Be kind …

It’s not hard to do. No one ever gets tired of it. It’s free. And even in small amounts it can change a person’s life forever.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are kind!!!

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2018 and Free …

2017 was a year filled with so much LIFE … and I couldn’t be more thankful.

I started 2017 in full recovery mode. My second round of meningitis at the end of 2016 was no less devastating than my first ten years earlier. I knew the healing process I had laid before me. At times that knowledge made it worse. Other times it made it better because I knew what to expect. I think in a way it made me more compassionate to myself. A rarity, indeed. But I wasn’t myself and I loathed it. I spent months in a fog. My days were filled with naps to combat the unrelenting fatigue and lists because my memory was so poor. My anxiety was at an all time high. I dealt with a significant amount of PTSD that came with an intense amount of anxiety. I was frightened I would have another recurrence. And that pain is NO JOKE. Understanding the severity of my encephalopathy was unnerving. No one can figure out how I was functioning “normally” with the amount of brain swelling I had. But I believe that the terrifying drug reactions I had after I got home really pushed me into a whole new level of fear. I literally thought I was dying. I don’t think I had ever been that scared in my life and sadly it has stuck with me. I can still get to that level of panic with even the smallest of triggers. Yes, healing is a long process. But I am happy to have to the opportunity to do it all again. This could have gone a different way for me and my precious family. And I refuse to be anything but grateful. Refuse.

In January 2017 I somehow convinced my doctors to let me train for a marathon. I truly believe that this was a huge part of regaining my strength again. As the days passed I got stronger and stronger. My memory improved and my fatigue got better with each passing day. If ever there was a time in my life to redefine myself, this was it. And it was incredibly liberating. Who could have ever imagined that the very illness that confined me gave me so much room to grow?!?! Definitely, not me!

When I look back on 2017 it is with mixed emotions. My illness and recovery made it hard. But life still happened. And that made it WONDERFUL. I was able to celebrate George’s high school graduation and watch him plan out his future. I was in awe of the growth that I saw in all of my children. Being a part of their daily lives is a gift from God that I will never take granted. NOT EVER. Summer was just straight up FUN. Having all four kids home for the entire summer was something I needed more than anything. Family heals folks, family heals!

Traveling was also a huge part of my 2017. We took lots of little trips and I was blessed with an amazing trip to Alaska. We celebrated birthdays and accomplishments. YAY, I was there and healthy enough to enjoy all of it! In 2017 I even managed to complete all 16 CEUs to keep my nutrition certification. Now THAT was a miracle having struggled with memory issues, HA! There was so much more too. The privilege of having these experiences and all the others often left me feeling overwhelmed. Like “WOW, thanks God! I’m here, alert and actually living this life!” Words can’t capture how I have felt time and time again. “Humbly blessed” comes to mind but it still falls gravely short.

Anyway, my point of writing about all of this is that regardless of the underlying need to heal and recover, life amazingly still engulfed me and took me with it. Despite the tough times I faced I felt an abundance of joy. I loved every difficult and fantastic moment of 2017 and everything in between. And surrendering to my new journey released me and allowed me to redefine who I was … again.

2017 was hard, but it was also beautiful. THAT sums up life in a nutshell. And as long as I have breath I will cherish every moment of it. If 2017 has taught me anything, it was that I do not have to remain tethered to unpleasant circumstances. That my mind, body and soul can still seek and find the freedom that hope gives us even in our darkest of hours.

So I guess that brings me to my 2018 New Year Mantra. Here goes …

Well, I hope you all have a year where you feel FREE!!!

Cheap and dirty …

The dealership I bought my car from gives me free weekly car washes. This is awesome. Heck, this alone makes buying the car worth it, HA! This morning I went to get my car washed, and boy oh boy, it needed it. But sadly, the carwash was closed. Oy. Now I could have taken my disgustingly dusty and water spotted car to another carwash and paid for it. Trust me, I NEEDED to because my car is gross! BUT … I didn’t want to. And I’m feeling no shame for waiting it out either. None.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you feel cheap and dirty!!!

Dishes, laundry and dreaming BIG …

Can I be done doing dishes? Forever? And laundry, I want to be done with that too. The first person to make disposable pots, pans and clothing will be my hero. Things I can use just once and throw them away. Easy peasy. Oh that would be WONDERFUL.

OK, fine. I know that’s a lot of trash to make for convenience sake. But heck, if we’re fantasizing let’s take it a step farther and also make our disposables biodegradable and somehow beneficial to the earth! And free.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you dream big!!!

Thankful and free …

Happy Memorial Day everyone!!!

Today we honor the men and women in all branches of the United States Armed Forces who gave their lives for our country. Today I find myself not just thinking of these fallen heroes, but also of their grieving families and loved ones. I can only hope that they find comfort in their loss knowing the gratitude that myself and so many others feel for these heroes. We are truly humbled by their bravery and sacrifice.

Well, I hope you all had a day where you felt thankful and free!!!

Peace of mind …

Today was a good day. A day that I had somehow managed to doubt, at least at times, would ever come.

I’m not sure if it’s a “losing a parent young” thing or just losing a parent in general that sets one’s mind thinking. But I do know this, I never really knew for sure if I would eventually follow in my mother’s footsteps. I wondered, over the past almost 21 years, if I would make it to 46 years and 167 days. And if I did, would it be Breast Cancer free? Would I somehow be able to dodge THAT bullet? What could I possibly do to keep myself from having the same fate as the parent I identified with most?

Despite years of fitness and healthy eating, I learned it’s not a guarantee of continued health or a barrier between myself and the threat of cancer. Cancer doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t discriminate. It takes who it wants, when it wants … it’s a BASTARD that way.

But after all the fear, worry and doubt. I made it.

This morning, as I sat at the table with Reese, I listened to our morning noise. The sounds that go along with getting four kids off to school were strikingly familiar and somehow comforting. And then it struck me … something was missing. I couldn’t believe it. It was so tangible and real … the absence of the clatter in my head. A burden that was once there, gone. Today was literally the first day of the rest of my life without worry of not “getting there”. A sense of relief washed over me. Oh, I had indeed GOTTEN HERE … and the knowledge was absolutely freeing.

Well, I hope you all had a day where you found some peace of mind!!!