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Stop to Smell the Roses

Updated: May 21, 2023

I know that most everyone has heard that expression. When I was a little girl, and I would spend summer vacation in California with my grandmother, she would routinely fill our heads with fun sayings that had nothing to do with anything we thought she was actually saying! I can laugh at that now. For me, stop and smell the roses was just a literal, stop and smell the roses piece of advice, though why my grandmother was so caught up in that routine, I had no clue. To be clear, and in retrospect, the reason she was passing on that pearl of wisdom was because I was running around like a crazy kid with never enough time to do all the things I thought would pass me by if I didn't do them. Following me or confused?

What she was trying to tell me, of course, was to slow down and enjoy those things you are doing and want to do as opposed to packing everything in so tightly that you never get anything accomplished, or if you do it is always only halfway or partially done.

My journey over the last almost year with cancer has made me appreciate that saying in a way I wish I could thank her for now. While I do indeed love to smell roses and unless you are allergic who doesn't, I love the aspect of life that has only come to me recently that calls me to consider what truly matters and what I can "afford" to give up.

A few weeks ago, my doctor found a dark spot on my scan and sent it out to another doctor for a second opinion. My treatments were really knocking me out and I felt I would slip back into a funk if something didn't change. The second opinion came back inconclusive and so another scan was ordered.

Yesterday, in the bright and early morning, I received the news that not only was my scan clear of that dark spot, it was "clear, clear." As in it was completely clear of any tumor whatsoever! I was so excited and full of glee that all day long people kept telling me I looked like I was glowing ( I was!).

What this all made me think of, besides the joy of no treatments hopefully forever, was my grandmother's advice to stop and smell the roses. It made me put the last year in review and acknowledge the accomplishments I have made and continue to make.

I published my first book. I have been working (though not as diligently as I think I should....stop and smell the roses Bonnie!) on my second book, I have managed to endure what seems like endless treatments and celebrate a little bit of progress at a time. I created a Zen garden and conversation area in my backyard to be able to visit with friends and family and to just sit and meditate or listen to beautiful music and enjoy the company of the myriad of birds that come to visit. I notice things much more...people, nature, etc. I started a year long program at Westmont College for pastors that I am so blessed to have been accepted in. When challenged (okay ordered) by my doctor to lose the 40 lbs I had gained since I started treatment and get off my derrière and exercise, I thought I wasn't going to be able to do it without an all out massive push on my part...then the reminder to stop and smell the roses. Finding the right nutrition coach along with the right exercise program has me now looking at the little things that have changed in my health as I've traveled the cancer journey. I can walk my Tasmanian devil husky for almost 3 miles without feeling like I have to call the boys to come pick us up because I just can't walk any further. My knee and hip issues are starting to heal and strengthen and I managed 1250 meters of a "WOG" {my new 'urban term' for Jog (75%)/Walk (25%) combo} yesterday. Today I deadlifted 95 lbs...20 lbs more than I've ever done. I am sleeping better. I am eating completely differently and have learned to adapt based on how I am feeling after treatments without feeling deprived.

Best of all, I feel like a completely different person. Why? Because I have chosen to allow joy to seep into my whole being as I have faced the challenges put before me. And with each little accomplishment, I stop to smell the roses and drink in the sweet smell of small successes. I have taken to heart the literal and whimsical feelings of smelling the roses. I have looked to God's ever present beauty as inspiration to be a part of my healing processes and have patiently awaited the chance to stop and continually smell the roses as they are presented to me each day. I hope you will do the same for yourselves!!

Here is our poem for reflection and journaling for today:

"Stop, smell the roses,

Focus on the little things,

Let joy in to fill."

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Tom Cochrun
Tom Cochrun

Great news all around! I had to chuckle at "WOG!" Good word though. Cheers!

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