Tuesday, July 7, 2015

learning to play through...








I'm giddy packing to go.  I can't believe a stay at Grand View Lodge just fell into our lap.  I'm literally humming songs from "Dirty Dancing," as I hush the boy's bickering and get them to hurry up.  The memories go back to over 25 years, ago.  My brother worked many summers at the lodge, and we got to go as his "guests."  Words just can't begin to do it justice, and I rush back in the house for my camera, as I ready to go.  Will I even be able to sleep?

Just under 3 hours later, we pull up into the main lodge parking area and are instantly lulled by the scenic landscape that abounds everywhere- a postcard picture around every turn.  Where do we begin?





The boys see the shuffleboard in front of the lodge and are ready to play, even though we don't have our cabin yet.  Then they see the bikes, the paths, and the gaggle of kids running off to the next thing.  I feel the boy's giddiness fall in step with mine.  We just want to go.  And do.  And be.


This is the view off the deck, and its calling me out to the water already.  I throw my bags down, and before we are even inside, I am off to the lake, breathing as deep as my lungs will allow.



This boy- said quite firmly- he'd only go to golf.  Then scampered off alongside of me right down to the water and began skipping rocks instantly.  He is so my boy!  



I feel the water cleanse my feet, over and over again, His mercies fresh for me by the baptism of the water crashing over me, wave after wave. 


video



My mind stills as I take in my surroundings.






It's fairly evident where the name "Gull lake," comes from.  There is a carefree way the gulls fly in, and flutter a bit above, then just as quickly circle around and fly back the other way.  I'm entranced.


And so are the boys...

Merely a half hour after being at Grand View Lodge, the boys are already asking if we can come back next summer?  They hadn't even seen the whole place yet.  




It cooled off rapidly our first night and we got to light a campfire down on the beach.  We were soon joined by others, and had a relaxing, enjoyable night.  I slept, really, really well.



While the boys were up early the next morning with tee times for golf, the water was calling my name.  



It was the perfect temperature, warm, but not hot.  With lots of sunshine.  And a great read- a real page turner that does not disappoint!  








It takes a pretty special place to put an indoor pool, next to the beach, and both are kept busy simultaneously. 




And right between the pool and the beach?  A family style restaurant and bar.  You could play bingo, listen to live music, swim, and then eat dinner, all in your bare feet and swim suits. 


The best part of the pool?  The open sliding glass panels, that let parents sit outside in the sun, while the kids swim inside in the pool.  


I think a smile was permanently etched on his face the whole time.



This one loved that he gets to drive the boat now.  We brought our fishing boat, and the boys could often be found somewhere between the boat and the golf course.




It was Rick who kept telling me to wait until the lights came on to go and take a photo of the lodge.  I  swear, I expected "Baby" to trot past with a watermelon at any moment.





The view leaving the lodge was just as breath taking.





Every path seemed to lead to a hidden gem of one kind or another.  This one?  Pure sugar heaven.  Every kind of candy, from salt water taffy to jelly beans in every flavor,  and even ice cream was available.  We quickly discovered "happy hour," was from 6-8 pm- buy one ice cream cone- get one free.  We were regulars, just to be perfectly honest.


The golf courses were a brand new experience for our boys.  They were a whole new level of challenge and demanded the utmost focus and attention to detail, as well as good golf etiquette,  for our boys to play.  They have always watched The PGA on tv and this felt like they were playing on one of those courses.


So no Minnesota lake vacation is complete without a trip to the local Zorbaz for pizza.  


This one happened to come with an Elvis impersonator, and can I just say?  He was quite good!  There was a whole lot of dancing spontaneously erupting around us and tons of applause after each song.



Just a bit of one of his songs...

video



Our days went quick, and our nights even quicker.  But our moments were long, and full.  Could a girl ask for anything more?   The handiwork of God was so abundant and breath taking.  I simply sat in awe and surrendered to the whole experience.  




Yet, even though my heart is full, my spirit strong- my body is showing steady decline.  The "hard parts" are sitting side by side with the good. My stomach is distended, and cramps and aches after eating.  Its tender and uncomfortable often.  My blood work numbers are falling out of the "normal" range.  I am spending way more time in bed, trying to ease the discomfort, and rest from being tired.

I'm jittery from the big doses of steroids I have started, and shaking in my shoes, literally.  





Today the new adventure begins.

I will see the nurse practitioner at 8 as Dr. P is on vacation.  

A 3 drug- chemo-infusion begins at 9.

I'm learning to play through the hard parts... so my life can keep on singing.

Your prayers are so deeply felt.

I am a blessed girl.  


~All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all shall be well~ 













44 comments:

  1. You made me feel like I was at the lodge. What a special place for a special family. Best wishes as you go through this treatment. I will be thinking of you and your family. hugs.

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  2. I loved every bit of t, til the last part. But I love your brave heart, through it all.

    All shall be well, I believe.

    Your photos are gorgeous! What a blessing to enjoy this amazing place.

    Thanks for keeping us with you on this journey xxx

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    1. P.S. I loved All the Light We Cannot See so much!

