if you were given 5 years

If you were given 5 years…wish 2

If you were given a gift of 5 years, 5 years you thought you didn’t have, what would you do?  How would you spend them?  Would you do the things you always wished you could do but for whatever reason you haven’t?  Would you make sure that the people you love know you love them?  Would you buy the extra good foods, go on great adventures?  Would you run yourself ragged trying to make every minute of every day meaningful?

Daleen decided that she would be grateful for each day and would use every day by embracing something that would help her on her journey.  She decided to learn everything about healing cancer naturally.  She’s become an expert at clean living and is a virtual encyclopedia of knowledge on the subject.  She was determined to travel even though it tired her out so much.  After all, there’s a big world out there waiting to be discovered by each of us.  And so, we’ve been to virtually the four corners of these great United States and many places in between.  She dedicated herself to her handiwork and has produced one beautiful piece after another.

We haven’t done it alone though and so we are grateful we have a supportive family and some supportive friends.  Though they don’t all agree we chose wisely, they all have been squarely behind Daleen – who could ask for more?  From phone calls to emails to wee gifts in the mail, everyone has been a positive part of her wellness.

Sweet Liberty, a Golden Retriever of distinction, has done her share.  She’s made sure there was dog hair to pick up, meals for Daleen to prepare for her and toys to pick up.  She’s also caught more than a few tears in her luxurious golden coat and offers nothing in return but love.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; were that humans could be so unabashedly loving and accepting as dogs.

In that bleak January 5 years ago, she would ask me “do you think I’ll be around at Christmas?” and then slowly the question became “do you think I’ll be around to see (fill in the blank)?  There was always the nagging thought that no matter what she did, it wouldn’t make a difference.  She would eat healthily, exercise, get a lot of sunshine, take vitamins and everything wouldn’t matter.

At some point, she quit asking.  She accepted the fact that she was living, she was living well and that was enough.  Next, she started planning ahead – a huge change!  Finally, questioning her life stopped being the predominant thought of her every waking moment.  In short, she learned how to live again and live she has; this Sunday is 1,826 days of wellness.healing-comes-from-gathering-wisdom-from-past-actions-and-letting-go-of-the-pain-that-the-

That dear friend is what cancer does to you.  It robs you of the luxury of not thinking about death.  Sure, there are many other things it does, but the pervasive, all-encompassing thoughts revolve around death for longer than we thought possible.  To be honest, they are never that far away and it’s a constant struggle to keep them where they belong – in the distance.   What cancer can also do is tie you even closer together.  We’d been married for a while when the dreaded diagnosis was given and I thought I knew my blushing bride of 30 years.  Turns out, I only knew part of her.  I have now come to know the amazing strength that is her, and of course, I see more clearly the quiet beauty and the grace that is her.  Along the way, she’s taught me more about living and life than I thought possible and I’m ever so grateful.

We have a few posters and sayings in our home about gratitude and grace.  Ok, a first-time visitor to our home might say many.   They serve as continual reminders.  She is grateful because she was given these last five years when she was convinced she wouldn’t have them.  She is grateful for so many things and so many people I could fill many pages listing them all.  She has the quiet grace that goes with confidence and the inner grace that radiates outward.  When you are with her, you know you are with someone who understands the value of each and every day.  She’s confident that although the future is (and always has been) uncertain, she’s been blessed with these last five years and has tried to embrace each and every day as the gift it is.

Along the way, we’ve learned so much about living well.  We recognize all the positives in our life, and there are so very many, and we’re eliminating the negatives.  We used to struggle over this, now we’ve learned to simply accept it.

I started this writing by asking you what you would do with a gift of time.  Dear friends, you have the gift of time, and more time after that and so on.  That time is yours to do with as you please.  What will you do with your time?  We hope you make the most of it, that you embrace your time and use it wisely.  In short, we hope you live!

Wishing you health and wellness.



I tossed the damp towel on the edge of the bathtub.  A couple of hours later, it was still there.

Must only mean one thing………vacation is over.  Here at home, there are no efficient maids that work behind the scenes. (to be clear, this is a picture of the hotel bathroom, not the master bath in our home )venetian-bath

This year to celebrate 35 years of being married, we chose to do something completely different.  Certainly, different for us.  In a surprising twist, two folks who don’t drink, smoke or gamble decided to go to Las Vegas, Nevada!

venetian-resort-armillary_2400x1600To spend time, in a glamorous suite, at the Venetian exploring a whole new world was most certainly different and quite an adventure.

