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

 

Beautiful girl

I met a beautiful girl last week. She is 24. I was afraid to meet her. But I wanted to help her however I could. The days leading up to meeting her I felt nervous. Why, you are asking? Because she was diagnosed with the same thing as Lance two months ago. She is in the middle of chemo and radiation and I was afraid of the emotions it was going to bring up. Memories I want to put in the past, rather than relive. You see, I like the fact that the people I am in touch with are anywhere from 5 to 20 years out. That comforts me. But to be in the presence of someone who is just a few months behind us scares me. However, it was she who ended up helping me.

How we got connected to this girl is how the universe works. It was no mistake. It was meant to be. I wanted to share whatever knowledge I could give her.  We are ahead of her in this game. I researched like crazy. I have the food thing down. I wanted to suggest some alternative things. I have all the latest research. I wanted to help this girl who I just assumed was alone. I knew her family lived in another state. However, when I opened the door and saw this beautiful girl, petite little being, with the most amazing eyes, I immediately felt at peace. I can’t explain it but all the emotions and nerves I had been feeling up to meeting her melted away.

So what was it? I know you must be wondering. She had the most inner calm. She was at total peace. How you must be wondering? Faith. She has strong faith that all this is meant to be. All I could think was, “I want to feel like you do.” She was like some angel that had come to my door. Instead of me imparting my wisdom, I suddenly wanted to interview her Barbara Wa Wa style (as Lance has often named me) and figure out how she has come to this peaceful place so quickly. I mean, I think Lance and I have worked hard to find that peace and we have obtained that feeling at times for sure but I still struggle intellectually sometimes about what faith means. So I wanted to know. She didn’t give me a straight answer because it isn’t something you can intellectualize. It’s just a feeling. She just said, “It’s in me. I know I will be okay whatever happens. The Holy Spirit is in me.” OMG. She was the messenger.

Before all this, the subject of religion made me uncomfortable. However, when something like this happens to you, you need something greater than yourself to believe in. In the beginning of our journey, I started asking every person I knew if they believed in God. I was amazed at the answers I got and who believed. It seemed like unanimously everyone had some sort of belief in God and rarely (or never actually) was it some man with a hairy face up in the sky. To some it was “God is in nature”, something bigger than themselves, to many it was something inside themselves. This was hard for me to grasp because of my experience with Sunday school when I was a child and how I was taught that God is separate from you (man up in the sky kind of guy). Thus the difference between spirituality and religion. So I continued to intellectualize all of this instead of just feel it.

Again as the universe makes no mistake, I hired a guitar teacher (yes, I am learning guitar! :)). The first day my teacher showed up at my house, my immediate impression was all wrong (without saying exactly what I thought), he is covered in tattoos, his license suspended from a DUI, has 3 kids and he’s young. Do you hear JUDGEMENT screaming from every pore of my body? I am ashamed the way I sized him up. But my impression changed quickly as soon as I started talking to him. Turns out he is this incredible musician, a very involved Dad and yes, also someone with a strong faith. I learned about that when I noticed his huge Jesus tattoo on his arm. Now Jesus is someone I can relate to. He was one cool dude and you can’t deny he was kinda hot. Barbara Wa Wa immediately surfaced and I had to inquire about it. Now every time we have a lesson, I have a ton of questions to ask him. And slowly I am learning what it all means. Getting my own interpretation of how to find that inner peace.

My big take away from all this and the message I want to convey is that whatever it is you do or do not believe, find something that is bigger than yourself NOW to fulfill yourself and give you peace. Maybe it’s meditation, maybe its the Universe, Buddha, Shiva, God, Allah, Jesus, maybe it’s nature or being at the top of a mountain or swimming in the middle of the ocean. If you work on it NOW and figure it out NOW you won’t have to do the crash course us Gentry’s had to do in case something life altering ever happens to you (and i sincerely hope it doesn’t). But even as we age, and life takes on challenges that are different from our youth, it will carry you through anything you may face in your life. Take it from the 24 year old. Who wouldn’t want to face such challenges with such an inner calm?

Love and Laughter,
Nancy