Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Time Keeps on Ticking

Time is elusive, invisible and frustrating as it passes!  (At least for me)  I am currently watching a handful of my 3 year old students graduate high school.  Okay, maybe they aren't 3 years old right now in reality, but in my heart they are just entering their very first pre school dance class and learning to skip!  Never mind that they are all doing competitive solos and earning first place trophies for things such as "best emotional execution", "best precision", "best technical execution", best everything under the sun ... you get the idea.  I'm over the moon excited for and proud of these gorgeous (now) women.  But my heart is in shock about the passage of time, and how they are already women when just last week (seemingly) they were babies!  Regardless of how that effects me, CONGRATULATIONS to you beautiful women in your achievements, and best of luck to you all in your future endeavors.  With all of your talents, I cannot imagine you won't rule the country, if not the world, if that is what you set your mind to do!  I will always love you, be here for you and have a sticker on hand to make you feel good about yourself! ;-)
So, Ashley Simkovitch, Maile Suganuma, Danielle Quinn, Katie O'Meara, Britain McDonald, Morgan Lee and Lauren Barr, my heart swells with pride as you beauties strike out into the world.  And it also swells with a little bit of fear for those out there who aren't ready for you! ;-)  Blessings and love to you beauties.  I will miss you each greatly.  Don't forget to come back and visit with us!
And although no longer a dance studio student, just as sincerely I wish huge success to Lindsay Merwin and the rest of the graduating seniors who chose other amazing paths to learn life's lessons through.
I believe in each and every one of you!
xoxo

Photobucket  formerly Ms. Cheri to you all!



