Beyond Life's Challenges

It's time to think, see and live…BEYOND!

Catching Up in the Wee Hours

Having been without a computer for much of December, it has taken me awhile to catch up a bit so that I have time to write here.  I actually wrote “old school” style, and will publish here on the blog, attempting to do that within the next two weeks.  I will backdate them to have things run as they were written, rather than when published.

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To bring you somewhat current, however, I will try to keep this brief.  It is 2:30 a.m. and I need to get some sleep soon.

I have continued to take a vacation from Facebook for the time being. It was unmanageable, and was overwhelming.  I have needed some clarity and it was the best way for me to do it.

Christmas holidays were bittersweet where family was concerned. There were some tremendously joyful moments.  There were equally as many sorrowful moments.  Yet, spending it with many who are so dear was very special.  Mostly, it was very quiet.

New Years Eve was equally as quiet. One knows that he/she is getting old when there is no invitation to a New Years’ party and you find out that friends were in bed asleep an hour before you were!

I have made a decision that I will not maintain my writing presence much longer at Bubblews and have started to remove much of my material. I would like to transfer and update many things I have written to this blog (or others?), once I determine the path I want to take where my writing is concerned. I will be making some major changes here to my ideas of this blog and others soon and will keep all posted.

I have several other things planned, which I will disclose soon.  I am excited about some of the things on the horizon.

Finally (for tonight), I would to ask all to keep RGD in their healing thoughts and prayers as he puts himself in the heart surgeon’s hands in just over 24 hours. I can only hope that I offer him the strength and support that he did for me when I was facing serious surgeries.

Thanks to all of you who have tracked me down, left me messages, called me on the phone, and joined me face-to-face in this last six weeks I have been off-the-grid.

I hope that these first two weeks of 2015 have been filled with many blessings for you.

Goodnight.

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Original content written by Coral Levang
© 2015 All rights reserved.
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Photo credit: License: CC0 Public Domain Free for commercial use / No attribution required

 

 

 

Challenges at the End of 2014

Here it is, the longest night of the year…

…the winter solstice.

I am sitting here in a Home Depot parking lot, so that I have a signal strong enough signal to be able to drop a note here on my blog.

My computer is in the shop, perhaps with a bad hard drive. I hope to know more tomorrow. And I do not get consistent or strong cell coverage from my home. So, I ask for your kindness as I attempt to write this from my (now) antiquated Samsung Galaxy 2.

This holiday season presents its own unique challenges this year:

Several months ago, my daughter’s marital situation changed. This has presented its own problems and heartaches, as well as some light at the end of that tunnel and hope for the future. Yet, it also comes with  great heart breaks, for all concerned. One can only hope that, as time continues on, some will come to see that there is more than one story/multiple ways to view a situation and that healing will begin to take place.

It is also a reminder (life’s lesson) for me, as well, that no matter how “bad” something may be/feel while going through a particularly tough time, it offers a chance to grow, and become stronger and wiser.  These are the times which show us exactly what we (and others) are “made of.”

We must always remember to mind our own reactions, no matter what life or people may throw our way. We may be scared, angry, hurt, or any other host of emotions, but how we behave throughout, will be the (long-term) evidence of who we are and what is important in life.

Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their image.  ~~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Another upcoming challenge, as we come to the end of this year, is that my daughter’s father/my friend is facing heart surgery early in the new year. It seems to be one of the “mother of all surgeries” with a valve replacement due to a birth defect that was newly discovered, and a major repair/replacement of a substantial section of the aorta, as he has an aneurysm as a result.  It is frightening, but staying positive through the waiting period before surgery is performed is crucial.

As far as my health, life is a good thing. I saw my specialist in September this year, and the tumors were stable and there was no evidence of new tumors at that appointment. When it comes to Carcinoid Cancer/Neuroendocrine Tumors (NETs), it does not get much better than that.  (If we could find a cure, it would be best for everyone!) I wake up every morning, & I say, “Thank you for another day of life.”

It is always my desire to do something each day that brings joy to somebody else. If nothing else, then I have made a difference and made someone smile. Doing so makes me happy.

My biggest challenge is that I am unable to scroll down on this phone, so I’m going to have this bit of random text at the end that I cannot change until I get to a computer where I can do so. if that is the worst of my worries in 2014, then life is very good!

To everyone, have a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or any other holidays that you celebrate. and may you have a joyous new year as we turn our way into 2015!

Love, joy, and peace to you and your loved ones!

