Sunrise in Reed City, Michigan

Sunrise in Reed City Michigan by Ramona Seath-Lubke

The big ball of fire behind

The silhouette of trees,

Raised up its head and

Greeted the earth with

all its warmth, brightness and energy.

Its ray colored the sky with

red, pink, purple, blue and orange.

Signaled to the beloved people

The hope of a new day.

 *        *       *

Photo was taken by my friend Ramona Seath-Lubke in Reed City, Michigan USA, on April 5, 2017.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Atop Views above the Clouds

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When I fly on a plane, I like the window seat. It allows me to take photos of the views from the airplane, especially when the plane is above the clouds.

So often what I gaze toward the sky from the ground, I just see clouds, especially on a dark and heavy rainy day. Without the energy from the sun, I’m less motivated to get going. There were moments in my life; all I saw was dark and heavy clouds. I yearn for sunshine and blue sky to make my heart lighter, my spirit higher, and my steps swifter. Where was the sun?

When the plane flies above the clouds, right in my sight, the clear blue sky and the bright sun. They are there all the time, whether I see them from the ground or not. Of course I can’t see through the clouds, just knowing that they are always there give me encouragement. The clouds eventually will go away and the sun will shine upon my face once more.

We took this trip coming from home of southern California to Portland, Oregon; to visit our daughter and son-in-law. I got the window seat and took photos from above the clouds. I took a few photos as we approached Portland – one above the clouds with clear blue sky, one above Portland, and one above Columbia River by the airport. I inserted a photo of the sun above the clouds from our trip to Key West .

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Atop

Gratitude Moments #7

April 29, 2009

My surgery was on March 12 and was discharged on March 19. The melanoma doctor, Dr. O’Day, said I could rest for six weeks before the next bio-chemotherapy. During these six weeks, I had to get strong physically and nutritionally. By this time, my vomiting had subsided. My appetite was increased. It was a good sign because I could eat as much as possible. I needed to gain at least six pounds in six weeks. With this mindset, I ate whenever my stomach allowed. I ate ice-cream every day. One friend teased me by saying that, “Go ahead and eat ice cream before you have to worry about weight gain!”

 Several of my neighbors had been our friends for twenty some years. They invited us over for dinners. One neighbor, Doris, invited us almost every weekend. Her son, Randy, my husband’s best friend, barbecued steaks. Doris said, “Miriam, eat. The meat will help to replenish your blood.” I did, I ate the biggest piece of steak on the platter. She was so pleased that I could eat. She told everybody included her dental hygiene patients that I ate the biggest piece of steak.

The chemo drugs burned all the cells in me, good and bad. I was down to skin and bone. Another issue was the burning that dried up my skin. I soaked in the hot bath for an hour each night. After the tough skins got soften a little bit, I scrubbed off the dead skin gently. After drying off, I put layers of lotion, and thick cream, and then lotion all over my body. The cream only served as sealing of my skin. As soon as the cream dried up, I felt itchy everywhere. It would take months down the road for the new skin to be the replacement of the dead skin. Soaking in the bath before bedtime helped me not to feel itchy at night. There were a few nights I could not get enough hot water for the bath, my husband boiled the water on the stove and carried pots of hot water to fill the bathtub. I could never forget about what he did for me!

As far as my body temperature, it was very difficult to describe. On one hand, I didn’t have enough blood to keep me warm, so I bundled up from head to toes in a warm spring time. Yet the drugs continue to burn and made my skin sensitive and hot. Bedtime was a drag for me. When I went to bed, I put a sheet between my legs so they would not have direct contact. With covers on, I would be too hot. Without covers on, I would be cold. So I just put a sheet over my upper body. I took medication to help me sleep, yet all the discomfort took three or four hours to be calmed down before I felt asleep. My husband kept very quiet when he got up in the morning. I had the mask on so the sunlight didn’t wake me up. It was about nine or ten o’clock when I woke up.

