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My new haircut

Friday, October 14, 2011

Yesterday I got my hair cut. It was symbolic of a new me. My life has changed significantly and I want to embrace the changes positively since it's something I had no control over. I do have control over what I do going forward.

One year ago, when Janet was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I started growing my hair out in order to donate it. It seemed like a small thing but yet I wanted to do something to help someone who lost their hair from chemo. During the following 12 months, there were SO many times I wanted to give up on it. I hung in there and mostly just threw my hair into a ponytail or bun when it got so long I couldn't style it properly. I kept telling myself, "don't quit".

I should have done more research ahead of time. I looked into Locks of Love and found out later that they only make wigs for children. Pantene Beautiful Lengths makes wigs specifically for adult women with cancer; however, they don't accept hair that has been permanently dyed. Locks of Love does accept colored hair and their only requirement is a minimum of 10 inches. I was happy when the ponytail that was cut measured exactly 10 inches. I mailed it out today to Locks of Love and feel satisfied that my donation will make a child feel better about themself.

Here's the before:

Here's the after:

(All my emotional stress of last week manifested itself in a giant cold sore!! I'm afraid it also came with soothing myself with food - I need to grieve fully and put an end to using food to numb my feelings. I will work hard at that.)

Haha, not so pretty after Zumba! Here's my new haircut after my workout last night:

The ladies made a big fuss when I walked in the door - one of them said I looked 10 years younger - YEAH!

By the way, I am coping okay and getting on with healing after my sister's passing. I go through waves of sadness. I talk to Janet constantly! I've had to go to her house twice this week to help her husband go through her things. That was more difficult than I can express.

Honestly, I feel as though the past 12 months of uncertainty and watching her suffer and struggle off and on were the most difficult. My faith has comforted me to know that Janet is now in a beautifully serene and peaceful place, free of pain. I miss her laughter, her smile, her voice, her hugs, her support, and all of the many things we always did together. There is a huge void that I need to find a way to fill. But I also feel amazingly peaceful inside in knowing that she has never really left. She lives in my heart and in my mind. All our memories are alive. I have an angel and I know she is still looking out for me and loving me dearly.

These are the flowers I had sent to the funeral home, and her husband told me to take them home - they're sitting on my coffee table now and later on I'm going to have a silk/dried floral arrangement made for the basket:

They say time heals all wounds. I will keep going.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEALTHY4ME 10/14/2011 8:26PM

    Oh I love ytour hair and yes it suits you better, what a great expression of love to do that I am glad it will go to good use.
And yes you do have a special angel watching over you. I feel that with mum, I think she is watching us and always think she is watching Thomas who was born after she died. Eva will soon be making her appearance too! If dil doesnt go early she will have c section on halloween but they are thinking earlier.
Glad you are doing pretty well, there will be days for long while but yes it does get easier.

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REBELBLITZ 10/14/2011 7:53PM

    Your hairstyle is great! Thanks for sharing with Locks of Love.

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FRUITYCHERRY 10/14/2011 7:09PM

    Love your new do!!!! You are a beauty.

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WILD4STARS 10/14/2011 5:42PM

    Great new look. You are a fabulous woman on an amazing path! Namaste!

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LIV2RIDE 10/14/2011 4:27PM

    emoticon Love the new cut! It looks great on you. And it works well with Zumba. I'm glad you are still being active through your grief. emoticon

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LIFEWALK 10/14/2011 4:16PM

    emoticoni love the fresh glistening looks we get from things like Zumba! Darling haircut, btw, and thanks for the blog, I am glad 2 c u taking active steps :) I know it will be hard at times, grieving always is... you are in my thoughts (hugs :)

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TRICOTINE 10/14/2011 4:16PM

    Great new hairdo! emoticon

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MAZZYR 10/14/2011 3:53PM

    Great haircut!

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MORERED 10/14/2011 3:49PM

    what a positive way to start the next chapter. you deserve to treat yourself and so glad that you did. enjoy the new you and we'll be here to help you get thru the next phase!!

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ANNISSAT 10/14/2011 3:34PM


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thanks for the thoughts, prayers, and just being who you are

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Where I've been the last several days

Where I am headed

Your comments have lifted me up so much in regard to my sister's passing.

It's been sunny and beautiful ever since Wednesday, the day of her calling hours. The funeral service on Thursday was peaceful and uplifting. Another sunny day with the blueist of skies. We had a frost on Thrusday a.m., so the leaves are turning into brilliant colors. I can't help but think Janet ordered this for me because she knows how much the sunshine lifts my spirits and how fall is my favorite season of the year. She doesn't want me to be sad. She wants me to rise up and make my life meaningful and happy. And that is just what I plan to do to honor her memory and keep her with me always.

