Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Last Day of 2011

I don't know about you but 2011 seemed to fly right on by me... It was an eventfilled year from my viewpoint with highs and lows. Of course the breast cancer was definitely a low and my youngest getting her heart stomped on by a guy she thought was wonderful another low but my eldest daughter giving birth to an angel child is right at the top of the highs! Also, moving to be near the grandsons --especially since it is paradise here a definite HIGH. So, that my friends is life... ups and downs. The other important part of acknowledging that life is a roller coaster ride is in facing down your fears and upsets, looking for the lesson or the good in the situation - hopefully there is at least a tiny bit to see and feel. That said, I am stilled really ticked off at the jerk that hurt my baby girl and given the chance I would smack at least ten or twelve inches off of his giant ego but the civilized part of me has to say, "he did her a favor because clearly he wasn't right for her and she would have come in second to his basketball, which would not have worked in the long run." This is me trying to be forgiving. hah. Anyway, have a safe New Year's Eve defensively and soberly. Much aloha, and let's all cheer for the onset of 2012. It's going to be another awesome year to be alive on this beautiful planet. Live aloha!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Saying Good-bye Is So Hard

So, my last post was about the importance of family at holiday time. Well, I got up early on Christmas morning and since everyone else was still asleep I signed in to Facebook to catch up on my friends' goings on. I read with sadness that my dear friend's mom had passed that morning. Ten years ago my father died on Christmas Eve so I know how hard the holidays hit when grieving the loss of someone you love but Christmas morning has got to be worse. My prayers and my heart and my hugs are being sent to all of Nancy's loved ones. Nancy, you will be missed but we all know that you are free of pain and singing in God's choir now. To Shari, Mike, Michelle, Christopher, Christine, Paul and Kathy, et al... sit with your memories of when Nancy was alive and well. Those memories will help ease the pain. Even though it is hard to say good-bye, sometimes it is a blessing. Grief is a natural by-product of saying a permanent good-bye to a loved is not a mental illness that needs curing. Grief is what it is and you have to go through it---feel it --- and face it. You can't ignore it, run from it or deny it. If you try - it will come back to bite you in the you know where when you least expect it. I have seen that happen too many times. Live Aloha.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Importance of Family

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve 2011. What a year this has been! I am so grateful for the love of my husband, daughters, grandsons, etc. This is the time of year when being close to family really matters. I am away from my husband for the first time in 26 years... we can handle it but it wasn't by choice and it doesn't feel all that great but I do have my daughters, grandsons and soon to be son-in-law right here and that feels wonderful. So, be kind to each other and enjoy the next few weeks---hopefully with your loved ones. This is also the time of year when you miss those who have crossed over the rainbow bridge already. Say a prayer and refresh your memories of the good times you shared with those who aren't here in body any longer. I miss ya Grandpa, Cory, Mom, Dad, Annie, Michael, Alycia and so many others. Too many. God's blessings and Live aloha!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Life lessons from a baby

My new little grandson lights up the room with his presence. You just look at him and he bursts into a gigantic smile that fills his whole face...but its his twinkling eyes that takes my breath away. If you have ever watched America's Next Top Model you know what schmizing is...smiling with your eyes. Keoni has that perfected. Babies are so pure and Keoni is pure joy. Which brings me to my observation about older humans. I work at a booth at the harbor where people come to go on whale watching tours, snorkeling adventures, fishing expeditions, etc. It is shocking to see people of all ages (but not babies) who are on vacation -- some for the first time to Maui walking by with scowls on their faces! And some people are so grouchy! I just want to say, you saved your money and counted down the days til your trip was to start and you get over here and you cannot smile??? Please people if you can't have a good attitude in sunny tropical GORGEOUS Maui - you've got a problem. And for all those pouty little tweens and teenagers stay home already. Do you know how many kids don't get to vacation on Maui? I am so glad that I get to come home to the schmizing eyes of a truly happy baby!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Birthday Memories

Today is Keili Elisabeth's birthday. I woke up calculating what we were doing 23 years ago. With the time difference between Hawaii and North Carolina I decided that my husband, my older daughter Brie and my mom were with me in the post-recovery room with the new baby bundled up and being passed from one to the other of us. What a warm feeling I got remembering that time. I called my husband to thank him for helping create such a beautiful child. Then because times being what they are -- I got on FB and wrote my daughter a quick Happy Birthday message. I am sure she isn't up yet. But, the cool part was that on her FB page there were already dozens of birthday greetings to her. She will wake up and turn on her I-Phone and read all the great messages...what a treat. Time goes by way too fast. I cannot believe she is already 23. What a blessing to have her in my life. Thank you Lord for giving me the privilege of raising and nurturing such a beautiful soul. Another reminder friends, life is short...cherish those you love and tell them as often as you can. I love you all.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

writing down my thoughts....

