Kindness is contagious!

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It has been a few years since I shared on this blog. My life is good and has been full of blessings.

This has been a hard winter in our valley. Never in my lifetime have I seen this much snow fall consecutively in our area. The storms just keep coming. Schools have been closed for five days and stores have closed early.We have been cautioned repeatedly not to drive unless necessary and to slow down if we do. There have been several power outages and folks have been without heat for hours. God bless our Idaho Power linemen who go out into the frigid weather to repair those lines. I have whispered more prayers for their safety than ever before. We have ice dams in our gutters and heavy snow weighting our roofs.

This year I have joined several neighbors as we have repeatedly cleaned off our own driveways and sidewalks. We helped those who are unable to do their own and have pushed one another’s cars to assist them on their way. It has warmed my heart to see the outpouring of help amongst my neighbors; neighbors helping neighbors. One thing the snow has brought is camaraderie. It has been fun to lean on our snow shovels and visit with one another after the shoveling is completed.

I am not one to get easily discouraged but I must admit to a pity party or two these last few weeks. Yesterday I spent hours chipping away the ice with my husband’s garden shovel.The handle is worn smooth with indentations where his hands once gripped it. The blade is small from the many times it has been sharpened with a grinder. It is my prized possession. Once I dislodged the ice I could pick it up with the snow shovel. It was heavy. My mounds of snow are getting so tall it is hard for me to throw the snow over to the other side. My emotions were getting the best of me but I managed to get the sidewalks and garage slab cleaned before the end of the day. As I worked I watched the neighbor boys run up and down the streets on the four wheeler squealing with joy. I smiled thinking, “I remember feeling like that.”

This morning I awoke at five a.m.. I planned to go to Winco for additional Icemelt. I have been calling all over the valley and no one has any. Winco gets their shipments in a 5:30 a.m. and my intent was to go early and bring some home for myself and my neighbors. Then I looked outside and saw we had another two inches of snow and it was coming down hard. The news again told how treacherous the road conditions were so I skipped my trip to Winco. My friends went later and guess what; Winco’s shipment did not come in due to the road conditions. I decided I needed more coffee before I tackled the new snowfall. I would wait until it stopped snowing.

Later in the morning the snow turned to rain. I had gone out for a short while checking the drains and trying to divert the water away from the house. I came inside cold and wet. I looked out my front window and noticed that part of my sidewalk was cleared. I opened the door prepared to yell at my neighbors, Orville and Doris for being out in those conditions. They have been faithful to me. To my surprise it wasn’t them but a father and his two sons who live in the end of our cul-de-sac. I went outside to thank them and came inside to bake a batch of thank you cookies. I commend parents who teach their children the value of helping others with no rewards expected.  If truth were told there might have been a tear or two that slide down my cheek while inside the sanctity of my own home.

Have you ever been the recipient of goodness that just left your heart smiling? Perhaps you are the one who shared the goodness and it made your own heart smile. At any rate, those young boys touched me deeply this morning. My heart was smiling so brightly it found it’s way to my face. It renewed my faith in young people.

Kindness is contagious and the world needs more of it. It is up to you and I to put it there. Kindness; pass it on. It can put a smile on someone’s HEART and maybe your own will smile a little too.

PS Now I need to find someone with a grinder. The blade on my husband’s shovel doesn’t look like it once did.

 

 

 

Christmas 2014

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It is hard to believe that 2014 is coming to an end. Time seems to fly by so much quicker as I age.

Life is good to me. I am not idle and I love retirement. I babysit a little boy, Tyson who has stolen my heart on Monday and Tuesdays. On Wednesdays I work at Dakan Chapel in accounts payable plus work any funerals that they need my assistance with during the rest of the week. I am well suited for both jobs. Does that make me semi-retired instead of retired?

My four grandsons are all doing well and are still the delights of my life. Maxton started kindergarten this year so Carter rides to preschool each day without his big brother. He and Paige have alone time on the way to and from work. On the other hand Maxton gets to spend time with Grandma Goodson and his daddy each day. Wanda helps Max with his homework when he gets off the bus at her house and Maxton is his daddy’s shadow most afternoons.

Ethan and Lance no longer attend the same school. Ethan entered middle school this year. It is only blocks away from his home so he can walk or ride his bike. He likes to spend time with me learning to cook. He has learned to cook omelets, quiche and Swedish pancakes (crepes), fudge and salads. Lances’ love is football and he attends every BSU home game with his parents even when the temperature dips into the single digits. His build is small yet he wants to be a football player someday.

