked me now that I am done with Radiation, if I am Cancer Free? I wish that there was some test that could tell me that but...there isn't. From now on if anyone else asks me that, I am going to say YES! I am cancer free, maybe it will only be for another year, month or day but whatever it is .... I am a MOM and a NANA and I can't quit and I can't let cancer ruin however many years, months or days I have left. I owe that to them. How grateful I am that I have a reason to get up each day!
I need to head to bed, but here is a little saying that goes perfectly along with my thoughts tonight.
WHEN YOU THOUGHT I WASN'T LOOKING
WHEN YOU THOUGHT I WASN'T LOOKING, I SAW YOU HANG MY FIRST PAINTING ON THE REFRIGERATOR, AND I WANTED TO PAINT ANOTHER ONE.
WHEN YOU THOUGHT I WASN'T LOOKING, I SAW YOU FEED A STRAY CAT, AND I THOUGHT IT WAS GOOD TO BE KIND TO ANIMALS.
WHEN YOU THOUGHT I WASN'T LOOKING, I SAW YOU MAKE MY FAVORITE CAKE JUST FOR ME, AND I KNEW THAT LITTLE THINGS ARE SPECIAL THINGS.
WHEN YOU THOUGHT I WASN'T LOOKING, I HEARD YOU SAY A PRAYER, AND I BELIEVED THERE IS A GOD I COULD ALWAYS TALK TO.
WHEN YOU THOUGHT I WASN'T LOOKING, I FELT YOU KISS ME GOOD NIGHT, AND I FELT LOVED.
WHEN YOU THOUGHT I WASN'T LOOKING, I SAW TEARS COME FROM YOUR EYES, AND I LEARNED THAT SOMETIMES THINGS HURT, BUT IT'S ALL RIGHT TO CRY.
WHEN YOU THOUGHT I WASN'T LOOKING, I SAW THAT YOU CARED AND I WANTED TO BE EVERYTHING THAT I COULD BE.
WHEN YOU THOUGHT I WASN'T LOOKING, I LOOKED. . . AND WANTED TO SAY THANKS FOR ALL THE THINGS I SAW WHEN YOU THOUGHT I WASN'T LOOKING. ___ author unknown
"Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words." __St. Francis of Assisi
"What can't be done by advice can often be done by example"
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I read an article today from Naomi Drew, M.A. about how vital it is that we have hope and try to share that with others each day. Here are a few ways that she mentioned we might try...
Be Kind to Yourself
Think about what you need most, and then do it. Is it a cup of tea, a brisk walk, some downtime, quiet music, a little rest, or reading inspirational literature? Whatever it is, grant yourself permission to do it, even for just a few minutes. If you're at work, take a "care-break" where you take care of you for a brief moment. These small moments accumulate and transform the texture of our days.
Create a Daily 5-Minute Silence Ritual
Light a candle and pray, meditate or reflect. Just silently reflecting in front of a lit candle is extremely nurturing and healing. This may be the one time of day when you feel connected to your own soul, and perhaps even something larger. Don't skip this step -- it's very powerful.
Curtail Your Intake of News
Oversaturation with news right now is detrimental to emotional health. If you read the newspaper in the morning, let that be enough. You don't need to turn on the TV or radio too, especially before bed. Consider putting a complete moratorium on news at least once a week. Anything you missed will be there tomorrow. Drastically curtail any news you let your children watch.
Treat Each Day Like a Precious Gift
Be vigilant in looking for things and people to appreciate. What if today was the last day of your life? How would you want to live it? Ask yourself this question throughout the day. It will help you let go of the countless petty annoyances that tend to throw most of us off balance.
Shift your gaze to appreciation. Who and what are you grateful for? Make a list each day and add to it.
Take a Break
Express Love Tangibly
Hugs, words, notes, acts of kindness -- be indiscriminately generous with all of them. Surprise a friend with a hug. Hug and kiss your kids longer and with deeper feeling. If you like how the clerk treated you in the store, thank her. Leave your partner small notes expressing gratitude for kind acts. Doing all of this adds warmth and positive energy to our lives and the lives of people around us. It's also very comforting both to the giver and receiver of each loving act.
