Friday, August 9, 2013

Perfect Homeschooling (Just Like Everyone Else)

If our homeschool experience were as perfect as everyone else’s, the upcoming school year would be embraced with joy as I imagine all the creative, Montessori-esque ways we can learn instead of pulling the pre-ordered curriculum out of the box. And then realizing the previous year’s curriculum is still on the shelf, thereby requiring most of the morning of “the first day of school” to be spent deciding what to keep for the memory box, what to store in the basement, what to give away and what to toss.  Yeah, those perfect homeschooling moms are organized too.  They probably don’t have three boxes of homeschool miscellany saved for…….well, saved because doesn’t that seem like the right thing to do? Everyone else’s perfect homeschool is undoubtedly far more efficient. And well labeled. Probably with a label maker, not a Sharpie on masking tape.

If our homeschooling experience were as perfect as everyone else’s, I wouldn’t doubt my ability to be able to teach my kids for another year and wonder if I was irreversibly messing them up. I wouldn’t need my little army of friends to encourage me and pick me up on “those days” because I’d have that positive confidence that all the other perfect homeschooling moms possess. All the time.

If our homeschooling experience were as perfect as everyone else’s, “those days” would be so few and far between, I could laugh them off rather than fret over how truly long my kid’s long-term memory is.

If our homeschool experience were as perfect as everyone else’s, I would have that evening’s dinner in the crockpot by 10am. Every morning. The good homeschooling moms don’t make frozen pizzas TWO nights in a row. Unless they’re in bed with the flu. But the admirable homeschooling moms don’t get sick. Ever. Their immune system is amazing due to regular exercise, healthy eating (all organic, of course) and herbs.

If our homeschooling experience were as perfect as everyone else’s, my kids would know what spirulina was. Without the aide of Google.

If our homeschooling experience were as perfect as everyone else’s, I’d be at yoga every morning at 6am, enjoying my Starbucks by 7:07am and home by 7:22 am to wake the children with my perky energy and sing-songy voice of cheer. I would probably feed them organic steel cut oatmeal with berries. And nitrate-free turkey bacon. Perfect homeschooling moms don't allow Pop-Tarts. Perfect homeschooling moms don’t assign a math work sheet at 10:45am just so they can grab a quick shower. Perfect homeschooling moms DEFINITELY don’t sleep through the three iPhone alarms.

If our homeschooling experience were as perfect as everyone else’s, I wouldn’t need that second cup of coffee at 1:30pm.

If our homeschooling experience were as perfect as everyone else’s, the children would always be best friends and arguments would be about who should go first in the game. I’m sure those kids are never banished to separate rooms by a yelling mom. Good homeschooling moms don’t yell. They use their calm, inside voices.

If our homeschooling experience were as perfect as everyone else’s, I would approve an ant farm. And countertop composting with worms. And ducks raised from eggs. And backyard chickens. And bee keeping. And bat houses in the backyard. And everything would be documented and tracked with the children’s daily journals and sketches.

If our homeschooling experience were as perfect as everyone else’s, my Pinterest boards would be waaaaay more exciting and mind challenging and educational and creative. And original.

If our homeschooling experience were as perfect as everyone else’s, I probably wouldn’t wonder if watching Shark Week was “banking” science lessons for the upcoming year.

If our homeschooling experience were as perfect as everyone else’s, I wouldn’t need to rely on the Lord’s strength or depend on His peace to get me through the week...the day…the hour. My tendency towards self-sufficiency and people pleasing would crowd out His strength and peace, which is perfect in provision. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

This Old.....Woman

After being SURE it wouldn’t happen this soon (and back in high school, swearing it would NEVER happen), it happened.

I got old this summer.

It wasn’t an instant, overnight transformation.  It’s not like I left the house a young whippersnapper and returned a blue-haired, 17-mile-an-hour driving grandmother, who fully stops at every intersection, even when there is no stop sign in sight, causing the minivan behind her to bump into her.  (Or so I’ve heard can happen to moms in minivans behind old ladies in sedans.)  Nor was it as instant as the time in June when I thought I became suddenly and completely incontinent while at my son’s baseball game, only to discover that instead of wetting myself, I sweated myself.  (Yes, I’ve sweat violently before like when I did the 3-day walk.  I just didn’t think this level of perspiration was possible while just SITTING at a suburban park.)

