Tag Archives: friendship

Make a Friend

3 May

I just watched a video on YouTube called ‘Take a seat, make a friend‘. Essentially the makers of the video set up one of those enclosed spaces filled with balls that kids jump into at places like Chuck E Cheese or at play areas, you know what I’m talking about? Anyhow, buried in the ‘tank’ are questions, two strangers climb in, pull out questions and ask them to each other. A couple things were interesting, first, people actually stopped in the middle of the street to get in the tank, and second, by the end of the questions they mostly had found something in common and were hugging good-bye. I’ve been traveling a bit lately for vacation and work. I’m the person on the plane that sits down and looks down, not really wanting to talk to anyone, just get me to my destination. Rude I know, I’ve even pretended to read or fall asleep. To be honest I feel a little claustrophobic and I also get a little queasy on a plane so I’m already at a disadvantage. A little over a month ago I flew to New Orleans to do a cancer talk and for the first time in a long time engaged in conversation with the people I sat in the middle of (not because of me really, I was still looking down). The conversation was great, the stories were awesome, and I left there feeling like I met new friends (I still keep in contact with one of them on occasion). This past week I was on an airplane again for work and when I sat in my seat I decided at the very least to introduce myself to the person next to me. I said hello and asked why she was headed in the same direction. She tells me her name, says she studies people and human behavior (which piqued my interest), then says, ‘I have a lot of work to do,’ turns pulls out a notebook and buries her face in her book. WHAT??? Made me laugh. She says she researches people but doesn’t want to talk. Oh well, I tried, I thought the interaction was funny. Here’s what I learned from the video, people still like face to face interaction, and if given the time, most of us can find something in common. It’s still great to look someone in the eyes, shake their hands, hug them. We do a lot of communicating on line, email, text, and I LOVE it, but we’re starting to miss out a little on the souls we get to see in each other’s eyes…that human touch and interaction. Don’t forget, we need each other, live and in person too.
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”~Leo Buscaglia

Today I wear Tarte Amazonian Butter Lipstick in Poppy. These are like the name, buttery. Feels a little heavier than lip balm and super moisturizing. Tarte lipsticks are all natural and these are made with Amazonian butter (which somehow sounds better than Detroit butter?). They are also in a cute floral lipstick tube. The colors don’t last quite as long but that’s what happens sometimes when you choose something more buttery. It says that Poppy is a warm red but on me shows up a little brighter but perfect for spring/summer…which I know will eventually happen here in Michigan. I chose it specifically for the color because I’m so ready for warmer weather! Cheers!

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24 Apr

I know it’s been awhile since my last post but you know when your life feels like it’s in overdrive? After our short vacation I’ve felt super busy; partly from the need to do spring cleaning of my house, partly work, and partly the kids’ activities, just not enough time in the day to accomplish all I want to do. Oh yeah, we have to include sleep in there too! This past week I got to sing again at what has become one my most favorite events, my local World Voice Day Celebration. This event put together by my physician showcases different styles of singing from performers who have had some type of vocal injury as well as physicians and healthcare providers that help us regain and recover our voices. This event is particularly special to me primarily because I used to be a singer and I thought I had lost my ability to sing when cancer and the first surgery took my nerve and therefore took my right vocal cord along with it. Being at Voice Day and singing (albeit different and weaker) represents to me the big picture miracle of still having my voice after cancer three times leaving me with one functioning vocal fold. It also serves as a reminder of my cancer journey and how far I’ve come. I’m always so grateful and emotional and this year was no different. You can see my performance with an intro by my doc here: http://youtu.be/UcmQjzNC3SM

