Love Is....

Love Is....

Monday, June 11, 2018

Day #6: Monday

(Homemade) Sausage seasoned deer with roasted
peppers, goat cheese, a farm fresh egg, sunflower
and mixed lettuce microgreens, and honey/Amish
buttered sprouted Ezekiel toast.  Complete with
English Breakfast tea and honey.

Just getting started today for my first
appointment.  Prayed "Surprise Me God"
prayer this morning.

When I pray this prayer, why am I surprised when I am surprised!?!  After all, that is what I asked for, right!?!

My first appointment today was with a psychologist on the 11th floor.  (P.S.  It was a challenge to find this floor because the regular elevators skip this floor, so it was kind of fun....I like scavenger hunts!)  Anyway, I have noticed an unhealthy relationship with food beginning to form.  When I feel bad after I eat, I naturally do not want to eat the offending food again anytime soon.  This is increasingly frustrating to me and Heath as my list keeps growing and changing daily.  It is about to drive my everloving, precious, patient husband crazy.  Me too, to be fair.  I don't want to be changing, restricting, over indulging, avoiding certain foods and/or food groups, thinking constantly about meals and what I can and cannot eat, should and should not eat but my mind is now involved with the physical symptoms of my stomach caused by the pelvic floor dysfunction.  My body is just trying to do what's best, but it really doesn't know what to do....that is why I am here to help the muscles and to learn to relax and retrain the brain to work with those muscles hence "biofeedback."

After spending about an hour with the nurse visiting about some of my symptoms, we came up with quite a surprising fit to the symptoms I have been experiencing most of my life.  Looking back, I can see this trending throughout various seasons.....crazy that at 32, I am just now identifying the struggle.  After years of trying to understand my frustrating behaviors (yes, I not only frustrate others, but myself too).  One of my famous lines to Heath is, "You should try being in my head."  This is used on days he really wants me to relax and I just don't know how because I am all over the place and anywhere but in the present moment.

We wrapped the session up with the nurse and the psychologist who sent me with some tools to take  home.  They recommended a book that another person had told me about as well and encouraged seeking counseling back home.  I have a wonderful counselor back home that I have used alot before!  Thankful for great resources both here and back home.

Whew, when I got out of this heavy appointment and exited the elevator, I was greeted with the peregrine falcon demonstration.  This was totally by accident happening upon it at this moment, but something I was wanting to experience.  I stayed and listened and learned for a while.  It was fun and something to divert my brain off of myself and on to something else.  Thank you God for your impeccable timing, all the time!

Peregrine Falcons at Mayo
(Click to learn more.)

My next mission was to get that became some crazy person mission to get this recommended book before my next PT session - oh, AND I went to People's Coop to get groceries TOO.  Why I thought all this had to be done right now, is beyond me.  Crazy person mode hit.  I walked rapidly back to the house and was visiting with Heath while I was trying to unlock my door.  I suddenly couldn't hear him because he was breaking up and then I just hung up after frantically telling him that I was on my way to get this book.  All I remember, through the breaking up/crackling on the other end, was him telling me not to kill myself that I could always get it later....ahhhh the voice of reason.  Reason to someone, but that someone wasn't me at this moment.  I was after that book.  I didn't want to go after my afternoon session because then there would be 5 o'clock traffic and I haven't driving much here this week and definitely didn't want to start with 5 o'clock traffic.

I made it to Barnes and Noble after I called to have the book reserved and waiting for me upon arrival.  I had no time to waste with the cheaper, Amazon Prime 2-day delivery, I just had to get started.  When I arrived, the checker lady was like, "Oh, what does OCD mean?" ever-so-loudly as she read the title of my new workbook.  I briefly explained what I had learned this morning and she said that she obsessively counts her steps in her house she has lived in for over 40 years....sigh......

On my walk back to the Clinic for my first round of PT for the day, I humbled myself and called Heath back to apologize for the hasty hangup and that crazy person that he spoke with earlier.....the thing is, I don't even think he had that a bad thing?!  Do I act this way all of the time....LOL!  All good, good PT session and then a Breathing and Relaxation class at the Cancer Education Center followed by Caring Canines and the introduction to "Kelso."

Meet "Kelso"

Got to keep that smile going!  A little late lunch and learn and some fresh air and this girl was ready for the second PT session.  DON'T QUIT trying and learning!

