Thursday, December 31, 2015

hello 2016

the holidays have been great.

full of magic as they should be.

some good and much needed down time.

tonight we will ring in 2016 and all that it will bring.

i have decided that my word for 2016 will be "fight".

seems fitting since the second week of the year will find me in surgery, and who knows what will come after that.

more to come on why i chose that word and how i expect to embrace it in the new year.

i have to go into seattle today to have blood drawn as a prep measure for surgery. a blood draw on the last day of 2015. i am not sure if i find that to be ironic, frustrating, or just how my life seems to be rolling these days.

but this day will be full of much more joy than shit so i am choosing to focus on that.

if you are looking for some inspiration for 2016...
- elise has her 2016 daily goal trackers ready for download, and i loved checking off the dates this year on my goal for being active - you can download the 2016 version here (you can also read about her word of the year on her blog)
- ali edwards has her "one little word" class starting up for 2016 and you can read more about that here (you can also read about her word of the year on her blog)
- my friend liz makes amazing talismans and jewelry to help you remember your word through the year, i already have my heart ordered with "fight" on it so that i can physically carry it with me to my appointments this year. you can check out her shop here

i hope that you all have a great start to 2016.

may it bring us all a lot of hope, magic, laughter, and joy. xo

ps) please send some of your new years prayers and love to our uncle kevin in minnesota as he is a fighter just like me and could use some mojo and good vibes for ringing in 2016. keep taking it day by day kevin, we are rooting for you each and every day from here. xo

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


i have been quiet in this space for a mix of reasons.

all of the good things that the holidays bring.

work being a little bit crazy as i tackle everything normally on my plate as well as getting a plan in place for coverage when i am out.

finding it hard to hold on to time as it feels like it is racing by.

going to try and slow it down a bit over the next couple of days.

but the good has been good. time with family. laughter. eating some favorite holiday treats. maybe a cider and maybe a glass of wine. talking to santa, telling him her wishes. wrapping gifts. checking out christmas lights. making plans for fun to celebrate the holidays. all of the good things that the holidays bring.

in between all of the good, there are the stresses with work, the discussions about disability leave, leave without pay, insurance, what i do and what i don't qualify for, discussions with our girl that no parents should have to have about what will happen next in our lives.

so there is the typical balance of the shit and the joy.

but i am going to do my best to focus on the joy and have it outweigh the shit. because the rest will come regardless, and it will take more than its fair share of time when it does.

i hope that this week brings you some magic of your own. xo

Monday, December 14, 2015

good things

holiday fun.

making gingerbread houses.

eating candy.

looking at twinkle lights.

ornament exchanges.

dinner with friends.

seeing santa.

feeding reindeer.

drinking hot green teas.

addressing christmas cards.


giving and getting hugs.

cracking up laughing with my parents.

drinking a cold cider.

drinking some red wine. (not the two at the same time)

finding the perfect gifts.

wrapping up tight with scarves.

wearing my favorite boots.

making the most of this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


surgery is a go.

it will be on january 11th.

this time the surgeon thinks that he will need to take a little more of the lung because the nodule is not as far on the edge as it was for the last surgery. but i shouldn't notice too much difference in terms of how my recovery will go, which will take about 4-6 weeks depending on how i feel.

i will have multiple incisions on my side and back, and will have a chest tube put in for about 24 hours likely.

the thought of surgery is hard. that was a really tough experience for me last time as i talked about in this post.

but i made it through that somehow and i will make it through it this time too. right now i am not sure how, but i know i will.

if all goes well, i will be in the hospital for one night and will be able to come home sometime the following day.

it was hard to be back in that office again. last time we were there was february 20th, 2013 after my last surgery, and that was an awful experience as i talked about in this post.

after the appointment today, we grabbed some lunch and then come home and crashed. we were both lights out. total and complete exhaustion.

sleep is hard to come by these days, and with the stress on top of it, rest does not seem to be coming easy.

but that is what is to expected so we will just keep rolling forward, and i will keep drinking green teas to keep me functioning:)

thanks for all of the love and support and prayers, it means so much.

have a good thursday. xo

Monday, December 7, 2015

the results are in

finally got the call today.

it was as good of news as we can get at this point.

the full body scan showed that the only area of concern is my left lung.

huge, huge, huge, huge relief.

so now we head to wednesday.

the appointment with the surgeon is in the morning around 9am.

the best that can come from that appointment is that he will say that he can do surgery and get the nodule out of my lung. the worst is that he will say he can't get to it.

it is like making a deal with the devil in these ways that cancer makes you consider the good and the bad. another lung surgery that will be cause me unbearable pain is my current best case scenario.

but tonight, that is a scenario that i am very thankful for.

