The Story of Our Lives

A friend of mine, Ryan, gave me this amazing book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, by Donald Miller. I encourage everyone to read it.

Million Miles is about what it’s like to edit down your life to the interesting parts. Donald wrote his memoir and in the process he had to cut out a lot of his life. If you write a memoir, hopefully you want people to read it. So it needs to be compelling. It needs to be a good STORY. That means all the boring stuff needs to come out. Editing your life. Yikes. What a strange experience deleting big parts of your life that people wouldn’t think is interesting.

What it led Don to realize was that we can write The Story of Our Life in the present and make our lives truly remarkable right now, not so people will want to read about it, but so we will live amazing lives.

There is a chapter early on in this book about Don listening to a friend (Jason), as his friend is telling him about the trouble he’s having with his teenage daughter. Jason and his wife found pot in her room. She was hanging out with the wrong crowd and the wrong guy. The whole thing was devastating to Jason and his wife.

So Don starts telling his friend about the concept of Story. Telling Jason about his experience editing his life story and realizing we can all create wonderful stories in our lives in the present moment. Then he said, “Your daughter is living a terrible story. She’s writing a story where there is risk and adventure with pot and crazy boyfriends” which made Jason realize he hadn’t mapped out a great story for his family so his daughter had chosen one for herself. The best story available to her.

Don’s friend kind of went a little crazy after that as most of us would define crazy. He did what I think is amazing. He took a $25,000 second mortgage out on their house (he definitely should have talked to his wife first!) and paid for an orphanage to be built in Mexico that they were also going to help build. It transformed the family. Jason had had the realization that not only was he not taking risks, but they weren’t helping anybody. His daughter was totally into it, wanted desperately to go to Mexico to take pictures of the orphanage and children to post on her website and inspire people back home to help. She dumped her boyfriend. Their lives changed dramatically for the better.

I am so inspired by how this dad changed the story of his family’s life and by how he saved his daughter. The chapter is called, “How Jason Saved His Family.”

This whole concept of story has made me think how Nan and I can change our story. Nan is thinking too. What can we do to give back? All of us can change the Story of Our Lives at any moment.  Why haven’t we built an orphanage? If we do something crazy soon at least you wont be surprised.

Love,
Lance

Happy Anniversary?

I have never been into anniversary’s. That sounds so un-romantic. I am always aware how many years Lance and I have been married, for example, and secretly psyched when we made it a decade, and kept on going, but I didn’t care about making a big deal about the actual day. I like to celebrate random days, not necessarily THE day.

However, this anniversary is different. It’s significant. It brings mixed emotions. Usually when you say “Happy Anniversary” it’s because that particular day was a celebratory one. A year ago was not celebratory for us. In fact, it sucked. It was hands down the worst day of our lives. I was sitting in ICU thinking all the worst things one could think, crying my eyes out, ridden with shock and sadness.

So when I look at where we are now, I think now that’s something to celebrate! Lately, I’ve been looking at Lance, thinking, “Damn, you look good.” In fact, this past weekend, we were at some hot springs near Winter Park with our friends. We were all coming out of the changing rooms with our swim suits on and both my friend and I took a double take when Lance came out in his bathing suit. He looked fit and strong and healthy and just plain good. My friend said something to me about how Lance looked, I nodded.

And when I think about all that we learned and grew and did and tackled and accomplished in the past year, it makes me beam with pride. We worked hard at getting where Lance is today. We didn’t let anything get in our way…not doctors, not naysayers, not statistics. We just put those aside and tried to be the best students possible. We continued to learn as we went along and added, or subtracted whatever was serving us or not serving us and kept on forging ahead. This included not only nutrition, but meditating, visualizing, resting, learning, learning, and more learning, being conscious in everything we did and being really clear on what we had time for and what we didn’t. It was like the ultimate fine tuning of our lives.

Also, a year is significant because getting to a year in Lance’s case was a big deal and increases his chances all the more. A couple months ago, I started feeling that sense that we were coming up to a year and Lance was doing so good and it made me think of the little engine that could and I kept thinking, “Come on, you can do it.”

