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FAMILY/ Leaving A Legacy/ Parenting

Leaving A Legacy For My 3 Girls – Find The Gifts

Leaving a Legacy


As a 2-time cancer survivor, I look at life with tangible knowledge that life could end at any given moment.  None of us know how long we have here on this earth.  This legacy series to my 3 girls…my lovelies… is my way of attempting to leave a legacy for them.  To speak of what is most important for them to know from me, their forever Mom.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

{25.00 printable from Breazy Tulip}

Hello Lovlies,
It is June 2013 and you are all three home for the summer.  I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed having you all home.  Honestly, in past summers I had to adjust to a house full, but not this summer.  This summer I am reveling in the moments, and I love watching all three of you just be who you are throughout the day.  I am so proud to be your Mom…and so thankful for you.

I wanted to share with you how I have discovered how to live this verse.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice evermore.
Pray without ceasing.
In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

I remember reading this verse when I was younger and thinking…how?  HOW IN THE WORLD does one rejoice evermore, pray always, & give thanks for everything?

But I have learned.

I have learned that rejoice evermore is so not a fake smile and a pretending to be happy at all times. It is a deep joy, that even in life’s hardest moments we have hope of heaven & the knowledge that God loves us, more than we can even fathom.

I have learned how to pray without ceasing.  It is just an ongoing conversation, a relationship with God and an acknowledgement of Him in your day.  You don’t always have to be on your hands and knees, although there are times for that.  Most of the time it is just heart whispers between me and my Creator. Sometimes just one word.  Like, “Help.”  If you are in relationship with someone, you are aware of their presence.  Become aware that He is with you always, ready to listen, totally understands it all, and loves you, loves you, loves you.

I have learned what it looks like to give thanks for everything.  Does that mean I do it all the time?  No. But I get what it means and have experienced the freedom and peace that it brings, which is so very beautiful.  I get why God tells us to do this.  And…I believe it is the key to living this entire verse.

I read Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, and it changed me.  She encourages you to count gifts throughout your day. From the big–like health & home; to the seemingly small–like a smile from a stranger. She asks you to start making a list.  I did just that on this blog in my One Thousand Gifts series, and even made it to 1,000.

Here is what I learned:

~When you start to list gifts, your eyes are opened to the many, many gifts you would have missed otherwise.  I found myself rejoicing in awe at a seed that becomes a plant, or the specks of green in your eyes that match mine, or a curl resting on your cheek.  Noticing the things I usually would not notice brought great joy.  This is how I am learning to “rejoice evermore.”

~When you list gifts, it starts to become part of your thinking, and you find yourself giving thanks in everything, even the hard moments.  You remember how God was faithful in previous hard moments, as you looked for what to be thankful for within them. You know He is faithful and will do it again. He shows us the most precious parts of Himself and our need for Him in those hard moments.  Without them, we would not need Him.  This is how to be thankful for the hard. This is how to “give thanks in everything.”

~When you list the gifts, you form a heart of thanksgiving, and when you are offering up thanksgiving, you are praying.  This is often how I find myself “praying without ceasing.”


It is not always easy to have a thankful heart, God understands that.  But strive for one. I can’t tell you how much this has helped me in life, and I know it will help you too.

I Love You Mor’n,


6 Awesome At Home Workouts & Why I Chose Home Over Gym

bedroom with yoga mat on the floor a workout space

I often use this blog as a way to keep myself motivated and on track with living my best life.  It is almost like a life journal if you will.  It keeps my most loved recipes organized, it keeps track of my weekly goals, my weekly home cleaning zone, my weekly hot spots & pins I want to accomplish. I use it to record my menu for the week with Recipes I Want To Make This Week posts.  I use it to leave behind a Legacy for my girls and to record Captured Life Tidbits & List The Gifts life brings.  Songs that touch my heart go here, and Garden Progress goes here.  It really is a labor of love that I SO ENJOY doing and sharing with you all!

A piece that I need to add back into my life in order to live my best life is the dreaded EXERCISE.

When I was sick, I had a gym membership gifted to me from a dear, most thoughtful and generous friend.  It was an overwhelming gift that made me feel so loved and hugged by her every time I entered the building of this luxury gym.  I spend hours healing there.  I healed physically and spiritually.  There were many moments of prayer spent in the steam room, God thoughts in as toxins perspired out.  It was a place I went to feel strong and beautiful again, pampering myself in the beautiful locker room that felt more like a spa.  A gift I will never forget.

Being 3 years out of my battle, I decided it was time to let go of that most generous gift.  Not only did I want to not take advantage of my friends generosity that had lasted so long, but I have been purposefully looking for ways to simplify life, and driving across town to my precious gym was not always the most simple use of time.  When I was healing it was perfect, for even the drive there was a time of reflection and rest.  But now, I decided, it was time to let it go and save the 40 minutes it took to drive there and back, and the gas, and figure out how to move my body without the membership.

What do do?
Enter Pinterest!