Sunday, December 6, 2015


"you don't have a right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt.
you have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you're holding."
(cheryl strayed)

well said cheryl, well said.

btw, you all may be seeing many more quotes from her on this blog as i recently purchased her book brave enough because i could tell from the title it was a book i was going to need (and i pretty much knew if she wrote it, i would probably love it.)

this weekend was a good one.

camp outs. sharing popcorn with malena while we watched project runway junior (which i am sure that she will be on one day soon. i will invite you all to her runway show). sleeping in a little bit. drinking a cold cider. (sidenote - just to be clear, those last two didn't happen in that particular order;)). checking out local artists and their amazing goods. walking along a lighted luminaire pathway to check out holiday lights with four of our favorite people, and getting to eat dinner and laugh with them. a breakfast with 5 women i think are pretty great at my favorite breakfast spot (aka sunday morning dream come true). putting up the tree. decorating the house. touching all of the ornaments and thinking about the memories of each one (ok, and maybe a few tears along the way as i decorated but that happens even on years when i am not a total emotional mess). oh, and there was some laundry -- and a trip to the hospital to see my dad-in-law who came down with pneumonia but is doing much better now and is home which i am thankful for (and so is he).

all in all, it was a really good one. lots of fun memories. laughter. and just a few tears each day which isn't too shabby.

i hope that your weekends were good too and full of exactly what you hoped they would be.

i am anxious to see where this week leads, but for now, i am going to stare at these lights for a minute more and then try to get a little bit of sleep to rest for what i am sure will be a long week (and because my big brother gets a tad upset if i am up late).

+++ while i can't quite psychologically pull the trigger on making goals for myself in 2016, i would encourage you to and elise has her new goal trackers out and ready for downloading. and they are awesome. and you can download them for only $4. and they are awesome. did i already mention that? i used one for 2015 to track all of the days that i was active (walking, running, etc.) nothing like crossing off the day because you met your goal. you know i am all about that. you can find out more info and download them here. you and your new goals are welcome;)

Saturday, December 5, 2015

good news for beth + more waiting for me

great news.

beth got really good news with her scan results.

her scans did not show any signs of growth, and one small new spot that showed is small enough to not be a concern and could just be an anomaly of how the scan image was taken.

such great news.

beth is currently celebrating the good news in canada with her mom and i am so happy that they get this time to celebrate together.

i didn't hear back from my oncologist on my news, so i will wait through the weekend.

i expect that i will hear on monday at this point, but we will see.

i hope that you have a great weekend, may it include some fun new memories for you to hold close. xo

Thursday, December 3, 2015

the waiting....

the waiting continues.

i didn't get the scan results today, so hopefully tomorrow we will know.

so we are in the waiting period.

the oh so nerve wracking waiting period.

as i predicted, it took multiple attempts to get my iv in yesterday.

having them push the needle with no luck, on a stomach that has been empty for over 12 hours, was not a good time.

it was about 4 hours long by the time the scans wrapped. so although by that time i didn't feel great, i also was a little hungry since it had been about 20 hours since i had ate anything.

we got home, and i crashed. was lights out for a couple of hours, was able to give malena one quick hug (all that is allowed due to the radiation) and went back to bed (hence no post last night, was just too tired to do anything).

beth has her appointment tomorrow at 1. please send her your prayers, love and mojo. i know these results are going to be crystal clean, but just for extra insurance, send her your mojo too;)

i know that she says thank you, and so do i. xo

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


so here i go.

12 hours of fasting.

only water.


getting pumped with radioactive fluid for an hour.

and with my luck, probably more than one try to get the iv in my arm.

being in the room solo because i am radioactive.

moving tiny bit by tiny bit in a small machine so that every inch of my body is scanned.

feeling like hell afterwards.

not being able to be close to my daughter tomorrow because i will be radioactive.

pretty sure that there a million other ways i would rather spend a wednesday.

but on this wednesday, this is what i will be doing.

my friend sent me a card last week in which she wrote "i know you are tired of fighting".

that is so true. she was so right.

i am tired. really tired.

it has been five and a half years since i got that first call.

not a day has gone by since that i haven't been in treatment, surgery, physical recovery, or dealing with the emotional toll that comes from thinking about your own mortality every single day.

since we got this latest news, i have felt like i have been walking around the outside of the boxing ring. knowing i am going to have to go in. knowing i am going to have to pick up the gloves. knowing i am going to have to go some more rounds. knowing i am going to have to get my emotional and physical strength up. knowing i have to step into the damn ring again.

