Monday, April 28, 2014

Oso Strong

It’s been over a month since the mudslide in the town of Oso, Washington, took the lives of 43 people. My heart continues to go out to the many families, friends, and nearby communities. While I do not live in the immediate area, I live close enough to hear the rescue helicopters fly to their destination. Every morning, I send a prayer along with them to be safe. The people of Snohomish County are fortunate to have a search and rescue unit as finely tuned as we have. I happen to know Chief Pilot, Bill Quistorf and his lovely wife Renee. Bill and his crew arrived within an hour of this catastrophe. Along with many others, they have worked tirelessly, day in and day out, over the last month.

Recently, I became aware there have been federal government cuts in funding for the Snohomish County Volunteer Helicopter Rescue Team (HRT). You can read a more personal account at Renee’s blog. This team, of mostly volunteers, conducts over 80 missions a year throughout Washington State. You may remember the bridge collapse on I-5 last year. They were there. HRT operates under federal public aircraft rules and therefore cannot charge for services. After the federal cuts, Snohomish County was able to carry them over into 2014. It would be a shame to lose such a valuable resource of specialized, dedicated individuals.

I invite you to read more about HRT, and if you are able, please donate. Who knows, you may be in need of a rescue someday. And, the next time you hear a helicopter flying high in the sky, send a quick prayer their way.

Please note: HRT is a non-profit organization that serves as a rescue resource for the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. It is registered as a public charity. The team consists of 26 volunteers and 5 deputies. They are pilots, crew chiefs, rescue technicians, flight medics and ground support personnel. HRT is raising funds for operations only. No funds will go towards personnel costs or overhead.

Photo taken by Greg Racer

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Make My Day

Recently, as I left the grocery store and was crossing the parking lot, a woman rolled up to me in her wheel chair and handed me a beautiful vase of roses saying, “I can’t take these with me.” Ever weary of scams and the like I glance around the parking lot thinking perhaps they were stolen, or she may be trying to distract me in order to steal my groceries or my purse. I'm also thinking that seems odd as she is in a wheel chair. She see’s the questioning look on my face and explains further, “We can’t take these into Canada, and we are heading home after celebrating our anniversary. Please take them and enjoy.” It put a smile on my face and really made my day.

I felt bad she had to leave the flowers behind, and told her I would be glad to take them and I thanked her. I watched as she rolled back to her vehicle, where her husband was getting ready to load the wheel chair. After she left, I noticed there were six red roses and wondered if it might be their sixth wedding anniversary. I thought of her smiling face every time I looked at those lovely flowers. I felt it was my duty to fully appreciate them for her.

Receiving these flowers, has inspired me to pay it forward. Sometime soon, I am going to buy a bouquet of flowers, and hand them to someone seemingly out of the blue. Perhaps I can make their day, somehow make a difference. I have a feeling it will make my day too, and hopefully, they won't call security!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Reality Bites

"Out of adversity comes opportunity."
Ben Franklin

Obstacles in life seem to pop up when we least expect them. Although, many times we may feel them coming, we just don’t want to admit it. I am learning to push through the obstacles and listen to the voice in my head saying, this too shall pass. It is through adversity when I have become stronger, persevered, and learned to fight back for my own sanity, for my own happiness.

We all learn from observing how we overcome adversity. But we also learn from observing how others deal with the obstacles in their lives. This is how we strengthen our resolve to move forward. We all stumble and fall, but most of us have learned to just get up and plow ahead even if we are just pushing through the hurdle to get to the other side. We have learned we can pick ourselves up, refocus and push through by doing whatever is necessary to put the hurdles behind us.

Yes, reality bites, as they say, but that doesn’t mean we can’t bite back! So, push through, take control, look for the opportunities and learn for your own sanity, for your own happiness.
Carla photo courtesy of Mikey Jones

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Waxing and Waning

From our viewpoint, the moon appears to increase in size, waxing, and decrease in size, waning, as each month goes by. While the moon is in this continuous cycle from month to month, I feel a waxing and waning effect going on inside of me. As my got-to-dos and get-to-dos increase and decrease, I long for more get-to-dos in my life. Don’t we all?

While I feel many forces of change at work inside of me at this point, I know I must work more systematically at breaking the got-to-dos down in order to help me deal with them. But what happens when you just don’t want to do something anymore?

For example, what if I just don’t want to vacuum the house one more time? I could:
  • Space out how often I do it,
  • Break it down into smaller steps,
  • Make it fun by turning the music up and dancing my way around as I vacuum,
  • Buy new equipment to make it easier,
  • All of the above, or
  • Find someone else to do it,
  • Not do it at all,
  • Tear out the carpet,
  • Move!
I’m focusing on the last one, move. Yes, that is how much I dislike vacuuming! Actually, that is how I am feeling about doing anything in my home or yard. While this waxing effect has been building over time, I have reached the tipping point where I JUST DON’T WANT TO DO IT ANYMORE! Since I can’t simply walk away from the roof over my head, I am taking the steps to get from point A to point B.

I realize it’s a matter of taking control, balancing priorities, and bringing on the change in my life. Like they say, “be the change.” As I wax and wane my way through my priorities, I look at the big picture and realize I am making the steps necessary to be the change in my life. I am moving got-to-dos to not-to-dos, and I will have more time for get-to-dos. From my viewpoint, I can look at the moon and be reminded just how far I have come.
Curious Phases of the Moon photo courtesy of Ky

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I’ve been doing really well with Crohn’s disease for the past few years. I credit the change to a disease-modifying drug, or biologic, which reduces the signs and symptoms of Crohn's and helps prevent further damage. The idea here is to achieve remission by controlling inflammation, and maintaining it in order to prevent flare-ups. Being in remission has allowed me to eat a more diverse assortment of hard-to-digest foods such as nuts, and various vegetables and fruit. Being a foodie, of sorts, I appreciate this food heaven diversity.

I don’t often talk about Crohn’s. While it is a definite part of my life, it is not my life. Recently, Crohn’s knocked me on my butt once again. Like a pothole in a road, you don’t always see it coming. All you can do is maintain as much control of your vehicle as possible, hope there are not more potholes ahead, and deal with the aftermath. I know this drill all too well.

A flare-up, or episode, is a gut-wrenching experience. Basically, it consists of contractions of my intestine, causing severe cramping which generally lasts about four to six hours. Fortunately for me, I am able to recover from a Crohn’s episode by resting for a day and maintaining vigilance over what I am eating. I get back to my life as soon as I possibly can.

Many things may set off an episode, and like anyone, I dissect the possibilities. But I have learned not to get overly caught up in the whole dissection thing. It is disappointing anytime an episode occurs. This one was particularly discouraging because it had been a few years since I experienced this severity. But, I am not worried or concerned. It’s a pothole. Move on. Chances are, as I cruise down the road in front of me, there will not be another for sometime, or at all.

We all experience various potholes in the road. The secret is to not feel vulnerable or weak. The secret is to pull yourself together, hold on to the steering wheel in front of you, and don’t let go. The secret is to be more powerful than the pothole! In a year focused on balance, I am not allowing this pothole to throw me off my feet.

Potholes photo courtesy of xemmybearx