Okay, I am trying to write here more regularly. I once read that famous author and my grandmother's cousin Jack London forced himself to sit down and write for at least 20-30 minutes a day. I admire that and want to emulate his work ethic. I have been out of whack the past two days and have laid low. This gave me too much time to think about life. Is it my imagination or has there been more violent crimes-more women who have disappeared and a lot of little kids who have allegedly been snatched from their homes? How many of those were later found out to be that the parents killed him or her? Too many is the answer. It is unthinkable to me. My son died from a horrible disease and I would give anything to have had a positive outcome. I cherish the memories I have of him and to think that these monsters had healthy children who they beat, burned, drowned, or whatever...makes me beyond sad. Love your children. Hug them and tell them how much you love them every opportunity you get. Same goes for your parents, siblings and friends. Life is short---eat dessert first.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Using puppies for research----really????

Am I the only person who is outraged to find out that there is an organization rescuing beagle dogs who have been caged up and used for experiments their entire lives???? The video of these sad little defenseless doggies too afraid to leave their crates and touch grass with their paws is heartbreaking and makes me really angry. What is wrong with our society? What are they doing to these dogs? Are they using kittens too? Lord have mercy! Are we talking cosmetics, cancer research or cold capsules? I am still stunned just thinking about those little doe eyed faces filled with fear.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Scratching My Head

Aloha. Well, I am totally on my high horse this morning after reading stories on-line that are so disturbing. First, a story from Port Angeles Washington where a couple murdered a woman whom they had been friends with for 13 years. The man who did the deed with his bare hands is likely to get life in prison. His girlfriend/accomplice might get 11 months! Yeah, because this is a first offense. What the hell is wrong with the system? A few years back two cars with four to five kids in each drove up to a Seattle high school in broad day light. A passenger in the first car opened fire and killed a 16 year old girl. The prosecutors charged all of the kids in both cars the same. Now, one could argue that it was entirely possible that the kids in the second car had no idea that this dumb ass was going to shoot and kill someone. I would also speculate that not all of the kids in the car the shooter was riding in had known he would do such a stupid reckless thing...BUT, they all got charged with the same crime and they all got sent to prison. As I recall this was a first offense for all of the kids in both cars. Where was the leniency then? Was it because they weren't white kids? All of the kids were Filipinos and the victim was a beautiful young woman who was at least part white. Why should this young woman in Port Angeles get leniency? Who is making these ridiculous decisions? The other story that has me riled up is that Barbara Walters included the Kardashians in her special about Most Fascinating People. Give us all a HUGE break Babs and stop giving these people airtime. Using someone for ratings...showing naked yoga...talking about enemas...butt implants... and whatever else these silly crass - albeit filthy rich - people do...but I for one am sick of our society making people like them celebrities. For what? The only notable things they have done are based in negative nasty gross behavior. Enough already!!! Barbara you should be ashamed.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Aloha! Lately and especially this week of "thanks giving" I have been fortunate enough to reconnect with friends I hadn't talked to or seen in a while. What fun I had with my dear friend Jamie Williams Jensen while she was here on the island. It had been way too long! Then, I had recently talked on the phone with Jeff Poth. He is someone I have known since Jr. High School. In fact, we were almost related. His older brother Michael was one of my very first true loves. For those of you who have read "Over the Rainbow Bridge" Michael was my friend that Cory met in Summerland. He died a year after he had suffered a broken neck and brain injuries sustained while swimming and jumping off the giant boulders at Green River Gorge. Anyway, Jeff and I chatted recently and then I sent him and his wife Deb a Thanksgiving text and we exchanged emails and family photographs. I hadn't seen Deb since Jeff's dad passed away and I hadn't seen Jeff since I ran into him in an elevator at the King County Courthouse a few years back. Their kids are all grown up and doing well. Just love to hear that my friends have done well for themselves. Such a treat since Jeff was always more like my little brother - even though he's at least 6'4" maybe 6'5" tall! I am truly thankful for the many friends that have made my life that much more interesting...fulfilling and rewarding. Mahalo friends...Aloha!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving! Another day to reflect on our many blessings. Sometimes we get experiences in our lives that are so terrible at the time but later we see the lesson, blessing, silver lining that comes from it. Whether its a job loss, a relationship break up or a friendship that fades away. These losses can be horrific. Then, you later realize that the person did you a huge favor by showing you his or her true self... that you don't want to have this person in your life. Or the job was too stressful...not enough pay...or you had to put up with so much bull crap that it wasn't worth it and that you are much better off without it so that you can move on and find a more fulfilling job or if its a relationship--you can find someone much better suited to your values and personality. Life is short so choose well. I am thankful for the many blessings I have been given and yes, I am grateful for even the bad times so that I know how lucky I am for the good ones. Aloha!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Surprising Pain Reliever

My beautiful brilliant son Cory used to say wise and witty things all the time. He was a little boy who had been blessed with infinite wisdom. If you have read my book you know that he and I shared an incredible relationship. And, that when he was blind and hardly able to move I gave him permission to use cuss words to give him an outlet for his pain, anger and frustration. Well, imagine how surprised I was to see an article headline on-line the other day that was about a study that concluded that using cuss words relieves physical pain. I loved it...we were miles ahead of our time! I can still hear his little voice from the three rooms away saying "S-GD-SOB!" I didn't let him use the F word. Maybe I should have...
Live Aloha!

