Through all of it…

I had a completely different post written for this week, but then Monday happened. Along with it being the birthday of one of my sisters, January 28th has another special meaning to me. It was the day (4 years ago) I heard, “Your cancer is gone.” All day Monday, my throat was tight and whenever I found myself thinking back 4 years to my cancer journey, I realized I was holding my breath.

4 years ago, I waked into Sanford hospital in Fargo for my lumpectomy surgery with my pink pj shirt and my pink boxing gloves. 4 years ago, my husband wore his “Hump Day” shirt (because it was a Wednesday.) 4 years ago, friends, family and strangers all prayed for the best outcome. 4 years ago, teachers and friends held my sons and calmed their fears. 4 years ago, my mom and dad held their breath. 4 years ago, a tumor almost 1/2″ and 4 lymph nodes were removed. 4 years ago, I felt like a survivor.

There is a contemporary Christian song from Colton Dixon called “Through all of it.” I heard it Monday and I almost stopped the car. It is how I felt. Life’s been a journey. I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret. You have been my God through all of it.

Here are some more of the lyrics:

There are days I’ve taken more than I can give
And there are choices that I made
That I wouldn’t make again
I’ve had my share of laughter
Of tears and troubled times
This is has been the story of my life
I have won
and I have lost
I got it right sometimes
But sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey
I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it
You were there when it all came down on me
When I was blinded by my fear
And I struggled to believe
But in those unclear moments
You were the one keeping me strong
This is how my story’s always gone
I have won
and I have lost
I got it right sometimes
But sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey
I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it
I’ve written about it before, but if you’ve ever had a group of people praying for you, it’s something you can actually feel. I can’t describe it enough to do it justice. It feels like peace. It feels like being held. It feels like you are placed in a marshmallow cloud. God doesn’t promise us a life free from troubles. He does promise to be with us through all of it. He places the right people in our paths to help us. He gives us the experiences so we may help others.
Would I wish cancer on anyone? Nope. Am I glad God was with me through all of it? Yep, yes I am. My journey isn’t finished. Is my cancer gone? Yes, it is. My side effects and doctor appointments and risks are not gone. Those will last several more years. Two of my aunts had cancer return after the 5 & 10 year mark, so I won’t let my guard down… but not from a place of fear. I will keep my appointments. I will be aware of any changes I see or feel. I will honor my body by improving my health.
I wish you peace on your journey of enough. I hope God is with you through all of it.

Holy Rabies!

What?! The cat got rabies? Nope. There is a back story….

If you have kids or grandkids (or you just like animated movies), you know what movie this is from. In 2012, a movie called Hotel Transylvania came out. It looked like a cute movie – Dracula’s daughter turns 118, which is like turning 18 in real life, and she is wanting to explore the world. Her father doesn’t want her to go – he wants to keep her safe. He instills fear in her – that the humans are just out to hurt her, so she stays at Hotel Transylvania and doesn’t venture out.

As we were watching the movie, Dracula called his daughter by name – Mavis. “What did he say?” I have a unique name. It’s an older name, but still not that common. I don’t hear my name in a crowd. I don’t have to go by my full name because there is another “Mavis.” I rarely meet someone else named Mavis either. My dad often assumed I didn’t like my name, but it’s not true. I kind of like being unique. The only thing that bothered me growing up, was not being able to find cool trinkets with my name on them. I couldn’t just go to Claire’s in the mall and get a Mavis bracelet like some of my friends could. So, imagine my surprise when there was an actual character named Mavis. So strange!

I was shopping the clearance aisles at my local Target last week, when I spotted Mavis’ on clearance! “Holy Rabies!” (It’s the thing Mavis in the movie says instead of “holy cow” or “holy smokes.”)

3 different “Mavis'”?! Wow!! I still haven’t decided if I’ll open one and display it or what I’ll do. I think I will bring one to work and leave 2 in boxes. (For sure the one that has Mavis’ name on it should stay in the box.)

Sometimes I feel like Dracula – wanting to keep my kids safe… wanting to protect them. Sometimes I think back to when I was their age and how I felt like the Mavis in the movie – ready to explore! Our fears can be like Dracula too- trying to keep us small… telling us lies to try and keep us from experiencing new thing. Our heads, like I talked about last week, try to keep us safe. Our hearts are like Mavis – wanting to adventure to Hawaii. I’m not saying that being safe is a bad thing. When it comes at the cost of missing out on life though? Then I think it’s sad. Not many people, at the end of their life will say, “I’m so glad I didn’t try new things.” Since it’s still January, you can make a list of one new thing you want to try this year (something that will not cause harm to you or anyone else.)

I wish you peace on your journey of enough, but I also wish you adventures and experiences. I hope you have something so exciting, it makes you shout- “Holy Rabies!!”

