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Prayer, Christianity

24 Sep


photo courtesy of Kensington Community Church

Last month when I told my mom I had cancer again her first words after the ‘what’ and the ‘where’ were, ‘How can that be? We’ve been praying for you every single day since the last cancer (7 years) that it wouldn’t return. How can that be?’  The second or third time I had cancer I was invited to a small group bible study so they could pray for me…who wouldn’t want that? It was all good until one of the gentlemen started praying for my faith. Afterward he said that I probably got cancer again because I didn’t have enough faith and that his extreme faith in God is why he’s had no illness and drives a Cadillac. His faith got him blessings. I left there angry and sick to my stomach.

I am a Christian woman. I believe in the Father, his son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I try to live a life that shows that but I know I am far from perfect; the amazing part of Christianity is God’s grace and forgiveness. I have complete faith in God’s plan for my life however that looks and I believe there is a reason and a season for everything. Yesterday I waved hello to someone from my past who has over the years hardened toward me because of untruths that she has been told and she turned her back. This mature woman of faith. I wanted to finally speak my truth because there are always two sides, I wanted to forgive, and I wanted to share grace but she. turned. her. back. I forgave, I let go.

You say you’re a Christian? Show me. You have the bible memorized and can quote me verses? Nice job, but are you kind? Show me. You have your arms raised when you worship? Looks intense but do you love people not like you? How do you act outside those four church walls? Show me. You go to church every Sunday and sometimes during the week? Great, but do you condemn and curse people for offensive actions based on your judgement? Show me. John 13:35 says ‘Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.’ Is that you? Is that me? I’m trying my best but if you are quoting a bible verse in one breath then condemning or cursing a person, tribe, nationality, etc…what does that show the world? The old hymn says, ‘They will know we are Christians by our love,’ can we do that? Having cancer again gives me less energy and tolerance for stupid and lots of eye rolling as well. We are all flawed but if all the Christians would love and forgive more maybe our country would be a little less divided. Can we match our actions to our words so our legacy is one of love? We are never promised tomorrow and we are all doing the best we can, let’s do better.  ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, against such things there is no law.’ Galatians 5:22-23 

Now, the harder question. Does God answer prayer? When my mom asked me the ‘how’ with all the prayers I just had to shrug my shoulders and say that maybe God had a different plan and to just keep praying. I still 100 percent believe God answers prayer even if it’s not the answer we are hoping for. As Christians we always talk about God’s perfect plan, God giving us the desires of our heart, etc but we are also human so in our human brains it gets a little confusing when we think that His plan is something that we actually want or desire; healing, a promotion, a spouse, a child, a pay raise. I believe that God really cares about our hearts and the rest of the superficial stuff is secondary. I will not stop praying for the superficial stuff but I know that in the big scheme of things I have a plan and God has a plan and sometimes they’re not the same. I trust Him…He loves me, He made me.

Today I wear Lancome L’Absolu Hydrating Lipcolor in Jezebel…I know, biblical name with negative connotation but c’mon people, it’s the name of a lip color. This is the perfect deep berry shade for fall and I love that it’s so moisturizing. Until next time, Cheers!



Time and People

10 Sep

cancer poster

It has been a crazy couple of weeks with the massive hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, etc and all the devastation that entails. Thousands of people have lost their homes, all of their belongings, some have even lost their pets and even worse, their family members. It’s been difficult to watch and imagine all they are truly going through. What’s been beautiful has been watching the communities and people across the country pouring in to help with boats, food and clothing, and monetary donations. I read this quote which said,’Trials teach us what we are; they dig up soil and show us what we are made of.’~Charles Spurgeon.  We are people who need each other.

It’s been an interesting month of ‘living with cancer’. I have narrowed down my basic needs to two things, time and people. More importantly how and what I do with my time and which people I want to spend my time with. It’s obvious after natural disasters like the hurricane that things are fleeting but people are not. In the end I believe we all want to feel like our lives mattered here on earth and that we mattered to other people. I’m also finding that I stress about fewer things because I ask myself if in the big scheme of things, do they really matter? This applies to all categories right now including the kids; they don’t want to come to the store with me? No problem. They don’t want to clean their rooms right now? No big deal (although I may withhold allowance until it’s done). I’m not going to yell about it or get worked up about it. It may be too loose of an attitude but there are so few things in life that really have large scale impact. We stress about the minutia most of the time. It’s been a really peaceful way to live.

The waiting game has been a little difficult. I have one more month before the next scan which will tell me how quickly the nodules are growing or if they’re stable and my mind has been all over the place. Most of the time I’m functioning as normal because of work and kids but I still fight the sadness with a little anxiety mixed in. In the meantime my daughter is a senior in high school so I’m also dealing with the sadness that comes with


Photo courtesy of my beautiful friend Leanna at Leanna Vite Photography

all of her ‘lasts’; last first day of high school, last season of volleyball, last homecoming, etc…all leading to graduation. Ugh..all the emotions are a hurricane in my brain. How am I getting through? Time and people and prayer and faith. ‘When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.’ ‘Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you…’ Isaiah 43:2, Isaiah 43:4

Today I wear Stila Color Balm lipstick in Vivienne. I really like this lipstick because it is super moisturizing. Don’t let the ‘balm’ fool you, it’s packed with color! I chose this color because it’s a rich berry on my lips and adds brightness to my day. Time is limited, spend it well. Choose your tribe and live! Cheers!!


