Saturday, January 28, 2012


One of my happy places...California wine country.
Happy Saturday to everyone. The week has gone by so fast.. And then again I thought the weekend would never get here.  How can it feel both fast and slow? How can you be laughing one second and crying the next?  How can the sun suddenly disappear and a storm cloud move in?  How can someone be here one day and gone the next? Because this is life. And it's not always pretty, or perfect, or fair. Emotions can change in an instant, as can weather, time and life.

In looking for positive things in my world right now. I have come to discover that everything can change and will change at some point. Nothing really stays the same. People, when asked how things are going, often reply, "same old, same old." Nothing new to report, no changes going on. Yet there really are. Every second something is changing. We are changing our bodies as we age, changing our opinions as we learn and listen, and changing each other as we interact on a daily basis. Such subtle little things going on constantly. Changes happening and we barely notice.

But then there are the big changes. The ones that cause us stress, emotional suffering, and sometimes physical and emotional harm. These are the big ones, the life and death ones, the changing of our world ones. These are the nothing will ever be the same changes. They rock our world and the very core of our being. Adapting to change is the problem we all face. Riding the wave, so to speak, is better than trying to stand tall against it, and being knocked over. Go with the flow. Let yourself be gently led through this change because you can't fight it, or make it go away, or change it back. You can only continue on.  One day at a time.

Thought for the day: Remember, no human condition is ever permanent. Then you will not be overjoyed in good fortune nor too scornful in misfortune. -Socrates (BC469-399)
Another happy place...Longport, NJ

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

  • Although time seems to fly, it never travels faster than one day at a time. Each day is a new opportunity to live your life to the fullest. In each waking day, you will find scores of blessings and opportunities for positive change. Do not let your TODAY be stolen by the unchangeable past or the indefinite future! Today is a new day!

    What do you think about that quote? It was on facebook this morning. I take it as a sign from above. A message that I needed to hear today. I look for little things that will  make me feel better, make the kids feel better, make my brother less sorrowful. But I realize it's like jumping into a cold pool, back in those swimming lesson days. You know it's going to be unpleasant, but you have to get in there and do it. No backing out. 

    That's how the day seems to me. I wake up, say to myself, this is real and not a nightmare, throw my legs out of bed and get on with the day. There's no turning back, it will hurt, but you have to do it. I have been at my brothers for the last two days. I go up in the afternoon and come home about 8:30. My mom will be there for the next three days. She spends the night. I really don't do much when I'm there. Maybe a load of laundry, set the table and help with homework. Mostly I watch TV with the kids. The weather hasn't been good, rainy and cold. Not much to do. Everybody seems to want to cuddle on the sofa. While I know this can't go on, and you can only watch so much TV, it seems what we all need right now. We chat, laugh a little. Yesterday we watched Modern Family. Such a funny show. It helps to laugh.

     Soon signs of spring will start to show.The days will get a little longer, baseball and spring sports will start. The days will get filled. Things will be busier. Not normal like they used to be. Never that way again. But this little family will come to know a new normal. I pray for their pain to lessen, and for them to feel some happiness again. This will take time....a lot of time.

    I had my weigh in today, and I lost. I felt a little happy. I don't know if I am ever going to feel real, ecstatic happiness again. My logical mind tells me that that I will, but right at this moment, small bits of gratitude are as close to happiness as I get. I was so obsessed with my weight. Now, although I care, it is put into the proper perspective. And I'm losing! Think about that when you feel upset at the scale next time. Maybe taking the intense focus off of it, doing what you know works, and taking it day by day, are what you need to do. The watched pot never boils!

    I made the almond flour muffins from Dawn's blog yesterday. I am really enjoying them. I also am really into ricotta cheese these days. The other morning, I just didn't want my normal egg breakfast. For a change, I took a 1/2 cup of part skim ricotta cheese ( s/c = 0/4), mixed it with a truvia packet ( s/c = 0/3) and some cinnamon, topped it with a 1/4 blackberries ( s/c= 2/3) and some toasted sliced almonds ( s/c = 0/1.5) I really enjoyed this for a total s/c of 2/1. It also has about 8 gms of fiber and a whopping 18 gms of protein. I used the values from myfitnesspal. 

    This spoons are really great. One is 1/4 cp and one is 1/2 cp. 

    Ricotta with chia, blackberries and almonds!

    Sending you all love and big hugs.

    Thought for the day: 

    “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” Lance Armstrong

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lazy Sunday images......

Springtime flowers sent from a friend.
Snow on the patio.

Lemon coconut bread in the oven.
Turkey chili on the stove.

There's no place like home.

Wisdom found in a cup of tea.

I've been fighting a nasty cold lately. I rarely get sick, but that cold virus got me good this time. I have been drinking so much tea lately. As many of you have noticed and blogged, a nice cup of hot tea can be very soothing, satisfying and can  help a myriad of troubles.