Getting old slowly happened over the summer, to the point that here at the start of this school year, it hit me: HOLY CRAP! I’m old!  I started the summer far younger, I am sure.  (Someone please tell me I haven’t been this old for YEARS and just now figured it out!)  I noticed a hint of old as I saw young girls walking on the Prairie Path in flip-flops and I wondered how their feet didn’t hurt.  A muted essence of age wafted over my impatient thoughts, as I wanted to correct the grammar of almost every popular song I heard.  (When did noun/verb agreement go out of style?  And don’t even get me started on rap music and its incomplete words and sentences.)

Specifically, being old hit me when I was at the local bar/bowling alley to hear my son’s band play a gig.  My thoughts scared me.  It started with the red X scrawled onto the top of my hand.  You know, one day – they will confirm that this permanent marker ink gets absorbed into the bloodstream and leads to cancer.  When I walked over to meet up with the group already gathered at the tables, my first thought was: Ugh! We got those tall bar tables and chairs!  At least the chairs have a back.  I then wondered where to safely and hygienically stash my purse when I realized that most other women (ok – “girls”) had smaller, wristlet type purses that they kept on their lap.  Far more convenient, but there’s NO WAY they are truly prepared with that shrunken excuse of a purse.  My gosh! How do they carry gum, floss, Tylenol, money, a hair elastic, pen and paper, lip gloss, coupons, hand sanitizer, a Sharpie and tissue in that thing?

There were a few bands playing at the bar, and I’m proud relieved to report that I didn’t use earplugs.  But my granny thoughts were rapid firing! I can’t understand a word they’re saying! (Believe me, I was trying!) Do you think these boys went to college, and do they make an actual living doing this? OMG! Is he barefoot on stage?  That cannot be clean!  Gosh, I hope he doesn’t have open cuts on his feet because goodness knows what he might be picking up.

It was sometime around this phase of my thinking that I realized my girlfriend was trying to talk to me.  But I couldn’t hear her or adequately read her lips due to the bar’s conservation efforts to save the planet by keeping their lights so darn low.  So, we resorted to texting each other while sitting less than two feet away from one another.  We agreed that while we really enjoyed meeting up for a drink, eating the hot Bavarian pretzels with mustard and listening to the bands, we knew we were firmly rooted in the not-a-spring-chicken-anymore category.  The girlfriend sitting on the other side of me confirmed my suspicions when she said (actually, texted), “Why do these boys on stage look about 12 and I feel about 80?  And what’s with capris on boys?”

Yes, I was out for a night with my family and friends, and it WAS fun – but it was also a rather melancholy reality that bit me!  I don’t think I would have readily agreed that I felt old and stodgy prior to this particular night out.  (Heck – just a month earlier, I went with a group of girlfriends to see an 80’s hair band play an arena concert, and I didn’t feel old!  Maybe I was oddly comforted by the parking lot full of minivans.)  There was just something about this particular evening that pushed me towards expecting my AARP card.  Soon.  Oprah always used to call this the “Ah ha!” moment.  Mine felt more like a “Holy Poop!” moment.

But I think I’m going to be ok with it.  After all – who did the band come running to when their ONE MARKER ran dry in the middle of autographing posters?  Yep!  The old lady prepared like a freaking Boy Scout to the rescue!

Monday, January 16, 2012

7 Habits of Highly...Ineffective Mothers

Recently, I saw an article posted to Facebook about the 7 habits of highly effective people, based on the book of the same name.  While I have never read the book, it did lead me to wonder about the habits of ineffective people.  Specifically, what an ineffective mother looks like and what she would or wouldn’t be doing.

   1)   Taking L O N G bathroom breaks to actually finish reading a chapter of an intense mystery novel or play her turn in Words With Friends, leaving her children to think she has prolonged gastrointestinal issues when really – she had a J, X and Q to play.

   2)   Planning dinner at 5:15pm.  After exhausting mac & cheese, hotdogs, cheese quesadillas and ham sandwiches, the short-term planning options are limited…and often result in microwave popcorn for dinner.

   3)   Waiting until the very last possible minute to leave Point A so as to NOT arrive too early to Point B and have to waste precious minutes just waiting.  Very often, the children are taken by shock and awe with the “we need to leave RIGHT NOW” announcement.  God help the child who has to go to the bathroom or find their shoes.

   4)   Enjoying a coffee shop visit with grown-up, adult friends one evening, forgetting to order decaf, and then not being able to fall asleep at a semi-normal time and then sleeping WAY too late in the morning.  The sleeping late then results in not being tired that evening until really late…and the cycle goes on…for six years.

