Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ellise Sweet Potato Science Experiment

I don't really have anything to add. Pretty straightforward. Chew on that. Or not if it isn't organic.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

This is a workshop I am beginning to offer again here in Myrtle Beach, SC. This is another saving grace that keep me afloat of the all the cancer stuff. It takes me out of the physical aspect of what is going on that can be disorienting, and places me back into my core. That part of all of us have that cannot be broken or changed, even when our lives do. Enjoy! I will post a video by the founder of Soul Collage(c) and an example of my work. You can also find more by looking up Chimaera Creations on Facebook.

The card below was formed and came to me as a way of understanding the psychic and physical aspects of some parts of my breast cancer journey:

"I am the one who has electrifying potential resting deep inside my womb, protected from the onslaught of the chemicals and changes. I am the One Who feels aged and wizened, but I hold rebirth in my grasp, awaiting its moment. I am bound by their laws. I am in danger of turning to stone from the stranglehold fear can place on you. I am the One Who has protection while these changes occur. I am wise. I am wise."

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ric Elias: 3 things I learned while my plane crashed | Video on

Wonderful short talk on gaining perspective from life threatening circumstances. And here is our hope to you, that you don't need to be in a plane crash, or have chemo dripping into your body, to gain that perspective. Let us who've broken the ice with the prow of our ship do that for you. It makes what we go through worth it:

Ric Elias: 3 things I learned while my plane crashed | Video on

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Parenting Support and the Cancer Journey

I just dropped the kiddo off at school. I am rather tired today, but I have been here before. And I have so much emotional grieving going on, that it is adding to the fatigue feeling. But that is why living near/with dependable people who are willing to drive her to school is so I import t. Just knowing I have these resources makes me breathe easier, only once have I asked. However this is the key to cancer journeys and especially to parents with cancer.....reliable, dependable, loving support.

When you know you have it, I swear it makes it all easier. I think without it, I would feel much more ill and unable to do as much as I do. Just knowing I can make a call, or knock on a door, and I can say "chemo is treating me meeeeeeean today". Yet again, because I know it is there, I am more able to do it on my own. Just knowing someone out there is watching and can say "you sure, we are here".

If I am too self absorbed, and so internal the past few months with all the changes, I just want to stop and publicly say "THANK YOU". Anytime you've ever offered or said yes, thank you! That one act of acknowledgement of the struggles that can pop up is enough to hold me up for weeks.

Any parent needs this, any single parent requires this, and it is vital when any illness affecting the lives of parents. It is also such a hard line for both sides. Those watching sometimes want to help, but don't know when it is intrusive or inappropriate. Often times, the person with the chronic illness knows the impact it has on the lives of those arou d them the most, and worry about overbearing on those closest. Yet somehow within this dance, it all works out.

I once had a friend, who is an amazing DOER, always up front of the charge for someone in need. She said one day to me, "I wish I could get this kind of help!". It was rather telling how isolated we've become, with families splintered. However many toes you might accidentally step on, asking for help is usually the hardest part. I HATE it. I am self sufficient. I am capable. Oh no, I am still those things most times, but I am forced to be vulnerable one. Forced to ask for help, when I would rather eat slugs. Hahaha. But I have floundered in my attempts at times, because usually when I need it the most, I am the "not myself". It throws people off. But I am learning, sometimes painfully, but I am learning.

So, the when parenting with cancer? How do you balance? I know there were a few readers who had cancer and children. Would you be willing to add to the discussion? How did you manage during your course of treatment? For those with chronic conditions, how do you manage without burning people out? Please, if you will, let your coping methods be known, it will help others. My traffic is spiking to 80 readers a day. So I know your out there...come and join the discussion!

