Friday, September 30, 2011

Today is 5 minute Fridays

Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

Today’s word is friend


"At some point, we'll need a little push. At another, we'll be the one who lends a hand."

The above line was from a recent blog post from my friend Mary at Play off the Page. Thank you Mary for writing the perfect definition of friendship!

I consider myself so richly blessed by my many and varied friendships. It wasn't too many years ago when I begged God for a woman to come into my life so I could have a girlfriend. I was so lonely. Oh, how lucky I am—He answered that prayer 100-fold! In the last minute of my time, here is a list of my friends:

Boy friend (my husband)
Mom friend (my mother)
Sister friend (my sisters and sisters in law)
Dearest friends (you gals know who you are)
Ladies Lunch friends (Tuesdays)
Old friends (like the song…you are gold)
Sisterhood friends (who would have thought something like cancer could connect a gal with so many instant friends.)
Chatty friends
Work friends
Shopping friends
Coffee friends
Walking friends
Blogging friends
Praying friends
Writing friends
Puppy friends
New friends(can’t wait to meet you!!)

Hmmm…I am thinking just like there is never enough chocolate…one can never have too many friends!


Make today a day sprinkled with a little extra joy and contact a friend to say "hello!"

Monday, September 12, 2011

Unexpected Blessings!

It wasn't my birthday!  It wasn't a holiday! But it was a blessings day! More like blessings weekend!

My hubby and I started our weekend off with a date of wine and munchies on the deck of some very dear friends home. 

On Saturday, we meandered to Luverne as my husband was going to help my dad install some landscape lighting. While my dad and hubby worked,

I was able to spend some time planning and designing for some changes I am making with my blog, etc.  I had moved my chair to the shade...but soon had to put a chair on each side of mine as my twin 3yr old niece and nephew wanted to sit by me while I worked.   I had my lap top, Caleb had my Nook, and Allie had my IPod....memories. 

That wasn't the only memory of the day.  Through out the day, I was able to visit and share some time with 5 of my six siblings, I had a nice walk with my mom, reconnected with my mom's closest friend, and chatted on the phone with all three of my children.  Great day of connection! (Oh, and not to be forgotten--lots of entertainment from the nieces and nephews.)

Something that touched my heart the most,though, was watching my dad and husband work together...generation teaching generation. Love shared through labor.

We topped the day off by sitting on my parents new patio, listening to the waterfall and enjoying the beautiful new lighting!

Now, Sunday morning, I was a bit tired...but so glad I didn't give in to the fatigue and miss church.  Our pastor's sermon gave me some much needed affirmation.  He was talking about a person's "calling." Pastor A explained how some people know they are "called" to do something. While others of us  just take small steps of obedience and when we look back, our "calling" becomes more defined.  Sometimes I struggle as I don't have a clear vision or direction for my life.  His words reaffirmed me as I am in the second group, taking the steps...pondering the results...listening for His guidance!

Did you have any unexpected blessings this weekend?

PS. A special thanks to my family and friends for taking the extra time to share and care!

Friday, September 9, 2011

5 minute Fridays...In Real Life

This weeks 5 minute Friday's topic is in real life...

Ready. Set. Go!

In real life...

This week has been a tough week for me in real life.  It has been a sad week....a week when fears are more real than not.  This past Saturday morning a young mother (37yrs old) in our community passed away from breast cancer.  She leaves a husband, a young daughter, many family and friends.  On Sunday I watched this video of her:

I believe I only met Darla one time. It was the first night I went to the young survivor's breast cancer support group.  She had just shared with the group of her recurrence.  She was very upbeat and so encouraging at a time when I was very frightened.  Besides Darla beautiful smile and spirit, there were two other things that touched my heart from the video I watched of her.

The part where her mother stated that cancer drew their family closer.  It made me wonder, for how many people is this statement true? How many is this statement false?  Or true for a bit through the crisis, and than after goes back to normal.  Normal that is for everyone but the cancer survivor.  It left me questioning how can I help my family keep the closeness now that cancer is in our past? 

The other part, I will admit, was a bit of a struggle for me.  Most days, cancer is but just a part of my life story.  It doesn't control my thoughts, feelings or is what it is...tucked in a nice little corner. This week was a bit more challenging.  Darla mentioned in her video that statistically she only had a 6% chance of recurrence...urghhh...statistically, I have a 30% chance of recurrence.  I am human, yes, my mind went there...So, this week found me seeking, searching, and spending more time in prayer.  I am not strong enough to carry the fear of recurrence, so instead I give it to my Lord to carry.  I trust in His plan for my, today finds me filled with joy and delight for the opportunity to spend 5 minutes with you this Friday!

Thank you Darla for your life have forever touched my life!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 2, 2011

5 Minute Fridays...Rest!

Friday's five minutes of editing...

This week's word is Rest.