Friday, November 18, 2011

New Life

I have been blessed to be able to bond with my new grandson. Watching him grow so quickly -- its truly amazing really. Anyway, seeing the changes in him on a daily basis is a great reminder of how time life moves at such an incredible pace that we should all slow down and count our many blessings. I told you last time about my cousin Jimmy crossing over the rainbow bridge...well, my other cousin Ralph pointed out that Jimmy was the third and last son of my aunt and uncle's to die before them. What a cruel thing to happen. They were all adults by the time they passed but still...
Kerry, David and now Jimmy were all babies to my aunt. You gotta live gratitude. And while you are at it --- LIVE ALOHA.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Sacred Heart Girl Is Back On Track!

Well, my mom's jubilation of having my youngest with me was short lived... she figured out very quickly that Maui was too boring for her taste. So, I saw her off at the airport again this afternoon. I will miss her but its the best thing for her. She is much stronger and so much more like her old self...Thank the Lord. The illness and surgery took a toll on her and it was great to see her feeling positive about her future and looking forward to getting on with it. She learned some valuable lessons about relationships and especially about rebound relationships not being the best idea. So, now she is happily looking forward to someday having a puppy instead. Again, thank the Lord!

We lost another loved one last week..I got news from my cousin Ralph that our cousin Jimmy had crossed over the rainbow bridge. I hadn't even heard that he had been diagnosed with liver cancer. But he died from an infection caused by the removal of a skin growth. You just never know what life will bring. It is a moment by moment existence we live. So, everyone out there --- live your life to the fullest. It can change in a heartbeat. Jimmy's death was a reminder to me that love should be expressed loudly and often. Aloha!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The importance of family...

Went to Seattle recently to get a follow up mammo for my previously problematic boob. All clear and no going back until February. Great news! I also got to spend a week with my sweet husband, my hanai daughter Miranda and my beloved puppies Maile and Koa. It was a bittersweet flight back to Hawaii for me. BUT, I got to stop in Honolulu and spend a short time with my baby girl and her friend. Without telling too much out of school...not my story to tell but in less than five days things got complicated for my baby girl and she is now here with me. I am so blessed to have this time with her. I have my two beautiful daughters in one place. That hasn't happened for YEARS. And, she is feeling the blessing of being around her nephews. Sliding into this holiday season I am reminded of just how important family is and how important it is to be able to support one another in times of trouble and in good times too. Life is an adventure isn't it? Live aloha!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Life is paradise!

Living in paradise is one thing but knowing that life IS paradise is much more important. We spend just about every Sunday bbqing and picnicing at a beach park with family and friends. After attending church on the beach it is only fitting to relax and enjoy the sound of the splashing... and friends playing ukuleles and singing. What a gift! Yesterday was no exception and an added treat was when my dear friend and former business partner Jamie and her husband Scott joined us for a while. They are here celebrating their ninth wedding anniversary. So, it was wonderful to have them stop by the beach park and try the ribs that Noel had prepared. Pastor Laki talked yesterday about gratitude and inheriting gifts while we are here on this planet. Yep, life is mindful of how you treat yourself and others. Live aloha!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Life is a gift and should be cherished...

I have been spending a lot of time thinking lately. That's what happens when you are looking for a job and nothing is happening... not complaining because I know one will come along soon enough. But, in the meantime, I have a lot of time on my hands and remarkably I have been able to relax enough to do some in-depth thinking. Life is really short and such a gift that we all need to take the time to grateful for what we have and especially live our lives in such a way that we can be proud of how we spend our time here on this planet. My son told a group of people once that he knew that when he crossed over the Rainbow Bridge that he would go without regrets knowing that he had lived his life the best way he could. What wisdom! I am grateful that he taught me that lesson. I know that living with intention is what God wants from me. Cory was my example and I strive to be like him.
Live aloha.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Grateful for life's blessings

I received the sweetest card in the mail the other day from some friends who live in the NW. I first met them awhile ago when I conducted a bereaved parents weekend retreat. I won't use their names without permission so for now I will just call them "my friends". Anyway, their little guy passed away and of course they were struggling to cope. The retreat helped each one get a glimpse of how the other was feeling. The dad was 'doing' and the mom was crying. She felt like he wasn't grieving or being supportive to her cuz he was always off doing something...sometimes it was something that looked like fun. Her crying was probably frightening for him and maybe he wasn't as supportive as he could have been. Well, that is unfortunately a very typical response to losing a child and also the way couples come apart at the seams. The retreat experience was only two days long but it really helped my friends put things in perspective and start healing together as a couple and as grieving parents. Their card was to thank me for helping them. I am grateful to them for sharing with me how much the workshop meant to them. Also just happy that they are doing so much better. Life is a struggle on a good day but if you have someone who is there for you it makes the struggles that much easier to handle. Aloha!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Aloha Means Love

"Aloha" also means hello and good-bye. What a wonderful almost first week it has been here in paradise. My grandbaby Keoni is the sweetest little guy. He really never cries. All you have to do is look at him and breaks into the biggest brightest smile! He is pure love and pure joy. He talks all the time and it is so fun to listen to him jabber. I think he comes by it honestly. My Keawe is still as sweet as ever too. My daughter really lucked out getting two sweet, calm, happy sons in a row. She should probably not risk having another child cuz there is no way she can be lucky three times. Although it would be good for her to get a gnarly little girl baby. haha. Life is good and even though I miss Steve, Miranda, Maile and Koa I am having a wonderful time here. Live aloha!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Life Is Short And So Random Sometimes

So make the best of the time you have...that is one of Cory's best lessons. You never know when your life will end or be severely impacted. We are all one heartbeat away from the end of our lives that much is clear. I have had dinner with several of my dear friends this week and each one is having serious concerns about her parents' health and quality of life. Two other friends of mine each had a parent cross over the bridge. So much sadness even though both had lived pretty long lives. Then, I found out that another friend who is only 40 is suffering from a brain bleed---how random is that? No one knows how or why it started bleeding and are struggling with what to do about it. More evidence that we must live each day the best we can and be our best selves. Live with a grateful heart!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Life Changes For the Good!

