Monday, August 31, 2009

What a beautiful day!

I am so excited about the beautiful weather. There is a bit of crispness in the air in the mornings and evenings now. I feels like fall is coming. I was grateful today that I was able to go to church. I know that I say that each week but...when you have had to miss it so many times like I have, you really appreciate each time you get to go.

Now I am soooooooooo tired I think I am going to finish this in the morning.

Night!

Well, so much for yesterdays entry. I sat down and started falling asleep so I just decided to do it this morning. I really enjoyed the topic yesterday at church and thought that I would share some of those points with you. It is always great things to think about. The topic was ADVERSITY and I know that I speak about this a lot... but I do think there is something that we learn more about on this topic, especially since it effects all of us.

Adversity...

A difficulty or hardship to help teach us and prepare us for the future.

Key word is POTENTIAL - Adversity has potential  Sometimes we need to remember that God gave us some of these trials and hardships to teach us, some we bring on ourselves through sin and poor choices. The point is, that it's sad to think that instead of learning and growing from these adversities in our lives, that we would merely tolerate them or just give up. Then the speaker read this quote...

"I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable." 
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

From this quote we understand that it is important to change our perspective about our trials and hardships. We need to realize the potential they have to teach us. We need to change it to see what we need to learn from them, we need to think of ADVERSITY as a TOOL! Just like any tool in your garage you need to do this with it...

1. Declare it as yours, you need to own it

2. Learn how to use it (that is really an important)

3.Learn all you can about it

4.Learn how this tool can help and benefit  your life

5. Understand how this tool can help and benefit others

"Don’t look for a life virtually free from discomfort, pain, pressure, challenge, or grief, for those are the tools a loving Father uses to stimulate our personal growth and understanding." ~ Richard G. Scott

Yes adversity can help us to become more compassionate, it allows us to look at life through a totally different perspective. It helps us to become more seasoned and mature. Yes, our problems have great potential to help us, just like the tools we own, let's remember to put them to good use.

Have a great day!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Missing my full house

I know that there have plenty of times in my life when I prayed for a little peace and quiet. When the kids were all little it seemed like I would never have a quite house, a clean house or one without some drama going on. Tonight Jeff and I sat home alone, ( I am not complaining about that, it was like having 2 date nights this week so that was a bonus) and talked about how weird it feels not having the kids around. Lee went to a church dance tonight and Lauren is on a road trip with her cousin (and I don't believe she has been homesick yet).

When I would hear older couples ( our age now ) talk about how hard it is to have your kids grow up and leave home, I thought to myself  "yeah right, that will never happen". But like most wisdom that comes from those who are older and wiser, it came true. When Amy (our oldest) left for college I actually thought my heart would break open. Life was different but we still had 3 kids at home and so we adjusted. Then Brad moved away and that was when Amy was already married, now with only 2 kids at home, we were all just walking around wondering what to do with ourselves. I felt like my heart would brake open again. I remember one Monday night, when we ask Lauren and Lee to come to Family Night, their response was "but there aren't enough of us to have Family Night". Perspective is a funny thing :).  When we just had Brad and Amy, we thought we had enough people for family activities, but after having 6 of us all together for so long, it is hard to have them leave.

Lauren leaves for college this January, you know I wonder why someone doesn't ask a mom at what age kids should go to college? I know what I would say "send them around the age of 12 to about 16 yrs old". Don't send them when they have grown up some and you guys are good friends. Oh well, it was just a suggestion. :)

So I will leave you with this funny story of a dad who probably thought this little boy of his would never grow up, much less go to bed. Good Night!

 

A FATHER SENT HIS BOY TO BED. FIVE MINUTES LATER, HE HEARD,  " D-A-A-A-D!"

"WHAT?" HE CALLED BACK.

"I'M THIRSTY. CAN YOU BRING A DRINK OF WATER?"

"NO. YOU HAD YOUR CHANCE. LIGHTS OUT."

FIVE MINUTES LATER, HE AGAIN HEARD, "D-A-A-A-D!"

"WHAT?"

"I'M THIRSTY. CAN I HAVE A DRINK OF WATER?"

"I TOLD YOU NO! IF YOU ASK AGAIN, I'LL HAVE TO SPANK YOU!"

FIVE MINUTES LATER, CAME "D-A-A-A-D!"

"WHAT?"

"WHEN YOU COME IN TO SPANK ME, CAN  YOU BRING A DRINK OF WATER?"

"When mothers talk about the depression of the empty nest, they're not mourning the passing of all those wet towels on the floor, or the music that numbs your teeth, or even the bottle of capless shampoo dribbling down the shower drain. They're upset because they've gone from supervisor of a child's life to a spectator. It's like being the vice president of the United States." ~ Erma Bombeck

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body."  ~Elizabeth Stone

Friday, August 28, 2009

Christmas is in the air, for at least a day!

Today I got to help my dear friend package up her handmade gifts that she sells at the Redmond Market. For the last few weeks we have been planning and creating new ideas for Halloween, Thanksgiving and especially Christmas. She is an unbelievable seamstress, her work is something you just don't find anywhere. She is my same friend that helps me create all my Recnac Gifts.

Now as I have mentioned before, my family doesn't really like for me to start playing or even singing Christmas songs till after Thanksgiving. For years that battle has been going on but I think I have worn them down a bit because, now they ask that I at least wait for the summer to be over. Still I struggle with that and when I am home alone the Christmas CDs go on and I am in Heaven. I know people have strong opinions about this very subject, but I have to respond with...everyone has their thing in life (that maybe bugs other people) but we all need to just accept each other no matter what. :)

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."  ~ Charles Dickens

How was that speech, do I have you convince? Oh well, I probably will continue to sing Christmas carols all year long because it makes me happy. My granddaughter knows quite a few of them and she never asks me to stop singing them, actually it is just the opposite. I love it when she says "Nana, can we sing Rudolph one more time?" Sure can! Now I am already singing them to little Jenny, one never can start too soon. I even want Christmas songs to be played at my funeral. Yes, Christmas...it's the most wonderful time of the year! I feel a song coming on right now.

Anyway it was a nice day packaging all those gifts for Christmas. Later today I went back to Physical Therapy for my lymphodemia. We had to measure my arm again, to see if the lymphodemia is starting to go down my arm, oh I pray it doesn't. We still aren't making much progress on the lymphodemia suit that we have been trying to get. Our request for it was denied but the company said that happens a lot, now we just need to appeal. What a lot of work and frustration. Like I have said many times, one cannot afford to have cancer, it takes a lot of money, energy and time!

Well I need to head to bed, thank you for being my friends.

"What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace."  ~ Agnes M. Pharo

 

"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas."  ~ Calvin Coolidge

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mirror, Mirror on the wall...

I was speaking to a dear friend on the phone the other day about life, motherhood and everything else you could think of. It was amazing (although we had lost touch with each other for 15 or more years) that we both had experienced many of the same trials in life, especially as moms. I know this isn't possible...but I wish when we are going through really tough times in our lives with ourselves or our kids, that we could share it with each other. That way... maybe we could share ideas on how to survive or better yet, help solve the problem. We don't do that however to very many people though, for fear that they will judge us or our children. But I have to admit there have been so many times when I thought I had to be the only person that has ever struggled in this area or the only mom that ever had this struggle with a child. Only to find out years later that you weren't the only one and actually more often than not, there are a lot of people out there who are struggling in the same areas or with the same problems. That feeling of being alone is quiet devastating and I believe potentially very dangerous.

I guess this is why I started this blog. When I have done my motivational speaking in the past, I realize that one of the reasons that my audience likes me (at least that is what they tell me) is because I talk about real life struggles and trials. I am very honest about what has happened to me and what steps I have had to go through, to not only survive it but learn and grow and be able to eventually thrive each day. I am more than honest about my weakness and insecurities.

