Monday, April 30, 2012

Z is for zzzz's

The A-Z blog challenge has come to an end. I have once again enjoyed reading, writing and being a part of this challenge.Thank you to all of you who followed along, left comments and shared your blogs! With an hour and a half to spare I am now going to catch some zzzzz's!

Y is for Yin Yoga

As I have continually looked for different disciplines that help me get through the day to day as a stage 4 cancer survivor there has been one practice in particular I have come to love.
The class is called Yin Yoga. We practice holding poses for anywhere from one to five minutes. During this time your concentration should be on breathing and relaxing into the stretch or pose without having "monkey brain". Your thoughts should remain focused on your breath.
I have found the discipline of holding, sometimes difficult poses for prolonged periods of time while keeping your concentration focused has been so helpful.
I have found  my strength, flexibility and endurance have greatly improved. Not just in yoga class but in other sports as well like swimming and biking.
The mental discipline has also been incredibly helpful especially during times of tests and treatments. When  you have to lie still for long periods of time having MRI's, Pet Scans and the like done, the practice of Yoga comes in very handy to help you relax and concentrate.
I walk away every time feeling less stress and anxiety than I felt when I walked into my Yin Yoga class.

X is for X-Terra

I have always wanted to write about my "dream' car, a Nissan X-Terra for the letter X in this challenge. Just didn't have a reason other than I would love to someday have one. So, this is the story of how I almost got my X-Terra.
 As I mentioned our camping trip did not start out well. About an hour into a two hour drive we were stuck in traffic and my trusty Pathfinder, loaded with kayaks, bikes, gear and pulling a camper begins to overheat. We needed to get off the highway. We pulled off and barley make it to a Chevron station with smoke pouring out from the hood.

As we sat there stuck, I was quite impressed with the helpfulness of complete strangers when they saw we were in trouble. A few places were suggested and after two hours of sitting in the gas station parking lot we found a place that could fix it...for the next day. Hmmm.
Thankfully, our son, who will do just about anything for anyone, came to our rescue! He helped unload all the gear, hooked the camper to his truck and drove us to a nearby campground.Even though we did not get to our original destination, our vacation was saved!

As my Pathfinder was being worked on Chris and I talked about the fact that it may just be time for that X-Terra.
Two days later another of our son's drives up to pick up the Pathfinder for us. Tis great to have such wonderful sons :) It turns out it was something minor compared to what we had first thought. So, my trusty Pathfinder is back and running and I will just have to wait a bit longer for that X-Terra, which is just fine with me :)

W is for Wierd!

My husband and I love to ride bikes, mostly trail riding. However with all the "injuries" to my neck I am not supposed to ride on rough trails.
Well, we decide to go mountain biking and ride the "yellow" trail, the easy one.
It started out exciting. Getting on our bikes, heading into the forest to ride! As we approach the trail I am already asking " are you sure this is not going to be too rough for me"? Ladies, our definition of too rough and our husbands are NOT the same!

We continued on,I enjoyed a lot of the ride, complained most of it. Unfortunately my headaches don't take a vacation just because I  decide to and I had one during this ride. Rocks, stumps, twists and turns just did not make for a fun morning for me.
It gets husband stops and gets off his bike and says "do you see it"? I am thinking "do I really want too"? A 5 foot long black snake is right on the trail in our path. Chris gets a long stick and pokes it. Snake plays dead. Then Chris tries to flip it over, snake moves! then it slithers back into the grass and up a tree. OK, freaked out now!

Ride as fast as I can past where the snake was and try to enjoy this bike ride. I look up to see cow sculls and jaw bones nailed to several trees along the path! "What in the world, where are we"?? Now, this is getting weird!
I am really not having fun at this point. We then realize we missed our turn and are now on the "green " trail, which of course is more challenging than the yellow.
Chris is feeling very bad for me now. After eight miles in the woods he gets us back safely to our campsite as fast as possible and our very weird bike ride is over.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

V is for Vacation

                               We must rest to recuperate....
Mark 6:31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” 

U is for Under the water

From the moment we arrived and I stared across the lake I thought to myself "I have to swim across that".

