Sunday, May 31, 2009

Chain Breakers



Today is Sunday, and I was grateful that I felt good enough to go to church with my family here. I was impressed with a lesson that a husband and wife did together. They work in downtown Salt Lake City with the homeless and the abused. She said that she just really wanted to start doing some volunteer work with the Police Station for a couple of hours a week. But now she is working full time and she has started an organization the CHAIN BREAKERS!
I love that, that is exactly what I have tried to be my whole life. Habits and abuse can be like terrible chains that bind us to a horrible life. It seems at times that these chains are too strong to break, and we will have to continue to live a certain way then pass onto the next generation... all the garbage that we had in our lives. But we don't have to, we can be CHAIN BREAKERS, we can be the one to stop the wrongs and make them right. Make our life right and our futures bright!

He mentioned that many times we are prepared for storms and disasters that hit our lives. We have our 72 hour kits, our emergency preparedness items, maybe some money saved away and also our food storage. But are we just as prepared for the EMOTIONAL AND SPIRITUAL STORMS that will hit our lives? Are we ready to face the very PROBLEMS that will test our faith and our hope? What kind of storms could these be?
  • Accidents
  • Financial problems
  • Divorce or Marital problems
  • Addictions- Gambling, Drugs, Alcohol, or Pornography
  • Illnesses - chronic and terminal
  • Loss of a loved one-spouse, parent or child
  • Mental issues
  • Aging and all the problems that come with that

They both talked about how we could prepare for these things, because we know that they are going to happen some day, probably not all of them.... but some of them.

  • We must keep our perspective
  • We must stay strong in our obedience to the commandments
  • We must surround ourselves with people who have great faith and hope.
  • We must surround ourselves with people who have a belief and faith in US!
  • We must try to keep the faith and everyday try to find hope
  • We must serve others, that helps us put things in perspective
  • We must continue to gain knowledge about our challenges. Remember KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!
  • We must try each day to do the right thing and trust in God

He reminded us that it does not matter what problems we are facing, there is help on every front (if we ask for it). We need to lean on each other to be a support to each other.

"Darkness can not be eliminated by darkness, darkness can only be eliminated by light"

It was a great lesson for all of us. It made me think of the quote that I have used before that goes like this..." WHEN THE STUDENT IS READY. THE MASTER APPEARS" ~Buddhist Proverb

I think if we all look back into our past, there would be certain chains that we need to break. We need to become like this dear lady and her husband called the CHAIN BREAKERS! I learned so much today, what a great reminder for me and hopefully all of us.

Good night dear family and friends, thanks for the love and hope you share with me!

"THERE ARE THINGS THAT WE DON'T WANT TO HAPPEN BUT HAVE TO ACCEPT, THINGS WE DON'T WANT TO KNOW BUT HAVE TO LEARN, AND PEOPLE WE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT BUT HAVE TO LET GO" ~ Unknown

"FIGURING OUT WHO YOU ARE IS THE WHOLE POINT OF THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE" ~ Anna Quindlen

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Grateful for this day!

What another beautiful day it was today. I was able to get up and get out on my walk early this morning. It is an incredible feeling to be able to look up at those beautiful mountains and walk. I have had such a wonderful vacation. What a treat to be here and just enjoy myself. It has been so much fun. Of course there is never enough time to visit everyone and that is hard for me. I had hoped to visit with a few friends since I have been here but, I haven't even finished visiting all my family yet.

I also was able to finish a novel that Shirley had. Of course it is a Christmas story, you know me, I like Christmas all year long! :) It really was good book with a great moral to it. Here is what it said in the inside cover...#1 New York Times bestselling author and renowned radio and television host Gleen Beck delivers an instant holiday classic about boyhood memories, wrenching life lessons, and the true meaning of the gifts we give to one another in love.

Here is a quote from the book... "WE WEREN'T WEALTHY, WE WEREN'T POOR...WE JUST WERE. WE NEVER WANTED FOR ANYTHING, EXCEPT MAYBE MORE TIME TOGETHER..."

I thought alot about the gifts that I give away. Sometimes they may not seem like much, but they are given from the heart. It has been a different experience to be here in such a wealthy neighborhood. Some of these homes are enormous, they have their own pools, bowling alleys and tennis courts. I have to remind myself not to be envious and how rich I am, because I truly realized during my cancer that all that I ever wanted....I had. And like the quote in the book, all I was wanting was... more time together with Jeff and the kids. I am very grateful that I was granted that!

Then I called Amy for her birthday today. Some times when I look at my kids I can't believe that they are so grown up and 2 of them have families of their own. Where did the time go? Amy always laughs and says that she was the guinea pig of the family, because she was the first. I sure there is some truth in that statement but, I think every position in the family order has it's pros and cons. I remember how hot it was this time 26 years ago today. I felt huge and actually I didn't gain that much weight but when Amy was born ....she weighed 10 lbs 1oz, that was a big baby. I was in labor for over 20 some hours, only to find out that she wasn't going to come out the regular way and so I was put to sleep when they did a C-section. I had always heard about the instant bond that mothers have with their babies when they first see them but since I was asleep I missed all that.
When Jeff woke me up in the recovery room, he just kept saying "you were right Lynn, it was Amy and she had dark brown hair and weights over 10lbs." I just smiled because I thought he must be joking with me, how in the world would we have a baby that big and with brown hair? When they first put her in my arms and I remember even during the whole night, I kept wondering how I could know for sure that she was my baby? It was a weird feeling to be put asleep and then wake up and have a big beautiful baby put into your arms. Amy slept alot that night but I held her most of the time and just kept staring at her. I kept wondering when I was going to get that connection feeling. Then the early the next morning, Jeff arrived at the hospital early and the first thing he said was " how are my girls this morning? He went over and picked up Amy and said "How is Daddy's little girl doing?" At that moment when I saw Jeff pick her up and kiss her, I knew that was our Amy girl and the excitement never stopped from then on. I still get happy to see Amy, she is a bundle of excitement, energy and happiness. That is saying a lot in today's world. So Happy Birthday my dear Amy girl, we are so glad that you came to our family.

At noon we were able to go to a park and meet up with my youngest brother and his family. The kids are just too cute and they seemed happy to be with Aunt Lynn. I miss them so much and do wish that we lived closer so that I could go to their activities and have them over to my home. They have really grown and once again I realized how time has flown by.

Later in the evening Shirley and I went out to a sale at a local department store. We had so much fun, we were in one big dressing room with over 50 different items that we brought in and took out, a little at a time. We laught and carried on for over an hour. We kept reminding ourselves how much better we would look this summer, if we could just 10lbs. Then we would talk about how much harder it is getting to lose weight (especially compared to when we were younger). Any way, I am sure the store was more than happy when we left but...we really had fun.

So it was a beautiful day and once again I feel grateful that I have been able to take this time away to relax, visit family and just enjoy doing nothing. Thank you for your love and friendship, like the book was all about...

"GOOD COMPANY,
LIVELY CONVERSATIONS,
AND THE ENDEARMENTS
OF FRIENDSHIP,
FILL THE MIND
WITH GREAT PLEASURE." ~Edmund Burke

"IF YOU HAVE NOTHING IN LIFE
BUT A GREAT FRIEND, YOU'RE RICH." ~ Michelle Kwan
and I would add A GREAT FAMILY !

Good night!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Character and Contentment

I won't even try to find a photo to go with my blog tonight because it is late, and I don't want to take the chance of erasing my blog each time. :) I found this story and it is a bit long, so I won't write much. But I do hope you take the time to read it. It reminded me of how important it is to be content. The old man in the story was full of character and yet content with what he was or wasn't given in life. A great lesson for us all. Good night!

"BE GREAT IN ACT, AS YOU HAVE BEEN IN THOUGHT" ~Henry Clay

"IF I AM NOT I, WHO WILL I BE?" ~Henry David Thoreau


The Old Fisherman

Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. We lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to out patients at the clinic.
One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man. Why, he's hardly taller than my eight-year-old, I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body. But the appalling thing was his face--lopsided from swelling, red and raw. Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, "Good evening. I've come to see if you've a room for just one night.
I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, and there's no bus 'til morning." He told me he'd been hunting for a room since noon but with no success, no one seemed to have a room. "I guess it's my face...I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more treatments..." For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me: "I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch. My bus leaves early in the morning."
I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch. I went inside and finished getting supper. When we were ready, I asked the old man if he would join us.
"No thank you. I have plenty." And he held up a brown paper bag. When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk with him a few minutes. It didn't take a long time to see that this old man had an over sized heart crowded into that tiny body. He told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her five children, and her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury. He didn't tell it by way of complaint; in fact, every other sentence was preface with a thanks to God for a blessing. He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a form of skin cancer. He thanked God for giving him the strength to keep going.
At bedtime, we put a camp cot in the children's room for him. When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and the little man was out on the porch. He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, haltingly, as if asking a great favor, he said, "Could I please come back and stay the next time I have a treatment? I won't put you out a bit. I can sleep fine in a chair." He paused a moment and then added, "Your children made me feel at home. Grownups are bothered by my face, but children don't seem to mind." I told him he was welcome to come again.
On his next trip he arrived a little after seven in the morning. As a gift, he brought a big fish and a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen. He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so that they'd be nice and fresh. I knew his bus left at 4:00 a.m. and I wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this for us.
In the years he came to stay overnight with us there was never a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters or vegetables from his garden.
Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special delivery; fish and oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed. Knowing that he must walk three miles to mail these, and knowing how little money he had made the gifts doubly precious.
When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first morning.
"Did you keep that awful looking man last night? I turned him away! You can lose roomers by putting up such people!" Maybe we did lose roomers once or twice. But oh! If only they could have known him, perhaps their illnesses would have been easier to bear.
I know our family always will be grateful to have known him; from him we learned what it was to accept the bad without complaint and the good with gratitude to God.
Author Unknown

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Happy Birthday!


