Sunday, November 28, 2010


Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. And at risk for sounding "un"thankful or ungrateful...I would be lying if I said the holiday was not hard on me. I definitely try to hide any negativity to anyone out there, except maybe Jerad. And I know lots of people would say the exact same thing...that the holidays are hard... and understand exactly how difficult they can be when you have gone through tough times. Those people that generally say "look at the positive" have also generally not experienced much in the way of loss or hard times. So when I hear that I just smile and try to swallow the even bigger lump in my throat.

For me, the Thanksgiving holiday is hard without my Mom. Obviously. She was always the core of the celebration (the cook!) and also gave me much to be thankful for. We always watched the Macy's Day parade together. Every year without fail. So no surprise when I burst into tears when the parade commenced this year. Above all, I have to get past my own issues with sadness and teach my kids the traditions. I did quickly gather myself and forced a happy smile for my kids sake. I really do try very hard....I do not want to wallow in it in front of them and I think I do a decent job at hiding what is in my heart. This year was especially hard on me because my Grandma (my Mom's mom) is dying. Every day for seven days I have been told that it is her last day. She has had no food, no water, no medications (except for comfort) since last Saturday. Every day when the phone rings my heart stops...wondering if her time has come. She is amazing the entire staff at the hospital and all of us too. Her strength is just a miracle. And, since tradition is such a integral part of my family, Grandma laid in her hospital bed, unconcious, but the Macy's Day parade was certainly playing in the background for her to hear. The traditions started with her, went to my Mom, and will continue with me.

So, as Thanksgiving progressed, I kept making myself a list in my head of all the things that I am thankful for. And the list was getting huge. The sadness section of my heart did not overshadow the gratefulness section that also occupies it. They can live side by side! I had wanted to do a local race called the "Turkey Trot" but was unable to do it because we were out of town at Jerad's parents house. BUT... I slapped my Garmin running watch on my wrist, grabbed Jerad, and headed out in the rainy cold to accomplish my goal: 5 Miles. This was not an easy task for me, but I was not stopping until it was done. And that....THAT went right onto my list of things to be thankful for. That my 38 year old body can still travel 5 miles *running* up and down the hills of Junction City in the rain. Because I have learned over the last couple of years, that without health...there is nothing.

I keep reading all of the facebook posts this week regarding things people are thankful for. All good. I am obviously so thankful for my husband and my kids...and mainly that my kids are healthy. Ally is looking and acting amazing. Her strength is inspiring to me. More than anything I am thankful to God...for all that he has given me and nothing short of my faith is what has truly brought me through the past year. We try to honor him in all things that we do.

Here is my short list of things that I am thankful for, at this time, this year:

1) Emmett Broxson, MD My daughter's oncologist who has saved her life and done so in the most caring and respectful way possible. I can honestly say that I have NEVER second-guessed that man, which if you know me....I second guess everything. Not him.
2) My parents. One who has spent a significant part of the past year trying to raise money so that no other poor souls should suffer from this disease. And one who lives in my heart every day and gives me strength to get by. And both who have made me the person I am. I hope I do them right.
3) Childrens Medical Center and all of our caregivers....again, no complaints on anything short of maybe a cafeteria order. Haha. Seriously, my second home and home to many fine people who care about children.
4) Don't laugh at this one, but my personal trainer Kevin. He has been a bit of my "therapist" over the last few years. Exercise has been my stress relief. He inspires me to work hard and keep my health. Any questions on health, see above. If it weren't for him, I would be one fat lazy girl sitting on my couch.
5) Allys Army. So many friends giving so much of their time and resources to help my family. I am so grateful for my very best friends who will take my phone call or take my kids or take me out!! all on a moment's notice. And I am deeply grateful for my long lost friends, who all came out of the woodwork to support me when my daughter got sick. Wow I love that.
6) My blog! Although I started this to keep everyone informed, I now have a very real memoir of our life in 2009 and 2010. A treasure. And maybe, it has also served as therapy for me. I don't know. And 100's of people know my innermost thoughts on life too. I never have to explain things in person!
7) My home. My home is my castle and nothing brings me greater joy than my cozy house on a cold night. More than that, the fact that my family is sleeping under the same roof for most of the year after spending so so many days on a hospital couch. Little things like that, that I used to take for granted, but now I am so grateful for.
8) Special Wish. This year I am very grateful that my family got to travel to California for Ally's Special Wish. A wish that she so deserved. I loved being able to tell her that wishes do come true.

I know that I am forgetting something. I am also thankful for little things like Tim Hortons coffee, my camera, my nice foam pillow, my bird feeders, the NFL, and music!

A few more things that I got to do over the weekend that I am thankful for:

Putting my mom's hand painted ornaments on our "pencil" tree.

My college roommates (all six!) but two of them stopped by while travelling through this weekend. I made brunch!

And spending time with my new niece Maddie and family. I love laid back cute babies like her! And watching my kids love on her is priceless.

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving and also made a mental list of all the things we have to be thankful for this year.


  1. Janel,
    Thankful that your mother and I were friends, which allowed you all into my life. I too think of her often.
    Wishing you continued health and happiness.
    Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. I love reading your blog. I love your honesty. I love the deepness of your heart. I love that you share it, and care so deeply about your family and friends. I love to see how hard you work - at everything. It inspires me. And I just wanted you to know that :)