New Nostalgia Main Pinterest Boards page

I’m sure all know I am a Pinterest lover.  I can’t tell you how much it enriches my life.  It is a fun, simple way to keep the treasures I find online organized. I love how it is visual and creative it is.  By choosing a few pins to do each week, it becomes purposeful and meaningful.  Not only is it a place I love to go, but I love knowing it is a place where over 80,000 of my Pinterest followers enjoy too!  What fun we have had over there!

I have been saving workouts I come across on Pinterest onto my Pinterest Workout Board, knowing there would be a day I would need some inspiration.

New Nostalgia Pinterest Boards with an arrow pointing to workout board

That day is today!!

I am going to share a round up with you of workouts that have caught my eye.

New Nostalgia Pinterest workout boards

My main goal right now is to move everyday.  I want to walk at least 5 days a week, but also add in some strength training.  I am not going for perfection here.  If that were the case, I would never start!  My simple goal is to move everyday.  Here are 6 great pins that are going to help me do just that.

a roundup of 6 Pinterest workouts

1. 15 Minute Workout With Exercise Bands Via Women’s Health Magazine
Exercise bands are great for taking anywhere…on your walk to do when you arrive at the park, in your bed, in front of the tv.  Perfect, portable resistance!

2. 30 Day Ab & Squat Challenge Via Tribesports
Maybe a goal for the beginning of next month?

3. TV Workout Via Self
This is awesome.  30 minute TV show.  Do some easy strength training reps, timed perfectly for the first commercial break.  Commercial break-switch to cardio.  Alternating between the two is a great workout, and you can watch your fav show at the same time.  Multi-tasking!

4. The Quieter Workout Via Back On Point
For when the kids go to bed. Or if your college roommate is studying.  Or early morning when everyone is still sleeping.  Note from Pinner: Since pinning this a month ago, I’ve done this workout 3-4 times a week. I am now 15 pounds lighter and 1 entire inch thinner. My name is Erika and I approve this workout.

5. Good Morning Yoga Sequence Via (can’t find source)

A great way to stretch hello to the morning…or do after prolonged sitting at desk.

6. Works Fastest Workout Via Gaining Life Losing Weight
4 minute workout that burns calories and increases metabolism.

Cancer Journey/ HEALTH/ Music Renews/ Spiritual

Good To Be Alive

Rainy Downtown Day

Well, it has been back to school week here at the Bowman house.  I have to admit, I AM LOVING the quiet and time to think, work & clean!  I feel a sense of relief that we made it through summer and I was able to balance being a mom and blogger.

Honestly, it was one of the first summers that didn’t end with a feeling regret.  In the past, I would regret how I spent my time, words I used, impatience I had with my kids, money I spent.  The list goes on.

I’ve been reflecting on what has made the difference.  I think growth happens as we age.  I also think I am experiencing the positives of going through a life threatening illness and the perspective it brings. It is funny how life can grow a person, how God uses the hard in life to stretch us and show us what is important.  I also think listing the gifts has changed me dramatically, it sure helps put life into perspective and trains my eyes to see life through the lens of contentment.

I know grace has a lot to do with it, for I was not perfect. Far from it.  I have learned to give grace and accept grace in those imperfect moments, stopping and realizing ‘life is not an emergency” as Ann Voskamp says. I’ve learned that it is ok for life to not go exactly how I think it should, to stop and take a breath, to let go of expectation and perfection.  These are all things that have contributed to growth.

I have always loved my kids, but since being sick, I have fallen hard for them.  I feel focused on the moments, and I find myself whispering aloud thanksgiving for those moments, in the moment.  Thanksgiving changes a person.  It has changed me.

Precious is the word that keeps coming to mind.  Precious children, precious husband, precious time, precious life.  Life is a precious gift, one that I hold near and dear and do not take for granted.  Folks, it IS GOOD TO BE ALIVE.

I am on a little mom/daughter date with my youngest today.  We went to breakfast, got rained on at the Farmers Market, snuggled under an umbrella, enjoyed 2 elevators in 2 parking garages (lil one loves elevators) and are now sitting in a coffee shop eating brownies and relaxing.  Precious moments.

On the way here, I heard a song in the car that is the perfect life theme song for me right now.  It puts all I am feeling into words.  I especially love part that says “I won’t take it (life) for granted, I won’t waste another second.  All I want is to give you a life well lived to say Thank You.”  Oh for the grace to make this continuously true in my life.

by Jason Grey
Hold on, is this really the life I am living?
‘Cause I don’t feel like I deserve it
Every day that I wake and every breath 
that I take you’ve given

Right here, right now 
while the sun is shining down

I wanna live like there’s no tomorrow
Love like I’m on borrowed time
it’s good to be alive, yeah, yeah

Hold on if the life that we’ve been given
Is made beautiful in the living
And the joy that we get 
brings joy to the heart of the Giver

Then right here, right now
This is the song I’m singing out

I wanna live like there’s no tomorrow
Love like I’m on borrowed time
it’s good to be alive
I wanna live like there’s no tomorrow
Love like I’m on borrowed time
it’s good to be alive, yeah

I won’t take it for granted
I won’t waste another second 
All I want is to give you
A life well lived to say, “Thank you”


Cancer Journey/ HEALTH/ Spiritual

I Hate Cancer

It’s 4:00 a.m. & I can’t sleep.
This is new to me.  Sleep never eludes me, it has always just come.
 I realize what a blessing this is.

