Sunday, May 31, 2015

How To Keep An Awesome Journal!

I have discussed the importance of journaling on this blog many times before. Here's an awesome video that provides you with some pointers! Just DO IT! ☺

Monday, May 25, 2015

It's Yummy Monday - Lemony Spring Risotto!

Lemon Risotto

I have to admit, I love to save time in the kitchen as much as possible. So, sometimes (okay, most of the time!) I switch out the arborio rice and use either basmatti, white or Jasmine rice cuts down on the cooking time. Now that the warmer weather months are here, make this dish your own by adding your favorite veggies!

Lemony Spring Risotto

Serves: 4
Around 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 pound asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound fresh English pea pods, shelled (1 cup peas), or thawed frozen peas
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup finely diced shallots
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Bring broth and 1/2 cup water to a simmer in a medium lidded pot. Add asparagus and cook 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove asparagus to a colander with a slotted spoon and run under cold water; set aside. Repeat with fresh peas, but cook only 1 minute. (If using frozen peas, skip this step.) Reduce heat to low and cover broth.
  2. Heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook 2 minutes. Stir in rice and cook 1 minute. Pour in wine and cook until liquid is almost absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved hot broth and stir; when most of the liquid has been absorbed, add another 1/2 cup broth. Continue until broth is gone and rice is tender, stirring well with each addition, about 40 to 45 minutes total.
  3. Stir in remaining tablespoon butter, lemon zest and juice, Parmesan, salt, frozen peas (if using), and reserved vegetables. Serve immediately.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Difference Between Acceptance and Surrender

Going through your cancer journey, you will experience moments where you may want to give up. Treatment sucks. Dealing with hospitals , doctors and endless testing sucks. Surrendering to the process of healing will assist in keeping you sane. 
You are NOT alone. 
You WILL get through this. 
You are loved....XOXOXOX

Monday, May 18, 2015

It's Yummy Monday -- Avocado Melts

Avocado Melts with Arugula

As soon as the warm weather takes over, I love to make a simple open-faced sandwich for dinner using the freshest ingredients. I found this one on and have made it "my own" by switching up the ingredients - turkey breast, ham, bruschetta, grilled shrimp....have fun and try different ways to make this your own quick go-to meal! ENJOY!

  • 4 thin slices sourdough bread
  • 2 small ripe avocados, seeded, peeled, and cut up
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 4 slices reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese*
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons red or green jalapeno jelly
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 cups arugula
Preheat broiler. Place bread slices on the unheated rack of a broiler pan. Broil about 5 inches from the heat about 2 minutes or until bread is lightly toasted, turning once halfway through broiling. Remove from broiler.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine avocados and cumin. Coarsely mash with a fork or potato masher (mixture should still be chunky). Spread avocado mixture on toasted bread slices. Top with tomato and cheese slices; set aside.
In a medium microwave-safe bowl microwave jelly on 100 percent power (high) for 20 to 30 seconds or until melted and slightly bubbly. Stir in lime juice; cool. Add arugula to jelly mixture; toss to coat.
Return sandwiches to broiler. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes more or until cheese is melted. To serve, top sandwiches with arugula mixture.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Deep Healing Meditation Music: Soothing Music, Relaxing Music

Take some time to sit and just BE...meditate, pray....whatever it takes to heal your soul. Be kind to yourself and try to release and let go - one day at a time. The ♥ is there! XOXOXOX 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Just Dance!

Get up and dance, and if you can't get up and dance, boogie in your seat! It's FRIDAY!!!!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Be Kind!

Here's my assignment for you today -- 
Do one random act of kindness!
Here is an excerpt from my book, Living La Vida Lymphoma 
that may provide you with some ideas...some of which do not
cost a thing! You can do this!
Doing something good for others helps to 
lift your Spirit as well as theirs!

