162 days to go!

I had originally thought that if I was to live like I had 6 months to live, I would make sure to have my nails done constantly, get eye lashes, etc. Not anymore. I have a Chester and having nice nails and fake eye lashes just doesn’t seem practical.

Last night, I wanted to clean house. I tried to vacuum but Chester freaked out. So I tried the Swiffer. Chester freaked out. How am I going to clean the house? I took him outside to cool off. The neighbor guy P and friend J were having a little bonfire and offered to babysit for awhile. I took Chester over and ran home to clean as fast as I could. P and J did great babysitting but Chester wanted to come home after about 15 minutes.

Today, I took Chester to the Urban Animal Vet clinic. They were fantastic. Chester had a few meltdowns. He doesn’t like the vet clinic. Apparently Chester is not 24 pounds like the Humane Society said. Chester is 51 pounds of pure muscle. Well, they said he’s a little chubby as he should have somewhat of a waist but he doesn’t. They think he will only get a little bigger which is excellent news since I’m not going to be getting much bigger.

My sister asked me if I named Chester after the best dog ever in the movie The Kid. The Kid? I only remember The Kid and Bruce Willis.

Chester and I left the vet, picked up some bones and more toys at the pet store and went home to watch The Kid.

(oh no, i’m all out of dog food. ugh. well, good thing he’s overweight. He won’t starve to death too soon).

Ok, 163 days to go! Happy First Day of Summer!

I’m sorry, but this will be another post about Chester. I wasn’t planning on this. I was planning to go through the list of all the things I need to do and posting on those in this 183 day journey. One things I wanted to get was a bike but I only wanted a bike so I could have another mode of exercise (as I wasn’t getting much before) but now…I don’t need a bike. I have a Chester.

My co-worker has a bike. She loves it. Rides it every day to work. She is currently biking across the US for MS (Multiple Sclerosis). I think she is probably in Illinois by now. She has long legs and makes biking look like a graceful beautiful thing. I, however, have short stumpy legs and would need to get a short stumpy bike. I would be anything but graceful.

I guess exercise was the only reason I wanted to get a bike during this “6 months to live”. And now, I really don’t want a bike and have no need for one.

Today, I counted up about how many strangers we have “met” since Chester and I got together. It’s got to be at least 40. I have interacted with 40 people in 5 days that I would have never talked to if it weren’t for this Chester.

The neighbor P was home today with his friend J. P and J are nice guys who immediately wanted to meet Chester. Chester sat down and loved the attention of these 2 guys. We then went on THE BEST walk of our lives. Chester was calm, sweet, and controlled. What?? My teenager needs men in his life! Of course.

The next walk we went on (as we are getting roughly 2 hours of exercise per day), I saw some guys mowing lawns. One of them was between mows and I told him, “My dog really likes men. Will you pet him?” He took off his gloves and petted Chester. Chester loved it! We almost took that man home with us but he was rather busy. (I’m just kidding, mom. Don’t worry). I’m going to keep using that line though. It’s a good one.

We met a little boy named Winslow today. He was on the sidewalk with his big water gun and he immediately wanted to hug Chester. I was a little nervous because the boy was no more than 6 years old and Chester likes to jump. But Chester sat down and let the boy hug him on the sidewalk. Winslow liked Chester. Chester liked Winslow. We hope we see Winslow again.

My friend L brought her dog N over for a playdate. N is a little dog and wasn’t particularly thrilled about an energetic big dog wanting to sniff his butt. L is fantastic with dogs and by the end, they almost seemed to tolerate each other.

Oh, and the poop thing. My dog is only 9 months which means he is still growing so the amount of poop he’s doing now is only going to grow. He poops about twice per day. There is one junky looking house with a junky yard that Chester poops in a lot. Today, Chester just pooped and then peed on the sidewalk. I get the dry-heaves cleaning up the smelly mound. How do people do this?

