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kimberlyakowalski

kimberlyakowalski

Kimberly Kowalski

It was a Happy National Pickle Day 11/14! Had me reminiscing of the farmers market and buying bushels upon bushels of cucumbers and my summer long canning extravaganza - slaving away in the kitchen over them and the smell of dill embedded into every fiber of the house - mostly because I enjoy giving them away as gifts. 😊😋 🎁 <a href='/tag/mypicklesmakegreatgifts' target='_blank'>#mypicklesmakegreatgifts</a> 
<a href='/tag/giftsfromtheheartarebest' target='_blank'>#giftsfromtheheartarebest</a> 💕

It was a Happy National Pickle Day 11/14! Had me reminiscing of the farmers market and buying bushels upon bushels of cucumbers and my summer long canning extravaganza - slaving away in the kitchen over them and the smell of dill embedded into every fiber of the house - mostly because I enjoy giving them away as gifts. 😊😋 🎁 #mypicklesmakegreatgifts #giftsfromtheheartarebest 💕
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  • kimberlyakowalski

    What’s your Mardi Gras / Fat Tuesday tradition - a King Cake or a Paczki ? - When I lived in Michigan, it was the Paczki all the way. Oh how I miss those delicious jelly doughnuts from the Polish bakery!!! 😋 - After moving down south we soon learned it was all about the King Cake. While it was fun to see who ended up with the slice with the hidden baby in it and got to be king or queen for a day, I never could find one that really tasted super good UNTIL we came across a make-your-own King Cake in a box mix from @WorldMarket. 👑 - This, hands down, is the best tasting King Cake ever IMO and pretty easy and fun to make. 💯 - Not the healthiest thing to eat, so don’t tell my oncologist. But hey, this only comes around once a year. 🤫 • • • • #worldmarket #HappyMardiGras #MardiGras #MardiGras2018 #FatTuesday #NOLA #HappyFatTuesday #Paczki #PaczkiDay #Polishcustom #southern #southerncustom #goodluck #kingforaday #queenforaday #sugarhigh #sugartooth #pralinefilling #yum #dessert #baking #findthebaby #carnival #goodvibes #easypeasy #beads #purple #yellow #green

  • kimberlyakowalski

    1/29 - hello to my 2 year cancerversary today. 🙋‍♀️ - I have a love/hate relationship with January. It used to be more love than hate. I used to love how it represents new beginnings and wiping the slate clean, planning and organizing, and just the overall excitement about life ahead. Something about turning the page to a new year on a calendar and getting a new planner made my endorphins soar! And whatever crappy things happened the year before, I could just decide to leave it all behind. 🗑🗓 - And be it dead of winter, one thing I especially looked forward to in January was going out in the garden and hunting for first signs of spring - a promise from Mother Nature that no matter how bleak it looked in my surroundings, I could look forward to life ahead. I, without fail, could locate a spring bulb piercing new life up from below the earth’s dark underbelly. Thankfully, this January did not disappoint. I found some daffodils waving hello with the tips of their green stems telling me that hope and goodness in life are ahead - a reminder for me to not overlook joy in the difficult journey. 🌅 - At 2 yrs post diagnosis, and 1 yr out of treatment, I feel both gratitude & guilt. My first yr of remission went better than I could have expected compared to the fearful outlook adopted at initial diagnosis. My brother wasn’t afforded the gift of life to turn a page to a new year on a calendar. His diagnosis, treatment, and passing all occurred within the same year. Why some people are given NO chance, SOME chance, and a LIFELONG chance of remission I will never know. - Last year I learned Olivia Newton-John’s breast cancer returned after more than 2 doz. cancerversaries of hers had passed. When asked, “25 yrs ago you had cancer. Now you have it again. What has it taught you about life?” - ONJ: “You just don’t know what’s going to happen. You have to be grateful for every day and make the most of it. Continue with things you feel good about and passionate about, and help other people.” - Though cancer leaves a dark spot on a calendar month, I can measure how far I’ve come and pause to appreciate all that was and is now. But IF ONLY I could leave it all behind. 🙂☹️