i am not going to lie. this time is worse. if i go into surgery, i know the exact hell it is going to be, i know what the pain will be like. for me, knowing is worse.

but tonight, i just have to ready myself to pick up the gloves in the morning. to climb back in the ring. to put the gloves on. to get back in the fight.

please send your prayers and love to beth tomorrow as she heads in for her scans. her and i were just texting each other about our days tomorrow, i so wish that we would have no need to trade texts about the times we are heading in for scans. but we do and so we root for and support each other.

thank you for rooting for us too.

anywhere i go, you go. xo

Sunday, November 29, 2015

the shit and the joy

it sometimes feels like we can never get a break.

this last week has been mixed with many emotions, kind of like the movie "inside out", i have been feeling all the feelings (anger, sadness, joy, fear, etc.).

our holiday on thursday was really good, and we had a great time watching the apple cup (i am neither a cougar or a husky so i just watch the two sides of my family cheer on their respective teams). on friday night we had a family party for malena's birthday. just moments after everyone finished eating their cake, my grandma had a stroke while sitting at my parent's dining room table. it was probably one of the scariest things i have ever seen. as i made the call to 911, i felt like a combination of a 40 year old woman who was communicating the needed info to the dispatcher and a young kid looking at her grandma who knew she would never forget what her grandma looked like in that moment. she was eventually released late saturday, and we will see what the future continues to hold.

as we were sitting with her in the hospital, i was thinking about how quickly life changes. in one moment i was watching my daughter blow out the candles on her cake, and in the next moment i was calling 911 and was not sure if my grandma was going to make it.

the joy and the shit.

this week will bring more of both. there are fun things planned throughout the week. there is also a full body pet scan on wednesday that will be long and will make me really sick. pending those results (which are hopefully that my lung is the only issue) i will either go straight into the appointment with my surgeon next week (if only my lung) or back to my oncologist (if not only my lung). i never really "hope" to meet with surgeons, but in this case, that appointment happening next week means that it is only my lung we have to deal with, and in the current situation, that is about as good of news as we can get.

in the ironic twist of fate that is cancer, my dear friend beth goes in for her 6 month scans on wednesday as well. we will be at two different facilities otherwise we would be able to give each other a hug on our way in and out of our tests. beth will get her results on friday, and of course, i know that they are going to be good and fully clear. since i am going to now be taking another round for the team, the cancer fates better not touch her or all kinds of hell are going to break lose around here.

so please send beth and i your prayers, vibes and mojo - and send some to my family and grandma as well. we need them all the way around this week.

i hope that your holiday was full of joy, rest, naps, solo time -- whatever it was that you hoped this holiday weekend would bring your way. i hope it brought what you were hoping for and more.

another week begins, one that holds moments of joy, and moments of dread. but life is pretty much always like that, it is just that sometimes you can see what is coming with a little more clarity.

happy monday peeps. here we go.

Friday, November 20, 2015

next steps

we have some timing for the next steps.

i will have my full body scan on 12/2.

we will meet with the surgeon on 12/9.

the caveat to that being if the scan shows that my lung is not the only area we have to be concerned about, then i will meet with my oncologist again because that will likely change what our next steps may look like.

i am still pretty numb from the news on wednesday, and am really just trying to put one foot in front of the other and breathe.

it has hard to get your bearings when you simultaneously feel like curling up in a ball and crying your eyes out, cursing at the fates, throwing anything and everything you can get your hands on because you are so angry, being really sad, feeling beyond scared, having constant nausea -- all the while trying to keep moving forward. because life goes on, even in the wake of really shitty news, life has to go on.

today my girl turns 7.

and i will put all of those other feelings aside to focus on that and celebrate her and this day.

this is her day, and i am super thankful to be here to celebrate it with her.

i hope that you all have a really good weekend.

do something fun. laugh. hug someone. call someone. or just give yourself a hug, you did make it to friday after all.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015


i am going to keep this short and will write more later when i can catch my breath.

there is a spot on my left lung that has grown.

i will do a pet scan in two weeks and will then meet with the surgeon to talk about whether we can get it out if i go through another surgery.

we will determine next steps following that appointment.

keep sending your love, prayers and mojo - we are going to continue to need it. xo

Monday, November 16, 2015

long day

today was a long one.

it took my first nurse about 20 minutes, both arms, and she could not get the iv in. she did my least favorite tactic of trying to move the needle around in my arm to get the vein to cooperate. it did not cooperate. i tried to be patient because i could tell she was nervous, relatively new, and that she too was wishing she could get it in. a second nurse eventually came over and finally the iv got in.

