A warm spring day

The sun shined down through the trees, casting a shadow across her face. The large oak that stood above moved slowly with the wind; just enough to make the moss hanging from each limb come to life, reaching for its mate. The wind sent a shiver up her shadowed arm, despite the sun sparkling across her bare feet.

The birds sang their springtime song, calling out to their friends to come share in the warmth that the shallow water of the bath provides. The blue jay, its feathers the color of the ocean on a warm summer day, dips its beak in and sprays the water about.

An ant crawls up the chair she lays on, trying to sneak a taste of the chocolate scent he follows. She breaks off a piece and savors the richness of it. Her fingers are covered with the melted sweetness and she absently smudges the page of her book, engulfed in the words that fill the page.

There is noise of road work in the distance, the constant humming of a machine that moves dirt around the road it’s working to fix. A project that is long past due and yet provides the familiar comfort of an old friend.

It is the type of spring day that leaves your soul calling out for more; wondering what life has to offer, what comes next in this world, what adventure awaits. A day for reflection and thought.

But all of that is lost on her, as she is adrift in a world that is not her own. A world filled with fantasy and fight and hope, a battle being fought that is not her own. Today, she has no anxieties, no fears, and no worries. Just the words on this page and the next and the one that follows that.

Today, she is just a girl reading a book outside on a warm spring day.

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So. Much. Love.

When I was a little girl, I loved to write letters. In between visits, my cousins and I would write back and forth to each other. During summer breaks, my closest friends and I would write to each other every few days; often making our own envelopes out of another sheet of paper. Sometimes we would fill them with confetti, which would cause quite a mess when opened! We would even look up the address to hotels and send letters to each other during family vacations. I remember excitedly checking the mail each day in anticipation of the arrival of a new letter addressed to me. There is just something so wonderful about receiving mail.

Although Jacob doesn’t know it yet, I’ve started (try) to pass along this love of letter writing to him. Each holiday, and every vacation, we send him a letter or post card. The letters usually have $1 in it and we share with him a few thoughts, words of wisdom or an event that occurred. We address it to him and mail it out – many times from our own mailbox. They are sealed and stored in a memory box for him to open sometime. We even did this when I was pregnant – addressed to “Baby”.

Where we live now, there aren’t mailboxes (in the typical sense) at each house but instead a large, metal mail box at the end of each road for all of the houses on that street. Typically, it takes a few days for us to check it because it isn’t right in front of our house. Since beginning this journey though, it has become a nightly tradition for us – something that I look forward to doing together. Jacob is strapped into his Radio-Flyer tricycle and we take a family walk to the mailbox together. Most days, that metal box is filled with a letter or a card or a package. Someone reaching out to send their love, their thoughts, their prayers or a surprise gift to let us know that they are thinking of us and that we are not alone in this journey.

Twice this week my husband returned from picking up little man with a gift for me; the first a gift basket filled with goodies from coworkers to remind me how strong I am and today an embroidered tote from daycare filled with goodies to keep me comfortable during treatment. This week, which is the hardest one for us, we have also been given a meal each night so we don’t have to cook.

And the list doesn’t end there – the calls, the texts, the fundraiser, the visits to see us, the prayers. So. Much. Love.

Writing this out, I can’t help but cry. I like to think that words come easy for me when writing but I don’t think I can properly express how much all of your kindness means to us. This is, by far, the most challenging, life-altering journey that we have ever been on and you have all done so much to help us through this. Each and every one of you. We are so humbled and so incredibly blessed with all of your love. There are so many different ways that one can demonstrate kindness, love and support…and I feel like we have seen every single possible way.

A dear friend said to me, “Our prayer is that this helps you and your family, even if it’s just a little.” Oh, but a little it is not. It is so much bigger than that.

Thank you. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

Dance Party!

My little man has recently discovered the joy of music. A few weeks ago, my baby sister (she’s in her twenties but is the baby of the family), her fiancé and my family were all seated outside of our favorite restaurant along Mosquito Lagoon. As we prepared to leave, my husband took little man’s hand and started walking ahead of us to show him the water. Halfway down the path, a band started to play on the stage outside. Little man stopped walking, dropped my husband’s hand and started dancing in the middle of the aisle. It was like he couldn’t control himself – music makes him dance!

Dancing has become a regular thing in our house. One of little man’s favorite activities is to walk up to the stereo, hit every button that he can reach and start dancing before the music even starts. Once the music starts, he shakes his little tush, wiggles his hips, claps his hands – whatever the music makes him feel like doing. Sometimes he smiles and laughs the whole time and other times he is concentrating hard on those moves. It doesn’t matter where he is or what he was in the middle of doing, music seems to stop him in his tracks. This always makes me smile and I can’t help but dance right along with him. I love it!

Too often, I get caught up in the day-to-day activities of life and routine. This is especially true during the week, when the hours after the work day seem to fly by and the to-do list doesn’t seem to end. These dance parties with my sweet boy allow me the chance to enjoy the moment. My husband and I, who both severely lack rhythm, stop whatever we’re doing and dance along with him. For a few minutes, the world around us pauses and we succumb to the vibes of the music that plays. It’s our own little dance party – and I love every minute.

When was the last time you danced, just because?

What is your purpose?

Today has me thinking about purpose. After deciding that nursing school wasn’t for me, I had a moment of panic because I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. That panic quickly faded when I remembered who I am.

I am a writer. I love to write. I find it to be an outlet, a way to organize my thoughts. It’s an opportunity to express myself in a way that I can’t verbally; a way to take a deep look into myself and let a little of me out into the world.

After graduating from college, I stopped writing. I’m not entirely sure why. At first I needed a year off – a break from the stress of working full time and going to school. That year passed quickly and I committed to myself that I would start writing the following year and start fresh. That year quickly passed, as did several others. I had so many excuses not to write.

I filled my time with books. Lots and lots and lots of books. One of my dear friends and I even shared our love for books in our own little book club, where we would read along together and discuss over wine and laughter.

In the back of my head, and in every story I read, I yearned to start writing again. I still found excuses. I don’t have anything to say. I have too much to say. I don’t know how to start. What if nobody likes what I write?

Everything about it was daunting. And yet everything inside of me told me that it was what I needed to do.

The day that I was diagnosed, when we returned home and the news settled in a bit more, I looked at my husband.

“Not to make light of this, but if there was ever a silver lining to be seen…I’m going to write. About this. About everything.” I don’t think he could have been happier to hear that.

I felt the same way. And so it began.

So, I ask you today, what is your purpose? What is on your mind or in your soul that you yearn to do and just need to take that step?