Aug 16, 2017

the pattern

Just as soon as you think nothing will ever be the same fall back into life's steady pace.

L I F E  R E M E M B E R S  T H E  P A T T E R N. 

Easily finding the familiar in the daily routine.
Like a rhythm in the background you absentmindedly tap your foot just happens.
It's almost unnerving how easy it is.

And as you move forward, you tend to forget the past.

B L U R R E D.

It's not easy to forget, and I'm not really sure that it's even possible, but it fades.
Becoming like an old movie, cracked and out of focus. Or like an old cassette tape that gets stretched over too many plays, so the music sounds different. Not as crisp. Not as clear.

So. I guess it's less about forgetting, and more about making it history.

I believe that it is our purpose in life to take our experiences, both pleasant and painful, and use them to connect with one spread hope, the joy of life and the love of God. 

I think that is what everyone wants.

H O P E.   J O Y.   L O V E .

And so, I move forward everyday with the hope of more tomorrows.
To laugh like crazy when someone tickles my armpits.
To cry at the "happy birthday" cancer commercials.
To peak at my daughters while they're sleeping.
Living a life full of hope, joy and love.

May 8, 2014

there it is.

I'm not sure when exactly it happened.
I mean, most days I feel asleep at the wheel, draining cup after cup of that sweet elixir coffee, just to maintain composure, or keep my eyelids from snapping shut on me.
But somewhere between the sleepless nights and foggy days, I have become solely responsible for everyone's behind business.

I don't remember signing up for this part of parenting.
I mean, where did it ever say that you will required to deal with poop until your kid's about 5? (someone with older kids, please tell me it ends by five or I might go postal over here)

Daily discussions about who's done it or when their going to...

Drawings of it.
Something smelling like it.
Feeling like it.
Please, don't step in it.
Wiping it.
Looking like it.

I'm just tired of it.

My self envisioned single past life now looks even more glamorous. Because, one day poop happens, and you'll wonder how you ever lived without a lifetime supply of baby wipes on hand.

The glorification of a bodliy function has turned me into a back end micromanager. I officially know too much.

And now maybe you do too.
There it is.

Apr 19, 2014

the door

So I took a few days off.

Disconnected from life to chill out with my family.

Our busy days had suddenly turned from January to April.
Actually more like 2012 to 2014, without us even noticing.
Life was happening. Everyday.

I needed to slow it down, grind it all to a halt so that I could remember why we were moving so fast all the time.

We went to our happy place.
Camping at the Colorado river. We unloaded the boat and went straight to the water. I could feel the tightness in my face disappearing withing hours. The kinks in my neck releasing and a fine layer of dirt covering my skin. Layers of bug spray and sun screen making me feel real again. And slightly sticky.
It was working!!

On the second day, I headed to the bathroom with dog leash in one hand, toddler hand in another, and pushing a stroller with a gurgling baby inside. I stumbled upon this door. Smack dab between the men's and women's bathrooms.

I smiled.
Stood there in the blazing sun, let the wind sweep us with more dirt, our wet hands dripping with cool water, and I smiled.

If I would have been paying attention I would have seen this coming.
I mean, for months I have seen comments from people on facebook asking for my next post, heard less than subtle hints from friends about my blogging, and family warmly reminding me of my "gift". There was even that little *ping* of jealousy when I heard of another friend preping her blog for launch ( I'm happy for her, I REALLY AM and cant wait to see what she has in store!)
But I wished I was writing too...

Then, there was the door.
My door.

Welcoming me back.

Mar 11, 2013

Flu, vertigo, and oh yeah, Miracles.

One of my favorite sayings is:
"The only thing constant in my life is change"

While I prefer consistency, hate surprises and am not a very spontaneous person, life seems to have a way of breaking you out of your shell. Teaching you a lesson, moving you forward, making you change, whether you are ready or not. I have learned to have fun with the changes, as much as I can. And I try to keep control of the things I can in life to minimize the challenges, ahem, I mean changes. My dad has always said that you can't change what happens to you, but you can change your reaction. 

I think our attitude makes or breaks the changes in our lives.
That is how I lived through cancer.
That is how I parent.
That is how I love.

I never thought Trevor and I would marry. But life (and God) changed that after 10 years of dating.
We never thought we would have children. But life (and God) changed that quickly after our wedding.
I never thought another major illness would strike our family, but less than a year after my dad's brain surgery for Parkinson's, I was diagnosed with aggressive cancer.