I have conquered many things in my life but still struggle in some areas, so daily I have to remind myself of this truth. I have it typed out and put on my mirror.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 

I actually have memorized it but still I look at it each day, say it out loud and realize that I do so much better on the days that I remember this truth in my mind and heart. It was originally by Marianne Williamson but I think there has been a few different versions out there.

Life is hard and I think ( I KNOW ) it is actually suppose to be at times, because that is when the greatest lessons take place.( if we learn them! )

"The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear."  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

A CHALLENGE...

I think every night before we go to bed, we should look at ourselves in the mirror and ask these questions?

"Did I make today better than yesterday?"  "Do I truly understand who I am and my value?" And " Am I happy, truly happy? " ( if not, why?)

Yes, self evaluation is important, otherwise we just get caught up in the BUSY things of our days and maybe forget these important principles. So read this poem again, remember who you are and get out there and make tomorrow a better day than today!  

P.S. Moms, we need to remember everyday ( I am still working on this one ) that if we like who we are and what we see in the mirror, that our children are more likely to do the same. Example is the best teacher!

"Work and live to serve others, to leave the world a little better than you found it and garner for yourself as much peace of mind as you can. This is happiness."   ~ David Sarnoff

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pennies...a simple reminder!

You always hear the usual stories of pennies on the sidewalk being good luck, gifts from angels, etc. This is the first time I've ever heard this twist on the story. Gives you something to think about.

Several years ago, a friend of mine and her husband were invited to spend the weekend at the husband's employer's home. My friend, Arlene, was nervous about the weekend.. The boss was very wealthy, with a fine home on the waterway, and cars costing more than her house.
The first day and evening went well, and Arlene was delighted to have this rare glimpse into how the very wealthy live... The husband's employer was quite generous as a host, and took them to the finest restaurants. Arlene knew she would never have the opportunity to indulge in this kind of extravagance again, so was enjoying herself immensely..

As the three of them were about to enter an exclusive restaurant that evening, the boss was walking slightly ahead of Arlene and her husband.. He stopped suddenly, looking down on the pavement for a long, silent moment..

Arlene wondered if she was supposed to pass him. There was nothing on the ground except a single darkened penny that someone had dropped, and a few cigarette butts Still silent, the man reached down and picked
up the penny.

He held it up and smiled, then put it in his pocket as if he had found a great treasure. How absurd! What need did this man have for a single penny? Why would he even take the time to stop and pick it up?

Throughout dinner, the entire scene nagged at her. Finally, she could stand it no longer. She casually mentioned that her daughter once had a coin collection, and asked if the penny he had found had been of some value..

A smile crept across the man's face as he reached into his pocket for the penny and held it out for her to see. She had seen many pennies before! What was the point of this?
"Look at it." He said. "Read what it says." She read the words " United States of America "
"No, not that; read further "One cent?" "No, keep reading."
"In God we Trust?" "Yes!" "And?"
"And if I trust in God, the name of God is holy, even on a coin. Whenever I find a coin I see that inscription. It is
written on every single United States coin, but we never seem to notice it! God drops a message right in front of me telling me to trust Him? Who am I to pass it by? When I see a coin, I pray, I stop to see if my trust IS in God at that moment.. I pick the coin up as a response to God; that I do trust in Him. For a short time, at least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I think it is God's way of starting a conversation with me. Lucky for me, God is patient and pennies are plentiful!

When I was out shopping today, I found a penny on the sidewalk. I stopped and picked it up, and realized that I had been worrying and fretting in my mind about things I cannot change. I read the words, "In God We Trust," and had to laugh. Yes, God, I get the message.

It seems that I have been finding an inordinate number of pennies in the last few months, but then, pennies are plentiful! And, God is patient..

"God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow,sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way."

Some Sister Time

I have 4 brothers and all my life I have wondered what it would be like to have a sister? I see other sisters share things that you don't quite share with a brother. I feel like in some ways since I have married and had girls of my own, that I sorta got part of that experience. My girls as well as my boys feel like my friends, but sometimes the things that just we girls share, has been neat. I know if you were to ask Jeff or my boys to participate in some of our conversations or activities...they would quickly so NO!

I also have had that type of feeling with so many of my dear friends, I have a lot of BEST FRIENDS! They truly are my best friend too! As far as I know, there isn't a limit to how many you can have. Also my sister-in-law and now my daughter-in-law, seem more like sisters at certain times in my life and for that I am grateful too.

Today Lee and I spent more time with these two sisters, my granddaughters. Angie is only 3 and we weren't sure how she would adjust to someone sharing her lime light, but so far she has done well. She may have a few struggles because of Jenny, but she doesn't show them too Jenny and for that we are grateful.

I loved seeing my kids interact with each other when they were all home together a few weeks ago. I love the way Amy and Lauren (though very different from each other) always seem to be there for each other. The same was with the boys. Yes, my family is my greatest treasure. Now that our family is growing I feel like the blessings are just multiplying and I feel content and truly rich!

Thanks so much to all of you out there that have been like family to me. Thanks for filling that sister void in me!

I hope each of you that has a sisters, daughter or friends... will tell them how much you appreciate the neat bond that you have between you. It is truly magical!

 

"In thee my soul shall own combined the sister and the friend."  ~Catherine Killigrew

 "While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about." -Angela Schwindt

"When sisters stand shoulder to shoulder, who stands a chance against us?"  ~Pam Brown

Monday, August 24, 2009

Determination = The Brooklyn Bridge

This is story is a bit long but well worth it. It is a great reminder for all of us (especially me) to never give  up!

Good night dear friends!

DETERMINATON

In 1883, a creative engineer named John Roebling was inspired by an idea to build a spectacular bridge connecting New York with the Long Island. However bridge building experts throughout the world thought that this was an impossible feat and told Roebling to forget the idea. It just could not be done. It was not practical. It had never been done before.

Roebling could not ignore the vision he had in his mind of this bridge. He thought about it all the time and he knew deep in his heart that it could be done. He just had to share the dream with someone else. After much discussion and persuasion he managed to convince his son Washington, an up and coming engineer, that the bridge in fact could be built.

Working together for the first time, the father and son developed concepts of how it could be accomplished and how the obstacles could be overcome. With great excitement and inspiration, and the headiness of a wild challenge before them, they hired their crew and began to build their dream bridge.

The project started well, but when it was only a few months underway a tragic accident on the site took the life of John Roebling. Washington was injured and left with a certain amount of brain damage, which resulted in him not being able to walk or talk or even move.

"We told them so."
"Crazy men and their crazy dreams."
"It`s foolish to chase wild visions."

Everyone had a negative comment to make and felt that the project should be scrapped since the Roeblings were the only ones who knew how the bridge could be built. In spite of his handicap Washington was never discouraged and still had a burning desire to complete the bridge and his mind was still as sharp as ever.

He tried to inspire and pass on his enthusiasm to some of his friends, but they were too daunted by the task. As he lay on his bed in his hospital room, with the sunlight streaming through the windows, a gentle breeze blew the flimsy white curtains apart and he was able to see the sky and the tops of the trees outside for just a moment.

It seemed that there was a message for him not to give up. Suddenly an idea hit him. All he could do was move one finger and he decided to make the best use of it. By moving this, he slowly developed a code of communication with his wife.

He touched his wife's arm with that finger, indicating to her that he wanted her to call the engineers again. Then he used the same method of tapping her arm to tell the engineers what to do. It seemed foolish but the project was under way again.

For 13 years Washington tapped out his instructions with his finger on his wife's arm, until the bridge was finally completed. Today the spectacular Brooklyn Bridge stands in all its glory as a tribute to the triumph of one man's indomitable spirit and his determination not to be defeated by circumstances. It is also a tribute to the engineers and their team work, and to their faith in a man who was considered mad by half the world. It stands too as a tangible monument to the love and devotion of his wife who for 13 long years patiently decoded the messages of her husband and told the engineers what to do.

