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Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day Plants

Happy Belated Mother's Day to all the wonderful moms out there.  May you all be appreciated by all the children and their fathers in your lives.

Last year for Mother's Day, I had requested a raised garden, so we ended up buying a house that already had one in the back yard.  :)  It ended up not being usable, so this year I got a raised garden  for Mother's Day.  It is already full of vegetable plants.  I'm so excited to get to shop for fresh veggies in my own back yard.  And, it already has tomatoes growing.  :)  Thanks to my wonderful family for this amazing gift along with the promise they will be taken care of when I am unable.  I am one lucky wife and mom.  :)

Mother's Day Flowers

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Thanksgiving for today

The Voice
Wonder Woman cuff bracelet

Monday, April 27, 2015

Choosing Life

First, I'd like to apologize to anyone only finding out about this latest adventure in my life through this blog post.  I realize it's much nicer to get personal communication face to face or voice to voice.  So, I'm sorry if this is how you are getting this news, but face to face is not possible with all of you and even voice to voice would be difficult.  It's much easier to type this once than repeat myself hundreds of times and crying doesn't effect the readability of type as much as it effects my voice when trying to communicate the same thoughts.

This has been a whirlwind couple of weeks.  As most of you know, I turned the big 4-0 this year and that means I was now eligible for my first ever mammogram.  I know that's a right of passage you're all just waiting for.  :)  So, like a good girl, taking care of my overall health, I had my yearly physical exam, blood work, and scheduled my first ever mammogram.  (I've even had my annual dental appointment and scheduled my eye exam).  I take care of my health no matter what shape I'm in.  Fortunately, my blood work and other tests all came back great, so no new health concerns.  Then, I got the letter in the mail from my mammogram results.  I remember telling my family, "It must be fine because they just mailed a letter.  If it wasn't they would have called in person."  Then, I opened the letter and discovered I was wrong.  I had abnormal test results and needed to call to schedule further testing.  Panic sets in!!!

So, like the good patient that I am, I schedule testing immediately.  :)  I had an ultrasound scheduled a couple of days later that would put all this to rest and then I could go on with my life.  Right?  WRONG!  The ultrasound showed a mass that led to the need for further testing--this time a meeting with a specialist and a biopsy.  Now who out there isn't just a little bit terrified of the word biopsy and the word that leads to--CANCER.  If you're out there saying you wouldn't be, I dare you to face this head on in your life and then tell me you weren't.

The rest of the week was a whirlwind of phone calls, appointments, and an early morning outpatient surgical procedure called a biopsy.  I'm so thankful people were praying for me and God was with me that morning (as always).  I didn't freak out or cry during the procedure even though I was watching on the ultrasound screen.  I was told there would be some stinging and burning when they injected the local anesthetic.  I didn't feel any pain.  Not during the needle prick, not during the injection of the medicine, not during the procedure.  There was a little discomfort later in the day, but nothing ice packs and Tylenol couldn't handle.  Now we wait until the results come back.

I realize I was told that medical professionals treat suspicious mammograms seriously and not to
freak out if I was called back for testing.  Let me tell you, that is easier said than done.  I've had a lot of time to start considering the "what ifs."  That is not a good thing.  Waiting is the hardest part.  I know that God will be with me and help me through whatever it is I have to face in this next adventure.  But, I just want to know what that is.  I want to begin dealing with "what is" and not spend time losing sleep over "what if."

Ever since the accident, my view of life on earth has changed a bit.  I always thought I might not spend a lot of time, energy, and money fighting a battle with cancer or another terminal illness.  I thought I might just focus on enjoying whatever time I have left to the fullest and not bother with hospitals and medical procedures.  But, that was before faced with the reality of a potentially life-threatening disease.  It didn't take me long to realize I would fight this with whatever resources I have available.  I choose LIFE and will do whatever necessary to fight on the side of life.

So, we wait and  try not to think about it too much.  Whatever will be will be.  And, my family and friends will love me through whatever this next adventure holds.  And, regardless of the results, I CHOOSE LIFE!!!

The results are in and they did find cancer cells.  So, now I begin dealing with "what is."  I am starting a whole new blog to give me a place to vent and express my feelings all through this journey.  So, if you want to follow along with me you can join me at  Send comments and let's start a conversation through this new adventure.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Party for My Feet

My first task while going through Sarah Ban Breathnach's book, Romancing the Ordinary: A Year of Simple Splendor, depressed me.  We were encouraged to go sock shopping and find several different types of socks to pamper our feet.  I started feeling sorry for myself.  For the last 10 years, sock (and shoe) shopping has been all about the practical and what will fit with my brace.  I've had to let go of the idea of sock and shoe shopping for fun and go with the what will fit my feet idea.

