When You Think Of Donations, Please Consider This Mission For The Glioblastoma Community…


If you have been diagnosed with a Brain Tumor you are not alone.

Meet my friend Greg Cantwell. He is now a 16-year glioblastoma survivor (aka GBM, grade 4 brain cancer). He is also one of two Texas brain tumor advocates to the State. He created a 501C3 called Greg’s Mission for the sole purpose of helping other brain cancer patients – because he’s been there and he knows!

Greg is here to help other glioblastoma patients navigate the system so they can make educated and informed decisions on what’s best for them.

After all, it’s their life!

If you know someone with glioblastoma, or any form of brain tumor (remember, even benign brain tumors KILL) – get them in touch with Greg for support. His services are free to brain tumor patients and their families.

Brain cancer patients have a much lower survivability rate without an advocate. It’s just reality. And most small hospitals do not understand enough about GBM to act quickly enough to educate patients and their families fast enough. In many cases, the smaller local hospitals don’t understand anything about this rare disease at all.

Greg plays a very important role in the brain cancer community and helps patients and their families all around the US.

However, this mission needs financial support.

Brain cancer remains the least funded of all cancers. This is true for research, for financial aid and for cancer support systems that help families with the stress and aftermath of living with brain cancer.

As important as Greg’s services are, as much as brain cancer hospitals rely on and refer patients to Greg for coaching and support, due to insurance regulations and laws, his advocacy services are not considered insurance billable services.

And therefore, the only way Greg can continue this mission – to help glioblastoma patients navigate the system when they have the fastest moving cancer known (glioblastoma can double in size every 2-3 weeks) – is to rely on donations. And most glioblastoma patients cannot afford to donate themselves!

Please share this information and consider supporting Greg’s Mission.

Something as simple as registering Greg’s Mission through https://smile.amazon.com and letting your purchases benefit his 501C3 charity will go far to make a difference in the lives of brain cancer patients and families everywhere.

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Education From “The Funny Papers…”


When I was a kid, my grandfather had an expression he frequently used to refer to people with no sense in their heads. People who “get their education from the funny papers.”

I used to think it was such an odd expression. An odd phrase. I loved reading the “funny papers.” I think it even helped improve my reading skills.

“Blondie” was one of my favorites. Along with “Beetle Bailey” and others. I recently mentioned to my son when he made himself a giant sandwich that he’d created a nice looking Dagwood Sandwich. He froze and stared at me, then asked me what on earth was a Dagwood sandwich. It never occurred to me that he might not know.

I spent the day today working and then attended a local veteran’s festival event that supports vets and their families. Met some good people and organizations, which I’ll share about later.

However, it was emotional for me. I stood there, surrounded by soldiers and vets, in uniform and out. And I burst into tears. Ugh. I tried to keep it together, but really couldn’t quite. Still, it was a good event and I had some pleasant conversation by the time I left and everyone was taking down.

The afternoon of overwhelming emotion left me stripped though. And instead of getting right back to work, which I needed to do, I wanted nothing more than to run away, find a movie theater or binge watch Doctor Who or Good Omens on auto-replay. And I can’t.

So, I did the next best thing. My son and I sat down to eat dinner in front of cartoons tonight. And when my daughter came home from her classes, she joined in with us too.

We started with Phineas and Ferb and ended with Ducktales. Cartoons we used to watch together with John at one time or another.

And it was interesting how helpful it was. I mean, I almost never watch TV on my own. I watched TV with John. And since his death, I don’t watch much of it at all. (In fact, John bought “me” our first TV when we were dating. “Look honey, I have a surprise for you,” as I recall it went.) So it’s been weeks since I sat down to watch anything. And here it was just cartoons that I turned to for relief. Even the ridiculous commercials for kids between cartoon breaks were oddly comforting.

What really struck me though, especially as an entrepreneur, was the Ducktales episode. At the beginning of the episode, Louie approaches Scrooge for money to fund a new hair-brained business venture. And Scrooge tells him that if he wants to be in business, he needs to find a problem that needs solving and then provide a solution. That this was his key to success.

And I was struck by how awesome it was that this cartoon was teaching principles of business to kids. And how Scrooge, who had plenty of money to hand out (and was even at one point willing to give Louie a small loan, but not a huge one), offered advice instead. He encouraged Louie to be enterprising.

It was refreshing, as I try to grow my social media and writing business, now that I’m supporting my family all on my own. Refreshing to hear a solid business principle come out of a cartoon character’s mouth.

