Tag Archives: friends

Road Trip to the Carolinas

A long weekend, beautiful scenery and good friends are a great combination for a road trip.

The pictures tell the story. However, I do wonder about the names of some wildflowers. Maybe, you can help me out.

Beautiful mountain view.

Beautiful mountain view.

Carolina Chicadee Please let me know if we identified him correctly.

Carolina Chicadee
Please let me know if we identified him correctly.

Wildflowers Please help me out if you know what these are.
Wildflowers
Please help me out if you know what these are.
Love this bush growing wild. It appears to me a mini rose bush.  Please let me know if it is something different.
Love this bush growing wild. It appears to me a mini rose bush. Please let me know if it is something different.
Gorgeous reflection of the dock and trees on the pond.
Gorgeous reflection of the dock and trees on the pond.
 Beautiful picture of an antique tractor riding cycle mower.
Beautiful picture of an antique tractor riding cycle mower.

Sunlight as it shines on this barn. If you look closely, you can see a cow and a few goats.

Sunlight as it shines on this barn. If you look closely, you can see a cow and a few goats.

Good friends
Good friends

It was a busy couple of days and we had so much fun.

Take pride in how far you’ve come and have faith in how far you can go. In all of life’s craziness, remember to enjoy the journey.

I invite you to follow me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/laurasjourneyofhope.

Be Blessed.

Laura

Celebration Update

He will be so happy!
He will be so happy!

Doug wanted a celebration at home with his family.  It’s easier that way.  The kids can be kids and have fun and play.  Madison had fun helping me make the cake.

Making a cake for Papa.
Making a cake for Papa.
Cracking eggs...Her mom taught her well.
Cracking eggs…Her mom taught her well.
Yucky eggs.
Yucky eggs.
We need more sprinkles!
We need more sprinkles!

Fun times for the kids!

…and a Happy Birthday to Papa!

Happy Birthday, Doug!

Let’s do it again next year!

Be Blessed.

Laura

No Matter What

Wearing my awesome new geek glasses tonight at work. Equip with multiplication and division signs. Not pictured the equal signs on each side. I love them!
Wearing my awesome new geek glasses tonight at work. Equip with multiplication and division signs. Not pictured the equal signs on each side. I love them!

No matter what, I will always trust God.  I have been going through a challenging time with my broken wrist and my beautiful daughter posted these song lyrics on her FB page. WOW! It was just in time to put things in perspective for me.  I was encouraged by my little girl. Life is so good.

“I’m running back to your promises one more time. Lord that’s all I can hold on to.

I gotta say this has taken me by surprise.

But nothing surprises YOU.

Before a heartache can ever touch my life,

it has to go through Your hands

And even though I keep asking why

No matter what, I’m, gonna love You

No matter what I’m gonna need You

I know You can find a way to keep me from pain. But if not, I’ll trust You. No matter what.”

No Matter What by Kerrie Roberts

Let me tell you about Kelsey. She is an amazing young woman. She is kind and compassionate.  When she was a child, she would write a poem for everyone at Christmas. She exudes a kindness and unselfishness that is very rare. She is an encourager. She is also very brilliant. She has a Biology Degree from one of the elite educational programs in the Southeast. (Hence the math symbols on her glasses.) She posts the most amazing things on FB and I am going to add a page to this site for her.  It’s coming soon.

Be encouraged.  God is with you no matter what.

I invite you to like my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/laurasjourneyofhope.

Be Blessed.

Laura

Caregivers Need Care

Me with my wonderful husband at Paige's wedding, January2010
Me with my wonderful husband at Paige’s wedding, January2010

My definition of the caregiver…

A caregiver is the person who…

  • changes his/her work schedule to drive you to chemo (my mom)
  • ensures you take your anti-nausea medicine when you are so sick from chemo/surgery that you just don’t care
  • ensures you eat a little protein when you can’t taste a thing because protein rebuilds cells
  • sits hours upon hours at doctor’s appointments, chemo labs, hospitals and pharmacies
  • prepares menus for your family when you can’t
  • stands by when you got to the bathroom to make sure you don’t pass out or start heaving your guts up
  • gives you Neupogen shots at home (in my case, my daughter became a nurse a few days before my diagnosis.)
  • greets guest with a smile while you put your wig on
  • thanks visitors for the food and explains that you just can’t see them today
  • moves from out-of-state to stay with you as long as possible (mother-in-law)
  • pretends to never see your bald head because you would just cry if you knew the truth (my wonderful husband)
  • gives up softball because of the need at home, even though a scholarship is possible (my youngest daughter in her senior year)
  • buys groceries because you are not allowed to go to the store, per Dr’s orders
  • assumes the coordination of all school functions
  • cleans the house, folds laundry, does dishes…when you can’t
  • watches you go through ‘hell’ and tells you that you look great
  • sprays Lysol in your office every day when you leave (Monica, Principal’s’ Secretary)
  • makes pink curtains for your office (Monica, Principal’s’ Secretary)
  • hold’s a Pink Celebration (RBW Staff)