Life changes are in the air! Big ones at that... Have you ever just had such a strong "knowing" inside? Might be intuition...might be caused by indigestion...who knows? But, I often get that sense of knowing that something is going to happen and it does. Or that I am not fitting in or I feel fear creeping up my spine for what appears to be no reason. And then something major hits me in the face! Well, I have felt restless for a number of years...the sense that I should no longer be living in the cold, dark, dreary, depressing Pacific Northwest. I talked to my better half about it and at one point we considered Wilmington North Carolina but that went by the wayside. Then, on vacation before we had even left the freakin' airport my sweet husband thought the Big Island of Hawaii was the place for us. Well, that changed again because my daughter moved with our grandson to Maui. So, that is now the place. Especially since she brought a new little grandson into the world recently. Life changes for her...and now for the whole family. Aloha Seattle on September 19th...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Legacy means "a gift..." handed down

I am just wrapping up the documentary I entitled, "The Greatest Choir Ever." It is about a legacy choir in Wichita Falls, Texas. The true gift is the gentleman who is conducting the choir. OMG! Donald B. Cowan is the man! I have been so inspired by his presence. I feel so blessed that I was chosen to write and produce the story about this choir - the lovely people who make up the choir and all to honor Mr. Cowan for his love, support, encouragement, mentorship, etc. What a beautiful story. I wish you all could see it after it is completed. What a gift.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Life is Scary Sometimes

Watching the news about the rioting and violence happening in England and it scares the crap outta me. My youngest is heading over that way in less than two weeks and I am praying that this nonsense doesn't spread to other parts of Europe...except for maybe in a small village in Northern France :) that is a emoticon that should look evil but I don't know how to do it. haha
Anyway, I got distracted. What is our world coming to? As a former news gatherer it pains me to read the papers, watch the television newscasts and now the on-line news. Why can't people just be kind to each other? My son and I had this discussion the night before he died. As a young child he even questioned why so much war, murder, violence, destruction, etc. in our midst? I couldn't give him an answer then, and I certainly am at a loss now. It is all just too sad.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Barnes and Noble Lahaina and It's a Small World!

I got so carried away describing my grandsons that I failed to give you all an update on my book signing at Barnes and Noble. What a great day it was! Again, I met such lovely people. The staff (s awesome)and all of the locals and those on vacation. The funniest was three people stopped by and one woman picked up my book. She said it looked familiar. So, we all started chatting and upon examining the back cover her friend said, "you live in West Seattle? So do I!" Haha we live about two miles away from each other on the same street! So, we determined that the first friend had seen my book in the West Seattle Herald when it was first published. Small world. The GM there told me that I could come back any time and sign books! Such an example of aloha spirit.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Face of God

Aloha, I just got back from two weeks on Maui where I was able to travel with my cousin John and his wife Jeannie. We had a great time. They only stayed the first week. Then, Keili flew over from Oahu in time for my birthday celebration. It was wonderful...but the absolute highlight of my trip was spending time with my two BEAUTIFUL grandsons. Keawe is so tall and skinny now. He has really changed so much just in a few months. He plied me with kisses and hugs every day. The baby Keoni is so sweet and peacefilled. Looking in to his little face is like seeing the face of God. He doesn't fuss or cry unless he is in need of sustenance or a diaper change. What an angel baby! By the time Keili and I left he was starting to smile and coo. Such a treat! I cannot wait until I can get over there full time. It's in the works so please pray for us that we can get our house sold and get moved over there before too much longer. Aloha!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Life

My new baby grandson was born a week ago. He is beautiful and amazing. I can't wait to meet him in person. Which, I will do when I head to Maui in a few weeks. Keoni is named after my father and his father. What a special tribute to my dad and grandfather. That name is of course his middle name. His first and last name come from his daddy. His daddy is still over the moon! A happy healthy sweet natured little guy. God is great.

Going Back to Barnes and Noble in Lahaina on Maui to sign on July 16th at 2pm

Aloha to you all... I am fortunate to have been invited back to the Barnes and Noble in Lahaina. It is the only bookstore left on the island of Maui. When I signed books there in May I met people from all over the island. So, I am thrilled to be going there again! The aloha spirit guides me back and I am loving it.

Hope to see you there!


