Friday, July 31, 2009

Together Again!

Today was beautiful, the temperature was perfect in the high 80's, almost 25 degrees lower than the past few days! I was thrilled to be able to work outside on the yard. I don't do it very often because it is so tough on my back, but it was the perfect opportunity for yard work so Amy, Angie and I enjoyed the sun.  I am sure that my chiropractor will see me tomorrow :) (remember I am a 50 year old now)

I am so excited to get everything ready, because tomorrow all my kids will be home together. It will be the first time since December at Brad and Krystal's wedding, so we are excited! Lee and Lauren have been gone for a week at a Youth Camp and Brad and Krystal will be visiting for a week from Idaho. I don't know how to explain it, but having all my kids home together seems like the greatest blessing a mother can have. I love the scripture in the book of Matthew 6:21 which reads, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,". I feel blessed that for our whole marriage. I have been able to stay home and be a full time mom. Many people have asked me how I could do that and why I would do that? Well, Jeff and I decided before we got married that he would support the family and that I would stay home. We both knew that it would take a lot of sacrifice, living on just one income was interesting and forced us to be happy with less and to be very creative...not only in our finances but in our cooking and our entertainment. :)  But it was exactly what we had hoped for and though it was far from perfect, it was the exact life that I had always dreamed of.

Especially since I have battled cancer more than once in my life, I have to admit that the treasures that are in my heart have gotten more precious to me and I can't imagine life without them and hope that I never have to. We may not have a lot of money, or cars that work all the time, but I do have an incredible family and kids that make me happier than anything in this world. So knowing that they all will be home again for even just a week ...is a blessing! Our family motto is "WE MAY NOT HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER BUT TOGETHER WE HAVE IT ALL!" , I think that explains our crew better than anything else, especially for those of you that truly know us ! :)

So hopefully we will be able to get some family photos together and of course the kids are trying to convince Amy that she needs to have Miss Jenny this weekend if she can so that we can all be here for it. Amy is at 38 weeks and getting pretty uncomfortable, so I am sure she would be more than happy to have the baby two weeks early. But for me, as a mother of 4 I personally know that you usually have to have a Plan B, C and some times D ready...just in case. So we shall see!

 

 

"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

"Families are the compass that guide us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter."
-- Brad Henry

Thursday, July 30, 2009

JOY!

I know quite a few friends and some family members, who are struggling with different problems in their lives right now. I wonder what I can do to help?  Maybe a card, letter, phone call, hug, or maybe even a word of encouragement? In this one email that I received, it gave quotes about JOY. I thought they were well worth repeating and maybe even writing down, so that I could remember them on a really tough day.

I would like to share them with you because, I know all of us will have some time in our lives... where life will seem just too hard, almost impossible to handle but we can and we will. The trick is to find the JOY that needs to be in our lives. It is vital to know how to get it.

One Christmas many  years ago I was asked to teach a class about the Joy of Christmas, I was of course excited because I love to teach, speak and anything to do with Christmas!  I began studying about the subject and realized that to have JOY, we should incorporate in our lives, these 3 elements.

J...is for Jesus Christ, if we truly understood what He did for us and we truly patterned our lives after His, we would have true Joy and know that we could handle anything with His help!

O...is for Others. It is vital to serve others to find the lasting JOY that we are talking about. Not just a few happy moments but true JOY!  Service is vital in finding that JOY!

Y...is for yourself. If you don't love and respect yourself, it is very hard to truly love another. It is vital to get our lives in BALANCE, by taking the time we need to love and nurture ourselves.

I hope these quotes remind you to find true JOY in your life every day. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it!  Thanks for all the Joy you all have brought into my life and the lives of my family!

"Don't postpone joy until you have learned all of your lessons. Joy is your lesson." ~ Alan Cohen

"Joy is the feeling of grinning inside." ~ Melba Colgrove

"Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls."  ~ Mother Teresa

"Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy."   ~ Joseph Campbell

"One joy shatters a hundred grief's.”  ~ Chinese Proverb

"The excursion is the same when you go looking for your sorrow as when you go looking for your joy."

~ Eudora Welty

"Joy can be real only if people look upon their life as a service, and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness." ~ Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

"Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day." ~ Henri Nouwen

To get joy, we must give it, and to keep joy, we must scatter it.  ~ John Templeton

"Joy is not in things, it is in us." ~ Richard Wagner

"Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give." Eleanor Roosevelt

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." ~ Psalms

HOT HOT HOT!

Image

Well, as many of you know we here in Seattle don't usually have to worry about the heat very often for our summers. It is rare to find a house here that even has air conditioning, because you wouldn't use it that often...normally!  But this summer has been quite different, we have had way more heat and sun than we normally have. Here is a photo of firemen cooling down public at the 35th annual Seafood Fest. I don't know that we even ever had a record this hot... to break as yesterday? We checked in here in our neighborhood at 109 degrees yesterday. It was unbelievable!

We jokingly called some of our family and friends and told them good bye, just in case we didn't make it through the HOTTEST day ever!  Humor did seem to help the situation some. My niece is with me and she is from Utah and even she is HOT,HOT, HOT! Yes, we spent most of our day yesterday in stores because it was almost unbearable here at the house. We left and didn't come back till 9:30pm. Even then, the upstairs was just too hot to sleep or do anything, that is why I didn't even write in my blog ( that's not NORMAL either). So we put mattresses on the floor and stayed down stairs. I am always surprised at how the humidity and heat like this just drains you of your energy. I am trying to redecorate a room and clean the house before all my kids get here on Saturday and do you think I got that accomplished? No, it is just too hot, it something doesn't change soon, we will just have to make finishing this room and cleaning the house, a WONDERFUL FAMILY EXPERIENCE! Shhhh.. don't tell the kids yet, wouldn't want to spoil their fun, or give them a chance to back out! :)

So here I am the next morning and I can say that I did it! I survived the HOTTEST DAY ever! I kept thinking to myself, "Lynn, you have lived through a lot of things, you can do this!"  :)

I have to admit, I didn't have it as hard as my daughter Amy,who has a baby coming in a couple of weeks. Her poor hands and feet are so swollen, it reminded me of my pregnancy days in West Virginia in the summer. Man, yesterday I thought I had been caught in some type of time warp and had traveled back to those hot summer days at home. YUK! That is exactly why we wanted to move to Washington, to get less humidity and less extreme summers and winters. Oh well.

I need to remember to be more like my granddaughter and just try and enjoy every minute of each day...hot or cold!

Life truly is...what we make it! :)

"You don't get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour."   ~ Jim Rohn

"THERE ARE TWO BIG FORCES AT WORK, EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL. WE HAVE VERY LITTLE CONTROL OVER THE EXTERNAL FORCES SUCH AS TORNADOES, EARTHQUAKES, FLOODS AND DISASTERS, ILLNESS AND PAIN. WHAT REALLY MATTERS IS THE INTERNAL FORCE. HOW DO I RESPOND TO THOSE DISEASTERS? OVER THAT I HAVE COMPLETE CONTROL."   ~ Leo F. Buscaglia

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Virtues

It has been in the 90's for the past few days and even at night in the house, it is still in the high 80's. Now those of you that live in Texas, or Arizona might think that we are pretty sissy to be complaining about the heat. Well, it is important to remember that we aren't USED to the heat, that makes a difference. Also no one  in Seattle usually has air conditioning, so the heat does seem pretty unbearable.

I won't write much for a couple of reasons, one it is late and I have my niece downstairs and I want to spend time with her, plus this lap top is getting hot on my legs :)

I will leave you with a couple of quotes that I really touched me today. We must stay true to the values and virtues that we believe in!  We truly should be making a difference in the world every day for GOOD!  Enjoy!

