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Sunday afternoon, March 24th, there was an avalanche in Revelstone, B.C. Canada and a 38 year old man lost his life. His two friends were able to dig him out of the compacted snow and while one went for help the other administered CPR. It was too late, their friend had died. I can’t even imagine all of the “if only’s” that went through their minds. “If only he hadn’t gone to check the ledge…., if only we had stopped him…., if only we had just kept skiing down the mountain…..”, if only, if only, if only.

It is hard to make any sense out of some events that happen in our lives. Many times they don’t make any sense until years later when we can see a bigger picture of our lives. Time puts a different perspective on things. We can see how that event is woven into the fabric of our lives and it’s importance to the rest of the picture. It fits and makes sense.

For me, during times of hardship or tragedy I always go back to the words of Archbishop Oscar Romero (the archbishop of El Salvador in the 1980′s) when he said in a prayer of total surrender and trust in God, ” I can’t….You must….I’m yours….Show me the way….” I repeat these words over and over to myself and they give me peace. So many times it is hard to understand the why of things, but I believe that if we can keep an open heart during these trying times, unexpected blessings will come as well.

I pray for the friends and family of this young man who died in the avalanche. He was in the avalanche for a few minutes but his friends and family will be in different kind of avalanche for years……

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Now that I am feeling like myself again, Steve and I are really trying to get the word out there about the book. We have hired a PR company to help us do this. I had to laugh, because the PR company sent us a book on how to “Celebritize” yourself. In the book, the author says that she always marvels at authors who write books and have absolutely no budget for PR and promotions. She goes on to say that it is inconceivable that anyone would think that you could write a book and have it be an overnight success and that by magic a publisher would just happen to see it and offer a huge book deal!!! Well …. that was us!!! Soooo, we have decided to listen to the experts and take their advice! Last Friday morning, I had the first of twenty radio interviews! Most of the stations are syndicated and vary from Christian, to Health and counseling talk shows, etc. It is very exciting and I love it!! I’m being interviewed on syndicated talk shows from coast to coast. I try to prepare by researching the show and the host so I can know what to expect. It is so much fun and I must say….it is a such good thing that I like to talk so much!!

Keep your fingers crossed that all of this converts into book sales. Wish us luck!!!

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Today, March 12th, commemorates the 22nd anniversary of the avalanche that killed my husband, Alfonso, and changed my life forever. I wasn’t sure of anything then; my life had been turned upside down. My life as I had known it for 18 years was gone in an instant.

Today, 22 years later, the ONLY thing I am sure of is change. Change is what life seems to be all about. I now try to embrace it as I have realized over the years that with great change comes many blessings IF you can open your heat to see them.

March 12, 1991, was one of the saddest days of my life. March 12, 2013, is one of the happiest. I am in Punta Mita, Mexico with my wonderful new husband, Ross, surrounded by love, laughter and friends. Twenty-two years ago I could have never imagined that my life would have taken such turns……

So, today I raise my glass to Alfonso and profoundly thank him for all that he gave me. I thank him for my six wonderful children and the fact that he entrusted their care to me. My life would not have been the same without them.

Gracias, Alfonso. Salud.

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One of the movies that was nominated this year for Best Picture of the Year was the French film, “Amour.” Although it did not win for best picture, it did win for Best Foreign Film last Sunday at the Oscar’s.

Amour was about an older, retired couple who had been married for many years. I don’t think they could even remember a time when they weren’t together. They had raised a family together, grown old together and remained each other’s best friend over this time. The love they felt for each was apparent in everything they did, the way they talked to each other, their secret smiles, their tone of voice. Their love was palpable and so beautiful to watch.

