Tag Archives: breathing

Puzzles

15 Jan

puzzle
When I was a kid there was a time when I loved puzzles. What child doesn’t like puzzles? I think most kids get those basic 5-10 piece puzzles because many parents believe they help with coordination, visualization, and maybe patience. I know when it came to me, and as my kids got a little older those 10 piece puzzles became 500, then 1000, then 5000 piece jigsaw puzzles. It was a challenge to look at a thousand little pieces that were supposed to come together somehow and become a beautiful picture and it was completely up to you (with a little help from parents and siblings). The majority of the time the edges were placed first because they were the easiest to figure out, then, if you had the box and knew exactly how it was supposed to look, slowly but surely and with a lot of patience those puzzles would come together. There were always those pieces that looked like they belonged in a particular spot but actually didn’t and if forced or shoved in, well, the puzzle just couldn’t come together….ah the frustration.

So what’s my point? People’s lives are those puzzles; not just 1000 pieces, thousands and thousands of pieces of history, experiences, decisions, that most of us don’t know about until we have lived in their shoes. The outside world sees this picture, like the ones on the cover of a puzzle box. Maybe the edges are easy to figure out; married, divorced, kids, career, etc but beyond that, no one but that person has all the pieces. No one on the outside can get into someone’s mind or heart or history or in their home 24/7 for that matter. So…sympathy,empathy,love,kindness,compassion for someone is awesome, even maybe suggestions or advice. Judgement and condemnation however, not cool, especially when you don’t know all the pieces of the puzzle. It’s been quite a week…

Today I wear Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Violet which is a bright magenta violet. I got a couple of these lipsticks for Christmas from my daughter (yes, she’s awesome). They are packed with color and not too dry on the lips. They also last throughout the day similar to a lipstain. I chose this particular color because the bright fuchsia color reminds me of summer. Although winter seems to have just kicked in I’m already ready for summer. Oh well, CHEERS!

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!

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!

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!

Symphony

29 Oct

fall
When I was growing up my house was always filled with music. We had a record player (those of you under 30?, ask your parents what that is) and I think for many years we played music much more than we watched television…probably why I love music so much. My dad would sing constantly; Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis, Perry Como, etc. and when he wasn’t singing, he would be playing classical music and pretending to conduct an orchestra playing Beethoven, Chopin, Bach (usually in his robe and pajamas). I have very fond memories of sitting on our stairs watching my dad and sometimes even joining him.

This past week was an amazing week for me. I randomly ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in awhile and the reunion was beautiful (and tearful). She shared with me some of the things going on in her life and told me that I had come to her mind just the night before, so she prayed for me. That simple prayer led to her releasing some of her stress and then seeing me the next morning, after at least three years, confirmed to her that God cared for even the little things. Over the weekend I visited my alma mater and had another reunion with an old friend whom I’ve kept in contact with. It was surreal as we visited where we lived on and off campus and some of the places we used to hang out over 20 years ago. What was even better (to me), was sharing some of the memories we had from those college days. I realized how much she played a part in my life for that period of time.wmu

I am always in awe of the different people that I’ve gotten to meet and do life with; those that have weaved in and out of my story. Some who have consistently been a part of my ongoing journey and some who are there for just brief moments of time. I don’t believe in accidental meetings because I do believe in a much grander plan by a big God who never ceases to amaze me over and over. Life is like that beautiful symphony. The treble clef carries the melody; interactions, work, nature, beauty. The bass clef is the foundation; solid, consistent, feet on the ground. There are times when we have some sharps; exciting, thrilling, or just changing peaks and moments. Then there are flats; maybe setbacks or maybe just calm. God is the conductor and the different movements in a piece are the different movements of an ever changing life. People, events, job, day to day, those are the instruments; some loud, some soft, but all working together to form a beautiful piece of art called life. There are no mistakes.
Life, he realized, was much like a song. In the beginning there is mystery, in the end there is confirmation, but it’s in the middle where all the emotion resides to make the whole thing worthwhile~Nicholas Sparks

Today I wear Nars Audacious Lipstick in Anna. These are long lasting but surprisingly creamy and smooth and feels weightless on the lips. This color is a smokey rose color, easy to wear for anyone. I mainly chose it for the name because of course I love that name 🙂 Beethoven, Moonlight Sonata….Cheers!

3 Words

15 Oct

AW3.22
There are three words that have become synonymous with cancer fighters/survivors or really anyone who has or is fighting some type of battle externally or internally…COURAGE, BRAVERY, HOPE. I have been called courageous for fighting something I didn’t choose, but also had no choice but to fight back. What truly do these words mean?

Bravery and courage are sometimes used interchangeably but actually have very different origins and meanings. Today’s definition of brave means possessing or exhibiting courage, or courageous endurance. From Middle French it means splendid, valiant. It’s also an American Indian noun for North American Indian Warrior. Courage is interesting. ‘Cor’ is the Latin word for heart, and originally courage meant to speak one’s mind by telling one’s heart. Today it means acting heroic. Social researcher Brene’ Brown says “Heroics are often about putting our life on the line. Ordinary courage is about putting our vulnerability on the line.” WOW. Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. In old English it is wish, expect, look forward to possibly connecting; root word ‘hop’-leaping in expectation.