Friday, June 10, 2011

A Pink Ribbon Lady

Well, as my luck would have it...I am now a pink ribbon lady. That doesn't mean I am going to sign up for the three day walk or heart will always be first and foremost with the children who have cancer and their families. But, I now understand a completely different side to dealing with the dreaded "C" word. I had my surgery on the 31st of May. What a trip that was! I was lucky to have my sister Rita by my side. She picked me up at 5:30am and escorted me to the hospital. First I had to answer a bunch of questions...then, I was gowned up and put in a wheelchair. A really nice guy named Dale pushed me to another part of the hospital so I could get wires placed in my left boob so the surgeon would have an easier time of removing the diseased duct. Well, the wire thing was probably the most painful of all experiences that day since I had to be awake. The radiologist was the same lovely woman who did my first large needle stereotactic biopsy. I love her. Dr. Halum is her name. Then, they wheeled me back to the other side of the hospital where I hung out for a while and then, they took me to another location where I met the anesthesiologist. His name was Craig. What a kick! The nurse who inserted my IV was an angel. I didn't even feel it. And she put it in my hand! Rita and I chatted and laughed until they came to fetch me. They could not figure out how it was that I have a blonde haired blue eyed sister. No one ever asks outright though. Which is hysterically funny to us. The nurse said to me, "so which one of you is older?" hahaha. I laughed because Rita is about five weeks older than I am. And she will always be older than me! So, I proceeded to tell them about our relationship and next thing I know I am bobbing awake in the recovery room. I was home by 2:00pm. I thought I was pretty coherent but that was a joke. My other sister had shown up while I was in surgery and so when I came to there were two of them. I was kind of confused at first - those drugs are pretty potent. Anyway, I won't bore you with the rest of the details just know that I am sick of my couch... I have read five books in a little over a shouldn't try to go grocery shopping too soon after surgery cuz no matter how good you feel when you leave home that energy level can drop like a rock! I got kinda wobbly and woozy in the middle of Fred Meyer. But the best news is that I went in for my follow up and my lovely surgeon Dr. Tierney told me that all of the bad cells were gone. I don't need radiation or chemo and I praised the Lord cuz I know that I dodged a gigantic bullet on this one. Enjoy your life because it can turn in an instant. I learned that with Cory's diagnosis and now I am a pink ribbon lady...whether I want to be or not!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Book signing at Barnes and Noble in Lahaina Maui went well!

Aloha to all of my friends and readers. Just got back from a trip to Hawaii. My daughter Keili graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and we were there cheering as she pranced down the aisle in her bare feet to receive her diploma holder. There was a huge crowd on hand for the 1500+ undergraduates. The lei ceremony afterwards was cool too! By the time it was over Keili was lei'd up to her chin. If I could figure out how to post photos I would show you but if you are a FB friend of mine you can check my photos there. Then, we went off to Maui for a week to see my other daughter Brie and her family. We had a baby shower...made wedding planning visits to bakeries and a fabulous florist. When I find the cards with their names I will update this post. Steve and I looked at real estate upcountry and found one we really liked a lot. Keep your fingers crossed people! I did a book signing at B&N, which is now the only bookstore left on the entire island! So sad the Borders in Kahului closed down. The people at Barnes and Noble were wonderful. I met so many nice people...customers and staff. They even invited me to come back and do another signing. I hope to get there in August...I will post the dates when I know. So, the really big news since I last posted is my upcoming surgery...tomorrow. The surgeon will be doing a lumpectomy. It is a day surgery so no worries. I just hope I can tolerate the anesthesia. Well, until later ALOHA!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

"The way you spend each day adds up to the way you spend your life."

I love this quote. I found it amongst my dear friend Phyllis' desk items when helping Lola pack up the condo after Phyllis left us. It is in her handwriting on a tiny scrap of an index card... and I taped it to my PC monitor stand. I look at it each day and it reminds me of my beautiful friend and her amazing spirit. I miss her and wish I could talk with her about breast cancer. She was extremely private and rarely even mentioned it. She relapsed several times and it finally mestastized to her brain. I feel so blessed that mine was caught EARLY and I have nothing to fear really. For me having a diagnosis of BC is just a blip and a pain in the okole timewise but I am truly lucky compared to my friend and others like her who have had to endure a much worse protocol. I choose to spend each day of my life living with the knowledge of how blessed I am and trying to spread positive energy in the world. Tomorrow is Mother's Day. For many it is a holiday where moms are celebrated. For me it is a sad day - a reminder that another year has passed since my little guy died. Don't get me wrong...I am grateful for the time we were given but even after all these years I still miss him...his smile...his sweet nature and his mischievous sense of humor. Even though he is gone and I miss Cory I choose gratitude and to acknowledge that being his mother was a privilege. Happy Mother's Day to all mamas!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Yet Another Life Lesson in Gratitude

So, I have not had the energy to post in the past few weeks. I have had yet another confirmation that cancer sucks. I was diagnosed with non-invasive breast cancer. In the giant scheme of things that is not that horrible even though it was not a pleasant thing to hear from the doctor. And in general people freak out when they hear the "C" word....but, it could have been so much worse! I feel so blessed that it was caught early - get those mammos girls! and in trying to make sense of it for my own sake, I have realized that it gives me a reason to count my blessings...a wake up call to be grateful for the fabulous man I am married to...the wonderful daughters and grandson I have and my terrifc future son-in-law who adores my daughter. Life is good even though my body has betrayed me. I will be having the lumpectomy in a few weeks and radiation afterwards but that is so minor because at one point the surgeon was talking mastectomy. So, I hope you all had a good Easter as I did. He is risen!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Passion Project for Fab Over Fifty!