Huh, an education from today’s modern “funny papers.”

I wonder how many kids who watched this cartoon when it first aired way back when are now business owners today.

In the next scenes, Louie brainstorms with his siblings to find problems to solve and needs to fill.

He asks them – what does everyone need? And his sister pipes up and says “Crochet hand grenade holders!”

And with that, I just want to make one.

It cinched the deal because I was already thinking earlier this week that I need a Holy Hand Grenade Of Antioch. And that the Maker in me very much wants to make one for prominent display inside my family TARDIS.

And she’s right. I’m going to need a holder for it.

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‘Tis A Silly Place


TARDIS - Halloween 2019 - Aberrant Crochet setup

“It’s like you’re a Doctor Who evangelist.”

That paused me.

I measured my gaze.

“What do you mean?” I asked, looking over.

“Every group of kids who come to the door! You’re like, ‘Do you like my TARDIS? Do you know what a TARDIS is? It’s from Doctor Who! You should look that up on YouTube.”

My daughter’s wry smirk looks just like her father’s.

I smile.

She’s not wrong.

Halloween is a geek’s and cosplayer’s dream holiday.

Only for me, I haven’t been costuming up that much the last few years.

This year, I grabbed my handknit Doctor Who scarf, a brown “Indiana Jones” hat and one of my wool coats and called it good.

But what I really look forward to each year is dressing up my yard.

Right square in front of our door is a lifesize TARDIS that’s my pride and joy.

You have to walk through the TARDIS to enter my home. Literally.

I bought it in a charity auction 4 years ago, the October before John was diagnosed with brain cancer.

October is our birthday month and I knew this TARDIS was perfectly my birthday gift. I also found a killer deal on a BlendTec the same month, so I was doubly happy.

Little did I know how important that BlendTec would be for John in the coming months.

The TARDIS matched our house under the overhang, beautifully. And the kids and I crafted a garden of hand mines that year to go with it.

It was glorious.

And only the knowing had any idea what they were looking at.

We were only lacking in Weeping Angels at the time. A fact I rectified last year. There are now at least 13 in my yard, hidden everywhere.

I’m sure some delivery people believe we must be very Catholic. Or simply very into angels.

What they don’t know just might steal their future though!

And then there’s our annual spider infestation.

I was so pleased when I first heard that the newly introduced season of the 13th Doctor had an episode with mutant spiders in it. Though in truth, I was disappointed with how they concluded the episode. I’m a fan of spiders and that ending was frankly illogically cruel.

But from a yard decor point of view, my spider invasion combined with the TARDIS and Weeping Angels makes my yard a pretty authentic fan fiction of its own.

Finally, after all these years they wrote an episode just for me.

We’ve lost 3 trees since John died, but we still managed to put up a good infestation of spiders this year. I couldn’t find all my crochet spider webs that I’ve made over the years. Not sure where they got put, but the giant one went up and giant momma spider, the 10-foot spider we have, was hung on the web with care.

And the effect paid off as always, demonstrated by the audible gasps when people rounded our 200-300-year-old live oaks to step onto our front walk.

You have to have big old trees to display a 10-foot spider in the air.

“There are some fun decorations in the neighborhood,” one kid told me. “But nothing compares to this! Your house is the coolest. I was here last year!”

You can believe that boosted my ego.

Though in truth, the TARDIS and angels stay up year-round.

I only take down the spiders outside. And mostly inside.

But the eclectic inside of our family TARDIS is a story for another time.

“This house has chocolate! Omg, we can have more than one piece??? You are the nicest!”

I love the smiles on the kids’ faces. Even the dubiously older ones.

Here, take another KitKat.

John always believed in handing out only the good stuff for Halloween.

None of that generic crap. The kids get plenty of that from everyone else.

Chocolate. Every year we give out chocolate.

I heard of a family that gave out king-size Snickers bars to kids one year.

I think that’s cool, but I’ve never gone that big. I stick with fistfuls of smaller bits.

I used to have a bucket of shiny pennies that every child under the age of 6 could stick their hand in and grab a handful to take home.

I liked the idea of fostering a healthy experience with a money blessing.

To give little kids that magical feeling of receiving generosity, without measure, only that they must reach out, seize it and receive it.

Besides, there’s something so pretty about shiny copper.

I need to get back to doing that again. Giving change to little kids is not very expensive at all. Especially when you consider the cost of candy.

