Sun is shinin’ in the sky

As a birthday gift, my friend took me rowing on the Charles River.

With Lisa at CBC before rowing on May 27, 2013

That’s my friend on the left, emanating light.
I am on the right in the bright green jacket.

The previous days had been cold and rainy as though spring would never come. But then this morning, the warm sun was shining in a beautiful, clear blue sky.

Feeling incredibly happy about the new number on my body’s odometer, I rowed toward the city. The song Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra played over and over in my mind.

The bouncy tune and upbeat lyrics vibrated through my cells, especially the words at the beginning and, to a lesser extent, in the chorus.

I hope you are seeing blue skies today and if not, please remember them and know that they will return.

Love and light,

Click on this to watch a youtube video version of ELO singing Mr. Blue Sky and dig on the cool hair.

Lyrics to Mr. Blue Sky by ELO

(Morning, today’s forecast calls for blue skies)
Sun is shinin’ in the sky
There ain’t a cloud in sight, it’s stopped rainin’
Everybody’s in their play and don’t you know
It’s a beautiful new day, hey hey hey

Runnin’ down the avenue (pant, pant, pant)
See how the sun shines brightly in the city
On the streets where once was pity
Mr. Blue Sky is living here today, hey, hey, hey


Mr. Blue Sky, please tell us why
You had to hide away
For so long (so long) where did we go wrong?


Hey, you with the pretty face
Welcome to the human race, a celebration
Mr. Blue Sky’s up there waitin’, and today
Is the day we’ve waited for, oh, oh, oh


Hey, there Mr. Blue
We’re so pleased to be with you
Look around see what you do
Everybody smiles at you


Mr. Blue Sky,
Blue Sky, Blue Sky
Mr. Blue Sky

Mr. Blue, you did it right
But soon comes Mr. Night, creepin’ over
Now his hand is on your shoulder
Never mind, I’ll remember you this…
I’ll remember you this way


Hey there, Mr. Blue (sky)
We’re so pleased to be with you (sky)
Look around see what you do (blue)
Everybody smiles at you

The end of the world as you know it

Our two boys, ages 9 and 6, were playing some computer game in my bed this morning. I couldn’t see the game, but this is what I heard:

Boy 9: Go over here. It takes you to the end of the world. It’s awesome.

Boy 6: No way. Then I would die.

Boy 9: Yeah, but then you reappear. And it is awesome.

This, too, shall pass

Thank you for your prayers and concerns about the bleeding I was having. Since I’ve gone through both menopause and a hysterectomy, I thought there would be no more of that. Perhaps the name of the game is, “Assume Nothing.”

I called my doctor, fearing that he would insist that I jump back into chemo. Instead, he recommended a watch and wait approach, and I felt comfortable with that. Well, as comfortable as I could be. The worry persisted, but chemo wouldn’t help that anyway.

I went to tong ren, and the bleeding stopped.

In the meantime, life continues. My day consists of tasks that simply…take time…and in my focus to complete them, I frequently hear myself saying, “in a minute” to the kids.

For example, I might be online booking summer camps and one of the boys will say, “Mom, look at this!” I don’t want to stop, lose my place, look at that, and then have to re-oreint myself to wherever I was in the registration process.

So I say, “In a minute.” Of course, by the time I am ready to look, the moment is over. I’ve missed it, and then spiral into fear that they will stop inviting me to share in their discoveries.

Since change comes slowly to me, I decided to start by observing where I put my energy and what I put off, to learn what I am prioritizing every day.

One morning, I dropped the boys off at school then stayed to watch one of them play basketball with his friends. It felt idyllic. The boisterous boys dribbled and shot on the asphalt against a backdrop of blooming trees.

Wouldn’t it be nice to take a picture so someday the boys could get a glimpse of their kindergarten mornings?

May 2013

This photo does not show the morning light as it streamed through the trees. Consistent with my “in a minute” approach, I didn’t take the photo that morning at  basketball time. Instead, I thought I would do it another day.

I went home, got busy and then panicked. Would the flowers be there when I got around to taking the picture? What if it rained and the rain knocked them off the branches? This was the moment. It was now.

Maybe the name of the game isn’t “Assume Nothing.”