  • kimberlyakowalski

    1/24 #NationalComplimentDay 🙂 It costs nothing to give a compliment to someone and to that someone, it can be a gift worth gold. 🏆 - One day I was at a vintage collectors show with my husband - the first large public crowd activity I did just after cancer treatment ended. Up until then, I got out very little beyond going to the cancer center - which was pretty safe since you looked like everybody else. When I did go out in public while in treatment, I often received a lot of negative attention by strangers (the odd glares from children, the pitiful smiles from adults). Many ladies are able to successfully transform themselves with makeup and wigs during treatment, but when I attempted, I just ended up looking like a cancer patient trying not to look like a cancer patient. I wasn’t good at it. Nor did I care to beautify myself because I was just trying to survive each day. 😨 - When treatment ends, there is this urge to return to a non-cancer patient look IMMEDIATELY, but unfortunately, it takes time for the eyelashes, eyebrows, and hair to grow back. But now I had the energy to tackle the makeup and wigs. 🙂 - Back to the vintage show. I had been browsing in a booth with my husband for a few minutes and left when I heard someone calling behind me, “Ma’am! Ma’am!” It was the vendor whose booth I just left. I began to feel anxious. Did I break something in her booth? Why would she be chasing me down? 🤔 - “I’m sorry,” she said touching my shoulder, “I just had to stop you and tell you how beautiful you are.” - What❓❓❓❓ - At first I worried that she could see right through me and that this was a pity compliment. I began to internally fight with my urge to say, “No I’m not! This is all fake! Cancer stole it all!” But my husband, who has this uncanny way of reading my mind, gave me the “take the compliment, it’s real” glance. “Well thank you very much,” I blushed back. And the vendor turned and went on her merry way, as did I. ☺️ - Don’t wait for something outstanding to happen to reach out to praise someone. In ordinary moments of your day, give someone a sincere compliment. You never know how much that person needs to hear that from you. ❤️

  • kimberlyakowalski

    “Cardinals appear when angels are near.” Do you believe that saying? - ❄️ We had a really pretty snowfall this past week in Tennessee which I think was the consolation prize for some really uncomfortable frigid temps in the south. - 🗓 This picture with the male and female cardinals at my birdfeeder was actually taken TWO Januarys ago, the actual month I was diagnosed with cancer. It took the whole month of me painfully waiting throughout January 2016 for appointments to be secured and testing completed to get to those life changing words, “you have cancer.” - ✨ But in the waiting, we had a beautiful snowfall take place. I often clung to nature for solace, many times staring out of my window and meditating. This day I was greeted with a flock of cardinals out of my kitchen window for me to meditate on. For a short time anyway that day, there was peace. 🕊 - 💖 I read that “a cardinal is a representative of a loved one who has passed. When you see one, it means they are visiting you. They usually show up when you most need them or miss them. They also make an appearance during times of celebration as well as despair to let you know they will always be with you.” - ❓Could this be true? I wonder if this was a sign from my brother who had passed away from pancreatic cancer, just a year prior, showing up trying to comfort me. Or perhaps my parents or grandparents on the other side checking in. Maybe even cancer patients who transitioned to the afterlife? I can’t say for sure. - 🌨 In any event, despite the month having an agonizing connotation, I will always enjoy the cardinal as my favorite bird, and even a good snowfall in January to paint the landscape and frolic in. Who can resist becoming a kid again and making a snow angel?😇

