The Living Desert & other thoughts…

After a long week of heavy rain storms, Friday’s forecast showed that it would be in the 70’s in Palm Desert, Ca.  Trevor, Katie, and I were excited to see this news, as we had planned a Private Safari at The Living Desert for this day.  Trevor packed up my oxygen tanks and walker and we were off for our adventure at The Living Desert!

The Living Desert is a beautiful zoo in Palm Desert, CA.  The animals are all beautiful,  the enclosures were clean and the walking paths and trails were made to look regional the the animal territory we were visiting.  We chose to use the Private Safari Adventure, as it is fully done with a guide and the complete use of a shuttle.  I highly recommend this option.  Our guide was wonderful and we were able to gain “insider” information.  Of course, conservation and and extinction is a main topic of zoos and conservancies.  I am saddened at the amount of species that are currently on the Red List of declining/endangered/extinct animals.  More information can be found on

I truly enjoyed getting out for the morning and hanging out with Trev and Katie.  We were able to see every animal and we were able to feed the giraffes!  Every animal there is beautiful and some were very funny to watch.  It seemed like the animals were happy to see a sunshine day!

Anyway, I woke up at 2:00 am and my brain started thinking about animal extinction and my own journey with cancer and hospice.  Honestly, I’m not sure where I’m going with these 2:00 am thoughts.  Comparing species extinction to my own passing seems trivial.  However, there is the issue of loss in both cases.

What will it be like on earth if the animals/creatures  continue to disappear? What will it be like if all the bees disappear?  Many people believe that it could start the end of the world.  Because bees are primary pollinators of fruits and vegetables, this could lead to a chain reaction of crops disappearing, which could lead to limited agriculture available, which could lead to limited dairy and meat supply.  It would also lead to the disappearance of my beloved honey.  The disappearance of bees would make the world a less sweet place to live.

What is it like when a loved one disappears to death?  It drastically changes the life of those left behind.  For my children, their world will be forever changed.  I believe that they will mourn.  I believe they will be strong.  I don’t think they will forget me on their big event days:  weddings, children, deciding where to settle, buying their first home, happy moments and sad moments.  They will probably think of me at the beach or when a storm passes.

The journey of life will always have it’s ups and downs.  From the big issues that face our world (extinction) to experiencing the joys found in this world.  We all have the opportunity to choose how we encounter life.  Will we embrace the opportunities put before us?  Will we become divisive with one another as we try find and implement correct solutions for the world?  My hope and longing is that people will exchange ideas and work together to make this world a better place.

As for my own remaining time, I will continue to embrace life!  My hope for my family and friends is that, they too will embrace life.  I hope they will stop and watch the bees for awhile!



Leaping Leena the Lap Dog

Leena the Lap Dog joined our family several weeks ago.  I was wishing for a little dog to sit on my lap.  Bree had been thinking it might be a good idea for me to have a dog to take outside and keep me moving.  Leena had been living with Bree for several years, but Bree felt it was more important for Leena to hang out with us for awhile.  Having Leena here has been wonderful!

A little back story….Leena has been in our family for eleven years!  She was originally Trevor’s dog.  She was so tiny, that he would carry her under his shirt, and she would pop her head through the neck line of his shirt.  She would also hide in his shoes, so he had to be very careful when putting on his shoes.  Leena has always been one of the most patient and sweetest dogs that I’ve ever known.

Ok…back to current story!  Leena not only gives me comfort, but she also makes sure that every visitor gets a chance to have a Leena encounter.  She will sit on every visitor’s lap (if they want her).  Leena brings comfort and peace into a situation where visitors might feel uncomfortable.  When I take her on walks, she leads me with the walker.  One can see that she feels very important and in charge of our walks.  Thank you Bree for sharing Leena!  Dog therapy is amazing!

Health Updates:

The mass by my left rib has grown.  It feels like the mass is pushing against my rib, which is causing a squeezing of the other organs nearby.  I can really feel it when I’m walking, so I’ve slowed down and am using the walker when outside.

The mass on my neck is also growing.  This one makes talking difficult at times.  I will return calls when I can talk clearly.   Otherwise, texting works well for me.

I have definitely slowed down.  My energy level has been very low these past couple of weeks.  Showering is an example of how I have slowed down:  It takes at least an hour; maybe an hour and a half to shower.  On Monday and Thursdays a bath nurse comes out and washes my hair and body.  This was difficult for me to accept in the beginning.  Now, I am thankful for her help.  During the shower, I need to sit down on the shower chair because it is exhausting to stand for the whole shower.  When the shower is complete, I sit down for the drying.  Then there is the lotioning, the hair brushing, the hair drying…it all takes time because I need to stop and rest frequently during this process. It is a strange thing, but showers now wear me out and I usually end up taking a long nap after showers!