Just keep sMiLIn'!

Late ~ Yummy ~ Lunch and Learn

Homemade granola and beet chips!

When I got home I decided to make homemade granola with my new ingredients and also cook my red beets and then add some rosemary and transform them into beet chips.  While I was baking, my Air B&B host's hubby came to mow the yard.  She had told me that she would like to send some samples, with her hubby, of the Monat haircare products for me to try.  So, I went out and met her hubby.  Super nice!  Great conversation that somehow I had committed to myself (and him) that I would be running to Flapdoodle's for another round of ice cream!  LOL, so with that light accountability, I did!  I ate a few handfuls of the new granola hot out of the oven and then headed out for my run/ice cream.  Nice trail/path all the way there with parts of it along the Zumbro River.

I absolutely *love* all the peonies, ferns, and hostas which all remind me of Grandpa Wilson and Grandma June.

Upon my arrival, I called Heath and Lexi.  Heath went to pick Lexi up in Colorado from her church camp so they were on their roadtrip home.  When I got there, I told them that I didn't feel like eating any ice cream...the granola hadn't settled too well.  Heath said that I absolutely did not run all the way there to go home without ice cream.  Sigh....I mentioned this before, he is ALWAYS right, if I would just listen the first time.  So, I did!  I went in and tried my three different samples but went back to my favorite from my prior visit:  BIRTHDAY CAKE WITH SPRINKLES IN A DARK-CHOCOLATE DIPPED WAFFLE CONE!  When I told the guy that I had just run there, he had the audacity to ask me if I wanted a small scoop....I was like....was he not listening....I just ran here, I want the REAL DEAL...LOL!  :)  This is part of enjoying life.

I decided to take a different way home, just for something different.  I started walking and enjoying my ice cream.  I was doing well until the sidewalk ended and I was on a frontage road.  Now who thought it would be a good idea to send a walker/runner on a frontage road without a sidewalk (thank you phone maps).  For real Thank You people who had grass along the road and for letting me walk on it!!  I was then dumped onto a trail/path, finally.  I had a great run home and actually my stomach felt waaaay better running home on ice cream than with granola on the way there.

NOTE TO SELF:  new pre-race - Birthday Cake Ice Cream with Sprinkles in a Dark-Chocolate Dipped Waffle Cone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I stopped to look for 4-leafed clovers!
Lexi informed me I had to find 5!!

Great devotion to end the day!

Check out the growth on these pea shoots from morning until night.
They are definitely reaching for the sun coming through the window!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Break #2: Sunday

Lovely, amazing, fresh, tasty breakfast.  Includes old fashioned oats and homemade rhubarb sauce, English Breakfast Tea,
fresh veggies, eggs, avocado, microgreens, and deer.

*ASK*SEEK*KNOCK* (credit Barnes and Noble website)
Bible interpretation from my NIV Study Bible out of Psalm chapter 62.

Kinda of crazy to wake up to a 'day with no plans.'  Very liberating, to say the least!  Since I went to church last night (thinking I'd be on a bike ride today), I was starring at a whole open day.  WOW, what an awesome experience to simply embrace.  Nothing that had to be done, nothing that should have been done, just simply doing and being.  This was very rewarding because I didn't stress trying to run myself ragged and do this and do that.  (Rose texted me this morning to confirmed the trail was closed due to flooding.  3.5" people OVERNIGHT!  Can you believe that?!)  

Every time Heath called and asked what I was doing, I said, "Just relaxing."  When he asked what my plans were, I would reply, "Not sure yet, just whatever."  WHAT, who am I?!  Giving myself the freedom and permission to enjoy life is something that I don't grace myself with very often.  However, this is truly important in my healing processes.  Many of the other people that I have met in my pelvic floor program, are highly Type A personalities with a touch of perfectionism.  I definitely can relate to all, way more than I like to admit.  BUT, the good news is that Jesus died for me and He offers me freedom from the things that hold me in bondage.  Prayer is my lifeline!

Fun note from meter was
super low after my lovely cinnamon roll!
This is a win in my book!

During this lovely Sunday, I enjoyed blogging, reading, cooking, and exploring.  Oh, how I love these things!

