Hi Friends!

I’m SO excited you’re joining me today! This post was supposed to be a Thanksgiving post. But, well, life happened: my kids got sick and had to stay home from school, crowding out my writing time. So, you’ll get a 3-in-1 today because I’m also bursting to share the birthday blessing miracle of celebrating my twins turning SIX!!!!…and the tensions that surround momentous occasions ever since brain cancer entered our family’s life. AND I’ll throw in an update! I’ve been quiet over here lately, busy working away, I’m pulsing with excitement to share what I’ve been up to!!!!

Hang on! Let’s Go!


Part 1: Thanksgiving


“Isn’t it splendid there are so many things to like in this world?”

Anne of Green Gables.

This morning I walked to my favorite meditation spot (pictured).

I perched beside the river as I watched fishermen and fisherwomen cast their lines into the water. Seagulls circled and an eagle soared in the distance against the clouds that were struggling to part, letting sparse beams of light stream towards the treeline. In my headphones an instrumental version of the song Shall we gather at the river began.

My grandmother sang this song from the bottom of my stairs at bedtime when she babysat my sister and I; her health was too poor to climb up to our bedroom.

Shall we gather at the river. How Fitting, I thought, watching the water rush past my feet. 

This song speaks of the river in heaven and how, when my earthly days have past, I shall trod my feet along those waters. To be sure, I have lots of questions about faith lately and lots of “issues” with the religion of my childhood. Yet, in so many ways my faith remains an important gift to help me navigate life. 

As I listen to Shall we gather by the river, I think of my grandmother and the chorus from my childhood: Give thanks with a grateful heart.

Thoughts of heaven are pertinent today as a friend, just a little older than I,  has become gravely ill with cancer and another, much younger than I, has passed away from Glioblastoma. Moreover, my own mortality is no longer clouded in the shroud of youthful certainty. My own Glioblastoma brain cancer diagnosis assures that.

Shall we gather at the river is an invitation this morning towards gratitude- gratitude for where I have come from and how it has shaped and equipped me for the challenges of today.

Furthermore, I am grateful for my own personal growth towards love in recent years. Love is what this life is all about!!!  Even though uncertainty is pervasive, this I am very sure of: Life’s grandest purpose is to garner love from its source, reciprocate it and spread it. 

As I slowed down in this meditative moment, my eyes and heart were wide open to the natural wonder all around me. Like Anne of Green Gables,  I became enraptured with commonplace beauty.

Then Love Someone by Lucas Graham streamed from my playlist into my ears:  “When you love someone you open up your heart.” In this moment, I know without a doubt this is how I want to live the rest of my days: with my heart vulnerably wide open.(1)

Therefore, this Thanksgiving Day, as I remember the significance of the past (diving deep into it and appreciating the significance of what was), I am grateful for the present moments (gosh, kissing my kids’ sweet little heads is the best!) and hopeful for the future (on this earth and beyond).


Happy Thanksgiving
I love you.




  1. Having a vulnerable, wide open heart is a power move. It is not weak in the least bit. Firstly, it requires tremendous courage. Secondly, Brene Brown has taught me that you are only able to have an open heart (what she calls a soft front) when you have a strong back. Your back is strong when you are confident in your guiding values and you stay true to those values. Most of us like to armor up our hearts, she says, in order to protect a weak spine. However, when we have that strong backbone, we are able to risk an open heart. What a great way to live! 


Part 2: Birthday tensions


The first year after my Glioblastoma brain cancer diagnosis I wrote dozens of letters and cards for my kids to open on their birthdays in the years to come. This was a way of immersing myself into the future I was told I would not have. I store these letters and cards in a fireproof, waterproof safe I refer to as the “Vault”. 

Today, the day before my twins’ 6th birthday, I don’t quite feel ready to take their cards and letters from the “Vault”. It brings on raw emotions. Can’t I just live! Can’t I just forget! I wish. Can’t I just gloss over the difficult, arduous road I’ve traveled to arrive here today in this miraculously happy moment?

I cannot.

I sit in the tension of KNOWING. I am living a dream come true. I am present in a seemingly fictitious alternate reality, knowing what could have been. Knowing what is.

I’m not much into reading scripture these days, but Matthew 5:3 keeps intermittently inserting itself into my days. “God blesses the poor in spirit for the kingdom of heaven is given to them” (1). 

Poor in spirit, I have been (anyone else?) And the kingdom of heaven, I am living in it right now: the beauty all around me. Not that it’s ever one or the other. Oh no, rather it’s both/and. This is the way life is. Broken and beautiful.

As I celebrate my babies, now six years old, my formerly frantic heart grows calm. The gratitude I used to intentionally have to fight for, flows freely today.

This is life. It is good.      



  1. The bible, NLT translation. One of the first Sundays when we no longer attended church, I “travelled” to Maui and watched Ryan’s childhood friend, Ben, deliver a life-giving sermon online. He spoke on this verse. The significance of this verse comes up again and again for me. When I acknowledge my “poor in spirit-ness”, when life is hard and I don’t try to deny this, the kingdom of heaven opens up right here on earth- beauty surrounds me, right in the midst of the difficult.  


Part Three: Update!!!

Thanks for sticking with me!!!!

I haven’t been blogging very much lately because I’ve been too busy writing my memoir chronicling my glioblastoma brain cancer journey. I had no idea just how much work writing a book would be! But, I am excited to announce that I am well into the second draft of my memoir and it is shaping up (feel the buzz of my excitement!!!!) nicely! I’ve been meeting with a writers’ critique group on zoom bimonthly which has been fun and helpful. 

As a girl I LOVED writing. Though writing now is oodles of work, it is SO much fun. I’ve found my flow and the little girl who loved to write is re-emerging. It’s really wonderful!

And, in the process of editing my memoir I realized that I was actually writing TWO books at once. So, following my memoir, I hope to rapidly follow with a sort of Handbook on Resilience: things I learned during my journey with brain cancer. Also so exciting!  

My health continues to be stable and on October 5, I celebrated being a 5 year Glioblastoma survivor!!!! Sadly this milestone is reached by less than 5% of survivors. Our family, including my young children, pray daily with gratitude for “our healthy bodies”, what a gift they are! 

Finally, on November 1st, I will be turning FORTY years old! I am SOOOOO excited to reach this next decade and (moment by moment) see what it has in store for me. Getting older is SO good! 

As always, thanks for journeying with me. Your company means so much. (Though sometimes it gets kinda lonely here at my desk, so if you enjoy hearing about my journey and are looking forward to my memoir I’d appreciate a note hearing from you. Drop a hello in the comments below, on Social @cherylrostek (IG and FB) or an email at info@cherylrostek.com).

You guys are the best!