As I continue to slow down, I will be asking for more help.  There is a web-site that I will probably post next week.  It allows for people to sign up for times to help in various ways.  I promise, I won’t make anything difficult!

As much as I can, I still want to experience life to the fullest!  This Friday, Trevor and Katie are taking me to The Living Desert.  We will have a Private Safari and will experience The Living Desert with a private shuttle and driver!  I’m looking forward to feeding the giraffes!

Spiritually, I am doing well.   The Lord is always with me; I have never felt deserted by Him.  He brings me family & friends to help along this path.  I am thankful for each of you!  It feels like I am preparing for the ultimate Hiking Trip!  I know that this journey will be full of love and adventure.

If you are a person who enjoys Praise & Worship music,  check out this song:

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) – Hillsong United

This song is where I am at spiritually.  It is on the song list for the funeral!  I’m not sure it is “cool” to write that, but, yes, we have been working on that reality.  I count that as a part of the gift of time I’ve been given!  I love you all and I am thankful that you have joined in on my journey.

It is well with my soul!  Love, Cindylindy

December/January Adventures

As I begin to type, rain is pouring from the dark sky.  I can hear it popping up from our black-top parking area and I love the idea that all will be clean and fresh after the storm passes.  I’ve been in bed all day and it has been a day of memories raining through my brain.  Some of the memories are begging to be captured and written down.  Some of the memories are like thunder and lightning; they are here for the brief jolt and then the memory fades.

The adventures I want to share were big events for me.  Seeing Fleetwood Mac play has always been a dream of mine. I was able to see them in concert on December 8th with my life-long friend, Lori.  The concert was awesome and I could share so much about that experience.  The truth is, the experience was more about who I was with for the event!  We had an amazing time just talking and being together.  She is one of the few people who knows there was a husband #1 before husband #2.  At one point in our conversation, she asked, “I wonder whatever happened to good ol’ Bob?”  It  made me smile because she knows and remembers the young me and I remember the young Lori.

Staying in Newport the week before Christmas was the next big adventure.  This was our family Christmas time together.  We had a great room that had a harbor view.  Watching the boats in the bay was wonderful.  Experiencing the boat parade was on my wish-list and that made the stay perfect for me.  However, the trip was about who was there and sharing the experience together.  Important conversations came up during that time and emotions were shared.

Warner Bros Studio was the next big adventure.  Brianna gave me this trip as a Christmas present!  She made sure it would be an easy trip for me.   The tour is mostly done in a shuttle.  When there was walking, I had my walker.  I enjoyed seeing the sets, but again it was about sharing the adventure.  Bree and I have spent hours watching Friends and Gilmore Girls.  To see the sets with her, took us down memory-lane and gave us a gift of all the times we have solved world issues on the couch as we watched these shows!   We both have great ideas for saving the world!

As it continues to rain, both outside and the raining of memories in my head, I know the  importance of family and friends.  Being on the cancer/hospice journey without the help of family and friends would be extremely difficult.  I am so thankful to all of you.  I am moving at a slower pace and don’t always respond in a timely matter, but I am treasuring each of you and your outreaching to me.  I guess this a good place to give an update on my health:

I have slowed down and use a walker now. Using oxygen is a big part of my life now.   The mass at my rib is growing outward and I am really bloated everywhere.  There is a new mass on my throat and it is growing toward the rib.  Texting is easier than phone calls for me.  I am still in good spirit, and I am thankful for every moment and for every adventure.  Life is still filled with possibilities!!!

A Month on Hospice

A gift has been bestowed upon me! Quality Time. We all have time. The beauty of my gift in time, is the knowledge that my time is now limited.  With that, there is an awareness of quality of life!!!

Quality of life in the hospital was oppressive.  It was dark & depressing.  I believe I would have died if I had stayed there one more night.  So, I blurted out, “I want to go home on hospice care now!!!”  It must have been a shocking request for my family to hear, but they had me signed up with hospice and back at home in a few hours!  I will forever be grateful that I have a family who surrounds me with love and support.

Hospice care at home has been fundamental in my new time-spectrum.  The hospice staff are amazing.   Everyone of them are kind and direct and honest!  They are available 24 hours and have always responded quickly to our calls.  This gives an enormous sense of peace in the quality time.  This gives me peace that I won’t have to return to the dreaded hospital.