Halloween is an odd holiday for sure.

And while it does occur during The Day Of The Dead celebrations that we have here in Texas (which culminate on November 2nd), I’m not really speaking to that part today. Though there’s certainly an influence and a magic in that part, which I do obviously appreciate.

It’s something else about Halloween. I share my perspective as someone raised without the holiday, who later came into the participation of it, thoughtfully, as a mother.

No one thinks about it being a holiday of generosity.

Its American celebration may have started out with the goal of curtailing mischief, but today, it’s evolved into an opportunity to exercise our imagination, to dress up and play as adults, to face our fears, and to bless strangers.

How interesting is that.

STRANGERS.

Of all things.

Without guilt.

Without shoulds.

Without major expectations.

Without commandment.

I mean it’s simple. It’s candy.

And fun.

And we tell each other how cool our costumes are and find out our favorite superheroes, movies, legends, and puns.

Don’t forget the puns.

No family fights over obligations.

No tantrums for not getting the latest iPhone.

And it’s OK to buy yourself something, just because you thought it would be fun.

Or thought it would make someone laugh.

Not because it was practical or necessary or expected.

It’s an interesting holiday, with something to teach.

If we let it.

Hope yours was great.

Giant spider - Halloween 2019 - Aberrant Crochet

 

 

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Compliment…


My son asked me to please be there for a friend of his tonight.

Of course, I agreed.

Afterward, I thanked him for asking and trusting me to help his friends.

And he paid me the highest unexpected compliment I could ask for.

“You’re literally the wisest person on the planet I know Mom, how could I not?”

[tears]

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Ember…


The mountains are so pretty at sunset.

I gaze into the light.

Blinded above.

Blinded below.

Beautiful trees in my peripheral.

A warm wind swirls across my cheek and I disconnect from my body for a while.

I focus on the gift of sight.

Please God. I wanted him to see Montana.

It feels just like him. Rocky and beautiful.

Air flows around me, separating the barbs of my feathers.

I feel each loosen as I close my eyes.

Arms surround me from behind,

as a head of soft dark hair leans into my shoulder.

I loosen my soul to blend with his.

An eternal moment, destined to pass.

My skin crackles.

The fire burns so hot now.

I don’t want to go.

I don’t want you to go.

I don’t want to be reborn without you.

Please, hold my hand. Don’t leave me.

Knowing is a consuming crown.

Ashes smoke the air.

Desperately. Don’t. Want. This.

My fearless Force of Nature.

You kissed my tears and told me once that you would find me.

That nothing would stop you.

The Raptor I set free, returned but for a while.

Life without your comfort is unconscionable.

I try to calm the smolder.

Afraid to breathe on the embers of my own heart and soul.

Hold the space a little longer please.

“I’m burning up a sun, just to say goodbye.”

— July 31st, 2017 —
Copyright © 2017 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

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In Our Court…


There is much goodness in the world,
and I’ve been bathed in it this weekend.
Something I’ve needed.

Life may be brutal and cruel sometimes; it can be hard,
but we dictate the lens through which we choose to see.

We decide where we put our energies,
the relationships we build,
the people we elevate,
the problems we choose to solve,
the ears we choose to lend,
the people we choose to bless,
the actions we choose to take,
the thoughts we allow to become things,
the creations we culminate.

We choose to act or to not.
To nurture or to neglect.

Everything is in our court to do something with.

The positive that we seed into the world.
Or the not.

Even the things we cannot control – we have the freedom,
the choice, and the responsibility of how to handle them.

A free and creative life is not an easy one
but never was such promised.

We were given a variety of tools
and ways to create our reality.
And then given the free will
to go forth and create.

I don’t know what I’m doing
any more than the next person,
but I’m still learning and trying.

I have an ideal I hold in my heart,
and a Creator whom I believe teaches
and guides me.

I still believe that Light
overcomes the Darkness
and that There Is Only Love.

And I appreciate everyone around me
who helps reflect these gifts to me
and fills my cup.

Thank you, friends. ❤ ❤


October 5th, 2019
6:43pm

Copyright © 2019, Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved. No part of my post, writing, or words may be copied and shared without my express written permission and attribution.

Perspective

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All I Know…


In the grand scheme of things, what will matter in 20,000 years?

All I know is that we must spend our energy wisely to get the most out of this experience we call Life. And in doing that simple thing, on a personal level, we can actually effect positive change on a universal scale.

