• 2018,  Awesomeness,  Birthday,  Dan,  Drink,  Family,  Gratitude,  Grieving,  JD,  Joy,  Leah,  Memories,  Raine

    Simple Pleasures – October 2018

    Let’s Play Some Random Catch-Up … Pretty unexpected but Raine loved it — Cheering on a golf game at the country club reception following Great Grandma Karpiak’s funeral. Read her obituary here. Highlights of that family gathering included Raine getting a chance to play with his cousins — Pictured here: JD on guitar and Bennett on drums. Raine asks us to play nerf basketball with him everyday all day. This particular afternoon, he wanted to increase the difficulty of a three point shot. That meant piling items upon himself?   I celebrated my 38th birthday with lots of messages and love from all of the wonderful people in my life.…

  • Awesomeness,  Beer,  Berry,  Books,  Dan,  Friends,  Grandpa Don,  Gratitude,  Grieving,  Home,  Honestly,  Illinois,  Leah,  Photos,  Sunday Sunday,  Taylor

    Sunday , Sunday – Edition 2

      Things that made me smile the last two weeks … What made you smile? Having drinks with my neighbor and friend, Taylor, Friday. We used some of my mom’s glasses from the hutch collections to sip our blueberry sour lambic. She helped me untangle ribbon for the gift boxes. We talked about anything and everything while the kids played. You know, adulthood? Raine describing the new business to his buddy: My mom got a business. She makes boxes (gesturing to them). She puts little surprises inside and when people open them, they’re like, “WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOOAAAAAAHHHHHH!” Should I make that my tag line? The sun. I know everyone here thinks it…

  • Awesomeness,  Bipolar Disorder,  Dan,  Dr. Singh,  Gifts,  Gratitude,  Hobbes,  Hope,  Marriage,  Sunday Sunday

    Sunday, Sunday – Edition 1

      We survived another week! Time for another. Things that made me smile … What made you smile? The kindness and generosity of somone who is going to help us get Hobbes treatment to remove the tumor on his tummy. Creating a new playroom for Raine so that he can pretend he is an American Ninja Warrior. Vegan cookies from Cyd’s. My options are thin for a dairy allergy, so when in Peoria … Buy 4 cookies and live large! ( I would share a photo…But you know it! I ate them so fast.) Catching up with friends. Celebrity name drop! TAYLOR BLACK. JON BYLER DAN. ALLYSON PATTERSON. The support…

  • ALK,  Bipolar Disorder,  Cancer,  Chemotherapy,  Dan,  Dr. Duffy,  Gratitude,  Hydrophrenosis,  Laughter,  Leah,  Lung Cancer,  NSCLC,  Optimism,  Raine,  Tumors

    Guess What? I’m Still Here. And It’s February!

      I ended the year 2015 with a bit of a bitter back glance (and a secret note to the future that I had better not get any more s**t.) This might come as a surprise because I talk so much about joy, gratitude, and hope in my writing on this blog. The truth is, after a year like 2015, full of a desperately sick husband on chemotherapy, a mother increasingly lost to me in the impenetrable fog of her own mind, closing two businesses that I started in good faith, crushing financial problems landing us in the office of a bankruptcy lawyer, and essentially pushing myself to the limits of…

  • Anxiety,  Awesomeness,  Bipolar Disorder II,  Dan,  Depression,  Fibromyalgia,  Friends,  Grateful,  Gratitude,  Joy,  Leah,  Memories,  Raine,  Travel


    We did it! We went to Disneyland! Thank you to all of our amazing donors who helped make the trip possible! Thank you to Allyson Patterson, Aileen Fontana, Charlene Herzing, Doug Herzing, Patricia O’Brien, Javeed Shah, Frank Sierawski, Terrah Barkley, Bronwen Thiebes, Andrea Barry, Melissa Ritchie, April Catlett, Mark Nicklas, Linda Buchanan, Sarah Christensen, and the Lemont Township High School Class of 1995! It was a quick trip–two travel days and two days in the parks–but the difference it made in our lives was incredible. I have told a few friends who have asked how it was, “I think it was so absolutely amazing because we went into it with very low…

  • Birthday,  Dearest Don Raine,  Gratitude,  Journaling,  Leah,  Love,  Memories

    Dearest Don Raine

    Dearest Don Raine, When you were an infant, I opened the first page of a special journal and wrote to you. I never picked it up again after that; my apologies. You will learn that habits need at least 30 consecutive days to establish themselves definitively in our lives and I certainly didn’t give it 30 days. I was disappointed in myself for a while because I kept a diary as a child and was always faithful to writing throughout the years. After four years, I thought that I could still write in this special journal; I could go back and write from memories stirred by photographs and videos.  So here…

  • April,  Beer,  Chemotherapy,  Dan,  Drink,  Fibromyalgia,  Flowers,  Food,  Gratitude,  Home,  Leah,  Life Lately,  Love,  McMinnville,  Optimism,  Oregon,  Parenting,  Photos,  Raine

    Lately In Life

    So let’s talk about life lately. We are nearing the end of July, folks. Summer is pretty busy, isn’t it? It certainly has quite a zeal to it. If it were fall or winter, I suspect we would be judging our busyness and blaming it on “back to school” or the holidays, or this or that. But because summer is sunny and the days are so generous, we feel kind of relaxed about our busyness, don’t we? Where we live, farmers are hustling and the swimming pool is crowded. Every single weekend is booked with a festival of some sorts–not to mention a personal social invitation or two. But who minds?…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  ALK,  Anxiety,  Art,  Cancer,  Carlton,  Celebrate,  Chemotherapy,  Dan,  Gratitude,  Leah,  Lung Cancer,  Lung Cancer Community,  NSCLC,  Oregon,  Raine,  Scanxiety,  Vineyard

    June Recap

    June was a bit of a blur, awaiting Dan’s CT scan, awaiting Dan’s results, and blowing off steam afterward. I’m so sorry to have left everyone hanging after my announcement and no follow-up post! For shame. {I hope you all concluded that no news is good news!} I recently read “10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety” by Tori Tomalia, a two-time cancer survivor currently living with stage 4 NSCLC. She contributes regularly to Cure, where the tips were posted online in February this year. (I found her through Facebook friends, where she is cleverly known as A Little Lytnin’ Strikes Lung Cancer.) I am the caregiver and not the patient, but her…

  • Friends,  Gifts,  Gratitude,  Love

    Lovely Gift: Our Bracelets

    Thank you to our dear friends Lorri and Carmen, who gave us these matching bracelets for Christmas. It is such a special gift–so lovely and thoughtful and keenly appropriate–I just don’t have words. They are beautiful pieces, designed by Lisa Gaffney of Heart and Sol Designs, and inscribed with the custom phrase that I wrote in my first blog post: “Everything around us is extraordinarily beautiful and luxurious now.” We wear them daily and think of one another and how lucky we are.