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    2. Susan, thank YOU for coming along with me- does my heart good :) I am still savoring and reading the book :)

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  3. Learning to PLAY through it………it sounds so easy and fun, but so very hard to do. You are CHOOSING to play. What an inspiration!
    I believe in grief comes a few gifts and one of those is to live in the "raw" emotions. Emotions that are not stuffed way down that we are able to ignore, but emotions that are real, intense, very clear and purposeful and meaningful. Because of this "gift", I believe we are able to have a new appreciation for all the GOOD. For all that we used to ignore. Your ability to see this and share with all of us the GOOD in your life. Why your life is worth this fight, all in God's glory and helping us with our perspectives on what is important.
    Praying this new mix of chemo gives you relief and a rebirth of new cells that want to thrive and give you energy. Much love to you. ~the Schmidts. Paul, Nicole, Lindsey, Hannah and Andrew

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    1. Nicole and Schmidt family- how wonderful to see you here :) And what a beautiful and thoughtful response. I can tell it comes from a place of having walked a challenging path yourself. What you have said about grief resonates very deeply with me- we're left feeling very vulnerable and real emotions- so true. Yes- counting my gifts and offering gratitude for all I have is the way I have chosen to live and keep moving forward, despite the hard that comes along with it. You, have obviously "chosen" the same. I can see it in the way your whole family thrives, together- its truly a beautiful light you all have- a bond that circles round all of you. Sending much love and light back to you~ Vicky

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  4. Dirty Dancing is one of my all time favorite movies, seen it more times than I want to count. Partly because of my love of Patrick Swayze in that roll... and also because of the innocence of that period of time. Wonderful to know there are still places like this, where family can enjoy time together and with other families... what a beautiful place.

    I just finished that book as well.. it surprises, doesn't it? In it's truths and depth. A time we can't know much about, but it was so poignant in history.

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    1. Um.. that would be ROLE. *sigh.

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    2. I know- you had me at Patrick Swayze. I can't resist that movie- every time it sucks me right back in. I think you would love visiting a place like this :)


      I am still savoring the book- the depth is really amazing.

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  5. What a beautiful, wonderful place. So glad you were able to enjoy it and share those wonderful pictures with us. "Playing through it." - What great advice for so many circumstances in our lives.

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    1. Kass- Ann Voskamp never fails to put into words (that I can take with me) what I seem to be feeling at any given time. Yes- the place truly holds a special place in my heart.

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  6. What a divine place to rest and refresh one's soul. It seems to have just the right amount of activities with areas one can rest body and soul. Praying that you do well with this new treatment.

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    1. Thank you, Norma. Yes, I didn't get it all included even. There is a whole spa we walked past, and tennis courts and a basketball hoop, and boat tours you can do... the list just goes on and on.

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  7. I was dying of a thirst that your words and photos quenched my friend. I absolutely gulped them down and went back for more - scrolling over and over again.
    Playing through it...yes. So necessary but it is a choice, one you're teaching us how to make.
    I stopped and prayed for you and will continue to whisper your name at the throne of heaven today . Sending you more love than you can imagine xo

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    1. Robin- I loved that you were at a place that means so much to you at the same time I was here. Yes- its taken me so long to realize that in our Sara's "choose joy," motto, the "choose" part speaks just as equally to me. Thankful for both your prayers, and your love- praying you feel mine for you as well. xoxo

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  8. I've been to Grand View Lodge (not to stay...just to dine). It is as beautiful as your pictures show. Thank you for sharing that joyous time with your family with us. Praying this prayer, "May all be well..."

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    1. Roxanne, "just to dine" sounds like the perfect reason to go. Thankful for that specific prayer- its seeing me though.

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  9. love you! love this post! praying sweet friend - PRAYING!
    xo

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    1. Thankful, honey- love you right back~

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  10. Grand View Lodge is a stunner. I had no idea such a beautiful place existed and I'm SO glad you got to be there, now, in the moment, and also relive happy memories. Your photos are so perfectly representative and show like they are right out of a travel magazine. I know I would love to stay at this place.

    Not at all happy about how you're feeling physically and wishing you through it at three times the speed of sound. As I write this you have begun the hardest journey yet. But if ever there were a seasoned traveler with deep down skills and fortitude for the journey, it is you, dear friend and those muscles and abilities are hard, hard won.

    Believing. Loving. Praying. All shall be well.

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    1. You would love it, I think, Robynn. Its a great balance of nature, recreation, relaxation and your ability to pick and choose where and when you choose to partake. I loved walking in the cabin and finding the recycling bins right away. Back in the day, no tv's were put in the rooms, and the cabins were very rustic. Its more modernized, yet still retains the rustic charm of long ago. Thankful for you- have been in prayer for you and mom- love you friend.

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  11. Beautiful. Lord, please be with your child and comfort her through these treatments.

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    1. Praiseworthy words- so thankful to have them, Francis. Blessings to you~

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  12. That lost shot with the gull...I could feel what it was like to be there, Vicky. Thanks for giving me that splash of serenity in the middle of a crazy day. And the day I'm writing this is the one, and you have been constantly on my mind, and will continue to be...