During this time, the world was thousands of miles away from me. The pain, discomfort, and weakness were ever present. This was also a time I felt the Lord was right next to me. I talked with Him all the time. I just said to him, “Please help me through this. I need to get well. I need to be well for my husband and my daughter.” His assurance gave me hope. His Word gave me strength and endurance to take a tiny step at a time. I knew I could make it.

 

Daily Prompt:  Replacement

Daily Prompt: Privacy

We enjoy some privacy at home. We like to feel free to move around the house without drawing attention to the neighbors. Our second story windows are facing some neighbors. In 2005, my husband and I decided to plant a row of cypress trees to serve as a natural fence. It provides green to sooth the eyes as well as some privacy to our daily activities. The first two photos were taken when my husband planted the trees. The third photo was taken in 2011. The trees had grown quite tall. The last photo was taken today.

I want to thank Naomi Byrnes‘ comment about this post, “Amazing to see the growth over ten years. I’m inspired realizing it’s worth planting something today for the life I want in the future.”

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Daily Prompt: Privacy

Gratitude Moments #1

Daily Prompt: Year

Daily Prompt: Hopeful

New Year invites us to look ahead, not to look back. I would like to put this in a perspective.

Looking back may remind us the mistakes we had made, thus encourage us to do things differently. Looking back to our achievements boosts our energy to go even further. Looking back to the dangerous spots we had bypassed, the near-death encounters we experienced caused us to ponder: “Who am I to have survived when some did not?”

It is grace that I could cross the threshold of 2016 and step into 2017. This time of year in 2009, I was getting ready for my first bio-chemotherapy. It was a nervous moment to face the outcome of unknown; yet it was a chance I willingly accepted because of my love for my husband and my daughter.

I have to go back a little bit further in time. During my regular annual physical check up in the summer of 2008, my doctor told me that the fibroid in my uterus had grown rapidly within a year. He referred me to my gynecologist. My gynecologist confirmed that it was time to have hysterectomy done. He said, “You are not planning on having more babies, aren’t you?” I giggled without giving an answer.

The hysterectomy was done on July 31, 2008. At 10:00 p.m. on August 1, my gynecologist came to the hospital room to inform me calmly that I had melanoma in my uterus. Even though the uterus was removed, but the cancer cells were still in my female organ area. He told me that all the referrals of testing and surgery were made. He left me his cell phone number because he was going on vacation the next day.

The surgery to remove the cancer cells was done in October. One thing that I still don’t understand till this day was that, the surgeon removed all the cancer cells in the tissues except one cancerous lymph node. He referred me back to my primary care hospital for chemotherapy treatment.

Through a lot of miscommunication, I waited until December before I got the attention of the supervisor of the hospital case management. Then I was referred to a Melanoma expert in United States for treatment. The first bio-chemotherapy treatment was scheduled to be on January 5, 2009. The case management supervisor personally arranged all the CT scan, EKG, Lab work needed to be done before the treatment.

During November and December of waiting time, my cancer went from stage II to stage IV, because the cancer from one lymph node had crossed over to the other side of the body and invaded the whole set of lymph nodes.

This time of the year in 2009, I was waiting for my first cycle of six-month bio-chemotherapy.

The story will be continued…….

3 Quotes, 3 Days Challenge #3 Final

This is my fourth time participating in this Challenge.

I want to thank Betcha Didn’t Know at https://betchadidntknowthis.wordpress.com and Curry n Code at https://curryncode.com for nominating me to participate in the “3 Quotes, 3 days Challenge.” This is an opportunity for me to share with you the quotes that inspire me. Please visit Betcha’s lively and colorful blog, and Curry’s yummy blog.

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Rules:

  • Do quotes for 3 days
  • Display 3 quotes per day
  • Nominate 3 bloggers per day
  • Notify each of nominee
  • Have fun!

3 Quotes for Day #3

Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist, who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.

One of the Awards: Nobel Peace Prize

Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948) was the preeminent leader of the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India.

Mother Teresa MC (1910 – 1997) known in the Catholic Church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta, was an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary.

My nominees for Day #3 are:

Nuskiya

Hailey

Vibes of a Calcuttan

Have fun with the challenge!

Betcha’s Nomination Link

Curry’s Nomination Link