My last blog post (Just Rambling) on relationships was one of my most read posts of all time telling me people love authenticity and truth. I wrote it off the cuff (hence the title) and direct from my heart. Sometimes truth is met with criticism because sometimes people only want to hear the ‘warm and fuzzy.’ Sometimes truth is a mirror to something they don’t want to hear about themselves or just plain blinding light in the darkness. Whatever it may be, life is not warm and fuzzy all the time. I write as an extension of myself and I will not trade authenticity for safety.It’s sidenot always pretty but to censor what I write to make people feel better or more at ease would be to censor my feelings and say it’s not alright to feel that way. Life is not always a fairytale and cancer is definitely not a party, but I will always look for the positive and stay authentic because that’s who I am and that’s really what this blog is all about. This is my heart, thanks for sticking around. ‘When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.’~George R.R. Martin

Today I wear Smashbox Be Legendary lipstick in Legendary which is a true red. This particular lip color in the Be Legendary line is moisturizing, some of the other colors are more matte. I chose this color because I’m in a ‘red’ mood, loving life and loving the fact that spring is here and new life is springing all around; and who doesn’t want to be legendary? Cheers!

Just Rambling

16 Apr

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Sometimes relationships end not because you want to but because you have to. Sometimes it’s opening your eyes to the reality that the story you had longed for had not only turned a different direction but was never really the story to begin with. We all enter relationships in different times of our lives; I’m talking friendships all the way to marriage. We come into things based on the information we have about the other person and what we think we know about ourselves, our needs, and our expectations. What if the information we thought about the other person was way off and over time the rose colored glasses became clearer and clearer? What if it’s because we ourselves become different people; stronger and braver because we now have a voice and self worth along with it? What if you pour your entire soul and being into someone only to realize it didn’t matter because that person would not be different, that they would just expect more? Here’s what happens in that scenario, your soul dies a little, you become numb, and when you can’t possibly give more, do more, be more, you’re done and spent. It is not about forgiveness, it’s about exhaustion from expecting something that couldn’t be. What counts more, words or actions? Words can kill, but actions speak a thousand words, therefore, you can die a thousand deaths just from one terrible action right? A lot of talk and apologies lead nowhere when actions are at the opposing end. Regrets? Never. Everything and everyone has it’s purpose in our lives during different seasons to make us better, wiser, stronger, or even to help the other person. I love people and I love their stories but sometimes they have stories I would rather not be a part of. Frank Herbert says, ‘There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.’ Here’s the beautiful thing about life…it moves on. Every day and every moment is your chance to write a new page. Every relationship is a chance to learn more about yourself, whether that person is in your life for an hour or for years doesn’t matter because every interaction leaves an impact of some sort. One thing I learned, be the person you see in the mirror, your bad-ass self (sorry, had to use that word again). God created you unique and special, believe it.

Today it’s Dior Addict Gloss in Princess. I love all Dior lips products because the colors are beautiful and all of the lipsticks and glosses are quite moisturizing. I chose Princess because it’s a pretty sheer carnation pink that’s easy to wear and also for the name. It’s good to remind yourself every now and then that you’re a princess of the One who created you, now put that crown on! Cheers!