All in…

There is a song by Matthew West called “All In.” This is the first part:

My feet are frozen on this middle ground. The water’s warm here, but the fire’s gone out.

I played it safe for so long the passion left
Turns out safe is just another word for regret

So, I step to the edge and I take a deep breath
We’re all dying to live but we’re all scared to death
And this is the part where my head tells my heart
You should turn back around but there’s no turning back now

I’m going all in. Headfirst into the deep end. I hear You calling, and this time the fear won’t win. I’m going, I’m going all in.

The song is talking about your faith in God – how it feels safe to stay where you are… in the middle ground. If you go to church, do you go just to be seen, or are you the hands & feet of God? Routine and comfort are familiar, but the fire has gone out. Where is the excitement? Sometimes our head tries to keep us in the routine and tries to stifle our hearts. Whenever our hearts try to lead, our heads try to stop us.

  • That’s silly.
  • That’s not practical.
  • That won’t work.
  • Don’t follow your heart.
  • Don’t talk to someone new.
  • Don’t take that risk.

Our heads would like our world to remain small. Our heads would like us to stay safe. The song says “safe is just another word for regret.” At the affirmation & intentions class I went to in Saturday, “All in” was my phrase for 2019. We didn’t do New Years resolutions, but we did have words or phrases to focus on. This is the year I start my book. This is the year we will harvest and sell our fruits and vegetables. This is the year I will write consistently. This is the year I will be “All in.” All in with my family, my faith, my work, my farm, my writing & my love of life.

I hope you have someone who challenges you to move off the “safe middle ground.” Life is meant to be experienced & not just tolerated. Have some fun, try something new or complete something you started long ago. I wish you peace along your journey & maybe you’ll listen to this catchy tune. Don’t let fear win. May you be “All in” on your journey of enough.

And the world didn’t stop…

This is my Christmas tree. Yes, it’s January and I haven’t taken it down yet. Some of the ornaments are in a box, but most are still on the tree. We traveled a lot over the holidays, but we were home some too. I had all weekend to take it down. Too many excuses… my head hurt, we went ice fishing, we watched movies as a family. My tree is still up and the world didn’t stop.

It’s hard to take time for ourselves. I often feel guilty just sitting down because there is “so much to do.” Sometimes we need to listen to our bodies. My headache was my sign to rest. Spending time with my family fills me up, but so does reading a book. I was able to do both this weekend and I was less than 8 feet from my half- taken down tree. I didn’t completely obsess about it. I didn’t let myself feel guilty. I was thankful for the time to rest, the time to connect and the time to laugh.

Whatever stage your holiday decorations are in, it’s ok. Have the cup of coffee, write in your journal or snuggle up with your kids. Life is short, my friends. If the tree brings you joy, it’s ok that it stays up a little longer. I wish you peace on your journey of enough as we start the new year. Let’s make it a great 2019. Maybe I’ll get to my tree tomorrow, but I know the world won’t stop if I don’t.

I hope you find your people…

It’s the season of getting Christmas or Holiday cards from friends and family. Some send cards or pictures right after Thanksgiving, some wait until New Years & one friend sends a Halloween card. There are some people I’ve sent to for years and others just recently added. Aside from the year I was diagnosed with cancer (& a little too distracted to get them all sent out), we’ve sent Christmas cards or New Years greetings almost every year. The amount we send out doesn’t equal the number we receive. Some people don’t send them at all, which is fine. I do feel kind of bad when people that I send cards to have sent cards to other people but not to me. It kind of makes me feel like I’m not important enough... Am I not worth the stamp? Not worth the card? I’m not sure of the reason.

Instead of worrying about it, I’ve decided to just focus on the people who give the positive energy back to me… The people who show up, who love me, scars and all. I spent some extra time with family and friends over the Christmas break. We traveled a few different times and tried to make some memories. We ate lots of treats, played games, went skiing, made lefse, drove go-karts and rode roller coasters. As we say good bye to 2018, there will be a lot of “reflective” posts. I don’t have a top 10 list. Many people I care about lost loved ones this year – some unexpectedly & some had been struggling for a while. For myself, I chose to focus on the positive. I learned a lot this year. I grew, I shrunk, I laughed, I cried, I gained new friends and some fell off the radar. Some of them are like the “return to sender,” but that’s ok.

I will look back on 2018 and remember the times I spent with “my people.” Not just one person, but groups of people who get me. Groups of people who think I am enough. All are different… yet all are meaningful. Family, friends, people at work, people I met at classes or retreats, people at church, people at the grocery store… all bring something magical to my life.

For 2019, I welcome in magic, fun, laughter, prosperity, writing, growing, loving, adventure, kindness and vulnerability.

Whatever your new year brings, I wish you peace on your journey of enough. With peace in your heart, you can survive the ebbs and flows of life. I hope you find your people on your journey. Be thankful for your breath and blow the noisemaker!