And then! I carry around this blue bag of poop with us for the rest of our walk/run. Just walking and running with a big bag of poop. Everyone knows I’m carrying around a bag of poop and yet they still stop and talk to us and pet my dog. My clothes smell, I’m sweaty, I have no make up on, my hair is disheveled and I’m carrying around poop and these people are still friendly! They just chat on and on. A man told us how his police department just trained a pit bull to sniff out drugs. Chester liked the man at first but then he started dragging me away. It was the first guy that he has been tired of. All the while I’m holding a bag of poop.

176 days left.

I just couldn’t get up this morning at 5:50AM and see Adriene (on YouTube) again. There is very little that I will do 7 days in a row besides basic hygiene/eating/sleeping. There’s no people I want to see 7 days in a row. There’s no activities I want to do 7 days in a row. None. And Yoga with Adriene is one of those. Sorry Adriene, but I had to take a break from you. It was just too much, too fast, too soon. It’s not you, it’s me. I’m like this with everyone. I don’t even like to be with myself 7 days in a row. I’ll see you tomorrow.

Slept in til 7AM, woke up to Justin Timberlake, and I am still tired. I don’t think I’ve recovered yet from crazy last Friday night.

Every tree, every flower, every rush of the wind-I’m slowing down, breathing it in, savoring, relishing.

The thing about living like you have 6 months left is…you are still you. You still get tired of things and people. And as much as I would love to have tons of energy to bounce off the walls and do all sorts of crazy things, I can’t, I don’t.

I took my painting to work today for the Art Show that is coming up. They ask if it’s for sale and I say it is…for 5 million dollars. Everything is for sale…for the right price. The painting is nothing like I wanted it to be and nothing like I planned but still it’s nice. And I did it. Only took me a year.

Went to dinner with A. Haven’t seen A in awhile. We ate hamburgers and garlic fries and buffalo wings. Not everyone will eat with you like that. Maybe in Montana or Texas but not in Seattle. We stuffed our faces and then went shopping. Have you been to Oiselle? It’s a store with athletic apparel designed for flight-by women, for women. Two thumbs up. Great place.

Came home to a produce box on my porch. I don’t even want to come home to a produce box every day for 7 days in a row. Even a weekly box is almost too much. I left it on the porch. I’ll deal with it tomorrow.

REMEMBER: Slow down. Cherish. Value. Soak in. Breathe in. Listen. Feel.

 

178 days to go. We have a lot of things to talk about as we prepare for the end. But not today. Too much to do today. We will talk Epitaphs, Regrets, Funerals, Eternity, Legacy, Legend, etc later.

Woke up to Jordan Smith singing, “Who You Are”. I love him. I could listen to that man all day long. (He was on The Voice and he won. Wait, did he win? To me, he won. Even if he didn’t. And I haven’t watched The Voice since. Why watch? Jordan already won).

Day 6-Call Mom. Day 6-make tea, not coffee. Day 6-Yoga with Adriene. Day 6-Draw the Circle with Mark Batterson.

Work was good. I realized I need projects or I start to feel antsy and unpurposeful and like I’m wasting time not fixing something. I need to fix something. So, I told my manager the medication log books are driving me crazy so I ordered a file box and I’m gonna organize those binders if it’s the last thing I do. I hope it’s not the last thing I do but if it is, write on my tombstone “Here lies Rhonda. Last thing she did was organize the heck out of some medication log books that no one cared about.” Actually I’m gonna be cremated. I don’t care about tombstones. Spread my ashes at the ocean where you spread my sister. But that subject is for a different day.

My co-worker brought the best smoked BBQ ribs you had in your entire life to work and shared them with me. And at lunch, I kept thinking, this is the highlight of my entire day. (There’s gotta be a joke in there about Adam and Eve and ribs being the highlight of their day too but I’m not quite putting it together. I’ll work on it).

But then I went to hang out with a weekly group of 4 of the most special women in the world. I took my Polaroid camera for the first time to use of my film (why save it?). And that was the highlight of my day (not ribs). Pictures of supportive, encouraging, beautiful women who share real struggle and real triumph who have been so loving and accepting for 3 years now? 2 years? I’ve lost count. I just love them. You need good friends in your life. People you can be yourself around. Just relax, say things you probably shouldn’t, tell stories you probably shouldn’t have lived through and hug at the end (They say you need 12 hugs a day to stay healthy. I think someone said that. I get all my hugs on Tuesday for the week. Those ladies like to hug. It’s almost too much and I act like I don’t like it that much but secretly, I really do. I think they know my secret which is why we just keep hugging).

