Thursday, December 10, 2015

Today is the 4th anniversary of my dad's passing.  This Christmas my whole family will be together.  My children, their spouses and all their children and one grand daughter in law.  I don't know when this will happen again.  With children and grand children growing up it sometimes means going away to find new lives far from home. 

My home is being decorated and the magic I like to create is coming to life.  It is a gift I give to my family.  It was four years ago my family gathered after my father's funeral to be together.  The house was decorated for Christmas. 

Maybe it sounds funny, but my dad would have loved his post funeral gathering at my house.  The children, the noise, the memories, the heart. 

I love you dad.  I miss you dad.  Merry Christmas Dad from all your family!

3 HOURS The Best Relaxing Piano Flute Music Ever

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

A Long Time

I haven't posted in a long time.  I haven't wanted to.  Since the end of July, 2014, life has dealt me a hand of cards that I didn't want to play.

At the end of July, my second daughter, Kara, was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma.  She didn't fit the profile.   She had been being watched and monitored for three years and was finally diagnosed.  She went through an excision of a lump in her neck, chemotherapy and radiation.  Following her chemotherapy she recovered at my house and I was her main caregiver. 

Following her chemotherapy treatments, and before her radiation treatments, her son, Christopher, was married in Cleveland, Ohio.  Kara was exhausted from her chemo, but with the help of a transport chair I bought, she was able to fly to Cleveland, attend the wedding, and experience each and every minute of the wedding. 

In the midst of her radiation treatments, her other son, Josh, was in need of gallbladder surgery.  That simple and routine surgery resulted in complications which resulted in multiple hospitalizations, a second reconstruction surgery, and recovery at my house.  On hold is a biopsy on a kidney cyst that looks suspicious.  Once again, I was the main caregiver.

If that weren't enough, on the morning I was to leave Cleveland, following the wedding, I learned that my best friend, soul friend, Joe from Ireland, had died at 3:00 a.m.....

My daughter, Sarah, and I made flight reservations to fly to Ireland the next day to attend Joe's funeral.  Joe was Sarah's son, Jackson's, Godfather.  At the end of this post I will post the song Jackson (age 6) created as he is dealing with Joe's death.

I write this with a heavy heart and both expressed and unexpressed grief.  I don't know if my grief over my friend, Joe's death will ever heal.  It was good to go to Ireland, good to see his body, and good to be a part of his Irish funeral.  Joe played such an important role in the life of our family.  He will never, ever be forgotten.

As I write this post I, along with everyone in our family, await the report on Josh's kidney biopsy. 

Here is Jackson's song that he made up as he ran around Sarah's house.  Sarah was able to capture all but a couple of words. 

Joe always used to say.......I love you very,  very much.  Jackson sang both his, and Joe's, words.

Joe, do you love me?
Very, very much?

Yes, I do.

Do you love me?

I do, I do, very, very much.
I want to be with you, but I'm dead.

I could be (missing word)...soul,
Walk over the clouds
(missing word) look down from the clouds
and say hello....

I'll never be without you.....

Saturday, March 01, 2014


My son, Adam, had a wonderful idea to create a page in Facebook and a blog called BACKSIDE OF LIFE. I have always loved taking pictures of people from the back. There is something vulnerable, intimate and beautiful about photographs taken from this perspective. I have borrowed Adam,s idea and put together a slideshow. The credit for the photos belong to several contributors. Most of them are mine, some are Adams, some are from my oldest daughter, Sarah, and some are from my husband, Tom. I hope you enjoy the slideshow!!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

This Little Light Of Mine has been a long time since I have posted.  I think Facebook has become the new and simplest way of communicating.  But, I miss the unique benefits and enjoyment of blogging.  And, if I am not friends with people on Facebook, I can't connect with them, and, I miss that.

Here in Minnesota the last two days we have been under a state emergency per our governor, Mark Dayton.  Motorists have been advised to stay off the treacherous roads both for their own safety and the benefit of road crews to deal with the winter weather battered roads.

It is one thing to be able to go out if you want in bad weather, and quite another if you really know you shouldn't go out.  One has more of a trapped feeling.  But, then, if you know you shouldn't/can't go out, there is a need to rely on your imagination, resources and creativity to make entrapment not only tolerable, but fun.