I knew when I was coming on this vacation that I was going to miss a couple of birthdays and that is always hard. Today was Jeff's birthday and although he said it really isn't a big deal...I think it is. If he hadn't been born then I wouldn't have been able to marry my best friend and so...I am so glad that he is was born! :) I won't tell you how old he is today but I will tell you the quote that would be a good reminder of how old he is...
"I'M OVER THE HILL BUT THE CLIMB WAS TERRIFIC!" I am glad that the kids were there to do dinner and a bit of a celebration so that he felt loved and remembered.
I have my big 50th coming up this summer. I always thought that I would want a great big party and all my friends to fly or drive in and be there with me and my family. But since my cancer I have to admit that I feel way more practical and don't really want to make it such a big deal. I wouldn't even just mind if I went somewhere with Jeff and the kids. I am just going to be grateful that I made it 50 years. There have been a few times this year that I was seriously wondering if I was going to make it! :) I am thinking now that I probably have a good chance!
I am always grateful for each new year in my life, for all the things I have learned and what lessons that has engraved in my soul. Now I know why I love hanging around older people. They have so much wisdom, they have lived so much of life and now that time has slowed down for them, they have the time and excitement to share all that wisdom with someone.
Well, it is late and I just wanted to leave you with a few birthday quotes, I have missed wishing so many of you a Happy Birthday this past year or so. I know you understand but you have to understand that I am the one who single handily keeps the Post Office in business usually. So Happy Birthday if I missed telling you that this year. I appreciate the opportunity to know you and have you as part of my life! Night
"IT IS NOT THE YEARS IN YOUR LIFE BUT THE LIFE IN YOUR YEARS THAT COUNT"
~Adlai Stevenson
"THE SECRET OF HAPPINESS IS TO COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS-NOT YOUR BIRTHDAYS." ~Shannon Rose
"BIRTHDAYS ARE GOOD FOR YOU. STATISTICS SHOW THAT THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE THE MOST LIVE THE LONGEST!" ~Larry Lorenzoni

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Grateful for the break!

I am sure that some of you would laugh to hear how grateful that I am to get a break, because my life isn't that busy or hectic anyway. But for some reason it has been nice to just not have to worry about anything and just relax. My sister-in-law watches over me to make sure that I don't over do it. Today was our first day that we didn't have any plans and that was fun. We just went window shopping at a country village place and that was nice. Some times (since I am a homebody) I think that I should be doing something productive. Relaxing is really hard for me to do, it always has been. But I realize that it is important for me to learn, my mind goes a hundred miles an hour and so learning to relax is much more than a job than one might think. Actually Jeff laughs at me because that has NEVER been a problem for him, he said that he has mastered that years ago! :)
So today while we were out, we went into this one store that was country home decorating, which was by far my favorite place. I love the feeling of being HOME and alot of it makes me feel like my grandmother's house (the one that was safe) and that is such a good feeling and memory. We found a lot of quotes that weItalicre neat wall hangings and so my niece told me to write them down so that I would have them for my blog :) Although some of them did not tell who the author was and I know if I try to go google it, then I will lose this whole post...like I did 3 times last night. So if you want to know who said it ...hopefully you can google it.

I think my favorite quote was this one...

"NEVER TAKE LIFE SERIOUSLY.
NOBODY GETS OUT ALIVE ANYWAY!"


I do think that is a great one for me to learn. It just struck me so funny. Yes, we all are going to die, but what I have learned over the years with my illnesses is that... HOW YOU LIVE is more important. So I am trying to remember that. I love being alive and able to experience life each day, yes it has been hard and I keep trying to remember to count my blessings and look forward to things. Making goals and thinking about the future was very hard for me just a few months ago, so ... maybe I am making progress?
When I get home I have to go for my 6 month check up and mammogram. I got the reminder before I left home, and I just told Jeff that I couldn't handle that right now. I just wanted to forget about all that and go on my vacation. So that is what I am doing...I AM TAKING A VACATION FROM MY PROBLEMS, I am sure that they will be there waiting for me when I get home. :)
I go out back each day and just sit in the sunshine and look up at the beautiful mountains (like you see in this photo), they are amazing and that is one thing that I never get tired of looking at. Yes, I have a lot of things to be thankful for and so I will try to remember not to worry about anything and just enjoy life. I have to admit though, I am missing Jeff and the kids back home. I obviously haven't conquered completely just doing something only for me. I keep thinking, how fun it would be if Lee saw this, or Lauren could take a photo of that. If Angie would like this park or Amy would like the ideas in this store. And of course I wouldn't mind at all having my best friend holding my hand along the way.
Oh, my sister-in-law just gave me a quote book...where has that been? So here are a few ones to think about. Thank you for being such an important part of my life and learning.

"IT IS NOT THE MOUNTAIN THAT WE CONQUER BUT OURSELVES" ~ Edmond Hillary

"IT TAKES COURAGE TO GROW UP AND BECOME WHO YOU REALLY ARE"

~ E.E. Cummings

"THIS WOULD BE A GREAT TIME TO FREEZE FOR A FEW YEARS" ~ Unknown

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day!

Today was a beautiful day and a perfect one to celebrate the holiday with my family. It has been rainy and cool for the past couple of days and so it was nice to see the sun today. I am so grateful that we have a day that is set aside to honor our men and women in the armed services. I know we should never take for granted, the sacrifices that they have made, along with their families. So I am truly thankful this day for those who have served in the past and those who are serving now. We are so blessed to live in the LAND OF THE FREE!

Now this is the third time I have written this blog, every time I try to go to somewhere else on the Internet to get a photo or a quote, I completely erase my post. And since my niece isn't here tonight I will have to go without a quote. For me that is hard, because it is one of my favorite things.

I hope that each of you were able to celebrate it in some way. I am not feeling too well tonight, probably because I was up and about with the kids all day. My cute daughter-in-law and I were talking today and she mentioned that I didn't look tired or sick at all. I told her that I work hard not to look that way. My dear grandmother used to say "YOU SHOULD NEVER LOOK AS BAD AS YOU FEEL!" ( I guess that will have to be my quote for the day) I am trying to enjoy every minute with my family but today, I probably over did it. How I long to be normal though, meaning ...be able to do all that the family does instead of always sitting out and watching, or participating and then paying for it for DAYS!
Oh well, I need to take this tired body to bed. Thanks so much for your love and support and may we all remember today and every day, how blessed we are TO LIVE IN AMERICA!
Good night and take care!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Families!

Well, it has been fun being with my nieces and nephews and all their kids too. I pride myself in being the best Aunt Lynn that I can be. I do love staying connected with them. Maybe because I don't live close to them and so I try to keep a connection. Also when my mom died at such an early age (70) some of the grand kids, and most of the great grand kids missed out on having her around. So in some way, I guess I am trying to fill in the void that might have been left from my mom. She would have been proud of these kids, she loved being a grandma more than anything. Now that I am a Nana, I truly understand what she was feeling.

Of course I love being with Shirley (my sister-in-law), back in our college days, she was my roommate and one of my best friends. I thought it would be a good idea to introduce her to my brother and then if they hit it off and got married then... I could have my one of my best friends for my sister-in-law. It must have been a pretty good idea, because it worked! She has been with me through all my surgeries and illnesses. We laughed because we actually were going to get to see each other this time, without her having to nurse me back to health.
Also I have my son and daughter-in-law here too for the wedding and so that has been fun.

I am grateful for my family, and for the opportunity to share some of the special moments in their lives. I was so worried that my health would not hold up and that I would have to postpone the trip, like I have in the past... but I am here and everyone is watching me like a hawk. No one will let me even look the least tired before they make me lay down and so it has been a vacation.
It is weird though to see these kids as parents and parents to be now. It didn't seem that long ago that they were all playing at our house together and now they are getting ready to be parents or already are. Some times I can't believe that my kids are almost all grown up too? Where did that time go? Funny, because when they were little I wondered if I would ever live to tell about it and now it seems sooooo long ago.