when they injected the contrast in my iv for the ct scan, i felt a huge wave of nausea and had to take some deep breaths because i thought that i was going to get sick in the machine. but the wave passed by and i was able to recover.

following that i got to have snacks with barrett and ellie. as usual, ellie knocked it out of the park with snacks - so good. i pretty much devoured everything in my sight as i was really hungry and it felt like the food was helping to keep the nausea at bay.

next up was my brain mri. best part of that was that there were different ceiling tiles in that room which had palm trees on them, and for a brief second, i thought about hawaii and not being that room. i was in the mri machine for 30 minutes, that machine is so small and the noises are so damn loud that it is like a total assault on your senses.

and i got more contrast injected into my iv for the second time.

no rest for the weary.

by the time we got home, i was feeling miserable and went directly to bed.

finally got some good sleep for a couple of hours, and have been spending the evening with my family and quality time on my couch with my favorite blanket. kind of like linus from charlie brown.

heading back to bed again, hoping that i wake up feeling better in the morning.

results come on wednesday morning at 9am.

thanks for all of the vibes, prayers, and love.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

damn it, here we go again

10:30am check in.

scans up first.

ivs. contrast. you know the drill.

after that, brain mri.

i really hate the jackhammering noise that comes from the mri machine.

you know how i feel about seeing those ceiling tiles. again.

i have been quiet in this space in the last week for a couple of reasons.

i just didn't feel like i had too much to say, except the obvious.

work has kicked me up one side and down the other this week. including 16 hours of it this weekend. which in some ways is good because it has kept my i-can't-sit-still-for-one-second-pre-scan-mania to be kept busy, but in some ways not good because it left me no time to  breathe and i am feeling so beyond exhausted and i have a really long week ahead.

was that just the longest sentence you have ever read? probably.

i really appreciate all of the love, mojo, vibes, prayers and any good karma you are sending our way.

we need it. we always do.

anywhere i go, you go.

i just really wish we had other places to go on this particular monday.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

a week out

we are one week out from scans.

i got my bag of cinnamon bears today.

my regular routine around scans is going to be shaken up quite a bit this time around for a couple of different reasons.

i am trying my best to not let that rattle me too much.

after all, barrett's birthday is the day in between scans and results, so that can only bring us good luck. right? right.

the final week countdown begins. here we go.

if you need a laugh, like i need a laugh, you should check out this jimmy fallon video. (thanks hooch:))

happy monday peeps, here we go again.

Monday, November 2, 2015

part ii, empathy cards

emily mcdowell has released 7 more empathy cards.

just like the first ones, they are pretty much the perfect cards for people affected by cancer.

you can check out the new cards here.

i am so thankful that these cards exist.

they will make a difference.

that i know for sure.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

hello november

the last week of october was full of goodness.

celebrating a good friend's 50th birthday. lunch with one of my favorite people. a harvest party at malena's school. carving pumpkins. celebrating my mom's birthday. birthday parties for kids. lots of laughing. watching my little koala go trick or treating. maybe eating a mini bag or two of candy. maybe drinking a cider or two. just maybe.

november rolls in.

this month will bring many good things. my daughter turning 7. my husband turning 38. more birthdays. time with friends. time with family. a trip to my favorite spot. dinners. thanksgiving. pecan pie. a cooking class. teaching art to malena's class. camp outs. swim lessons. so many good things.

i am going to do my best to focus on those good things this month as the countdown begins.

oh, november.

like it or not, here we go.

Sunday, October 25, 2015


so i had some great pictures from our recent trip to the corn maze and pumpkin patch to include in this post. but blogger still hates me and won't load pictures. clearly, blogger and i are at odds. but the post will go on (but will slightly less great).

so instead i will just cut to the chase.

even though there are times during fall when i do not appreciate the rain (most notably when i have forgot my umbrella and get soaked) i pretty much love this season.

the leaves. getting to wear my boots. ordering up green teas (ok, let's be honest, i do that in every season). snuggling in under blankets. running and seeing my breath. pecan pie (i can barely wait to taste it at thanksgiving time). pumpkins. corn mazes. getting cozy with a good book (i finished reading big magic this weekend and it was ah-maz-in. wow. can't say enough about how inspired i am after reading that book. so, so good). the list goes on and on.

and since the list goes on and on, here is a great list that kelle hampton recently posted on her blog. 20 ways to celebrate fall. bring it on.

i also saw this really cute fall print from pen + paint (i pretty much think everything in their shop is great) which would be a great fall decorating addition and/or a great hostess gift for the fall season.

