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Showing posts from March, 2012

Smiles from the Heart

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My nine-year old daughter was resting upstairs in the Children’s Hospital intensive care. She’d had a successful heart surgery to repair a birth defect and would remain under close watch for the next week.
My husband and I were taking turns with our two-year-old son, so I decided to take him to one of the many hospital playrooms.

Pushing open the door, the room looked empty—but then I noticed a bald child sitting at a table quietly stacking blocks.

My son quickly found a car and began pushing it over the floor, the tables, and windowsills making all the appropriate car noises. I looked over to the little boy and noticed that while he was little, he wasn’t that young. He didn’t seem to mind the interruption of a healthy, noisy two-year old.

The boy’s arms were bruised from the frequent the needle pokes of the cancer treatments. His pale skin was nearly translucent making it even easier to see the veins beneath his skin. Yet, his smile defied his appearance. I smiled back.

I noticed a …

Spring Break

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My ultimate spring break was my junior year in high school. I took an extra week (which meant taking my homework with me) and flew to Florida to stay with my aunt. She taught at the University of Florida so she had several of her students show me the sights. Did they ever. College students know how to do spring break.....but it was mild by today's standards.

For me, spring break always meant sleeping in, looking at the calendar and seeing the end in sight. Warmer days were coming without all the homework hassle. Spring break gave me just enough of a boost to get through the rest of the school year. 


Hey students: Enjoy it, relish it, and savor your unfettered lives for the time that you have remaining. I hope spring break rejuvenates you. Keeping up with the heavier expectations is tough. In so many ways school will make the difference in what happens in your life after you graduate.


If I had one wish, it would be that each student could see the potential that’s inside them and fi…

Fantasy Baseball

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My husband was just a bit past forty when he donned a Major League baseball uniform and played on the Mariner’s first Fantasy Baseball team.

For the price of a vacation, Thom hit the practice fields all day while our family got a glimpse of the Big Show.
Hosted at the same Peoria, Arizona baseball complex where the Major Leaguers practiced, it felt more real than a fantasy. Coached by former big leaguers, it just added to the aura of fame and fortune.
We dined and slept in the same hotel as these legendary athletes, but none of them had the haughtiness that sometimes comes with elite status. Noticing our eight-year-old son’s admiration and love of baseball they took extra time to coach and encourage him. To this day, passion for sports still fuels many of his dreams.
Of course we didn’t know it then, but because our family was getting older and busier...this was the last real vacation our family ever took together. 
But for that one special week, we were a baseball family in the Big L…

Beating the Odds

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My visits to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance always give me a wake-up call for living.  Step inside and you’ll notice that life is no longer the same for many.

Visible signs like hair loss and chemo ports in chests distinguish some. Others bear weariness from months of treatment.




I take my seat next to the floor-to-ceiling windows and gaze out at Seattle’s Lake Union. I’ve been here enough to have seen every imaginable weather outside those amazing windows, but the view never fails to impress me. And I’m thankful for the medical care I’ve had.
When I met with my oncologist a few years back, she gave me three options. The first was a preemptive mastectomy. The second was a five-year plan of preventative cancer treatment. Or #3 was to radically change myself.

I chose option three. I now have a dietician, an exercise specialist, and three doctors who x-ray and test me frequently enough that I have time to revisit Option 1 or 2 if need be.

So far, I am a model patient. And I, by the gr…

Split Second Accident

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Several birthdays ago, my grandson got one of those little motorized cars. Soon after, I had him by myself for the day and I was letting him have fun learning how to drive it in our big indoor building. 
Later that day, it was time to take him home and he asked to go “park” his car.  As I stood near the door, I watched him press the accelerator and race clear across the room.
The next moments will be forever etched in slow motion in my mind. In the few seconds I had, I knew I couldn't reach him in time.
He crashed his little car into our heavy, folded up ping-pong table. The bulky table momentarily teetered and then crashed down on top of him and his car. The last thing I saw were his little arms reaching above his head to try and protect himself. A terribly loud crash was followed by absolute silence. All I could see was a huge wooden table covering the top of his little car. 
With my heart beating fiercely, I ran to him, fearing he'd been crushed. I lifted the heavy table off th…