Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Road less traveled

I have been asked many times why I did not go down the traditional road to healing cancer. My answer then and now, are still the same....because I felt like I needed to go down a different road. When I counsel with other women who are facing cancer, I never try to convince them to do anything I have done. I actually don't try to convince them to choose anything other than what they know in their heart that they should do. I try to help them figure out a way to conquer the fear first, so that they they can study and receive some type of inspiration about what road they need to travel. Fear and Faith do not coexist, and so it is vital to conquer the fear so that faith and hope can fill your life. Cancer is scary enough, but when it paralyzes you... then it's not a good thing. It is vital to gain knowledge, as I have said "Knowledge is Power" but if you are completely scared to death, then most of that knowledge just seems even more overwhelming and consuming. So it is important to combat the fear first.

The things I have gone through I have tried to document in this blog, so that those who are facing the same thing in their cancer journey will at least have the information of one other survivor. I hope in some way that it has made a difference. I am hoping it will be a source of encouragement for my family, to be pro-active in taking care of themselves and always doing their check ups to.

It has been quite a journey and some times it has been a lonely road for me, since I chose the road less traveled. But in my heart it was the right thing for me and that is where my comfort and peace comes from.

I pray that this blog will continue to be a source of hope and encouragement to many. Life is hard, I am just glad we don't have to go it ALONE.

Good night dear friends.

The Road Not Taken
Poet: Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

 

"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."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Time

Well, tonight I joined Face Book. Many of my family and friends have been asking me to do that for a long time, but I have always hesitated because of all the TIME I have heard it takes. It's not that I didn't want to connect with friends  but...being on the computer isn't my favorite thing. I write in my blog each day and do a few emails, and that takes enough time as it is. However as we (my daughter- in -law) and I were setting up my Face Book Account, I was amazed at all the people that were on there, some people that I haven't seen or heard from in years. Another worry is that I won't remember someone, being 50 has a way of doing that to you  :) So I will try this Face Book out and see how it goes.

I was able to visit on the phone today with a dear friend of mine who is also battling cancer. It has been a long time since I have talked to her and I was just thrilled to hear her voice. It was an incredible conversation with someone who truly has walked the same road I have. We talked about the emotional roller coaster ride that cancer is, and also about how precious our time is with those we love. I think when you face a major disease or problem big like that in your life...you can't help but think of time differently. You appreciate each moment more.

My daughter sent me this wonderful story about TIME. I hope we all can read it and truly... try to make the most of the TIME we have been given. Good night dear friends!

A man had a dream, where he saw multitudes of people rushing into what looked like a bank. The bank was called “Time Bank”. Curious he entered the building to see a long corridor filled with cubicles. In each one was a loan consultant who lends out time. The man walked down the passageway, overhearing the conversations with clients. The first cubicle was a young woman begging for two years time. She was a wonderful violinist, but put it on hold to travel the world, and now her fingers were stiff so she could no longer play. She pleaded for time to go back and correct her mistake.

The next cubicle was a man asking three years. Three years ago, the man’s boss came to him and told him to prepare just in case he was transferred. Soon the boss was transferred, but the man had not prepared as he should have and now pleaded for those three years back.

The third cubicle was an old man who was requesting for four years of his life back. His doctor had told him to change his diet and lifestyle for the sake of his health, but he had not heeded the warning. Now that his years were declining, he needed more time.

The man awoke up and thought, “What a pointless dream!” But as the day went on he began to wonder, “What have I done with my time?”

"TIME IS FREE, BUT IT'S PRICELESS. YOU CAN'T OWN IT, BUT YOU CAN USE IT. YOU CAN'T KEEP IT, BUT YOU CAN SPEND IT. ONCE YOU'VE LOST IT YOU CAN NEVER GET IT BACK."   ~ Harvey MacKay

"LIFE IS ALL ABOUT TIMING...THE UNREACHABLE BECOMES REACHABLE, THE UNAVAILABLE BECOME AVAILABLE,THE UNATTAINABLE...ATTAINABLE. HAVE THE PATIENCE, WAIT IT OUT IT'S ALL ABOUT TIMING."  ~Stacy Charter

 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Aging... I guess it happens to us all!

As the kids are getting older they are learning rules about Jeff and I aging. They are not allowed to say... "I told you so" , if I repeat a story. The rule is ...that they act interested and just smile. Another rule is ...when I am looking for my lost glasses, they can not laugh at me if they are already on my face. They are to say, " Oh there they are" and smile. I warned Brad about something that he was laughing at me about the other day and my threat was ... when you are my age, I am going to remind you of all these things you teased me about. He laughed so hard and then reminded me that I probably won't even remember who he is, by that time.

Aging, it is a bittersweet thing. Sweet because  you appreciate time more, you appreciate your health more,  you appreciate all the lessons you have learned that the wisdom that comes with aging. Yet is is bitter because of declining health, declining memory and nobody wants or appreciates all the wisdom you have.  I am just kidding!

I don't necessarily think that is true, because I love to surround myself with people who are older than me. I love the wisdom they have and their outlook on life. They aren't rushed, they are patient and very knowledgeable on almost every subject. I did however think this little story was cute, and share it only to remind everyone that aging is going to happen to all of us, so.....be a little kinder to your parents, grandparents and people like ME!

A group of 40 year old women discuss where they should meet for dinner.
Finally, they agree to meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because the waiters are cute and buff. 

Ten years later, at 50 years of age, the group once again discusses where they should meet for dinner. 
Finally, they agree to meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because the food is very good and the wine selection is excellent. 

Ten years later, at 60 years of age, the women once again discuss where they should meet for dinner. 
Finally they agree to meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because they can eat there in peace and quiet and the restaurant has a beautiful view of the ocean. 

Ten years later, at 70 years of age the group once again discusses where they should meet for dinner. 
Finally they agree to meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because it is wheel chair accessible and they even have an elevator. 

Ten years later, at 80 years of age, the women once again discuss where they should meet for dinner. 
Finally they agree to meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because they have never been there before.

'The years teach much which the days never knew."    ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Do not regret growing older.  It is a privilege denied to many."    ~Author Unknown

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lessons learned

I was grateful for the opportunity to be able to go to church today. It has been a while since I have been healthy enough to go. I am always thankful for the lessons that are taught, and only hope that I can use them and apply them in my life for the upcoming week. One of the lessons that I learned today.... was about repentance. It was about how often we handle repentance in our lives, even when we have been forgiven, we sometimes suffer more than we should. Why, because we refuse to forgive ourselves. I personally know this can happen, because I have been guilty of that myself. But when I heard this story it just hit home on how much unnecessary suffering we can put ourselves through, unnecessary is the key word here!

I hope when you read this (that like me), we will remember to take the time out to not only repent, when it is necessary... but also to remember to forgive ourselves. There are many wonderful things that can be given to us after true repentance...peace, happiness,compassion, wisdom and joy are some of them!

 "So many live with accusing guilt when relief is ever at hand. So many are like the immigrant woman who skimped and saved and deprived herself until, by selling all of her possessions, she bought a steerage-class ticket to America.

She rationed out the meager provisions she was able to bring with her. Even so, they were gone early in the voyage. When others went for their meals, she stayed below deck—determined to suffer through it. Finally, on the last day, she must, she thought, afford one meal to give her strength for the journey yet ahead. When she asked what the meal would cost, she was told that all of the meals had been included in the price of her ticket.