Fall is coming.
I find myself in a funk.
This, too, is new to me.
Usually come fall I find renewed energy in the routine that it brings.

I remember spring.  The spring in my step.  Why am I falling back this fall?
I am falling back instead of springing ahead.
I hate the discouragement this realization brings.

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? {Psalm 43:5a}

Why am I so downcast?
Why the discouragement?
What to do about it?

I need to sort it out, so I write.

My diagnosis 1- year anniversary is coming up–August 31.
I should celebrate that I am here.  Instead, I mourn what was.
The ‘ongoing-ness’ of this reality is something I need to accept.

I pictured being done with it all by fall, actually, by summer!
Instead, the treatment brings on complications that keep me visiting doctors on a much too- regular basis.
Cysts, keloids, insane hormone levels. 
Implants that won’t stay put, requiring another slicing into this already so scarred body of mine.

I hate cancer.

Decisions need to be made.  I grasp for wisdom.  I search for answers.
I find few, for I am in a “special” category.
Very few studies are done on women my age.  Premenopausal.
There is much unknown.
Doctors give me homework to read up on, to help our decisions.
This research forces my eyes to face the stark statistics of my “Stage 3, 6 cm. tumor, with lymph node involvement” cancer.


I have a 50/50 chance I will be alive in 10 years.  I did find a statistic that said 60/40.  I liked that one better.

I am 34.

Some days I feel so young, in my 20’s.  These days, I feel old. This past year has aged me, I feel like an old soul.

I want to live into my 80’s!
I want grandchildren.
I want wrinkles & crows feet & sagging & cellulite!

Despite wanting cellulite-ha- I need to exercise.
All summer I said, “come fall I will exercise.  I must, for it cuts chance of recurrence”

I take an hour walk, but then have to recover the next day.
A 2 hour nap in the morning and a 2 hour nap in the late afternoon.
The fatigue is incredible, all from a simple walk!
The only thing that brings on this type of fatigue for me is exercise, but I am told it is the best treatment for fatigue.

I do simple pilates for strength and the same day my arm wakes me up, aching in the night.
Will exercise bring on lymphedema?
I dig out my granny compression sleeve, my pout goes even deeper as I put it on.
Its tightness squeezes the motivation right out of me.

And then, there is the subject of money.
I hesitate to talk about it so publicly, it feels tacky.
Yet, it was a talk about money that caused the rest of my dominoes to fall, sending this crushing discouragement.

He gently tells me, “Our monthly expenses are so much higher now due to your health issues.  We need to find areas to cut”

We search the monthly budget numbers and start cutting, my anger at cancer growing with each snip.
I cry.  I feel guilty.  I feel bad that my tears make him feel bad.

Youngest daughters piano lessons–snip.
A date night a month-snip.
Family tradition outings.  My most loved coming up, the pumpkin patch–snip.
The idea of a gym membership for me–snip.
Our dream of Disney before the kids get too old for it–snip

Even as I write this I feel ashamed.
It is all so shallow.

We have shelter, a beautiful home.
We have health insurance–a luxury.  So many in my boat don’t.
We have food and water.  I think of mothers in Africa this very minute walking miles with limp children in search of a drink.  Could you imagine?

I know these things.  Yet I am still frustrated.
I think the emotions come from knowing its my needs, due to this dumb disease, that is causing all the trimming.

I hate cancer.

Fall also brings a much anticipated cancer support group, meeting 3 hours a week for 3 months!
It starts September 1st.
It is put on by St. Elizabeth Hospital, my home away from home.

I am excited.  I know a few of the women that will be attending, and I know of others and their stories.
Excited, but apprehensive. I  know this group will bring me into an intimate friendship with those whom I could lose.

Am I brave enough?

Some are living through what is my worst nightmare.  Reccurence.
I’ve read their stories, their story started as mine.
Stage 3, large tumor, lymph node involvement.
The treatment was exactly mine.
And now, a few years later, they are a Stage 5, cancer spreading to bones, to lungs.
Will that, too, be my story?
My heart breaks for them in reading their stories.
I marvel at the strength and joy I see in these women.
Despite the statistics they face daily, they smile at me.

A reminder that I need to find mine.

I don’t want to fall this fall.
I want to thrive, survive and live fully!!

I know what to do to get out of this fall funk,
I  know I will, for “He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.” {Philippians 1:6}

I know it is a matter of processing, (thank you for allowing me) and then a “throwing off everything that hinders and entangles, and running with perseverance the race marked out for me.” {Hebrews 12:1}

All the while, “being still and knowing that He is God” {Psalm 46:10}, and “remembering His good works of the past” {Psalm 77:11} and of now.  I must list the gifts, exchanging my negative, falling thoughts for steady, thankful truth.

And when it is all I can do, I know that I have a safe place to lean hard into, even fall into, this fall.
He is my Hope, so I will.

“Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed?  I will put my hope in God!  I will praise Him again, my Savior and my God!” {Psalm 43:5}