All these things taught me to roll with the punches, be like the wind, and change my reaction to life. Be more positive than I thought I could be. Be more happy because I had a least one more day to live. Be there because I still was.

So, less than 2 years after my last day of chemo. 
After 2 years of menopause. 
After 7 oncologists told me I could never, ever ever. 
After losing one ovary to radiation. 
After losing myself and finding her again...I went to the doctor to be diagnosed with vertigo (I was so sure!)

But, God had different plans for our life. Change again, but for the good this time!
God gave us the blessing we wanted but didn't think was possible. 

We were pregnant against all odds!!!!

Just when I had thanked God for what he gave us, and moved away from focusing on what he hadn't,  he blessed us with our hearts desire. Thank you Jesus for our little miracle!!

We are so proud and happy to announce that the next member of our Lincoln dynasty will join our family in late September this year!

Needless to say, Miss LaRue is so excited to meet her new sibling ;)
As her shirt says, 
"Only Child, until fall 2013"

We hope you join us in celebrating our growing family, and pray that you continue to seek happiness and change in your own life!!

Dec 19, 2012

Where were we....

Wow, it worked!

I opened it up, and it actually worked!!

I was beginning to accept the fact that my once-favored, well-loved connection to the big 'ole world out there would be nothing more than a cold box of metal set to collect dust under my side table.
Update: My computer cord caught fire and fried last summer. Yes, there were actually little flames. So this is no exaggeration. Then, because I have a 2004 MAC laptop, the cord was practically irreplaceable. All our photos, videos, passwords, paperless recipts would be trapped inside, apparently lost forever. Once I was able to find a cord, it didn't quite work the same and my computer decided to work, well, only somtimes and mostly, never. I decided to give up. Walk away, and wait for all my hopes and dreams to fade into oblivion, or at least until I could buy another laptop.
Until today, when I decided that one Christmas miracle (more on that later...) deserved another, and God bless me, I opened up my computer and it worked!

Back in business. Finally. So, let's catch up...where were we.....

I have been to the moon and back. So to speak....
Since June, I have traveled every month, and twice out of the country!
My job has sent me to Chatanooga, Salt Lake City, San Fransisco, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China, all within the last 6 months! While it might have left me exhausted, sick, and slightly homesick, I enjoyed every trip this season. Easy flights, great experiences...Changing of the seasons in Tennessee, Karaoke, and experiencing real and real fake southerners ; Tourists and niche neighborhoods of SF, a tour of our new store location ; Dim Sum, squatty potties, and de ja vu in Hong Kong and Taiwan....These were some of the best trips yet!

Chatanooga, Tennessee
October 2012
Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, and back again
June 2012, November 2012
San Fransisco, California
September 2012

Aside from that, I know you are probably here for a little health report, a status update. Don't worry, I love to tell you that I am still CANCER FREE!!
My last scan was this month (December 2012), and doctor gave me another perfect score! No cancer and no sign of reoccurance!! I am beginning to think that he schedules me in December just so he can be sure to give someone good news for the holidays ;) It is hard to believe that it has already been 2 years since my first day of chemo. Funny, still seems like a scene from a movie most days...foggy and slightly distant. But strongly there, and if pushed, you can recall every line verbatim. Happy to be on this side of my treatment, and to be seeing the strength of modern medicine combined with sheer determination finally win!

Now that my computer is up and running, I can't wait to share more of my good luck with you ;)
Wishing you a wonderful Christmas holiday!

I can't wait to spend mine with my Family!!

Jun 9, 2012

LIVING the Dream....

Last Sunday was National Cancer Survivor Day.

Funny word......

On Friday I had a follow up appointment with my oncologist to get the results of my recent PET scan from end of May. I was sure it would be clear, because the tech's had told me about the wonderful Pho the had gone out to get during my scan. I assume that meant there was nothing interesting to look at...

My doctor was unusually candid during this appointment, he told me he had a day of bad news, and my appointment was to be quite refreshing! We went over the usual updates, I filled him in on every creak and crook I have felt over the last 5 months and he did a visual review of my tumor/surgery area. All standard stuff for this appointment.

And then he began to read me my scan results...

Lots of underlined words could be seen through the translucent paper making my blood pressure start to rise as he started throat always seems to choke up at this point in the appointment, and I find myself slightly holding my breath, hanging on his every word.

