The Mountain is Me …

Mountains are often used as metaphors of challenges that feel insurmountable and impossible to scale, as we stand at the bottom viewing the craggy and jagged edges, piecing the sky … cloaked with an insidious mist clutching, hiding the prize that we seek …

The mountain is not so much outside of myself, it is the ‘old ‘self within …the fears, the traumas, the coping mechanisms that became my tools of survival …the bedrock of my life …an obstruction that keeps me from the healthy life that I want to live …

I must become the heroine of my story. Mastering myself and in the doing, mastering the mountain that has loomed over the landscape of my life for what seems like a millennium …

The last couple of weeks have been a fascinating learning journey…after two months of one of an extremely stressful periods in my life …I felt like a failure for not being able to accomplish the desired result that I had dreamed of …I sat there staring at all the little broken in pieces of my heart …

The very day that I came back home …another punch in the gut with news that was life altering …so I just sat and cried, and cried some more …everything within me shattered …then I surrendered …there was nothing that I could do the change the outcomes …Logically, I know that as humans, we do not have control over some of life’s bumps …but I have lived a great deal of my life with the uncontrollable need to try to control situations and people in my sphere …out of the fear of lost, being alone without the capability to survive …

A stressful situation has always triggered anxiety and fear that sweet and Carby foods were able to sooth in the moment …the challenge of becoming healthier now at 60+ has many additional facets that have needed to be addressed …most so neurologically engrained that stepping out of the grooved ruts to build new pathways seemed most difficult, if not impossible …

My being stubborn does have its advantages sometimes …I have dreams and goals that have not dissipated into the midst of the grey hopelessness and depression that often surrounds me, causing me to fall off the mountain so many times … they keep tapping me on the shoulder …’you can’t give up,’ …’you have things to create,’ “people to love” …my obstinacy would raise its head and with bloody nose, broken bones, bruised knees (and my angel’s help) I would get up …to try one more time …

There are few obstacles in life that will not succumb to consistent, sustained, intelligent, positive action. When you are discouraged after you’ve failed at something, remember Edison’s 10,000 failures before he arrived at the solution that forever changed the world ~Napolean Hill

I sat several days with the breath knocked out of me …surrounded by all the broken pieces …sitting there, trying to get my breath back …I kept telling myself “breath in, breathe out,” “breath in, breath out” as I viewed each broken piece that glittered in the South African sun …strange creative thoughts arriving of what a beautiful mosaic they would make …I picked up a piece and gratitude filled my heart as I viewed the memory of that piece of myself …

I cannot tell you what magic occurred during the last two weeks …but the mountain disappeared, and a previously unseen path materialized in front of me …as I relinquished my control over what was and will be …opened my heart with gratitude for the wonder and gifts of each moment …

The path, my broken heart opened, will not be without perils, obstacles, and challenges …for that is what we call “life” …I have gathered all the broken pieces and carry them all close to my heart, in a bag embroidered with a heart❤ with gratitude…I am slowing down, taking one step at a time …embracing each moment with graciousness and peaceful thankfulness of the present moment …finding the way to my destination with less fear and apprehension …

Each extra unhealthy pound that I carry holds an old emotion, hurt, or trauma that I pushed down …to be released, I must hold them to the light of love …until they are transformed and released …the journey is one that may be arduous and painful at times …but less so, than the previous ones of scaling the mirage of that unscalable mountain that I viewed through all the years of listening to the ‘diet industry’ …

“The difference between a path and a road is not only the obvious one. A path is little more than a habit that comes with knowledge of a place. It is a sort of ritual of familiarity. As a form, it is a form of contact with a known landscape. It is not destructive. It is the perfect adaptation, through experience and familiarity, of movement to place; it obeys the natural contours; such obstacles as it meets it goes around.”

 Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays

Still maintaining the habits that assist me on the path, such as intermittent fasting, low intake of carbs, and less stress in my life …I had lost almost 5 pounds …Christmas Eve with my South African family and Christmas Day were bumps …a charming Christmas Eve dinner with family and a tearful ‘missing’ the traditional Christmas that I observed in the USA with my kids and family …

“Light is to darkness what love is to fear; in the presence of one the other disappears.” – Marianne Williamson

My Christmas gift to you is shining the light of love, sharing the knowledge that you are not alone in the darkness of your struggles in the tempetuous and wild storms of life …you are loved beyond your imagination …love yourself …hold yourself tight …the magic will appear …hold on my dear one❣

Burning to Emerge…

When I started writing about my “climb up the mountain” of weight loss…there was nowhere in my wildest and crazy thought processes that I could envision where it would take me on my soul’s journey…

 “Don’t hoard the past. Don’t cherish anything. Burn it. The artist is the phoenix who burns to emerge.” – Janet Fitch.