   5)   Using Google and/or Wikipedia as the main source for almost everything and inadvertently leading the children to believe any other avenue of research does not exist.  This leads to the children believing Google the noun is now a verb.  (As in: “Mom, can you Google…")

   6)   Creating a relaxing Zen-shui (or whatever) study environment by moving piles on the kitchen table from one end of the table to the other and straightening the piles on the countertops.  Sadly, blowing on any flat surface and calling it “dusting” often accompanies this.

   7)   Feigning interest in hearing homemade jokes, dreams, over-detailed movie and book plots and summaries and pre-adolescent conversations. (“…and then she was like, ‘No way!’ and he was like, ‘Get out of here!’”)

This list was complied from the creative thinking of its author as she imagines how an ineffective mother would operate…of course, have noooooo first-hand knowledge or experience in the ways and practices of an actual ineffective mother.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Don't Tell Me You're Sorry

“Michael, tell your sister that you’re sorry, then give her a hug.”

Little Michael mumbles a meaningless, “Sorry” and as he and his sister embrace in a hug that is absent of all affection, it is evident that they still want each other’s heads on a platter.  Michael is not truly remorseful for what’s happened; he’s just mad that he got caught.  Little sister hasn’t truly forgiven him because she’s still hurt and angry.  So their little exchange of, “Sorry” and a hug did nothing to repair their hurt relationship – it probably just added resentment towards one another.

And this is why the word “sorry” is not allowed as an apology in our home.

(Ok, for all the legalistic thinkers: we DO use the word "sorry" when we accidentally bump into each other, or drop an item when trying to hand it to someone, etc.  I am not referring to the little accidents that are void of anger, revenge, hurt feelings and perceived rights trampled upon.  Of course, the word “sorry” is perfectly useful and acceptable in those situations!)

Recently, a friend had some people take advantage of her goodness and abuse her generosity.  Because there were many people involved in a public way, it couldn’t be ignored or swept under the rug.  Over the course of the next few days, people came to her to apologize.  She told me that most came with limited eye contact and a half-hearted, “Sorry for what happened.”  There were far fewer who came to her broken, in tears and asking her forgiveness for their poor judgment and character.  Although my friend had a genuine heart of forgiveness towards all involved, she said it was obvious to her those who were truly remorseful over all that had happened versus those just giving lip service, with a half-hearted attempt to save face.

Consider the word “apology” itself.  The etymology of the word is from both the Latin and Greek apologia, which is to give a defense; justification.  When one studies Apologetics, they are learning to defend a position (often religious) through the systematic use of reason.  If someone wronged you and came to you to defend their actions – to give justification – how would you take that as their apology?  It’s really not a remorseful, sincere effort to make the wrong situation right again!  More than just apologizing to someone, the heart needs to be in a position to take the right steps to admit the wrong and restore the broken relationship.  So, when I use the word “apology” understand the context in which I say it…. it is repairing a relationship.

When I was growing up, mending the break in a relationship with someone was a three-part process.  I thought it was normal; that it was how everyone apologized.  My own children are well versed in the three-steps to forgiveness and I consider this one of the better parenting choices I have made.  I have also become convinced that “sorry” is the coward’s easy way out.  It’s another way of saying either, “I’m just sorry I got busted” or “I’m sorry that you’re so sensitive and that you had a problem with me.”  There is no ownership of the hurt or offense done.  It is the pinnacle of blame shifting.

(Again, this is not going into the specifics when you might unknowingly hurt someone, where absolutely no hurt was intended.  Even in those cases, it’s best to take the high road, be the “bigger person” and apologize – it will only help the relationship.  There ARE the cases of people who live to be hurt and there’s no way to keep up with them and their chronic offended-ness.  Gratefully, they are few and far between.)

Three Steps For Asking For Forgiveness:

      1)  State the offense and be specific.
It is not being specific to say, “I’m sorry I made you mad.”  It is specific to say, “I was really angry and kicked and smashed your Lego tower.”  There is something humbling about taking ownership for exactly what happened.  It feels uncomfortable.  Our pride takes a kick in the teeth when we verbalize exactly how we were the cause of someone else’s hurt.