Perhaps this is one of the best examples of a never-say-die attitude that overcomes a terrible physical handicap and achieves an impossible goal.

Often when we face obstacles in our day-to-day life, our hurdles seem very small in comparison to what many others have to face. The Brooklyn Bridge shows us that  that seem impossible can be realized with determination and persistence, no matter what the odds are.

"Even the most distant dream can be realized with determination and persistence."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Being ready and prepared

Today in church I learned a great lesson about being ready and being prepared to do what the God needs you to do. In the book of Job we read in the 32nd chapter that "there is a spirit in man; and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding".  In the book of 1 Kings chapter 19 we read where the Lord speaks to Elijah, not in the wind, nor the earthquakes, nor the fire, but in a still small voice.

The speaker today started by asking the audience to close their eyes, then be very quiet and listen very carefully to 4 different sounds. She challenged us to identify them in our minds if we knew what they were. It was a simple demonstration, but a very valuable object lesson.  After she let us hear all the sounds then she asked us to open our eyes and she then showed us what all the objects were. Then she asked us..."why do you think it was so easy to hear what each thing was?"  Her point was, it was easy because the room was quiet and the sounds were magnified. Then she talked about the scripture with Elijah and how he learned first hand that the Lord does not speak with a loud voice but a very still small voice.

The point also was.... that we listen best when we are ready and prepared to hear what is being told to us. We need to remember to find time to be quiet  and truly listen to what God wants to tell us. Many times we are so busy and there are so many things around us to drowned out that still small voice. Like the phone, TVs, computer, music and on and on. Remember the Lord whispers not shouts! So reverence invites revelation!

I have said before that I think one of the most important things you can figure out in our lives, is to know what the Lord wants us to do each day! Truly understand what our individual mission is here on earth. Knowing that, can make all the difference in the quality of our lives. Are we just wandering around, killing time or do we have a real purpose and mission?

It was a great lesson for me to remember to stop and take time each day to be quiet, pray, study, meditate and listen to that still small voice of inspiration and understanding. I have heard it many times in my life and each time I have been blessed, if I follow it. But there have also been many times in my life that I have been too busy, too many things have been going on that I didn't take the time to be quite and listen and there is a definite difference on those days. Learning how to eliminate some of those distractions (even for a little while) gives me the opportunity to know for a fact what I should be doing. Knowing what your mission is and doing it is....a great feeling!

I hope this is as good of a reminder to you, as it was for me today!  Sundays...I love them!

 

"People only see what they are prepared to see."  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"If you are prepared, you will be confident, and will do the job"  ~ Tom Landry

“I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns."   ~Spencer W. Kimball

Saturday, August 22, 2009

HOW TO BOUNCE BACK!

I was talking to a friend the other day and they were telling me how stressed out they were, about a few different things that was going on in their life. I have to admit, lowing the stress level isn't easy to do but sooooo necessary. We receive a mailer from Boeing and many times it is about health issues, this one was particularly good and so I thought I would share it with you!

Stress is a natural part of life. Whether it's a loss of a job or an argument with a spouse, everyone faces challenges. And while you can't predict the future, you can still prepare for the adversity it may bring.

The ability to cope with stress and bounce back from problems in positive ways is called resilience! Here's how to build your resiliency reserve.

  • PAY ATTENTION TO DETAIL...  "Most happy people pay greater attention to happy experiences." Practice bringing purposeful, nonjudgmental attention every experience of your life, no matter how big or small.
  • FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL...Accept that you can't change the past and often can't change other people. Instead, take an objective look at your experiences and interactions and learn from them. Use these lessons to control how you respond to challenges.
  • PRACTICE OPTIMISM... Research shows that being positive can help you bounce back from difficult situations.
  • FORGIVE... When you offer forgiveness, you release stress
  • GAIN PERSPECTIVE...Decide what's most important in your life-such as relationships and spirituality- and emphasize those areas of your life.
  • RELAX...Practice relaxation skills, such as deep breathing and meditation, to help you cope.
  • LAUGH...A sense of humor is key to dealing with life's ups and downs. "Do not postpone joy. Despite the stress in our lives, we must preserve our sense of humor and continue to engage with life" says Dr. Sood.
  • MAKE CONNECTIONS...Create a support network of friends and family. Grow your network by joining clubs, civic organizations or faith-based groups.
  • VISUALIZE RESILIENCE... Imagine yourself as someone who bounces back from adversity!

"In order to succeed, people need a sense of self-efficacy, struggle together with resilience to meet the inevitable obstacles and inequities of life."   ~ Albert Bandura

"Who has not first tried to get out of a tough situation before truly dealing with it?"  ~ Mary O'Neill

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
Confucius

I do believe that all these things really work and I also realize just when you think that you have figure them out then life will send something new and maybe even harder at you . So we need to keep these points somewhere we can look at them often.

Good night dear friends!

 

 

Friday, August 21, 2009

Faith or Fear?

I have learned that some times the line between where fear ends and faith begins is a very fine one. Sometimes it may be the other way around too, where faith ends and fear begins. Nevertheless, I believe it is only human to have fear and worry to some degree.

Today was my appointment for my MRI on my chest wall and my left arm pit. As I said before, my Physical Therapist and Primary care Dr weren't sure what the swollen areas were. One of which just came up in the last few weeks, the other has been there since surgery, but seems to be getting more sore. I wasn't going to have it checked out but knew in my heart that after having cancer twice that I should go and find out something. I can't tell you how hard that is to do. The fear that it might be cancer or something related, is huge and so I can see why women struggle soooooo hard to make and keep their regular check up appointments. As for me, it wasn't even time for my regular appointment. One of the things they tell you when you leave your last treatment appointments is ..."make sure if you notice anything unusual or something that doesn't feel right, to get right back in here". Well, I am not trying to be negative but to be honest...Nothing Feels Right, what is right? What is normal? I have never felt my chest wall before, there has always been a breast on top of it before now. So I am really not sure what I am suppose to be feeling?

So after 2 1/2 of testing, the results were...EVERYTHING LOOKS FINE, they actually haven't seen anyone else that has this, but all the tissue looks fine. I guess I was relieved and yet think that it would have been more comforting to have heard ... this is normal and we see it all the time after a mastectomy. My body has always been known for doing something different than anyone else's body, so I shouldn't have been surprised. I am suppose to go back in a couple of months to do a mammogram the other breast and probably do an MRI too so we will just have to keep an eye on it. Maybe it is normal, my normal!  :)

You know I am not closterfobic but, after having to lay on my stomach and with one arm under my head and the other above my head for that long....was a killer on my back and neck. I have to keep playing mind games to tell myself to relax and don't move or they will have to do it all over again. That was a very long time, I think I went into the tunnel like MRI machine 3 different times. My back and neck are paying for it now. But it is over and I am grateful that everything looks ok.

Thanks for all your love and prayers in my behalf, I know personally that they make a huge difference. Thanks for always being there and please try to remember that when someone you know and love is going to get ready to go in for a scary test, not to minimize their fears or concerns. Just be there for them. Let them know that you are concerned and sending positive thoughts and prayers their way, is probably the greatest thing you can do. Because, it is nerve wrecking and pretty normal to have those hesitations and concerns going in to something like this. But in the end, it is vital to remember...everything truly is in God's hands and trust that He knows what you can handle and what you can't! Thanks for always helping me to remember this. Good night dear friends!

