One year ago today, I left a job that wasn’t for me. I took the job because I had gotten laid off from a previous job and this one sounded like something I could do which would expand my horizon ; I had been in the same job since college and this was a little bit of a departure into a different industry. Within a month I knew it was not the job for me. There were additional duties that were not part of the job description I applied for, and, well, many other things. I lasted 6 stressful months knowing I wouldn’t be there that long. I have never quit a job before so it was very difficult for me, not to mention I did not have another job waiting. When I quit, I left the family with one less income and no health benefits, quite the leap of faith from a cancer patient, but I have never regretted the decision. It took another six months to find a job, but prayerfully, the right one came at just the right time. After everything I had been through over the past few years with cancer back and forth, I did not want to waste another minute doing something I didn’t care for and I also trusted that God would open other doors. Trusting God sometimes is a difficult thing. What I’ve learned is that it is easy to trust Him with what we think the plan should be, but alot more difficult trusting Him when it is apparent He has a different plan. How often do we force our plan to work? How we want things to turn out, what we want to do…tuning out advice and wisdom and forging ahead in our selfishness? OK, too deep. Anyhow looking back at this year, it was a wise decision and I feel blessed.
It’s a good thing looking back at the blessings because it is so easy to forget about things. Who talks about the major tsunami in Japan that killed thousands of people this year? How about the tornadoes in the South that killed hundreds? I started the year jobless, but it gave me time to write and publish a book. I started a blog which has helped me process feelings and feel support from you. In March I was told I was finally cancer free only to be told in June that there were still cancer cells; in September, no tumors (talk about a rollercoaster). I got a new job back in my old industry with a boss I love. My family is healthy, happy, and intact, and it seems the kids don’t even remember I had cancer. It’s hard for me to move into the new year because I feel somewhat unfinished with 2011 but we all have to forge ahead. I’m not a big believer in resolutions because it seems when we (at least me) verbalize a ‘resolution’, my brain automatically answers back , ‘yeah, right’ then my body follows suit. When there is something I think or want to do or try, I just go for it. Guitar, exercise, learn a foreign language…just start! Take the time to look back at 2011 and be thankful for life. I know there were probably several disapointments but I’m sure there were many blessings. Remember, learn, and forge ahead into the new year grateful for each day because life is short. Happy 2012!
Today I wear Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil (cross between lipstick and lip pencil) in Dragon Girl which is siren red. I chose it cuz I’m feelin’ it! CHEERS!!
I belong to a wonderful blogging community called GEB2. The administrator selects a topic and the members decide to write about that topic or not. This week’s topic is ‘free write.’ For 15 minutes we are supposed to write whatever comes to mind. This could be dangerous of course, but here goes.
This morning a friend of mine on Facebook posted ‘What Now?’ as her status. This morning I was thinking the exact same thing. It’s December 26th and for the past three months, we have been on a fast paced ride of stress and celebration. My mother-in-law who lives in Florida half the year decided she wanted to celebrate Christmas before leaving last November so we had our first Christmas celebration on October 29th. Yes, Christmas trees on tables as centerpieces, lights, presents, the works. Two days afterward I was still adding finishing touches to Halloween costumes as my kids walked out the door for their schools’ parties and trick or treating that night. Then of course, I hosted Thanksgiving, then my father-in-law had his Christmas on December 17, and finally, shopping, wrapping, and preparing for our Christmas. After Thanksgiving and as December rolled in, my husband and I were so tired it was like pulling teeth to put up the Christmas trees (we have two) along with the lights. So today, presents unwrapped, trash taken out, leftovers almost gone, and returns stacked…now what?
Saturday night we will ring in the New Year and I’m not ready…I’m still trying to catch up to 2011! Well, time never stops, and we can never go back. Recently I read an article by a fellow columnist in Dear Thyroid, Joanna Isbill. She is a young person living with cancer and her column was titled “Looking Back at Greiving Forward” referring to a past article called ‘Greiving Forward.’ What I loved about it was that the lesson applies to everyone, not only cancer fighters and survivors. At this time of year we all look back at where we’ve been and what we’ve done and we greive the things we wish we had accomplished or the relationships we lost. A new year brings us hope and aspirations to things we want to do or change as we move forward, greiving what was lost, grieiving the time that was wasted, but also taking our ‘new normal’ based on our experiences and moving forward. Deep, I know, but again, we can’t go back.
Anyway, my 15 minutes is up. Today I wear Bare Escentuals Pretty Amazing Lipcolor in Fearless. It’s a beautiful mauve color which is easy to wear and great for everyday. It’s also super moisturizing which is great for cold weather when our lips are all dry. And the name? That’s how I want to bring in the New Year…FEARLESS!
