Tag Archives: friendship

New Year, New You?

5 Jan

me1.5.15You hear that phrase a lot when the new year comes around. It’s a time when people make resolutions to lose weight, be more open, more giving, forgive, etc..essentially reinvent themselves. Is it really possible? Have you ever really thought about it? Do you really want it? A new you? Maybe. When I was young I was painfully shy, an introvert and with each passing grade I would pray to be more fun, more open, make more friends. When we moved to a new city and I went to a new school in 4th grade, I thought I’d make myself a little different, maybe less shy. Then Junior High came, then High School, then College; with each passing milestone I tried to be a ‘new’ me to hopefully have more friends, more dates, be more popular, but was I ever really ‘new’? Nope. At the core, I was still exactly how God made me to be and with each passing year or milestone grade, it was an opportunity to make myself a little better, a little wiser, really just a continuation of my path with lessons learned. I find myself the same way today. Every new job or group of people I interact with meets the current Anna. One who’s had different life experiences and a history that has made me into who I am today. Not much different than the introverted shy girl of before, just a person molded by the continuation of her story. I think when I was younger the realization that I was actually the same girl in a different environment disappointed me a little. I simply couldn’t force myself to be the most funny, louder, extroverted, life of the party, popular girl. Today, I’m thankful for who I am. With each life experience and interaction we learn a little bit more about ourselves and with all the turmoil of my past and trying to please everyone except me, I’m finally at peace with who I am and it’s so freeing. The other way is too exhausting and frankly, a waste of time. Those who know you and like you stick around, those who want someone different…nice to meet you, go find who you’re looking for. So a brand new you? Maybe not. How about ‘You…to be continued.’ The rest of your story is still unwritten.

Today I have to talk about the new Almay Smart Shade Butter Kiss lipstick. I LOVE them. They created four of the same shades but for each skintone. I wear the red made for medium skintone. These are not only super hydrating but they add just the right amount of color. Not to mention you get them at the drugstore so they are fairly inexpensive. I chose red because, duh. Happy New Year again, cheers!

Moments

31 Dec

new year
I recently watched a short motivational video someone posted on Facebook. The 4 minute video had quite a few impactful statements but the one that stuck with me was at the end when the speaker said that his life is now measured in moments instead of time (or something like that). Essentially life is fleeting and instead of looking at minutes, hours, dates, he looks at his history as cherished moments and his future as the opportunity to create more memorable moments; well, that was my interpretation. 2014 was filled with so many incredible memories for me, good and bad, and as I reflect on the last year I am incredibly grateful for everything. Pain, heartache, fear, joy, happiness, excitement, love, all emotions I got to experience. Literally it was a year of extremes but everything, every event, every emotion has continued to shape me and mold me into the Anna of 2015 and I’m excited. I reconnected with some old friends and met some incredible new ones, and wow, all you guys are awesome! Every person you have in your life adds a little something to it, whether it’s a lesson or a confirmation, someone that helps you grow or someone who reminds you and brings out who you really are; and honestly,even the toxic people in our lives are there to make you stronger, and to help you learn something about yourself before you have to turn away.2014

So, after all the challenges and difficulty of the past few years I want more for 2015:

More joy
More love
More strength
More peace
More hope
More stories
More people
More moments
More magic

And less…

Less fear
Less toxic
Less turmoil
Less drama
Less things

In the end, logically, life cannot help but be measured by time. There are truly only 24 hours in a day. Today though, if you read Facebook posts and talk to people, they reminisce about moments over the past year so maybe we do measure our life in moments. Time is fleeting but it seems that moments and memories last, let’s make some good ones! Happy New Year!

What day is it?”It’s today,’ squeaked Piglet. ‘My favorite day,’ said Pooh.’~A.A. Milne

Today I wear Lovemarc Lip Gel in Showstopper. This lipstick has a bit of a different feel. It’s fairly moisturizing and since it’s a gel, it doesn’t feel like lipstick or lipgloss, hard to describe. I chose it because it’s red and I love the name, Showstopper, duh. Cheers!

