Tag Archives: beautiful


1 Oct


Every week since my diagnosis I have at least a few people ask me how I’m doing or how I’m feeling. My answer to them is generally ok, but I really don’t know how to feel. For the last couple of months now while I’ve been on this ‘watch and wait’ mode it has been a real rollercoaster of emotions literally minute to minute. Physically I feel fine but emotionally I could be fine one minute, devastated the next. My mind rolls through thoughts like crazy, some good some bad; Audrey’s a senior, will I be here for Alex’s senior year/ senior pictures, if I start some type of therapy will I have energy, am I eating the right things, will I still have energy to travel, what exactly is on my bucket list, etc…so much randomness in my thoughts. Without knowing when or if these tumors start to grow is a tough place to be but I know answers are coming soon.

So how do I feel? Right now, mostly sad and sometimes angry. I can’t say I’m really afraid of anything except maybe that I burst out crying at an inappropriate time. Something you may not know about me is that for my job I work in cancer centers and oncology offices all day long so I am literally surrounded by patients, doctors, cancer language, etc. I am not a doctor but I know just enough of the language and statistics to be educated about my own case which again is good and bad. So while I watch and wait I live in the twilight zone  because I can’t get away from the cancer conversation. It’s like that point of a solar eclipse when the sun is partially covered; you know the sun will shine brightly again but not until the moon passes over. For a short bit of time we have to live in the shadows of life’s eclipse until the sun can shine fully again. Some of the things I’m missing right now is laughter, joy, and maybe a little bit of hope. I know it’s a season and I know I’ll fight this bitch (excuse the profanity), but until then I think I may struggle here and there. Jeremiah 29:13 says, You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’ I read in another blog that God even wants you to seek Him with the parts of your heart that are broken. My heart is broken but I have enough life and scars on it that I know it’s strong. For now, I’m a little sad.eastervid

Courageous. Brave. Strong. All words people have used to describe me but what do those all mean? I guess that means that I get up every day, pull up my big girl pants, and step one foot in front of the other. The hardest parts of my days are in the quiet but I know that it’s actually in the quiet where I find my strength. I just read Matthew 11:28 in The Message version of the Bible and I really loved it, ‘Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me -watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and light.’ I’m praying for the free and light. I’m praying for joy and laughter and hope and I really want to have a dance party. You read that right, I want to have a party and I want to dance. Text me some jokes or respond to this blog with jokes or funny pictures. Thank you so much for all your prayers and words of encouragement but this week, I want to laugh (but still keep praying). This crazy world needs more laughter anyway!

Today I wear NYX Butter Gloss in Red Wine Truffle. This gloss is seriously the best stuff and under $5 which makes it even better! I have it in several colors and you really can’t go wrong. I chose this particular color today because it feels like fall outside and the color is deeper, but because I also love red wine…cheers!


Blue Skies

20 Jul


Have you ever opened your eyes to a new day and the sky just seems bluer than you’ve seen it in a long time? That was me today and it’s only Monday! There have been many changes in my life this year and the changes just keep on coming. For the past several months I have allowed these changes both good and bad stress me out a little. Questions about job, home, kids, and really about the future have infiltrated my mind, top that off with the general busy pace of life and it’s really been a lot. I ran into a good friend over the weekend and she said, ‘Trust God and take one day at a time.’ Ahhhh, yes. During my cancer journey that’s all I could do and I most recently have let life (and control of circumstances) simply take over. I heard a great song this morning by Greg Holden called ‘Hold On Tight.’ Some of the lyrics are “But I don’t take my life for granted. I’m gonna hold on tight to what I’ve been handed.” “So when you look at yourself tell me who do you see? Is it the person you’ve been or the person you’re going to be?” Really great lyrics and exactly what I needed to hear today to go with my blue skies. I have been handed A LOT! Two weeks ago I got the news once again that my tests (bloodwork and ultrasound) came out clean so I am officially 5 years-plus cancer free! I have my health, my family, my friends, and have found an incredible man who loves me for exactly who I am. Looking back at all my ups and downs with health, career, and family over the past several years there have been many many blessings and most of those revolve around people. Life really does take a village. I read somewhere that beauty grows in the soil of adversity. The writer says that in adversity we either give in or dig in and life in general needs to be planted firmly for beautiful things to grow. Dig in. Today, thinking about the past few months/years and all the difficulties, I have been blessed with amazing people filtering in and out of every circumstance and turn that life has taken me; some are friends forever and some God had with me for just exactly that moment but seriously, each person has had an impact one way or the other. These are the fertilizer while I’m ‘digging in’ helping me to grow.