Every year during this time my family has watched the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” and every year I tear up at the end when all the people come in to help. I know you’re familiar with the premis of the stoy but as a reminder, George wonders what it would be like had he never been born. Do you ever wonder that same question? I think being a wife and mom, we sometimes feel unappreciated; we care for the husband and kids, we taxi them around, we make them meals, and some of us even throw a job outside the home into the mix. It is in those moments that I sometimes wonder, what if I couldn’t do any of it. In the hospital after my first surgery for my cancer, my doctor told me that my prognosis was bad and he was not confident in my future. In the moments alone, I wondered what my family’s life would be like without me. Believe it or not I started getting angry at my husband just thinking about what he wasn’t going to do for the kids, no driving, no lunch making, no dance class, etc…can you believe it? I was thinking that? I also wondered what my kids’ life (who were 5,7, and 10 at the time) would be like without a mother. It was so sad and overwhelming I had to stop my thoughts in their tracks and turn them around for the positive immediately. From then, the cancer has come back a few times and every single time I fight those same thoughts. During this same time and even now, I have had my own ‘Wonderful Life’ moments. So many people from my past and present sent cards and made meals, one old friend who I hadn’t seen in at least ten years even offered to fly here to just sit with me. I was again overwhelmed.
So, like in the movie, our lives matter. As a mom to younger kids they’re need for us is apparent; but as they grow and get more independent, they’re need seems to lessen, but they still need us (trust me, I’m 40+ and I may not say it all the time but I still need my mom and I’m fortunate to have her close by). On the other side, I was stunned by the people who reached out to me during those difficult times. We may not know who or when we impact someone’s life, but we get a new chance with every interaction. I’ve said this before, but every single interaction we have daily leaves some type of impact or impression, wouldn’t it be great if it was a positive one? You never know, so watch your words and actions because they are powerful and people remember.
~ Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?~
Clarence Oddbody (From “It’s A Wonderful Life”)
Today I’m still wearing red because of the holidays so I choose Ultraflesh lipstick in Spark
. It is a matte cherry red lipstick with an amazing name…be the spark that lights someone’s life. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!!
This weekend we are headed to my father-in-law’s annual family Christmas gathering. It is a time when my husband’s extended family on his dad’s side gathers for an afternoon of ‘catching up’ and enjoying each other’s company. This year marks the first year without the family matriarch ‘Grandma Lucille’. She died this past year at 92 years of age and many of us thought this gathering may no longer happen because she was gone. A little background on me, my family immigrated to the US from the Philippines in 1972 and left my extended family behind. Every holiday growing up was mainly my parents, my brother, and myself. The whole idea of large family gatherings was foreign to me until I got married.
Anyhow back to this weekend. It always starts with hugs and laughter and the usual conversation about how the kids have grown, what we’re up to, etc, but after a full afternoon, little pods pop up and the comparing starts. We usually end up talking about other people and relatives, what they’ve done, what they should’ve done, and then there’s the little comments said under someone’s breath. Why do we do this to the people we supposedly care the most about in this world? We spend a whole lot of time trying to please other people, secretly hoping they think we’re awesome, but many of those same people don’t really care about us at all. I know we all have different family dynamics and because we love them most, they can hurt us the most. Why not try to be the ‘light’ this year, be the peacemaker. I’m not saying fix anything, I’m simply saying stop yourself from the bad talk , bite your tongue, or simply walk away from it, maybe others will follow suit. Try excessive complimenting (that should really throw people off), or simply smile.
Family dynamics are funny. They know us, they’re like us, they know what buttons to push, but they are all people. Simply put, no one is perfect, we are all flawed. Our history and experiences mold us into who we are today; we may share the same history, but not the same experiences. If you get irritated, consider what they’ve been through, it will allow you to understand them better and love them more.
Today I’m back to my reds because it’s holiday season. I LOVE Lancome L’Absolu Rouge lipstick in Merlot. It has the perfect texture and on me it is a deep bold red, perfect for evening (and daytime if I’m feeling daring). Here’s to you, I raise my glass of Merlot and toast! Enjoy!
