Sunday, January 1, 2017

One little word... 2017

It probably started with the coffee stain.  It repeatedly caught my eye as I trudged up and down the arena steps.  Somehow a sticky dark substance had spilled, and run and trickled into a little pool, in the exact shape of a heart.  I pondered if it was picture worthy?  But I simply smiled and huffed my way past each time, the image seared in my mind.  It's funny how these little tiny things, can somehow have such a big impact, if you let them.  But let me back up a couple of weeks,  and explain a bit more...


I heard someone say the word normal can only be found as a setting on your washing machine.  Touche.  Yet I was determined this Christmas to come as close to "normal" for our family as I could. But the abundance of blessings we felt from friends and family, was beyond the confines of that simple word.  I'm not even sure when it began? Just one thing- which led to another thing...


For the longest time, the surprise arrival of this tree ornament was a mystery to us.  But the delight of someone making a family heirloom piece we can put on our tree each year, is treasured by me.  It made perfect sense when our friend Ria mentioned it to me- she is after all the vision behind the photos that continue to make my heart soar.  Thank you, Ria.


And when the hockey loving sons, receive cool hats and t-shirts from Teags & Ry, how can we not feel special?  Their product line continues to expand in such fun and unique ways!  You'll have to just click the link to see for yourself.  Thanks Alyse and Jayme!  




With boxes and cards arriving continuously,  the magic of the season grew daily.  I treasure this handmade clock from my sweet friend Peggy in Missouri.  A vintage card carefully decoupaged on this wooden piece with my favorite shade of blue in the background.  It's sitting next to my computer desk so I can see it daily.  We loved the goodies you sent us- so thankful Peggy!



Eileen, in California, sends us this beloved vintage hockey calendar each year.  It's so authentic, it makes you want to walk right into the picture and lace up your skates.  So touched Eileen- thank you!


The hockey stick and mask ornament have been on our tree for many years- but the surprise of the orange spud ornament was just perfect.  Thank you, Heidi!  The boys love it! 


Linda's box arrived with this sleigh wrapped in plastic, and a bottle of sparkling cider that happens to be Colton's favorite.  I tucked the sleigh under the tree to open for Christmas.  It was filled with goodies and fun things.  I miss my mom and the way she would make Christmas so special for us- and Linda helps me feel like my mom is right there with us after all.  To the moon and back, Linda.


From the 10 dozen cookies we received from a cookie exchange- so yummy and fun to eat- to the gift cards for our kids- beyond touched by everyone's thoughtfulness- we truly had a meaningful and memorable Christmas.  






Nolan's been living in a story that I could write about for days.   But he is 16, and placing his trust and confidence in his mom.  So when the young man of few words says he "feels like he needs to go to church- to feel better?"  Its all the gift I really need from him.  He raises his candle high and I hear his voice ring out... and I just think, "Let it shine, Nolan.  Always remember to seek the glow of the light when you feel alone in the dark." 


Even Santa celebrated the birth of baby Jesus on Christmas Eve.  Oh my heart.


The tree and I seem to have shrunk over the years, as the "3" boys continue to grow.  But those smiles simply say, we had a joyful Christmas with so many friends and family with us in spirit and some in person, as well.



With a couple of days to recover... we were soon off on a trip. 


It wouldn't be Christmas if it weren't for a hockey holiday tournament in St. Louis Park.  I was thrilled with feeling well enough to travel with Rick for 3 days, to watch Nolan play.


Thankfully, my hidden secret was this espresso coffee machine in the hotel.  It was truly like a coffee house version of a cuppa joe and gave me the added boost of energy to engage each day.




I relished the sun and warmth not so typical for late December in Minnesota.


Despite using a handicapped sticker for parking, I was struggling for air by the time I walked inside the arena on some days.  Standing at the boards to watch leaves me with cramps in my toes and legs later in the evening, so I climb the stairs to sit.  Slowing if I need to, but always pushing through.  Just keep going, I tell myself.  Nolan and I share this feeling of straddling the line between two worlds, wondering where we fit?  Is he Junior Varsity?  Is he Varsity?  All he can do is keep showing up, just like me.  



On our last day, Nolan texts me that he'll play Varsity his last day, due to an injury by one of his teammates.  Its always bittersweet.  

 I pull my suitcase out to the car, and can't seem to breathe deeply for a long time afterwards.  So I sit on the nearest bench in the rink, conceding, I need just a little help.  And our hockey community rises up to offer water, and to walk with me when I'm ready.  

I climb the stairs, and as I stop to gather my last bit of resolve- there it is again.  The coffee stain shaped like a heart, sitting by the very step I've stopped to rest.  I've been drawn to it yet again.  So onward I go.

And somehow Nolan is feeling it too.  He skates fast, and gets knocked down along the board drawing a checking from behind penalty for the other team.  But he bounces right up.  Onward he goes too, strong and determined.

Then this...  the next move he goes backhand and sinks the puck into the net!  


His teammates celebrate with him, as my heart soars.  We go on to win the game. 




It's sealed when he comes out of the locker room with the hard hat on.  The goalie, his friend Lance, awarded it to him.  It's a tiny moment, with a big impact that's helped propel us forward yet again.





We're home again, about to begin "chemo nesting."  I'll have labs drawn early Tuesday morning, and a visit with a nurse practitioner, then infusion on Tuesday.  


But I linger here, in my new quiet computer space.  What should my new word be?   What has been made abundantly clear to me,  at the "heart" of everything, just like that coffee stain... is one thing.  So why not just lead with my heart?




As we head off into the new year of 2017, my one little word is love.  







