When Calls the Heart to When Hope Calls

I could have easily lived in Hope Valley. The sense of purpose, belonging and community was so invested in each and every person. I love this show and while it may take twists and turns we are not always happy about it does mimic real life and its uncertainties. I will continue watching for that reason.

But the exciting news is that When Calls the Heart is getting a spin off, When Hope Calls in 2019. There are no real details yet to the spin off, but it will feature Susan Lucci.  That I will have to see to believe and not real sure how I feel about it yet after all her years as Erica Kane on All My Children, but we shall see.

And as always will be doing their annual Christmas movie.


It’s hard to believe we are at the 6 month mark. Sometimes it feels like it’s been 10 years already. Then when I try to eat something I’m not yet ready for I realize, it’s just been a very short time in the realm of relearning how to eat.


So, for some weird AND unknown reason many food smells that were once welcoming AND comforting now turn my stomach. The doctor says this is fairly normal, but CANNOT answer why it is “normal”. Some of the once loved foods that I can no longer stand to be around are:

  • hard boil eggs
  • pancakes
  • cabbage
  • sausage

I also cannot eat much bread, potatoes or rices because they take up too much space in my egg sized portion of stomach with virtually no nutrient value.


I have SLE (Systemic Lupus), Fibromyalgia and recently ended up with a non-weight loss stomach bypass that changed my life beyond belief.  Just 6 months ago you would NOT have been able to convince me to EVER give up ALL sugar – (nothing like waking up from a routine surgery and learning it was anything but routine and you can never again have certain things), but I have to say no sugar is NOT the worst thing ever. I ALSO DO NOT do ANY sugar substitutes or preservatives because of the SLE and Fibro. So, while my diet does become a bit limited, it is possible to cope.  The thing I REALLY miss is coffee, but am making it work with green tea which is ultimately so much more healthy.

I had needed to lose 15 pounds or so as we all do at this stage in life, but now at the 50 pound mark lost, the doctor’s concern is that I lose no more and try to maintain where I am – he actually felt that way at the 25-30 pound mark.  Because there is no “real” stomach or holding vessel for food, the body does not absorb much at all.  For that reason I have certain vitamins and supplements that will be 5 times a day for the rest of my life. I also have to be picky on what I eat as many foods still do not agree with me and I can never eat sugar again.  Anything with high fat is also an issue so it really limits my choices every day. The biggest lifetime issue will be the amount (or lack there of) of food I can eat at any given time.  My stomach is now the size of an egg.  My stomach does not and will not stretch. It also does not absorb much in the way of nutrients.  My stomach will NOT grow or change in any way.  Eating is now and always will be in the future something of a challenge.

One of the biggest shocks was the need for ALL new clothes, I went from a size 8-10 down to a 2 so far. I have had to buy ALL new underwear, bras, pants, dresses and even shoes! Yes, I said shoes. I lost an entire shoe size – I didn’t even know that was possible.  This is just one of the piles of shoes I made when trying to find something to fit on Easter morning.

Moving right along and checking all the boxes ~ literally and figuratively

Things are moving along here and even seem to be dragging a bit at times, but I know they’ll speed up at the end so am glad to have the time to pack properly and patch nail holes, etc… I’m using canned air and dusting everything REALLY well before packing also to make life easier when we finally unpack.

We are at that point of multiple lists and decisions. I have a list of utility companies, insurances, etc… to call and cancel and another list to just change addresses. I’m also sorting (BIG TIME) and amassing ALL the warranty books and such for appliances and things for the new owner to make his life easier.  I’m even including a list of the plumbers, pest control, utility companies and electrician that we used in case he needs anything since they are already familiar with the property.

With knowing that things are going to storage for a period of time, we chose to use ALL new boxes for a couple of reasons. The first being that NEW coordinated boxes are sturdier and stack better for a cross country move and in the storage unit itself. The second being that there isn’t a chance of food stuffs or bugs from older or grocery oriented boxes going with us. We have had to make a couple of boxes to replace boxes that are no longer viable for odd shaped pieces.

We are also wrapping furniture (especially the antiques) in sheets and shrink wrap to protect the woods from dust and drying out too much. Most of the upholstered furniture is being sold or donated as it just doesn’t hold up well in storage.


Hubby and I decided to take the day off and just do something fun.  The weather was absolutely beautiful and we decided to go to the zoo.  Unfortunately, the zoo was a poor choice – EVERY school in town had a bus there and there were also strollers everywhere.  Even overflow parking was full, so we decided to just take a drive to a little town we had heard had some good antique stores.

