Category Archives: hobbies

Essential Oils and Me

I have been having more fun learning about essential oils! I can’t believe how much there is to learn.

I have made some of the most awesome butters (I learned that the difference between lotion/cream and butters is whether or not there is water involved). They combine beeswax, cocoa butter and/or jojoba oils … some products I’d never even heard of until a few short months ago.

Have you smelled cocoa butter? It has a strong chocolate scent!! I made a baby butt butter (say that fast 3 times) that has cocoa butter as a main ingredient. It smells strong in the jar, but not so bad once it is on the skin. It feels great. (No, I have no baby to put the baby butt butter on … but my class had the recipe, so I made it for me 🙂 And, I’m glad I did!) I made some baby powder for my daughter-in-law to try. Just because it says it is for babies doesn’t mean we adults can’t enjoy it, too, right?

I made some lip balm too. Now, that was interesting! It starts setting up before you can get it in the tubes!! I think the next time I make some, I will have a better plan of action. It might have been a challenge to make (mostly just to get it into the tubes … and then to clean up afterward), but the lip balm feels great on my lips. And, it stays there a long, long time.

This is so much fun that I’m very strongly considering becoming a certified aromatherapist. How about that? Here I am. Aging day by day … at retirement age even under the best of circumstances … still being treated for stage 4 lung cancer … and thinking of going for a whole new career. Perhaps I need my head examined 🙂

I am glad that my husband is as supportive as he is. It seems like every single day a new delivery comes – whether it is essential oils or carrier oils or waxes or bottles and jars … I have a whole apothecary these days! A new package will arrive and he’ll say, “What’s that?” My response is always, “I don’t remember. It is like Christmas around here every single day!”

My biggest challenge right now is deciding where to go to start working on my certification. There are several online schools that are really interesting to me. I’ve taken some free and paid classes through one of them and I really, really like the person teaching, but I’m taking an involved free class with another person who I really like, too.

Anyone else involved with essential oils? Let me know! (Most people just roll their eyes at me when I tell them I have gotten so involved. Would love to find others who are as interested in them as I am!)

(Extra credit question: Do you see a problem with some of the products in the accompanying picture? Answer: some have no labels… big mistake!! I have a few bottles hanging around that have no labels. I have no idea what they are. I’m afraid they’ll have to be thrown out 🙁 )

Help! I Can’t Get a Good Breath!

I recently saw a question raised by a lung cancer survivor who was experiencing difficulty breathing after radiation treatments. She wanted to know what tips we had that could help her improve her breathing.

I am very fortunate because I have not personally experienced many breathing issues. So, I put Dr. Google to work in order to try to answer her question.

More…

Get Off Your Duff and Get Moving!

There are a few articles hitting the news lately about how too much sitting contributes to a number of cancers. The reason for this spate of news is a talk given by Charles Matthews of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting held in Austin, TX in February 2018, “Unraveling the Relations Between Sedentary Behavior, Physical Activity and Health.” Matthews is in the process of helping rewrite the NCI’s 10-year-old exercise guidelines, based in part on what large epidemiologic studies using accelerometers are showing with regard to what constitutes beneficial exercise. (For anyone like me who doesn’t know what epidemiologic studies are – they are “studies of how often diseases occur in different groups of people and why.”1)

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Don’t Give Up: Taking Control of Your Life

donna-pastureI am sitting here staring at a blank sheet of paper, wondering what I have to say to you that will be worth your time reading it. I am no scientist. With the advent of chemo brain, I don’t even really enjoy reading and researching like I once did. So I have no great wisdom to impart.

What I do have to pass along is hope. Such a little word but one that has the ability to change your life. Hope crowds out anxiety and pushes away fear. It fills you with peace and can motivate you.  ….More

 

Happiness is My Normal

I was just looking at my Facebook memories. I love those! I find myself posting things I want to remember to Facebook now so that they will show up in my memories in the future. Am I the only person who does that?  More…

 

A few years ago, I wrote a number of blog posts for Patient Power. I am going to provide links to them on my blog.  Happiness is My Normal was originally posted 4/28/2016

 

 

3 AM … And I Can’t Sleep

Ugh. I woke up at about 2:30 this morning. Got up, went to the bathroom, plopped back down and expected to go right back to dreamland. Not happening tonight (this morning?).

It is probably my fault. I play an electronic game called Township. And, instead of actually plopping down and closing my eyes to sleep, i picked up the silly game. Just for a minute.

Well, that minute is now nearly an hour and here I am, working on a blog post instead of sleeping. It wouldn’t be so bad, but i have somewhere to go later this morning so i can’t just sleep in.

Where do i have to go, you ask. Well, unbelievable as it is … Yoga. If you had told me four months ago that I would finally be going to the gym and working out, i would have thought you were nuts. But, it is true!

And, boy! I am enjoying it!! I can go to the FitSteps program on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. FitSteps is a program developed by a retired oncologist for cancer patients. There is a personal trainer who helps us each with a program designed specifically for us. It is at FitSteps where I go to yoga, too.

