55 by 55


forums.comicbookresources.comA year ago my daughter became engaged to a wonderful young man.  She called me to share the news, and after I hung up I was surprised at my first thought.  My first thought wasn’t “I hope I can save enough money to help them pay for the wedding,” or “I hope she is making the right choice,” or “Thats three out of four now married,”…..no, my first thought was “Crap, I need to lose some weight!”  For my whole entire life I have been overweight.  The other day there was a conversation in our office about what the ladies weighed when they got married.  One was 125 pounds, one weighed in at  135, and the other tipped the scales at 115.  They then looked at me, and I just laughed heartily and said “I beat you all…I weighed all of those numbers by the time I graduated from eighth grade!”  We all laughed because they thought I was kidding….HA!  Actually, when I got married I weighed 195 pounds, and am 5 foot 9.  My mom thought I was overweight at that time, and always encouraged me to lose a little “for my health.”  We were raised eating meat and potatoes for supper 4-5 nights a week and snacked on buttery popcorn in the evening. I didn’t stand a chance…I just loved food!

In grade school I was the one picked last for teams in PE (I just want to go on record and send up a plea to the teachers…please just count off the kids to avoid humiliating kids everywhere)  On the playground I would be on one end of the teeter totter, with 2 friends on the other end.  They loved me, so they would face each other and share the handle, even though the one without the seat had to be a little more careful, if you know what I mean.  My clothes were purchased in the “husky” section, now they call that section of the store the Pretty Plus section, so bless the kind human who thought up that name change.  If I situated myself on the outside of the Tilt-A-Whirl car, my friends could almost get whiplash from the spinning.

photo credit:amazon.comIn high school the  boys wouldn’t give me a second look when I stood next to my slim friends,but were seldom cruel to me.  We had a small high school, and these were kids I had known for my entire life, and fat was the only way they knew me.  My mom would give me a hug, wipe away my tears and tell me that they didn’t matter anyway!  She assured me that once I got into college the men would be different, and would love my personality instead.  I admit that it did happen as she predicted, and while I was still overweight, I could hold my own against the skinny-minnies.  I will admit that sometimes it is easy to hide behind the plumpness….I can flirt with the best of them, and have a lot of guy friends of all ages.  There is comfort in begin overweight because you know they wouldn’t be interested in you in a romantic nature, so you can be yourself and relax.  Of course there are drawbacks….the other night we were watching a trailer for “Pitch Perfect” and my daughter and I roared when we saw Fat Amy wearing a swimsuit just like mine.  “OMG…Fat Amy has my swimsuit on!!!!”  It was hilarious I will admit, and if a person can’t laugh at herself she will be a stick in the mud for sure.

There are the many misguided thoughts throughout the world when it comes to plump women.  Number one: No, we aren’t dirty.  Believe it or not, we take baths just like skinny people, and even put on deodorant AND perfume.  Number two:  We have no self-control or we wouldn’t be fat.  Well that one is partly true, but we must have some self-control or else we would have punched out a lot of skinny snobs who have looked down on us.  Number three:  We must not mind being fat, or else we would change that.  Again, that one for the most part is true, but I think that many overweight people have tried so many times to lose weight and failed, that it’s easier to just give up and live in shame.

The other day I went through the personal care section of Walmart and I passed the Dr. Scholls display for shoe inserts, stopping to look them over.  As a nurse I am on my feet during the day, so maybe they would be a great addition to my tennis shoes.  It instructed you to take off your shoes (right away…not a great idea to me), step on the footprints on the kiosk and push start.  Now, again, the first thing that came to mind was that a booming voice was going to yell at me from the kiosk, telling me to put down the small child in my arms….even though I was the only one around for 10 feet.  I actually laughed out loud, and thought that maybe I would pass on the inserts for now.

005This summer, I had to get off of a ride at a theme park, in front of my family, because they couldn’t bring down the bar far enough to securely hold me in.  Now, you would think with that humiliation I would do something to change my life?  I did, I went to the food stand while they enjoyed the ride, and ate a corn dog.  As I write this I am shaking my head in amazement…….I do want to go on the record as saying that even though I am overweight, I am healthy.  My blood pressure is good, cholesterol a smidge high, and blood sugars where they need to be….but when the day comes to a close,  I can say that I am unhappy with my body shape and size.