Let It GO

30 Mar

There’s a super popular song out there from a movie that surprisingly is being played on every radio station, from soft rock/pop to R&B, maybe you’ve heard of it, Let It Go from the animated film Frozen. All of my kids (even the 16 year old boy) know all of the words, we bought the movie and I believe we’ve all watched it at least 5 times (we’ve owned it for two days). Even I now, know all the words to all the songs. So what makes this particular tune so popular? Is it the catchy tune or the lyrics? For me, the more I listen to the actual lyrics, the more brilliant I think they are because we can all relate.
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see, Be the good girl you always have to be. Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know. Well, now they know…
This is me, people pleaser, smile on my face, conceal, don’t let them know. It’s that facade I always talk about. It’s so much easier to smile and say everything’s fine than to put yourself out there. There’s also that element of fear that maybe the real you is not good enough, or interesting enough. The last line, ‘well now they know’, that’s me now. Post cancer the facade is tiring and frankly if you don’t like the real me there are plenty of other people in this world to hang with. Personally, I fall in love (I’m not talking romantic love) with people who show me who they really are, who show me a piece of their soul and brokenness, because we all have some brokenness in us.
Let it go, let it go, Can’t hold it back anymore. Let it go, let it go, Turn away and slam the door. I don’t care, What they’re going to say. Let the storm rage on,The cold never bothered me anyway.
Yes, the storm of life rages on constantly. People talk, people judge, I’m letting it go, turning away from fear and slamming the door. This past week I had a bout of paralyzing fear about a situation I’m currently in. With prayer and a few deep breaths I had to let it go because God is in control. Fear gives power to the thing or person that you are fearful of and I refuse to give any more power to that. It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small, And the fears that once controlled me, Can’t get to me at all…Amen!
It’s time to see what I can do,To test the limits and break through. Let it go, let it go, And I’ll rise like the break of dawn. Let it go, let it go, That perfect girl is gone
How empowering to not have to be or try to be that perfect girl. It is time to see what I can do and test those limits. For me at exactly this time, I am letting go of who I tried to be or was told to be for other people and rediscovering my dreams and who I am, old and new. Letting go is really realizing that certain things are part of the past but not part of your destination. I’m thankful for every single moment because those moments, people, events are what shaped me and who I am today; strong, courageous, and hopeful. The song is brilliant.

Today I’m wearing Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Wild Watermelon. You all should know by now I’m obsessed with these because they are so moisturizing and have great color. My fall/winter go to shade is Red Velvet but I now have this color. I LOVE IT! It’s perfect for spring/summer because it is that bright poppy orange/red but doesn’t make your lips scream ‘I’M HERE!!’ You can find these at any drugstore too and they are fairly inexpensive. Let it go! Until next time, CHEERS!


22 Mar

So here’s a weird fact about me, I’m the girl who always used to say I didn’t have any close girlfriends. That’s right. When I was young not only was I a shy introvert, but I was also not very much of a girly-girl. I didn’t really play with dolls except to cut their hair and draw on their faces. I didn’t have any Barbies. No, I liked to play in the parking lot, jumping the parking blocks, I had a baseball glove and liked to play anncatch with my dad, I liked to play in the mud and build forts with the boys then throw rocks at each other. I think it was because there was no drama involved, just play, and for an introvert, that was easy. My best friend in high school was a boy (who, much to my my ex-husband’s dismay, was part of my wedding party). Some of my closest friends in college and work have been boys. I think the struggle with me and women has always been the time involved along with the drama. I’ve never really been one to want to talk on the phone very much and if you have a teenage daughter like me, you also know that we females can be mean to each other. Add to that growing up an introvert along with some insecurities, making female friends was alot harder than making male friends. photo

franFast forward to becoming a mom, having cancer, going through a divorce. None of those things are/were easy and had I not had the love and support of awesome female friends (along with my faith), I may not have been as strong. People comment all the time about my courage and strength, but truly like the Bible story of Moses, Aaron, and Hur, when I could no longer hold my arms up, I have/had friends on either side holding my arms up for me. We are all stronger if we can rely on each other. jenAnother thing about female friends, they really listen and have a depth of understanding and empathy (usually). I am happy to say I have many close girlfriends who are true blessings in my life, thank you chicas!’Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.’~C. S. Lewis

stacieToday I wear Sephora+Pantone Universe Radiant Rush Matte lipstick. This is a limited edition lipstick with Pantone’s color of the year, orchid (pinkish/purple). Now, it is matte but it is surprisingly not too dry. It’s a gorgeous color that looks pretty great on everyone and is perfect for spring! I chose it because we are all a little more radiant when surrounded by good friends! Cheers!

Passion vs Paycheck?

18 Mar

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There was an article I read years ago right around the time the Detroit economy took a dive. It basically shot out a statistic that 80% of Americans actually hate their jobs. The question at the end was ‘Do you pick passion over paycheck?’ The article added that without passion, people will be choosing between the lesser of two stresses: stress from being unemployed versus the stress of being in a dead-end job.