Things go awry when we get outside ourselves. And we miss things. Important things.

I am the center of my own universe.

Nothing is more powerful than I and God in my world.

If I am not attending to my center, then I am not in balance. And if I am getting caught up in the drama of others and things outside, no matter how “justified” the cause may or may not seem, then I am not where I need to be. If I cannot act cleanly, then there is muck to clear away and work through.

I learned a long time ago – I can make a great difference in this world with just about everything and anything I put my hand to.

Without doubt.

But if that thing takes my peace and balance away, and I cannot keep upright, then it is not where I’m supposed to be, or what I’m supposed to do.


2-1-2017
Copyright © 2017 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

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Find Your Wall…


People ask about my philosophy for finding my balance.

Especially with all that’s happened to my family, these last 3 years.

Life can be overwhelming.

It can drown you.

And it will without boundaries.

It will without a way to brace yourself.

Find where your wall is.

That place that when you’re against it, you daren’t go past.

That place that makes you face what you want to run from.

That place that you can hang onto when the world rages at you.

When I have trouble with my boundaries today, my wall is my son.

Some will say it should be God.

I don’t disagree, but sometimes it’s when our kids are at risk that we rise up when we otherwise didn’t have it in us.

Sometimes, it’s Unconditional Love, not our vision of a Creator, that makes us see more.

I have a son fighting cancer who needs me to stick to my boundaries.

I need to accomplish a certain number of things.

I need to hit a certain $$ number every year to make sure he has access to the care he needs.

Talk about being hungry enough – most people I know do not understand what hungry actually is.

I cannot hit the number I need if I’m not disciplined about my work and how I bill.

I share that as someone who knows this and still struggles sometimes, even after 20+ years of part-time self-employment.

I share this because my son is my motivation above all else at this time.

We handcrafters, we women, we caregivers, we the self-employed who fight imposter syndrome…

– We must value ourselves and we must reverse engineer how to supply our needs.

Find that thing for you that helps you stick to your boundaries and commitments.

Find Your Wall.

When you have that, you will often find clarity in what is healthiest for you, your family and your business.

Find Your Wall - Julia Meek Chambers - Aberrant Crochet - My philosophy of finding my balance in the face of uncertainty

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I Will Find A Way…


It is difficult to minister to the spouses of the terminally ill.

But somebody has to reach a hand back into the darkness.

Somebody has to.

I cannot turn my back knowing what I know.

Caked in mud, blood and tears.

For now, it is my hand.

Someday, somehow, I will find a way to do more.

Helping hand

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Roses – Pins for a Cause…


In honor of John’s fight against Glioblastoma and for Brain Cancer Awareness Month, our daughter Jack has designed a “Charity Rose” enamel pin to help raise funds for brain cancer research and awareness.

She is donating all profits to the Dr. Marnie Rose Foundation, which is one of the only foundations that raise money for brain cancer research. Many thanks to Mrs. Rose and Little Matt’s for their support and encouragement along the way as Jack’s vision for this project took shape.

John’s favorite flower was the red rose, so it is fitting that this first dedicated pin be a rose. Jack designed both a red rose and a special grey rose for Brain Cancer Awareness Month. It all started with her drawings, which she then modeled into the many necessary digital files that only she knows how to do.

It is a beautiful design, manufactured in high-quality materials, partnered through one of the most notable pin design companies in the US – and worthy of attention.

There are 150 roses in this first run. Please help Jack reach her fundraising goal and spread the word? If ever there was a cause that I’d appreciate your help with promoting, this is one of them. Thank you for helping her make this work.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/689262850/charity-rose-enamel-pin-brain-cancer

Rose Enamel Pins - Raise Money for Brain Cancer Research - Glioblastoma

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Forward…


As a culture, we would benefit from talking about grief and aftermath more. No one should feel ashamed or shunned for grief.

Grief deepens us; it is our vehicle for honoring. Unless we are cheated of it and choked off from it.

It is said that God is with the grieving. The understandable assumption is that, of course, a Loving Creator has compassion and comforts the grieving soul. That when others abandon and neglect, God is steadfast. That even when you think you’ve lost all your friends and everyone stopped caring, God will be there, so count on Him. He will always understand. So much emphasis is placed on the righteousness of caring for widows and orphans in the Bible that it makes sense. God is the Great Comforter.

