Monday, July 27, 2009

Diagnosis - Benign

This entry was written on July 27, 2009 but not posted at the time. I'm sharing it now because the message is still relevant.

Almost 3 weeks ago, I had a breast biopsy. I've had lots of cysts for years, and lots of repeat mammograms and ultrasounds and on two previous occasions I've had breast biopsies. The results of those previous biopsies were negative. So one might think that I'd look at this as a case of "ssdd" (same stick; different day). However, this time, I had more of a nagging feeling that perhaps my luck was running out, and this was going to be the biopsy to come back with a diagnosis - cancer.

I didn't tell anyone, other than my partner who went with me for the test, about this. I wasn't trying to hide anything, but I made a decision that I didn't want to give energy to the worry. I knew that people would naturally be concerned and caring and compassionate and "worry" that I might get bad news. I was concerned that their worry might rub off on me, and make it harder for me to remain optimistic and confident that no matter what the test result, I would be ok. I know that I don't want cancer, but I also know that if I get it (or have it), I will get through it.

Perhaps that sounds conflicted, and perhaps in a way I was. On one hand, I had my own "what if this time I don't get such good news" thoughts in my head, but most of the time I was able to respond, "if I do, I do and we will deal with it." I believe that God would be with me and that He'd provide loving care and comfort through the hands of my medical providers, friends and family and that healing takes many, many forms. By making the decision not to say anything until I knew the results, I didn't admit to anyone that I was battling the fear of the unknown. I didn't ask for prayers.

But I also didn't dwell on it. I was able to move on. No one brought it up because no one knew they should. This freed me to "put it away". There wasn't anything I was going to change by thinking, wondering, imagining, "what-if"ing and none of those would bring me any peace or joy.

So, I consciously decided not to decide I might be getting bad news. It's the opposite of what we seem conditioned to do; to imagine the worst, so we can be prepared for the worst. Where did we get that notion? Why wouldn't we be preparing for the best? Why spend 3 weeks stressing for nothing? What does it gain?
I don't want to imply that I didn't have moments of weakness and worry; I'm not a machine. I'm human, and it's natural to want to survive. However, when fear tried to creep in, I countered with faith, I reminded myself to be positive and believe that no matter what the outcome of the test, I am sure of the outcome that matters - I am in God's hands and He will be by my side ALWAYS!
I got my results today - and again, the cyst was benign. Needless to say, I'm relieved. I'm very happy with the news and very happy to be able to share that I understand the "temptation" to worry, but urge you to resist and rely on faith, have hope and be patient. Prepare for the best! It will make you feel better, I promise!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Great Reuse Idea

Today at the Farmers Market, folks from the Adirondack Green Circle were giving away free grocery tote bags made from old t-shirts. This is a genius and simple idea that anyone with a sewing machine could make. I found great directions with step-by-step photos on Check it out and make your reusable grocery tote; make a few extra and give them away.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all"

My mother used to say that, along with many other motherly pearls of wisdom. I have been thinking about how much value there is in finding something nice to say. It can be easy at times and harder at others, and some people do challenge you to stretch your imagination. But, I think it's worth the effort. Imagine what life would be like if people could count on hearing positive, affirming messages. Think about how at Christmas we say, we wish life was like this all year long. What we are really saying is, we wish people were thoughtful, tolerant, generous, forgiving, gentle, kind, happy, light-hearted more often.

What is it that prevents us from being more Christmas like more often? Well there's the distractions of everyday life - bills, dishes, laundry, meetings, deadlines, generally too much to do in one day, no matter what that list includes. Can we be pleasant and upbeat amidst the frenzy? Sure, but it takes effort. That's why Christmas helps, it focuses our effort. It reminds us to make the effort. We could be more cheery, supportive, helpful and sparkly more often if we stopped and thought about it, decided to do it and just did it.

So much about positive thinking and behaving is driven by a level of consciousness and intention. If we are conscious of our mental attitude and focus, we can ensure that our attention is headed in a positive direction. It's when we let ourselves get weighed down by the details, that we can forget the purpose. If you want a cheery greeting in the morning, be a cheerful greeter in the morning, I promise you'll reap what you sow. If you want to get feedback on a job you worked hard on, give feedback on other's hard work.

If you see someone making an effort, even if they haven't gotten where they (or you) think they need to be, praise the effort, don't remind them that they haven't arrived. Appreciate people. Acknowledge those who help you, even if it's their job. Don't take for granted that people know how you feel, tell them. We could all use a little life applause. Give Love, however you can. Say something nice. Just do it!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I'm okay with the gray...