This segment of the path is not completed…yet, I have come further than I would have imagined in a short about of time…

Tears have fallen like a molten lead flame…rising from a broken heart…sliding from beneath my eyelids…the soul rendering grief as I whimpered…sobbed convulsively…moaned…and cried seemingly endless tears…the agony of grieving hurts like hell as the saltwater of tears burns through the wounds… burning past chapters of my life…some I have saved and hold tight within my memories…most I am burning and letting go…“Even a spineless arthropod sheds what’s no longer useful and leaves it behind them. Are you not greater than they?” ― Jason Versey

 “Darling, you’re not falling apart. You’re getting rid of the pieces that no longer serve your purpose, this is a surgery of the spirit, and it can be painful as hell.”

Kalen Dion.

Excess weight has been a survival mechanism that I needed…and I find myself still “eating” as a means of grounding myself when the world “feels” overwhelming…why?

Being an empath is difficult and has often felt like a curse, more than a blessing…how do I explain what an empath is…it has become a more commonly accepted way of being…so much that neuroscientists and psychologists now accept and use the term…

“The term ‘Empath’ has become popular in recent years, often used to describe someone with a higher-than-normal degree of empathy. Empaths absorb others’ energy to the point where they feel like an ‘emotional sponge’. They do not have the filters most people do, and they seem to feel other people’s stress and feelings in their own bodies”https://eggshelltherapy.com/empath/

Probably brought on due to the trauma of my childhood wounding and “growing-up” years…it became a survival mechanism that I needed to have to tune in to how my narcissistic parent (which is also caused by his own childhood wound) was feeling so I could do what I needed to be “safe”… Being empathic makes it easier to notice other people’s emotions, thoughts, and feelings

I didn’t understand what was happening and as life progressed and I continued to draw narcissistic people into my life…the emotional load became too much…I always felt overwhelmed and not grounded in my own body….the food that I have craved…are heavier vibrationally dense…foods and drinks that are processed and lost all of their natural energy…alcohol, caffeine, dairy products, GMO foods like corn or soy, soft drinks, beverages with added sugar, wheat and products containing gluten, unhealthy fats and oils…the added weight adding an additional benefit …serving also as an added blanket of protection…both physically and emotionally…


“Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate. It is not the empath who is broken, it is society that has become dysfunctional and emotionally disabled. There is no shame in expressing your authentic feelings. Those who are at times described as being a ‘hot mess’ or having ‘too many issues’ are the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more caring, humane world. Never be ashamed to let your tears shine a light in this world.”
― Anthon St. Maarten

So, what’s next on this journey…definitely continued healing…releasing the outdated offensive energy blocks (the pain and hurt) that I carried for years…and filling those empty spaces with more love…learning how to serve as an empath without losing my own identity…it is a process that I must be patient with and love myself through…

I had my first meeting with a psychologist last week to help guide me in this continuing expedition up the mountain…the first meeting was more about mapping out the journey of my life up until now …I was blessed to connect to the right one for me…her suggested reading was The Source written by a South African Tara Swart…“a neuroscientist and MIT lecturer that shows how science supports the Law of Attraction as a tool for discovering the authentic self”…

How synchronicitous is that…it is a rather exciting process for me…like the cage doors are opening and I can finally be free…do you have any idea of what even the thought of freedom means for the Aquarian freedom loving person🤣…like air…necessary

I haven’t lost any weight yet …but it really is ok…I will as I learn new skills to cope…and I know that my optimum weight is about 130…I have so many exciting things to look forward to…and losing the weight is just a fraction of the blessings that I am in anticipation of…

I choose to share the journey to be brave and bold …to view my scars is to know you are not alone …much love, joy, and magic for your day❣

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”

 Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

There is a new story that will be written from the ashes of the old…

The Fork in The Road For the Empaths

Dear Empathic Soul

It is terribly challenging

to live with little or no filter;

To hear every drop of tears from near and far away;

To see human and non-human expressions of sorrow;

To every day have the world’s pain piercing through you;

To sensing the lies and hypocrisies when others don’t;

To feel trapped in your heightened sensitivity and perception.

At some point, you reached a fork in the road

where you had to decide:

Either to stay here with us, in this imperfect world, or you float up, dissociate, and leave.

I bet you have tried them all:

The spiritual bypassing, the closing down, the tuning out, the numbing using addictions, or dulling through drugs.

The desert offered transient tranquillity, but eventually led you down a path of emptiness, deep aloneness, meaninglessness and eventually,

despair.

Boredom is a result of fear—

It was all too edgy to sit with, so you left.

As you withdraw from the heartache, you also leave behind your hope and love.