I found myself remembering the sock shop we discovered while visiting Sydney Australia.   Imagine with me for a moment.  We're just walking along downtown Sydney, checking out quaint shops along the way and talking about buying some Vegemite to take home.   We turn to walk into the next little shop, and it's like being hit with a bright light and rainbow on the wall.  Floor to ceiling walls covered with every type of sock imaginable.  There was no way to even begin to see the happiness all around me.  We spent a long time just enjoying the visual feast for our eyes and dreaming about how happy our feet would be every day if we had a closest with choices like this.  I don't remember the name of the stop, but I did find a website from a store in Australia that made me smile much the same way.  And, it is called Happy Feet.  If you want to check it out, here is the link.  I dare you not to smile.

Sorry, for the trip down memory lane.  Back to my story.  As I was feeling sorry for myself and wishing I could pamper my feet and have fun socks, I put on my Elmo knee highs one day.  At that moment, I felt struck by lightening.  I realized I did have fun socks.  I could have happy feet.  So, I decided to get photos of all my fun socks.  These make me smile and it's a private feeling that only my feet and I get to enjoy (unless of course I let you in on my little secret).  It's much like wearing a superhero shirt under your professional attire.  (I have to admit I do that too sometimes).  It's much easier to be a strong woman when I have my Wonder Woman shirt on giving me strength.

So, the next time I see you around, I dare you to pay attention to my socks.  Maybe they'll put a smile on your face too.  :)

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Thanksgiving for today

Cooking Lessons
Hydrocortisone Creme
Finishing a Task
Personal Trainer
Finding an adaptation for doing squats

I never did by any Vegemite, btw

Friday, January 30, 2015

It's Not Over 'Til It's Over

My T-Shirt

I'm getting ready to watch the Big Game this weekend--Superbowl XLIX.  Those of you who know me well, know that I am not the biggest sports fan.  I generally watch ONE NFL game per year and that is only for the commercials.  But, I am a Seattle Seahawks fan and have been since Junior High.  And, I am a loyal fan.  They were doing well when I was in Junior High and then they were not doing so well for awhile.  Now, they are doing well again and I'm thrilled that I have stayed a loyal fan.  Please let me apologize in advance to real sports fans.  As you read this, I'm sure you'll notice that I am not a huge sports fan and I'm certain I'll make all kinds of errors.  So, read this not as a sports report, but through the eyes of a Seahawks fan who picked up life lessons from this game.

So, this year, I plan to watch TWO games.  I plan to watch the Superbowl and I did watch most of the NFC Championship a couple of weeks ago.  I didn't get on the very beginning of the game so when I turned on the TV it was 16-0 not in the Seahawks favor.  :(  I didn't worry too much because I figured they were just waiting for me to arrive to support them.  So, I put on my Seahawks t-shirt and settled in to watch the game.

I have to admit, I am a loyal fan, but I didn't believe in my team.  When the score was the same by halftime, I had given up.  I thought I'd be watching the Super Bowl only for the commercials and not care about the outcome of the game itself.  I was convinced there would not be repeat NFC champions.  I lost faith in my team.

But, I sure am glad they hadn't lost faith in themselves.  I was getting frustrated at the amount of interceptions.   It just seemed like they couldn't manage to get the ball where they wanted it to go.  There were five Seahawk turnovers in this game  But, they didn't seem to every give up hope.  The last four minutes or so were probably the most exciting football I have seen in my life.  Now, I know that is not saying much since I only watch on average ONE game per year, but even I was whooping and hollering.  Probably the first time noise came out of my mouth was when the punter faked a field goal and threw it in for a touchdown.  Not that a turn over is ever a good thing, but when the Seahawks intercepted and got the momentum to not only tie the game but be actually ahead by three points, I was on the edge of my seat.  Then, the Packers tied the game for the final score of 22-22 and into overtime we go.  I could not believe my eyes as I watched the Seahawks score quickly in overtime and the Packers never had the chance to play offense.  I may have doubted my team for a moment, but I will never doubt them again.

