September 27, 2016

"Old habits die hard"

"Little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems." I used to throw that little bit of phraseology out to the universe regularly. Its not really true. I had little kids with some big problems, but somehow these issues are more easily dealt with when said kid can still sit in your lap, which would be around age 20-25, (Once they get married it ain't my problem no more. Also a lie.)
I find it maddening that we are never, ever through learning. Patience is a virtue that I am constantly at odds with. The object of my impatience is almost always....wait for it...ME! Now, I am willing to bet that many of you lovelies who are reading my ramblin are thinking "Me too!!" So why? Why? Why? No, I really want to know. Why can we not give ourselves a freakin' break?

I have a dear friend.  I hang out with her a bit while she is Rehabbing from a MONSTER of a stroke. Today, away from home, dependent on others for almost everything, gone from a life she lived hard, inside and out, even she expressed as we were chatting that she seemed to be feeling bad about herself because, in her words "Other people are so much worse off than i am". This led to a discussion about miracles. Me: "YOU are a MIRACLE! I know you have heard this over and over but not sure you believe it." She replied, "The real miracle is the Mom who takes care of herself and her four kids by herself because her husband decided he was done, it was too hard. She's a miracle." I could not argue with that kind of logic. She also told me to "Never, ever bargain with God." I love this woman, I believe she has been places the rest of us would never understand. I will not be bargaining with God. Ever.

Back to my original question to you and to myself. Why do we beat ourselves up? My friend has every single reason to give herself a pass for awhile, to give herself a break and feel sad, angry, cheated, a myriad of feelings without feeling guilt, but she, as many of us doesn't seem to think that she is entitled to even the tiniest of pity parties. Well by HOWDY if I didn't feel the same way two years ago myself. Did you know that it is possible to be ill at a pain/misery scale nine out of ten, (ten is unconcious) and still fret and fuss about someone else cleaning the bathroom (and worse)? "Old habits die hard".

So LISTEN UP PEOPLE! We must absolutely find that part of us that is inborn, that part that our outstanding Heavenly Parents instilled in us. That part of us that is nice, sweet, kind, and loving not only to every one else, but to ourselves as well. I think that we must, in the loveliest way, TURN VICIOUSLY ON OURSELVES, and be nice instead of punitive, to be loving rather than accusing. To be sweet as opposed to reactive. I used the word viciously because this is a big fat problem. I am tired of suffering, yes, that is what anxiety and constant self-bashing feels like. Its not how the Big Guy planned it.

Sooooo, next time, probably within five minutes of reading this, you hear your own voice criticizing or expecting, stop and say it again, but this time, please BE NICE TO YOURSELF ! as if you were talking to your little tiny self, as if you were talking to the person you love most.

Its hard, like I said "old habits" and it most certainly is a habit. Knock it off ok? Do it for me, I had cancer ya know! (still pulling the card occasionally).

It can be done.
I love you.
I love Jesus.
Peace out for today.

November 8, 2015

Eggs

There is an old quote that say's, "Don't put your eggs all in one basket." I have said that to my kids a few times, not often however.  I will explain. If you are going to put your everything, your time, your laughter, your work, your tears, your study, your children, your job, or your bestie, your heart,  into one basket, that 'basket' had better be Jesus Christ. For me, that is the only time it's going to be ok for you to have just one basket. If you depend on one person, or one hobby, or one anything to hold you together, like a basket holds the eggs, then what happens when that 'one' person, or object, or that 'one' anything is gone? What are you left with?

"And now my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our redeemer, who is Christ, the son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shatfts in the whirlwinds, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."  Helaman 5:12

Do not misunderstand. I am writing this so that I can read it, and read it, and try and calm my heart, which is taking a beating right now. It is important for me, and for you, to to understand that life was not meant to be easy. Life is always interesting, in that we never know from day to day, or hour to hour what is going to happen, what you will feel like, what awesome thing will happen, and what you will do when the heart wrecking things happen. They don't call it "a vale of tears" for nothing ya know.

I woke up this morning so out of sorts, not in a grumpy way, just something was so off in me. I love church, I wish it was longer! but I could not get out of bed. I finally pulled myself together and was at least ready to go to my YW Mia Maids class. It is one of the best parts of my week. We were getting a new presidency put in today. When the girl's started getting set-apart, the tears started falling down my cheeks and my nose went out of control and all that hard work putting on make-up twenty minutes earlier was destroyed. Now you have to know, I adore these girls. They are wise beyond their years. Every single one of them are the most stand-up individuals ever! So while the setting apart prayers were going on, both the darlings on either side of me put their arms around me, and ya know what? I think the same thing would have happened no matter which of these girls were next to me. The Spirit in that room induced those tears which have been just barely inside me all day and I just didn't know it. Also, I will forever be grateful for the stellar, beautiful, and very wise adults I work with and I think they would agree with me that these young women are teaching us every single week as they do not hesitate to open their mouths and tell us what they feel, what they think, and most importantly, what they KNOW. I love them.