Guess who was picked to have an article written about her favorite charity?
Me! The longer article is on their site right now but this is the initial announcement that I had be chosen 2011 Passion Project Winner.

Passion Project 2011 Winner
Shirley Enebrad Seattle, Washington

Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Western Washington
Seattle, WA
Cancer is the number ONE disease killer of children in our country (more than all of the other diseases combined). My little boy Cory, was diagnosed with leukemia at age three. He died right after his ninth birthday. One of the things he made me promise before he died, was for me to help other parents going through the same difficulties that we faced alone. I have been involved with Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Western WA since the 80's. This organization was started in 1977 by a group of parents. We are a 501c3 that provides direct support to families coping with pediatric cancer and all the issues it brings. Many families have been wiped out financially and had to relocate in order to receive treatment for their child.This meant leaving family, friends, jobs and other support. Most marriages do not survive this type of stress filled situation. Many moms are left to deal with the ill child, siblings and treatments while not being able to work due to the frequency of treatments. Many donors are happy to give to research and we are constantly in need of emergency funds to help the families get by. In the recent economy, our emergency funds requests have quadrupled. The memory of Cory inspires me to continue helping the families. We are the "candlelighters"- we light the way for those families following behind us on the most difficult and pain filled path a family can be forced to travel.


{Passion Projects} Before FOF Shirley Enebrad’s son died, he made her promise just one thing…

“People don’t want to hear that kids die from cancer. They just want to cover their ears and pretend it’s not happening.” – FOF Shirley Enebrad, Candlelighters of Western Washington

FOF Shirley Enebrad’s son was diagnosed with leukemia in 1980. He was three and a half years old. Before he died, at age nine, he made her promise one thing: “Cory asked me to help other parents going through cancer treatment,” says Shirley.

“At that time, chemotherapies and treatments were evolving, and the idea of emotional support wasn’t important,” she says. “With 85 percent of marriages not surviving chronic illness diagnosis, it can be extremely isolating. I wanted support.”

But, there was not much support to be found in the Seattle area at that time. Shirley started some support groups on her own, but felt a whole organization should be dedicated to the cause. That’s when she discovered Candlelighters, an organization with the mission of giving emotional support to families facing childhood cancer. “It [the mission] wasn’t really happening though,” said Shirley. The organization was working to build Seattle’s first Ronald McDonald House, a very important cause, but not Shirley’s vision of direct, hands-on support for parents and families coping with cancer.

Shirley became president of the Candlelighters in the early 90s and helped refocus the organization. Today, the Candlelighters of Western Washington donates 100 percent of the funds it raises towards helping families directly. This includes funeral and emergency funds for financially devastated families, support groups, bereavement retreats and care bags.

“Many of our board members have gone down the same scary path and are ‘lighting the way’ for those unfortunate people who have been forced to follow us,” says Shirley. “Our needs are not as fun as a kids’ camp…or as exciting and hopeful as research, but for the families whose children are suffering right here and right now, the needs are very REAL.”

Shirley just recently “passed the baton” to a new president but continues to stay active as a grief counselor for the Candlelighters. She has also just written “Over the Rainbow Bridge,” a book about how Cory lived his life to the fullest despite his diagnosis. “I get tired but yes, I think I am fulfilling my promise to Cory,” she says.

Find out more about the Candlelighters of Western Washington and how you can help.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


The Donald B. Cowan Legacy Choir of Wichita Falls, Texas is unbelievable...
I was fortunate enough to be asked to produce a documentary about a reunion choir. My dear friend Shelly wasn't available so she recommended me. I spent the weekend getting acquainted with folks and I had the privilege of listening to the most amazingly beautiful A Cappella music. I am so thrilled to be working on this project. I met wonderful people...especially the gentleman who is conducting singers from his 32 years as the choir director at Rider H.S. That's ---choir members from 1961 through Mr. Cowan's retirement in 1993. These people have been convening in their home town once a month for a year. They come from all over the U.S. at their own expense because they all feel such a strong need to give back to Mr. Cowan. They are from all walks of life and so many told me how Mr. C saved their lives. WOW! We need more teachers like this wonderfully caring inspiring man. More about this project later....
What a legacy! Speaking of legacies...I met a really awesome twosome who came from Colorado. Friends for twentysome years. Cindy drives 1300 miles roundtrip every month and her friend Burrus came with her this time. Well,it turned out that he needed to read about Cory. It has helped him already and he hasn't finished the book yet. Legacies....

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring is finally here! Hope for the Future...