Hence.............this video : )

I so hope you enjoyed this video and maybe sang along or clapped or smiled or felt your day lift just a little bit!

Love, Judy

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Shadow Dance

I wondered what it would be that would get me to do a post again.  Well, this is it.  I hope you watch it and then watch it again and again and again.  It is beautiful and softly moving. 

You should be able to just click on the link.  X-ing my fingers.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Chemo Sabi


I was going through some of my old posts today.  I went back to 2010, the lost year.

It was 2010 that Sarah was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I wrote many posts that year.

I also wrote some entries on Sarah's Caring Bridge page when she was too tired, mentally and/or physically to write them herself.  She trusted me to write for her.  Thank you Sarah!

This morning I read one of the entries I wrote.  I wrote it on June 20, 2010.

The following two sentences are from the end of that entry and somehow feel perfect for what is coming up.

“I don’t want to be Chemo Sarah anymore. I want to be Chemo Sabi!”

How I loved that! How I love you Sarah! Mom xo

I loved that she/we were always able to find some humor.

I wonder if she knew, or would have guessed, she would be signing up to do mission work at an Indian reservation in northern Minnesota in 2013.

Chemo Sabi rides again..........Hi Ho.........

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Please Help Them Help! There Is A Picture To Click On At The Bottom : )

Hi everyone,

Today's post is about my daughter, Sarah, and her son, Davey.  Davey has followed in his mom's footsteps, and has a love of and desire to help people through volunteering. 

At nine years old, Davey has already done a lot of volunteering.  For example...
Ushering at the Steppingstone Theater in St. Paul, MN
Participated in the Feed My Starving Children program on two occasions.
Participated in Meals on Wheels three times.
Volunteered three days for the Breast Cancer Ride in 2012.
Training with his mom, Sarah, in 2011, for the  60 miles in three days, 3 Day for the Cure walk.  He walked at least 50 miles over the course of Sarah's training simply to support her.
He and his family mentor a child one + days a week.
He colors pictures through a site called Create A Smile and then sends them off so it might bring a smile to someone's face.
The most recent volunteer activity is the current one in which he and Sarah will be participating in a mission trip and spending a week at an Indian reservation in northern Minnesota. 
Please click on the picture below to see what this is all about and consider making a donation in support of Sarah and Davey. 

Davey is willing to work hard and do lots of things within his capabilities.  He even told Sarah he will gladly pick up dog poop in people's yards.  He has already been out chipping ice off someone's driveway.  Davey  is 9 years old.....his heart is big....and he just wants to help people....please help him help : )

When you click on the picture below it will take you to Sarah and Davey's page explaining everything and if you would be willing to consider making a donation, that would be so wonderful!

I am so proud of my family.  As my mom and dad would say...."All of them!"  For those of you who know me, you know there is a story in my last sentence.  For those of you who don't know me that well,  you will soon learn that I come to life with stories.  It is how I grew up. 

So, here is the story.

When my dad was young, he used to be a boxer.  Well, he won a match that was a pretty big match, but doggone, when people came up to his dad, my grandpa, to congratulate him on my dad's win, my grandpa said, "All my boy's are great.  They all do a good job!"

And, that is how I feel too.  I love all my family and they all do good things. 

On this occasion, Sarah and Davey, would love for you to visit their page so you can learn what this is all about.  Please click on the picture below and once again, if you can consider making a donation, big or small, it would be so wonderful!  Thanks : )  Love, Judy

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Apache Blessing With Pictures And Sounds Of Nature

(NATURE SOUNDS) Please click on the music to hear some soothing nature sounds that will transport you to a calm, comforting and relaxed place.


"May the sun bring you new energy by day,

  May the moon softly restore you by night,

  May the rain wash away your worries,

  May the breeze blow new strength into
       your being,

  May you walk gently through the world,
       and know its beauty all the days
       of your life."

This is my wish for you!
Love, Judy

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Slideshow...."Life In Black And White"

The following slideshow is a selection of random color photos I have turned into black and white photos.  They are in no particular order, and there is no theme....other than LIFE.  The music is from a CD of nature sounds along with the Ireland Orchestra. 

