In my last blog I totally blew something – I said ROBIN Naster………it’s DAVID Naster!! (I think it was because I was thinking that people like Robin Williams, Rozann, Jeff Foxworthy and others used to open for HIM, and ‘Robin’ stuck in my short term brain…..
My SECOND oops was that his quote is: YOU JUST HAVE TO LAUGH (I used my slang gotta – SORRY DAVID!!)
The nice thing is, he calls me not by my first name, but like so many, my last – I answer to it anyway – as long as he doesn’t call me by my given first name!!
Isn’t forgiveness great?? Thanks for checking me! (At least I know SOME one read the blog!!)
I couldn’t do anything but laugh……who else but two of the most remarkable people who taught me how to have fun while you battle LIVING with cancer would send a photo like this from a hospital room where Connor (on the right) has been fighting off a lengthy fever? He’s been going NUTS for a long time (he’s my chemo-companion in Kingdom Capers and mischief since he was 2…..he’s 9 now!) and this is truly proof that he’s dragged his mom into the nuthouse with us!
Graft-host transplant disease and complications can be a bummer – just like numb feet (or numb brain Connor tells me in MY case!) can drive a person batty. But it’s all in how you deal with it. You can cry (yes, you sometimes do), you can scream (that’s OK once in a while, too!) But more often times than not, finding the absurd and finding that as my friend and comedian I met this summer David Naster says: “You Just Have To Laugh” (Google David and his books and DVD’s and his Naster Blaster up……now the BLASTER is some fun – right Connor?!!)
Ya gotta love it – finding Opportunities to make Obstacles and Adventure instead of an Adversity….I think SOMEone has some Loose Screws and Skinned Knees somewhere!!
There are days that I think God looks down at me, His elbows resting on His knees, His hand on His forehead, and His head shakes back and forth. Some days He probably lets out a sigh, other days I think He kind of chuckles saying “Care, Care, Care…..let’s go over this ONE more time – you REALLY don’t have to be so ‘stubborn’ (or bull-headed, living in Alaska?!). You make it so hard and you don’t have to! I promise! I have you!”
A close friend sent me this email today and gave me permission to share it. as I think it illustrates exactly what I am trying to say in the previous paragraph…..He wrote:
“God has clearly called both of us to reflect His light. Sometimes we are too weak, or pain-filled, or exhausted, or selfish, or disappointed, or distracted. Sometimes our own agenda or the agenda of those around us pulls us in an opposite direction.
I picture it like I’m on this surfboard with God, clearly in the lull of the trough between the waves. I look over at Father-Son-Spirit to find them… patient. Smiling at me. Content to sit on the board with me while I regain my bearings. “It’s cool, son. We’re right here too.”
And slowly, but eventually, I recall that they have pulled me up on this fine board. Had they not, I’d be drowned by now, for sure. And I also remember that their idea is not to safely stay afloat, but to ride that huge next set of waves that are approaching quickly behind us.
They know I can’t surf. Turns out, that doesn’t matter. They can. I get to ride, and see, and feel and learn and hear and experience… the abundant life… eternal life. Joy. Peace. Love. Clarity. Understanding.
“Ready when you are, son.”
I can’t surf, either. But living here in Alaska, maybe for me, it’s a snow-board, as I wait to hang ten on fresh, powder-white snow, that cover my screw-ups. Thanks for the analogy, Don. It fits.
Bull-headed? Who? ME?!!!
What I thought was going to start as a nice, leisurely day, with a morning walk with Bubba, soon turned into anything but. The sun was peaking through some lingering morning clouds, the mountains surrounding our property displayed their freshly painted coat of ‘termination dust’ – well…..actually, I think it’s here to stay – it’s a little bit too ‘heavy’ for just powder-sugar like ‘termination dust’ as the Native Alaskans call it! And then Care’s Corner “remodel” was stellar , the sun making the rocks sparkle as it rose above the mountain peaks.
I heard some magpies, and then I heard the high-pitched screech of a younger, mottle- colored, HUGE eagle. I looked down river in awe. His colors were amazing. He didn’t have his white head yet (maybe next year?) When he flew from one bank to the other, his wing span made my jaw drop open in awe. I continued walking along the multi-graded gravel pit that we have been left with in the latest re-model/flood, watching where this gorgeous eagle would fly to. But he didn’t fly anywhere. THAT should have been my FIRST clue!!
I then looked around and called to Bubba. I couldn’t see him. Figuring he had just blended in with the last of the fall colors, I called out again. THEN, I saw it. Bubba’s head lifted ever so slightly, not far from where the magpies and eagle were now sitting on log.
NOOOOOOOO! I screamed….minutes too late. SKANKED!!
While fall is one of the wonderful times in Alaska, while autumn never lasts long enough, and while the incredible colors only last a week or two, we are always THRILLED to see what is in the first photo. It may be hard to see, but see the salmon in the water? We are thrilled because with all the flooding the last couple years, and this year in particular, and the river changing course and it’s main channel, we weren’t sure if the salmon would find their ‘home’ again. But when they find ‘home’ again, they have come to spawn, their life cycle is complete. Which means only one thing – after that their bodies float downstream or get banked, for ‘moosehounds’ to find, roll in and take a taste (or ten?) of. They smell, they are beat up, but after all, this is all part of the natural cycle of life. I just wish Bubba hadn’t taken such a liking to them!!