 Where we live swimming in April is considered a bit too cold and maybe a bit crazy for swimming. For me, it's the perfect time of year to swim. Yes, that first step in the water is cold, refreshingly cold. Next is the moment you either tip toe in, tourchering yourself or just dive in and under! The latter is my preference.
While we sat staring at the lake on Thursday I said to  my husband "this is it, this is the time for my swim". Unquestionably an odd time for me to take this challenge on. It was later in the afternoon, I was tired, and we had just finished an underestimated 8 mile mountain bike trail ride. was the perfect time. The water was calm, no boats whizzing past. It was now or never. As I got ready, swim suit..goggles..towel...water, my husband got the kayak and himself ready.

                      Off I went, taking that first plunge under the water.

 Trying to keep the kayak on  my right side so I wouldn't wander off course. I wandered. Swimming to the left, to the right, into the kayak, into the paddle, maybe even in a circle. Oh well, I couldn't see a thing under water and aiming for "a tree" when the whole shoreline is treed is harder than it looks.

However, with my hubby's guidance and a few taps with the paddle I made it across and back! Every now and then as I was swimming I would look down and wonder " what is under the water"? No...don't think about that, just keep swimming!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

T is for Tikis at Twilight

It looks like I will be posting the remainder of the challenge all at once. I have kept up with it, from a hand written note pad while on a week long camping trip. 

My husband and I have been living in the great outdoors enjoying this beautiful spring weather!
As many of our camping trips go, this one did not go as planned right from the start. Our plan to camp at a new campground at Lake Arbuckle in Oklahoma was abruptly changed to a campground much closer to home. More on that story in a following post.
Needless to say our unplanned trip that should have taken 45 minutes took us 7 hours from start to finish. The finish being camper set up, sitting in our comfy camping chairs mesmerized by the lake with the initial sigh "ahhhh".
This is that perfect time of day, right before it gets dark, at Twilight. Just the right moment to light the Tiki's.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

S is for Swimming to Antartica...Tales of along distance swimmer

Each year I a participate in the A~Z challenge I like to suggest a book or two I have read that has influenced my life in some way.
Since I decided to take a little break fom running and returned to my love of swimming I felt this book would be appropriate for this year.
Legendary  swimmer Lynn Cox does a wonderful job at not only engaging you in this sports memior but also fills the pages with descriptions of all the people, places and events that take place during this time in her life.

This is a story that will inspire, teach and touch you. My husband and I both read it and couldn't put it down. I hope you pick up a copy and enjoy this book as much as we did!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

R is for Redefining

Nearly five years ago my husband and I sat in the doctors office waiting for my tests results. You know, just like they show on TV...THAT moment we all dread and fear.

My oncologist, his nurse and another person, maybe she was an intern. I am really not sure, were all in the room. What I am sure is she was there to "observe" a patient being told the cancer has spread. For whatever reason, it did not register to  me what that REALLY meant...stage 4, metastatic breast cancer. A short time later I was receiving radiation and saw those words "Stage 4" on my report...and it hit me! I AM STAGE 4!

 Although I knew what that meant I decided early on that only God knows His plans for my life, not doctors, not statistics,not anyone. I asked my oncologist to never give me the "stats". I did not want to know. His response was " have you noticed I haven't"? He too believes that only the Lord knows.

Many people have a vision of what living with stage 4, or an "incurable" cancer looks like. Sadly for many people with cancer it is what most of us envision.I live with that fear all the time of my life changing, loosing abilities both large and small.

However, while God gives me the strength, ability and desire I will continue to redefine what life with stage 4 cancer looks like. I have lived more in these past five years then in many years prior.

I have been blessed to reach some mighty goals like running half and full  marathons, climbing a mountain,kayaking a river and hiking to hidden waterfalls, writing, traveling to wonderful places in the world, teaching, training and sharing my passions with others.

Most of all, after nearly 14 years of having cancer, I have seen my children grow up, get married and I have become a Nonna. My husband and I are loving this place in life we are at and as long as the Lord allows I will continue to set and strive for many more goals, adventures and life experiences.

