Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Two years ago today I got the phone call that brought me to my knees.  First in fear and anguish and then in prayer.  It took a few days but God poured his grace over me and I knew everything was as it should be.  He has been so good to me and today I am nothing but thankful.  Thankful to have the friends and family He has given me. Thankful for the doctors and nurses that took care of me. Thankful for my health and to simply be alive.  I am extremely thankful to have the faith that I do - it has carried me when I was not strong enough to carry myself.  This Christmas I wish all of you the peace and comfort that comes in knowing you are right where you are supposed to be.  I challenge you to live your life in gratitude - looking at the things you DO have.  I hope that you look at each hiccup in your life as another opportunity to grow and I wish you the courage to succeed and overcome obstacles.  Most of all I wish you love.  Love from others.  Love for others. I hope you feel His love, the most powerful love I have ever felt, surrounding you.  I most sincerely wish you a very merry, meaningful and beautiful Christmas.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


There have been very few things I have done in my life with total conviction.  Most of the time when stepping into the unknown there is trepidation and fear.  I would be lying if I told you I was completely convicted when I married John.  I married him when I was 24 and although at the time I thought I was quite mature I was incredibly "young".  The outcome of our marriage also depended on both of us and I had to  learn to trust him completely.  Honestly, I had a hard time thinking that I was good enough for someone to want to spend the rest of their life with me - I had a lot of self doubt in those days.  Fortunately for both of us John hung in there with me while I grew up.  We are in it for the long haul and now I can say with utmost certainty that He is my "one".  I love him with all of my heart and am completely convicted in our relationship.

I knew from the get go that our decision to have children was right.  I wasn't sure what kind of parents we would make but I knew that we would try our absolute best.  I never questioned that decision.

The only other two times I entered into something with complete conviction was when I began cancer treatment and when I started our business.  Both scary but not once did I think that either one would not be successful.  I believe that when you do something with that much conviction you are bound to get something right.  Conviction keeps you going.  It gets you through the rough patches.  It gives you courage you might not normally have.  It lets you know how capable you are.  It makes dreams come true.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Guess what we got?

The janitor at Jack's school was giving them away so of course we took two :)  Jack's Christmas present to Julia.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Embrace Birthdays!

This is the new "movement" I am starting. I think it is ridiculous that we sometimes dread the passing of time - we should be so thankful that we have had that time and excited by the opportunity to get more of it! A friend of mine posted this on her blog and I wanted to re-post it here too (thanks Marni!). Some wonderful truths :)

Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old. This is something we should all read at least once a week!!!!! 

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:
 1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Change the way you think.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. Release your children when they become adults, its their life now
 9. Save for retirement starting with your first pay cheque.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye.
16. Take a deep breath It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Just because you believe you are right, doesn't mean you are. Keep an open mind.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. Your job is to love your children, not choose who they should love.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come...
 43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield..
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."

Thursday, October 13, 2011


This one is for all of those who don't get to see us that often. Jack is quickly rising up to meet me - this is us standing back to back. Hello 13 - I wonder what this photo will look like when he is 16?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Trying your best

This has been a common theme in our house lately. There is a big difference between "trying" and "trying your best". What is your "best"? Usually there is more we can do to be doing our best. Spend a little extra time - dive into the unknown - risk failure. Jack is especially challenged with this this year. 8th grade is hard and his schedule is so full. It would be much easier for him to do everything half way but he is learning what it takes to be "great". Rarely do we get to be the "greatest" but sometimes we get to be great. It is just never given to us - we have to earn it. We have to practice, sweat, work, push, exceed and challenge - then, maybe, we get to be great. I can honestly say I am trying my best to make this business work. Beyond that it comes down to faith. I know I need a little help from God too. Julia is working her butt off to become the singer she has always wanted to be. John has always been an inspiration in doing your best. He works so hard and finds ways to be even better at his job. I guess what I am trying to say is that it is easy to want to quit. To just say to yourself - I am not capable of doing this. I have days (like today) where my body wants to give out and my mind is so full it just wants to quit. But I can't. This is my life - I want to live it. So on we go. We keep trying...... our best.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Make new friends.....

but keep the old - one is silver and the others gold. I have been making a LOT of new friends these days. These are the new people coming into our club and I find it so fascinating to hear all about their lives and get to know them better. Tonight I was able to go to a party with a bunch of "old" friends. They really are not old friends but some of them I have not seen in a while. As much as I love my new friends there is something about being around the people you have grown to become comfortable with. You don't have the pressure of presenting yourself in a particular manner - you can just be you. It was refreshing tonight to just have fun and let some bygones be bygones. I enjoyed some great camaraderie and food too! A sure sign that it is worth the effort to keep those friendships alive.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


"God, make me an instrument of your peace". That has been running through my head for days now. I have been so blessed to meet so many amazing people but a few of them are going through some hard times right now. I am humble knowing that often I don't know the right things to say or do. I want to offer something - anything - to make them feel better but sometimes words are not enough. I find myself on the other end of the spectrum these days with my cancer club. I now am the one feeling helpless - knowing that all I can offer is love, encouragement and prayers for a healthy recovery and eased pain. I want to live fully and lead respectfully. I want to be able to touch someone and know that the touch brings them peace - the only way I know I can do that is through God. I give it all up to Him.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I am sure I have blogged about this before but here I go again. Such a strange thing, time. When we have too much of it we don't quite know what to do. When we have too little of it all we want is more. I am in need of more time right now. I was very happy to take a couple of days and get away with John for our 17th wedding anniversary this past weekend. We really needed some time to re-connect. I was also able to communicate - with no real solution - that I am having a hard time juggling laundry, cleaning, cooking, carpooling, homework and running a business all at the same time. I know the plan is for one year - that seems like forever to me right now. I LOVE my job and I know what I am suppose to do but I miss my family, my husband and my children. I am praying for more business so we can hire a few more people - this body is getting TIRED. I am about to hit the "42" marker -oye - feeling every year of that lately. Not to complain. I did this to myself. I love having Jack work the front desk for us and I also love having John, Jack and Julia take classes from me - makes me feel like they are really in my world. Time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking into the future..... Lets make sure we use it wisely.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Oh hello.... remember me?

Yes I know it has been quite a long hiatus from blogging. I am not one to fill you in on the contents of my cereal bowl or the state of my fingernails so for a lack of things to write about I apologize.

I am now in the state of new business ownership where I am saying to myself almost daily "what the hell was I thinking?". I am sure most new business owners feel this way at some point. The excitement of opening has worn off and the reality that this business has to work has settled in. I have been humbled over and over and over again. My faith is strong and I have no doubt that this was something I was led to do. So every morning I walk out the door and meet Suzanne and we smile a wide (almost forced) smile at each other and say "today is going to be a good day". For the most part they are good days - we see people we love and enjoy and we get to do what we love to do. But in the back of our heads we are freaking out a bit that we haven't had more people come through our doors. Patience. For some reason this is such a hard one for me. God obviously wanted me to learn it when I went through cancer treatment and maybe I have forgotten it already because here I am learning it again. "If you build it, they will come". Well God, we built it. I heard the voice - I hope it was yours and not mine. So we will wait and hope and work and try and give and laugh and love and be. Today is a new day.

