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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Strands of Strength Video

I will do anything to promote this great group of people. It is October...breast cancer awareness month. The reason we all see pink in October is because someone went through this terrible experience called breast cancer and said "how can this be done better?" How can the doctor visits, the recovery, the chemo treatments, and every other thing about this mess be made better?

Over the years money has been raised and the treatments have gotten better, the time spent at home verses the time in the hospital while going through chemo has gotten less, and the people that hold you up as you walk (or some days crawl) through it have given of themselves even in their own choosing of their profession in ways that can not be described by words.

As I watch this video again, I hear these stories and I rehash our own. Cancer takes so much from a person, from a family. I have struggled, been struggling over the past few months trying to figure out what normal is now. Mostly with a body that just doesn't do what it used to do. I have not felt like writing. I hate that.

Yesterday I got a link to our video that was done for the Strands of Strength fall fundraising lunch. I wanted to share it with all of you. I would not have imagined with all of the lights and awkwardness of being in front of the camera that the video guys would put it together so well.

The reason that you may not see as many people walking around looking like sick chemo patients is because of this group of people who saw a need and have worked tirelessly to help those who lose their hair to cancer treatments. You can't really imagine losing your hair until you do. Trust me, I thought about it all last July and August knowing that in September it would be gone but yet, I had no way of imagining what it felt like to look in the mirror and see every single time what cancer had taken from me.

Thank you Strands of Strength for helping me to be able to leave that all in the bathroom mirror. Thank you that I could walk out of my bathroom and live the most normal life possible each day. It really has been such a blessing to us all!

Monday, September 4, 2017

You'll Find Me in the Kitchen

I wasn't expecting that a week full of canning tomatoes and cucumbers would bring me to the places in my mind that I went this past week. Not realizing how activities or events can bring on memories, I jumped into my tomato canning as always, excited to put away goodies for my family to use all through the year.

It was the crazy busy canning week last summer when my hair was falling out. As the first batch was processing this year, I remembered how I sat on the computer in my kitchen a year ago and summed up the event along with all of the emotions that go along with losing my hair.

Funny how in the morning on Saturday, I grabbed what is left of my scarves, the denim blue colored one, and threw it on over my short hair for canning day. It will probably be my canning day headwear for years to come just because it is a memory that makes me thankful. It was my favorite one of the scarves because when I put it on, it stayed in one place and I never had to think about it. That is what you need, not only when you have lost all of your hair, but it is also nice to have on canning days.

Matthew and I started with the cucumbers. Many of them were way too big and I hate to waste things. So we cut them up and tasted a bit of each one and when they weren't bitter, I just seeded the big ones and sliced them into spears. We did seven quarts like that.

I did sweet relish in pints. I love my sweet relish recipe. It is great in tuna, egg or chicken salad, potato salad and a few other things. The cucumbers that were not "spear friendly" got processed and made part of that big pot of relish. When that was done, there were 13 pints and 7 half pints.

As I wrote about above, Saturday was tomatoes. 11 quarts of salsa in the morning and 12 quarts of spaghetti sauce in the evening. Of course there was harvesting on Saturday too, so I had a new big basket of cucumbers and more tomatoes. I love doing this for my family and so thankful that I can!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Ode to Marissa

And so it was years ago, on a trip home from Iowa to Georgia when we got the call. We were only half way home, stopping over at my sister's house in Kentucky. Marissa Mae had come, only hours after we had left. With my sister and her husband we had actually stayed a day longer in Iowa on our winter visit in hopes that we would be around to welcome her in person. But, work schedules and her schedule didn't allow for that.

So many years, so many memories and Marissa is off to college. What can I say about my very first niece that can describe the way the world is different with her in it. At least our world, those she knows and those who love her. I can say I am thankful for her energy and excitement and I know that wherever she goes will be a better place because she is there. She set the bar pretty high as nieces go.

I have some fun memories that make me smile when I think about Marissa.
Sharing balloons with Stacey
Getting to know her new little cousin Dawn
Some snuggling on a visit north
Building a foundation for a great relationship with
And why not a big hug?

Telling her daddy all about her birthday
party! (This is my very favorite picture!)

Buddies at church
Taking a nap at Auntie Jody and Uncle Dave's
house in Georgia
And most recently...a May graduation party.
As we grown ups experience time flying by faster and faster each year I realized while we were celebrating with Marissa the night of her party that she is number two of the next Bushlack generation to leave the nest. Jake started it all but two years flew by to get us here and Marissa's send off.

Once again we gathered and wrote our well wishes and prayers for her as she left for college last week. I see a whole group of kids growing much faster than we grown ups want them to. This will happen now every couple years for many more to come with nieces, nephews and a few of our own sprinkled in. Some years more than one, or more than two at a time. As I was going through old pictures it was just like yesterday.

