grateful, healing, hope, Uncategorized

tip the balance

Pair of scales is made of stones on the cliff

I am having one lou lou of a time finding balance.  While I recover from being extremely ill, I still have to go about my daily life.  It’s really a dance.  It is two days forward and one step back.

Balance.

As a matter of fact, just yesterday, my eyes filled with tears as I learned about yet another favorite food I have to say good-bye to.

While I am grateful, truly grateful for another day, in my mind sometimes, it seems I should be glowing with gratitude and grace, moving gently about, pleased with everything and everyone. Yet, there are days, I am still a normal girl who wants to complain about her hair style, fuss about paint color, and whine about what to make for supper.

I am supremely grateful for walking a path of healing and yet, I somehow find the energy to grumble under my breath about having my medicine in place of lunch daily.  Yes, I know how lucky I am to have the money to pay for the protocol.   The stubborn 4th grade girl in me, still complains now and then.  It’s not pretty, it’s just the truth.

How do I tip the balance?    I am feeling so lucky and happily teeter tottering one moment and then bam, my fanny hits the ground and I need to re-group and gather some strength to push-off with my feet to send myself back up into the clouds.

There is nothing lofty about cleaning under the kitchen sink nor scrubbing the bath tub grout.  I still need to vacuum out the car and feed the chickens. I need to grocery shop weekly and purchase or make gifts for others.  I cannot sit each day, all day long, with my hands folded in prayer of thanksgiving.  I need my hands to pull on work gloves and work.  Hey, that garden hose, isn’t going to roll itself up.

I am healing every single day however,  I don’t live on a movie set where I am dressed in a beautiful, embroidered gown and float among everyone being happy and serene and grateful.  I still get ticked off by some folks.  I still burn food.  I still cuss now and then.  Occasionally, I still act like a spoiled child when the “want” platform outweighs the “give” platform.

This excerpt from,  The Year of Pleasure by Elizabeth Berg,  has help nudge me in the right direction.

“…I know you are hurting!  But what if you determined to find one thing every day that you-“

“I know. Count your blessings.  Remind yourself every night of every good thing that happened to you that day.”

“No, I’m not talking about things that happen to you.  I’m talking about things you make happen.  I’m talking about purposefully doing one thing that brings you happiness every single day, in a very conscious way.  It builds up the arsenal, Betta.  It tips the balance.” 

It tips the balance.

I like that way of thinking.

Instead of feeling sorry for myself, (which, honestly does happen), I look for ways to build up the arsenal.  I look for one thing that brings me happiness each day.

Somehow, one day has turned into the next and those days turned into a couple of months and somehow, every now and then, I forget to count the exact days on the calendar.

teeter-totterThat jolt of the teeter totter slamming down?  That happens when I panic and fret about a sore thumb or small bruise on my toe.  ( Um, no, you are not sick again, maybe it is just a hang nail?  Maybe it is just a bruise from stubbing your toe?)  I spend way too much time each day wondering if I will get sick again.

I want to spend my time, building up the arsenal of happiness so that I tip the balance.  I want to spend more time looking for happy than worrying about the bad that may come.

I look for leaves.

I look for a recipe to try.

I buy two new dresses for  the sweet grandgirlies in my life.

I buy socks for Mr. Right.  Somehow, seeing a man well dressed in “go to work” clothes and then knowing he has on goofy socks, makes me chortle.  thanksgiving-socks

For me, wrapping them in gift wrap with a pretty bow adds to the humor.  Just out of the blue on a Monday night, he comes across a gift tucked into the utensil drawer or set on his desk.  chess-socks

A couple of weeks ago, before his chess lesson, he unwrapped chess socks.  This week, because he loves pumpkin pie………Thanksgiving socks of course.

 

Just for happiness, every Saturday, I trade pictures of eating a banana with grand #3.  We each eat a banana then trade pictures.  This is HAPPINESS pure and simple folks.  Makes me happy to see his picture and he gets to yell, “NANA” when he sees my picture.  haha

While on a walk , I found this ginormous leaf and it made me happy.  I had to share it with the grands. Golly Wally, a leaf is as big as my head?  That’s happy, pure and simple.  20161112_125639_resized

 

With my heart and soul I am going to continue to look for happy. Even on the crummy days, I will continue to search.

On my search, I have stumbled upon…….ginormous leaves, shared bananas, sweet dresses and goofy socks.

It all balances out.

Chat tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

grace, grateful, haPPY, healing, health, hope, Uncategorized

pink, pink you stink

Imagine if you will, being so sick you couldn’t even think straight.