We only went to 2 stores, both of which were multi building large stores.  I found a beautiful cross for cross wall in the first store, but the second store is where I really scored!

We walked in the door and my eye was immediately drawn to a hutch on the right that was filled with exactly what I’ve been looking for. Service for 8 plus some extra pieces totaling 70 pieces total of some original Johnson Bros. Covered Bridge china.  I checked when we got home and to buy the original set if you could even find all the pieces would total nearly a thousand dollars today.  I paid just over $100 for all 70 pieces.  No cracks, chips or discoloration.  Looks like it just came out of grandma’s cabinet.

Years ago I started collecting a few pieces here and there of Johnson Bros. China.  Made in England it is the nice bone style china.  When we were first starting out there wasn’t much money for the whole set and by the time there was, it was hard to find and really expensive.  And the bonus today was that none of these pieces are pieces I already have! There are some made in China reproductions available, but they are just not the same and I feel very fortunate to have completed my set today.


Somehow in Chasing MY Life I got away from my actual description of the journey.  My life became all about the kitchen, well at least primarily.  One of the discoveries I’ve made with life altering surgery that changed how I eat is that my life is no longer just about the food and recipes.

So, as we say goodbye to A HOUSE FROM HELL, put EVERYTHING in storage and begin the next leg of our journey to spend some time concentrating on working out and recovery and then search for our next project (hopefully our last) I want to return to my blogger roots and chronicle ALL of life.

I’ve been getting organized to get back into link parties and such, just searching around to see who is still out there and where the parties are at. I have found that many of my old favorites are no longer, but there are soooooooo many new parties to link up to which leads me to my post title, SO MANY LINKS, SO MANY BLOGS… just NOT ENOUGH TIME. Initially I’m choosing link parties by whether or not their title peaked my interest.

AND soooo many parties are now co-hosted which creates even MORE links to explore so I’m still reading as much as I can and finding new interests to become a part of.

I’m sure I’ll will find many more new blogs and parties on my future journeys, but for now I’m excited to be joining these new linky parties on a regular basis.

DISHING IT & DIGGING IT at Rustic & Refined
SUNDAY’S BEST at Mother 2 Mother
SUNDAYS AT HOME at Celebrating Everyday Life and My Soulful Home

CELEBRATE YOUR STORY at Celebrate & Decorate,
COOKING & CRAFTING with J&J AT Julie’s Creative Lifestyle
HAPPY HOMEMAKER MONDAY at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
MAKE IT PRETTY MONDAY at The Dedicated House
MELT IN YOUR MOUTH MONDAY at Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms
MENU PLAN MONDAY at I’m an Organizing Junkie
MERRY MONDAY at Two Chicks and A Mom
MIX IT UP MONDAY at Flour Me With Love
SHOW and SHARE at Coastal Charm

TAKE OUT TUESDAY at The Painted Apron
TREASURE BOX TUESDAY at Memories by the Mile
TUESDAYS WITH A TWIST at Stone Cottage Adventures

DELICIOUS DISHES at Walking On Sunshine
SHARE YOUR CUP @ Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

FAVORITE THINGS at Katherine’s Corner
FULL PLATE THURSDAY at Miz Helen’s Cottage

BLOGGERS PIT STOP at The Blogger’s Lifestyle
HOME MATTERS at Life with Lorelai
KITCHEN FUN & CRAFTY FRIDAY at Kitchen Fun with My Three Sons



Surgery was 6 weeks ago. I’m probably at 80%, but it still hurts to sneeze, turn over in my sleep and there are a few things I can’t do yet like lift heavy objects (anything over 10 pounds) and I’m still short of energy, but it is time to start getting it all together.

Food is still an issue, but it is getting better, SLOWLY! In 2 more weeks I can start a regular workout which will also be the 7 year anniversary of my Ovarian Cancer surgery, hopefully bringing this whole ill health cycle full circle AND to a close!

The BIG key here is to LISTEN to your body! Being able to talk comfortably WHILE working out is a GREAT pace to start at. Aiming for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week for cardio and 2 days a week for strength training is a GREAT place to start and build from.

Your body will adapt to the exercising so you can physically push yourself as time goes on. You will also burn less calories as time progresses and these exercises become part of your daily routine. I did do some research though and there are 3 key areas to focus on after this type of surgery:

Flexibility is the best place to begin to avoid too much straining and injuring yourself. I still feel sore and tight, but know that will pass as time goes on. STRETCHING is the best way to begin. Warm ups and cool down periods are vital for the best exercise routine. Take each stretch slowly and hold it for ten seconds going far enough to feel the beginning of a burn, but stopping short of actual pain! Warming up 5-10 minutes helps get your blood flowing and your heart pumping, and loosens up your muscles. Cool down for 5-10 minutes to reduce your heart rate back down to a normal resting pace.