There are many survivors redefining the face of cancer and what life looks like, I am just blessed to be one of them.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for Quilt

                       This is the story of how a beautiful quilt came to be.
 After my in-laws passed and all the "children" were helping to empty their home I ran into an unopened cross-stitch quilt. My mother-in-law was very talented with all kinds of crafts. This was simply one she had not started. It particularly caught my attention because of the words from a song stitched on the side that I used to sing to my boys when we would go outside and look up at the moon. "I see the moon, the moon see's me, God sees the moon, God sees me".
I decided to take it home with the thought that "someday, I will be a grandmother and make this quilt for my grand baby".
Well, it was not long after that, we found out we would indeed become grandparents. One of my first thoughts was "The quilt"! How am I ever going to do that in 8 months?
I slowly started on it and realized very quickly I would need help. I went on FaceBook and created an event.
                              CROSS-STITCHING QUILT FOR LIAM
It read like this;  
Can you Cross-stitch? If so, I am looking for some ladies that would like to be a part of an old fashion quilting circle! Several of us have been working on this beautiful quilt for my grandson Liam. If you would like to be a part of our quilting circle, read on!
This is how it works. You simply choose a week (s) you would like to pick up the quilt, work on any section you would like and return it one week later for the next person.
All the materials are included and thread is sorted. This quilt for little Liam will be made with many hands and hearts ♥

The response to this was incredible! All together we had 14 wonderful ladies work on the quilt, pressing for time to have it finished before Liam was born.
Here are a few of these ladies working on the Quilt
Aunt Tammy, visiting from Hong Kong

Great Aunt Suzie

Liams Great Grandma

cousin Brenda
 This Quilt made it's way from one home to another. There were even some husbands that lent a hand who shall remain anonymous. Mostly the husbands wanted to know when the quilt would go to someone else so they could have their wives back!
It was a pleasure and a joy to participate in this quilting circle of sorts. We delivered the quilt to Kevin and Nikki at the hospital while we all waited for the arrival of Little Liam.
                        The finished Quilt before adding the piping and backing.
                                       After washing, hanging out to dry
                                             The completed Quilt!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Optimistically Patient...

Ok, a little behind here so I am combining O and P together. I have been busy adjusting to some big changes in my life, and with all change it takes time and patience.
Yesterday I recieved the test results back from the MRT test to see if I have any food and or food/chemical allergies. The results were quite interesting. The top three allergies were to milk, chicken and rice! Not was I was expecting. Then there are 27 other food/ chemical sensativities. All of which are now removed from my diet.
This is where patience came in to the picture for me today. Because so many of the foods I CAN have need to be purchased from a health food store I drove out there today to go shopping. Some of these items I didn't even know what they were, much less how to prepare them!
On the way, there was a traffic jam on the highway so I decided to try to go around it and go the back way. OK, all of you who know me are laughing because I have no clue when it comes to directions. And yes, my handy Garmin was at home...of no use to me.
Then my husband, who IS good with directions spent a half an hour getting me out of the back country roads I managed to get myself lost in. PATIENCE...on both our parts here.
I finally  make it and spent another two hours shopping for all this unknown food in all the unknown places. I swear I circled the store four times and asked the same workers questions till I drove them crazy!
Now,I am trying to remain optimistic and praying my headache doesn't start up. All the triggers were in place: stress, tired, past lunch time, past a dose of a daily medication....but, NO HEADACHE!
Three and a half hours later I make it home, with a surprisingly large amount of energy and cook a birthday dinner for my hubby.
It is now around 10:30 PM, I feel great and best of all I am going to bed without a headache tonight!
This is day 2 of removing the "trigger" foods from my I am optimistic, full of hope and waiting patiently to see how it goes.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

N is for N words

I  decided I do not like the letter N tonight. My mind has gone blank. So, I asked people for words that begin with the letter N. Hoping to be inspired by one of them. Instead I have found this to be quite amusing.

Ok, all you late night FB ppl. I am having trouble coming up with topics to write about for the A~Z blog challenge. Please give me a word, topic or sentence that begins with the letter N....I have 45 min to write it! Help! The conversation goes like this....
    • K says~ Nothing, Naked, Nucleus, Neon, Neo-Nazi, Nepotism, Nightrider, Nark, Nerd, Nacarat, Nainsook, Narcohypnia, Narcolepsy, Narthex, Nephrolith, Nervine, Notonectal...any of these help??? ;-)
    • Me~ you looked on-line, those are not your words...LOL! Or, Nikki gave them to you :)
      Nainsook, what the heck is that??