Considering the moments of worry and the moments of joy, perhaps the name of the game is, “This too shall pass” so I can feel safe in immersing myself in whatever happens to be right now.

Living on a prayer

These days, I am living on a prayer. More accurately, living on YOUR prayers. Thank you. This is way more fun than living on chemo. I am incredibly aware of each lovely chemo-free day and insanely grateful for the prayers, positive thoughts, presence and other gifts of your heart that enable me to have this life.

These provide an uplifting strength, enabling me to attend the boys’ May Day celebration at school, participate in my yoga class, attend a reunion, meet a friend for coffee, and throw (and enjoy) an early birthday party for one of the boys and his friends.  I even got to go rowing – woo hoo! – and rowed further than I ever have. (For those of you who are familiar, I rowed from the Cambridge Boat Club to the basin.)

I also decided that I had enough strength as well as enough distance from medical appointments to stomach a mammogram. In the face of actual cancer treatments, my regular mammograms fell out of the picture. Lately, I’ve had this panicky feeling that I need one, but every day this week, postponed making the call.

Finally, on Friday, after dropping the boys at school, I looked at the phone and thought, I’ll call in a bit. Just then, the phone rang and it was….The American Cancer Society. Seriously? Okay, message received and mammogram quickly scheduled.

On Saturday morning, I started bleeding and feeling ill, sending me into a bit of a tailspin.  To reign in my anxiety, I attempted to reframe the situation.

I tried telling myself that it wasn’t really happening. I tried telling myself that it would stop. I tried telling myself that it wasn’t a big deal.  I tried telling myself that it doesn’t mean anything.

As each approach failed, I kept thinking of that Bible verse, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” So I gave thanks for the good-feeling stuff in my life. Still didn’t help. Then I gave thanks for this. At first, that was a stretch, but I surprisingly did get there. Talk about practicing gratitude.

I could give thanks and be grateful but still wasn’t entirely thrilled about the bleeding. On Sunday, while listening to the song, “Let It Be” by the Beatles, I studied the logo on my iPhone, trying to figure out which face was which Beatle. Awhile later, while speaking with a friend, I noticed that same logo on his t-shirt, along with the words Let It Be.

I LOVE serendipities. They feel like personal messages from my guardian angels. I could sink into the Beatles. I could trust Mother Mary. And I could just let it be.

I hope you are finding lovely serendipities in your life. I know there are lots of us who need help and support in so many ways. Thank you for your continued prayers and your help in my life. Know that it makes a tangible, positive difference.

I thank God always for you.

Ephesians 1:15-19

Love and prayers,

Joyful Surprises

Our six-year-old son, dressed and ready for the day, grabbed my hand with his cute little one, dragged me out of bed and rapidly pulled me downstairs.

“I have something to show you, Mama,” he said with excitement.

My barely-awake self followed along, primarily because I felt like that is what a good mom should do, and I do try to live up to some random set of imagined standards. Also, he has more upper body strength than I do.

I loved but didn’t share his enthusiasm. I could not imagine anything that would make me happier right now than a steaming shower and my usual morning routine.

The semblance of order in my morning routine helps me to feel like the events of the rest of the day can be within my control. I held tightly to my little illusion, pushing down unsettled feelings of impending chaos as we progressed toward the kitchen, where, without a word, he led me to this:

Sculler by J-man

That is me in a scull! Or at least, a clay model of me in a scull. Apparently, he got up early and made a sculler out of clay and two toothpicks, especially for me. He even crafted it on newspaper rather than directly on the kitchen table. Love that boy.

This was way better than a steaming shower, or anything else I could envision for my day.

Over the past few years, I’ve done alot of praying and one of my most frequent prayers goes something like this: Dear God, Things are a mess. I give up. I’m going to let You be in control from now on. Just lead me and I will follow.

Then God generously cleans up whatever mess I was in, and I basically say, “Thanks, I’m good. I can take it from here.”

Apparently I can’t. I need reminders that it is okay to sometimes have less control. I may even need reminders that my way is not always the only way. Clearly, and thankfully, God and the amazing human beings around me can bring me to wonderful places I could never imagine on my own. Even in my very own scull.

I hope that any disruptions to your plan and any surprises end up bringing deep joy to your soul and your life.

Lots of love,