But I think there’s more to it than that. I believe that grief is a vehicle for God’s work in us. It is painful, but a new spiritual, transformative singularity is begun. As sideliners, we have the opportunity with the grieving souls in our circles: to step away from the energy of that remaking or to be a part of the work being born.

If grief is a sign that God’s Hand is present, then we should hardly turn our back and run from it when it appears in a friend’s life. Perhaps?

As uncomfortable as you may be with my obvious scars, you are mistaken if you think that grief makes me weaker.

Giving voice to these thoughts is much more poetic than it feels in real life since I pretty much feel like I’ve been set on fire and left to slow burn, a hot poker turning my coals. But then I wonder if the caterpillar feels pain as it dissolves into the primordial ooze that will eventually become a butterfly.

I desperately did not want to be reborn again. Not now. Not this way. But I’d be a fool not to recognize that my dissolving cannot help but be a part of reaching whatever my greatest potential is supposed to be. John is an inextricable part of my remaking.

Thing is, I was already a butterfly. I’m not sure what’s next.

Thanks to my friend Shari for sharing with me Nora McInerny’s TED talk about Grief.  ❤️

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Harbinger…


March is when it all started,
for John and for our son.

Every year for the last 3 years,
March has been a hell harbinger.

As this March’s anniversaries of our life pass,
and our son’s next set of scans approach this week at MD Anderson,
I hope God’s Light will finally show brightly the way through.

Lend us hope, for we are weary.
Lend us love, for we have lost.
Lend me strength, as I cannot falter
and I cannot fail.


March 15, 2019
12:33am

Copyright © 2019, Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved. No part of my post, writing, or words may be copied and shared without my express written permission and attribution.

Harbinger

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Bearing Witness…


In the last couple of weeks, two more of John’s and my friends from college have passed away from cancer, both leaving behind orphans and grieving spouses. That’s something like 11 people now that John and I went to college with, who have passed away from cancer in the last 3 years. All in their 40’s. All from a theology college of less than 1200 students. A college that closed its doors 3 years after I left and no longer exists, except in memory.

Our alumni community as a whole is shocked and grieving, as two of our best fought hard and died. And as my worries since John’s death have multiplied and as our wedding anniversary approaches just before Christmas, I would be lying if I said I am not struggling to survive every day. John and I would have celebrated 23 years together on the 23rd before Christmas. We got married on Christmas weekend to make it easier on our friends around the country to be able to attend. I struggle with a lack of luster and motivation now that I never knew possible, even during John’s fight. A lack of motivation that only comes from loss caused by death. I think perhaps my lack is more significant than expected in part because of how long and hard the fight was. If he’d passed away suddenly, there wouldn’t have been time to hope. He wouldn’t have worked his butt off, hoping doctors would learn as much as possible from him, only to feel like it meant nothing. At least during the fight we had hope. But in the end, I could not save John’s life. And either neither could, or would, God. Now, there is no hope in the physical life. There’s only hope in death. When you’ve lived a life of service and it’s all you know, such terrible losses and traumas are extremely hard to justify, or recover from. If what I do here on this plane does not make a difference, then where is the motivation in this life.

Megan Divine is an expert in extreme grief and loss. You can find her website at https://www.refugeingrief.com. She created a helpful video titled, How Do You Help A Grieving Friend?, which I’ve shared below.

In my struggle to find words, I’ve voiced much of what this video points out. It’s all true. Witnessing is the most powerful thing in the enduring and bearing of grief. Opportunity to speak and experiences to be heard are invaluable.

When half of you dies and life speeds on and everyone else goes back to living, we feel trapped in a madness no one else sees. Because it *is* a madness no one else knows without having experienced it. And the only way out is to give it voice with witnesses.

My experience with the trauma of glioblastoma and John’s death has made me think about my philosophies on parenthood even deeper. When my kids fell and got hurt, I didn’t interpret their pain for them (that must really hurt) nor did I deny it’s existence (aw, you’re not hurt) either. I held them as they cried, let them tell me about it while taking care of anything I knew needed attention and then figured out how to guide them in their emotions based on how they were processing them. I realized that there were times that my children felt trapped, waiting for someone to notice that something was wrong. For someone to stop them and give them the chance to speak. Part of my job was being a detective too and not just expecting that my kids knew they could talk to me, but proving it. They needed to process and they needed to feel safe with me to do it in a healthy and useful way. They needed a chance to evolve carefully emotionally. I didn’t need to tell them how they felt, they needed to voice it out and share with me and sort it verbally. I wanted my kids to know their own voice, so they could find it when they need it most. And I wanted them to know I would listen, in everything, little or big. As a result, my relationship with my kids is stronger, when they and I need it most. I listened to everything, so they’d never doubt if I could be trusted when the big things came up.

