• 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…

  • Awesomeness,  Birthday,  Celebrate,  Char,  Dan,  Doug,  Family,  Friends,  Grateful,  Holidays,  Jim,  Joy,  Leah,  Memories,  Oregon,  Peoria,  Photos,  Rachel,  Raine

    And Along Came a 40th Birthday

    It felt like an outrageous accomplishment. It felt like the summit of Mt. Everest. And it also felt normal. We made it to his 40th birthday and life with cancer has become so normal to us, I was distracted by daily non-cancer minutia and completely forgot to plan something. While I was distracted, Dan planned his trip to Oregon. He always hoped to celebrate his 40th by traveling to the beautiful southern coast of Oregon to visit Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, consistently rated among the top golf courses in the nation. He set up plane flights, a rental car, air b&b’s for Lake Oswego and Bandon, reserved a golf cart–got a…

  • Cancer,  Dan,  Grieving,  Hope,  Hospital Stays,  Illinois,  Leah,  Oregon,  Raine

    Where Life Takes You

              *** There have been places on a map where I have lived. Washington, Illinois. Goshen, Indiana. Chicago, Illinois. Moments of growth or disappointment moved me. I visited a place or two in Europe. Small trips took me across my country. I have photos. I have memories of where I slept, the streets I walked, who I was holding onto. What was joyful, what was learned, what was scary, what was mine. There were also maybe-places, hope of living here or there. Lists of locations and contingencies. I wrote Oregon down in my heart when it was so very broken. I should have never written it down. It…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  ALK,  Cancer,  Dan,  Flowers,  Grateful,  Holidays,  Honestly,  Hope,  Hospital Stays,  Leah,  Lung Cancer,  Metastasis,  NSCLC,  Oregon,  Raine

    My Mega Blog Post

    We have enjoyed a beautiful start to Spring here in Carlton, Oregon. Raine enjoyed celebrating Easter with egg hunts, gifts, treats, and time with friends. Dan’s exam and maintenance chemo treatment on the Friday that followed Easter was without concern or change. For Christians, Easter is a celebration of Hope. I remember learning about Easter’s entire procession as a child in Sunday School. What stood out to me was the palm fronds waved and placed in adoration of a spiritual leader. And then the death of such a beloved teacher and inspiration, to be followed by the mystical resurrection of his body. It was fascinating for me to contemplate as…

  • Cancer,  Dan,  Grieving,  Illness,  Journaling,  Leah,  Memories,  Nature,  Oregon,  Raine

    Three Deer

    At 11:00 p.m. Monday night I drove down our street away from our house, turning left at the stop sign onto 7th street. I slowed as a mule deer caught my attention; she stood in the middle of the street surrounded by a soft, hazy strip of white from a single streetlight above. She didn’t move. My hands, slightly trembling, fell from the steering wheel to my lap as I sat still, watching her, my foot held on the break, waiting. She inched forward a few times, her gait slow, wandering, and then she stepped into the grass. There, another deer stood with a fawn. I watched them as they stood together for a few…

  • 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?…

  • Flowers,  Lovely Place,  McMinnville,  Nature,  Oregon

    My Favorite Sidewalk in McMinnville

    One of the things that we loved most about Oregon when we moved here was how wild and free the landscaping could get. At first it was peculiar to not see perfectly mowed bright green turf, but ten years later, overgrown variety is the norm. This particular sidewalk surrounds a building where we go often for meetings, get-togethers, and dates; there are businesses providing excellent coffee and tea, food, wine and beer, and brewing equipment/materials. I love this spot for its midsummer display: lavender, russian sage, hollyhock, lamb’s ear, yarrow, daisies, crocosmia, and more. It is a lush, colorful, and fragrant spot that reminds me to slow down, physically and mentally. Sometimes I…

  • 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…

  • Awesomeness,  Cards,  Carlton,  Dan,  Dundee,  Food,  Gifts,  Holidays,  Leah,  Newberg,  Oregon,  Photos,  Wine

    Holiday Shopping With Dan & Leah – Part Two

    McMinnville is also a fun town to explore during happy hour and at night. Third Street is beautifully lined with trees, a canopy of Christmas lights twinkling above with lit up ribbon arches at cross streets. We have enjoyed many evenings drinking and eating here together and with friends. Our top recommendations are: Thistle Nick’s R. Stuart The Bitter Monk The Old Oak Rooftop at McMenamins Hotel Oregon On our way to Newberg, we stop in Dundee at Red Hills Market for gifts and coffee or lunch. Dan loves their mortadella sandwich, especially. This little deli & market gem is home to a carefully considered selection of beer and wine, bread,…

  • Depression,  Joy,  Nature,  Oregon,  Poetry,  Vineyard

    North Valley Road

      The llamas are splendid No rain to drench their coats. They remain woolly and soft, regal in posture. I envy their quiet eyes The Western sky is nature’s best white-blue, a slow stretch above the horizon, underneath a canopy of cottony clouds–  a pale swatch echoing stillness The orchards are empty with smoke rising from little piles of trimmings The woods are stripped for winter, but kind firs lend density and a few trees have their moment– Pears show their amber dressings and a Red Oak cries out a crash of joyous crimson. Hay fields are quiet, green patches folded upon themselves with brown stitching and the bare vineyards seem asleep but…