Where I Left Off

 I don't even know how long it has been since I've blogged - I could check the date but it seems easier to just start writing.

Our sweet little Sammy went to heaven at the beginning of this year and it was not easy to make that decision.  Putting a dog down feels like murder, it really does, but thankfully I had a very lovely vet and "nurses".  The hardest part was holding him, walking out of the room where his tiny little body lay, and going home.  I went alone while older kids helped younger kids with it at home.  I miss him most on summer evenings when he loved to sit in my bike basket and have the wind blow his face fur back - he really thought he was a hot shot during those rides. 

Andrew and Sammy.  
Andrew will be starting his second year of college in the fall, and is lifeguarding for the summer at home, and always always has plans which means he comes in, eats, and goes to work or does something fun.  Andrew is the same person he was at three.  Outgoing, busy, always has a smile, always makes everyone laugh, and cares so much about people. 

Our annual trip to the strawberry field - Janey is 10 and we are still like velcro and I love it.  She loves school and her friends, adores her siblings and their friends and is on a huge hummus and peppers kick even in the morning.  

Many fun visits with cousins this summer.

Isaac and Cecilia moved from NYC to Denmark this spring!  They celebrated their first anniversary also.  They loved NYC but the timing was perfect for them to move, as they always intended to live in Denmark. And thankfully they hop on planes like I get in a car so we will see them often. 

Abbey is doing so well health-wise and loves her work in Florida-and the weather!  Her hair is growing back and it looks so so cute, with ringlets.  We miss her here, but find a way to see each other at least every 6 weeks or so.

Matt is working full time at a science education center and living at home, busy with hobbies (I feel like no one uses the word hobbies anymore, it sounds like something only our grandparents used) and coming and going so much like Andrew it makes my head spin.  He is my back up driver and I make him laugh which he won't probably admit but I do.  He reminds me so much of my brother Andrew that it scares me.  Same humor, same way of looking at life.  Same intentional pace.

Patrick graduated from grade school and start HIGH SCHOOL in the fall.  How can that be?  He is still a sports guy, first love basketball, second soccer.  He is protective of his sister when he isn't teasing her, and loves to be with his older siblings, who all adore him.
There are the kid's updates!

My update:

I went to Ireland last summer with my mom to see my brother and his family and loved it, and cried really hard when we had to leave.   Because it is so different-so slow paced and beautiful and calm and I adore the way my brother and his wife have set up their life and the slow purposeful way they raise their kids.  I want to live next door.  

I started teaching art full-time at my children's grade school.  I taught kindergarten readiness all the way to eighth grade.  I had each grade for an hour every week.  I LOVED IT.  I learned so so much. Number one, teachers are some of the hardest-working people I know.   Number two, kindergarteners are adorable but if you have 24 of them in a small room you better have a plan and get used to hearing your name 1000 times in one hour, especially when you are teaching them to weave.  (But they got it and my heart burst with pride!)  

I can't even tell you how much I loved teaching, even with the hard parts of it (exhaustion after the day is over, lots of noise, and any paperwork/meetings etc).  I could post so many photos of all the projects we did over the year.  I lined my classroom with them and I'm so proud of the work the kids did.  I think my job is the best most rewarding job ever and I really was finding my groove with it.  

I felt like I really was finding my groove with LIFE.  I was settling in, getting used to being on my own, working full time outside of the home and loving it, managing the finances and simplifying everything just the way I love it, taking a deep breath of air and exhaling.

And then I started having chest pain-I saw a few of my doctors and they thought it was a pulled muscle, and I did also -I thought maybe I was using new muscles to bend down to help little ones and clean art tables, and lift up stools.  I was so exhausted too-but that was teaching full time, and running a house by myself.