I love the only true comforter, my Savior Jesus Christ.
I love you.
Don't just have a good week, have "the BEST week" (Savannah)

















September 21, 2015

Not all who wander.

"Not all those who wander are lost." JRR Tolkien
"Not all who were taught, say thank you." Jrob

Just something I had rolling through my head that fell onto the keyboard.
If you know me, you know I am not a fan of the Summer months. Yet my parents always taught me never to complain about the weather, because it is equal to telling the Big Guy that he made a mistake.  Summer is absolutely essential if we care to continue eating. How can one not believe that their is a higher power, a God, that loves us enough to pay such detail to it all, for instance, in the Spring, the Crocus pops up, shrinks back down to the earth, then the Daffodils, then they curl back down to the ground, then the Tulips bloom, all in perfect order. Same with the crops. Being the daughter of a fruit farmer, At my young age I was always dang impressed that my Dad could manipuate one crop at a time, Sour cherries, then Sweet cherries, then apricots, then pears, then peaches then apples.  Which one has a decent shelf life? Only the apples!! for crying out loud its all brilliant. (Saying God is brilliant seems lame). My father always said "It always snows on the Forsythia." His way of saying, the winter ain't over till its over. I had difficulty convincing my kids and others that this is always true. Even when it gets so warm some Springs, even I doubt it. but absolutely, in all my 55 years on the big ball, have never seen a year that Winter was not finished till it snowed on the beautiful bright yellow bushes.

Fun fact: My father died on the morning of May 5th, His favorite song ever, was 'The Wintry Day Descending to it's Close. That morning, there was snow on the ground. That afternoon it was a typical May day, requiring the AC to be turned on. Cool ey?

I have a lovely friend, her name is Cindy. She is fighting a ruthless case of Ovarian Cancer. During the summer, I would come into her room in the morning, she would look around and say " Every morning, I wake up unsure of it being morning or evening. That is because she would go to sleep while it was still light and wake up in the light. Time and seasons are a strange concept to me. Last spring and summer was five months of being damn sick in the hospital or having Chemo, therefore, when it was September and it got cooler and the grass was green again and so pretty out, I thought it was Spring. I had lost an entire season. I, by the grace of God, stellar Doctors. and a anti-nausea shot I had with Chemo, a shot that lasts about five days, I never had nausea that the pills couldn't manage.. God knows what we can handle, and I would have driven off a cliff if I had had the horrible nausea. However  I was so confused so much of the time and so terrified it was ridiculous. One day I was talking with a friend and mentioned that there was so much time I could not account for, especially in the hospital, and the time I did remember was triggering the crap out of me! She looked at me and very quietly said, "I prayed that you would not remember." Those prayers were answered. I will forever be grateful.

So again, it is Autumn, my favorite season, as I am certain must be many of yours also. The light bends differently as it shines on my South facing home. I can smell and feel the exact day that I walk out and for me, it is fall. When I was a child, as I mentioned, my father was a High School welding teacher (God love him!) and then he would come right home, change into his dark grey work shirt and pants and would head to Salem where he co-owned an orchard with a good friend of his. He bought the orchard because he wanted my three older brothers to understand the value of hard work and a dollar. My younger sister and I would tag along and I spent years just hanging out in the orchard or the fruit shed, never old enough to help even if I begged. (Really....I could not for the young life of me understand why my Dad did not let me use the pruners! it looked so fun and easy).

I learned one of the most valuable lessons of my life in that orchard with my Dad. You see, we would walk up the hill (it is right there on the south side of the Salem Cemetery) to a small shack. When I say shack I do not exaggerate. Quite old and dark, no electricity that I remember, no bathroom, a little stove, probably wood burning and smelling pretty strongly of tobacco and campfire, and usually a dog. During the spring and summer, my Father would hire someone to help him out and keep an eye on the fruit shed etc. There were two men, If I remember correctly, their names were Red, and Woody. They seemed pretty old to me but in reality, were probably not. They seemed contented living in that shack, grateful for the job. My father would take them once a week or so to the little grocery store in Salem and buy what little groceries they needed, and also, some beer and either cigarettes or chewing tobacco. I remember being a little shy with them but even with their hard living appearances and their lack of teeth, I remember their kindness to me and their laughter and teasing. I am so grateful to my sweet Dad for taking us with him when it was probably a pain,  and for being a gosh-dang stunning example of Christlike love that he showed these lovely humans who were, on the outside so different than we were. He showed us that they were God's children and not one bit less loved, and valued because of their circumstances. My Dad never said any of this. He showed us. And that...dear readers is one more reason why I love Autumn. As JRRT said it so well, "Not all those who wander are lost."