I loved the comment from one father and husband who explained it like this when he and his wife celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary..."AS I LOOK BACK TO OUR BEGINNINGS, I REALIZE JUST HOW MUCH OUR LIVES HAVE CHANGED SINCE THEN. OUR BELOVED PARENTS, WHO STOOD BESIDE US AS WE COMMENCED OUR JOURNEY TOGETHER, HAVE PASSED ON. OUR THREE CHILDREN, WHO FILLED OUR LIVES SO COMPLETELY FOR MANY YEARS, ARE GROWN AND HAVE FAMILIES OF THEIR OWN. MOST OF OUR GRANDCHILDREN ARE GROWN, AND WE NOW HAVE FOUR GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN.
DAY BY DAY, MINUTE BY MINUTE, SECOND BY SECOND WE WENT FROM WHERE WE WERE TO WHERE WE ARE NOW. THE LIVES OF ALL OF US , OF COURSE, GO THROUGH SIMILAR ALTERATIONS AND CHANGES. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CHANGES IN MY LIFE AND THE CHANGES IN YOURS IS ONLY IN THE DETAILS. TIME NEVER STANDS STILL; IT MUST STEADILY MARCH ON, AND WITH THE MARCHING COME THE CHANGES.
OPPORTUNITIES COME, AND THEN THEY ARE GONE. I BELIEVE THAT AMONG THE GREATEST LESSONS WE ARE TO LEARN IN THIS SHORT SOJOURN UPON THE EARTH ARE LESSONS THAT HELP US DISTINGUISH BETWEEN WHAT IS IMPORTANT AND WHAT IS NOT. WE NEED TO FIND JOY IN THE JOURNEY---NOW!" ~ Thomas Monson

I just got off the phone to Jeff and the kids, I am grateful that they were excited about me coming on this vacation, they know how much I love my family here too and so it has been a real treat. I am so blessed to have a wonderful family, they bring so much joy. I pray that I can remember to have Joy in the Journey and I also hope that I have taught that to my children. I really believe that we are meant to be happy, with so much sadness and worries in the world, I think that finding happiness can be lost along the way, if we are not careful. So that is my goal, to enjoy each moment, and let each family member know how much I love and appreciate them, although I have to admit I am missing Jeff and all the kids back home too.
Good night dear friends.


"In each family a story is playing itself out, and each family's story embodies its hope and despair." ~Auguste Napier

"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family:Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one" ~ Jane Howard

Saturday, May 23, 2009

They did it!

Well, they finally are married and off to Disneyland for their honeymoon. Doesn't that sound the fun? 27 years ago Jeff and I were preparing to be married, it was quite a different picture then this. We didn't have very much money, my parents didn't like Jeff and so we had to do the wedding all ourselves. (they wanted me to marry an old boyfriend) So even though we had a lot of obstacles in our path, we still were able to make it work. NO my dress never looked like this one of my niece's, and my cake never looked like that either but ....the smile on their face was...the same as Jeff and I had. Why, because we were marrying our BEST FRIEND and life doesn't get any better than that. We still look back at our photos and laugh and how sad it looked and how poor we were but....we were so excited and happy to finally be married!
I read an article the other day about marriage and I thought I would share some of it with you.

"THE IMPORTANCE OF CHOICE MAY BE ILLUSTRATED BY A HOMESPUN CONCEPT THAT CAME TO MIND ONE DAY WHEN I WAS SHOPPING IN A LARGE RETAIL STORE. I CALLED IT "PATTERNS OF THE SHOPPER." AS SHOPPING IS PART OF OUR DAILY LIFE, THESE PATTERNS MAY BE FAMILIAR.
WISE SHOPPERS STUDY THEIR OPTIONS THOROUGHLY BEFORE THEY MAKE A SELECTION. THEY FOCUS PRIMARILY ON THE QUALITY AND DURABILITY OF A DESIRED PRODUCT. THEY WANT THE VERY BEST.
IN CONTRAST, SOME SHOPPERS LOOK FOR BARGAINS, AND OTHERS MAY SPLURGE, ONLY TO LEARN LATER---MUCH TO THEIR DISMAY---THAT THEIR CHOICE DID NOT ENDURE WELL. AND SADLY, THERE ARE THOSE RARE INDIVIDUALS WHO CAST ASIDE THEIR PERSONAL INTEGRITY AND STEAL WHAT THEY WANT. WE CALL THEM SHOPLIFTERS.
THE PATTERNS OF THE SHOPPER MAY BE APPLIED TO THE TOPIC OF MARRIAGE. A COUPLE IN LOVE CAN CHOOSE A MARRIAGE OF HIGHER QUALITY OR A LESSER TYPE THAT WILL NOT ENDURE."
He goes on later in this article to say..."EACH MARRIAGE STARTS WITH TWO BUILT-IN HANDICAPS. IT INVOLVES TWO IMPERFECT PEOPLE. HAPPINESS CAN COME ONLY THROUGH THEIR HONEST EFFORT. THAT EFFORT WILL SUCCEED IF EACH PARTNER WILL MINIMIZE PERSONAL DEMANDS AND MAXIMIZE ACTIONS OF LOVING SELFLESSNESS." ~ Russell Nelson
I have to admit, I did date a lot (shopped around) and I am so grateful that I studied my options carefully and made the right choice!(selection!) My goal was to MARRY THE RIGHT PERSON, AT THE RIGHT TIME, IN THE RIGHT PLACE AND FOR THE RIGHT REASON. Yes, we both learned early in our marriage that we both weren't perfect, and so it has been a lot of hard work but sooooooooo worth it. So I wish the best to my cute niece and her sweet husband. I hope that they work hard at their marriage and realize what joy can come from it.
I will close with a quote that I like that seems to match with the theme tonight. Thank you for your friendship and love.
"HARMONY IN MARRIAGE COMES ONLY WHEN ONE ESTEEMS THE WELFARE OF HIS OR HER SPOUSE AMONG THE HIGHEST OF PRIORITIES." ~ Russell Nelson



Thursday, May 21, 2009

Holding Hands

It is harder using my neice's computer and not being comfortable with it. I keep having to go get her to help me figure out what I did wrong. So tonight I asked her to sit by me till I finish my post. I read this cute story tonight and thought it was appropriate for me. It really does seem that when things go wrong that life is much easier to bear when you hold someone's hand. So since it is late and the wedding is in the morning, I will leave you with this cute story. Good night and thanks for holding my hand on more than one occassion

Holding Hands with Elizabeth
Years from now when I think about the movie Cast Away I will remember a story line, some extraordinary special effects, and a remarkable acting performance by Tom Hanks

But mostly I'll remember holding hands with Elizabeth.

We went to see the film as a family, which is why i wasn't sitting by my wife, Anita. We have found that keeping eleven year old Elizabeth and her nine year old brother, Jon, away from each other is the best way to keep them from killing each other in the dark. It isn't that they fight all the time; it's just that we never know when a fight is going to erupt. So we sit between them, and hope they never figure out how to launce milk-duds at each other, over top of us.

Just a few minutes into the movie-and I hope I'm not spoiling this for anyone- there's a frightening realistic plane crash. In fact, it was a little to frightening and a little too realistic for Elizabeth's taste. She leaned up against me, her head pressed against my shoulder, and reached over and took my hand, squeezing it tightly.

"It's ok sweetie," I said. "Remember, it's only a movie. Just close your eyes and pretty soon it will all be over."

And pretty soon it was. Within a few minutes the scary part was over for Elizabeth, and she was sitting up in her seat. Happily independent, her hands busy with popcorn and soda.

It wasn't long, however, before another scary part came along. Only this wasn't a scary part for Elizabeth-This was a scary part for me. For as long as I can remember, I had been claustrophobic. You want to scare me to death? Put me in a crowded elevator- and then make it stop. So when Tom Hanks started exploring that cave, I started cowering in my seat. Heart pounding. Palms sweating. Afraid to look-afraid not too. And I'm thinking, If there are any spiders or snakes in this cave, i'm outta here.

Suddenly I felt a hand reaching out in the darkness, a calm, steady, eleven year old hand, slightly seasoned with salt and butter, flavored topping. It grabbed onto my hand firmly, squeezing reassuringly, as Elizabeth again leaned up against me, her head again pressed against my shoulder.

"It's okay Daddy," she said. "Remember, it's only a movie. Just close your eyes, and pretty soon it will all be over."

And pretty soon it was. Only this time, I didn't let go of Elizabeth's hand after the scary part was over, and she didn't let go of mine. We just sat there through the rest of the movie, holding onto each other and helping each other through the film's subsequent ups and downs.

That's how Elizabeth and I made it through Cast Away. And it occurs to me that that's how we all make it through life, too. Although we like to think of ourselves as happily independent and self-reliant, when the scary parts of life come-as they always do, eventually-it's comforting to be able to lean against family and friends, to hear their reassurance that it's okay, and to reach out in the darkness to find a calm, reassuring hand.

With or without the butter-flavored topping.
-Look What Love Has Done by Joseph Walker

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ready Set and Go!

