Sunday, April 27, 2014

Chicago 2014

In five weeks I’ll be in Chicago for my fourth Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. The first physical fundraising event I ever participated in was Spin for Hope in 2010. It is an American Cancer Society fundraiser and basically a three hour spin class. A year later I participated in my first Avon Walk in Houston, Texas.

Before 2010 I had never trained for any physical event. I trained for the California Bar Exam (CBX), but never a physical challenge. During bar prep time our professors held bi-weekly web-based chats to help guide and encourage us through exam preparation. One of the analogies that was regularly used is that the CBX is like training for a marathon.
The CBX is the most difficult bar exam in the nation. Not just because the examiners are tough, but also because it is a three day event. Every other bar exam is only two days. In the end, the exam is 18 hours long and we were taught to think of the exam as six, three-hour segments. You can do any three hour exam.
In comparison, the Avon Walk is a marathon and a half. I always commit to a marathon. I know I can walk 13.1 miles each day. Last year I surprised myself and walked 31.4 miles over the two days. I am going to try to do the same or better in Chicago but I won’t get discouraged if I only walk a marathon.
The Avon Walk is a test of endurance. I think of endurance as “slow and steady wins the race.” However, it is more than that. Like the CBX there is both the physical endurance to make it through both days but there is also the mental energy needed to stay focused. Also, there is a learning curve. Having walked before I know what to expect. And as I train I know how to challenge myself.
As I go into the final weeks of training I will focus on my goal and remember why I am walking. I want a world without breast cancer. A world without any cancer. No more deaths and many, many more birthdays.

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Saturday, April 26, 2014


I went to church on Easter Sunday. I don’t attend church every week, but I probably visit once a month. I usually go with my mother to the church where I grew up. But for Easter we were with my in-laws and went to their home church. The pastor spoke on Colossians 3:1-4. However, while reading the passage my eye caught the two verses further down in the chapter. Verses 23 & 24.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24 ESV

Thursday I was scheduled to take my friend Linda to her weekly appointment. However, she had just received news that the chemotherapy was not working and her doctor pulled her out of the trial. I am heartbroken that the chemotherapy didn’t work. But I was also sad that I would not see her on Thursday. Her daughter encouraged me to reach out, and so after a phone call and a few exchanged text messages, Linda and I made plans to get together on Thursday anyway.
I showed up at her house with coffee, of course. What I found was my friend; a woman willing to face whatever is “next” in this journey. We talked some about what had happened. We talked about her children. She showed me pictures of her grandchildren. And we talked about our faith.
She wondered if she had already fulfilled God’s purpose for her life or if that purpose is yet to come. I think our purpose is right here and now. When I reflect on all of the events in my life and how they brought the two of us together I am truly overwhelmed by God’s grace and love for me. Linda is a blessing in my life. Her faith keeps her strong, and as she tells her daughter Tina, “you just have to stay positive.” Her life is serving God right here. Right now.
I carry her lesson with me. I want to know that I am fulfilling God’s purpose for my life. Right here. Right now.

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


I was recently disappointed. And I mean big time disappointment. The kind that leaves you with no energy and not wanting to get out of bed in the morning. I had plans to spend the weekend with my mother and had been invited to visit with some friends that I haven’t seen in over 30 years. I was looking forward to both. But it wasn’t meant to be. At least not this time.

I’m not usually like this. I find the positive in everything and truly believe that I am where I’m meant to be when things like this happen. It’s a mindset that I adopt when I’m stuck in traffic. I think of all the stories after 9/11 from people who were supposed to be in those towers or on one of the flights that day but something delayed them or changed their plans. It was not their time.

A few years ago I made plans to get together with a longtime friend who had moved away and was traveling home for a visit with his parents over Christmas. We decided we would meet for lunch the day after Christmas. I had the week off from work and he was “home” for the week. Well, it was the year of the Christmas Blizzard here in New England. And his area had a severe snow and ice storm that closed his airport for four days. He never made it home for Christmas. And while that was disappointing, I wasn’t too sad. I felt as if God (or at least Mother Nature) had given us a big, fat “no” to getting together. Oh well. Weather happens and there will be another time.

This weekend God said “no” and I can’t blame Mother Nature this time. I’m not sure why, and maybe I’ll never know. I like to be philosophical about these things. At times I need, even crave, down time. Time to myself. Time to watch junk television. Time to read. Time to knit. Time away from people. Maybe I just needed to slow down and enjoy the spring weather here at home.

Or maybe it has nothing to do with me. My mother spoke at a women’s group; it was one of the things I was going to attend. She confessed that I probably would have made her nervous. I’m sure her talk was a blessing to all who were there.
And with the spring weather, my friends were probably happy to get out into their gardens. They own the Late Bloomer Farm and Rabbitry. You can read their blog at Late Bloomer Farm & Rabbitry. They also have a Facebook page. Check them out.

So while I’m disappointed I’m going to embrace the here and now. And anticipate that there is another, better time to see my mother and visit with my friends. Besides, the sun is shining and the temperatures are warming. There’s even a hint of spring in my yard.

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.