"Fear imprisons, faith liberates; fear paralyzes, faith empowers; fear disheartens, faith encourages; fear sickens, faith heals; fear makes useless, faith makes serviceable."  ~ Harry Emerson Fosdick

"Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. And lo, no one was there."   ~ Anonymous

 

"Never fear shadows, they simply mean there is a light shining somewhere nearby."  ~ Ruth Renkel

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

our value

In February I was asked to give a motivational speech to a women's group. I was excited to have the opportunity once again to speak and yet when asked, I was just weeks away from starting radiation and I had no idea what I would be feeling like. Since speaking is one of my FAVORITE things to do, I said yes and prayed daily that I would have the strength to do it and for guidance on what to talk about. I was able to speak that night and I felt like it was a true blessing because just a week or so later my health declined and I don't think I would have been able to do it. I believe that I mentioned speaking back then in my blog, and many of you asked me to tell you what I spoke about. I kept saying that I would... but as the radiation progressed, I got weaker and in more pain and it never happened.

Now when I speak, it is usually for an hour and the whole speech would be too long to write in a blog any way. But I felt tonight impressed to tell you the basis of what my talk was on. It was on understanding our value, our true worth. Online I read a story of a motivational speaker and it goes on to tell how he began his speech. I (as a compliment to him or her?) did the same thing and that is how my speech began. Here is the story...

Value

Source Unknown

A well known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, "Who would like this $20 bill?"

Hands started going up.

He said, "I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this." He proceeded to crumple the dollar bill up.

He then asked, "Who still wants it?"

Still the hands were up in the air.

"Well," he replied, "What if I do this?" And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe.

He picked it up, now all crumpled and dirty. "Now who still wants it?" Still the hands went into the air.

"My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.  

Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way.

We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value.

“The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but by WHO WE ARE and WHOSE WE ARE. You are special - Don’t EVER forget it.”

I won't be able to tell much more of my speech, maybe some day I will be able to speak where you can hear me? I can tell you  however, unlike the story, I just showed the $20.00 bill and talked about it but...did not give it away! That is the difference between a speaker who speaks for money and one who doesn't ! :)

I do love this subject and it is one that is very close to my heart and although this sounds contrary to what I am saying, it is the very subject that I still have the most struggles with in my life. How can that be? Well, I was a child of incest and self worth is a very hard concept for survivors. It is hard to believe that you could possibly have much value if someone would do something like that to you. 

Maybe the reason I like to talk about it so much, is because it constantly reminds me of what I need to remember and work on. I was reading an article today on a teenager who since the age of one was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. The article talks about how her kindness and determination has changed her life and the lives of those around her.

Two things in the article stood out to me the most, one is the sign that she has over her bed which reads, "SEE YOURSELF AS GOD SEES YOU". Wouldn't we all feel better about ourselves if we remembered that daily?  The second thing was how positive she remains even though this terrible disease has taken away so many things in her life. She just continues to look for the ways that she can make a difference and then she does them.

Great wisdom for all of  us. To remember our value, our great worth! I daily am trying to remember that and when I do...LIFE IS BETTER! I AM HAPPIER and MUCH MORE WILLING TO ENJOY EACH MOMENT AND LOVE AND SERVE THOSE AROUND ME. It doesn't take long to see so many good people in the world, making a difference.

I hope this article will inspire you to feel and do the same!

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."  ~Anne Frank


"Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does."
  ~William James

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dreams

I well remember coming home after my mastectomy 9 months ago and wondering if I would ever dream of things again. Dreaming would involve the future, and that was so unsure for me at that time and for many of the following months. Then my scar healed and hope came back but not for long, because the radiation brought it's own brutal realities and once again I found myself not looking too far into the future.  Then after most of the side effects from that settled down, I got my new prosthetic and I was able to receive some  physical therapy and once again I started looking forward to things like...my niece's wedding, Lauren's graduation, my 50th birthday, camping trips, visits from family and friends and even the arrival of our second granddaughter! Yes, there were so many things to look forward to and what an amazing difference it makes in my day, to dream and look forward to things!

It was a wonderful summer so far and I really enjoyed each one of those events. The icing on the cake of course was when Jenny Paige ( my granddaughter ) was born. Just to be able to hold her in my arms has been something to look forward to each day. I know I have said it before but grand kids are the best!

 

Yesterday I felt like I needed to get back into Physical Therapy, I am still having pain and swelling in my chest wall and arm pit area and now my left arm is starting to have a dull ache in it when I do much of anything. I had been waiting to see if I was going to be able to get that suit that does the lymph draining for you, but I was notified yesterday that my claim was rejected. From the lady that I spoke to at Flexitouch, she said that is normal and now we should try and do an appeal. She also told me that it would probably take 6 months before anything would happen. That is a long time so I called and set up an appointment with my primary care doctor to get a referral to get more Physical Therapy.

Today I went to that appointment and he too was concerned about the lump underneath my armpit that is from lymphodemia. His concern is that it is warm which would mean there is still swelling or maybe an infection in there and that it is still painful. His other concern was for the lump or I would rather call it a bump, that has come up on my sternum area. He was puzzled by what it could be, it came up all of a sudden, it is hard... not fluid filled but it doesn't hurt. He asked me to set up an appointment for a MRI of my chest wall and then a mammogram for my right breast (same suggestion as my PT). When I made that call and started talking to the secretary for a date and time, I began to cry. It is scary to just think about going back into that arena again and looking for something that is a concern. So I went to bed last night, not dreaming very well again. I pray that it is nothing but just some changes that maybe your body makes after a major surgery?

After my appointment I came home and spent the rest of the day with Amy and Jenny. I realized then that some how I need to keep dreaming, keep looking to the future? I need to get back my confidence and trust that seemed to slip away so quickly. My appointment is not until Friday, I will pray until then that every- thing will be alright and ask for more hope. I know things happen for a reason but... some days keeping that faith and  positive attitude is hard to do.

Thank you for all of your hope and prayers, it is a great strength to me. So I will go to bed, count my blessings and remember to keep dreaming, keep believing and keep hoping! Good night dear friends!

"In dreams, we enter a world that's entirely our own."  ~Steven Kloves

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dream."
~Eleanor Roosevelt

"The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die." ~ Edward Kennedy

Monday, August 17, 2009

Paid in full

Well, this story was too good to not pass it on. I think we often miss so many little gifts in life because we didn't recognize them. Yes, a lot like those miracles that I wrote about the other day. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this story as much as I did. Hopefully it will be a great reminder for each of us to be more thankful for the little things as well as the big things in our lives. Thanks for all your love and support... that is indeed a BIG thing in my life!

Touching life story.....
A young man was getting ready to graduate college. For
     many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer's
     showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told
him that was all he wanted.
     As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited for
     signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the
morning  of his graduation his father called him into his private 
study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine
son, and  told him how much he loved him. He handed his son
a beautiful   wrapped gift box.


     Curious, but somewhat disappointed the young man
     opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible. Angrily,
he raised his voice at his father and said, "With all your money you
give  me  a Bible?" and stormed out of the house, leaving the holy
book.
     Many years passed and the young man was very successful in
business.
     He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his
     father was very old, and thought perhaps he should go to him. He
had not seen him since that graduation day. Before he could make
     arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had
     passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He
needed   to come home immediately and take care things.
When he arrived at  his father's house, sudden sadness and
regret filled his heart.
     He began to search his father's important papers and
     saw the still new Bible, just as he had left it years ago. With
tears,  he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. As he
read those   words, a car key dropped from an envelope
taped behind the Bible.
It  had a tag with the dealer's name, the same dealer who had the
sports  car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation,
     and the words...PAID IN FULL.
     How many times do we miss God's blessings because they are not
     packaged as we expected?


 

"There's no disaster that can't become a blessing, and no blessing that can't become a disaster."  ~ Richard Bach

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.
Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."
                                                                                         ~Albert Schweitzer

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A love like that!

I was talking to a friend the other day about how hard it is to put your husband first, when the kids seem to have so many needs. I was trying to encourage her that even though it is hard, it is and will be the best thing that you can ever do for your marriage and your kids. Keeping the love alive in a marriage (throughout the years) is no small task. It takes soooo much work.  I should know... because Jeff and I have been married for 27 years and yes, it has been hard work. Some of the lessons were hard learned but well worth it.

