Thursday, January 31, 2008

C is for CANCER

Cancer is the abnormal growth of cells-any cells-in the body. The foods we eat, our genetic makeup and the environment we've been exposed to all impact your risk of developing cancer.
Treatment of most cancers requires several approaches. Depending on the type and stage of cancer, treatment may include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or some combination of all three. The success of any treatment is related to the overall health of the survivor. A positive attitude, a sense of humor, courage, having a support system of friends and family and many other factors can have a tremendous impact on your healing and happiness.
Though it is very common to pose the question "Why me?" (as almost every newly diagnosed cancer patient does), there is not exact answer. Individually, each patient must seek out answers to his or her own personal satisfaction. Asking the question "Why me?" is a normal response to grief about cancer, and it is the beginning of healing. According to experts, grief has six stages. As we work through our grief, we move through these stages. And as the word stage implies, we may be in more than one grief stage at a time or we may move in and out of these stages in different orders, depending upon how we work through our grief. Eventually, as we heal, we reach acceptance, which allows us to move forward with our lives. Here's a quick overview of the grief stages as they may relate to cancer:
Shock and Denial. To protect us, our brains use shock, numbness and denial to cope with the traumas we experience, whether the traumas are physical or emotional. And for many, a cancer diagnosis is trauma. During this stage, denying the diagnosis of cancer is common. You may feel as though the diagnosis is a bad dream from which you will awaken and realize isn't true. You may go about your daily routine in a very surreal or disconnected way.
Bargaining. When physical or emotional pain becomes unbearable, engaging in some form of negotiation is typical. Consciously or unconsciously, you may try to negotiate with a higher power, your spouse, your friend, your doctor or whomever you see as being able to help cure cancer and rectify the potential outcome. Bargaining is really an attempt postpone your grief.
Anger. You may become angry about cancer-angry with yourself, family members, doctors and even the world. You may play out your anger as hurt, frustration, fear, helplessness or guilt. Thee reasons and targets of anger are as unique as the individuals dealing with them. You may even surprise yourself with your rage. To help you cope ask others to listen to how angry you feel about cancer.
Guilt. You may blame yourself or others and often may feel helplessly guilty about a cancer diagnosis. You may say to yourself or others, "If only I had or hadn't done this." Or you may think, "What could I have done to prevent cancer?" Unfortunately, there may be nothing you can do or could have done to prevent or change a cancer diagnosis.
Depression. A sense of helplessness and the reality of a cancer diagnosis sinks in deeply and you feel depressed. Symptoms of depression often include loss of appetite, feelings of worthlessness, an inability to enjoy anything, insomnia or difficulty concentrating and making decisions. If depression is lasting a long time, you may want to speak about how you feel with a caring friend, or go to a mental health professional if you feel that's the care you need.
Acceptance. One day, you notice that sun is shining and you have more good days than bad. You have hope, and you can begin to enjoy life again. At first, acceptance can be so subtle that you may not even recognize it. With time, you realize that there is life with cancer and, hopefully, life after cancer.
As you work through the stages of grief, recognizing and talking about your feelings is healthy, regardless of which stage you're in. Talking to others about how you feel is key to healing. And as you heal and accept cancer, you can begin to move on.

Note ~ It's funny (not in a funny kind of way), I am sitting here trying to think what day it was we found out my husband has Cancer (I believe it was Monday). We don't know what kind as of yet... there will be a biopsy this coming Tuesday and then we will have to wait again. It has been the longest week ~ weekend ~ and now ~ more waiting.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

my most beautiful darling ~

i love you much (most beautiful darling)

i love you much (most beautiful darling)
i love you much (most beautiful darling)

more than anyone on the earth and i
like you better than everything in the sky

-sunlight and singing welcome your coming

although winter may be everywhere
with such a silence and such a darkness
noone can quite begin to guess

(except my life) the true time of year-

and if what calls itself a world should have
the luck to hear such singing (or glimpse such
sunlight as will leap higher than high
through gayer than gayest someone's heart at your each

nearness) everyone certainly would (my
most beautiful darling) believe in nothing but love

ee cummings

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mind & Body

I thought this little poem I read in our local news paper was really cute and wanted to share it with you.

A dog's life

The new year is a great time to reflect on what would really bring meaning and happiness to our lives. In light of that, we've decided to bring you a little dog poetry- because, let's face it, if we could only be as content as our dogs, the world would be a much happier and healthier (and more peaceful!) place. So, instead of thinking about everything you learned in kindergarten, ponder this: Everything you ever really needed to learn in life, you learned from your dog. Here's the poem:


Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride (teenagers excepted).

