Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cancer Journal #6: Reclaiming my health. For me, my kids… for life.

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The second biggest concern of this journey has been leaving my children. I’ll be away from them, in a different state, for about a month and a half. The longest I’ve ever been away from them. Even when I return home – sometime at the end of December – my children won’t be returning to me right away and it’ll be about a month before I can even visit with them.

My life has been about my children since 1991 when my first baby was born. I know you can image how difficult it is to leave three of my children regardless of the reason, but what I try to focus on, and what everyone tells me to focus on, is getting better. I can’t be “there” for my children if I’m unwell.

Without my health I’m unable to keep up with the life of a single mom of four, grandmother to one, writer, blogger and aspiring author. My life. Those three beautiful children who still live at home won’t be as well taken care of… we’d all be miserable and hanging over my head would be impeding death and doom.

Of course, the end of life will happen one day, but on this day I’m fighting a life-threatening disease and I’m fighting to win. I’m going to reclaim my health because I have many reasons to do just that.

I miss my children terribly (especially since the day before I left their was discord between their father and myself)… but we’ll Skype (I hope!), chat, text and write… I’ll see them as soon as I can next year and in the end we’ll be together with (hopefully!) a brand new me.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

My only son is 11

It’s amazing that my son, who was born six weeks early and weighed just more the 4 lbs, is 11 years old. I’m quite enthralled by him and the person he is becoming. His interests, likes, dislikes and developing maturity are a source of amazement. He’s no long the little preemie whose little body would rest lightly on my forearm regardless of what I was doing.

Here he is over the years – my handsome son.

DSCF2963trio fall 2012Andre is a fabulous big brother to his sisters Anna and Amareah, and he’s a loyal little brother to big sister Amber.

 

 

He likes to be active…2012-10-20 16.29.37Andre on scooter Christmas 2012  And he’s definitely creative and talented…Andre summer '13

  He won a school lunch poster contest in 2012.

Andre poster 2

He’s a doting uncle to his little niece Autumn.

2013-02-22 16.05.53

He never passes up an opportunity to be silly.

2012-10-06 22.39.14

2012-10-10 19.29.34

Happy 11th year my precious son!

Holiday #Gift Guide – 2014 #updated

Some of the links in this post are directed to the product’s page on Amazon. If you click and purchase through the links here I’ll receive a small commission. Also, some of the products were provided for review purposes. Read my disclosure policy for more information. 

2014 gift guide

It’s unbelievable to me that the holiday shopping season is already here. Many people are well on their way to finishing their holiday shopping and planning their Christmas menus then there are those – like me – who are just beginning to think about the season. To help the planner and the last-minute shopper to finish and start their shopping here’s a little list of some products and books I believe will be ideal gifts for friends and family.

For your little girly girl

Time is slipping by quickly and you’re still scrambling for affordable and age-appropriate presents. Here’s a good one for the little girls in your life. (I’m considering these for my two young daughters.)

CHARM IT! at Gap Kids Print CHARM IT! by High IntenCity is a detachable charm jewelry line for girls ages 5 to 14. This is a product that’s been around about 15 years and is still charming (sorry, couldn’t resist) parents and their daughters. Even celebrity moms, including Sarah Jessica Parker and Heidi Klum, are fans of this popular jewelry line. What I like best about this line is it’s affordability: Charms are $5 each and bracelets and necklaces range from $5 to $16. With prices likes these you’ll be able to build a customizable and thoughtful present as well as go one step further and include a gift card with your purchase so the receiver can add charms of their choosing. These charms are easy to find – just shop independent specialty retailers and premium department stores including GapKids.

“Empowering girls with the gift of self-expression is the heart behind the brand," says High IntenCity president Renee Levy. "Our number one mission is to inspire individuality and celebrate creativity." 

Feel good gifts

I bought this Black Tear Drop Warmer for myself and am so delighted with my purchase that I’m sharing it with you. This warmer is small enough to place on a little extra space on your bedside table, but packs the punch of a full-sized aromatherapy unit. Just add an essential oil and a bit of water and your favorite scent will fill the air.

 

This warmer retails for $7.89 on Amazon, which is where I purchased mine along with the Top 6 100% Pure Therapeutic Essential Oils for $18.45.

Essential oils may well be the ultimate gift from nature. Made from the aromatic essences of plants, they have a remarkable ability to affect a person's well-being and improve the environment around them. Explore the many essential oils offered by Kis Natural that can help you achieve physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. ~ Amazon

 

 

            

Aromatherapy Top 6 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Basic Sampler Essential Oil Gift Set- 6/10 Ml (Lavender, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Lemongrass, Orange, Peppermint) 

The end of the year and the holiday season often cause individuals to reflect on their life whether past, present or future, and sometimes they want to further explore those thoughts. If you have a person like that in your life, or that describes you, journaling is one of the ways to achieve that.