Yesterday was a really busy day as I tried to get things ready to go on my trip. I thought that I had everything ready but then I am not sure that is possible for a mom. I try to think of everything they might need while I am gone. I used to make dinners and put them in the freezer so that they would have home cooked meals but then I found out the truth, they never ate them and never really intended to. :) Of course I really haven't felt much like cooking at all, but still I think that is just the mom in me that wanted everything ready to leave.
In order to go I had to set up a few appointments which ended up taking most of my day yesterday. I was grateful to see my doctor before I left. I haven't felt very well and I appreciate that he wanted to help all that he could before I let on my trip. He asked me to do a couple of things before I left and so as soon as I got home I left messages to set up appointments for this morning.
So before 8:00am, I went to the lab and had blood work taken to see where my E.B.V levels are. He is still concern that I may have mono, no body even really checked it after me getting diagnosed with Cancer. Then he wanted me to have chest x-rays to see for sure that my pnuemonia is gone. I didn't have time to do that before I left but I did go like he asked to see my oncologist to make sure that it was lymphodemia that I have in my arm pit and chest wall. The doctor said, it probably is but because it is more unusual, he would feel better if I was diagnosed by a oncologist, instead of a Physical Therapist. So I did that today and yes, my PT was right, it is lymphodemia and the oncologist, made it sound more common than anyone else. I guess my complaint is ...why didn't someone tell me that this was a possibility! So after that appointment I went to my last one which was to the Chiropractor and made sure everything was back in place before I left.
So after I set and went to every appointment then I was ready to GO on my mini vacation. I flew to Utah today so that I can be at my niece's wedding on Friday. The trip went well and I made it here safe and sound. Right after I arrived at my sister-in-law's house then we headed off to my niece's Bridal Shower. It was fun to see so many of my niece's and their sweet kids.
Now please be patient with me, this is not my computer and I am not sure how to use it a 100%.
Thank you so much for always supporting me and encouraging me to get up every time that I fall. This has truly been a tough journey, pain is a very hard road to walk down. I pray that the blood tests will give us information to see why I can't get rid of this fatigue? As far as the soreness, I believe that is something that is going to be there for a while and I will have to learn to manage.
So I will close with my cute niece's (who is sitting right beside me) poem that she wrote this year in college. I need to head to bed, this trip was a bit tooooooo much but ....I am grateful that I was able to come and take a break and see family and friends.


Falling
The day sighs as night appears
Those sparkles that dance in the black
I lay in awe wishing, wanting
For things in life I may lack

I stretch out my hand, scanning the horizon
Connect the dots to pass time away
Until in one moment a burst of energy
Fly’s across the sky and falls in shame

If great things fall, how can they be so great?
Was it shooting? Did someone shoot it down?
An epiphany struck my mind
There is a heavenly lesson to be found

At times we may fall, never knowing why
Our future is not drawn out on a line
We have a bright potential and if we fall
So be it, for a shooting star still shines.
-Bethany Johnson

Monday, May 18, 2009

Your life is an occasion. Rise to it!

One of my favorite movies is Mr.Magorium's Wonder Emporium. I love all the wisdom that it has in it. I thought about it today, when I was trying to remind myself that, no matter what happens to me in this life... I need to rise to the challenge!  I still have a lot to offer, even though it seems like nothing at times. I realize that isn't true, every one has something to offer and something to rise to.

Today when I went to Physical Therapy, I asked her for information about Lymphodemia, she had lots of information when you get Lymphedemia in the arm or hand, but she was going to have to look and see if there was any for the arm pit and chest wall area. I need to have this information so that I can share it with other survivors. I don't want them going through a week or even a day of wondering if there cancer is back, if they have the same symptoms as I did.  Remember...Knowledge is Power!

We also talked about how I need to probably not carry a tote right now. I was sad because we just designed and made these beautiful totes, for survivors to have something to carry their magazines or books in, when  they come to treatment. But now I realize that for those of us who have Lymphodemia, that we need to design a much smaller purse that weighs nearly nothing...for us to carry. So be waiting for our next creation. I love the thought that I can know exactly what these women need to help them out during their battle with Cancer. Of course I don't want to have to experience all of the side effects, just so that I can know what to design! :)

So I will leave you with a few more quotes from the movie, I hope that it will remind us all to keep turning the pages of life, keep reading and let the next story begin! Thanks for being such a wonderful chapter in my book of life! Night!

[to Molly, about dying] When King Lear dies in Act V, do you know what Shakespeare has written? He's written "He dies." That's all, nothing more. No fanfare, no metaphor, no brilliant final words. The culmination of the most influential work of dramatic literature is "He dies." It takes Shakespeare, a genius, to come up with "He dies." And yet every time I read those two words, I find myself overwhelmed with dysphoria. And I know it's only natural to be sad, but not because of the words "He dies." but because of the life we saw prior to the words.~ Mr. Magorium
[pause, walks over to Molly
I've lived all five of my acts, Mahoney, and I am not asking you to be happy that I must go. I'm only asking that you turn the page, continue reading... and let the next story begin. And if anyone asks what became of me, you relate my life in all its wonder, and end it with a simple and modest "He died."  ~ Mr. Magorium 

"Your life is an occasion. Rise to it."     ~ Mr. Magorium

"All stories, even the ones we love, must eventually come to an end and when they do, it's only an opportunity for another story to begin."  ~ Eric Applebaum, the Hat Collector

"We must face tomorrow, whatever it may hold, with determination, joy and bravery "  ~Mr. Magorium

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Continuing to learn

Today was beautiful and sunny, plus I had my dear friend visiting...it was a great day.  I am always grateful for the things that I learn each Sunday that seem to help me survive the rest of the week. I taught the children at church today, and I am always impressed at their confidence and their willingness to learn.

I also spoke to a dear friend today who gave me some fatherly advice (although he isn't that old). I listened to what he said and appreciated his concern for me and my family. One thing he reminded me of is, that everything that happens to us... happens for a reason. Too often I worry and feel bad that Lee and Lauren don't have a normal teenager life, because they are always taking care of me. He reminded me that the worry of course isn't good for my health but, also that all the things that Lauren and Lee are going through will help them become the people they need to be. This is their learning experience too! I already knew these things, but some times when life gets too hard and pain is too constant...then I tend to forget.

So today I was grateful to be reminded to hang in there, rest and take care of myself. Also to take comfort in the fact, that all my kids will learn and grow from these experiences. Our lives are good and we are blessed to have so many people who love us and constantly support us.

"Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood."     ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.”       ~ Randy Pausch

I loved this quote, I need to remember this when I want to give up with my body and all it's issues. I need to focus on how to be healthy and not give up, until I find a way to do just that.

I also love this story...

A Kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while
they drew.
She would occasionally walk around to see each child's work.
As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what
the drawing was?
The girl replied, "I'm drawing God! ."
The teacher paused and said, "But no one knows what God looks like."
Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing, the girl replied, "They will in a minute."

We need to stay close to our children and grandchildren, because I truly believe they are closer to God than we might think. Wouldn't it be great for us to be that confident in our trust and knowledge in God?

So life is all about the learning and remembering that is what we are here for...to be taught and GROW!

"Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don't."
- Pete Seeger

And I will close with these quotes...

"If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."
--Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I do believe that is how life is suppose to work, we aren't just suppose to suffer through all our trials but learn from them, let them mold us into the people that we are to become...stronger, happier and with a knowledge that if we are worthy of it...the best is yet to come!

"When the student is ready. The master appears."    ~Buddist Proverb

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Friendship....what a gift!

Today one of my best friends came to visit me from Maryland. She has many friends here and also family, so I realize what a big sacrifice it was for her to come and spend the night. I kept looking at her over dinner and at the store, I couldn't believe that she was really here! She moved away 2 years ago (which seems like forever) we talk over the phone quite a bit and email and write each other but...nothing compared to having her come here! What a treat!

I am amazed when you are with a good friend that you haven't been with or even talked to in a while, that you can seem to start where you left off. It's like you were never apart. We both cried when she went to bed, it was like we didn't want to waste any of the hours that we had together but....sleep was important, especially to her (she has a 3 hour time difference). Still I kept feeling like I just wanted to tell her one more thing, so that we could try to catch up for the past 2 years.

Now I need to get to bed, today has been a tough and painful day but....it wasn't all that bad, because I had the anticipation of my dear friend coming. When she came, I realized that even though I was in pain, that I felt better. Friendship...it is the BEST! Thanks to each of you for your friendship to me, it truly keeps me going!

Friendship
Author: Jenny
Contribution by: VMinako

Time come and flew by
What stayed behind will be
The imprint of your friendship
Engrave in my heart...

That makes me who I am today
The warmth of your friendship
Encouraging me to go on
When I am down...

Mold me to become...
More strong than I used to be
More aim than I dare to dream
More self respect than I ever paid to myself

I wish that I will be able to...
Give you the same thing as you gave me
I wish that our friendship would make
You realize that you will always there in my heart...

"I'll lean on you and you lean on me and we'll be okay."

"Everyone hears what you say.
Friends listen to what you say.
Best friends listen to what you don't say."

"We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go,
we take a little of each other everywhere"

"If you live to be a hundred,
I want to live to be a hundred plus one day, so I never have to live without you."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What am I listening for?

