• Grieving,  Mary

    I Couldn’t Let Go of Her Hands

      “Je ne sais pas où va mon chemin mais je sais que je marche mieux quand ma main serre la tienne.” – Alfred de Musset (1810–57) I do not know where my path is going, but I know that I walk better when my hand holds yours.  

  • 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…

  • 2017,  Dearest Don Raine,  Family,  Flowers,  Grieving,  Holidays,  Hope,  JD,  JD,  Joy,  Love,  Memories,  Nate,  Nature,  New Years Day,  Oregon,  Parenting,  Raine,  Travel,  Values

    Dearest Don Raine – This Was 2017

    I regret that I didn’t write and share photos more in 2017 in this special space. The loss of Grandma Mary at the end of 2016 extinguished a spark in my heart. I worried that the spark could never return. I now know that her death changed me, Leah, as I know myself, evermore. It feels like I had to get used to this new version of me all year long. If you should lose a physical part of yourself–this is what I imagine it would feel like. How does one begin to live anew without want for what was lost? A leg, hands, sight, or hearing? I find my…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  ALK,  Anxiety,  Beer,  Bipolar Disorder,  Cancer,  Coping,  Crappy News,  Dan,  Flowers,  Grieving,  Leah,  Lung Cancer,  Metastasis,  NSCLC,  Radiation,  Scanxiety,  Tumors

    After MRI Results

    Dan is super chill. There just isn’t much that can ruffle him. He gets scanxiety (scan anxiety) just like the best of us, but he never really worries or freaks out. The only way I know how to describe him to people is that he is “zen.” There’s not much that can ruffle his feathers. He keeps an even temper, always maintains his sense of humor, and is focused on the simple things each day. I know this sounds super amazing–and I get that. However, I just have to share a caveat that I am MARRIED to him and have loved him for nearly 15 years and that which is the…

  • Announcement,  Flowers,  Grandpa Don,  Grieving,  Home,  Honestly,  Hope,  Illinois,  Life Lately,  Moving,  Scanxiety,  Washington

    We Are Moving (Again)

          In 14 days, we are moving to my dad’s house in Washington. We will also get another round of scan results. Honestly, I can’t figure out what I want to write about. I feel numb with exhaustion. The move wasn’t an easy decision. There were so many different layers to our choice. I still can’t exactly put into words the myriad of emotions I have had about it, back and forth, over the last six months. I still find myself shocked over and over again at how life is so unpredictable, for better or worse. We’d appreciate your thoughts and good vibes for the next two weeks.    

  • Flowers,  Grateful,  Grieving,  Holidays,  Love,  Raine

    Valentine’s Day

    While Dan rested over the weekend, Raine and I finally checked out the Peoria Riverfront Museum with our friends John, Kate, Marlena, and Penelope. It was a beautiful day so we also spent time playing at the park by the Riverplex, where there is a super cool zip line. Watching Raine and Marlena interact is such a joy. They play well together and I have waited so long to enjoy seeing Raine play with my best friends’ children.   Saturday night I was at the Peoria Symphony Orchestra’s concert Romance, with an after party in the lobby with a 10 piece swing band, dancing, and champagne until midnight (at least, for me).…

  • Anxiety,  Cards,  Christmas,  Flowers,  Grieving,  Holidays,  Life Lately,  New Years Eve

    Why I’m Writing Holiday Cards Now

    Our culture loves itself a holiday card! There seems to be a mad dash in the month of December to get. those. cards. out! I have always been caught up in that race, but not because I felt pressured to participate. I genuinely loved the act and the intention. Just maybe not the deadline. I have always had a very old-fashioned sensibility that values practiced penmanship and all types of stationary as well as fonts, typewriters, and printmaking. If you know me well, you know that you are going to get a birthday card in the mail, every year of your life, even if you are turning a very boring age…

  • Family,  Flowers,  Grieving,  Mary

    December 8, 2016

    Gripping my cell phone, I struggled to find the right words to tell Dan how scared I was. Since I had arrived that evening after work, my mother had been unable to speak to me again. I stood at the end of the hallway in the wing of her temporary care unit at Riverview in East Peoria. She was there to receive physical therapy while she healed from a broken arm. An exit door to my right was framed by full length windows of the black winter night. To my left, there was the bright fluorescent lights of the hallway. I heard televisions or muffled talk in the nearest bedrooms. I tried…