After a few years and buckets of hard work, and a thousand glasses of green juice, bit by bit you began to heal.

Then year after year, October after October you are SMACKED in the face to relive and remember.

Pink.

It’s the pits. It is awful.  It is crappy.  You get the picture.

3+ years ago, I chose the path less traveled.  I chose not to “join” the wear pink club.  Instead of joining and being encouraged and supported by friends and family wearing pink boas and pink tutus……….I went a different direction that was right for me.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I used to love pink.  It was one of my top 3 or 4 color choices.

However, I can clearly remember “the” closet day.    I went to my closet and started ripping down anything I saw that was pink.

Pink t-shirt, pink fleece jacket, pink Oxford shirt, pale pink tank top, pink glittery tank, pink long granny gown hanging up.

Next, I stepped over to my dresser.  I tossed into the pile: a pink slip, a pale pink lovely piece of lingerie and some pink panties.

I didn’t even donate them.  I threw them in the trash can for pick up the next day.

Done.  Moving on.  Brushed my hands of that.

Flipping through catalogs, I was drawn to the pink, but chose gray or taupe instead.

Imagine being so broken that for a time, I couldn’t even read, bake, write,  cook or sew.  It was a huge accomplishment when I made our bed or fed and watered the chickens by myself.

Slowly, ever so slowly with fierceness, determination, encouragement & support of Mr. Right & my family,  I started to heal.

Trying to fill up that sick, painful, time and memories with new, good, healthy positive things was/is slow going and tricky.  Bit by bit.

Then I would catch sight of a pink bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken,  pink Jello, pink diet soda, pink gummy vitamins, pink garbage bags(?), pink cake mix, professional football players wearing pink shoes or socks or the referee using a pink whistle, pink menu card in the airline seat pocket and on the ridiculous list goes.  Not one of those things would help me heal.  While the chemicals, sugar, colorings would only add gasoline to the fire, the stupidity of pink garbage bags or pink furnace filters is an assault on my intelligence.

While the pink does uplift some, brings others hope and they find comfort in the meaning, I do not.

Pink, pink you stink.  Seeing that color is a huge road block for me.  I am working to get around it. I try all the tricks the mental health field has to offer.  I continue to work on it almost daily.  It is tough, really tough to gracefully deal with it, process it and skirt around it if I am not strong enough that particular day.

Every single week, Mr. Right brings me flowers.   However,about 3+ years ago,  he considerately stopped bringing pink flowers.

As a matter of fact, for date night last night, he gave me the most beautiful burnt orangey, salmoney, fall color saturated roses I have ever seen.

In the name of healing & progress, I decided to type this.

Last night for date night.  I wore a brand new, very cute black and white pencil skirt. An adorable smokey gray (encrusted with jewels) sweater tied causally around my shoulders that was over a brand new stunning, color saturated pink blouse.  I paired it with a stunning pair of antique earrings.  20161013_104318_resized

Doesn’t seem like a huge deal to most.  I talked about it way, way too many times with Mr. Right.  However, once I decided to wear it, I was done talking about the color.  As always, he complimented me several times.  Not one person pointed or even noticed, no other human being in the restaurant even gave it a second thought.

It was a humongous step for me.

20161012_175949_resizedRight in the middle of a beautiful, lovely, middle of the week, awesome-sauce date night at the Space Needle, I quietly, without fanfare, took one more healing step. 20161012_191956-1_resized

As the sun set, the skyline was a light with sky scrapers. Several of those buildings have pink twinkle lights lining the rooftops.

I am not completely happy and comfortable with being constantly reminded with pink for many reasons, choices and the seriousness of this topic………..at least I didn’t dissolve into a puddle of tears as I have in the past.

Girlfriend to girlfriend, I actually sort of forgot about it.  It sort of faded into the background.

I was thinking more about:  the view, the food, the piano music, how Mr. Right still does it for me,  the dessert choices, my manicure, the card he gave me, how tight my Spanks were (I was just seeing if you were paying attention), how I love tasting his food and sharing mine,  how cute & remarkably comfortable my peep toe shoes are, my pedicure, how much I enjoyed the after dinner coffee, the bracelet I wore,  how much I enjoyed the conversation, how much I enjoy spying Mr. Right politely and smoothly tipping the young valet, how nice the car drive home was…….and on the list goes.  Yeah, I sort of forgot to fuss and fret over wearing pink.