Blessings to you all.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIFEWALK 10/8/2011 9:49PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticonsounds lovely, I am glad you can find the beauty, seems to have been part of her outlook that goes on... (hugs) j

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LIV2RIDE 10/8/2011 8:32PM

    I find the changing leaves bring me peace. I hope they do the same for you. You are in my thoughts.

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HEALTHY4ME 10/8/2011 6:05PM

    OH hugs Mary.... so happy that you know that Janet would want you to "grieve happily" if you understand that! HUGS and onward you go.

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SHANTISHANTI 10/8/2011 5:49PM

    A day at a time Mary. My thoughts are with you today. Namaste, Mary Ann

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REBELBLITZ 10/8/2011 2:32PM

    Thinking of you and your family.

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MAZZYR 10/8/2011 2:10PM


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WILD4STARS 10/8/2011 1:12PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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A tribute to my sister Janet

Monday, October 03, 2011

Janet fought a hard battle with pancreatic cancer. She was diagnosed the end of Sept. 2010 and passed away last Sunday October 2, 2011 at 4 a.m. She died peacefully, with her husband and her son by her side.

She dealt with her illness with bravery, dignity and grace. She was so much more than a sister to me and my whole world has changed. She will always be alive in my heart. I love her so much and will miss her sweet smile and gentle laughter all the rest of the days of my life.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SERVINGTHRUPT 8/20/2012 4:25PM

    Mary - thanks for sharing such a beautiful tribute to your sister. I can't imagine the pain you must feel after losing such a dear friend, and someone you love so much. As I've said before, and I'll say again, I pray you find your tears of loss and pain slowly replaced by smiles of all the fond memories with your sister.

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SHEILA8383 10/8/2011 11:10PM

    What a lovely tribute to your sister. My heart goes out to you and your family at this time.

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SHANTISHANTI 10/7/2011 3:13PM

    Mary, I am so sorry for the loss of your sister. You created a beautiful tribute to her life and your love and friendship. She will always be with you in spirit. I will pray for your sadness to be lifted and for peace for the rest of Janet's family. Namaste,
Mary Ann

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BRENDABUNNY 10/4/2011 4:11PM

    emoticon My heart goes out to you and your family and this is a beautiful tribute emoticon

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SUNNYH99 10/4/2011 1:49PM

    Mary, I am so saddened to hear of your sister's passing from this life into the next part of her journey. The video and the music you put with it are a lovely and touching tribute to your love for Janet. My deepest condolences, friend, and know you aren't alone.

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LIV2RIDE 10/4/2011 11:31AM

    What a lovely tribute to your sister. I pray for peace for you and your family.

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HEALTHY4ME 10/4/2011 7:40AM

    Tears of sadness for your family, tears of joy for all the beautiful pictures and memories you will have. HUGS Mary, I feel as if I got to know a bit of your sister Janet this last while. I wish you all peace and love while you grieve and then memories and smiles as you travel the rest of your journeys.

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MAZZYR 10/4/2011 5:38AM


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CHLOE453 10/4/2011 5:19AM

    What an absolutely beautiful tribute to your sister!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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REBELBLITZ 10/3/2011 10:44PM

    This is a lovely tribute to your precious sister. May her soul rest in Peace. Thanks for sharing your memories of her with us.


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EGR2BEME 10/3/2011 9:48PM

    A beautiful and touching tribute...with deepest sympathy for your loss.

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EGR2BEME 10/3/2011 9:48PM

    A beautiful and touching tribute...with deepest sympathy for your loss.

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WILD4STARS 10/3/2011 9:41PM

    emoticonWords escape me. You're in my heart and in my prayers.

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LIFEWALK 10/3/2011 9:11PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LITTLEKIM4 10/3/2011 8:53PM

    I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost my mom to pancreatic cancer this year. She was diagnosed April 15 and died May 2.

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Update on me and thoughts on why I'm where I am

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I haven't been using the site much lately. I haven't made dropping weight a priority and that's the honest truth. The good news is that I've been maintaining for the last 2 months. The bad news is that I'm maintaining at 190. I'm not sure what it'll take for me to get my mojo back. I know I haven't given up.

The biggest positive, and the thing that I believe has kept me from gaining, is my decision to try out the Zumba classes held in my town. I've been curious about it for some time. I wasn't sure if someone as heavy and I am could do such an intense workout.

One Tuesday afternoon I just make a choice. I walked over to the fitness center (5 minutes away) and just showed up. All by myself. I didn't know a soul there or what to expect and I have to tell you I was scared and nervous! I was lost a lot of the time while everyone around me seemed to know the steps. It started at 7 pm and goes for an hour. I felt exhausted and looked at the clock....7:15!! OMG how will I make it to 8:00! I thought I'd better pace myself and didn't do all of the high impact jumping. At 5 to 8 when the cool down music started, I was relieved. Drenched insweat, I felt great. And I felt proud. I did it! I felt the fear and did it anyway.