      2)  State that you were wrong.
This makes it clear to the person who was hurt that you know and acknowledge their pain and are taking full responsibility for causing the hurt.  “I was really angry and kicked and smashed your Lego tower.  That was wrong of me to take out my anger on you and lose it.  I was wrong for doing that.”   This can get especially hard for children when the seemingly innocent, hurt one was egging on the one apologizing.  We always used this time to explain that self-control needs to come into play, even when you’re a little kid.  It has to start somewhere – the sooner the better!  We would teach that it’s best to walk away from a situation than to stay and make a bad situation get worse by lashing out.  

      3)  Ask for forgiveness.
This is the third step of reaching out to repair a broken relationship and the first step in reconciling the relationship.  As my mom always explained: with relationships being like a tennis match, asking for forgiveness will volley the ball back into their section of the court.  “I was really angry and kicked and smashed your Lego tower.  That was wrong of me to take out my anger on you and lose it.  I was wrong for doing that.  Will you please forgive me?”  It’s up to them to receive the apology and to agree to put the hurt behind and move ahead.  Be sure to avoid saying “That’s ok” (it’s NOT ok!) and instead say, “You are forgiven.”  The majority of the time, forgiveness is granted, especially when the apology is done with true humility and remorse.  Even kids have a pretty good sense of knowing when an apology is sincere or when it’s been forced to happen. 

When forgiveness is given (“apology accepted”), you are declaring the offending party “not guilty.”  It is releasing them from your anger and resentment.  (Not from the natural consequence of the offense, which is something we can’t always control.  If you lie to someone five times, you may be forgiven, but you won’t be trusted on the sixth time.)  To say you forgive someone and then remain angry and treat him or her as a guilty party is making you a liar, as you did not truly forgive.  As parents, we need to work with our kids on both “sides” of the situation – the forgiveness seeker and forgiveness granter.  I do not believe it is accurate to encourage someone to forgive and forget.  Humans do not have the capability of forgetting, short of amnesia.  We can practice to forgive and CHOOSE to not remember.

Any relationship that we hold dear is worth preserving, even if one needs to get humbled and do “the long apology thing” as I once heard it called in our home.  (Even if you don’t hold the relationship dear, just man up and apologize the right way.  That’s called good character.)  And, as I need to remind myself, this is not the three-steps for just how a kid should apologize.  It’s also how mom needs to apologize to teen son.  How dad needs to apologize to mom.  How friend needs to apologize to friend.  Your relationships are valuable, so stop cheapening them by saying “sorry” and making your kids say “sorry” to one another. 

And, sorry if that sounds harsh.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Wanting To Quit (But I Didn't)

In this past year and within the same week, I had two friends – both young moms of four children – diagnosed with breast cancer.  I was saddened and shocked and had the thought, “That could be me!” run through my head more than once.  About a week after my friends were diagnosed, my other (crazy) friend Michelle asked if I would consider doing the Susan G. Komen 3-Day For The Cure with her.  It took me about two seconds to reply with a resounding YES!  YES I will walk 60 miles in three days!  YES I will camp and go without electricity for three days!  YES I will raise the money!  YES I will support my friends and push myself to every limit!  YES!

[Let’s pause here and let me state that this is NOT about the moral quandary of the Komen Foundation giving money to Planned Parenthood.  Believe me, I’ve heard and read all the arguments from people with their undies in a bunch over this.  If you do some simple research, you will find that some of the biggest supporters of Planned Parenthood are the Girls Scouts, Nike, Whole Foods, Adobe (the software), Johnson & Johnson, eBay, Ford, Target, General Mills, American Express, AARP, Unilever, Bank of America, Walt Disney – the list goes ON AND ON!  Over thirty percent of PP grants came from the federal government…as in your taxes.  So please back down a bit.  And thank you.]

Needless to say, about three months into training, my enthusiastic YES was a grumbling bunch of “why-did-I-say-yes?” and “I-CANNOT-do-this!” and “what-was-I-smoking-when-I said YES?” whines.  Michelle wasn’t too far away in her lamenting.  Michelle’s friend Lisa, who was the third spoke in our wheel of amazingness, was eternally optimistic and cheerful…so we’re just not gonna talk about her.

I learned a number of things about myself, about others and about life in general while on the 3-day (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) walk.  Which was in Chicago.  In August.  Therefore, some lessons learned were purely simple (I really, truly DO NOT like the heat) and some were much deeper as I spent lots of time with some amazing men and women.

