Yabut …

My high school art teacher recently passed away. She was a cool lady. She told it like it is … no sugar coat at all. She didn’t like it when someone said, “Yeah, but….” She would stop you. “There is no yabut,” she would say. Either you agree or you don’t. I think that was her point.

There are lots of debates being waged on social media. Lots of yabuts. Lots of keyboard warriors on a crusade. I’m guessing the posts have changed very few minds. If I strongly believe something, some stranger yelling at me isn’t likely to make me suddenly switch. Instead of yabuts, what about “yes, and?”

  • Yes, I believe in God, AND I think others can believe whatever they like.
  • Yes, I want to get back to normal, AND I worry about my high risk family members.
  • Yes, I support friends who are cops AND there are some changes that need to be made.
  • Yes, kids are missing school AND I have family who would be impacted because they are school staff.
  • Yes, I understand the desire to go back to work, AND I’m a wreck with anxiety.
  • Yes, I want to travel and explore AND I want to stay in my house.

It’s draining. The energy around people is almost visible right now. Tension, anger, frustration… if I could float down the river each night, I would. Tonight, I’m pressing pause. I’m sitting in a lawn chair on a gorgeous MN night… reading a book and writing to you. Asking you to pause. Put down the anger and frustration. Leave the “yabuts” for a while. Look for some miracles or inspiration or something positive. I almost didn’t write today because I was too overwhelmed… then I figured just maybe someone else needed to pause too.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. May you have more “yes and’s” and fewer “yabuts,” and take some time for o pause. People will still be angry online tomorrow.


What a roller coaster of emotions.

  • Dad’s PSA was elevated
  • Re-checked, it was higher
  • Biopsy done… cancer
  • Caught it early
  • More tests just to be sure it’s contained
  • Hm, spot in the bone scan
  • Oh, results were wrong, it’s more advanced
  • Urologist left, medical order for Mayo lost
  • Back to Dr
  • Refer to Mayo
  • Expect long wait
  • Can get you in next week
  • Might not cover for insurance
  • Never mind, it’s covered
  • PET & MRI at Mayo
  • Meet with top Urologist
  • Cancer contained
  • Shot now, radiation in 3 months (6-8weeks)

This is a brief summary and I missed a lot of steps, a lot of calls, sleepless nights, calling back, rechecking. Honestly, if it wasn’t for my sister being a nurse and following through, we would still be waiting. I’ve said it before, but the logistics of treating cancer is exhausting. The people start to sound like the teacher in the Peanuts cartoon, “wa wa, wa wa wa wa.” You lose track of time, who knows what part of the story and what the next step will be. Thankfully, we know the cancer is contained and treatment can be somewhat close to them. They will still have to drive, but it’s a much better scenario.

I was supposed to take them, but I had a cough. Something that wouldn’t normally be a big deal, but with COVID it is. Had I become infected? I certainly didn’t want to risk giving it to my parents. I found out they wouldn’t have let me in to the clinic anyway with a cough. I got tested but didn’t get the results back in time. Thankfully, my sister was able to take them. She had been to Mayo, knows the “campus” and is familiar with medical terms. We were so relieved he could get in so quickly and that it was the best possible outcome.

Since I couldn’t be there – helping, listening, driving, “doing” something, I did the only thing I could do – ask for prayers. Whether you believe in God or not, there is power in having many people think good thoughts, pray prayers and send positive/healing energy. I’ve felt it. I’ve felt it wrap me up like a blanket. I felt it 6 years ago while we waited and prayed and hoped for the best outcome for my brother-in-law. We got a miracle 6 years ago, and we got another one on Friday.

His journey isn’t done. He will wear a new badge that he didn’t ask for. He will change the family medical history “tree.” He will be a cancer survivor. Along the way, I may ask for more healing, more prayers, more love to be sent his way & our way. One thing is certain, I saw the look of relief on my parents’ faces, and my heart swelled. There is a plan. It might change again, but at least we have a path. And, we have an army of angels by our sides the whole way. I had the song “Angel Army” in my head and didn’t realize it until later. I envisioned all of those prayers lifting them up, carrying them forward & giving good news.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. Whatever you’re facing, I hope you reach out & let someone pray for you or think good thoughts or send you love. We are in this together. God bless.

Not ok…

The flowers don’t match the message, but I wasn’t sure what would. In April, a friend was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It brought up memories and made me feel not quite OK. Cancer is never easy. Managing it during a pandemic brings another set of challenges. She has received lots of care packages and love, but it’s still hard to be OK. Comparing one cancer to the other doesn’t make sense. I used to feel like mine wasn’t bad enough at stage 1. It doesn’t mean that it didn’t impact me, wasn’t as scary or didn’t require follow ups & struggles that nobody saw.

Recently, my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. In an effort to feel like I was still in control of life, I went into planning mode. I didn’t allow myself to feel my feelings. I didn’t acknowledge the PTSD flare up and anxiety until one day when it became too much. The old me would have just spun in my head, thinking of 100 “what if’s” and been miserable. Instead, I stopped. I took 1/2 day of vacation and I connected with nature. I picked beans, sat with my chickens and got my fingers dirty pulling weeds. And, I reached out to some friends, which was another big step. I was up front and honest with them. “I’m not ok.” I needed to cry, to be mad, to admit this was hard. I needed the support. I needed to be wrapped in prayer. I needed a reminder to breathe.