That great morning of forgiveness may not come at once. Do not give up if at first you fail. Often the most difficult part of repentance is to forgive yourself. Discouragement is part of that test. Do not give up. That brilliant morning will come."  ~ Boyd K. Packer

"The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come.  At the darkest moment comes the light."  ~Joseph Campbell

"I will love the light for it shows me the way.  Yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars."  ~Og Mandino 

"Some who have spent a long winter of guilt and spiritual starvation emerge into the morning of forgiveness."    ~ Boyd K. Packer

Saturday, March 27, 2010

What a difference a year makes

This time a year ago, I was in the middle of going through radiation treatments after my mastectomy for Breast Cancer. I used to hate waking up, knowing that my day was going to start out... going to radiation. It was a painful treatment and one that literally took all I had to continue each day for months. I didn't do a lot of things that I loved back then, I was just so tired physically from the surgery and radiation, and emotionally from the whole cancer experience. One thing that was a great help to me was my granddaughter, she was 2 1/2 years old then, she was full of excitement and joy. She liked to do anything with me (her Nana). It was nice because she didn't really understand my cancer, she knew that Nana had a surgery and she had to be careful with my owie, but other than that she was just happy to be with me. One of her favorite things was to go to the hospital with me so that she could play in the waiting room and get her Strawberry Shake ( which was an ENSURE drink that they had for the patients in the mini fridge ).  Below is photo of Angie and I heading to my treatments. You can see the effects of the surgery and of the burn, on my left side.

I have to admit, I sometimes can't believe that I made it through that terrible ordeal of cancer for the second time, but now looking back at it....I am just grateful that today, a year later...I am semi healthy and doing the things that I love once again.

Today I was able to attend a Quilting class for a couple of hours. It was so much fun. Of course more than anything, I love meeting new friends, what a neat group of women!  I love quilting (although, I am still a beginner compared to many ). I love the attitude about life, that quilters have. They just want to share their talents with those they love. They love to create, you don't have to be perfect, but you should enjoy what you do.  Mistakes are what make your experiences and quilts better. Everyone's quilts can be different. You bring out your own style, talent and experience in each one. Many quilters have experienced a lot of life, and now they are slowing down and doing what they love to do....that is called Wisdom!

So today I got to develop my talents a bit, (so I can create more quilts and things for my granddaughters and loved ones), I got to meet 7 new friends ( talented ones at that ) and I got to think about something that I love, other than worrying about my health, what a change!  Physically my back and knees are done for the day but...it was worth it! I hope all of you, are able to take a moment out of each day to do something that you love... the benefits are surely worth it!

I will leave you with a few quilting quotes tonight...

                                                                                                                                                                      "When life throws you scraps, make a quilt."  ~Author Unknown

"Grandma (Nana's) quilts have love in every stitch."  ~Author Unknown

( Below is a photo of my granddaughter enjoying her quilt, this one her mom and I made, this photo also tells you without words...why I quilt! )

"Memories are stitched with love."  ~Author Unknown

"Being happy doesn't mean everything is perfect.  It means you decide to see beyond the imperfections."

RECALL!

Now most of my life when I heard the word RECALL, it meant something was wrong with whatever product they were recalling. Today though I learned another definition for it... reducing stress!  Jeff got a recall from his place of employment. A month ago he got a 2 month noticed to be laid off by April 23rd, today he got that notice recalled and so now we don't have unemployment looming over us any more...like I said stress relief! I am not sure what the future will bring, since he was actively looking at other companies for a job. But either way, some of the stress and strain are off of us and that is a good thing! Now if we have other opportunities that come up we can make our decision based on something other than fear and desperation.

"If one advances confidently in the direction of one's dreams, and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."  ~ Henry David Thoreau

Today was my first day back to Physical Therapy. I started going 3 weeks ago and then got pneumonia, so I had to put everything on hold for a couple of weeks. I had a different therapist this time and I have to admit, I liked him better. He was very personable to everyone there, but most of all he explained everything well and seemed to be very knowledgeable .

I have always been muscular and so when I walk into a gym or Physical Therapy place, they think that I must be working out a lot to have such muscles (like in my legs). So today when he began putting me on machines, he put the weights up much higher than I could handle. When I told him that these calf muscles are only for looks he just laughed. Then I had to get serious with him and tell him about my back and neck, and why I haven't worked out in such a long time. He then said that we would go slowly. He then said " Hey let's try something Lynn, let's see if we can actually have you use these muscle, I believe that is what they are there for! :) I laughed but silently prayed, that none of the exercises that would be required of me, would do damage to my back or neck. The thought of any more daily pain, is something that I don't need. However, I did like the feeling of working out again, it has been a long time. I used to be a very active person and so today I actually got excited, thinking that I might be able to really use my muscles again and maybe get back in shape to some degree. Even though I came home tired, sore and worn out....I was excited.

It is late, but I just wanted to let you know that sometimes... when you think for sure you know what direction your life will take, things will turn around and you might be going in a different direction. I am grateful for the direction change in our lives right now, and for the blessings that have come our way. I pray the same will be a blessing to all of you who are struggling with difficult issues. I pray that you might get a recall from your problems, your pains or your worries. Good night dear friends!

"You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight"  ~John Rohn

 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Just do it!

There have been many times in my life where I have wanted to change something about myself or my circumstances, but life just kept happening. I found myself stuck in ruts and behaviors, that didn't make me the best person that I wanted to become. I was overwhelmed by the fact that there were so many issues in my life that I felt I needed to change. When Cancer hit for the first time, I took a long hard look at my life and realized that it was now or never...it was time for me to start changing the things that I knew I needed to change. What was stopping me? I just sorta felt that I have been this or that way for so long, or my situation has been this or that way for so long...I really didn't think I could change all of them.

I remember the day that I was at my friend's house and she was helping me do some research on cancer. I was talking to her about this very subject and I was on the floor crying ( mostly because I was scared of cancer and partly because I felt overwhelmed). I said to her " But how can I change almost every thing about me?" "How can I change everything I am? " Well, obviously I was dealing with some serious issues and feelings, but I wasn't completely a lost cause (like I felt I was). I still can hear her reply..."Lynn, you can change anything you need, you just have to do it one thing at a time." She was an amazing strength and comfort to me that night, and throughout the years. Ok, it does help that she is also a counselor with a whole lot of wisdom, but still basically I think the advice is true for anyone that is stuck in their life. I had to stop a lot of things in my life, so that I could de-clutter my mind and my life. I was good at doing lots of things ( not necessarily important things either), but staying busy so that I didn't have to stop and look at my life or behavior for what it was. By stopping... I had the time to take a good hard look at my life, my time, my habits, my thoughts, and my excuses.

That was a hard time in my life, but one that truly gave me back my life and also my control over my thoughts and decisions, it was empowering to say the least. Now I still have to have time outs in order to check myself, and make sure that I am not falling back into old habits or fears but like anything else ...the only way to truly change your life is to 1st ...recognize the need to change and 2nd... to just DO IT!

I hope by sharing this, it will help someone out there that is struggling with this very same problem.

"When I feel overwhelmed and my stress levels rise, I stop and step back from the situation and put the even in perspective. I always ask myself - what difference will this make in five years time? "   ~ Catherine Pulsifer

I loved this quote, good question to ask ourselves. If we don't do anything or try to change... then where will we be in 5 years? Will our life and the lives around us, be better or worse? Tough question but, we need to be asking them!

Just Do It

Author Elbert Hubbard told the story of an incident during the Spanish-American War. It was imperative that the president get a message to the leader of the insurgents. His name was Garcia and he was known to fighting somewhere in the mountains of Cuba, but no mail or telegraph could reach him. Someone said, "There's a fellow by the name of Rowan who will find Garcia for you if anybody can." Rowan took the letter without hesitation. He sealed it in a leather pouch strapped over his heart. He landed in the dark of night off the coast of Cuba and make his way to the mountains, and after much difficulty, found Garcia. He handed him the letter, turned around and headed home. Hubbard tells this story in "A Letter to Garcia." Rowan didn't ask, "Exactly where is he?" or "I doubt if I can do it." There was a job to be done and he did it. Instead of making a dozen excuses why you can't complete the task, think about Rowan. Deliver the goods!   ~ Author -Neil Eskelin/Elbert Hubbard

"When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better." ~ unknown

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Firsts

I have always been interested how people react to things that happen to them for the very first time. I also try to remember when I see someone that is going through something for the first time, not to judge them so quickly. For those of us that are older and now are seasoned in many areas, we now are experiencing our seconds, thirds and fourths of certain situations.