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    1. That last one was so spontaneous, and such a gift when I saw I got the gull in that way. Thankful to have you with me in spirit and thought :)

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    1. My mind skipped right over the wrong word and had already read it as shot- too funny!

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  14. The thought Dirty Dancing was just perfect with your pictures. So. Awesome. I'm so glad you were able to have this little getaway. It looks like summer perfection!

    I'm listening to the same book on my commute to work this summer and am loving it so far. The best book I've "read" in quite a while!

    I hate you won't see Dr. P today, but am praying that all went well. Such a tough day and I am praying that you had lots of good distraction through it.

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    1. All went as well as it could. I saw a nurse practitioner that was well versed in treatment and my history. She even has an event planned next summer at the lodge and has never been, so we shared with her about our experiences there. The Benadryl got me good and I felt pretty sedated for a good share of my time there :)

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  15. What a wonderful respite for you. I am praying that it provided the fortification you needed for the medication to have few side effects. I do believe you are the example of courage right now. Many hugs to you across the miles

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    1. You're so sweet, Jenny, Thankful for your encouraging words and am sending those hugs right back to you~

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  16. You are in my prayers and never far my thoughts. What a wonderful time for all of you at Grand View. So glad you could stop into Zorbaz, too. :) Love to you.

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    1. Was thinking of you, Katy- knowing you were maybe not too far away. Hope you are enjoying some relaxation during this time away from school. Love you, sweet friend~

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  17. What a beautiful place to soak it all in! Glad to hear you enjoyed it and the photos are most excellent! Thoughts and prayers for strength and endurance with the infusions.

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    1. Thank you! I am longing to go back already :)

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  18. oh, Vicky. I am torn between such an admiration for your courage and persistent good nature, and my anger at the cancer that is stealing time from you.
    Please God, step in, make it easier for this sweet girl.

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    1. Hilary- I know- I have felt mad, sad, disappointment, fear, etc. I just feel it all for awhile and then have to let it go so I can keep moving forward. Somehow, I do- it all gets put back in balance and I am able to keep on. Thanks for keeping on, with me :)

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  19. Thank you for including us in your beautiful journey. I'm right there with you, now, going back through your pictures, living it alongside you.

    Your new blog look is so peaceful and welcoming, by the way.

    Love you. Praying, my friend. And the word Surrender planted itself in my heart.

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    1. Grateful to have you decide you want to come along, Julie. It touches me more than I can possible say. Love you, sweet friend.

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  20. It is indeed a wonderful place to visit and enjoy. Glad you had a good time to give you the boost you need for today. Keeping fingers crossed. xoxoxox

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    1. Thank you, friend- crossing my fingers right along with you :) xoxo

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  21. I finally had a moment to read...and then I had to re-read. I to love the movie dirty dancing. I love the lodge and all the pictures. I love more that you all could have this time before Chemo together. I wonder often at how fear, pain, the unknown...takes a hold of us. How when it does we have to make a choice to succumb to it or rise above it. Yet always we first have to 'FEEL' it. I think the only way to ever rise above it is to truly "FEEL' it first. Yet the process is not a easy one... it's just never easy. As Many times as I have been in that spot, it never ever gets easier. Then I always look into the heavens and wonder "what am I to learn from his process?" faith, letting go, believing, grace,..... Yes, these things I do learn...however to overcome is just sometimes a daily challenge, waking up and reminding myself...every day...all shall be well, all shall be well. So much love and so many prayers wrapped around you. Not just you, but 'your men' who also love you so and walk this journey with you. Know that each day, I pray for you, I pray for that strength to overcome, to live fully and that Joy and laughter find you in those hard places. love you Vicky!

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  22. Oh my sweet friend,
    I am back from my own respite and family time away. You have been in my thoughts and heart and each night as we gathered for dinner, held hands and thanked God....you were there too.

    What a magnificent trip you had!! I am overjoyed that you got to go there. And your pictures and descriptions...wonderful! I felt like I had a second time away as I soaked up Grand View Lodge, the gulls, the view, Nolan driving a boat, imagining the boys playing golf...you by the water. Isn't summer reading just so much pleasure. The words wash right over us.

    And, as always, you share your joy, your grace, your gratitude and then squeeze in how you are. My tears flowed as I read about you shaking in your shoes, literally. You... in bed resting as the storm hits and you fight the battle.

    You...oh gracious friend... are a warrior! You have it in you to do this. If you ever doubt that, remember that you are surrounded by love and prayers, you are His daughter and He is in this with you. This is hard, really hard and I know it must bring a roller coaster of feelings.
    There are thousands of us, around the globe, who are in this with you. We are prayer warriors, fighting with you. We are asking, no beseeching God for more time for you. Days and weeks and months and years. I am here, no matter what.

    And your Ann Voscamp quotation...hit my heart, split it right open with the truth of it.
    So, so true. We can't really play unless we learn to play through the hard parts.
    You are doing that and all shall be well dear soul sis. Yes, all shall be well!

    I love you Vicky, to the moon and back!
    Linda

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