Today  I found this sweet story about listening and how we train ourselves to hear only certain things. I thought about that, because I had someone say something to me the other day that ALMOST hurt my feelings. I ALMOST got defensive and then I actually waited for a minute and didn't try to find a come back reply but just listened to my heart. I was asking myself if that was true at all, was there any truth in what she said to me and I realized that I didn't feel there was. Now, I couldn't change their opinion... but I realized that I really need to listen more often, to what my heart and gut are telling me and if I do, then maybe what others say won't be so hard on me.

I think I mentioned before about reading a book called DIVINE CENTER (by Stephen R. Covey). Anyway, it talks a lot about how we all see the world differently, through different lens in our glasses. And our prescription for those glasses are made from our past experiences in life. That is why we all see things differently than others. That is why many of us have strong opinions and are passionate about certain things. He talks about how hard it is to see someone else's point of view. He talks about how important it is to not try to convince others that what they see or think is wrong (because it isn't wrong to them) but to try and understand and see the bigger picture. Let people be where they are, you can't make someone see your point of view. Many times others will never quite see or feel it like you do, unless they have walked in your shoes ( or had the same experiences ) and not too many of us have done that.

So today Chris and I went to order our business cards, that my son Brad designed. More sweet friends came over and brought us dinner.  Another friend come over tonight and try to help Jeff and I set up a web site, we were so grateful for him to do that. So in that area of my life...things are moving forward and we are hopefully on our way to having these RECNAC GIFTS more available and out there for people to buy for their loved ones and friends fighting with cancer. We need someone who knows how to run a business to find us. We need a sponsor or foundation to help build up this company to something that could be much bigger and to reach more people. I need to remember to listen to my heart and I know the right person, company, foundation or something will come along to make this dream come true. I need to stop listening to that voice that says ..."you can't make it, you don't have enough talent, time, energy, money to start up a company". There is a time and place for everything and everything has a reason so I will continue to work on this business and pray that I will be guided on where to go next.

As far as my health goes, I can't seem to get enough energy or out of pain long enough to do much of anything. I want to quit hurting and have energy to do something with Jeff and the kids. I am a bit discouraged today but.....thank goodness it is almost over. So good night dear friends, hope you enjoy the short story!

What are You Listening For?

    It was high noon in midtown Manhattan. The streets were buzzing with activity—crowds of people scurrying to lunch, car horns honking, brakes screeching, a siren wailing. Two men were making their way through the throng of noon-time lunch-goers. One was a native New Yorker, the other a Kansas farmer on his first visit to see his city cousin. Suddenly, the farmer stopped and said to the city dweller, "Hold on! I hear a cricket!"

    His cousin replied, "Are you kidding? Even if there was a cricket around here, which isn’t likely, you would never be able to hear it over all this noise."

    The farmer remained quiet for a few moments, then walked several paces to the corner where a shrub was struggling to grow in a large cement planter. He turned over several leaves and found the cricket. The city dweller was flabbergasted. "What great ears you have," he said.

    "Not at all," the farmer replied. "Your ears are as good as mine. It’s a matter of what you’ve been conditioned to listen for. Here, I’ll show you." Whereupon, he pulled a handful of coins from his pocket and let them clink to the sidewalk. As if on signal, every head on the block turned. "You see," said the farmer, "you hear what you are tuned in to listen for."                                                   ~  www.appleseeds.org  


"To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to."            ~Kahlil Gibran


"Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart ... Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside awakens."              ~ Carl Jung

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Support System

I have always known my whole life that everyone needs a good support system. Because when life gets hard (and it will) everyone needs to have people around them that are available for love, comfort, support and hope. Building such a support system is life long I believe, and always on going. Some people will come and go in your life, but there are the ones that are always there and stick it out with you... through thick and thin, yes everyone needs a good SUPPORT SYSTEM.

Today I went back to that Support Group in Everett. I know it is a long way to drive, but I really get a lot of information there and the spirit of the class is amazing. There were about 15 women there, plus the counselor that leads the group. The ages of the women vary from 20 some years old... up to 76 years old. At first I didn't really want to go to a support group, for fear of all the horror stories that I would hear. Some how, I don't quite feel that way any more. I like hearing real life stories, verses information on the computer or in a booklet. Of course everyone's lives are different and all our circumstances are different too, but these ladies know what they are talking about, because they are living it.

One lady that spoke today talked about her cancer and how her husband also has a terminal disease. She spoke of the lessons that they are learning together. She mentioned that her husband has been sick for over 7 years and is now coming to the end of his disease and his life. She also talked about their support system and how over the years some of their family and friends have just dropped out of their life because the disease just lasted too long. I do believe that the human side of us, tends to be able to be available and compassionate at the beginning of a terrible trial or disease. I have always thought the hard part would be hanging there the whole way with someone with a Chronic Disease or illness. She was a sweetheart and realized that  people just do the best that they can and some people were in it for the long haul. She had learned to be grateful for what help they did receive and not to worry about the length of the support. Some how, it always works out she said.

See that is what I love, the wisdom that these ladies have experienced and are willing to share with each other. I am learning that I am not the only survivor who has the roller coaster emotions. One survivor of 9 years said... I still have days that I am terrified and other days that I feel calm and hopeful. I felt better just from that one comment.

I was so worn out from the trip that when I got home, I just asked the kids to get me a pillow and blanket and I slept in the car. I know that sounds pathetic but...it worked for me today. BABY STEPS!

Here's what we learned about today...STRESS MANAGMENT and once again, I came home with information to help me continue to work on myself.

1. To take time out in your day to relax...even if it is mini-breaks. Slow down and remember to BREATH!

2. Practice acceptance... many of us get distressed over things that we won't let ourselves accept. Often these are things that can't be changed, for example someone else's feelings or beliefs.

3. Talk rationally to yourself...ask yourself what real impact the stressful situation will have on you in a day or in a week, see if you can let the negative thoughts go.  Watch out for perfectionism---set realistic and attainable goals.

4. Get organized... develop a realistic schedule of daily activities that includes time for work, sleep, relationships, and recreation. Use a daily  "things to do "list. Use your time and energy efficiently.

5. Exercise...physical activity has always provided relief from stress. We need to develop a regular exercise program to reduce the effects of stress before it becomes distress.

6. Reduce time urgency...learn to take things a bit slower. Allow plenty of time to get things done. Recognize that you can only do so much in a given period. ( personally I didn't even think you can say this last sentence to moms? But it is true and important especially for MOMS to remember) Practice the notion of "PACE, NOT RACE".

7. Disarm yourself...every situation in life does not require you to be competitive. You don't have to raise your voice in a simple discussion. Leave behind your "weapons" of shouting, having the last word, putting someone else down, and blaming.

8. Quite time....balance your family, social, and work demands with special private times. Hobbies are good antidotes for daily pressures. Unwind by taking a quite stroll, soaking in a hot bath, watching a sunset, or listening to calming music.

9. Watch your habits...eat sensibly---a balanced diet will provide all the necessary energy you need. Get your sleep and watch your thoughts. Remember it is you...who controls your thoughts, not the other way around.

Well these were great and I hope helpful to you too?  Thanks for being such a wonderful SUPPORT SYSTEM to me and my family!

"I have learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back."       ~Maya Angelou

"A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out."     ~ Grace Pulpit

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Angel Visits today

I think that it is interesting that on the days when I am down or hurting bad, there always seems to be ANGELS close by. This week, a group of friends are bringing us dinner and what a help and a blessing that has been. Then also I had a wonderful experience yesterday and today. Yesterday, my granddaughter was playing with the YELLOW PAGES, it was out and she likes to thumb through it. Weird I know, but she likes turning all those pages. When she was done I went over to close the book and realized that it was turned to the page for MAID SERVICES. I jokingly told my kids, oh maybe this page was left open so that I could get some real cleaning done around here. Just teasing them because the dust bunnies seem to be multiplying faster than usual lately. The kids of course just rolled their eyes at me and laughed.

Just when I started to close the book I glanced at the add again and saw the word cancer in it. I was intrigued and so I read on. It said we do free house cleaning for cancer survivors going through treatment. Now I had heard a long time ago that someone else had their house cleaned while they were having chemo, but I never got any more information about it so.... I thought maybe this is the same company? Now I have been out of treatment for over 7 weeks, but thought I should call and get the information and I can pass it around to other survivors that I am keeping in touch with.  So I called and talked to the owner, she was quite a dynamic person and she gave me her web site information, she also shared her passion about helping women and how long she has had the business and on and on. She asked me how I found her and I told her about my granddaughter. Her response was... "I don't think it was accidental that we found each other". She was a treat to talk to and we plan to meet and some how hopefully I can help spread the word about her business. Then she said, "I want to send you a maid." I explained thanks but no thanks I am not in treatment right now. Her response was "would it help  you out?" I had to be honest....yes it would, she then said that it was her gift to me and that a maid would be calling me before the night was up. A couple of hours later the lady called and we set the time up for today at 9:00am.