Some firsts that happened to me ....

Being a mom for the first time... my experienced is explained well in this poem.

Getting diagnosed with a cancer for the first time... being overcome with fear and taking awhile before I felt comforted.

Being a grandma for the first time...showing photos to total strangers of my granddaughter.

Having my first teenager...enjoying having a new friend and yet never understanding why I had to repeat myself sooooooo many times?

Having my first child leave home...and me bawling like a baby.

Losing my mom...wondering how to go on with my life without a mother.

Having an empty house more often than not...and wondering how I am going to handle the loneliness?

****************************************************************************************

Just for laughs: The Evolution of Parenthood

March 23, 2010 by Juggling Motherhood

Your Clothes -

1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your OB/GYN confirms your pregnancy.

2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.

3rd baby: Your maternity clothes are your regular clothes.

Preparing for the Birth -

1st baby: You practice your breathing religiously.

2nd baby: You don’t bother practicing because you remember that last time, breathing didn’t do a thing.

3rd baby: You ask for an epidural in your 8th month.

Pacifier -

1st baby: If the pacifier falls on the floor, you put it away until you can go home and wash and boil it.

2nd baby: When the pacifier falls on the floor, you squirt it off with some juice from the baby’s bottle.

3rd baby: You wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in.

Diapering -

1st baby: You change your baby’s diapers every hour, whether they need it or not.

2nd baby: You change their diaper every 2 to 3 hours, if needed.

3rd baby: You try to change their diaper before others start to complain about the smell or you see it sagging to their knees.

Worries -

1st baby: At the first sign of distress – a whimper, a frown – you pick up the baby.

2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake your firstborn.

3rd baby: You teach your 3-year-old how to rewind the mechanical swing.

Going Out -

1st baby: The first time you leave your baby with a sitter, you call home 5 times.

2nd baby: Just before you walk out the door, you remember to leave a number where you can be reached.

3rd baby: You leave instructions for the sitter to call only if she sees blood.

Yes, when we experience something for the first time, it is important for us to be patient with ourselves or someone else, who is experiencing one of their firsts!

 

"NOTHING IS A WASTE OF TIME IF YOU USE THE EXPERIENCE WISELY"  ~ Auguste Rodin

"EXPERIENCE IS SOMETHING YOU GET TOO LATE TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT THE MISTAKES YOU MADE WHILE GETTING IT"  ~ Unknown

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Attitude

All my life I have admired people who really like themselves. They seem to be comfortable in their own skin and they like their body and carry themselves with a since of pride. Not in a conceited way, but in a confident and graceful way. I on the other hand, have never been one of those people. I have struggled for years with my self-esteem. I am so critical of myself, but would never judge others with the same critical eye.

We have been blessed to have our son and daughter-in-law, live with us for a few months...while they were doing their internships. My sweet daughter-in-law is ... one of those people who is comfortable with who she is. I am not saying that she never feels unsure about herself, (I think everyone does from time to time ) but mostly she is happy and has confidence. I admire that and need to be more like that. For some reason I tend to look at all the things that are wrong with me and it is a rare moment when I look into the mirror and like what I see.

Today Krystal and I were talking and she was telling me a certain fashion of clothes that I would look good in. I laughed and commented to her that I could never wear this or that. She talked about dresses and I told her I hadn't worn a dress in 15 years, they just don't make them for my shape. From that minute on, she was on a mission. She told me that we needed to go to the stores today and she would prove to me that I can wear different fashions. So we just all of a sudden made the decision (she is quite persuasive) and left. Our first stop was Macy. I really don't even go into Macy, because I have never been able to afford their clothes. But we went in and just decided to try a few things on. I have to admit ... I was amazed at how nice some of those outfits looked on me. I would have never tried some of those on, you know how you some times get stuck in the same fashion rut? She had me try on all sorts of styles and colors...it was so fun! She made me feel like a million bucks, she just kept telling me how nice this or that looked. It was a real treat and something that I needed today.

The down side is that we just were able to put it on hold and had to walk away and just think about it. I am not sure what I have to think, but they were beautiful clothes, and we had a wonderful time.

I have always had trouble with shopping. I don't like to spend money, I won't go in debt for it and most of the time, I don't feel like I would look good in it anyway. I have struggled even more with this since my mastectomy. I am always wondering if this or that neck line, shows the caved in part up near my collar bone from my surgery? But today when I was sitting in the dressing room waiting for Krystal to bring in some more clothes, I looked deep into the mirror at myself and thought..."Lynn, most people wouldn't even notice you had a mastectomy", "You need to love yourself more, you need to be comfortable with who you are and remember to appreciate that even though you have had cancer twice, a mastectomy and every other disease known to man...that you are still alive." "You need to be grateful for your body." "You need to be more accepting of  yourself!"

So it was a fun and insightful evening, thank you Krystal for helping me come out of my comfort zone, out of my old fashion habits and at least TRY something new! Thanks also for reminding me that my attitude about myself is very contagious to my family and those I associate with each day! I will try and do better and yes I did look nice in some of those clothes! I am still trying to think what I could sale to get them!  :)

"YOU CAN EXPLORE THE UNIVERSE LOOKING FOR SOMEBODY WHO IS MORE DESERVING OF YOUR LOVE AND AFFECTION THAN YOU ARE YOURSELF, AND YOU WILL NOT FIND THAT PERSON ANYWHERE!"

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, gifted ability, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace from that day. We cannot change our past, we cannot change the fact that people will act in certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing that we can do is play on the one string that we have and this string is, Attitude. I am convinced that life is ten percent what happens to me and ninety percent how I react to it. And so it is with you....We are in charge of our Attitudes.
-- Charles Swindoll

Monday, March 22, 2010

Light verses Darkness

I have a few dear friends, who are truly going through some huge challenges in their lives. Some of a physical nature, others of a emotional and spiritual nature. One this that is common with all of them is PAIN! They are hurting in different ways, but they certainly are hurting. I don't have answers for them or a cure for their problems, but I do know that they will need all the light that they can find. Still I know that the dark times are part of the lessons in life.

I found this inspirational story and thought of my dear friends, who are surrounded my some darkness and hopeless feelings. I pray that they will hang on and that soon, there will be healing that comes there way and I am sure when it does, there will be a lot of light that comes with it too!

Walk In The Light.
By: Audrina Jones Bunton


It was a mild October night, weeks after the horrific September 11 terrorists attacks on our nation. With a mix of anticipation and apprehension, my husband, children and I, entered the gates of the North Carolina state fair. The fair lights illuminated the sky as thousands of fair attendees attempted to escape into hours of fun and fantasy. While trying to temporarily remove the overshadowing fear that more tragedy may be imminent, the excessive police security constantly reminded us of our nation's tragic events.

Despite the constant reminders, we went about as usual, playing games, enjoying the rides, and consuming loads of food. Before we knew it, the thrill was gone, our bellies were full, and our time at this annual event was concluding. We retraced our previous path, searching for the exit, while making pit stops along the way.

All of a sudden, we stepped out of the illuminating light into darkness. The fair lights vanished -- though only in a certain area -- our area. What happened? Could it be another terrorist attack, or just a coincidence? Glancing around at fellow fair attendees, I calmly observed actions and reactions. Amazingly, hundreds continued walking around in the dark, as though things were okay, never trying to go toward the light. Like us, others chose to take the necessary steps to follow the light -- the light that would lead us to the exit. Step after step, we finally reached the light.

This darkness is symbolic of life. Many of us consciously choose to stay in the dark areas of our lives with unsatisfying jobs, meaningless relationships, and unfulfilling lives. Knowing that the light surrounds us, we choose to remain in the dark. Only by taking the necessary steps will we see the light out of our situations. If we never take the steps, we will never see the light of fulfillment and purpose.

