From the BlogSeptember 9, 2015
How did we get through our challenge? I can’t say for sure if it was our natural optimism or our military “can-do” attitude, but each day we faced together the adventure in front of us and stayed determined to embrace the journey. We faced death as we faced life, together, as one. We drew our strength from each other to help the other one cope—it is just our natural reaction to adversity. We also turned to others—friends, family, caregivers — and they were a bottomless source of help.
As time went by, I saw a pattern in how we were dealing with our challenge. We refused to be disheartened or give up. We didn’t cut ourselves off from others, especially those who wanted to help. We planned special activities and outings designed to heal and lift our spirits. And we continuously thought of it as an adventure and remained positive as much as we could.
This pattern, we realized, was actually a series of strategies we’d been using to deal with our crisis… and they were working! Seeing that they could also help others, no matter what the obstacles, we decided to share our journey.
After indoctrination at the hospital was concluded, and things began to start hopping, it was time to give our first report to family and friends. The hospital staff, God bless them, allowed us to use their internet, remember this was 2002, before the Smartphone or Wi-Fi Hot Spots. Our first email to family and friends went out typed by Rickey: “Adventure—Day One.”
All the following emails we would send were labeled by the day of the adventure. We never do things half-way. I know many people keep notes or a journal about their challenges, whether it’s a disease or a flood. But we decided to take it one step further and put together an Adventure, Day One Survival Guide. It describes what we ended up calling our seven mile markers—or strategies. They have helped us immensely and are incorporated here. And, while this idea of treating a challenge as an adventure may not come naturally to you and your family, we hope you will be inspired to give it a try. It didn’t take long before our family and friends were calling our experience an adventure too.
During this time, to go with our survival guide, we also designed a logo for Adventure, Day One as our symbol for survival. Having a symbol is like having something to hang our hat on, something to formally mark the occasion and gauge how far we have come. The logo, seen on the book cover, Adventure, Day One, depicts the circle of life and the branch is our journey. Each leaf represents our growth on the journey of self-discovery that strengthens our spirit and grounds our direction as we face our challenges going forward.
The leaves stand for:
One: Positive attitude is a choice – you are in control of your attitude, make it a positive one.
Two: Embrace the moment – make a memory, for you may never pass this way again.
Three: Leave your mark – you may only get one chance, make it count.
Four: Stop and take notice – pay attention to those around you, for we are all connected.
Five: Believe in someone or something – don’t give up on your faith.
Six: True character shows in adverse times – be of strong character.
Seven: Make a difference… one day at a time
Here is our story of how we used the seven strategies to help us stay the course, avoid the worst of the storms, and sail on home again. What an adventure!
Available at Amazon Adventure, Day OnePosted in Courage, Inspire, LivePositive | Tagged adventure day one, Cancer, committments, courage, inspire, Leukemia, livepositive, strategies, Survival Guide | Leave a comment September 2, 2015
Our journey started with a reason, even though we did not know what that reason was. It didn’t matter. We headed straight on into the journey without a map and without the knowledge of what to expect—all we took with us was our love. One thing we knew, though, it would take a team. We would make sure we did not do this alone. I have always been a shareaholic—I hug strangers! So, when we learned about our new journey, we knew there was no question about sharing all of it, the ups and the downs.
It is our hope that Adventure, Day One will inspire you and help you to understand you have choices—you can choose to be positive, even in the most adverse times—and, just as importantly, you can choose to not be alone. This book is intended for people facing any difficult bump in the road of life, with the idea that reading our story of facing life and surviving the biggest journey we have ever been on will give you the courage to be open and communicate with family and friends—and yes, even strangers. They will become caregivers and life-givers. It has taken us ten years to put to paper the full cycle of our journey, and even now, we know the journey continues. We didn’t go into this with a plan, we didn’t have a choice. We walked head on into Rickey’s diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia as if we were going to win—and felt sure there was a reason for this challenge. Even as we walked out our front door on the way to the hospital for the first time and Rickey made the comment, “Well, this is the end of Camelot,” I knew the reason would be revealed to us and that we would be given the strength to get through it.
Life goes so fast. In the midst of it all hopefully we stop and say the things that we feel, we take the time to do the three A’s: pay attention to those we love, show affection to the most important people in our lives, and tell them we appreciate them. You never know when one phone call will change your life forever—and you can’t go back and get a “do-over”—do it now!
Posted in Courage | Tagged appreciate, journey, love, pay attention, positive, show affection | Leave a comment September 14, 2014
In life we don’t always get what we want, but we should find the good in everything we get, even our challenges.
What would you set out to do in life if you knew you would not fail? How do you live as if every day is your last and balance that with the responsibilities to which we are all bound?
Posted in Courage | Leave a comment September 13, 2014
We convince ourselves that life will be better after we get married, have a baby, our children are grown or we have grandchildren. When we lose weight, gain weight or just get healthier. We will certainly be happy when that big promotion comes in or we earn more money. We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together, when we get a nicer car, are able to go on a nice vacation, or when we retire.
The truth is, there’s no better time to be happy than right now. If not now, when? Your life will always be filled with challenges. It’s best to admit this to yourself and decide to be happy anyway. Happiness is the way!
What can you do today to take happiness off hold?Posted in LivePositive | Leave a comment September 12, 2014
At this time in life much of my inspiration comes from nature – living in the Shenandoah Valley, nature abounds. The crisp fall air smells so sweet this time of year and the babbling stream on our property seems to call my name as I walk down the lane. Taking time to walk in nature and look up never fails to give me a boost of positivity and reminds me to be thankful for my health, my family and the world around me.
What inspires you?Posted in Inspire | Leave a comment