Say This Affirmation Every DaySay this affirmation every day and see where it leads you: "I am the key to peace." Most of us believe, erroneously, that peace will come from people or institutions much larger than we. Just the opposite is true. Peace starts with each individual and it will only come to this world from the people themselves. It is critical that we each create peace in the small and large moments of our lives. We must live it in our words and actions rather than giving in to fear, hatred, or resignation.
Make a Difference
Reach out beyond your normal scope. This is your opportunity to live your greatest promise, highest self. Don't wait. Each time we make a difference in the lives of others, we create hope in ourselves. By reaching out to someone in need, be it your neighbor, a Guatemalan orphan, or people in a homeless shelter, we add a little more peace and hope to the world. Our accumulated gestures of care and compassion will ultimately transform our lives and the lives of others. We are each the source of that transformation. Knowing this gives me hope.
I actually think this was a great article and one that each of us would do well to remember each day. Hope has a short shelve life if we aren't careful. So many things can come at us in our days that try to steal our hope away. I feel like it is vital not to let that happen. We need to be that example to others, to the world!
"What do we live for if not to make life less difficult for each other?" ___George Eliot
"Once you choose hope, anything's possible." Christopher Reeve
"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all." __Dale Carnegie
Good night dear friends and thank you for helping me to have hope and making a huge difference in my life!
Monday, April 13, 2009
Time is amazing how it can seem to slow down when things are bad and seem to speed up when things are good. 2008 was a year to remember... but one in many ways, I don't want to remember or repeat. In just that one year, Jeff had knee surgery, Lee and I both got pneumonia, I had my gallbladder removed, my dad passed away and my cancer returned and I had a mastectomy. Yes....it was a year to forget!
I know that really isn't true, I can't forget all the incredible things that I learned but...it was an incredibly hard year. It was this weekend that marked a year ago that my Dad passed away. He and I weren't very close, I wished we would have been, we certainly should have been ...I was his only girl out of 5 children! It is funny, even though we weren't close I have some of his traits. He never met a stranger, he loved to give to everyone, he liked to draw (although he rarely did), he loved Christmas, he laughed a lot and he had a hundred BEST FRIENDS! So even though, he might not have realized it, we had a lot in common. Dad died on his mother's birthday. She passed away 20 some years ago, on my Birthday, interesting huh?
His mom, my grandma Johnny (as we lovingly called her) was a special grandmother to me and for that I am very grateful. She wasn't the snuggly or huggy type, but she was kind to me and we spent a lot of time together.Her house was a SAFE place for me and so when I was there, I could completely relax and enjoy our time together. She taught me how to sew some, mostly by hand (which I couldn't believe how long it took her to do that) and she taught me how to crochet...that was much faster. She always made Jiffy Cornbread Mix, but she would throw the box away, so that everyone thought it was her own special recipe. She would smile when others said that thought her cornbread was better than anyone else! :)
She saved everything, she told me that was because of what she had lived through and people could get by on much less than they really have. She used to also make us a treat called SUGAR-BREAD-AND-BUTTER-SUGAR, now it was just what it says it is, white bread (not homemade) butter and sugar and then steamed so the butter would melt and the bread was soft. I am not sure if she added more sugar when it came out but...we thought it was the best thing ever! So did our dentist probably...it kept him in business! :) She used to write in a journal every day and my favorite thing to do with her was sit on the porch in our rocking chairs and either crochet or string beans. She was a great cook. I loved hearing the chimes of her old grandfather clock. I can still remember the glass door knobs in her house...I wished I had some of those. Yes, I had many fond memories in her home.
When Jeff and I got married, she was moving out of her home that she had been in all her married life. She was getting weaker and came to live with our family for a while, then she got so bad she had to move into a nursing home. Because she was never going to be able to return to her home, she offered Jeff and I some of her furniture to start out on. I guess that is why I wanted to decorate my home in a Country motif, because it reminds me every day of Grandma Johnny's house and I love that feeling. If you ever come to visit, you will still find my home decorated with many things that my grandma gave us, and I love them!