  • kimberlyakowalski

    Another Bucket List item: ✅ Stay in a Presidential Suite #BecauseYoureWorthIt #BecauseImWorthIt #DieBrokeNotBroken #MondayMotivation - - It takes courage to pull through cancer treatment, but the prize in the end if we make it through is the riddance of something that is toxic to our health. Wouldn’t it be a shame to go through all that and voluntarily continue on in life with our old toxic life issues? - - I remember one of the strongest regrets I had when faced with mortality and a potential shortened lifespan immediately upon my cancer diagnosis. It was about how I allowed other people’s bad behavior towards me to stunt my living literally for decades. Time and opportunities I wasted and could not get back because I waited for my circumstances to change from the actions of OTHERS rather than the correct choice which was - changing MY actions. Truthfully, I was more mad at ME than them. - - ➡️ We can’t control how other people behave towards us. But we can control how we respond. Pain is inevitable, but continued suffering is optional as the saying goes. - - 😰 I had been down this road many times before: a holiday ruined due to the grief from a broken heart for various reasons. Teardrops under the Christmas tree were often the routine. Full disclosure: when it happens you feel gutted. That never changes because you’re human, so give yourself grace to feel the feelings. Each event though, built resiliency in me a little at a time. - - 🤔 So when this past holiday approached, I asked myself, “What had I learned in my life journey so far? What worked well for me and what would I change and do differently?” When I had my answer, I acted. - - ⁉️ Ask yourself those same questions. End of life regrets suck. So try your best to make less of them. Ask yourself how many years you THINK and WISH and HOPE to live and then subtract a bunch as an insurance policy not to squander the years just in case you’re wrong and GET BUSY LIVING.

  • kimberlyakowalski

    New Year’s Eve dinner at The Mockingbird Restaurant then back at home for a toast 🥂 to Auld Lang Syne ✨🌟💫 . . . 🎉 In 2018 let’s all make a resolution to do kind things, love one another, laugh a lot, then repeat.

  • kimberlyakowalski

    An Oplatek, also known as an edible Christmas Wafer, is a centuries old beloved Polish custom that my husband grew up with, and I wanted to share it virtually with you all. In essence, the Christmas Wafer is about the unity of family and best wishes for them. **I consider the #breastcancer community and any #fighter or #survivor of cancer my family.** . . There are some variations, but the general custom is that the oldest member breaks off a piece of wafer and passes the wafer to the next individual and that person breaks off a piece. On it goes, each breaking a piece from the other. As you offer the Oplatek one by one, you may speak an exchange such as “I wish you much health, happiness, and good fortune. And after this life, an external crown in heaven.” Or more simply said, “Happy Christmas. God grant that we are all together again next year.” It can be tailored to tell a loved one “I love you. Thank you for…Please forgive me for…I hope you are blessed with (fill in the blank) next year.” Go ahead and give it a try. Start a new tradition and let people you know you love them! We get ours online from #polishartcenter in Hamtramck MI. . . During my treatment, people had cheered me on, had given me beautiful gifts, meals, did errands, sent flowers, cards, emails, or texts just when I needed some encouragement or something to lift my spirit. May you be blessed with the same love and kindness in your time of need, and may 2018 be good to you. Sending blessings, love, and good wishes for the #cancersurvivor community.

  • kimberlyakowalski

    This Thanksgiving and everyday really, I am thankful for the restoration of my health and a continuation of an opportunity to live despite the challenges I still face. You will not fully appreciate your good health until you lose it. . . **According to Jeremy Lott who wrote an article about the true story of the Pilgrims and their first Thanksgiving: In late 1621, the Pilgrims were thankful that they just might make it through another winter... The deaths had leveled off but the toll was high: 102 people had set sail; only 51 or 52 remained that first Thanksgiving. “As many as two or three people died each day during the first two months on land,” explains the Plantation’s official website. That attrition left many husbands wifeless, many children parentless, and was especially tough on both the very old and the very young. Only three people over 40 were left standing. Two babies had been born en route to and in this new world; one of them had already died.** . . And so I too think the Pilgrims were grateful to still be alive despite their severe challenges on that first Thanksgiving. . . This photo I took this summer is of the view that I see when I walk my hilltop property as a form of exercise and meditation. It is a reminder of a restoration of better health from the previous year when I was battling breast cancer. I could not make it out of bed many days back then to brush my teeth during treatment, much less do something as strenuous as climbing my hill. Oh how I missed the smell of honeysuckle that summer coming from the woods that the evening breeze would’ve wafted under my nose and the gorgeous pink sky as the sun was setting. As you might imagine, I was so thankful to return to an activity this year that I love. . . And so today I am grateful for medical advances that afford people the opportunity to live that was not possible in the past, and to have access to good medical care. I am grateful for the restoration of health for all afflicted.