    • K say~  Nainsook is "fine cotton fabric..." ;)
    • Me~Trying not to wake up dad laughing!!
    • K says~Or you could write on Neovitalism, the theory that total material explanation is impossible...???
    • Me~ What???
    •  T says~ What about being a " nonna" / grandma?!!!
    • Me~ I figured people might be tired of my Nonna pride by now, but a great topic non the less :))
    • T says~  No way people could get tired of it! It's one of life's most amazing blessings! 
    • K chimes back in~"None-the-less" is an 'N' word as well...
      L joins in~I like nightrider!Or nighttime! Lol 
      KC joins in~ Kevin's words crack me up!! What about "nightly" or "night time" something you enjoy doing in the evenings?
    •  L~says~ Never give up...That could be a word! :-)
    • and from the cell phone peanut gallery there was....Nutrition, Nuisance, nosepickers, nostalgia, neighbor, nerve, NED, new,Nerd, niceties,northern, nakedness and a few I will not write!
    • And thank you BIG NANCY!!! 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

M~ is for a Man Missed Much

Today I wanted to share about a very special man we all miss very much. This man was my father-in-law Ed, and today was his birthday.

I met Ed when I was 15 years old and was just a neighborhood kid that drove him crazy! I am sure he wondered why I was always at their house. If I wasn't there I had this terrible habit of calling during dinner time, 6:00 on the nose! He would answer the phone and ask me " Clink ( my nickname he called me) what time is it"? I would say 6:00, then he would hang up. It really is kind of funny looking back on it now.

As a teenager we all thought he was so much fun. He took us out on his sailboat, water skied with us, went camping together and so much more.

One of my favorite memories was Ed coming out on Christmas morning wearing his red Christmas gown and stocking hat! He loved making sugar cookies with my mother-in-law Lois. Every year we all received lots of delicious cookies. I will always remember the day Ed, myself and friend Schmitty all baked cookies together. We were all covered in flour and frosting by the end. Whenever he baked he put a dab on his nose and ours :) 

Ed absolutely loved his family and looked so forward to any and all family get togethers. He was a man that always wanted to know what was going on in your life and was genuinely interested.

Our family is huge and he played such a big part in all of our lives. There have been a few great-grandchildren he was never able to meet. Our grandson Liam is one of them.So, we plan to tell Liam all about his great-grandparents and how much Great-Grandpa M would have loved him.

He collected wind-chimes and had lots of them on his porch. We now hang  one of his bells on our back  porch. Every time I bring Liam out there I hold him up, he grabs the bell as I say "Liam, ring the bell, say I love you to great-grandpa.He holds the bell and swings it back and forth, making it ring nice and loud. With a big smile on his face  he looks up at the bell towards heaven, where this special man that is missed by so many now lives.

L~ is for Little Liam

                                              The Love of my Life........

Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for Kayaking Kauai

This post will be filled with many pictures from one of the best trips we have ever taken. I decided to write about an adventure my husband and I went on  in Kauai, Hawaii! I hope you enjoy reading about and seeing the pictures from this trip and maybe someday Kayak Kauai...

Day four of our trip was set aside to kayak, hike and swim in a beautiful waterfall. This day was the highlight of our trip!  We had a great guide, Jesse who was full of energy and information. Our group consisted of all different ages and they were a fun bunch of people to spend the day with. Everyone pitched in to get ready for the beginning of an awesome adventure!
We kayaked down the Wailua river, the only river in Hawaii. Each couple shared a two person kayak where you stored all your gear.

Jessie was full of interesting information, facts and some tall tales :) But, he kept us entertained and laughing the entire time.

Many movies have been filmed in Kauai and the island is home to quite a few movie stars and athletes. This is where one of the scenes where Raiders of the Lost Ark with Harrison Ford was shot.

 We kayaked for 2 miles each way. This is where we docked, grabbed our gear and began the 1.5 mile hike to the falls.

We crossed rivers and hiked narrow trails in very slippery mud.

Here we crossed the "sacred" Kings and Queens Royal baths. The people in Kauai believe you can never step in these "sacred' places, so our guide had us walk around it.

We reach the falls and everyone rushes to the water to swim under the 120 ft. water fall. You have to enter the falls backwards or you can't breathe from the pressure of the falls. From first hand experience it REALLY hurts when the falls hit you in the head!

 While we swam,our guide Jessie, prepared lunch for all of us. This is the fresh pineapple he cut up and arranged on ginger leafs.

Then it was time for the 1.5 mile hike back through the rain forest. It did rain on us a few times, making the trails even muddier.
Do you remember in the movie Jurassic Park when the vilousoraptors attack from the jungle while they are walking on a trail? This is the exact trail!
 We also got to stop at the rope swings on the way back! We were all like a bunch of little kids, waiting in line for our turn.

                                Back to our boats for the 2 mile ride back. I hope you        enjoyed reading and sharing our day Kayaking in Kauai!


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