Friday, April 26, 2013

The Set Point




In a recent blog
post, my sweet 
friend wrote about
stepping on the scale 
for the first time 
in a while, after
returning home from
spring break.

I can just imagine her, 
 fingers crossed,
eyes squeezed tight,
hoping that she'd either
lost some unexpected 
pounds or hadn't taken
her eye off the ball
for too long and put
some on.




The numbers that
revealed themselves
to her were not, in fact, 
a surprise, but the same
digits that her little body
always seems to gravitate
towards.

I have my own 
number like that.

I call it my set point.




I've had my highs
and I've had my lows,
but invariably, this
is where my particular 
body wants to be.

It's at ease there.

Happy.




As long as I am
mindful of my
eating and give it
plenty of exercise,
it hovers around that
comfortable number.

For many, many years, 
my life has been like that,
with routines that involve
family, school and the
seasons.




Like a graph, it has also
had its ups, like vacations,
births and celebrations ~ and its
downs, such as illnesses, deaths
and worry, but eventually,

 eventually 

we found our equilibrium,
once more.

The straight line on 
the graph.

The set point.




In the next month there
will be some lovely highs
on my graph, including
my daughter's senior prom, 
my annual mother-daughter
trip with my mom, a houseful
of company for my girl's
 graduation, as well as her
very own art show and
open house.

It's all

high high high

until I drop this first born
at college, a long, long
way from home, at the
end of August.




Then there will be just
three faces around our
table, instead of four.

If it is possible for a heart
to leap with the joy of
possibilities for someone,
yet cry at the same time, 
that will be mine.

Over the coming year there
will be peaks and there will
be valleys.




And then, like my friend,
I will open my eyes and
I'll release those crossed
fingers, to be greeted by
our new normal.

Our new set point.

Because that's just how
life works, in its own

amazingly

beautiful

way.



xo
Suzanne



PS:  I'll be back in June
to share all the high points,
{and lots and lots of photos}
and my thoughts, with you.
Hoping to still visit blogs,
despite the mayhem : )

PPS:  I cherish each and
every reader who visits my
blog.  Thank you, from the
bottom of my heart, for sharing
life's journey with me.

You are the best.


All images my own.







Thursday, April 18, 2013

Life in the Letter C

The Big C doesn't
define her, but its
presence is hard
to ignore.




You are my hero!

supportive friends and
family members declare
sweetly on Facebook.

But I know she would
trade in her super-hero 
cape without hesitation, to
lead the normal life she
had before cancer.

My bestie, Kathleen, has 
been dueling this foe 
since Summer 2010.

I know she's tired of it.

So tired.




But no matter how
heavy the sword, my
friend keeps on swinging.

She's a trooper.

And she has prevailed.

First, surgery.
Then chemo.
Then radiation.




Three strong swings
of the blade and the
battle seemed over.

But the monster
came back.

Roaring back.

And although it was
a sneak attack, Kathleen
once more rose to 
the occasion.



Take that, metastases 
to the lung.....

And the beast retreated.

But it's insidious.

Take that, metastases
to the brain.....

Again, the Big C was
knocked backward.




But Kathleen will always
have to remain on guard,
different weapons in
her arsenal.

Last weekend, we were
so fortunate to celebrate
our April birthdays together,
along with our other close
friend, Fiona, in Chicago.

We made really
wonderful memories.




Flying home Sunday
afternoon, I had time to
reflect on what Kathleen's
battles these last few years
have taught me.

What came to mind was
not the Big C, but a whole
bunch of little ones.  



Celebrate.....Everything!  A
perfect sunset, coffee brewing,
green shoots popping up from
the frozen soil ~ It's all good.

Calm.....Breathe deeply.  It soothes
the soul on so many levels.

Carry On.....Even when you can't
change the direction of the wind,
you can shift your sails ~ your
mental outlook.





Cope.....Stay focused on today
and don't worry about what
tomorrow may or may not
bring. 

Cherish.....Those in your life who
mean the most to you.  And make
sure you communicate your love.