i am looking forward to this week that will include carving our pumpkins, a harvest party at malena's school, seeing her trick or treating as a koala bar -- and the best fall tradition of them all, celebrating my mom's birthday.

happy monday peeps, here we go.

ps) if you signed up to be a pen pal, and you didn't hear from me today, let me know. xo

Thursday, October 22, 2015

good things

good things do happen in this world, and when they do, they can sometimes be pretty great.

yesterday there was $475,000 raised in 24 hours for amazing causes that you can read about here.

over 21,000 people coming together with an average of a $22 donation in 24 hours.

this world is full of magic.

if you want to add a little magic to someone's mailbox in the next three weeks, let me know if you want to be a pen pal.

i hope that you all have a great weekend. ours is going to include project runway, camp outs, picking out tile for our plumbing drama rebuild, swim lessons, lunch with one of my oldest friends, and if things go my way - a nap.

have a good one, i hope that it includes some fall goodness and gives you a chance to bring some magic to someone else. xoxo

ps) seems like the link i put in yesterday for the cam video for "burning house" didn't work if you were looking at the blog on your phone, so here is a better link.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

a book + a video + happy mail

"the people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for circumstances they want and if they can't find them make them"
(george bernard shaw)

so the random number generator wizard picked kelly for the book giveaway. yay! kelly i will get the book sent your way soon my dear.

this is totally random, but this song by cam is on the radio every day and i can't seem to get the chorus out of my head. thought something about it might resonate with some of you too.

last (but definitely not least) i am thinking that sending some happy mail out into the world before the scans roll around would be good to ramp up some good vibes and love. if you are interested, let me know and i will match you up with a pen pal. the plan will be to send some happy mail out to your pen pal once a week for three weeks starting next week. it can be a postcard, a card, a post-it note with a message, it can be as easy as you make it. i just think that some extra mojo moving out around the world in the next couple of weeks can only bring good things. let me by friday night and i will match people up this weekend.

have a good one peeps. one more day. we've got this.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

rising strong + a book giveaway

"regret is a tough but fair teacher.
to live without regret is to believe you have nothing to learn,
no amends to make,
and no opportunity to be braver with your life"
(brene brown)

i finished reading brene brown's book "rising strong" that i had first wrote about in this post.

the book was really good (which was exactly what i expected).

i basically dog-eared almost every page because it seemed like there were so many points throughout the book that were speaking directly to me.

one of the parts of the book that i really connected with is how she talks about how we write our own shitty first drafts (or SFD for short which might be my current favorite acronym). man, she has that right. there are so many times that i write SFDs about myself that i am pretty sure no one else would write about me (you aren't doing a good enough job as a mom, wife, friend, daughter -- you name it). but man those SFDs can own you if you don't take the time to rewrite your story. as she says, "owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we'll ever do."

so i am sending "rising strong" off to my dear friend in texas who will get to turn all of the dog-eared pages and see which words land on her heart.

but while thinking about how much i loved reading this book, i was reminded that i have an extra copy of another book that i love.

a long time ago i wrote a post about reading the happiness of pursuit.

this last summer i went to an event where the author gave out copies of the book. i have been holding on to that extra copy and decided now is a good time to send it out into the world.

so if you want to get inspired and read the book, leave a comment on the blog or text me, email me, send smoke signals, trip me when you walk past me, leave a trail of jelly beans -- however you know how to communicate with me (hint...jelly beans are probably the most effective method;)). let me know you want a chance to get the book by 8pm wednesday night. i will pick a random winner and let you know on the blog tomorrow night who is going to have some great reading to do and some happy mail coming soon to their mailbox.

happy wednesday peeps, half way there. i can see friday, and good news, it looks pretty awesome.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


yesterday when I was driving home i heard dierks bentley's new song "riser" for the first time.

as i listened to the lyrics, there were some tears.

you can check out the video here.

i think that i may have a new theme song for scan week.

thanks dierks.

Monday, October 12, 2015

golden light

"i hope that in the future they invent a small golden light that follows you everywhere and when something is about to end, it shines brightly so you know it's about to end. and if you're never going to see someone again, it'll shine brightly and both of you can be polite and say, "it was nice to have you in my life while i did, good luck with everything that happens after now." and maybe if you're never going to eat at the same restaurant again, it'll shine and you can order everything off the menu you've never tried. maybe, if someone's about to buy your car, the light will shine and you can take it for one last spin. maybe, if you're with a group of friends who'll never be together again, all your lights will shine at the same time and you'll know, and then you can hold each other and whisper, "this was so good. oh my god, this was so good."