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

When it's in your best interest, practice obedience.

Let other's know when they've invaded your territory.

Take naps and stretch before rising.

Run, romp and play daily.

Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you're not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

No matter how often you're scolded, don't buy into the guilt thing and pout... run right back and make friends.

Bond with your pack.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Author unknown

Monday, January 28, 2008

God's Promise

The sun breaks through the clouds and shines rays of light throughout the house. My mom calls and tells me to go outside, there is a rainbow.

I grabbed my camera and was just amazed at the brilliant colors.

The Rainbow of promise ~ God set a rainbow in the sky as a seal of his promise... of justice, love and protection. A sign of His loving presence and care.


The sun setting after the rainbow.

I am going through a difficult time right now. I am tired and still trying to process so much.
I got this little prayer in my e-mail from Sweet Silvia yesterday. Was this a coincidence? I don't believe so. It was meant for me to read just when I read it.
Thank you my friend.

In case you are not aware, Saint Theresa is known as the Saint of the Little Ways, meaning she believed in doing the little things in life well and with great love.

Saint Theresa's Prayer

May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Lady on the Water

Sometimes there are certain things that just draw my attention... for many years now it has been this boat. My heart skipped a couple of beats last winter when the boat was gone. I went to ask the man at the end of the wharf where the lady was. He immediately knew who I was talking about and proceeded to tell me she was fine and was staying with a friend while her boat was getting fixed. He also told me I wasn't the only one who had asked. That told me there are others that have noticed her.

It is one of the first things I do on our visits to the coast is to look for her... my mind just starts asking so many questions... does she have family? Is she an artist? How does she make a living? Is she a millionaire? Is she french? Does she have a broken heart? Does she get lonely? Does she have any children? Where is her pet duck? What interests her? What does she think about? Does she have a car and where does she park it? What does she do when there is a storm or it is raining hard and real windy? Is this her "little get-a-way?" ~ home away from home.

I have seen her row her little boat to the dock with her pet duck in a bamboo cage. My heart just froze being that close to someone that I have watched and wondered about. She noticed me and said, "Hello," emptied her ducks bowl of food, she put a bouquet of flowers into the basket of her her green bike and proceeded to attach the cage onto the back of the seat. The lady, holding onto the bike walked down the wharf saying hello to the local fisherman and restaurant's trying to get you to taste their famous clam chowder. I immediately wonder and I am concerned, ' Where is she going? The sun is setting and she is on a bike.'

My husband and I discuss her over dinner, and I asked him does this qualify us as stalkers? He answered "Others have noticed her too. But... maybe because you have taken pictures."

Spending the day with her would be on my bucket list. She seems so interesting to me... no, I need more than one day.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Three Passions

my mom's collection of purple bottles

Three passions have governed my life:
The longings for love, the search for knowledge,
And unbearable pity for the suffering of [humankind].

Love brings ecstasy and relieves loneliness.
In the union of love I have seen
In a mystic miniature the prefiguring vision
Of the heavens that saints and poets have imagined.

With equal passion I have sought knowledge.
I have wished to understand the hearts of [people].
I have wished to know why the stars shine.

Love and knowledge led upwards to the heavens,
But always pity brought me back to earth;
Cries of pain reverberated in my heart
Of children in famine, of victims tortured
And of old people left helpless.
I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot,
And I too suffer.

This has been my life; I found it worth living.

adapted by Bertrand Russell

When I was a little girl, as far back as I can remember, I have always felt a sadness and thought something was wrong with me. In Junior High, I understood what and where this sadness was and where it came from. I then knew that there wasn't anything wrong with me at all. It was a blessing that I felt this way.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A man's home is his castle ~

"Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods.
Cats have never forgotten this."


As I drive past this house in Pacific Grove, looking at the stone wall that surrounds it, my imagination runs wild with hearing the galloping of horses coming up to their castle.

This is the back of the cat sitting on the edge of the stone wall.

The iron gate that you have to enter to get to the house.

Here, you can see the cat on the corner of the yard.

At Christmas time, the owners always put a wreath with a red bow and bells around the cat's neck. A friendly gesture to let you know when the cat is going to... pounce!


