Fly

28 Sep

hawk in yard
I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I’m going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that as long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.~C. JoyBell

I love this quote for several reasons. Partly because I think it explains to me why I’ve always loved watching large birds fly; they remain suspended in air for so long just letting the wind carry them and it’s always been amazing to me. I love the beauty and mostly the freedom of it. I love the sentence that says the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings because it rings so true. There are many things in life that can keep us on the ground so to speak, fear’s a big one; fear of making the wrong decision, fear of looking stupid, fear of what others may think, or simply fear of the unknown. On the other side of fear is trust. Trust in yourself and your gut, and trust in God who has a bigger plan than you can fathom.

photo 5This week has been busy and sometimes in the busy-ness of it all we can miss the small miracles. Here are a few from my week: Speaking to another cancer survivor back in the fight and being able to encourage her on her path, one of my customers showing vulnerability and tearing up from a memory while telling me a story of someone who impacted him, the valet at one of my offices (who knows me by name and can already tell if it’s been a stressful day) grabbing my hand and telling me ‘to put that smile back on my face because he missed it, and whatever it is, there’s always tomorrow’…thanks Chris. Add to that the changing colors of the leaves…a beautiful miracle. Notice many of my miracles revolve around people? We are all we’ve got!image

Anyhow, it’s been a tumultuous few years for me and who really knows where life will lead but I continue to force my wings to unfold, trusting without fear, and ready to soar. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.~Steve Jobs

Today I wear the always classic Lip Smacker lip balm in Strawberry...just because I feel like it! Cheers!

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Tapestry

22 Sep

tapestry
Life is a tapestry of relationships, every thread is crucial….

This past weekend I was able to spend some time with my friend Grace at a cottage in Northern Michigan. I have known Grace for almost 20 years and it was just a great time to relax and connect. At the resort there was an outdoor art park with that saying, along with other quotes, carved into marble right in the middle of the woods. It was fitting to be there and see that with Grace because I’ve known her for so long; we’ve sang together, she’s been a mentor to me, but best of all she’s been a friend through all my junk past and present. As I was standing there staring at it, a whole bunch of people ran through my mind; not always great, life-impacting relationships, not always positive, but definitely a critical thread in my life story. There are many people past and present, even those I’ve just met, that each have had a purpose or have taught me something about me or about people in general. artpark

Up north, there was just a hint of the trees beginning to change colors. Fall is my favorite season in Michigan for exactly this reason. The air changes and becomes cooler, the sunsets are more fiery, but the changing colors are amazing and the beauty at its peak always leaves me breathless. So here it is, the beginning of a new season. The leaves change and the wind goes from a warmer air to being cooler and more crisp. Life is in constant change and people constantly weave in and out of glassour lives, sometimes for just a season. I believe we meet people at exactly the right time we need to meet them, there are no accidents. What’s our part? What’s my part? I’m repeating myself when I say that sometimes we only get one chance, one moment to make an impact on someones life. Will it be positive or negative? I personally want to be a faucet filling someone’s cup than a drain depleting someone of life and energy.This is a long quote but I really liked the analogy…
Life is similar to a bus ride.The journey begins when we board the bus.We meet people along our way of which some are strangers, some friends and some strangers yet to be friends.There are stops at intervals and people board in.
At times some of these people make their presence felt, leave an impact through their grace and beauty on us fellow passengers while on other occasions they remain indifferent.But then it is important for some people to make an exit, to get down and walk the paths they were destined to because if people always made an entrance and never left either for the better or worse, then we would feel suffocated and confused like those people in the bus, the purpose of the journey would lose its essence and the journey altogether would neither be worthwhile nor smooth.’~ Chirag Tulsiani

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven-Turn,Turn,Turn~The Byrds

Today I wear Nars Audacious Lipstick in Charlotte which is a deep oxblood burgundy. You can always count on Nars for great lipsticks and great colors. These are weightless, long lasting and smooth…obviously the color is amazing. This particular color is great for fall (but be sure you don’t do the smoky eye with it or you’ll look like a vampire). Cheers to a new season!