Monday, April 20, 2015

The Whole30, from my point of view




As most of you know, I began the Whole30 eating, living program in March.  I am on my last day of what I am sure will be my personal Phase I.  I just thought I'd write a few bits of perspective in case any of you would like to try it and want to know someone who can walk with you, support you, and tell you what their experience held.  Not that it will be the same as yours, but there is comfort in numbers, right?
First, as briefly as I can, here is my story:
I lived in the mountains of NC.   It was mostly freezing 6 months out of the year.  We made and ate a lot of food for comfort and warmth.  And let's face it, if you don't like to ski or build snow men, there is not much else to do.  So, I naturally gained some weight over the course of almost 8 years.  What I didn't realize, although I saw it when I looked into the mirror, was that my insides were inflamed.  I just looked like I'd filled myself with hot air.  Weird.  And I knew I didn't feel good.  But I carried on, because that is what you do.  And I marveled at how "mid life" was truly changing me! LOL. Whatever justification works!
On May 23rd of last year I crashed.  Hard.  Every single thing I ate went straight through the pipes.  No stopping for digestion or nutrient absorption, just "outta here", so to speak.  I was so tired I could barely keep it together.  I made a couple of special trips to Atlanta to see my doctor of 28 years because he's known me so long, surely he could figure it out.  And partially, he did.  Something wrong with my gut, and my thyroid was off.  Hmmm.  I spent the summer from late May until early August (I think) in the mountains with the objective of moving out of the 2800 sq. ft. house there, as we relocated to Orlando, FL and I wanted to get the house cleaned out and on the market.  But by mid June, I was bed ridden for the most part.  I went to one of the urgent care places where they diagnosed me with H. pylori (a not healthy intestinal bacteria) and hypothyroidism (Hashimoto's thyroiditis). Ugh! They put me on meds for my thyroid and gave me enough antibiotics to send me back to bed.  By mid July I was too sick to care.  I didn't get the house emptied, but with help from a great friend and my daughter, it was packed up enough to have Paul come up, rent a trailer and pour me into the truck to get me and most of our possessions back to FL, now home.
When I returned to FL, the doctor parade began.  Eventually, (August until October) I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and in mid October began medicine for that diagnosis.  So now, thyroid meds and UC meds.  Both auto immune diseases, both life long meds.  Even though I could stay out of the bed for the majority of the day, I still felt lousy.  And I was sluggish, fuzzy headed, had major pressure in my head that made it feel like it was going to explode,  and for the first time in my whole life I really didn't think I was happy AT ALL.  At the insistence of my Primary Physician, there was an MRI which produced evidence of a brain tumor, but upon seeing the Neurosurgeon, that turned out to be insignificant.  (right here, you better believe I hit my knees in BIG FAT PRAYERS of gratitude).  But the question still stand, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME!?!
Well, in late March I began seeing a Functional Medicine Doctor (a chiropractor as well, Dr. Dana O'Keefe) who is amazing, caring, supportive and HUGELY gifted in the art of healing.  I also went back to see my gastro doc, who determined all of that head stuff was caused by the UC meds, allergic reaction/intolerance to the sulpha drug.  And low and behold, I found the WHOLE30 regimen.  
After the first 3 days of being on the new med for the UC and doing the WHOLE30, my life changed!  What?!?!  Yep! Totally changed.  Also, finding Dr. O'Keefe has been a huge blessing in that I have always been a chiropractic believer, and now I am back to doing what my body personally responds to the very most!  A healthy, happy aligned body! Awesome!  We hope to get the whole med thing off of the table SOMEDAY.  But grateful to have all these pieces of the pie together at long last!
No longer fuzzy headed.  No more pressure.  No need for naps!!!  No discomfort or signs of UC.  That was the week of spring break for us.  The week before I wasn't sure I could finish out the year teaching.  The week after I was all, "hey! Let's do this .... bigger and better than we've ever done it!"
The change was significant, magnificent and life changing/saving.  So, yes, I recommend - HIGHLY that you go for it!  It's 30 days out of your life to improve your health, sanity and the way your clothes fit.  
The second week I was tired.  Adjusting to the fact that you HAVE TO EAT at the right times, b/c your fuel depletes quickly when you give away all your energy to your students.  Then there is the house cleaning and etc.  It was an intense readjustment period/learning week.  I am still working on that part, actually.  But if I remember to "fuel up", I have no issues!  And I can garden, and walk around the neighborhood, do yoga and feel like the old Ms. Cheri!  I'm even literally doing cart wheels again (someone hs to teach them)...
I am not into sweets, really ... so giving up the sugar and such was a non event for me.  The hard part was no honey & cream in my coffee, which made it more like breakfast and I didn't have to eat.  Black coffee is not my favorite, but the addition of coconut milk made it totally tolerable, and now even perfect!  Who knew?!?!
I requires a lot of prep and fresh food cooking.  Yep, it's intense if you usually eat microwaved pre packaged food.  But we've never done that, so it's not that different for me.  There is a tremendously helpful website where you can download the information you need to do the program FREE OF CHARGE.   These people want you to get well!  I am so grateful.  And I also want you to get well!  Or just get better! www.whole30.com  or just click HERE.  Get the Book "Starts with Food" and read it!
So, here is my final word of advice.  If you choose to try it, go all in.  You can't half way do it.  It just won't work!  And compared to most of the world's "hard", this is not even in the ball park.  You can do it if you think it'll help you.   It saved me!
Personally, I will begin my own Phase II tomorrow.  I will probably eat like this for the rest of my life.  I can't imagine going back to feeling like I did before.  And, there is a special featured section for people with autoimmune issues that I didn't incorporate for the first few weeks.  Turns out, I feel EVEN BETTER when I stick to those recommendations!
I say go for it!  You have nothing to lose except unwanted weight and health problems!!  And what you gain is truly priceless.  I got "me" back!  And just in time!  Summer is just on the edge of being here! I want to feel good enough to enjoy it!  And ... I do!  The world is once again filled with color!
Blessings,

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Friday, March 20, 2015

How Can That Be?

When I looked at the date of my last post, well ... I was simply mortified and then, perplexed!
 How can it be that it was 2 months ago? Yikes!  Let's catch up, shall we?
Right after my last post,
We went camping!  We met up with some of our sweet friends and had an absolutely lovely time in Silver Springs State Park here in Northern FL.  So much to celebrate seeing friends and feeling alive!!
 It got pretty cold as the sun went down.  And down right COLD in the middle of the night.  But who cares!?  It was such a wonderful time!  There was music around the campfire, a lovely night with a meal hosted by Lisa and Dave (the best turkey tacos I've ever had), morning coffee at the Glover's tent site, and a tour of Patti & Dan's newest home away from home.  Camping in all of its shapes and sizes!
 