Interesting. Can you have any one of these three words without the other? Can you have hope without bravery? Can you have bravery without courage (vulnerability)? See what I’m getting at? We need all three. If you go back to the definition of bravery and consider courageous endurance it takes on new meaning. Being brave requires ongoing vulnerability, enduring the road or path you are on valiantly.

All of us face battles every single day. Some internal, like illness, depression, cancer…battles with our bodies. Other battles are external;jobs, relationships, conflict. The only aspects in our control we really have with both are our attitudes and our actions. I have had a tough week but because of my faith I always have hope, and since the three words go together… I guess I am brave and courageous too. We can’t control others’ actions, just ours. I love my life. Pressing on…

Today I wear Dior Glow…my standby, constant. It’s a lip balm that somehow brings out the natural color of your lips. It’s simply awesome, get your inner glow on! Cheers!

Live Today

12 Oct

oneleft

I passed several of these flowering plants leaving an office last week while working. What I found so beautiful about them during this season was that on each of the plants there were only one or two flowers left. While most of the flowers had died already, there were one or two bursts of yellow on each; flowers appearing healthy in bloom, beautiful…survivors. So I got to thinking (of course), are we merely focused on surviving every day, or are we, like this flower, pushing every moment, taking in the sun, taking all the nutrients available, to truly live as much as possible? Yes I know it’s a stretch but that’s how my mind works. Sometimes life seems like survival of the fittest. Every day testing our patience, our kindness, our worth, our fears, every moment of every hour challenging us to make the right decision, then that choice leading us into the next moment, then the next decision, it’s kind of a lot.

What does it mean to truly live and not just keep your mind in survival mode? This past week I went to a fundraising dinner to support a great organization that I mentioned in a previous blog. They are doing some amazing work rebuilding a small section in Detroit. Although things haven’t happened quickly, they are making progress bit by bit. One of the speakers challenged us by asking how change happens…his answer, one step, one day at a time. Another spoke about pouring out your life into others because the return is 1000 fold. I am a believer. I’ve talked about this a million times before but sometimes we only get one chance to impact someone’s life and you leave them walking away feeling something. I want my impact to be a positive one. Receiving 1000 times back? Yes, when I was sick I was overwhelmed by the support from everyone I knew, some I hadn’t seen or talked to in at least 20 years. Pour an ounce of yourself, your time, your support, your smile into someone…it comes back. All this junk, the stuff we collect is just stuff. So what does it mean to truly live? For me, first noticing the beauty and being grateful for today. Like those flowers, we are surrounded by miracles all day every day, if you just keep your eyes open and notice. Second, pour into people; arms open, hands open, heart open…it comes back beyond what you can imagine. Oh yeah, take a risk and sneak in something daring when you can too! Always good to feel your heart racing every now and then!

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.~ Henry David Thoreau

Today I wear Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in L.U.V. which is a rich purple color. She is known for her tattoos and red lips so of course her lipstick is long lasting and full of color. Since this is matte it’s a little dry for me although I do have a couple other colors that are not too drying. I chose it because it’s a hot color for the season and for the name. We could all use a little more love! Cheers!

Happily Ever After

5 Oct

ut mts

Happily Ever After. That statement means alot of things to different people. Disney and Hollywood have made it a phrase to mean you’ve found your Prince Charming… the end. For some this may be true but I’m guessing for most it’s not. Maybe for some it means they’ve made it in their career, or maybe finally discovered what they’re meant to do or where they’re meant to be, and maybe for others it means getting the report that you’re cancer free. Like I said, could mean many different things, but the phrase itself puts a little pressure on people don’t you think? Is that what we’re all striving for? The happily ever after?

I’m not saying that it’s not good to have happiness as a goal, but life is constantly full of challenges and adversity. Most of the time I’m not whistling while I work and birds are not braiding my hair every morning (unfortunately); but here’s the great thing, there’s always an end. The challenges we face day to day, year to year always have an ending, not always the ending that you want but they do end at some point hopefully leaving us with nuggets of wisdom and a little stronger along the way. Our history and experiences shapes us into who we are, and what’s beautiful is that when there’s an end, there’s also a beginning. So maybe Disney got it all wrong. Happily Ever After shouldn’t be at the end, maybe it should be at the beginning because with each new day we get a fresh start or at least a fresh perspective based on where we’ve been and the decisions that we’ve made, good or bad.

The chief beauty about time is that you cannot waste it in advance. The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you, as perfect, as unspoiled, as if you had never wasted or misapplied a single moment in all your life. You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose.~ Arnold Bennett

Today’s lipstick is Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Boy (which is a pale pink color) with MAC Lustreglass lipgloss in Love Nectar (which is a shimmery peachy-pink) on top. I chose the two together because they are similar shades, both easy to wear but the gloss adds a little bit of pop. The names also remind me of the fairytales of Disney…Boy(s) and Love. Cheers!

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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