Another Birthday This Week!

My author friend James R. Lawrence informed me I share my birthday with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on May 22. How cool is that! Of course, I suppose that means I was born on Doyle’s birthday. He died in 1930, long before I was a twinkle in Dad’s eye. In fact, Dad would have been six years old in 1930.

It tickled me to death about sharing a birthday with someone who was such a genius writer. It’s nearly as good as my daughter sharing her birthday with Paul Newman. If they only knew what wonderful, strong women shared their days of birth.

So, the Babe is celebrating his 73rd birthday this day, May 24. We’re just puttering around at home. I finally feel calm after two days of craziness. Yes, any elderly person is a handful as they are closer to the end of their lives than the beginning. I suppose we could say the same for any of us. If you throw cancer in on top of the normal issues, you’ve got a situation needing a lot of management and intervention, while helping them keep their dignity. A tall order for four healthy people in their 60s and 70s.

Sometimes, you just need to melt down. Even those of us who are the strong ones in the family. It comes with good mental health. If we don’t/can’t keep it together and relieve the stress productively. I’ve learned healthy ways of doing that, from people respected experts in their field.

Centering Corporation in Omaha, NE, is the first place I look for; printed information and handouts for any stage of grief and mental health. Personal guidance to select those resources for civilians and veterans alike is available. I’ve learned so much from them. Just give Janet a call.

I’ve never been one who says, “I need a drink,” while getting through strife. If anything, I feel it is the worst thing you could do. I still feel that way. Yes, I drink. Yes, I have, at times had one too many. Not so much lately. It’s there, but not a primary focus in my life. I’ve escaped the family curse from generations ago. It is truly not going to solve anything. Please remember that.

When you think about all a human needs to do while navigating through this thing called life, it can be overwhelming. We all need to remember it does not mean for us to go through things alone. If they blessed us enough to have a partner through all of this, it’s great. If you don’t have one, you can select someone to be that go to for you. Yes, it takes getting outside of ourselves. It takes risking rejection. Just do it. After practice, it becomes second nature. Your perspective changes with your attitude does. You can do it.

Hope you get to enjoy this day and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Sunday Blessings-ACS 31x 30

For those who have missed what I’m writing about during the Month of May, I’m taking part in the American Cancer Society Fundraiser. It’s not one of a 5k Walk or Ironman Event. This nearly 71-year-old grandma doesn’t run anywhere. I stroll. 5k would have to be a multi-day event. You get it. Considering my lack of ability (medically backed) I can do what I can do. Bon Jovi recorded a pandemic song, this version with Jennifer Nettles.

This song boosted America’s spirit as we were closed down. Regardless of your opinion on the entire event, this is about what we humans do in a crisis. You can almost compare a cancer patient to a person during the pandemic. We could infect someone with this terrible illness. No, we can’t catch cancer from someone. What I’m saying is with reduced to no immunity, the cancer patient can catch a simple cold and die from the complications. They compromise everything in their system. Wash your hands. Frequently. Wear a mask if you have sniffles, a cold, whatever. You could save their life.

Although it’s a day off, this topic is on my mind. Of course it is.

I woke this morning hearing the songs of birds in the wetlands behind our house. It was wonderful. It calmed me. I felt rested. I remembered how creative hobbies such as adult coloring, crocheting, sewing, quilting, and even writing can put you in a nearly Zen state. The same part of the brain you used to worry, is the same part of the brain that calms you as you create. Mom and I used to have a once a week adult coloring date. It was fun to sit and relax, remembering all the days we colored when I was about 4 years old. Older brother Tom was in kindergarten. I missed him terribly while he was at school. We walked every day, morning and noon, with Mrs. Bauer, to walk the boys, our Tom and her Johnny, home for the rest of the day. I loved it. My best friend at home with me for the afternoon.

I’m choosing a creative project to work on all afternoon, and continue reading my friend, fellow Nebraska Author Tammy Marshall’s book “State of Georgia and Other Writings. Tammy, I love the story of Georgia and can relate. More on this later. Thanks for your example of great writing and your friendship. You are a person to follow for writers like me can learn a lot from.

If you don’t have a creative hobby like one of mine, it’s ok. Get some coloring books, markers, gel pens, and color away. Taking a break from constant worry will surprise you. Or do Crosswords, Word Puzzles, Sudoku, or several others. You deserve a break. Make it a priority.