Lately I’ve met a few people who are doing things they absolutely love…and getting paid for it. They may or may not be the most lucrative careers but I see the joy and passion in their eyes of doing what they love. There’s my neighbor/hair phenom with her own salon, the make-up artist who views every face as an empty and beautiful canvas, the artist I met last week, the lawyer turned IT genius and loving it; people all around me doing things they love or switching careers to pursue passion. Every interaction I have with one of these people leaves me wondering about myself and what I’ve done to pursue the things I’m most passionate about. We all wonder if we’re doing what we we’re created to do, if we’re living our purpose, or just staying safe. I think there has to be a balance of course, you can be passionate but not gifted (think American Idol, X-factor, etc. they all think they’re great). I’ve been in sales my whole career life, am I passionate about it? No. Do I enjoy it? Sure. I look at it this way, everyday is a chance to talk to a bunch of people I otherwise may never meet, attitude goes a long way. As life continues to press on with all the stressors attached we tend to push our passions aside and maybe even forget what it is that makes our hearts beat faster. For me, it was always music, singing and dance. My heart still beats fast when I hear a great tune, I sometimes see choreography in my head too. I know I was good at one time but cancer has taken part of my voice and age has made me a little less flexible; passion for music will never go away for me. I do believe though that as we ‘do’ life new passions can arise. I now have new passions for being the best mom, for people’s stories, for writing, and of course, for finding or even creating the perfect lipstick! Billy Graham said,’The greatest surprise of my life is the brevity of life.’ So very true, we have one life and it is oh so short. So do we just quit our jobs and pursue our passions? It depends, we have responsibilities mixed in too, but I think we can do a bit of both, living in the now of what we have. And yeah, I still want to be a rockstar, who doesn’t?

Pretending to be a Rockstar

Pretending to be a Rockstar

Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.’~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Today I wear Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy Lipstick in 301-Gio. These lipsticks are pretty close to perfect. Longer lasting, great color, and moisturizing. Clearly I didn’t choose the color for it’s name (hate when there’s not a fun name attached to a lipstick), but this color is FUN! Kind of a coral-ly/red…perfect pop of color for summer,ok,spring. LIVE EVERYTHING! Cheers!

The Stories…

13 Mar

Last weekend I had the opportunity to tell my story to a group of young physicians at a national meeting in New Orleans. It’s been awhile since I’ve spoken about my story from beginning to end so as always it was cathartic. I think it may have been the first time I didn’t cry while telling talk14it too. I was with a few other survivors/fighters who shared their stories as well and it was amazing to me how no two stories were alike, or for that matter, similar. Everyone’s cancer, diagnosis, age, treatment, results, etc. were so different, but the emotions were all the same. We were all scared, we all needed support, and we all relied on our doctors and other experts for answers. There is an instantaneous bond between people who have fought the big ‘C’, hard to explain. There is also strength and confidence that I can see in the eyes of those who have fought and won; I’d like to think I have that (remember my bad ass self from my last blog?). Anyway, it was a fantastic opportunity and I met some really amazing people.meandfran

You know how I always say ‘everyone has a story?’ I actually met someone who said the exact same thing to me. Not only was the talk amazing but truly the weekend was a great reminder of how we meet people all the time and behind the eyes there’s an amazing story. I took a friend of mine to New Orleans with me and our first encounter was the guy at security at the airport; I stopped and spoke to him briefly (no, there was no line so it was ok); he was 60+ years old, about to retire, lost his savings, needed a job, so now drives 1.5 hours to work at this airport. He was a gem. Then the kid who sat next to me on the first leg of the trip. We caught each other playing Candy Crush and laughed about it. He was off to Texas to visit his best friend stationed there. He himself decided to go to college but was on ROTC scholarship and he hadn’t seen his friend in over a year. He said he had the chance to do Spring Break in Florida with his other friends but decided this relationship was more important. I wanted to hug him. On the second leg I was in between the grandma/college librarian from Iowa who married her high school sweetheart who was an All State and college wrestler and the artist and dreamer from Arizona who taught me that dreaming big should be the norm and if you think you can do something, what’s stopping you. Thank you Arizona for the reminder! I can’t tell you enough how great it is to hear people’s stories and learn from them, you always leave richer, I know I do. Every time we share a bit of ourselves we have a chance to leave an impact or imprint, will yours be positive or negative?

‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.’~ Maya Angelou

Today I wear Marc Jacobs Lust for Lacquer Lip Vinyl Sheer in Lust for Life. I think I wrote about these before but these glosses are not sticky at all and give just the right amount of color for a gloss…not too sheer. I chose this particular color because it’s like a sheer pop of raspberry (can you tell I need spring to be here ASAP), I also love the name, who doesn’t have a lust for life? Cheers!

Finding Anna

7 Mar

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Do you ever feel like you’re living in a box…maybe I should say, a portrait? You all know that in general, I’ve spent most of my life as a people pleaser. This is not a bad thing, not at all. Putting others needs before yours? But what happens when you strive to please so much that you start losing yourself? Maybe even forgetting your needs, hopes, dreams? You start living in a box of what you think others want from you but forget about yourself. The past several years with cancer were intense but my focus was on the fight. Lots of things happen in the mind of a cancer patient. Am I going to die? Have I done anything of any significance? Will my kids be ok? In my case, will I be able to speak again, or breathe on my own? Then, if I survive, what things will I change? It has been almost four years now that I’ve technically been cancer free with a few scares along the way and I’ve said before that there are several things I can no longer tolerate; I have a hard time with rudeness, arrogance, judgement, rage, control, entitlement, and massive complaining about things we can’t change. Our time is too short here to waste our breath and energy, and that stuff adds undue stress, I just want peace.

For the past several months, maybe even a year, I have been able to reconnect with many friends from my past. A couple from high school, a couple from college, and a few from my life post college/starting a career era. It has been awesome. During this turbulent time, these ladies have been here to laugh and cry with me, but most of all, help me remember myself; what I loved, what I laughed about, my dreams, and oh…the memories and stories. I don’t believe in coincidence that much. I believe every meeting has a purpose and the timing is always right. Here is what I’ve learned, being a people pleaser is part of my personality, I like making people happy and feel loved and respected, but I can’t forget about me. I used to base decisions on what the other person wanted. Now, I think a little selfishness is ok. I also learned that although I may be on the sensitive side, I am mentally tough, strong, and as one friend put it..a bad ass chick (sorry for the profanity but I liked the description). Because of life experiences, we can never fully be who we once were, but it’s great to come back to your core, remember who you were and incorporate that into who you are now and who you want to be…and yes…I think I might be pretty bad ass.photo(6)

To the people who love you, you are beautiful already. This is not because they’re blind to your shortcomings but because they so clearly see your soul. Your shortcomings then dim by comparison. The people who care about you are willing to let you be imperfect and beautiful, too.’~V. Moran

Today I wear Urban Decay Revolution lipstick in F-bomb. These lipsticks are great in terms of having lots of color AND feeling buttery soft (which is usually a hard combo to find). I chose this color because it is a classic red and also for the name…just getting all the profanity out of the way. Cheers!


2 Mar

It’s been a long week. There have been times during and since having cancer that I get completely overwhelmed with gratitude; an absolute moment when my heart feels like it’s exploding. Well, that happened a couple of times to me this week; once sitting in a parking lot getting ready to go into an office, and the other, while driving to go see a friend. I was flooded with emotion just thinking about my life, the people in it, and just exactly where it is today. In general, it was a week full of chaos (as usual) but I absolutely felt blessed in those brief moments. Almost two weeks ago a friend of mine’s dad had a heart attack. I was able to visit him and his dad in the hospital and I admit, it was tough. Seeing the interaction between the two, a son taking care of his father, it was humbling. Later he said to me, ‘my dad was my Superman, so seeing him like this is hard,’ broke my heart. It’s the circle of life right? My strong friend taking care of his Superman. Another friend of mine was in the emergency room last week not exactly knowing what was wrong. She had absolute fear in her eyes when she told me all about it the next day when I saw her. Fortunately in both instances, things seem to be getting better.