My health continues to remain steady. Instead of visiting the oncologists every four months they have now bumped me out to every six months.  I must admit that occasionally I struggle with the “what-ifs” but I am grateful for each new day that I have been given.

I read a book recently and I leave you with these borrowed words:

“What a blessing life is. If you don’t believe it, get up and watch the sunrise tomorrow or take time to gaze up at the stars. Listen to the restful sound of a morning dove in the quiet woods, or the wind whispering through the leaves above you.

Contemplate all that you are grateful for, and never give up on your dreams. Most importantly, give your whole heart to all that you love in this life.”

Amidst all the trappings of this busy season I hope you pause and quietly give thanks for your blessings. From my heart and home to yours; Merry Christmas.

Nicki

Aside

I finished all of my treatment in May of this year and I am feeling much better now that my body is not flooded with toxic chemicals. I see the doctors every 4 months and go to therapy twice a month for the lymphedema. I no longer have to wear the day sleeve and glove on my left arm and hand due to the therapy. I still have tightness and swelling in my chest,  arm and armpit area but it is something that I can tolerate.

I retired from Farm Credit in June after ten years with the company. It was difficult leaving customers that I had grown so attached to. I miss them. I am grateful many have remained my friends and still have contact with me. I worried that I would be bored but that has not been the case. You have to book an appointment with me now. My phone calendar is pretty full.

One of Paige’s co-workers needed a babysitter for four weeks and my daughter asked if I would consider filling in. Being the baby lover that I am I said yes. Tyson and I bonded from day one. He was about four months old at the time. He is an easy baby to watch. Needless to say I fell in love with him and his parents too. He nows spends every Monday at my house.

I also took part time work as a funeral assistant. Sometimes I work in the office but my real joy is out in the field helping with the funerals. It is a job that I am well suited for and fits me perfectly. The directors like me and I like assisting families at a difficult time in their lives. I am “on call’ and free to say no if I have any doctor’s appointments scheduled. It gets me out of the house and I enjoy being with and around people.

My Christmas gift was given early this year. My children gave me a trip to the Bahamas and Disneyworld. The planning for this trip started Christmas of 2012.  Paige orchestrated the event. My daughter is extremely organized and we all love having her take the reins in the planning arena. Everything was taken care of for me by Todd’s family and Paige’s. I only had to show up and enjoy the trip. It will be a forever memory in my storehouse of treasures.

I wrote about our trip and wanted to post it in my blog for my family but it was six pages long! I didn’t want to bore anyone besides family with my descriptions. However, I felt the need to record the memories for myself and my family.

We spent four days on a cruise to the Bahamas and four days spent at Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida. Two days were spent traveling to and fro. We had a wonderful time. It was fun to see my grown children relax and my grandsons always bring me pleasure. They had fun enjoying new adventures.

We also had pouty times, meltdowns and blistered feet but those dimmed from my mind once we returned home. What stands out vividly are the smiles on my grandson’s faces, the excitement in their voices with each new discovery, the joy of having my family together and the love I felt for all of them. It was priceless.

Somewhere in my mothering I must have done something good.  The proof is evident in my loving and generous children. It was a memorable vacation for all of us. It was not the magnitude of their generous gift that made this trip such an exceptional time. I treasure the fact that my children and grandchildren desire to spend time and make memories with each other and me. They will remember and cherish this extraordinary vacation spent together in their hearts long after I am gone. It was in Disney words…. A MAGICAL TIME!

Merry Christmas from my heart and home to yours. May you feel “The Love” this season.

Nicki

 

A New Beginning

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This has been a long week. I had classes on Monday & Wednesday nights to teach me how to regain my strength,  a therapy treatment on my arm and chest area on Thursday, ending with chemo on Friday.

When I arrived at work on Friday my desk area decorated with crepe paper streamers and a balloon. A gorgeous pink orchid sat in the middle of my desk. Jessi had stayed late after work on Thursday to work her magic. Allison, another co-worker had baked a cake in the shape of a cancer bow decorating it with pink icing. The office staff enjoyed eating her yummy dessert and I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face….one long year of treatment was ending for me. My daughter arrived at 10:30 to whisk me away for my final chemo treatment. I was greeted warmly by the nurses in the chemo suite, given my dose of Herceptin followed by hugs and well wishes as I left. I thought back to that day one year ago when I entered MSTI for my first treatment. What a difference in the emotions that I felt; then and now.

Paige had invited Todd, Kristy and Michael to join us for lunch. I sat at the table with my little family (minus the gradsons) around me enjoying a celebratory lunch reveling in their love and God’s goodness to me. We share a closeness that I wish more families had. We ate and the other three headed off in their own directions and I spent the rest of the day with my girl.