Now I am a grandma, well...NANA to be exact, but I try hard to make my home a safe and good place for my kids and granddaughter to come. I always want it to smell a certain way, like my grandmother's did. I don't cook all the treats that she did, but I do burn candles that smell like I am cooking or put potpourri on the stove. Jeff and the kids used to get excited when they came in the door, when they smelled something delicious cooking or so they thought. But when they found out it was just a candle that smelled like cinnamon rolls then they were disappointed. I told them that it was much better for them to just smell it than eat it...but they never had really believed that.
So this weekend I counted my blessings when I thought of Grandma Johnny and Dad. I am grateful for all the things they taught me and the lessons I learned from their lives. Each generation should get better I believe. Hopefully some day my grand kids will remember good things that they learned and did while at Nana's and Poppa's house. Plus, hopefully it is a safe and happy place for them to always come and a place they remembered that smelled like something delicious was in the oven!
"The sense of smell can be extraordinarily evocative, bringing back pictures as sharp as photographs of scenes that had left the conscious mind." ~Thalassa Cruso,
"Time is a companion that goes with us on a journey. It reminds us to cherish each moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we have lived."
__Captain Jean-Luc Picard
"Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose."
Sunday, April 12, 2009
From the time the kids were little, Jeff and I have tried to think of a way to help the kids know the difference between chocolate bunnies, new clothes, colored eggs... to truly understanding the importance and sacredness of this very Special Day. As we were talking to some parents one day about how they taught their kids about the true meaning of Easter,one mother told us that she had the Easter Bunny come on Friday nights instead of Saturday nights. That way the kids could enjoy the baskets,candy and eggs on Saturday and then on Sunday... they could discuss what Easter was truly all about. We decided to try it and it really has worked well for us too.
I hope that Jeff and I have taught them the importance of the greatest event in history and what Jesus Christ truly has done for each of us. When I stop and think about what an amazing life Christ had... from the beginning to end,
The shepherds believed the sign of Jesus' birth and went to see Him in Bethlehem.
King Herod sent soldiers to kill all boys two years old or younger. Joseph, Mary, and Baby Jesus fled to Egypt.
Mary and Joseph found young Jesus teaching at the temple in Jerusalem.
He was baptized by John the Baptist in the River Jordan.
Jesus overcame Satan's temptations.
Jesus was cast out of Nazareth, the city where He grew up.
Jesus Christ called the Twelve Apostles.
The Pharisees tried to trick Jesus.
He raised Jairus's daughter from the dead.
He fed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fishes.
He calmed the stormy Sea of Galilee.
He taught the Sermon on the Mount.
He walked on the Sea of Galilee.
Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.
Jesus cleansed the temple.
He performed many miracles.
He rode triumphantly into Jerusalem.
He and the Apostles had the Last Supper.
He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane and began to suffer for our sins.
Jesus was crucified.
He is resurrected!
I am amazed and grateful.
I was in a store last night when they were about to close. The sales lady said to us when we were checking out...."please hurry because I have a lot to do before I get to go home. Easter has really messed everything up!" I asked her what she meant, her response was "Because of Easter, we will be closed on Sunday and so now I have to do all my stuff tonight and early Monday morning!" I know that she was only talking about what she had to do at the store, but yet I still felt bad... at even hearing the words." Easter has really messed everything up!"
I thought how sad, we should all be grateful that Easter is considered a holiday and honored... by letting people be off work and be able to celebrate it with their families. I hope that I never get so caught up with this holiday that I forget the example the Savior was for me. I hope that I am living in a way that He would want me to live and I hope that Jeff and I have instilled the importance of this day to our kids.
Have a wonderful Easter Day!