(Random text removed)

Ten Days without Facebook

Yes, it has been 10 days.  Some might say that is a big challenge.

Quite honestly, though I have missed some of the people I enjoy on a regular basis, I do not miss much of being on Facebook.

What is also quite “funny” is that I have talked to a few people, and I mentioned to them that I was no longer on the site.

The response: “Oh, I hadn’t noticed.”

There were two people who emailed me within a day of leaving who asked me if I was okay. They noticed.

And I have two other people who have called and have gotten together for a bite to eat.  They had not noticed, but we are in regular contact.

What will be the future for me and Facebook?   I am not quite sure just yet.

But for now, let me just say that the break has been great.  And to be honest…

I haven’t really noticed.

 

Taking a Break from Facebook

There are times when we all need to take a break from some things that seem to bog us down in life.

I am at one of those moments in time.

I have decided to temporarily deactivate my Facebook page.  The reasons behind the decision are several, but it’s not necessary to list them.

I simply need a break.

The hardest thing is going to be not feeling connected to many people.  However, connection has changed now that Facebook seems to be the only contact nowadays with many who used to call or visit face-to-face.

I wonder if there are others who have also left some of the social media sites, and for what reasons?  Have you gone back? If not, do you miss it?

It is my hope is that some of the friends I have will be available for that phone call or mealtime that we used to share.

Face-to-face conversation over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine  cannot be replaced.

Intuitive Painting Is Much More than Art

Getting through the pain and ugliness that comes with life so that we can get to a point where we might come to understand and feel peace is not an easy journey.  Far too often, we stay stuck in old patterns of behavior or struggle with new ways of thinking.

If we continue to challenge ourselves, we can find moments of peacefulness, but only if we allow ourselves an opportunity to trust. Simply trust.

Trust others. Trust ourselves.

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It requires such vulnerability and we often do not know how we can ever open ourselves up to others.  Sometimes, we do not see it coming and we are in the throws of it, before we know it.

We allow someone to see the crack in our armor.  Before we know it, they ask a question that touches the open wound and it begins to seep.

And then we bleed.

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Oh, so carefully, that someone begins to dress our wounds, offers us a tissue or a shoulder as we cry, and allows us to be human in a space where we are safe to do so.  Where we feel safe to be ourselves.

It is in these moments that we begin to experience love, connection, and peace. But we must be willing to let go of part of the pain and anguish that life has not just offered us, but dumped on us.

And  we start anew.

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We focus on something different.  Something that might bring us some joy. We see the possibilities of what can be by letting go, even for just a moment.

Then we share our laughter, the gifts of new-found friendship and a bit more peace that when we begin.  And we begin to realize what it is

…to have some fun.

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If you would like to “awaken your creativity, empower your life, (and) come play,” read below!

Credits:  All photographs and artwork shared above are owned by the author, created on 11/15/2014 at an Intuitive Painting workshop at Artful Dreamers Studio in Tacoma, Washington offered by Creative Coach Nadine Hamil.

To learn more about Nadine, Artful Dreamers Studio and the Intuitive Painting workshops and other creative classes offered,  or to signup for a workshop, check out the following links:

My Artistic Journey Continues

In Why I Have Hated Creating Art and What I am Doing About It, I shared about my trepidation toward things creative, especially as it is associated with painting and drawing.

FinalTransformational Painting: I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar showed the process for the first painting I have ever painted that I can remember.

I have also dabbled in other art and creative forms–glass, jewelry, crochet, and more. Each time I try something new, I walk in with such fear.  But it is a way for me to explore and learn what I find to be most enjoyable for me.

A week and a half ago, I took a workshop in Mixed Media with Nadine Hamil of Artful Dreamers Studio.  I have not yet finished the project.  The fact is that I barely started, but my goal is to work with Nadine and finish the piece before the end of the year month.

I have signed up to take an all-day retreat this Sunday, called “Intuitive Painting” with Nadine, who claims:

There is not a right or wrong way, no judgment and no criticism. When you let your intuition takes over, true creativity is allowed to bloom.

ANYONE and everyone can paint. If you can hold a paint brush you can paint! When you have no idea what you are doing… it is wonderful… That means you have let go of the mind… you are in the present moment touching the space in you that allows creativity to move through you.

She also asks her workshop participants to “LET chaos in and see what appears in your painting, (opening up to) a spiritual experience.”

As I look forward to this workshop in three days, I do so with some fear.  Nadine asks me to let this chaos in.