I wanted to go to Whole Foods and walk up and down the aisle to see the many choices of organic food they had and my wish had been granted. I was overwhelmed with the store; almost too many foods to pick from! Paige took me to another stop that I needed to go to then we were off on a shopping marathon. She and I are 2-3 hour maximum shoppers! We were able to find a couple of tops and a swimsuit for me. My children are taking me to the Bahamas later in the year thus the need for a suit. We ended our day with a healthy smoothie. Yum, yum! I drove home and crashed on the sofa sleeping until 7 P.M..

I awoke early this morning. I was planning on walking the Race for the Cure downtown Boise with Kristy and Paige. Paige rang the doorbell shortly after 7 A.M.. She brought me a gift from Michael; Under Armour sports socks complete with the cancer bow on them. Smiling I took off my other footies and placed Michael’s gift upon my feet. We headed out the door.

I confess that I really detest large crowds and I knew I would be surrounded by thousands of people. Although nervous it was something that I wanted to do this year. With your generous donations supporting me, we were able to donate over $1600.00 for Komen Race for the Cure. The last time I checked I was the 2nd highest individual with the most donations. The company I work for; Farm Credit was also in the top five teams contributing to the cause. I walked the 5k race with my sister-in-law (April), my niece and her husband (Sharon and Josh Gerving) and my two daughters (Paige and Kristy). I was so proud and blessed to have my family support me with their presence. We finished the race then Paige and I headed to Blue Sky Bagels for our treat. After each chemo treatment we always treated ourselves to a bagel and it was fitting to finish my year-long treatments and the race with one last bite of goodness. We drove home.  I relaxed on my patio, listening to the trickling water fountain, enjoying the beauty of my tiny courtyard thinking once again how fortunate I am.

Now it is time to put this past year behind me and forge a new beginning. Blessings to each of you who make my life so very special.

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PS These ‘hunka, hunka burnin’ loves’ are NOT part of my new beginnings.

 

 

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

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This year, I registered for the Komen Race for the Cure because I want to make an impact in the fight against breast cancer. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today in support of my fundraising efforts.

You can donate online with your credit card by clicking the button above my fundraising thermometer.

Your support helps us get one step closer to a world without breast cancer. 75 percent of the money raised through the Race stays in the community to fund local breast cancer education, screening and treatment programs. The remaining 25 percent supports groundbreaking breast cancer research.

Together, we are fueling the best science, boldest community and biggest impact in the fight against breast cancer. And we will not stop until this disease is gone forever. That’s our promise. Will you please join me in this fight by making a donation today?

Click here to make a donation

March 27th, 2012 I was given the news that all three tumors were malignant and I would need to have a bilateral mastectomy. The surgery was completed on April 13th. I was given four weeks of recovery time and on May 10th I was given my first round of chemo therapy. I had six treatments of a powerful cocktail consisting of three drugs; Taxotere, Carboplatin and Herceptin. These were administered every three weeks for eighteen weeks. The drugs were extremely harsh and caustic to my system. They were aggressive because my cancer was so aggressive. This was followed by thirty radiation treatments given concurrently with more chemo. I had an additional twelve chemo treatments of the drug, Herceptin. On May 10, 2013 (one year from my first treatment) I will be given my LAST chemo therapy. The next day, May 11th I will attempt to walk the Race for the Cure in Boise.

This has been a grueling year for me but it was made easier by your emotional support and prayer.Today I am seeking your financially support. If you are able to support me financially in the cause for a cure for cancer, I say THANK YOU. If not, I know that you will be cheering me on, applauding for me and walking with me in your hearts.

All my love,

Nicki

 

 

The Journey

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My mother has a way with words–it’s a gift she’s been given.  She never knew she’d become a blog writer.  We began this journey one year ago, and it was not one I was prepared to take.  Mothers are invincible, and they know everything (I mean everything).  When I’m trying to figure out how to be a mom, I call my mom.  The thought of not having her there to call was unbearable.

I asked my mom if I could document this journey.  She obliged the request.   Only instead of words, I wanted pictures and video.  I wanted to capture her smile–even if it was brief.  I wanted to capture her voice–so I could keep it forever.  I wanted to capture everything so that when we looked back, we would see how far we’ve come.

Thank you, Mom.  You gave me the greatest gift this year–allowing me to be part of this journey.   So, I’ve taken a few of the bits and pieces and put them together.  I know that 3 minutes does not give justice to the long year we had, but it does show journey we’ve been on!