The following is an excerpt from a well forwarded email from my "administrative assistant", Hildred. I related to it, as I'm sure the many people forwarding it along through cyber space did.

"I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant."

One of the gifts that comes with age is the perspective to see what really matters. We learn that our appearance; good or bad, doesn't bring happiness or sadness, it's our response to our appearance that creates the joy or the pain. No matter what the circumstance, it's our response to the circumstance that drives our feelings about it. The secret many of us take a life time discovering, is that we wholly control our response, so therefore we wholly control our feelings.

That's not to say we should just tell ourselves, it's ok to be overweight, it's ok to keep being self-indulgent in some manner that's not healthy. But rather, focus on that we can choose to do something for our own good, that we have control when we choose to exercise it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


The age old question is the glass half-full or half-empty is the essential positive thinking primer. It is a perfect example of how two completely equal and opposite truths can co-exist. How you perceive the glass does not change the contents of the glass, but it changes how you feel about the contents of the glass. If you perceive the glass as stages of emptiness, you focus on loss, disappointment, past potential diminished. You feel a negative response; you see what's not there vs. what is.

However, if you see perceive rather the stages of fullness, you focus on possibility, opportunity and have hope. Hope feels good, hope is comforting, hope is positive. The ingeniousness of this dichotomy is that both are equally "true" perspectives. There is evidence and argument to support both positions. One is not more valid than the other, but one is certainly more desirable than the other, in terms of the impact it has on how we feel.

If we want to feel better, we have to perceive better. Positive thinking people don't think positively because they only have positive experiences, but they choose to find the half-full perspective when perceiving those experiences. Positive thinking is important because it shapes our feelings. As with the glass, there is always another way to describe the same state.

The glass isn't either half-full or half-empty, it's both. As both co-exist, but we have to choose one, why not choose half-full? Why not choose that which will be affirming and encouraging? As our thinking changes, our behavior will follow. The more able we become to recognize our option of viewing a situation through a positive lens, the more able we are to recognize there are other versions of the truth that might feel better to believe, the more empowered we become to Be Positive.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Eleanor Roosevelt Quotes

I went looking for the exact wording of this quote, I knew was by Eleanor Roosevelt.

• No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

I was surprised to find so many other fitting quotes, so I decided to post them here also.

I was looking for this quote because I was reflecting on language we commonly use, such as "You made me feel bad", "You make me feel like I'm not good enough". We ascribe that responsibility to someone else, when really, it's us that is making ourselves feel badly or not good enough. We have a choice, we often fail to take, which is to tell ourselves that the opinion of the other is incorrect, not important, inaccurate, faulty, insignificant, or whatever will allow us to retain a positive sense of self. We are responsible for creating our own personal security, which includes protecting ourself from the negative messages of others. Just because someone speaks or behaves negatively towards us, doesn't mean we need to accept that. The deflection of that negative message or action will allow us to stay strong, able, positive, and free to make choices that support our joy.

It surprises me how easily we give away our joy. I don't think we do it consciously, but we do it often. We get distracted by emotion, activity, distress, other people's wishes, time, money, YOU NAME IT! Joy is a choice. Joy is made. Joy can be found. Joy is ours to claim. Joy is meant to be shared. Our journey is not about making others happy (or unhappy), but about sharing the joy we have with others along the way. It's a small difference, but an enourmous one all the same. We make/find/choose our own joy, and when we choose to share it, we help others find their joy as well. We can't make them happy, but they will be more able to choose joy also when they share our joy.
So, what's your joy? What brings you peace? What causes you to want to celebrate life? Embrace it! Exclaim it! Bring it on!

• You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

• People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.

• A woman is like a tea bag- you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.

• Friendship with oneself is all-important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.

• I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then live with that decision.

• It is not fair to ask of others what you are unwilling to do yourself.
• Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both.

• Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

• Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.

• Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.

• The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.

I've decided I really like how this woman thinks (or I guess I should say, thought), so I'm going to find her autobiography and biography and learn more about her. I'll let you know what I discover.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Alana Marie Bosford 3/24/09

Proud parents Maria and Dean.
Alana in Cema's arms.

Mema and the "beba".