One of the blessings I took out of the cancer journey is the delight in the word rest.  Before cancer...I was a doer...the more I could fit in my schedule, the happier I would be.  It's funny when all your get up and go, has got up and gone, there is nothing left but rest.  When I first started my journey, I would curse the very frustrated that I couldn't be out doing.  At some point in the journey, I stopped wrestling with God...and rested...and rested...and rested....I didn't think I would ever get off the couch! 

2 1/2 years into the journey, I no longer fight the rest, but delight in the rest...for it is within the rest that I can hear the whispers of God...and learned the art of just "being!"
I have looked so forward to this weekend, as we have worked and/or had obligations every weekend this summer...but not this weekend!  I declared it is to be a weekend of rest!  (Ok, I know we will do some work, but I am hoping for a few hours of rest anyways...(smile)
Hope you have a restful weekend too!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sink or Swim, I'm In!

A few weeks ago, I was invited to go to a swim program called Bosom Buddies for breast cancer survivors. Well, today was it...Now, before, I share my experience, I need to explain something. I don’t do swim suits. I don’t do exercise classes. And I don’t particularly like to go to new places by myself. Give me a friend, no problem…by myself, the gremlins in my head start to party! I kept telling myself…you need to do this. Physical activity is good for you and you really need to get back into shape.

4:35 PM I leave work and drive to the fitness center where Bosom Buddies takes place.

4:40 PM I call a friend, hoping her voice will give me encouragement to walk through the fitness center door. You, see, if it was just an average exercise class, it probable wouldn't bother me...but you have to wear a swim suit to participate in a swim class. I didn't own a swim suit. Graciously, my coworker borrowed me one of her old swim suits. (I wasn't sure I would actually go through with this swimming idea, so why waste money buying a new swim suit?) Well, my friend didn’t answer the phone. So, I said a prayer, grabbed my gym bag and began the the center's door. What am I doing?

4:45 PM I checked in at the front desk...and apparently the gal I called to register for the program, forgot to leave my name at the desk. I don't have a pass. Could this be a sign? Maybe, I'm not supposed to go swimming....whew, now no one can see my pudge hanging out of this little bit of material called a swim suit. A phone call is placed. Urggh, I guess they received the okay, as the gal behind the counter hands me a health form to fill out.

4:50 PM I quickly fill out the form and hand it to an older gentleman working behind the counter. He said, "Okay your clear to go." To which I reply, "Clear to go where?" He gave me this quizzical look, "To go to the swim class." Well, kind sir, I am thinking, isn't it clearly evident that I have no idea what to do or where to go? By this time, I am feeling like there is a neon sign above my head that is blinking, "Ding Dong here!!” At the same time the gremlins in my head are saying, "It's not too late, no one has seen you yet, quick run for the door..."

4:52 PM The kind gentleman told me the women's changing room is down the hall to the left. I asked him, "And where do I go from there?" He replied, "Go through the locker room and there's the pool." He then asks, "Do you have a key?" I say, "Yes, to my car." I can see he is trying to not be frustrated with me at this point and he says, "No, for a locker." Come on dude, I obviously look clueless, so how I would possible have a locker key?? He gave me a card and said “Here use this.”

4:55 PM I find the locker room...which has lots of lockers. I quickly find a locker with the number 43 on it. I always try to use my age as a number when there is a potential I may get confused and not find the original locker I chose. Now, my hands are trembling and the gremlins are saying, "RUN! No one has seen you can escape!" I open the locker and changed to the swim suit.

4:57 PM A bit too early to go to the class, what should I do? Well, I do what everyone does when they are scared and insecure...I hid out in the bathroom stall. Mumbled some prayers...and bravely went off to find the swimming pool. Did I mention I am wearing a swim suit, like, in public?? Oh, goodness!

4:58 PM Ummm....I can't find the pool. The door I went through had big plastic sheets and loud noises everywhere...we are in trouble if our class is in here. I went back to the locker room...asking myself, "Now what to do?" I guess I will stand by the door and wait to see if I can catch someone else going to the Bosom Buddy class. There are many women in the locker room. So, I stand there wishing someone would bare their chest or wear a lymphedema sleeve so I could know they were part of the sisterhood. This didn't happen. Finally, I got my courage up and asked a gal to please show me where the warm water pool was located.

5:00 PM I walk in the door to the pool. Now what? There are all ready some women in the pool and it looks like there is an instructor against the back wall. Why or why did I think I can do this? I have never taken an exercise class. I am klutzy and out of shape. So, now I am standing there feeling half naked...note to self, this is one class you come to early--you can get in the water before anyone can see things that are meant to be hidden! Thankfully, this sweet, elderly lady comes up to me and introduces herself. I quickly follow her to the pool...and class begins!

Trying something new all by yourself can be hard! But YOU can do it! Believe in yourself and don't be afraid to ask for directions! (And leave your gremlins home!)

PS. If you struggle with ongoing pain secondary to cancer treatment, I strongly recommend you check out warm water swimming...the water felt wonderful and I had a good workout!