"It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Jeff is my best friend, don't get me wrong...my kids are my pride and joy but we learned early in our marriage that it was vital that we put each other first and then everything else seemed to fall in place. When we don't do that, there was hurt feelings and contention in our home. The kids even got to the point that they would tell us to go on our date night (if we had missed it a week or so) because they wanted us to be happy again. Yes, kids know and love that their mom and dad are connected. That gives them a basis a, firm foundation to feel happy and safe. It is vital to remember that and when I read this sweet story out of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book, it reminded me of this very subject.

"Nothing can bring a real sense of security into the home except true love." ~ Billy Graham

So please stop, take time out and connect with your husband or wife. Try to remember all the reasons that you fell in love the first time. Marriage is the foundation for your happy home. I am grateful to say that when I was in the hospital, heading in for my mastectomy, that Jeff and I were speaking the very same language that this lady was mentioning in her story. We don't speak it every day, but we should and yes....even after 27 years, we are still working on it.

mom_and_dad_2[1]

A LOVE LIKE THAT

I was 23, and all the way to the hospital I'd been composing what I would say to Mama before they took her to cut into her heart, whose center I supposed myself to be; hadn't she told me all my life I was the most important thing in the world to her?

Threading my way through the hospital corridors, I practiced my opening line, which  had to strike just the right note. Who but I could give her strength and confidence she would need? Whose face but mine would she want to be the last one she saw before they cut her open and died probably? Whose kiss but mine...?

I turned a corner and there was my mother lying on a stretcher in the hall, waiting for them to come for her. My father was standing over her. Something about the two of them made me stop and then, as I watched, made me keep my distance, as if there were a wall between us, and around them.

It was clear to me at that moment that for them, nothing existed outside them, nothing; there was only the man, the woman. She didn't see me, nor from the looks of it care much whether she did. They weren't talking. He was holding her hand. She was smiling into his eyes; and they were, I swear, speaking a language that at 23 I hadn't begun to understand, much less speak myself. But I could see them do it, literally see them, and I moved closer to see more, stunned, fascinated, very jealous that I had fallen in love with someone, married him, divorced him and never once come close to what I was looking at in that hall.

Next time, I said, I will know better. I will love like that.   ~ Linda Ellerbee

 

"The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother."

"The most important thing a mother can do for her children is to love their father."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Counting fingers and toes!

Well, I was hoping to write in my blog last night but we were busy keeping our granddaughter busy, while mom and dad were at the hospital. What a long night. Our second granddaughter was born at 4:00 this morning weighing in at 9 lbs even and with a head full of red auburn hair! We all have only had a few hours of sleep last night and today so I will make this short.

I have to admit that last night as I held Angie, I wondered how in the world I was going to be able to love another grandchild. How would I have enough room in my heart? She seems to have taken it all! Then I remembered those exact feelings the night before Brad was born. I wondered how I could ever love another child as much as I did Amy ( our first ) and amazingly enough, I did! The moment they put him in my arms...it was love at first site. And that happen with all four of our kids.

Then this morning at 8:00am I went to the hospital and they laid Jenny Paige in my arms and boom...it happened again, I was in love. I have said many times, that being a grandmother ( well I am actually called Nana ) is the most unbelievable feeling. I loved being a new mom but you are so tired and exhausted, being a Nana is a lot less work and much more fun.

I am so grateful that I have been given this time to be here to experience all these moments with our family. Ten months ago, when my cancer was diagnosed, I wondered if I would have the chance to live and beat cancer once more?  How grateful I am that I did and many times a week I am asked by someone if my cancer is all gone, or cured? My response is " yes, it is and I am just thankful for each day and trying not to miss a moment of life". Time is precious, as I look at this picture of Angie counting her little sister's toes, I realize before we know it, those little toes will be up and running everywhere.

Yes, I am a survivor, a wife, mother, Nana, sister and a Friend....and I am RICH!

"A baby is God's opinion that life should go on"  ~ Carl Sandburg

 

"There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart...pursue those."  ~Michael Nolan quotes

 

"Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold"   ~ Zelda Fitzgerald

 

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pain vs Service

I have heard my whole life that if you are hurting, frustrated or depressed...the best thing you can do is serve someone else. In doing so we forget (for maybe only a minute or so) our problems, pains and frustrations. It gives us a clearer view on life and it's true meaning.

I have always loved the Bible, I love reading and learning more about Christ and the type of life that He lived. I never have to wonder really what to do or say, because He simply has already shown us the way! One of my favorite scriptures is in the book of St. John 13:4-9, 15-17. It is where Christ washes the feet of his disciples. The disciples of course feel that they are not worthy for Him to do that. Knowing who He was, they felt like they should be the one giving the service to Him. His response in these verses is what I love the most. He told them that He was doing it as an example for them. He reminded them that the servant is not great then his Lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. He also reminded them that it was important to know these things but more important... to do them!

"Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile."  ~Albert Einstein

Last night Lauren and I went over and gave Amy a foot massage and a pedicure (since she can't reach her feet). I know that she felt a bit uncomfortable with us serving her like that. I probably would have felt the same. She kept mentioning how bad her feet looked and how embarrassed she was at how swollen they were. She obviously was struggling with our gift to her. That is what was running through her head but I have to admit, my thoughts were much different.

I have been in a lot of pain the past few weeks with my back ( for some reason, worse than normal ) I am also having some pain and worrying about my swelling in my surgery site ( lymphodemia ) but I was so excited and forgot all about that, when I realized that we could do this gift of service for Amy last night. Yes, my back and chest still hurt, but what I was thinking sitting down there on the floor last night, was how proud I was of my daughter. How much I loved her and if I could in any way help her to relax, feel better and more loved... then I was determined to do it. I rubbed her swollen feet and I remembered ( years ago ) rubbing lotion on her little dry feet in the hospital, just after she was born. How proud I was of her last night for being brave and strong, pregnancy and especially the last few weeks....are not easy thing! I was glad to be her mom, I truly love her and would do that and anything else to serve her. And I was happy doing it! ( Sore, and still hurting, but happy!) I was grateful for an hour or so, to be able to think of something and someone else.

 

I hope we will all think of more ways that we can serve, I promise you it will ALWAYS make you feel better inside! Thank  you to each of  you that have served me and my family throughout the years

 

"Things don’t have to be good for you to be great."  ~ unknown

"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little."  ~ Edmund Burke

"I expect to pass through life but once. If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now and not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again"~ William Penn

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Growing up!

Perspective is a wonderful thing. I watch my granddaughter tell us the other day that she needed her diaper changed. When I asked her why she didn't want to wear the new Big Girl panties that her mommy bought, her reply was..."No Nana, I don't want to wear those because they just drip".  I know that Amy feels like Angie will never be potty trained. Now that I am a Nana, I realize that just don't worry too much about things like that. I am sure it is because I have a different perspective, I know it will happen when she is truly ready. I remember well the days that my kids were little and I truly never thought that I would ever get them potty trained, eating on their own, sleeping through the night and on and one. Now when I hear my daughter as a mom worry about those things, I just want to say...."don't worry about it too much, it will happen and before you know it they will be all grown up."

Our daughter Lauren just graduated from High School in June (this is her and her brother Lee), I thought my heart would break...how could she already be that old? It seemed like yesterday that she was at the store with me and arguing with me about which diapers she wanted me to buy. (I thought if she was old enough to talk about that, then she was old enough to be potty trained) And now I look at her graduated, having a photography business of her own, creating and designing her own cards, writing and heading off to college in January... and I wonder again, where did the time go?