One very tired, but making it work today mamma,

Anyone know how to add pictures on the iPad. I can only use the HTML eature to write, not compose. And the buttons don't seem to work. Any idea? Thanks!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New Book about Harmony Hill Cancer Retreat Center

Over the winter, I was interviewed for a book about those who have had the honor of attending a retreat at Harmony Hill. I am simply going to post the information from the website. When I was asked to be interviewed, I simply thought it was for some quick one sentence blurb to be posted on the website. I had no idea it was all this. I am beyond honored. Gretchen, the visionary founder of this center, is amazing, if I could carry myself through life with her humble, grounded, and graceful way, even 1/10 of it, I would consider it a life well lived. The center is am amazing extension of her vision, and energy. I will say it again - GO - or DONATE. Read on....

One Hill, Many Voices: Stories of Hope and Healing



Harmony Hill’s newest book One Hill, Many Voices: Stories of Hope and Healing by Donna Cameron and Kristen Leathers. While cancer is central to a number of the stories told in One Hill, Many Voices: Stories of Hope and Healing, they are really about living authentically. Along with the picturesque background of Harmony Hill we are introduced to individuals who reconnected with their own lives and accessed their own inner wisdom and healing. Woven among the individual stories of hope, healing and homecoming is the story of one woman, Gretchen Schodde, whose vision and perseverance made Harmony Hill a reality. These illuminating stories about real people in real situations remind us all that living our lives on purpose is our true work.

Order your copy today! Copies will be available for pick up about August 20th at Harmony Hill Retreat Center or will be mailed the week of August 22nd.

$24.95 plus tax for pick-up at Harmony Hill (notice will be sent for date for pick-up availability)
$24.95 plus tax ($5 for shipping & handling per copy) sent media mail to recipient week of August 22nd

Price: $27.05


Now I haven't prescreened this, I am not sure how much was published from our interview, but the interview was extensive! And the writer delightful.

Once again, if your in Washington state, or Washington D.C., and going through, or assisting someone through their cancer experience, now, or 20 years ago, this place is worth going to for a retreat. Amazing, powerful, respectful...I can go on and on. Life Changing....definitely.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Your Toolbox for Centering

You guys have been shy in the past, with comments or answers.... but I KNOW you know some pretty deep stuff, and I am going to coax you out with a question of the week:

First, let me grease the wheels, and get you thinking:

Very recently, my life changed totally, almost overnight. (I know I know, this is a blog that began with a cancer diagnosis, isn't that life changing enough....apparently not, when you are truly trying to heal completely).

This recent event, had to do with things I cannot, nor do not think are appropriate to talk about here. And it doesn't' matter, one trauma is the same as another to someones body. Trauma It doesn't differentiate. daughter and I have had all this life changing, life challenging circumstances, that can make me feel at times I have to have all the answers NOW, or said trauma will occur again. This, is ...silly. However, sometimes it feels like running from a tidal wave with your kid in tow. You run, in survival mode.

While I try to remind myself that particular tidal wave is behind me, I will sometimes wake up forgetting this. Sometimes, it can be triggered be a very real dream where I am reliving the running from the wall of water, that makes me wake up with that "I can't catch my breath" feeling.

Now, here is some interesting Health Psychology babble: When we don't breathe, for whatever reason, our physiology changes, our blood acidifies from lack of oxygen, and in turn, creates more anxiety. That anxiety, tightens our diaphragm, which makes it harder to breathe, which makes the blood more acidic, which heightens the feeling of anxiety...and the loop goes on and on. (end Health Psych lecture)., I woke up running from the wall of water like dream, with aforementioned feeling of lacking oxygen. Now, I know where this can go and would prefer a better start to my day. So, I popped open this website, passed along by one of the most brilliant people I know. Do As One. This site is dedicated to the practice of conscious breathing.

Instead of starting my day in an instant state of anxiety, I instead turn the running from the tidal wave feeling into a gentle walk next to a brook and so my day goes....knock on wood...oh so peacefully, challenges and all.

Now, this is my question for you:
What is one resource you can share here, to help others. Someone shared the Breathe As One website with me. It has helped me so many times. Now it will help you. So pay it forward...