The chocolate teas are very good to satsify those cravings for something sweet. My current favorites are the Chocolate mint truffle by Mighty Leaf, and Red Velvet Chocolate by Republic of Tea. If the thought of a chocolate tea doesn't appeal to you, I urge you to try one. It's not an overpowering chocolate taste, but a sublte hint of it. I was surprised by how much I liked these.

I also love the good earth green teas. I especially love that there are little words of wisdom on the little square attached to the tea bag. You get a cup of tea and something to think about all at once.
Thought for the day: Taken from a tea bag....It's easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them - Alfred Adler

Friday, January 20, 2012

Some great blogs to follow.

Hello everyone. Just wanted to stop by and tell you about a few of the blogs that I have found through your recommendations or my own searches.. One of my favorites that Kay recommended is "Can You Stay For Dinner", Great advice and recipes from someone who has lost weight and kept it off.

Another blog that I like and I get delivered to my email is "". Maria is a registered dietitician and her blog has great info and recipes. If one of you turned me onto this blog, thank you. I have so many that I try to read, and I forget who gave me the tip. Here is a post from todays blog. I found this fascinating, as we often don't realize that things like taco seasoning and other packaged seasonings can  have ingredients that may be harmful to us.

The post below is copied from

Here is another pantry item to throw out! To find how to properly stock a pantry, check out my Pantry List in SECRETS TO A HEALTHY METABOLISM.

Do you still have pre-packaged Taco Seasoning in your pantry? If you do, check this out!

Ingredients: Yellow Corn Flour, Salt, Maltodextrin, Paprika, Spices, Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Citric Acid, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Natural Flavor, Caramel Color (sulfites).

There are a few issues with using prepackaged spice mixes. First off, caramel coloring is a food dye that is in the process of being banned by the FDA due to it's links to causing cancer. Another issue is the maltodexterin...the danger is that maltodextrin is very high on the glycemic index: 105. This is 5 points higher than glucose which is 100. And, it is almost double that of sugar which is around 59. AND ingredients are listed in the order of prevalence...they don't even list a spice until the 4th ingredient! I'll stick to making a triple batch of my own mix and keeping it in my pantry!

She goes on to list a great recipe. So check it out.

Another blog that I enjoy for the dose of spirituality that I so crave, is called Finding Your Soul, by David Anderson. David is a minister and his blog is I find his posts spiritually enlightening and very thought provoking. He is the husband of chef Pam Anderson, and the father of Maggy and Sharon. They have a cooking blog called This is not a low carb or sugar blog, but many of the recipes I found do fit into our way of eating.

Yesterday, I forgot to say, that on weigh in Wednesday I stayed the same in the weight. I did come up a bit from that big 7 pound loss. I knew that was a freak thing due to not eating and probably dehydration. But I'm still trending down. It is going to be tough however, because there are a ton of bad things at my brothers house. The neighbors and friends are sending cakes, cookies, scones, and snack baskets to name a few things. It's hard to resist and there was an incident with a snickers bar that I'd rather not talk about. Of course this was in my own home ( left by my son) so there is no excuse. I was weak, tired, hungry and still so very sad. I fed my emotions, and I knew it while I was doing it. It felt great going down, and I felt terrible the rest of the nigh,t and even this morning.  Lesson learned. I know better, I will do better. End of story. It's a new fresh day ahead of me.

And one last thing. If any of you are having any trouble posting on the blogs let me know if you figured it out. Sherri emailed me that she can't leave any comments on my blog, and the page goes blank when she tried. That has been happening to me on some of the blogs too. For instance I was able to post on Kay's blog this morning, no problem. However, on Rosalie's page, when I tried to click on her blog, the page went blank. I had to go to the dashboard, and then click on her blog name, and then it opened up to the current post and only then could read and comment. I tried to google this and get an answer to the problem, but came up with nothing. And if any of you know how to leave a comment when you use google reader, I would greatly appreciate it. I just can't figure it out. I l love having the posts in one spot and Amber did mention that you could comment on reader, but I can't seem to do it.

Hope you all have a great day. As always I am sending you all the biggest of hugs!

Thought for the day: Take on one change at a time, and go slowly. Implement each change consistently so that it becomes a habit. - Jake O'Callaghan

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What is it you want?

It's a cold, but sunny Thursday morning here in PA. I have been fighting a nasty cold. I rarely get sick. It was inevitable with all the stress that has been going on around here lately. Everyone around me is sick or has been sick, or will be sick. We're tired, worn out, and weary from the last few weeks. The stress is manifesting itself through our bodies and has made us sick. Sleep helps, chicken soup helps, but not much else helps. We are still sad and in shock. We are carrying on each day, but it feels like we are just going through the motions. Because we are.