Friday, August 19, 2011


So I have been asked by Marian Hospital to be a part of their new commercial campaign. Sounds quite exciting! I have never been around this kind of environment before so it should be fun. I have been near photo shoots so I am guessing it will be similar. I will be playing myself but with a bit more drama to make it more interesting. It requires turning me back into a chemo patient with hair (hahaha) and makeup. I am looking at it from the artistic point of view. I have SO moved beyond that point in my life so I will allow myself to go back for the few hours needed to film this thing and then onward we go. We start filming next week - wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Creativity and Family

I think of myself as a fairly creative person. I like to come up with new and different ideas for things - be it parties, decorating, advertising or choreography. What I have learned about myself lately is that my creative juices have a limited supply. Or perhaps it just needs to be focused on one thing at a time. My focus has been on The Edge for a few weeks now - comming up with creative ways to get people in the door. Several times over the last couple of weeks I sat down to choreograph some new songs and there was just nothing there. Blank. Finally, yesterday, I had a breakthrough. When the choreo comes it usually comes easily and yesterday I was able to come up with three new dances. The brain is so interesting. Why was I able to do this yesterday and not the day before? No rhyme or reason. I do know that I need to give myself some time and permission to not get it right on the first try.

On another note. I completely miss my family. They all gathered in Colorado about a week ago and it is rare that all eight of us along with my dad get to be together in the same place. My family is growing - new relationships and twin babies. I love them all so much. Generally I would say that family comes first - as it should - but I made a commitment to this business. In the beginning I said I would give it a year so that I could get it off the ground and then would be able to make that time for family. So this year, unfortunately, I will have to rely on phone calls and pictures. It will make seeing them the next time that much sweeter.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Working for God

This week has been extremely slow at the club. We have had numerous classes with only one person in them. We could let this get us down - make us wonder what we are doing wrong or even put us into a tailspin of doubt and regret - but we are not letting that happen. Those one-on-one classes have been enlightening. Not only have we been able to really get to know some new people on a personal level and listen to some amazing stories but we have been challenged to bring a personalized class to an individual. I think that perhaps these one-on-one classes were just what these people needed. Some exclusive time to themselves in a positive environment. We have been taking God's lead since this adventure started (though sometimes it is hard to let go) and He has led us to amazing places. With faith, love and a willingness to work hard I think we can accomplish anything. So for now I will give my 110% to everyone who walks through our door - be it one or one hundred - and I couldn't be more thankful for that one.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Such an incredibly hard emotion. Our beloved rabbit "Bugsy" died yesterday. Bugsy lived on the side of our house and to be honest I didn't see him that much. He was definitely Julia's rabbit. She would feed him daily and take excellent care of him. To the point of bringing books out to read to him and singing her latest favorite song to him. She talked quietly to him and had him trained to come to the sound of her voice. Yes he was well cared for by this adoring 10 year old girl.

Yesterday I bought a really good watermelon. We were eating it outside and I remembered that Bugsy loved watermelon rinds. Fortunately I was the one who went over there to see him and found him. God was watching over us because the chances of this happening are very slim. In fact I don't know why I didn't just ask Julia to take the rind over to him. John and Jack buried him in the back yard next to our old dog Jackie. Julia wrote a note to him and drew a picture. Most of all she cried. My super strong baby cried and cried and cried. It just wore her out. All I could do was hug her. Grief - it just has to run its course. It is hard, and it is hard for awhile but then it gets better. Bit by bit.

There has been talk at our house about goats, or pigs, or chickens........

Friday, July 22, 2011

New title

I am not so sure I how I feel about my new roll in our family..... working parent. I guess I never really thought that was what I was doing. I have always considered myself a "stay at home mom". I strongly hope that this title will be a temporary one. We will not be turning a profit anytime soon but I love our new baby of a company and hope that eventually it will thrive. Our goal is to get through this first year and then start letting the business run on its own... or somewhat on its own. Am I naive? I sincerely hope not. I want to be there for the water polo games and the band performances and the first break up with a boy or girl friend. I want to help dry the tears when a test doesn't go so well in high school or someone says something mean. Right now though I feel like every spare minute is being spent buying groceries or catching up on laundry. My poor husband - I need to be there for him too. More things to juggle. I think I can..... I think I can..... I think I can...... :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Times are changing

I woke up this morning to a quiet house. Jack had a Jr. Lifeguarding event that John drove him to at dark o'clock and Julia spent the night at a friends house. I suddenly had that panic feeling that in the not so distant future all of my mornings will be like that. I have always thought I would be OK with my children growing up and starting their own lives but just the tiniest little glimmer of that reality put me into a tailspin. On top of that my sister gave birth to twins today. Very exciting! All are well and resting. I so wish I could be there with her (she lives in Colorado) and see those beautiful little faces (a boy and a girl!). The thought of it brought me right back to when my own kids were born. That instant and so incredibly intense love affair. Another reminder - especially now - that it is important to slow down and enjoy the people we love.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


This is really all we have in life. It doesn't matter who we know, what we do, how much money we have, or what mountains we have climbed. If we don't have those deep relationships and someone to share it with it doesn't mean a thing. This has become abundantly clear to me now that we are off and running in our new business. I want to have a connection with every single person that walks in the door. My biggest satisfaction is seeing someone happy after taking a class and knowing they will feel good all day because if it. Relationships take work and dedication. Sometimes it is hard to nurture all of the relationships we have. The one I struggle most with is my relationship with God. It is also the most valuable. At the end of the day for me it is about the people in my life and my relationship with God that give my life meaning. It is also what keeps me happy and content and looking at the positive in life.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Dreams and Reality

There is a fine line between dreams and reality. I think it is just a choice to make it happen. A decision. The ability to jump without looking back. In your dreams you don't see the little stuff. The work it takes to make it a reality. The minor frustrations along the way. You also don't see the surprises and small accomplishments that go along with it too. I am beyond thankful to be living a dream. I have so many people (too many to name) that helped make this a reality but I am overwhelmingly appreciative and humbled by all of you. The doors are open and I can't wait to really start giving it back.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Cancer Club

At our new club I am offering a FREE class to anyone who has or has had cancer and to all care givers. It doesn't matter if you have been newly diagnosed or are a 25 year survivor. We will address some of the challenges that go along with cancer treatment and how to overcome them. I hope that everyone walks out feeling better not only physically but mentally as well. This class will be held on the first Monday of every month at 6:45pm. We will add classes if there is a demand. Please share this with anyone you know who might benefit from this class. When we come together as people we can do amazing things!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

I hope everyone is enjoying their Father's Day today. What a unique and wonderful job it is to be a father. John adds a whole new dimension to our children's personality. He offers things I just can't provide. The silliness and roughhousing combined with a strong sense of security and expectation give our children such a well rounded look at life. John teaches them to have fun and work hard. He teaches them to be leaders and expect great things from themselves. When he travels for work there is a big hole in the house that is impossible to fill.

I have really come to appreciate my own father even more these past couple of months. My father opened his own business when I was very young. He built it up from a small shop to a large company. As I am preparing to open my own business I have come to appreciate what it takes to make that leap. I have been doing a lot of hands on labor at our location. My business partner Suzanne and I have had a lot of laughs as we try to maneuver through assemblies and installations. She asked me "where did you learn all of this stuff?" and my answer was clearly "my dad". I remember spending hours just hanging out by his side as he built counter tops and tables and fixed the car and built our deck. Those were the best times. Just being with him. I would hand him the screwdriver or whatever tool he needed. My siblings and I would sometimes fight over who would do that job. I didn't realize at the time in the quiet of just being with him how much he was teaching me. Patients. Determination. Doing your best.

