More Peace and Laughter in Our Lives- Learning to Slow Down

20181030_112038 Blue springs

In September 2018, I was advised by my oncologist, chemotherapy would begin in November. Diagnosed with Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia in 2012, this would be the first time I needed treatment for my lymphoma. I wanted a diversion from life.

Last October, my husband surprised me with a trip to Blue Springs Ranch, a rustic retreat sprawling over acres of picturesque property in Bourbon, Missouri. Those golden autumn days were peaceful and serene…just the dogs and hubby in a tiny one-room cabin set atop a hilly, wooded piece of land. The only other souls at the resort were the ones that checked us in.

In the cool evening, we’d huddle around a crackling fire, barbeque burgers and brats on the grill, and listen to the sounds of the sleepy forest – saw whet owls, coyotes, song birds and crickets.

Days were spent exploring shorelines, clear creek beds, roaring streams, and meandering trails blanketed with leaves. The trees embraced us with their maizy yellows, burnt sienna, and caramels, while the menthol blue hue of the springs comforted our soul.

In January, we headed west to Burbank to visit our friend Colin, cameraman for the Big Bang Theory. He afforded us an opportunity to be part of the studio audience. During the taping, staff interacted with us, playing games and keeping us in stitches. It felt great to laugh deep and heartfelt.

After the show we were given VIP passes by Colin to visit the set. We plopped down on the brown leather sofa, and seated ourselves in Sheldon’s spot. We exchanged smiles and small talk with Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Kunal Nayyar, and Kal Penn (from Harold and Kumar) and snapped pics for our Instagram followers.

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Afterwards, hubby and I meandered the set with Colin, our shoes shuffling across the floor, all the while listening to his stories and memories – bittersweet for him, as the show was wrapping up its final season.

I remember looking up, and eyeing all the metal and wiring – the lights and equipment suspended from the ceiling, and just thinking ‘how amazing’!

As we made our way to the exit, I spun around one last time, and let out a big sigh. We thanked Colin for an opportunity to experience something unique.

The next evening, we visited the Rockwell Table and Stage where Jeff Goldblum was performing. Jazzy piano player, singer, movie trivia buff, jokester – Jeff Goldbum was the whole package. More laughter, more tears of joy. The thirty-something gals in their skimpy outfits loved him, and he, in turn, loved taking pictures with these women. More laughs.

Heaven knows we need more peace and laughter in our lives…a chance to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life that we don’t often notice like….

  • the woman and her retriever playing fetch on a Malibu seashore
  • a howling coyote that blended into the hillside of Griffin Park
  • the quirkiness of the shops along Topanga Canyon Road
  • sunsets with rainbows at seaside restaurants
  • stepping in Gene Kelly’s footprints in front of Grams Chinese Theater
  • the Danish girl in the audience of the Big Bang set who worked in Finland and Sweden, lived in Denmark, and who had to ask her mom how to get to work every day

 

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These are snippets of life I remember…the feel-good, unexpected surprises and memories I never tire of, guiding and helping me through my chemo treatments.

My newest book, Mondays in October, a poetry and photography collection, my love song for the beach, and its eternal companion water, is a feel-good book on how to slow down.

Releasing July 23, it embraces art, movement, time, water and solitude. Won’t you hop over to my book page, and read all about it?

Oh yeah, I’m in remission!

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“The Ride” – The Run For The Wall – Story and Poem

While writing an article for a publication I freelance for, I had the privilege of meeting several riders on the Wentzville leg of the run on their journey to the Vietnam Veteran’s Wall in D.C.   They ride for many purposes, and their mission is selfless.  Barbara Bell rides in memory of her husband Christopher.  Terri “Grumpy” rides for her son who has served in the military for 12 years.  And “Skully” the Vietnam Vet from Australia loves being back in America with his allies, and believes the U.S. has great support for their troops.

Here’s a link to my newest Patch article Wentzville Opens Arms to Run for the Wall Motorcyclists Making Trek to Nation’s Capitol

and

Here’s poem I wrote.  It is dedicated to the veteran motorcyclists and their families entitled

“The Ride” (copyright Sheree Nielsen)

They come from all over

To ride.

For the freedom of our nation,

They ride.

ImageFor those passed on,

They ride.

For Vietnam

And all wars,

They ride.

For brothers and sisters

left behind.

They ride.

For citizens

Like you and me,

They ride.

Crossing oceans, rivers

And streams,

They ride.

From California to D.C.,

They ride.

For school and hospital visits,

They ride.

For healing,

They ride.

For children, spouses and friends,

They ride.

For camaraderie,

They ride.

For the memory of those

Killed in action,

They ride.

The bond grows greater,

Several hundred thousand strong,

And they ride.

At their final destination

They honor,

They pray,

With pride.

At The Wall.