Caregivers need to have someone to talk to when they feel overwhelmed. They need plenty of rest, a break now and then, to have an outlet or to join a support group, if possible. For example:

  • if a husband is caring for his wife, his buddies need to take him out for a guys night, football game or just get away for a few hours
  • if a wife is caring for her husband, her friends need to plan a girls night out
  • the same if a parent is caring for a child…aunts, uncles, friends need to come over and take turns so that the primary caregiver can have a break

Cancer has the ability to interrupt so many lives.  Don’t let it.   Don’t give away your power! Cancer does not have to control your life. The power in living comes when you keep your schedule and routine.

I invite you to follow me @ http://www.facebook.com/laurasjourneyofhope.

Be Blessed!

Laura

Walking With Madison

I found this poem online…’Walking With Grandma”.

Walking With Grandma

I read that poem in the middle of the night and couldn’t go back to sleep. Words were racing around in my head and I typed this next poem for Madison, my granddaughter.

The day my life changed.
The day my life changed.

Walking with Madison

I’m so blessed you see.

To spend time with her,

Just Madison and me.

Walking with Madison…

Every detail she finds.

She exhibits her youth

With an inquiring mind.

Walking with Madison…

I treasure these days.

She reminds me of her mom

In so many ways.

Walking with Madison…

Profound empathy she shows.

A kind heart and beauty

But she doesn’t even know.

I treasure our walks

And enthusiastic talks.

She changed the world I see.

Just Madison and me.

Look Meme, we match!
Look Meme, we match!
Pure joy!
Pure joy!

After cancer, I take nothing for granted.  Every day I have with my family and friends is valued.  I figure I am here on this earth and it must be for a reason.  I live each day with purpose. I thank God that I am here today! So instead of sitting around and feeling sorry for myself and wondering why…I choose to LIVE!

I invite you to follow me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/laurasjourneyofhope.

Be Blessed.

Laura

Enjoy The Journey

Happy New Year!
Happy New Year!

I prefer to set goals rather than the traditional resolutions because I am constantly striving to improve.  I am a goal oriented person and set daily goals for myself.

The year 2014 was full of 1st’s for me:

  • Resigned my position with the local school board after 23 years of service.
  • Prioritized my family over work.
  • Became more involved with my grandchildren.
  • Started the ‘Laura’s Journey’ Facebook page to encourage, inspire and empower others.
  • Started http://www.laurasjourneyofhope.com as a blog.
  • 6 year breast cancer survivor as of 12-26-14

2015 will hold many more firsts...some I don’t even know about.  My goal, not resolution, is very basic. My goal is to be healthy: body, mind and soul.

Body…I have been eating clean since July 1, 2014.  I have room for improvement in this area.  I am walking my first 5K, Race For A Cure, this month.  I hope to walk many 5K’s for different causes in 2015.  This time, I walk for all who are fighting breast cancer.  I walk to celebrate all survivors and to remember those who lost their battle to this horrible disease. It will be the first time that I will be recognized as a survivor.

Mind…I want to continue to fill my life with positive influences and have the courage to leave the negative influences behind.  The words you speak over your life are very telling.  When my girls were little, I would speak into them positive statements..

  • when you go to college…not if you go to college
  • when you get a car…not if you get a car
  • God has your plan…don’t worry
  • also, you could be president if you wanted to…

The world was open to them.

Soul…For me, this is my most important area.  I want to spend more time in my devotions seeking God’s direction. I want peaceful relationships with those in my inner circle.  Finally after 3 years, I am making progress toward peace with my dad’s death.  I was going to go see him on Saturday but he died on Monday.  I missed my opportunity. (This also comes under ‘mind’) For me, my soul still aches from that decision but I know he is in heaven.

Take pride in how far you’ve come and have faith in how far you can go. In all of life’s craziness, remember to enjoy the journey.

I invite you to follow me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/laurasjourneyofhope.com.

Happy New Year!

Be Blessed.