Later, when I was older, I worked for my dad. We would often have lunch together and discuss how to make the company better. I didn't realize then how much I would appreciate him putting faith in me. He didn't have to ask my opinion but he did. He wanted it. He empowered me to have confidence and think for myself. He gave me the tools to do what I am doing right now. Thank you Papa. Even though we live are apart you are never far from my thoughts. I am so happy you are in my life. I love you very, very much!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What a difference a year can make

Last year today I was in surgery and they were cutting out the last of the cancer that tried to claim my body. Today I am about to open a business, feel healthier than ever and have a new found vigor for life and attaining goals. I see the importance of giving back and the bigger picture. I value my loved ones so much more than I ever thought possible. I feel God's grace in me, around me and guiding me. I understand my human weakness. I know that two working together is always better than one and three is better than two. I see life as a journey and a time to learn. I am thankful for every day that I have on that journey. Gratitude.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Road Blocks

I expected a few along the way toward business ownership but they are appearing in unexpected places. The nice thing about road blocks is that there is usually a detour. At first you are frustrated because you just want to get to your final destination but on the detour you get to see something new, something you didn't realize was there, and maybe even a better way to get to where you were going. God's design for us is perfect. It is not always easy for me to understand the path He has chosen for me but I must have faith that the path I walk is with Him and leads to a greater good. As much as I want to push through the road blocks in front of me - that path was chosen by me - not Him. He is trying to grab my hand and say "let's take a walk this way" and I have to learn to listen.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Who knew you needed so many numbers to run a business? We just received our Federal tax ID # today and our LLC was finally approved by the state. We get our official phone number tomorrow and we just opened our business bank account today - another number. Still need to obtain a few more numbers and we will be good to go. The funny part is you need numbers to access your numbers - passwords and logins etc. It is going to take a nice little cheat sheet to get this all straight!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Take it to "THE EDGE"!

I can officially announce what I have been up to now! My dear friend Suzanne and I are opening our own fitness studio - it is called "The Edge" (doesn't it look like the edge?)!

After realizing recently that we had both dreamed of this it became an easy decision to do it together. We only live this life once and as much as I really love working where I work my need to do so many other things that go along with that has helped me make this jump. We will be offering classes for kids - Zumbatomic - and birthday parties. With obesity on the rise we want even those non-sports kids to have a way to move their bodies. We will take every passion that we both have and bring it to our schedule ( Zumba, BodyFlow, Pilates, bootcamps, etc). We will have classes for one of our favorite age groups - those lucky enough to be retired - and many classes for our fellow moms that just need to have some "me" time. I can't wait to have all kinds of fundraisers and community outreach programs! Our club will be our new family and we want you all to come to dinner. No intimidation - just throw on your sweats and come on over! We are charging on a per class basis so no memberships required. I have many details to share in the next few weeks but for now we are just trying to make our opening day goal - July 1st. The party that evening will be OFF THE HOOK!!!!!

So here is to living your dreams and loving life. You don't know until you try right?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It's in the details

I was talking to a friend the other day and I was telling her how things in my life are just falling into place in the most amazing ways. I told her I could completely feel God at work in my life and she said "It is nice when we remember that God is in the details". Too often I think we save up our invitations to God for big things but the truth is He wants to be with us in everything we do. Right down to the smallest of moments. The tiniest thoughts. His presence in my life and those around me lately has not been subtle. I am taking on a new and very exciting endeavor and I have asked Him to please close the door if this is not what I am suppose to do. He has opened wide every window and door and I believe He has planned this for me. It will be fun to see in retrospect the reason for this quest. For now I am following His lead - and oh how I can't wait to see what is over that horizon.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I have been extremely busy lately and sleeping very little. I have a quicker heart beat these days and my stress level has increased by 400% - but it is all good. I can reveal what I have been up to in a little over a week so stay tuned. In the midst of all of this I have really come to appreciate physical labor. Physically working on something that requires very little brain power and mostly brawn is very satisfying. Your muscles ache and you feel like you "did" something. Most of the time you can see your progress and appreciate the final result quickly. I have been asking my kids to participate in this labor and it took me back to my own childhood. I would complain about pulling weeds or washing cars or mowing the lawn but really I enjoyed it. Who doesn't enjoy pounding a nail now and then? I think I need to ask them to do these things more often so they can see what they are capable of. I want them to know that working hard and pushing yourself has great rewards. In this age of TV, video games and cell phones it is easy to forget the joys of working together and mastering a skill. I am off to my next challenge today - June 14th (my one year anniversary of being cancer free) is quickly approaching and I want to give you my big announcement by then!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


When I was a kid I avoided competition at all costs. I did not like team sports or the pressure of having to perform better than someone else so I disengaged. Even grade wise in school - I knew I had the ability to out perform others but my fear of failure prevented me from even trying hard. If you don't try you can't fail right? Wrong. It took me many years to realize that it only makes life unrewarding. Today I thrive on competition. I wouldn't say it is because I want others to fail - I just want to see how far I can go. Most of the time I am competing with myself but on occasion I find myself wanting to rise to the challenge of another's performance. I think it is healthy. How else can we grow as adults if we are not pushed - by ourselves or others - to do better. Competition makes it fun - yes it is a bit scary but also so rewarding. So here is to everyone who pushes me to do better just by doing what you do. I appreciate your abilities and strengths - I admire your determination and I strive to rise to the bar you set. When you reach the finish line I hope you turn your head sideways and I am right there with you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I have been thinking a lot about this lately - the reason for which you will find out soon. When people describe something as "risky" what are they really saying. Financially risky? Emotionally risky? Physically risky? You go through a lot of that when you are dealing with health issues. Constantly weighing the risk/benefit ratio. Then you have to ask - who is it risky for? Is it strictly personal? Will whatever you are considering be risky to others? What happens if you don't take the risk? Notice a recurring theme here? Lots of question marks. That is what I think it really boils down to. When you are taking a risk it is risky because you don't have the answers. You don't yet know the outcome. This can sometimes be scary and sometimes be exciting - or both. All I know is that it gets your blood pumping a little faster and your mind working a little harder and that can't be all bad right?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Serve Day

At one of our local churches they have "serve day". They pick a few projects in the community and people sign up to come on that day to help. Fantastic idea right? This is not our church but one that many of our friends go to. One of the projects was to help a friend of mine get her house fixed up. She is a single mother of two girls and works full time to take care of them. She recently built an in-law unit on her property so she could have a renter. This renter would alleviate some of the financial stress that I am sure she deals with on a daily basis. The in-law unit needed a small kitchenette installed - counters, cabinets, sink, plumbing, electricity etc. She also had a lot of yard work that needed to be done that would have taken her many weekends to accomplish on her own. Several people pitched in and got it all done in one day. Most of these people I know. Someone even made a delicious lunch to serve everyone who was serving. I, unfortunately, missed this event because I had a previous engagement. The great news is I got to hear all about it from the "servers" - who were just thrilled to be helping someone and accomplishing so much. I am sure I will hear from the "servee" shortly and I can only imagine her gratitude. It reminded me of the amish and how they do barn raising. It truly is amazing what we can accomplish when we work together for a greater good. We need more of that.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


If you get knocked down and you try to get back up and then you get knocked down again - you learn. You learn to be stronger. You learn to be steadier on your feet. You learn who to trust. You learn resolve. So many people when they get knocked down decided to just stay down. It takes courage and fire and determination to keep getting up. To know who you are. To take the risk and to really live. If you want to win the race and find your dream you are bound to stumble along the way but somewhere there is a finish line waiting for you.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Snow Globe