This football game was full of life lessons that I think are important for anyone to learn.  I know, only I would be looking for something more than entertainment out of a NFL game.   I was getting frustrated with all the turn overs, but the Seahawks kept doing what they were supposed to and didn't seem to be getting discouraged.  They did a great job putting into action what I've been trying to learn for the past year, "focus on what is, not on what if."  They could have pouted and moaned about things not working out the way they had planned.  When  that happens, you stop playing with heart.  The important thing is to learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward.  Don't spend all your time and energy focusing on what went wrong, "oh woe is me."  Spend your time and energy reassessing your current reality and doing what you need to do to move forward.  And, if that doesn't work, refocus and keep on trying.  Always keep your goal in mind and move toward your goal even if you have to reassess several times.  Keep moving forward, one yard at a time.  :)

The play where the kicker faked the punt and threw in the touchdown, made me think about another life lesson.  Don't be afraid to think outside the box and do something unexpected.  Even if you shock the world around you, as long as what you plan is legal and moral, it doesn't have to be the norm.  In fact, the norm is overrated.  Creativity and thinking outside the box can have amazing, unpredicted results.

It's not over 'til it's over.  Never give up.  Don't be a fair weather fan like I was and concede that it's over before it really is.  I'm so glad Russell Wilson and the Seahawks didn't give up.  They kept their goal in mind and kept moving forward one play at a time.  Never give up.  We can't see the end result, so it's our job to do our best, work our hardest, and keep moving forward one step at a time.

Thank you Seattle Seahawks for the great life lessons.  I can't wait to see what I can learn while watching Superbowl XLIX,

Thankful thoughts:
Fun field trips
Purple leather coat
Life lessons everywhere
Surprising "yes"

Life Lessons I learned from watching the Superbowl.  A couple of these I learned watching the NFC Championship.  1.  It's not over 'til it's OVER.  I learned this lesson a couple of weeks ago, but I had to remind my family of that at 2 minutes left in the game.  2.  Keep moving forward one yard at a time.  I also learned that passes are intercepted and the whole momentum of the game can change in a moment.  Too bad I seemed to learn that lesson, but I'm not sure the Seahawks did.  Keep the goal in sight and keep moving forward.

I also learned that your goal does not get accomplished when you take your eyes off the goal and focus on your own personal feelings and frustrations.  Fighting with the opposition does not help you accomplish your goal.  In this case, it moved you farther from the goal line.

It really is OVER and in case you've not heard, Seattle did not win.  Word is already out predicting they will play in Superbowl 50.  We'll see if that is the case.  I will definitely be watching to see what lessons I can continue to learn.

I am still a fan.  I even wore my scarf out of the house today.  :)

Monday, January 26, 2015

I'm Growing an Alien

I'm growing an alien on my hand.  Well, not really, unless an alien is conceived by pouring hot water over an area and creating a second degree bun.  But, that's sure what it looks like and it keeps growing.  :)  Fair warning--these photos aren't for the faint of heart, but if you just think about it being an alien, I think you'll be OK.  

I learned a few valuable lessons through this process.  Lesson #1:  When you run cold water over a burn do it for more than a few minutes--more like 15-30.  I know what you're thinking because it was what I was thinking,  "Who has time to hang out with their hand in running water for that long?  Besides, that is a total waste of water."  Well, now I'm thinking I should at least have filled a bowl to soak my hand for 30 minutes or so.  Lesson learned for the future.

Lesson #2:  Blisters may not show up immediately.  Up to about 2 hours after my show of cooking skill, I thought I only had a first degree burn.  Just for your future knowledge, it is not a good idea to completely miss the cup you are trying to pour boiling water into and pour it on your hand instead.  Just sayin'.  A little after 2 hours after the burn occurred, I noticed a small blister forming.  So, I did what anyone would do.  I ignored it and taught my piano student arriving  right about then.  We're all busy so how dare something as insignificant as a possible medical emergency disrupt our schedule.  At this point, I'm still thinking it's no big deal, but I Google how to care for a burn blister anyway.  And, I put triple antibiotic cream + pain relief on it and covered it with a band-aid.  When my husband came home from work, my son told on me and I had to show my blister.  Good thing I did.  That sucker had grown.  We head to the ER, but not before we have dinner first.  Why ruin a good meal?  And, the last one I will get to cook for an indefinite period of time.  Good thing it was in the crock-pot before I burned my hand.  No sense in starving the family.
Day 1 

I come home with a bandaged hand (see top picture), a second degree burn diagnosis, and instructions to follow up with my doctor.  Lesson #3  Triple Antibiotic Cream with pain relief does not mean no pain.  Burns hurt and hurt for a long time (just in case you didn't already know that).
Lesson #4: Burn blisters continue to grow.  Or baby aliens, if that is what is really happening?  It was day 2 that I began thinking I was growing an alien.

