This weekend I got to spend some time with my older sister, who lives in Florida, but who is temporarily staying in Woodstock, IL for a few weeks. Woodstock is a lovely little city that is somewhat “famous.” My guys were gone on their 4th snowmobile trip since January and I deserved some much-needed “girl time.”

Woodstock has a wonderful downtown square with beautiful old buildings and cobblestone streets. There was a wonderful retro feel to it and I wish I’d have spent more time there. Not only were scenes from Planes, Trains and Automobiles filmed there, but also a good deal of Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day. I can see why, given the picturesque setting the town provides.

After spending some time catching up, my sister and I traveled North, into Wisconsin, to spend some time wandering in the lovely Lake Geneva and have lunch. We meandered through a variety of shops looking at knickknacks, clothing, shoes and jewelry. It was a genuine, woman’s shopping paradise, with it’s boutiques, spas and shops overlooking the lake.

It was a beautiful day for strolling from shop to shop, the sun was shining, it was in the 40s, and the winds were calm. Lovely for my Wisconsin bones, but chilly for my Floridian sister. I noticed a few of the young girls that were out and about, had on short-shorts, and many of the shops had their doors open. In with the refreshing air, out with the stale of winter.

We purchased delectable homemade chocolates, and my sister got some pretty, dangly earrings. I ended up purchasing a beautiful ring – to replace one of the two I used to wear on my right hand, but no longer fit on any fingers, due to losing weight from diet and cancer. Alas, I have to wait to see the effects of radiation and the anti-estrogen meds that I will start after, to size everything including my wedding ring. Maybe I’ll get a temporary one for my birthday, ha.

One thing I am grateful for, was the enjoyable company of my sister. Once we got back to Woodstock, we chatted as she assembled beautiful glass-bottle crafts with sand from Navarre Beach, and they had pieces of shells and bits of glass inside. She added an inspirational phrase handwritten in her elegant script, on each one. As she crafted, we spoke of my upcoming radiation treatments, showed each other our “battle scars” from different surgeries and reminisced about the past.

I am thankful for each of my family members, the time spent is truly a treasure and not a chore, as I had sometimes viewed in the past, where I sometimes dreaded holidays or family gatherings. I stop and think about those who are there for me. There is family I don’t often see, due to the busyness of life, and I examine what they mean to me. You should do the same.

When times are rough, family keeps you grounded.