I am trying to catch up on all the wonderful blogs and posts that I am behind on. I  noticed that so many of you are talking about your anniversaries on the Belly Fat Cure. It made me think of when I really started. I'm not sure, but it has been a long time since I discovered the book and started this lifestyle well over a year ago. I'm down 10 pounds, and although that's an accomplishment, it pales in comparision to some of you big losers.  It took me a long, long time to get those 10 pounds off. Too long.Unlike many of you, the commitment really wasn't there when I started. I thought it was, but looking back, I can see what I did wrong. I stuck to the principles when it was convenient, cheated when I wanted, wrote down sometimes,  then forgot to do that for weeks, ate too many carbs, drank too much wine, dabbled once in awhile in a few bites of the sweet stuff. Have I wasted my time? Yes, I wasted time in reaching my goal. I'm still so far away. But also, no, I did not waste my time, because I gained knowledge, made blogger buddies, started a blog and I still have my goals in site. I gained these things. But like that one commercial about quitting smoking says...maybe all those other starts and failures were just practice for the real thing. Or something like that. All of our practices are just that, practice for the real thing. The gist of it is, no matter how many of you have started and stopped, succeeded and then failed, gave up and came back to the really doesn't matter. All that matters is what you do from here on in, from this day forward. I have the tools I need, and lots of practice to succeed. We all do. No matter what we are trying to accomplish and no matter what plan we are using to meet our goals....whatever those goals are, we can start again any minute we want too. It can take 5 months, or 5 years. It doesn't matter. Set your own pace, renew your commitments and carry on.

I follow this blog called Finding Your Soul, by David Anderson. He is the husband of the cookbook author and chef Pam Anderson. If you remember, back in July, I won a contest at the home of the Pioneer Woman and Pam was the featured chef. Yesterday in David's blog he talked about the following parable I copied below. It's true, we get back what we put out.

A man and his son were walking in the forest. Suddenly the boy trips and, feeling a sharp pain he screams, “Ahhhh!” Surprised, he hears a voice coming from the mountain, “Ahhhh!”
Filled with curiosity, he screams, “Who are you?” But the only answer he receives is “Who are you?” This makes him angry so he screams, “You are a coward!”, and the voice answers, “You are a coward!”
He looks at his father, asking, “Dad, what is going on?”
“Son,” the man replies, “pay attention.” Then he yells, “I admire you!” The voice answers, “I admire you.” The father shouts, “You are wonderful!” and the voice answers, “You are wonderful!”
Then the father explains, “People call this ECHO but truly this is LIFE. Life always gives you back what you give out. It is a mirror of your actions. If you want more love, give more love. If you want more understanding, give understanding. If you want people to be patient and respectful to you, give patience and respect. The rule of nature applies to every aspect of our lives.”

Thought for the day: When you know better, you do better - Maya Angelou

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chicken soup is good for the soul!

My soul is aching and my heart is so sad. I spent the day at Beth's yesterday. The kids were off from school and my brother was returning to work. My nephew got invited to a friends for the day, and my niece and her friend and I did some shopping, had lunch out and came home to sort out the huge stack of cards, mass cards, flowers, etc. Life has gone back to normal for everyone, except for us.

I was glad that I was there, I made some beds, did a load of laundry and tidied up. Not much needed to be done as my brother has been cleaning and tidying non stop. But with any busy family, things will start to pile up. It felt good to be busy. It just felt strange and unnatural to be in Beth's home, with her kids and her personal stuff, and she wasn't there. My niece and I had a few teary moments. I tried to tell her what I believe and that although we don't know the reason, there most surely is one. It seemed so trite of an explanation. Her world is torn apart, and I see the hurt in her tearful eyes.

Later in the afternoon, my nephew came bounding in the door. Rosy cheeks and a smile on his face. Was he disppointed to see me there and not his mom? If so, he didn't show it. But his mind had to be thinking that. I was happy that he had a fun play day, and his mind free of worry and sadness....if only for a little bit.

In my rush to get up there before rush hour traffic, I grabbed a piece of blue cheese as my breakfast, but by lunch I was hungry. I am a breakfast eater, and I should know better. But I didn't stop and think about what I needed. We went to a salad place for lunch and I ordered a nice cobb salad. Would you like white or wheat bread they asked? My usual answer is no bread, thanks. Yesterday it was, wheat please! And I ate the whole big piece. My tastes buds have changed and I was certain it wasn't 100% whole wheat, but I ate it anyway. Here comes  the stress eating. Back at the house, I sipped several cups of green tea. Mostly to ward off the sore throat I felt rapidly coming on. The body reacts to stress in so many ways. I rarely get sick, but I had to see this comng. My niece is sick, my nephew has a cold, and the stress of this horrible ordeal is manifesting in our tired, stressed bodies.

There is a cooler on the back step and miraculously a dinner appeared in it around 5 PM. A big caesar salad, a whole chocolate pound cake, bread, salad dressing and a chicken, rice casserole. A dear friend of mine had made me some chicken soup with little chicken meatballs last week.She brought it to my front door step in a lovely basket with two bottles of wine,  and some homemade parmesan cheese crackers ( don't even ask what happened to them!!). I had taken some of that to the house yesterday too.  I wasn't going to stay for dinner, but I think my brother needed the company. We lit the candles, set the table, said a prayer of thanks, and then had a meal together. I was aware that I was the odd person at the table. That it should have been Beth. But we tried to laugh and chat and act normal. Normal is going to  be restablished in their house.

