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Two Babes on Bikes!

Published on April 21, 2012 by in Inspirational
I’ve learned many lessons in life,
but none any sweeter than the ones learned last Sunday
while bicycling with my friend Mary.

I learned:      

 

If you find a couch by the side of the road, sit on it.    

If you find a watering hole by the side of the road, stop at it.

If you find a sign stating the obvious, laugh at it.   

If you find a two-seater when in need, use it.

If you find a good friend to share life with, share it.
If you find these life lessons do not cover all you need to know,
please,
tell me.
I’ll call Mary,
and we’ll get right on it!

And if we two babes can’t find it,
I’ll call YOU!

 
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Miracles!

 Moonrise, viewed from our porch

Miracles slip in…

Thank God!

Mine came sometime last year.  How, when or why exactly, I couldn’t say, but it found me as surely as a pre-menopausal woman finds chocolate.

And it found me just in time!
For you see, one year ago today I was in desperate need of a miracle.

Today, I am in awe.

Join me in this harrowing part of my journey:

Book excerpt:
Thursday, Apr. 14, 2011
Dr. Hassoun was out of the country, so we met with a different surgeon.  Mike and I were led to the same consulting room we had sat in exactly two months before.  The doctor entered and read the CT scan results.  He smiled, looked up and said my cancer had not metastasized.  

He then looked at the EUS (endoscopy) results.  This time he did not smile.  He informed us that the part of the tumor abutting my hepatic artery, the part keeping me from surgery, did not show the shrinkage we had hoped for.  Instead, my artery was now ¾ encased.  He paused and drew a deep breath.

“What now?” I asked.
The color drained from the man’s face as he said, “You have three to four months to live.  A year at the most.”
My death sentence shattered the air…. 
Awareness left my numbed body like a genie escaping his lamp.
My body remained seated; its heart turned to stone, its breathing shallow, eyes blink less…. 
Silence….
Eternity….
Tears fell down Michael’s face. 
My hand found his arm as my voice broke the silence, “You have been the strong one so far.  Now, it’s my turn.”
We thanked the doctor, walked out of the room and down the hall, where Michael embraced me for a very long time…
Michael’s Embrace

As I walk out into my life today, one year later, I find miracles everywhere.

Rainbow on a winter’s day

 May you find your miracles, too.    The Sweet Life: La Dolche Vita 

And may you be lucky enough to discover the greatest miracle of all–You!

 
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Jeepers, Peepers!

Children get excited about Easter–for all the right reasons.
Peeps!

Peep!
Babushka Peeps
Run, Peep, Run

While candy-filled Easter eggs,
frilly baskets,
and chocolate bunnies are in contention,
Peeps represent the best of Easter.

                          

                                    Easter represents life everlasting.

Jesus rose from the tomb to show us this truth.

Sweet Life!
Life goes on! and on! and on!

Peeps represent life everlasting.          

Left uneaten,
the sparkly marshmallow chicks
last forever!

Peep Tea

So when the child
in your life asks you

Bye, Bye!

to buy Peeps this

Peep Salad

year, say NO!

 

Teeth do not last forever!

 
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Tomfoolery!

Ha! Ha!
April fool’s day is not to be missed!
It’s the perfect day to laugh at ourselves
for willing to be a fool.
Willingness is such a gift….
So is being foolish. :-)
No foolin’.

And if you don’t believe me, just ask my friends Dick or Miriam.  They’ll tell you.

Miriam
Dick
Miriam
  April Fool’s!

Dick

The lightheartedness of this day
makes it a perfect one to launch my new
Sweet Inspirations page.

Every day,
or thereabouts,
I will post a new inspiration
from my muse to yours.
If you’re interested,
simply click on the tab below the header.
Enjoy!
What is a fool?  One who is willing to be laughed at!
May I always be foolish.
May you, too.

 
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Chocolate Chip Cookies

It rained chocolate chip cookies today.
Homemade cookies with just the right amount of gypsy thrown in to make them irresistible!

It all started with my head in the clouds.

The insistent

drip, 

The Sweet Rain

drop, 
splitter, splatter, 
drop, drop, 
splat

                         

Drip,
drop, 
splitter, splatter,
drop, drop, 
splat

                          

Drip, 
drop, 
splitter, splatter, 
drop, drop, 
splat 

mesmerized me.

I traveled back in time to childhood when sugar made me happy

 

and the smell of baking cookies made life sweet.

Cookie Bliss
Cookie Kiss
A childlike joy, like today:
who says you can never go home?

 

 
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Magical Shoes Trekking Mt. Lassen

Walking a mile in my shoes!
I finally know what it’s like to walk a mile in my shoes!
In January of 2011, Michael bought me a new pair of pretty RED ones as a surprise.  The surprise turned out to be I wouldn’t wear them until recently, 14 months later.  But what a sweet walk it was!
Pretty RED Shoes
Sweet Walk
                                 The shoes are magical.
Just ask Debbie, our adventurous friend who joined us.  She has a pair of magical shoes, too.
Debbie & Gayle at Manzanita Lake
Magical Shoes are made to keep a traveler afloat in a storm.  I wore out my last pair!
You might think I need a really big size to weather my current storm, but part of the magic is that one size fits all.  Another part of the magic is that we all have magic shoes.
Clicking our Heels!
                                           What color are yours?
 