We carry so much stuff around and lots of times we think we’re the only one or that we can handle it ourselves but if you look around there are people willing to walk right along side of you and if need be, hold you up when you are too tired to keep going. There will always be circumstances in life that throw you off balance, but get excited about all the people that surround you. There will always be plenty of people who will criticize or try to bring you down either to your face or behind your back…who cares. Listen to kind words, cherish in your heart the kind actions of others and remember you can be that person too. So for today, the sky is blue and the air is warm. Hold on tight to what you’ve been handed, take the lessons and experiences from your past and be excited for the person you are continuing to become.

Today I wear Tarte Amazonian Butter Lipstick in Watermelon which is a red/pink/orange-y color perfect for summer. These lipsticks are all natural and I think the container is not only biodegradable but also  I think if you plant them wildflowers grow. Cheers!

Mommy, Mom, Mama

9 May

kids1517  ACT, SAT, College visits. Growing up. Have I done enough? Do I love enough? I still love your hugs you know. Do you feel loved? Do you know I’m always here for you? ‘I love you mama.’ My heart bursts and breaks at the same time. You are on the verge of flying away. Do you know I can’t sleep until I know you’re home safe? You’ll always be my baby

16  The sweet age of your teen years. Working, driving, baby steps into adulthood. Did I say you could start dating? Did you know that I hold my breath when you drive?

15  You’re taller, you’re developing rapidly, you’re losing your baby face and looking more like a baby adult. Driver’s ed, talking about finding a job…please slow down

14-13  The weird ages. Junior High. Navigating through emotions. Changing friends, changing hormones, changing interests. Mom becomes two syllables..’Mo-om‘. You ask, ‘Am I good enough, pretty enough, popular enough?‘ Sorry, not everyone’s nice. I say, ‘You are beautiful, you are so special, you are loved.’ I pray you always believe.

12  Why are you taller than me? Voice changing, interests changing. You’re noticing the opposite sex, I’m trying to keep you my baby. Planning outfits, using deodorant, using hair gel, STOP GROWING UP ALREADY! Can I still tuck you in please?

11  ‘Mommy‘ starts turning into ‘Mom‘.’Don’t hug me in front of my friends.’ ‘I can walk to the bus stop myself.‘ I still want to hold your hand crossing the streetbus stop

10-5  I’m sorry babies, mommy has cancer. You are all in school now. 3 back packs, 3 lunches, all on the bus, the first good-bye’s. Learning, making new friends, growing independent;. Kindergarten, 3rd grade, 5th grade, I will fight as hard as I can because I don’t want to leave you. I am your mommy.

4-1  AM I DOING THIS RIGHT? Am I enough? First steps, first teeth. I’m so tired. I still watch you sleep. I would die for you.

Birth  I can’t stop staring. You are beautiful. You are a miracle. I love you. Happy Birthday.

Motherhood is the hardest job in the world. You love with all you’ve got and you feel the deepest hurts. It is an extraordinary lesson in grace; giving all of yourself without necessarily getting anything back. There may be long days but the years go by so fast and seem so short. ‘Sometimes when you pick up your child you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands, or smell the scent of your skin in the nape of his neck. This is the most extraordinary thing about motherhood – finding a piece of yourself separate and apart that all the same you could not live without.’~Jodi Piccoult 