REMEMBER: Hugs, not Drugs. And “Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life”-just bought a shirt on Etsy with that quote.

 

 

Woke up at 4:00AM to a stupid smoke alarm chirping. It’s the worst sound. Tried to sleep through it. Couldn’t sleep. Got the ladder, took the alarm down and put it in a different room. 5:50AM came way too early with Justin Timberlake singing “Can’t Stop The Feeling” but it was the wrong day for that chipper song. Tired. Annoyed. Called mom to say I was up.

Why am I doing this? Getting up early, acting like I need to live 6 months to the fullest.  Who freakin’ cares? This is dumb. Maybe I should call in sick.

But I turned on the kettle, made some Dragon Pearl Green Tea and did Day 5 of Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. She was as chipper as J.T. and I wanted to punch her in the face. But I stayed with her. Then got back into bed to read more Genesis. And promptly fell asleep.

Where I dreamt I needed to get to work. On a pogo stick. A pogo stick with a seat. So, I’m hopping down the sidewalk, got caught up in the road construction, back on the sidewalk. And I met a guy who I knew in elementary school. He was really nice. His name was Tanner and his little sister was Gabriella. I told Gabriella I liked her name. I think she could tell I really liked her brother. Then I had to get to work so I hopped away. But it was 10AM and I realized I wasn’t getting to work very quickly. So, I called Uber. The End.

I can’t pogo, I never went to school with a guy named Tanner and I woke up at 7:37AM by the grace of God and got to work by 7:57AM. The extent of my praying this morning was “Dear God, I need a miracle to get through this day and work out some issues at work and if that’s not enough prayer for a miracle then I don’t know what I am going to do. Please work with this cuz it’s all I got. I’m not feeling very vociferous. Or happy. Amen.”

The other week, I was wanting to pray but I was feeling real discouraged. I said “God, I would pray more but I’m still waiting on you to answer the last prayer. How about you work on those prayers and then when they are answered, I’ll pray again?”

Well, He replied with “Really? Is that how this works now? You give me a Honey-Do list and sit back and wait? Oh uh uh. This is called relationship. You talk, I listen. I talk, you listen and we work together. Alright? Ok. Good. And I already answered your prayers so get up and get moving.”

Work today was actually better than expected-my ounce of faith worked. I came home to find my 2 books I ordered from Amazon that they said had “arrived” were still not “arrived”. So, I went to the neighbor’s porch. My package! I would have taken it but I didn’t want anyone to think I was stealing so I knocked. And knocked. And a new girl answered the door! A new friend. I never met her before and she was so nice and I promptly forgot her name. But a guy named Brian lives there too. Sometimes I forget girls and remember boys. It’s a gift I have. The heterosexual gifting.

Had dinner with the dear sweet friend I went to the movies with last night. We tried a new Catonese restaurant that has 3.5 stars on Yelp. I would give it 5 stars. It was delicious. Yelpers are funny people. Which is why I don’t Yelp. I am too serious. Fried chicken and Chow Phun. Nice people. Real divey. Delicious. And then we went and got plant-based ginger and turmeric ice cream. It was more delicious and made me feel healthy again. I’m gonna dream about that ice cream all night long. Then me and my dear sweet friend (“My Dear Sweet Friend and I”-sometimes I really don’t are about grammar but I know you do so I corrected) walked around and made mind-lists of all the restaurants we are going to try this summer.

This morning started out not so great. And whenever I’m in a funk-which is about one day weekly, I start to think I must need some anti-depressants or something. But I can usually shake off my blues with quick prayer, Chinese food, ice cream (even plant based) and a good hug (or a nap-which is hug from a bed) so maybe I’m gonna be ok.

(Oh I must report: I saw the movie Wind River last night. It was not a movie for the kids at all. A chilling murder film-based on actual events. But it ends with stating that the ONLY “missing persons” demographic that no one keeps track of is the Native American Woman. No one knows how many have gone missing. And you think you’ve been mistreated. At least someone is looking for you and writing down when you go missing, puts your face in the news, adds you to the statistics book. No one keeps track of Native American Women. They go missing and that’s it. What the hell, people?)