I was told that she would be at my home for 3-4 hours and would clean whatever I needed her to clean. She was here promptly at 9:00 and ready to work. Now I have never had anyone come to my house professionally and clean. It was the weirdest feeling. I kept trying to give her something to eat or drink. I asked what she needed me to do? I was pathetic actually, I felt guilty having someone clean my house but at the same time, I felt like she was an ANGEL because she was doing something that I truly haven't had the energy to do in a  LONG TIME!

She cleaned every nook and cranny, she was amazing. We talked off and on, and it was uncanny how much our lives had been similar in our youth. Anyway, it was treat meeting her and what a blessing that it was to have my house that clean, I was able to give her a tip but.... that didn't seem near enough. I did give her my email address and she said that she would like to keep in touch. I NEW friend! I love it!

I also can't wait to call the owner and thank her. She is the one who paid for the lady to come do it for me. What an incredible service to cancer patients. Here is her web site, I haven't read it all, but she seems to be doing a great service not only to cancer survivors but also to the ladies that she hires and gives work to.

www.elainegordanevans.com or www.elainesamericanmaid.com

I am anxious to meet her and see if I can help get this service for other survivors.

This dear lady, stayed till 3:00 ------6 hours!  I kept telling her, I am sure that  you need to go and she just kept saying "what else needs cleaning?" She also said at the end, "I just don't want to leave until I get the whole house done for you". She was amazing, she worked 6 solid hours with only a glass of water. I was amazed and got tired just watching her, but I made a new friend and my house looks great! What an angel she was!

Then tonight another dear Angel friend came over and we worked on how to get the tags and things ready for the recnac gifts for the hospital. She is amazing at the computer and was so kind to come over and see what I needed her to do. I feel like when people start to talk about the computer stuff, that they are almost speaking a different language. I am trying to learn but I am soooooooooooooo behind in that area.

There couldn't have been a better day for so many ANGEL visit, because I have still been in a lot of pain.

I am so blessed, thanks to all you ANGELS out there. Good night

 

"I have spoken . . . of heavenly help, of angels dispatched to bless us in time of need. But when we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil. Some of them we walk with and talk with—here, now, every day. Some of them reside in our own neighborhoods. Some of them gave birth to us, and in my case, one of them consented to marry me. Indeed heaven never seems closer than when we see the love of God manifested in the kindness and devotion of people so good and so pure that angelic is the only word that comes to mind."

                                                                                                       ~Jeffrey R. Holland,

"A real friend is like an angel who warms you by her presence and remembers you in her prayers"

Monday, May 11, 2009

....Starting Physical Therapy again!

For over a week I have noticed that my armpit and chest wall were getting more sore every day. I thought at first it was just because I am starting to wear a bra every day and maybe that it's just going to take some getting used to. Then I worried that maybe I was getting my cancer back or something. It had started to feel better and less sore weeks after my last radiation treatment, but now we were going backwards and so ....I was beginning to worry. I noticed that I am even having more pain, when I extend my arm too far. I didn't tell anyone in the family what I was concerned about, but and decided to make an appointment with my Physical Therapist and see what she thought.

9:00 am was my appointment this morning and I prayed as I entered the hospital (once again) that it would not be anything bad.  I teased the kids last night before we went to bed, and made everyone promise that we wouldn't have any traumas for at least a week! (I didn't want to be the one who broke that promise) After the therapist looked at my arm pit and my chest wall and felt around the area and I told her what was going on, she said that I had lymphedema. Now I only thought that you could get lymphedema in your arm and hand?  Isn't that the reason I have been wearing that tight arm wrap and massaging it every morning? She said that it is the most common area to get it in your arm,  but I had it in my arm pit and on the chest wall. When she pressed on it and I told her how bad it hurt, she explained that what lymphedema is ... is the swelling of the soft tissues under the arm and and on the whole chest wall. Many times lymphedema is followed by numbness, discomfort and infection. My chest area and arm pit aren't  red, and so we are hoping that is a good sign that I DON'T have any infection. So what do I do about it now? Well, lymphedema is  for life, or at least that is what they say. You basically go to PT and try to massage the area to move around the toxins that are stuck and then manage the pain.

I am frustrated one... because I didn't know you could get lymphedma there, so yet another reason to have more Knowledge. Plus... I don't want to believe that I have to go my whole life with this pain and aching. I will check into it, but for now I am going to go take a hot bath with Epsom salts and see if I can help get the toxins out any quicker.

I have been discouraged because I am still so fatigued... and now this. I tried to just ignore it last week, especially while Jeff was doing so bad, but I realized by Friday that I needed to call in and get it checked out. I don't mean to be negative, I just want more than anything to feel good and quit hurting. Maybe some day. Thanks dear friends for your love, support and prayers. I will make it some how, but I pray that in the midst of this... I can stay strong and learn what I am suppose to learn. Night!

 

"Do what you can, but never forget that letting go is very different from giving up. Of all the things you can make in life, remember you make all the difference in your life."

"Put your faith, and not your fears, in charge. Courage isn’t the absence of fears but how you wrestle with them."

Happy Mother's Day!

I was grateful that I felt good enough to go to church today for Mother's Day. However, I cried most of the meeting. The little kids sang for their mothers, and it wasn't hard for me to remember when Amy, Brad, Lauren and Lee were up on the stage singing their little hearts out to me. I actually can even remember being up front and singing to my mom when I was little. She sure looked proud of me! So when those beautiful little kids got up there to sing, that was the end of me. I missed my kids being that age, but  yet when they were that age, I truly thought I would never make it to see them grow up.  I had a hard time seeing the future when life was full of dirty diapers, chicken pox, PTA meetings and soccer practices. Yes, I wondered how I would ever make it and would they really grow up, like all the older moms said they would? Funny how perspective changes with time and experience.

I found a couple of quotes on Mothers that I will share with you, but first I would like to tell you how blessed I am to have my 4 kids. I have had a lot of tough things happen in my life but I do believe that God gave me Jeff and the kids to help me through all of them. I have learned something different from each one and yet I taught them all the same things. The lessons that I have learned  and the gifts they have given me are these...

Amy has taught me to enjoy life and to be happy, it is hard to be around her and not feel happy, what a gift!

Brad has taught me to accept people as they are, he always has taken up for those who are a bit different or have a handicapped. Seeing who the true person is inside... is his gift.

Lauren has always taught us to look at life a bit different, maybe not always the same way as everyone else. Looking through her eyes has shown me things I might have missed. She wants to experience it all.

Lee has always taught me to compassion.  He never sees someone sad or hurting ...that he doesn't try to help and comfort them. What a great gift.

Jeff is not my kid but my best friend and husband. I realize that I am able to be a better mom ...because of the type of dad  he is. Jeff didn't have a great example of a dad growing up and yet he has strived all our marriage to be the best dad ever to his kids. Making the necessary changes, to make the next generation better... is a true gift!

So Mother's Day has now come and is almost gone and I realize that I am so proud to be Amy, Brad, Lauren and Lee's mom . They have taught me so much and I love being their mom. At to top it all... then I get to be Angie's nana! Yes, life is tough and hard, but all that is worth it ...to be able to have them call me MOM and NANA!

Thanks to each of you who have been my friend, my example, my 2nd mom, my mentor, my life saver. Thanks also to all of you that have been an influence on my children's lives. They say "IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD" that is true. Thanks then... to all you Village People!  :)

Question?...   How do I keep going when I am a imperfect mom?

Answer..."You put one foot in front of the other, do the best you can, and know that God has his angels surrounding you and your children."

"From the moment a baby is put in your arms, his wings are growing and it’s the wings you’re in charge of protecting.”   ~ Susan Shreve

 

"THERE IS NO WAY TO BE A PERFECT MOTHER, AND A MILLION WAYS TO BE A GOOD ONE"   ~ Jill Churchill

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Running Away!

I have felt like running away more than once or twice in my life lately. I am not sure where I would go and I realize that I can never run away from my body and my pain. I just some times think it might be nice to just go where no one knows me and where I can think and sort things out in my head. It would have to be away from home because if I stay here, then I remember the dishes need to be done, laundry is piled up, the phone keeps ringing and there are always bills to be done and meals to prepare. Although I have to admit ...this is the job I have always DREAMED of ...being a MOM!  Still there are times, that I feel a need to run away and just refill my bucket. When the kids were all small, this was a very familiar feeling. :)

I am heading to bed early (for me) tonight, I am still very tired and hurting quite a bit, so I need to send this post to you.. then get going. I love this story, I read it from one of my Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I love those books. I also thought this story was a great tribute to MOTHERHOOD.

RUNNING AWAY

ON A VERY HECTIC DAY WHEN MY HUSBAND AND I WERE BUSY GOING IN A HUNDRED DIRECTIONS, OUR FOUR-AND-A-HALF YEAR-OLD SON, JUSTIN CARL, HAD TO BE REPRIMANDED FOR GETTING INTO MISCHIEF. AFTER SEVERAL ATTEMPTS, MY HUSBAND GEORGE FINALLY TOLD HIM TO STAND IN THE CORNER. HE WAS VERY QUIET BUT WASN'T TO HAPPY ABOUT IT. FINALLY, AFTER A FEW MOMENTS, HE SAID, "I'M GOING TO RUN AWAY FROM HOME."