"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." ____C.S.Lewis
Saturday, April 11, 2009
From the time the kids were little I have struggled with balancing all the things I needed to do with, what I was suppose to do. I used to think that taking time out for myself was selfish and that is only something you saw OLDER women do. Now I understand why, they had finally figured out ...that if you don't take time out for yourself, then there will be nothing left for everyone else. I have always heard that from those OLDER women, but personally I didn't believe it. I thought I was suppose to be WONDER MOM. I got up early, went to bed late, made their clothes, tried to fix healthy balanced meals, grew a garden, made all their snacks from scratch ( granola, fruit roll ups and etc) I made matching pajamas for every Christmas, plus all the decorations for our home. Ran a small business out of my home, exercised and tried to spend one on one time each week with our VIP child ( Very Important Person) and have Date night with Jeff, every Friday. I Volunteered at school and bused all the kids back and forth to all their activities. I did all that on only 5-6 hours of sleep a night and yet I still felt like I wasn't the mom I should have been ! I was right....I wasn't ! Maybe I was a SUPER MOM accomplishing all that stuff but...I really wasn't teaching my kids that it is important to take care of yourself first,so that you are healthy enough to do for others.
I remember one particular Christmas Eve and we had just finished our Family Tradition of reading the Christmas Story out of the Book of Luke while all the kids and their cousins acted it out. We had our traditional dinner with them and they when family had left and Jeff and I were just about ready to put the kids to bed, prayers were said, cookies and carrots were left by the fireplace for Santa and the reindeers. Everything was done I thought....then I remembered that I forgot to finish the kid's matching PJ's! Now it was about 9:00pm and the kids were probably around 11years old down to 2 years old, and they were eager to head to bed, Santa was coming and they knew that Santa wouldn't come unless they were fast asleep. But I insisted that they stay up a bit longer until I finished their matching Christmas Pajamas. Like I said ,they were already cut out and I had a serger so it didn't take very long, but I did have to have them try them on for size and they kept complaining that Santa was not going to come if they were still up.
Now I was up in my room where the sewing machines were, and I was sewing so fast that I still can't believe that I didn't sew my fingers or two pant legs together. Jeff came up and tried to tell me how unhealthy I was being for me and for the kids. I just couldn't seem to make him understand how VITAL it was to have the kids in their matching pajamas for Christmas morning. I told him to put on another Christmas movie and then send one of them up at a time for their fitting. By 11:30 PM the darling pajamas were done and put on each sleepy little head. They were so tired and so was I, Jeff was still looking at me shaking his head and I of course felt like the Ultimate mom, because I did that for me kids!
Now before I go any further, just in case there are any young mom's out there reading this. Just for the record.....I didn't do it for the kids (because they didn't care at all what type of Pajamas they had on) I did it for me and for the beautiful Christmas morning photos that I took, after having only a couple hours of sleep. No...I was not the SUPER MOM, I was the Silly mom who thought I had to do it all. I still laugh and yet feel guilty when I look at those Christmas morning photos, the kids did match but so did the looks of exhaustion on their little faces, they had waited for hours to go to bed on Christmas Eve. Jeff finally put his foot down the next year and said if the pajamas aren't made before Christmas Eve were aren't going to worry about it right Lynn?
Balancing Act ...is exactly what life is all about. I think it is for all of us, yet maybe it is a bit more confusing when you have kids. So now my kids are mostly grown, two are married and two left in High School and yet I still realize that I need to be conscience of my time and how I spend my days. After having battled with Cancer for the last 7 months it feels a bit weird to now have time again for me. There are days that I still wonder if I am doing enough to keep fighting off cancer? It is just that you are so ACTIVELY doing something everyday from the time you are diagnosed, till the end of your treatments and then BOOM all that stops, and then you have everyday life to think about again. I know longer have my cancer dictating my schedule and life and so I am trying once again to find the balance. Trying to put some fun back into my life, plus regular family schedules and yet do my exercises, massages and stretching (for the surgery site) and trying to read up all I can on eating healthy and still taking naps. The biggest thing I have to remember is to stay on top of my thoughts. One of my dear friends said this once to me..."Don't let anything rob you of the time you have, by having the discouraging thoughts." She was and is so right, some times I think WHY SHOULD I PLAN THAT OR DO THAT, WHAT IF THE CANCER COMES BACK, MAYBE I SHOULD BE DOING THINGS IN PREPARATION FOR THAT? You may wonder what preparation for that means to me? Well, like getting all their scrapbooks done, writing letters to them about all the important things in their life, in case I am not here. Getting every thing cleaned and organized. Making all their quilts for them and all the grand kids so, even if I don't get to be here when they are born... then at least they will have something hand made with love from their Nana.