Some of the pictures are of family.  Some are of friends.  Some are of art work created by my grandson, Christopher, and his fiance, Emily...both students at the Cleveland Institure of Art.  Some are of Ireland.  Some of the people I know.  Some of the people I don't know.  But, scenes and people tell stories. 

You will see faces, eyes, smiles, fear, reflection, sadness, peacefulness, innocence, teaching, sharing, words to ponder and perhaps things I didn't even mean to share. 

It is best to watch the slideshow in the screen as it appears on the post, rather than on full screen.  I had to find a format that would make it small enough to upload.  Thus, when viewed in full screen, the resolution leaves something to be desired.

Upon watching the slideshow after I uploaded it, I realized there were two pictures that didn't get changed to black and white.  But, then, I said to myself...."That's life."

The slideshow takes about 17 minutes.  I hope you enjoy it.  Settle in, grab a cup of coffee or beverage of your choice, relax and be taken away into your own story.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Wish For You

If you wish to hear a beautiful piece of Irish music done by the Ireland Orchestra, please click. I guarantee you will be happy you did. It is so relaxing.

Good morning world!  I didn't write what I am posting today, but I wish I had.  I hope some of these words in this "wish for you" will be exactly what someone out there needs to hear, or one of these experiences will be a part of your day.  The two pictures I have posted are from my visit to Northern Ireland in June/July 2012.

A Wish For You

I wish for you a day of ordinary miracles
A fresh pot of coffee you didn't make yourself.

An unexpected phone call from an old friend. 
Green stoplights on your way to work or shop. 

I wish for you a day of little things to rejoice in.

The fastest line at the grocery store. 

A good sing along song on the radio. 

Your keys right where you look. 

A rainbow ahead of you.

I wish for you a day of happiness and perfection,
Little bite-size pieces of perfection.

That give you the funny feeling.

That the Lord is smiling on you.

Holding you so gently because......

YOU are someone special and rare.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Random Acts Of Kindness Or Whatever I Find Myself Writing About

Amazing isn't it?  I just looked and my last post was on September 8, 2012.  That means in October, November and this many days in December I have not posted.

I know why.

I have been living, and, as funny as it sounds, that has taken a certain amount of absence, reflection and finding the words to say what it is like to "dare" to live and leave cancer behind, leave "waiting" behind...

What does that mean?  Leave "waiting" behind?

I knew my dad was going to die.  I just didn't know when.  He was 99 years old in September of 2011.  I could tell he was getting more frail.  I could tell he was different.  The biggest indicator was something simple.  He didn't order pancakes at Perkins Restaurant anymore. 

He had eaten pancakes from the time he was a little boy on the family farm.  Everytime we went to Perkins he ordered pancakes.  It was an event just to watch him eat.  He had the buttermilk three.  There was one big ball of butter that he saved for the last pancake.  He had four, not three, pieces of bacon, syrup and decaf coffee.  He had a hard time lifting the coffee pot to pour his coffee.  He had bursitis in his shoulder.  When he lifted his fork to his mouth he held his arm with his other hand.  I would pour his coffee and remember all the times we would be on vacation and eat breakfast out.  It was always a favorite time for me to eat breakfast in a restaurant with my dad.

So, that is what I have been busy with.  I have been busy in my mind.  Sarah's cancer is past.  She is good.  She does her, now six month, blood draws and is busy with her life.  My dad......and I sigh....died December 10, 2011 at 99 years old.  Am I over it?  No....I can say that with a resignation that I feel in my heart.

I have dreamt about him the last two nights.  He loved coming to my house for Christmas.  He loved my tree and my decorations and being with family.  I missed him last Christmas, but this year, for some reason, feels like the first Christmas he is not with us. 

I am making my way through Christmas this year.  I am trying to find the magic I like to bring to the season and to my family.  Christmas is my favorite season of the whole year. 

Today, I was driving home from the post office.  I had packages to mail and the line was long.  I told myself I would give myself an hour to mail two packages.  The fellow behind me said to his daughter...."This could take up to a half hour."  I said, "That is long enough to make a new friend."  I told them I had given up to an hour to be in line.  They said, "Wow."  I said, "Well, if it takes less than an hour I would be happy and lucky, and if it takes an hour, I would be right."  I ended up having a lovely conversation with the fellow behind me and I was the better for it.  I left the post office with a smile and a wish for a Merry Christmas!