The most amazing first day baby smile ever!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Book Review: The Shack

The Shack by Wm. Paul Young

Perhaps by now you have already heard of or read The Shack. If not, I strongly recommend this book to everyone! It is an extraordinarily well developed novel featuring God as three characters; a black woman who loves to cook named Papa, a Middle Eastern man who builds fine furniture named Jesus and an Asian woman gardener named Sarayu, upon whose shimmering and flowing appearance one can’t directly look.

The other primary character is Mack, who is experiencing The Great Sadness following the kidnap and murder of his young daughter. God invites Mack to spend the weekend with “Him” at the shack where Mack’s daughter was murdered. Reluctant to believe God sent the invitation, or will be present at the shack when he arrives, Mack goes “just in case”.

The story explores the expression of Mack’s anger towards God and the response of God the Father/Mother, Son and Spirit. The writer has provided beautiful human language to capture the unfathomable depth of God’s love, grace, mercy and desire for our fullness through reconciliation.

The story explores the difficult question of how a loving and all powerful God “allows” bad things to happen. We begin to see how our Independence separates us from God. This is a book you could reread and reread. While told as a very accessible story, it is actually a complex theological narrative filled with insight into the relationship between the Human and the Divine.

I struggle to find words adequate to express the wisdom and beauty I found in the book. The concept of the Trinity as three unique entities, in perfect harmony with each other seeking us/ me to join their union, was very appealing. I envision a triangle, where Father/Mother, Son and Spirit are each a side of the triangle, inviting us/ me to live inside the triangle, wholly surrounded by their strength, love and peace.

I hope that you decide to read this book. I am very anxious to hear how you are affected by the story and how it transforms your understanding of God.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive

This came as an email where I was supposed to pick 12 women who have touched my life, and who I think that if this group of women were ever to be in a room together, there is nothing that would be impossible. I loved the message and decided that rather than forward it to 12 women I'd post it here. (I actually think that if you put any 12 women in a room that nothing would be impossible!)

"May today there be peace within.

May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith inyourself and others.

May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love thathas been given to you.

May you be content with yourself just the way you are.

Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul thefreedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us."

We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance. ~Japanese Proverb =

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tie Dye Flower Child Hippie Dippie Baby Shower

Maria asked that the theme for her shower be tie dye/flower child. As you can probably imagine, there are no commercial baby shower party supplies in a hippie theme. (Perhaps an untapped market...) I was able to find some basic tie dye paper products, but we really developed the tie dye theme, by tie dying onesies at the party.

I didn't get photographs of all of the specifics, so I'll describe the party to the best of my ability. There was a clothes line with some white onesies hanging on it, as part of the decorations for the party. There were other onesies soaking in the soda ash solution. Guests picked a wet onesie out of the sink, wrung out the water, and set to creating their design with rubber bands and adding dye from bottles. We then bagged each shirt to let the dye set for a half hour. While those shirts were getting done, we took the other shirts off the line to soak in the soda ash solution.

We took the shirts into the bathroom and hung them on a clothes line in the shower to dry and catch the drips... The final product can be seen at the end of the slideshow. As you can see Maria now has 15 one-of-a-kind, made with love by family and friends - onesies for Alana.

Next, we played a couple of games - Baby Scattergories and Baby Express Yourself. Everyone was a good sport and had fun despite being squished into the living room. Maria was very anxious to start opening the enormous pile of presents.

You will notice the gorgeous assortment of tie dye gifts Maria is opening in the slide show. These are all from my Niece-in-Law, Tara Stonier. Tara tie dyed fabric to make the quilt and diaper bag, and dyed clothes and burp clothes as well. We all think Tara needs to go into business making tie dyed diaper bags. It is such a work of art!

There were other hand made treasures - a sweater and blanket, hand knit by Dean's Grandmother, Suzanne. A blanket crocheted by Mima (aka me). A frame decoupaged by Dean's mom, Wendy. Alana has the most wonderful new wardrobe, with a large selection of items in the chocolate and pink color scheme. She got more beautiful clothes than I can begin to describe.

Some of her other gifts included a baby monitor, a front/back baby carrier, a Boppy seat, port-a-crib, a crib/youthbed, butterfly bedding, and so much more. We ended with the Tie Dye/Flower Child/Hippie Dippie cake, compliments of Bernie Ratelle. Bernie's is Maria's dad's secretary and long time friend. She really pulled the theme together nicely.