Kitchen Mishap - slicing, chopping, dicing fresh veggies!

I enjoyed a snack of Fuji apple, fresh mozzy cheese with
a drizzle of maple syrup.

I eventually got a little inspiration to go for a hike/walk/possible jog.  My body was telling me to stay inside and stay cozy, but my mind was telling me to get out and explore and get moving.  It started out with just getting myself out the door and onto the trail....then the exploring happened followed by a bit of jogging and a bit of hiking.  Found the REC Center that I had heard about and the Zumbro River that every one has been referencing.  FREEDOM to EXPLORE and EXPERIENCE and have an ADVENTURE.  I didn't take many pictures as I wanted this experience to be free from distractions.

Funny to admit this after have just gotten all those fresh fruits and veggies, but I was feeling like exploring yet again in the culinary division.  My host, Kristi, had recommended a Vietnamese restaurant just a couple of blocks away.  I seriously contemplated the idea of spending the money, but having never tried it, I decided to give it a try -- after all, I am on vacation.  Super reasonable, very good, and very similar to Thai food but much lighter.  Great experience.

Great day!  Thank you God!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Break #1: Saturday

Lovely first breakfast included broiled grapefruit with honey,
sea salt, and rosemary, fresh mozzy with maple syrup drizzled
over the top, and grilled peppers and onions.

Great purchase, enjoying them daily!  Already have
lots of miles on them.

Saturday is Farmer's Market Day!  This was my big plan for today, browsing/sampling/tasting/indulging in fresh, local, nourishing, real food.  I have been super excited about this all week long!  Last minute, I thought to send my new friend, Kim (from the Running Room), a message to see if she would like to join me.  She, in fact, had to work but invited me to meet up for to coffee with her and her aunt and uncle!  How fun!  She said that her aunt and uncle would then be headed over to the Market and I could join them if I'd like.  OH LIFE, how I enjoy being open to adventure and seeing what doors God opens daily.  We met at a coffee shop called Cafe Steam which was right along Broadway, just minutes away from the Market.  So, I enjoyed my quiet walk to Cafe Steam.

Her aunt and uncle had just moved back to Rochester from owning a coffee shop in Hawaii!  How cool is that!  We had a great visit getting to know each other and enjoying great fellowship over our hot drinks.  I had the house's homemade chai tea latte (Rose has incorporated one cup of a hot caffeinated drink into my diet to help things keep moving).  After we finished, Kim headed to work and I walked with Steve and Gwen to pick up Gwen's 94 year old mama for the Market.  AWESOME!  She was all ready to go and waiting outside for us to meet up with her.  She walked all of the way to the Market and was just as spunky as ever!  Gwen said that she really likes to get out to enjoy the Market!


Cheers to my new friends!

I had a couple of things in mind going into the Market and ended up with an excellent assortment!  I really like this posting they had on their Facebook page about trying new things.

See my wonderful finds below, including:
  • Mixed bag of lettuce
  • Arugula - so hard to find in Scottsbluff!
  • Beets with the tops!
  • Garlic
  • Asparagus
  • Pea shoots
  • Salad and sunflower microgreens - I really want to learn how to grow these!  Please let me know if you know how!  I'd take any advice!
  • and.....brat BURGERS to take home to Heath!  Awesome!
  • Fresh homemade cinnamon roll - I had planned to just try a bite and then freeze to take to Pa (my father-in-law), then I made the mistake of putting it into the microwave for just a few seconds to melt that ooey, gooey yumminess.....the rest is history.....
  • Hot sausage burrito (breakfast #2) from a local farm with salsa, peppers, onions, cheese while I walked around the Market

I had a really fun walk home, taking pictures here and there and everywhere.  I walked by a kayak/paddle boat rental place as I visited with Heath and told him all about my awesome finds at the Market.  I also asked him if he would ride with me in this:

HE SAID YES!!!!!!!

I really did have good intentions!  I started with just the edge, saving the best part (middle) for Pa.  Carefully
wrapped up the remainder in tin foil and put into the freezer while I warmed up my little portion.  Yep, that was
it, game over, I then went back for the middle.  Pa - I just saved you so many calories, you are welcome!