WARM UP EXERCISES include stretching, walking, jumping jacks or light jogging.
COOL DOWN EXERCISES include walking and stretching as well as helping your body get rid of any lactic acid that was created during your workout. Lactic acid is bad for your muscles.

CARDIO – gives you more energy and helps you sleep better by working through anxiety. In order to get your energy up and boost your metabolism you have to get your body moving! Cardio also strengthens your heart and lungs, increases your bone density as wells as boasting your mental sharpness and ability to focus.

I’ve been walking and doing the treadmill at slow speeds for short periods of time up until now. It’s time to speed up the treadmill a bit and, do some cycling and as soon as things warm up adding in the pool is on the recommended list.

Since I was forced into the surgery and didn’t need to lose the weight I’m not as concerned with the calorie burning as much as I am the getting into shape. But, it’s always nice to know the potential breakdown.

STRENGTH TRAINING – I’ve lost quite a bit of muscle tone and REALLY need to work on this area the most! Having had 6 surgeries in 7 years I seem to have the hardest time regaining my muscle tone with each successive surgery and recuperation. Strength training exercises like squats, lunges, sit-ups, crunches and weight lifting are some great strength training exercise to help build up your “core” and re-tone your muscles. Being more active helps you get back into everyday things and enjoy life more!

Strength training requires a slow start with a gradual build to 3 sets of 15-20 reps. AND this is NOT the time to think no pain, no gain! Any sharp pain requires an immediate stop.

The new required vitamins and mineral supplements are mandatory in order to avoid malnutrition. These vitamins and supplements also help build both healthy bone and muscle as well as give you more energy. A regular routine of these helps to maximize the effectiveness of your new exercise routine.

A little this and a little that…

We’ve been here rehabbing the house from hell for a little over 2 years now. During this time I have realized what horrible drivers live here and how horribly they maintain roads here, but that’s why about half way through we realized we didn’t want to stay here and knew we were leaving – we’re almost there.

I am though LMBO at how many times this major U.S. city has “closed” during that time. For a city that claims it can handle water, 2 of the times were for flooding, another for the hurricane (totally understandable), but this last time was for a cold front with sleet and ice. This time is the one that makes me laugh the most!  They started closing schools the night before the cold front when it was still 60 degrees out and clear. Now it did get COLD, SERIOUSLY cold, but to shut down a city of 6 million is ridiculous! If they only knew how to drive here, would slow down and watch for ice, it would be so much easier!  Emergency personnel were left in place for excessively long shifts and others told to stay home completely. Restaurants closed, stores closed, I mean there wasn’t even any mail delivery or garbage pick up. WTH?

Hubby and I prefer to live in the colder regions, hence why we’re not staying here where it is normally warm, hot and humid.  More than once when we were in the U.P. we would go somewhere and it was a nice day, and then WHAM BAM a sudden lake effect snow or blizzard would hit and you were now trudging home in unbelievable weather, once from 70 miles away. It was a place that didn’t close schools very often, but did do delayed starts at times. Even with a massive cold front in the Pacific Northwest, the world went on.

We finally got out a little bit today (it’s still only 31 degrees but REALLY sunny)  and were amazed at how many roads are closed and how few places were even open.  We went to a favorite restaurant that is normally packed at lunchtime and they only had 3 tables when we left, we had been their first at 11:45 when they opened at 11!

This was our drain pipe out back. As you can see there was ice, but not enough to close a city! So after living near the Canadian border for several years and traveling across the northern border of the U.S. in January and then living in the Pacific Northwest for several winters, I am truly laughing my butt off this week.  LAUGHTER truly is the BEST medicine.

WOW, really 10 years already?

WOW! 10 years sure goes by fast – sometimes. I began as 3 Sides of Crazy while we were going nuts remodeling an old Victorian house back east and were literally going nuts with the different things we kept finding in that old house. Then when things slowed down a bit, a friend and I also sponsored OUR Krazy Kitchen, a cooking site for a group of foodies.  From there I began Always Eat on the Good China as my personal recipe box and then converted 3 Sides of Crazy into Savory Kitchen Table.  Eventually I decided to roll them all into a single blog and self host away from blogger here at Chasing MY Life which seems to roll it all into one category now. I’m still working at the consolidation, getting rid of old superfluous articles, giveaways and recipes not worth making again.