"STAND TALL AND BE STRONG IN DEFENSE OF THOSE GREAT VIRTUES WHICH HAVE BEEN THE BACKBONE OF OUR SOCIAL PROGRESS. WHEN YOU ARE UNITED, YOUR POWER IS LIMITLESS. YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING YOU WISH TO ACCOMPLISH. AND OH, HOW VERY, VERY GREAT IS THE NEED FOR YOU IN THE WORLD OF CRUMBLING VALUES WHERE THE ADVERSARY SEEMS SO VERY MUCH TO BE IN CONTROL"               ~ Gordon B. Hinckley

"The giant oak is an acorn that held its ground."

Who's your role model?

I remember hearing not too long ago, that a mom of a particular family of multiples, had a book out.
Everyone was coming to her book signing, they couldn't wait to know how a successful ( or at least someone who looked successful) mom could raise such an amazing family. This morning when I was checking out at the grocery store, I saw this very same mom and dad and they were getting a divorce and how each one was cheating on the other ones and also how upset the kids were. Now first of all, there is NO proof that any of those tabloids are truth but it did make me think ...how many  people read those on a daily basis, and also follow all the details on their lives too. Are these our role models?  Remember, NOT everything that goes to print ...is true!  It is hard to believe that there are companies and people, would lie about anything... to make a buck, but it is true. 

So if were could pay less attention to all the falsehoods that are on the Internet, TV and in the papers...maybe we could focus more on our real ROLE MODELS. Maybe we could take the time we need to think and realize who we really look up to?  I read an article of a man who said that his dad was a great role model for him throughout his life and then he shared the 9 lessons that he learned from his dad. Here they are...

1. Believe in God. Faith in Him will get you through life's storms.

2. Be honest and upright. Live a clean life, true to your principles and without deceit.

3. Dream and dream big. Righteous dreams do come true.

4. Share inspiring stories. Stories move us and connect us as human beings.

5. Read a lot. If knowledge is power, reading is  your access to that power.

6. Work hard. Work is a blessing.

7. Give freely. What you give or how much matters little, only that you give often and give what you can.

8. Enjoy Clean humor. Laughter unlocks your heart and makes life fun.

9. Let music soothe you. Worthy music speaks to your soul.             ~Benson E. Misalucha

At the end of this article, Benson said... " Choose your role models wisely because they become your heroes. You will remember what they would do, and that becomes  your pattern, enabling you to make wise decisions."

Thank you for being a great role model for me and my family.

 

"I studied the lives of great men and famous women, and I found that the men and women who got to the top were those who did the jobs they had in hand, with everything they had of energy and enthusiasm and hard work." ~Harry S. Truman

"People never improve unless they look to some standard or example higher and better than themselves.'            ~ Tyron Edwards

"People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy."  ~ Oliver Goldsmith

As you get older it is harder to have heroes ,but it is sorta of necessary"   ~Ernest Hemingway

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Actions speak louder than words

I have always loved the quote that says..."What you do speaks so loudly, I can't hear what you saying"

As a mom, I know personally that is so true but I also think that it is true in every area of our lives. You can tell someone what you believe in but if you don't live what you believe, then your example tells much, much more about you. A dear friend of mine sent me a cute story about this very same subject. I thought it was  perfect to share part of it with you, because that is exactly what I learned at church today too. Your example, your actions are so important. Especially when you believe in Christ. It is vital that we stop and take a closer look at our lives to see if we are truly following the Savior's example in EVERYTHING we do.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Several years ago, a preacher from out-of-state accepted a call to a church in Houston, Texas. Some weeks after he arrived, he had an occasion to ride the bus from his home to the downtown area. When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him a quarter too much change. As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, 'You'd better give the quarter back. It would be wrong to keep it.' Then he thought, 'Oh, forget it, it's only a quarter. Who would worry about this little amount? Anyway, the bus company gets too much fare; they will never miss it. Accept it as a 'gift from God' and keep quiet.'

When his stop came, he paused momentarily at the door, and then he handed the quarter to the driver and said, 'Here, you gave me too much change '

The driver, with a smile, replied, 'Aren't you the new preacher in town?'

'Yes' he replied.

'Well, I have been thinking a lot lately about going somewhere to worship. I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change. I'll see you at church.'

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Preach the Gospel at all time and when necessary use words"  ~ St. Francis of Assisi

"A good example has twice the value of good advice"

"Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means"  ~ Albert Einstein

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

Thanks so much to each of you that has been a shining example to me and my family throughout the years.

Not fighting ...Just learning!

I was at my Homeopathic Doctor's office the other day, just for a regular check up. As we talked about how I was feeling and what concerns I was having for my health I said " I just want to make sure that I am doing everything I can to keep fighting off cancer."  He just smiled and said "Lynn, can I make a suggestion?"  "I wonder if you can think of a different word other than fighting, because that has some negative connotations to it"  He was right, I need to be as positive as I can and remember not to give CANCER any power. To fight something means that it has power, to learn about cancer and learn about my body...gives me back the power. The power to learn and the power to choose!

I found 2 days ago an area on my chest wall... that seems swollen, my first thought was FEAR and my second thought was How Long Will I Have To Fight Cancer?  So here I am two days later and the swollen area is still there, I have talked to my Doctor about it and I will just wait and watch it for a couple of days and see what happens and what I feel about it. I read part of an article written from a survivor (Jan Adrian, MSW) and I really liked some of the points that she brought up. I thought I would share part of that with you and also remind myself of what I can do.

 

"At the time I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I had been doing nothing to nurture myself for several years. Even after I was diagnosed, I was working much too much. It wasn't that work was killing me, but that I needed something else in my life besides work. I felt like it was the lack of something nurturing in my life that was starving me. I wasn't reading; I wasn't meditating; I wasn't walking on the beach; I wasn't going to the mountains; I wasn't going to movies; I wasn't doing any of that. This was a time of questioning what needed to be changed in my life, what would be nourishing to me. It was my most difficult period emotionally.

I also couldn't find a support group at that time in San Jose and felt very alone. Michael ( my husband ) was my only supporter. I ended up going to a conference for health professionals on healing, and Jungian analyst Jean Shinoda Bolen spoke on the subject of illness as a soul experience. I was very moved by her talk. I felt she was talking directly to me.

She talked about how we are spiritual beings on a human path, rather than human beings who may or may not be on a spiritual path. Up until that point, any treatment that had been recommended to me--chemo, radiation, mastectomy--was a treatment of the body only. I even asked one of my oncologists, "How are we going to treat the rest of me?" and he raised his voice and said, "Emotions have nothing to do with this."

I still have no idea what causes cancer, or how to cure it. Nobody does. Part of the blessing of a cancer journey, I think, is that we have to learn how to trust ourselves. Each of us has to find what works for us, and what our own personal path is. My own focus for now is more on the quality of my life rather than on the quantity. All of us are going to die. Death is not the failure. My purpose is to live until I die."

 

Thank you for all of you love, concern and prayers. I will make it and I will be fine, I just need to remember to quit fighting, start listening to my body better, keep learning and most importantly keep LIVING Yes, "Life is a journey, not a destination!"  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Learning to endure times of disappointment, suffering, and sorrow is part of our on-the-job training. These experiences, while often difficult to bear at the time, are precisely the kinds of experiences that stretch our understanding, build our character, and increase our compassion for others." ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin

"The way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life."           ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin

Friday, July 24, 2009

Loss of a loved one

A dear friend of mine just lot her best friend. I don't think death is ever an easy thing to accept. I read this story about death and the poem that goes with it is something that I would like at my own funeral some day. No, I am not planning to leave any time soon, but once you have had cancer, trust me...those thought do pass your mind every now and then. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks

SEE YOU IN THE MORNING   By John Wayne Schlatter

Because of my mother and her wisdom I have no fear of death. She was my best friend and my greatest teacher. Every time we parted company, whether it was to retire for the evening or before one of us was about to depart on a trip, she would say, "I'll see you in the morning."  It was a promise she always kept.                                  My grandfather was a minister and in those days, around the turn of the century, whenever a member of the congregation passed on, the body would lie in state in the minister's parlor. To an eight-year-old girl, this can be a most frightening experience.One day, my grandfather picked up my mother, carried her into the parlor and asked her to feel the wall. "What does that feel like Bobbie?" he asked."Well, it's hard and it's cold," she replied.Then he carried her over to the casket and said, "Bobbie, I'm going to ask  you to do the most difficult thing I'll ever ask. But if you do it, you'll never be afraid of death again. I want you to put your hand on Mr. Smith's face."Because she loved and trusted him so much she was able to fulfill his request. "Well?" asked my grandfather. "Daddy", she said, "it feels like the wall." "That's right," he said.  "This is his old house and our friend, Mr. Smith, has moved and Bobbie, there's no reason to be afraid of an old house."