After the class, my instructor commented on how brave I was because rarely does someone come the first time alone. And she said that she loved looking back at me because I was smiling the whole time. I'm hooked now and there's no turning back.

I'm lucky that I have always loved exercise. I've never been athletic or sports-minded, but I always did calesthentics, aerobics, and walking throughout most of my life. I love music also, and listening to my ipod is one of the main motivators for me when I go out walking. The Zumba music is fantastic! One of the first things I did was search for all the songs on iTunes and download them on my ipod. Now I walk to them too and probably look like a fool because I'm walking with extra spring in my step and a lot more swagger! I smile the entire time I'm walking too.

Exercise is the easy part for me. I don't have to force myself to do it. I even look forward to it. One of the most important lessons I learned in life is how to tune into the flow. If I have to push too hard, or if something feels extremely difficult to me, I'm going against the flow and headed in the wrong direction. When it's right, it feels easy and things gentle fall into place.

For me, dieting and measuring out my food and counting calories-points-fat grams-etc. has never felt good. I've pushed myself to do it numerous times and have succeeded in losing weight numerous times. Yet, here I am still overweight. I'd kid myself into thinking "this time I'm making a lifestyle change" while all the time doubting I could keep it up forever. There's something wrong with this picture.

Each and every time I dropped weight, there was one single factor that I attribute to me success: my mental attitude. I always felt like I would succeed and nothing was going to stand in my way. I felt positive and proud about the changes I was making. As the weight started to drop, those feelings increased to the point that food did not control me anymore. I wasn't even tempted to overeat and it became easy.

So why am I still overweight? Because always there was something in my life that changed my mental attitude. It was either job stress, relationship problems, major changes in my life, different kinds of emotional turmoil. Once I gave into emotional eating, it started a downward spiral that I felt powerless to control.

As I contemplate my past history, it's clear to me that I haven't dealt with the mental side enough. The link between comfort and food needs to be broken before I can ever begin to hope that the yo-yo cycle will end for good. There's nothing wrong with enjoying food; in fact, I believe that being mindful enough to enjoy good food helps me to eat less overall. The problem with emotional overeating is that I don't actually taste the food. It's merely a means to numb out. If I would pause and stop to think about it....really think about it...I would possibly realize that the food won't make me feel better. I'll feel even lousier after I've eaten it. No amount of food can ever fill the void. My biggest problem is that I don't usually stop to think about the consequences. I go into automatic mode and it's too late when I feel guilty afterwards. That's when I vow to never do that again....until the next time.

This coming Saturday, October 1, it will be one year since I got the call from my sister that she had jaundice and had to go to the hospital for a CAT scan. That day changed my life. I've learned a lot about myself this past year. Through many days of failing to cope, I learned how to cope. Emotionally, I feel as though I've been repeatedly been dragged across a mountainside of jagged rocks. They gave Janet 6-9 months and it's been 12. She's been through so much and her will to live has remained strong. But lately she's been suffering. I can see it in her eyes that she's growing tired of all of it. She's back in the hospital this week. I have had to learn how to detach myself somewhat and not absorb all of the pain and suffering onto myself. All I can do is pray for her and release it. This past year has blessed us with many precious moments together and has given me time to process the whole idea that I am losing my sister. I know and accept that we may not have years ahead, and even the time we now have is oh so different than it used to be. I've already grieved over the loss of things we used to do together. My heart is broken into so many pieces and it'll take a while to put them back together again. So I'm giving myself a break on the weightloss front. If I can stay active, do the best I can with eating, and keep at least maintaining; well, that's all I can ask of myself right now.

Dieting will never be on the agenda for me again. Pushing hard and forcing myself to do something that doesn't feel right is no longer an option. I will continue to flood my mind with positive thoughts and images. When the time is right, it's all going to fall into place. Easily. Gently. Permanently. This, I know.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHERLYN-WILL 10/2/2011 11:15AM

    I saw your status this morning... about your sister passing! I am thinking of you ... PRAYING for comfort/peace/ and healing of your heart.... You and your sister shared a more precious bond then I have ever seen between 2 sisters... I have followed along as you have shared the ups and downs of this last yr.

God rest her soul... and what a lovely soul/spirit she was!


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LIV2RIDE 9/29/2011 9:53AM

    Sounds like you are on the right path to me. Keeping up with the exercise is a great stress reliever as well as good for your weightloss efforts. Keep it up and the rest will come. I find that I eat emotionally as well. I've started using carrots again just like when I stopped smoking. So it's carrots, celery, sugar snap peas, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower etc. If I'm filling up on fresh raw veggies and not chips, pretzels and crackers I don't feel so bad.