Fear vs. Freedom

14 Sep

bridge
A friend of mine posted a question on Facebook the other day asking what people’s fears/phobias were. There was a variety of answers ranging from the typical snakes, spiders, clowns, all the way to the fear of an ex or of not being wanted. Can fear and freedom co-exist? Sometimes. Take the fear of moving someplace new; new school, new job, etc..but the freedom after the initial adjustment knowing that maybe it was for the best (or not). The fear of cancer coming back yet freedom with the knowledge that you’ve beaten it at least once and you have today to be alive. There is great fear, but the freedom you can feel is a choice that must be made yourself.

Fear is a monster slowly making its way into your mind. It’s blackness and its long tentacles wrapping around your brain creeping in like a sheer cloud of death. Trapping your mind and body with a blanket of insecurity which penetrates every thought of every minute forcing your body to respond. Slowly it takes piece by piece; your conscience, your confidence, and ultimately your freedom if you let it. It paralyzes you and twists your stomach, makes your heart pound and eyes dilate. There is no hunger, no sleep, and at times you choke at the very breath left stuck in your throat. Emotions raw, body weak, fear is a trap waiting for you to fall. Yes, I have felt this.Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation…. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins.~Charles Stanley

Can freedom exist in the presence of fear? It has to. Resting in the knowledge that God is in control…Step 1. The exhilarating feeling of wind in your face, arms open, trying to capture the stars. The heat of the sun or even the raindrops reminding you life is always washed and renewed. Being alive is awesome, every moment precious and not worthy of wasting. Smart, strong, determined to break the chains of fear that bind you even if it’s link by link. Fear is powerful but none is more powerful than the human spirit touched by God’s grace. Every moment, every breath, make a decision to take life back. Who needs Superman to save the day when you have you? Be your own hero.Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.~Jim Morrison

Today I wear Marvelous Moxie Lipgloss in Dare Devil which is a cool sparkling blackberry. Seriously, I just bought this and love it. It’s not too shiny or sticky, has lots of color and just kinda melts on your lips. Plums and deep berry shades are in for fall and this one’s great. Gotta love the name too, a dare devil wouldn’t have fear now would they? Cheers!

Heart or Paper?

7 Sep

Photo courtesy of Leanna Vite Photography. Thanks Leanna!

Photo courtesy of Leanna Vite Photography.
Thanks Leanna!


I think more than ever I have been in an internal conflict about purpose; what I should be doing, what I’m meant to be doing, and what I want to be doing. Part of it is age , and part of it is post-cancer putting an exclamation point on time. The average lifespan for females in Michigan varies from 77-80 years of age depending on which website you refer to, which means my life is more than half over. Sounds grim but the one thing we cannot change is that we all die at some point; and although many of us are committed to things which help us feel younger and look younger, we don’t actually get any younger. Anyhow, I listened to a great talk by a New York Times columnist and the question he posed was, ‘Should you live your resume’ or your eulogy?’ WHOA. What a question. As Americans, or maybe I’m just speaking for myself, we spend a whole lot of time working on our resume’ and making sure it looks good for the next job, employer, promotion, or even the public, but what do we want ‘listed’ in our eulogy? ‘She was in management’, ‘she got promoted quickly’, ‘she won president’s club several times’….I say no. We want (or at least I want), people to say I lived and I loved, I helped, and was a joy to have around, I made people feel things, and was a positive presence…

Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life~John Wooden

Here’s the conundrum…we all need to make a living, but at what price? Do we push ourselves to continue rising up the ladder, do we stay in a career because our resume’ shows we are good at it yet everyday wonder why we’re doing that very thing in the first place? A few blogs ago I talked about doing something you love or are passionate about every single day, even if it’s something small…that’s a start. It reminds you of who you are and who you are made to be. I guess I’m a bit confused (and probably really confusing to you), right now. My struggle is definitely not the resume’ and trying to achieve mega success by worldly standards, mine is actually wondering if passion and work can actually merge somehow or if the resume’ will continue to consume the passion bit by bit; what is written on paper vs. what is imprinted on your heart. Is it resume’ or eulogy? Eternal success in a finite world or eternal value, leaving a legacy? Can it be both?