 My brother looks so worn, so tired, but he puts on a strong front for his children. He's a big tall, handsome man. His hair is blond, but starting to gray ever so slightly. He has a stressful job, be he said he is going to try and be home for the kids each night for dinner. I believe him. He said nothing related to work seems important now. I believe him. While that may be true, he is their only means of support and he needs his job. He has to carry on, whether he wants to or not.

The kids weren't that into the casserole. It was cheesey, and ricey and probably had way too many carbs for me. I had a small amount. But I did enjoy a nice bowl of  chicken soup. It is a Barefoot Contessa recipe that my friend made. It does have some breadcrumbs, but I'm sure that could be modified alittle. It's really good, so I want to share the recipe with you. Ina Garten came up with a good one.  I hope she doesn't mind that I put it on this blog.I have the cookbook this recipe is in, and I have to say I wouldn't have made this or thought it would be so good. Chicken meatballs didn't actually appeal to me. I was wrong. This was warm and comforting and for a little while, we all felt better sipping that hot soup on a dark, sad night.

Thought for the day: Sometimes the answer to prayer is not that it changes life, but that it changes you. -James Dillet Freeman

Italian Wedding Soup

2008, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, All Rights Reserved

Prep Time:
30 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
45 min
8 servings


For the meatballs:

  • 3/4 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 pound chicken sausage, casings removed
  • 2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the soup:

  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 cup minced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots (3 carrots), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup diced celery (2 stalks), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 10 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup small pasta such as tubetini or stars
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
  • 12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop 1 to 1 1/4-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (You should have about 40 meatballs. They don't have to be perfectly round.) Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.
In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

An ordinary morning.

Good morning to everyone. I just want to let you all know that I am so behind in reading your blogs. I am going to catch up this week, but I am not going to leave comments on each one. I don't think my day will permit me the time to do that. But I still care very much about what is going on in your lives, how you are doing on your journey and what your thoughts are.

To all of you, please let me say that I really couldn't have gotten through this terrible time without the love and support of my family and friends, cyber and those present with me. When I would be sitting for those long hours in that hospital waiting room, I'd see a new email pop up on my phone with a message from one of you. It really touched my heart. I also thank you for allowing me to pour my feelings and thoughts out on this blog. If you read the title of my blog, it's about trying to lead a more balanced life, and also trying to follow Jorges' Belly Fat Cure. I will continue to blog about both. The next several months will still be very fact I think it will be tough for many years, as we mourn the loss and very lively presence of Beth in our lives....our everyday lives.

I woke up this morning, and as I have for the past several mornings, had a second of feeling normal  and waking up on a normal morning. Only a second. Then the reminder that she is gone came flooding back.It's not a normal morning. Not in our family. I imagine this is what my brother and her kids are feeling, only magnified about a million times, each day when they open their eyes.Their thoughts must go right to how it used to be and did this really happen?  They are praying, please God let it be a dream. Please give me back the normal morning when the smell of coffee is in the kitchen and my mom and wife is shuffling around in her slippers, reading the paper and making breakfast on a Sunday morning. I want a normal morning when I can call my sister-n-law and catch up on what's been going on. How often do we take our normal life for granted? Wishing for more excitement, more adventure, more things to fill our world? We don't appreciate normal until it has changed. Until we see the world is normal for everyone else, but so different for us.

I am wishing this Sunday for a normal morning. A morning when my brother and his kids weren't in pain, when my mom wasn't crying when I talked to her, and when I didn't miss Beth so much. I want boring, and quiet and status quo. Will it ever feel that way again? And should it? Or is that the point?  You don't know what you have, until it changes. And when it does, only then you appreciate what you had.

So I have been yearning for some sense of normal and routine. The new year is always good for that. Reevaluate what is working in your life, see where you need to make changes and plan accordingly. I have not had that luxury this year. Beth got sick on January 2. That was my day to get back in the routine of normal life after the long holiday season. It didn't happen for me or for her, or for anyone in my family.

 My life is going to be different for awhile. I am going to be driving the 25 miles each afternoon to be there when the kids get off the bus, and I will stay until my brother gets home from work, and then come home around 7. I know, and he knows, that I can't do this forever. But for now I can. They need some stabiliy, someone to help with homework and  to drive them to their activities. My mom will help, as will countless friends and neighbors. They need some sort of stability....some sort of normal to return to their little lives which have been turned upside down, and inside out. She would have done this for me, and it's the only thing I can do for her now. Help nuture and grow the children she loved so much.

So my quest to return to some sort of normalcy this morning started with breakfast. A meal I never used to skip, but in the past 10 days, never took time for, as I rushed out the door to the hospital. I had no time to bake our beloved coconut bread, so nothing to grab and go. This morning I went back to an old comforting standby, oatmeal.

