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Tic Toc

30 Jul

“Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes, Five hundred twenty five thousand moments so dear. Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes, How do you measure, measure a year. In daylight, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee, In inches, in miles, in laughter in strife, In Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes, How do you measure a year in the life”…Seasons of Love, from Rent.

Tic toc, all we have is time, how do we spend it?  I learned the news that I had cancer one week before leaving for training.  The last thing I wanted to do was leave my family and friends for three weeks and use those minutes with people I didn’t know.  I listened to this song on my way there and then again on my way back and I discovered that my attitude had changed.  On my way, I thought about the brevity of life and truly the limited time we have and wondered why I was leaving my family during such a critical time in my health.  On my way back, I thought about the new friends I had made and how those moments I spent on the new relationships impacted my life.  At the end of training we were given evaluations individually.  What my trainer told me was that in the beginning he couldn’t figure me out because I was so quiet, but in the end he said it turns out I was a quiet storm affecting one person at a time.  This made me cry.  Since cancer, my life mission has been to make a positive impact one person at a time and his statement was validation that I was doing something right.

You’ve heard me say this before but I will say it again and again.  We impact each person that we meet whether positive or negative, people walk away from each encounter feeling something about you.  Sometimes, it’s just a few minutes and in this case for me, it was three weeks.  What type of impact do you want people to feel after you walk away?  I choose to make it a positive one.  Yes, three weeks was a long time, but the moments I spent with certain people were not a waste of those precious 525,600 minutes.  People are not a waste of time.  So thank you to Michelle, Jennifer, Ashley(TX), Ashely(FL), Lauren, and of course, Fernando.  You have all impacted my life.

For my new friends I wear  2 colors, Chantecaille- Angel Skin ,  a soft pinkish nude, because you were all my angels during training; and Bobbi Brown -Burnt Red because it’s my reminder to live boldly (and because Fernando said he loves red lipstick).  Thank you for the shared tears and all the laughter.

Thank You Mom

6 May

My mom is an amazing woman.  When I was 2 she traveled 23 hours by herself to the United States from the Philippines (apparently she was wheel chaired out of the airplane). My dad had immigrated 6 months beforehand to find a job and a place to live so we could start ‘The American Dream’. They left everything and everyone they knew to provide a better life for their children.

My mom was a working mom, we did not have much money since we were starting fresh so she took the first job she could get as a social worker for Detroit and stayed there 30+ years, never utilizing her degree in nutrition.  Although she worked 8 hours a day, she never missed a school function or recital and was always there when I was sick, sacrificing vacation time and sometimes even pay, I had no doubt that my mom would always be there when I needed her.  Recognizing my love for music, my parents sacrificed a couple paychecks to buy me a piano and also enrolled me in jazz, ballet, and tap at a very young age. We originally lived in a diverse Detroit community, but when we moved to a predominantly Caucasian suburb when I was 9, life got a little difficult for me.  I was incredibly shy and was teased because I was ‘different’.  By the time I was in Junior High, I wanted to move back to the Philippines.  My mom said, ‘For one year, get involved in everything possible at school and if after one year you still hate it, you can go.”  She was teaching me to persevere and overcome and I didn’t even know it!  Obviously, I stayed.  I was Student Body President, in choir, track, tennis, on yearbook committee, Honor Society, Math Olympics…just everything!  I made many friends and found a sense of belonging.

Her support continued through high school, college, and beyond.  She was there for the birth of my two children (I was in Indiana for the third) and is still there for almost all of their events. When I was diagnosed with cancer the first time, she literally fell to the floor, but rose to the occasion (of course) by being there every single step of the way.  My mom is known to her friends as a kind and generous woman, a giver of her time and resources. Our house was always open to those in need; I can’t even remember how many people lived with us as I grew up.  She taught me many things about being a woman and being a mom.  She taught me to persevere, to be independent, to treat others even better than you treat yourself, and to always be thankful for our blessings.  I always felt loved and important. Thank you mom, I love you.