(iain thomas)

enough said.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

here we go again

i knew it was coming.

the dates for my next round of scans.

november 16th for scans.

november 18th for results.

barrett and malena's birthdays are that week. his lands on the day between my scans and the results.

even though i knew the dates were going to be coming, that doesn't make it any easier.

the marker is now clear.

as always knowing the exact dates and times turns things upside down for me and makes me automatically kick into all of the pre-scan triggers that i know so very well.

i am going to just keep breathing. and going.

reminding myself of all that the fun things i have planned.

and begging the fates to let me have some sleep between now and then.

i know those nightmares are coming, i can see them peeking in the windows from the dark outside.

they may take my nights, but i will be damned if i let them take my days.

here we go again peeps.

f&ck cancer.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


"maybe you can afford to wait.
maybe for you there's a tomorrow.
maybe for you there's one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around in it, let it slide like coins through your fingers.
so much time you can waste it.
but for some of us there's only today.
and the truth is, you never really know."
(lauren oliver)

you never really know.

so make the most of it.



count me in.

how about you?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

big magic

tonight i got the opportunity to hear elizabeth gilbert talk about her new book.

big magic.

which is the next book in my cue and i am really excited to start turning the pages.

her talk, as i expected, was so good.

i wish that i could have videotaped it and shared it with all of you.

her words and stories were just that good.

there were many parts of her talk tonight that i wish i could play back word by word.

i want to hear the words again. and again. and again.

but more importantly than her words, was the inspiration.

to create.

to make some magic.

i plan to do just that.

how wonderful it would be if we all pursued our own kind of magic.

that kind of world is what sweet dreams are made of.

i for one, plan on having only those kind of dreams tonight.

Monday, October 5, 2015

the final quarter

how is it october?

i do not know either, but it has come in a flash.

it seems like it was just january 1st and barrett and i were doing a polar plunge and freezing our you-know-whats off in the beautiful seattle sunshine.

so as this year starts to wind down, i am looking forward to winding up some fun.

pumpkin patch visits.

a day trip to portland to hear some of my favorite bloggers talk and get inspired.

trick or treating (and sneaking some candy).

family birthdays.

malena turning 7.

my mom's turkey sandwiches.

watching the apple cup football game.

a trip to my alderbrook, my favorite place.

some black friday shopping to support my favorite artists.

taking a letterpress class.

running a 5k.

exchanging ornaments.

listening to elizabeth gilbert talk about her new book (that is going down tomorrow night and i am super excited).

checking out huge gingerbread houses in seattle.

making our own gingerbread house (and sneaking some candy).

riding a carousel.

finding the perfect gifts.

making some gifts.

three more monthly dinners with my friend chris.

making resolutions for the new year.

putting up a tree.

watching the twinkling lists.

waiting for santa and the reindeer to come.

drinking a cider or two.

reading some more good books.

taking a cooking class.

teaching art to malena's class.

downloading some good music.

lots of running.

making cards.

saying a lot of "i love you's"

giving a lot of hugs.

laughing. a lot.


trying new recipes.

making peppermint chocolate chex mix (aka the best food ever).

and this isn't even the complete list.

there is so much good to come.

the fun to come is what i am going to do my best to keep focused on as i roll through october.

all of the good.

i am so lucky to have so much, and so many people, to look forward to.

bring on the final quarter.

i believe it is going to be a good one.

Thursday, October 1, 2015


"you settle in. these kids, this husband, this little life you're say amen.
you are slower to tell everyone how wrong they are and quicker to gather your folks and breathe gratitude.
this is your place. these are your people. this is your beautiful, precious life.
probably about halfway done here on earth, you lay down angst and pick up contentment.
so sure, your body and mind get whack, but i promise you this:
you wouldn't return to your twenties for all the unwrinkled skin on the planet.
you like it here. 
you love better, stand taller, laugh louder.
you'll pass out grace like candy.
real life will temper your arrogance and fear, you will adore the next version of yourself.
we all will."
(jen hatmaker)

hello october, good to meet you.

happy weekend peeps.

may it bring you the chance to pass out some grace.

to others and to yourself.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

blah blah blah

last wednesday i learned that a friend of mine had been diagnosed with melanoma. it really pisses me off when people i love and care about are diagnosed with cancer. i feel like my diagnosis was in part to take one for my collective team, and those that i love should never have a diagnosis themselves. so when they do it is hard for all of the obvious reasons, but for me, it is even more difficult because i know how it feels to hear those words. and when i know they have heard the words "melanoma" i can relate even more and the pieces of my heart begin to clink around all over again.

last friday morning i learned that shannon had finished her fight.