It’s been a busy week, but odd with the holiday falling in the middle. I was impressed with what I accomplished, but am extremely disappointed in a few of the “professionals” I had to deal with in trying to transfer some medical records.

One of the things I have been working on while “locked” inside during this heat is to bring forward to this new blog anything worth hanging onto and the recipes worth repeating from all my old blogs.  I am also trying to eliminate the posts from all the old blogs at the same time.

A couple of the recipes worth making again are:

I also found a couple of handy tips worth repeating:

I also did a good deep clean on the floors while I could and my faithful sidekick fought me ALL the way, NOT, LOL.

We’re helping my uncle tomorrow (hubby outside and me inside) and then coming home to watch NASCAR, weather permitting as it has already rained out tonight’s race.  I have a nice dinner planned for when we get back as well as Sunday and am looking forward to some down time.


CHAT TIME ~ Life as it Happens ~ WEEKLY WRAP UP

With all the work on the House From Hell, I got away from my Life as it Happens of just chatting once a week or so.  It’s time to start doing a weekly wrap-up again.

Things have finally slowed down a bit in my life, but as it happens, just in time to get crazy again. In 2011 I had my cancer surgery and began the long trek back to health and fitness.  All in all, I was already pretty healthy and fit – I mean I cook from scratch, perimeter shop without the junk food and eat extremely little fast food.  The oncologist had said that those 3 things probably helped save my life as the cancer had nothing to feed on in my body.

But, the length of surgery caused another problem.  Turns out I had a Hiatal hernia and the stomach acid seeped up and started eating away my esophagus. So, a year later I had to have another operation to remove the shredded esophagus and rebuild the valve.  Then 9 months later an allergic type reaction to a prescription they gave me for my Fibromyalgia started lowering my potassium levels and shutting down my heart and I collapsed, literally close to death.  Fortunately, hubby insisted they take me to the hospital despite the idiot ambulance driver who was convinced I’d been drinking (strongest thing I EVER drink is iced tea) and tried to get me to sign a waiver so he didn’t have to transport me. The hospital staff work quickly to revive my potassium to a safe level and life went on.  When I came to though out on the street I became violently ill.  A few weeks later I knew something was wrong and several weeks after that I had surgery to repair my stomach and esophagus, AGAIN.

Fast forward a few years later and guess what? Here we are again.  Turns out I appear to be a statistic, a part of those late night commercials for the class action suits against products that fail.  I don’t see the surgeon for a couple weeks, but have been doing research and it appears from the last article I read that the type of mesh used to repair my stomach failed 17 out of 24 times – not very good odds in my opinion.  I’m anxious to meet the new surgeon who has gotten rave reviews from patients and doctors alike, and see what he has to say about a more permanent fix.

I have begun amassing cooking magazines and simple projects like changing over the address book, password book, etc… for when I’m laid up.  Unfortunately, this type of surgery leaves you unable to do much more than walk (no lifting, no stretching, etc…) after for quite awhile and on a very strict liquid to soft foods diet for quite a long time too.  I figured I would use the time to read, develop some ideas for new recipes and work on updating the blog compilation. I might be able to do a few simple craft projects to.

At least it is summer and since I’m relegated to the indoors during this weather anyway, it’s a good time to get well.






As I was scrolling through facebook this morning I ran across this post from 7 years ago. I found it speaking to me as it still describes life so well. I’m also pleased to say that even though there have been MANY (cancer, 5 surgeries and The House from HELL just to name a few of the BIG ones) curve balls thrown at me since then, I have de-cluttered my life really well, for the most part. So I offer you a rerun of that post below.

“Life has this funny way of testing us and sneaking in trials and tribulations that  weren’t in our original game plan never quite fit into “OUR” plans.  That is how it’s been for me the past many months.

As many of you know I have spent the last 7 1/2 months helping out various  family members around the country.  First it was my elderly in-laws  (MIL just turned 90) who begged us to come help them sell everything including the house and move them closer to family (we all know how that went – FIL is still trying to assign sentimental prices to everything in sight) and now it is my aunt & uncle.  My aunt has end stage Parkinsons disease, such a sad disease.  My aunt is extremely artistic and a beautiful painter – or at least she was.  The Dyskinesia from the Parkinsons disease has robbed her of that ability. My uncle recently saw the Oprah episode on hoarders and has decided that my aunt is one.  Trust me, she isn’t.  I once worked for a real estate company as a stager for homes and they would send me in to work on homes that were similar to those on the Oprah show – those were horrible.  So ask yourself, what is my (your) happy medium on the stuff I’ve (you’ve) accumulated?  My theory?  If you have a place for each item and it’s in its place, you’re NOT a pack rat or a hoarder.  I do offer you the definitions below.

