Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Last Time I Laughed Really Hard...

was while we were in Vegas. We got together for drinks before the show and dinner. I don't even remember what we were laughing at, I just remember laughing a lot!!!

Speaking of Vegas, I will try to post some pics and layouts from that trip. Of course, I still need to scrap my family reunion vacation!

Friday, September 21, 2007

My Reason for Changing My Lifestyle

1) My knees - my knees hurt all the time and one of them shouldn't since it's a "robot" knee.
2) My niece - I want to be around for Audrey and I want to be active with her and for her not to ever be ashamed of Aunt Maggie.
3) My health - Cancer runs in my family and being overweight is a known correlation.
4) To feel better - I don't have the stamina and endurance I should.
5) To buy clothes that fit and are from the Ladies section (not Womens)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I Look Up To ______________ Because...

This is an easy prompt.

I look up to my baby sister Mary because of the way she handled her illness, her treatment and her death. I'm not saying she was perfect and I'm not saying that she had bad days. Yes, she railed against the diagnosis, went into denial, screamed at the fates - all of it. But for the most part, she was so positive about it - "Yeah, I've got cancer, deal with it and let's get on with it."

Mary used what she was going through as a way to reach out to people and be an advocate for breast cancer awareness and information. She would show people her scars, her reconstruction. She would take the time to talk to people about her treatments and what she was going through. She even left a blog of her experiences that I believe people may still be accessing:

Even when she knew the cancer was back and something she would have to live with, she wanted to fight so that she could watch Audrey grow up and be there for her. She had things she wanted to do, and against all odds even accomplished some of them. I still don't know how she found the strength to go to Walt Disney World in early April, 2004 - just 6 weeks before she died. But she wanted to take Audrey to Disney World and show her why it was a favorite place to go.

And when she discontinued treatment, she worried that she was letting people down - no way! She fought the terrible beast, but it finally got to be stronger than she was. She wasn't quitting, she decided to die with dignity and make the most of the time she had left. Unfortunately, it was only a matter of weeks.

She planned her death much like she fought her battle - she tried to make it as easy on the family as possible. She planned her memorial service, going as far as to provide links on where to find the songs online she wanted at her service. She left a list of things she wanted Audrey to know/remember about Mommy.

And she gave me hope when I found out that she saw Daddy before she died... the hope that he was there for her and that there is definitely a better place after.

I miss her as much as ever, but I try to face life without her with courage carry her message forward, especially the message of breast cancer awareness. And I try to help Audrey know her mother, especially as Audrey is growing up and not remembering as much of when she was younger.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

List 5 Ways You've Changed In The Last 5 Years

1. I've lost and gained almost 100 pounds.
In January, 2003 I decided that I needed to take better care of myself. I joined Weight Watchers online and over the course of the next two years, I lost 97 pounds. But when I stopped training due to injuries in 2005, I let myself get back into bad eating habits. I've gained to within 20 pounds of where I started. This year, I have basically maintained - losing 5-6 pounds then gaining it back. I really need to find my mojo and start losing again, for myself and so that I can enjoy Audrey for many years to come.

2. I've determined that I can be an endurance athlete.
At the same time I started losing weight, I started walking. I didn't set out to become an endurance athlete - in fact, I've never considered myself to be an athlete of any kind. But, once I started walking, I found I stayed more motivated if I had goals. My first goal was to be able to walk 3 miles, then 3 miles in under an hour. Once I achieved that, I needed another goal - and set my sights on a half marathon. It didn't happen the first year due to a knee injury and surgery, but I completed my first half marathon in September, 2004 and my next one the following January. I have also participated in 2 MS150 bike events, even though I haven't managed to ride the full 180 miles over 2 days. Who would have thought!!!

3. I've lost half of my immediate family to cancer.
Now although I haven't actually suffered from cancer, it has had a major impact on my life. In the space of 8 months I lost my Daddy and my baby sister both to cancer. I watched Daddy perservere and fight the disease seemingly successfully twice before it got him the third time. And I lost my best friend as well as my sister when Mary died at the age of 38. These two events have probably had the biggest impact on my life ever, not just the last 5 years. It has definitely left a void in my life and a really big hole in my heart.

4. I've learned new things.
I learned how to digiscrap so that I could capture memories for Audrey since her mother wasn't around to do it. And I have grown as an artist in this time. And yes, I consider it a form of art, it's a way of expressing myself through a digital medium. I've also learned how to take better photographs - although this is an ongoing process for me. And I wouldn't consider myself a photographic artist, at least not yet. I've learned that I can stretch myself and I can achieve things that I never would have dreamed possible 5 years ago (see #2).

5. I've made some wonderful friends all around the world.
The internet can be a wonderful thing. It brings people closer together. And if the people are truly honest about themselves, you can form friendships through the internet. I've met some wonderful folks through my Weight Watchers journey. And I'm meeting new people all the time through my digiscrapping. Now, some of these people I will never meet face to face, although I have met several, but they have come to mean so much to me. We have shared successes and failures, joys and heartaches - all through the electronic medium known as the internet.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Blog Prompt Challenge

I'm starting a bi-weekly blog prompt chat at Digital Scrapbook Artisan Guild this week. The idea is to get people journaling more, and maybe some of these ideas will morph into layouts.

The prompt for this week is:

What foods do you keep out of sight?

I thought this prompt was appropriate considering that many of us are trying to lose weight. I have to keep most any kind of snack out of sight usually out of the house completely. This includes crackers, chips, cookies, ice cream - at least the ones in bulk containers. I keep on the counter snack bars and 100 calorie packs. I know what the point value of those are and they are packaged for single servings. Mark knows to hide any "bad" foods as well!!!