Thanks Valton.

July 13, 2015

"What if you're wrong?"

I have a lot of feelings today.  They are not exactly good or bad, I don't know what they are.  I am on a quest to try and figure out the best way to rid my body of the hits it took last year for quite a little space of time, I mean in the grand scheme of things, my stupid cancer took, start to finish, 15 months. That's how long the big stuff takes. Guess what? It aint over and I am trying to fight fire with fire. In my case, it left me with weight gain, fatigue, and a lot of aching, pain and frustration. I understand why I feel like this and so I understand what I need to do to try and reduce some of these common side effects.  I have another doctor, that makes nine! who is a post cancer pain dude. He is so great. He is compassionate and funny and passionate about his job. He told me, that when you have cancer, its like you died. You have to start over, nothing feels right and you cant believe the stuff you CANT do anymore. I was so relieved after he told me this. He told me that most of his pts, by the time they get to his office have given up and just say, "give me a pill" so he was real happy that was not the reason for my visit. Fighting fire in my case, means doing stuff that really hurts with the bones and muscles that already really hurt! So, oh well, they are the professionals and one thing I have learned is what I told my darling friend yesterday, very recently diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer...Always, no matter what, obey your Cancer doctors and nurses orders. No exceptions. You might think that you know more than you do, but, what if your're wrong?
I have the most delightful, lovely, smart and selfless girls, which I teach and play with in  my church. I look at them and I know how some of them feel about themselves, I know how they think others see them, and I just want to stand up and yell real loud at them, "WHAT IF YOU'RE WRONG?! Kids struggle as teens. that is nature and if they get to about 16 or 17 it seems like most of the crap they deal with decreases a bit. Texting makes me worried because there is no way for these kids to be able to perceive what was said, if it is something emotionally charged because there is not the human aspect of emotion behind the words.  I always busted my kids when they said "just kidding, or jk" because "just kidding' means "I really meant what I said but I just don't want to get in trouble'. Truth is, I adore adolescent girls. I want to protect them, I want them to love themselves , I want to protect them from the evil out there, especially the evil that wraps itself up in pretty packages. That's extra evil. It absolutely breaks my heart to know what has gone on behind closed doors, sometimes open!
But what if I, yes I, am wrong....I have a Brother who died in a freak train accident many years ago. He was a single father to two beautiful and lovely kids, one boy and one girl. After my brother was killed, it was decided that they would go back to live with their mother, I believe they were 8 and 11. They had a rough grow up, but are now are just the most stellar people with beautiful families.  I confessed to my niece, not to long ago that I had felt guilty for not raising them myself, (at the time I had a 3 year old and a 1 year old). She immediately said "Never feel bad about that. I would not be the person I am today if things had been different for me growing up". Hmmm I was wrong. We are the sum-total of our experiences.  My brother had given them a good foundation and they took it from there, with much help from their mothers relatives. I was useless. 
One of my favorite, kindest, most compassionate people I know, had the most horrifying life that I have ever heard of. You would not even believe her story. I guess that's why she lives her life making sure that others don't have to grow up feeling like she did. She is a bad-ass Angel, just like most of the BACA bikers you see are.(Bikers against Child Abuse) You want to feel protected, just call up the BACA people. They'll have your back in a red hot minute.

Before cancer: That which does not kill us makes us wish we were dead.
In the middle of chemo:That which does not kill us REALLY makes us wish we were dead.
At the end of Cancer: That which does not kill us, really does make us stronger.