Laura

Christmas…simplified

I love Christmas.  I love the gathering of friends and family and seeing those who you haven’t seen in months or years.  Most of all , I love the lights at Christmas because it reminds me of the verse…Jesus is the light of the world.  The exact verse is John 8:12 (ESV) “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Since I love Christmas so much, I even shocked myself when I considered skipping the decorations this year.  Then Paige, my eldest daughter, reminded me that Christmas was at my house and Madison and Wyatt, my grandchildren, would be coming over.  For me the true meaning of Christmas is all about Jesus coming as the baby in the manger and eventually giving his life for us.  So after 33 years of Christmas, I chose to simplify Christmas and get back to the true meaning. I have found that lighted garland is my friend and I basically used that as a staple of decoration.

Christmas 2014
Christmas 2014

I even decorated the tree in non breakable ornaments.  I love a gold and cream tree.  My decorations are gold and cream silk poinsettias, gold poinsettias, roses, pinecones and berries.  I didn’t even realize that no ornaments on the tree were breakable when I decorated this year but it was very evident when the adults and children were hitting a plastic ball around the living room after all of the presents had been opened.  The ball accidentally hit the tree and I said, “No problem.  Nothing on the tree will break.”

Eventually the house was quiet again and it was time to clean up.  I thought to myself, I love the way the house looked this Christmas and how will I remember what I did 11 months from now. So I took pictures of each area and put copies of the pictures in the Christmas tubs.  I packed up the decorations by room and labeled trash bags. (see picture below)

Christmas Packing Hack 2014
Christmas Packing Hack 2014

Now, when I unpack the Christmas tubs, I will know exactly where the garland or wreaths go. It was the easiest after Christmas clean up in years.  My husband was elated.

I invite you to follow me on Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/laurasjourneyofhope.

Be Blessed.

Laura

My Favorite Christmas Tradition

Christmas... Paige (L) and Kelsey (R)
Christmas… Paige (L) and Kelsey (R)

When my girls, Paige and Kelsey, still lived at home, I wrote them a letter every Christmas.  It was a review and reflection of their year and of course a reminder of their individual, unique and special qualities. Each letter consisted of the same topics but as they grew older the paragraphs varied accordingly.  Below is the general outline :

  • Age, school, teacher or GPA (high school)
  • Friends
  • Sports
  • Dad, Mom and God

Age, school, teacher or GPA (high school)

During the elementary and middle school years, I included the school year that ended and the new year that had begun, any highlights from the summer and basic achievements like honor roll or perfect attendance.  As they entered high school, I included their current GPA, really tough classes and any occasions to speak to the school deans.

Friends

The friends paragraph really changed as they progressed through school especially when the ‘mean girl’ drama came into the picture.  For the most part, they each had that one solid friend who remained consistent in their lives, which was and is a blessing. There were many opportunities for life lessons in this paragraph.

Sports

Paige and Kelsey were both very athletic and they both played softball until they entered high school and then they both played volleyball and softball.  They were different and yet the same.  They were both driven, determined and very competitive.  Paige was a libero in volleyball.  The libero is the player with a different color shirt who guards the court before she will let an opponent score.  Perfect for my Paige. In softball, she was the best center fielder you could find.  She only had 3 broken noses between the two sports in 4 years.  Now  Kelsey was the player who guarded the net (a blocker) in volleyball and waited for the opportunity to smash the ball back at the opponent. She wasn’t letting anything get by her.  In softball, she was the the pitcher who struck out the boys varsity baseball team and a catcher who would never let the opponent score.  No broken noses for Kelsey.  Thank God!  Paige and Kelsey had multiple accolades for their sports that I included in this paragraph.

Dad, Mom and God

The last paragraph was a reminder of their beauty inside and out.  It was also a reminder of God’s love for them and his plan for them. (Jeremiah 29:11) This is where we talked about the boys, the tears, the crushes, the heartbreaks and the fact that their daddy would always be the first man who loved them unconditionally.  This is the paragraph where I reminded them that as they grew up God already had the perfect plan for them.  Some Christmas celebrations were not so merry when there was heartbreak but they knew that their daddy…. and mommy were always there for them.

Of all of our traditions…baking cookies, church plays, driving to see Christmas lights, watching Rudolph, this is one of my favorites.  When I read those letters now, I can see the most amazing reflection of God’s hand on our lives. Yes, I have the letters in a special place and I have the memories in my heart.

I invite you to follow me on Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/laurasjourneyofhope.

Merry Christmas and Be Blessed!