The lesson took root and grew and the rest of her life. She had absolutely no fear of death. Eight hours before she left us, she made a most unusual request. As we stood around her bed fighting back tears, she said,  "Don't bring any flowers to my grave because I won't be there. When I get rid of this body, I'm flying to Europe. Your father would never take me." The room erupted in laughter and there were no more tears the rest of the night.As we kissed her and bade her goodnight, she smiled and said, "I'll see you in the morning." However, at 6:15 A.M. the next day, I received the call from the doctor that she had begun her flight to Europe. Here is the poem that Dad and I found in her room a couple of days later.

THE LEGACY

"WHEN I DIE, GIVE WHAT IS LEFT OF ME TO CHILDREN. IF  YOU NEED TO CRY, CRY FOR YOUR BROTHERS WALKING BESIDE YOU. PUT YOUR ARMS AROUND ANYONE AND GIVE THEM WHAT YOU NEED TO GIVE ME. I WANT TO LEAVE YOU WITH SOMETHING, SOMETHING BETTER THAN WORDS OR SOUNDS. LOOK FOR ME IN THE PEOPLE I HAVE KNOWN AND LOVED. AND IF  YOU CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT ME, THEN LET ME LIVE ON IN YOUR EYES,  YOUR MIND AND YOUR ACTS OF KINDNESS. YOU CAN LOVE ME MOST BY LETTING HANDS TOUCH HANDS AND LETTING GO OF CHILDREN THAT NEED TO BE FREE. LOVE DOES NOT DIE, PEOPLE DO. SO WHEN ALL THAT IS LEFT OF ME IS LOVE... GIVE ME AWAY..."

My dad and I smiled at each other as we felt her presence, and it was morning once again.

 

"IF YOU WERE GOING TO DIE SOON AND HAD ONLY ONE PHONE CALL YOU COULD MAKE, WHO WOULD YOU CALL AND WHAT WOULD YOU DAY? AND WHY ARE YOU WAITING?   ~Stephen Levine

"The fear of death follows from the fear of life.  A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time." 

~Mark Twain

Well, I can't call each of you, but I can tell you how much you mean to me in my life and how grateful I am for your love and support. Thanks from the bottom of my heart. Good night and I'll see you in the morning! :)

Dreams and Wishes

I have always enjoyed sitting out in the field or deck at night and looking up at the stars. It is a complete miracle to know all we know about this world, to realize we have only scratched the surface. It is a place where I can collect my thoughts and sort out the thoughts and concerns of the day. I wished up on a star when I was little, now when I look up...I admire the stars, but more than dreaming or wishing....I PRAY!  Not a better place, to feel closer to God than under the stars. I feel so blessed and important to Him when I pray outside. It isn't that I can't feel those same thoughts and feelings in the house. It seems though, the phone rings or the dryer timer goes off or whatever and my mind gets easily distracted. So I love just ending my day like that. I share my thoughts and dreams with a Heavenly Father that knows me and loves me, what more could I wish for?

I found this sweet poem and story, that I wanted to share with you. Good night!

A SMALL BOY

LOOKED AT A STAR

AND BEGAN TO WEEP.

AND

THE STAR SAID

BOY

WHY ARE YOU WEEPING?

AND

THE BOY SAID

YOU ARE SO FAR AWAY

I WILL NEVER BE ABLE

TO TOUCH YOU

AND

THE STAR ANSWERED

BOY

IF I WERE NOT ALREADY

IN YOUR HEART

YOU WOULD NOT BE ABLE

TO SEE ME.    ~ John Magliola

pcard17

The Silver Star
by Hannah...Grade 2

Once upon a time there was a little boy who gazed upon the stars. He often thought he could hold one of the stars. He knew the stars brightened his night. He wanted one to brighten his day.

One night, he was looking into the sky and saw one silver star coming closer to him. Before he knew it, it was glistening in his hands. He knew then that wishing very hard makes everything possible. He lay down in the grass and put the star next to him and fell asleep.

In the morning, he picked up his star and it was still shining. He carried the star until he was a very old man.

 

“ My wish isn't to mean everything to everyone but something to someone."

To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe"               ~ Anatole France

"When it is darkest, men see the stars"  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Emotions can they make you sick?

I found this article on BELIEF NETWORK.COM about emotions and really like the idea that they gave you a quiz. Actually, I really like the idea that is makes you stop and think about the connection of your emotions and health more. Pretty powerful stuff, just not too many people slow down enough to think about it. Since I have been down a lot in the past few years, I am starting to be an expert on the subject ! :) Yeah right. No, but I do think about it daily and honestly try to look at trials, problems and crisis in the healthiest possible way that I can. It does take a lot of effort and discipline. So take the quiz and see how you do. Remember it is only a quiz...don't stress about it! :) The answers are at the bottom, no peeking!

 

In recent years, scores of medical studies have revealed that our emotions and stress affect our physical health as much as a virus--if not more. Take this quiz to test how much you know about inner immunity.

Do Your Emotions Make You Sick

1. Which of the following is not a recommended stress-reliever?

  • Taking a vacation
  • Remembering to breathe
  • Watching TV
  • All of the above
    2. What's the healthiest reason to work on a project?
  • Because you love it
  • Because your spouse wants you to
  • To impress your boss
  • To finish what you started

  • 3. What happens every time you exhale?
  • You burn a calorie
  • Your brain slows down
  • Your heart slows down
  • Its impossible to sneeze
    4. What's the optimal way to prevent negative thoughts from affecting your health?
  • Notice them and move on
  • Repeat them to yourself and others
  • Allow them to influence your choices
  • Let them trigger an emotional response
    5. Chronic stress does not contribute to the following?
  • Weight gain
  • Heart attacks
  • Inflammation
  • The color of your feet
    6. What's the ideal range of time it should take you to fall asleep once you're in bed?
  • 2-5 minutes
  • 5-10 minutes
  • 10 15 minutes
  • 15 20 minutes
    7. What's a good buffer against catching winter colds?
  • NyQuil
  • Having a pet
  • Chicken soup
  • Having friends
    8. Which foods best fight the effects of stress in the body?
    • Bread
    • Fruits and vegetables
    • Sweets
    • Meat


    9. From the following, which form of movement releases the most endorphins--hormones that make you feel happy?

  • Stretching
  • Slow dancing
  • Kick-boxing
  • Cleaning your house

  • 10. What kind of music is best for your emotional and physical health?
  • Rock
  • Classical
  • Hip hop
  • Your favorite
    11. When you're unhappy at work, what will help maintain your physical and emotional health?
  • Deciding it's all your fault
  • Knowing that you have choices
  • Blaming others for your unhappiness
  • Pushing through - no pain, no gain
  • LEMONS/LEMONAIDE

    Cripple him, and you have a Sir Walter Scott. Lock him in a prison cell, and you have a John Bunyan. Bury him in the snows of Valley Forge, and you have a George Washington. Raise him in abject poverty and you have an Abraham Lincoln. Strike him down with infantile paralysis, and he becomes Franklin Roosevelt. Burn him so severely that the doctors say he'll never walk again, and you have a Glenn Cunningham -- who set the world's one mile record in 1934. Deafen him and you have a Ludwig van Beethoven. Have him or her born black in a society filled with racial discrimination, and you have a Booker T. Washington, a Marian Anderson, a George Washington Carver. Call him a slow learner, "retarded," and write him off as uneducable, and you have an Albert Einstein. As one man summed it up: Life is about 20% in what happens to us and 80% in the way we respond to the events.  - Ted Engstrom

    "When written in Chinese, the word "crisis" is composed of two characters. One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity." - John F. Kennedy

     

    1.Correct Answer: Watching TV

    2.Correct Answer: Because you love it

    3.Correct Answer: Your heart slows down

    4.Correct Answer: Notice them and move on

    5.Correct Answer: The color of your feet

    6.Correct Answer: 10 15 minutes

    7.Correct Answer: Having friends

    8.Correct Answer: Fruits and vegetables

    9.Correct Answer: Kick-boxing

    10.Correct Answer: Your favorite

    11.Correct Answer: Knowing that you have choices

    Tuesday, July 21, 2009

    Charity

    I read this story and loved it because I really believe that charity truly is one of the most important virtues that one can have. We have friends that are out of work and we ourselves have been down that road on more than one occasion. It is such a hard place to be, but like this story we are reminded that we aren't the only ones going through tough times. When you share your load with others and theirs with you, life seems to get a bit easier to handle.