Dear Santa

24 Dec

yellowdog
Last night I stayed awake wrapping all the presents I had for my kids, parents, and others I had bought presents for this Christmas. I am one of those very last minute shoppers because I really don’t like shopping that much, especially this time of year, so in addition to wrapping presents last night, yesterday was also when I purchased most of the presents as well. A couple things always happen to me when I wrap Christmas presents. First, I second guess what I bought because I like to try to purchase things that not only people like but also may have some type of meaning. Second, I start getting a little irritated that I bought so much junk to make sure my kids are happy. Generally speaking I buy each kids one big present, Santa gets them a present, then their stockings are filled with things like socks and candy. It’s not too bad but as they get older, their one or two presents become more and more expensive.

When I was young we didn’t have tons of money to spare, both my parents worked and sometimes my dad worked two jobs just to make sure his family had everything they needed. I never remember a time when we were without. My letters to Santa always included a request to also bring my parents something whether it was a watch, a jacket, a shirt, extra money, just anything to help them or really just to thank them for all the sacrifices they made for me. I think I wrote about this before but there was a year when I had asked for a few things like usual hoping to get one thing off my list (I liked giving Santa choices). I believe I was 9 or 10 and had asked for a red jacket, a bike, probably some toys, then something for both of my parents. I dollsremember walking downstairs Christmas morning in anticipation and seeing a large stuffed animal, a big stuffed yellow dog sitting in front of the fireplace. This was not on my list. It was the only present I got that year and you know what happened? I loved it, and even as a child, I knew it was the best my parents could do that year and I was super grateful. I named him ‘Yellow Dog’ (I know, creative) and I kept that stuffed animal for years. As I wrapped the presents last night I wondered if I was spoiling my kids and if they would be grateful if they only got one present?’Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.’~Charles Dickens,

Dear Santa,

Well, here’s my list this year:

Joy through the holidays…and forever
Peace in my home (and around my home…you know what I’m talking about); World peace would be good too by the way since you’re making your way around the world
For my kids to all get along for longer periods of time and for them to do their chores without complaining at least once a month
For my office to magically become organized
A personal chef
And of course, the perfect shade of lipstick :)

Thank You in advance, Anna

Merry Christmas Everyone!

ABC

15 Dec

utahtrees
Today is December 15th, 10 days until Christmas, three presents under the tree. Nope, I have not yet purchased any Christmas presents yet and earlier today I started to panic a little. Where are the presents under the tree from you ask? My 12 year old who was able to buy gifts from his school’s Holiday Shop last week. Yup, the youngest member of my family is done shopping. One of the blogs I follow gave an ABC challenge today; what are the first three words you can think of starting with A,B,C, then incorporate those words into your blog. Here’s my three…Amazing, Beautiful, Contagious. So here goes. I have an amazing life; it is filled with imperfection, good and bad choices, good and bad memories, love, fear, heartache, illness. Look at that list! I am privileged to have felt all those emotions, awful things that have made me stronger and awesome things that have helped me remain grateful..it’s been quite the year. Beautiful. What can I say? There’s simply a lot of beauty out there if you look. From my kids, to the people in my life who love me and make me laugh, to even the grayest clouds in Michigan (you know the sun is just on the other side of the clouds). There’s magic and beauty out there if you just take the time to stop and find it. Contagious. This is my goal. To live an authentic life filled with love for people, patience, kindness, and so much joy that it’s contagious, you know, that whole pay it forward concept. Again, life is a challenge every single day and I get really sick of having to be strong sometimes, but I believe we go through stuff to help others. Plus, truly, how much is in our control? James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.momandaud (2)

So, it’s 10 days until Christmas, tomorrow begins Hanukkah and it’s a busy time of year. If I can focus on Amazing,Beautiful,and Contagious, I know it will all be ok. ‘Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!’― Dr. Seuss Take a minute to breathe in life and be grateful.ABC…what three words pop in your head first?