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Leprechauns

Gayle in Leprechaun Land
What if you were granted three wishes? 
How would you spend them?
And who would grant them?
On a day like today, St. Patrick’s Day, you might say a leprechaun.   That’s what I’d say!
Who else would have answered my prayer for corned beef and cabbage?
Gayle with Leprechaun
I love corned beef and cabbage, but for the past two decades have been a devout vegetarian.  Potatoes are the only things I have eaten that grow eyes. It’s an act of compassion.  
Today, however, at a time when I am recovering from severe malnutrition, I satisfy my body’s cravings.  Besides, next year at this time I may have resumed my compassionate eating.  My husband said he would rather go to a restaurant than have us prepare dinner at home.  I said okay, but longed for a cozier venue.  I gave a little prayer yesterday morning that somebody would invite us over for my favorite Irish dish.
                                    ***POOF! ***
As luck would have it, I was driving my car yesterday afternoon when an announcement came over the radio offering $25 gift certificates to a restaurant serving the best corned beef and cabbage the announcer had ever eaten.  She would give them to the first two people to walk through the door.  I drove directly there, walked in and excitedly claimed my prize.  I couldn’t wait until I was eating the best meal ever!  The setting may not have been exactly what I had asked for, but it was close enough.
                              ***SPOT-ON POOF! ***
This morning I was talking to my sister on the phone.  We talk every day.  She mentioned that she was cooking corned beef and cabbage in her crock pot, would Mike and I like to come over for dinner.  Would we ever!  This was exactly what I had asked for.  How sweet is that!  I don’t know if I have two wishes left today or not, but since my first one came true, I’m not taking any chances.  I’m making them! 
Gayle on the wind-blown Irish coast
Bicycle Touring in Ireland
As you can see, the leprechauns are out spinning their magic today. 
May your St. Patrick’s Day be magical!
My favorite Leprechaun
 
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Bicycle Touring New Zealand

Recovery is not for the faint of heart!
It expands your passions to the bursting point.
But I recommend it.
If at all possible.
If not, I suggest embracing that within which needs no recovery.
Heck, I encourage that anyway.
                            Last year I did not know if I would ever ride my bike again.
Mt. Lassen ride:  104 miles, 10,000′ elevation gain
Sundial Bridge Ride:  5 miles, flat
Mary, Gayle, Michael
 This year I am back on my bike.  Wowee!
Recovery is my desire to re-cover my life with the colorful tapestry worn off by cancer
and to celebrate the life force which never fades away.
Bicycling is one of my favorite colors.
I invite you to join me in an earlier celebration of living The Sweet Life; bicycling New Zealand’s gorgeous south island.
New Zealand…
Today is why God made bicycles!  We are now heading south along the Eastern coast and rode for about 50 miles under clear, warm skies next to the South Pacific Ocean.  The brightness of the sun made the water shimmer like the palest blue Easter egg at the beach blending into aquamarine further out and then into cobalt blue on the horizon.  
Gayle approaching the ocean
  
Sea lion colonies lined the shore for miles, with pups barking and 
parents basking.  When we stopped for lunch, Mike spotted dolphins jumping.  As we watched, more and more appeared.  He thought they were rounding up fish, swimming up through them to feed.  I thought they were cavorting!   
Sea Lion
Lunch!

 

And if the ocean views to the left (which is the side of the road we ride on here) weren’t enough, one had simply to look to the right where there was a snow-capped mountain range of 9,000’ high mountains.  Pretty impressive considering we were at sea level.

Easter Egg blue ocean:  Snow-capped mountains–Ahhhh!
We’re in Kaikoura right now, and plan to spend tomorrow here and then take a train on Monday.  The reason for the train is the weather is supposed to turn “dodgy” then and— Michael loves trains!  I almost had tears at the thought of not being able to ride more days like this.  I want to ride forever!
Kaikoura
We haven’t covered as much territory as we thought we would have by now—due to my speed on the bike.  I mentioned it once to Mike as we were sitting at Queen Charlotte’s Sound with my bare feet dangling in the water instead of on my bike.  He assured me that he quite liked the dalliance.  I agreed, it was a dilly of a dalliance, and we would have many more.

Michael delighting in Queen Charlotte’s Sound
Well, it may have taken over 500 miles of pedaling, but I’m happy to report I have found my legs.  Now if only I could lose these thighs!
Cheers,

Gayle

 
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Cancer Survivor

At the beach before finding out test results

I am already a cancer survivor.

I don’t have to wait for test results to tell me so.  It’s not that I believe my thoughts; wishes or prayers will keep me alive, even though they give me healing and hope through the difficult times.  It’s that I have discovered what I believe to be the true meaning of “cancer survivor.”  Below is the excerpt from my book that describes this belief:
 Cancer is for those who at some time in their existence did not want to live.  Surviving cancer is for those who have stated they want to continue living.  Even if the disease is too far advanced for the body to remain, surviving cancer means more than physically living through it.  It means not allowing the malignancy to ravage oneself emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  In other words, it means not giving up on life, even in the moment of exiting this body.  I will know when it is time to die, and then it will be best to do so with grace.  In the meantime, I must allow my good to flow….

Marine Headlands Hostel
Common Living Room

 

Ahhh, How sweet it is!
La Dolce Vita!

My good did flow yesterday when I received the results from my first post-op CT scan and “tumor marker” blood test to see if cancer had come back.  It had not.  Hallelujah!

I do not have to go back for four months when the tests will be repeated.  This has been the best news my oncologist, Dr. Ari Baron, has been able to tell me in over a year.  The best news I’ve heard, too.

Dr. Ari Baron (Bless him) & Gayle

If you have undergone periodic cancer check-ups, please feel free to comment on your experience.  Or any experience with cancer, for that matter.

 
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