    I hope we can know our neighbors and friends well enough to be able to be there for them, if they need us. I think that is what life is all about. Enjoy this story and remember we need not be alone in our struggles.

    Good Old-Fashioned Sharing From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Times, Tough People

    "Friendship isn't a big thing―it's a million little things."  ~ unknown

    It wasn't that I was embarrassed my husband was out of work. The situation was what it was. It's just that we are private people and don't share our problems easily with others. So when he lost his job, we just acted like nothing had changed and no one seemed to notice.

    It didn't take too long, maybe two weeks, and my kids' friends noticed that Kyle's dad was home a lot more. When asked about it, I told my good friend and neighbor, Tammy, we were out of work and looking. She then told me that her husband had been applying for graveyard shifts all over town because his company was going under. I was shocked! We were constantly doing things together and I hadn't a clue they were struggling.

    I didn't feel like we were the only ones going through this anymore. I always knew that others were struggling with the economy in a downturn, but now I had a comrade to share my woes with.

    Knowing what they were going through, I wanted to help them, even though we didn't have much ourselves. So, I became the reconnaissance shopper. I scour the coupons and ads, and match things up to pay half-price for many items. I call Tammy when I get done with my planning session and offer to pick up things for her at the discounted price. It seems like our money goes even farther because we are willing to share.

    It goes the other way too. Tammy and her husband have given us enough wood to heat our home this winter. They have the tools to cut firewood and they did extra for us. It has been a huge help to reduce our gas bill to almost nothing.

    There are other examples of helping each other. I taught Tammy how to make bread and rolls; she watches my kids when I go to job interviews; I make dessert for Tammy's family party; she drives my kid to the bus stop in a snow storm… and the list goes on.

    I don't have much to give but I can give of myself. I can have charity, love, and hope in my heart, and the more I give those away, the more I get them back.

     

    "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?"  ~ Rabbi Hillel

    "He who wished to secure the good of others, has already secured his own."  ~ Confucius

    "Every good act is charity. A man's true wealth hereafter is the good that he does in this world to his fellows." ~ Moliere

    Monday, July 20, 2009

    More information

    I was so grateful that I slept well last night. I didn't stay up all night worrying, that was a blessing in and of it's self. But when the alarm went off, I felt my heart racing and the realization of my appointment was already having an effect on me. I tried to go to my HAPPY PLACE, but I am sorry to report that I didn't actually arrive there. I was going to go by myself but when Jeff said he could meet me there, I just had to take him up on his offer. I remember an earlier post that I wrote about how to prepare yourself as a cancer survivor for these type of return appointments. One of the things that was written in the article that I read was... to make sure to bring someone with you for MORAL SUPPORT, it is more important than you might think. So I was grateful when Jeff came through that door this morning.

    My surgeon was very nice and as always seemed to be willing to take whatever time that was needed to answer our questions and explain things. Basically as she looked at my chest wall and the area under my arm, she said that the edema is probably from radiation effects and should go down. She also mentioned that many times after surgery things might not ever quite look the same again. Especially because of how your body handles the treatments and surgery, plus just our different body types. Some of us are much leaner than others. She suggested that I keep my weight stable and exercise each day and then hopefully we will see this go down over time.

    I did however ask her about the way I should check for a reoccurrence  and explained that it is hard to know what to look and feel for, when you have always had a breast on there before. Her explanation was just to look for anything out of the normal from now on. That I should get to know what normal ( normal for now) looks and feels like and if I had a lump of anything hard like that under my skin to have it checked out. She also mentioned that if cancer returned in your skin that it would look more red and inflamed (that is what my oncologist was talking about).

    She checked my nodes and said that everything felt fine. She then said that she didn't think that I needed to have a mammogram until my year mark (which is November). But that I also would or should have MRI's every year, so that they can check that chest was area out and all the nodes too. I didn't know that, no one mentioned an MRI at all.

    Some times what is confusing to me as a survivor is... that each DR will tell you a different thing. She mentioned that edema is sore and painful because of the swelling. She also mentioned that there isn't any information that she knows that is written about edema in the chest wall and arm pit, even though she has seen it before.

    Yes knowledge is power, but the hard part is to figure out which knowledge to trust and follow. That is hard for me to have such conflicting explanations, but I did feel that what she said made sense and that I didn't have to worry as much.

    So tonight I will leave you with a few quotes that I related to today. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers, no matter what anyone says... remember that they are very needed and powerful.

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    I am grateful that I didn't have to stop life and once again fight cancer, I just learned some more guidelines to help me be healthier.   GUIDELINES..."Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines."  ~ Robert Schuller
    Robert Schuller

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    Sometimes I wonder how many more storms I can handle in my life, but then I have to remember the strength that I have received during them.   STORMS..."The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests."  ~ Epictetus

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    I need to remember that sometimes the polishing is what hurts the most.   GEMS..."The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials."  ~Chinese Proverb


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    I hope that each time it will get a bit easier, I am actually trying to live each day to the fullest, and I am planning and looking forward to the future. I was a bit disappointed in my self today, that I couldn't get my head around going in and checking this out. I wish I hadn't got so upset and nervous. But I have to remember that, I am doing things today that 5-6 months ago I couldn't even comprehend that I would ever be able to do again. So I will try to be more patient with myself and remember this is just part of the journey with cancer.  PATIENCE..."Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them -- every day begin the task anew."  ~Saint Francis de Sales

    Sunday, July 19, 2009

    What will tomorrow bring?

    Well, I promised my Physical Therapist that I would go back to my Surgeon and have her check out this edema in my chest wall (surgery side) and arm pit area. Her concern is that for over a month, she has been trying to decrease my edema by massage and it hasn't responded. Her other concern is that my anterior chest/inferior axilla  are very tender and painful, which is not typical of edema alone. She wants me to find out how long the effects of radiation are expected to linger and if that could possibly be the cause of my pain or is there more to look into. Also I have to ask the surgeon how to actually check my chest wall for reoccurring  lumps, (yes you read it right, even after a mastectomy, you can still have cancer return on your chest wall, remember cancer is an inside job) I think that is a bit of information many women don't know before having the surgery. Also my oncologist told me that they don't feel like the ordinary lumps that I have had in the past.

    Now just writing the words  MORE TO LOOK INTO and LUMPS has made my stomach start to churn? Why? I guess it is because it is yet again the UNKNOWN. I know I need go but YUK! All scary stuff, wish I could jump in a time machine and tomorrow would already be in the past!

    One survivor said this...

    "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."

    And so I will go tomorrow and pray that this is just the effects of radiation and nothing more. The scars of cancer are hard to some times live with. I have to really concentrate on just thinking everything will be fine unless told otherwise. I am scared, I have to be honest about that. I don't want to even go back into that same arena again but I will, just to find out more information.

    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, “I'll try again tomorrow."   ~ Mary Anne Radmacher-Hershey

    Thanks for all  you prayers and support, I can still use them. Good night dear friends.