last week i was in kansas city for training for a few days. out of a class of 14, i was one of two women (that will be a post of its own some day). the other woman in the class sat directly across from me and she had a huge band aid on her chin. whenever i see anyone with a band aid on their face, arm, leg, etc - i immediately think that they have had a biopsy. of course, i did not ask her any questions and hoped for her sake that she had not had a biopsy.

randomly (or maybe not so much), i sat next to her at dinner on friday night. i heard her tell one of the other people at the table that she had gone in to her see her doctor earlier in the week. she had a spot on her chin that kept scabbing and healing for over a year, and so she finally went into her doctor. she said that since she lives in florida, she is out in the sun all the time, doesn't ever wear sunscreen, and never has her skin checked (i would think that if you lived in florida you might be doing the opposite but that is just me). she said that her doctor was concerned that she had the issue for so long and that he had taken a big chunk out of her chin so now she had to wear this "stupid band aid." she then said that he had mentioned concern that it might be skin cancer, and she said "so if it is skin cancer, then it is just blah blah blah."

blah. blah. blah.

hearing those three words come out of her mouth pretty much put me at my breaking point. i had felt all day like i could barely keep it together, it took everything i had to override wanting to sit in my hotel room and cry to get out and actually go to dinner in the first place. and then because the cancer fates really like to mess with me, melanoma comes up within the first ten minutes of dinner.

so to hear "blah blah blah" as if it was nothing, was of course super hard for me to hear - not only because of what i have been through, but for all of my friends with melanoma, those still fighting and those that have hung up their boxing gloves. especially painful since it was just hours after i had heard about shannon.

there were probably a million things that i wanted to say to her at that point. but i took a deep breath and realized that i didn't want to say those things to her, i wanted to say them to melanoma. because she doesn't know what she doesn't know, and i hope that she never knows. and she certainly didn't need to hear my story as she was waiting to hear her own test results. i am pretty sure a "it was stage iii when i was first diagnosed and then spread to my lung" story isn't what anyone wants to hear when they think it will be blah blah blah.

so instead i spent the evening talking to her about our lives, our kids, how we both like to craft, etc. it seemed like a much better way to send her my good thoughts than unleashing something on her that really wasn't about her to begin with.

i have been thinking about her this week and hoping that she hears or has already heard the words "benign".

that is the kind of blah blah blah i wish for her.

the world needs more of that kind.

that i know for sure.

Monday, September 28, 2015


on friday morning, i got the news that another melanoma warrior had finished her fight.

shannon was diagnosed with melanoma after i was, we had connected right after she was diagnosed through some friends.

she had also started a blog and i have read every one of her entries through the years.

stories about her baby girl. stories about her husband. stories about her fight with melanoma.

the posts have been really hard for me to read lately as shannon knew she was going to be finishing her fight soon.

but knowing that didn't make it any easier on friday morning when i read the post, and it doesn't make it any easier as i feel all of the pieces of my heart clinking around inside of me as i walk.

saying goodbye is so damn hard.

today there was a blog posted that shannon had wrote called "break on through to the other side".

i think that she would like her words being shared with all of you. i think that her words deserve to be heard as far and wide as possible. they are reminders of the things in life that are the most important.

so i have included her words below, exactly as she wrote them.

i will miss reading her words, and rooting for her as she fought. but i wish her peace and am happy that she is no longer in pain. i hope that you will join me in sending lots of love out into the world to her family, her husband, and her little baby girl whose mom was one hell of a fighter.

rest in peace shannon, you will be missed but definitely never forgotten.