That brings me to this blog….January 1st decided that I was going to lose 55 pounds by the time I am 55 years old, which is September 24th.  So far I have gained 4 pounds 🙂 Perhaps it’s time to get serious about this! My beautiful daughter is getting married on September 21st, which is my moms birthday.  I am now going public with my top bucket list item…..and since I have readers throughout 28 countries, I will tell myself that the whole world is pulling for me.  I won’t share my weight, as I am not that nutso at this point, but I will faithfully give updates every Wednesday…good or bad.  I want to honor my daughter at her wedding, and also honor the memory of my mom on her birthday, hopefully 55 pounds lighter!  Then once I accomplish what will be the biggest hurdle of my life, I will start checking off more items on that bucket list.  Wish me luck ♥


My Conversation with Jesus


photo credit: thebigquestions.comThis morning while waiting for my daughter to get ready for school, I heard a song by Thomas Rhett entitled “Beer With Jesus,” and it really got me thinking.  I know the day will come when I will meet Him face to face, and wondered just what I would say to Him?  We all have had blessings, tragedies, trials and temptations in our lives, some more than others. I was raised in the faith, as a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church member.  Anyone not familiar with this, lets just say they are a close step down from the Catholic religion, but are Lutherans.  I grew up going to church every Sunday, going to Sunday School every week until I graduated from high school, and became a confirmed member when I was in eight grade.  Our family had a bad experience with our minister when my mom died, and one by one we left the church, finding another to take its place.  It was like leaving a good friend, but that friend had disappointed us to the core, so it was time to sever the ties that I had known for my entire life.  I am now considered an Evangelical Lutheran, which is not as strict as our Missouri Synod counterparts. We also raised our children in the faith.  I just think that having a relationship with God make you more accountable for your actions.  As I said before, my moms advise to me before my first date was to not be caught in a “position” with my date that would cause me shame it Jesus appeared at that moment.  I realize what she meant now, but it was really strange advise when you are 16 years old.

So this morning I allowed my mind to reflect on what I would say if I had a conversation with Jesus.  I imagine He and I sitting around my dining room table, deep in discussion about the things that have happened in my life.  I would first apologize for the sins that I have committed, some involving the top 10.  I am not proud of that fact, as I have committed some whoppers in my life, but not without regret and embarrassment.  I want Him to know that  I knew I was veering off the right path, and always held myself responsible for my slip ups.  I won’t blame anyone else for my mistakes.  It was me, and me alone who messed up. Then I would thank  Him for the wonderful blessings He gave to me during my years on this earth.  I have 4 of the most wonderful children that a mother could ask for.  I suffered 3 miscarriages and had a son die seconds after birth, so these 4 children are truly blessings. Perhaps He would explain that these babies were specially chosen to take the “fast track” to heaven, for heaven also needed sweet tiny faces among the rest of the angels?

I would then ask him why my parents were taken away from me before all of their grandchildren were allowed to know and love them as we did?  Why do some people live into their 80’s, and some are taken away at an earlier age?  I will want to ask him how he decides who is the next person to enter heaven?  I want him to know that at times it didn’t seem fair that often times the “good” people seemed to be taken away too soon.  I am pretty sure that at this point he would look at me, shake his head and remind me that it was not my place to judge who was “bad” and who was “good,” and he would be right.

I would then respectfully inquire why I have been  fortunate enough to fall in love several times in my life, but still find myself alone at this point in my life?  Every little girl grow up thinking that she will find that special person, fall in love, have kids, and live happily ever after.  Why does that happen for some, and not for others?  Why put a person in my life, let me fall deeply in love, and then take them away for one reason or another?  Maybe He will then take my hand and tell me that perhaps the best is yet to come, and the heart breaks I suffered will make me appreciate when “the best” enters my life?