Sitting here with the same paper in my hands now
I see that he had underlined every time the report said "NO".

"NO" reoccurrance
"NO" metastatic signs

He then let me know that he was, again, so confident in my recovery status that he was moving me to the 6 month PET scan schedule. Another milestone. AMAZING!

He actually said the radiologist were so bored with my non-cancer status, they were reporting on my acne scars for something to write about.  That's pretty funny when you had stage 3, aggressive, rare and 'not sure how to cure' cancer a year ago........(I also understand that I might be the ONLY one who finds any of this laughable, and I am totally ok with that. ;)

Back in the doctors office, where time seems to stand still, the air is close and makes my head spin as time seems to be both completely stopped and moving way too fast at the same time. I sit in a side chair a little dumbfounded about the expanded schedule....
Quizically, I said what now?

And his reply was, "Go live your life."

And then, I cried.
No. I wept.
Tears of Joy.  Release.  Relief.

For the next 3 days off and on when I thought of those words, I wept.

sur·vivor n. one who lives through affliction
While I am now considered a survivor by the above definition, I would better define myself as "LIVING."

I don't want to become complacent or to take for granted the fact that I was given a chance.
I don't want to be just a survivor, I want to be a contributor.

My commute gives me sunrises and sunsets, my daughter's snotty kisses fill my heart, my hubby's warm hugs after long work days make me look forward my everyday. I am honored that I get to embrace the rest of my life and know in God's plan, I keep moving forward!

Vida LaRue, Lake Otay May 2012

May 5, 2012

Ni Hao!!

I would consider myself a seasoned traveler

of Asia, Mexico, and the US.
but that's about it. 

For the record, I have never been to Europe or South America. 
While I would like to, my hubby is a proud American who likes to keep his feet on the ground, unless he is doing something adrenaline related and would be highly resistant to the 15 hour flight, let alone a few other reasons I [might] tell you about some other time...

(L-R) High rise shot of Taipei 101 building, [center] Joshie Klein in front of  Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall entrance, Cho Tofu (translated=Stinky Tofu),  a food stand at Taiwan local night market, the Taipei National Concert Hall National (no nails or glues used on this construction but it is 100's of yrs old without fail!), [bttm left] scooters waiting at a red light in Taipei, lily pads in bloom in Shanghai koi pond, sea tubes at an open market fish courtesy of Teresa Klein and Yvonne Curiel. Thank you ladies!!

Now in contrast to my hubby who has been lucky to travel to 3 states in one country....I have traveled to the island of Taiwan three times, and been once each to Hong Kong and Shanghai, to Mexico City and some surrounding areas, Cuidad Obregon and Cancun, and that is just the international trips!

Each time I traveled, I went on behalf of some apparel company that sent me for work purposes. Different companies each time. When I was younger the flights would make me feel like a celebrity even though I would fly economy class, I would still act as if I was first class all the way. The trips  were  always packed full of early breakfasts, long introductions, bright and curious night markets, tea, long lunches, factory tours, new smells, more tea, short introductions, business meetings, scooters, late dinners, shopping, shopping, shopping…the beattle nut girls, dr. browns coffee in a can,Taipei101, cho tofu, grand opening Burger King HK, ‘hey pretty girls, over here’, and, and, and….ohhhh…..
Somehow I barely remember working on those trips!!

This year I might be lucky enough to travel [again] to Asia in August. I was thinking back over all the different trips, and how each trip shaped the next. My experiences transitioned from being the naive student to becoming the seasoned teacher. I realized that so many things that have become second nature to me might be helpful to someone who is taking their first jaunt to the Far East [you know you fly west to get there?!] While there are currently 3 trips planned this year for the R&D team at my company, I am 1 of 3 people traveling that has been there before. I am sure many of them have traveled to many other far and away places that I NOT have been, disclaimer- *I have been to Asia, all over the US, and Mexio, but that’s really it.* So, I am not sure if my perspective will apply to all international travel, but I know it is all true for any Asian country where you plan to travel outside the traditional tourist areas. Either way, here is the advice I might offer them…

1)    Wear skirts and close-toed shoes as a uniform.
This is for a few reasons. A- factories are very hot, wet and dirty- you will want your feet covered at all times and the skirt will keep you from overheating. B- if you have to use a squatty potty you will more easily be able to do so in a skirt and the shoes will keep your feet dry- pants, well lets just say my first trip to Asia was wet in so many ways ;) C- some areas can be tropical, which means unannounced rain. Again, you will be happy your feet are covered!

my polyvore 'perfect outfit' for a day at the factories!