Love my readers, who ever you are, jrob

May 11, 2015

Walt

So I had a lot of time to think this week, it is think or be entirely bored while you are at Disneyland and in the car for a million hours and cant rustle up the enthusiasm to read or watch a movie. I can people watch for hours and at Disneyland there are just lots and lots of people to watch.  I know that it has been said that Disneyland is the happiest place on earth and I smiled for two days straight and I watched people and a lot of people at DL were not smiling.  Maybe that's because they don't know Jesus. Maybe its because they are in crappy relationships, maybe its because their feet are killing from wearing cute, not sensible shoes.  Maybe they don't smile cause no one smiles at them.  Maybe they don't know who they are, and what direction to point their lives in. Maybe too much of a good thing can make you melt like a puddle at Minnie's feet. It is my belief that this world is hard. Life is hard. It is not supposed to be easy, they don't call it a 'veil of tears' for nothing ya know.  But by that same source that tells me life is hard, I know that it is also suppose to cause a great big bunch of JOY too!  It is a mystery to me why it seems, that it is easier to be negative than positive. That it seems easier not to smile than to smile. That it seems that feeling 'put out' is easier to feel, than it is to think, "Hey, I am helping someone here.  We all know that it is in the choices we make every  second of every day. 

I am wondering about Walt Disney. I have not read up on him, other than my friend had a life changing and very vivid dream which Walt was in.  I also love the movie "Saving Mr. Banks" I feel somewhat of a sort of comfort when I watch that movie. I would kill to sit in on hiring interviews for employment at Disneyland. I want to know who they need, who they are looking for, their mission statement, all that. And this is why: Disneyland is magical. I understand why you awesome DL diehards are so obsessed, it's because IT IS HAPPY!!!! and people want to be happy. I have been to DL, coincidentally on the 30th anniversary, and the 50th and the 60th, and two other times. So I have been there five times and I didn't get it till now.  I will tell you, I experienced magic.

Emily, my daughter who rules the checkbook with an iron fist, decided she wanted to take her sweet Minnie obsessed child Ivy to the Breakfast with Minnie and her friends. So I decided to go along, with Holly and Jill. The kids or someone had given me a 'celebration badge' that said "I'm cancer free" on it and I thought nothing of it. You pay, then they take a professional picture of you and then you eat and so we were in heaven I tell you.  We have a young friend in a fight for his life slaying a pretty big case of Cancer. I have a bracelet that I wear that say's 'Seanstrong' and I wanted to get pictures with as many characters as I could holding or wearing the bracelet. We were eating and suddenly one of the employees came out to our table, looked at me and said, "you are brave and we are so happy you are ok, please accept this little gift from our staff. It was  a beautiful little cupcake with a candle which she lit, and said "make a wish" then gave me a card they had written just for me and had all the staff sign and a beautiful long stemmed red rose. Yes, we were all crying, and yes, I am crying right now. So we got awesome pictures with the bracelet with Tigger, and Pooh, and Rafiki, and Minnie, and then the lady with the photographer comes to sell us the picture they took on our way in. It is so happy, it is so bright and full of love and no way was I not going to buy it. It was an eight by ten of me, my girls and my granddaughter, and Minnie on the other side and four smaller photos for 35 dollars. I turned to get my wallet and that kind lady said, "Never mind I am giving them to you."  I think Walt would have been pleased.

The rest of the day went somewhat like that. I know that they are trained to look at the badges, but you cannot train an employee to hug a total stranger who knows what a legit hug feels like. All day long we bumped into employees and I  swear every one of them wished me well or hugged me and I felt the love I tell you. I felt the love of Walt Disney and what he wanted to accomplish and how he wanted his guests to feel.  Where else can you go and get treatment that genuine and that kind. It has to be hard to be on your feet all day and still notice the chubby white Mormon mama's "Cancer Free
badge, and give her a smile and a high five.

So my friends, And I will name some names here, the Phillips Family, The Holdaway Family, The Evensen Family, and all my other DFF'S (DisneyFreakingFans)... I GET IT.

Thanks Walt.

You said WHAT??

I just read my last blog and thought I would add an addendum to it, to the part where I had my Mia Maids practice saying SEX out loud. Apparently I ruffled some feathers. I feel I would like to address the reasoning behind my actions and if you would have come to talk to me, this is what I would tell you.  I had a very, very strong impression about this lesson. I had a very, very strong impression that these lovely, sweet, virtuous darlings that I love, needed to hear from someone, anyone, that it is imperative that they understand how over the top powerful sexual feelings are and that its not just like when you are dying for a waffle covered with Nutella or when you just MUST have a dirty Diet Coke.  It was a small part of a lesson and I wanted them to feel at least comfortable as they could, in a class full of girls only, about the subject. I adore these girls and I have the utmost respect and love for the two adult leaders that were there with me in that class. I would never intentionally cause controversy. Consider the source. Like someone once told me, "Joanna, you just say what everyone else is thinking"