Today, examine your situation and then take the necessary steps toward the light. For there, you will find the life you've deservingly longed for. Who knows -- the light may only be one step away.

 

"When we walk to the edge of all the light we have and take the step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for us to stand on or we will be taught to fly."  ~ Patrick Overton


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Motherhood!

My daughter sent this to me and I thought that I would share it with you tonight.

I went to PT a couple of weeks ago and when asked what my occupation was, I said...I am a full time mom and grandmother and a motivational speaker. His reply was as he wrote on the paper...I will just write down speaker.

"All mothers are working mothers" ~ Unknown

There are so many people in the world that have no idea what it takes to be a full time mom. How hard it is or how many things you have to know. This story is a perfect example of this. Enjoy!

ONLY A MOTHER WOULD KNOW

 

Cup of Tea

One day my mother was out and my dad was in charge of me.

I was maybe 2 1/2 years old. Someone had given me a little ' tea set ' as a gift and it was one of my favorite toys.

Daddy was in the living room engrossed in the evening news when I brought Daddy a little cup of ' tea ' , which was just water. After several cups of tea and lots of praise for such yummy tea, my Mom came home.

My Dad made her wait in the living room to watch me bring him a cup of tea, because it was ' just the cutest thing! ' My Mom waited, and sure enough, here I come down the hall with a cup of tea for Daddy and she watches him drink it up.

Then she says, (as only a mother would know.. :)

"Did it ever occur to you that the only place she can reach to get water is the toilet?"

 

"She never quite leaves her children at home, even when she doesn't take them along."                     ~Margaret Culkin Banning

 

"A mother is she who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take."
- Cardinal Mermillod

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Work

I read this quote the other day by Mohandas K. Gandhi and I really liked it...

The Roots of Violence:
Wealth without work,
Pleasure without conscience,
Knowledge without character,
Commerce without morality,
Science without humanity,
Worship without sacrifice,
Politics without principles.

This quote then, reminded me of an article that I read the other day too. It was talking about the importance of WORK. Now you don't want to ask my kids about working, because they swore that Child Labor Laws would have gotten me... after all I made them do! :)  But the truth about work and it's importance is brought up in this article and I will share part of it with you.

The First Principle: Work

To this day, I am deeply impressed by the way my family worked after having lost everything following World War II! I remember my father—a civil servant by education and experience—taking on several difficult jobs, among which were coal miner, uranium miner, mechanic, and truck driver. He left early in the morning and often returned late at night in order to support our family. My mother started a laundry and worked countless hours doing menial labor. She enlisted my sister and me in her business. With my bike I became the pickup and delivery service. It felt good to be able to help the family in a small way, and though I did not know it at the time, the physical labor turned out to be a blessing to my health as well.

It wasn’t easy, but the work kept us from dwelling too much on the difficulties of our circumstances. Although our situation didn’t change overnight, it did change. That’s the thing about work. If we simply keep at it—steady and constant—things certainly will improve.

Work is an antidote for anxiety, an ointment for sorrow, and a doorway to possibility. Whatever our circumstances in life,  let us do the best we can and cultivate a reputation for excellence in all that we do. Let us set our minds and bodies to the glorious opportunity for work that each new day presents.  ~ Dieter F. Uchtdorf

"THE HIGHEST REWARD FOR A MAN'S TOIL IS NOT WHAT HE GETS FOR IT, BUT WHAT HE BECOMES BY IT" ~ John Ruskin

"IF WE DID ALL THE THINGS WE ARE CAPABLE OF DOING, WE WOULD LITERALLY ASTOUND OURSELVES."       ~ Thomas A. Edison

Friday, March 19, 2010

More than just a card!

It seems like the art of letter writing and card sending has almost disappeared. It is much easier for people to text and email, than to pick up paper and pen. Then  you have the added cost of stamps (which is crazy) so, I guess in some ways I understand but I have always...always, loved making and sending cards. I also love getting them. To me, they are more than just a card that came in the mail, it was a note from a dear friend or family who loves me and supports me. Knowing that they took the time to send it to me...means a lot.

I however probably send too many cards ( if that is possible ), Jeff said half our pay checks go to the Post Office. See it's that type of attitude that is hurting the Postal Service and the letter writing business!  :)

Anyway, there are many of you that read my blog that I do not know personally but if I did... I would probably send you a card and try to support you through the tough times.  I would personally send you a card, just you to let  you know that I care. Anything is easier to handle if you know that you have a great support team with you.

So even though I might not ever send you a personal card or letter, here are a couple of messages from some cards that I have received throughout the years that I will share with you today, just in case you need them!

"When we're dealing with a difficult time in our lives, like you are right now, it's easy to feel like we've lost the light along our path.

We wonder why these things happen, and no one can give us an answer-but I hope it helps to remember that these moments are a part of life... they teach us to treasure the happy times and appreciate the little things.

I don't know why things are the way they are for you right now, but I want you to know...even through the rough times, just like through the good times, I am here for you... and you can count on me!"  ~ M. Ramirez

A FRIEND IS SOMEONE WHO...

Listens and tries to understand (even when you're not making much sense!),

Laughs with you , not at you (unless, of course, you do something really silly! )

Encourages your crazy dreams,

Makes ordinary days seem extraordinary (or, at least, not so boring!)

Picks you up when you're feeling down__

And cares, and shows it in so many ways!

Thanks for being that kind of friend to me!

"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words."    ~ Unknown

'True friendship is seen through the heart not through the eyes."  ~ Unknown

Thursday, March 18, 2010

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil!

Filtering can help us in lots of areas in our lives. This story was a perfect example of that!    Enjoy!

The Socrates Triple Filter Test
In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem.
One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, "Do you know what I just heard about your friend?"
Hold on a minute," Socrates replied. "Before telling me anything, I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test."
Triple filter?"
That's right," Socrates continued. "Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you're going to say. That's why I call it the triple filter test.
The first filter is TRUTH. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"
No," the man said, "actually I just heard about it and..."
All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second filter, the filter of GOODNESS. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?"
No, on the contrary..."
So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him, but you're not certain it's true. You may still pass the test though, because there's one filter left: the filter of USEFULNESS. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?"
No, not really."
Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?"
This is why Socrates was a great philosopher & held in such high esteem. Friends, use this triple filter each time you hear loose talk about any of your near & dear friends.
Be Blessed....   ~ M. Peer mohamed Sardhar

"Live that you wouldn't be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip."  ~ Will Rogers

"Gossip needn't be false to be evil-there's a lot of truth that shouldn't be passed around."  ~ Frank A. Clark

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I have to admit when it comes to my family, I am very lucky! My daughter-in-law showed us how to really celebrate St. Patrick's Day to the fullest this year. Now most of you know that I celebrate and decorate for almost every season but, I never really have done much for St. Patrick's Day. Maybe a green pancake or too, some green confetti on the table.  For weeks Krystal has been making and collecting things to transform our home to a place where surely a leprechaun would want to be. We even had a pot of gold and a couple of red headed (Iris looking) little girls, a pot of gold ( yellow jello blocks in a pot ), corn beef and cabbage soup, Irish Folk Songs playing in the background and a whole lot of beautiful decorations. So now we are sold on St. Patrick's Day. I am going to start right away getting my own decorations made for next year, just in case they aren't around here to help us. 

It is late and I am beyond tired, this is probably the most I have been up in weeks and so I will close now and just leave with you a few Iris thoughts. Good night dear friends and remember how lucky we are, to have each other!

Irish Saying
Leprechauns, castles, good luck and laughter.
Lullabies, dreams and love ever after.
A thousand welcomes when anyone comes...
That's the Irish for You
!