Except it wasn't.  I have cancer again, triple negative again, metastatic.  I found out right after I wrote all my fun New Year's Resolutions.  Jaunary was full of testing, and the news kept getting worse.  And like all mothers everywhere, you scream and cry but only for a little bit because life.  Life keeps happening.  Thank GOD it keeps happening.  And in between the doctor's appointments, and work and grief and fear, we keep going because that's what mothers do.  I would go to an appointment, go back to work, having 25 little sweet faces staring up at me, excited to see me.  I would get a phone call with news that could knock me over, except I needed to pick up one of my children, and make dinner, and pay a bill.

I feel most of the time like my diagnosis never ever leaves my mind.  It's there when I wake up and there when I go to bed.  Along with other trauma I was still and still am working through.  Your brain and heart can only hold so much.  

I know this: there are two silly sayings that don't make a bit of sense.
Live like you are dying.
Live every day like it's your last.

I am trying as hard as I can to live like I am LIVING-the simple life I love.  I want for nothing, I really do, except for my health.  That doesn't mean I haven't had loss and heartbreak, or really hard days and weeks and years, it means I know what is important.  I have known for a long long time.  Gratitude and contentment are always the way out of despair.  It seems unfair, but I also know there is no such thing as "fair" in life.  (I always think of the old adage "Fair is a place where pigs win ribbons.":)

I am going to live the rest of my days, which I pray will be as many as I always intended them to be (thousands) like they are ordinary days.  Because I've said it before, ordinary days are the best ever.  Ordinary days are the most beautiful days on earth.  

And right now we are having a gorgeous summer thunderstorm, this morning I cleaned the garage, did a load of laundry, went to the grocery store (new kitchen towels!), made cookies for neighbors, and talked to my kids.  I have a stack of library books on my nightstand, blooming flowers in my garden, and friends and family who check up on me.  I woke up this morning to chirping birds and a list to check off that I made last night, and a text from my mom.  I will end it with a warm cozy bed and cute pajamas.  And prayers.  I will take ALL the prayers I can get. 


  1. Oh Sarah, I don't know what to say. Life is so hard, yet so good. I have been thinking about you and your blog the last few weeks and how yours has been the blog that has had the biggest impact on me and my mothering (Mama to 5 soon-to-be-6 as we are in the process of adopting a 10 year old boy from Colombia!). My twin sister and I have just loved you and your thoughts you have shared all these years. My twin sister and her family have been put through the "refiner's fire" these last 2 years. Their only daughter out of 5 kids was diagnosed with stage 4 ewing sarcoma in Sept of 2021. 7 months later my twin sister was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. 7 weeks later their dear Savannah, who was only 13 at the time, passed away from her cancer in May of 2022. My twin sister is still fighting her cancer battle. All while grieving the loss of her sweet girl and being a Mom to her 4 boys, the youngest who just turned 11. I don't know why I feel to share this with you, other than to say you are definitely not alone! Praying so hard for you and your dear family. Ordinary days have always been my most favorite <3

    1. I am so so sorry Camille, that is a so much grief and heartache for one family.

    2. Camille, my heart goes out to you and your family. I also whispered a prayer for your sister and family.

  2. My heart aches for you Sarah! I'm thankful for your perspective to enjoy each day even amidst the pain and fear. Cling to Jesus! And hug those precious kids just a little tighter.

  3. Wow. Not the news I was expecting as I read through your post. Your voice on the internet has always been one of joy--finding it in the little things. Prayers for you and your family.

  4. I have MISSED your updates! Love seeing all of the pictures and reading your thoughts; they have a way of grounding me. Many many prayers that you will get the thousands of days. xoxo

  5. Thank you for teaching me (and the world) about the joy of ordinary days as a mother. Motherhood is the greatest joy of my life, amplified because of the way your voice and wisdom has shaped my perspective. I am praying for thousands of ordinary days for you and your beautiful family.