I measure out 1/2 cp of regular oatmeal, add some water, a packet of truvia, a tablespoon of toasted slivered almonds ( toast lightly in a small skillet on top of the stove and then store in refridgerator), some chia seeds, and then microwave about a minute or so. I then add in a tablespoon of Josephs sugar free peanut butter, and microwave alittle longer. If it's too thick you can add some more water, or I like to add the unsweetened vanilla almond breeze. Top with a few blackberries and you have a warm and comforting way to start the day.  Hope it's a normal day for all of you!

Thought for the day: Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for. -Epicurus

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Where have the last 9 days gone?

Hello everyone. I am sitting here in my flannel pj's on a grey, rainy day. Did I mention it's almost 2 PM? I guess I'm having a jammy day. My eyes are tired and sore, so no contact lenses for now. I'm too tired to stay awake, but too full of emotion to fall asleep. 

Yesterday was Beth's funeral. The last post is of the holy card they gave out. Her picture was on the front and that beautiful poem was on the back. A lovely rememberance of her. The service was beautiful and so many people turned out. We were receiving visitors for over 2 1/2 hours straight. So many people who loved her, or  love and work with Ed, and even friends of mine and people from our work turned out to pay their condolences. Such a lovely tribute to her and my brother and their family.

 The sky was grey, but it did not rain. Many people mentioned the glorious full moon we had been having, even the priest in his sermon. He reminded us that even in the darkness, the sun is still shining, hence the light of the moon as the sun shines upon it. It's been a huge, bright moon, illuminating the past few nights.

 The mass was beautiful and we followed my brother up the aisle, as he carred the box with her ashes, and each of his children were at his sides, arms linked in his, as the song played "And he will raise you up on Eagles wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of his hand." It was so beautiful, and so sad, all at the same time.

My brother insisted on having a large gathering at a restaurant after the service. I worked with them on a menu of soup, salads, wraps and sandwiches, chicken tenders and grilled cheese for the kids. The bar was open, and the restaurant was closed to only us. It was a large gathering, maybe 150 people or more.  As one person commented, it was more like a wedding reception, only no bride and groom, no cake or band. It cost my brother alot of money to do that, but he thought it was important to thank everyone for coming and to spend some time relaxing and reminiscing with people. It was so happy and so sad all at the same time.

It's so funny that people were worried about me eating. I was even brought a plate of food at one point and instructed to sit down and eat. Isn't that ironic, that my whole life I have had to try and control what I ate, and yesterday, it was reversed. People were trying to get me to eat.
Today I am giving myself a hump day to get back to normal. The last 9 days since Beth had her heart attack last Tuesday, have gone by so fast, and have been a blur of pain and sadness. A long, drawn out, emotional journey as she was taken from this earth. It has been the longest 9 days of my life, and the shortest 9 days of my life....all at the same time.
I have experienced only a few deaths in my life. The passing of a good friend in his early thirties,many years ago when I was in my early thirties, and also my grandparents. One death expected as he had end stage melanoma, and the others expected as they were older. This is the first time I feel I have been hit with a ton of bricks. Out of nowhere it came, slamming down on our family, changing us forever and causing a void that can never be filled.
I am a person of faith however, and for an unkown reason to me, God has decided it is Beth's time to come home. I do believe that God and Beth send signs that she is okay and happy. We have had a few. One person had a dream of Beth, all cozied up under blankets on the sofa, looking glowing and peaceful and uttering the words "I'm sorry" before she vanished from the dream. As if to say I had to go, and I'm sorry about that. Another person found a cross that belonged to no one in the driveway of a friend. The back of the cross had the work 'faith' inscribed on it. The morning I was driving to the hospital for the last time, I commented on the sky, filled with a rippling clouds that seemed to go for infinity. I commented that maybe heaven looked like that. At the same time my son said "mom, look at the radio" and there was a song playing called Heaven by O.A.R. and the word Heaven stood out on my dashboard screen.

 Lastly, I had a beautiful sight come to me this morning. I was talking to my other sister-in-law on the phone and looked out my window. I saw two large white images. They turned out to be two white deer. I have never seen anything like that before. I grabbed my camera, but shooting throught the window made the pictures turn out poorly.I never knew there were white deer, but they were beautiful creatures. Maybe sent from Beth to make me smile!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Rest in peace Beth!

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep

I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on the snow
I am the sun on the ripened grain
I am the gentle shower of rain
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am in the graceful rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight
I am the soft starlight at night
I am in the flowers that bloom
I am in a quiet room
I am in the birds that sing
I am in each lovely thing

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep

Mommy, we miss you and love you to the sky..Jensen and Matthew
I love you baby..Edward

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The last time ever I saw your face......

Dear friends, I am sorry to keep posting sad blogs. It's where I am right now. So sad, so mad, so tired. My little nephew broke my heart today. He had circles under his eyes. He said 'Aunt Pattie, I always have bags under my eyes.' He is so quiet and sensitive. He is hurting and nothing seems to help. This is how it should be. Nothing can help when your world has been ripped apart. I told him that I would be there and Grandmom would be there, and although everything had changed, we would try to make sure nothing else changes. He will get his braces on, go to baseball practices in the spring and get picked up from school when he needs to be. I hope this brings him some comfort, although sadly, his pain is so new and raw. His older sister is being the brave girl. Trying to be involved in the planning, comforting everyone else, trying to step into her moms shoes. This will hit her after Wednesday's service. We will be there. to try and pick up the pieces.