(It’s an interesting thing to live a day knowing that you are going to post a message about your day. I find myself feeling a little more accountable to live each day to the fullest. Which is the point of this journey anyway!)

180 days to go!

Woke up after a fantastic 10 hour sleep and started my day with Yoga with Adriene-Day 4. Then Day 4 of the Draw the Circle Prayer Challenge book by Mark Batterson. And prayed circles around specific people in my life who I dearly love. Feeling good!

Called mom to ask her if you find a little green worm on top of one of your strawberries does that mean all the strawberries have worms. She said she has never seen a worm in a strawberry. So I ate a strawberry. Strawberries are so in season right  now and the sweetest they will ever be. Although I suspect the strawberries in heaven are a billion times better than the ones on earth. Someday I will find out just how great the strawberries are in heaven.

I texted a few friends to see if they were going to be at church today but they weren’t so I arrived quite late and alone. And tried to sit by 2 different strangers but all the unmarked seats by them were saved. Of course all the seats in church are saved. They have been in church a long time listening to Judah Smith.  The sting of rejection though was too great for my little eyes and pathetic tears sprang out. Dang these tears. I just wanted to sit down. I did find a seat and left when the service was over. I gotta find a service somewhere with some friends in it!

You know, they say loneliness will cut your life the same amount as smoking cigarettes.

So if you are going to smoke, don’t be lonely. And if you are going to be lonely, don’t smoke. Otherwise that’s a double-whammy of life-shortening. Both painful. Somehow though, smoking seems way more cool than being lonely. If I had to pick one, I’d pick smoking. A full life with lots of friends, never being lonely, and a pack of Camels. Or on the other hand, there’s loneliness. Fighting, singing, running, escaping, regretting are all fine activities really if you are doing them with someone. But alone? Run alone. Fight alone, Regret alone, Sing alone. That’s like carrying a piano on your back uphill. No thanks. Just hand me a cigarette, friend, and light it up.

This 183 day journey is about living, not dying. But death and dying is part of life and you cannot and should not go through life without thinking about death. Why? Because if you aren’t appreciating that something is going to end, you aren’t appreciating it fully. We take for granted the things we think are always going to be around. We waste, grow lazy, act flippant and then one day, they’re gone. People, things, moments, opportunities. Gone. And suddenly we are alone. What? What happened? Where’d you go?

And regret moves in. Fills the empty spaces, sinking into the floorboards of our souls. A life lived in fear is a life half-lived but a life of regret? What is that?

Fear is being too focused on what is in front of you and your inadequacy. Then when comparing the two you become disabled, wobbling, falling off the train tracks.

Regret is being too focused on yourself and the past. And if you maintain your regrets, you sit paralyzed. Immobile. Getting stinky oozing bed sores.

We can’t maintain regrets. We can’t drive successfully while staring at the rearview mirror and you can’t live fully always regretting what’s back there. What’s back there is back there. Yeah, maybe you were dumb, or went the wrong way, turned down the wrong alley, got side tracked. Maybe if this was your 2nd time living today, I would expect better progress, perfection. But this is your 1st time living today. This isn’t Groundhog’s Day and you aren’t Bill Murray. So, how about you just give it your best effort and when tomorrow comes, reflect, think, and then try. Not try again. Because you have never lived today. You can’t try yesterday again. You can only live today once. Just like the rest of us. One new day at a time.

Now, time to continue to work on my fiction novel before going to a SIFF film (Seattle International Film Fest) with a cherished friend. 180 days to finish.

REMEMBER: “The trouble is, you think you have time”-Buddha

181 days to go!

Woke up to no music, did no yoga, did not read anything. (Applied forgiveness and grace to much needed areas of my life).

Jumped out of bed and went late to a lovely Craft Day at my friend’s house. They knitted and I painted and ate a lovely brunch with lovely coffee.

Called my mom.

Reflected on Day 2. Reflection is essential to any type of growth.