Happy Mother’s Day! Pick a red lipstick and go with it. You are awesome!relaymom


4 May

maskI did something tonight that made me cry. The tears and emotion actually took me by surprise. May 10, 2010 was my last external beam radiation treatment for the cancer that wouldn’t leave me. For those not familiar with head and neck radiation you are fitted for a mask that is placed on you as you are bolted down to a table while getting radiation. I have saved this mask for years (in the basement). It’s creepy but I had several ideas running through my mind as to what to do with it. I originally thought some type of paper mache artwork mounted on my wall, then (since there are holes), possibly an earring/jewelry holder. Strange I know but I didn’t want to let the darn thing go. I felt like it would serve as a reminder of what I went through but today, I let it go. While cleaning my house and trying to simplify my life, I decided it was time to throw it out and when I did I felt a rush of emotion. So much has happened in my life since May 2010. The mask not only reminded me of the recurrent cancer battle, but also how much my kids had gone through and had grown since then, all the awesome people and lifelong friends I met, and really just how much my life has changed. Throwing the mask away made me miss my radiation friend Bob who I wrote about before, made me miss some of the doctors and staff who took great care of me during that strange 3 year period of my life, but it also made me think about the present and the future. How despite the twists and turns since then, I feel blessed, have joy, and mostly have hope for the future. My 17 year old son was watching me as I stared and cried at my mask.

Me, ‘Why am I crying?’ AJ, ‘Because you remember.’ I do remember, I’m sure he does too. I am so grateful. meandaj

I couldn’t be more grateful that the mask no longer has a use. It is just a memory; a painful, sad, but blessed memory that has given me strength and added to who I am today. I didn’t really need the actual mask to remember it all. What are some other things we can’t seem to part with? Most of the time the memories are enough.

Today I wear Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Bansar which is a perfect rose brown color you can use every day. I love these lip pencils becuase the are actually longer lasting and not drying at all! As for the name, who knows what that means but who cares, the color’s great. Cheers!


29 Jun

Hour Party
It’s been a good week, no, a spectacular week. Time passes so quickly it’s hard to remember what I’ve already written about. Did I mention I saw Bruno Mars live about a week ago? If you’ve been reading awhile you know I love him (refer to my Bruno Mars blog). Anyhow, Monday I had the ultrasound on my neck and lymph nodes and it was clean! Since I’ve had cancer a few times I didn’t believe him initially but accepted it, then of course the other thought in my mind was that maybe the cancer wasn’t in my neck, maybe it was somewhere else he couldn’t see (I hate that cancer did that to my otherwise positive brain). Later in the week I got my blood work back (this is the special test that takes three weeks for the results). My doctor called and basically said, ‘we got the best results, the results are perfect.’ Double whammy, clean scan, clean blood. That combo has not happened to me EVER. There’s always an ‘I’m not sure’, ‘maybe another PET scan’,’blood work is questionable’, not this time!! Can you tell I’m excited? Can’t wipe the smile off my face. Did you notice how my doctor said ‘we’? Here’s another beautiful part about this journey, seeing my doctors consistently over almost 6 years now has made them family. I love them and now we have become truly a ‘we’, hard to explain. Ended the week with an interview for a magazine and The Hour Detroit Magazine’s Best of Detroit Party which was fantastic and an awesome way to end the week in celebration.Best Of Detroit

yellowThere’s something in the air that seems different to me, palpable. What does change feel like? Summer. When that warm breeze hits your face and the sun is shining so bright you can barely open your eyes, but even with eyes closed you can see the glow of the sun and feel it’s heat on you. There’s that smell of trees, grass, flowers and fruit (and sweat) in the air. The knowledge that even in the worst summer storms, the sun is still just above the clouds waiting to burst out. That is how I have been feeling for a while, slightly behind the clouds waitiing to burst out and shine. Well, here I am. I know the future is never guaranteed but I am loving life and feeling a bit unstoppable, pushing forward one day at a time with hope and excitement, knowing God is in control. Eyes, heart, and arms wide open, thank you for being with me on this journey!

Today’s lipstick is the combo I used above for the Hour Detroit party, Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Palais Royal and Nars Lip Gloss in Stella. The lip pencil is creamy and stayed on all night like a stain. The gloss can be worn alone and on the lipstick. Nars recently reformulated their glosses and they’re awesome. Not too sticky or heavy with just the right amount of color! Be excited about life, 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!

Changes and Thankfulness

18 Nov

When I started my sales career after college over 21 years ago I was assigned a university hospital as one of my accounts. I remember being fresh out of college and placed in a city (and state for that matter) that I was unfamiliar with to begin ‘adulthood’. There were many changes like a phone bill, an electric bill, rent. etc; and I remember that first week driving through this college campus to get to the hospital to do my job. I cried. It was a huge transition and as I looked out at the college kids walking around with their backpacks (and some in pajamas), while I was in my suit, I couldn’t remember why I was ever ‘stressed’ in college, and I asked myself,’am I now doing whatever it is I’m supposed to do when I grow up?’ I wanted to go back. Fast forward to this week. I was assigned another university hospital with my new job and as I drove around the campus, I was filled with gratitude, it was like deja vu’ from when I first started. I smiled thinking about those old feelings in college, will I get a job? where will I end up? am I doing the right thing? why did I change my major? Even now some of those questions linger but I do know that life goes on and we follow a path based on our own mistakes and decisions and ultimately where God leads us.