I wonder if this life is much like a snow globe. If you were inside of one it would feel very, very real. Your life contained in a wrapped up package - sometimes still, sometimes turbulent. Surrounded by distractions - both beautiful and ugly. Perhaps when we die that sphere of wall just fades away and what is left is our true reality. Perhaps when we die our vision becomes clear - the light turned on - and we finally see only beauty and love. No judgement - no distractions.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Life Savers

These 3 people (along with all of you) saved my life. Liz, my amazing nurse navigator, has become a dear, dear friend. She is so incredibly beautiful inside and out. She walked me through the hard stuff and eased my anxiety in ways no one else could. If I had to get cancer to meet her then I am glad I did. Dr. DiCarlo, my oncologist, is pure genius. He is eloquent, funny, positive, and so incredibly smart - he is truly amazing (this is why I call him Dr. Amazing). He has an awesome family too (just met his wife and son today and fell in love with them). I get to see Dr. Amazing as long as I live here and he keeps practicing here..... sorry Dr. D you are stuck with me :) Dr. Rocco is my surgeon but oh so much more than that. Her knowledge was one thing but how she immediately cared for our whole family was what sold us on her. I call her Dr. Wonderful because that is how I feel after seeing her. She too has become a good friend and I am happy I get to see her on a regular basis now too.

These 3 shining stars are so bright I find it hard to see when they are around (if you look carefully you can see their halos). We all happened to be at the Relay for Life event today and they all walked the survivor lap with me, John and the kids. What an amazing feeling - being surrounded by such angels. It must be hard doing such a good job for God but these 3 make it look easy.

Life moves on and there will be other patients who need your miracles. You three will ALWAYS be in my prayers. I will always be grateful - you gave up so much of your life so I could have mine. Thank you for being such incredible examples of what humans should be like. I love you all.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I have said before that God has gifted each of us with unique talents. I consider a talent something that comes naturally and easily for you as compared to someone else. These gifts are so precious and we all have them. I think it is important to use these gifts to the best of our ability - that is why He gave them to us. If we don't we just let them sit and rot and contribute nothing. We squander them. Sometimes using those talents to the best of our ability involves doing hard things or taking risks but I think that is what God had planned for us. He wants to see how far we can take what He has given. He wants us to know how much He loves us and how great those gifts are. What are your talents?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Customer Service

I had two instances happen just this week where I observed poor customer service. I am not a big complainer but I don't think there is any excuse for a bad attitude while "serving" others at work. If you can't put your troubles aside then don't come to work. Everyone is entitled to a bad day and I know things happen throughout the day but I think we are all capable of treating others with respect and kindness regardless of what is going on in our lives. Maybe I spent one too many days behind the counter with disgruntled people on the other side - but I think as a server it is our job to make things better - not worse.

The first instance was just an observation - it didn't happen to me. Basically there was a misunderstanding about how much something cost. Instead of trying to work it out - the "server" basically was rude and said "tough". The customers then proceeded to walk out the door upset. Now what good did that do? They will now go around telling everyone how they were treated at this establishment and give it a bad reputation. I can think of at least 5 different ways to find a solution to that problem where everyone would come out happy.

The second was a couple of nights ago. We went out to dinner with my in-laws and were expecting a nice evening. The restaurant was a bit more expensive than what we were expecting but we were all OK with that - it would be a special time with them. Our server was pleasant enough - not overly cheerful but that was OK. Our food took a long time to come out and when he brought it 3 of our meals (that were the same) were over cooked. He asked how everything tasted and we decided to tell him since the meals were pricey. He walked away without saying a word and then the manager came over. The manager was very accommodating and replaced our meals along with comping 2 of them. We then did not see our waiter again. Instead of coming over and making sure things were remedied and taking care of us he chose to ignore us completely.

Both of these cases are just examples of the golden rule - treat others as you would like to be treated. How easily this is forgotten.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hanging on....

Sorry it has been awhile from my last entry. I have a few things in the fire cooking - more on that later - and had to do our taxes (nothing like waiting until the last minute).

I started to re-read an old favorite book of mine and it reminded me of something. We all have this crazy desire to hold on. Hold onto our things. Hold onto control. Hold onto this life. It is easy to see how we might get stuck, clinging to what we know. Just like in Nemo - when he is trapped in the whale's mouth - we are afraid of what will happen if we let go. I think it is so freeing to think about riding the wave - seeing where it might take us. The hard part is opening your mind up enough to feel the wave - the current - the nudge. The hard part is allowing ourselves to be lifted up and carried to the next adventure. Just imagine all of the things we might get to see or experience along the way......

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Work in Progress....

Well, I now have a file on my computer with this title. I am starting my book. I am going to try and incorporate my raw blog entries from when I was going through treatment without editing them much but I also think I am far enough away to add perspective and the big picture. I have been procrastinating on this project because I really didn't know where to start. I think that is why we typically don't do things.... we don't know where to start. Really all that is required is to start something. Who cares if it is right = eventually it will work out and the good part is that you are diving in. Any projects on your back burner that need some fuel?? Wish me luck!

Friday, April 8, 2011

"There's no place like home"

We are lucky enough to have an amazing news anchor here in my home town. Her name is Jeanette Trompeter and she has a very fun segment that she calls "There's no place like home". In fact awhile back I was featured in one of these segments as she talked about the amazing support this community provides - although we are small, we are mighty.

This is spring break for my children. Most of their friends have ventured off into vacation land - Hawaii, Yosemite, Palm Springs etc. We decided to not go anywhere. We thought about taking a trip up to San Francisco or Monterey or maybe heading south to Santa Barbara - but when it came right down to it....why? We have everything we could ever want and more right here. We spent 2 full days at the beach where they could boogie board, grab a hot dog and a shave ice and admire the view and soak up the sun. We spent a day cruising around town and enjoying a delicious lunch. We saw a great movie yesterday as the rain fell. Everywhere we go we see a familiar face, a kind smile, someone saying "oh no, please - you go first". Why would we ever leave?

Last night a dear friend of mine held a fundraiser at his hair salon. All of the money went to a family whose mother/wife is on her third round of chemotherapy for breast cancer. The line went around the block - over $10,000 was raised. That is just good people looking out for other good people.

I am proud to live here. I am blessed to live here. This town is part of our family. If I never set foot outside of this county again I will still be a happy person. There truly is "no place like home".

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Singin the surgery blues....

You would think that after everything I would have completely learned patience.... nope. Not one bit. It must be human nature. I am THRILLED with the results of surgery (can't quite stop looking at them) and I don't want to do anything to mess them up. Doc said on Tuesday that I needed to wait at least 3 weeks for any type of impact exercise. I guess I should have known that - expected it - and should have no problem taking the time off..... but I am dying here. I am sure you feel extremely sorry for me - get to spend quality time with my family, catch up on my to do list, enjoy my blissful cancer-free life - I just can't work out. Exercise is my drug and I am completely addicted. COMPLETELY ADDICTED. I guess if I had to pick one thing to be addicted to this would be a good choice. Better than food, or cigarettes or alcohol. I will try and enjoy my leisurely life and look forward to that incredible high I will get with an increased heart rate and sweat dripping down my forehead.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Surgery went very, very well yesterday. Dr. Miracle spent about 4 hours perfecting me and I couldn't be more thrilled - his talent truly amazes me. I feel extremely blessed to be in such great hands. I will have to take good care of these new Ta-tas and baby them for awhile - no down dogs or push ups until I am completely heeled. That will be hard but so worth it. Thank you Dr. C!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Until recently (like the last few years) I thought meditation was a bunch of mumbo jumbo. I guess I didn't really understand it and it seemed like a religious thing to do so I just stayed away. I have since learned that meditation can simply be a way to calm your mind and your body - giving your body and mind an opportunity to rest and heal. I often talk about deep breathing my classes - I am sure the members are sick of hearing me talk about it. I try to get them to even out their breath. Take the same time to inhale as you do to exhale. While doing this I also ask them to lengthen their breath - start by counting to 5 and increase the length to 8 or 10. It actually takes a lot of effort to quiet yourself down enough to do this. Even when we are lying down there are still many distractions that tend to keep us from fully focusing on the breath.