PORTA POTTIES WON’T KILL ME:  They may even make my immune system stronger!  Between my two teen sons, I sit at a LOT of baseball games – about 150 each year.  The majority of the baseball fields have porta potties.  I am the mom who holds it, or drives to the nearest place with indoor plumbing when the holding it option is no longer going to work.  While on the 3-day walk, my ONLY option was a porta potty.  Yes, they were well maintained and set up just for the thousands of us who participated in the walk, either as a walker, volunteer or employee.  However, they were still porta potties, sitting there in sunny, 90-degree weather.  And do you know what?  As each day marched on, the issues I used to have faded away.  My practice of “making a nest” before using any kind of public bathroom (this rear is NOT touching a public seat) went away for those three days.  With the heat and sweat, it didn’t require complete genius to realize I’d be peeling off toilet paper in a most unlady-like manner if I went with the nest option.  In those three days, I contracted no disease or rashes, and I gagged not once.  I thanked all the ladies who had the duty of reloading the toilet paper in and cleaning those portable bathrooms.  The thought that I was dealing with porta potties while scores of others were dealing with chemo and radiation was not lost on me, and I got over myself real quick.

SHOWERING IN A TRUCK IS WEIRD, NOT BAD: After the porta potty issues, you’d think I would boldly walk into the semi-truck, all fears aside, ready to shower.  But I’m a slow learner.  Near the tents at our camping site, there was a line of semi truck beds with stairs leading up to each truck.  Inside were stalls with privacy curtains, a little bench area and then the shower stall itself, set apart with another privacy curtain.  There was a guy’s truck and the rest were for us women-folk.  It was really weird, but honestly, it was absolutely wonderful to step into a refreshing shower!  We got clean and that was the whole goal of a shower.  It was not luxurious, but it served its purpose.  And, I respect ANY woman who was able to shave her legs in that stall.  While showering on a truck was not on my bucket list, it DID make me cross one more “I can’t do THAT!” item off my list of impossibilities.

PUBLIC PAJAMAS ARE SOMETIMES OK: After the shower, I changed into my “Sweet Stuff” pink jammies and continued my evening.  There were many sets of sinks outside the shower trucks and that’s where we all brushed our teeth and hair (no hair dryers), applied creams and lotions and whatever else was a part of our night time routine.  On an average day (ok, on ANY day) I would never walk around my neighborhood in my jammies and wearing no makeup.  But on the 3-day walk, I realized everything was basically public.  Heck, I slept six inches away from total strangers in the tent next to me.  I shattered so many of my “I’d NEVER do that in public” statements.  In some ways, all sense of personal pride was gone, but we were all in the same situation.  Oh sure, there were the Barbie doll types who didn’t sweat or stink, and wore full makeup every day and somehow their hair was always gorgeous…nothing like the frizzed ‘do I sported.  But, we just avoided those cheerleader types and were fine!  And, I kept thinking of my friends who had to decide if they should go in public with their wig or scarf.  And, somehow, jammies and no make up in public seemed like such a trivial worry.

ESSENTIAL - MOISTURE WICKING UNDERPANTS:  Who knew?  And who knew we had so many sweat glands in our body?  (Aren't you glad there's no picture here?!)

A GOOD CUP OF COFFEE IS NECESSARY:  I cannot operate without coffee.  I have tried and it has been (I’m about to make my kid proud for using this phrase...) an epic fail.  The powers that be really didn’t like us to drink caffeine on the 3-day walk because it acts as a diuretic and depletes the body of fluids.  There were some cups of black beauty available in the morning, but it was about 1:30pm that I needed it most…and all we were given was water and Gatorade.  One of the happiest moments on the walk was when we turned a corner and saw a coffee shop across the street.  We took our sweaty, stinky, makeup-less selves into that shop and my iced Americano was JUST what I needed.  Honestly, I think it gave me the energy – physical and emotional – to carry on.  And ya know, as long as it’s not immoral or illegal, sometimes we all need that little perk and boost to keep us going.