Yes, mom’s have a big job and incredible influence on their children.  This week my lip color is Le Metier De Beaute’ Lip Crème in Chocolate Cream.  It is a beautiful medium brown with golden undertones (the texture is awesome!).  I chose this color because mothers are as precious as gold (and chocolate)! Happy Mother’s Day!

Keeping the Faith

30 Apr

Me and Grandma Lucille

This week I’m writing about my faith.  Faith is one of those controversial topics but I make no apologies for my beliefs.  Everyone is entitled to believe what they want.  I am a Christian.  To me, it is not about being ‘religious’ (whatever that means) or being part of a certain denomination, it is simply that I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and I will follow Him.  Going through the last few years of constantly being told bad news, I would not have been able to get through without having the belief that somehow, this was God’s plan and purpose for my life and that in the end no matter the outcome,  it was all for His glory and that my family would be taken care of.  I also believe in the power of prayer.  So many people were praying and I know that their prayers truly gave me a sense of peace.  With people constantly serving my family with meals and encouragement, I felt not just the presence of God at all times but also his heart through all of them.

Many have asked how I was able to stay so positive throughout my journey.  It’s very simple.  I trusted God and I still do and that gives me hope.  Of course I was sad about different aspects of my struggle but again, I trusted He had a plan.  I also was so uplifted by the people in my life.  The command to love others was cemented into my brain.  If you can get beyond the surface and look at people with compassion knowing they are a unique creation, you can love them.  When you pour your love out, it comes back ten fold, and that is what I felt…love overflowing.

My husband’s 94 year old grandmother died Easter Sunday.  She was resurrected on the day of resurrection!  What a testimony of a beautiful Christian woman.  I have known Lucille for the past 20 years.  She loved everyone, she NEVER complained, and she always encouraged and had a smile on her face.  Every birthday we got a card with a personalized letter, she never missed one.  This was a woman who knew that everyone wanted to be loved and remembered and I know that it’s because she believed in a God who made each person unique and special.  Because of my faith, and the hope it gives me, I know I will see her again!

Today I’m wearing Benefit Ultra Shine lip gloss  in Kiss Me (a beautiful mauve) in honor of Lucille because she loved to kiss people, again, making them feel loved and special. God is good, all the time!

My Lipstick Journey Through Cancer

25 Mar

Hello!

I am a cancer survivor who loves lipstick.  I am 41 years old and New Year’s 2011 marks my first year (in the past three years), cancer free.  Lipstick for me has been an obsession since high school.  I was never allowed to wear make up, but I always had my Cherry Chapstick which added a hint of red.  In college, my best friend Jennifer ALWAYS wore bright pink lipstick no matter what.  I never knew how she could pull that off confidently.  After college, I got my first job.  Lipstick cost less than shoes…thus begins my lipstick journey.

I buy lipstick with any mood shift I have.  Obviously with my cancer diagnosis, three surgeries, radiation, etc…my mood shifts were extreme and changed daily.  I think over the three year period I have collected at least 30-50 tubes of lipstick and gloss.  I was laid off from my job last June (right after radiation), YSL Golden gloss #14.  I got another job right after, Laura Mercier Brown Plum.  I quit that job in December, not because I had so many great options, but because I was tired (I never let myself fully recover), and it was a job I could not see myself doing long term.  One thing with cancer is, you don’t want to waste time.  I bought Bobbi Brown Raisin (my favorite color and brand, by the way).

I’ve been interviewing sometimes two to three times a week for the past couple weeks for a new job and have been very self controlled in terms of my lipstick purchases. Today, I splurged. I got stressed about the job hunt because I carry the insurance for the family and my ultrasound/PET scan is coming up and it ain’t cheap.  Today I bought Dior 774.  What’s bad is that when I came home, I saw the same tube in my ever-growing lipstick collection.  Hate when that happens.  Anyway, tomorrow’s a new day!

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