    Here is a photo that Lauren took of Angie near a bush, she was touching the ivy with a twig but with some talent and photo shop, she put a key in Angie's hand and a lock in the bush. Secret Garden is the look she was going for.The timeless tale of a special place where magic, hope and love grow.

    "Don't get discouraged; it is often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock." ~ unknown

    "The key to patience are acceptance and faith. Accept things as they are, and look realistically at the world around you. Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen."   ~ Ralph Marston

    Saturday, July 18, 2009

    Friendship...a priceless treasure!

    I love this story... because I do believe that our friendships, make our lives richer.

    Clay  Balls       
    A man was exploring caves by the Seashore.  In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay balls.  It was like someone had rolled clay balls and left them out in the sun to bake.   They didn't look like much, but they intrigued the man, so he took the bag out of the cave with him.  As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could. 

    He thought little about it, until he dropped one of the clay balls and it cracked open on a rock .  Inside was a beautiful, precious stone!

    Excited, the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls.  Each contained a similar treasure.  He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left.  

    Then it struck him.  He had been on the beach a long time. He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves.  Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have taken home tens of thousands, but he had just thrown it away! 

    It's like that with people.  We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, and we see the external clay vessel.  It doesn't look like much from the outside.  It isn't always beautiful or sparkling, so we discount it. 

    We see that person as less important than someone more beautiful or stylish or well known or wealthy.  But we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that person. 

    There is a treasure in each and every one of us.  If we take the time to get to know that person, and if we ask God to show us that person the way He sees them, then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth.
    May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown away a fortune in friendships because the gems were hidden in bits of clay. May we see the people in our world, as God sees them.   

    "APPRECIATE EVERY SINGLE
    THING YOU HAVE, ESPECIALLY YOUR FRIENDS!
    LIFE IS TOO SHORT AND FRIENDS ARE TOO FEW!
    "

    "Never shall I forget the days I spent with you. Continue to be my friend, as you will always find me yours."
    ~ Ludwig van Beethoven

    Children

    Today a dear friend of ours came to visit. They moved to Oregon about a year ago and what a treat it was to see her and her little daughter. I am always amazed at this little people in our lives. How they change lives, brighten up a room and melt your heart in just minutes. How grateful I am for the lessons that children (mine and others) have taught me. We need to pay  more attention to what they are saying and doing, if we do, we would learn so much from them. Another dear friend sent me this poem about a little boy and the things that he taught a neighbor of his. 

    AIN'T
    He was just a little boy,
    On a week's first day.
    Wandering home from Bible school,
    And dawdling on the way.
    He scuffed his shoes into the grass;
    He even found a caterpillar.
    He found a fluffy milkweed pod,
    And blew out all the 'filler.'
    A bird's nest in a tree overhead,
    So wisely placed up so high.
    Was just another wonder,
    That caught his eager eye.
    A neighbor watched his zig zag course,
    And hailed him from the lawn;
    Asked him where he'd been that day
    And what was going on.
    'I've been to Bible School ,'
    He said and turned a piece of sod.
    He picked up a wiggly worm replying,
    'I've learned a lot about God.'
    'M'm very fine way,' the neighbor said,
    'for a boy to spend his time.'
    'If you'll tell me where God is,
    I'll give you a brand new dime.'
    Quick as a flash the answer came!
    Nor were his accents faint.
    'I'll give you a dollar, Mister,
    If you can tell me where God ain't.'

    Isn't that the truth, the witness that there is a God is truly all around us. The fact of the matter is, so often we are too busy to stop and realize it. I hope this poem reminds us all to stop and notice all the beautiful things that God has created for us. Yes, we are a blessed people. Thanks to all the little people who daily remind us of that.

    My daughter Lauren just did this photo, of one of our friend's baby, I thought it fit perfect with this post! Isn't he a sweetheart?

     

    "Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven." ~ Henry Ward

    jackson_bird_edited-1

    “A baby is God's opinion that life should go on.” - Carl Sandburg

    One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade.  ~ Chinese proverb


    "The soul is healed by being with children."  ~English proverb

     

     

    Out of the mouths of babes....

    "Dear God,
    Thank you for my baby brother, but what I prayed for was a puppy
    Joyce"

    Thursday, July 16, 2009

    A Mother's Journey

    I love summer and the opportunity to be home with my kids. I am a STAY HOME MOM and have been for 27 years. I can honestly say it has been one of the hardest and best jobs in the world. I now have my daughter who is pregnant with our 2nd granddaughter and two nieces who are expecting. As I watch their bellies get bigger and know that they are somewhat anxious about what lies ahead of them. I keep telling them that being a MOM is the BEST JOB in the world! I found this article that one mother wrote and she did a very good and describing MOTHERHOOD. It is long, but I hope that you will take the time to read it  and appreciate all the mothers in our lives...just a little bit more! 

    "The phrase "working mother" is redundant."

    MOTHERHOOD
    ~Jane Sellman

    "It was the kind of splendid September day when sending kids to school just feels wrong. Fortunately, that year I was home schooling and calling the shots. Plus we were living in California, an hour from the Pacific Ocean. For all I knew, it could have been the last day of summer, and we wouldn't want to miss that. So it was off to the ocean with five children under eight―Josh, Matt, Ben, Zach, and Sophia.

    Together, we cleaned up from breakfast, prepped the car, and then gathered beach blankets, umbrella, towels, swimsuits, diapers, sunglasses, sand toys, first aid kit, sunscreen, a cooler full of snacks and drinks―ay yi yi yi yi! Hello, motherhood; goodbye spontaneity. I loaded the assorted car seats and strapped, snapped, and buckled five wiggling bodies into Big Blue―the 1989 Suburban we outgrew only a few years later. We were on our way.

    With everyone else in school, the whole beach was ours. I staked out our territory close to the water, hauled everything down from the car, and set up camp. For five hours I served as personal valet, sunscreen slatherer, weather advisor, recreation director, swim instructor, lifeguard, EMT, food concessionaire, manners consultant, bus boy, interpreter, peace negotiator, psychologist… not to mention keeper of the lost-and-found.

    Finally, I hauled everything back to the car, strapped, snapped, and buckled five sunscreen-and-sand-coated-but-no-longer-wiggly warm, limp bodies back into Big Blue and headed for home. The sun through the window was soothing, and the car was full of contentment. It had been a wonderful day and I was pleased with myself as a mother. Then, from the back seat, I heard Zachary clear his throat, and in his deadpan four-year-old Eeyore voice ask, "Mom, when are you going to get a job?"

    "This is my job," I said, somewhat amused and just a little edgy.

    Homeward bound with the kids falling asleep one by one, I was left alone with my thoughts. I began to see the beauty of Zach's question. Somehow―even though it could be hard work and even though I had my testy moments―my kids didn't think of motherhood as a job.
    And I decided that was a good thing because it's not really a job at all, but a calling. And callings just don't look like jobs, because they require more of a person than a job requires. This is particularly true of stay at home mothers whose days are spent conquering mountains of laundry, creating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and kissing owies.

    We live in a world where success is measured by progress, as recorded on report cards, sales reports, performance reviews, pay raises and symbolized by ribbons, trophies, and merit badges. In our lifetimes, our husbands and children will bring scores of these items home and make us proud. We'll put them in scrapbooks, sew them on uniforms, frame and hang them up for all to see.

    But I don't know of any special awards for teaching a child to tie her shoe or come to dinner when called. No raises or praises when a mother drops everything to drive someone out for poster board―"your project's due tomorrow? But it's almost eight o'clock!"

    Every day this goes on with everyday moms doing everyday things―sometimes struggling with feelings of inferiority or even worthlessness―just being obedient to their calling.

    But while motherhood can look easy (after all, it certainly is not rocket science), the irony is this: while lots of important people in important places conduct lots of important business every day, the truly most important work in the whole world is really going on at home, where the CEO is mommy.