THE KINDNESS OF STANGERS IS PRICELESS:  I was literally moved to tears by the kindness, support and love shown to us walkers.   And, the best part is that it wasn’t limited to the large groups that gathered at the prescribed “cheering stations.”  On a residential street, there was a little girl sitting with her mom at a table with a free lemonade stand, just for us walkers!  On a different street, there was a middle-aged guy sitting on a chair on his front lawn, playing his guitar, which was plugged into an amp that was attached to extension cords.  This man chose to spend part of his afternoon sitting in the heat, just to play and smile at us and tell us “Good job!” as we walked by.  There were people handing out freezer pops, kids making Gatorade sno-cones, people standing there with baskets of cookies, waving pink pom poms, and doing numerous other small gestures of encouragement.  I wish I could tell each and every one of them that EVERY piece of encouragement was magnified due to our state of extreme fatigue, frustration and blisters.  The people who left cases of water bottles on their front lawns with signs reading “good job walkers!” – like a feast to a starving person!  The sister-hood and brother-hood among the walkers was REAL and I felt it.  The walkers were actually looking out for each other and I felt safe and appreciated the whole time.  Even when we had to get into a sweep van to bring us to the next rest stop, we were cheered, patted on the back and given more verbal affirmation than I thought possible.  If I ever doubted the impact of kindness or the value in the time used to practice some thoughtfulness, I am fully convinced it’s all worth it.  Even if the recipient never says thank you.  When in need, the smallest gesture feels like a million bucks!  For the 2012 walk I will definitely be on the sidelines cheering on the weary, often teary walkers.  Who can’t use another cheerleader in life?

HANDWIRTTEN NOTES WILL NEVER GO OUT OF STYLE, EVER:  What I’ve kinda glossed over up to this point is the fact that after the first day of walking, I was sitting in my tent, crying and wanting to go home.  I am sure I wasn’t the only walker in this situation.  The plan was to walk about 22 miles the first day, and I only walked 15.  Thinking I had let down all my supporters was shameful.  My body was worn out, the over-heated feeling never left, we had to pitch our tents on a parking lot due to flooding in the grassy field and I was feeling nauseated from the heat and minor dehydration.  At camp there was an area where we could go and pick up mail.  (AND, the THREE chocolates that some girlfriends sent to me!)  For a few months leading up to the 3-day walk, I begged on Facebook and via emails, asking people to send mail to me at the 3-day camp. Imagine my total shock when I went to pick up my mail and I couldn’t hold it all!  I received 55 pieces of mail!  I cried when I saw all the mail and cried again as I read each and every note, letter and card.  The cards were from dear friends, some family and people I now only “see” on Facebook.  I was humbled beyond words.  I was encouraged, given renewed hope and challenged to “stick with it.”  I got the distinct feeling that NO ONE was going to think less of my 3-day walk efforts if I didn’t walk every step of every mile.  The written words were like a good ‘ol strong cuppa coffee for my soul!  I am 100% convinced that it was the words of love, encouragement, humor and care that gave me the necessary stamina to “stick with it” even though I didn’t want to.

Seriously, I could barely hold all the mail!
MY LIFE IS GOOD:  I am sad to report that I often whined during those 3 days of walking in the heat of August.  I did an awful job of always keeping my happy face on, and sometimes I just wanted to pinch the upbeat, cheery walkers.  (Lisa, please tell everyone that neither Michelle nor I pinched you.  Or kicked you in the knees.)  But, the life-stories of my co-walkers snapped me out of my pathetic whining.  The men and women who had experienced such heartbreak and loss from the ugly beast known as cancer was sobering.  The testimonies of beauty from ashes and hope from pain were uplifting.  It was like a megaphone in my face reminding me that life is precious and my life is really darn good.  I had raised over $3,000, had two pair of good shoes JUST for this walk, a snappy fanny pack, moisture-wicking underwear and FIFTY-FIVE people who loved me enough to write me a note!  It was like perspective given intravenously and it quickly went systemic!  When I arrived at the end of the walk at Soldier Field and saw my family and some dear friends, the tears started again!  Yes, my life is good and I am a blessed woman.

This woman's t-shirt said it perfectly.

SOLDIER FIELD IS BEAUTIFUL: Let’s just say that I have NEVER been happier to enter a sporting stadium.  EVER.

I LOVE MY SOFA:  When I got home on Sunday evening, I showered and ate pizza, in that order.  Then, I sat down on my sofa and that fast turned into lying down.  It was then that it hit me that I had not sat on anything more comfortable than a folding chair after I got out of our car about 5am on Friday morning.  I appreciated my sofa in a whole new way.

My two friends have been through their surgeries and treatments and are doing well and they both have a good prognosis!

While on the walk, I got two buttons that summed up my weekend perfectly.

Button one: I thought you said 3 miles in 60 days!

Button two: Blisters don’t need chemo.

Michelle, Lisa and me - worn out, sweaty, swollen, tired and overheated - but WE DID IT!!!