December 31, 2014

Weird, but good learning experience today in the Chemo Zone. Let me clarify. I still get one component of my three drug chemo regimen. It is the part called Herceptin that, in combination with one little estrogen killing pill per day and one humongous shot that shoots a pellet of drugs that shut down my innocent little ovaries into my gut every three weeks, will hopefully keep my estrogen whore of a cancer at bay.  I have a gene, called HER 2, which is positive in me, along with another progesterone lover. So, that just means that I HAVE NO ESTROGEN, ALL OF A SUDDEN, IN MY BODY!!! And that's ok. (So far no one has commented on my shorts, tank tops and flip-flops in freezing weather! ) These genes are preferable to the BRCA gene that Angelina Ballerina Jolie has. That particular gene  is a mean SOB. I had that test done first thing at my Surgeon (shout out to Jennifer Tittensor rah rah!! I love her!!). Insurance doesn't usually pay for BRCA testing. you have to be in a really high risk category. So the BRCA test people send most of us a lovely little bill for 4 thousand dollars!!!! They have a patent on the test which on my end meant swishing scope three times and spitting it back into a container. Try holding scope in your mouth for a minute or two. See what happens. BURNBURNBURN!!!! Holy Hannah. anyway, the company called Meridian has the patent on this test and so they can charge whatever they well please cause they know you will probably be willing to pay for it to know you do or do not have Brangelina's gene.  I would have made the same call she did. She was brave.
Anyway, they don't 'win 'em all' in the Chemo zone. I had my first experience of one of my co-pts. who, today, along with her family and our nurse, rang the bell for the last time. It slowly occurred to me what was going on. I hate it when my favorite nurse cries and she was crying, not in a YEY it's over way. It was an 'it's all over' kind of cry. It never occurred to me that she wouldn't be ok. She was a talker and everyone knew her and you are just supposed to get better. Only sometimes you don't.  I am so grateful that my Chemo Nurses and  my Cancer Docs decided to take their path in life down my path. It is not an easy job. Sometimes it just plain sucks. They are a different breed of health care workers. I am so grateful for their knowledge and there endurance and their ability to roll with whatever happens and adapt.

So right after they said goodbye to their sweet patient, a couple came back and by golly they were up up upset! So...they vented a little in front of all of us, understandably, and then our nurse, she said have a seat and let me finish here. Then she finished, got a rolling stool, rolled right in front of these distraught folks, knee to knee, looked them in the eye and asked them what happened. What happened was, they were not scheduled for Chemo today but since it was a time and day they have always had, they came, not aware that Chemo staff was only in for a half day due to New Years and all. Now you might think, no big deal, just come back on Friday, which is what the receptionist told them, and it came across to the couple as completely unfeeling and cold and bitchy. WELL let me tell YOU Miss "To Cool for School", (that's not really what I wanted to say..) it is a HUGE deal to come in and not be able to have Chemo. It happened to me once and I was devastated. Like they were expressing to the nurse, you are up and hyped the whole night before, you don't want chemo but putting it off is just the worst cause now you are behind and you have to do the whole anticipation thing all over again and its not something well people can even understand. It's a big deal.

Here's the thing, and this is what I learned again today. It IS what you say and it IS the way you say it. BUT, if you are uncaring and unfeeling and forget that the person standing in front of you, or over the phone, or over a text, is a living, breathing, feeling person, then your message will go down in flames. They will only remember the way you treated them. I am not sure what this sweet couple were more upset about, the message, or the delivery. This pt nearly quit her treatment right then and there because of the way someone chose to treat her. Cancer treatment is ASTRONOMICALLY  expensive and not everyone has the blessing we have of fantastic health insurance like I have. They said they would go to Huntsman right then and there if it wasn't going to cost more. So anyway, after another kind compassionate NP came and spoke with her and smoothed it over and problem solved with them and arranged for treatment in a different place, they may have gone home and never come back.

This was my scary thought. There have been times, even in nursing that I have had less than stellar communications with people. Probably dozens,(well maybe not that much), but what if MY reaction to someone else's problem caused them to feel so defeated and hopeless that they made a bad decision? It could happen to any of us. It's true because I saw it happen today.

I am so grateful for the lovely people in my life, for instance, these peeps today, who show me how to be like them, like Jesus, to be  more kind and less reactionary. They show me that the way you treat others creates or destroys.  My friend  always says' "I cant judge them... I have not walked in their mocs." My hottie therapist husband saysthat "Behavior is purposeful". So I am going to try to think of the purpose of my behavior, my thoughts, by actions and mostly my words. That's all.

I Love you readers of mine! Peace out and don't drink too much. Jrob