At some point, you will reach another fork in the road

where you have to decide:

To stay, or to leave.

A yes or a no to the marriage with life.

The key to moving forward is ‘commitment’;

You either commit to being a part of humanity, or you divorce yourself from it all.

You might have thought that you were too weak, too porous, too soft

for such a commitment.

Yet something magical happens when you say ‘I do.’

The words clear your path, the intention gives you strengths.

How does this work?

By committing to staying with the world, you must also live with other people’s limitations and dysfunctions.

Then, you come face to face with your shadows and your own dysfunctional parts.

Your heart softens, and you learn the art of unconditional love and acceptance of yourself and others.

By committing to cohabiting a space with others, you deal with the daily irritants, inconvenience, and transgressions.

In doing so, you come to embrace life for what it is, rather than constantly trying to change it to the way you want it.

Eventually, you become strong.

With all the terrors comes glory.

As your commitment to the world ripens, it rewards you with richness, joy and strength.

So you were born an empath.

Where do you go from here?

Do you rise to the occasion, yield to the path that you were given,

let it shape you, and allow Life to use you as a vessel,

Or do you hide, shrink, and leave?

Ultimately, you root to rise

not because it is moral, or even particularly honourable,

But because it is the only way to go.

https://eggshelltherapy.com/empath

Atomic Habits…

Atomic Habits…a book written by James Clear is one of the best books that I have read on the importance of tiny habits making a dramatic difference in our lives…

I saw my dietician last Friday…three days ago…I had gained some since I first saw her in February…but now I am in a different place…more aware of the emotional components in this process…I am so proud of myself.. I started the program the next day…not waiting and gorging all weekend till Monday morning…which is a first for me (a very good sign)

She has a different approach than I have been programmed to believe is the answer…she believes in a lifestyle of healthy eating…not a dieting mindset…Focusing on behavior…not just on diet…

Taking the time to make permanent changes to lifestyle…wanting to use the meal plan guide towards change…on practical lifestyle changes…Focusing on one thing at a time…identifying old habits and substituting new habits…aiming to follow the plan 80% of the time (the old 80/20 Rule)

“All big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision. But as that decision is repeated, a habit sprouts and grows stronger. Roots entrench themselves and branches grow. The task of breaking a bad habit is like uprooting a powerful oak within us. And the task of building a good habit is like cultivating a delicate flower one day at a time.”

― James Clear, Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

To lose weight at approximately +/- 1 kg (2.2 lbs.) a week…my Total Average Energy Prescription (for my Height/Bone Mass etc. is 4,500 Kj (it is still difficult thinking in metric versus imperial) 🤔

Daily Portion Distribution:

  • Carbohydrate (Starches) (4)
  • Protein (7)
  • Fat (4)
  • Fruit (1)
  • Vegetables (at least 3-5) Most vegetables are ‘free’ food items and should fill 1/2 the plate

Non diet goals is to try and exercise at mínimum 3 times a week …choosing something that I enjoy and is sustainable…

Back to learning how to navigate life all over again…the spiritual, physical, and mental without overwhelming myself in small sustainable steps…I’m not very good at that…the changing life gradually and in an integrated style…but, heah…I’ve tried everything else…and what’s the definition of insanity😂…doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results…

I have a goal…to traverse the mountain and reach the healthy goal of being at my optimum weight for me…but now I must develop the system that will take me there…

A lot of people want to lose weight (the same goal) …but the ones that achieve that goal are the ones that are consistent with their system…daily habits with small consistent improvements…the Japanese have a word for this “Kaizen”…”change for the better” or “continuous improvement”…

Today, I exercised…but only 10 minutes of yoga and 15 minutes (1 mile) of walking…that’s one system that I want to be consistent in…it makes my day so much better when I begin the morning with movement…

What system do you need to develop to meet your goal…to cross your mountain? May I suggest…read James Clear’s book or at least the summary…it’s lifechanging…or it was for me…

Lots of Love. Laughter and Magic for your day❣

Going Back Down…

The most wonderful day…November 28, 2021…it was a day that was enchanting and magical…everything I always dreamed of…my own personal King Arthur chose me as his Queen💓…

I left my base camp on journey to my personal Mt. Everest…not only did I leave the base camp…but got on a plane and left the continent…

There was the most fabulous pre-wedding family celebration with the love, incredible food and all the liquid happiness that I could imbibe…should I mention the lemon cheesecake and chocolate mousse cake…the slippery slope…the rabbit hole…I didn’t even need to walk down…just slide all the way downhill in one quick “swoosh”…