Also this week, an old friend was asking about a television show I was on in the 80’s. It spurred conversation between a few of my other friends on Facebook and brought back fond memories of my past. Since I have to drive quite a bit for my new job, I brought a few CD’s I had of musicals, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Rent…and as I tried to sing along with the soundtracks, for the first time in a long time I was a little heartbroken. I miss my singing voice. I have always loved music and was fortunate to do a lot of singing over the years and now, after cancer took away a vocal cord, it’s not so easy and I was feeling a little nostalgic and sad. I have to say though, it was because of my singing and my inability to reach some of the notes that I found my cancer (massaging my neck after singing somewhere because my throat was so sore).

So this week, as I celebrate Thanksgiving with my family, I am thankful for my singing because in a strange twist of fate, it’s what saved me. I am thankful for a career that allows me to talk to and meet all kinds of people. I am thankful for the journey God has taken me on, past, present, and even future. I am thankful for my family and friends; for all those who support me through this blog and my Facebook fanpage. Most of all, like all survivors, I am thankful for life. Blessings to all of you and Happy Thanksgiving!

Today I wear Mac Sheen Supreme Lipstick in Can’t Resist. I LOVE these ultra moisturizing full color lipsticks! They feel almost like lipbalm, but a tiny bit thicker and are a full color lipstick! Can’t Resist is a plummy-red that is a great color for fall. I chose it because not only do I love the color, but I also love the name. When I think about my life and all that’s transpired I can’t resist smiling. Feeling blessed.

Twilight Zone

12 Oct


I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone. Today was my last day at my current company. I accepted a position with another company and gave my two weeks notice, well, two weeks ago. This week and the end of last week I have been saying good-bye to some of my current customers and co-workers while juggling incoming mail and phone calls from my new company and co-workers. I was in the Twilight Zone all week…one foot in the old company and one foot in the new; feelings of sadness from leaving the familiar,mixed with feelings of anticipation and maybe a little bit of fear venturing into new, unknown territory. Wow, didn’t I just talk about change? Why the switch? There are many factors. Was it the right thing to do, the right timing? Only God knows, but here I am, TOTALLY freaking out that at 40 something years old, I am still leaving the comfortable and venturing into another new adventure. New people, new boss, new new. I’m too old for this, someday soon my stomach will fail me and I will probably get an ulcer. Change is exciting and nerve wracking at the same time, nothing like keeping things interesting. So, as this week ends, I take a deep cleansing breath (as they say in yoga) and exhale into a new adventure.

When I was in Europe this summer I took a bunch of pictures of doors. Yup that’s right doors, and there were some real beauties. Lots of things happen behind closed doors that we don’t even know or think about. My neighbor across the street recently read my book. Although we say ‘hello’ and have even had them over our house for parties, she said she cried while reading my book because she didn’t realize all that was happening behind our doors. Isn’t that true of everyone? Look around at your neighbors homes, your friends, everyone has a story and when they exit those doors they bring what’s behind into the world. Behind my doors right now is crazy. I have my old work computer next to my new one next to my home computer. I have incoming reports and outgoing, final reports and mixed in with all of that, my kids’ schedules are crazy with sports, school play, and of course, that broken hand. Doors also symbolize for me closing what’s behind and opening what’s ahead. Monday when I leave the house I bring my crazy into the world but I also get to breathe in a new day, a new job, and a new adventure.

Today I wear Sephora Rouge Cream Lipstick in Hot Tango. This is the first time I am trying Sephora brand lipstick because I confess, I am a lipstick snob and prefer mainstream brands. I REALLY liked the color and consistency of these lipsticks and you can even try them on in store. This formula is very moisturizing and has a lot of color. Hot Tango is a BRIGHT pink/red. I probably should have gone with Passion Red which is deeper but sometimes you need the WOW factor. Anyhow, I also chose it for the name because sometimes that’s what life is like right…a HOT TANGO?