Chaos has always seemed to be a part of my life. I seem to have been born into it, am accustomed to it, and I have most often felt a need to control the chaos that comes from within.  It was a way for me to survive life and all that gets thrown back.

Perhaps, this intuitive painting workshop will be a way for me to release the chaos onto canvas.

Whatever the process becomes for me, Nadine has been placed in my path for me to learn DSCN0306something about myself that I have not yet discovered.  She is a kind, loving, gentle leader who accepts me exactly as I am. I embrace this challenge, though it is certainly difficult for me, because I trust her.

Perhaps you are interested in exploring more of your creative energy.  If you are and you are in Western Washington, I hope you will join us on Sunday.  For more information or to register for the retreat or any other of her classes, contact Nadine Hamil at: nadine@artfuldreamers.com  or sign up at the website http://artfuldreamers.com/category/workshops/

And the journey continues…

 

 

One Veteran’s View of How Veterans’ Day Has Changed

As another Veterans’ Day comes to an end, I am grateful for the freedom I have because of the willingness of others to serve.  Whether or not it was done for the same reasons I chose to serve is irrelevant to me, but today I realized that society is changing, and the sadness I feel about it in regard to service is something I need to wrap my head around and try to reconcile in my head.

I did not go out of the house today, as I was feeling poorly.  I had every intention of going to the Veterans’ Day ceremony put on locally at our Fairgrounds Pavilion.

I did, however, get onto Facebook and was bombarded by Veterans’ Day messages every where.  Though it is always nice to know people appreciate military service, I wonder if the meaning behind the words loses something in social media overkill.

I popped into a closed group I am in for veterans and found myself pulled into a discussion thread where the story was of one vet’s coworkers deciding to honor veterans at work. They included a woman as a veteran who had joined, but due to (unknown) circumstances never was allowed to get out of the reception area. The one posing the question was highly offended at this inclusion.

The feeding frenzy began, as I watched the veterans talk of their entitlements, and being offended that someone else would get noticed for something they did not deserve.  There are nearly 300 comments on the feed.

They all missed the point.

I tried to put up a comment that would steer the focus elsewhere.  I also wrote another post tagging the original post writer, trying to get others to think about the situation a bit differently.  It received only a handful of comments and it seems that the post has been removed.  The points I made in that post were:

  • It is really not about the one coworker who couldn’t make it through and, if we make it about said coworker, then we give her the focus, as well as the energy and emotion to not accept the love, support and honor being given because of our being offended.
  • The REAL story here is that the other coworkers wanted to do something for those who served. I think that speaks volumes about the people who love and support. So, if one falls through the cracks and is lauded by those who don’t know better, so be it.
  • What matters most is that WE can look in the mirror and know the difference we made without comparing ourselves to those who do not matter in the grand scheme of life. Just like when we were in, we knew who were good leaders and who were not…the title or the rank did not make one a leader.
  • Choose not to give energy to someone who needs to include herself …eventually, as we all tell our stories, she will remain quiet because her story is different, and she would be “found out.”
  • Ponder this question: Did I serve for the recognition and the freebies it will get me because I am entitled to them? or Did I serve because I have the heart of a servant? Whether or not someone recognizes that (your) service, does not take away what has been (you have) done.
  • Become role models, as true leaders, to have others look up to you, even including others (who don’t always “deserve” it). By doing so, we may have an opportunity to understand others, and how we respond to them may be the first time in their lives they have been treated in a way that was different than being ostracized for what they were not. We may have an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life because we choose not to dig in our heels to be “right.”
  • Whether or not the coworkers included her as they did does not negate the others’ service. They wanted to do something nice for those whom they believe served. May we all be able to receive graciously, rather than be offended by everyone who jumps on the “thank a veteran” bandwagon.

Later in another group, there was another post from a veteran who had mapped out where to receive all the “freebies,” then bragged about how he took a couple of bites and got to-go boxes so that they could “feed the family for free” that night.  This particular person also remarked that they did not feel it necessary to leave tips, because of what “was owed” to him for having joined the military.

When did we lose sight of what is truly important in life? Or am I just so old that I have lived beyond my time?

There has been a shift in this world that does not focus on others, but focuses on self.  Although I understand a need to care for self, at what point do we need to realize that, if we want this society/world to continue on, we must understand that doing for others (selflessness) is also important? Finding that balance in today’s world is becoming much more difficult.