As it is in life, at some point, it is inevitable that one will have to care for the other….”in sickness and in health”. I don’t think anyone ever really likes to dwell on that for long because there is always so much else to do, life gets too busy. Until one day when it happens….Anne suffered a series of debilitating strokes in the movie and became more and more incapacitated. She depended more each day on her husband for her every need. She was embarrassed and humbled by being in such a position. Her husband, who understood her feelings just by looking at her, was so kind and so aware of helping her keep her dignity throughout her decline. He was so sensitive to her feelings and her needs and became her round the clock caregiver, which is often a thankless and tough job. His love for her was so great that he wanted to make this part of her life as easy as possible. It was so moving, so tender to witness this in the film, yet very hard to watch. Death and dying are never easy. Life sometimes is not all roses. Many people’s reaction to the movie was “how terribly depressing” it was. I think it is a hard thing to watch two people who love each, deal with sickness and death. But that is what we will all face someday….it is part of life. It seems so indicative of our society today…..we only want to see the good stuff, nothing bad…too depressing. UNTIL, it happens to you! Then, oh my goodness, this is awful…what do I do? No one prepared me for this…..but love has a way of making things manageable and ultimately okay.

When Dick had his stroke, the whole family pulled together to help him get better. I was honored and privileged to be his caregiver. It was really tough some days, but I loved him so much it didn’t matter. I was with him through all of it, the ups and downs and ultimately to the end. I love him for allowing me to be part of his life in that way. The movie, Amour, brought back all of those memories for me. The couple in the movie showed the world what one person in love will do for the other. I am so glad that I saw this film and I thank those involved in making it for the beautiful message of love. I remembered Dick and those difficult times almost 11 years ago. I carry them in my heart and have now been able to quietly turn the page. Love never dies….we will always have it in our hearts.

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  • One of my favorite times each year is Oscar season. I love movies and my friends and I try to see all of the nominated films. This year I made it a point to see some of the short films and documentary films. One of the Short Documentary films I saw at one of artsy theaters this year was “Mondays at Racine”. I was so moved by this wonderful film. It is about two sisters who so kindly open their beauty salon every Monday to Breast Cancer patients. Whether it be to just have a day of pampering, or a hand to hold when the inevitable time comes to shave their heads during chemo, the salon and its owners open their hearts to support these brave women who are going through so much. My friends were afraid of my reaction to the film, thinking that my breast cancer was still so raw. It hasn’t been that long ago since I would look down at myself and just cry at the sight of my mastectomy. But I didn’t break down or leave the theater. Instead, I just marveled at how friends and other women can make such a difference in one’s life. Certainly that was the case for me. As I watched one of the women in the film hold her friends hand when the hair clippers started to shave her head, I thought of my friends who all gathered around me to go with me to my doctor’s appointments, who called their friends who had already gone through breast cancer to talk to me to calm my nerves about what was to come. Or whether it was to bring cupcakes to the hospital, meals to my home, or homeopathic remedies all the way from Mexico, only one thing came to my mind. I am so lucky to have such incredible friends. I am so grateful to them and hope to be able to pay it forward some day. These magnificent women in the film are so inspirational to me and I thank them for what they do. Anyone who has had breast cancer knows that that there are no words to thank someone for their kindness during such a vulnerable time. Thank you to my friends and to everyone woman who can put themselves in someone else’s shoes and help in their time of need.
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    After reading about Lindsay Vonn’s recent skiing accident in Austria, I felt so badly for her and am sure that she was completely devastated. Her dreams of representing the United States at the 2014 Winter Olympics must have seemed to have gone out the window in just a few horrible minutes. I saw the picture of her newly operated on knee and it did not look good. I know that awful feeling that just hits you in the gut and bowls you over….you feel like your life is over and I am sure she felt that in spades. I think that healing any type of hurt is a process. It takes a lot of work and tenacity to heal and an openness to accept that things might not ever be the same. That is the hard part. But then one day, you can look back and say, “Wow, look at where I am now” and really appreciate the journey. I am so lucky that my path, as tumultuous as it has been, has brought me to where I am today….so very happy! I hope that Lindsay will be able to look back and say the same thing, “Wow, look at where I am now”….. as they put the gold medal around her neck in Sochi!!! Good luck to you Lindsay!!

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