  • kimberlyakowalski

    It was a Happy National Pickle Day 11/14! Had me reminiscing of the farmers market and buying bushels upon bushels of cucumbers and my summer long canning extravaganza - slaving away in the kitchen over them and the smell of dill embedded into every fiber of the house - mostly because I enjoy giving them away as gifts. 😊😋 🎁 #mypicklesmakegreatgifts #giftsfromtheheartarebest 💕

  • kimberlyakowalski

    Yesterday was #WorldGratitudeDay 🌎 and I couldn't skip talking about this subject as I have a lot to be grateful for that gets me though some tough times ➡️ the medical team, family, friends, and community support I've received in recent times, but most of all - God - for still keeping me alive each day so that I may be of service in this world of His. . . So this is the sign that I hung to see when I wake up and open my eyes each day -- inspired by the late Dr. Wayne Dyer. I once heard him tell the story about when he woke up each morning that the first thing he did was utter the words "thank you" to his Creator. He said, "Gratitude and humility send signals to all who meet us that we’re all connected to something larger than life itself." . . Thank you, Lord, for the gift of another day. Sincerely, your daughter Kimberly 🙏🏻💫✨ . #DrWayneDyer #spirituality #gratitude #thankful #letterboard #grateful #gratefulheart #gratefulforlife #happiness #blessingseveryday #thankgodforanotherday #thankgod #bethankful #positivevibes #positivethinking #attitude #godisgood #lifeisgood #enjoylife #cancer #breastcancer #cancersurvivor

  • kimberlyakowalski

    Dear Father Time & Mother Nature, I'm sitting in my tree swing here writing to you and savoring the final hours of summer 2017. I would like to respectfully request that you two slow it the hell down. Please go much slower. Like the slow that happens when you stare at a clock when you're in a boring class that you dislike and want it to be over, and the hands on the clock do not seem to move -- the "you're sure the clock is broke" kind of slow. Like slow as molasses slow. No wait, that's still too fast. How about slower than a herd of snails traveling through peanut butter? Yes, I'll settle for that. . . I realize other people may have written to you asking to hurry things up because they can't wait for the fall sports season to start. Or the first taste of a pumpkin spice something-or-other. Some people were antsy to get the kids back to school. The fashion and décor bloggers were itching to show you the newest trends of the fall season. . . I don't judge them. I used to be one of those people -- racing to the next thing ahead. Now I've reversed gears to mindfulness. Being more present. Less focused on the future. Because the future is not a given. It never was. But now I am painfully aware since my cancer diagnosis last year. Perhaps the race to the next thing was all a distraction to the fact that we are all born terminal, and we need to squeeze as much of life in -- before it squeezes us out. . . Daily in the US about 110 people will have run out of time because MBC is running faster than the research can save them. That's over 40,000 people a year in the US alone where the mammograms and today's standard of cancer treatment didn't save them. . . Mother Nature, as you prepare to change the color of the leaves, the "Pink Ribbons" will begin to fly through the air this October. This disease that can and still does kill will be prettied up in marketing, and products will go pink. Who will be the winners in this campaign? Not the metastatic community thus far. They're angry that the stage that kills is funded the least in many of these campaigns. Perhaps you and Father Time can place sanctions on these pink ribbons if they don't get their act together?