I had planned to go rent a kayak for the afternoon, however, the weather had other plans.  With the rain and drizzle, I decided to save the kayak for another *sunny, warmer* day.  I would like to take my sweet time paddling around the lake, stopping to read my book out in the middle....sounds like fun!  Maybe next week when the weather clears up.  So, laundry and tidying up it is!  I am so fortunate to have an amazing washer and dryer in the basement of this home.  They were huge, I've never seen a washer that big before.  Ahhh, fresh sheets and clean clothes!  While they were washing/drying/getting clean, I enjoyed an afternoon relaxing by writing and cooking!

Fresh goodies from Market!

Dessert included slightly frozen, fresh mozzy with a drizzle of maple syrup served over Forbidden rice!

Earlier in the week, I had dome some research on churches for Saturday evening as I had planned a  Sunday morning bike ride with Rose.  I found a non-denominational church that had a Saturday evening service and sent the link to Heath.  We talked about it and thought it'd be ok.  Then, on Friday, I asked Rose for suggestions.  She asked her colleagues, as she doesn't live in this area.  They recommended Christ Community Church just up the road.  It looked and sounded good, so that is where I attended this evening.  All the songs we sang were new to me, so that was awesome!  The message was very good.  I liked how the Pastor really drew me in and motivated me to action.

My notes on the sermon titled Beating the Odds by Dr. George Kenworthy, interim Pastor:
  • One ordinary day after the other the can be a victory.  All victories don't have to be BIG things.
  • Endurance - challenges over the long-haul.  Experience Jesus.
  • "Surprise Me God" prayers for 30 days.
    • Do not be afraid ~ Isaiah 41:10
    • Trust the conductor who lays the track.
    • Keep on keeping on.
    • Know my God can give me strength to get through anxiety, tension, fear, pain.
  • Do what the book (Bible) says to experience victory.
    • Battles can be long, but victories can be ordinary.
    • We know how the book ends.  GOD WINS!  AMEN!

About that bike ride I had planned for tomorrow, turns out she sent me a text to tell me there were flood warnings in her area and that we probably wouldn't be able to ride in the morning.  This 27 mile  portion of the trail is an old railroad bed that was converted into a biking/hiking/walking paved path.  Bummer, oh well, maybe later on next week!  We were going to get double-chocolate ice cream at her favorite ice cream place!  ;)  Why is my mind always on food?!  ENJOY LIFE!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Day #5: Friday

NEXT ~ Party of 1
They are not talking to me are they?

Ok, ok, same thing God's got this!
WOAH ~ is there another Kinsey
Senkel out here?!  I think this is
for you, not me!

I will leave you with this thought....and
there was a balloon and dental floss....

Yes, that part is true about the balloon and dental floss, but it really wasn't nearly as bad as I thought.  Actually didn't have much time to think about it as I just checked in like every other appointment when I was greeted with this lovely, not-so-inviting chair....and then she told me it was for me!  OH GOODY!  Flashbacks of the tears shed during diagnosis week back in February came up.  I lost it in February, but I didn't know exactly what it would entail this time and once I found out, there was no need for tears.  And, just in case you were wondering, I WON against the balloon this time!

Rose told me that she doesn't tell her patients when this part of the program will begin and she now starts all of her patients on Friday instead of the second Monday of the treatment.  She has had patients literally give themselves panic attacks over the balloon therapy.  She sure does know how to treat her patience with the best care.  She is wonderful!  We just visit like normal while I do my thing and she does her' biggie....see the beautiful pictures she has on the wall?  They all have a great story and memories to go along with them.....all the pink on Rose's desk, she loves pink!  See that beautiful view of the city from the 14th floor (below)?  Rose is the only nurse with a window and I got to be her patient = AWESOME!!

It is through this window that Rose has shown me all the cool spots to hit
between appointments and we have watched the falcons flying and
landing on the buildings!

