grateful amazement

finding wonder…everywhere.


The note I took as I received the Happy News Phone Call *smile

The note I took as I received the Happy News Phone Call *smile

**Funny that the last post here was about butterflies and today’s is about cocooning. But, if I really think about it, I have always tended to approach things a bit differently than expected. Even backwards, sometimes.**

In nature, the cocoon comes before the butterfly. In my world (yes, it’s pretty and glittery here *wink), it seems that the butterfly sometimes comes first.

You see, as I waited to be informed of the CT scan results, I was ‘peaceful like a butterfly’ – flitting and fluttering, but peaceful. And since Tuesday’s phone call revealed that there was No Evidence of Disease on the scan, I’ve found myself cocooning. And I’ve spent the last day or so trying to pull apart the reasons why.

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • I didn’t realize, until after the Happy News Phone Call (HNPC) from the oncologist’s office, that I had been holding my breath – at least emotionally – for six weeks. You can imagine that being deprived of a full, deep breath – even emotionally – for so many days might result in a certain level of fatigue. For me, spending all day Wednesday (the day after the HNPC) in my jammies was a way to ‘catch my breath.’


  • While I give myself credit for doing a lot of work over the last several years to maintain a healthy level of self-awareness, it seems that sometimes worry/fear go underground and kick in the adrenaline that comes with being in Fight-or-Flight mode, and I’m not able to recognize the fact that my adrenal glands are pumping out all kinds of Keep Going Juice until the poor things have been wrung dry…and I crash. Since Wednesday, I’ve used what little Juice that was left to drive kids around (a lot!) and make certain there is a yummy, healthy supper on the table each evening. I’m learning that there are seasons in which ‘doing what you can’ may not look like much — figuring out how to be okay with that is also part of the curriculum for me.


  • In sharing all the Ups and Downs along this path, I get concerned that there are times I may appear to be The Boy in Aesop’s The Boy Who Cried Wolf. I never, ever want it to seem as if I take likely the support, prayers, and happy vibes I receive! (oooo….feeling so vulnerable right now! But I have to remember that I’ve committed to record it all — the good, the bad, the ugly.)


  • As I’ve tried to process the HNPC and all that it means, I have felt a kind of overwhelmed by so many thoughts and feelings that I haven’t yet been able to catch them, pin them all down, and identify them. A behavior I really want to redefine is my tendency to withdraw (cocoon) when this kind of overwhelm happens. I was born a ‘verbal processor’ but have recently been exposed (in some benign as well as some not-so-benign ways) to the fact that not everything needs to be lived (or processed) ‘out loud.’ And, as I find is typical in situations in which character traits/behaviors are being reshaped, the Pendulum Swing has taken me from processing almost everything ‘out loud’ to processing almost nothing ‘out loud.’ I hope someday soon to find that the Swing has become a tiny, almost imperceptible back-and-forth versus the wide arc it is now.

There you have it. A cocoon pulled apart – a little bit. The air and sunshine finding their way through the cracks to shine on the incredible, intensely beautiful pattern inside, to start the wing-drying process. Just think, someday there will be some real flying (and more flitting and fluttering) going on around here! *smile

As I regain my strength – emotionally and physically – from holding my breath and wringing my adrenals dry, I may need to cocoon again off and on. This Business of Recovery is taking more outta me (and granting me more inner strength) than I ever thought possible! But, with our Chief Butterfly Painter in charge of the final product, I need not grow weary. He is with me – inside the cocoon, and out.

And, for that, I am gratefully amazed.

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.  ~Richard Bach

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.  ~Author Unknown

Just like the butterfly, I too will awaken in my own time.  ~Deborah Chaskin



*A quick note – to serve as kind of a Memory Aid for me, later, when all of this has been relegated to the fuzzy and distant past.*

I have butterflies today.

Not the kind I’d expect. Not where I’d expect them to be. And not at all related to conscious worry. (Although, there could be a smidge of worry deep down…just sayin’.)

I’ve spent much of the day, flitting from one thing to the next, not quite able to focus or complete any task, thought, or sentence even. And it was about 2 o’clock when I think I kind of realized what was going on…

I have butterflies today.

The kind that cause your brain to flit and flutter from one thought, idea, plan to the next, not in any order, not with any sense of purpose, not landing any place for more than the tiniest of moments.

Distracted. Unfocused. Fragmented.