  • kimberlyakowalski

    The July and August Healthy Living Social at the #BrentwoodLibrary featured dishes that showcased ingredients that came from our own garden or a #farmersmarket 🍅🥒🌽🥕 . . For one lunch I brought (see top half of pic) a #healthy #BlueZones Simple Greek Bruschetta dish made from #cherrytomatoes and fresh #basil from my own garden. It was SO ADDICTING and the hit of the social, if I do say so myself 😊. People kept coming back for more servings and said they couldn’t wait to make it themselves. Try for yourself, and see if you can stop at one serving!!! #Recipe below ⬇️ . . 🍅📝 Ingredients & Directions: . . ✔️ Add 2 -3 cups quartered cherry tomatoes, ¼ - ½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped, ¼ cup fresh basil, 1 Tbsp. dried or fresh chopped oregano, 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, and a pinch salt and pepper to mixing bowl. Toss to coat. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt, basil, or balsamic vinegar as desired. . . ✔️ Serve with either toasted white or wheat baguette slices, fresh baked French bread or even Ikarian sourdough. Whether using toasted or non-toasted bread slices, use a brush to coat each slice with a mixture made from 1 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 clove crushed garlic. . . ✔️ Using a slotted spoon, top tomato mixture over each garlic & olive oil coated bread slice. Store leftovers separate from bread, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 2 days. . . . . #BrentwoodTN #healthyliving #healthyfood #bruschetta #cleaneating #eatyourveggies #lifestylechanges #eatmorefruitsandvegetables #summerdishes #moreplease #vegetarian #vegetarianfood #vegetablegarden #vegetables #healthydiet #healthylifestyle #tomatodish

  • kimberlyakowalski

    Bucket List: ✅View a total solar eclipse . . A spectacle of #celestial proportions came our way! We headed north into the path of totality in Nashville and experienced a once in a lifetime event (for me happening in my neck of the woods anyway) with millions of other Nashvillians and people who came across the country / world to witness such a spectacular event. . . The VIP Eclipse Party at the #ItalianLightsFestival in #Nashville was divine. Fine food and fun music. For a brief time we were worried the sudden clouds would block the total eclipse. The crowd went quiet and we all held our breath. Then the magic happened. Shouting and clapping began as the clouds parted and this awesome solar eclipse appeared before our eyes just at totality - ripping off our solar glasses to view the corona of the sun. We were all just humans on this planet standing in awe coming together for a heavenly experience, no divisiveness, no hate. . . I literally got chills down my spine as the early afternoon sky turned into evening and stars and planets were visible. . . Now back to reality as the festivities wind down this evening, and I head home to my regular world. Mentally preparing for my 3 month oncology check up tomorrow to see if there are signs my #breastcancer has come back. Usually pretty anxious the day before these visits, but the heavens provided a beautiful distraction this time. . . #totalsolareclipse #eclipse #eclipse2017 #solareclipse2017 #festival #cancersurvivorship #monday #onceinalifetime #awesome #pathoftotality #bucketlist #bicentennialmall #solareclipse

  • kimberlyakowalski

    Reality check. Even though the school buses have fired up again and Hobby Lobby has set out their Christmas trees, the calendar 🗓 and thermometer 🌡 STILL say S-U-M-M-E-R! ☀️#Staycool 😎 #FranklinTN 🐄 !!!! #weekendvibes #August #heatwave 🔥 . . . . #summer #summertime #cows #cowsofinstagram #cowpasture #countrylife #countryliving #peaceful #pasture #farms #farmlife #farmland #farmlove #ponds #relax #coolvibes #rurallife #Tennessee

  • kimberlyakowalski

    The cherry #🍅 in my garden are ripe and ready to eat straight off the vine 🌿. The #harvest we are getting from #bonniesplants Husky Cherry Red is incredible. 🎉#tomatopalooza 🌇#tomatotown 💥#burstingwithflavor 👅 #sogood 🌨#aftertherain . . . . . #vineripened #cherrytomatoes #growyourfood #fruit #ripe #readytoeat #red #garden #healthyfood #raisedbedgarden #summertime #naturesfood #nutrition #homegrowntomato