"May you live all the days of your life"~ Jonathan Swift

Irish Blessing
May you always walk in sunshine.
May you never want for more.
May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Not forgotten

Today I went to recieve my last of the gel injections for my knees ( ouch! ) but my knees are feeling much better when I walk up and down the stairs now, and for that I am grateful. Then I went to my regular doctor to have him check my lungs again. I am better than I was last week, but I still have the bronchitis and the pneumonia so another week down and staying home is the verdict. I have to admit, although I am missing seeing my friends and going places, I really don't feel good enough or have the energy to do hardly anything so, another week it is! Time sure seems to slow down when you're sick, why is that?

Anyway, I have been struggling (as you well know from my posts) from being sick so much and having one trial after another. Some times I wonder if people even miss me? See, that is a thought from a girl who has been hanging out at her own pity party too long. Well, the reason I brought this up, was not to complain but to tell you how grateful I am to know that I have not been forgotten. I have gotten emails with friends checking up on me and my progress. I recieved cards today from dear friends, I talked to another dear friend of mine, who told me how worried she was about me and reminded me that she missed me and loved me. I have had tons of calls from family and friends checking on me and tonight, I recieved a beautiful bouquet of flowers from two friends who wanted to remind me that they loved and missed me. Now all those people today might not have thought what they did, was very big ....but it was HUGE to me and I am honored to have so many dear friends and family members who love me.

So tonight, I wanted to remind those of you, who are going through big struggles and challenges in your life ...to not to do what I have been doing lately... feeling sorry for myself. Trust me, it hasn't gotten me anywhere!  Yes, it is natural to get down and discouraged, but to stay there is a very unhealthy place. So try to stop and remember like I am tonight, all the blessings that you have. Remember your sweet friends and family who love and care about you, and remember that they believe in you and certainly don't want you to quit or to give up. They know you have it in  you to handle whatever comes your way. I pray that we all can be a bit more PATIENT in our challenges.

It is late and I need to head to bed. Good night dear friends and thank you very much for being there for me!

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

"When we don't have patience...we will see less, we will hear less and we will feel less!"

What I Can and Cannot do!

Tonight for Family Home Evening, the lesson was on... Doing verses Becoming. The point was, there are many things that we can do, but not be a better person because of it. We can do charity without being charitable, we can be kind without really loving someone, and you can put up with someone, without really forgiving them, so the lesson focused on more about BECOMING a different and better person. This topic struck home to me because lately I have been so focused on what I CANNOT DO! I have been feeling so sorry for myself and so needless to say, I haven't been a happy camper lately. Now I realize that this is suppose to be a motivational blog and hopefully somehow you have been able to find something good in it, even though I have had quite a few BIGGER THAN ME DAYS lately.

I made a list the other day about things that I cannot do...  ( this was not a good use of my time! )

Problem.... my back and neck....I cannot walk too far, lift my granddaughters without pain, sleep well, and I can't do most normal activities like exercise or bike riding with Jeff and the kids.I cannot sit or stand or walk for very long without a lot of pain.

Problem...my cancer and mastectomy... I now have lymphedema and I can't lift groceries, I can't lift my granddaughters,  I cannot let my left arm get hurt or cut because of greater chance of infection ( no lymph nodes). I cannot wear my prosthetic and bra, because of the pain in my chest from the pneumonia, there for I cannot go out in public much or at least without a puffy jacket.

Problem...my hands, I have arthritis in my both hands and I now hurt when I do any kind of crafts or even handwriting and typing cause great pain and aching.

Problem...bronchitis and pneumonia....I cannot do hardly any activity because I have no air, or if I do then I can't stop coughing. It feels as if someone is always sitting on my chest!

Problem...my knees... I just had surgery in both knees, I cannot kneel, I cannot squat, I cannot shop, I cannot do a lot of stairs and now I can't start PT for my knees because ...of my pneumonia!

Ok, you get the picture, I am not trying to get you to feel sorry for me-because I am already doing a good job of that myself. I just noticed that I  have been constantly focused on what I can't do, I can't take care of my family, can't write letters to my friends, and on and on.  Tonight I realized I have got to learn what I need to learn from all these experiences, instead of feeling sorry for myself and thinking about what I CAN'T DO all the time! 

My point of this blog has always been to share with you my life and lessons I am learning, in hopes that some of you will find great comfort in the fact that you are not alone. I hope that when you and I share some of the same experiences and lessons that life is giving us, that in turn... you will have a shared strength and hope too. Life is hard but I realized tonight, I have got to do two things...One...stop thinking about myself and see what I can do to serve others, even if it is a phone call, or a prayer. Second...I need to understand what it is I need to be learning, from all these challenges that I am having. I realize that will take a lot of patience on my part, and also faith. I know life brings us challenges for a reason. I also know that I need to trust that my Heavenly Father will not give me anything that I cannot handle. So continue to hang in there with me, as we continue to learn these valuable lessons from life! (Hard as they may be!)

Good night dear friends and thanks always for your constant support and love.

"If we're always looking in the rear view mirror it's hard to keep our eyes on the road ahead." - Author Unknown

"3 choices in life:
give up, give in, or give it you all."

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Meanest Mom in the World!

Today my son Brad and his wife Krystal were talking about some things that happened to them when they were kids. It was funny to me to listen to what Brad would say about me, and my mothering skills. The part that was even more entertaining was... what Brad said ...was terrible and very embarrassing, Krystal would say that is what her mom did too, but she loved it and it made her feel special. I guess everyone is different or at least appreciates certain things differently. As a mom, it is interesting to see  how your kids interpreted what you did. I thought I was being a good mom, only to find out....that I was one of the meanest moms in the world. After reading this poem, I realized that at least I wasn't alone, in my actions and desires, that's always good to know.

Well, it is late and I need to head to bed. Being mean, takes a lot of energy you know! :)

Was your Mom mean?

I know mine was. We had the meanest  mother in the whole world! While other kids ate candy for breakfast, we  had to have cereal, eggs, and toast. When others had a Pepsi and  a Twinkie for lunch, we had to eat sandwiches. And you can  guess our mother fixed us a dinner that was different from what other  kids had, too.

Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times.  You'd think we were convicts in a prison. She had to know who our friends  were, and what we were doing with them. She insisted that if we said, we would be gone for an hour, we would be gone for an hour or  less.

We were ashamed to admit it, but she had the nerve to break the Child Labor Laws by making us work. We had to wash the dishes, make the beds,  learn to cook, vacuum the floor, do laundry, empty the trash and all sorts  of cruel jobs. I think she would lie awake at night thinking of more things  for us to do.

She always insisted on us telling the truth, the whole  truth, and nothing but the truth. By the time we were teenagers, she could  read our minds and had eyes in the back of her head. Then, life was  really tough!

Mother wouldn't let our friends just honk the  horn when they drove up. They had to come up to the door so she could meet  them.

Because of our mother, we missed out on lots of things other kids experienced. None of us have ever been caught  shoplifting, vandalizing other's property or ever arrested for any crime. It  was all her fault.

Now that we have left home, we are all  educated, honest adults. We are doing our best to be mean parents just  like Mom was.

I think that is what's wrong with the world today. It  just doesn't have enough mean moms! ~Unknown ( you didn't really think someone was going to put their name on this one did you? )

"It's not easy being a mother.  If it were easy, fathers would do it."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sacrifice

I read this story the other day and thought I would share it tonight. 

Before you were conceived I wanted you
Before you were born I loved you
Before you were here an hour I would die for you
This is the miracle of love.

-- Maureen Hawkins

"Mother is always there when you need her. She helps, protects, listens, advises and nurtures physically and morally. She makes sure that her family is loved 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. At least that's how I remember my mother, for the few precious years I was blessed to have her. But no words can describe the sacrifice she made out of love for me, her young son.

I was 19 years old, and I was being taken to a concentration camp with a large group of other Jews. It was clear that we were destined to die. Suddenly my mother stepped in and traded places with me. And although it was more than 50 years ago, I will never forget her last words to me and her good-bye look.