I’m fortunate to have the Babe, who took over all the things I used to do, except for laundry. His philosophy is two loads; dark and white. No further sorting for lingerie (mine) or boxers (his). Thanks, Babe, you are a Godsend during this time. It is a gift. Get some time for you, and take it soon. See you tomorrow.

May the Fourth Be With You-31×30

Yes, it’s that corny joke that people share. I’m writing this on 5/4/2023, and hoping you’re still with us on this journey of writing 31 days in May, for 30 minutes a day. From now, it’s going to be called 31 x 30.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m writing about the cancers among my family and friends. We’ve already shared one good thing about cancer; it allows you time to talk with your loved one, and to say goodbye. We’ve lost too many family and friends to this plague. In our family alone, three of six of us have been diagnosed. Mom has twice. She survived her bout in 1997, I survived breast cancer in 2009 and are still dealing with side effects of the treatment.

In some ways, I’m not sure if you’re ever over it, back to normal, live your life the same as before. It can either have lasting side effects or haunt you. Is it comng back? Would I make the same decisions today, knowing what I know? We could drive ourselves crazy. It’s best to not do that.

In that respect, may the force be with you in your cancer journey. If you’re Spiritual (I am), it helps a lot to believe in something bigger than yourself. Pray. Talk to God about it. Pray to accept whatever happens. While I was undergoing treatment, each night I would recite a verse I embroidered on a picture for a friend:

“Dear God, Be Good To Me. The Sea is So Big, and My Boat is So Small.”

That statement is such a big idea to think about, or meditate on if you will. To get to treatment, we drive 30 miles from our home, to Mom’s, to the hospital, back to Mom’s, back to our home. That’s 60 miles a day, 300 miles in a week. If you happened to travel 300 miles a day, on business or vacation, you would go 109,500 miles. That is some traveling.

So every day, we go 60 miles, and we encounter many other people. While in treatment, you encounter many people with cancer, and many without. Even if you’re not the one with cancer, it still affects you in a major way.

When my dad was ill, Mom handled everything. She insisted on doing all herself. There was little support for family or friends, other than the patient. I felt the patient was the lucky one. Even though they had a deadly disease, they had treatment, pain medicine, etc. There was nothing to make family pain subside. Some of us chose the worst way to numb the pain. Yes, drinking and other substances.

It wasn’t the disease that caused this behavior. It just kicked it up a notch. Some family and friends use the same escape today. The four of us active in Mom’s care are of a new kind of caregiver. We have resources available to us, which can purchased, checked out from local libraries, or ordered from places like Centering Corporation in Omaha, Nebraska. I have been a firm believer in them and what they do for people. I’ve known Joy Johnson Brown since 9/11. The Babe and I were students and leaders for Countryside Community Church Stephens’ Ministry.

Joy and her Bearnease Mountain assistant came to teach class. If you know me and dogs, you know I’m a lover of them, the bigger, the better. I’m trying to remember his name, I’m guessing Barney? Joy Brown Johnson, or Janet, could you help a girl out? The subject is one I’ve studied voraciously since. I was so unaware of grief in our lives. The older generation in families were often stoic at funerals, and you didn’t talk about the deceased at all in some families. No one knew how to grieve properly. In a way that has dedicated time and effort, mixing memories, loss, grief, and putting your life back together. You don’t have to do it alone.

You experience grief when you go through cancer treatment. You are grieving the loss of your health, sometimes of your looks, and many times, the ability of your body to function in a normal way. After treatment, you learn which of those those losses you may experience returning, and how they are different than before. The more you learn and know about the process, the better mind, soul, and body healing you will do. Yes, it’s hard work. And it is worth it.

Your life is forever changed. Your loved one’s life is, also. And there is always the hope you will get through the crisis, and thrive. It will be different than before. Don’t be afraid to show affection with each other. It is vital to your survival, and your loved ones’ spirit.

Thank you to everyone who has donated to the fundraising for the American Cancer Society. If you’d care to donate, go to and you’ll find my page under Kathy Jewell Raabe.

Saturteen Night Live

We had a great day yesterday. Spent the bigger part of the day enjoying the patio until the wind started blowing the nasty tree pollen. I sneezed at least 8 times in a row. Time to get the allergy meds going.

We spent the evening with the folks at McGuigan Arts Academy. The teen students had a week of spring break classes on improv, comedy, sketches, and putting their own show together.