They had a Stress and Relaxation Education class on my schedule.  (Remember the one I rearranged from yesterday?)  It was really, really good!  Turns out I was the only one scheduled for it, so I got my own private class!  I visited with a lady who's background was in wellness.  We talked about some of the resources available to me to work on the relaxation piece of this therapy/all-life program.  This is all about a change in lifestyle and not just a one-time fix for all.  By incorporating the tips and tricks that work best for me into my life, I will greatly benefit and see improvements.  All of the sessions, PT, and counseling that I have attended all relate back to stress and learning how to rest and relax.  This is something that is relevant for everyone in all walks of life.  We push ourselves to the max and then expect our bodies, minds, and attitudes to be healthy, to keep up, and to stay positive.  We need self care such as a wholesome diet that will fuel our bodies, restful deep sleep, and a healthy dose of movement....movement looks different to everyone!  Find something you love and do it!  Stick to it!  Try some new things.  Go out and take the dog for a walk or a hike.  Go to the lake, go camping, go for a run, go for a bike ride, go for a swim, go for a yoga or pilates class, or even go for an outdoor scavenger hunt.  *Grab your spouse and walk to the top of the hill to look at the stars at night.*  Go for a moonlit walk after supper.  Get up from your desk every hour and walk to the bathroom, water fountain, or water cooler.  Hydrate yourself for your skin, organs, joints, and so much more!  It is amazing that by just going back to the basics, we can learn so much and make valuable strides in our health and well being.  Find something you love and JUST DO IT as Nike would say!

Love this saying!
I have been wearing this shirt Heath gave me!
Great reminder.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I went on Rose's scavenger hunt down in the "subway."  She told me to go downstairs and find the "Subway Lady."  She gave me the following clues:

  • She doesn't talk.
  • She doesn't leave the "subway" willingly.
  • Ask anyone down there and they will know her.
Well, I did ask when I went down for my education class and I had two people wrapped up in this  whole scavenger hunt and these clues of mine.  They looked at me like I was crazy and then they got totally interested.  When I left, we hadn't figured it out yet, so I told them once I found out more information I'd be back to let them know.....soooo, I did.

Turns out this particular store wasn't open when I went down the first time and the lady in the store led me straight to the "Subway Lady" and began telling me the Lady's story in full storytelling mode.  It was awesome!  When I told her that my nurse sent me, she immediately replied, "Rose?"  WOW, out of 66,000 employees that Mayo has and she knew MY nurse!  Cool!

Carved from a single piece of wood.  Details are
incredible!  She looks like a sassy ole' woman!
I like it!

Another yummy lunch out on the veranda when the other woman in my program found me and joined me.  We visited and she said that she was able to move out of her hotel and into an Air B&B just like I had suggested and helped her with during our first visit earlier this week.  That was awesome as she said that she was much  more comfortable now and she was close to a shuttle.  Amazing how you can connect people just by sharing your story.  I told her I was in an awesome Air B&B with an amazing host and she sounded interested so I helped her with the app and submitting a request.  It sounded like it all worked out for her!  She said that her hubby would be joining her this weekend, so she was glad for that!

Lunch on the Mayo veranda.

I wanted to hurry along and eat my lunch to get back inside because there were a bunch of kids from probably 6-12ish years old taking turns playing the piano.  It was 100% jaw-dropping.  I couldn't believe my ears and was just mesmerized and drawn in by the sounds coming from the piano.  When one child would finish their song, another would sit down and begin playing.  They even turned the pages of the music for each other.  As they were packing up to leave, a patient went up and thanked them and I got to overhear the conversation as I thanked them and encouraged them as well.  She asked them if they are practicing performing in front of others and they said they just do this for fun as a way to serve.  Right about this moment a lady walked through the atrium with a tiny, small little service dog.  Yep, that's when I lost it.  The tears came out, real tears.  It was just such a tender moment with the music and these kids just playing to be nice for the sick people and then the service dog!  I suddenly became aware of missing our farm and my life with Heath.

At this point, I was exhausted.  Preparing to head back up for PT, I remembered a first come, first served Caring Hands massage that I read about being offered at the Cancer Education Center.  I went in just to see if they happened to have any availability.  I wasn't about to take a spot if someone else was waiting, but the massage lady was just cleaning up and said that she'd be glad to take me.  She was hoping someone would come because she had time for one more.  Wow, awesome timing.  She was super nice and works a completely different job and does this for one hour every Friday to serve the patients of Mayo.  Yet again, I'm humbled.  This is real stuff and a great reminder that there are  good people out there.  The more grateful I am, the more opportunities I tend to find that I see kind, caring, loving, good-hearted people.  When I'm always in a rush, I pass right by these opportunities.  Again, a life lesson for me.  Thank You God for allowing me to slow down and appreciate the things in life that so often I pass right on by.