Now, for the random act of kindness part. 

I was driving home from the post office and I saw a woman pushing a grocery cart with bags of groceries on the path along the lake.  I drove on past and then turned around.  I drove back to where she was and stopped across the road from her and asked if she needed help.  She paused and then said, "Yes."  I pulled my car into a driveway and went over to her.  I asked where she was going.  She told me and it was still another mile or so.  I told her I couldn't get the grocery cart in my car but I could get her groceries in and could drive her to her apartment.  She didn't have mittens on or a scarf or hat.  She looked near frozen. 

Once we got in my car, I turned the heat up and could see her shaking from the cold.  I drove her to her apartment complex, got her groceries out of my car, carried them to the elevator and watched them while she went up to get her own cart and bring it down so we could load them and get them up to her apartment. 

Her name was Cheryl and she was legally blind.  She had tried calling someone to help her and noone was home, so she headed out walking.  She must have walked close to six miles before I came across her and stopped.  I am glad I stopped.  I know the human spirit is able to do things, but I am glad I stopped.  I am glad I trusted my intuition and turned around. 

In March of 2013 I will turn 70 years old.  My daughter, Sarah, shared a blog with me recently that talked about doing one random act of kindness for each year you are alive.

Well, I can't do 70 random acts of kindness in one day, or even in one week.  So, I am going to start my journey of doing 70 random acts of kindness today.  Each day between now and March 16, 2013 I will be doing random acts of kindness and will work at meeting my goal of 70 by the end of March 16, 2013.

Therein, lies my story for is past, present and future.

I miss you dad...more than you could ever know.

I am grateful for your good health Sarah and that cancer is in the past.

I am grateful for my life and the ability I have to still be the Christmas magic for my family.

I am thankful for all I have, and whatever I can give, in whatever ways, to be a kind person each and every day.

This was a long post but that is okay. 

I will post my random acts of kindness as I go.  They may require some creativity but I like that.

Merry Christmas everybody.  May your days be blessed in ways you couldn't even guess.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

It Is Late

It is late.

I am up alone.

I am listening to my CD of Ireland sounds....birds, water, a train as it travels along the Irish coast....all set to the Ireland Orchestra.

It makes me breathe differently.

It makes me relax.

It makes me reflect.

Reflect on life, death, and all that happens in between.

There is a change happening.

Inside of me.

I suppose we all go through changes.

Some are by choice.

Some are imposed.

Perhaps it is good to welcome change no matter how it comes.

I will see if I can put some of this music on so everyone can hear it.

Maybe it will take others into a place of relaxation, deep thoughts and feelings.

If so, I am glad.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Just Thinking

I wish I knew what I wanted to write, but I don't.  I think I am caught between wanting to review the last year and wanting to enjoy the present.

I think they are related. 

It is the first time, in so long, that I am not thinking/worrying about something related to cancer.

Sarah is two years out and doing really well.  For a while, in the last year, we were concerned that my other daughter, Kara, might be having symptoms of lymphoma.  We have finally found someone who took her symptoms seriously and she has been cleared.  My daughter-in-law, Sara Beth, had a mass behind her lung that needed to be surgically removed and biopsied.  She has been cleared.  No cancer! 

How do I say it?  How do I say that I don't have to wonder or worry anymore? 

What I know is, once cancer has touched your life, you don't go back to a pre-cancer world.  You know you are no longer invulnerable.  You learn....I think I am still to go about life without cancer being at the center.

I am sitting in my favorite chair listening to a beautiful CD of Irish nature sounds......birds, water...even the sound of a train as it travels the coast of Ireland and I am feeling so thankful for my life.

I am still wanting to review the last year.  I have had so many thoughts of my dad, who died in December of 2011.  He enters my thoughts so many times. 

When we were in Ireland recently I visited a cheese and fudge shop at one of the tourist sites.  They had a whole room of cheese that was aging.  My dad was a cheesemaker.  How he would have loved seeing that.  I bought a magnet of the cheese room.  I bought it for him.  I bought it for me. 

I have things I want to write about.  I might be getting ready to do just that.