I am making a tiny bit of progress.  Maybe my heart is starting to heal?  Maybe I am finding my own way?  Maybe, just maybe I am making my way back to liking the color pink again?sometimes-the-smallest-step-in-the-right-direction-ends-up-being-the-biggest-step-of-your-life

Pink, pink you are just sort of smelly.

progress.

hope, Uncategorized

angel among us

This US Army family celebrated a retired Air Force Colonel on the Fourth of July.

Saturday, July 4th, as our American flag gloriously swayed in the breeze , our yard edged and mowed, the beautiful bunting was hanging proudly with the anticipation of a bar-b-que, blackberry pie and a huge fireworks display to come, we remembered a man.

Bill Henderson

My husband wrote these words about him:

“Today the world said goodbye to Bill Henderson.  If you don’t know who Bill was then you’ve never fought cancer naturally.  Bill offered us hope when we had none and literally saved Mrs. Right’s life.  Though we never had the honor of meeting Bill, he had a profound and deep impact on our lives.  Sometimes there are angels among us, and now he is home.  You literally saved thousands of lives Bill and we all benefited from your calm wisdom and your generous spirit.  Rest in Peace.” 

Some of you know my story, some may not.

January 2013 I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  (No, I did not forget to capitalize those letters.)  I can assure you that I know exactly, the number of days it has been.  For the sake of story telling, let’s just say, 3.5 years since I heard those words?  Lots of words, lots and lots of words, buckets of panic, fear and pressure. I cannot put into words the urgency in which the doctor laced the words “you have probably one year”.

The neighbor man said, “don’t worry, you might have 3 good months left”.  “Friends” were afraid and jumped ship quickly. People I did tell, did not know what to say, so they didn’t say anything to me.  They asked Mr. Right questions…..what stage is it?, where is it located?, how long does she have?, when does treatment start?……………………..They all assured him they needed to know these things so they could pray for me.  What?

In the first year, other than my family, 2 people stopped by to say hello.  Don’t misunderstand, people cared.  They sent cards and some emails.

cancer scares the HELL out of people and they didn’t want to be around it.  Once a medical person put on gloves to come in and do paperwork!  I even was brave enough to ask her if she thought she would catch what I have.  She didn’t answer.  sigh.

Fear is a heavy, heavy blanket.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I know exactly where I am going when I am finished with this life.  I am counting on it!  I am trying to live a life with that destination in mind.

I just had this feeling that I had some life left to live.  I have a husband to adore, love & take care of, children to bother and grands to fuss over and smoother with hugs & kisses and presents and homemade treats and…  I just had an inkling that I wasn’t quite through with my mission.

I was afraid of the medical procedures.  Not just the pain and humiliation.   I was raised with some radically different religious beliefs, so the medical procedures were not something I was gung-ho about. I did not want to be poisoned to achieve healing.

Shaken to my core and on my knees, I made the decision to say no thank you.  No thank you to chemotherapy and radiation.            I learned that chemotherapy and radiation have a 97.4 % chance of NOT working with breast cancer, not healing, not helping.   I didn’t know what the heck I was going to do.

While I can tell you exactly where I was standing, what I was wearing and what I was doing when I made those choices, in no way did I feel fierce or brave or courageous.

I felt beaten. I had no hope.

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

Enter Bill Henderson.

FB_IMG_1467780683045 (1)He was the first person to offer me hope.

HOPE

Hope is a mighty powerful gift. 

Yes,  always  Mr. Right, some of my family and a couple of friends believed in my decision……..everyone else was extremely polite, friendly, fake supportive, yet thought I was crazy ( and most likely still do)  CooCoo for Cocoa Puffs crazy for choosing the path less traveled. Many prayed for me to “see the light” and just get the treatment, just take the pill.

Bill offered up solutions, many, many solutions.  He offered up education, research,  ideas, kindness, quiet strength, vision, a road map to health & wellness and most of all he offered the golden ticket, HOPE.  He believed in my decision. He said, sure you can do this, come on, I’ll show you.

Ty Bollinger wrote a powerful tribute to Bill.  You can read it here:      https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/bill-henderson-cancer-tribute/?gl=582827493

I am healing.  Each day, I get a bit stronger.  Every once in a while, I have set backs.  Yeah, they knock the wind out of me.  I am not yet ready to shake the world by the tail and scream at the top of my lungs, look at me.

What I am ready to do is offer HOPE.