After the questions end, and the conversation comes to a close, He will remind me that He was never far from my side during the times of deep and hopeless grief.  He will remind me that during those dark days He placed the appropriated people in my life to help me over the bumps in the road.  For never in my life have I truly been alone, as I have been surrounded by angels for protection and comfort.  He will remind  me to sit quietly and listen to the voices in my head while in deep reflection…for those voices are His, and He is guiding me will surety and truth.  He may also remind me that there are no promises in my life here on earth, as it is a temporary home, and I need to make the best of it, while recognizing that each experience, good or bad, is shaping my soul and strengthening my faith.  I need to remember kindness and compassion for my fellow-man, even when they disappoint me or are cruel.  And above all I hope He will  assure me that even though my life has been fraught with sins, and times of questioning of the faith, He has forgiven my weaknesses.  He will smile and tell me that it doesn’t matter how many times my faith was challenged, but more importantly it was better that I worked it out, and  found myself on the right track again. Then He will leave me with the most wonderful sense of peace and love. With tears in my eyes, and unconditional love in my heart,  I will then thank Him for sitting at my table,  assuring  Him that I await the day I can sit at His forever ♥



 1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups all-purpose flour
( I always double the recipe)
Beat butter, add whipping cream and mix in flour.  Cover well and refrigerate about 1 hour.
Roll out 1/8 th inch thick on a lightly floured surface.
Cut out in circular shapes (I use the top from one of my McCormick short squatty spice bottles)
Coat each circle with sugar that has been placed on a plate or waxed paper.
Transfer to parchment lined cookie sheet, and pierce each one 4 times with a fork.
Bake at 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes, will be slightly puffed and feel “set” when touched.
(They are better if not allowed to get brown in color)
Cool and put 2 together with your favorite Crisco frosting.
(very pretty if you divide the frosting and tint each with yellow, green and pink)

There are lovingly referred to as the PIA cookies…yes the Pain in the A** cookies, because they involve more steps than I want to do, but they are worth the effort!

I Cross My Heart


photo credit: equalparenting-bc.caThe magical evening was coming to an end.  It had been a wonderful night, full of laughter, and wonderful conversation.  Each of them sharing their hopes for the future. The decision was made, they would do whatever was needed to take this leap of faith.  They were soul mates, and the love was so strong that they knew they would be happy forever.   It was time for him to leave, and they stood face to face, both hating to part.  The music had been playing softly in the background during the candlelit dinner.  She knew he couldn’t stay, he needed to leave, but all she wanted was to remain safe in his arms forever.  The lighting  was dim, as a pair of candles burned softly in the room.  It seemed like it was just the two of them against the world.  As he turned to leave, something magical happened…a moment that she would remember forever…a moment that could never be repeated.  He held her protectively  in his arms, and they danced in the corner of the candle lit room, slowly moving to the song “I Cross My Heart”.  He whispered for  her to close her eyes and just move with the music.  She rested her head on his shoulder, and sighed as he quietly sang the words, sharing his feelings of love for her…..”Our love is unconditional,we knew it from the start….I see it in your eyes, you can feel it from my heart,  here on after, lets stay the way we are right now, and share all the love and laughter, that a lifetime will allow….I cross my heart, and promise too,  give all I’ve got to give, to make all your dream come true, in all the world, you’ll never find, a love as true as mine”…stopping to kiss her when he wasn’t singing.  Slowly they danced, willing the time to slow down,  savoring that moment of sharing what was to be the beginning of a wonderful life together…completely unaware that soon it would be nothing more than a memory…….

Authors confession: I have been reading quite a few romance novels lately…..so I thought I’d dabble in the fictional love story telling…see how it goes…♥

What About The Other Guy?