It is so beautiful outside today! Spring is finally here and that roundish bright orb in the sky that puts off heat is back after many months of drab gray skies. Seeing the gorgeous Cherry blossoms on the trees and the Daffodils makes me think of a renewed sense of life and gives me hope for the future. With all that has happened in the last few weeks and that is still going on in Japan with the nuclear plants contaminating the food and water there -- I needed a day like this one to cheer me up. I wanted to share my cheerfulness so I packed up a care package to go to my grandson this morning for his Easter basket. It was fun to put cute little eggs, candy and a little something for his savings account in the box. Now that he is a teenager I am not sure if he will even get excited about candy...but I know he will be reminded of Easter and what that means beyond the candy and Peeps. I also included some baby items for the new little guy who is arriving in June. That was fun! The new parents will be tickled to get something for him too. I am praying for the people of Japan and everyone affected by what happened...that includes those devastated economically too like the folks in Hawaii and elsewhere. Let's all count our blessings and think positive thoughts for the future. If we all concentrate hard enough I believe we can make it happen.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tsunami Warnings and Loving Lady Gaga

Well, another horrific tragedy in sad for so many. My personal story about that day is that we were in a coastal beachside resort in Flamingos an area north of Puerto Vallarta. I wasn't using my cell phone because it was on International roaming but I checked it periodically to make sure there wasn't an emergency back home or with the girls. Well, I woke up turned on my phone and there was a text from my daughter Brie. She lives across the road and one short block in from the beach park just across from Canoe's in Lahaina. The text read, "we went to high ground". OMG! I flung the bedding off of me and dashed to the television. There on CNN were the devastating scenes of the waves crushing the boats, cars bobbing like beach balls and of course, the homes being destroyed. I knew when I saw Brie's message that there was a tsunami unleashed and heading towards Hawaii. I texted her back and tried to call too. I didn't care that it was basically 3am where she is...I also tried to get in touch with Keili. I wasn't as worried about her because I knew that her apartment is not that close to Waikiki and in fact is on the eastside of the H-1. So, I waited a while to call her. Of course I woke her and guess what??? She was staying in a hotel at Waikiki! Her roommate's mother was in town and they had spent the night with her...right at the freakin' beach! Several of my hairs turned grey on the spot. That child! Anyway, it turned out to be fine for them. The damage to Maui was on the opposite side of the island and virtually no damage on Oahu. So, as we watched the news coverage we realized that the stupid tsunami was heading for the West coast and that included exactly where we were staying at our beautiful resort in Flamingos. Ha! Well, we went to breakfast and there were people strolling the the water...out on kayaks, etc. But, the only sign that our resort managers knew something was up was the lack of beach chairs on the sand. Eventually it all worked out and we really never felt nervous or scared (no wonder Keili thinks she's invincible huh?) and we never even saw a blip on the water so it really by-passed our part of Mexico. We felt lucky compared to those poor souls in Japan. And the whole thing prompted us to talk about life death and to take stock in how lucky we were. I am praying for those affected by the earthquake and the tsunami. Since I worked on the documentary "On Shaky Ground" in the beginning of my television career - I know too much, which makes things scary and just enough to keep a clear head but when it is happening and your kids are so far away and potentially in the path of destruction, you just have to take stock.

I also want to add that I am a fan of Lady Gaga. She immediately created a bracelet to support the relief effort in Japan and got it on her webshop. I already liked her because of her project with MAC cosmetics to raise funds for people affected by AIDS especially in Africa. She is a true "Sacred Heart" girl who lives her baptism and the values taught to her by the nuns of the Sacred Heart at 91st Street. Keili's same order from Forest Ridge. These all-girls' schools focus on giving girls their voice and teaching them to think globally with deep commitment to helping others. Go Gaga!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Marie Manucherhi's Radio program June 2nd

I will be a guest on Marie Manucherhi's radio program--- Where Energy & Medicine Meet on June 2nd! Her show is on Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon until 1pm PST. It will be awesome. I have attended her evening sessions and they are always fabulous. Can't wait to spend time with her in the studio and chat! Marie archives her programs on her website at So, if you miss the interview LIVE you can always go listen to it later at your convenience.

Also planning to sign books on Maui when I am there in mid-May. I will keep you all posted when I get confirmed dates and times. There is a Borders in Kahului and a Barnes and Noble in Lahaina. So excited!


Monday, February 21, 2011

Life is interesting!

My life has been a constant ebb and flow of drama...intrigue...humor and of course sadness. Sparky's passing was peaceful and sad yet knowing that she is having the best time on the other side of the rainbow bridge makes it a happy time too. I facilitated a two day grief workshop the weekend after Sparky departed. It was for bereaved parents whose children passed on from cancer. It was sobering to me as it always is at these retreats. But it helped me get my perspective grounded. Sparky lived to be 98...some of the children I learned about only made it to four. The newest parents to the sad little club of grievers were really raw but everyone who attended was struggling. It broke my heart to have to tell them that the holes in their hearts will never heal - they will just get used to the pain of their loss. It is a harsh truth one that I have learned first hand. I came out the other end relatively okay so I just hope I inspired them to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. That is what our kids want from, if you know anyone who is grieving please give them a hug...tell them you are thinking of them... praying for them if that is your desire but please do NOT give them unsolicited advice. Be mindful of the words of encouragement you use...I heard so much anger and pain come from parents whose loved ones and friends made their pain worse by careless choices of words. Even if you have grieved the loss of a loved one - you cannot know what your friend or loved one is feeling...thinking...experiencing because each of us is an individual. We all see the world differently uniquely. Be mindful of that...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sparky Galando's Passing