I’m sure the eagle (second photo – sorry – it’s from my phone, so it doesn’t have much detail – I was surprised he let me see him as close up as he did!) was looking at me with his beady eyes glaring, thinking: “What did you just do to my breakfast, Lady?!” I had waded into the river and with my muck boots had gently moved the carcass from the sand back into the water – it’s not like the eagle wouldn’t find it downstream a bit – right?
Enter stage left, Sammy. Sammy is the delightful German Shepherd that lives next door. He and Bubba have daily “play dates”. Whomever is up and eaten breakfast first, and after the school buses have passed, one or the other goes to get the other. Today Bubba was depressed as Sammy wasn’t home – at least not until later. You guessed it……yep! They found another one (or more?) carcasses to rub in and roll. When their daughter brought Bubba back home as they had errands to run, I could smell Bubba a mile away……
So……back into the shower I went with this 180 pound moosehound, Brindle English Mastiff/Ridgeback. While the initial stink and fight is a yearly ritual, it is never easy. But, I DO think that Bubba thought the Tuk Day Spa wasn’t TOO bad – especially when it came with treats and being rubbed and dried with a warm hair dryer, which he melted like putty under…….
Doggie Day Spa? That’s NOT how I thought THIS day would go!! But I’m glad the salmon found their way ‘home’!!
This week, Alaska says “see ya ’round, Boss Lady!” as we send Sarah Robinson off from the wilds of her Alaska roots, to the wilds of the streets of Seattle/Freemont/Queen Anne to continue her stellar work with the American Cancer Society.
By now, most have heard of the “T” word (transition) that the American Cancer Society is making – reorganizing itself, stream-lining, using the monies that the VOLUNTEERS raise prudently and wisely, and bringing it back to where it all started 100 years ago – to the grass-roots (aka: that means YOU AND ME!!)
As Gordy Klatt has so famously said: The Relayers raise the money, the money goes to Research, Research kills cancer, therefore Relayers kill cancer. So in this next 100 years, as we transition, we are going to get LOUD, we are going to continue to be passionate, we are going to get MORE people involved, MORE BUSINESSES/CORPORATIONS involved so that NO ONE EVER has to hear the words: “You have cancer” again.
It is not just a weekend event folks: CANCER NEVER SLEEPS, which means the fight against cancer is a 365 day a year event – from dogs, to coaches, to kids, to golfers, to football players, to co-workers, neighbors and family members and more. It is garage sales to art sales, from auctions to tournaments – IT’s ALL of it!!!
And you know who taught me that a dozen or so years ago? Sarah……..
Oh sure, I had been involved with Relay For Life, but not to the extent that Sarah had encouraged me to be when we moved up here to Alaska. She encouraged me to always be involved at whatever level I could, even as I battled my 11th bout with cancer – we can ALWAYS be an “advocate”!!
Sure, there will continue to be transitions as we celebrate our 47th newest Nobel laureate, as we tweak and try new programs and let others go to rest, but the bottom line is that it is up to YOU and ME to make that difference. WE can be the drivers for Road to Recovery. We can volunteer to help with Reach to Recovery or a support group or ‘Look Good, Feel Better’. We can make meals, we can make phone calls, we can drop SNAIL mail cards (ok, emails, too or Facebook!) – all to say that the more of us in this PEOPLE’S FIELD ARMY of the 2000’s CAN and WILL make a difference – one step at a time.
So we here in Alaska have a double transition to make…..it won’t be easy. Change never is. Saying good-bye to Sarah is bitter-sweet – but at least knowing Alaska will still be in her Great West Division Relay For Life and Strides territory, the sting is eased a bit. (Just a ‘little’ bit!!) But having watched Sarah grow into the incredible, young business woman who has made her mark in a HUGE way in Alaska, makes up for the sting we will feel. Because WE know the mark she is going to make in 12 states and across the country as well.
The ‘cheese’ will never stand alone – because WE have Sarah!!
I am blessed to have some great followers of my blog. I LOVE it when I get feedback, (and selfishly :0) love it even more when they review my book Loose Screws and Skinned Knees!)
All that aside, one reader contacted me asking if I would share a link to his wife’s video which I think you will find inspiring. I have also posted it on my Facebook page for those of you who want to go that route. So – get ready to be inspired and filled with HOPE as you go to the following link: www.mesothelioma.com/heather.
Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in miracles will never find them….
As the seasons change, no matter where in the world you are, remember that nothing is so important that you can’t stop what you are doing, literally stop, and take in the surroundings around you. For the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely of places…..even in the people around you.
Care Tuk is a nationally known speaker, educator, and retreat/workshop leader. She has been a school, hospital, and home health occupational therapist for more than 30 years. She has been named as a Top Business Woman in America and recognized for her work with youth, disability outreach and awareness, and the American Cancer Society.