MY FIRST REACTION WAS SURPRISE, AND HIS WORDS ANGERED ME. "YOU ARE?" I BLURTED. BUT AS I TURNED TO LOOK AT HIM, HE LOOKED LIKE AN ANGEL, SO SMALL, SO INNOCENT, WITH  HIS FACE SO SAD.

AS MY HEART FELT HIS PAIN, I REMEMBERED A MOMENT IN MY OWN CHILDHOOD WHEN I SPOKE THOSE WORDS AND HOW UNLOVED AND LONELY I FELT. HE WAS SAYING SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST HIS WORDS. HE WAS CRYING FROM WITHIN, "DON'T YOU DARE IGNORE ME. PLEASE NOTICE ME! I'M IMPORTANT TOO. PLEASE MAKE ME FEEL WANTED,  UNCONDITIONALLY LOVED AND NEEDED."

"OKAY, JUSSIE, YOU CAN RUN AWAY FROM HOME." I TENDERLY WHISPERED AS I STARTED PICKING OUT CLOTHES. "WELL, WE'LL NEED PJ'S, YOUR COAT..."

"MAMA," HE SAID, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

"WE'LL ALSO NEED MY COAT AND NIGHTGOWN." I PACKED THESE ITEMS INTO A BAG AND PLACED THEM BY THE FRONT DOOR. "OKAY, JUSSIE, ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO RUN AWAY FROM  HOME?"

"YEAH, BUT WHERE ARE YOU GOING?"

"WELL, IF YOU GOING TO RUN AWAY FROM HOME, THEN MAMA'S GOING WITH YOU, BECAUSE I WOULD NEVER WANT YOU TO BE ALONE. I LOVE YOU TOO MUCH, JUSTIN CARL."

WE HELD EACH OTHER WHILE WE TALKED. "WHY DO YOU WANT TO COME WITH ME?"

I LOOKED INTO HIS EYES. "BECAUSE I LOVE YOU, JUSTIN. MY LIFE WOULD NEVER BE THE SAME IF YOU WENT AWAY. SO I WANT TO MAKE SURE YOU'LL BE SAFE. IF YOU DO GO, I WILL GO WITH YOU."

"CAN DADDY COME?"

"NO, DADDY HAS TO STAY HOME WITH  YOUR BROTHERS, ERICKSON AND TREVOR, AND DADDY HAS TO WORK AND TAKE CARE OF THE HOUSE WHILE WE'RE GONE."

"CAN FREDDI (THE HAMSTER)COME?"

"NO, FREDDI HAS TO STAY HERE TOO."

HE THOUGHT FOR A WHILE AND SAID, "MAMA, CAN WE STAY HOME?'

"MAMA,"

"YES, JUSTIN?"

"I LOVE  YOU."

"I LOVE  YOU TOO, HONEY. HOW ABOUT YOU HELP ME MAKE SOME POPCORN?"

"ALL RIGHT."

IN THAT MOMENT I KNEW THE WONDROUS GIFT OF MOTHERHOOD I HAD BEEN GIVEN, THAT THE SACRED RESPONSIBILITIES TO HELP DEVELOP A CHILD'S SENSE OF SECURITY AND SELF-ESTEEM ARE NOTHING TO BE TAKEN LIGHTLY. I REALIZED THAT IN MY ARMS I HELD THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF CHILDHOOD; A BEAUTIFUL PIECE OF CLAY WILLING AND WANTING TO BE CUDDLED AND MAGNIFICENTLY MOLDED INTO A CONFIDENT ADULT MASTERPIECE. I LEARNED THAT AS A MOTHER I SHOULD NEVER "RUN AWAY" FROM THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW MY CHILDREN THEY ARE WANTED, IMPORTANT, LOVABLE AND THE MOST PRECIOUS GIFT FROM GOD.

                                                                                            ~ Lois Krueger

 

"Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a mother"  ~ Lin Yutang

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mothers

Well, tomorrow is Mother's Day Eve and I haven't even sent out Mother's Day cards this year. I am sure that people understand, after all the crazy things we have been going through but still...I would have liked getting cards out. There are so many women who inspire me, to be a better mom or who have sorta adopted me into their families and their lives and I am truly grateful to them for that. One could never have too many mothers. I found this cute poem and realized that I am in between the age of 45-65 and still I can relate to both of them. I wonder many times what my mom would think of this or that, plus I do wish I could still talk to her.

So tonight in honor of all mothers out there, to all women out there ... who whether they know it or not, they do a lot of mothering too for other people's children. They may not feel like it but...they do make a big difference.  Plus to all those daughters out there that have MOTHERS (that would be all of us) I leave you with this poem. Good night dear friends!

The Images of Mother

4 YEARS OF AGE - My Mommy can do anything!

8 YEARS OF AGE - My Mom knows a lot! A whole lot!

12 YEARS OF AGE - My Mother doesn't really know quite everything.

14 YEARS OF AGE - Naturally, Mother doesn't know that, either.

16 YEARS OF AGE - Mother? She's hopelessly old-fashioned.

18 YEARS OF AGE - That old woman? She's way out of date!

25 YEARS OF AGE - Well, she might know a little bit about it!

35 YEARS OF AGE - Before we decide, let's get Mom's opinion.

45 YEARS OF AGE - Wonder what Mom would have thought about it?

65 YEARS OF AGE - Wish I could talk it over with Mom.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure she carries, or the way she combs her hair.

The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes,
Because that is the doorway to her heart,
The place where love resides.
The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole,
But true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.
It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she
Shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

It's all about the process of change!

I found this quote last night and thought it was great! It is true, when you think you can't go on any more that something changes and some how( MAGICALLY it seems... that ) you make it, but you are never quite the same. You now have changed and hopefully for the better. You see life differently, through changed eyes. 

I read this story from Chicken Soup Surviving Soul Stories and I thought it went well with this thought.

"JUST WHEN THE CATERPILLAR THOUGHT THE WORLD WAS OVER, IT BECAME A BUTTERFLY" ~anonymous

VICTIM OR SURVIVOR

Although the definitions said, "A cancer survivor is anyone who has ever been diagnosed with cancer and is alive today," the first time I read it, I didn't fell like a cancer survivor. Cancer victim seemed  a much more accurate term. But then the dust settled, treatment began, and I realized the "victim" thing just didn't fit.

I tossed the victim/survivor issue around and finally came to the conclusion that a victim and a survivor are the same thing-almost. The differences are subtle but at the same time enormous. The first thing I realized is that the survivor is a victim with an attitude. After I understood that, things were a little better. I had a choice about something--I could be a cancer victim or a cancer survivor. I liked the idea of having an attitude and I liked the sound of being a survivor.

Very slowly, the differences between being a survivor and victim became clear, and I started making a list. I'm sure every survivor can add one or two more. This  is just a start.

  • Being a victim is a state of body. Being a survivor is a state of mind.
  • A victim fears hair falling out. A survivor knows bald is beautiful.
  • A victim knows about feeling down. A survivor knows feeling down is okay.
  • A victim is amazed at all the tears. A survivor never leaves home without Kleenex.
  • A victim goes to "see" a doctor.  A survivor "consults" with his or her physician.
  • A victim gets caught in despair. A survivor prays a lot.
  • A victim feels helpless. A survivor says "thanks" with dignity and grace.
  • A victim enjoys a good laugh. A survivor loves one.

From the moment we are diagnosed, we are victims. We must chose to be survivors.

                                                                                                                 ~Paula (Bachleda) Koskey

"In order to be a realist you must believe in miracles"    ~ David Ben-Gurion

Thank you for staying right with me during my whole CHANGE process from being a VICTIM to becoming a SURVIVOR!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Creativity!

UPDATE FIRST ON JEFF...HE CAME HOME FROM THE  HOSPITAL THIS MORNING, HE WALKED RIGHT DOWN TO THE CAR WITH ME. HE FEELS PRETTY DARN GOOD. HE IS TO LAY LOW FOR A FEW DAYS, BUT THE FUTURE IS LOOKING MUCH BRIGHTER,NOW THAT HE HAS HIS STENTS IN AND HIS POOR HEART NOT HAVING TO WORK SO HARD. THANKS AGAIN FOR ALL YOUR THOUGHTS, PRAYERS AND HELP YOU HAVE SHOWN OUR FAMILY, IT MADE SUCH A DIFFERENCE!

I have always wanted to write a book about things I have learned about life, in hopes that it would be a help and comfort to someone else. I can't tell you how many times I have started that book, only to convince myself that I wasn't a  writer. Each time that I do my motivational speaking, I am asked if I have a web site,blog or book? My answer was always the same " well, I am hoping to get a web site, blog or write a book someday but... no I don't have any of those right now."  I had honestly convinced myself, since I never did that well in school that I didn't have what it took to do any of those things. Then in August when I spoke in Canada, I realized ready or not I just needed to do SOMETHING! So with the help of a dear friend, we started my blog. I was really worried at the beginning that all my words would be in the wrong place and the words wouldn't make any sense and then someone told me...just write from your heart, that is where you speak from in your motivational talks. That was true, I thought what is the worst thing that could happen? People don't HAVE to read it if they don't want to. So I began my blog in September 2008.