"If you are reading this, than I have indeed passed on from this half of consciousness to the next. This is one of the ways the family of one of my dearest friends's looks at death and I love it. One time I am on this side of immortality, and the next moment, I'm on the other side. So beautiful.
In any case, if you are reading this, then I am no longer with you on this side, but I have no doubt that the other side is just as beautiful and intriguing as this side. Its biggest, and most obvious drawback obviously being that the vast majority of my friends and family remain here, on this side. That is the terrible part about dying young. Grandparents and great-grandparents who have had the luxury of time, have many friendly faces to greet them, where I have precious few (but they are so, so precious).
While you are still here on this side, please take the most of your time here. The greatest gift I have been given is the gift of connection. I have met and loved so many amazing people and been given love in return. It may be easier sometimes to huddle up with the cool blue screen, or to simply shut out the world outside entirely, but that is not where LIFE happens. Life happens in the gaps. We close those physical  gaps with hugs, kisses; we close those auditory gaps with "I love you's" and those "take care's" that REALLY mean it; We close those visual gaps with "ILY" signs flashed across the room (take the moment to learn "ILY," it's so easy and can make such a difference to a heart) and with warm smiles passed along with a warm coffee. Even taste and smell can cross gaps with more intimate encounters.
But do not neglect any of those encounters. Do not neglect any moment to say "I love you."
It is early morning as I write this and I can say without hesitation that the parts of my upcoming day that I look forward to with most pleasure are the smell of my sweet daughter's hair as I hope to catch a kiss on the top of her running head as she dashes past and the taste of my husband's beautiful lips as we say kiss somewhat more slowly.
So I say to the mama who is frazzled stay-at-home parent of three, just trying to keep his/her coffee warm (ha!): Find love in tousling of your child's unbrushed hair as it runs past. I say to the work-out-of-the-home parent of 2, who is trying to balance it all with impossible work deadlines, stress of the daily minutes, racing to get home before the Big Piano concert: Find love in the smile of your child's eyes as you finally rush into the concert only a few minutes late (you made it!). To the happily single person trying to find love: Find love in giving a gentle, loving smile to your favorite barista or an older person walking down the path. Everyone can find a moment or a place to give love. Even if the world seems unloving and unforgiving at times, send love out love the abyss. It may take some some time for the echo of of to return, but it WILL come, and just keep sending out messages of love in the meantime. You might be shocked.
Do not wait. Life is always trying to rush past us. Grab it in your arms, even as it fights you, grab it to give it a momentary kiss or peer deep into its eyes to really, truly say "I. Love. You." Because life will ALWAYS be trying to escape from our grasp and all we can do it try to grab it for just a moment longer."

Thursday, September 24, 2015

love note postcards

if you would like to receive some happy mail, and you would in turn like to send some happy mail out into the world, then you have a great opportunity coming up.

sign up for the love notes postcard project.

three weeks of happy mail love into your mailbox, and from your mailbox out into the world.

sounds pretty good to me.

you know i am in.

happy mail makes the world go 'round.


"we can choose courage or we can choose comfort,
but we can't have both. not at the same time."
(brene brown)
those words are from brene's book rising strong.
i just read the words yesterday for the first time, but i have been feeling the tug between comfort and courage over the last couple of weeks.
change is hard. it just is. there is no way around it.
leaving the place i had worked for 15 years to go some place new is one of the biggest changes i have ever made.
at times, it feels like courage, at other times it feels like an immeasurable lack of comfort.
so i am working on moving through the hard parts of change.
i am reminding myself that really good things can come from change, and no matter what, we learn new things along the way.
learning new things is always, always good.
so if this change brings me life experiences i would not have otherwise had, and makes me a little bit stronger, i will be thankful for that.
anytime that i can feel stronger, and maybe a little bit less afraid of change in the future, i will embrace it.
the thing about change is that you take a chance that maybe you fail.
but there is also a chance that you don't. and maybe you soar.
there is only one way to find out.
life is meant for taking chances. it is the best way to grow.
if i have learned one thing since july 16, 2010, it is that you should always choose to take chances and see where life takes you.
you may not know where you will end up.
but it will likely be right where you were meant to be.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

book read, goal accomplished

i busted out another september goal today.

i finished reading is everyone hanging out without me?

i had heard really good things about it and it did not disappoint.

i appreciated that she was so honest about so many different topics (comedy, marriage, physical appearances, to name just a few).

many times i was shaking my head in the "yes" motion because i thought that she nailed at topic with some really good points.

many times i was laughing out loud - like on a plane today when i accidentally scared the woman next to me when i suddenly busted out laughing. for the record, the book is now on her "to read" list as well (you are welcome mindy for the help with your book sales;)).

i had not heard of mindy before her role (which i loved) on "the office" (one of the best shows of all time) so it was pretty interesting to read in the book about her background. i haven't watched her show "the mindy project" yet but i am going to check it out. i also plan to read her new book that just came out -- why not me.

since i wrapped that book up, i dove right into brene brown's new book -- rising strong. i am over 100 pages in already and kind of want to stay up all night reading it. but that is probably not my best plan so i will pick it back up tomorrow.

after i finish that one, i have two more in the cue -- elizabeth gilbert's big magic which i have been waiting for a long time to come out, and jon acuff's do over. i saw him speak for the second time last week, and if you ever get the chance, i would highly recommend that you go to a presentation or book reading that he does. he is one of the best speakers i have ever heard. so good. can't wait to read that book and am pretty sure that the timing couldn't be better since i just switched jobs.

it feels good to get back to turning pages and having my nose in a book.

i always remember how much i love it when i get back into it.

with some good ones in the cue, i am looking forward to putting the phone down and picking the books up at night.