To explore my thoughts about my cancer journey I purchased Sunflower Spirit Workbook: 26 Simple Ways to Follow the Light of Self, Others & Spirit while Journeying with Cancer by Anne Marie Bennett. I like this journal-like workbook because it’s something you can complete over time and at your leisure, and you don’t have to complete the pages in any specific order.

This workbook, available for $17.10 on Amazon, “gives anyone diagnosed with cancer a handbook overflowing with creative, simple ways to stay mindful and self-connected during what is usually a stressful, chaotic journey. Each idea begins with a different letter of the alphabet and consists of a one-two page essay on the topic as well as an easy-to-follow activity for you to try at home.” ~ Amazon

Whether you or your gift recipient is battling a serious illness or not, you’ll find Creating Joy Daily by Tess Adams to hold a dual purpose: journal and daily planner. Adams, who is a law of attraction life coach, published this planner for people to create clarity, goals and intentions. Each page, or day, asks the reader to answer these prompts:

  1. Five Things I Appreciate
  2. Three Things I Have Already Manifested
  3. This is How I Want to Describe Myself Today
  4. Two Things I Will Do Just for Me
  5. Three Things I Want the Universe to Handle Today

 

I haven’t actively used this planner as of yet, but I looked it over and see it as an addition to one’s daily planner. It begins with January, which makes it an excellent choice for a Christmas gift, and spans the year. I can see how by the end of next year, if the author’s directions are followed, this would be a positive avenue for creating joy each day.

Creating Joy Daily is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Balboa Press for about $22.

 

 

 

 Looking for something for the traveler in your life? Try these handy products.

SF_Lea_white_inside LEA is the world's first waterless aroma diffuser that takes up little room in a suitcase. It’s convenient, cordless and rechargeable making it great for freshening up less than fresh-smelling hotel rooms. The suggested retail price is $119.99 and is available at StadlerFormUSA.com.

 

 

 

Jerry white_in useThe portable humidifier Jerry, which works with a standard 17 oz or smaller water bottle, is slim enough for suitcases, overnight bags and even purses. It’s the smallest travel humidifier on the market and although it’s small (weighing .4 pounds) it is still powerful; able to keep a healthy, steady humidity level in any hotel room. Jerry has an automatic shut off and includes a transcontinental AC adapter with interchangeable plugs for use throughout North America, Europe and Asia. It’s also available at StadlerFormUSA.com for MSRP $49.99.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the young readers on your list, wrap up these books…

book cover - grand-ma-ma Grand-ma-MA Stories: Grand-ma-MA and her Grand-grand-kids and Grand-ma-MA Stories: Grand-ma-MA’s Adventures with Her Grand-Grand Girls. Read more about the Grand-ma-MA stories, which I wrote about earlier last month, by clicking the previous link.

The ABCs of Yoga for Kids and The ABCs of Yoga for Kids 2015 Calendar written by Teresa Anne Power and Illustrated by Kathleen Rietz. The calendar uses the alphabet, rhyming poems, 56 fun illustrations and 12 child-friendly yoga poses to practice each month. The poses promote flexibility with coordination while encouraging children to incorporate healthy activities into their daily lives. From this they’ll learn lessons that will  take them into adulthood. Read my review of The ABCs of Yoga for Kids.

 

 

If you have a child dealing with loss or know of someone who has experienced the loss of a child, consider the book Jesus to the Rescue by husband and wife Joshua and Chelsea Barnes. The couple wrote about their message of hope after losing their 2-year-old son Daniel. It was a painting the toddler had created days before his death that they believe revealed intimate details from the day of Daniel’s drowning and, they believe, showed an angle carrying their child to heaven.

Jesus to the Rescue is available for $3.99 on Amazon.

 

 

 

Family-fun choices

Finally… There’s nothing like games for the entire family for bonding and fun. Right now our favorites are the classic game Jenga, a new one Flip2BFit and Bakari – by the same developers as Flip2BFit.

My children and I really enjoyed Jenga; the suspense of whether the pieces would fall from the tower kept us all in stitches as we each took our turns. We also enjoyed Flip2BFit, which I reviewed in September. The fitness game requires each player to perform a physical task after they’ve spun the wheel. Every time one of us pulled a card we all performed the physical challenge and the kids would crack up no matter what. With Bakari you’ll challenge your mind and your body at the same time; the object is to match two physical activity cards then earn points by successfully completing the activity on the card.

 

Which one of these products would you purchase for someone on your list? Let me know in the comments and share whether you’ve started your holiday shopping. Then come back again in a few days to check for any new gift ideas.