Family Braii Celebration

I would not have changed one second of the next few days…most people it would have just been a delightful evening…as an HSP it was overstimulating and overwhelming…alcohol and food always helps the sensory overload…which is why I am here facing this mountain in the first place …all the time I can remember I have coped with overstimulation and high sensitivity…food as the main addictive substance that I have used for soothing and self-protection…but not the only tranquilizing I have used in the past…plenty of unhealthy methods and behaviors to salve the “uncomfortableness” of life…

  • When I am overwhelmed by emotions (whether mine or others)
    • I am in emotional pain and feel frustrated, anxious, or depressed
    • My feelings are hurt
    • I feel uncomfortable in my own skin
    • I feel emotionally unsafe
    • I feel criticized, blamed, or rejected
    • I am isolating and need confidence
    • I am tired and need an energy boost
    • I want to escape and shut out the world

Addictions are a high price to pay for dealing with sensory overload and I have done so much better in my current place of safety, peace, and calm…as Empaths and HSP’s we live in this constant state of vulnerability and often are at the mercy of the daily circumstances of life…in the constant barrage of stimuli we are unable to find the peace and quiet that is necessary for our lives…

Without the tools to navigate the bombardment…we often succumb to the maladaptive coping mechanisms of the “pleasure fix” (the slightly nicer sounding word for addiction) of our choice…sugar √, caffeine√, nicotine, or a behavior like overeating√, shopping√, gambling, watching TV for hours √, internet surfing√ or video gaming, risky behavior, checking out our phones constantly√, exercise addiction, and social media addiction…until we slide down that dark, gloomy, depressing hole of “suck”…

Childhood trauma and/or negative experiences also plays a part in some addictions…physically creating some anomalies in the growing brain that may result in cognitive, behavioral, and social impairments…I sure am glad our brains have neuroplasticity…

¡¡¡No excuses!!! …but a view of the building of my mountain through the lens of my past…

I have studied science, spirituality, read hundreds, maybe thousands of books on self-improvement, psychotherapy, therapists, and any other method of recovery that I came across on this journey of self-knowledge and healing for the last millennium…well, maybe not that long… but a least most of my life…

Feeling proud by Unknown Author | Proud of myself quotes, Go for it quotes,  Simple reminders

I have come a long way…and I am enormously proud of every knot in the tapestry of my life…every crack…every scar…there is still much to experience… life is a fantastic continuous journey of learning and growing…

The mountain is still in front of me…waiting to be scaled…to be conquered…there is a life to be lived on the other side…although there are no guarantees…whatever I can do to extend the longevity and enjoyment of my remaining life is important to me…now that I found my sweetest Mr. P… we have adventures to seek…and a shared life to savor…I have a novel to write and fine art photographs to create…family and friends to embrace…

What is the plan forward…a good question is what I need to do differently than I’ve done before…

Day 01

Heading Back to Base Camp

Day 01 – Today I fast to give my body a rest…reset and detox…luckily for Mr. P he’s on a business trip and won’t need to deal with any grumpiness…so it’s lots of water and whatever it takes to get through the day without eating…

There is a beautiful view and ecstatically happy emotions to be experienced at the top…but it is in the journey that I will be most content…

“It is not the mountain that we conquer, but ourselves.”…

Sir Edmund Hillary
50 Best Mountain Quotes for Instagram Captions

Much happiness, love, and magic for your day and life…Renée

We Rise…by Lifting Others

The same blood runs through every vein on earth…and no matter what our skin color…beliefs…customs…when we are cut…we all bled the same…Red

Beauty can be found in everything, and I choose to see and remind myself and the world that there is love and hope despite the ugliness that is so prevalent throughout our world…and unfortunately through history…yet sometimes the abundant odiousness of misery rises and slaps me in the face…reminding me of my blessings and the suffering of most of the humanity on this blue orb of life…

I am abundantly and richly blessed…I am not affluent nor do I have a MAGIC money tree growing in the back yard to pull cash off at any whim…no hidden stash under the mattress…but I do have enough to eat…a warm bed and a home…and people who love and care for me…

Growing up I was the oldest of six in a small country town in the backwoods of Wisconsin…my father failed as a farmer and working at a sawmill was seasonal and not profitable enough to adequately feed his family…we did not live on the street and my mother worked miracles by feeding us cow tongue and dandelion greens😂…a chicken thigh or drumstick on a Sunday was a savored delicacy to eye, nose and belly…

Although it is not the abject poverty that I encounter daily here or that I encountered in Columbia…there is an incredible deep-felt sense of empathy for what poverty does to a human… my heart hurts with the knowledge that with the empty stomachs resides the persisting enveloping darkness of loneliness, despair, and hopelessness…

The poor are the unseen…unwanted, unloved, and uncared for…

“There is something about poverty that smells like death. Dead dreams dropping off the heart like leaves in a dry season and rotting around the feet; impulses smothered too long in the fetid air of underground caves. The soul lives in sickly air. People can be slave ships in shoes.”