Bill Henderson gave it to me.  Free.  No strings attached.  If you ever, ever, ever need a person to offer up hope, call me.  I will be there if I can or at least talk your ear off on the phone or make you ask the question, “how many words can one person type while texting?”……No matter what the trouble, diagnosis, issue……..I am your person.  I will offer hope.  Yes, even when everyone else has let you down, I won’t.

The biggest lesson of my life so far. Offering another human being, Hope.

I was thrown a life line.  I grasped it.  It kept my head above water.

Bill Henderson saved my life.

I am grateful.  I will live a life of gratitude for all the days of my life.

In my heart I KNOW, Bill heard the words that he so deserved:

Well Done Thou Good and Faithful Servant.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

health, honey, hope, recipe, recipe comfort food, Uncategorized

my golden ticket

Everyday for oh, say, 30 some years, I would have an afternoon coffee and a little cookie, a piece of biscotti, an almond thin,  just a little something, something to go with my coffee.

I had to give that all up.  Yes, including how I made my coffee.  Good bye daily lattes.  I gave away 17 bottles of coffee syrups.   The daily cookie had to be deleted as well.   Somehow during all those years, the tiny piece of cookie was mixed up in my brain as comfort food.

3.3 years ago, in every part of my life I had to give up something.

I think I had oatmeal almost every morning of my life for about 45 years.   I have even ordered oatmeal at  3 different Four Season Restaurants.  I have ordered it in more states than I can remember.  I have eaten it with every topping imaginable.  My favorite.  Goodbye.

To say that I had an anger issue about all this would be an understatement.

Thankfully, I got my brain working again and figured out how to have my coffee once again.  (thank heavens for coconut cream).  Yesterday, I had a Butterscotch latte  (think butter and maple syrup and espresso).   I even have learned how to have an iced caramel latte.

20160426_171527Treats have been a bit tricky.  I used to bake batch after batch of Biscotti.  I wrapped it beautifully and gave it as gifts.  I gave it away to co-workers.  I gave it to neighbors.  I even sold some to a coffee stand for a while.  I loved Biscotti so much, I wanted to marry it.  Really!

Once I figured out, it wasn’t the chocolate bits that I liked or the drizzled frosting on top or the poppy seeds…..I adored the cookie part.  Just a crisp piece of cookie that I could dip now and then.   I knew I could figure this out.

So here I am 7 or 8 batches later…….remember my rules,  I can’t use sugar or dairy & it has to be gluten free. 20160426_164248-1

I tried “Swerve”.  No thank you.  I tried maple syrup, nope that wasn’t it.  I tried coconut sugar, again, not what I was looking for.  I tried Wax Orchard’s fruit sweet (I love this product, it just didn’t work in the biscotti).  I tried agave nectar, nope not the golden ticket.   I don’t use any artificial sweeteners of any kind.

Wait did I just type golden????

Honey.  I have fallen in love with Raw Honey and it has been my saving grace. Raw Honey has helped me heal and quite honestly saved my sanity.  My Golden Ticket!!

Daily medicine more manageable with a 1/2 teaspoon of raw honey.   Making my own Almond Milk, yes, you guessed it with raw honey.  Salad Dressing and treats, coffee drinks and the list goes on and on.

So here you go.  I am sharing my recipe.  By all means make it your own.

Here’s to comfort food that brings no guilt.

Here’s to our good health!

In this together, friend. 20160427_093752-1

Honey Almond Biscotti

1/2 cup butter (I used Earth Balance) 

3/4 cup raw honey

2 fresh eggs

1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon real almond extract

3.5 cups flour ( I used Better Batter Flour) 

1/2 teaspoon baking powder (no aluminum) 

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda 

3/4 cup raw sliced almonds

(You can add up to 1 cup of dried fruit or other goodies if you want)

Beat the butter until light.  Gradually add raw honey, eggs, vanilla and almond extract.  Beat until smooth.  Combine flour, baking power, baking soda and salt.  Add to honey mixture.  Stir in almonds. 

Shape dough into two 10X13X1 inch logs and place on a silpat covered cookie sheet.  Bake at 350* for 25 minutes. Remove, cool 5 minutes.  Reduce heat in oven to 275* 

Cut each log into 1/2 inch slices and arrange on baking sheet.  Bake 20 minutes or until crisp.  Cool on a wire rack.  Store in a air tight container. 

Make coffee (or tea).  Sit down, feet up and enjoy a piece.  Pure comfort.  (and no guilt for me)

grace, grandchildren, grateful, haPPY, healing, hope, Uncategorized

Z.A.C.