Cleaned out my tea drawer-throwing away everything old. Next up: The Spice Drawer.

Watched, enjoyed and felt encouraged after watching the Judah Smith sermon from last week.

Cooked my first meal in my Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot. Pork loin, apples, onions, potatoes. Delicious!

Read more Genesis.

Watched Elon Musk talks.

Looked/added to my Pinterest board called Rhonda. It’s quite therapeutic to remind yourself who you are-by adding pictures, quotes, etc to a Pinterest board.

Yoga-ing, reading, praying. Better late than never.

Pressed on.

REMEMBER:

-“You can’t defeat the demons you enjoy playing with.” (not my quote).

-“My prayer is that when I die, all of hell rejoices that I am out of the fight”-C.S. Lewis

(Please note the past 2 posts if you missed them. So, yesterday ended at 5AM this morning so…I wasn’t able to post anything til now.)

I woke up to “Fight Song” at 5:50AM, called mom, did yoga, read more of Genesis and I prayed for you (after reading Day 2 of Draw the Circle: 40 Day Prayer Challenge).

182 days to go! Thinking more about death, life, and what it means to press in.

I went on Amazon.com this morning and finally ordered the Pressure Cooker and Food Processor I’ve been wanting to buy. (Which means I can get rid of my huge rice cooker, blender that doesn’t work, tiny electric chopper, and hand mixer as I do have a KitchenAid so what am I waiting for?). I used the Smile-side of Amazon so my purchase benefitted Charity: Water. 🙂

Work happened to me all day (not my best day) and then I raced to a birthday party on a boat. It was glorious. The sunset, the friends, the snacks, the water.

And then we went dancing. And I misplaced my phone. And License. And Debit Card. And I couldn’t find my car. Yep. Real real dumb. I wandered for 2 hours looking for my car (well, I didn’t actually know what time it was so it might have been longer than 2 hours). The heels came off after 5 minutes of walking so…I have blisters now. But you know the miraculous part of this stupid moment of my life? I felt strangely ok. And it was a beautiful evening. And the hip pain I had been having for 3 weeks was completely gone. I had been limping just 3 days before due to the aching pain. Maybe it was the prayer combined with yoga but I didn’t even think about my hip on my early morning jaunt. Thank you God!

And did you know birds chirp all night long? At least in that neighborhood. The birds were so happy. And although I had no identification in a time-less world, I too was oddly happy. A lady was walking her dog at 5AM. I greeted her and kept walking.

The only phone number I know by heart is of my brother-in-law. I knew I needed to find a phone or a police officer or make my way to a friend’s house a few miles away.

But I finally found my car. And finally got home. And finally went to sleep.

(Yeah, this day won’t happen again. And I’m ok with that. My feet are ok with that.)

REMEMBER: In the words of my dad, “Bad breath is better than no breath”. And that has nothing to do with what I just wrote.

Please note previous post: “6 Months To Live”. Also of note: No, I’m not dying. I’m working on living.

I woke up today at 5:50AM (instead of the usual 7:15AM). Woke up to the song “Resurrecting” by Elevation. It felt right for Day 1.

I called my mom to say, “Hi, I love you, I’m up. Have a good day”. I wasn’t sure I could wake up so early so I had told her to call me at 5:55AM but by golly,  I called her first. I sure do love sleep but with 183 days to go, sleeping can wait! There is life to be lived! (And with a 183 days left, I think I should probably be calling  my mom more often).

6 months=26 weeks=183 days=4392 hours=263, 520 minutes=15.8 million seconds.

I got out of bed, turned on my new electric kettle (I got rid of my stove-top kettle. I don’t have time to wait for the water to boil), changed into my yoga pants and started Day 1 of 30 days of Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube. (It felt good!)

Then Bible Reading. Going to read through the Bible in 6 months. Genesis 1-7. I only got to Genesis 3. Did you know that just because you wake up at 5:50AM, doesn’t mean you will get everything done that needs to get done? I thought for sure 5:50AM was early enough. Apparently it’s not.