    I guess if we got disgruntled enough from lack of appreciation, we could start a Mommy Power movement with bumper stickers that say, "If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

    We could sue people who put us down at parties and maybe even become a protected minority.

    But that wouldn't be very mommy-like, would it? Because there's something about mommies that should be soft where others are hard, kind where others are cruel, patient where others can't wait. We may not start out that way at all, but there's absolutely nothing like motherhood to change anything about us that needs to be changed.

    At least, that's how it's been on my motherhood journey. I set out to make a home, to grow a family, and to help my children reach their potential.

    The most amazing thing is that while I was helping them reach theirs, they were helping me reach mine."

    Wednesday, July 15, 2009

    Everything has a story to tell!

    When I was a young girl, I remember going through my grandmother's house and asking her where she got things (such as a piece of furniture or a quilt. I loved the fact that everything had it's own story. Some times she would even say," if this old table could talk it would tell you all the funny stories that were told over dinner on it, or it would tell you how many quarts of peaches it could hold when it was canning season." "Yes, if this or that could talk, oh what a story it would "  Maybe that is why my home is decorated with antiques or like my grandmother's house. Like I said it was a safe place and one where I spent many hours at. I learned how to cook SUGARBREADANDBUTTERSUGAR there (no wonder we all had a lot of visits to the dentists) just the name of that recipe told you how bad it was for you! :) It was where I learned to crochet, sew, play checkers,bake and much much more.

    Right before Jeff and I got married, my grandmother had to sell her home (that we all loved). I remember her telling Jeff and I to take anything we needed since we weren't going to start out married life with much. What a blessing that was to  us and to this day, I have kept those pieces of furniture and they now would have even more stories to tell you, since they have been in our home. Those are some great memories.

    I laughed out loud this morning when I got up and got my prosthetic out to get dressed. As I took her ( I lovingly call my prosthetic... MANDY ) out of her box I said to myself. "Come on girl, we gotta get up and moving for the day, we need to make something of ourselves today". Now a prosthetic isn't something that will be passed on from generation to generation like grandmother's furniture but....oh the stories it could tell if it did!  :)

    So tonight I will leave you with a photo of an old piano that we bought from a dear lady, years ago when Amy started Piano lessons. I remember when we bought it, how she had a hard time departing with it and made us promise to take care of it because of all the love that she had put into playing on it. Yes, everything has a story to tell.

    I hope that we all with remember that in our every day lives, we are living out our stories each day. I hope they are stories that we will be proud of and that will inspire others to do the same. Thanks for being a sweet part of my life stories!

    "The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another."  ~ James Matthew Barrie


    "Live your life from your heart. Share from  your heart. And your story will touch and heal people's souls" ~ Melody Beattie

    "Strange as it may seem, my life is based on a true story"   ~Ashleigh Brilliant

    "Their story, yours and mine -it's what we all carry with us on this trip we take, and we owe it to each other to respect our stories and learn from them"

    "Home is where our story begin"

    Monday, July 13, 2009

    Being honest with yourself.

    I have found it beneficial sometimes to look in the mirror and try to truly see what the real Lynn Woodard looks like. If I just take a glance, I only see a worn out body, that has battled with cancer. But if I look longer and closer, I see someone who is still here and still has work to do on herself ...both physically and mentally.

    I loved this quote I found about the defects that we see in our lives and how they can make us better and stronger if we only realize that is part of life, to learn and to grow. So I guess if I still have things to work on, then that is ok and that just means I am still alive to work on them. No small thing to be thankful for.

    Thanks to each of you for helping me see who I really am, when sometimes I get stuck on the reflection in the mirror. I am much more than that and yet I have so much growing and work yet to do. I think this is where the quote "JOY IN THE JOURNEY "  should go. I need to constantly remember that.  Good night

    OUR DEFECTS

    mirror_energy.jpgAn empty mirror and your worst destructive habits,

    when they are held up to each other,

    that’s when the real making begins.

    That’s what art and crafting are.

    A tailor needs a torn garment to practice his expertise.

    The trunks of trees must be cut and cut again,

    so they can be used for fine carpentry.

    Your doctor must have a broken leg to doctor.

    Your defects are the ways that glory gets manifested.

    Rumi as translated by Coleman Barks

    Sunday, July 12, 2009

    What goes around comes around

    Today is Sunday and I was grateful that I felt good enough to go to church. However my back and neck have been giving my trouble the last couple of weeks so as soon as I get home from church, I have to head to bed. In church today I was able to sit next to a dear friend of mine and her sweet little baby girl. She was kind enough to let me hold her and it was a real treat. What I forgot about was my back and neck. Lifting even though she was only 14-16 pounds really did a number on my neck. I didn't realize it until I got home and it got worse and then the pain went into my head and a migraine. I know I shouldn't get discouraged but I do. Just doing some of the most simple things puts me out for days. I was in bed 4 hours and then all evening I have still been trying to quite down this migraine, even having my glasses on hurt, so I won't write much.

    Pain really seems to put a damper on my ability to handle things. Everything seems too big, too hard and too much when I hurt this bad. I am grateful that I got to hold that sweet little girl, but it makes me said to think by doing ONLY that, brought on this migraine and pain. It is hard to be a grandma and not be able to pick up and hold this little ones very much. We have only 5 weeks before Amy has our 2nd granddaughter, I wish there was a miracle cure so that I will be able to hold her more.

    But I have much to be grateful for, so I will stop complaining and end with this story. Thank you for your love, encouragement and support.

    What goes around comes around 

    His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog.
    There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.
    The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman's sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved.
    "I want to repay you," said the nobleman. "You saved my son's life." "No, I can't accept payment for what I did," the Scottish farmer replied, waving off the offer.
    At that moment, the farmer's own son came to the door of the family hovel. "Is that your son?" the nobleman asked.
    "Yes," the farmer replied proudly.
    "I'll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my son will enjoy. If the lad is anything like his father, he'll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of.
    And that he did.
    Farmer Fleming's son attended the very best schools and in time, he graduated from St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, and went on  to become known throughout the world as the noted  Sir Alexander Fleming,the discoverer of Penicillin.
    Years afterward, the same nobleman's son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia. What saved his life this time? Penicillin.
    The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill. His son's name? Sir Winston Churchill.
    Someone once said:
    "What goes around comes around."      ~Unknown

     

    Saturday, July 11, 2009

    A PERFECT DAY!

     

    Well, today I turned 50 years old. It seems weird to think that I could actually be that age! I thought at first it would be hard to get that old, but somehow it feels like it has been well earned and I guess the truth is that I am just grateful to still be here on earth to have a 50th birthday! It made me think of the saying...

    "Do not resent growing old. Many are denied the privilege."
    -- Author Unknown

    So I was excited for today, thank you for all  your calls, letters, gifts, flowers and emails. I think I am one of the richest people on earth to have so many BEST FRIENDS and FAMILY!

    Jeff, Lee, Lauren, John, Amy, Angie and I went out for a picnic in the park. It was another beautiful sunny day and we went down by the lake and had a wonderful picnic. Jeff and Amy had asked earlier what I wanted for my birthday. I first said that if I could have anything I wished for, it would be to have all my friends and family come and spend the day with me. Since I knew that wasn't possible ... I said "just to have a picnic with the whole family" or at least the family that is here. Then they gave me a photo book that they created on line that had letters from many of you as a Tribute Book for me. It was amazing. It made me cry to feel so loved and appreciated, what a wonderful gift. I know that Amy was concerned that maybe she didn't get a hold of all of you and that was her goal, but she and Lauren worked very hard to contact as many you as they could. It will be such a treasure throughout the coming years. Especially on those BIGGER THAN ME days.

    Near the end of our picnic, Angie laid on her quilt and said " this is a perfect day", she was right.

    Tonight Jeff said "now that you are 50, you ought to go riding with me on my motorcycle", how could I turn that down? So I went into the bathroom...said a quick prayer, then put on my helmet and took a ride with him. It was fun, it was a bit scary around the corners but...I did it! Who knows what I will do next?