~ Zora Neale Hurston

“The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

Carl Sagan

I could write a million words and that would not be sufficient to create a complete picture and even the photographs can only provide a glance…a snippet in time of the life of those that are less fortunate…we have issues of poverty in the United States…there are no simple solutions…but we are one and we can feed one…

Mr. P & I see the overwhelming need every day that we navigate the city…there are the car guards in every parking area (Car guarding is a distinctly South African informal sector employment activity. A car guard offers to guard vehicles in a public or private parking area for a donation. Car guarding enables an unemployed person to earn some income) …beggars…young and old…black and white…others at every stop light selling what they can beside the road… whether a bag of oranges, a homemade product whatever they can…knocking on your window to try and persuade you to trade a few rand for their merchandise…those who wave their paintbrushes for day labor…

A loaf of bread and a package of hot dogs is R40 (40 Rand = $2.60 Dollars) …I know that everyone has their hand out for your contribution…and so many have their own life needs…but I felt that I could ask if anyone wanted to give a small donation to help me to give to those that cross our paths…keeping nothing for myself…but to provide a meal or a coin donation for those who are in need…what do you think?

In the Darkness…we are the Light

Much love, magic for your day and laughter (even if on some days it’s through the lump in your throat and the tears in your eyes) …

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We Interrupt this Program…

…and that’s exactly what it felt like…watching a beautiful love story and floating blissfully in it’s sweet enchanting dream to be violently jolted by the loud jarring sound of the Attention Signal and the words…”We interrupt this program. This is the Wartime Broadcasting Service. This country has been attacked with nuclear weapons. Communications have been severely disrupted, and the number of casualties and the extent of the damage are not yet known. We shall bring you further information as soon as possible. Meanwhile, stay tuned to this wavelength, stay calm and stay in your own house.”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four-minute_warning

It wasn’t a national emergency…but a bomb had been dropped on our own personal world🌍…no warning…in a few seconds our world that had already been altered drastically with Covid…now became totally decimated…everything stopped…my heart…my very breath…

Photo by Jens Johnsson on Unsplash

…everything became surreal when I heard the words…the tumor was cancerous…a sigmoid cancer…adenocarcinoma ( a type of cancer that starts in the cells that form glands making mucus)…a stage II with 9 out of the 20 lymph nodes in the colon affected and was metastasized in the peritoneal area…all facts that are machine fired at you in such a perfunctory fashion…each new fact that was like a slap in the face that you are stunned by… with no understanding as to what is happening..

Mr. P had been suddenly thrust into a club that he did not want a membership to…he had even kept it all to himself until he knew that he had to be scheduled for surgery…I was quite perturbed about that…but he was trying to process the information and protect me from any unnecessary grief…so he was forgiven…and I didn’t really have time to dwell on that fact…

Within a couple of weeks…on Sept 29th surgery was scheduled…after about 4 hours of surgery…he was back at home within just a few days…doing better than most patients…he is such an incredibly strong man both physically and emotionally…with the doctor’s assessment that all the cancer had been removed…the infected section of colon, the lymph nodes in the thin tissue that attached your intestines to the back of your abdominal wall, …I didn’t even know that we had lymph nodes there…and the metastasized portion..he was cancer free…the future brightened a little…

…after a month of healing from the physical side effects of the surgery…chemo had to be started…12 sessions that would eradicate any last possible floating cancer cell…that horrible cocktail of drugs and chemo…

The hardest part for me is the helplessness that I feel…a hug or hand holding does not obliterate the nausea, the extreme fatigue, the unusual side effect of “cold dysesthesia” or cold hypersensitivity (where even drinking anything cold can cause your throat to close)…or the photosensitivity…or any of the myriad number of effects that he must endure…

I hate that I am cannot sit with him during his chemo sessions…where he must sit alone and watch those like him that suffer…sometimes with excruciating side effects…the best I can do pray and wait…send a care package with love note…learn how to remove his port and inject his immune booster shot in his stomach…all with love and care…

Yet my heart is filled with gratitude for the life that I share with this man I love…the good and the bad…the nightmares and the sweetest of dreams…true, authentic, raw love is boundless…for better…for worse…in sickness and in health…

Yes…life is currently on hold for me…the photography and the writing are not at the top of my list at the moment…other “normal” activities don’t warrant my concentrated attention either…but that’s perfectly OK …for until our world stops wobbling I will just hold unto Mr. P and close my eyes…embracing it all with a heart of thankfulness for what I have in the moment…