I have a nice big bathtub at home. I love to just sit in there and read a book sometimes to de-stress. I love the weightless feeling you have floating in water. This morning I decided to work on my breathing to try and calm myself down - too many thoughts running through my head and I needed some clarity. I let the water cover my ears so I could really hear my breath. That made it very easy to concentrate on it. I could not only hear my breath but also my heartbeat, I could feel the air moving in and out of my nose and I also felt the rise of my body as I inhaled and the fall when I exhaled. At first it is hard to slow the breath down - it almost gives you a feeling of panic - but if you stick with it eventually the body embraces it. A very nice sense of peace and serenity came over me and I was able to move forward with my day knowing what was important and what wasn't.

I highly recommend this little experiment - especially if you are feeling stressed out - it is a great coping method for life and it is completely free and wont harm you at all :)

Monday, March 28, 2011


I felt my first earthquake about 9 years ago. We were living in San Diego at the time and I wasn't sure what was going on. It was a loud earthquake - a deep rumbling - and woke me from a sound sleep. It was over before I knew it. The second earthquake I felt happened while I was Christmas shopping with my kids in a bookstore (not a good place for an earthquake). This one seemed to last a bit longer and I had enough time to register what was going on and get my kids away from the books and under a doorway before it ended.

I think when life throws you a major curve ball like a serious illness, a death, a sudden job loss - things of that nature - you just react. You hold on with both hands, try to do what you can to protect yourself, and ride it out - like an earthquake. What really gets you though is the aftershock - the sudden realization of what just happened. When you make it through to the other side you start to reflect on the reality of what you just experienced and it becomes more real.

I have a few "cancer friends" who have told me they can't quite shake the fear of what happened to them even though they are fine now. I also have a good friend who recently went through a whirlwind of diagnosis, surgery and recovery with her son and expressed the same thing.

Perhaps the courage and strength that people admire when anyone is going through a tough time pales in comparison to the courage and strength needed to move on. This is the silent strength - the one needed when everyone else around you has moved on knowing you are OK - and you are left alone to reflect.

I, myself, did not experience this kind of aftershock. Maybe it is because I was so reflective during my experience or maybe it is because I am not one to dwell on the past - but I don't think that is the norm. I believe most people have a much longer journey recovering from trauma than we expect. Next time you see someone who has been through the ringer and has come to the other side you might want to just check in with them - give them a hug - and let them know they are still in your thoughts. It might be just what they need to carry on.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


My little brother (who now towers over me) came to visit for a couple of days from Seattle. He brought his long time girlfriend Anna with him and we were all very excited to meet her. She is just a complete doll - I could not have picked a more perfect person for my brother Ryan. She is sweet, interesting, smart and beautiful. It was wonderful to see them both so happy. They came down to try and get some sun here in California after weeks of rain up north. Unfortunately the rain followed them all the way down the coast and is following them right back up there. I guess when they finally do get to enjoy the sun it will be that much sweeter. My kids fell in love with both of them and before they left Ryan spent some time teaching them guitar and piano. They both were also amazing sports and came to a dance party I helped teach at the gym. Now that is true sibling love. I love you Ryan! I was so happy and excited that you were coming to visit and I enjoyed every minute with you and Anna. I hope we can see each other often - maybe next time in your neck of the woods:)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


So I had my pre-op appointment with my plastic surgeon today.

"Wait, what surgery?" (you might ask).

I am having mixed feeling about what I am about to do. My plastic surgeon did an AMAZING job gluing me back together after my breasts were removed... AMAZING. I should be happy right? I am actually happy.... just really picky? I have a very wide sternum and one of my ribs kind of sticks out more on one side than the other. As a result I get a funny little hollow place on one side and it looks a bit unnatural. This little "problem area" has gotten a bit worse now that I am back to teaching full time and have lost a few lbs. The muscles on top of the implant are strong and they tend to pull the implants back toward my armpits so that hasn't helped either. Dr. Amazing thinks he can make some adjustments to fix this little indent and bring them more to the front of my body.

I am having a hard time with the "elective" part. Everything else I did was because I needed to. I don't "need" to do this - it is purely aesthetic. Does it bother me? Yes, I think about it every day. I am conscious of it when I am teaching and know it looks kinda funny. In reality I am really tired of thinking about my "breasts". I just want to not think about them anymore. Am I crazy? Am I vain? Probably both. It is not like getting a new pair of shoes or your haircut - it is surgery.

Regardless, the papers are signed and the surgery is scheduled for April 1st (hmmmm April fool's day..... should I be worried?). I am bummed about missing classes for a couple of weeks but want to get it over with and start healing before summer comes. I hope this will be the last of my run -ins with anesthesia for awhile - at least until these boobies wear out in 15 years:)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I heard today that the average person lies 200 times a day. That seemed crazy to me. I thought to myself "I hardly ever lie and if I do it is a little white lie to preserve someones feelings". But, in reality I think it is probably fairly accurate if you include how many times we lie to ourselves. My days are filled with constant self chatter and I must admit most of it is me trying to explain away why I can or cannot do something. "Oh, one cookie wont hurt me" - "why should I vacuum when I will just have to do it again tomorrow" - "I don't have time to make a proper meal for my family". In reality - yes that cookie does have an effect on me, the floor does need vacuuming and by all means I am sure I can find time to make that meal if I planned my day better. When you get right down to it it is very difficult to live in complete truth. I am going to try and work on that. I am tired of the self talk - it is noisy. I need to do some soul "cleaning" and empty out the trash. I need to understand who I am with all of my strengths and weaknesses in order to move forward and be truth to others. I need to have the courage to see the real me - not the one I try to paint a picture of.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


So a good friend of mine told me about a magazine she loves. It is called More and she shared several copies of it with me. I love the magazine - I have since bought every monthly copy. Apparently this magazine is for the "older" crowd. If by "older" they mean women with substance, confidence, strength and security in who they are - then I am all in. There is a bit of fluff - you know fashion and beauty tips - but most of it has to do with deeper things. I noticed as I was perusing the latest issue that they had a contest..... a beauty contest. You must be over 35 and submit a photo and an essay describing why you are more beautiful now than ever. It got me thinking. I feel more beautiful now with a few extra pounds, a cropped cut and saggy, scarred skin than I did when I was 20. When I was 20 I had long blonde hair, I weighed 127 lbs (thin when you are 5'10") and not a wrinkle in sight but I had more insecurities than I could carry. I was mean and selfish and lacked any sort of depth and that made me ugly. Most of us would agree that beauty is wasted on the youth - we have no appreciation of it in ourselves at that age - but that is purely surface beauty. As thin as paper. I wouldn't trade this battered body and face in for that 20 year old one ever. I appreciate seeing my eye color in my son's. I love the feel of my daughter's hand in my withered one. I feel beautiful when my husband looks at me from across the room. I hope if I make it another 40 years I will look back on myself at this age and be glad I am where I am.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Contagious infection