My thoughts above are the starting point of my new journey.  With that, “Ok, I’ve the peace let’s go forward,” come a myriad of emotional thoughts barging through the brain!  A month on hospice has me thinking…

I think about quality v. quantity.  I think about how can I make the most of my time?  I think about the after-life.  I think about my children going on without me.  I think about not knowing grandchildren.  I think about my parents and wonder how they feel about all this.  I think about all the family and friends who reach out to me and what a blessing each person is in my life.

Most of all, I think I am blessed to have time to spend with family and friends.  This time on hospice is not about doom and gloom.  It is a time to be with people.  It is a time to be myself.  It is a time, that I can allow to unfold by itself and see what the day brings!




Alive with Wonder!

Hello All, I was a couch potato all weekend!  My right shoulder/arm was painful this weekend, so I decided to have a “do-nothing” weekend.  I even subscribed to a TV service (I haven’t had TV for awhile)!  Many friends called and/or texted this weekend.  I always enjoy hearing from family & friends.

Radiation begins today!  I’ve had radiation before (with the original scalp melanoma), so I go into this part of the journey with some experience.  Last time I had radiation, the “radiation fatigue” hit me pretty hard.  I’m hoping that since I’m on medical leave, it won’t be as difficult to manage.

The Meal Train meals start today too!  I am very thankful to the Kimberly parents for putting this together.  It is always fun to visit with the families bringing the meal and getting to try out new meals.  You all make this journey easier!  Thank you!

This morning I had an interesting dream right as I woke up:

I woke up with an image of a little girl (5 or 6) holding the hand of a parent.  Her hair was long, blonde, and parted on the side.  It was very straight.  She looked at peace and was gazing around- taking in all the wonders of life.  I think it was me!  My first thought was, “Alive with Wonder!”

Alive with Wonder is how I always hope to view this world.  I love watching the sky, cloud formations, and weather patterns.  I love being outdoors and watching the leaves and birds.  I love listening to the sweet song of the breeze tickling the leaves.  I love to sit or stand still and watch the creatures emerge from hiding.

Of course, I love going to the beach in the early morning hours.  I love watching the sunrise over the ocean, the sound of the waves and the birds, the breeze, picking up shells, watching dolphins & other sea creatures, and watching & talking with other early morning beach people.

I love sitting by mountain lakes and rivers.  Watching the birds soar high into the heavens always leaves me with a sense of wonder.  Watching the fish swim idly by can keep me entertained for hours!

I am thankful for all that I have experienced in this life.  This world is really a beautiful place to live and be.  Even when there is “foulness” in some area of life, hope and beauty can usually be found if we stay still and watch and listen.  I think I’ll address this on a future post!

Thank you for reading my thoughts and sharing my journey.  I could not do this without all the love and support each of you have shown me.

With love and Alive with Wonder, Cindy


he·ro [ˈhirō] NOUN a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities:

Keeping it light while waiting for the surgeon!

Without family, friends, and faith this journey would be very dark and dreary.  Thankfully, I am truly blessed with the amazing support that I am receiving from family and friends!  I count them as heroes in my life.

My adult children are amazing heroes in my life.  Through thick and thin they have always supported me.  Both have always had the ability to help me see the lighter things in life and to enjoy life with appreciation.  It they are available, they will always go on a hiking or beach adventure with me!

Bree has never been shy about calling things out that doesn’t seem right to her,  and has a deep sense of justice and honesty.  By her example, she has taught me to be more bold in life and to speak up! Brianna has gone to the majority of my medical appointments.  She makes me laugh while waiting, she gives me that look if I’m not being completely honest with symptoms, and she stands by bravely as the doctor or surgeon speaks those terrifying words!

Trevor has always had the ability to make me laugh, even in the darkest of hours! Through his medical journey and all the trials he endured before the diagnosis of Crohn’s,  and how he has managed his medical journey after the Crohn’s diagnosis, Trevor has been an inspiration as I work my way through my own medical journey.  How can one complain about scopes and tests and IVs, when your son has already endured without complaining  at a very young age?