Our days are numbered. One of the primary goals in our lives should be to prepare for our last day. The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives. What preparations should we be making now? The greatest waste in all of our earth, which cannot be recycled or reclaimed, is our waste of the time that God has given us each day.~Billy Graham

Today I wear Urban Decay Pulp Fiction Revolution lipstick in Mrs. Mia Wallace. I know, I know, I did UD last time but I had to write about this one. So, you know I love the Urban Decay lipsticks but this one is a deep red. It has been 20 years since the movie Pulp Fiction came out, I don’t remember much about the movie except for the dance scene with John Travolta, but I do remember the lipstick on the black haired Uma Thurman. This is a limited edition and it’s smokin’ hot. Live passionately! Cheers!

Heart of an Artist

3 Sep

singing
I recently read an article which talked about a firefly and a butterfly. The point of it was that everyone loves the butterfly because it is outwardly beautiful; the colors, the patterns, the way it floats in the air, they get all the attention. The firefly on the other hand is more non-descript, not very recognizable until it lights up. The firefly’s beauty is on the inside and it chooses when to show it. I am not writing it as eloquently as the author of the article but reading it really impacted me. It was geared toward children and talked about artists, musicians, writers, book lovers, because these are the kids who are usually more introverted, not always understood, and who see things a little differently. They may not be as social or express things easily unless it’s through the written word, music, art…whatever their ‘language’, is. This was (is) me. Growing up I was the quiet one, shy, introverted, and not2013-04-23 21.06.16 exactly the popular girl (or butterfly) getting the attention…but turn on music and I was lost in it. The stage became my home because when the music started to play my heart would burst and it didn’t matter who was watching because I was in my own world. I felt every note, lyric, and rhythm deep in my soul. It still happens now, even on a smaller scale. In my car, in a restaurant, in a meeting; it’s very hard for me to focus if there’s music playing in the background and sometimes, something beautiful,a person, or event can turn a song on in my mind. Life is better with a soundtrack (or at least more interesting). Music and writing have always been my way of expressing myself and sometimes they have even brought out emotions I didn’t think I had.

Some months ago I met an artist on an airplane. I’ve never met anyone so passionate, so interesting, and whose brain never seemed to turn off. What was most beautiful is what I saw when I looked into his eyes and listened to him speak. There was an excitement for life and living, the desire to experience everything that life could possibly give; to taste it, to feel it, and to simply breathe it in. Life and people were his canvas; art, his language. I was inspired and walking away left me pearwanting more from life, feeling almost invincible, like I could do anything, or at the very least try. Recently I had the chance to catch up with him again and it wasn’t much different. I went to a couple galleries which housed some of his work, was introduced to another artist, and once again I was left wanting more from life. I saw the same drive, passion, and excitement, and saying goodbye left me a little sad; sad that maybe he’d take that light along with him.

There is a quote that says, ‘There are two ways of spreading light, to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.’

He told me I inspired him, but in this case, I think I was just the mirror. What’s beautiful about a firefly is that when it lights up, it becomes transparent; like the firefly, when artists express themselves you get a glimpse into their soul and his soul was beautiful. You can always find a beautiful face but beautiful souls are more difficult to find.

People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.~Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross

Today I wear Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Naked which is a nude/pink. You all know I love this lipstick because they’re moisturizing yet have lots of color. I don’t usually wear nude lipstick because well, I’m tan and they don’t show. This one has a little bit of pink so it’s great as an easy everyday color for me. I also like the name….we may not talk as much, but we always find ways to bare our souls! To all the artists, dreamers, and fireflies, here’s my soundtrack for you ….Cheers!

Caregiver

31 Aug

BobandJudy
If you’ve been reading my blog awhile you’ll remember me writing about my radiation friend ‘B’ or Bob. If not, please read about him here before reading the rest of this blog. This past week I had an emotional conversation with his widow Judy almost a year after his passing about her role as his caregiver.

How long were you married? 26 years

Were you with Bob the first time he was told he had cancer? Of course. I was with him from the diagnosis to death. I took a leave of absence from work. I was with him 24/7.

How did you feel when you first heard he had cancer? The doctor spoke to me privately and told me I would be lucky to have him 6 more months. Bob and I never kept secrets from each other but this I kept secret. I didn’t want him to know because I wanted him to fight as hard as he could. It was very difficult.