I have never been much for signing petitions.  Oh yes, I am passionate about oodles of things.  I guess I just never found anything that really spoke to me.  Nothing I would be willing to stand up for and speak my mind.

Actually stand up for and sign my name to.

In the wee dark hours this morning, as I read the story I have been following for 6 months or so, I changed my mind.

I decided to sign the petition.

https://www.change.org/p/texas-medical-board-and-gov-rick-perry-stop-the-attacks-on-dr-stanislaw-burzynski-s-succesful-cancer-treatment?recruiter=false&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylinkhttps://www.change.org/p/texas-medical-board-and-gov-rick-perry-stop-the-attacks-on-dr-stanislaw-burzynski-s-succesful-cancer-treatment?

I have the privilege of healing naturally.  I think the information should be available to all who choose to heal in that fashion.

I was given a horrid diagnosis a bit over 1,000 days ago.  When the outlook is grim, you have to bathe yourself in research and information and figure out your path.

I chose to say no thank you to what they were suggesting and follow a path less traveled. I chose to heal.

Today, when I filled out the petition… name, address, email….. I kept thinking to myself, am I willing to stand up for what I deep down believe with my whole heart?

Then it came to the last question:

Reason for signing petition.

um.

Before filling in the box, I looked through others answers.  Some quite lengthy.  Some very technical and heart wrenching. People listed dates and how long they were given to live.  Others listed all the things they had tried before finding Dr. Burzynski.  Many went on to offer sincere and heartfelt thanks for the healing they had found.

I started typing all of my thoughts for signing the petition.  I erased it 7 times.  I tried to different wording.  I tried to explain why I chose natural healing.  I tried to sound thankful and gracious.  I erased and started over yet again.

Then it hit me.

Z.A.C.

Those are the initials of my grands.

Two sang their Thanksgiving song to us last night. 20151024_163913  I got to hold the youngest and rock him to sleep over the weekend.20151115_111000 (1)

So my answer for signing the petition?

Z.A.C.

Three perfect reasons.

 

friends, grateful, hope

messy hope

My camp circle is huge.

You know what a camp circle is, right?  People you’d hang out with around a camp fire.  Relaxed.  Wild and messy hair hidden behind bandanas.  Dirty fingernails from rearranging rocks.  Really dusty sneakers from exploring an easy hiking trail.  Ripped and faded jeans.  Smiles.  No lipstick.  Rosy cheeks from the heat of the camp fire.  Everyone seems to have a stick.  Either to toast something or to stare aimlessly into the flames and watch the end glow red.

411a2ff02c5ce5dea2124c81db0b8193Those few people in your life that help you remember there is hope.  Just by the sound of their voice you can hear the courage they are sharing, the smile they are sharing.

One of my fellow campers lives 3,024.6 miles away.

Another sweet camper lives 3,046.2 miles away.

One more smiling camper lives 2,537.6 miles away.

Life get’s messy.  I don’t have to explain that to anyone. Well, anyone who is willing to buckle up and brave enough to jump on the roller coaster.  If you hide out and not jump in and get your hands dirty, then life isn’t so messy.

Maybe that’s it?  You don’t have to explain anything messy to your dear friends.  You just need to hear their voice and borrow a little bit of courage from them.  Just take a smidgen of hope from their voice.

I don’t want to live on the edges of other people’s happiness.  I want to take a bit of their happy and mix it in with the happy that I have and create this huge swirling stock pot of messy, delicious goodness.

I want to find reasons to celebrate every single day.  If something spectacular isn’t happening in my neck of the woods on any given day, I want to look for something to celebrate.

20150825_160252-1I want to spend the day making cedar shoe inserts to celebrate someone moving into a new apartment.  She loves shoes.  She loves her new closet.  She loves purple.  How on earth could I not celebrate and get a little of that happy on me?

I want to celebrate my friend’s 20150826_132924-1 (1)new grand on the way!

I want to celebrate my friend’s parents’ 60th wedding anniversary.

I think celebrating with others, just increases the joy.  1e26fe6b4984b32b5d9ff7f5150dfadb

I am mighty grateful and I appreciate my disheveled, bandana wearing fellow campers.

They share their good and their bad with me.  My mind swirls and twirls and I celebrate or cry with them.

Some days, I am not yet strong enough to hold them up and come up with brilliant ideas to help them.

Sometimes, when that text comes in or the phone rings, I just smile and gather a bit of hope and am stronger and I move forward with a little skip in my step.

Have I mentioned lately, what a lucky , grateful girl I am?