I can’t wait for the day that we can start planning our future again…the list continues to grow of the things that we plan to do…the travels…the new adventures…and more hand and heart holding…

The rain will pass and the sky will clear…the sun will shine and the flowers will bloom…just waiting for the storm to pass…

Cape Town Beauty

Braver. Stronger. And More Beautiful…

We can’t control what happens to us…but we can control how we handle it…

The next 6 months are a journey into the unknown for Mr. P & I…I thought seriously about not using this blog to document this journey…to only keep a private journal…but this blog was created to show that our life tapestry is beautiful…not in spite of… but because of the dark…

The dark skies that cause the stars to shine all the brighter…and that there is always hope…there is always the present🎁

And so I write…

The unknown is always the worst part of life…I think…Mr. P & I have lived long enough that we know how to prepare for the storms that we know are on the way…

Yet we were definitely not prepared for Mr. P to be the one to have any physical issues…no family history of serious issues…always very health conscious in eating and exercising…we had discussed the possibility of the “old age” aches and pains…and possible physical ailments…many…many years down the road…but not so soon…

It has been a whirlwind from the first knowledge of the tumor to surgery…waiting for genetic DNA diagnosis of the tumor…listening to the oncologist tell us that that it was a stage 4 type of cancer…that all the visible cancer had been removed…chemo only needed to remove any floating residual cells… another surgery for implanting the port…waiting for that to heal…seeing nurses…making appointments…

51 Days…8 weeks…2 months…no matter how you count it…such a long time…such a short time…

So much to be grateful for…that the tumor was found before it spread any further…that the doctors Mr. P had were exceptional…love and support of family…and our faith…we are blessed beyond measure…I try and stay in that place…I definitely not perfected that spiritual attribute yet…

The first chemo treatment was today…and they found that his port was blocked…so the beginning already seems to have began with step backwards…

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

I look out the window as I wait to hear something..anything…and even the skies seem to be weeping today…

“Spirituality is not to be learned by flight from the world, or by running away from things, or by turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather, we must learn an inner solitude wherever or with whomsoever we may be. We must learn to penetrate things and find God there.”
― Meister Eckhart

An X-ray showed that there was a hole in the catheter…now we wait…the doctor is out until Monday…not positive if the port needs to be replaced…which would mean another surgery…another two weeks before the chemo can begun again…

All in the midst of an increase of Covid cases…

Yet…the colored threads still travel through the minutes and hours of our days

Last night we had a beautiful chat with his son and his girlfriend via Skype who are living in France…it was my first time meeting them…and it was light hearted and fun talking of religion…philosophy…….

We are having a dinner with Mr. P’s sister and her husband in a couple of days…able to keep up with the rest of the kids via WhatsApp…everyone is healthy…we recently had our second pleasurable excursion here in town…and so much more…we are blest beyond any imaginable measure…

But most of all…our love threads the tapestry with such unbelievable colors of happiness…I am so appreciative of every moment that I have with this man who stole my heart…I waited a long time for this love and this is not going to be the end of our story…

Even when he drives me crazy…He is always my biggest support and my number one fan…  he cuddles with me…He never fails to wipe my tears away…We respect each other, even when we disagree with one another…I never have to question his love for me…and❣❣❣❣❣❣❣❣❣❣❣

and we will keep holding on…till the end of time

The Balancing Act

What started out to to be a slightly anxiety producing event morphed into an exceptionally magnificent morning…

Mr. P and I had been tossing the idea of taking a whale and dolphin watching cruise since I arrived…well…even before…since my son-in-law showed me the videos of the jackass penguins and their true-to-life sound of a braying donkeyhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVF9F28SY4c…so belly laughing hilarious🤣to watch…

In an effort to keep my social skills from totally atrophying I joined a photographic club…this happened to be their first ‘outing’ that I decided to join…Mr. P became a member too…on account that I haven’t learned to drive on the left side of the road with a left-handed stick shift… and sharing the road with crazy drivers and he makes me feel safer…my own personal bodyguard😎…seriously, it was more about being to be able to share the things that we both enjoy…

We were anticipating a distraction from the current situation that we are experiencing at the moment…although surgery had gone well…the previous day’s appointment to the oncologist was difficult for me…a reminder of the anguish inflicted on the the lives of 46 family members who had fought the same darkness and the few who survived it’s aggressive assault on their lives…and the special one❤ who lives with the presence of the gene that she carries with her every day of her life…

It started the night before…the combination of a glass of wine and seasick pills laid me out me out quicker than Tyson’s 90 second knockout…I could not keep my eyes open for anything…and at 8:30 gave it up…Mr. P did promise not to tell the kids that I wasted the night sleeping😂…