And I think it’s because of the CT scan that is scheduled for tomorrow. (*An abdominal scan has been added to the chest one originally ordered to check that reactive lymph node due to a pain I’ve had in my right side for the last month or so.) The Six Week Wait has actually gone by rather quickly and January 22 is about to arrive.

Tomorrow could be another Line of Demarcation. Or it could just be another day.

But not really.

Not just another day.

Because, if nothing shows up (indicating that All is Well), it can’t just be another day.

It will be a Day to Celebrate.

And if something does show up, it will be a Line of Demarcation.

But, if that happens, it will also be a day to remember the importance of hanging onto the words God whispered to me in that changing room over two years ago…They are going to find something, but you are going to be ok.

Hanging onto those words can make even a Day of Demarcation a Day to Celebrate, if you allow yourself think of it in terms of faith, hope, expectancy.

I don’t know if butterflies accomplish anything each time they land on something. I don’t know if they are really as jumpy as they appear. I don’t know if they realize how beautifully crazy they look in their flighty-ness.

Maybe, in spite of all their flitting and fluttering, they are peaceful. Doing what they do. What comes naturally to them.

In that sense, I can be peaceful today, too. Peaceful like a butterfly.

Doing what I do.

What comes naturally to me.

And, today, that looks like a whole lot of flitting and fluttering.

I’m gratefully amazed that, even in this, I can find peace.
I was walking as best I could in the light of previous revelation.   ~Neil T Anderson

Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable, butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life.  And everyone deserves a little sunshine.  ~Jeffrey Glassberg

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Trusting My Voice

I’m not sure how it happened.

I’m not sure when it happened.

I’m not sure why it happened.

I only know it happened.

I’ve become unable to trust my voice.

Or maybe I never really have.

An odd topic on a blog called ‘grateful amazement’?

An odd topic after such a bright, shiny, bold post declaring my Word of The Year?


Then again, maybe not.

After all, isn’t it a fairly predictable pattern that our weaknesses become glaring shortly after we announce that we intend to do something about them? To face them? And re-write their scripts in our lives?

I’ve been looking backward, trying to remember the last time I spoke freely. The last time I felt I had something of value to share. The last time I didn’t hesitate in fear of sounding stupid/silly/weak/needy so long that the moment was gone before I could clear my throat.

I haven’t pinpointed it yet.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to.

And I’m not sure it’s all that important for me to.

The messages that play in my head and heart like a looped tape say I’m loud, obnoxious, ridiculous, whiny, needy. In a nutshell – they tell me I am too much. Too much of all of those things, and more.

Those messages need to be rewound, erased, and recorded over.

It’s risky. That work. That un-doing. That re-doing.

Am I up to it?

Do I have enough Truth on my side to do the re-write effectively?

I don’t know the answers to those questions.

I only know it needs to be done.

I also know I am the only one to do it.

TRUSTing my voice was one of the more powerful points that pulled me toward choosing my word.

Little did I know just how upending it would be to my heart.

I choose to believe it will be upending in a good way.

Right now, I am gratefully amazed by just how fast and furious my Word has challenged my Status Quo.

And, I’m gratefully amazed at the chance to find (and trust) my voice again.

A voice is a human gift; it should be cherished and used, to utter fully human speech as possible. Powerlessness and silence go together.   ~ Margaret Atwood


Trust ~ my Word of The Year [a Flying Sisters’ Blog Circle]

[For my 2nd post on this brand spankin’ new blog o’ mine, I have the unspeakable honor of taking part in a Blog Circle. There is an amazing, creative, inspiring group of ladies I’ve ‘met’ through an online course I took last September who’ve offered me this beautiful opportunity to participate, so I dove right in, without looking. *gasp! At the end of this post, you’ll find the link to the next fabulous blog in the Circle. Each of us are posting about the Word of The Year we’ve chosen. So, read on and take the time to enjoy them all. I can promise you’ll be blessed and uplifted beyond belief!]

For the longest time – really for as long as I can remember – the making of New Year’s Resolutions has been exciting for me.

Like Brand-New-School-Supplies exciting.

Like Fridge-Full-Of-Food-For-The-New-Diet exciting.

You know – like REALLY EXCITING!

And, with some of those Resolutions, I succeeded. I even kept the ‘Remember Everyone’s Birthdays & Anniversaries’ one for several YEARS. Woop, woop! But mostly, I failed  each of those Resolutions fell by the wayside. Some I felt bad about, some I let go of with no regret.