I would go on, but I am afraid that all of you are going to do an intervention on me... and turn me in ! Ok, that does sound crazy, but I am sure I am not the only cancer survivor to think that way. So the Balancing Act continues for this two time cancer survivor. I am trying to remember not to let anything rob me of enjoying each day, loving my family and friends and fulfilling my personal mission here on earth. I look back on those days and wished I would have paid more attention to those OLDER MOMS because I think I would have been in much better shape... emotionally, spiritually and physically.
So take this piece of advise from this now OLDER MOM....you need to take care of yourself first, your thoughts, your habits, your body, your health, your relationship with your Heavenly Father. You need to find out what your purpose is here on earth. You need to learn to love yourself. You need to get rid of all the baggage from your past so that you don't pass that on to your children. You need to eat right, sleep more and take time to prioritize your life. Motherhood is the best but it is vital that we watch the example we are setting for our kids, remember they are always watching! Make sure you are more Balanced or... you could turn out like this OLDER MOM! :)
Take care and know that you are the best, you are loved and appreciated... you are of great worth!
Ok, I am going to get down off my soap box and head to bed. Good night dear friends!
"Most of us are trying to balance work, home, and a family life. We tend not to accept the early symptoms of burnout and carry on our daily lives." ____Yasmeen Abdur-Rahman,
"We have overstretched our personal boundaries
and forgotten that true happiness comes from
living an authentic life fueled with a
sense of purpose and balance." ____Dr. Kathleen Hall,
Thursday, April 9, 2009
I remembered that I have a sewing class tomorrow and may not be able to do a post so....I am going to do a mini one for tomorrow ...or I mean today. Lauren had to do a photo shoot in her photography class with Studio lighting. Guess who got to be the STAR for the day? YES... Miss ANGIE and from the looks of it, she was enjoying every minute of it. Some of them, I think we are going to use in our inspirational cards. Here are 2 of them. Night!
"IT IS THE SWEET, SIMPLE THINGS OF LIFE WHICH ARE THE REAL ONES AFTER ALL." ___Laura Ingalls Wilder
"DANCE LIKE NO ONE IS WATCHING, LOVE LIKE YOU'LL NEVER BE HURT, SING LIKE NO ONE IS LISTENING, AND LIVE LIKE IT'S HEAVEN ON EARTH." ___
Today was great, even without the sunshine... it still was a good day. I had more energy, got some things done and even had my teeth cleaned...and I still thought it was a good day. That is saying something for me (one who is scared to go to the DENTIST) but I am getting braver. Plus, I love everyone there in their office, they are amazing people and so it was a real treat to go see them again. I feel like I have been away from so many people for soooooooooooo long.
I took a very late nap and so here I am staring at the walls, just did laundry, dishes, bills and lunches; now I am getting tired. So instead of staying up much later I thought I share this neat little story with you. I love ones like this, that bring such wisdom. Life is truly about how we look at things and realizing how powerful our words are.
Thanks again for all your love and support!
The Bag of Nails
There was a little boy with a bad temper.
His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the back fence.
The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Then it gradually dwindled down.
He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all.
He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.
The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his Father that all the nails were gone.
The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.
He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence.
The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one.
You can put a knife in a man and draw it out.
It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there.
A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one".
Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed.
They make you smile and encourage you to succeed.