This is my very last memory of Beth, and the very last time I saw her. It was Christmas Day at my house. Her and my future daughter in law were  cracking themselves up, trying to make some words....okay dirty words...out of little petit four Christmas cookies that someone sent. Not really obscene words but silly sayings out of the word Merry Christmas. They came up with the saying, 'Cram your ____" and the two of them laughed until they couldn't breathe. It was hilarious to watch how much fun they were having acting so silly. My very last memory of Beth, was Beth being Beth. Always funny, always smiling, always being the life of the party. I couldn't have known she would be gone just 11 days later. I'm grateful for the memory now. It was truly Beth at her best.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A new day begins

Yesterday my brother sent out an email with a picture of him and Beth.He had been inundated with texts, phone calls, emails. It was an easy and fast way for him to let all those who were hanging on to hope to know that it was over. The email said "today at 10 AM I said goodbye to my wife." A short statement, but one packed with a lifetime of memories, and fresh, raw painful emotions. After four days of almost continuously being at her bedside, it was time for him to step away, to let her go, to pick up and go on. We stayed with him, but he insisted we all go in and say our goodbyes, and that he would be last. There would be no disconnecting of anything because she would be going up to the OR for the harvesting of her organs. We declined to come back later that evening to see her again when all the tubes would be gone, and her body would be lifeless and still. The neurologists had declared her brain dead, and that is officially legal enough for the death certificate even though her heart was still beating. She probably had left us long before, but there always has to be an offical time listed.

We left the hospital on a bright, sunny day. The world outside of the University of Pennyslvania hospital was bustling. The world was going on, even though ours had just come to a grinding halt. Last night friends and family went over to Ed and Beth's bringing food....lots of food. Sandwich trays for at least a hundred people. People want to do something, and the most obvious thing is to feed you. It's ironic how food is the center of everything. We sat around the house for hours. Friends dropped by, there was laughter, tears, and lot of memories talked about. It was joyous and painful all at the same time. The kids are devastated, and this was the hardest part watching them crying, and seeing them wondering how their world is going to be now without the woman who was the center of their lives. Oh how Beth would have never wanted this to happen to them, would have never wanted them to feel this kind of pain. She was a protective mother, and a devoted mother. She cherished her role as a mother and she loved it. She tried to protect them from hurt, and all the bad things of the world. Sadly, she is not here to protect them now, and her absence is the source of all their pain. A sad reality, but a true one.Life has dealt them a bad hand to play.

I think the funeral will be Wednesday. The weather has turned warmer here and it's sunny and beautiful today. She would have loved this type of day. I started to think about what to wear for the funeral. When you are not at the weight you want to be, I find that any social circumstance can cause a panic as to what to wear. I'm not at all panicked. I would go in my sweats. I don't care. But I know there is a protocol, so to my closet I go. Please God, let there be something black and funeral like. I don't have the energy to shop. So I find the dress, tags still on in my closet. I had bought it awhile back from a website that was offering it at a discount. A very steep discount. I think it was from Gilt. I bought it because it looked like the kind of dress everyone should have in their closet. Perfect for business, casual....even funerals. But when I bought it, it didn't fit. It should have. It was the right size. But to send it back would have cost half of what the dress cost. So I kept it.

This morning I put it on. It zipped right up. I don't love it, but it looks nice. Black, simple, but perfect for a funeral. I felt happy that it fit, and happy that I don't have to go shopping. I really don't want to go shopping right now. So unless something changes, I know what I am going to wear on Wednesday.
Even in these sad circumstances, this pleased me, because I am trying to eat the right way, and another stress is not what I need right now. I don't want to try on fifty things to see what zips, what looks okay, or what won't make me look like a stuffed sausage. I thought to myself, in good times or bad, there is always that stress. What do I wear, does it fit, do I look okay? I'm nowhere near where I want to be, but I'm closer than I was. So one less thing for me to think about right now.

So now I am putting together photos, and planning to go over later and help me brother plan to lay his wife to rest. He is cremating her as that is what she wanted. And this summer we are going to scatter her ashes on a beautiful summer evening on the beach that she so loved. This makes it so much easier than picking out a casket, and cemetary plot, and tombstone. Anything to make it easier for him is a blessing.

Again, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your kind words of support and comfort. I would sit in that waiting room and look at  the emails on my phone and read something from one of you, and my heart just swelled with love and comfort. Those little posts kept me going because you all had no reason to care or cry along with me, but you did it out of the goodness inside of you. So many people, so much goodness coming to us. It helps.  God bless you all, and God bless Beth.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Now the hardest part of the journey begins

In my time of grief, I want you all to know that your thoughts, kind words, and prayers sent, have touched me deeply. I am hearing words of comfort from people that I didn't even know read my little blog.You don't really know me or Beth, or my family, and yet you have provided me with more comfort in your kind words then you will ever know. I  feel we do know each other and the connection of the human spirit can happen even from a distance. Our common interest of weight loss and eating healthy, have brought us together. And for that I am glad. I know this is supposed to be a blog about weight loss, but I don't care about losing weight right now. It's the furthest thing from my mind. If I never lose another pound....I don't care.