Have you ever noticed that when you are around someone with an accent it is pretty hard to not speak in the same accent around them? It is mind boggling how much we rub off on each other. I notice it a lot when I teach dance. The more fun I am having the more fun they are having and vice versa. It happens the other way around too. People who complain, or talk negatively bring other people down and drive them away. Funny how when we are sick we stay home - away from others so as not to infect them - but we can just as easily infect others with our bad attitudes. I think the best way to have more friends and loved ones around it to have a disease everyone wants to catch. I am going to work on that this month.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

One Speed Jack

My darling son has always had one speed. Jack speed. It doesn't matter if we are in a hurry or are late - he still moves at the same pace all of the time - and let me tell you it is not a quick one. It drives me nuts most of the time. I asked him why he was so slow the other day. He told me "Mom, I am just enjoying life. Why should we rush through life when we can take our time and enjoy it". I had a hard time arguing with that one. Out of the mouths of babes.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Preparing for Joy - Joy in Preparing

I have been teaching for about 9 years now. You would think after that much time I would not need to prepare for my classes very much - but in fact I do. Sometimes I spend several hours preparing for a one hour class. I love the challenge of coming up with a good playlist and exciting choreography - it makes it that much more enjoyable to deliver a good class when I know I worked hard at it. The same goes for almost anything else in life. We usually spend MORE time preparing than actually enjoying the final event. A nice meal. A wedding. A vacation. A party. A purchase. Have you ever planned a home improvement project? The fun is actually in the planning and doing. Sure it is nice when you are done but you usually don't think about it again - you move onto something else. I think it makes a big difference in the outcome when you put that extra effort in the preparation. I could easily throw together a class or a meal with very little effort but every time I have the end result isn't as sweet. If you are going to do something I think it is usually worth doing well and you might as well enjoy every part of it.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Childlike love

I had forgotten what it was like to love something as much as a person or pet or God. Little kids absolutely love their blankets, stuffed animals and toys. Julia just found a small Caterpillar in our yard yesterday. She named it Marfallow. She has been concerned about it all of the time. Does it have enough to eat etc. It was the first thing she checked on this morning and again when she got home from school. She was angry with me for not checking on it during the day....(what exactly was I supposed to check???). She sings and reads books to our pet rabbit and assures me that he knows what she is saying. She knows her 3 fishes personality. She stops on our walks to look at different kinds of flowers and notices their tiny detail. I can't remember the last time I paid that much attention to something like that. When do we lose that ability to see the world in wonder? I want to get it back. I want to appreciate everything. I guess I just need a 10 year old to teach me.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I am SO selfish. I fight it on a daily basis. I love to have new clothes. I love to shop for things I know I don't need. I love getting the approval of others. I love doing things on my own. Someone asked the question the other day "are you willing to be uncomfortable to make someone else comfortable?". Sometimes I am but most of the time I am not. Most of the time I try and find ways we can both be comfortable. I need to learn how to sacrifice more - give more - help more - and love more. I need to be reminded every single day - what is important. The more I grow the more I realize how much further I need to go. It is a LONG way with many lessons. I am so grateful that God is so forgiving - otherwise I would be in big trouble.

Monday, February 21, 2011


It is hard for me to imagine a world without music. It invokes so much emotion and can be so incredibly powerful. I think that is one of the biggest reasons I love teaching so much - our classes have such incredible music. I was listening to one of my favorite soundtracks the other day. One of the songs reminded me of a time when John and I were watching a sunset - listening to that song. We both became so overwhelmed by the beauty of not only the sunset but the music as well. It is amazing how music can have a completely relaxing effect or an energizing effect. I have seen people walk into class bouncing off of the walls and when a soothing song comes on I can see them breathe and settle down. I have also seen people walk in looking like they need a nap and within 20 seconds of hearing a good beat the get going. I love to have music on in the house that matches how I am feeling or what I am doing.

I found out over a year ago that I have hearing loss. I apparently was born with a defect in both of my ears that has caused low frequency hearing loss. This is opposite of what most people experience with hearing loss. I have a hard time hearing male voices sometimes (that is why I had it checked in the first place). We don't know how much hearing loss I will have but I have learned to appreciate everything that I can hear. I love to get "lost" in music or the sound of the ocean. My children's voices or my husbands laugh.

It is so easy to take advantage of all of the blessing we have until one gets taken away. Count your blessings and turn on your favorite tunes. See what it does for your day.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Look for the Love

So many people hate Valentine's Day. Maybe they are just too focused on what they don't have. I get overwhelmed by the love that surrounds us. God's love is so apparent - the beauty of every flower, the color of the sky, the warm sun - His amazing mercy. A lot has happened in our life this past year. I was just as overwhelmed then as I am now. Love is everywhere - we just have to open our eyes to it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Please & Thank you

I am not sure what is going on in our society but these little things seem to be disappearing. It is amazing how much a "please" and "thank you" will do. In a world that is often "mine, mine, mine" it is easy for most of us to overlook manners sometimes. We are usually in a hurry and it is just one extra little step - but I think it is a VERY important one. I am not Emily Post but the lack of respect I see sometimes really bothers me. We are all just human - regardless of our profession, status, or gender. It is just as important to genuinely thank your boss as it is the bus boy filling up your water glass.

Picture yourself, after a very long and challenging day, walking into a coffee shop for a little pick me up. The person behind the counter looks you in the eye, smiles, and genuinely asks how your day was. You reply with a grumble but the way that person cares makes you feel a bit better - like getting a hug. You thank that person - not only for the coffee but also for the "pick me up". You feel better because someone cares and that person feels better because they can tell they made a difference. Now imagine walking into that same coffee shop and getting a grumbling person behind the counter with an attitude and acts like he/she is being really put out by having to do something for you. What does that do to your day? What does it do to that persons day? It is the little things that can turn your day around and influence the people around you.

So, next time, let that stranger go in front of you in line. Open a door. Say "thank you" and mean it. Make it a goal to make someone else's day better - every day.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Baby Steps

Good things come to those who wait.... There is a big difference between just waiting for things to happen to you and making small direct moves to reach a goal. I have several friends doing Weight Watchers right now. The idea behind WW is to change your eating habits for good - this just takes time. The weight does not just fall off but it does come off.... slowly. A pound a week doesn't sound like much when you are reading the headlines at the supermarket ("I lost 122 lbs!") but in one year that is over 50 pounds. Overnight success stories are so rare and usually short lived. I think if we have small, medium, and large goals in our lives and we can make daily small strides to reach them we eventually will. Even if it is only 5 minutes a day. What big dreams do you have that you are waiting around for? How can you break that down into smaller goals to reach that dream? What can you do today to start getting there?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Music to my ears

Sitting here in my kitchen listening to my children make music together in one of their rooms. Jack is playing the guitar and Julia is singing..... and they actually sound good. They are loving every minute of it and it brings tears to my eyes that they love each other so much. It's the little things.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I like ______ about myself.....

