Monday, October 10, 2016

Catching up

 Light gives of itself freely, filling all available space.  It does not seek anything in return; it asks not whether you are friend or foe.  It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished.  ~Michael Strassfeld

Last weekend Rick surprised me with a little get-away.  We'd tried all summer to find a last minute deal on a cabin at Grand View Lodge, but nothing fell within our budget.  So we felt pretty lucky to finally get a really good deal on a room, despite the fact it was only for the two of us.  

Reveling in the fact we had no agenda to adhere to, we took off, letting Siri route us through the back roads to Brainerd.  We simply wanted to enjoy the scenery and photograph to our hearts content.  

By dinner time we arrived.  We'd be staying in a room in the lodge itself.  But the light... oh the light... drew me right past the lodge and around to the breathtaking front.  

I felt it instantly, but couldn't figure it out.  What was so different?  I didn't care, I simply immersed myself fully in the pine scent hitting my nose, the sunshine flooding my face, and the sound of the waves rapping against the shoreline.  

I turned back around, as my lungs started to burn, and my breathing grew labored.  

But each step helped me shed another layer of burden I've been shrouded in for so long. On I went... 

I made it down to the water and thrust my feet in, the lapping water cleansing more than just my feet. 

It took a rather large quantity of caffeine for me to venture back  down to the shore after dinner.  I have to be cajoled at times, into not withdrawing into myself too long, and too often.  

But between the campfire, the gorgeous sunset, and the company of superman, I was so happy to discover the serenity that enveloped me. 

Around every corner it seemed, the light peeked through, beckoning me forward, despite the weariness I so often feel.

The next morning, while the main dining room was closed, we were provided breakfast and the food never disappoints.

Our second day was just as warm and light-filled as the first.

The leaves seemed to be turning colors before our very eyes.

Rick and I loved driving around, the tree-lined hills pulling us around the bend, over the hills, and up the mountain for our next grand view.  I snapped oodles of photos, as the all too familiar aching started climbing through my back.

I love that Rick always graciously answers yes, to taking photographs of others.  We've been gifted ourselves with photos that are dear to us, and we always seek to pay it forward in some small way.  He literally got to shoot a newborn, in her first family photo by the lodge- it has Christmas Card written all over it.  

Down to the water for one last trip, and we fully saw what the other guests had been talking about.  We knew something was different and it slowly started to occur to us.  It seems a big storm had gone through the property, and the deck that had seated dining guests, and a whole bunch of tall thin trees, had been snapped in the wind.  The view has become so "open" and truly gives it a fresh appeal.

But it's still "lodgy" enough for me to wonder where Baby is with her watermelon?  

The sun was just going down, as I took my last trip back up the stairs.  My fitbit started buzzing as I officially hit 10,000 steps and reached a new recored of 26 flights of stairs.  But my back had soaked in and registered each step and pain was shooting through my shoulder blade. Superman whisked me off to retreat to our room, finding meds to ease the discomfort.  I can't fight against it like I once could.  More than ever, I find myself yielding to it, surrendering to what is.  

We leave the next morning on a drizzly day.  With each fluttering leaf that falls, I feel the life-giving warmth of the sunshine grow more distant, and a sense of it's loss settles in. 

Its days later, I sit down to go through all of my photos.  Photo after photo, the light floods over me, and joy spills through.  It's the pure abundance of all the blessed moments that washes over everything.  It's why I have to lean in to the hard.  Embrace the mess.  Walk along the gritty path. The light always finds its way through the dark, we just have to believe. 

After a wonderful Breast Cancer Survivor's night event a week ago, along with all the goodies we received that night- my friend Sue gave me a card- filled, I mean FILLED with the names of all the people who so graciously donated to my wig fund!  I was speechless!!    

Just some of the names are  on the card below on the right- if you flipped the page over- more names were on the back!! And the big reveal below...

I have no idea what I should name my new hairpiece?  She has soft highlights, and  we cut bangs into her.  The wind was blowing all around, and yet she didn't threaten to move an inch.   The smile never left my face. I'm deeply moved, and extremely grateful for all the sweet words, the generous giving, and the thoughtfulness of so many.   

Dr. appointment then infusion tomorrow and a full week ahead- with yet another big surprise left to reveal... 


  1. What a poet you are, Lovey. I had just come off of the political posts after last night's debates and it was truly a "from the ridiculous to sublime" moment for me, reading your words. I heaved a very cleansing sigh as I watched the light with you and took in all the beauty you described and photographed. I love that place and have seen it in your photos before. It felt like a revisit for me, too.