While my Dad was in the hospital here in Boulder with his broken leg, I asked him if he would like to see Lance’s last MRI. Since my Dad is a retired radiologist (that specialized in neurology) this whole business with Lance has been a little touchy. I knew without discussing his views that we had very different perspectives on Lance’s condition but he kept his thoughts to himself (thanks Dad, I am eternally grateful to you for that). However, in this bonding father/daughter moment, I showed him Lance’s last MRI and watched him as he stared in quiet disbelief. He really could not believe what he was seeing. Because what he was seeing was practically NOTHING!

We didn’t immediately share Lance’s results on purpose for 2 reasons. 1) We both needed it to sink in and savor it. 2) We don’t want to jinx ourselves and seem cocky (we are still in this game). Basically what was once the size of a racket ball is now the size of a pea (and that could be just dead tissue).

So what we have to celebrate is a successful year of extreme discipline. I don’t think about that day, one year ago, and what it was like. I think about today and how far we have come. I think about how life and every single day should be celebrated, not just that one day. I think about that no matter what you are going through, there is always hope, there is always beating the odds, there is that silver lining. I feel grateful that Lance and I were blessed with that strength and foresight to have the outlook we have had. I hope that no matter what you are going through, whatever adversity you are facing, that you can have the strength to pull yourself out of it. Know that life is constantly changing and if you face your issues head on, with love and openness, before you know it a year has past and you think to yourself (as I do know),”What a difference a year can make!”

Love, love, love,
Nancy

Happy holidays from us..our holiday card.

Well that was a wild year.

It’s kind of strange to reflect back on this time last year…how little did we know what was in store for us. We sat around a fire on New Years Eve last year and wrote on pieces of paper what we wanted to rid ourselves from the previous year and threw it in the fire and then wrote down what we wanted to welcome for the year of 2011. Lance’s #1 was to become healthy. That was 18 days before we knew anything. And in our minds and hearts, healthy he has become. Once again, Lance is nothing short of a superhero.

This picture which I took in Hawaii in August (it was the view from our house in Hanalei) symbolizes our past year. The double rainbow coming out of the dark clouds. That certainly sums it up!

Besides a few really painful moments, for the most part, this past year was sprinkled with silver linings. Community was redefined, eating became a healing force, what is truly important in life became glaringly obvious and what is really not became equally transparent, LOVE took over in a way we never even knew.

We look at this holiday as a true blessing. We are blessed with all of our unbelievable friends, community and family who swooped in and helped in any way they could near and far. Your kindness, generosity and support will never be forgotten. We are grateful for each and every one of you. We truly believe you have been a big contribution to our success this year. You carried us, held us, loved us, prayed for us and just plain helped us beyond all fathomable imagination.

Lance and I had a good hard laugh the other night (big belly laugh…my favorite!) when I reflected on his “year of taking it easy.” I said to Lance as we were lying in bed, “Do you realize all the places you have been this year?” And slowly we started to count….Brazil not once but twice, Austin, Arkansas, Minneapolis, Portland, Florida, Michigan, Hawaii, New Orleans, Mexico and he just returned from New York. Maybe this will give you a little indication of what life looked like before he “slowed down.” But in actuality, he has slowed down and takes unbelievable care of himself (with a little help from his relentless wife). Here is a picture of Justin and Lance from their surprise trip to Mexico to all their employees.

We end this year with renewed hope, lots of healing vibes and even opportunities. I was asked to speak on food and health at a natural foods convention in Las Vegas. As thrilled as I am, I am equally terrified!

So with tremendous gratitude and love in our hearts we wish you a peaceful and healthy year. Live it fully, live it with laughter, live it with love.

Love, laugh & veggies in 2012
Lance and Nancy

 

Happiness is not having a cell phone

I’ve had a number of “enlightening” moments over the past year and a big one was how incredibly addicted I was to my cell phone. This sounds so shallow writing it, but I had been connected constantly since 1998 when I moved to Sweden and got my first Ericsson Worldphone. It was blue and beautiful and it could “SMS” which was really cool. It defined me. It made me feel important. It kept me connected to everyone and everything.