There were some of the same characters and performers as last time. They have honed their craft in the last year. The students wrote their own material and performed with reckless abandon. They’re so creative with the scripts, dialogue, and costumes. They are so comfortable performing. It just amazes me! If you need a place for your kids to get acquainted with the Arts, McGuigan Arts Academy is the place for you. Check them out and register soon! Your kids will thank you for it:

Today is the last day of April. Have you accomplished all you wanted to? I’m close, but the news of Mom’s cancer diagnosis has added a lot of time to the calendar. We’re on the downward slide towards the end of treatment. 11 more treatments, then we shall see what she needs after that.

Today, I’m devoting some time to setting myself up for 30 minutes of writing daily during the month of May. We’ll talk about that tomorrow, and dig in again Monday. Hope you have a great Sunday, and you enjoy a day of rest in your favorite way. Be safe. See you tomorrow.

American Cancer Society 30 Day Writing Challenge

Beginning May 1, I am taking part in this challenge. Of the six people in my immediate family of origin, three of us have had cancer. Dad died from lung cancer. Mom had oral cancer back in the early 90’s and was cancer free with surgery. Now, Mom has cancer again. Just passed the halfway mark of treatment. And I had breast cancer. Nearly everyone will be diagnosed with it during their lifetime, if we live long enough. Wow!

Therefore, I took part in the fundraiser. It’s more about what it symbolizes than about money. The cancer society raises a lot of funds. I will post it on my Facebook page over the weekend, and share it then. It’s a pledge on my part to write 30 minutes a day. It will be a good thing.

I told Mom I was suspending work on my book until we find out what other treatment she may need. She told me not to. It would be good for me to work on it and have a distraction from the illness and all parts of it. Thanks, Mom. And thanks for teaching all of us to read by reading to us as kids. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

It’s a short one today. The week has been very stressful and I’m bone-weary. So much to catch up on, so much to do. We will get through all of this, in God’s good time. Have a beautiful Friday, and see you tomorrow!

Today, I Made a Commitment

Or I should say, I made another commitment.

Sometimes, life stunts our creativity. I don’t believe it’s writer’s block, for me, it’s life interruptions. Like now, we’re taking care of our mom, who has cancer. Treatment, appointments, whatever she needs. It’s going well so far. I would not deny her our attention, neither would my younger brothers. They’re still working and make time with her.

I know my daily blog hasn’t been as good as I’d like. It’s distraction, it’s a lot of things. I told Mom I wrote about her illness to explain my putting the kid book publication on hold. She told me she thought I needed to keep working on it. She said it would be a good distraction. I think she’s right. I will blog every day in addition.

Where the commitment comes in, is I joined an American Cancer Society fundraiser for the month of May. All I need to do is write 30 minutes a day. I pledge to raise $250 for ACS. Since we’ve lost a lot of family to cancer, I did this. It will also help me.

Mom had oral cancer in the late 1990s. Dad died of lung cancer. My sister-in-law, Laura, died of oral cancer. I survived breast cancer. Mom’s three sisters all died from cancer. A nephew did as well. Another survived his cancer. And now, Mom has it again. It used to be normal for people to die of heart attacks, stroke, and heart related diseases. Now, it’s cancer. Sadly, it’s cancer, and there are so many types of it.

A very smart friend of ours told us if people have cancer, it always comes back, somewhere in their body. It may take years, but it will show up again. I’m learning this may very well be true. Oncologists look at it as in remission, “for now.” I am aware mine could come back, even with only a 4% chance. It is tricky, frightening, and sly. Just like a lot of evil is.

There was a movie in 1992 called “Medicine Man.” It starred Sean Connery and Lorraine Bracco. There was an ancient plant in the Amazon that contained an element which could aid in curing cancer. The catch was, there was a primitive tribe that remained untouched by modern day society, people, and therefore disease free. Until the press arrived, along with all the poachers, tourists, bad guys, and even the scientists. Watch it sometime, it’s a good story.

What will you do this fine Wednesday? I’m just doing the usual. Home, Mom’s, Home. It’s all good. P.S., I think it helped a lot to rest the knee yesterday. Note to self: Don’t be shy about doing it again. The Babe is always here to help. It’s so nice to have a partner in hard times.

When our dad died, I was a single mom with three kids whose hearts shattered. Their beloved Grandpa was gone. He was the main male figure in their lives. The kids were 17, 13, and 9. I had to be strong for them. I had no one to lean on. It was hard.

Enjoy your day, and let’s see each other tomorrow. Be safe out there.