I know I should be used to it, she is my third child to grow up and leave. But it doesn't make any difference each one that leaves, is a definite void in our home and in our hearts. So to all your young moms out there, please take the time to try and enjoy every moment of your sweet kids. The time goes by so fast, before you know it your heart will ache with the thought of them growing up and moving on. This motherhood thing is much harder than it looks but like I have said before, it is the BEST JOB IN THE WORLD!

"Wisdom is your perspective on life, your sense of balance, your understanding of how the various parts and principles apply and relate to each other. It embraces judgment, discernment, comprehension. It is the gestalt or oneness, and integrated wholeness."  ~ Stephen R. Covey

I will end with this cute story that shows that perspective can even be found in our little ones!

A four year old was at the pediatrician for a check up. As the doctor looked down her ears with an otoscope, he asked, "Do you think I'll find Big Bird in here?" The little girl stayed silent. Next, the doctor took a tongue depressor and looked down her throat. He asked, "Do you think I'll find the Cookie Monster down there?" Again, the little girl was silent. Then the doctor put a stethoscope to her chest. As he listened to her heart beat, he asked, "Do you think I'll hear Barney in there?" "Oh, no!" the little girl replied. "Jesus is in my heart. Barney's on my underpants."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Miracles

There are many times in my life when I have seen one miracle after another. I personally believe if you don't see them, it's probably because we are just too busy to notice them. Miracles happen every day and are all around us. I read this sweet story and thought that it would be the perfect post to leave with you tonight. Enjoy!

 

The Miracle of a Brother's Song

Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling. They found out that the new baby was going to be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sang to his sister in Mommy's tummy. He was building a bond of love with his little sister before he even met her.

The pregnancy progressed normally for Karen, an active member of the Panther Creek United Methodist Church in Morristown, Tennessee. In time, the labor pains came. Soon it was every five minutes, every three minutes...every minute. But serious complications arose during delivery and Karen found herself in hours of labor. Would a C-section be required? Finally, after a long struggle, Michael's little sister was born. But she was in very serious condition. With a siren howling in the night, the ambulance rushed the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary's Hospital, Knoxville, Tennessee. The days inched by. The little girl got worse. The pediatrician had to tell the parents, "There is very little hope. Be prepared for the worst."

Karen and her husband contacted a local cemetery about a burial plot. They had fixed up a special room in their house for their new baby but now they found themselves having to plan for a funeral. Michael, however, kept begging his parents to let him see his sister. "I want to sing to her," he kept saying. Week two in intensive care looked as if a funeral would come before the week was over. Michael kept nagging about singing to his sister, but kids are never allowed in Intensive Care. Karen made up her mind, though. She would take Michael whether they liked it or not! If he didn't see his sister right then, he may never see her alive.

She dressed him in an oversized scrub suit and marched him into ICU. He looked like a walking laundry basket. But the head nurse recognized him as a child and bellowed, "Get that kid out of here now! No children are allowed." The mother rose up strong in Karen, and the usually mild-mannered lady glared steel-eyed right into the head nurse's face, her lips a firm line. "He is not leaving until he sings to his sister!" Karen towed Michael to his sister's bedside. He gazed at the tiny infant losing the battle to live. After a moment, he began to sing. In the pure-hearted voice of a 3-year-old, Michael sang: "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray. " Instantly the baby girl seemed to respond.

The pulse rate began to calm down and become steady. "Keep on singing, Michael," encouraged Karen with tears in her eyes. "You never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away." As Michael sang to his sister, the baby's ragged, strained breathing became as smooth as a kitten's purr. "Keep on singing, sweetheart!!" The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping I dreamed I held you in my arms..." Michael's little sister began to relax as rest, healing rest, seemed to sweep over her. "Keep on singing, Michael." Tears had now conquered the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glowed. "You are my sunshine, my only Sunshine. Please don't, take my sunshine away..."

The next, day...the very next day...the little girl was well enough to go home! Woman's Day Magazine called it "The Miracle of a Brother's Song." The medical staff just called it a miracle. Karen called it a miracle of God's love!

NEVER GIVE UP ON THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE. LOVE IS SO INCREDIBLY POWERFUL.

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."     ~ Richard Crashaw

"Don't believe in miracles -- depend on them."   ~ Laurence J. Peter

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mental fences

I received an email from simpletruths.com and they told me of a book that they were selling called Living a Five Star Life, by Betty Mahalik. I like the simple things that she challenges the readers to do. Here is a small part of what was in the email. It did make me stop and think.

Betty challenges all of us "to live a great life by discovering the life we have right now, instead of trying to invent a whole new life."

Today, I'd like to share her chapter titled: Fences in your Mind. Enjoy!

"I've watched the movie Chicken Run at least a half-dozen times. Just beneath the surface of its simplistic look and story line lie a number of wonderful messages told through the eyes of a bunch of Claymation chickens trying to break out of their chicken-wire world to escape their fate at the chopping block. Their freedom leader, a feisty little hen named Ginger, comments profoundly in one scene: "the fences are all in your mind." She reminds her fellow chickens (and us), that a bigger obstacle than the physical fences they're surrounded by are the mental fences that hold them captive.

It's been a good reminder for me on those occasions when I've been dealing my own mental fences...those created by self-doubt, uncertainty, fear. Can you relate? Where have you fenced yourself in mentally in recent days or weeks? Perhaps your mental fence is procrastination, a deadening habit that keeps you stuck. Maybe yours, like mine, is related to self-doubt, and the on-going internal noise it produces that keeps you immobilized. Perhaps yours is the belief that you don't deserve success, so you sabotage yourself to avoid having to find out how successful you could be. There are a million variations of the theme, but the result is still the same: we stay stuck like the chickens in the movie.
One of the key questions in the Best Year Yet® program is: "How do I limit myself and how can I stop?" Those limitations are never external. They always live inside us. The antidote to being trapped by our mental fences is to create a compelling enough vision that, like Ginger and her flock of chicken friends, we're willing to resort to amazing measures to break out. The formula:
VISION + CONSISTENT ACTION = FREEDOM!


.
FREEDOM IS JUST THE OTHER SIDE OF ACTION.
Recognize that your mental fences can only keep you stuck as long as you're looking at them. They can only contain you as long as you're not taking actions consistent with your vision. Go ahead, take the action you've avoided and leap into a future filled with possibilities. And remember, the fences are all in your mind!"

Like I said, I haven't read the book, but I certainly enjoyed the part of it they sent me. I am always looking for ways to conquer my fears and limitations. I do believe that most of our fences that keep us trapped or held back, are truly in our mind. So like she said, we need to go ahead and take action  and leap into the future. Good night dear friends!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Still waiting!

Today is Sunday and I was grateful that I felt good enough to go to church. Amy however didn't feel too good and so she stayed home and rested. My grandmother used to always say " A WATCHED POT, NEVER BOILS" I found that to be true too. But for some reason we can't stop touching Amy's belly, talking to little Jenny and watching to see if there are any changes each day in Amy! So for now, we are still waiting. I think what we need to do is start a big project and it is usually then...when everyone is busy and NOT WATCHING that Miss Jenny, will probably want to make her entrance into this world!

I loved these two quotes I found...

"Life is always a rich and steady time when you are waiting for something to happen or to hatch."
~E.B. White, Charlotte's Web

Amy Belly

"Life is magic, the way nature works seems to be quite magical."  ~ Jonas Salk

In church today we had a man spoke about perfection and how many times we make the mistake of thinking we have to be perfect now or that we have failed in some way. He reminded us that perfection is a process, it doesn't just happen in a week or month... but in a life time. He talked about how important it is to use everything the Lord has blessed us with in this life  and remember to do the best we can. One comment that really stuck with me was " When we look at our lives and all the things that we struggle with and all the things we need to change about ourselves, it gets quite overwhelming. But if we would just pick one thing that we wanted to try and change each day and work on that, then we will at least be on the right road to being the person we need to be."

