I am finally a teenager.  Again!  This time, though, I will appreciate it a whole lot more!

Most, or many, of you may know why I am 13 today.  I have mentioned it a ‘few’ times.

This is birthday number 13 since my diagnosis and treatment. I have loved and appreciated every one.

When you are diagnosed with something like cancer, you wonder if you will have more birthdays. You wonder how many. You hope and pray for a lot of them, of course.

Birthdays changed for me so long ago. I used to dread getting older. Now I love the gift of it.  It is a gift that too many do not get to enjoy. I never take it for granted. When someone asks me how old I am, I tell them.  No, I don’t say 13, or whatever number it is for that year.  Not usually, anyhow. I do like when I tell them how old I am I hear, ‘You don’t look THAT OLD”!  (Such a back-handed compliment, isn’t it?!)  I hope that continues for awhile!  Wouldn’t it be nice if we looked as old as we felt? I pretty much feel the same inside as I always have-it is the mirror that tells me otherwise at times!

Thirteen years.  What has that meant?  SO much. First, my children.  They were so young at the time. That was the hardest part-to look into their eyes and tell them something so shattering to them. I will never forget. It has meant that I have had the privilege of watching them grow from those young kids into wonderful, kind, loving adults.  I never take that for granted. I have got to see 13 more of THEIR birthdays, graduations-high school and college, I have got to spend time to get to know them.  I have had 13 more years of loving them!


I have got to travel and see this country. Something I had not done before this.  It was something that I never thought I would get to do. I think it made everything I saw just a bit more beautiful. It was at least to me.


I have got to see more than 4,700 more sunrises-and I love and enjoy every single one.

IMG_2544I have had made new friends I would not have otherwise had the honor to know and I have got to know old friends better!

I have had the gift of time.

I almost didn’t write this today, sharing the joy of what it means to be 13. This week I sat with a friend that most likely will not get that gift of 13 more birthdays. The pain in your heart when you look at them and know that is great. Our area also lost a young woman yesterday in a terrible accident due to the weather.  She was one of our North Iowa Bloggers, planning a wedding and bringing her smile and joy to all always. I can’t understand the why of either of these situations. I can’t think about them too much, it just hurts.

Today, with the tears so close, I will try to celebrate that 13th birthday. I know I will and I will try to push the sadness to the side for a little bit.

I hope you hug your loved ones today. Say I love you. Say it more! Mean it! Find your joy! Every day. Be it in something small or big. Laugh. Cry. Feel. Do.

393794_10150528316794769_491727848_nI thank you for being part of my journey.  Whether it has been for 57 years, 13 years, or just newly on it!  I send my love out to you all!