Grief is much the same way, just a large-scale experiment. It’s a two-way street, but when the grieved feel their hands being truly held, vs. slapped, denied or even a vacuum of no hand to find at all (silence is the worst), it makes a difference. Witnessing helps most of all. Tell me your story, the real one, not the pretend one. Hasn’t genuine friendship always been about that? Don’t real people, good people do that for each other?

Some really traumatic and horrible things happened that no one wants to acknowledge, not even I want it to be real. And yet if they’re never acknowledged, healing will never truly take place. It helps me when my friends will bring up and speak John’s name, when they acknowledge his fight and that it was hard, not easy, when they ask questions and are willing to hear the truth. It helps when friends let me be genuine and don’t expect me to put on a “good face.” It helps when my friends don’t seem to disappear into a black hole too, when they don’t avoid me so as to not experience my agony. It helps to know my friends are not afraid of me.

Thank you to those who will take the opportunity to learn with me and who will bear to witness.

As many of us come together as a community to support a variety of trials and losses and hard experiences, some very recent and painful in the loss of our alumni friends, and all the cancer fights in our circles, this is the introspection I have today.


This video is hosted on YouTube and is copyright Megan Devine and Refuge in Grief. It is shared here with permission. You can learn more about Megan and her work at https://www.refugeingrief.com.

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TARDIS…


I wish that I was bigger on the inside,
so that I could send out greater love.
My heart and prayers go out to everyone tonight,
hurting, sad, or not.

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Paradox…


How can my soul speak, when your language isn’t clear.

I flip through my collection of filters.

Each lens allows me to experience and express reality uniquely.

Colors, musical notes, equations, sound waves.

Geometric shapes, lights, patterns of stars and cells and DNA.

The mud, the bark, the rocks, the slime, the webs, the flowers.

Water, wood, metal, earth, fire and wind.

Each virtual reality filter at my fingertips.

My soul seeks, but the words are not there.

I cycle through like a ham.

Orchestrating a message of parts that even I cannot speak

And only raw flesh can comprehend.

I pull it all together into a ball and set it spinning.

A beacon, a light, pulsing with meaning.

A wolf scattered in space and time.

Casting my net into the void.

Searching for you.


11-30-2018
Copyright © 2018 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

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Tonight I want to tell you a story about my husband John…


My name is Julia. My husband died from a terrifying brain cancer called glioblastoma. Tonight I want to tell you a story about my husband John…

John was my best friend in the world. I remember the first time he told me that I was his best friend. And I remember after years of marriage, still feeling bewildered. That John Chambers thought of me as his best friend. Because he was the toughest guy I knew. And he was cool as shit.

I asked him about his sister, and his best guy friends, all of whom he was very close to. Because I figured surely they were his best friends before I was.

And he said “That’s true, but it’s different with you. You’re my life, you’re my breath. I trust you implicitly with everything that I am. I trust you more than anyone else in the world.”

And I was humbled by this 6’5″ operatic giant, who was intelligent and tough, and who believed in always doing the right thing. That the strong should protect the weak. That the able had a responsibility to use their strengths for good. That those with knowledge should train others. And I was slightly terrified to be entrusted with so profound a thing.

John was a hero and a great leader to others. The guy who rescued people from an elevator during a power outage in a snowstorm, because it was the right thing to do. And he was the only one strong enough to open the doors to do it.

He was Super Man, and out of everyone, he cherished and trusted me most.

I was stunned at the beautiful confirmation that our souls spoke beyond words. He was my everything. Together we were empowered. Together we could do anything. Together, no one could stop us. Together we were both better individually and collectively.

How did I come to be the one to hold the precious jewels of his heart and trust. It was easy for me to see why I trusted him. Why I fell so hard for him. He was such a good, good man. Not to mention he had an enchanted singing voice. But for him to fall so hard for me, to so deeply trust me…. How did it come to be?

John told me a story about a lesson he learned from his widowed grandmother. One summer during college, he stayed with her, helping her paint and repair the home that his grandfather built. John loved great conversation and he cherished the time he spent with his grandparents. At some point during this summer, the subject of relationships came up, and John made some comment to his grandmother about the kind of (tall) woman he needed to find to marry. And she told him “You don’t marry a body, you marry a mind.”