7 Oct

This week my oldest son had to have hand surgery. His hand was in an awkward position grabbing the ball at his basketball game and it wasn’t until a couple days later when the swelling came down that we found out there was an actual spiral fracture in his hand. As I sat in the hospital room watching the staff put an IV in his arm and hook him up to the machines to monitor his heart rate and blood pressure prior to the surgery, I decided that I like it much better on the other side. As a parent it is VERY difficult watching your child go through something bad, even if it’s just a small fracture in his hand. A few months ago my youngest had a seizure and had to go through an MRI to rule out a possible brain tumor. Yes, I would rather it have been me. Despite the fact that I have been in the hospital more than I would have liked over the past few years because of cancer, I would gladly take the place of any of my children. Thankfully there was no brain tumor and although my older son is sad he could not finish out this fall basketball season with his team, he will be able to play again. I am constantly reminded how quickly things can change. One minute we’re packing for vacation, the next, my youngest is getting an MRI for a possible brain tumor. One minute my son is having the best game so far this season, the next, his hand is broken and is now out for the rest of the season.

As we approach fall in Michigan the air has dramatically cooled down and the leaves are changing colors. It’s a beautiful season here and probably my most favorite. The evening sky has taken on some beautiful hues of orange and red and the ‘cold’ sky is beautiful as well, sometimes it overwhelms me, God is so good. One thing’s for sure, change is inevitable. The leaves will fall, the plants will die and in the spring, they will bloom again. Life is like that, right? Always changing…a new job, a new baby, illness, etc. We can never get too comfortable but why would we want to? Shouldn’t life be an adventure with both good and bad to shape us? Change allows us to experience and grow in all our emotions but most of all change gives us a chance to test our courage and grow

And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time.” -Libba Bray

Today I wear Nars Larger Than Life lip gloss in Viva which is a rose color. Nars is traditionally awesome for lipsticks and lipgloss and this is a newer formulation. These glosses have lots of color and lots of shine. Viva is an easy neutral that I think anyone can wear.These glosses are a little sticky but beautiful. I chose this one for the name..Viva…LIVE!!


12 Sep

Coming home from work today I saw one of those giant flocks of small birds flying in different formations over a field. You know the ones I’m talking about? I think they are sparrows, but literally there are hundreds flying and weaving, landing, turning, it’s quite the sight to see. Against the backdrop of the clear blue sky, it was beautiful. While watching (and driving), I noticed that as they flew in formation, it seemed that one bird would fly on impulse another way; then one, two, a hundred would follow. It occured several times within seconds.

School started last week for my kids and there has been quite a bit of discussion on popularity in my house..with a pre-teen and a teenager, well of course. “Why is so and so popular?”, “what makes people popular?”…oh yeah, I forgot about all of that pressure. I was never the popular one but I was always nice to everyone which made me ‘well known’ in many different groups of my large school. Today when I watched the birds I was able to talk about that to my kids in terms of popularity. I told them that the birds all flew in a cluster but there was always a leader, in a matter of seconds though, another bird would impulsively go a different direction then the cluster would follow. Do you want to be part of the pack following the popular kid (or lead bird) or the one that breaks off and does your own thing, maybe some come along beside you, maybe not, or maybe new people show up? It’s much more fun to do your own thing and not just be a follower, plus, (as evidenced by the birds) the leader lost his status within seconds. Popularity is fleeting and comes and goes like the wind. I told them to stand firm in who they are, follow their passions, and love people. Everyone has a story and a reason, take time to listen and invest in people. It’s hard to be a parent, I’m sure we’ll have this discussion again, maybe I’ll see something else that I can use as an analogy.

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Apple Inc.

Speaking of impulsiveness, I have purchased three lipsticks in two days ,one’s going back and another is a refill on my fall favorite. My color for today and the fall favorite I’m talking about is Lancome L’Absolu Rouge lipstick in Merlot. This happens to be the perfect deep red shade for me. Also the consistency is VERY moisturizing which I love. This is a lipstick I buy every year for fall and winter and is perfect if you have tan skin. Incidentally a perfect bright red for more of a porcelain to medium skin tone is Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Red Square. It’s an awesome color but unfortunately for me it makes me look like a crazy woman…too bright, sigh, I’ll still wear it.

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