"I have lived long enough. You have to survive because you are so young," she said.

Most kids are born only once. I was given birth twice - by the same mother."  ~ Joseph C. Rosenbaum

From Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul

Copyright 1998 Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Jennifer Read Hawthorne, Marci Shimoff


"Only a life lived for others is worth living" ~ Albert Einstein

True Friendship

So many of you have been checking on me and I am very grateful for that. I did make it back to the Doctor and I still have the pneumonia and bronchitis, but after he gave me an inhaler... it has been a bit easier to breath this evening. I am very thankful for that. Another dear friend brought us a delicious dinner tonight. The calls, the emails, and everything have been really appreciated.

There are times that I wonder if I can keep doing this, one sickness after another?  Sometimes I feel very sorry for myself. I just want to be healthy so that I can be a better wife. I want to be healthy so that I can do more things with my kids and grand kids. I want to be healthy so that I can get back to walking and just do some basic things, things that I enjoy doing, things I am missing out on... things that many people take for granted.

But I have to admit that having so many of you that believe in me, makes me want to get up every day and try a little harder. Thanks so much for you love and concern. Good night dear friends.

" A FRIEND IS ONE WHO BELIEVES IN YOU WHEN YOU HAVE CEASED TO BELIEVE IN YOURSELF."

"TRULY GREAT FRIENDS ARE HARD TO FIND, DIFFICULT TO LEAVE, AND IMPOSSIBLE TO FORGET."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Helping others

It has always been the case ...that no matter how bad you feel, how bad your circumstances are, you will feel better if you help someone else. I think it is once again a perspective thing, plus the ability to look outside of yourself... if only for a moment. I  am still feeling pretty bad and my energy level is about 0, so I won't write any more tonight.  I hope you enjoy this sweet story.

  
  Helping Others

When my son was a young teenager, he and his friend set out in a bus across town to purchase skateboard axles. They each had $20. When they arrived downtown, they discovered they needed more money to cover bus fare and sales tax. They were short $3.75.
A branch of our bank was nearby, so they decided to go in and take out a loan. The teller told them that was not possible, but that they could get a cash advance on their parents' credit card. So they called home, but got no answer. They tried the teller again to see if anything more could be done. She referred them to the desk of the vice president. When he asked why the bank should give them a loan, they answered, "Because we're Boy Scouts and good students, and very trustworthy." He said that since they had no collateral, they would have to write out and sign an IOU. They did, and he in turn gave them the money they needed to complete their mission.
We found out later that this wonderful man lent the boys his own money. (My husband called him the next day asking for the same terms on a home loan!) In talking with the man, we learned that he had made many such loans, including a large one to a Navy wife whose allotment was delayed. He said he's been repaid almost 100 percent of the time, and that the opportunity to help others in this way was one of the most rewarding parts of his job.
My son and his friend hopped on the bus the very next morning.  They paid off their loan and received their IOU signed by the vice president. It was banking at its best.   ~Unknown

"No man stands so straight as when he stoops to help a boy."  ~Knights of Pythagoras  
 

"Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something."  ~Author Unknown

"When I was young, I  used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people." ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Missing my MOM!

Today was my mom's birthday. Even though she passed away quite a few years ago... I still want to call her and sing Happy Birthday. It has been a rough day today, during the night I got much worse and had to contact my Doctor first thing this morning. I knew how bad I was feeling and remembered all too well, what my pneumonia felt like 2 years ago. So here I am once again battling pneumonia, I hurt all over, I can't get warm and it feels as if someone is sitting on my chest and I can't get a deep breath at all and yet I can't stop coughing either. I hurt all over! My doctor immediately got me on antibiotics and I will have to go back Friday to have my lungs checked again.

If there was ever a day I needed my mom, it was today. I needed to hear her tell me that I will be fine. To remind me how strong I am, and that this too... will pass. I have been teary eyed all day, I am sure it is because I feel so bad. I have struggled with my thoughts all day, what if my cancer comes back because my immune system is so weak? What if the cancer has gone to my lungs? I know to many of you who have never had cancer, these thoughts might sound stupid or extreme, well to some degree they are... but at the same time they are very real. They are not ones that are of any value or have any good that will come of them, but still there are days (like today) that I battle them harder than others. That is one of the biggest struggles with cancer survivors, the ability to life a full and happy life and not be constantly looking over your shoulder wondering when cancer is going to hit again. I would say that most of my days I do pretty well with enjoying life, although looking into the future is still a bit tough, but I basically am happy and feel blessed. I am sure these thoughts have hit me hard today because I feel so bad (physically). I miss my mom, how I wish she were here to hold me and spend time with me.

"A mother is one to whom you hurry when you are troubled."  ~Emily Dickinson

"Who ran to help me when I fell,
And would some pretty story tell,
Or kiss the place to make it well?
My mother."
~Ann Taylor

"A mother understands what a child does not say."
-- Jewish proverb

So to all of you who are blessed to still have your mom's around, please take time out to tell her how much you love and appreciate her! Don't worry about me, Jeff and the kids are taking great care of me. Good night dear friends and thanks for a listening ear.

 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

We all need each other

I found this letter that someone wrote to Ann Landers, and thought it was a great reminder how much we all need each other. Too often we get busy and I think we forget to stop and realize the people that really make a difference in our lives. So this letter was great, I hope you take the time out to read it. I hope then we will all take the time out to thank those older people who have touched out lives and shared their wisdom with us. They truly have made a great difference in my life.

I had hoped to write more tonight but I have bronchitis and I have got to go to bed. Good night dear friends!

"Dear Ann Landers," "I am a twenty-two-year-old graduate student who would like to express my admiration for some people who have taught me more than all the books I ever read."

"Dear Older American, I want you to know how much you have improved the quality of my life. Today I was driving down the street. You were sauntering uptown, your white hair shining in the sun, a smile on your face. You waved when I went by, though you had no idea who I was.

"On my first job as a cashier, I was nervous and scared. The line was long and everyone was impatient. You let the others go first because you didn't mind waiting. When your turn came you said, "Take your time. My, but you have pretty eyes." I could have kissed you.

"You say,'Have a nice day,' in the elevator and talk about the weather. I can tell by your gnarled hands that you've done a lot of hard work and I admire that.

"You have an aura of calmness that so many of my generation will never know in their mad rush for money and status. Thanks, Older American, for being there."

 

"Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty - they merely move it from their faces into their hearts."  ~Martin Buxbaum

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." ~ Abraham Lincoln

Monday, March 8, 2010

Talents

I remember talking to a dear friend who is now in her 70's and she told me of all the things she used to make for her kids and grand kids. She was a bit sad that now because of arthritis and poor eye sight, that she couldn't make those things now for for great grandchildren. I thought about our talents and how some times we waste too much of our lives... not fully using them or improving them . Then by the last half of our lives our bodies are not letting us use them.

I did a post back in October about a man who AFTER he retired, decided he wanted to do something with his extra time so ...he went to classes to learn how to carve and paint. I was privileged to see his work and it was unbelievable! Especially since, that isn't anything that he had ever tried in his life. Yes, I do believe we all have talents that are still  hidden and just waiting for us to look for them. This example of this man...was proof.

I have throughout my life always used my artist talents in many ways. I just think it is just pure torture to have to sit in the car, or while watching a movie and not have something to do in my hands. Throughout the years I have tried to convince Jeff of the same thing but he does not agree! :) What a waste! ( Just kidding ! )

While I was down with my knee surgery, I knew that I had to do something that wouldn't require me to get up and down a lot. So I crocheted. Having two little granddaughters, I am always looking at things to do for them. So I looked up a pattern and started making crocheted flowers for hair bows. Now I have to admit, I do tend to get carried away with things and this was no different. I was having so much fun creating these that I just kept going. I should have stopped and let my hands rest. ( that sound something like an old person would say, doesn't it?) Well, I didn't and after over 100 and some individual flowers, I couldn't use my hands for weeks. I knew I had arthritis in them but I didn't think it was that big of deal. I have lost a lot of sleep from the pain in my hands and I have lost a lot of strength in them too. They now are doing better but I have to admit, it is a bit sobering to realize that I am not getting any younger and something like that can hurt me that bad. It actually made me sad, I love creating things with my hands... that is what I do! So I guess I will have to remember to pace myself and be patient with myself.