Her words struck his core profoundly, and he never forgot. “You are gorgeous,” he said to all 5’1″ of me, “But more than that, your heart and mind are astonishingly beautiful. I love who you are inside. Others don’t see it, but I do.” It was a raw moment of love and joy. To be truly seen, soul to soul. A moment I couldn’t believe I was lucky to have.

John told me often during our 22 years together that it was his job to remind me how beautiful I was, inside and out. To set things right and make up for traumas of the past. To help me to see my beauty and believe in myself. To help me experience that life could be fun. John taught me that I had a right to safety and that it was OK to have healthy boundaries. And he told me, over and again, unto the last weeks of his life, that I was the reason that he was a better man. That without me, his life wouldn’t have been enriched and that because of me he wanted that much more to be a better man. That he wanted that much more to do good things, to help others and make a difference in the world.

And here I thought it was he who taught me more about real love than anyone I’d ever known.

As I stumble through the shards left of my reality after his death, I try to hang onto his words. I remind myself that one of the best souls I’ve ever known never stopped thinking that my mind was smart and beautiful. He even thought I gave good advice. I always counted on his, and boy could I use some of it right now.

I wrote before about the gift of holding our children’s beginnings. The part of life that later our kids cannot remember. The part of their beginning that no one else sees. No one else contains more of those moments than we parents. We hold our children’s first stories.

I did not expect the astonishing reality of holding my husband’s ending. It is a terrifying, yet precious gift. To hold him, his heart and soul. To walk his last walk with him and share his nightmare. To fight for him with every drop of my blood, every beat of my heart, every breath in my chest. To crack wide open and pull out every possible skill I could to save his life. To be the one to bear witness to every honorable and gritty detail. The one who contains his final story. The one to be entrusted with his death.

I am his horcrux.

I hold his story. Together he can never be defeated.

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Graph…


Life has always been a series of Stories.

Some more enjoyable than others.

There’s always a Path.

There’s always a Creative Lesson.

There’s always some Pain.

There’s always some Joy.

Some days are Zen.

Some are Hell.

Some are Kittens and Sunflowers.

Some are Simply Now.

Some days we’re Aligned.

Some days we’re Not.

Life is a Line Graph.

Up and down, back and forth.

Never in the same place twice.

Except when Lightning Strikes.

When the heartbeat of my line graph flat lines,
I have to ask myself these things…

What are my trigger points and why?
What needs have I neglected?
What boundaries do I need to repair?
What am I not giving voice to?
What message is my soul desperate for me to hear?
What nourishment am I starving for?
What circulation has been cut off?
What relationships need cultivation?
What is the urgency I feel in this moment?
What is aching to Move?
What actually Matters?
What actions will help me to slow down?
What does it take to Breathe?
What programs are running?
What flow is missing?
What routines need to Be?

My dear, dear Julia
What Sign do you Need?


11-28-2018
Copyright © 2018 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

Graph - By Aberrant Crochet

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Comfortable…


“Why do you keep doing? It seems like no one notices. Has anyone told you they cared? What value is there in continuing to give in ways that may never return to you?”

And I don’t know what to say to her.

I mean,

I have never…

known…

what to say

to reason.

I saw things differently as a child.

I see things differently as a mother.

I’ve been different all my life.

I’ve never focused on the “fairness” of giving without condition; of serving without thanks or feedback.

I see need and I scramble to salve it.

Because someone must.

The world is just mommy spit and kisses away from being lost.

I do not do

what I do

because I need

permission

from anyone

other than

myself.

“But you are giving everything away and nothing is coming back,” she tells me.

I still don’t know what to say.

Is that true, I wonder?

Is nothing coming back?

Am I hurting myself?

Considering how comfortable my conscience is,

I doubt the damage would be too much.


11-27-2018
Copyright © 2018 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

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Making Bone Broth: 19 Must Read Resources To Teach You Why And How…


Making bone broth is one of those recipes/activities that has become a staple in my kitchen. I don’t always get to have leftover turkey bones from Thanksgiving (if I’m not hosting, I’m not usually making the turkey), but turkey carcasses make the bestest of bone broths in my opinion. Usually, I’m making bone broth from an organic chicken carcass.