I had never even tried yoga until three weeks ago. What we do is probably called chair yoga – we use chairs anyway. And, it is for beginners. It is really a lot of fun … And it is good exercise, too.

I look forward to yoga class. I even look forward to walking on the treadmill. And, i look forward to seeing the other cancer survivors who come to work out. We laugh a lot. And, if there is one thing I love to do, it is laugh.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, my friend Linda and I have started going to the local Community Center. Ten dollars a year gains us access to a very well equipped gym and a variety of classes. As we were leaving the gym yesterday, a lady invited us to join their exercise class. I am surely going to think about doing just that. I may be the only person on earth who actually enjoyed gym class way back when i was a kid. I think i will enjoy an exercise class.

My motivation for going to the gym was to get my strength and stamina back after radiation treatments. Additionally, i have been complaining for years about gaining weight and my huge belly. I am finally doing something more than complain. It feels good. I hope it works.

Even if i stay oversized … How I hope not … the exercise is good for me. There are so many studies out there that tout the benefits of exercise, especially for cancer patients. Sadly, the research shows that only 10% of patients exercise while in treatment and only 30% do after finishing treatment. I hope i stay in the 10% that get out and get moving! It isn’t habit yet. I still have to make myself go, even though i like it when i get there.

4 AM. I am yawning but my mind isn’t feeling tired. My eyes do. Oh well. I think i will spend a little time doing my Bible reading. I never make New Year resolutions but i made two for 2018. One is to get fit and the other is to read my Bible from cover to cover.

I have never done that. I tried one other time and quit … I hope I am more successful with it this time. I don’t manage to get it done every day, I am sorry to say. So, i have some catch-up to do.

Did you make resolutions? Are you sticking with them? Are you on an exercise program? If not, consider it!!!

(Forgive the lowercase “i” … I do know better, but I typed this on my tablet and it doesn’t automatically capitalize. I am too lazy this early morning to go fix them all.)

Sing!! Bellow it Out! It’s Good For You!!!

Do you like to sing? Well, guess what? Science says it is good for you to sing.

Benefits of Singing

Prevention magazine lists six ways singing is good for you:

  1. Singing eases your stress and improves your quality of life
  2. It can help you bond
  3. This one is BIG!!! Singing improves immunity in cancer patients!!!
  4. Singing may be good for your heart (it is definitely good for your soul!)
  5. Really? Singing helps curb snoring! (Your significant other may like this!!)
  6. Singing may help people with asthma

Wow! Who knew?

Even though I love it, I am a terrible singer. I used to get such a kick out of my little family when we would be in church. All three of us were singing our hearts out. All on a different key. And none on the same key as the masses. I know our pewmates wished we would just mouth the words!

Usually, that’s just what I do if I am in a crowd. I mouth the words. Even when we are singing happy birthday to someone. I am just so embarrassed that I can’t carry a tune. But, get me alone!!! That’s when the stops come out! I love to belt out songs that mean something to me.

Let’s Share Favorites!

So, the purpose of this blog is not only to inform but to share. I have some favorite songs that I want you to have the opportunity to hear. I hope one or more of them will speak to you like they do to me.

Overcomer

One of the most meaningful songs to me is Mandisa’s “Overcomer.” That’s what we cancer survivors are, right? Overcomers? Take a listen! (And, if you aren’t a cancer patient, there is no doubt in my mind that you are not overcoming challenges of your own. This song works for all of us!)

 

Blessings

Laura Story’s Blessings speaks volumes to me. We don’t have to look far to see blessings in our lives. And, sometimes, what seems to be the worst thing to ever happen to us isn’t.

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

Lots of people might call me crazy (no offense taken if you do), but I see so many blessings in my life as a result of my cancer diagnosis. I know you are thinking, “You must be kidding.” But, I’m not kidding at all. It isn’t that I wouldn’t rather not have cancer. But, since I do, I have to say, it has brought me many friends and experiences I would have never had otherwise. And, I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

It is Well with my Soul

Yes! It IS well with my soul! No matter what happens to my earthly body, I know where my salvation lies! It is great comfort to know that when I take my last breath here, my next will be on Streets of Gold in Heaven.

Casting Crown’s Oh My Soul

The night Casting Crown’s singer Mark Hall was diagnosed with cancer, he sat down and wrote “Oh My Soul.” It is a powerful song. Mark describes the motivation behind the song,

I just sat down on the piano and was looking at the verse where David says, ‘Why so downcast, oh my soul. Put your hope in God.’ So the song is me just having a little argument with myself and giving it to Him.”

God has my cancer, too, Does He have yours?

End of the Beginning

Another favorite song of mine has nothing to do with encouragement or cancer or counting blessings, but I just love this David Phelps (he’s one of my favorite artists) song.

 

There are more songs that speak volumes to me and that I love to belt out, but I will stop here. We’ll do another blog at another time with more songs.

As you can see, the ones that mean the most to me also have a lot to do with my faith. I couldn’t go through this battle without my faith.

What about you? What songs are most meaningful to you? Why? Let me know!