Since 1998, I’ve been constantly connected, not realizing how “disconnected” it actually made my life. For instance, in March, I found myself hiding my cellphone in the cushion of our couch while reading a book to my 6-year-old daughter. Checking it every five minutes. Not in any way present for Amelie. Fully disconnected. I felt like a drunk hiding bottles around the house.

In May, I was at an acupuncture appointment, laying there jumpy because my phone was over on the desk and I couldn’t check it. I thought, “What is wrong with me?” And that began a day-long look at me and my cellphone. By the end of the day, I’d put down my cell phone for good.  I changed the message to “Don’t call this number any more,” and apologized to everyone at work and friends who didn’t know how else to get ahold of me.

The hardest part in the beginning was sitting at stoplights with nothing to do. I’m a big KGNU fan now. Co-workers said, “How will I reach you?” I said, “I’ll be in my office or at home, you have my land line don’t you? If I’m not at one of those places, I’m not available.” That was initially an unacceptable statement. But as the summer progressed, we got into a groove.

The impact this has had on my day-to-day life is immeasurable. It’s like I have my life back. It’s liberating. It’s freeing. I am not reachable at every second of the day. I can rake the leaves or be with my family and not stop when I feel a vibration in my pocket. My kids are ecstatic. My wife was totally supportive and loves me not having a cell.

Recently, it crept up again! My wonderful friends bought me an iPad when I was at my worst (physically and emotionally) in my entire life. Nancy didn’t want me to get one, but when I was in such bad shape they pounced on her, “Can we get him one now?” She caved. It was such a generous gift and the best grown up toy ever–like a big iPhone. Skyping, Sonos, Rhapsody, Exchange for my email, contacts, calendar. Lot of good fun, right?

Cut to three months later. It is with me at every moment. I bring it to every meeting, open it and look at my emails in no way present for whomever. It is back in the cushions of the couch and then the breaking point. I’m at a stoplight and there’s a Starbucks on the corner. I’m looking at my iPad and I connect to the Starbucks Wi-Fi and I’m so excited. Every time I stop at this light, I’ll be able to send an email or check my email. What a bonus!

So now my iPad stays at home. I’m wondering what this is all about? Why are we all so wrapped up in our phones? Some of us more than others. Is it a validation thing? An expectation thing for others to get back to me quickly? What does it fill on a deep level inside of me?

Here I am, probably one of the only people in my town of 80,000 without a phone. I know some older folks, 70+ that don’t have one but that’s all. Do you know any? Are they weirdos? Off the grid? Paranoid? I’m grateful for this change in my life and cannot see myself going back. Can you imagine your life without one?

Lance
This post was originally posted as a “guest blogger” on fearlessrevolution.com  http://fearlessrevolution.com/blog/happiness-is-not-having-a-cell-phone.html

Hammock Happiness

It’s Lance’s birthday today or tomorrow or yesterday (depending on when you read this… June 25th) and I feel joy and happiness. We have been spending a lot of time in the hammock…Lance and I together, since we got the mortgage everything has been better, if you are interested in deals for homeowner’s loans just click on the link to get all the information you may need. Zach and Amélie are in it all the time (pics posted). I sometimes think to myself, “I could be cooking right now, or I could be lying in the hammock!” and then I lure Lance into the hammock just to “BE” with me. I even try to get my friends to lie in the hammock with me (Mar Mar :). Under our huge silver maple and all the glory and shade it provides. It is kind of heavenly…right in our own backyard. Lance’s hair is growing in, an event that is making Lance particularly happy (so much so that he checks himself out in the mirror 5x a day). His hair feels like that of a new born baby..it’s pure peach fuzz. It feels symbolic, like a re-birth. He has lots of energy lately but still keeping diligent about his practice, diet, exercise, visualizations and being present in all that he does (a big feat for him being that he used to be the ultimate multi-tasker).

We have transitioned into this groove in the past week or so that feels so full of love and laughter. Everyday feels a little lighter and more joyful. A few weeks ago, I suddenly thought we were missing joy in our lives. It suddenly became my biggest pursuit along with grating turmeric on everything like some crazy mad woman. I suddenly thought, “WAIT, this is a key ingredient to Lance’s health and healing!” To all of our lives, really. What is life without laughter? I was asking myself, what makes me laugh? I wanna laugh!! LANCE WE NEED TO LAUGH!!! He gave me kind of a, “Okay, Nance, I’ll get right on that” kind of look.