Who says old folks don't know how to have fun!?! 

Obviously February flew by!  With the normal things, the remarkable things and the unremarkable things, we've managed to maintain a level of the good life, "with poise and dignity", as my friend Sabrina always says.   We are so blessed.  And equally grateful and humbled as we walk & run (and sometimes crawl) through this adventure we are on. 

 I cannot say enough about how we celebrate our current location every single day!  
It was the first winter without debilitating cold and snow for us in 8 years.  Well, I guess the first 2 years we were in the mountains wasn't really that cold.  I think Mother Nature was letting us get our green horn feet on the ground before she slammed us.  There were some winters that made up for those two though.  In hindsight, I think she was telling us to move but we were too cold to hear her!  I'm so thankful that the opportunity finally made itself loud and clear, and will always be grateful to Paul's parents for providing the way and the means for us to get back to the South.


 The Florida Chapter of the Olives had a spring beach sauntering moment last weekend.  GLORIOUS!
 So. very. gorgeous.

After an entire year here, we've settled back in and feel like we've come home and have our Floridian flip flops firmly affixed to our sunbathed feet. 


For me, that really should read, "freckled feet", but you know what I mean!  As I am mostly in the dance studio, I don't get a lot of sunbathing time, but that is more my fault than anyone else's.



I prefer the art studio when the dance studio is closed.  Being surrounded by windows with sunshine streaming in is delightful.  And although I adore the beach, our sweet car, Tinkerbell is rebelling against long journeys and so the art studio it is!  Just as well!  I am taking a few on line art courses to become more of a force and I adore every single second of doing so.
Kind of a "hodge podge" of some of the lessons from LifeBook 2015, and let me tell you, I adored each one of the lessons!   Tamara LaPorte of www.willowing.org (Tam) is a genius, amongst other things. And she has some of the best EVER artists facilitating the lessons.  This is just such a positive experience and I am so very thrilled that I joined in!  The lessons are art based, but have an element of self empowerment and such in them, as well.  For example, the 4 figures in the collage below (top row, center) represent 4 women who have supported me being an artist.  They are in my image of them, and very caricature, but the are my daughter, my Aunt, my grandmother and my mom. (l to r).  But thinking about who were/are the most supportive 4 women figures in my life really provoked some deep emotions I hadn't previously considered. I have sense added angel wings to 3 of the figures, as they are my guardian angels.  Unlike most people who just need one, I am blessed enough to have 3.  :-)  Anyway, it has been truly educational in so many different veins. 


  I also adore every second of the dance studio time.  Now that I've been back in it for the best part of a year, I'm remembering more than I originally thought I ever would.  Thank goodness!  I'm enjoying the students, they fuel that fire for sure.  The "littles" are simply the most precious beings on the face of the earth.

The difference between Ballet 2 above and Ballet 6 below.  Worlds apart!
Waiting on photographer to get the formation documented! Look at these postures! Oye!
 And watching the middle school aged dancers "get it" is as exciting as it is rewarding.  The teens (high schoolers) are amazing to watch perform, mostly because they don't always "give it up" in class.  When I see them "give it full out" on stage, it often makes my jaw drop.  My competition girls did that to me the first time I saw them compete.  (dance Olympus, Regionals in Tampa, FL) I was honestly astounded at how well they did!  And, very, very happy for them.  Their hard work certainly paid off.  Go girls!  And it was so sweet to be sitting in the audience at a recent show with Paul, watching the schools we've seen for years dance and entertain.  Yep, the dance bug has bitten once again, hard.  Another surprise!

 My competitive girls dancing an  a Capella tap number, Company Jane at Regionals.
So amazing!

Speaking of Paul, he's doing well and having a good time.  He's doing iron work, and making some impressive pieces now days.  His strength is always impressive.  But Lord, his math aptitude and his creative and applicable genius is incredible.  Yep.  Makes me cringe when I know I only count to 8, divide and multiply by 8 and its derivatives! Ha.  (Dancers are not really known for their mad math skills!  I digress.  Sorry.)  Paul's badminton passion is maintaining a 10 on the 1-10 scale, and he's improved so much since he re-uped last spring.  He's committed to excellence, for sure!  I love his enthusiasm.  And his dimples!  Also, he has a larger scooter now because someone ran into him (over him, actually) on his last Vespa and totaled the scooter.  Not Paul, thank goodness.
 Bye Bye Silver Vespa
 The "old guys"

out with the old --- in with the beautiful new electric blue!!