Spread the Love
“Thousands of candles can be lit from one single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.  Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
     This quote comes down to one basic truth - the purpose in life is to share this journey and to spread your joy and your light with others.
     Our current financial times are filled with high unemployment rates, sky-rocketing medical costs, a housing crisis, the pressures of the up-coming holidays swirling all around us, making it hard for people to see a light at the end of the tunnel while we are dealing with medical issues on top of everything else.
     I am the eternal optimist. I have pissed off some of my friends and family members over the years. I try to turn my thinking from one of lack to one of abundance. Last year, I went through a period of worrying about my financial future as a single woman for the first time in my life. I realized that my angst was counter-productive to what I wanted to achieve financially. When I had to re-order checks from my bank, I chose a smiley face as my logo. Now, whenever I sit down to pay my bills, I take a moment to bless each check. In the memo section, I write, “Have a Good Month!” I even make googly eyes in the letter O’s. Then I draw a smiling mouth underneath. It may sound hokey, but it makes me smile. Rather than worry that I may not have enough money until the next paycheck, I release my money with the undying faith that there will be enough. And there always is.
     Another practice that I do from time to time is to perform random acts of kindness. Not only does it give you the opportunity to help others, it is an act that reverberates through your soul and spreads out far beyond the person’s life that you have touched.
     My assignment for you is to make it your mission to spread a little love and cheer by doing a random act of kindness or two. The glorious thing is, you do not have to spend any money if you choose not to. I encourage you to get creative with this assignment, and to please report back to me by posting your experiences on my blog or send me an email.
Here are some of the ways that I have contributed random acts of kindness:
     Use the drive-thru window of an eating establishment, pull up to the window and tell the cashier that you would like to pay for the car behind you. Instruct them to tell that person that their meal has already been paid for by someone who thought they were special, and, if they want, they could also pay it forward to someone during the day. Believe me, the first time I attempted this, it was like a comedy of errors. The gentleman at the Dunkin’ Donuts window looked at me as if I were crazy and said, “You want me to do what?” This concept takes a while for others to catch on to at times so I explained, “Please tell the gentleman in the car behind me, that his breakfast is on me, that he is special, and to have a nice day!“ After trying to explain the theory behind it, he finally had his light bulb moment and got it. Whether he managed to squeak out the pay-it-forward part to the poor guy who had been waiting patiently for his latte` and doughnut is unbeknownst to me, but it did brighten my day.
     Go through your closet and box up any old clothing, shoes, business suits, purses and accessories that you no longer need and donate them to a local shelter for abused women who may need nice clothing to go for job interviews. I also donate old issues of women’s magazines such as Oprah, MORE, and inspirational books that I have read.
     The next time you do your grocery shopping, as you wheel your cart back into the store, make sure no one is looking and then toss some money into the cart. It doesn’t have to be much. As you leave the store, envision the look of surprise on someone’s face when they find it. Who knows? The recipient could be a single mom who had been deciding if she could pay her electric bill, let alone put food on the table. It may be a senior who can’t afford their prescriptions. Think of the unexpected joy you have felt in the past when you found money.
     Make a donation to your local animal shelters. Newspapers, pet dishes, toys, blankets, and food. If you are crafty, why not make some bandanas out of holiday fabric so that the shelter staff can dress up the animals in time for holiday adoptions?
     Have your children get in on the action. Each December, have them go through their toys and clothes and pack up boxes to take to a charity thrift store or a shelter for abused children. It will teach them the importance of donating things that no longer serve their purpose, yet will help others who are less fortunate.