They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Most of my life I have been called tenderhearted, I always thought it was because I get my feelings hurt easily. I looked up the word today and I think it means maybe also those who take things to heart easily. I do think that I do that a lot, I don't like conflict and I would rather say I am sorry than fight about something. But I am learning in my old age, that isn't healthy for me, if I am wrong then,I should be the first to apologize ...but to just apologize to get rid of bad feelings, isn't good either. So I am learning slow but sure, how to protect my heart more. Whatever it means ...I have also noticed that I do tend to be sympathetic to others and almost to a fault. I can watch a movie where some of the actors are sick or hurt or scared and I am right there with them. I have to tell myself it is just a movie and that they are just acting but for years that was even hard for me. This is hard for my family because DISNEY is about all I can handle! I hate to see people hurt, guess that is why I decided to go for the C.E.O position over the Woodard Family verses being a nurse. :)
Today I had my last check up with Dr. Taylor at Evergreen for radiation. I have to admit he was a wonderful Doctor, he has a great spirit about him and he is very compassionate. I was glad that I had a chance to meet him and all of the staff there, that part of my cancer journey, was positive for sure. He told me that things looked good and then told me that he wished the best for me. One of the nurses there remembered me from 7 years ago and mentioned she hoped we don't see each other again...at least with cancer. You know I thought about that as I left the office, this is my second time to fight cancer and I wonder if I will have to continue to fight it for the rest of my life? Then I quickly thought...what if...I don't get it and get to do a million more things in my life? I am telling you the WHAT IF game is seldom played in the positive way.
After my appointment, I went all around the hospital and visited all those that I have become friends with since I have been there. I also brought all of the Cancer Survivor Gifts that my friend and I have designed and made, plus of course Lauren's cards to show, and everyone loved them....I do think there is a great need for heart felt gifts to give those who are fighting and trying to survive cancer. I wish is some way that there is someone out there to invest in these gifts...we can produce them to a point... but if they were to be available at every hospital for every cancer patient then...it would have to be on a bigger scale. Anyway it was a hit with everyone there and so for 4 hours, I just went around and visited and showed our products. My other grandmother always said, that I should have been a peddler, because I was always packing around my creations and selling them. Maybe I missed my calling? No, a peddler has to have a strong back to walk and carry everything. I had a roll-a-bout case today and I was still on the phone to my chiropractic office as soon as I got home...for an appointment. If only my body had as much strength and energy as my passion for these type of things. Oh, I almost did the WHAT IF game again.
"MY MIND TELLS ME TO GIVE UP, BUT MY HEART WON'T LET ME"
I met a few people today that I didn't know, and they too were a joy to meet. I met a couple of survivor women and heard there sweet stories of either them or their families. Cancer has effected and touched many lives. I am always thrilled to see the ones that have changed their lives for the better... because of it. They are true survivors and I do believe having cancer tends to make you a bit more tenderhearted, because they do seem to have more compassion and sympathy.
So today was a good day, a bit too good because I was worn out, guess my post tomorrow will have to be about balance! :) Anyway, thanks again for being such a great support system for me, I only wish all cancer patients had as many dear friends and family as I do! Night!
"THE HUMAN HEART FEELS THINGS THE EYES CANNOT SEE, AND KNOWS WHAT THE MIND CANNOT UNDERSTAND" ____Robert Valett
"WHEREVER YOU GO, GO WITH ALL YOUR HEART" ___Confucius
Monday, April 6, 2009
I was studying an article today about choices, now this is one that I have to daily work on. I do believe the saying that goes like this...