I think most of the time we spend thinking about ourselves is done so with criticism. We concentrate on all of the things we do wrong or feel are wrong. Our weaknesses. Our deficits. This condition, to think critically of ourselves then spills out onto others. I was reminded of this this morning in a group of women I meet with. It is important to look at what we like about ourselves - then we can see it more easily in others. It is impossible to give to others when our own self esteem prevents it. God made us perfect in His light - it is our job to acknowledge it. Not liking ourselves is, in a way, selfish. In order to be selfless we need to start liking ourselves and get over it. Good time to make that list of all of your attributes and treasures :)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Home is where the heart is.....

and my heart has been in Holland and Germany. John had to travel there for work for 9 days. It was cold and dreary and he had a very nasty cold. As a result we all felt his pain and missed him immensely. He flew into LAX Saturday night and fell asleep at his Mom's house. He surprised us Sunday morning by showing up at 7am - he never looked so good.

Sometimes it takes that distance to make you realize what you have. We are so blessed that John works so hard and has such a great job and provides for us the way he does. His working hours have become longer and longer as his job has become more demanding. I know there are many aspects of his job that he loves and enjoys but part of it is just plain time consuming and methodical. There are many days where he comes in from his office - joins us for dinner - then heads back out there. Something else to be grateful for - the fact that he can come in the house and join us for dinner and not have to "stay" at the "office". The fact that he even has a job is a huge blessing when so many do not.

I love that his job makes this world a more beautiful place by bringing flowers to everyone. He is my flower guy and I love him.

Friday, January 28, 2011

It's not about you.....

This had to be my mantra quite often over the past year. Sometimes it is quite easy to fall into that little hole and have a pity party for yourself. You just want someone to understand what you are going through - divorce, cancer, broken friendships, death of a loved one. These are big things. Even if you don't have a "big" thing at the moment you can always come up with small things - too fat, too poor, too lonely, too old. You get the picture. This is why we have friends - so they can listen to us for a little bit and offer us comfort. The problem comes when the "little bit" becomes all of the time. Then, not only are you miserable but everyone around you is miserable too. Like I said - I had to say it over and over and over again to myself..... "it's not about you". Once you take that pain, anguish, sorrow, frustration etc. and put it aside and make life about the people around you - then you start to heal. Then the pity party hole starts to just look like a dark, empty place you really don't want to go into.

It's easy to spot from the outside. I was having lunch with a good friend the other day (enjoying the happiest town in america) and at the next table over we noticed a stranger - completely self absorbed. Everything was about her. We saw her jabbering on to her friend and it was easy to see she did not "see" her friend. Her friend was just there so she could have someone to talk at.

Sometimes it is silent. That person who hides in their hole and waits. Waits for someone to come an pull them out. Sometimes they wait years. The whole time not realizing that if they could just get to their knees climbing out of the hole would be easy to do.

Most people really don't care what you had for breakfast this morning, they don't care that you overslept because your alarm didn't go off, they don't care that your hair didn't turn out right today. In fact - most people just want other people to be happy. Once we realize that making others happy is truly what makes us happy - that THIS is what life is about - then we can enjoy the fruits of our labor and watch the smiles surround us. You just might find that when you look in the mirror you are smiling too.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I think most people are very resistant to change. My husband is one of those people. He likes things to stay the same - comfortable. A couple of years ago I decided to "make-over" his office (which is our third car garage) while he was away on a business trip. I cleaned it all out, painted, hung pictures, bought bookshelves - a rug - sofa cover etc. I thought he would be thrilled - but when he walked it he was really thrown. This was no longer his office - it was an office I made for him. He is now used to it and I am sure if I changed it again he wouldn't like it.

I actually love change - I think it is exciting. I decided to paint the kids bathroom this week. It still looked like it did when they were 1 and 4 years old - butterflies on the wall etc. I wanted to make it more grown up now that they are 10 and almost 13. As I was enjoying my project I noticed a bunch of grime on the bottom of the door. Dirt on the inside - about 2 feet off the ground. I realized that this was from my children opening the door when they couldn't reach the door knob. I had already painted half of the door but it was a little hard to watch those dirty fingerprints go away. It pulled on my heartstrings. I also painted over their growth chart (which was a vine painted on the wall) but not before I transferred it to a ribbon. I now have a portable growth chart that they can look at when their kids are growing up. I love the new bathroom but I understand how change can be hard. I equate change with growth though. If we are not changing - we are not growing. And if we are not growing - what is the point?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Your "thang"

I think it is so cool that we all have such different dreams and desires. We were built to compliment each other. With life sometimes getting quite stressful I think it is important to find that one thing (or thang) that makes us feel calm. Confident. Peaceful. I know quite a few people who love to sew. They could spend hours figuring out just what they want to make - picking out the fabric - and laboriously creating a piece of art. I, myself, would much rather pour Tabasco in my eye. Sewing has no appeal to me - it stresses me out and I usually end up creating a piece of crap rather than a piece of art. My husband loves to work in the yard (although he might not tell you that). The picking and pruning and planting give him immediate satisfaction and the physical labor of it makes him feel good. My "thang" (or one of them) is painting - and I don't mean Monet. I enjoy painting color..... with straight lines. I can only imagine how most of you feel about that. How incredibly boring, time consuming and frustrating this "chore" must seem. But no, I love it. I like to paint without taping the edges. I paint my straight lines freehand. It can take me an hour to paint the line around the ceiling of a bathroom - but I love it. I think it is important that we make time to not only find our "thang" but make time to actually do it. I would be happy to paint a room of yours and I am sure I have some pillows you could sew for me ;) We would all be happy.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chemo brain.....

I am wondering when (if) chemo brain will go away. I had lunch with a friend yesterday who also had chemo this past year and we were quite comical. There were a lot of "what's that girls name?" and "what did he say?". Memory is a funny thing when you put poison in the mix.

It really comes and goes too. Some days I feel very clear headed - I can remember all of my choreography and people's names - but other days are bad. I often forget names of people I know really well. I have to tell my brain to remember and I usually do but it takes work. On Tuesday I taught one of the worst classes of my career - then last night I taught a great class.

So, if you are one of the people who happens to take a class with me. Bare with me. I am trying. I hope it gets better - and I am sorry if your name slips my mind. I still love you!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Party goers and party throwers

Which one are you? I think I am both but LOVE to throw a party. I love the preparation, anticipation and surrounding myself with people I admire, respect and love. I like providing an environment for fun, laughter and great conversation. I know many people who are neither one. They prefer to stay home and don't like the social pressures of parties. I don't think a "party" has to be a big deal though. I used to. I would put so much pressure on myself to have the house spotless and have everything perfect but nobody really cares about that stuff. People like to know that you care about them. They like to know that you have included them in your inner-circle. Sometimes I think a "party" could just be having a couple of friends over for tea. I have a neighbor who brings our their fire pit to the front yard, heats up some cider and invites everyone over to their driveway. I LOVE that! What are we without each other? Lonely. So step out of your comfort zone and invite a few intriguing friends or acquaintances over and see what happens. You might learn something about them. Or, you might just learn something about yourself.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I think we get very comfortable in what we know we like. Sometimes it is hard to try new things. I often hear from people that there is NO exercise that they enjoy. I could almost guarantee that they have not tried everything but they are resolved to leave it at that. I hear things like "I am not coordinated enough" or "I tried that once and hated it". We also have to give ourselves a little bit of time to get adjusted to new things. We tell the people in our classes at the gym to give themselves at least 3 chances to fall in love with the class. I never would have thought I would enjoy teaching kick-boxing but once I tried it - I kind of liked it. It took almost a year for me to love it. Most of the things I do now and love are things I never would have thought I would enjoy.