Helen "Sparky" Thelma Rassmussen Galando was my mom...not my birth mom but my mom just the same. My second mom...My sister Rita shared her with me as I shared my parents with her for most of our lifetimes. Sparky was called that because she was struck by lightning twice in one week! Can you imagine? It is funny because people always have a hard time believing it when told about it. Well, the story is extremely interesting but the part I want to share is the love she bestowed on everyone she met. She never met a stranger. And, she had the most incredibly positive outlook. Her middle years were robbed from her - spent in one mental institution or another and to hear her tell it, she was in coma for 27 years but none of that kept her down. She had the best laugh too. What a riotous sense of humor...she never complained, well, almost never. She proudly shared with everyone she met that she had been born in a tent in 1912. Yep, she lived to be 98 years old. She was coherent almost right up until the end too. She was surrounded by her loved ones and her passing was peaceful. But she won't be forgotten. I was so touched to hear her granddaughters and great grandchildren tell her how much they learned from her about not giving up and taking on challenges head-on and not taking life for granted. Those lessons will serve us all well...thankfully, my children included. They really did learn valuable lessons that most people don't get because they didn't have a Sparky in their lives. I am blessed that she was my mom and may she rest in eternal peace...her body anyway. As for her spirit, I have no doubt that she is dancing on the stars with the love of her life (Dad, Nick) and making up for lost time.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Book Signing at Sea Tac Airport Borders Has Changed

The Borders folks had to reschedule my book now, I will be there on February 18th at 9am. It should be a great morning since it is the beginning of the Presidents' Day weekend and some mid-winter breaks. If you are there please stop by and say "hi" to me.

Life is interesting isn't it? I am feeling a little down because my neighbor who lost his job several years ago and could not find a new one just lost his house. Yep, he is in the process of moving out and it just seems sad because he has been here longer than we have and the hood won't be the same without him. Dave is a wonderful man who has always been the friendliest neighbor we've had. I just pray that he will land on his feet and find that maybe it was a blessing after all. But, it does remind me of all of my friends who are out of work. Me included at the moment but I am fortunate that Steve's work is stable.

All news reports indicate that the economy is getting stronger but I wish it would hurry up. It is very scary right now for so many.

Then, there is the weird weather all over the world. Our friends in Brisbane were evacuated a few days ago and from the looks of this morning's newspaper photograph showing Brisbane under water it is a good thing they left. The weather in Brazil is flooding our NE is under yet another blizzard and my daughter just texted me that the road that she needs to travel to get to the other side of her island is under mud and closed until they get it cleaned up. We here in the Puget Sound region just had our third snowfall in as many months. We rarely get snow at all so this is weird and the rain has been so hard for the past several days that our basement is leaking again. It flooded last month!

Getting ready for a grief workshop at the beginning of February. That always makes me count my blessings in preparation for helping parents whose losses are raw. Good thing I am married to a clinician. That's all for now.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A reminder of how time flies....

Talk about a blast from the past! I received an interesting email from a young man who played soccer with Cory when they were young boys. In fact, Damien's dad was the coach during several seasons of play. And, Jim, the dad, was one of Cory's pallbearers. sigh. This young man is now the principal of a local high school. I cannot believe he is a grown up but to think that he is running a high school blew my mind. Life goes by way too fast. So, no real details but Damien indicated that he had a dream about Cory and coming over to visit at our old house in Lakeridge. So, when he awoke he had Cory on his mind but could not remember his last name. He also felt the compulsion to contact me. What a treat to hear from this young man and to know that he had not forgotten my son. It also appears that perhaps Cory felt a reason to connect with him. I am hoping to figure that part out. When I do I will post it here.

Apparently he is married with two small children. And his younger sister who played soccer with Brie is married with a toddler too. I am feeling is also bittersweet to think that Cory should be here having babies too. Fate can be cruel. But, I am grateful for the time I was given. Cory was and continues to be a blessing to me.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hau 'oli Makahiki Hou! (Happy New Year!)

Well, the thread that was holding Malia here snapped and she is now staying with her maternal grandmother. Ten years of her living with us off and on was enough...we really did start to realize that we were protecting her too much and that now at 19 she needs to be responsible for her own destiny.

Keili came home but was delayed several days because of the Apple I-Phone alarm glitch that caused her to miss the scheduled flight. Then, she couldn't get another one for three days. Apparently the non-reoccurring alarm system failed for January 1 & 2. They should have known though because it didn't work when Daylight Savings happened. This was not something that Keili was aware of since Hawaii doesn't do Daylight Savings. Bummer! Well, she is home now even though for a short stay. We love having her here. She really energizes the house.

I am doing a book signing at the SeaTac International Airport on January 28th at 9am. I am thrilled and so grateful to my friend Erik Korhel for hooking me up. What a fun place to do a signing!

The last day and a half I have been un-decorating. We left them up so Kei could have decorations when she got here. Now it looks so bare! Glad to be sorting and packing them up though.

The New Year has given me the incentive to reflect on my many blessings. So many of my friends have been struggling with unemployment, rough relationships, deaths, and just plain stressfilled lives...I feel very fortunate to have the wonderful husband, daughters, friends, family members and doggies that I do. Thanks everyone for being so wonderful. And to my friends who are struggling - I love you and I am praying for you that your life will improve significantly this new year.