Both of them work well as a team and come together to support and care for me.  After my first melanoma surgery, they teamed together to make sure I had my meds on time and one of them was always in the same room with me.  They even helped me to the bathroom before the skin graft healed.  I know that helping me heal from that surgery was gross on many levels, but they stuck it out!IMG_0150

My parents are heroes too!  They raised me so that I am not afraid of hard work, I am not afraid of battles, and I am not a quitter!!!  Much of that knowledge came from the horses we trained and showed and…Dad will love this…weekends cutting trees for fire wood.  Ugh!  I really must have given him a run for his money on that one.  I did not want to do that work and I know I must have complained and whined!  Sorry…!  Mom, I’m sorry I wasn’t so willing to help you in the garden.  It’s funny, because now I love to garden and I really did learn a lot from you about gardening!

Paul, my brother, I have not forgotten you!  We really stuck together as we were growing up and had a great childhood.  I would have been very lonely and scared without you in my life!

I’m sorry if this is boring and sounding like an Academy Awards thank you list!  In a way, it is!  I’ll try to condense the rest of my thanks to my heroes, but everyone on my hero list is near and dear to my heart.  It is important they know how much they mean to me!

My aunts, uncles, cousins, and in-laws are all heroes!  They have all come together and given me love and support and advice, that I usually take!  Everyday, I have a text full of love from at least one of my extended family.  Heroes all!

Al and Karen are amazing heroes.  They have always stood by me and Bree & Trevor.  They have included us as family and they have always spoken the truth to me with loving kindness.  They were there for the kids before I even realized the kids needed that kind of help.  Thank you!

My Life Quest Family!  Oh, how they have stood by me!  They have fed me, they have prayed for me, Jessica goes hiking with me, they text me and let me know I am in their thoughts and prayers.  The men of Life Quest came to the property and cleaned it all up for me so I can list it next week.  That was HARD work and I am very thankful!  They stood up for me and validated me.  Life Quest family will always be my heroes.

My Kimberly School Family!  Oh, my heart is so full for each one of you!  I don’t know how I could have managed everything I’m going through without your love and support!  I am thankful for your wiliness to come and work on the property on Saturday.  Everyday I am shown love and support at Kimberly and I feel that you are all family!  Thank you to the Lunch Group too!  What would I do without you?   Kimberly is an amazing staff of heroes.  Everyday they give their best to their students, their families, and to each other.  No wonder we are #1!!!  Lol!!!  (Kimberly retirees…you are included too!).

To my closest friends, I hope you all know that I count you as heroes!!!  I will acknowledge you in a more personal way!  And to my Nine Hour Away Friend, thank you for filling my texts with humor and real life stuff!

Oh, this isn’t meant as a goodbye speech or anything!  There will be many more blogs.  It has been on my heart for a long time to let people know that I am thankful for them and that I love each and every one!




Journey through cancer, again

I’ve been struggling over blog topics.  I want to write about everything! I want to write about hiking, beach trips, road trips, teaching and embracing life.   I wish life were neatly packaged and even thematic.  I would be able to write more easily about Living Life to its fullness.  However, we all know, this is not the case.  Life can be messy and complicated and shitty and beautiful all in one package deal.  The trick is to find the beauty in the thick of it all.  At times, that is incredibly difficult! At times, it is incredibly simple!   At times, it all merges together somehow…

2018 was supposed to be a year of new beginnings for me. My divorce is soon to be final, my house will be listed, and soon my debts will be clear. My adult children are doing well.  Freedom!  I was really looking forward to all these positive changes.  I was going to blog on a regular basis!   A white spot on my lung changed my perception.  Cancer.  Again.  Ugh.

Malignant Melanoma invaded my life in May of 2015.  On June 12, 2015 the growth was removed and staged at 2C.  Radiation followed in December/January and I was on the every three-month track for doctor follow-ups, PT Scans, blood work.  I consider my skin graft scar and the scar from the growth and radiation, badges of a battle.


Fast forward to January 3, 2018.  I went in for a regular PT Scan and didn’t think this one would be any different from the previous scans.  On January 17 my oncologist spoke the dreaded words, “There is some reason for concern,” as he showed me the white spot on my left lung.  I knew there was a possibility of the melanoma spreading, but I had dismissed that thought.  In my mind, I was in the 12% of patients that did not deal with the melanoma popping up elsewhere!  Now I’m waiting for February 23, 2018 to arrive and have that white spot removed!!!

Now I have a blog topic!  I am still thankful for Life’s Possibilities.  I fully intend on living life to its fullest.  I would like to share my journey of living life while dealing with cancer.  2018 will still be a year of new beginnings for me.  A rather large hurdle has been thrown in the mix, but even in that, there will be joy to be found in the journey!