Did you feel like you always had to be positive? Did he see you scared? We were there for each other. We both saw each other scared, we cried alot, but we were there for each other to comfort each other. I didn’t feel like I had to pretend being positive when I wasn’t.

Did you end up telling Bob about the original diagnosis, the 6 months? Yes. When he got his ‘cancer free’ status after radiation I told him what the first doctor said. Bob laughed, he felt he had a new lease on life but I still doubted. I had my doubts because of our family history of cancer so I encouraged him to take trips and pursue his hobbies. We went to Disneyworld shortly after radiation.

Did you have anyone to talk to during all of this? My family, but I kept things to myself.

How did you feel when he was told the cancer was back? That was bad. The doctor spoke to me privately and said ‘There’s nothing left we can do,’ followed by ‘you’re going to have to tell him because I have other patients’ then she walked away. I had to walk into the room and tell my husband he was dying. Bob was angry, not about dying, but because he told the doctor that if it was bad news, he wanted to be told first then he would be the one to tell me.

The story goes on from there, Bob got more sick and was hospitalized. I received a good-bye letter from him just weeks before his passing last year. The morning of his birthday Judy said he was told he could leave the hospital. The nurses and doctors got him a cake and balloons and he went home. She says he had a look of peace on his face so she knew and thought maybe he knew it was time too. Bob always had a ‘love’ signal to Judy during the times he couldn’t speak, he would punch his chest twice and point to her, which meant ‘I love you.’ Later that day, in their home, he started hemorrhaging. He did the ‘love’ signal and died just minutes later in her arms. I loved Bob and I love Judy. They were my angels, my support, and my family during the 7 weeks of radiation because I was mostly alone. Judy said throughout Bob’s cancer journey that time didn’t matter, it was day to day, minute to minute. Why do we wait to really live like this? We have no guarantees. No lipstick today, just me and my chapstick. Live life!
whiteflowers

About A Boy

25 Aug

AJ
My son just turned 17 and is heading into his junior year of high school. We were talking the other day about what the year has in store for him: ACT/SAT testing, checking out colleges, sports, and of course more immediate on his mind, The Homecoming Dance. He was talking about what he’d like to wear and whose house he was taking the ‘bus’ from, and when I asked him about a date he said ‘what?’. Ah yes, one of those dreaded ‘date’ dances where girls wait patiently for boys to ask them. If you recall, I was not exactly the girl anyone would ask to dances when I was younger (a little geeky, alot shy); I always hoped and waited, but didn’t actually get asked until my senior year, oh well, I’m over it. It’s alot different these days and I think it’s better, less pressure. Now, a bunch of people get dressed up, meet at a house, take pictures, and get on a ‘bus’ and go together…boys, girls, mostly all friends with very few actual ‘couples.’ Anyhow, he ended up telling me that a girl (who has liked him a long time) asked to match him…what? He said this girl asked him what colors he was wearing because she wanted to match him and get pictures taken with him (like they’re a couple), then, he wouldn’t have to talk to her if he didn’t want to for the rest of the night. WHAT? First I thought she was pretty bold for asking, then I thought, why would she want to do that? Settle for the crumbs? Just want a pic then you don’t have to talk to me?2014-04-09 23.52.39-1

Dear daughter/sister/mom/girlfriend, you are special. Someone will love you exactly the way God made you. No need to beg, cry, change yourself, pretend to like things you don’t; no need to settle for the crumbs or less than the respect and love you deserve. As women, we serve naturally; we are nurturers, caregivers and sometimes we feel lost without someone taking care of us. We are strong. When what you love, what you do, and who you are, are not enough, then move on because truly… they are the ones not enough for you. Love yourself and rest in the knowledge that the One who created you loves you more then you can comprehend.You are beautiful.

Today I wear Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Hydrating Sheer Lipshine in Boy which is one of their all time best selling colors. This is actually my favorite formula in the Chanel lipsticks because they are hydrating and have just enough color. This is a very easy color to wear everyday; a pale pinky-brown…very neutral but not too nude if you know what I mean. I chose it partly because I love it and partly because of the name Boy. Is it always about a boy? Cheers!

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