This week, my heart has been bursting with joy and gratitude.
I am participating in an online experience of 45 Days of Joy with Jen Lemen. That woman can write! She inspires me in ways she simply cannot imagine. Check her out here. She used to have one of my favorite blogs on all of the internet, but now she's focusing on other endeavors. Her 45 days of writing about joy have ignited my joyful heart and given me new appreciation for joy and ways to welcome joy into my life.
I am also doing more writing of late. I get up and sit at my computer for 15 minutes each morning. Remembering details from my childhood. Recounting this past year of my kanswer journey. Laughing and crying my way through the vault of my memories. I am grateful for all that I remember and so happy to be able to draw on those memories and use them in my writing.
I love this quote by Anne Lamott on writing: "You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should've behaved better."
Yesterday I found a fabulous suede jacket at the Salvation Army Store. Wednesdays are half-price days there, so this black, slim-fit Liz Claiborne jacket cost me $5. In exchange for adding anything to my wardrobe, I have decided to get rid of two things I already have. It's a roundabout way of decluttering... at least that's what I tell myself whenever I find a gem and want to justify buying something new.
I am grateful for the many shelves of journals here in my study. Every now and then, I pull one out and read it. And every time I do that, I am reminded yet again of how blessed I have been in my lifetime. It's not that the things I read there are always good because my journals are not only filled with praise and thanksgiving. It's not that I was always happy about my situation when I wrote in my journals. I'm just glad to read what I was going through then and recognize how far I have come to arrive safely at this moment.
I am grateful for -
* Art Journaling magazine
* Almonds and cashews
* scarves and sweaters on cold mornings
* Organic milk
* Yogi honey lavender stress relief tea
* text messages
* new friends
* old friends
* Moleskine sketchbook journals
* quinoa and beans in the crock pot
* Gala apples
* the television show, Modern Family
* Stephen Colbert
* Anne Lamott's feisty spirit and delicious writing
* rice crackers
* the sewing machine repairman who is giving my tired, old sewing machine an overhaul
* lined curtains
* a toasted rosemary olive oil bagel with butter and an egg
* having the good sense to never eat tie-dye cake
* toothpaste and floss
* the fact that gas prices are coming down
* laughter and tea with my son every morning while we homeschool
* dreams in which my father and other friends from long ago and far away show up
* the upcoming Santa Pause sketch series with Kristin Noelle. I signed up for them last year and loved every single one of them.
* my son's request at the barber - a kanswer ribbon. He got one just after my diagnosis and decided to get another one on the one year anniversary of the diagnosis
* the fact that the barber didn't charge anything extra to do it
* honesty and integrity
* how well the scars on my chest are healing
* the fact that I have survived the first year since my diagnosis
* freedom in Christ, in my family, and in my own skin
* the December-Christmas journal I am creating for this year
* the ways in which my word for the year, "strength," has been an anchor for me
* lunch and dinner plans with friends tomorrow
* listening to my son sing hymns along with the online Life Management class he's taking
* how my daughter has taken charge of her education and the way she is handling the complicated process of applying to colleges upon finishing her associate's degree this semester
* Most of all, I am grateful that next Monday will be my last herceptin treatment at the oncology office. That will be the last time they have to access the port in my chest. And next Wednesday, the port will be removed. I am beyond excited about having this thing extracted from my body. At the same time, I am deeply grieved by the fact that I ever needed this f*cking thing!
As I discussed this with a wise friend of mine earlier this week, she said, "You must be feeling a lot of things about that." Well said. I am feeling so very much so very deeply: gratitude and anticipation, sadness and anger, hope and peace, fear that kanswer might come back some day and determination to do the very best I can to eat healthfully, exercise regularly, and live all the time I have left as well as possible.
Several people have asked me how I'm going to celebrate this huge milestone. Will I have a special dinner? Drink wine? Dance? I will probably do all of the above. I will also thank my doctor and the nurses for caring for me so compassionately during this past year. I will move forward into the rest of my life with joy, gratitude and contentment. I will honor every day with all the grace I can muster. I will love my family and friends and strangers alike from today until my last day. And I will sit in silence for a long time and let the tears flow - as they are flowing right now.
If you have any ideas of how I can honor this upcoming rite of healing and passage, feel free to pass them along.