The morning dawned and set off early…the early night definitely helped to being “bright-eyed and bushy tailed”…with slight apprehensions about being accepted into the group…being the new kid on the block and an American to-boot…we set out to expand my knowledge of the marine life here in Algoa Bay, Port Elizabeth…it still feels so unbelievable to live so close to all of this miraculous splendor of nature…

The sea was flat and calm after a few days of winds…yet trying to walk gracefully on a narrow floating pontoon bridge was not an easy feat for me…like navigating life (particularly in our now)…finding balance is most important…

Balancing Family Life Through Uncertainty | Resilient Educator
Dr. Seuss said it best…

By the time I got to the boat, evidently I still hadn’t found my balance…Lost my sandal climbing up the boxes to get into the boat…I tried so hard to look like I knew what I was doing…to be elegant and graceful…put the camera bag on the seat…gave my hand to the owner of the boat and most gracefully lifted my leg over the side and promptly my sandal flew off and landed on the floor of the boat…

“It’s about finding that balance where you have one foot in the familiar, one foot in the unfamiliar.
If you have two feet in the unfamiliar it’s overwhelming….

― Humble the Poet

Algoa Bay

oh, well…I was too excited to dwell on it for long…living in the moment…not the past or the imagined future is a critical component to balancing the good and bad in life for us right now…

Looking to the Future

… this day was going to be a positive memory in our lives…

And it was/and is…the postcard perfect day… weather was cooperating fully…acres of bright blue canvas of sky with puffs of white magic…blown with playful gentle breezes…what more could I ask for…

…but it was just the beginning…I became lost in the enchantment of the sea…

“The heart of man is very much like the sea, it has its storms, it has its tides and in its depths it has its pearls too” ~Vincent van Gogh, The Letters of Vincent van Gogh

…and so are our lives

Such a incredible day…warm ocean painted memories to cherish and hold within my heart❤

I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Watchin’ the tide, roll away
I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Wastin’ time
~Otis Redding

..the white heaven bound birds reminding my soul to glide freely from the fear and a wave of sweet earthly joy and hope for the future began to dance…

…with all my love and wishes for magic🎈 and laughter in your life

~Renée

*Special shout-out to Raggy Charters for this beautiful cruise experience

And Suddenly You Know…

Photo by Chris Moore on Unsplash

…And suddenly you know that it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings…

Now a year of memories after arriving here in South Africa…Dedicated to the Love of my Life…Mr. P…A remembering of our first meeting…Atlanta, Georgia

Superbowl LIII…the American football championship was being played for the first time at the Mercedes-Benz stadium the day of my arrival in Atlanta… February 3, 2019…

When our first meeting was planned…it happened to fall on the day of the biggest and most grandiose sporting event of the year…Atlanta, Georgia in 2019…that fact did not even register with me in the slightest…not being a sports aficionado in the very least…I know…I know… a cardinal sin…especially in the Midwest…

American sports…all this booing…drunkenness…dressing in spandex suits…irate fans spending hours defending their favorite athletes…noisy plastics horns that make the decibel level unbearable for everyone…subjecting themselves to the unbearable tortures of cold and heat…yelling at the television as though that’s going to help change a score or motivate their teams…start fires when they win…slaves to superstitions…

I digress…Driving into the 9th largest city in the US…Atlanta…my heart began to stumble over it’s own rhythm…my gut started to knot into a ball of tight rubber bands…thoughts swirling into a vortex of irrational thoughts…concentrate…I had to concentrate on finding the Airbnb that P. had booked for me…

The closer I got to the address that I had been given…the more I started to panic…questioning whether I was even headed in the correct direction…receiving quite few curious looks while circling the neighborhood block again and again…

Feeling like a Martian on Venus would be an apt description of the confusion I felt in trying to locate the entrance to the apartment complex…kept going around and around…and around…I know that I am directionally challenged…but still…this was ridiculous…so I admitted to myself that I wasn’t going to come out well in the search and gave up and called…

I had no expectations…mentally picturing something such as a “Bed and Breakfast” type of place…I had never stayed at an Airbnb before…the photos of the room were simple yet clean…the host claimed that the place had “good vibes”…and it was afterall the Superbowl…

I found the entrance and my stomach fell to the floorboard and then out the door…hanging unto the bumper as I traversed the empty cracked grey parking lot between the sordidly dingy red apartment buildings…everything that your mind conjurs up when the term “ghetto” is used…

undefinedPulling into a parking space…I reluctantly sat…resisting leaving my car where I feared that I would return to find nothing but the black shell of the remains…

…slowly I opened my car door and transcended the rickedly narrow black staircase to the second story and timidly knocked on the flaking back door…