     Buy a loaf of bread, some peanut butter and jelly. Make as many sandwiches as you can. Wrap them up and then hand them out to the homeless. You will help to feed them body and soul. Are you worried about being alone for the holidays? Why not volunteer your services at a church soup kitchen or homeless shelter? Your feelings of loneliness will quickly disappear.
     Set a small vase of hand-picked flowers on a co-worker’s desk that may be experiencing some rough times.
     Purchase bulk snack items from a wholesale club store and donate them to a charitable after-school program.
     Clean out your pantry and donate the food to a church or food bank.
     Give a surprise gift to your child’s teacher.
     Sneak an afternoon treat on a co-worker’s desk to tide them over until 5p.m. - a candy bar, piece of fruit, microwave popcorn, granola bar, herbal tea are some ideas.
     If you can afford it, why not adopt a family for the holidays? Provide gifts and food to help make their day extra special. If you can’t afford to lay out the extra cash, try to think of other ways to help out. 
     I taught pre-K for many years in the public school system. I loved the holiday season with my kids. One morning, I was working with a group of children who were writing in their journals. A little boy drew a picture. He glanced at it pensively and then passed it across the table to me. He had doodled a squiggly line across the page with little colorful balls attached to it. I asked him to tell me what he wanted me to write. He was a precocious child, wise beyond his years. He said, “We are not going to have Christmas this year. My daddy lost his job and Santa won’t be coming to our house. My mommy hung Christmas lights on the wall and that’s all we have.” Here was this four year old, who should be all excited about the things we take for granted during the holidays, and he had nothing. It broke my heart, but it put a spark in me and I set out on a mission.
     That afternoon, I made a call to one of the nation’s largest discount retail chains to see if they would be willing to make a donation.  I was told that I’d have to submit a letter in writing to the corporate office, and it could take two to three weeks to get a reply. Christmas was only two weeks away so I kindly thanked them and proceeded to call my favorite retail chain. I presented my case. Without hesitation, the store manager told me that I could pick up their donation the following afternoon. At this point, I had no idea what the donation would be since he told me was going to meet with his sales team.  Once I put the ball in motion, everything began to manifest beyond my expectations. I called the boy’s mother to see if I could drop by for a home visit the next day while the children were having naptime at school and she agreed. I didn’t tell her the real reason for my visit.
     As scheduled, I arrived at the store and was warmly greeted by the store manager as well as several sales associates. They donated a six-foot pre-lit Christmas tree that had been a display model, complete with decorations, ornaments and lights. I was overwhelmed, and so were they for knowing that their generosity was going to have such a huge impact on this family in need. One of the associates helped me load everything into my station wagon.
     When I arrived at the apartment, I knocked on the door and was led inside to a clean, but sparsely decorated home. There, tacked to the living room wall, were the Christmas lights that her son’s illustration had depicted. I told her about his journal entry and her eyes filled with tears. I hugged her and told her that I had a something for them in the car. She stood in the open doorway as I managed to pull out the tree and bring it inside. We set it up, decorated it and I made her promise not to tell her son where it came from. I wanted him to be surprised when he came home from school that day.
     The next morning, he came running into the classroom yelling, “Miss Jodi! You are never going to believe this! Santa came to my house yesterday and gave me the most beautiful Christmas tree in the whole wide world!” He wrapped his arms around me and hugged me tight. I glanced over to see his mother winking at me as she was leaving. The moral of the story? Use the community resources you may have out there to help you reach your goals. You won’t regret the outcome. Paying it forward means a lot to me. Now you have some simple ideas to get you started. Go forth and spread your light
Affirmation:  I experience the law of good in every area of my life.  As I give, so do I receive.  