  6. I believe in miracles and will pray for complete healing for you. Your family is beautiful!

  7. I have followed you for years - before Janey was born. I love your blog and your grateful perspective. I was SO excited to see your updates - until I wasn't. I pray that you continue to mother your children for years to come. Please know your posts have helped this weary mama over the years reframe my perspective and not wish away the ordinary days. Thank you for that! I wish your family peace and love. Keep posting! We will keep praying.

  8. Sarah, I was so happy for your update, I love reading about your family and over the years of reading your blog, you have certainly had an impact on my life in terms of mothering and going after simplicity. Thank you for your positive and wholesome influence. I am so sorry you are going through this. I just prayed for you and I will continue to pray for your complete healing!!. May God's peace and comfort carry you and your family through each moment.

  9. I have no words, just virtual hugs and tears. Thank you for sharing the good and the bad. Praying for you.

  10. I was thinking about you and your family the other day. You had such an impact on me when I was a mom of littles. I loved seeing the joy you took in motherhood and at encouraging a life of simplicity. I am so sorry for the cancer news. Your family has been hit by it's fair share of pain, and it doesn't seem fair (as life rarely is, i suppose). I pray that you will be uplifted by those around you and have strength to keep being the kind of mother you love to be. Love to you and your family.

  11. Sarah, thank you for the update on your beautiful family. Thank you for teaching and inspiring me on my journey through motherhood for so long. I pray that you will be blessed with peace and the strength to overcome this trial and create many, many more happy memories for years to come! Sending so much love your way!

  12. Just like everyone else, I was so excited to see an update from you in my inbox :-) I have always looked forward to reading your blog postings even though it seems like no one blogs anymore. When I was a young mother 16 plus years ago I read your blog religiously and tried to learn from a mother a bit more experienced than me. One of my favorite takeaways from your teachings has been to learn to say no to people who want your time and just focus on the little things :-) I was so so sorry to read your health update, and you will definitely be in my prayers. I hope you will continue to blog and find some solace in this online weird community we have.

  13. Thank you for the privilege of praying for you and your family. And thank you for continuing to share your gentle wisdom.

  14. I often check your blog for updates. I have missed your posts. I am glad to see all the updates on your sweet adult children and of course little Janie. Sarah, I am so sorry you are going through your health battle but admire your countenance as you face another battle. I will be praying for you to have complete healing, long life, easy days, strong faith, and joy in your heart. Blessings to you!

  15. Sarah, I'm so sorry to read this update. Have you considered contacting the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD? If you're willing to give a clinical trial a go, it might just save your life. It did for me. In fact, the trial that I did *also* worked for a patient with metastatic breast cancer, Judy Perkins. You can google her story. My story is out there, too: Celine Ryan.
    If you want more information, I'm happy to answer what I can, and know that I am praying for you.

    1. Wanted to add: Oncologists very often consider clinical trials to be a "last resort" and so continue to prescribe what they know: chemotherapy, radiation, surgery. Those things are important, but immunotherapy like the NIH offers is a game-changer. Your own T-Cells become the "drug" that heals you. If you've even got an inkling that you might want to find out more about this--start now. You do need a certain degree of health to be considered for a clinical trial. If you wait too long (I've seen it too many times!) you might lose the opportunity. I hope you'll read my story.
      To speak to a research nurse at the NIH call: (866) 820-4505
      or by email: ncisbirc@mail.nih.gov
      Medical expenses are covered by the funding for the clinical trial.

  16. I'm sad to hear about the return of your cancer. I have read your blog for I don't know how many years, but you have really opened my eyes to the beauty of motherhood! Thank you. I'll certainly remember you in my prayers and fast on your behalf. Sending positive vibes your way!

  17. Sarah - You are an amazing woman and I cannot tell how much your encouragement (permission) to live a simple life has impacted me. There are also no words to express how sorry I am that this new stage involves cancer. You and your family will be in my prayers. May God give you His peace and strength for this part of the journey.

  18. I was so excited to see a "new post". I have loved following your blog for years. I love seeing where your children are. Then your news. You will be in my prayers.