I also realized something when I got home from the party in May...I had been too busy to stop and pick up some of her graduation pictures. Hopefully she still has a few to share! I know that she will succeed at anything she puts her heart into and I can't wait to see what the future holds for this beautiful young lady. I am blessed to be her auntie.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

To the Ballgame

Thanks to Aiming For a Cure, we got to spend last Sunday afternoon at the ballpark. It was a beautiful day for a ballgame!

Cheering on the Kernels! (Looks like I need a cool
pair of sunglasses)
The Party Plaza, all the food and drinks they can eat!

Some enjoyed the shade of the party plaza!

What a bunch of goofs!

I finally got Zachary to join us in the bleachers

Kernels win!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Broken In With 10,000 Steps

I am doing my best to be active and to start exercising more as my doctor says. I was able to report yesterday at my appointment that I have indeed exercised. I have been able to get out and walk and ride my bike and get on my elliptical. I even had a couple days last week where my phone step-counter read 10,000 or a little more.

Problem was, my shins hurt. Bad. I got a blister on each foot the first day I was out. But...look at this beautiful trail. I never knew where they went but I have had the chance to go down each turn and get acquainted with the middle green areas of my city.

David and I decided that after six or so years of wearing the same tennis shoes we should actually invest in some good shoes once again. So, since Famous Footwear is doing their BOGO sale as they so conveniently do before school starts, we left in pairs David / I and Ryan / Matt. So four of us so far have new shoes. I got $10 off in the sale and another $5 of rewards.

So, even though my 6:30 a.m. goal of getting up to walk usually turns out to be more like 7:15 a.m., I got up and put on my new shoes. LOVE THEM! Grey camo with hot pink trim is fun and the support while I walked was great. No sore shins and no blisters!

I love to walk on the trail with the only problem being that the tiny pieces of gravel get into my shoe. But, if I wear thicker socks, I don't notice it so much. I get to put in my ear buds and listen to my podcasts I am so hopelessly behind in.

I am not big into how many steps I have walked in a day, my goal is to just get out into the beauty of God's earth and walk. I love my new shoes and think that I picked them out well.

Although this isn't helping the number on the scale at all, it is doing a world of good to my soul. The path was pretty quiet this morning. I did meet Ryan and the cross country guys on my way back doing their Thursday run. And I saw my elementary P.E. teacher out on his morning walk as well. There were a couple of bikers but other than that it was peaceful and quiet on my walk. I am thankful for the things I have learned in the last year. I think back a year ago when I was recovering from surgery and looking ahead to when I would be starting chemo.

The Lord has taken our family on quite a journey this year. I have loved the feeling of my muscles working in ways they haven't in a long time as I take my steps along the path. It was a great morning breaking in new shoes. After the first 10,000 steps I am excited for all the rest of the steps I will take in them.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

I Can't Drive 55 (Apparently)

I am here today to announce that the experiment is finished. I am done, no longer am I going to stick to my normal safe (but a little too fast) driving habits. The experiment goes like this...

Jody drives a navy blue mini van for 13 years              =          NO speeding tickets
Jody drives a red mini van for 8 months                       =           TWO speeding tickets
(driving all the same places in the same town and down the same roads)

I think that I need to trade in my red van for a "blend in" blue or brown or gray. Yes, you guessed it, last week I drove into another speed trap. It is usually in a place where I am coming down a hill decelerating but not fast enough to stay in the range between the speed limit signs that progressively land at 25 mph or a stop light.

Zachary and a scout friend were with me and we were coming back from Wakonda where they had finished up their archery merit badges. We were talking about the shooting and how hot it was, and other things that 10-11 yr old boys talk about.

"Do you know why I stopped you M'am?"
"Well, I must not have been slowing down fast enough".
"Where are you heading?"
"We are coming back from scout camp where the boys earned their first merit badge"
"Can I have your license and registration?"

Then he went back to the car and printed me out my 12 mph over the speed limit because he clocked me right where the 55 mph turned into 50. There were three other vehicles around me as we came over that hill, two in front of me in each lane and one out my back driver's side window. None of them were red. Hmmm. Just a little food for thought.

I have resorted to using my cruise control all over town. Sign says 35, I will set my cruise for 35. Do you know how many people I tick off as they speed around me to get past? You should see their angry faces. I can only say that I have a red van and will observe the speed limit signs to the best of my ability from now on.

The officer came back to me and handed all the stuff into the window.

"Drive safe now"
NOD...(thinking in my head: Drive safe? I was driving safe, just 12 miles over.) Sigh