Contemplate.....Am I spending my
free time on things that truly 
make my heart sing?




Cuddle.....Dispense hugs freely!
It's such a balm to the soul.  
And who doesn't like a hug?

Close.....The door on past regrets.  
They aren't worth the precious time
we have on this earth.




To Kathleen and fellow warriors
around the planet:  
keep fighting
that good fight.

I, for one, will be cheering
you on as you continue
to teach me,

one 
little 
c

at a time.



xo
Suzanne

All images my own.

{Yes, we rode the
ferris wheel at Navy Pier
on the first, frosty night 
of my visit : )}








Thursday, April 11, 2013

Getting Inside

It's no secret that I
like to get to know
people--and not just 
the outside stuff of
their lives.  I like to
try to understand the
meaning of who people
are and what they're
saying to me.

~ Fred Rogers





Once in a while there is
a woman who attends
my spin class.  If I catch
her eye, she always
smiles back.

My kind of person.

I like her, I always
say to myself.

And yet, I don't
really know 
her, at all.




What I perceive is her

outside stuff ~ 

crinkly blue eyes,
blonde pony tail,
warm smile.

I wondered to myself
yesterday,

What's her story?




So much of our life's
journey is traveled
with strangers or
acquaintances.  We
see their outer selves
but don't know much
about the inside stuff.

However, if there is
change to their outside stuff ~

even something small ~

the door to their inner 
lives opens just a crack, 
giving us a tiny glimpse
of what's inside.




For instance, when
someone gets new glasses,
or a different hair cut or
color, pierces their ears,
grows a mustache, loses
weight or decides to 
sport a tattoo. 

{Is he going through
a mid-life crisis?  

Is there a new
love interest?

Does she want to 
look hipper? 

Are they bored?}




I love to speculate on
that inner story!

Sometimes the door
to a person's life is
thrown open wide,
revealing more of their
inner story to strangers
than they necessarily
would have chosen to,

had there been 
a choice.




My bestie Kathleen and
sweet cousin Campbell,
wearing the trials of
chemo and radiation,
come to mind.




You know when you see
them that there is more
to the story.

A lot more.




The same thing happens when 
you see a pregnant belly,
a person with osteoporosis,
someone with a cast on
or another in a wheel chair.

Their inner stories are
revealed to inquiring minds,
who generally, I believe,
receive them with empathy
and compassion.

Everyone has a story,
even if we can't always
see it.






The man sharing ice
cream with his dog.


The tired woman with
her frozen meals ahead
of me in the grocery line.

The soldier anxiously
looking out the plane
window.


The couple leaning in
close to chat at the mall.




Like Mr. Rogers, I want to
understand more about
my fellow travelers than
what I see on the outside.

Think I'll start by
introducing myself to
the smiley woman at 
spin class : )

********

Whose inner stuff do
you want to discover,
my friends?

Maybe, it's your own.


xo
Suzanne

All images my own,
except those of Kathleen,
Campbell and my mom.









Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Up-side Right



It's human nature to
crave routines.....

rituals

schedules

order.




But it's also 
natural
to want to turn
those routines

up-side
 down ~

for a little while.




So, for a week,
instead of 
answering
to an alarm,

we answered
to the sun and
the singing
of birds.




Instead of 
worrying
about nutrition
and carbs, calories
and protein,

we didn't.

M&M's and jelly
beans were our
friends.




Instead of 
staring
at screens,

we stared at skies.




Instead of 
rushing
from one activity
to another,

we slowed down.

Way down.




Long walks,
as well as

splashing
playing
reading
naps
board games

and
sometimes,
dreaming aloud.




All of it, good
nutrition for the
soul.  {Yes, even
the junk food!}

And the absolute
best thing about
turning our normal
agendas up-side 
down?




We found ourselves
ready to turn them
up-side right, 
once again.

It is human nature,
after all : )


I like having a
routine, because
everything else.....
is so unpredictable.

~ Jordana Brewster


xo
Suzanne

PS:  Up-side down
or up-side right?  I'd
love to hear your
thoughts....