What a year it has been! Someone recently asked me what I thought of my year, fully expecting me to reference the health challenges. And yes, from that perspective, it has been one of the most difficult years of my life. But I surprised her with an answer of, "Wow...what a year!" I've experienced so many wonderful things this year, and I've traveled more than I ever have before. 

          * In March I was chosen to be the opening speaker for bestselling author Caroline Myss. That was a dream experience that only fueled my desire to continue doing what I love, sharing my experience in the hopes that it can somehow help others.
          * In July, the kids and I took an adventurous road trip to SD to see family, making many stops along the way to explore Salt Lake City, Denver, and Yellowstone. The rest of the summer was filled with beach trips, hikes, river swims, scenic drives and our 2nd annual backyard extravaganza,
          * August brought trips to Spokane and Seattle to see my two oldest off to college, one for her senior year and one for her first year. This left me adjusting to only 3 kids at home (yes....I know that sounds funny to some of you...ONLY 3!)
          * I have had my passport for 4 years, just waiting for the opportunity to use it, and September was the time. I was gifted with, and enjoyed tremendously, a wonderful trip to Mexico with 2 longtime girlfriends. We had a blast relaxing on the beach at the resort and exploring the Mayan ruins, underground rivers and cenotes.
          * As part of our holiday time before Christmas, the kids and I enjoyed a mini vacation in Newport. This trip was compliments of Unity of Salem, a gift received as I wrapped up a year of temporary ministering there.
          * And now tomorrow, my oldest daughter and I are off to Italy for 12 days. Yes, you heard that right...ITALY! She is blessing us both with this gifted trip and will serve as guide extraordinaire after having lived there 2 years ago. We will be spending New Year's Eve in Rome, then it's off to Florence for several days. We'll of course have a stop in Naples for some authentic pizza and then will be celebrating my birthday somewhere along the Amalfi Coast. A stop in Pompeii will round out the trip before flying back out of Rome and returning home.

See what I mean! No matter what difficult and disappointing news I have received on the medical front, my year has been filled with joy and laughter and love. No regrets here! I feel blessed in so many ways, and I am grateful for this cancer experience. It has taught me how to squeeze the juice out of every moment and to not take anything or anyone for granted.

As the new year eases in, I am excited to be expanding my speaking schedule with a couple new venues in January and February. I'm contemplating some new ideas as well, so we'll see what comes of those as clarity increases.

Mid-January I will be starting immunotherapy in the hopes of slowing or stopping the cancer spread now making itself aggressively known in my liver. I am doing everything I can on my end to heal at all levels. The cancer will do whatever it will do and the outcome will be whatever it will be.

As I open my arms to welcome whatever 2018 holds for me, I hope that you will do the same for yourself and your upcoming year of opportunities. Expand your thinking to include new ideas. Practice awareness and mindfulness. Open your heart to love and the magnificence of life, and allow it to express through you. Share your hugs and laughter with as many as you can. Focus on the things you can change and control, and let go of the rest. It really is all we can do, and it is enough.

Thank you for being in my life.. Here's to YOU!  (insert glass clink here)  
-Lorena
  .......and now Maestro, cue the music  ..... ........Should auld acquaintance.......

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