supportI just had a one hour visit with my ex-husband, the first face to face since his cancer diagnoses.  Sure, there have been phone calls and texts, but not a face to face.  He shared his fears about death, his fears about being a burden on his new wife and his family, and how he never expected to have cancer.  I am in a strange situation, on one hand we shared 27 years of ups and down, and on the other hand, he is now remarried and has a new wife and family.  Our divorce was anything but amicable, so this makes this whole situation all the harder.  Again, I am choosing to follow my heart, and will do what ever I can do to give support, and advice if asked.  He and I have now come full circle, and while we know we will never be able to live in the same house again, we can be friends.  It is funny how a life threatening event can cause many people to once again put life into perspective.  One thing I discovered when my mom, dad and sister were diagnosed with cancer, is that this diagnoses is often times harder on the loved ones.  I remember Kelly and Mom telling me that is was much easier to be the patient than to be the family member.  I shared this with Bill, and encouraged him to take time to support Mary (his new wife).  She is going through so many emotions at this time, as are all of us.  But it hits closer to home for her.  I can only imagine how she may feel cheated, in a sense, because she was alone after her divorce until she met Bill, fell in love and married.  Now a mere 6 months later they are facing one of the hardest challenges that life can throw at a couple.  Life is just so freakin unfair at time.  I can’t even begin to count the times that I have been slapped down by life.  Again, we have 2 choices in life…let it win, or beat it within an inch of its life.  It’s okay to challenge God, it’s okay to be angry, it’s okay to bargain, it’s okay to be sad, but it’s NEVER  okay to give up.  In 1968 Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote a book about the 5 stages of death and dying, based on her work with terminally ill patients.   The steps are 1. Denial…2.Anger….3. Bargaining…..4. Depression….5. Acceptance.  That simple model has now become a reference for anyone going through a life changing events, from  breakups of relationships, to dealing with a terminal illness.  It is such a good read…and can be so inspirational to know that the feelings you are having are valid, and quite frankly okay to have.  Sometimes a person will start with one step, touching briefly on the following steps, and then ending with the last step.  Others will circle a few time, touching on a few of the steps, but hopefully landing on the last step, which is acceptance.  As person really can’t move on and be at peace until they reach that last step….even if they touch a tip of their toe on that step, and then stumble back down a few steps.

I personally went through a bad breakup a few years ago, and trust me, I stomped on every one of the 5 steps.  For 2 years I was like a child on the playground, playing  hopscotch all over those steps.  Then one day, I decided that the step proclaiming acceptance was the one I needed to land on, and stay there.  So my point here is that Bill needs to remember that while he is fighting for his life, he needs to always be aware of those around him, and support them as well.  Even if it involves reassuring that person that nothing will happen that they can’t get through together. He has been blessed with a wonderful woman, and I can assure him that she is scared to death.  There is nothing scarier than the unknown.  NOTHING!  These things can also cause you to challenge your faith in God.  Frankly, you can be pretty honked off at Him….and anyone in raised in the faith knows that is not the way to feel…but  He will wait patiently for you to work it out and come back to Him.  I strongly believe that God puts these challenges in your life, and then sits back and watches how you handle them.   I did suggest that they get into a cancer support group, and soon.  My mom, sister and I joined one when Kelly was done with her cancer treatment.  The wonderful thing is that you realize that you are not alone, your thoughts and fears are real, and that there are others out there that can help you to get over these bumps in the road.

So as I said before If God brings you to it, He will see you through it!  We just need to stand united, knowing that not one person is alone here, and it’s okay to be scared, angry or at peace.  Never be too proud to get the support you need, even if it’s through blogging, as has become my saving grace.  You are never alone ♥

The Fight: Round 1


photo credit: facebookThe tests are completed, the visits to the various doctors have been made, the diagnoses has been determined, and this week marks the beginning of my ex-husbands fight against cancer.  The final verdict is: Stage 2, T 3, N 0, M 0.  It is amazing how much information it available from those few letters and numbers.  Those words and letters have determined what game plan will be needed to rid the cancer from Bills body.  Basically his cancer is Stage 2, which means that the tumor has gone through the layers of the colon,  T 3 means the same as Stage 2 but it stages the tumor itself, N 0 means that there are no nodes involved at this point, and M 0 means that the cancer has not metastasized to any other organs of his body.  As a health care professional I know that it could have been much worse, but it means that Bill has a fight on his hands.  It was thought that surgery would be the plan, but now it seems that he will endure 6 weeks of chemo and radiation to shrink the tumor before it can be removed.  It will be much easier to remove the tumor if it is smaller because there will hopefully be more good colon wall available for a surgical anastomosis.