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

By Day 3, I'm trying to be very careful not to get to close to anything.  The alien baby has grown so much it gets accidentally bumped frequently.  Every time that happens, I can feel liquid sloshing around.  Gross I know!  Gross to read, but even grosser to feel.  When I wake up on Day 4, it's grown so much it is peeking out my thumb hole.  Talk about Gross!  Well, that is that day the alien is born (or the blister burst).  I never did see an alien running around, but who knows maybe someday she will appear on the Miss Universe pageant.  My daughter was wondering why it is called Miss Universe when the contestants are all from Earth.  

In the middle of this adventure, I found myself still having thankful thoughts, so here they are:

1.  Burn is on the back on my hand not on the palm so I can still wheel myself
2.  High pain tolerance
3.  This whole process hasn't disrupted much of my normal routine
4.  Google
5.  Lessons learned for my future or that of someone else
6.  Children willing and able to cook while husband is at work and I can't
7.  Pizza delivery.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How Do I Help Provide Top Education for My Kids When I Can't Drive?

Almost two years ago we went through the process of determining the right educational choice for our family.  When I picked up my kids on the last day of school 2013, I remember having the thought that I was glad I'd have three months to break them of all the habits they had developed over the school year and correct any misinformation they had learned before sending them back in the fall.  And, I was glad they'd have a short break from the daily influence of negative peers.  Then, I heard a still, small voice say, "Why do they have to go back?"  That led us to considering other educational options for the first time in our lives.  I spent the next few weeks doing a ton of research and we came to a consensus as a family that since our daughter would be changing schools and starting Middle School in the fall, she would be changing to an online school instead.  Our son completed third grade at public school and then started online school in fourth.

We have been nothing but thrilled with our choice.  I have watched my daughter blossom into a young woman who can express herself in wonderful ways.  I have been thrilled at the opportunity for her to take Gifted/Talented Language Arts and Literature and challenge herself to continue to work hard and grow.  I have seen her computer skills improve exponentially as she takes an Educational Technology course and then uses what she has learned for projects in other courses.  It warms my heart to watch her feel comfortable discussing concerns about projects or lesson content with her teachers and for them to respond with respect.  I am thrilled with the elective courses and just wish she could take them all.

4th Grade requires a bit more hands on work with me, which I love when he is in the mood to work.  When he is not, I am thankful for flexibility and the ability to send him to rest until he gets in the mood to work.  I love the ability to schedule "school time" at a time that works for us and take breaks as needed.

I have a question for all of you out there.  I'm really struggling with the inability to drive and help get my children to all the great opportunities out there for them.  We can "walk" to many places like the library, YMCA, etc, but many require a vehicle.  Our city bus only runs until about 3:00pm, so that eliminates evening activities.  The local YMCA holds group sports at a local school and although we can walk to the YMCA, they don't bus their athletes to practices or games.  We now live within driving distance of some amazing opportunities for museum programs, fine art programs, volunteer opportunities, etc, but have no real way to get there.  I even just saw opportunity for an audition to be in a musical, but can't offer that to my daughter because I can't promise her transportation.

In case you were wondering, the adult driver in this house is frequently unavailable at those needed times because of work.  This has brought me to probably my greatest feeling of loss since the accident.  I have found ways to  make adaptations for the majority of my activities, but I cannot figure out how to provide these amazing opportunities for my children when I can't drive.  Help!  Any one out there have any great ideas?  Maybe I just need to hire a driver.  Do you think my driver could be like Morgan Freeman in Driving Miss Daisy?

Let me know what great ideas you have.  I don't want my children to miss out on great opportunities just because I can't drive.

In the midst of everything, I'm still trying to remember to be thankful every day.

"A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other values."

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Thanksgiving for today
Connections Academy
Church Bus
Power chair

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

I'm Back

No excuses, but I've been gone a long time.  If you didn't already know, you can check out my adventures from 3/13-3/14 at  Since then I've had  a lot of changes in my life that have kept be from being reliable here, but I hope that is about to change.  I've picked a quote to live by this year:

"Use your eyes as if tomorrow you would be stricken blind . . .Hear the music of voices, the song of the bird, the mighty strains of an orchestra, as if you would be stricken deaf tomorrow. Touch each object as if tomorrow your tactile sense would fail. Smell the perfume of flowers, taste with relish each morsel, as if tomorrow you could never smell or taste again. Make the most of every sense; glory in all the facets of pleasure and beauty which the world reveals to you."
Helen Keller

So, join me this year as I attempt to notice and enjoy the small things in life and not let the unexpected big things overwhelm me.  I plan to be posting here regularly and also on my  Please follow me and leave comments.  I'd love to have a conversation with you.  Let's learn together.