The first time I had cancer the doctor walked in my room when I was by myself and told me I was going to die, and it was 4 years ago this month that I had my third (and last, hopefully) surgery for cancer. There have been several moments in between where I have gotten completely overwhelmed with life and just living. My life has been in constant transition, especially lately, and not always smooth, but I am so thankful. There have been people, friends, that have really stepped up, and new people who I have met for exactly this time. I said this in my last blog but it’s awesome how different people weave themselves in and out of your story. Some meetings are brief but they all leave an impact and memory, and many times those people weave back in. Life is fleeting but beautiful if you can just stop and open your eyes…To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.~ Oscar Wilde

To everything – turn, turn, turn. There is a season – turn, turn, turn. And a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap; A time to kill, a time to heal; A time to laugh, a time to weep~Turn Turn Turn~The Byrds

Today I wear NYX Cosmetics Butter Gloss in Sugar Cookie. These glosses are AWESOME and inexpensive!. They are not sticky at all, slightly pigmented, and super moisturizing. I chose this color for two reasons. First, it’s a great pop of color that won’t scare people away (looks natural), and second, because of the name, my daughter made some amazing cookies this week! Cheers!


4 Feb

Today is World Cancer Day, a day that the World Health Organization (WHO), and everyone else uses to recognize, unite, and fight against the disease that will kill an estimated 84 million people from 2005-2015. It’s also about survivors. Most of the time I don’t dwell on the fact that I had cancer but today, seeing all the cancer posts and all the purple profiles for the American Cancer Society and Chevy, I get a little nostalgic.I don’t even know if nostalgic is the right word, but I guess my heart feels a little heavy today; both sad and grateful. It’s strange, there are the constant reminders, my scar, my difficulty breathing sometimes, the numbness/weakness in my left arm from all the surgeries and radiation on the left side of my neck, these things are daily but are fully integrated into my life, it’s just how it is. What changed the most for me is what happened inside my heart and mind. There are people who have told me, ‘thyroid cancer?’ ‘the easy cancer?’. Really makes me sick, cancer is cancer, cells trying to kill you, nothing easy about that. Who would even imagine someone having to defend their cancer? No one asks for it, no one wants it, and everyone walks away different. My particular journey was tough, but isn’t every person’s?

It’s hard to describe what has changed on the inside because sometimes it’s overwhelming. I know that I tolerate less crap, I crave peace and kindness, but most of all I look at people, circumstances, and plain daily living a whole lot differently. I take my time now to notice. Most of the time we’re so busy trying to do something or get somewhere, we don’t notice who or what is even in our surroundings; is someone hurting, laughing, talking to you even…I know I’m not making sense but life is not so serious. If we look for the magic, we see it. I have had many people come into my life over the past few years at exactly the time I needed them, it’s been awesome. Understanding their stories, who they are, spoken from their eyes…magic. Cancer has made me more sad, more angry, more willing, but most of all more grateful for the simplest of things. See? I can’t even articulate! I recently watched a movie where Meryl Streep’s character has cancer and she jumps out of a car and starts running…really random, going nowhere. She was crazed and upset and yes, sometimes it’s like that; but sometimes we(me) run to nowhere just because we can. The simple act of running with arms open, face in the wind, breathing in life…magic. I used this quote before but I love it so much I’m going to use it again as a reminder. “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 Strawberry Lip Smacker. Cheap, yummy, the stuff I had in high school, a simpler time. Cheers!


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