I really hope I never lose the ability to create with my hands but as for now, I need to remember also to take care of my body. To focus on what I can do, instead of what I can't any more.  I need to look for and learn new talents too! Life is hard sometimes isn't it?

So here are our hair bows, Amy puts the clip on the back and packages them. Aren't they too cute?  But are they worth losing the ability to  use my hands for weeks.....? Maybe not! Still learning life's lessons aren't I ? :)

I do hope we will all appreciate and use the talents we do have more. What a blessing and gift they can be!

 

"WHEN I STAND BEFORE GOD AT THE END OF MY LIFE. I WOULD HOPE THAT I WOULD NOT HAVE A SINGLE BIT OF TALENT LEFT, AND COULD SAY, "I USED EVERYTHING  YOU GAVE ME." ~ Erma Bombeck

"USE  WHAT TALENTS YOU POSSESS; THE WOODS WOULD BE A VERY SILENT IF NO BIRDS SANG THERE EXCEPT THOSE THAT SANG BEST." ~ Henry Van Dyke

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Doing the right thing for the wrong reason

As a mother I personally know that many times I put too much time or energy or some things that really don't have eternal value. It is easy to get caught up in the pressure of being the best mom.It is a 24 hours, 7 days a week job and it is hard, so may I remind you now that Super Woman...is not real!

I read this cute story in a book the other day that I thought explains this very subject well and with humor.

"When my neighbor had a son in grade school, the PTA was raising money by having a cookie sale once a week during the noon hour. The students paid a nickel for a cookie. Each class had a turn to furnish the cookies. It came my neighbor's turn to send a dozen cookies to school with her son. The day preceding was a hectic day. No time for baking cookies. But how she not send homemade cookies? What kind of a mother would they think she was? It was after midnight when she took the cookies out of the oven. The next morning she proudly sent her son to school with a dozen homemade, beautifully decorated cookies. When her son come home from school that day she asked, " Well, did you buy a cookie at noon?"  "Yeah," he responded, "but by the time I got to the table all the store-bought cookies were gone. I had to buy a homemade one."  ~ Virginia Pearce

"A little girl, asked where her home was, replied, "where mother is."  ~Keith L. Brooks

"Motherhood has a very humanizing effect.  Everything gets reduced to essentials."  ~Meryl Streep

"THE AVERAGE WOMAN TODAY, I BELIEVE, WOULD DO WELL TO APPRAISE HER INTERESTS, EVALUTATE THE ACTIVITIES IN WHICH SHE IS ENGAGED, AND THEN TAKE STEPS TO SIMPLIFY HER LIFE, PUTTING THINGS OF FIRST IMPORTANCE FIRST, PLACING EMPHASIS WHERE THE REWARDS WILL BE GREATEST AND MOST ENDURING, AND RIDDING HERSELF OF THE LESS REWARDING ACTIVITIES. THE ENDLESS ENTICEMENTS AND DEMANDS OF LIFE TODAY REQUIRE THAT WE DETERMINE PRIORITIES IN ALLOCATING OUR TIME AND ENERGIES IF WE ARE TO LIVE HAPPY, POISED, PRODUCTIVE LIVES." ~ Belle S. Spafford

Saturday, March 6, 2010

True marks of a finisher

In a post a week or so ago, I wrote about how important it is to be a finisher. There are times when it seems like the challenge you are facing, is just too big and too hard to handle. But it is vital that we stay in the game of life and finish! To quit should never be an option. So here are a few marks of a true finisher, I hope they encourage you as much as they did me tonight!

"Times change, circumstances vary, but the true marks of a finisher remain. Note them well, for they are vital to our success.

1. The Mark of Vision...It has been said that the doorways of history turn on small hinges, and so do people's lives. We are constantly making small decisions. The outcome determines the success or failure of our lives.

2. The Mark of Effort...Vision without effort is daydreaming, effort without vision is drudgery; but vision, coupled with effort, will obtain the prize.

3. The Mark of Faith...Recognize that faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other.

4. The Mark of Virtue...Let virtue garnish they thoughts, this will provide staying power in the race we run.

5. The Mark of Courage... Courage becomes a living and attractive virtue when it is regarded not as a willingness to die manfully, but the determination to live decently. Have the courage_____ and you will thus become a finisher!

6. The Mark of Prayer...When the burdens of life become heavy, when trials test one's faith, when pain and sorrow, and despair cause the light of hope to flicker and burn low, communication with our Heavenly Father provides peace.  ~Thomas S. Monson

 

"CHALLENGES ARE WHAT MAKE LIFE INTERESTING; OVERCOMING THEM IS WHAT MAKES LIFE MEANINGFUL" ~ Joshua J. Marine

"Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be."  ~Grandma Moses

"The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it."  ~C.C. Scott

Friday, March 5, 2010

Everyone needs help sometime!

I read this short story and thought how true! We all from time to time in our lives need help. Do we ask for it, or do we just keep going along hoping that someone, somewhere will see us for who we really are and offer us some help? The point of this story I believe is that we are all here to help each other. May we look around at the people we meet every day and see how we can help them and in turn, it just might be ... that we need their help too!

Don't We All
I was parked in front of the mall wiping off my car. I had just come
from the car wash and was waiting for my wife to get out of work.
Coming my way from across the parking lot was what society would
consider a bum.
From the looks of him, he had no car, no home, no clean clothes, and no
money. There are times when you feel generous but there are other times
that you just don't want to be bothered. This was one of those "don't
want to be bothered times."
"I hope he doesn't ask me for any money," I thought.
He didn't.
He came and sat on the curb in front of the bus stop but he didn't look
like he could have enough money to even ride the bus.
After a few minutes he spoke.
"That's a very pretty car," he said.
He was ragged but he had an air of dignity around him. His scraggly
blond beard keep more than his face warm.
I said, "thanks," and continued wiping off my car.


He sat there quietly as I worked. The expected plea for money never
came.
As the silence between us widened something inside said, "ask him if
he needs any help." I was sure that he would say "yes" but I held true
to the inner voice.
"Do you need any help?" I asked.
He answered in three simple but profound words that I shall never forget.
We often look for wisdom in great men and women. We expect it from
those of higher learning and accomplishments.

I expected nothing but an
outstretched grimy hand. He spoke the three words that shook me.
"Don't we all?" he said.

I was feeling high and mighty, successful and important, above a bum
in the street, until those three words hit me like a twelve gauge
shotgun.
Don't we all?
I needed help. Maybe not for bus fare or a place to sleep, but I
needed help. I reached in my wallet and gave him not only enough for bus
fare, but enough to get a warm meal and shelter for the day. Those
three little words still ring true. No matter how much you have, no matter
how much you have accomplished, you need help too. No matter how little you
have, no matter how loaded you are with problems, even without money or
a place to sleep, you can give help.

Even if it's just a compliment, you can give that.
You never know when you may see someone that appears to have it all.
They are waiting on you to give them what they don't have. A different
perspective on life, a glimpse at something beautiful, a respite from
daily chaos, that only you through a torn world can see.
Maybe the man was just a homeless stranger wandering the streets. Maybe
he was more than that.