So instead of just waiting for our lives to change and our habits to go away. For our bodies to stop growing older and changing, we should just do the best we can with what we have. We don't really need to wait another minute to change ourselves for the better. The Lord only expects us to keep trying and progress as much as we can every day. Understanding that He is in control of our lives, takes a lot of the worry away. Having faith and understanding that perfection is a process, can truly change our outlook on life. So many times in my life I have waited for things to get better, waited for someone else to make a decision and wait for life to get easier...guess what, it never did. What I forgot was, that I am not suppose to be waiting on the side lines of life but being an active participant in it. This was a great lesson for me and a great reminder for me to count my blessings and enjoy each day to the fullest! So even though Jenny didn't come today and we are still waiting, I am glad that I had this great lesson on not waiting another minute to improve my life!

Hope you had a wonderful day and thank you for being such a great support to our family.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Family and Friends

Well, it is unusual for me to miss a day on my blog but yesterday was sooooo full, that by night time I was wiped out. What a treat it has been having all my kids together again. As a mom I think it is one of the greatest blessings. I love seeing them interact with each other. I love having the house full of laughter and noise again. Yesterday, I had one of my dear friends from West Virginia come and visit. It was a short visit but even then, it was so neat to reconnect with her. Funny how you can be apart for many months or even years, and the moment a true friend comes back in your life, you start where you left off. That is an incredible blessing! So even though her visit was short and sweet, I am grateful for the time we had together.

When I had my birthday last month the kids asked me what I really, really wanted. I said, what I want, I really can't have, but IF ANYTHING was possible ...I would have each one of my friends and family fly in and I would have a chance to see each of them and spend some time catching up on everyone's life! I miss all of you and wish that I personally could tell you that, and how very much you have meant in my life! Maybe we can do that on the next big birthday?

"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

 

"The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart."  ~ Elizabeth Foley

 

I am always surprised at how fast time flies when you are with the people you love. It seems like the anticipation of them coming lasts forever, and then when you finally get together the time goes by so fast. Krytal and Brad have been here for over a week now and it seems like it has only been a few days. My heart is already hurting to think that they leave tomorrow. I don't mean to seem ungrateful, but I wish we could all be together when little Miss Jenny is born. Amy did leave tonight not feeling very well and having a few small contractions so......???????

Life truly is a journey, I can well remember the anticipation of waiting for each one of our kids to be born. The pregnancies seemed to last forever. Amy was 2 1/2 weeks late and when she finally arrived, she weighed in at 10lbs and 10oz, she was practically a toddler!  :) And now that same baby girl... is having her 2nd baby girl, that is sometimes so wild to think about. Yes, families are a blessing that is for sure and I feel like I am doubly blessed to have them and so many dear friends that I love as much as my family. How grateful I am for each day of this journey, we call life! Thanks so much for being an important part of it! Good night!

“All of life is a journey which paths we take, what we look back on, and what we look forward to is up to us. We determine our destination, what kind of road we will take to get there, and how happy we are when we get there.”

 

"Having someplace to go is home. Having someone to love is family. Having both is a blessing."

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sharing!

Thought this was a great story and reminder of how sharing can change the world!

Enjoy!

Stone Soup

Many years ago three soldiers, hungry and weary of battle, came upon a small village. The villagers, suffering a meager harvest and the many years of war, quickly hid what little they had to eat and met the three at the village square, wringing their hands and bemoaning the lack of anything to eat.
The soldiers spoke quietly among themselves and the first soldier then turned to the village elders. "Your tired fields have left you nothing to share, so we will share what little we have: the secret of how to make soup from stones."
Naturally the villagers were intrigued and soon a fire was put to the town's greatest kettle as the soldiers dropped in three smooth stones. "Now this will be a fine soup", said the second soldier; "but a pinch of salt and some parsley would make it wonderful!" Up jumped a villager, crying "What luck! I've just remembered where some's been left!" And off she ran, returning with an apron full of parsley and a turnip. As the kettle boiled on, the memory of the village improved: soon barley, carrots, beef and cream had found their way into the great pot.

They ate and danced and sang well into the night, refreshed by the feast and their new-found friends. In the morning the three soldiers awoke to find the entire village standing before them. At their feet lay a satchel of the village's best breads and cheese. "You have given us the greatest of gifts: the secret of how to make soup from stones", said an elder, "and we shall never forget." The third soldier turned to the crowd, and said: "There is no secret, but this is certain: it is only by sharing that we may make a feast". And off the soldiers wandered, down the road.     ~ Unknown

"THOUSANDS OF CANDLES CAN BE LIT FROM A SINGLE CANDLE, AND THE LIFE OF THE CANDLE WILL NOT BE SHORTENED. HAPPINESS NEVER DECREASES BY BEING SHARED." ~ Buddha

 

"THERE IS NO DELIGHT IN OWNING ANYTHING UNSHARED."   ~ Seneca

 

"HAPPINESS IS NOT SO MUCH IN HAVING AS SHARING. WE MAKE A LIVING BY WHAT WE GET, BUT WE MAKE A LIFE BY WHAT WE GIVE."  ~ Norman MacEwan

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Leaders vs. Followers

 

I have always been amazed at the impact that parents have on their children's lives. That responsibility weighed heavy on me as a new mom. I wanted my children to have certain things I didn't have ( not material things ), I wanted them to have things like self -esteem, self- worth and confidence. I wanted them to be better and stronger in life's decisions than I was. I wanted them to be safe and have a wonderful childhood. There were days that I felt like I failed miserably at it and other days that I felt maybe I had made a positive difference in their lives. It was a lot of trial and error, since none of them come with instructions. I look at them now all together and mostly grown up and I am very proud of who they are and the positive impact they are making in the world. Then last night around dinner I heard them talking to each other and they were saying things like...."remember the time when mom came in and spanked me for no reason" or "remember the time she made us apologize to our neighbors for something we didn't even do", I guess maybe I remembered only the good things but I had to smile as I watched these neat young adults who I love dearly, tell one horror story after another about me! Oh well, and I thought I didn't do that bad of a job! :)

I wish I could personally tell each new parent how vital their example is to their children. They need to realize that every decision that they make or don't make will heavily effect their kids for good or bad. I worry about parents who are stuck with the issues of their own and are blinded to the fact of how it is effecting their kids, no matter how old or young their are. These little ones are smarter than we might think and they can feel the love or contention in our home and in our relationships.

Maybe because of my abuse, I have this never ending desire to help young parents to get their wake up call...sooner than later, when it comes to addressing the issues that they struggle with in their lives. We have always told our kids that it is ok to get stuck in life, every one does. But it is NOT ok to stay there, that is why it is vital to get help, counseling or something that teaches you the skills on how to get UNSTUCK! Life is hard but those tough lessons (if learned) are what make us stronger and better.

I found this poem about leading and following, maybe it is something we all can read and see which comments we usually say more often. Look at your little ones, if you think you can't change your life because it is just too hard. Please remember them and be determined to be better and stronger and more confident in healthy choices because they are our kids and they are depending on us to show them the way. The right way, a better way!

Leaders vs. Followers

When leaders make a mistake, they say, "I was wrong."
When followers make mistakes, they say, "It wasn't my fault."

A leader works harder than a follower and has more time;
a follower is always "too busy" to do what is necessary.

A leader goes through a problem;
a follower goes around it and never gets past it.

A leader makes and keeps commitments;
a follower makes and forgets promises.

A leader says, "I'm good, but not as good as I ought to be;"
a follower says, "I'm not as bad as a lot of other people."

Leaders listen;
followers just wait until it's their turn to talk.

Leaders respect those who are superior to them and tries to learn something from them;
followers resent those who are superior to them and try to find chinks in their armor.

Leaders feel responsible for more than their job;
followers say, "I only work here."