What is ONE tip, trick,or tool you use for grounding yourself when your emotions start to go beyond informative, and useful?
How do you CENTER, when your life pulls you to be emotionally wobbly?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Rip, Curl, Repeat

So I have been waiting for this little big movie called Soul Surfer to come out on DVD. I get this kid, in some ways, in many. She lost on arm. You may be overcoming a chemo drugs side effects that took down your way of life (for now), or trying to get your head above the waterline of an abusive relationship, or finding your way home after being lost, for whatever reason, divorce, economic hardships, accidents. The is a WHOLE HOST of learning opportunities we place before ourselves that permanently alter the WAY we live. And I do, it can really feel oppressive, and never-ending, but it is going to end, there is an end to the pain, the suffering AND the triumphs and the good times.

And this movie lived up to expressing the answer to the questions from others, or the questions I pose to the Supreme Being: "WHAT just happened? WHY did it happen? WHEN will it end? HOW am I going to get there?" and the good ole "You sure you think lil ole ME can do this?!"

(To that last question, it is usually on a day when feel like one ole measly twig that can break under all the pressure. And to which I can totally hear my daughter saying, "Yeah, but then you'll have two things to lean on for support instead of one.")

Right now, I am coming back up into my strength after a close brush when dying, and having to start all over....I ask these questions a lot. And yes, I cry sometimes, deeply, wondering if God got this right. Me? Suppose to get through all of this? And then I look around and realize I am not at all cornered on the market for "lots of tough stuff to deal with....".

My take home message: YOU probably haven't been the only one down a similar path. Yes, your path is indeed unique to you. However, fear, overcoming, pain, triumph....thank God God didn't only give those answers to gurus, and the people writing Self Help books. It pretty much is all around.

Look to someone else's journey, and ask yourself what did they do. Don't judge or measure yourself to against them. See what they did when they hit the proverbial brick wall and, even if you don't feel it to be true, try it on for size.

My favorite, the ancient, time test and approved by most major religions, self-help books, and Oprah, is the "take it day by day" approach. Easy to use instructions built right in. :)

If you try to live more than today at a time, is when you become the biggest puddle heap of uselessness on the floor. It also CAN be a sneaky way out of being responsible for getting yourself out without having to face the fears that put you there on the floor - crying - with no Kleenex left. Think about it, if you said "I HAVE to be at the TOP of that MOUNTAIN - NOW or I am doomed to a hellish existence forever and ever with a scarlet 'LOSER' tattoed on my forehead so all anyone will see is how bad it was" - well, you wouldn't expect me to be able to do it.

But - when we break that journey down, to what is ONE step today? We can open our eyes, and try one new thing to get ourselves there moving, even if it is just zipping open the tent, pouring some coffee and talking to a mountaineer who has conquer that snowy behemoth in front of you. (Even if said expert had frostbite, and a missing finger, you still would probably trust that the journey is doable).

So don't break the path yourself. Find your inspiration. Take notes, make a Step One plan.

Oh, and that fear that has you on the ground. It can be your gift. If you have the courage to ask "Okay, so what if that fear IS true, what will happen? And then?" USUALLY it clears up how much fear of nothing we've carried along the journey with us. And TYPICALLY it is well meaning friends and family hanging their fears and baggage on you. Just compassionately, but most definitely, hand it back. Then at least, your only trying to carrying your load for the climb.

OH, but this is a surfer movie, nooot a climber I should switch back on my analgies and metaphors to water, and sharks, and one arms giants of Soul. Soul Surfer? Cute, slightly saccharine, but still totally true to this girl, this family, and what it takes to not be permanently in a state of fear.....

Blessings on the journey,

Friday, July 1, 2011

Restarting and Revision

Hello all! My you have been patient. To get responses STILL after such a long hiatus, I am honored.

And I am ready.

Suffice it to say, I was - busy. Healing. Putting straight my life and eliminating the chaos.

I can't talk too much about that. And this blog isn't about THAT stuff, anymore anyway.