The door was opened and I entered a small kitchen that was stacked littered with a hodge podge of items…kitchen utensils…counters of food…not a great first impression…

…the hostess…pleasant enough…soothing my jitters just a tad with her few pleasantries as she showed me to my room at the end of the short dark hall…

…In a manner of minutes…it became peripheral to the knowledge that I was going to meet Mr. P soon…would there be any “chemistry” or just a budding “friendship” that would fade with time and distance…there was no way that I could figure out the answer…I had tallied everything I knew and had felt during our year long emails sent and received…the Whatapp messages and photographs…the voice memo’s that had continued to intrique me over time…I had been incapable of calculating the end result…

…I sat at the edge of the bed and my hope…and made the call that I had arrived and was settled in…we made a date to have our first supper togather…I felt my heart beating in my throat…the unquenched life long desire for a true romance bubbled through the long lonely years…surfacing in tremors and fear of just another huge disappointment…hope springs eternal they say…maybe…possibly…

Waiting was an eternity…but the knock at the door came…

I remember that he seemed to fill the doorway…tall and handsome…nicely fitted jeans…just like I like…

As natural as the sun rises and sets…he opened his arms and I ran into them…Time stopped…and then he wrapped his arms around me…and for the first time in my life…I was home…he was the place that I had searched for all my life…

Everything dimmed and fell away…this is where I was supposed to be…

“It is a splendid thing to think that the woman you really love will never grow old to you. Through the wrinkles of time, through the mask of years, if you really love her, you will always see the face you loved and won. And a woman who really loves a man does not see that he grows old; he is not decrepit to her; he does not tremble; he is not old; she always sees the same gallant gentleman who won her hand and heart. I like to think of it in that way; I like to think that love is eternal. And to love in that way and then go down the hill of life together, and as you go down, hear, perhaps, the laughter of grandchildren, while the birds of joy and love sing once more in the leafless branches of the tree of age.”
― Robert Ingersoll, The Liberty Of Man, Woman And Child

Day 277…Lock Down & Locked Up with Mr. P

Husband wife fighting (With images) | Funny marriage pictures
…And the good news is…we haven’t killed each other yet…

In this liminal space between the ‘what was’ and the ‘next.’…not quite knowing how to navigate this ‘in between’ space…hurtling across that void of unknowing…this is the space that most of us are occupying at the moment…

Anxious, uncertain and kind-of-scared…isolated from my children and grandchildren in a time of global crisis…and forced proximity with Mr. P…

Now self isolation and sheltering in place…Oh my! this is where I find… My state of bliss

Cooped up 24/7….how would this affect our blooming relationship..like any 2-way street…still under construction…and no space in our togetherness…

In the 9 months that I have been here in South Africa…every morning Mr. P ascends his White Steed and trots off into the frey of the battle in his work-a-day life…

Our budding love had been so incredibly sweet and beautiful…like a blooming garden…every day I found a new delight…of course, there have been a few weeds and bugs we have encountered…but just enough to add a little interest and never enough to detract from the joy and pleasure of this relationship…

I was curious as to how the quarantine would alter our dynamics…

…and were/are content and happy

There have been a couple of strategies that I know have been instrumental in ‘surviving’ during this stressful time…and even ‘thriving’ during this unsteady, uncomfortable, anxiety -ridden time…

#1. We kept a half-way standard routine…coffee in bed and enjoyed the lazy morning hours to just revel in the warmth of the morning sun and each other…Mr. P caught us up on on the news, while I shared all hilarious memes and beautiful photography before starting the day…and then out of bed and dressing in something other than sweats…gives a small sense of normalcy…

Celebrated Mr. P’s birthday in lock down…with chocolate cake and everything

#2. Exercise and eating healthy…regular meals…Alcohol and chocolate loudly called and tells me that it can fix everything…yet sanity reminds me that cabin fever is not solved with ‘junk’ food…and exercise gives a wonderful boost to the immune system…not being allowed to exercise outside of the home Mr. P runs around the outside of the house for 20-30 minutes every day (the dog thinks his peeps have gone off their flipping rocker)…my preference is on-line exercise programs…

#3. We respect each other’s time and space when needed…when we needed time to work on our individual interests or personal projects…we went to our respective corners…

#4. Completed projects around the house…ahhhh…the sense of accomplishment is a great boost of ‘feel-good’…creating loveliness in our world that does not feel so lovely right now…

TOP 25 GRATITUDE FOR FRIENDS QUOTES | A-Z Quotes

#4. and Gratitude…for me, it’s always about the gratitude for what we have…each other…and the moment

How are you striving to maintain health and sanity during this interval of time? Would adore to know how you keep your life filled with magic, laughter and love during this upheaval in your space …what good things have been awakened in your life…