A leader says, "There ought to be a better way to do this;"
followers say, "That's the way it's always been done here."

 

"Your children need your presence more than your presents."  ~Jesse Jackson

"It's not only children who grow.  Parents do too.  As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours.  I can't tell my children to reach for the sun.  All I can do is reach for it, myself."  ~Joyce Maynard

"Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you."  ~Robert Fulghum

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pictures

I am not sure why families do family photos?  It usually is much harder than it looks to get that many people color coordinated, in one place, happy and smiling at the camera all at the same time. Tonight was one of those group photos. Almost comical that we all had to be told once or twice to move over here, straighten your shoulders, everyone look here, don't do this or don't do that. Poor Lauren, our youngest daughter and photographer was in charge and what a job that was.  Let's just say that not everyone gave her the respect that I think they should have. Everyone was having fun, but not really listening very well. I could tell that she was really into making this look good and no one ( or I should say some of us ) weren't taking her very serious. I know she was frustrated with us but she kept going, and took a lot of photos so....hopefully some of them turned out. When we finally left, she told Jeff and I next time we would need to hire someone. Poor girl, it is hard to be passionate about something you are doing and not have those involved that excited about it. But she was a trooper and I will let you know if it worked or not.

We are all pretty beat, so I am heading to bed. I know in a few years we will all look back on those photos and remember how crazy it was that night and the rocks that they got to throw, pregnant Amy almost falling down, Angie not wanting to smile or even be in the pictures and on and on. But just like all the other photos, that will be the beauty of it, the memories...I guess that is why we continue to try and take them! :)

We had one of our daughter's friends ( who is like one of our own ) come and take the picture when Lauren got it all set up. She was a trooper too, of course she has been part of our family for a long time, I guess she is used to all the craziness, thank goodness.

I will close with this sweet story about finding peace, not that we had any of that tonight but...some days we accomplish it! :)

Good night dear friends and thanks for all you do!

A Day In Washington

The Real Meaning of Peace

unknown author

There once was a king who offered a prize to the artist
who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The king looked at all the pictures. But there were only two he really liked, and he had to choose  between them.

One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.
The other picture had mountains, too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky, from which rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all.
But when the king looked closely, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest - in perfect peace.
Which picture do you think won the prize? The king chose the second picture. Do you know why?
"Because," explained the king, "peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace."

Monday, August 3, 2009

Feelings

Last night I noticed when I went to bed that my arm pit area and my chest wall was much more swollen. I am trying to do the drainage massage on myself but it is hard to do. I was suppose to get one of those suits that helps you drain it every day but I haven't heard anything back from them yet. it has been weeks since I went to my Physical Therapist to get it properly drained. The bump, lump or swelling that came up a week ago tomorrow, is still there and I am wondering what is going on? When I looked at myself in the mirror, I noticed more changes in my scar area....more feelings and more worries!  I like this quote by Maya Angelou and thought it was a good one to live by.

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
~Maya Angelou

Tonight I think this quote can go two ways, it can mean that people will never forget how good you made them feel or how bad or stupid they made you feel. As I talk to other cancer patients, I think the later is what they deal with more often when it comes to their cancer, their treatments and their lives. I have to admit, I am discouraged on how the Doctors treat you after they have done what they are suppose to do for you. When you are diagnosed with cancer you suddenly have all these doctor's and oncologist's that you are suppose to go to, one for radiation, surgery and chemotherapy. They are wonderful and very attentive to you. But when surgery is over, when all the treatments are over, there is no one to see except your regular physician. It is a weird and scary feeling. One friend of mine, was asking her oncologist right after her last radiation treatment  " so how often do I come back and have you do check ups on me?" His response was, "you don't come back to me, I would only see you again if your cancer came back." That lady was shocked, scared and angry. She couldn't understand why they just drop you like that? I believe it is partly because they have a whole line of newly diagnosed cancer patients waiting in line and they are busy.

Back to the quote, people will never forget how you make them feel! It is devastating enough to have cancer  but worse to not have something or someone to help you go from your last treatments to on with your life. There is still a lot of suffering and questions that  you have after all your treatments are gone. Who do you go to and where is the information on the side effects and changes you might be having? What is normal? What should you worry and not worry about?

I don't know, I am hurting and wished that I knew if all these changes on my body are normal or what? The unknown is the worst part. But I also don't want to go back into that arena of  "Yes, I am sure you are fine, sometimes the side effects from the treatments last a while. I have heard every thing from 6-8 weeks to over an year. That is a big difference in time!

I wish that I could speak to the Doctors, Oncologist's, Nurses and other Health care professional. I would let them know what the EVERYDAY consequences of cancer are. I would ask them why they went into the Health care profession? I bet it was to help people, and to make it so they wouldn't suffer so much. I would ask them if they still have that same desire, compassion and kindness to their patients today as when they first started their practice? If they say yes, I would ask them why soooooo many cancer patients feel these same feelings as I have? Alone, Confused, and a bother to them?

Yes, people will remember how you make them feel.  I know this isn't true for every Health Care Professional and in every situation because some of them have been wonderful, but I do think that some one should take a closer view of the whole cancer experience.There should be more thought into how to make those positive changes. Cancer is not over just because we left their office!  Just a thought!

Good night dear friends. Thanks for always being there for me!

"YOU CANNOT MAKE YOURSELF FEEL SOMETHING YOU DO NOT FEEL, BUT YOU CAN MAKE YOURSELF DO THE RIGHT IN SPITE OF YOUR FEELINGS."  ~ Pearl S. Buck

"SO WHEN YOU ARE LISTENING TO SOMEBODY, COMPLETELY, ATTENTIVELY, THEN YOU ARE LISTENING NOT ONLY TO THE WORDS, BUT ALSO TO THE FEELING OF WHAT IS BEING CONVEYED, TO THE WHOLE OF IT, NOT PART OF IT."  ~Jiddu Krishnamurti

 

Tough Times

More than once in our marriage Jeff has been laid off from his job. Downsizing, I think is what they graciously called it. Some of our friends have been struggling with this exact challenge and my heart goes out to them. It is devastating  to lose a job, especially for those who are the main supporters of the family. I remember the first feeling that Jeff and I had was actually shock, it doesn't seem real. Then gradually it became real and when that happened, we realized that we would have to take action and go with Plan B for a while. I have to admit, although Plan B was scary... we certainly learned a lot. We realized what was NECESSARY and what was NOT, that is a lesson that every one could or should learn. We also realized that after we had done all that we could do each day, then we just had to have FAITH and TRUST that everything would work out the way it was suppose to and it did.

I believe that we have gone though that same challenge 4 or 5 times in our 28 years of marriage. Obviously we didn't learn everything we were suppose to the first couple of times. I know you are probably thinking we are slow learners :) We were actually worried about that too!

The lessons that we learned from those experiences were this...

*We could live on much less that we thought we could.

*We appreciated and took care of things better, so that they would last longer.

*We noticed how we took too many things for granted, like our job and what we had.

*We relied on the Lord more and remembered to do that also when everything was going well.

*We both got creative on how to use our talents to make money.

*We learned new talents and skills to help us make money.

*We realized how many caring friends and people there were in the world ( so many of them were there for us)

*We actually spent more time together because we didn't have all those other stresses on our time. We had to make our own fun.

*We were much more grateful... for everything!

*We learned that we could survive anything together and what really mattered most, we already had!

I will close with a quote from  on this very subject. Thanks to all of you that have been such great examples to our family, it has been such a blessing!

"Difficult financial times often inspire people to become more extraordinary. Challenge and adversity can push people toward their own greatness. It can launch you on a deeper personal journey toward happiness, fulfillment, and a life of meaning. As you explore ways to gather strength and improve self-esteem, remember, it is not so much about what you have but who you are.  May you go from strength to strength and be a source of strength to others." ~Noah BenShea