2)    Eat what the locals eat, the whole time.
     You know, its like, when in Rome! I suggest that you do not deviate from this, or risk tummy issues. On my first trip, my boss and mentor Amy, told me this trick and then insisted we begin immediately! So there, in the SF airport food court, we had ramen soup on our way out of town, then after a 14-day tour of Asia, we bought the long awaited McDonald’s french fries at that same food court in SFO. There are, again, multiple reasons for this rule- A) Chinese food is best in China. In the same way that my mom’s spaghetti is much better than her kung pao chicken, the kung pao chicken in china is much better than the spaghetti. You won’t get sick eating what they eat everyday, just say away from the raw or fermented stuff…self explainitory…but you could get sick eating their chicken parm. Get it?  B) the easiest way to get through the meals, (and there will be a lot of expected business meals) is to just tell your host what protein you prefer then let your host order for you. Trust me, it will be good. No, actually, it will be amazing- in my experience it was. Keep in mind that at large dinners, much of the protein will be brought to the table whole meaning with its head in tact, and it is always considered a delicacy, so they might try to put it on your plate. You may politely decline to which they will be elated, because then they get to eat it ;) If you’re squeamish this is good to know BEFORE it arrives at the table.

3)    Take the red eye, there and back.
      Because of the time difference, I have found if you leave Saturday night from California you will arrive in Asia early Monday morning. Your body can sleep on the flight and wake up rested and ready to start your day! Then you will work a full day and be ready for bed at a normal time. While this doesn’t completely fool your internal time clock, it helps. For return flight, if you leave late Friday night from asia you will land late Friday night in California. You then have the whole weekend to recover from your jet lag. BTW- I have heard it takes 1 day for every hour time difference to fully recover from jet lag. Some people have it easier than others, get your sunshine upon your return, it will surely help!!

4)    Don’t be afraid to look like a tourist and take lots of pictures.
      Because, P.S. you totally look like a tourist. Yes, you DO stand out ;) LOL. So, go ahead, bring your camera everywhere, and take WAAAAY to many photos. Trust me, if you don’t, you will regret it.

5)    Give someone a copy of your ‘stuff’.
      Call me paranoid, call me over protective, maybe I watch to many crime investigation shows on tv, but I always like to tell my friends and family exactly where I will be and when. What if I were to have my bag stolen with my passport and id, I would have a hard time boarding my return flight, right? So, in efforts to be over-prepared for the ‘what-if’ scenario, I always make copies of my complete itenierary (flights/hotels/etc), my passport, driver’s license, & at least one local factory contact, to inform my work team, my mom/dad, and my husband. Probably a little overboard, but it is really just one email, and it makes me feel a lot better.

6)    Let your banks know you are leaving town.
      You only need to do this if you plan on spending your own money when you travel. If you do, call you bank and your credit cards to tell them when and where you are going to or else they will most definitely assume your card is stolen and put all purchases on hold. This can be a little difficult when you are trying to pay for your hotel. Remember that the time zones are completely different, so getting someone on the phone at your bank while you are traveling is almost impossible. This entire point is based on my personal experience. Take the 5 minutes, make the phone call, it will save you a massive headache.

With all of that said, stay up late so you can experience everything each city has to offer.
You might only get this one chance to don't be a wuss...
And if you are going for work, everything is free, so take advantage of the extra perks!!

Oh, did I say there are perks???
Just kidding.There are noooo perks when you are traveling for work.
It is all work. Just work.
Ahem, ya...

"Double Happiness"
found via google images,
but on a really cute blog!!
[click the photo...]

So, take a lot of photos, ask people to take pictures of you with things or people, throw the peace sign in said photos, buy something to commemorate one or all of the experiences, eat something weird-but fully cooked, ask around to find real local experiences- not the hotel staff, but maybe the waiter at the tea house or the girl at the factory. Laugh it off, be open, and have fun, you will remember this for the rest of your life!!

What was your favorite place to travel?

the pattern

Just as soon as you think nothing will ever be the same fall back into life's steady pace. L I F E  R E M E M B E R S  T ...