You and your sister will be in my prayers. It's times like these that make you appreciate the time you do have and not take each other or every day for granted. I'm going to take that lesson as well and enjoy this weekend with my sisters. My youngest sister and I are not very close at all anymore. I need to rectify that but I just don't know how. I guess it just takes one person to reach out and make an effort.

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LIFEWALK 9/28/2011 8:40PM

    emoticonand so you shall...

(hugs hugs hugs)

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55WALKER 9/28/2011 6:12PM

    Good to hear from you.

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HEALTHY4ME 9/28/2011 5:33PM

    Aesome!! glad you are enjoying Zumba, not for me with my bad knees or back. But I am loving yoga, I too walked in alone but I don't have nervous feelings not when it is something I am doing on my own, now I would never join a team thing. Yoga is really helping me to slow down, be very more mindful and also the physical stuff. I am taking seniors yoga ( yes that did give me a bit of a nervous feeling cos not near a senior but there are one or two my age, joined cos it said for people that can't get up and down well. So why not. I also go to back care every wed eve LOVE it! and Sunday at 10 Awesome Meditation yoga last time was my first time and omg I loved it.
Mary a book that the yoga teacher read to us from is so good. I know you would love to read it, and maybe your sister too. It is for families patients ect of cancer people. But is also for anyone that has chronic pain or wants to learn to be mindful.
Healing Circle by Dr Rob Rutledge and Timothy Walker
I borrowed it from the library after doing the meditation she did with us. And even though I don't have cancer ( still positive that my breast will be fine in March when I get checked again) I am learning so much about myself and how diff. people react. I so hpoe you look for it, a fantastic read.
HUGS girl and you know that if you eat well, and move you should be able to maintain. I think of you and Janet often and hope she is not in pain.
HUGS again. and hey do yourself a favor and look for the book!

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MAZZYR 9/28/2011 2:19PM

    Oh Mary, you are doing wonderful. Maintaining is a huge accomplishment. WTG! Zumba sounds like fun and is a fantastic way to add exercise to your routine. You have been making very healthy lifestyle changes.

I've discovered a certain joy in learning about what foods or meals work for me. A healthy way of eating can be challenging but it can also be fun. Lol, of course this is coming from a foodie.

You and your sister are always in my thoughts with love.

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There's always a rainbow after the storm

Monday, September 12, 2011

Things are finally back to normal! It's a beautiful sunny day today and it's hard to imagine things were so bad last Thursday a.m. after the torrential rains all day Wednesday and throughout the night.

After 3 days of pumping, all of the water is finally out of the cellar. We had lots of help from family on Sunday and the cellar is now all cleaned up, the wood all restacked, and most everything in place. It gave us a chance to really hoe out and clean up - not the way we would have wanted it to happen, but at least it's done and now the cellar looks even better than before.

This is what our cellar looked like on Friday, 9-9. (the water had receded somewhat - notice the water line on the wall)

DH's power drill is toast!

Our upright freezer was tipped over by the water and we lost a ton of meat and frozen food.

I'm standing on the 1st step, and on 9-8 the water was up to the 4th step.

All's well that ends well. Before pics were taken Thursday morning 9-8 and after pics taken Sunday 9-11.

wood in the cellar before

wood now all nicely stacked again!

back yard before


perrenial garden before

much better!

even amidst all the mud, my roses are blooming!

our pond before

back to normal

our furnace sitting in water

fan drying out the furnace

There are so many people and local businesses that were affected so much worse than we were. I pray that they will be able to recover soon.

No matter what the tragedy, we always rebound, rebuild, and continue on. I was touched to tears watching the remembrances of 9-11-2001. The sorrow never completely goes away, but there is always hope for a brighter tomorrow. There's always a rainbow after a storm.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIFEWALK 9/16/2011 1:20PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticonWow Mary! I can't believe how well everything looks, I anticipated sludge & more sludge! Whew! I'm glad you will be ok there! & our hearts & prayers for those who were devastated... the rebuilding does take time & linger on long after...

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55WALKER 9/12/2011 4:39PM


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COMPASS_ROSE 9/12/2011 3:46PM

    Wow, you sure have had your hands full. It looks like you guys did a really great job of the clean up. I bet everyone is glad things are getting back to normal. Hopefully, no more storms this year!


P.S. The rainbow picture is beautiful! emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/12/2011 3:47:55 PM

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LIV2RIDE 9/12/2011 3:41PM

    So thankful you were able to get things restored. The power of friends and family is truly amazing.

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HEALTHY4ME 9/12/2011 1:03PM

    Glad that all is well. sorry you lost your freezer contents but as you say could be a lot worse. Take care and enjoy the days now.

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WILD4STARS 9/12/2011 12:09PM

    So thankful you were able to rebound so quickly.

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MAZZYR 9/12/2011 11:19AM

    Oh Mary, I'm so happy the clean up and mess is behind you.


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