   I'm guessing all of those years as a soccer goalie taught him how to roll and hop right back up.  He was lucky, and he knows it.  But still flaunts his super power cape from time to time.  After all, he is Super Scooter!


The cats are all healthy and happy after a pretty brutal bought for 2 of them with some kind of virus this past winter season.   They love being out in the back yard.  The older two don't realize they could get out of the fence if they wanted to.  And the youngest, Sulu the Siamese rules the neighborhood, no matter how we feel about his walkabouts.  But lately he spends most of the time at home, on the roof of the car, or on the roof of the house.  Crazy cat, he seems to really like being on rooftops right now! I am always entertained by cats and where they choose to sleep and frolic.  Oh, and they are all 3 the greatest lizard wranglers of all time!  Currently they are chasing squirrels. (literally)

 comfort

That tongue hanging out slays me!

 three cats in a row
they tolerate the little guy sometimes.


Our kids and grand kids all seem to be doing really well.  God knows how grateful I am on that topic.  Once again, we are so grateful for all of the blessings.
Remember this guy and his crazy February a few years ago?

He is a completely normal amazing 11 year old now!  Miracles happen, y'all!
 Jenn also wears one of those super power capes.  As well, Victor! Miraculous, indeed.  Christian is in middle school! What??

(obviously Christmas time photo)

 Cade is a middle schooler. 
snagged this selfie off of his FB or IG or something. 

And Austin is in high school.
Austin does not post many photos.  Hard to find them of him. This one is almost a year old!


 So hard to believe I have grandchildren those ages already!  However, Tessa Jane has just hit a year and a half, and is as precious as any little girl ever!  Jon & Melissa are as busy as ever.  I am so totally in love with them all.  Children and grandchildren are such joys in our life.  Lovely!
And, an amazing threesome photo of many moods! Lol!




 Also, winter time photo. So funny!
Heart melts.  All four grandchildren have my heart around their pinkies. 

Dad & Mom with Tessa in the snow.  So sweet!

And Nurse Nina is fabulously involved in nursing and school once again.  She's the busiest person I know right now.  Working 2 jobs, going to school, traveling at every possible chance and living life.  She's up on the current event stuff, entertainment issues, community happenings.  I am exhausted just writing about it.  The coolest part is, since all of the kids live so far away, we get to have one here, who can visit on a regular schedule to keep us old folks up to date on the new(ish) things of the universe.  I'm sure she always leaves shaking her head wondering how we didn't know all that stuff, and we wave good bye to her thinking, "Holy cow!  HOW did we miss all that?"  Wish I could go back and tell my parents I get it now!  Thanks, Nina! xoxo


 Because I get asked, I will briefly go in to, yes, thank you.  I am feeling better.  I am still searching for some answers, but all-in-all, things have improved.  And I have found a wonderful healing doctor, who previously was a wonderful tap dancer/teacher.  Dr. Dana O'Keefe will be the one who gets me back in working order with her guidance and healing brilliance.  But having said that, I will also give credit to the other docs who have come before her to keep me off of the "cutting room" floor.  I can testify to living with autoimmune diseases (yes, more than 1), and surviving it.  But for those of you who think "that gluten thing" is a fad diet, I hope you never find you are allergic to it, because it is real.  I am currently undertaking the "Whole 30" life style and the improvements in my life are by leaps and bounds.  But this stuff isn't for Sissies!  Ugh.  Anyway, poise and grace, that's my hope!
My biggest accomplishment as far as my personal creative goals are concerned?
I FINISHED THIS PIECE!!!!  And I love it!  EEEkkkkkk!
( I kept it! and Paul hung it for me as a surprise --)
This is hundreds of hours of cutting, planning and gluing glass.  With all of the other things that happen in our lives, this is an entire year long project.  I am so thrilled to finish and move on to the next big piece.  Which is a desk.  Yes, I am mosaicing a desk.  Stay tuned!
One day I will figure out how to photograph glass better.  It is tricky ... glare every single angle! And I am not a very good photoshopper.  So I try to get it from the camera to the finished image.  Whatever. (lol)