This is one of my favorite paintings of hers. She did have a LARGE collection of art supplies and empty tins for storing those items in, but in her defense men do think in simpler terms and this is just a meeting of the minds discussion.  And in his defense they should be getting rid of most of this as she is now in a assisted living home and will not be able to use these items again.  Donating them to the church or a school while they are still usable would be best, but can’t be forced.  I pray that I will have more grace regarding these type of decisions if I reach that point and give up things more willingly, but none of us can ever be in one another’s shoes and truly know what we would do.
  • Also called trade rat. a large, bushy-tailed rodent, Neotoma cinerea, of North America, noted for carrying off small articles to store in its nest.
  • A person who collects, saves, or hoards useless small items or an old prospector or guide.


  • a supply or accumulation that is hidden or carefully guarded for preservation, future use, etc…
  • to accumulate money, food, or the like, in a hidden or carefully guarded place for preservation, future use, etc…
Long story short (I know too late), I have decided it is time to take back MY life.  So, over the next couple of months I will be making some changes.  Some big, some small, but ALL necessary to be myself and get a handle on MY life.”
My aunt passed 4 years ago and in the end they found she did not have Parkinson’s disease, but did have Lewy Body disease.  Unfortunately the only way to tell for sure is through an autopsy. The treatments are similar and in the end would not have changed much.  She was offered the DBS (deep brain stimulating) surgery early on and refused it (surgery scared her to death – especially brain surgery). As her disease progressed she wanted the surgery, but had waited just too long and it was no longer a viable option.









This is a re-post of a post from almost exactly 6 years ago.  Ironically, it is even more true today!

Life is busy these days, real busy, but there are a few things I still notice.  We are all overworked, over stimulated and over tired!  I seem to notice less and less quality in everything around me whether it’s sitting down to dinner as a family or the quality of the products that sit on my kitchen counter.
My brother and I had a conversation not too long ago about the pursuit of the iconic TV 50’s way of life – you know, slower and kinder.  Now you need to know that my brother and I, at times, are as far apart on the political spectrum as 2 siblings can be.  We’re close, but there are many a subject that we have an agreement to agree to disagree on and move on to another topic.  He pointed out that the 50’s that many seem to want to return to is nothing but a TV iconic way of life.  I beg to disagree though.  Now I wasn’t alive in the 50’s, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that life in general was kinder, slower and calmer and MUCH less stressful.  This is one of those spots that I would go off on a rant about.  You see, I believe that stress is a catalyst of much of what ails us today, specifically cancer.  But, that is a story for another post.
If you were to watch say the Donna Reed Show, Father Knows Best, Happy Days or Leave it to Beaver, you would see homemakers vacuuming in high heels and pearls or maybe cleaning the refrigerator.  Husbands would be in ties and coats or at least a sport shirt and loafers.  Now while I don’t think things need to return to that formal, I do expect guys to pull up their pants.  I don’t want to see their butts.  In my era, the only butt to see was in a pair of tight jeans – where you had to use your imagination and fantasize. WOW that made me sound old, but I’m not really, just tired of seeing ugly underwear hanging out of over sized pants that are falling off some guy’s butt.  Many women aren’t much better though.  No one wants to see rolls of fat hanging out of a midriff top and low cut jeans – both of which are things for teen girls, not overweight 20, 30, 40, 50 somethings or even overweight teens.  Get the picture here – fat is not something to show off, but something to lose and hide while you’re doing it!
Another thing you saw more of in the past was Common Courtesy.  I find this ironic since we seem to need it more now, but it appears to be non-existent many times.  Whether it’s driving on the freeway or driving basket at the supermarket, common courtesy seems to always be in the backseat.  When I was a kid, I was taught to ‘drive’ my basket at the supermarket the same way you would a car on a 2 lane road – stay to the right, park off the pavement and use your signals.  More and more I notice at the supermarket that people leave their baskets in the middle of the aisle while they are roaming up and down looking at various things.  While I commend the label reading, how hard is it to park your cart off to the side and out of the way?  Interestingly enough, if there is no one around and I go to move the basket aside so I can pass, someone always magically appears and is miffed that “their” basket is being moved.  Well excuse me! The sense of entitlement and the self righteous (and unearned I might add) indignation is way too over the top.
On this same subject we all know that pedestrians have the right of way.  But don’t they also have a responsibility to NOT just walk willy nilly and blindly out into traffic?  What happened to looking both ways before entering a street?
Okay, I will get off my soap box now and return you to your regularly scheduled blog hopping.