I encourage you to think of some things that you can try that are new. It doesn't have to be exercise - but maybe something you are a little bit scared to do.

Sometimes we get so comfortable in our "houses" that we forget there is a whole world just outside of the door. Try opening a few doors and let the fresh air in.

Monday, January 10, 2011


What is our true identity? How do we define it?

Over the weekend someone stole our credit card number. They created an actual card with our number on it and went around to all of the pharmacies in Ohio and racked up quite a bill. Fortunately the credit card company caught it so our only frustration is waiting for our new cards and changing accounts over. You could say that these people stole our identity - I never really thought about the ads and all of the hoopla around this but now I really question the verbiage.

I don't think our identity can be defined by a number or a name or even how we look. Numbers are numbers. Many people have the same name. A lot of people look similar. So, who we really are must be determined by what is inside of us. Our character. That is what is so unique. The crazy make-up of mind and soul that God created in us. It is practically impossible to compare two people in this manner. I know that someone who barely knows me would view me quite differently from the way my husband or my children would view me. I think we are only truly known by God and ourselves. We are the ones that know the depths of our souls - and no one can steal that.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A couple of things.....

I am trying to find out it we can open an affiliate for the Susan G. Komen foundation here in central California. I think it is wonderful what they are doing to find a cure through research but I would like to see a piece of the funding they allocate to helping women in need get mammograms go to our local community. More on that when I find out.....

Also, about 4 months ago when I was desperate to have a full head of hair, the hair fairy actually did come. It was in the form of Central California Laser Hair Therapy. I have been going to sit under these red lights between 2 and 3 times a week. It has helped tremendously with my hair growth. It has come in even and gets thicker and thicker.

I am not sure how my hair would have done without these lights but I have seen results on other people and know that it is fairly common to have uneven growth or thin hair after chemo. This process works with many people who have thinning hair. Check it out!

Laser hair Therapy

If you or someone you know has thinning hair and wants to do something about it - give John from Central California Laser Hair therapy a call to find out more information 805-597-3004.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Leaders and Followers

One of John's biggest goals as a father is to raise our children to be leaders. That is often the conversation at the dinner table. It is much harder than it seems to be one. We often have to walk into uncharted territory and you never know how it will turn out. It must be human nature to want the approval of others and I think this effects our decisions more often than not.

We had a great learning experience yesterday. Dear Julia succumbed to peer pressure. Now the "peers" were actually Jack's friends and several years older than her. These friends have also been her friends for as long as she can remember but she has always been pining for their approval. What happened was trivial but Jack had his feelings hurt and Julia was able to see first hand the consequences of her actions. She chose to try and get the approval of Jack's friends at the expense of her loving brother. I am glad it happened now and not several years from now when peer pressure will be at its highest.

Sometimes being a leader requires you to do something others wont do and sometimes it just means saying "no".

Last year I had to make some tough decisions - many of the ones I made were against what others thought I should do. At first I didn't advertise my decisions because I was afraid of what others would say but eventually I trusted in what I knew was right for me and my family. The first step to stand on your own is usually the hardest.

I also think that being a leader does not mean making others follow you - it just means taking responsibility for your actions, walking through you life with dignity and grace, and relying on our innate nature to know right from wrong. It means taking some risks. It means you might fail.

How we look at our lives when we come to the end of it, I think, depends greatly on this.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Good Days = Good Days

I have found - especially while I am trying to lose a few lbs - that drawing from the ol' memory bank has some benefits. Instead of feeling like I am denying myself food and getting upset about it I think about the days in my past that I felt really good about myself. Usually it was when I was feeling healthy and in shape. I try and re-create that feeling and the cravings for chips and cookies lessen. Sometimes that is the only motivation I need.

It is hard for me to call on those memories - especially because I like living in the now - but I find it is worth it. I think we can apply this concept in all areas of our lives. If we are feeling sad we can call on those times when we were most happy and use that to create a positive environment for growth. No matter where we are in life and what challenges are in front of us we have a choice. We can make the best of it and choose to look at it in a positive way or not.

So, I am thinking back to when I was 20 and running around the beaches of Hawaii in my bikini - the warm sun and fresh mangos. I may never look like that again but who cares I know I will "feel" like that again and that is what matters.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Climb

When I was in my early 20s and dating John he became quite a good rock climber. We lived in Colorado then and his passion for surfing was put on hold while he was in this land locked state. Rock climbing seemed to fit the bill. In the winter he would go to climbing gyms and in the summer he would spend his free time on belay among all of the incredible rock formations around Boulder. Fortunately he had a few friends who loved to do that with him.

I am a pansy of a thrill seeker - I like roller coasters and that sort of thing and I have never been afraid of heights - but the idea of rock climbing seemed pointless and boring to me at the time. After much convincing (and lots of excuses from me) he finally brought me with him to try it.

We found a beautiful spot with a rock face about 25 feet tall. He gave me a lesson on safety and assured me that the ropes would hold me - he taught me how to find foot holds and finger holds etc. I then started my climb. The first part was easy - "what's the big deal" I said to myself. But then, at about 14 feet up, I looked down (my hands are sweating as I type this remembering the feeling). Panic overtook me faster than any other emotion. It did not creep in - just smacked me right in the face. This wasn't logical. I was hanging by my fingertips from a rock face and at any moment I could fall. John saw it right away and tried to calm me down. "You are perfectly safe" he would say. "I've got you". But I was paralyzed. I could not move at all. I tried to overcome my terror but it was too strong. John told me to just "let go" so I could see that I wasn't going anywhere but that did not make sense to me. I was hanging on to this rock and trying desperately to hang on to my control.

I eventually climbed down - with a lot of tears and embarrassment. I didn't try it again until much later and even then the rock face was much easier to climb.

I still remember that day in detail. When I look back on it now it is easy to see that if I was climbing that rock alone and without help I surely would have fallen. It is easy to see that all I needed to do was trust John. Trust that I would be OK. All I needed was a little more faith. Faith in God, in myself, in John, in the situation (even if I did fall I would have been OK).

When we embark into the unknown - we need someone with us. It may only be God or it may be Him and the huge posse of people we surround ourselves with. I regret that I didn't finish that climb - of course I wouldn't have had that experience to reflect on today if I had. The point is - if we don't try, if we don't fail, if we don't trust - where are we? No better off and stagnant.

Let's make 2011 a year of surprises. Let's see if we can put our trust in others and in ourselves and try new things.
Let's climb.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Purpose

K folks - I have changed the focus of this blog for the year. I want to motivate, stimulate, contemplate and moderate. Get it?

Seriously this is the scoop.

Motivate - this is my primary goal - to motivate not only myself but all of you to reach higher and dig deeper to discover our full living potential.

Stimulate - Along the same lines but to also help you get excited about new things in your life (and mine). Perhaps things you never thought of before.

Contemplate - Just a basic checks and balances section to make sure we are not moving in the wrong direction.

Moderate - With new goals often comes obsessions - so this is to try and keep balance in all aspects of our lives.

You on board? If so, check back in regularly! Tomorrow will be a good one!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!!!!

Had fun hangin' with some of my favorite peeps last night and danced till my feet hurt. Had to fight back tears when the ball dropped and put an end to 2010. Thankfully I was in my favorite place - my husband's arms. Let's hope 2011 is a year of good health, discovery, prosperity, gratitude, happiness and love for all of us.