I'm sorry I haven't written since January! I have been busy savoring time off from work and the joy of fully immersing myself in the gift of each new day. When the Psalmist says "this is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it," believe me, I have learned to thank God for the good, bad, and ordinary days, realizing any day I am given is indeed a gift.
As you recall, I left my job at SPU on January 9th and had planned to begin a new job for the UW School of Medicine today (March 11). Instead, I felt led to turn down the wonderful offer from my colleagues at the UW in order to have more time off to make memories with family and friends. It's a very strange crossroads in my life where I feel as if I have one foot at the gates of Heaven and one foot on earth. I have no idea if I will live one year or thirty years (though the odds are pretty strongly stacked against the latter). In addition to more time off to make memories, I need to figure out what type of work would best support my health concerns. Probably that means part-time and less stress. The UW job would have been a high-stress job, raising big money. And while I love doing that, it is indeed very stressful. So I am praying now for the right part-time thing to come along when the time is right. And in the meantime, boy, am I making having fun and making memories. Here are a few (photos at end):
1) Valentine's Day was so much fun. We had Daniel and my dear friend, Maribeth, join us for a delicious dinner of homemade ravioli and fierce rounds of Canasta, with the most decadent chocolate dessert ever--an Ina Garten recipe called "chocolate blobs." (I think that's right--ask Daniel!)
2) My birthday was Feb. 18th and during the day, Renee and Riley took me to a Mexican lunch (ok--I had to have a b-day margarita even though it was only noon) and then the three of us had "girls day" at Ladiewells spa in Greenwood. Pink sea salt sauna where you lay on sand, dry sauna, steam, hot pool, tepid pool, cold plunge, then drink herbal tea while hanging around on rope swings reading good books. So relaxing and fun! Then that evening, Daniel made "my favorite protein" for dinner--salmon! And of course, chocolate cake from Simply Desserts for dessert, along with another favorite card game, Estimate. I don't recall if I won or not...but I hope I did, since it was my b-day after all. And some of you know this about me--I LOVE to win!! :-) I also enjoyed NUMEROUS b-day celebrations with girlfriends and so many lovely cards in the mail. Thank you all! You bless my life in ways too numerous to list on a blog post!!
3) I enjoyed a Valentine's/B-day trip with Steve to our favorite romantic spot--The Stephanie Inn at Cannon Beach. It snowed three inches! I have never been in the snow on Cannon Beach--what a thrill! If you have a special someone and haven't taken him/her to The Stephanie Inn, get on their mailing list and watch for the $199 specials. You will thank me for this advice!
4) Then Steve and I could barely keep up with dear friend, Frank, who at 80, can out-snowshoe us both. We had a couple of feet of new snow to enjoy, a picnic lunch, a hot thermos of herbal tea, and fresh chocolate chip cookies. Perfect!
5) At the end of February, Steve and I headed off to Rancho La Puerta in Mexico for ten glorious days of hiking, swimming, dancing, circuit training, spa cuisine, and laying in the sun by the pool reading good books! Well, I read good books while Steve studied for his Family Practice Board exam which happens but once every ten years and is next month. We met lovely people there including the top designer for Marc Jacobs and Bill Moyers (and wife Judith) from PBS. Bill asked me what it was like to get my cancer diagnosis and prognosis and I told him about how my faith in Christ is the only way I got through it. I quoted the Scriptures I relied on and told him how they aren't just verses you memorize in Sunday School but real promises that God will be there and help us through whatever it is He calls us to. Bill served as Press Secretary for Lynden Johnson and has interviewed famous people all over the world for television and books. I never dreamed in a million years that he would "interview" little old Gabrielle Dudley from Seattle, WA in Mexico and give me the opportunity to share how faith makes ALL the difference. What a joyous and God-ordained appointment that was, and he is the MOST wonderful, humble man. Just a dear, kindred soul, as is his lovely wife.
6) Next week Daniel and I take off for Scottsdale for his spring break for five days. More sunshine and of course--our beloved MINI-GOLF!!! Some hiking and Mexican food will also be on the agenda. Cantina Larredo is calling, with guacamole made in a stone bowl at table side. Can't wait! (Recall, of course, that Renee got a trip to Kauai in December so now it's Daniel's turn for some sun with Mom.) :-)
My next CA-125 test and visit with my Oncologist is April 11, one month from today. Please pray with me that my count will still be normal! The verse I am clinging to is this: "I will not die, but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done." Psalm 118:17 Let's cling to it together, shall we?!
Renee and Riley at my b-day Mexican lunch. I think that's my margarita in the foreground!
Daniel in front of the perfect salmon he grilled for my b-day dinner!
Fresh beets I picked from the organic gardens at Rancho La Puerta! What pretty colors!
Me in front of the Stephanie Inn--getting ready for a walk in the SNOW on Cannon Beach!
This is the meal we made in our cooking class at Rancho La Puerta. The class was called "Tacos, Tacos, y Mas Tacos! Yummo!
Me holding up my fresh pineapple salsa at cooking class!
OK--So is Steve the BEST husband in the world to get his first pedicure with me at Rancho? Every man reading this better give him a hard time!!
Snowshoeing with Frank and Steve east of Snoqualmie Pass. Such beauty!
Out of order, but here is a view of the grounds at Rancho La Puerta. Those hills in the background are where we hike--up and over them to wonderful views. We saw a wild mare and foal a few feet from us on one hike!
Lastly, I was invited to be a cheerleader for Daniel's first year med school men's volleyball team at their Championship game. They made it to the final two and sadly, lost to the dumb ol' Aeronautical Engineers. But when they huddled and cheered, their cheer was "GABRIELLE!" Their team name is "Bro-B-Gyns" :-)