I’ve been feeling kinda funky lately. A few weeks ago I had breakfast with my vocal coach Marie. I hadn’t seen her in at least a year, in fact the last time we saw each other was 2 months after my last radiation treatment. Sure, we kept up with email and Facebook, but this was our first face to face. It was emotional because she was an integral part of recovering my singing voice after my first couple of surgeries. We were able to catch up on life and everything which had transpired. At the end of our meeting she asked when I would start voice lessons again. Later the same week I had an appointment with my speech pathologist, again someone integral to my voice recovery. Dr Menaldi has always been there after each surgery helping me not only regain control of my breathing, but also strengthening the voice I was left with. At this particular appointment I told her I had seen Marie and she was excited that I would try to sing again. I told her I wasn’t sure that’s what I wanted and she said, “Of course that’s what you want, doesn’t singing still bring you joy?” Fast forward a few days later when I ran into a former music director. He asked how I was feeling and asked if I could still sing, I replied that I may be able to but am not sure I want to. He asked the same thing, “Does it still bring you joy?” Most of you know that singing and music has always been a lifelong passion for me, it has always come easy and I have been fortunate to be able to sing at differnet venues throughout my life. When my nerve was cut during the first surgery leaving my vocal cord paralyzed, I grieved the singing, but it came back. Cancer came back a second time and I grieved that part of me again, but my singing voice fought back. Cancer attacked yet a third time and it took a little more; not only the trauma from the surgeries, but also the massive doses of radiation have wreaked havoc on my voice and breathing. My voice has not been the same and yes I can still sing, but it requires so much thought, control and effort. When I was told that there were cancer cells yet again last June, I gave up on the singing. I was tired of grieving over my voice and trying to hang on to it, that I let it go. With these questions the past couple of weeks singing has been brought back to my mind…does it still bring me joy? Do I still want to try?
Tonight I went to my dad’s Christmas choir concert and watching him sing almost brought me to tears. I saw the excitement of the people singing together and just hearing the live music and watching the joy on my dad’s face just being a part, well, it was overwhelming. My dad is 70+ years old and here he was, still doing something he loved and was passionate about. I love music and I love to sing. I miss it and yes, it does bring me joy. I believe God gives us gifts and talents and passions and He gave me my music. I am tired of grieving over what I still currently have. Do we all do that? Give up before trying? Grieve over something or someone before it’s even gone? Is it fear of the unknown?
What are you passionate about? What lies in your heart that you are curious about and have not taken that step toward? What is holding you back? My lesson was this again…life is short, too short to grieve what I still have. I miraculously still have my voice and my voice teacher and speech pathologist (along with my laryngologist, Dr Rubin) all tell me that there is nothing that can stop me from singing, so why did I stop trying? Despite a parlayzed vocal cord and some damage from radiation to the other, I can still sing and it’s a miracle. The only thing that was stopping me was me. Press on in your journey, don’t let yourself be the stumbling block.
Today I wear Smashbox True Color lipgloss in Fame. It is a beautiful rosy plum sheen with a lot of moisture (great for this time of year). I chose it not only for the color, but for the name. ‘Fame’ of course was one of the many shows I watched when I was younger that fed my love of music and the arts!
Last week my husband and I were out to lunch when I overheard the woman behind us tell her friend, “Yes, it’s breast cancer, but my doctor said it’s the best type and there will be no problems getting rid of it.” I leaned into my husband and asked, “Should I tell her the truth? Should I tell her to get a second opinion from a more honest physician?” He simply said that if she needs to hear that to have more hope, than it’s ok…is it? When I started my cancer path everyone told me thyroid cancer was the best to have, easy fix. Obviously for me, it wasn’t and four years later, I still fight. After my first surgery, my surgeon was brutally honest about what he saw and what my prognosis was. For me, it was a hard blow, but I appreciated his honesty. I wanted to know EXACTLY what happened to prepare for what lied ahead.
Is it ok to only tell partial truth to avoid hurt or pain? Is there a difference between partial truth and partial lie or what we call a ‘white lie’ ? It’s such a gray area, of course a lie is a lie. I have three kids and my youngest who is nine wrote a letter to Santa yesterday as part of a project in his class for a local newspaper. In the letter he said that some of the kids didn’t believe in Santa, but he still did. After I read it he looked at me and asked, “Santa’s real right? Those kids are crazy,” (That’s right, my older kids have kept the secret). Ahhh, to break his heart or to keep the magic alive, partial truth/partial lie? When my older two got to this question I always smiled and said, “If you don’t believe, you won’t receive,” which has stopped further questioning to this day. I thought about it, and just said that of course Santa is real, but he might not be who or what you think. He represents joy and happiness to millions of kids around the world, he’s part of the magic of Christmas; and then I ended with the same thing I said to the other kids. That sufficed for now, I think he probably knows….
I believe honesty and truth will always set you free. In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. –George Orwell
Today I wear Josie Maran lipgloss in Brilliance, a sheer shimmering light pink. I think I had a similar color last week, but I’m in the mood for gloss and shimmer. This gloss smells like caramel which is awesome and it’s all natural. I also love the name…I hope that telling the truth adds some brilliance and shine to the personality!