    And it helped me to think of and embrace that storm that tore something out but left something new and, maybe, better. More light. We weep when we visit our property in the Sierra Mountains because the bark beetle has devastated half our pine trees and there is no stopping point in sight. We may be left with only oaks and new baby pines that are struggling against the devastation. But it will never again in our lifetime be the forest of the last thousands of years. That is weep worthy and is directly attributable to climate change. But with each tree that has to be removed we see a brilliant sky at night and we have far reaching views. We MUST find the good and you always point us to it with your heart and your words.

    And the wig is darling on you. BLESS your friends! Love you, Vicky.

    1. Oh goodness, you make me lonnnggg for your beautiful and humorous writing when I read your thoughtful words here. I love hearing about your property and knowing you have a place of retreat and replenishment. Its hard to see those fixtures we come to know and love, be broken down and removed by whatever means. But we can sure be surprised by what is uncovered at times. Love you, Robynn.

  2. Beautiful post!I agree with Robynn. I much prefer the "sublimity" of your "light" experience than the "heaviness" of recent politics.

    1. Feels refreshing to me to have you put it in those exact words. Thanks, Kass :)

  3. Beautiful post, Vicky. So glad you got a little get away with your man. So sorry you were in pain for part of it. Looking forward to your big surprise. I continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    1. Thank you Katie, yes- revealing our next big thing soon! So thankful to have you here and for all those thoughts and prayers.

  4. Oh my sweet friend,
    How grateful I am for the "light" you shared in each amazing photograph and your quotations that
    touched my heart. You are so right...the light ALWAYS finds its way through the dark...we just have to believe.

    Ahhh... a get away for you and your superman, a bit of time for retreat and catching up. A lodge, wonderful food, a chance to take photograph after photograph. Thank you for taking us along.

    And I LOVE Stella's replacement. We could have a small contest about naming her, but I vote for what Robin said..."DARLING!" Remember the old Billy Crystal saying..."You look marvelous darling."
    You do! And ALL of those names...God bless them! They represent so much LOVE for you, dear Vicky. You are a treasure and so, so loved!!!
    Love you to the moon and back, Vicky Held Westra, ALWAYS!

    1. Love you right back Linda! Thank you for coming along and celebrating the good with me and supporting me through the not so great. The abundance of the blessings I feel doesn't ever leave me- it still overwhelms me in a humbling way. To the moon and all the way back, friend!

  5. Hello Beautiful! I don't think this wig has a name! It is so perfect, so real that it seems to me it's simply you, simply Vicky! what a wonderful Gift. It truly looks so natural and so 'you'. I would never ever know it was a wig. You simply look beautiful...and you sparkle and shine in that picture. I have read your other post. I am sorry to hear about the pain you are having in your back. OH MY! Maybe a way to look at this 'new' pain is to consider it growing pains?! Do you realize how you have grown into this journey? Step by step one day at a time, you have grown into this journey of living with stage 4 breast cancer. I stumbled across you in Jan. 2013. I marvel at how the acceptance of this journey has come, day by day over time.... I came on here last night, hopping you had posted. I needed a post, because your post always seem to uplift me. Your real humbles me and speaks to me in ways I cant express. Growing pains are real, and you are growing in this journey in ways that show super woman strength. I will pray that somehow, some way these pains can subside and be taken away. Its ok to give into the meds! I so loved all your pictures of 'light' this part of your post touched me deeply, "With each fluttering leaf that falls, I feel the life-giving warmth of the sunshine grow more distant, and a sense of it's loss settles in." In this simple profound statement you shared what is a deep truth inside you, this journey has taken things...the loss is great. I think we can only imagine the strength it takes to pull yourself back into the sunshine, time and time again. Yet Vicky, you are the sunshine! you may not see it, may not know it like we do... YOU ARE SUNSHINE, on my cloudy days I come to visit with you. So in those moments of hard. Remember the sunshine dwells within you! I so needed to read, sit awhile and listen to blessed I am by you!!! Love you!

    1. So great to log in and see your see words here, Miss P! Growing pains- I like your perspective. Its true I would never go back to who I was before- and pain definitely brings a whole new dimension to life. And I do always feel like I don't just choose for myself- I make sure to keep choosing for others too- it isn't just about me, right? I always have to think of this as easy as it would be at times not to... good food for thought!! Thanks friend- love you!

  6. Sweet post....and beautiful photos of a getaway that you and Rick enjoyed.
    Thankful for your SuperMan....and love you beyond words, my friend.
    Continued prayers for my blogging friend from afar....but always near in my heart.

    1. Thank you, Jackie, brings a smile to my face every time I see you here- my long time blogging friend from afar. Beyond words- yes- love that goes deep and wide. xoxo

  7. Replies
    1. Oh thank you, Libby, I wonder so often how you are doing! Hugs right back to you!!


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