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Start with One

Start with One.

One deep breath.

One walk.

One brussel sprout.

One honest, yet much-needed talk.

One clean glass of water.

One bottle unbought.

One more minute to get there.

One more peaceful thought.

One smoothie.

One smile.

One true need.

One pile.

One donation.

One cause.

One beat before leaving.

One pause.

One trip to the park.

One page.

One overdue goodbye.

One wave.

One bag of recycling.

One hug.

One act done in kindness.

One reusable coffee mug.

One sunrise alone.

One sunset with friends.

One meal without phones.

One firm boundary set.

One more of this.

One less of that.

One time let it go.

One time don’t react.

One trigger unfollowed.

One debt repaid.

One try again tomorrow for

One start begun today.

JAD 12.30.19

Modeling Care

“A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary.” -Dorothy Canfield Fisher

This photo by the lake feels real to me: my eyes are closed and I’m clutching my phone, yet my boys are happy by my side and my heart knows that I am standing right where I should be.

Taking the time to rest models healthy behaviors and nurtures the peace in our hearts. Finding that peace alongside those we love can be one of life’s greatest blessings. I try my best to nourish and protect my own energy because I cherish the responsibility I’ve been given to care for those I love.

Directions Wellness began as a desire to provide a space of safe, practical, natural, energy-based support to “care for the caregiver.”

Why?

Within hours of entering the world of pediatric brain cancer, I wished that there was a handbook -a set of “directions” to help me push past the terror and desperation clouding my judgement and choose what was best for our family.

As time went on, I saw the need for an integrative approach to healthcare, and felt at home bridging the gap between the conventional treatment our child desperately needed to save his life with the support that can come from a variety of natural healing modalities.

For many, healthy options can be difficult to find and implement. Finding ways to feel well despite mounting obstacles became my mission. Over the last five years, that mission evolved into vocation, and the emerging platform became Directions Wellness.

Oftentimes, those who by choice or by circumstance are responsible for the wellbeing of others can lose sight of their own self care. I share my knowledge and experience as a behavioral health educator and functional practitioner as a means to help others discover, personalize, and examine their health options -no matter how seemingly vast or limited the time and resources.

This week, I took my own self-care advice and recharged with family by Lake Michigan. As a result, my body is rested and gratitude fills my heart as I humbly offer my best self to those around me.

Peace, love, practice, and hope…

Positive Attitude In Negative Situations (P.A.I.N.S.)

You know Abe’s had more than a couple surgeries when the anesthesiologist asks, “Which flavor mask would you like?” And he looks her pointedly in the eye like DeNiro ordering a cocktail,

“Mixed. One tiny drop strawberry first. THEN, the rest bubblegum.”

Also, Abram said to Dr. Chin as the team wheeled him in to Surgery yesterday, “Doctor, I’m so tired after last night, you’re not even going to NEED those anesthetics.”

Ever the definitive comedian:)

(Chemo Groucho. Chicago, 2015)

Peace, love, and happiness…

Protection Forever

“It is the nature of grace always to fill spaces that have been empty.”

-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I miss my mother every single day. At scary times when I try to conjure a sense of security around me as “Brave Mom,” I miss my mother extra.

Those who follow our story know how Abraham can sometimes make tough days seem like holidays. Today was one of those days.

Surgery was scheduled for 8:00 a.m., and we’d come up to Chicago a day early to enjoy the city.

Although the hotel was a comforting luxury, we both had a rough night sleeping so near Navy Pier. Fireworks were a thrilling bedtime story, but the continued pulse of hot rods, motorcycles, and 3:00 a.m. rogue fireworks (with a quick follow up of sirens that chased away said rogues) made our 6:15 hospital arrival a bit robotic. Luckily, Aunt Marg is a great driver and RoboMom is incredibly efficient; consequently, we arrived early.

We definitely weren’t robots for long. Every single worker we met from the minute we arrived at Lurie Children’s Hospital lifted us up today: smiling receptionists at the ready; security guards comfortingly on duty; an anesthesiologist who kinda looked like me and definitely shared my sense of humor; a successful on-time surgery; and a smooth recovery without complication.

I snapped a quick pre-surgery shot just as he was ready to roll…

I also shared the following update on Facebook as we waited for the anesthesia to wear off:

“Got it done! Apparently, Abraham was cracking jokes with the surgeon on the way in, and although he’s still a bit anesthesia-loopy, he has the sweet nurse smiling and feeding him a red popsicle. Plus, the hospital has new, improved, Looney Toons band-aids:)… Love and big gratitude, all 💛✨”

As soon as we were ready to leave, two candy-striper-age volunteers found a wheelchair quickly (no small feat) and easily escorted us downstairs -engaging Abraham with a true, sweet tale of his beloved neurosurgeon, Dr. DiPatri having been on “Cake Boss”. We can totally picture it!

Add in our 70-mile transit time plus a huge Rosatti’s carry-out order, and we were still safely home by noon!

So, everyone who sent us the happy feels today, we got them. Your energy wrapped us in a protective, loving grace and carried us through our day.

“Love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves it’s own mark. To have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever.”

J.K. Rowling

I am forever grateful.

Peace and love…

Daily Duties and Daily Bread

The best things in life are nearest ones: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. 

-Robert Louis Stevenson

Today I give thanks for the path of right before me.

Abraham was examined by three doctors and four nurses; poked twice (port access, blood draw, and a shot); tested for three hours on his cognitive, emotional, and general processing skills; scanned; surveyed; high-fived and hugged warmly. 

Our daily duties are done.

We have given thanks. 

Sunlight is shining down on us as we head south on Lake Shore Drive.

And, our breath can expand a little deeper as the well-being of our precious boy, according to his dear army of a medical team, remains stable on all fronts.

Today, we feel richer than kings.

Peace and thanks…

Growing Up Grateful

When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind. -Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind 

Abraham was excited to go to school today because he gets to be the stop watch keeper in PE. Never a complaint materializes about his legs or his balance or his inability to participate in a scooter relay race. He’d rather focus on the positive.

One Year Ago Today, only two rows remained on his proton treatment chart. This photo illustrates how in his seven years, Abram had already left bits of his childhood behind to battle for his health. His chart stickers say sweet little boy, but his eyes say wise old man. 

Responsibilities make adulthood harsh. Still, the need to plan for tomorrow is legitimate; otherwise, we could end up homeless, hungry and desperate. What is sometimes forgotten is that unless we ARE homeless or hungry or desperate, there are plenty of joys surrounding us: our home, a good meal, laughter…


If we confuse a loss of innocence with a loss of worth we make a self-deprecating error. We mistake what we went through for who we are.  In reality, living through harsh times doesn’t make our lives ugly or inferior – it makes them gutsy and purposeful.

Peace, hope, and strength…