How often do we put on a brave face just to seem like we are ok? It’s not just when big things happen, but often we feel like we need to be ok even when we aren’t. Someone passes you in the hall and asks how you’re doing… you say “OK” as you keep walking. We all need someone we can just be honest with. “I’m not ok today. I don’t need you to fix me, I’m not broken. I’m just not ok right now.” I was reluctant to write on this topic right before our trip to Mayo for more tests and meeting with the Urologist. But, I was also selfish. I want to have a bunch of people sending love and light and prayers and positive energy on Wednesday, Thursday & Friday. Please pray for safe travels, for health, for clear scans, for cancer to be contained to the prostate and for a plan. We are all waiting for a plan. We want to heal and fix and “do.” Some days will not be ok, but hopefully the treatments will work and we will have more time.

I wish you peace on your journey of enough. It’s ok to not be ok. Lean on your resources, call a friend, connect with nature, breathe.

The nearest exit…

I was picking beans in our garden the other night, and couldn’t figure out what the smell was. Then it dawned on me, “pickles!” Wait, why did I smell pickles in the garden. (I was alone, so I was just asking this in my head.) I heard a bird, turned around, and realized there was a whole row of dill right behind me. Duh, dill. That is why I smelled pickles!

It made me think of the airplane speech they give when you board the plane. As you are shoving your bag under the seat in front of you, adjusting the air or closing the window shade, someone is telling you the safety features. “Keep in mind, the nearest exit may be behind you.” Often when we are faced with a dilemma, we are searching for an answer, an exit or a ‘way out.’ We might be overwhelmed with the possibilities, not even realizing it could be behind us. I’m not suggesting to focus on the past…Although I fall into that trap quite often on my own. Perhaps the answer is in a spot we aren’t seeing right in front of us. Maybe the answer comes from someone else’s past – a road they have already traveled. Perhaps the answer is to the side, but due to the blinders, we don’t see it. We aren’t meant to wear blinders like a horse, but sometimes our tunnel vision can block what we need to see.

Just stop for a minute and breathe. Smell the dill. See the path. Being in nature has been more important than ever for me. The last several months have reminded me to slow down, connect with the earth and be grateful for the simple things. When my mind gets spinning in a hundred directions, I go outside. Outside, I see my chickens, who bring me so much joy. Outside, I pick the vegetables and fruits from the garden, thanking the earth and God for the harvest right in my back yard. Outside, sit in my son’s hammock and listen to the aspen leaves clap, the birds sing their songs, and even the mosquitoes buzzing by my head. I know that connecting in nature is not something that works for everyone. Even going for a walk around the block might help clear your head or spark an idea.

I wish you peace on your journey of enough. May you find the “newest exit,” the answer you are looking for, the connection in nature to bring you closer to God, the peace your heart and soul long for. It’s kind of a “big dill.”

What sparks a memory…

The picture above is of “pie crust things.” Something delicious that never got a proper name. When my mom baked pies, she would cut off the outer edges, place them on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with sugar & cinnamon. I loved the pies but I looked forward to this tasty treat just as much. It was also a good way to see if your crust was going to be good- kind of like a preview. I vividly remember talking with someone about the pie crust things and they looked at me like I was from Mars. I instantly realized this was not something everyone did. I clammed up, thinking my experience was wrong instead of just different. Most people throw that part away I guess? I can’t imagine.

There is something about these pie crust things that make me think about my childhood. I love the way the house smells when a pie is in the oven. I love the flaky tender pie crust, still warm on the cookie sheet. I remember my dad saying, “This is the best apple pie I’ve had all month” (or insert time frame since the last one.) It’s amazing to me how food can bring back a flood of emotions. Perhaps that’s why I struggle so much with my food relationship. There are certain things I don’t want to let go of. Some things that bring up strong memories:

  • BBBats candy reminds me of being “good” at the doctor or dentist and getting a treat.
  • Blue raspberry popsicles remind me of summer in general.
  • Chick-o-stick candy reminds me of the swimming pool concession stand and of my sister, since this was one of her favorites.
  • Kuchen makes me think of my mom’s side of the family and their great treats.
  • Ginger snaps remind me of my dad’s mom and the tiny cookies she would make at Christmas.
  • Duck with orange sauce reminds me of family birthday dinners at home. I don’t think we went out to eat for birthdays, but we could pick our meal at home.
  • Red velvet cake reminds me of my childhood friend whose mother would make it for her birthday every year.
  • Circle cinnamon crimp bread make me think of a treat from the grocery store.

Clearly, I don’t have this food relationship thing figured out yet. Also, there are some things that you think you love, only to find out it’s not the same. This happened recently with brats from our old grocery store. We remembered them being our favorite. We had them recently & we both agreed they were “ok.” Our memory of them was a higher standard than the real thing.

Perhaps it’s more of a harmony/balance type thing – small amounts that bring those comforting memories, without over-doing it. I’m not sure. If you’re on a journey of self acceptance, change and balance all in one, I’m there with you. I wish you peace on your journey of enough. Oh, and if you’ve never tried the pie crust thing, give it a try. It’s a game changer!