Day of Contemplation

Scarlett Glory

I hope the New Year has welcomed you with a warm embrace. It has blessed me with being an aunt for the fourth time as my sister-in-law gave birth to Scarlett Glory at 11:20 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. My heart has ached as a Facebook friend that I admired, Gloria Borges, passed away after a valiant battle with colon cancer. In the first few days of 2014 there have been new arrivals, sad departures and for those of us lucky to be given the gift of today, the gift of life.

I write this on the sixth day of the New Year. I am having back surgery tomorrow, January 7, 2014. The last time my back was operated on was January 8, 1997 when I had scoliosis surgery. Tomorrow I will be having a laminectomy, discectomy and foraminotomy in hopes to improve disk issues. I am fortunate to have the same surgeon, Dr. Triantafyllou, who performed my scoliosis surgery, operate on me tomorrow. It feels natural that today is a day of contemplation.

Scoliosis surgery x-ray

I find myself thinking of the past year of pain and health hurdles that led me to this point. The hospital stays, procedures, and medicine interactions. All the pain, stress of the unknowns and ‘what ifs.’ When I put my thoughts in the present I feel slightly anxious, yet optimistic and hopeful for a brighter year. I know that within hours I will have an IV administered and be lying on an operating room table putting my faith, health and future in someone else’s hands. Thinking of the future makes me envision soaring out of this time warp and getting back to enjoying life with my husband with less pain and a healthier future.

Although thoughts of the past, present and future are circling in my mind, I will do my best post-surgery to focus on the present and tackle each day one at a time. I am going into tomorrow knowing that there will be increased pain in order to hopefully have the result of less pain. My “job” right now is to get through this as well as possible. I will do this by working hard with persistence, aggressive effort.

Many have proclaimed their New Year’s resolutions. By now some may be steadfast in their effort, changed their resolution or decided to dismiss the idea altogether. I never followed the resolutions trend. I believe when one is aware of their values in life they are able to live true to themselves all year long. As a challenge, decision or opportunity arises, one can see if their actions are aligning with their core values. Living this way helps to keep me in check and to live in the present.

Here are values that are displayed on the wall in the home of my dear friend, Denise DelGrosso Gilliland. This moved me greatly as I too share the “Gilliland Family Core Values.”

Core Values

Have you set any resolutions? What are your core values? Do you have any suggestions on how to stay focused on the present, post-surgery, or when dealing with health issues?


  1. Jody Balaun

    Valen….As always, you’ve expressed your thoughts in a brilliant way. I so love reading your words because they always resonate in me. Reading, listening & watching peaceful warriors like you is how I face my own daily challenges. You are a young, lively & positive spirit here to make the world a better place….& that you do BIG TIME! Much love from Colorado….xo

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Jody,
      Thank you for your encouragement and love. You and your dear family hold a very special place in my heart. I hope to see all of you soon. xo

  2. Jackie

    This is a heartfelt and amazing post! I so agree with living your resolutions all through your life!

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Jackie,
      Thank you so much my dear sister from another lifetime. 🙂 It was so wonderful to see you before surgery. I am so proud of you and the sweet woman that you are.


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