I had been writing in my blog a short time when I was diagnosed with Cancer for the second time. I was devastated to say the least. How could this happen again? I was so hoping to do more motivational speaking engagements in 2009. Since 2008 and had been such an unhealthy year for our whole family, I was just sure that heading toward 2009 would get better. Right after I found out about the cancer I had a very strong impression that I needed to continue writing...no matter what. If I had something to share, it would be even more important now. So I have to admit some days, the only thing that helped me through the day was... that I needed to post an entry each night and I had to find something positive out of my day. It was a motivational blog and so I have tried to be nothing but honest and yet still give some hope to those reading my blog and for myself each day.

So even though I never thought I could do it, I am writing. For all of you English Teachers out there, I am sorry if my punctuation is wrong a lot of the time but please just try to read it in the spirit that it was written in . I still want to do that book some day but obviously I will need someone who knows more than I do about that...to help me.

What I am excited about are these RECNAC GIFTS that my friend and I have designed and created for other survivors. We are just trying to get started on them and it is exciting. My goal would be that every hospital would have these available to their patients or for their patient's family or friends to buy for them. As I had mentioned before we did get some of the gifts accepted at Evergreen Hospital and we will be introducing them on June 4th in front of the gift shop. We still have a long way to go and a lot of things yet to purchase, that is the hardest part of starting any business, but I am sure that if it is suppose to be...it will be. We are almost ready to get our business cards made, we have the web site purchased and a dear friend's husband is helping us design that. I have to admit, when it comes to computer stuff like that, I feel very inadequate but... I am trying to learn. So soon, I hope that I can tell you what the web site is and you can go for  yourself there and look at the gifts we have designed. My girlfriend who has created them is amazingly talented and they are as professional looking as they come. So wish us well on an adventure that hopefully will truly help the next survivors of this terrible disease called Cancer, or as it is called in our house RECNAC (cancer spelled backwards, it takes a lot of fear out of the word that way).

A dear friend gave me a unique gift that were cards with inspirational quotes on the front of the card and affirmations on the back. Lisa Hammond is the CEO of her own company now and has encouraged other women to discover what their passion is and follow it. So I will end tonight with two of her cards that has inspired me not to give  up on my dream of this business, my book, my motivational speaking engagements and most important being the CEO of my family. That is and will be my biggest and happiest accomplishment.

 

QUOTE..."OFTENTIMES THE VERY SKILLS REQUIRED TO RUN A HOME AND RAISE CHILDREN ARE THE SAME SKILLS WE NEED TO RUN A BUSINESS AND MANAGE EMPLOYEES. THEY ARE THE VERY SKILLS WE NEED TO FOLLOW OUR PASSION."

AFFIRMATION... USE WHAT YOU KNOW. REMEMBER, EXPERIENCE IS THE BEST TEACHER. 

QUOTE..."CREATIVITY COMES FROM TRUST. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. AND NEVER HOPE MORE THAN YOU WORK."  ~Rita Mae Brown

THOUGHT..."DON'T STIFLE YOURSELF BECAUSE YOU DON'T THINK YOU'RE CREATIVE ENOUGH. THINK ABOUT WHERE YOU PUT YOUR OWN CREATIVITY TO USE. IT IS IN HOW YOUR DRESS? HOW YOUR DECORATE YOUR HOME? IN  YOUR VOLUNTEER WORK? IN HOW YOU PLAY WITH YOUR KIDS? DON'T BELITTLE IT BECAUSE IT COMES EASILY. HONOR YOUR CREATIVITY."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Heart problems

I am so sorry that I couldn't write about everything last night, I did not mean to scare you, but only to ask for support until we could get more information. Jeff and I both have struggled with our energy levels and Jeff has had quite a few different medical problems going on lately and everyone was confused at what to do. My gut told me that for weeks that Jeff was in some time of danger but I didn't know exactly what. I thought it was his heart but wasn't for sure. Each day he has looked worse and worse and kept saying that something felt weird in his body and wrong. The last few weeks when we would walk in the evenings, he would have to stop because of pains that he was having in his lungs...that's where the pain felt like it was. So he was checked out for that too. Finally a week or so ago, he went in to the Dr for fatigue and he immediately suggested that he see his primary care DR and get his heart checked out. He had a EKG a week and half ago and it came back abnormal. Jeff has always had a bit of trouble with his heart, his dad passed away at the age of 56 (or somewhere around there) from a massive heart attack. His mom also had heart problems, so we had every reason to be worried.

When he came home from that appointment, he told me that they wanted him to have a stress test in a week or so. Talk about stress, it stressed me out that they were going to have him wait that long before his did the test. The test was for today May 5th. By this past weekend Jeff's energy was getting worse and worse, his coloring was terrible and the pain in his chest was happening MORE often with LESS exertion. My prayers were every day that I would know what to do if he had a heart attack and that even better yet, he could get into the Dr. for the test before that happened.

I woke up yesterday and heard someone in the house. Jeff and the kids are usually gone when I get up ( Jeff has been trying to let me get more sleep since my treatments) and so I got a bit nervous. I came out to find Jeff still home, I asked him what he was doing and why he was still home and his reply was..."Lynn, something still feels very weird and wrong, I don't think I should go to work today, I need to call the hospital". He was pacing the floor while he was talking to the nurse, so when I saw that, I immediately went and got into the shower. We were on our way to Virginia Mason Hospital before 9:00 am.

He immediately did the stress test and that didn't last long, the pain was getting there too fast. The DR met with us right away and told us that the test showed that Jeff probably had a blockage and that we needed to do an Angioplasty right away. We went down to scheduling and they were full...of course. Then he told us to go home, have Jeff only rest and then come back tomorrow morning. I am telling you, I really felt like he should have stayed at that hospital. I prayed and prayed that he would make it till this morning and thank goodness he did.

At 7:30 am we left for the hospital and he was suppose to have the angioplasty at 10:00 but they took him in as soon as he was prepped. An hour later the Dr came out and talked to Amy and I ( Amy was a great support system today, thank you Amy girl!) and told us that he found 2 blockages in Jeff's heart arteries and that they were 90% blocked, that is why he has been feeling sooooooooooooo bad for soooooooooooooooo long. He later said how lucky he was that he didn't have a massive heart attack. They were going to have to go ahead and put 2 stents in to help get his blood flow back. I thanked him and then reminded him how much I needed Jeff and how much I appreciated if he and his partner can do the very best they can. Now I know he probably always does his best but, I needed him to know that Jeff is my BEST FRIEND ( that is saying a lot for me, I have a lot of BEST GIRL FRIENDS, but only one BEST GUY FRIEND and I just happened to be married to him too!) I wanted him to know that I was counting on him to do his very, very best and I think he got the message.

One hour later they came back and told us that he was doing good, the procedure was a success and would be back in his room soon and that we could go into see him soon. After he got back to his room and things got settled, then the other Dr. (who actually did the stents) came in and showed us the pictures of the arteries, it was amazing that he could even function at all... with that much blockage and then he told me they found another area that was blocked when he got in there, so he actually had to put in 3 stents. But we were blessed that he did not have to have OPEN HEART surgery!

So Jeff is doing much better, he got up and walked around some this evening and ate lunch and dinner. I will pick him up tomorrow morning and he is to be down for a few days and then by Monday he should be back to work and normal stuff. He will also start PT for the next 6 weeks to get him back in shape. So your prayers were heard and I can't thank my Heavenly Father enough, that I get to keep Jeff for some more years. I really don't know what I would do without him, he is my ROCK!

Some one said today, "Lynn, I can't believe how much your family has been through the last year and a half. When you finally write that book about your life, it is definitely going to have be called FICTION, because no one will believe anyone could go through so much and have that many trials!"  I am going to write that book soon and it will have all the blessings, and miracles that we have been given. It will be a best seller....if to no one else but me and my family, just because we can say ...we lived through it and grew so much and were always blessed.

Need to head to be and hopefully not have to grow any more...the next few days ( I was going to say years but, who am I kidding?) Good night dear friends. Thank you again for your thoughts and prayers and for more angels, who have been dropping off food and offering rides and everything else. Thanks a million!

P.S. Hopefully this post will explain why I haven't been quite as talkative, sociable an maybe even a bit sad lately. I have had a few things on my mind, but this was by far one of the biggest.

"Trouble is part of your life — if you don't share it, you don't give the person who loves you a chance to love you enough."   ~ Dinah Shore


"Love doesn't make the world go 'round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile."  ~Franklin P. Jones


"True love never lives happily ever after - true love has no ending."   ~K. Knight

 
"To love is to receive a glimpse of heaven."  ~ Karen Sunde