About 5 years ago, I decided to call the list I made on December 31st my ‘REVolutions’ instead of the standard ‘Resolutions’ – hoping that would light a bigger fire within me to really, really do it/them this time. Um. That didn’t make much difference in the Success Department.

3 years ago, one of my beautiful, talented, ridiculously cool family members declared a Word of the Year. And, because I secretly yearn to be like her when I grow up, I thought, ‘Hey! I can do that, too!’ Except, me being me and all, I couldn’t just choose one word! I chose four. Brevity has always been a goal of mine — NOT a skill I was born with.

In 2010, my word was chosen for me when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through several surgeries and 52 weeks of chemotherapy. That word was Survive. I’m proud to say that I did. And I continue to survive. That word, and that year, changed me in ways I am still discovering.

Last year, I did choose one word. And I seem to have forgotten it. Go figure. It’s probably on the floor of my closet, under some Christmas gifts that were intended for last year and never given. (If I were making a list of Resolutions, you can bet your bottom dollar that ‘Clean and Organize Closet’ would be very near the top!)

This year, thanks to a precious group of new friends, I’ve again chosen one word. One little, but supremely powerful and foundational, word.


There were 4 other words that played Leap Frog in my heart and mind as I searched. But when the game was over, there was a winner.


You see, when I look back over my life, it’s clear to me that trust was given, taken, broken, disregarded and not recovered from very early on.

Some of the details are fuzzy – some clear as a bell.

Some of the people involved remain in my life. Some have moved on. Some I have left behind.

And, today, I choose to declare that the details don’t matter. Sure, some of the losses, betrayals, and rejections deserve to be fully grieved. To be examined for purpose. To be set free. To be left in the past.

I can do the work of grieving. (And that is work, to be sure.) I can search for the lessons. I can loosen my grip. I can look to the future.

But here’s the thing – the one person who has a tendency to get in my way of living from a place of trust is…Me.

Shoot. That sucks to admit that. I mean, really. It’d be so nice to lay the blame at someone else’s feet. To find a scapegoat.

But I can’t.

Because my ultimate goal is to live a life of grace and peace. To be a calming presence in the lives of those I love. To be an encourager. To spread the light that’s burning to shine through me. To be confident and fearless.

And I can’t do that if I don’t trust.

Trust my God.

Trust myself.

Trust my heart.

Trust my head.

Trust my talents.

Trust my passions.

Trust my gut.

Trust my body.

Trust my voice.

Trust my instincts.

Trust the flow of life.

Trust the love around me.

Trust the unfolding of it all.

Trust that all is well.

So, there you have it. For me, trust is truly at the core of everything.

I think that’s why it won the game of Leap Frog.

And I’m jittery and excited and thrilled and anxious to focus on that word for the next 364 days. To do the work that I’m sure will be given to me as I allow my word to change me. To look back next year at this time and see the beautiful pathway my feet discovered along the way.

My fellow Flying Sister, Lisa Rivas, is bravely sharing her word in this sweet Circle, too. Please continue on around the Circle and savor all the bold, colorful, lovely offerings from these precious souls.

Oh, and Happy New Day!

**January 7, 2013 Breaking News! You can read about even more inspiring words that found homes in the hearts of some of The Most Beautiful Souls here !!  


Happy New Day!

Today, and every day, I work to live from a place of grateful amazement. 

And, some days, it truly is work. 
But then, I am grateful for those days, too. 
Because this journey is made up of bright and dark. Light and shadow.
All of our journeys are.
And I’m learning that grateful amazement makes the bright shinier and the dark less gloomy. The light sparklier and the shadow less scary.
How can you not be gratefully amazed by that?
The above is an excerpt from October 3, 2012 on another blog/journal called CaringBridge that I began over two years ago, after being diagnosed with breast cancer. *It’s the update titled ‘Today’. Feel free to check out the whole entry, or just look around and learn about the ins, outs, and upside-downs of my Cancer Journey.
Immediately after writing that Journal Update, the phrase ‘grateful amazement’ wouldn’t let go of my heart so I bopped on over here and named this new blog. Not really sure what I was meant to do with it. Not really knowing what would become of it. Just knowing that it would be something. Someday.
And, it turns out, that Someday is TODAY! This New Year’s Day 2013!
Happy New Year!
Happy New Day!
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