    "I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming... suddenly you find - at the age of 50, say - that a whole new life has opened before you."
    -- Agatha Christie

    Well, I didn't get a lot of OVER THE HILL cards and gifts (thank you for that), so I thought I would do them myself just for fun. Good night dear friends and family. Thank you again for remembering me!

    "Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."
    -- Mark Twain

    Here's another perfect day, it looks like! :)

    'You know you're getting old when you stoop to tie your shoelaces and wonder what else you could do while you're down there."
    -- George Burns

    Perks of Being Over 50...

    • Kidnappers are not very interested in you.
    • In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.
    • No one expects you to run into a burning building.
    • People call at 9 PM and ask, "Did I wake you?"
    • People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.
    • There is nothing left to learn the hard way.
    • Things you buy now won't wear out.
    • You can eat dinner at 4 P.M.
    • You enjoy hearing about other peoples operations.
    • You get into heated arguments about pension plans.
    • You have a party and the neighbors don't even realize it.
    • You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.
    • You quit trying to hold your stomach in, no matter who walks into the room.
    • You sing along with elevator music.
    • Your eyes won't get much worse.
    • Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.
    • Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the National Weather Service.
    • Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either.

     

    'In youth we learn; in age we understand."
    ~Marie Ebner-Eschenbach

    Friday, July 10, 2009

    Things to remember

    Maybe it's because I am getting older, but I tend to try and remember special things more often. I am also trying to remember to enjoy the moments more often. Yesterday when Angie came over and we were watering her pumpkin plants, I remembered growing a garden with all my kids when they were little, they loved watching it grow and so does Angie. Now I would love to tell you that we have a big huge garden of a million things, but we don't. We have tomatoes, corn, herbs and pumpkins.

    Angie and I painted Pumpkin signs to let everyone know where the Pumpkins are. She and her Poppa take good care of the plants. I love watching her be so excited and talk about how big her pumpkins are going to be for Halloween!

    They say that being a grandparent is more fun because you have more time, I think that is true plus, you are older and realize what is REALLY IMPORTANT now. You aren't as caught up in the daily stress of life, quite as much as when you were a  younger mom. Maybe because of my cancer, maybe because of my age? But whatever it is, I am just grateful to remember and enjoy this little ( but, oh so important ) moments. Life is all about our choices.

    I hope today that you try to slow down enough to remember the little important things and that you truly enjoy the moment. Thanks for always being there for me and my family.

    Things to Remember

    Your life was a gift to the world, take that gift and use it wisely. You are unique and one of a kind, no one else is quite like you. You can make your life be anything you want it to be. Remember to take one day at a time.

    Count your blessings, not your troubles. You will make it through whatever comes along. Within you are so many answers. Understand, have courage, be strong.

    Do not put limits on yourself. So many dreams are waiting to be realized. Decisions are too important to leave to chance. Reach for your peak, your goal and you prize.

    Nothing wastes more energy than worrying. The longer one carries a problem the heavier it gets. Do not take things too seriously. Live a life of serenity, not a life of regrets.

    Remember that a little love goes a long way. Remember that a lot of love … goes on forever. Remember that friendship is a wise investment. Life’s treasure are people together.

    Realize that it is never too late. Do ordinary things in an extraordinary way. Have hearth and hope and happiness. Take the time to wish upon a start.

    and most importantly do not forget …. not even for a second just how special you are!

    Thursday, July 9, 2009

    Christmas in July

    I heard on the radio the other day a disc-jockey that said some of your first memories, could tell you about your future. When he would interview people and asked them their earliest childhood memory, he then would compare it to what they were doing now. It was interesting to listen to. I thought of one of my earliest childhood memories, and it was sitting at my own little table and chairs. The TV was turned on in front of my table and for an hour or 1/2(?) I would watch a show called "Art with Miss Shirley". My mom said it was the only time in the whole day that I would sit still!  Miss Shirley was amazing, I thought she could do anything. She would tell me how to use all my crayons, paste, construction paper and scissors to make the most beautiful things I had ever seen. Then as soon as that was off, I had to eat lunch, take a nap and then I would get up and go back and recreate more of what she taught me that day. If it was paper placemats or paper lanterns, I made quite a few more. Then I would give them out to our neighbors or my Aunt and Grandmother.

    Now this disc-jockey would probably say to me ...that is why I was a vender at the craft fairs. I entered my first craft show at the age of 12 and did that until in my 30's (when my back finally gave out). I still like to create crafts and gifts today. I guess it would be true in some ways. I never do things one at a time, I always make multiples in case I forget a birthday or something like that. It is a joke in our home, that I can't make just one of anything. When it comes to Christmas, I do tend to get a bit out of control on the gift giving. I guess there could be worse things to be out of control with, right?

    I am sorta the same way about letter writing, I know that is a art that is slowly being lost, but as Jeff would say "it's a art that will never be lost as long as Lynn is alive". He also says that I could have stock in the Post Office with all the letters and packages that I mail. He said being married to me is just like... being married to Mrs. Santa! Some how I am not feeling like that is quite the compliment that I think it is. Well,it is true....I love to create things for my loved ones and friends and I don't think anyone can send too many letters or packages. The thrill of getting something in the mail is still a big deal.

    So now you know two of my favorite things, creating gifts and writing cards. The next favorite of mine is Christmas time. I am so glad to see all the Christmas in July sales. Not because I am going to buy anything, but because they are already talking about Christmas. I drive my family crazy because I want to play Christmas Carols all year long. I do stop in January or sometimes Feb. But now that it is July, Angie and I are starting to get practiced up on our Christmas songs. I can see my family roll their eyes but,they know there is nothing better than the Spirit of Christmas and the excitement of a little child.

    I will leave you with this sweet Christmas Poem about a Christmas Letter and hope that you will remember for just a minute or two, how blessed we are to celebrate that Sacred Season. Also, hopefully this post will also remind you to continue to do something that you love every day and maybe even get out some pen and paper and write a letter!  :) Happy Christmas in July!

    "The one good thing about not seeing you is that I can write you letters."  ~Svetlana Alliluyeva

    A CHILD'S LETTER TO SANTA

    December 4, 2002

    Snowflakes softly falling, upon your window they play.
    Your blanket is snug around you, into sleep you drift away.
    I bend to gently kiss you, when I see that on the floor,
    There's a letter neatly written, I wonder whom it's for.
    I quietly unfold it, making sure you're still asleep.
    It's a Christmas list for Santa; one my heart will always keep.
    It started just as always, with the toys seen on TV,
    A new watch for your father and a winter coat for me.
    But as my eyes read on, I could see that deep inside,
    There were many things you wished for, that your loving heart would hide.
    You asked if your friend Molly could have another Dad.
    It seems her father hits her, and it makes you very sad.
    Then you asked dear Santa, if the neighbor down the street,
    Could find a job that he might have some food, and clothes, and heat.
    You saw a family on the news, whose house had blown away.
    "Dear Santa, send them just one thing, a place where they can stay."
    "And Santa, those four cookies, that I left you for a treat,
    Could you take them to the children, who have nothing else to eat?"
    "Do you know that little bear I have, the one I love so dear?
    I'm leaving it for you to take to Africa this year".
    "And as you fly your reindeer, on this night of Jesus' birth,
    Could your magic bring to everyone, goodwill and peace on earth?"
    "There's one last thing before you go, so grateful I would be,
    If you'd smile at Baby Jesus, in the manger by our tree."
    I pulled the letter close to me, I felt it melt my heart.
    Those tiny hands had written what no other could impart.
    "And a little child shall lead them," was whispered in my ear,
    As I watched you sleep on Christmas Eve, while Santa Claus was here.

    --- Author Unknown ---

     

    Wednesday, July 8, 2009

    Start with yourself

    As a mother, it has always been interesting to me on how we... as mothers find the balance that we need in our lives. It seems like the world just keep yelling at us to "keep going, do better, be everything to everybody, and you need to be PERFECT!"  When that was going on, I found it hard to be able to hear that sweet, calming voice that said "just do the best that you can and trust". I don't think this is even just a mother's dilemma ...but a Woman's too. Why is that balance so hard to find?