Surprisngly I saw a weight this morning when I got on the scale (what a habit that is, even during a time like this, it is still my habit) that I haven't seen in many, many years. There was a nanosecond of happiness, very fleeting, and then I didn't care again. I only care about Beth right now, and my brother and my niece and nephew who are waking up without a mom today. My pain can not even come close to theirs. So my thoughts are now turning to how I can make this a little easier for them.

We are going to the hospital this morning to say goodbye one last time. The final confirmation tests will be done that will show there is no hope. How can that be? Isn't there always supposed to be hope? Can't miracles happen? But I know that this is not the time for a miracle. Maybe the miracle is coming for those other families that are going through what we are going through, and hoping for an organ to save their loved ones life. Maybe Beth had to die so that some others could live. I have to keep saying these things to myself or I'm going to go crazy. This is not supposed to happen to a 43 year old woman. But we know it happens everyday, and I'm sure many of you reading have had bad things happen to good people.

So in parting, the only words of wisdom that I can think of are these. We are all on a journey. We will never know how long that journey will last, or when the end will be. When I saw Beth on Christmas day, I never even dreamed that she would be gone in less than two weeks. Would I have done anything differently if I could have know that?I wish I had one more day with her. I recently read a quote somewhere that said something like, treat everyone you meet as if this is their last day on earth. It could be. We'll never know.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Goodbye to an amazing woman.

The news is bad. Beth is not going to make it. Her brain is not showing any activity. She is still alive, but will not be soon. She is donating organs, so they will keep her going until they can take them. She is having final tests tomorrow. They go through alot of tests to make sure there is no hope of her brain functioning, and there is no brain activity so there are a few scheduled for tomorrow, but it is just a formality at this point. and we knew early today that the end is near. My brother went home today to tell the kids. He is coming back tomorrow to, as he said,to hug and kiss my wife and tell her I love her one more time while she is alive. He does not want to be there when the plugs are pulled, although with the organ donation, they do not go through that until the organs are harvested. The kids don't want to see their mom like this either, nor do my parents. Every one has to deal with this in their own way. It has been a long, long, draining day today.  We're all talked out, prayed out, cried out...although the tears do keep surfacing.This is one of the saddest things I've ever had to go through or watch someone go through. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A letter to Beth.

Please indulge me this letter that I wrote to Beth tonight. I have to get some of these bottled up feelings out. I am distraught, scared, tired and all prayed out. But what she is going through is a million times worse.

January 4, 2011
Dear Beth:
Tonight you are lying in an intensive care unit at the University of Pennsylvania. You have had a massive heart attack due to a dissection of a blood vessel to your left ventricle. It is not something that you could have seen coming or known about. It is rare. You are clinging to life, and even as a nurse, I can’t ever remember seeing this many tubes, pumps, IV’s and monitors on a person. This is as bad as it gets. You had open heart surgery yesterday at Chester County hospital. You had a cardiac arrest as they tried to perform a cardiac cath, which showed two blocked vessels to your left ventricle. That is the piece of the heart that pumps the oxygenated blood out to your body. They took you right to the OR and did two bypasses. Your heart did not start beating so they put you on a Ventricular Assist Device. You made it through the night and woke up and showed some signs of responding. Then they sedated you again and flew you by helicopter down to the University of Pennsylvania. They had planned to put a more permanent LVAD pump in, but found you were having some problems with your lungs. It turns out you had a hole between the two atriums of your heart. We all have it as babies, but yours did not close after birth. It happens in about 1 in 4 people. But having this pump was causing fluid to go into the hole and back into the lung. Your lungs weren’t functioning properly. The surgeon found this and repaired it. Your heart is now beating on its own. But you have not awakened, and that is what we are waiting for. You have been heavily sedated, so it may take a little longer. You have a tube in your groin that helps your heart pump, you are on a ventilator to breath, you have chest tubes, and many IV lines going into your neck. You are very ill and we are all very scared.

We are talking to you, but not sure if you can hear us. It breaks my heart to hear Ed tell you to hang in there, and that he needs you and the kids need you and to keep fighting. You must be tired, but we beg you to come back to us. We all need and love you so much. We don’t know if you can hear us, but we talk anyway, just in case. Everyone is so frightened that you may leave us.  You are so ill, and have been through so much. We wonder how much more you can take, but we pray you can take a lot more and recover. We can’t let you go. I love you so much and I need you in my world as we all do, especially Jensen and Matthew, and Ed. Ed is suffering to watch you go through all of this. If you could only see and hear how much he loves you. It breaks my heart. He is unable to sleep or eat. He is just out of sorts, and so emotionally spent.  I have never seen my big, strong, brother like this. Just raw emotion.