But ON IT he did. He suggested the next night we play charades with the kids. Ok, I like games, any games, ALL games and charades is a particular fun one and definitely makes everyone laugh! Then Lance, the DJ, had some groovy music going and we all started to dance. Dancing, music and playing games….couldn’t be a more perfect combo for me. I was reminded that everything that truly makes me happy is right here in my home and backyard. So the music is back on, the jig is back in our lives, we may not be out and about but you can be rest assured there is a party of 4 on Mariposa.

Love, Nance

Lance’s Homecoming

Lance’s return was nothing short of exciting. I was actually nervous! Like we were dating for the first time and how in the old days we had to travel from coast to coast and I would have that butterfly feeling in my stomach before seeing him. It honestly felt like that. Except this time around instead of spending all my energy on how I looked, I used it all up on making the house look great. Our garden looks amazing (thanks to Native Edge for choosing the plants, Krissy helping me get the plants, Justin for organizing about 15 volunteers to help plant, and Jen for the beer). The kids made a big welcome home heart sign with their Nana who also put lovely bouquets of lilac flowers around the house, and well, I did wear this new shirt to the airport which Lance noticed right away and asked where I got it (Target $15). The kids were so excited, they were hiding behind a post at the airport where we went as far as we could to meet him. They were giddy and giggling and basically ecstatic. When we saw him coming (we saw him before he saw us), I swear he looked like a rock star. Okay, I confess, I’ve always had a thing for rock stars. Lance had a furry face…goatee as bushy as can be (he hadn’t shaved in a month), mohawk, 3 necklaces on, his cute blue fearless shirt on, sunglasses, skinny (the rock star look for sure). I thought he was the one who was going to cry but no it was me that had tears in my eyes as I watched the kids run up to him and hug him endlessly. 

The kitchen has been ramping up again. My fridge is stuffed to the gills with vegetables. I’ve got flats of wheat grass growing, watercress in flower vases, turmeric, ginger, flax seeds, chia seeds is added to EVERYTHING. Blueberries coming out of our ears. Green tea up the ying yang. Chard, kale, spinach, arugula, romaine, lovage, cilantro, parsley is all growing in the backyard. Homemade kifer and yogurt daily. It’s a full on hippy house over here.

I did have a wild (literally wild) experience while Lance was away. I bought a bench for our front yard for Lance and I to sit on this summer while he has his wheatgrass/veggie juice and I sip my vodka/tonic and I was sitting on it and noticed a mound of mulch and Oliver (my dog) sniffing around. Turned out it was a half eaten raccoon and after my neighbor Ben removed the raccoon (thanks Ben), I called the wild life department, only to learn that Mtn. Lions are the only animals to “cache” (bury) their prey (so they can come back for more) and to never EVER remove it because the Mtn. Lion might be watching. They remove them with two guys, one holding a shot gun! So thanks for risking your life for me Ben. I would have felt horrible if you had missed that fishing trip.

Lance is back at work, and we are trying to figure out how to balance all the things we have learned over the past 4 months. How we incorporate it all, how we bring all these things into our lives but still keep life simple. It’s a challenge for sure and on that note, I wanted to thank all of you for so respectfully keeping your distance this past week as Lance eases back into life in Boulder. The phone hardly rang, there was no unexpected visitors and I am just so grateful for all of you and how understanding and gracious you all have been. Our life has been as quiet and cozy and hibernating as all this rain makes one want to be. I am sure Lance will be reaching out soon.

I also wanted to clarify one thing in case I have been misleading. I am not always this loving, doting wife, in case I have portrayed myself that way. I do get annoyed sometimes and of course in my opinion rightfully so ;)) So in case this has seemed like a flawless love story, we have our flaws. We are human. I don’t want people thinking I’m June Cleaver over here. I give Lance the big stare down when he doesn’t eat his vegetables. It goes without saying, he is my greatest love (along with my kids) but not without a few annoyances here and there.
Love,
Nancy