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.