Silver & searching for Narnia…

25 years ago, I was putting last minute wedding plans in place, prepping for the groom’s dinner and rehearsal, and probably driving everyone around me crazy. Our 25th anniversary is coming up this week. I remember my mom and dad’s 25th. We had a party at Oxbow country club. For our 25th, I was hoping to go somewhere fun… maybe go back to Vegas for the National Finals Rodeo in December or find a relaxing beach vacation. That was before COVID. Instead, we went to a church camp for the weekend with our kids. I don’t want to underplay the significance. I know not everyone makes it to 25. It’s just not really my dream silver anniversary trip. Or was it?

We arrived at the Bible camp Friday afternoon and unpacked to our cabin. This is the 2nd time we’ve stayed away from our house since February. They had lots of safety precautions in place. We spent lots of time outside too. We decided to go for a hike. It was close to 90 and 98% humidity and we forgot to bring bug spray with us. It was a “moderate” hiking trail, which was obviously graded by an experienced hiker (I thought it was advanced). Oh, and we got LOST. Boys and I almost missed supper. After that hike the boys decided their hiking time was done. No more hikes for them.

Saturday, we played games, swam, went on a wagon ride and had lunch. There was a hike after lunch (with a guide) called the Narnia hike. The boys were not up for that. They played basketball and pool instead. Cam and I decided to go. Well, HE decided and I went with. This time, we brought bug spray, the map, and we had a guide. A 3/4 mile hike in to the area they call Narnia. The guide sounded super excited about it. We walked off the trail into the pine and evergreen trees. “This is Narnia,” she exclaimed.


I almost laughed out loud. It’s our back yard. We hiked all this way for our back yard. We see this every day.

Our back yard

We texted the Narnia picture to the boys. They would have been soooo annoyed to hike all that way for our back yard view. As we made our way back to camp, Cam said, “So, sometimes what you are searching for is right at home.” (Sometimes he is wise) Yes, sometimes what we search for is right in front of us. It might be within ourselves, in our home or with our loved ones. Did we need a fancy trip to celebrate our 25th? Nope. We just needed our family. We needed a private cabin with crummy WiFi and a peaceful camp. Oh, and I didn’t have to cook! We played games: pool, ping pong, air hockey, foosball, basketball, tennis, Battleship, checkers, Sequence, Farmopoly and cards. My Narnia is here every day. It might not always feel magical, but it can be.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. May you find your Narnia right in your own back yard.

Embracing 3 years…

Some people will ignore this as “just another cancer anniversary post, but it’s more than that. 3 years ago today, I rang the bell as a cancer survivor. I still carry the card with me from the cancer center:

Ring this bell Three times well Its toll to clearly say, My treatment’s done This course is run And I am on my way.”

I brought my family with me that day. I almost didn’t. I was tired from the radiation & hadn’t thought about “bothering them” to come and be with me. Bothering. How often do we not let others help us or let them in because we don’t want to bother them? Way too often. 3 years ago, I almost stood there by myself because I didn’t want to be a bother. I already had way too much attention on me. I already felt bad about so much time being spent on me. So many times throughout my cancer treatments, I didn’t want to be a bother. I didn’t want to ask for help with meals or call someone just to talk about “normal life” or let someone clean my house.

We do this regardless if we have cancer or not. We don’t think that we are worth someone’s time. We are wrong. My mom would have loved it if I bothered her more to help me or to just listen. My friend would have felt useful if I would have bothered her more to bring a meal or just visit over coffee. We need to realize that we are not a bother or a waste of time. We are worthy. The worth needs to come from within. You need to believe it first. Once you do, you can let people in. Sure, that can be scary… there is usually a fear of rejection. But what if they say “yes” and they would love to help/listen/visit/clean? They will feel great for being there for you & you will feel great because some burden has been lifted from your shoulders.

In honor of my 3 year anniversary, I invite you to write down all of the ways you think you are a bother. Write them on a piece of paper. Then shred the paper or (safely) burn it. Do NOT hold onto it. Get rid of that – let it go. Then fill yourself up with something good, something you enjoy. I wish you peace on your journey. You are not alone, you are not a bother, and you ARE enough!

Now there is math…

3 years ago, it was a Tuesday (& not just a random Tuesday)… my life was changing. I was getting ready to have lumpectomy surgery the next day. My thoughts were consumed with cancer treatment and recovery (& bills and how to manage time off from work). I remember thinking that I would always feel the impact of cancer, but also wanting to fight it & get rid of it. I remember certain strange things and not others. Now, I have to do math to remember how long it’s been. Someday, it will be 10 years ago, then 20. The date of the surgery is easy to remember because it’s my sister’s birthday. I’m pretty sure she used her birthday wish on me that year (thanks, Marla!)

I know I have written about it each year, but in case you don’t feel like going back through my blog posts and CaringBridge sites, I’ll give you some highlights. My surgery was early on a Wednesday morning. I wore my pink fuzzy pajama top with buttons & brought my pink boxing gloves and my biggest cheerleader (my husband). He wore his camel T-shirt that said “Hump Day.” It made several people laugh & some people roll their eyes. I remember having to have the wire guided procedure with not enough pain killer. I remember laughing so hard with Cameron in the waiting room that I thought we’d get kicked out. I remember the long ride to the surgery room & how cold it was in there. I remember waking up groggy, bandaged and with a dry mouth. I remember puking in the elevator. I remember seeing Cam and my sister, Marie. (Since she’s a nurse, she gets to come along & interpret medical stuff for most of us. Plus she’s a prayer warrior & generally an awesome person.) I remember telling Cam that I wanted to “bust out of the hospital,” which made him laugh – given the recent surgery. 😉 After keeping some crackers down and proving I could pee on my own, I was released.