8949It was a week of art, beauty, gardens, waterfalls, food, glorious food, treats and sunshine!  We are so used to pouring rain and gray, it took a day or so for us to dry out and revel in the glorious rays of the sun.

Daily breakfast at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon restaurant had VACATION written all over it. Seriously folks.  I want live in that restaurant.  I want that floor.  The service was 8958extraordinary. The food was exemplary.  If you order the French Toast it is little pillows of heaven served on the most exquisite marmalade you have ever had the pleasure of tasting. The coffee is perfect. Oh, and then as you are just about to leave……….wait for it………they bring you a “to-go” cup of coffee, already with the perfect amount of cream to take with you, to help you ease into the day.  BLESS THEM and what they have created.  Such extravagance.

The gondola ride was anniversary perfect.  The music, the gondolier, the roses, the water, the perfect (faux) sky…… charming, every moment of it was charming and fun (I mean 8945romantic).


Having my palm read has been a secret desire.  I don’t know why I have never been brave enough.  Vacation has a way of making you brave enough to try new things.  I did it and it was super fun & silly & wonderful all mixed together.  After she was done, I told her she was spot on and accurate about everything.  (I wanted her to know she did a good job.)  She said,  “I know, it’s my job.”   Really?  How did she know I study one hour each morning?  ummmm….

A daily treat of swimming and lounging by the garden pool, was so nice.  Just hearing the waterfall and lollygagging for hours was dreamy.

We visited some beautiful gardens and wondered around until we found a glorious bakery.  See?  Vacation is DREAMY!!

Vacations allow us glorious time, somehow remind us we have permission to slowly walk through a garden and fill our spirits with saturated color and beauty. We walk slower, we take more time to gather goodness.

This Monday morning, our vacation envelope is empty.

Time to start saving and dreaming about our next adventure. I’ll wait for you to go get an envelope and pen.  Saving and anticipating the next glorious adventure is wonderful. Write on the outside of the envelope where you want to go.  Put a dollar in the envelope. Seriously, one dollar.  Seed money.8956

Vacation fills our pitcher.  We owe it to ourselves to dream and anticipate and plan.  Then once on vacation, the sun feels warmer, the coffee is richer,  the pool more relaxing, the desserts are more decadent (I forgot to tell you all about the glorious, thick, creamy dreamy Tiramisu dessert that we had made right at our table……..ah……)  oh, and did I mention the shared tangy, Lemon Gelato? 8947

Taking the time to plan a 35th  anniversary vacation, reminds us to celebrate what a really good marriage we have. Yes, my friend, celebrating marriage is THAT important.  By making an effort to celebrate anniversary 4 or 17, those celebrations most certainly help you get to number 35.  By celebrating number 35 it helps you get to number 47 and so on……

Here’s to great marriages, amazing experiences and wonderful breakfasts in French restaurants!

vacation quote

Love Notes

Every work morning for 34 years (minus away time for the Army) my husband writes me a letter.

This  year for Valentine’s Day I am him a small quilt called, “Love Notes”. 20160210_145058-1-1

I sewed an extra block onto the back of the quilt.  I slipped my own love note inside.20160210_144402

I am so grateful that I am reminded every single day, someone loves me…

and….. I love him right back.

(I am just better with a sewing machine, than trying to get up at 4:30 am in the morning to write a coherent letter.)20160210_145121

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


Fingers crossed he likes it.


Happy Valentine’s Day!

Ps.  He loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!





$5.00 cup of lemonade

lemonade 1Every single day of my life, I find reasons to fall in love all over again with Mr. Right.

You know who I am talking about.   Keeps lists, pays taxes on time, budgets for everything, writes itineraries for vacation trips, keeps a very clean car, loves his dog, good listener, big on planning “spur of the moment things”?  Oh, I am sure you know the type?  His dress shirts for work are ironed and his shoes are polished.  He says hello to everyone, sings in the car and adores his Grands.  One of his favorite things is saving for and buying oodles and oodles of school supplies for kiddos.  Big by the way……………..looks great in a pair of Levi’s (my blog, my opinion). lemonade 2

What’s the reason this time?

Reason number 697.

Because on his way home from work last night, he stopped and paid $5.00 for a 25 cent cup of lemonade. (The young entrepreneur had to ask his mom if it was okay to take that much money as extra) The refreshing cup came with a nice wedge of lemon.  Certainly a nice touch.

ginger-lemonade-ay-1875815-xGosh, I love that guy.