Day 1 of Mark Batterson’s book “Draw the Circle: the 40 day Prayer Challenge”. Day 1: Get Ready. You really can’t live to your potential if you aren’t praying. I really do believe that. Well, you wouldn’t know that I value prayer by looking at the last 2 years of my life-prayer has been a vague whisper of “God help me” most of those days. I have definitely had seasons of earnest prayer in the past. I remember when I was around 22 years old, a girl name Kaitlin Dennis and I prayed a lot-maybe a few times a week for a summer? I can’t honestly remember how long we did it. We prayed so much we were running out of things to pray for so I brought a phone book-we started at the beginning-praying for everyone with the last name that started with A. I don’t think we got very far before we stopped. Kaitlin and I weren’t close friends then and still aren’t but I remember loving our time together.

Plus, if you are getting ready to meet your Maker in 183 days, now might be a good time to reconnect, start talking.

I went to work, less hurried, with my best perfume on. I’ve been trying to use this Dolce & Gabbana perfume bottle really slowly but now, seriously, what am I waiting for? Wear your best perfume! A few mishaps occurred at work and I did feel more stretched than usual but it was ok. Life is short and I’m grateful to be living it. A co-worker said “I’m so over this day” and I responded “Me too!” Then I stopped. Wait. I don’t want this day to be over because that means I only have 182 days left. Closer to the end. I seriously felt, “I really don’t want this day to end”.

I went to Safeway after work. At the check-out line, Shannon, a young guy I’ve seen there before, was behind the counter. I asked him how his day was going. He said “It’s going”. I looked at him, not knowing quite what to say. I said something like, “Yeah, I hear ya. You know, there’s probably old people who are getting close to the end who wish it wasn’t coming so soon. We probably wish the end would come way too often” I think I was more eloquent than that but he agreed and he handed me my receipt and I left with my apples, my avocados and 2 bouquets of flowers for myself. (And a frozen Paul Newman Supreme pizza-no wasting time cooking tonight!).

I got home, and I didn’t want to go inside. If I have 183 days left, I want all the fresh air my lungs can take! I opened the windows and the blinds. For the first time, I felt claustrophobic in my house-I’m feeling the need to bust out. It’s a strange feeling.

Now to finish Genesis 4-7. And a painting that’s due tomorrow for an art show.

Remember: Stay present. Stay focused. Don’t try to escape, with your attention all over the place. Sink into the moment. Love it. Even the pain. Pull it close and look it square in the eyes. If I live to be 70, then this is my mid-life. Mid-life is not always 50. For some, their mid life will be 30 or 25 or 20. I pray we live to be really really old and wrinkly and flabby but if not, then God help us live every day to the fullest, loving the people around us, finding joy in every moment.

YOU: Six months to live? So, wait, you have 6 months left to live?

ME: No, no. Well, I sure hope not. Six months to live, live it up, live to the fullest. Not six months left to live. I have been having anxiety about getting older and not having done things I want to do, wasting time watching Netflix, not being as intentional with each moment as I want to be. Life is running right by me, doing laps around the track and I’m still trying to tie my shoe laces.

YOU: So live like you have 6 months left? That’s so cliche. Is that offensive to people who actually do have 6 months left?

ME: Maybe? I know it’s cliche. But I think anyone who has limited time left would want the people around them to live more deeply, more in tune too- right? How many people are living life to the fullest, maximizing the moment? Not a week goes by where my co-workers and I aren’t saying “Thank God it’s Friday”, “Ugh, it’s Monday”, “I sure wish it was Friday”, etc. How is that healthy? Always wishing it was the future.

I need deadlines in life apparently to get things done and I’m having a hard time thinking about the next 30-40-50 years. Well, it’s not that it’s hard to think about-it’s just, I keep thinking I have so much time so why do anything now? Or rather, I’m still waiting for the perfect time to do certain things. I’ve been putting off things that need to be done.

YOU: Then, just do them. Why make a big deal about them? Why write it? Just do it.

ME: Maybe I need accountability. Maybe I like writing. Maybe I want to remind you that life is short and we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow.

YOU: When?

ME: June 1 thru December 1.

YOU: What happens on December 2?

ME: I start over. Live another 6 months. Live it well, live it full.