Today, since it’s the holiday season and just about all brands put out a palette of some sort I’m going to point out a couple lip sets that are my personal faves. First is Nars Digital World Lip Pencil Coffrett Laced With Edge Holiday Collection. There are 5 lip crayons both satin and matte. I love Nars lipsticks and lip crayons so this would be a fabulous set. Next is Urban Decay Full Frontal Lipstick Stash set which include 6 lipsticks and a lip pencil. This lipstick is great and this set would be a great way try several shades! Both sets come from Sephora and would be great to have! Cheers!

Love Letter

2 Dec

eastervid
This past weekend I did something that I never thought I would ever be able to do again…I was back on stage singing at all 4 services for my church. It wasn’t just in the choir, or singing back up for someone, it was a solo, a big one. From the moment I was asked to the second I walked on the stage with my one vocal cord and a bit of breathing difficulty, it was surreal, cathartic, and I cried every single time. It was such a miracle to me and a huge reminder of my journey, how far I’ve come, but most of all, God’s amazing grace and love for every single detail of our paths. Many people came back with tears, and I received texts and emails from those who knew my story. One of my very good friends sent me a link to the video that was shown at the church when I very first had cancer and it made me cry but praise God at how far He had brought me. The link to that video played on Easter 2008 is here

Many things have changed for me since the video; my cancer came back twice after that becoming more serious both times, and of course, divorce, but wow, has God been faithful. I have spoken of my faith in bits and pieces here and there on this blog, today I’m thanking God.

Dear God,

Thank you
I have been blessed beyond measure through every aspect of my life.
Thank you for the constant reminder that I need to trust you in all things.
You have been with me throughout this incredible life, holding my hand, carrying me, strengthening me.
I see evidence of you everywhere; in the eyes of my kids, family, and in the love and eyes of my friends.
Thank you for a life that I don’t deserve and the miracles I see everyday big and small (even on the not so fun days)

‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.’ — Charles Dickens

Isn’t that life?
Thank you God for an amazing life.
Thank you for an epic story!

Love,
Your Daughter

This past weekend I sang Carrie Underwood’s Something In The Water and these particular lyrics made my heart swell:
And now I’m singing along to amazing grace
Can’t nobody wipe this smile off my face
Got joy in my heart, angels on my side
Thank God almighty, I saw the light
Gonna look ahead, no turning back
Live every day, give it all that I have
Trust in someone bigger than me
Ever since the day that I believed I am changed
And now I’m stronger

Amen and Amen!! Life hasn’t been easy and definitely not at all what I expected but what an adventure! Today’s lipstick? Dior Glow. What else? A lipbalm that brings out your own natural glow, yes to that!

Scars

16 Nov

scar
I was sitting in a lunch room speaking to some of my customers when one of the staff members asked what the scar on my neck was from. She made some assumptions and I told her my story while she ate. Like most people, after hearing my story, she didn’t know what to say but I’m ok with that. Usually I start asking questions about them to divert attention away from me. I asked about her job, what her responsibilities were in the office, her plans for Thanksgiving, etc. What’s great is that typically when you actively listen to someone, they will continue to speak and open up (at least that’s been my experience). She ended up telling me all kinds of things from her job woes to her food allergies but ended up talking about her strained relationship with her kids. She had been a single mom for a very long time and now that her sons were grown and out of the house they were no longer speaking to each other. She teared up talking about some events that led to the situation and how hurt she was, but pride on both sides prevented them from speaking and she wasn’t going to be the first to apologize,hmmmm…sad. She said she has grieved the relationship with her sons like a death in the family and she will always have a broken heart because of it; sounds like ‘sorry’ would be easier.