When I got home, I was about to crash for a nap when I remembered I needed to call the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center to schedule some more classes that Rose recommended.  Turns out I called the wrong area of the building and they would transfer me to the correct area.  A nice lady named Andrea answered the phone and I told her that I was in a two week pelvic floor therapy program and she about jumped through the phone.  "What, there is really a thing like that?!  I need that!  I have had 3 babies and I am a runner!"  I told her that my muscles were super tight but it might work for the opposite too.  I didn't know, so I gave her Rose's department phone number.  Amazing how, yet again, a simple phone call/interaction turned into a connection.  Hopefully, that will help Andrea in some way, shape, or form!

Wonderful cereal Tiny surprised me with
from Texas!

Big ole' bowl of cereal before I went down for my NAP ~ WOW, exhaustion!  You were right Rose, learning this whole relaxation thing really must be strenuous, seriously!  This evening, I had plans to meet my Air B&B host Kristi and her kids at a homemade ice cream place called Flapdoodles.  I have been looking forward to ice cream all week and to Flapdoodles since she messaged me about it yesterday!  A great way to celebrate my progress during my first week of therapy.  P.S.  They rotate their ice cream daily between their 80 different flavors!  They update their menu on the website so you can decide whether the North store or the South store has your favorite!

HUGE ice cream cone in the driveway.
This place has to be good!

Yep, it was excellent!  With multiple samples including puppy chow, pralines and cream, and birthday cake with sprinkles in the ice cream, I ended up with the sprinkled birthday cake.  Not normally a fan of sprinkles, but boy tonight they sure tasted good in that dark chocolate dipped waffle cone with good company.  Kristi and her kids were super sweet and we had a nice visit!  (I told her if we sit there much longer, I'd have to help myself to seconds!)

A very nice note I received from

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Day #4: Thursday

GOOD MORNING *SuNShiNe* and 12 flights of stairs and my English Breakfast Tea (with honey) in hand!  Boy am I glad that I found you!  I like the challenge and the feeling of a job well done once I reach my PT destination.  This has not been a real typical week of triathlon training however, all the walking to and from the Clinic and these new found stairs give me that feeling of a job well done.  My therapist is really big on keeping on moving to keep things moving (if you know what I mean :)!  Plus, it is super liberating to have the ability to incorporate just these little extra activities into a normal day.  Nothing big, but just finding ways to keep on moving and to have a little extra time to think and clear my mind, not rushing (driving, parking, and taking the elevator) just to get from point A to point B the quickest way humanly possible.  I have found out this week that rushing robs me of my joy, always thinking of 'the next thing.'  Remember that being "in the moment" stuff they have been teaching me?  This is that opportunity for me.  I don't have to be on the cell phone (unless I choose to be, not obligatory to make all my return calls while walking - just to get them done) but rather call when I can visit with a clear mind which is so much more gratifying and fair to give that person my undivided attention (still working on the undivided attention thing!).  I don't have to be driving, watching out for traffic, and thinking about what I am going to make for supper while I decided when I will fit my workout into the day and then how many waking moments I will have left with my hubby where I am not so drop-dead tired that all I can literally do is say 'goodnight' as I fall into bed.  I am actively choosing to be "in the moment" while I am working on staying present and enjoying each activity as if I have nothing else to do in the day.  We all have tons of stuff to do within a 24 hour period, but whether or not it is important is another story for me.  I think that I am Superwoman and can, therefore of course, accomplish all the things that I set out to do.  I find that when I am obedient to sit down with God in the mornings before or after my yoga but definitely before I start the rest of my day, He helps me see what is important - if I ask, seek, and knock.  He helps me prioritize to get the most important things done and then actually enjoying them while doing them.  I don't know why, but this concept amazes me each time I am obedient to read and spend my quite time with God.  I am constantly in awe of God as he lives out his promise to me upon my asking, seeking, and knocking for help and guidance.  It's quite a crazy thought to me that some things must go undone and guess what??  It hasn't killed me!  Shocking, I know, it still surprises me.  This is not easy for me and does not come naturally at this point, however, if I can recreate the week that I am having right now, right here in Rochester once I get back home and into my daily life, I can assure you my life will be more fulfilling.