So, there you are.  All caught up.  Thanks for stopping by.
I so hope spring has sprung (or there is at least hope for springing soon) where ever you are!
Blessings to each and every one of you.
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Friday, January 23, 2015

Gosh, but it was cold!
 The grandson's growth chart from the hall wall in the house




TODAY I said goodbye to our sweet house in the mountains of North Carolina.  The house in which we moved to in October of 2006 with so much excitement, adventure and passion.  And now I am waiting at the airport for a plane to take me away, back to the sunshine state to recover from the past week of moving and leaving.
Matters of the heart are just never easy, are they?  How can one have a broken heart, and a healed heart all at the same time?  When I took my last stroll through the house this morning, the memories of my first stroll through there were so vivid.  I guess because both times the house was empty of stuff, just the air inside the walls, and my thoughts.  The ancient and the modern, all mixed together to make the present.  
I have so many things to process, so many people to thank, so many emotions to work through, and so much rest to catch up on.  But truly, the gratitude I hold in my heart is so huge, what a wonderful world.  
To all of you who have helped, supported and we have met on the path, many, many thanks.
Blessings to you all,
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And to 546 Mill Road:
Thank you, sweet Jobe house.  You have truly been a blessing and a treasure.  And a big part of my little life.  You have taught me so many valuable lessons about love, defeat, determination, admiration, life, and strength.   I will always hold you dear.  Thanks for being a teacher and a healer.  Now I know why you came into my path here on earth.  And that it had nothing to do with luck and everything to do with purpose.   A tip of the hat, and a grande courtesy to you, dear house.
Your student and Goddess of the Verandah, St. Cheri of the Fairies

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Best is Yet to Come!

We are all awaiting it, aren't we?
  The best of the holidays is upon us.  The times when families get together, enjoy and celebrate things both new and old.  We all eat & drink too much, give to each other and say abundant grace.  I absolutely adore the holidays.  I am sure I always will.  I consider myself lucky.  I know some folks don't have fun and loving memories of this time of year.  I count this time of year amongst my greatest blessings!
This is the first year in ages that I haven't documented 30 days of thankful things on my blog.  But I have been saying thank you for the glorious blessings I have.  And not writing them in a blog doesn't mean they aren't felt, appreciated or documented.  This year has just been different in all kinds of ways.  It didn't seem necessary to blog about it all.   Honestly, I'm looking forward to 2015 and its new beginnings and continuous blessings.  

This Thanksgiving was enormously fabulous, as we were able to spend time in Atlanta with family and friends.  It was so incredible to be inside the bubble with my kids, grand kids and friends whom I only see every once in a blue moon.  As I said, I adore the holidays.


So, here in photos are what I've been up to ... if I don't post today, the month will roll over and I only have two posts in the whole month! Yikes!

 I am still working on this gigantic mosaic! It is in an old mirror frame off of a dresser I found at a garage sale for a few dollars.  It's about 2 feet wide and 3-1/2 feet tall.  I am enjoying watching this little scene come to life.  But it is one time consuming project!  Stay tuned!

Company dancers are such sweet rewards for some hard work.  They are always happy to dance, always wanting to learn more and always lovely to work with.  I have 23 girls in this dance I am choreographing.  I am so proud of each and every one of them.  I cannot wait to see this piece finished and on the stage! 

Sometimes there are peacocks in the neighborhood on our morning walk.  They are strangely comforting and absolutely stunning to see.  I enjoy those walks the most. (so far)
I'm in major production mode.  Hoping to get in the zone for a couple of solid weeks beginning tomorrow.  Many orders to fill ... so much creativity to conquer!  Cannot wait!!  
I love making these sketchbook covers and journals.



 Paul hung the pallet on the back wall.  I love opening the door in the morning and seeing this happy proclamation.  Life is so good!

Sarsaparilla has (re)appeared! 
 Here and there ...
The decorations have begun and it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here.  More on that later!  And so it begins.
'Tis the Season!
I hope it is a Season of great happiness, peace and good health for you and yours.
Blessings,
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