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A New Beginning

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A New Beginning

I was able to get away to the beach with some friends for a few days this week. We went there to take some steps away from everyday life and re-center ourselves for the New Year. It was quite helpful. We spent quite a bit of time talking and walking on the beach. The weather was perfect; I like the beach when it is cooler, not when it is hot. Who would have thought that we would have such lovely weather at the beginning of January!

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was watching the sunset. How beautiful it was. As I watched it go down I had thought, “There has to be an end for there to be a new beginning.” Take some time, even if it is a 'staycation', and think about your new beginning. What needs to go down and set like the sun so that you can have a new start? Consider the beauty of that end and brightness of a new beginning. Hope you enjoy these pictures of the sun setting over the beach.

By the way, I promised to tell you which journal I selected for 2019. It is the black leather one with the tree on the front. (It, of course, went with me to the beach.)

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Bryon, the Story Continues

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Bryon, the Story Continues

I wrote some earlier blogs about Bryon, our son, but to catch you up this is a recap of the story.

Bryon moved from North Carolina to California in the spring of 2015. In November 2015 Bryon was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He had surgery in early December and was told that they had gotten it all and he would be fine. Life went on as normal for 2 years. Then in January of this year, he ended up in the emergency room with an excruciating gut ache and discovered that some rogue cells had made their way to his gut and had set up camp. It was aggressive and had grown to an inoperable size. Chemo began in February (check out my past blogs on that if you want to know more) and miserable just doesn’t do justice to describing it. Bryon held strong through it all!! I went to be with him through chemo in February. Then our youngest daughter, Carmen, went out for his 2nd round. Genette, our oldest daughter, went for his 3rd, and Steven, my husband for the 4th. 

Bryon’s girlfriend, Amber, could not have been more amazing and supportive through it all. Amber’s family stepped in and truly became part of our family by being a support system for our son. His friends and roommates in California also loved him through the chemo and the challenges it brought. Genette set up an online fundraiser and people from all over the country donated to help our boy with medical expenses. Many had never met Bryon and frankly, were only acquaintances to us. My storytelling friends, people from high school I’d not spoken to within 40 years, his friend's parents, my children’s friends all stepped in to help him pay for parking, copays, uber rides, food. The donations helped him through. ( Just an FYI, I sat down and figured out, in one-day cancer was costing roughly an additional $100 a day for Bryon. That does not include the airfare and expenses of the family traveling there. I never thought about that until it happened to our family.) My sister Kay, her daughter Samantha, and Genette put money and time into making #TeamBryon tee shirts for the family.  Emotional support and prayers were just as important as the financial help. People looked for updates I posted on Facebook and asked how he was doing. Many gave supportive nods and words of, “You’ve got this, Bryon”, “Hang in there”, “Praying for you”, “Thinking about you”. 

Chemo ended and Bryon began to grow his beard back, he pushed on through the fatigue, neuropathy, nausea, medication, expenses, and everything else that goes along with cancer. We waited for the chemo to pass out of his system for weeks so he could have a PET scan to determine the status of the tumor. His doctor went out of town so we waited longer.  Then we got the news … BRYON IS IN REMISSION!!! There are currently no active cancer cells in his body. Our son can now concentrate on healing. The neuropathy is tough (and his truck is falling apart) BUT he has a hope and a future.

Thank you all for your love, prayers, donations, kind words, hugs, well wishes, cards, care packages and so much more. Oh, my, gosh!!! How can I thank all of you for what you have done on behalf of my son and our family? You have blessed us beyond measure!

And so, the story continues.

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Look Up, And See Where You Are Going

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Look Up, And See Where You Are Going

My husband, Steven, and I walked around Freedom Park this past weekend. It was a beautiful day, and not too hot, perfect to get outside and enjoy a walk. When we arrived at the park, we noticed a fairly large amount of people, many were in small groups and were all staring at their phones. We soon discovered that they were not the only ones staring at their phones. Screen watchers were all over the park. It seemed they might be playing some kind of game. As Steven and I walked along the walkway, we found ourselves having to dodge some of the screen watchers. We became quite agile at weaving around them, but finally, we left the walkway and strolled along in the grass. 

We took a couple of pictures and started a short conversation with a gentleman named King, who was sitting on a blanket reading a book. He was a very interesting man; he emigrated from China when he was very young and spoke with a New York City accent. I so enjoyed learning his story. We also shared some of our story with him. We said our goodbyes and began to dodge the screen watchers again as we made our way back to the car. 

Steven and I were quiet as we climbed into our van and started the air conditioning. As we sat waiting for the cool air to come, we began to comment to each other on our park adventure. Together we decided that it was a commentary on today’s society. A beautiful day in the park, but it seemed that 85% of the people there hardly looked up to see where they were going. Although Steven and I made a very conscious effort to keep our smartphones in our pockets, I admit I checked mine once for the time and once to see how many steps my Fitbit was registering (I have a daily step goal, and I wanted to meet it before we left the park).  I took this experience to heart. Technology is amazing and in today’s world necessary, but for myself, I am going to make even more of a conscious effort to look up and see where I am going. I don’t want to miss seeing something beautiful, meeting a new friend, or hearing a really great story. 

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