Maybe he was sent by a power that is great and
wise, to minister to a soul too comfortable in themselves. ~ Unknown

"He who gives when he is asked has waited too long."  ~Sunshine Magazine

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."  ~Winston Churchill

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Spread your wings and fly!

lauren_1[1] When our kids were little we would tell them that they could be whatever they wanted to be, if they worked hard enough at it and sacrificed for it. They didn't of course know the full meaning of that comment, but just knew they wanted to be this... or that ..when they grew up. Some of them were more sure than others, and some changed their minds quite often. So we would use our imaginations and they could dream and pretend they were whatever they wanted to be.

As a mom, I loved that time of endless possibilities and their wonderful imaginations. The hard part is when real life comes in and the trials and obstacles get in the way. I have watched my kids suffer when they didn't know what they wanted to do and they felt lost. I have also watched them miss opportunities for one reason or another. Then on the other hand, I have watched them be excited because they finally found what their dream or passion is and they were pursuing it.

Lauren had this photo taken and it reminded me of how much I miss her, and yet how grateful I am that she is in college and pursuing her dreams. I have always struggled as a mom when my kids move away from home. I know that is exactly what I am suppose to be getting them ready to do but ...it is hard on a mother's heart.

"Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible."  ~Marion C. Garretty

Lauren was excited to go somewhere that was cold and had lots of snow...Idaho was the perfect place for her. She is loving it there and enjoying the whole experience.  Brad and Krystal however are thrilled to be spending the 4 months for their internships here in Seattle, away from the cold and snow. And of course they chose the perfect winter to come, this year has been one of the driest and warmest we have had in recorded history.

So as a mom of kids who are growing up and moving on, I realize that I too... need to continue thinking about the things I want to do and prepare myself to spread my wings and fly. I am beginning to work on my book, the one that I have dreamed of doing for years. I am working on getting a business started with my RECNAC gifts, hopefully getting them into other hospitals, available to all cancer patients. Yes, I taught my kids as they were growing up, but the neat things about having your kids get older, is that they begin to help teach you. I am grateful for my kids, what they have made and are making of their lives. I am grateful for their examples of courage and strength. Yes, motherhood is the hardest job ever but... the benefits are amazing!

"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

"YOU HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO BECOME ANYTHING TO WHICH YOU SET YOUR MIND. YOU HAVE A MIND AND A BODY AND A SPIRIT. WITH THESE THREE WORKING TOGETHER,  YOU CAN WALK THE HIGH ROAD THAT LEADS TO ACHIEVEMENT AND HAPPINESS. BUT THIS WILL REQUIRE EFFORT AND SACRIFICE AND FAITH." ~ Gordon B. Hinckley 

To all of you who have played a part in our kid's lives....thank you!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Is our foundation solid?

Once again we see on the news that another earth quake has hit. We see the devastation that it leaves in the lives of those people. They keep saying that the quake in Chile although bigger than the one in Haiti, yet it didn't do as much damage...Why?  Because the buildings in Chile were built on a stronger foundation.

With that in mind, I would like to share a part of a lesson that brought this topic of FOUNDATIONS a bit closer to home for me.


"Many years ago I walked at dawn through the narrow cobblestone streets of Cusco, Peru, high in the Andes Mountains. I saw a man from a local indigenous group walking down one of the streets. He was not a big man physically, but he carried an immense load of firewood in a huge burlap sack on his back. The sack seemed to be as big as he was. The load must have weighed as much as he did. He steadied it with a rope that looped under the bottom of the sack and circled up around his forehead. He gripped the rope tightly on both sides of his head. He kept a rag on his forehead underneath the rope to keep it from cutting into his skin. He leaned forward under his burden and walked with deliberate, difficult steps.
The man was carrying the firewood to the marketplace, where it would be sold. In an average day he might make just two or three round-trips across the town to deliver similarly awkward, heavy loads.
The memory of him bent forward, struggling down the street has become increasingly meaningful for me with the passage of years. How long could he continue to carry such burdens?
Life presses all kinds of burdens on each of us, some light but others relentless and heavy. People struggle every day under burdens that tax their souls. Many of us struggle under such burdens. They can be emotionally or physically ponderous. They can be worrisome, oppressive, and exhausting. And they can continue for years."
- L. Whitney Clayton

"Be kinder than necessary, because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle" 


Many of us have had feelings of overwhelmed, inadequacy and shortcomings. In order to overcome these feelings we need a deep foundation of knowledge and truth. Burdens can weigh us all down and will completely seem to make us crumble and fall unless we have a strong foundation. 

In the book of Matthew 6:33 we read...  "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. "

"When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities. We should put God ahead of everyone else (or anything) in our lives." -Ezra Taft Benson

Why is it that we sometimes forget to check and recheck how our foundation is doing?  Life is full, fast and many times overwhelming. May we all take a moment each day to recheck if there are any cracks or weak spots in our foundation. If there are, may we then take the time we need ...to repair and fix them. Our faith needs to be rock solid in order to be ready for whatever life sends our way!

"The loftier the building, the deeper must the foundation be laid" ~ Thomas Kempis

"A life without cause is a life without effect." ~Barbarella

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How to have a better today!

Now that I am home, I realized I need to start getting back into a schedule and start making the most of my days instead of them making the most of me. I know it takes time to do that, and there will be things that come up which will mess up those plans... but at least I am trying once again to do better. I found these tips on having a better day and thought they might be helpful to all of us. I am now going to go to bed at a decent time, and will try to apply these tips...starting tomorrow! :)   Good night dear friends!

10 Ways to Have a Better Day Today

by Geno Stampora


  1. Wake up 30 Minutes Early.


    Get up 30 minutes before the alarm goes off and take the first half hour for yourself. Once you get busy and into the day there never seems to be the time for yourself. Take this time to plan getting the most from the day.

  2. Read, Listen, or Watch Something Uplifting.


    Make this a daily habit. Get out of starting the day with no mental food. A great day does not begin with the news or the paper, it begins with ideas or energy that will propel you through the day. What you first hear will stay with you throughout the day.

  3. Eat a Good Breakfast to Start You Off Right.


    Get something good into your body to wake it up and get it going. Think about the energy you will need to perform. Everyday we run a marathon. What would you need to eat and drink to win it.

  4. Choose Your Winning Attitude.


    There is enough to go wrong without sabotaging yourself. Your attitude is a choice you make. Don't let it come between you and your success. Be careful to keep it positive all day long.

  5. Be Aware of What They are Telling You.


    The people around us have a profound effect on how we get through life. Our closest friends and family are our greatest environmental influences. Make sure you have the best advisors you can find.

  6. Make the Most of What You Do.


    When you get to your work, make it the best place to be. Most people go to work and never think about work while they are there. Focus on your contribution. What would it be like if you were not around. Strive to give a 100% each and every day.

  7. Always Remember that People are Listening.


    Make a point of talking well of others. Wish others the best in life. What goes around does come around. Don't talk negative about anyone. Try to understand their circumstances Practice being a support system to your friends and family. They need you.

  8. Be Honest and Fair to Others.


    It does make a difference. What you give to others is usually what you get from others. Practice integrity that people can see and feel. Be aware of what you say. Learn to walk your talk at all times. The more people trust you, the more of their time they will trust with you.

  9. Pace Your Energy to Last All Day.


    Be careful of bursts of energy. Pace your energy throughout the day. If you get to crazy early in the day, you will reach a point of exhaustion before the day is over. By planning your entire day before you begin, you will have what you need. You've heard the old saying "look alive."

  10. Get in Bed Early and Study for the Future.


    I have a friend who keeps a journal at his bedside. Every night he writes what he learned new on that day. The only way to keep one step above the masses is to learn new ways to do things. Develop the habit of reading a work or personal development book before you go to sleep. Reading for 30 minutes a day is like a year of college. You can't succeed if you don't read. Remember throughout your day that life is what we make it, day by day. Practice having the best day ever. It adds up to a great life.

 

"Don't be fooled by the calendar.  There are only as many days in the year as you make use of."  ~Charles Richards