But I do have a vision, and now that the proverbial chains have finally been lifted, and my energy can now go back into my LIFE and LIVING it, not surviving it again, I can turn my attention back here. The direction I have been hinting at moving this blog can finally come to pass. And oh the fun we shall have :)

Sharing knowledge. Giving to others what others gave to me to heal, it my focus here now. Soon, along the sidebar, you will start to see listing of my writings. Some from school, some from my own private collection.

Some will be reports from my schooldays relevant to today.
Some will be poetry.
Some will be meditations, both written and recorded for you to use immediately.
Some will be songs I have written for children, or spirit.
Some will be meditative chants I have learned to reach a affirmative meditative state.

All will have a little "donate" button, or suggested "donate" button.

For now, as always: Music! A repeat I believe, but SO appropriate for my life the last 2 years:

In hope, and joy, and gratitude.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Healing Medicine

If you can't get a smile in your heart from watching have NO soul....

OH my oh my oh my!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Re-emerging ...slowly

I am touched at the number of people wondering about the status of this blog. I haven't abandoned this project/blog. I have just been in the state of deeeeeep adjustments. Fundamental life stuff, like the beams and posts of a building needing replacement. I am almost there. Almost there.

A beautiful new home, one I hope to stay in for a long long long time. I finally finally feel like I found my home in Seattle. Like someone plugged me back in. I've traded the quiet forests of the Cascades for the semi-city life of the waterfront. I love both. But this is the best of all worlds and I am charging up.

But still in adjustments. A lot of big fundamental changes. I will leave it at that.

I am also pondering the direction of this blog. I have batted around ideas. It's origins were to inform friends and family. But it is going way beyond that.

I have had requests for writings, books, etc for the past year, and wasn't in a position to write. But in this new place I have a desk, that peaks at the Puget Sound, Vashon Island, and the ferry going back and forth. The light is streaming in 100 year old windows, taller than me,

in every room. I miss the light of Arizona, this comes in a close second, making me wish I was a cat, that could curl up in the light on a rug and be done for the day.

But this space, the light, the new beginning is allowing room again for creative energy and my creative center, shut down too long, is starting to churn.

So this blog, I think, will be a catchall. It isn't going to be all about cancer, because my life is not all about cancer. My life is about who I am...and cancer is just this part of the journey.

I had the honor of being interviewed for a book recently. And she asked me what is it I want to say, while I have a platform to say anything, that could help someone going through a challenge in their life. And it all came back to what I was doing BEFORE I was diagnosed with the damndable little "c".

So that is what this blog is going to be about. Creating a toolbox for life's challenges so when the winds of change come, your center will ALWAYS be there. The core of WHO you are is unchanging. And life challenges, like cancer, try hard to make us forget and go into slumbers until the ache and discomfort of living out of alignment with ourselves calls us back to do the work. To unearth the "why did I come here to planet earth? What is my purpose?" starts to nag at us.

That was my work before my period of disorientation occured. I am not WHO I was before in so many ways. How I view the world has fundamentally changed. YET....WHO I am has not. What awakens my curiousity, challenges me to grow and expand, reconnects me to feeling a part of something greater than just ME....that has not changed.

And this blog will become my journey to remember that part of myself and in turn, to share what I have learned through my life.

This is the ONE thing I kept wanting to share during that interview...doing the work of knowing WHO you are at your core BEFORE life throws you for a loop, will help you recover, learn, and intergrate much more quickly. During these times of challenge, you can either adapt, learn and grow, or cave in, give up, and die before your dead. If your reading this blog, you are probably in the former group. Wanting to learn, challenge yourself, grow.

You will hear some of my cancer journey here. I will indeed post helpful links and what I have learned. I will also post writings, research papers from my Health Psychology school days, and things that inspire and interest the creative hearts.

Because, I am not cancer. It is a huge influence, challenge, and personal growth instigator in my life. I am not ignoring it. But it is time to share all over myself. Not just part. How I am "doing" updates are easy to get if you call, or write. If you don't know me personally, you will have to just know I am well enough to be writing, if I am, and that is all that matters.

I am going to get back to that paintbrush and yoga mat aspect of this blog now. ;)

Thanks for sticking with me during the break!