Please come back to us. Please fight hard even though you are exhausted and your body is beat and broken. I can’t imagine never seeing you again, or hearing your laugh, or sharing a glass of wine on the beach with you. I love you. We all love you. Please get better, please fight to stay here with us. I hope someday you will read this, and be back to your life that you love so much. Back to being with your family. You didn’t deserve this. You are too young to go through this. Please be okay.
I love you so much,



Thank you all so much for the kind words, prayers and good wishes. I am typing this on my brothers ipad from the University of Pennsylvania family waiting room for cardiovascular intensive care patients. Beth was flown here by helicopter this morning. She had another open heart surgery this morning. She is critical, but stable, although there have been a few scary moments. Now she needs to wake up and respond so they can assess any neurological damage. It means the world to Me that you hear from so many of you words of support and comfort.

Today Is me weigh in day. I'm almost hesitant to report that I am down 7 lbs since last week. Absurd I know. I'm just reporting what the scale said. Probably last week was a false high due to some water retention, and probably this week is from barely eating for the last two days. I have no appetite. It's so weird. I always thought I was a stress eater, but this is life and death stress and it makes my stomach feel like it's in knots.I don't have anything to write because I'm barely eating. I'm committed though and wrote down my goals. Our family crisis has sidetracked me but I'm still focused on meeting my goals this year.

This horrible thing that has happened to Beth, has given me a clarity about things, and a glimpse of how fragile life is and how it can change in an instant. I also see that many of the things i stress about are not so important. I want to be healthy for myself and my family. There are no guarantees in life, but we can buy ourselves more days of healthy living, by eating right and getting to a healthy weight.

Sending blessings and big thankful hugs to all of you. Hug someone you love tonight and please keep praying for Beth to recover.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Send prayers please!

Hello my dear friends. I am sitting here ar 11:30 at night, having just returned from being at the hospital for the last 8 hours. My beloved sister-in-law had a heart attack today at age 43. She is not a smoker, is not overweight and has no family history. She had a sort of dissecting aneurysm where the wall of the blood vessel pulls apart and clots form. The doctor said he never saw this happen before like this in that area of the heart. It is not something she could have prevented.She had emergency open heart surgery, but arrested on the table when they were doing the cardiac cath. She is on a ventilator and a left ventricular assisted device to help her left ventricle pump. Her heart was not pumping when they took her off the heart lung machine after surgery.

Please send prayers, happy thoughts or whatever positive forces you can for Beth. She has an 11 year old son and a 15 year old daughter. My brother is in so much pain, as no one is sure what is going to happen next. If her heart can not start beating, then she will have to have a transplant. But first we have to get her through tonight and make sure she has brain function and that her lungs are ok. She is too young and too vibrant to have this happen. I can't stop crying. Please pray for Beth. I won't be blogging for awhile as my family needs all of my time and attention. I will let you know how she is doing when I can. I need hugs today, so please send any extra you have.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Welcome 2012!

Happy New Year to all my friends. It's a brand new, shiny new year, and it got me to thinking. It's funny how with the changing of the clock, one day turns into the next, and with it, all the anticipation, excitement, goals and hope for the future are placed in this new day, of this new year. I always write down everything that I want to accomplish as the year changes, in hopes that I will be a better, leaner, more balanced, well read, calmer, hydrated, more rested person. I want to be perfect. I want to lose weight, exercise more, read daily, catch up with friends, learn to meditate, stress less and move more. I have high hopes and actually start out thinking I will change all these things I don't like about myself or my life, and I will change them all in one day.  But with age, comes wisdom, and I realize that change of any kind is  a process....often a slow process. It takes time, it takes patience and it takes perserverance. A long list of goals can be overwhelming. It's alot of changes to make all at once.

So as we enter into this brand new spanking clean new year, I plan to write down all the goals that I want to accomplish, but one of these goals will be to take it slow, to give myself time to change and to live in the moment.  When there is a day that I slip up, or I don't ________ ( fill in the blank here), I will pick up where I left off, and carry on again towards my goals the very next moment. All will not be lost,  and I will not be a failure, as long as I am moving forward. Every new day is really like the start of a new year. It's a clean slate every single morning, and a new beginning whenever we want it. Not just because the year changed.

 To help me remember this, I plan to refer to the following quote. I copied this off a friends facebook page, and I'd like to share it with you. It's a quote from Dr. Wayne Dyer.

 "Forget about those New Year’s resolutions in which you decide on the first day of January how you will be conducting your life for the next twelve months. Instead, set up day-to-day goals for yourself, and then resolve to begin living with present moment awareness for the rest of your life. When you get good at living your present moments one day at a time, you’ll see yourself changing right before your own surprised eyes. Remember, anyone can do anything for just one day, so tune out the sentences that keep you locked into your old self-defeating ways and begin to enjoy each day of your bright new year."

Sending big Happy New Year hugs to you all. Wishing you a bright and happy new year. May all your dreams come true!