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Strength

— Life —

Pixnio Free Images
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The day after Christmas it will be eight years since James went for a walk and died, unexpectedly, of cardiac arrest. He was the glue that held our family together, and his death was devastating for all who loved him. A few weeks before he died his son dropped out of law school and was hoping Dad would “fix things.” Instead of healing and fixing, there were “instances of regret” that Christmas. In an attempt to make sure he’d never run the risk of hearing what Dad thought of him, I believe his son cut me out of his life. 

I haven’t heard from him since. 

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— Life —

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I just picked up a copy of Magnolia Journal, Chip and Joanna Gaines’s magazine, because I loved the title of the cover story, “The Thrill of Hope.” The subtitle of the article, ‘Choosing to live in hopeful expectation’ is pretty much my definition of optimism and a positive attitude. But look at that subtitle, again, if you will…

Optimism is a choice.

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— Life —

ME IN MY WIG, THE WEEK AFTER MY LAST CHEMO, APRIL, 2005.
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This week I had my annual mammogram. Unlike past years I wasn’t worried, but as we all know… Mammograms can change our world in the time it takes to “Inhale. Hold it. Don’t breath.” I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, and I’m an expert at reading every nuance in the voice and face of a mammogram technician.

This year my mammogram threw me a curveball.

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— Life —

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If you’re like me you know certain foods aren’t good for you, but you eat them anyway… Why is that? Why do I eat cheese enchiladas when I know they’re going to plug me up for a week? Why is it sometimes so difficult to do what’s in my own best interest? Here’s another one I struggle with…

Why is it so hard for me to get motivated and take my significantly thinning bones for a walk? 

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— Life —

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Somewhere I read we look seven years younger when we view ourselves in our own mirror. I think that’s true. The mirrors and the lighting in my bathroom make me believe I’m holding my own. Then I see my reflection in a store window, and I’m shocked to see my mother staring back at me. Mind you, I’m not bothered enough to have Botox, fillers or surgery, but aging is hard. 

And don’t tell me there are more important things to think about, because I think about them as well.

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— Life —

Jadon Olsen and his friends before Hurricane Florence.
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Thursday I posted Brenda’s Blog two days early because I wanted your help for the son of a friend of mine. I asked you to pray for Jadon Olsen. I believe what you’re about to read is a testament to the power of prayer. For the last six days, Jadon was critically injured, unconscious with a breathing tube. Thursday they removed his breathing tube, and he began breathing on his own.

Friday, Jadon sat up on the edge of his bed.

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— Life —

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The death toll from Hurricane Florence has risen to over 30 people. While I don’t know any of those who died, I do know the mother of a critically injured 17-year-old young man, Jadon Olsen. On September 14th, Jadon and his father Billy, a pastor at St. Luke United Methodist Church in Laurinburg, North Carolina, stopped to move a tree limb out of the road so other cars could safely pass when two other tree limbs fell and hit them both in the head. Billy needed 12 staples in his head. Jadon suffered a fractured skull and a brain bleed. He had a three-hour surgery to stop the bleeding and relieve pressure on his brain and has been in critical condition, on a ventilator, for the last six days.

Just getting Jadon through the driving rains and winds of Hurricane Florence—and keeping him alive—was considered a miracle. 

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— Life —

BRENDA COFFEE, AGE 24, AS A JOURNALIST, FLYING IN AN AIR FORCE FIGHTER JET. ©1010ParkPlace, 2018.
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This week an email in my inbox was titled, “3 Ways I’ve Improved My Aging Skin.” The copy went on to say, “Now that I’m officially in my mid-30s… I’ve been focusing on ways to feel more confident about my skin and bring youth back into it.“ Seriously? You’re calling that your aging skin? I’m in my late 60’s and gravity’s been right beside me—unaided—but I’m thinking I look good for all I’ve endured. What’s more… I’m happy to still be standing.

Who are these young women who are obsessed with eating “water-heavy foods” and being the “right bottle away from perfect skin?” 

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— Life —

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When depression, grief or fears about a medical problem swoops down and swallows us whole—mind, body and soul—it’s sometimes impossible to put one foot in front of the other. For much of the last eight years, depression made me feel like I was falling from a thousand-story building, but Guided Imagery and the sound of Belleruth Naparstek’s voice slowed my fall. It’s allowed me to gather myself together, again, and find my way. 

Last week I spoke with Belleruth Naparstek, a pioneer of Guided Imagery, and she’s everything… and more… I’d hoped.

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— Life —

Depression by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 ImageCreator
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Most of us have experienced depression from time to time, but did you know the worst thing we can do about it is to do nothing? If you’re like me, perhaps you’ve had situational depression that resolved itself when the circumstances that caused it were resolved. Or like me, if you’ve also had a longer, more severe depression that blankets you in a dark shroud, you may decide that like your less severe depression this, too, shall pass. But what if it doesn’t? I don’t know if this is a medical term, but sometimes I’ve thought of myself as functionally depressed. 

In other words I show up for life and get my “to do” lists accomplished, but it can be a struggle. 

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