No driving for a week, drink lots of water, check the two surgery sites, keep ahead of the pain… I remember those directions. I think I mainly used Advil & Tylenol because I’m not a fan of painkillers. It felt like the world around me was going fast and I was in slow motion. My boys were 12 & 8. Sometimes I forget how hard that must have been on them… how scary to have your mom go through cancer when you’re that young. I tried to be extra tough for them, so they would know that I was going to be OK. Sometimes I forget how hard it was on my husband, my sisters, my parents… there isn’t much they could do to make me better. But they were there for me and supported me.

I met with a breast cancer survivor shortly after I was done with radiation. She told me that eventually, you won’t think about it every day. Eventually normal will return. She was right. Now I have to do math to remember how long it’s been. I’m beyond thankful for all I’ve learned over the last 3 years. I’m thankful for feeling the power of prayer. I’m thankful for my voice – to be my own advocate for my health. I’m thankful for this journey, because through it all, I’m learning that I am enough. Just as I am. Always. You are too!

4 more years…(not political)

With it being Inauguration Day, you might have thought politics were the topic of the blog today. I will refrain from political posts because I don’t think my opinion will change your mind. This isn’t about politics. My oldest son has a birthday coming up. He will be 14. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I only have 4 more years! 4 years from now he will be 18 and will be figuring out his next path in life. Wasn’t it yesterday that we brought him home from the hospital? So tiny in the big car seat?! Wasn’t it yesterday that he was farming and put a toy fence around baby Myles to make sure that he wouldn’t escape? Wasn’t it yesterday when he lost his first tooth, had his first day at preschool or learned to ride bike?

The picture above is his baby hat and one of his tiny socks (crayon for size reference.) Now, he is taller than me. He’s becoming such a neat young man. I get to drive them both to school in the morning. Yes, they could take the bus, but I really treasure our time together. Just a quick start to the day may turn into talks about school or ice fishing or the status of the home sale. I also take him to confirmation on Wednesday nights. They do it a little different here. There is a small service and then the kids break out into 2 groups and the adults talk about the Bible verse and our highs/lows. Anyone who knows me, knows that small talk with strangers makes me uncomfortable. It’s way way outside my comfort zone. Why did I agree to take him? Why didn’t I just drop him off and come back later? Example. I want to show him how important this is, and I want to show him that it’s ok to go outside of your comfort zone. I realize now that my mom did the same thing for me. Maybe 30 yrs from now, he will get to do the same for his kids. I’ve always been content to sit in the back and blend in. I’d quietly volunteer but not get too involved. I felt led to this place, and we happen to have a familiar pastor. Perhaps there are greater things at work here. In fact, I know there is. I just need to be open to it.

Some days, my journey of enough leaves me feeling like the sands of time are slipping through my fingers. Some days, my journey makes me feel like I should have done more as a mom. And then, some days, I get a hug out of the blue and a peek into my teen’s life. And in those moments, I feel enough. Peace be with you on your journey of enough.


One year – 365 days. Sometimes they feel like the movie “Groundhog’s Day” (where Bill Murray repeats the same day until he gets it right). Other times it feels like they just fly by & we wonder where the time went. I think of that when I look at my son, almost 13 & now taller than me with much more facial hair. One year ago today, I had the mammogram that would change my life. One that seemed to be routine. Quick in and out, minimal pain… No big deal, right? Nope, not that time. But one year ago today, I had no idea of what was ahead of me. No clue as to how much my life would change. The thought of being a cancer survivor hadn’t yet crossed my mind. This was just routine.

Last week, we traveled to CA to see my sister & her 2 girls. We celebrated life, Thanksgiving & called it “mom survived cancer” trip. I struggled with the guilt of going… The expense, the time off & not being able to give myself credit for the last year. My sister helped with some of the expense, my employer allowed me to go in PTO debt, and a fellow cancer survivor made me think about how tough it is to go through cancer – and how coming through it SHOULD be celebrated. 

The thing about cancer is, you “just do it “. There is a plaque at my desk that says “you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only thing you can do”. It’s true. I treated my diagnosis like a project. A task to finish (survive)… Complete with flow charts, spreadsheets and progress tracking. When people told me I was strong, I didn’t believe them. It’s still hard to. When you’re faced with something like that, you just do what you need to in order to get through it. So to me, my “accomplishment” was no big deal, because I did what I thought anyone else would do. Yet I feel like I didn’t do enough. Didn’t handle certain things like I wanted to. Didn’t address my youngest son’s anxiety about my diagnosis soon enough. The list goes on. 

I feel less than inspirational most days. It goes back to being enough and talking to yourself how you would talk to others. It’s a process. A slow one. But with Thanksgiving in the rear view mirror, another birthday in the books, some new kinds of “anniversaries” & Christmas just around the corner, there is a lot to be thankful for. What are you thankful for? List yours out, say them out loud, think about it in your car ride or while you are waiting in line. What have you done with your last 365 and what will you do with the next 365?  Peace be with you on your journey of “enough”.