Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast

spring trees in bloom with graphic text "The Innkeeper's Cancer Battle"

The Innkeeper’s Cancer Battle: Take the Trips! Eat the Fudge!

Have you heard the song “Live Like You Were Dying?” Tim McGraw may not be your cup of tea, but the song lyrics come to my mind on a regular basis. Let’s face it. We are all dying. We are. Sometime. It just becomes much more real when you get a stage 4 cancer diagnosis and notice that your time will come sooner rather than later.

There is no cure for my cancer. Chemo is my only treatment option, and it has its own challenges. After chemo last week I was having trouble finding anything that sounded or tasted good. Then I remembered that I had frozen some of Terry’s Christmas fudge! It. Tasted. So Good! I told her how much I was enjoying it, and she said, “Take the trips! Eat the fudge!” I think that’s my new motto!

I am still here! I’m enjoying being alive. I’m enjoying time spent with family, friends, and B&B guests. I’m enjoying dining out and taking trips. And I’m eating the fudge!

Living like you were dying is about embracing life to the fullest, cherishing each moment, and pursuing your passions with gusto. Here are some ways to do just that:

Follow Your Dreams: Identify your dreams and then take steps to pursue them fearlessly. Whether it’s traveling the world, starting a business, or learning a new skill, don’t let fear or doubt hold you back. If you know me at all, you know I love to travel. Whether it’s six blocks in the golf cart to see my friends’ tulips, dinner in Paducah, or Biltmore at Christmas, I love to travel! My buddy and I are planning a Galena trip in April – just in time for my birthday. I’m so thankful for her time. Another dear sweet friend and her husband just sent a very generous gift that is enabling me to plan a trip to Colorado and California. I cannot explain how deeply I feel these blessings. I’m following my dreams.

Prioritize Relationships: Spend quality time with loved ones, nurturing and cherishing your relationships. Make time for meaningful conversations, create memories together, and express your love and appreciation openly.

Embrace Adventure: Step out of your comfort zone and seek out new experiences. Try activities that excite you, explore unfamiliar places, and take calculated risks to add excitement and zest to your life. I had a wild idea of trying to get to both Yosemite and Yellowstone when we’re out west. Then I had a wild idea to stay at a dude ranch and do a float trip through Yellowstone. In my world, that would be a grand adventure!

Live in the Present: Practice mindfulness and focus on being fully present in each moment. Let go of worries about the past or future, and savor the beauty and richness of life as it unfolds before you. I am much more focused on experiencing everything each day. Living in the moment.

Express Gratitude: Cultivate an attitude of gratitude by appreciating the blessings and opportunities in your life. Take time each day to acknowledge the things you’re thankful for, no matter how small, and express appreciation to those who enrich your life.

Give Back: Make a positive impact on the world by volunteering your time, skills, or resources to help others. Contributing to causes you care about can bring fulfillment and purpose to your life while making a difference in the lives of those in need. I know that my travel money friends tithed and gave donations to non-profits they believe in first.

Seize the Moment: Carpe diem—seize the day! Don’t wait for the perfect moment or the right circumstances to pursue your goals and dreams. Take action now, knowing that every moment is precious and an opportunity for growth and fulfillment.

Embrace Change: Embrace change as a natural part of life and be open to new opportunities and possibilities. I’m having a bit of trouble recognizing that my stamina decreases during chemo weeks so I can’t walk far and may need a walker or a wheelchair. (I may be having a big bit of trouble, but I’m pushing forward!) Instead of resisting change, adapt to it with courage and resilience, recognizing that it can lead to personal growth and transformation.

Live Authentically: Be true to yourself and live in alignment with your values, beliefs, and passions. Live your faith. I remember a childhood Sunday School chorus. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!” I pray you can see the light of my faith shining through. Don’t conform to others’ expectations or try to please them at the expense of your authenticity. Embrace who you are and celebrate your uniqueness.

Make Memories: Fill your life with moments that bring you joy, laughter, and fulfillment. My memories are a great support for me right now, and I’m all about making new ones. Create lasting memories by sharing experiences with loved ones, pursuing your passions, and embracing the beauty of life’s journey.

Living like you were dying isn’t about dwelling on death but rather about embracing life with a sense of urgency, purpose, and appreciation for the precious gift of each day. It’s about living fully, loving deeply, and leaving a legacy of positivity and inspiration.

I won’t be doing any skydiving. I hope to do some Rocky Mountain driving, but I assure you I won’t be riding any bulls, mechanical or otherwise.  But don’t we all need to love deeper, and speak sweeter, and give forgiveness?

I’m much more focused on living like I’m dying due to a terminal cancer diagnosis. Maybe today I can inspire you to start to “Live you were dying,” too.

I still want to answer more of your questions. But that’s a post for another day…

Blue two-story Victorian home with bunting and American flag

Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast is an award-winning all-suite bed and breakfast inn located in Jacksonville, Illinois. Hospitality is our hallmark. We offer many amenities, including overnight accommodations in a 130-year-old vintage mansion, Wi-Fi, expansive lawn and gardens, all-season fireplaces, and multi-course breakfasts. Come see us!

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