Starry summer skies

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Greetings friends and family! I know that it has been awhile since I last blogged, but I can only say it is because I have been having too much fun outdoors to be indoors writing! This summer has been jam—packed with sand under our toes, dinners out by the water, mini-golf tournaments and date nights in the city. We’ve had family over visiting us in our (almost not-new-anymore) house, weekends lazily enjoying all that the Cape has to offer, exploring our new marketplace in town, inviting friends over for sleepovers during the week (so adventurous!), and spending time in Europe exploring those amazing little alleys full of cafes and boutiques and wandering around ancient ruins like Ephesus in Turkey. We loved our summer vacation– walking around the old high city walls of Dubrovnik, eating pizza and beer overlooking the Adriatic and admiring the kayakers. Our lunch in the Plaka in Athens was to be remembered, for sure—spanakopita so good that we ordered more (those crazy Americans!), tzaziki and fresh Greek salad (though maybe there they just call it “salad”), and gyros with little bottles of Coca-Cola light (I treated myself to one). We enjoyed views from the highest point in Athens, Mount Lycebettus, and taking selfies from the Temple of Zeus. Kushadesi felt exotic and like we were so far away, and after the ruins (which are really something to see), I loved trying real Turkish coffee down by by the water! Split was charming and quiet—Diocletian’s Palace and a river boat cruise that dropped us off along the river for a typical Croatian snack of meats, breads, cheeses, and wine, all while being treated to classic Croatian music, then more drinks on the “riverwalk.” On the cruise ship we swam, played in trivia games, read, got massages, and played tennis. It’s been amazing to have this time to just simply enjoy ourselves, no small feat after the last year that we’ve had.
DSC03735 SHL and I loved our day in the Plaka in Athens, Greece!

A couple of weeks ago I had some follow-up scans to the ones in June and beforehand, and thank g-d, everything looked good. It’s always so difficult to breathe leading up to these scans, and afterwards I can feel myself exhale, thank g-d, and then thank my family and friends who pray and love and support me. It’s not just on these days that I feel the gratitude—but especially on these days, I do realize the amazing benefit of having such a close network of people to stand by Sean and I during these tough times. Even on non-scan days, my anxiety level can sometimes reach to epic proportions, and I wonder how far I should let it get. Should I tap into the fear and the emotions and let myself sob, rage, and ask the universe “why me?” Or should I shut it down? Go back to the positive thoughts and the meditating, and not let myself sink into the feelings of despair that can come with the thought of having to live with cancer. Most of the time, I settle for something in between—some tears, some questions, some fear. The truth is, I’m terrified of letting myself go to that deep, dark place—though sometimes I feel that I need to go there in order to be able to authentically then get back to where I want (and need) to be, which is a much safer emotional place. Then I think, “I am living- thriving, can I say?” “I am alive.” Kris Carr would, I hope, be proud.

I am not comparing myself to Kris Carr, as she lives a totally different kind of lifestyle than I do—Kris Carr, the 3 green juice “goddess” smoothies a day-writing her 4th book- speaking at national conferences-Kris Carr. But I do look to her as a source of great inspiration. She has cancer, but she also has a life. She has a husband, a job, family, friends, and hobbies. If I have to have cancer, then that’s what I want. A life. And not just a run-of-the-mill-I-guess-I’m-happy kind of life, but a majestic life. I don’t need to climb Mount Everest or swim with sharks to feel that I’m living. I feel it every day, in the relationships that I’ve cultivated throughout my lifetime. I feel it when I meet my Mom for a quick lunch during the work week and I’m late running back to work because we’re enjoying each other’s company so much that we just lose track of time. I feel it in the way that happens when I walk in the door and SHL is there to greet me with one of his hugs. I feel it in the way that my best friends call me to ask my advice or to come visit. I feel it in the way that my nephew cuddles up with me on the couch when I read to him, or in the way that I help somebody in a difficult time at work. I feel it in the long emails back and forth with my cousin, the random gifts of inspirational (and signed by the author nonetheless!) books in the mail and dinners on our plates from friends of friends whom we hardly know—and I feel it from all of you, all of the time. I’ve always known this, but I’m sop much more in tune with it now: The most important part of life (at least for me) is about love and the fulfillment of our beautiful relationships.

I am striving to continue to create that happy life, and part of the process is around work. While I feel that my personal life is flourishing, I do wonder if having such a stressful job with such little flexibility is taking it’s toll on me. I’m not quite sure what the answer is to that, but it’s something that I’m trying to figure out.

So Happy End Of Summer everybody. This last week of August and beyond I hope will be filled with more joy and most importantly good health for me (and you too!). I recently went to Miami to visit Marla, where I got to enjoy (uh, kind of!) my first real green smoothie that she made for me.

Sam's first green smoothie
(I came home and attempted a version myself, a little bit more heavy on the fruits than the veggies, but still got my kale in). This past weekend we enjoyed a family weekend on the Cape and at the end of the weekend my nephew Matthew (a.k.a. my little pop-tart) called me the “best spinning Auntie Sam ever” because I spun him around and around… and around, until I thought that one of us was sure to lose our lunch!
Matthew and Auntie Sam
I have loved these summer months of catching up with friends over long dinners, playing tennis, cooking on the grill and making homemade sorbet. After the winter that we just had up North, we all deserved a really nice, long, hot summer. But the truth is, we all deserve nice, long, warm days all of the time— As Deepak Chopra reminds me in my meditations, it’s our birthright to be happy. Strive for that yourselves, if that speaks to you. I know that it speaks to me. What can I do to invite joy, good health, and peace into my life, today and every day? Whether it’s smoothies (today’s was a new recipe– coconut/almond with a banana), a good book, a vacation with your family just getting away from it all, or relaxing into a favorite hobby, take stock of where you are in life, and where you’d like to be. Just being more mindful of how you take care of yourself, want you want and don’t want, and how to practice more gratitude, can make life perhaps seem more fulfilling. I know that it has for me, and I know that I’ll continue to strive towards better self-care and health.

With hope, gratitude, love, grillin’ and starry summer skies,

Sam xoxo