Blessed with awesome shoes!  They feel great!
Thanks again Kim!

Funny story, I walked by a full-length mirror in the bathroom right before my first appointment and realized that I was totally and completely matching!  I never seem to realize how much I really like that blue and pink together, I just naturally gravitate to those colors, I guess.  My necklace that I made with Nancy in Texas, my two layered shirts, my new shoes, my blue phone cover, and my pink water bottle.  LOL!  Hopefully, my crazy fun-spirited bright will make someone smile (even if they are just amused that someone would wear all that together).  A smile is a good thing and super easy to share!

I was called to be a "checker" for an appointment with a specific doctor scheduled way out in July.  They have this awesome "checker" system set up to allow you to a) wait in the waiting room between your scheduled appointments in case someone cancels last minute and b) they will call you on the phone if someone calls to cancel.  It's quite a system and worked really well for me during my visit in February.  Turns out this time I checked in and quickly got called up to the front desk to be released.  The person who's appointment that I could have potentially had, just checked in and didn't cancel.  It's ok, they told me to come back this afternoon.  (I rearranged the education class on my schedule and bumped it until tomorrow morning so that I could attend as a "checker" this afternoon with no schedule conflicts.  Turns out by the time I got out of my second PT appointment, it totally and completely slipped right out of my mind.  OPpsS!  It's ok, it's all part of learning to let stuff go.  I'll try again tomorrow!)

It felt so grand and fun exchanging smiles with passerby's.

Ok, so this might be random, but I am sent to Mayo Clinic - away from family and familiar friends (new ones keep popping up!) - for a two week Evacuation Disorder Program.  I am also here to rest, relax, read, and reflect.  One of the things that I dreamed up while here was to eat with my left hand.  Yes, this is my totally non-dominate hand that I am horribly ungraceful with.  Great, even better as this will work on that patience and slow down thing.  I decided that if I am ever in such a hurry to eat (either to move on to the 'next' thing or because I feel that I am 'starving') that I cannot slow down enough to feed myself with my uncoordinated hand, then I should either eat sooner so I'm not 'starving' or forget about the other things that I need to do and ENJOY the process of eating.  Remember the focus is to return to joy.

"Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again:  Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you."

~Philippians 4:4-9~

John and Rosemary

These pictures show so much.  I was sitting on a bench in the warm sun, just finishing up my rhubarb sauce, homemade almond butter with banana chips snack.  I was just practicing being "in the moment" and enjoying the way the sun felt on my face while mindfully observing the things happening around me.  I spoke gently to a man in a wheelchair with a young girl pushing him.  Told them to have a great day as they passed.  I got to exchange a brief happy smile with a young mom as we watched her kids running like crazy and having fun racing each other and screaming with delight in the grass.  What a beautiful scene.  Then, I moved over to an empty bench in the shade as I was getting a bit warm.  An older couple asked if they could sit.  "Well of course!"  The rest is history as we started visiting and sharing stories and before I knew it I was telling one story after another, ending on Petey - our peacock - and showing them pictures.  Crazy how many things I notice and get to experience by only being still.

"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." ~Psalm 46:10

My mind was in the clouds as I had such a great break between appointments with all my new memories.  Rose had told me about this street festival beginning today called "Thursday's on First and 3rd."  I had been looking forward to this since she told me.  After meeting Kim the other day, I decided that I would ask her if she would like to attend the festival with me.  Rose had to go to a work meeting over her lunch hour so she could not go....otherwise, that would have been a blast!  Kim said that she could go after 1 pm, so having about an hour to spare, I decided to see what the Cancer Education Center was offering.  "Personal Writing - A Healing Place."  So...."Personal Writing - A Healing Place" it was.