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Open Your Heart....

What thoughts take up space in your mind? Going through what is probably the most challenging thing in your life right now may give you a form of amnesia. Being tied to doctor's visits, procedures, tests, and other medical treatments can leave you feeling as if you are a pin cushion, a lab rat. You'll find yourself wondering how THIS is what your life has become. Will it last forever? Going through a cancer journey is not for sissies.

There will be days when you won't be able to see the proverbial "light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel," but I have something to say that I want you to sit with and take in. When caught up in your treatment and one of "those days" sneak up on you, making you feel as if you cannot take anymore, literally say, "STOP!" (preferably in your own house or car and not in the middle of the mall or office) Do some deep cleansing breaths, close your eyes and try to re-group. 

When a diagnosis knocks you on your ass, it's time to LET GO, Lovie! I'm not saying that you let everyone else take over your life. You know how I'm a stickler for being your own best health advocate - YOU are the boss of your body! 

Learning to release what you cannot control will give you strength that you never knew you had before. Sounds crazy, I know. Before your diagnosis, your "job" as Parent-Boss-Caretaker-Employee (or, fill in the blank _______) allowed you to believe you were in control of what went on in your daily life. Suddenly "The BIG C" steps in and your old "normal" life is gone.

Now is the time to release and let go of your old belief system and ALLOW life to unfold on a day-to-day basis...
Give yourself permission to let others step in to help you.
That was one of the biggest hurdles I had to face in my own personal journey. When you are a "Giver" all of your life, it's hard to be on the "RECEIVING" end of the spectrum. Your friends and family will offer to pitch in to help you. Take my advice, LET THEM! Not only will it help you, it will help them as well. Being of service to others is so healing.

Every challenge we go through in life makes us stronger and teaches us new lessons. In order to experience growth, 
start out by allowing yourself to be vulnerable. 
Relinquish control. 
Learn to take care of YOU!
Allow life to unfold every day and take time to pamper yourself.
Journal, paint, meditate, pray, take walks....
whatever makes your heart sing!
A-L-L-O-W, Dearheart!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

What is a Caregiver?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

What is a Caregiver?

Meet Rob Harris...

In the past, I've discussed the importance of having great caregivers in your life. I've featured several caregivers, but Rob Harris literally wrote the book on care giving. His book, We're In This Together, A Caregiver's Story is a must-have for anyone who has accepted this role. 

Rob's wife Cindy has been battling cancer since 1990 and Rob has been by her side throughout it all. You can read about his experiences on his blog:

In Rob's own words:
My Caregiver Support
robcares is an army of one…ME! I personally read every email received and respond to as many as humanly possible. I understand that full-time, at-home caregivers, and even those that do so on a part-time basis, are in need of critical caregiver assistance. I correspond every evening and early morning with subscribers on a one-to-one basis on our website, our Facebook fan page, and Twitter. My goal is to ensure that every caregiver that is in need of caregiver help knows they can call on me and receive a response…and have a friend they can turn to when in need of emotional support.
No family caregiver should go through the caregiver journey alone, as I did. My mission is to be the person those at-home caregivers can go to when in need. I will do everything possible to help in-home caregivers feel they are in control of their environment — mentally, physically, and especially emotionally. I never want another human being to feel as I felt: a husband, and a dad, who did not know where to turn to receive caregiver help.

So, if you are a caregiver or know of someone who is, please pass on this important book and blog to can help when they need it the most. 

Rob, thanks for all that you do for Cindy and so many others. You are the epitome of what a REAL caregiver is! And, Cindy, our thoughts and prayers are with you....sending you both lots of love and light...XOXOXO!

A Look Back....

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Don't Give Up -

There are some of you out there who are struggling on a day-to-day basis with this thing called cancer.  It is not an easy road at times but I promise you this - just like any challenge in life, there WILL be brighter days.  It is hard to see a future when you are facing the biggest struggle of your life, but I want you to know, it WILL get better.  Just hang in there and know that you have someone here - me, your fellow readers, care-givers, supporters - we are united in the hopes and prayers for a better life for you. 
I am asking that anyone who is reading this right now, to please say a prayer for those who need to be swaddled in love today.  May they gain the strength and courage that they'll need to carry on in their journey and gain hope for the life that they are destined to live. 
Peace and love and light to you all~

I've Seen Better Days...

Monday, May 4, 2015

It's Yummy Monday -- Lasagna Grilled Cheese!

Lasagna Grilled Cheese
Makes 2 sandwiches

4 slices of bread that you love
2 tablespoons unsalted butter with a dash of olive oil
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
One 14-ounce can cherry tomatoes (you’ll have extra tomatoes left over)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Extra salt and pepper for seasoning