My children, realizing that their dad is going to go through some financial hardship from this “fight” have decided to organize a fund-raiser, or a benefit to help with the costs of his treatment.  The chemo alone, which is in tablet form, is $9,000 a month.  So it is overwhelming to even fathom how much he will be in debt 6 months from now, when he is cancer free.  Yes, he has insurance, and it is good insurance, but as with insurance co-pays and deductibles…the amount will still be staggering.  When we were married, he was a deputy sheriff, small town police officer and then Chief of Police for our town, until retirement 6 years ago.  Along the way he has made many friends and enemies….as is normal with anyone working in law enforcement.  Last June he remarried and has a wonderful wife, who has become my friend.  God certainly knew what he was doing, putting Mary in his life  so he would not have to fight this battle alone.  Yesterday the date and time for the benefit was posted on all of our Facebook pages, asking for ideas, help, possible donation, support and prayers.  The immediate response was overwhelming and so warming to my soul.  When my son initially told me about the benefit, I told him to put me down for the catering aspect of  the evening.  That was where I felt my talents could best be utilized.  I, myself, had 17 ladies volunteer to help me with the food within the first 2 hours.  We had 9 people donate various baskets and other goods to be auctioned off.  A friend of mine used to have a band, which I found out could not be resurrected, but he has some ideas and would get back to me.  Plus, I have had offers of help from people who have run fundraisers in the past.

This morning I checked each of my kids Facebook pages and started to write down names of their friends that have offered help, or are networking with people they know to get items for auction.  What started as a simple thought yesterday, has picked up steam, and it has snowballed into something wonderful.  It has restored my faith in mankind and hopefully has humbled Bill to his core.   This is the wonderful thing about small towns, we always put aside any bad feelings and pull together to help anyone in need.  It also proves to me that you should always be kind to those around you, because you never know when you may need their help.  People are more likely to remember an act of kindness, and will usually reciprocate those feelings in return. I am truly humbled by the responses we have received and am sure that the benefit will be a smashing success.  To anyone reading this, remember that donations are always welcome, especially any cool and unusual things we can auction off.  So, my friends, I will keep you posted about the progress of his treatments, and the super benefit that will occur in 2 short months.   And for the record, yes it is odd for the ex-wife to be as involved as I am, but all I can tell people is that “it’s the right thing to do”….and I will have no regrets either way.  My mom raised me well, as I have my children.  Please keep Bill in your prayers, and take the time to do something nice for those you love, or even a stranger in need…for that is  a wonderful feeling indeed♥


Dear Cancer



Dear Cancer:  Your name is probably the most feared word in the English language, especially when it is aimed at someone you love.  You took my mothers life, you caused my dad to lose part of his lung, you caused my sister to lose her thyroid, you took my grandfathers life, you took one of my favorite uncles life, you threatened my aunt, but she fought and won the battle against you, and now you are once again rearing your ugly head in my life.  I would like to announce publicly that quite frankly I am tired of you!  I have shed too many tears over the havoc you have played in my life.  I wish you would go away, and never come back!  How smug you must feel as you invade the bodies of those we love, and how powerful you must feel thinking you are smarter than the human race.  Sometimes you present yourself so that a person has reason to believe there is something amiss in their body and they seek help.  Unfortunately, often times you sneak up like a thief in the night, unwilling to make yourself known until it is too late.  That is a dirty rotten trick and you are not playing fairly.  Just the thought of you makes a person cower in fear, until they realize that there is always a chance you can be crushed like a bug.  It amazes me that each and every time your name is added to a persons medical chart, your simple 5 letter name turns a persons world upside down.  What is it that makes you invade a healthy cell and turn it into a cell that multiplies and turns against the body?  Don’t you realize that life itself gives a person enough knock downs without you coming along and complicating things more? You are no longer welcome here, and you need to be banished forever!

See, here’s the thing, cancer….for everything you throw at us, we will stand up and throw it back in your face!  For we have talented educated doctors, superior surgeons, amazing scientists, powerful drugs, and medical machinery to beat you to death!  We have prayer warriors and the love of family members!  We have hope and we have faith!  We have determination and intelligence!  While your name makes a person feel alone, that person soon finds out that they are surrounded by those who will move heaven and earth so they wont feel alone.  Your diagnosis, cancer, causes us to seek out the best care, to create the perfect game plan, and to succeed in winning the war that you have declared!  We will fight together, we will network, we will become educated, we will stand tall, we will pray, we will bargain, we will use whatever is in our power to defeat you!  One thought has surfaced in my mind as I write this blog…..IF GOD BRINGS YOU TO IT…HE WILL SEE YOU THROUGH IT…

So remember, cancer, you may win a few, but you lose more than you win. Your problem, cancer, is that you prey on the strong.  Don’t you know, cancer, that the fight would be easier if you challenged the weak?   Because, cancer, something changes in a person when you rear your ugly head….we summon the strength, we begin the battle, the weak become strong in spirit, we reassess what is important in life, and we won’t give up….EVER!!!!