Hiking and exploring the outdoors has always been a favorite activity of mine.  Recently, hiking has taken on a whole new dimension for me.  It is becoming an activity that is never far from my mind.  I’ve been researching hiking trails and I’m considering joining several hiking groups.  In short, it is becoming more than a casual hobby.  I’m even thinking about buying some “real” hiking equipment!

Beginning this new chapter of my life, is much like hiking.  I find it exciting and challenging.   When I find a new trail, there is the moment of wondering, “Should I really try this?  Will it be too difficult?”  That old enemy, Fear, whispers in my ear, “You don’t have what it takes.” Then my friend, Courage, wraps around me with encouragement and affirmation and says, “You won’t be sorry for trying this trail.  Go for it!”

Once on the trail, there are decisions to be made.  There are forks in the road, so to speak. Trails split and a choice needs to be made, “Which way?  Should I go up the steep trail, or should I take the easy path?”   Choosing the steep path usually leads to an amazing view and a sense of accomplishment.   There is a sense of pride for reaching the top, even when I’m gasping for breath!    However,  I’m learning that there is joy and peace when walking the easy path.  Sometimes we need the experience of pushing forward and upward.  Sometimes we need to just breathe and enjoy the journey.

Hiking has also taught me that there are times in life when we need to walk alone, there are times we need to walk with a friend, and there are times to walk with a group of people.  I find that there are times when I just want to get out and hike, but nobody is available to join in the adventure with me.  That was difficult in the beginning, but I’ve come to appreciate time alone.  I am able to just be.  I am able to still my thoughts and take in the beauty of our world.  Walking with a friend (usually my daughter) always brings new insights into a relationship.  It is opportunity to accomplish and explore with someone and build into a friendship.  I’ve solved many world problems while walking with a friend!  Group hiking is always exciting too.  With group hiking, I can hang back and enjoy the companionship of other people, without the worries that come with solo hiking.  I’ve made many new friends while hiking with groups.

I will be creating a page on this blog, dedicated to hiking and the trails I discover.  My hope is to encourage others to get out and explore the world!  To my personal friends, if ever you would like to hike with me, let me know!

Happy Trails!

The Wildlands Conservancy- Oak Glen, CA

The Search for Fall Continued

Last week, I continued the search for Fall at the Wildlands Conservancy in Oak Glen, CA.  There had been a chill in the air, so I was hopeful.  As I walked up the path, I did observe a few leaves turning, but it didn’t meet my expectation of Fall.  True, there was a soft breeze that whispered the songs of the trees, but there was no blazing glory of red and yellow leaves!

For the moment, I was the only person on the path.  The only sound was the song of the breeze.  The song captured my soul and I wanted to hear more.  I wanted to see more.  I wanted to know more.  So I sat and waited.  The song seemed to wrap around me and my mind quieted, while my senses awakened.

The beauty of nature magically unfolded all around me.  At first, all I could hear and feel was that soft song breeze.  Then I could hear the trickle of water in the stream.  Suddenly, there was a sharp,  “POP!”  My eyes turned to that direction, and a brightly colored bird was sitting on a branch.  He cocked his head, and looked at me.  He must have decided I was ok, because he chirped and then other birds magically appeared.  Some were on branches and others were hopping on the ground; all of them eating their breakfast. An echoey, “TAP, TAP, TAP” drew my attention to the tops of the trees.  Wood Peckers appeared  in my vision and I knew I had found what I was really seeking.

I was seeking Hope.  Fall is a time of transition.  It is a transition from the summer heat that makes me melt.  My energy seems to drain toward the end of summer, as if it is merged into the oven-like air of our area.  Fall is the sparkle between summer and winter.  It is the hope that is given to let us know that even during harsh seasons, there is still the magic and beauty of life to be embraced!  I know that, deep in my soul, but it needed to be pulled out and remembered.

So, as I sat and embraced the magic; the hope, I observed a dead leaf falling.  It let go of the security of it’s branch.  Fall.  Another layer was unwrapped and I became aware that I was also seeking the Letting Go that is such a part of Fall.  I could feel the hug of the Holy Spirit, as I was shown that there is still Magic and Hope even during the Letting Go.

I realized that my search for Fall was a search for the ok to really let go of a relationship, a person, a dream…  My expectation was that I’d be able to do that with the same blaze of  glory that I expected to find Fall.  Now I know that it is a thing that takes time.  Some leaves fall more quickly than others.  Some leaves hang on until the very end, when there is nothing left to hold onto it and the frost of winter demands the leaf let go.  I think that I have been that leaf.  It is time to embrace the Magic and the Hope of a life that I had not planned.  It is time to let go…