This was a really unique opportunity!  The gentleman only teaches this class twice a year and I was fortunate enough to attend.  He comes down from St. Paul, Minnesota to teach.  I was the only one at first and then this big conference table began filling.  Not sure exactly what to expect, I was excited to be here!  I used to blog and thought this might spur me on to want to share my story, my testimony once again.  He did his intros and then we wrote for 5 minutes on a prompt.  After we were finished with the prompt:  Random Feelings, Follow the Random Thoughts, he asked us to share, if we were comfortable.  You wouldn't believe that every single person that wrote on that prompt, shared.  There was a cancer patient, a few Mayo Clinic employees, several grad student/research students, and other patients in treatment like me, and yet others still seeking a diagnosis.  It was exhilarating to hear each and everyone's story, random thoughts, random feelings.  The cancer gentleman, Dave, his thoughts were with his family and how they would survive with his new found diagnosis, God's new role in his life with this was a beautiful prayer.  The researcher talked about how they were trying to find a "cure" for cancer that might prolong a patients life for one, maybe two months and how that feels for the family.  Is it worth prolonging their life without the quality?  One lady wrote about the random squirrel that was tormenting her dog while I wrote about my most recent experience with John and Rosemary out on the bench upstairs and my excitement for the street festival here in a little bit.  I went first with the sharing.  One prompt, several stories.  Touching, humbling, open, honest, we fed off of each other, encouraged each other, amazed at what truth (because we didn't know we'd be reading aloud) would do.  These open and honest conversations that people were writing down were raw and real and for some emotional, perspective-putting yet healing.  Imagine a world if we could all tell the truth in love.  We could be real with people that we are not perfect and we do not have it all together all of the time.  In a world of impossibly high standards with Facebook and Pinterest, we so often feel like failures as we compare to others.  This is where we need to offer ourselves and others grace.  Thank you for the reminder Jen Hatmaker in your book For the Love.

Wow, great session!  Now, time to switch gears....woah, kind of hard after something so intense as that.  I started meandering toward where I would be meeting Kim.  I had no idea that this event was so big!  Rose had told me one time last year over 15,000 people had gone through on one of the Thursday's!  Just being there was a whole different feel as the streets were full of white tents lining the streets - that were shut down to motor vehicles.  There were two different stages set up for live music later in the day and evening.  This event goes from 11:00 am in the morning to 8:30 pm at night every Thursday from June to the end of August!  WOW, quite a deal!  From food to crafts, to artisans, chefs, artists, jewelers, all kinds!  Tons of local restaurants brought out their stoves with a sampling of their wonderful cuisine for all to try.

I met up with Kim and we meandered up and down the streets trying to narrow it down on what we wanted to eat for lunch.  From pizza to homemade ice cream to fish tacos to oriental to you-name-it.  Crazy how many choices yet so fun!  I went into the experience wanting to be open to new and exciting foods which really opened my mind up.  It was fun because I let myself be fun and be adventurous.  I ended up with the fish taco from Pescara and Kim ended up with pizza!  (To be completely honest, after I walked Kim back to her work at the Running Room, I went back and had me a second taco with that excellent green chimichurri sauce!)

Street Taco #1

....and, YES, Street Taco #2

As we meandered, we were both totally amazed by this woman's work!  She had a whole stand full of glass bowls, plates, cake stands, etc. which she bought at a special glass place and then created these beautiful works of art out of the serving-ware.  I originally had picked out a single bright serving spoon before I saw this set that I figured I would use double since there is a fork and a spoon.  It will go beautifully with my *BRIGHT* trivet I got in downtown McKinney at the fair trade store.  Amazing what colors do for the soul!  Happy Spoons, check her out on Facebook!

I was also totally drawn by the whole story of the off-the-grid barrel aged maple syrup I purchased.  This husband and wife team live in Wisconsin and create this amazing magical natural sweetener.  I stood and listened to the story of how they create it and flipped through the pictures with them and salivated over some recipes they gave me and then purchased the syrup.  You can order at E&B's Trees.

HalleBand was also one of my purchases.  3 for $20, I couldn't pass it up.  I wear these headbands all the time when I workout and was just noticing my old ones wearing a bit thin.  They hold back all the fly-aways and help control the glistening (also known as sweat).

I ran by the People's Coop to pick up a few fresh things before heading home.  Not going lie I sort of felt like a pack mule with all these items stuffed into my backpack.  Rose said that the weight is good to help my posture as it naturally pulls your shoulders back to where they should be.

Only $7 and some change....not bad!

3 cute headbands, BRIGHT silverware, and maple syrup ~
all combined with the above produce in my backpack
for the walk back.

My day ended with this beautiful and colorful supper including spiced black beans, avocado, lettuce, goat cheese, mixed peppers and onions, and a fresh, cold, sliced apple.  YUMMY!  Blessed!