That Crappy “C” Word Again……


Photo credit: Tristancoopersmith.com Yesterday was a day my children will always remember.  Yesterday they found out that their dad could possibly have cancer.  There it is again, that awful ” C” word.  I hate that word,  knowing that in one single moment  your world is forever changed.  If you talk to anyone, they will have a story to share about how cancer has touched their lives.  In my own life, my sister, mom and dad all had cancer.  Cancer is what took my mom’s life, allowing her to spend 6 weeks with her family before it claimed yet another beautiful soul.  Their father and I have been divorced for 5 years, after being married for 27  years.  He has remarried and has a new life, so there is no place for me in this story.  There really should be no place for me, as our chapter in his life is closed.  Of course that does not stop my heart from hurting for him and my children.  I know the feeling that squeezes your heart when you hear those words.  I don’t want my children to feel that pain, but am unable to protect them.  Instead I will be here, right where they would expect me to be, ready to be their rock.  I will lend an ear, give out the hugs, offer reassurances, and just be “mom!”

My daughter Katelyn was with him when he got the diagnosis.  At that very moment she had to grow up, and realize how life can change in the blink of an eye.  Later that night we met in a neighboring town, as her little sister had spent the night, and needed to come home.  When she pulled up, she immediately ran into my arms, sobbing as if her heart was broken into a millions pieces.  She said that she “held it together” all day, but the minute she saw me she fell apart.  She just needed her mom.  I can remember several times when I just needed my mom, because moms just seem to make things better.  I would have given my soul in exchange for my children begin able to avoid that pain.  I wonder if my mom felt the same way when the doctor came and gave us the news that my dad had lung cancer years ago?

The positive thing about going through these experiences with cancer is that I feel I do have some words of advise for those facing the “C” word.  1.  The worse time is between the diagnoses and the “plan of attack”…it’s the fear of the unknown, and this is when a person feels absolutely helpless.  Someone you love is going through a life changing event, and there is no way to predict the outcome.  2.  Cancer is not a death sentence….there are many many things that can be done, from radiation, to chemotherapy, to surgical excision of the cancer.  Cancer is so common now that we tend to triage the diagnoses, and are able to deduce that “Oh, that’s a good cancer to have.”  I looked into my 13-year-old daughters innocent tear streaked face and told her these very words.  “Maddie, the type of cancer that your dad may have is a good one!”  She just could not comprehend how any cancer could be a good cancer.  3.  Don’t ever give up hope, don’t ever let the cancer think that it can beat you!  It has been proven over and over that a positive fighting attitude will greatly extend you chances of success.  I’ve personally seen people with Stage 4 cancer that has metastasized to other organs, live way beyond the “predicted” time of survival.  4.  Don’t ever lose your faith in your God.  As always, there is a reason for this happening.  Perhaps it is a wake up call to those who need one, for who knows why these things happen.  5.  Learn all you can  about your cancer, but be careful about getting reliable information from the internet.  The best thing to do is to get advise from your doctor about where to get the most accurate and up to date  information.  Local cancer centers usually have a library where you can get information.  6.  Always take someone with you to your appointments, especially the initial ones, because you are going to be so overwhelmed that an extra set of ears is invaluable.  7.  Write down all of your questions before your appointment, and take notes.  This is your life you are discussing, and you must be your own advocate!  8.  Get into a cancer support group, and get your family members into one if appropriate.  It helps to know that you are not alone in your fight.

I realize that my role will be to be  there in any capacity I am needed.  I will pray for God to put the right words into my heart, so that I can do whats needed of me.  I will be the cheerleader, the counselor, the tissue giver, the limited medical adviser, or just mom.  My advise to anyone who may face the “C” word in their life…don’t let it win, get the best medical care you can, love your family just a little bit more, enjoy the little things that you may have taken for granted, walk in the rain, kiss a frog, play hopscotch, take time to relax, and pray.  And while praying for healing, send one up for thanks for the blessings you have been given.  For these challenges you are facing today will give you the experience to possibly share with someone else in the future ♥