"IT'S CHOICE-NOT CHANCE THAT DETERMINES YOUR DESTINY." ___Anthony Robbins
I also think that our daily choices determine our quality of life. I am a worrier from way back, but for the last 10 or so years ,I have tried to change that habit. I realize that many of the things I worried about were beyond my control. Worrying is bad energy and that isn't healthy for any one's body, especially those who are trying to fight cancer. My grandmother used to say that ..."WORRY IS LIKE A ROCKING CHAIR, YOU CAN WORRY AND WORRY ALL YOU WANT, BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY YOU WILL STILL BE IN THE SAME PLACE". WORRYING DOESN'T GET YOU ANY WHERE" ___ Grandma Johnny
I need to remember to choose to be happy, to be forgiving, to be less judgmental, and on and on. We all make choices every day, some effect others,some don't but...each day we keep making choices. I have tried today to choose to stay in a healthy place, although I am worried about something it is not anything I can control. I can on the other hand control how I let it effect me. I have been so much better on this area of my life, but some times like the past few days, I let it eat at me and I have got to learn to stop that. I need to stay healthy and being able to recognize that I have the power, in my mind... to stay in that space. It is important and vital for me. It is amazing to me how one minute things can seem so good and then in just another moment, something changes and things aren't so good any more. Life is tough, I guess each day I just need to remember how to and stay in the moment and not in the past or... too far in the future. I am really trying to learn this principle, it does not come natural for me.
Lucky for me, I have in many places in my house motivational cards that Lauren has made for me. I look and read them every day, and they remind me to get up, do my best, be honest and choose to be happy, in other words make good choices.
I need to head to bed, thanks again for your continued calls, and emails and cards. What a bright spot in my day they are. I will show you a few of the photos that Lauren made our motivational cards out of. (there are 12 of them).
Sunday, April 5, 2009
I was grateful to see the sun again today, it is hard not to wish that Spring would come to stay. I was glad to sit out on the porch and enjoy the rays with everyone. I am grateful for the Sabbath, I always seem to learn something that I needed to understand better in my life. I was thinking today, how wonderful it felt to be hopeful and looking forward to life again, instead of being in despair. I really felt like some days, that the despair would swallow me up and that for the rest of my life I would continue to look over my shoulder waiting for Cancer to strike again. Actually it may or it may not, but I need to get busy with what the Lord needs me to do while I am still here. Today is Palm Sunday and I realized that I need to truly appreciate what this whole week of Easter represents. I need to be more like the Savior in my thoughts and actions.
I heard a great talk about Hope and Despair and understanding them more, it went like this, (I just went by my notes which is totally summarizing)...
But Why Then Is There Despair?
The scriptures say that there must be “an opposition in all things.” So it is with faith, hope, and charity. Doubt, despair, and failure to care for our fellowmen lead us into temptation, which can cause us to forfeit choice and precious blessings.
The adversary uses despair to bind hearts and minds in suffocating darkness. Despair drains from us all that is vibrant and joyful and leaves behind the empty remnants of what life was meant to be. Despair kills ambition, advances sickness, pollutes the soul, and deadens the heart. Despair can seem like a staircase that leads only and forever downward.
Hope, on the other hand, is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn. It encourages and inspires us to place our trust in God.
What, Then, Is Hope?
Hope is not knowledge, but rather the abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promise to us. It is believing and expecting that our prayers will be answered. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance.
The things we hope in sustain us during our daily walk. They uphold us through trials, temptations, and sorrow. Everyone has experienced discouragement and difficulty. Indeed, there are times when the darkness may seem unbearable. It is in these times divine principles we hope in can uphold us and carry us until, once again, we walk in the light.
We hope in Jesus the Christ, in the goodness of God, in the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, in the knowledge that prayers are heard and answered. Because God has been faithful and kept His promises in the past, we can hope with confidence that God will keep His promises to us in the present and in the future. In times of distress, we can hold tightly to the hope that things will “work together for [our] good. This type of hope in God, His goodness, and His power refreshes us with courage during difficult challenges and gives strength to those who feel threatened by enclosing walls of fear, doubt, and despair
"Each time a hope is fulfilled, it creates confidence and leads to greater hope"
"Hope sustains us through despair. Hope teaches that there is reason to rejoice even when all seems dark around us"
"Hope leads to good works"
"Hope is critical to both faith and charity"
What a wonderful thing to remember, I realize that my Bigger Than Me days are not over, but I will try and focus on the here and now and not look too far into the future. I am grateful to be here and with my family. I am so blessed to have them and all of you. May you be able to have more hope in your lives too.