I have a few scars, one on my neck from cancer, one on my shin from banging my leg into a car door, and probably a few that I don’t remember. Every scar tells a story, either a funny one or maybe a difficult one, but either way, it’s a wound that’s been healed while also leaving it’s mark.’Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.’~ Cormac McCarthy. What about the scars you don’t see? The ones left by hurt, words, anger, discouragement, do those heal? I think it takes a really long time and maybe, without the ‘sorry’ and forgiveness, will never heal. My daughter recently showed me a picture that her friend drew of herself. I was shocked and saddened to see this self portrait because it showed a girl, sad and scarred pulling a mask away from her face; the mask was of a beautiful smiling girl. Being a woman and a mom of a teenage girl, I know how hurtful girls and other women can be to each other and because of my past I am fully aware of how damaging words and actions can be. When scars heal they change the texture of your skin, what about the damage of scars on your heart and soul? The hurt always alters something. ‘It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.’~Rose Kennedy

We are all damaged and scarred to some degree and we should remember that when speaking to each other. How do scars of the heart heal? Kindness, peace, patience, love, sound familiar? (Galatians 5:22-23). Some scars run deep and are easily injured again, be patient, continue moving forward. Maybe your heart won’t be the same, but like the scars on your skin, you’ll be a little bit tougher.

Today I’m wearing Cherry Chapstick, it’s a throwback kinda day! Cheers!

Before I Die…

8 Nov

church

I know it’s been a while since my last blog but sometimes whether you like it or not, busy takes over. Between work, kids’ activities, other hobbies, etc…life takes over. A couple weeks ago my daughter’s good friend’s dad passed away suddenly in an accident. He was our neighbor, 49 years old, and a father of three. It reminded me how precious and tender life really is. With cancer or other illness, albeit difficult, people have time to prepare and say goodbye. Here one second, gone the next, is completely different and unimaginable.

There is an artist based out of New Orleans named Candy Chang and with the sudden death of someone she was close to she decided to paint the side of an abandoned home with chalkboard paint and asked the question ,’Before I die I want to….’. Not only did hundreds from this community fill in the blanks, with things like ‘sing for millions’,’hold her one more time’, and ‘straddle the international dateline’, but it has become an international phenomenon with ‘chalkboard walls’ around the world asking the same question. Her motivation? We live in a disconnected society where people don’t take time to share struggles, hopes, and dreams, and at least if you can see that people want the same things as you, it can open up connection. The morning after my surgery from having cancer the first time, the doctor came in and told me that my prognosis was bad and to make preparations. Essentially he said, my time was going to be cut short because the cancer was ‘all over the place’. After he left my hospital room I sat alone contemplating this very question (and crying my eyes out of course), before I die, what? I thought about my kids first, what do I want for them, how do I want their life to be, who will surround them with love, how will they navigate through adulthood? Then came the, ‘but I haven’t done _______ yet’ and ‘I haven’t seen________yet’. My list in my head included things like perfect another language, write a book, learn another instrument, see The Great Wall of China, etc, but what impacted me the most was the time factor. All I wanted was more time with people and family; time to sit, to talk, to laugh, to cry, to just be. I wanted to free myself from the cage of an image and I wanted to be real, to be myself, because in the end, we only have our time and our relationships.side

It’s easy to get busy and get caught up in day to day junk while forgetting what’s truly important to us and what matters most. Death always brings clarity to what those things are but because of how quickly time passes and the ‘stuff’ of life, it’s sometimes difficult to maintain that perspective. I never want to forget how I felt and how I thought for those long moments alone in my hospital room. What is it you want to do before you die? I’m curious. ‘Life is brief and tender….thinking about death clarifies your life.’~ Candy Chang

Today I wear Nars Lip Gloss in Wonder. Nars reformulated their lip gloss a short time ago and what I liked before, I like even more. They have a little more color and are a little heavier but not sticky. Don’t let this color scare you, it looks orange but is still sheer and pretty. I chose it mainly for the name because I always want to look at life with childlike wonder. Life is beautiful, cheers!

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