Bone broth may seem “new,” with the Primal, Paleo and Keto diet movements, et all, but it’s actually steeped in history. From the root word meaning “restore,” the first “restaurants” were places you could go to get restorative bone broth, for the ill or the weary with travel.

It’s not hard to make and it’s so, so very good for you. I think everyone should learn how. So I thought I’d provide my must read list of resources to help spread the madness.

In my opinion, the list of links below represent some of the best information available on bone broth. Not just instructions, but why’s and variations. I think nearly half of these links are from doctors, which is nice if you want to learn *how* bone broth can help the body heal. With loved ones in my family suffering from diverticulitis and Lyme disease, I was especially interested in how bone broth could be helpful in healing from those diseases. I was raised on nutritional thinking and natural healing, so digging into resources on managing diverticulitis or healing Lyme naturally was second nature to me. The Eater.com link below provides more on the history of bone broth. Comparative recipes and methods can be found via the other links.

The 7 day broth link, and a post from a chef that I couldn’t find again (sorry), are the resources that convinced me to cook my chicken bones for at least 5 days. In fact, I often crock pot my bones 7-10 days with no problems. Works great. I also use my Instant Pot when I want a quick fix just right now. It’s a good broth, but there’s something I prefer about a week-long simmering broth that I drink from and add herbs and vegetables to every day.

I’ve researched through far more than just these articles, but didn’t save everything I’ve read.  Hopefully this list will arm you with solid information and help get you started on your own.

Tell me how it goes!

http://chriskresser.com/how-to-prevent-diverticulitis-naturally

http://primaldocs.com/members-blog/commit-to-your-health-drink-bone-broth

http://www.amymyersmd.com/2014/05/roasted-chicken-gut-healing-bone-broth

http://terrywahls.com/homemade-bone-broth

http://draxe.com/diverticulitis-diet

http://draxe.com/natural-strategies-to-cure-lyme-disease

http://draxe.com/lyme-disease-natural-remedies

http://draxe.com/the-healing-power-of-bone-broth-for-digestion-arthritis-and-cellulite

http://draxe.com/recipe/beef-bone-broth

http://realfoodrn.com/7-day-bone-broth/

http://drhenriroca.com/2014/05/bone-broth-benefits

http://nourishedandnurtured.blogspot.com/2013/01/how-to-make-bone-broth-and-my-favorite.html

http://www.thepiggery.net/pigblog/bone-broth-recipe

http://paleoleap.com/making-fresh-bone-stock

http://wellnessmama.com/5888/how-to-make-bone-broth

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-bone-broth-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-215311

http://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/difference-stock-broth-bone-broth-article

http://www.eater.com/2015/2/12/8025027/what-is-bone-broth-and-why-is-everyone-talking-about-it

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/cooking-with-bones/#axzz3cVjrOSAd

Do you have other good bone broth links?

Please share them with me in the comments below!

soup-bones-bone-broth

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How: The Question Of Overwhelm…


Instead of asking, how can I make this easier?
Ask, what can I do to make this easier?

Instead of asking, how can I be happy?
Ask, what do I need right now to be happy?

Instead of asking, how are you going to do that?
Ask what steps will you take to carry out xyz?

Instead of asking, how are you doing?
Ask, what are you feeling?
What do you need? What is helpful?
What can I do that will make a difference?
What’s the most loving thing I can do for this person right now?

Instead of asking, how am I going to get everything done?
Ask, what can I cut out that will free up the most time?
What tasks can I rearrange to reduce the stress I feel?
What resources can help me win this?

Instead of asking, how is this going to work?
Ask, what is our plan? (Do we have a plan?)
What is our focus? What can we accomplish this week?

Instead of asking, how could they do this to me?
Ask, what boundaries have I not set?
What expectations do I have?
What needs have I not expressed?
What messages am I sending that I didn’t mean to?

Instead of asking, how was your day?
Ask, what was the most interesting part of today?
Or most entertaining? Or most terrifying? Whatever fits?

Instead of asking, how will I afford this?
Ask, what are our goals?
What do you need to meet our goals?
What actions are needed to make this happen?
What are some ways I can cut my expenses? Increase my income?

HOW is too often the nebulous, undefined question of stress, reaction, and overwhelm.

For forward-motion, focused solutions, and freedom, instead ask WHAT.


November 25th, 2018
1:13pm

Copyright © 2018, Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved. No part of my post, writing, or words may be copied and shared without my express written permission and attribution.

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