Friday, January 18, 2008

iron chair

A corner of my mom's backyard, an antique iron chair inviting you to sit and stay a while

My dear friend Wanda (a pastor's wife) whom I met through church, has recently announced her husband is retiring. They will be moving in a little over two months. It is going to go by fast. I feel like I have taken for granted that we would always have some time to spend together, which in turn, makes me think of my mom. My mom and I were talking about taking more time to spend together. In the past, our schedules made it hard to get together until recently. With this new school year, my schedule has changed. I would get to spend time with my mom, that is, if I actually work my new schedule (I say it this way, because it has been so crazy at work that I can probably count on one hand how many times I have gotten to work MY schedule, due to working overtime). My mom plans on retiring soon. While discussing her retirement and my new schedule, we got very excited about some things that we want to do. However, her retiring got pushed forward, not once, not twice, but three times already. Before you know it, time gets busy and it has been too long since you have seen each other.
I have realized that you have to set aside for "quality" time. Otherwise, it just isn't going to happen. If something happened to my mom, I would live with so many regrets. Time is a funny thing... it gets away from you. Like all time, it has limits. The difference between the limits of time and the limits of other things is that we don't know what our time limit is. If for no other reason, this is why we should expend our time to its highest and best uses. I think about the gift of time that I had with my dad. If he had gotten into an auto accident that took his life, I would not have had that time with him. And then there is borrowed time, like my dad had when he lived longer than he was expected to.
Time is priceless. Once it is gone... it's gone.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

something that makes me think

May I Be

The Person

That My

Dogs Think I Am

I am always amazed by the greeting I receive at the door, by my dogs. Our three little girls don't only do this with me (but, mostly, giggle), they are always happy to see all of us. I can't help but greet them back in the same manner and will have to give every single one special attention before I get past our grandfather clock by the front door. If I don't give special attention, Sophie (the cream colored one) will start screaming. One time, my daughter said as I came in past the clock after giving special kisses, ooohs, ohhhhs and ahhhhs to the girls, I said, "Hi Baby," to Diandra. She gave me a very flat look and said, "Okay! How come I don't get special treatment like the girls?" I said, "Well, if you greeted me at the door like that, you would get that kind of treatment!" I believe it was the next day, she did greet me at the door mimicking the girls, we both started busting up laughing because they (our dogs) did not know what to think about the display of affection they were witnessing by these silly humans. Diandra made her point... but, so did I.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

On My Walks

I Spy With My Eyes Something That Is...

In the Trees!

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Bucket List

After everyone left on Thanksgiving day, Diandra and I decided to go to the movies. We wanted to see August Rush. I have always enjoyed the previews before a movie starts and to what will be coming in the future. Going to a movie on a holiday kind of annoys my mom, although I think it has more to do with memories it brings back to mind of my dad, and Thanksgiving being his favorite holiday. After my mom and dad had gotten a divorce, he would take my sister, Jessica and I to the movies and let us pick out the film. The first time, we thought it was weird to go on a holiday, yet as the years passed, it became our little special tradition. I remember on one occasion, he stretched out in the theater across the chairs and started snoring... He really just wanted to spend as much time with us as he could, which is why he took us. I know this now. Diandra and I have decided to make this, our little tradition from now on, as well. That feels good, in more ways than one.

One movie that sparked some serious pondering for me was The Bucket List. Of course this movie was about someone who knew he was going to die and given only a limited time to live (It is out in theaters now and I would like to see it). This movie preview found me thinking of my dear Daddy and how unrealistic this movie actually was. By the time my dad found out he had cancer he was in so much pain, that he could not even muster enough strength to go fishing in a private pond let alone do something he pulled off of his "bucket list," like sky diving or traveling to Africa. However, it made me think about making a list of things I wanted to do before I kick the "bucket." Why not make a list? I think that I would have time to eventually add to it.

What would your list include? I encourage you to make a bucket list. Ultimately, it encourages you to make the most of every day that you are alive. Make goals for yourself and what is important to you. Live your best life. This is it. Let's make the most of this life.

Hold on tight to your dreams.

Friday, January 11, 2008

One of My Favorite Nurserys

On the way to my favorite nursery in Carmel you cross many crops such as this. This is where a bag of mixed baby salad greens comes from; also a favorite of mine! Where is the salad dressing...???!!

When you are driving down the highway you are guaranteed a piece of art or a message on this particular sand dune. I like this one... :)

My favorite nursery is in Carmel. It is called The Succulent Store. When ever I go to the coast, I make it "a must" to visit this store. I will come home with at least three to five new succulents to add to my garden.

There are an array of succulents everywhere you look.

You can buy them in beautiful pots ready to go....

like these...

This is what I came home with. Mmm... pretty!