23 comments:

  1. What a perfect word, Vicky. How could anyone argue or resist? It was made for such a year as this, and for such a person as you, with all the love you have to give, and receive. Love you lots! And just as I was reading this, I saw that you had left a comment on my blog, so I will go now and read that. Just a bit ago my sweet friend Karla, whom you met at Olivia's graduation party, was asking about you. :) I look forward to seeing you; I hope it's soon. XOXO Roxane (Happy New Year!)

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    1. I hope to see you soon as well! Chemo knocked me down a bit, and will continue to do so I suspect, but I will have one week where I feel decent I hope. I know your own schedule isn't any less busy! But we always find a way. Love you friend~

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  2. What more perfect word than the one that most perfectly defines you. You exude His love in every word you write. Blessed to follow your journey--through it all, His love shines bright.

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    1. How cool to see you pop in here, and then to give such high praise, I'm truly honored. Thank you Holly, your own way through this journey, taught me so much of who and how I want to be! Blessed to do this together with your support!

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  3. I'm reading this on my Smart Phone and this smallness combined with the message and the last picture resonates in a very sweet way.

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    1. I struggle with the smallness, but if its what I have, I struggle away! If any part of the post resonates with you, then I'm truly honored by that very thing! Love to you dear Kass!

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  4. I'm so happy to read you could travel to the Twin Cites with your family for Nolan's hockey games. Got a good laugh out of the coffee machine at your motel. I am obsessed with GOOD coffee so I can just imagine how exited you were to have your own espresso machine!!! You will be in my prayers this week Vicky and will send good thoughts your way.

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    1. Lisa- that coffee machine was my saving grace! And it tasted full strength and gave me that boost to get through the day into the early evening! Its always those little extras that can make it for us, right? Thankful for your prayers! Love and blessings to you!

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  5. An excellent choice, love is the more excellent way, as it says in 1st Corinthians. Your post made me smile, over and over. I can certainly relate to how good coffee can make a day go better.

    Love shines between your words, dear Vicky. Prayers for a loving, joyful New Year for you and your family. (BTW,love the photo of you and your young men! Your boys are growing so tall:-)

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    1. Thank you Susan- for your kind words and compliments on my not so little family. I pray that your 2017 is equally blessed- love seeing photos of your travels and the amazing coffee photos as well!! Love and blessings to you!

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  6. Thank you for sharing the many blessings of your most beautiful family Christmas, a travel to see your son play, and the espresso delight at the hotel...and that heart stain...all about love..what a most perfect word for 20017.
    I hold you dear one in love and light as this next week of treatments begin.
    Kristin

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    1. Thank you for your kind words- your sweet support truly uplifts me and helps keep me going- much love to you, Kristin!

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  7. What a lovely view into your daily life! Thanks for sharing it with me. You just keep keeping on...showing up. I was amazed again by the use of the word RESOLVE in your post. God blessed me with a new Blog title New Year's Eve after I spent weeks trying to come up with a new blog title. I used to be at Jan's Place but now I'm at http://strengtheningmyresolve.blogspot.com/ - Yes RESOLVE!! I'd love to see you stop by if you can.

    Blessings to you and yours in 2017...
    Jan

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    1. I skipped responding here to you and visited your new blog instead! Resolve is a great word and I think you will continue to find new ways it presents itself to you! Blessings to you~

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  8. Oh honey,
    It is a cold snowy day here in Spokane and I am holding a warm cup of coffee as I cherish each word in your new post. I am so grateful to God that you are HERE, soaking up life, going to Nolan's hockey games, seeing him score a GOAL!!! I can just imagine you cheering for him.
    On top of that, he asks to go to church to feel better. Bless his heart! And all of those magical,
    "normal" moments as you celebrated Christmas together. I am so glad that the sleigh and sparking cider put a smile on your faces. Praise God you are here to see a heart stain and
    see and celebrate another Christmas with your sweet family.

    And your new word for this year could not be more perfect. It is all about LOVE isn't it, dear friend. You radiate Love as you see and care and support others. You radiate His love as you pray for us and share your story and cherish your moments. You radiate love as you choose JOY in the toughest of times. You are SO loved, my dear soul sis and you make the world a better place, more filled with hope and love, by being here!

    I love you to the moon and back, Vicky Held Westra! Happy New Year, dear friend!!
    Loves and hugs and prayers coming your way!
    Linda

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    1. I read through your words and my grin grows and grows- you're like a mighty cheerleader for me and I marvel at how I got so lucky in crossing paths with you! You are the epitome of love and continue to show me so much of it dear one- love you-deep and wide.

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  9. i can't say it any better than Holly did. love to you from GA on the second day of this new year.

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    1. I'm so glad you put Holly's words in my hands- and to see her pop in here truly warms my heart- as do you dear one. Blessings and love to you~

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  10. Vicky!!!!! That's my word!!!! Ohhhhhhh wow!!!!! Tears, tears, tears.

    And there's so much love and heart in this post. Mine goes live tomorrow, about love.

    So much love, my friend,

    Julie~

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    1. I still marvel at how we picked the same word! Holy goosebumps- you've taught me just what to say! I've read your version and loved it so and I have to go and see if I managed to say anything or not? So much love right back to you!

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  11. Vicky... love your pics. Your boys are such handsome young men. You continue to be in my prayers.

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    1. Thank you, Katie, its always so great to see you here! Love and blessings to you!

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  12. Perfect word for you and so needed in today's world that seems so filled with anything BUT love. Sorry to be so out of pocket. I'm catching up tonight. Grateful to see that your Christmas was so very special. XO

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I welcome what you have to say. Thanks for taking the time to grace me with your thoughts and words!

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