Tag Archives: friendship

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!

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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!

Really?

21 Aug

crutches
It’s been an interesting week. I hurt my knee about a week ago and have been on crutches since then and it’s been eye opening. First off, it’s been kind of emotional. Yes, I’ve battled cancer three times but I was able to function as normal and most ‘strangers’ did not know from the outside the fight that was happening on my insides. Now with my leg and crutches, it’s in your face visible that I am injured. What’s hard is that in my mind, my body can do all the same things, I feel fantastic, like I can run and jump, but then there’s my knee that is hurt, and swollen, and painful; it’s mind games. The past few days the pain at the end of the day has been really bad since my job is mostly walking and carrying literature along with my computer all day long on my back (yes, carrying a backpack so I can balance on my crutches); add to that the ALS ice bucket challenges all over social media. ALS along with Muscular Dystrophy (which runs in my family), MS, and other diseases sometimes take over your body and it’s functions, but your mind stays completely in tact. For me, healthy mind but slightly impaired body this week is just a small sampling of what some go through on a daily basis and it’s heart breaking. Here’s the other sad thing about this past week…some people are inconsiderate. I’m not sure if it’s because our society has become more selfish, less aware, or if people are afraid to ‘get involved’ or what, but whatever it is, it’s awful. When you see a 100lb woman carrying a 20lb backpack on crutches, walking a 100ft from her car, do you not feel compelled to at least hold the door open? This did not happen just once, it was often…or even being in such a hurry that you close the elevator just as her injured leg is about to step in? It’s crazy and sad. Thankfully the people willing to help, open a door, carry something, etc..outnumbered those that did not. I’m done ranting but please be aware! I admit, this injury has forced me to slow down which definitely hasn’t been easy.I have become more aware of other people coming in slowly like me; the handicapped, the elderly, etc., probably some of the people I would whiz by in a rush too.crutches2

The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.~David Foster Wallace

Look around, slow down, care for people, help them; I disagree with the quote, it is sexy. Today I wear MAC lipstick in Heroine, a cool purply shade great for fall. Be a hero (or heroine)! Cheers!

Unrealized Dreams

14 Aug

changing woman
Recently I was able to reconnect with a friend who I haven’t seen in probably three years. It was great because we were able to talk like no time had passed yet our lives were so different than they were 3 years ago. We talked and laughed and really marveled at how life can change so quickly. We talked about the future and about our dreams and what we would like to see; some things we had in common, some we just laughed about. Something I shared is the realization after cancer that you just never know what will happen tomorrow, so I try every single day to do one thing that brings me closer to a dream or goal.It certainly keeps me busy. She asked how I manage to do all the stuff I HAVE to do PLUS all the stuff I WANT to do…I kept my answer simple…one day, one moment at a time. If I don’t fit all of it in, I don’t sweat it, I just move on to the next day. Here’s another awesome thing I discovered, if you live with your eyes wide open to opportunity, sometimes yellow flowernew dreams make their way into your life. Remember when I wrote about watching roller derby? I watched because the minute I saw their booth at a local fair and spoke to a couple of the girls, I knew I wanted to be a part…enter new dream! See how it works? I’ve been talking about this with a friend for awhile and she recently shared with me that she decided to pursue her dream of riding horses! She said that by me talking about doing something new it pushed her to also do something she had always been interested in. Why not? What stops us? How and why do we forget some of the things we loved? We all have responsibilities; jobs, kids, etc. but if we don’t do a little something that reminds us who WE are every single day, we slowly start to lose a little bit of ourselves. Thankfully we are all created uniquely us; different, special, and beautiful.
me and jen
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.~H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Today I wear Urban Decay Pulp Fiction Revolution lipstick. This is seriously a hot red; dark, edgy, awesome! You all know I love Urban Decay lipsticks and this is no different. Lots of moisture plus lots of color…limited edition so get it while you can! I chose this color because it’s bold. Live your adventure! Cheers!

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