We had a wonderful time. It was a great opportunity to meet Dean's family. His mother and grandmother, step-mother and step-sister were all able to attend. Maria was truly surrounded by lots of friends and family who literally "showered" her with an abundance of beautiful gifts. It was a day to remember as we get closer to Alana's arrival (around March 26th) and the real fun begins!

Maria's Shower

Friday, January 30, 2009

Laughter is the best medicine

The 'Middle Wife' by an Anonymous 2nd grade teacher

I've been teaching now for about fifteen years. I have two kids myself, but the best birth story I know is the one I saw in my own second grade classroom a few years back. When I was a kid, I loved show-and-tell. So I always have a few sessions with my students. It helps them get over shyness and usually, show-and-tell is pretty tame. Kids bring in pet turtles, model airplanes, pictures of fish they catch, stuff like that. And I never, ever place any boundaries or limitations on them. If they want to lug it in to school and talk about it, they're welcome.

Well, one day this little girl, Erica, a very bright, very outgoing kid, takes her turn and waddles up to the front of the class with a pillow stuffed under her sweater. She holds up a snapshot of an infant. 'This is Luke, my baby brother, and I'm going to tell you about his birthday.' 'First, Mom and Dad made him as a symbol of their love, and then Dad put a seed in my Mom's stomach, and Luke grew in there. He ate for nine months through an umbrella cord.' She's standing there with her hands on the pillow, and I'm trying not to laugh and wishing I had my camcorder with me. The kids are watching her in amazement.

'Then, about two Saturdays ago, my Mom starts saying and going, 'Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh!' Erica puts a hand behind her back and groans. 'She walked around the house for, like an hour, 'Oh, oh, oh!' (Now this kid is doing a hysterical duck walk and groaning.) 'My Dad called the middle wife. She delivers babies, but she doesn't have a sign on the car like the Domino's man. They got my Mom to lie down in bed like this.' (Then Erica lies down with her back against the wall.)

'And then, pop! My Mom had this bag of water she kept in there in case he got thirsty, and it just blew up and spilled all over the bed, like psshhheew!' (This kid has her legs spread with her little hands miming water flowing away. It was too much!) 'Then the middle wife starts saying 'push, push,' and 'breathe, breathe. They started counting, but never even got past ten.

Then, all of a sudden, out comes my brother. He was covered in yucky stuff that they all said it was from Mom's play-center, (placenta) so there must be a lot of toys inside there. When he got out, the middle wife spanked him for crawling up in there.' Then Erica stood up, took a big theatrical bow and returned to her seat. I'm sure I applauded the loudest. Ever since then, when it's show-and-tell day, I bring my camcorder, just in case another 'Middle Wife' comes along.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hope is in the Air!

What a Joyous Day! How lucky we are to live in this time, and to have the opportunity to witness this, the greatest legacy of our time! Let us all resolve to be better human beings and come together and show the strength and power of people united in mutual respect for the good of all.

(And, damn, doesn't she look good! What a Woman!)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Angels Everywhere

Angels take many forms. Last night, they took the shape of 4 village employees who came to our house at 7:00 at night because we had no water. Now, while that wouldn't be too surprising, since it was -27 (27 degrees below zero!) that morning, but our basement is 60 degrees, so it never occured to us our pipes could freeze. Apparently pipes can freeze coming into the house not just in the house. These 4 angels worked for almost 2 hours until we finally had water again. I really have no idea how they did it, they brought some machine that flushed water somewhere or something. But they fixed it, and I'm so grateful!

I was reminded of Hebrews 13:2 - Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. I wanted to offer to make them coffee until I remembered I had no water. God takes care of us is so many different ways. He places people in our path to help us, we just often never stop to see His hand in it. The other thought I had was how thankful I am that we are all given different gifts. I love the gifts God has given me, but being able to even figure out where the water comes into the house isn't one of them. I value those who have the gift of making my water run, because if you've been without water, you quickly realize how LIFE truly does depend on it.

What other angels has God sent to take care of me? or to take care of you? What opportunities to be thankful for the solution to the problem, rather than focus on the problem itself have we missed? It's so easy to get stuck being upset and distressed that the problem (frozen pipes, no water, 7:00 at night on a long weekend...) exists, and lose sight of God's promises to never leave us, to hear our prayers and to strengthen us with the Holy Spirit. Not only am I thankful for the village workers who labored on my behalf, but also that God helped me stay positive and trust that He was going to take of it, take care of me. The more we trust and turn situations over to God's Mighty Power, the greater our confidence that He truly is going to be our savior in all things becomes.