Thanks to all of you who have served this country in a military uniform. It has made a difference. But, if you do not know the history and  what Veterans’ Day truly commemorates, please read about it at the VA website.

We must take care that we do not become the greedy, all-about-me people who allowed their own visions of grandiosity to do the unspeakable.

After all, is that not why so many of the veterans fought and died in the first half of our last century?  For freedom from what others were trying to do for their own gain and for their own egos?

NET Awareness Day

TODAY, November 10, is NET /Carcinoid Cancer Awareness Day.

Most people simply do not know much or have never heard of carcinoid cancer, including many medical professionals. There are some under-informed professionals who do not give accurate information.

It is important for us all to arm ourselves with knowledge and share that knowledge. We share responsibility as human beings to help one another.

So, I ask you to bookmark some websites, and come back to read them.  Share them with others. And don’t let it just be one day a year.

We need to be as fervent about getting the word out about this cancer, as we have been about breast cancer. The zebra ribbon deserves as much recognition as the pink ribbon.

It has been said that carcinoid cancer/neuroendocrine tumors are “rare.”  I disagree with this, as I (and others I now know in the medical community) believe they are “rarely diagnosed.”  Because they are regularly misdiagnosed or we are not taken seriously in our symptoms, most of us are at the stage IV level by the time we have even been introduced to the words, “carcinoid cancer.”

Please begin to wear a pin, a wristband, or a zebra ribbon.  Please go to these websites and learn all you can, download and print and then pass out fact sheets.  Please start by sharing the stories of the “zebras” that you know.  You likely know more than you think you do.  But you now know me.

We need you to help us.  Just like you have done with many other recognized ribbons for a variety of causes.

We zebras cannot do it alone, and this zebra thanks you for your support and help in getting this information out there.

http://carcinoid.org
http://carcinoidawareness.org
http://caringforcarcinoid.or
http://walkingwithjane.org
http://walkingwithjane.org

 

 

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Sunday’s Random Thoughts–November 9, 2014

Sometimes, the best days are when you do nothing in particular. I had that kind of day with my daughter today.

It might sound like “no big deal” to many, but it has been many years since we have had this kind of day regularly, the reasons why no longer important. The most important thing (to me) is that I have spent the day with her doing nothing in particular.

Nothing in particular meant sampling products at Costco and a slice of combination pizza for lunch. We found contact lens cleaning solution for her.

Nothing in particular can take on many forms in many places.

Nothing in particular took us to Eddie Bauer Outlet, and Goodwill.  At Goodwill, we found a brand new raincoat with a liner for her, and wooden artists’ easels for me.

Nothing in particular took us to World Market where she helped to load up a coffee table I had purchased earlier in the week, but had to pick up over the weekend.

Nothing in particular was a movie at a theatre off-base, where we saw “The Book of Life” for a grand total of $26, with no concessions.  I teased her about being an expensive date, comparing a double feature with popcorn and a drink at the base theatre earlier that weekend for 15 percent of that.  It was fun, however, glancing over at her with 3-D glasses on, and the two of us watching an animated film together, both of us as grown women.

Nothing in particular was going to a Chinese buffet for dinner before driving her back to catch the ferry back to Seattle.

Nothing in particular was talking about everything and nothing, laughing and sharing, and with a sense of comfortableness that I have not felt often with her in the last two decades.

Tonight I go to sleep with nothing in particular on my mind, but a big smile on my face and a knowing that everything we did today was something very special.

 

 

Early NET Cancer Diagnosis – how early is early?

Coral:

Building awareness for this disease is important. Here is an article by a fellow “zebra” living in the UK that is well-worth the read.

Originally posted on Ronny Allan - Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer:

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It goes without saying that the sooner any cancer can be correctly diagnosed, the better chances of a complete cure for the person concerned.  However, some cancers are easier to diagnose than others.  One of the key issues associated with the correct diagnosis of Neuroendocrine (NET) Cancer is the vague symptoms which may be mistaken for other diseases and routine illnesses.  Moreover, this may go on for many years.  The most common misdiagnosis appears to be irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), asthma, or menopause.  Patients complain of abdominal pain, wheezing, shortness of breath, diarrhoea, flushing, palpitations and a whole host of other minor issues.  There are even extreme cases where patients have been told they may have a mental illness following constant visits to their local doctors.

Some respected medical sites quote an average 5 to 7 years of delays from initial onset of symptoms, with around half of patients diagnosed at an advanced stage of disease and metastases at…

View original 936 more words

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