  • kimberlyakowalski

    Attended the sneak peek preview party (complete with complimentary wine 🍷) for the annual summer Swanky Plank Vintage Marketplace #2017 at #Rippavilla in #springhilltn this month. Such a gorgeous venue, lovely vendors, great live entertainment and yummy food to make the shopping experience complete! As for my haul, I got a metal outdoor farm rocking chair to relax in with a good book or just to gaze out at the vistas in. Also snatched up a piece of architectural salvage -- a chippy antique outdoor wooden cornice from a building -- to be repurposed for a shelf in a gallery wall project I have in mind 😍. . . . . . . . #swankyplank #swankyplankvintagemarketplace #vintagemarketplace #vintagemarket #vintage #shopping #antiqueshopping #antiques #antiquefinds #architecturalsalvage #july #summer2017 #outdoorfestival

  • kimberlyakowalski

    The 18th Annual Elegant and Depression Glass Show and Sale at The Nashville State Fairgrounds was the best yet IMO. This year's featured pattern display was of my FAVORITE pattern 😍😍 Fostoria's Heirloom!!! . . See the videos of the display and tell me how 😎 of a #midcentuymodern choice Heirloom would be for a decor piece for mid century lovers!! 💕 . . Great job Fostoria Glass Society of Tennessee! Thanks for hosting such an awesome show with a great selection of vendors 👏 . . . . #mcm #midcentury #madmen #decor #glass #glassshow #tennessee #vintage #heirloom #fostoria #collector #antique #vintageshow #antiqueshow #fostoriaglass

  • kimberlyakowalski

    Last summer each Wednesday meant #chemoday 🤢. THIS summer they are back to being #TSFarmersMarket days 🥒🌽🍅🥕. Oh how I missed coming to the most beautiful #rusticglam barnwood & crystal chandeliers venue around to hold a #farmersmarket 😍💕 . . I encourage supporting local farms, and they help me to maintain a #healthydiet so essential after #fightingcancer, and everyone's risk reduction of certain lifestyle diseases, really! So I look forward to once again buying fresh produce from the vendors there. . . ✔️✔️Come and check out the event happening every Wednesday from 10a-2p through the end of August. The vendors "Grow It, Raise It, Make It, or Bake It." . . Thanks @weatherman.cam for taking me. I had a lovely time, and I hope you enjoyed your sweet treat from friendliest vendor, Ms. Maggie V. Sweets. . . . . #ThompsonsStationTN #summer #summer2017 #farmfresh #buylocal #eatlocal #farmtotable #localproduce #farmersmarkets #nutrition #HomesteadManor #tennessee #healthyliving #healthylifestyle #health #healthyeating #cancerfighter #cancerfightingfoods

  • kimberlyakowalski

    💥🎇This girl is getting her SPARK back! 🎆💥 . . My most happiest 4th of July ever! FREEDOM has a new meaning for me this year. I'm so grateful to be here today. Those of you who have been through life threatening illnesses and treatment can relate. . . Last 4th of July I was spending it completely oblivious to the festivities of the country and people around me. I was in the first week of 12 weekly Taxol, my second set of a chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. I was bald, broken, and bedridden. The world went on like business as usual while mine shrank into an abyss. “Just get me through this day” was all I could celebrate. And then another day, and another. Until chemo and radiation treatments were finally done at the holidays late last year. I was free! . . Will I be free of this cancer for good? Maybe. Maybe not. That’s my reality. But I am free to enjoy business as usual in this new normal of a survivorship world that I now live in. That means in between the fearful or unpleasant thoughts, I seek to find and embrace small, simple sparks of joy with an occasional big, audacious goal to gear myself up for and look forward to. . . . …. #spark #sparkle #sparklers #freedom #4thofjuly #celebrate #today #newnormal #cancer #survivor #cancersurvivor #survivorship #cancersurvivorship #breastcancer #chemotherapy #chemo #ivegotthis #icandoit #newbeginnings #todayisagift #thankyou #cancerfighter #justgetmethroughthis #courage #fightlikeagirl #holiday #joy #enjoyinglife #enjoythesimplethingsinlife #gratefulfortoday