    I believe the worst part is that our kids and families watch us almost fall apart, trying to achieve the PERFECT MOM or WOMAN role. I look back with a lot of regret that I didn't take better care of myself first. It always  makes me think of the stewardess on the airplanes when she reminds you ...in the case of an emergency to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before your children. That way you have the ability to help them. Why is that such a hard concept to learn? When we take care of ourselves first (not in a selfish way) but in a healthy way, then, we have a lot more to offer our family and friends why?  Because we are full, our barrel is full and there for, we have something to give. I don't even want to tell you how many years that I continually tried to keep serving others from an empty barrel. ( that hurts! ) Worse than that, physically and emotionally and spiritually, it takes years to recoup from constantly being on empty and still moving.

    I spoke with a dear friend the other day who is struggling over some of the decisions of her children. As I listened to her, I wanted to ask her what have you done for yourself lately? Are you happy? Are you taking the time you need to fill your barrel? Have you done the best that you can? If so...then just trust ,that your kids have it in them, to make the right decisions. I know the feeling of watching your kids make decisions that you wish they wouldn't and some times just knowing what the consequences will be( because you have a little experience in this area)...makes it even harder to watch. But I am learning (of course it was the hard way) to just focus back on me and what I am suppose to be doing. I do know that kids (any age) watch more than they listen. Motherhood is one of the best and hardest jobs that there is out there, so remember to take it in stride and be patient with yourself.

    So I hope you enjoy this poem about taking care of yourself first. Understanding that the only people we can change is ....ourselves! Thanks to all of you, that have continued to remind me of this and who have set the best example for me.

     

    Start With Yourself

    When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country.

    But, it too, seemed immovable.

    As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.

    And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family.

    From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world.

    Words written tomb of an Anglican Bishop, Westminster Abbey London

    Tuesday, July 7, 2009

    Just one bodies

    A couple of weeks ago when my granddaughter Angie was over, she came into my room while I was changing. As usual I just tried to give her other things to do or play with, so that I could have some privacy in getting dressed. But as a normal three year old, she is very curious and kept trying to see what my body looked like. At one point she just kept circling around me till she saw me and then she said with such a serious little voice and face "Nana, you only have one bodies" as she pointed to my chest.

    I wasn't sure what I should do or say, I finally bent down and let her see my scar and then she touch it and said it again. I said yes, remember when it was an owie? Now it is all better now. We then talked for a minute about how it doesn't hurt any more ( she remembered the burn and owie that I had for months). Then as quickly as it started, she was off to look at something else in my room. I started finished getting dressed, thinking that her little mind was somewhere else, but as soon as I put on my bra, she said "Nana, now you have two bodies". She seemed to think all was well, and then she left the room.

    I smiled when she left, thinking of how innocent these little children are, they see things and just want to know what it going on. I well remember months ago when I didn't even want Jeff or myself, to have to look at the incision and burn, now here I am letting my little granddaughter touch and see it and trying to explain to her that Nana is going to be alright.

    As I talked to a sweet  peaceful feeling came over me and reminded me, that I am truly going to be alright. Yes, I have to go the rest of my life with just "ONE BODIES" but I am here and I am healthy and with my family and friends around me, yes... I am going to be alright!

    I will let Amy tell Angie in a few years, why nana can't come to show and tell at school with her just "one bodies". :)  I am sure there will be many more questions for me. My life won't be the same necessary as others. I will forever have to straighten my shirts, (because... of only having one bodies), I will forever have to do Physical Therapy ever day (because ...of only having one bodies and no lymph nodes), I will forever have to bring Mandy (my prosthetic) with me every day ( so... I can have two bodies), but I am surviving and I am grateful for that.

    I am especially grateful for a sweet little granddaughter who reminded me that I am going to be ok and to enjoy every moment that I have. Gratitude...that is what this "ONE BODIES" reminds me of each day!

    I know that many of you have been on this journey with me since the beginning of my cancer, how can I ever say thanks enough for your love and support? Thank you, (just like Angie) for reminding me that I am going to be ok!

    angie_1

     

    "A young child is, indeed, a true scientist, just one big question mark. What? Why? How? I never cease to marvel at the recurring miracle of growth, to be fascinated by the mystery and wonder of this brave enthusiasm."   ~Victoria Wagner

     

    "Children are our most valuable natural resource."   ~ Herbert Hoover

     

    P.S. Ok, I found this little story that seemed to fit well with my post today...enjoy!

     

    A little boy got lost at the YWCA and found himself in the women’s locker room. When he was spotted, the room burst into shrieks, with women grabbing towels and running for cover.

    The child watched in amazement and then asked, “What’s the matter? Haven’t you ever seen a little boy before?”

    Monday, July 6, 2009

    The Telephone

    Ever since I was little, I have loved talking on the telephone. Everyone said I should have been on one of the phone commercials, because I really believing in that REACH OUT AND TOUCH SOMEONE motto. There is just something about hearing the voice of a loved one that is hard to match any other way. This story was one that my mom read to me years ago and I loved it, but I haven't read it in a very long time. Then a week ago, a friend who reads my blog, sent it to me because she knows I love to use stories. It was perfect. It made me miss my mom all over again though. Oh how I wish they had phones in HEAVEN, I would give anything to hear her voice just one more time.

    So, I hope you enjoy the message of this sweet story and that it encourages you to keep in touch with those you love. Night dear friends!

    image

    When I was a young boy, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember the polished old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked to it. Then, I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person. Her name was “Information Please,” and there was nothing she did not know. Information Please could supply anyone’s number and the correct time. My personal experience with the genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer, the pain was terrible but there seemed no point in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy. I walked around the house sucking by throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear. “Information, please,” I said into the mouthpiece just above my head. A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear, “I hurt my finger,” I wailed into the phone. The tears came readily enough now that I had an audience. “Isn’t your mother home?” came the question. “Nobody’s home but me,” I blubbered. “Are you bleeding?” the voice asked. “No,” I replied. “I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts.” “Can you open the icebox?” she asked. I said I could. “Then chip off a little bit of ice and hold it to your finger,” said the voice. After that, I called Information Please for everything. I asked her for help with my geography, and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math. She told me my pet chipmunk that I had caught in the park just the day before would eat fruit and nuts. Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary, died. I called Information Please, and told her the sad story. She listened and then said things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was not consoled. I asked her, “Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and then  end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?” She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, “Wayne, always remember that there are other worlds to sing in.” Somehow I felt better. Another day I was on the telephone, “Information Please.” “Information,” said in the now familiar voice. “How do I spell fix?” I asked. All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest.

    When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very much. Information Please belonged in that old wooden box back home and I somehow never thought of trying the shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall. As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me. Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy. A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle. I had about a half-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister who lived there now. Then, I dialed my hometown operator and said, “Information Please.” Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well.“Information.” I hadn’t planned this, but I heard myself saying, “Could you please tell me how to spell fix?” There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, “I guess your finger must have healed by now.” I laughed, “So it’s really you,” I said. “I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?” “I wonder,” she said, “if you know how much your calls meant to me. I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls.” I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister. “Please do,” she said. “Just ask for Sally. Three months later I was back in Seattle. A different voice answered. “Information.” I asked for Sally. “Are you a friend?” she said. “Yes, a very old friend,” I answered. “I’m sorry to have to tell you this,” she said. “Sally had been  working part-time the last few years because she was sick. She died  five weeks ago.”Before I could hang up she said, “Wait a minute. Did you say your name was Wayne?” “Yes,” I answered.“Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read it to you.”The note said, “Tell him there are other worlds to sing in. He’ll know what I mean.”

    > I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.

    "Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."    ~ Anais Nin

     

    "People love others not for who they are,
    but for how they make them feel."
      ~Irwin Federman.