1 Feb

I’m at a loss for words, no, really. Last week I dropped the ‘divorce’ bombshell and the amount of support from everyone was unbelievable; all of the wonderful messages both public and private were overwhelming. It was my most read blog of all time, almost 1000 people. Crazy. What does that tell me? Either a) people crave authenticity and truth or b) people love good gossip. I’m hoping for ‘a’ because that’s what I crave. We all walk around with amazing facades don’t we? We portray what we think people want to see; put together, nice, happy, perfect…how exhausting. I prefer the raw and uncut version because that’s where I am. It’s easier, but sometimes a risk. We all live imperfect lives and are flawed, thank goodness, perfection is impossible. If we all came to terms with that then maybe we would be more real with each other and not so judgmental. Ask me what I think now and I’ll tell you, no more pretense. For the people in the ‘b’ category, not my style. I’m fairly private despite a book and blog. I write observations on life not dirt about me or anyone else, sorry. Those close to me know some of the details but not all, like I said, I keep things close. I’m more about actions than words anyhow, you get back what you put out into the world and nothing someone says can outweigh what they do.

It’s been an interesting week of mixed emotions but I am still looking forward with great hope for the future. I have heard the ‘strong’ word thrown around a lot and frankly, I’m not feeling it; just living and doing the best I can. This week I got to help a friend going through her own difficult life circumstance. That’s one of life’s privileges, going through struggles, getting stronger, and helping others. Life is beautiful.

Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength’~ Arnold Schwarzenegger

Today I wear Lancome Rouge In Love lipstick in Fierry Attitude. These lipsticks are feather light and last a long time. They are a tiny bit drying for me but not as bad as some of the other long lasting lipsticks. I chose this color because it’s a deep berry which I love, I also love the name…living life with passion and a fiery attitude! Cheers!

Christmas Memories

21 Dec


Christmas always brings lots of memories; some great ones, and some not so great. Growing up in Detroit, I remember my parents waking me up as a young child to attend the historic Old St Mary’s Church in Detroit to go to midnight mass. What I remember about it (since I was so young) was that it was huge and outrageously beautiful. But I also remember the pews being hard as I fell back asleep on them during mass (oops, I was REALLY young). Anyhow, traditionally, we would go back home afterward and eat until dawn. Though the church location changed when we moved to the suburbs, that tradition carried on through high school, sometimes with only my family, and sometimes with friends coming to our house. I remember moments around Christmas like ice skating around the frozen fountain at Belle Isle, the Thanksgiving Parade, and shopping at the old Hudson’s in downtown Detroit.

The two most memorable Christmas’s to me were both significant moments in my life. The first was awful, 2009. It was the morning of Christmas Eve 2009 when I was at the hospital with my three girlfriends at 6am. They came with with me to support me during my PET scan to check on suspicious activity in my neck. At this point I had and beat cancer twice already with my last surgery just the September before. They came with me to sit for the three hours it took to finish. When I came out, two were sleeping in chairs in the waiting room and I’ll never forget how grateful I was they had taken time away from their families to be with me that day. At 4:00 the same evening my doctor called and I received the devastating news that indeed the cancer was back. He said, “Merry Christmas, I’m sorry.” The other Christmas I remember was in the 4th grade, I was 8 or 9 and we had just moved to the suburbs from Detroit. At this time my parents were both working and my dad had even worked two jobs to move us to a nicer area. That Christmas I wrote Santa a long letter. I remember writing a list of things I wanted and then adding things for my hard working parents. When I came downstairs Christmas morning, nothing from my list was on the fireplace. All that was there was a large (to me it was life-sized) yellow, stuffed dog. I remember being a little disappointed that Santa hadn’t brought the presents I asked for for me and my parents, but I loved that stuffed animal. It stayed with me for years! Looking back I now realize that we didn’t have a lot of money and my parents gave me the best they had. It brings tears to my eyes thinking about it.

After cancer and life’s difficulties in general, Christmas along with every day is special. We were given the gift of Jesus on Christmas Day and that is the best gift. Every moment, every memory, every breath whether Christmas or the days after is icing on the cake. Today’s lipstick is my favorite red Lancome L’Absolu Rouge in Merlot. Moisturizing, deep red. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you!


27 Dec


Four more days until the new year…2013. It’s hard to believe how fast time goes by. I ran into a friend today and asked her how Christmas was for her and her family this year and she said, ‘uneventful, thank goodness’. She said it was the first time in a few years that there wasn’t crying. Last year her mom passed away, the year before, her sister. She told me that she and her family were able to do ‘normal’ Christmas things without tears…church, family dinner, presents…she said it was very peaceful and loved seeing everyone smiling again. I can relate in a small way. Remember from a past post that December has been a hard month in my cancer journey, either I was diagnosed with cancer, recovering, or preparing for a surgery. This year I declared a moratorium on anything health related; no doctors appointments, blood work, etc. and I guess you could say this December was also peaceful for me. I am also fortunate enough to have the holidays off of work so I don’t return until January 2. With all this downtime I’ve been reflecting on the events of the past year. Highlights include me still being able to sing at my fourth Voice Day concert after three surgeries, a paralyzed vocal cord and major radiation(twice), a trip to Europe with my family, the kids all playing basketball (the face of my daughter when she came home and said she made the team…priceless), good 20120629-204705.jpggrades, dance recital, good health, running in 3 races, and NO CANCER year 2! Yup, the highlights were awesome, but some of the best memories were just every day things. I am so thankful for so much it’s quite overwhelming. My daughter today asked what my New Year’s resolutions are, well, I don’t really have any. It’s kinda bad but I’ve always been the one to literally live day to day. Yes, I have really large, no, monumental goals and aspirations, but since I’m quite the dreamer some may be unattainable…I don’t care, you never know, I mean, who knew I would write and a publish a book? Anyhow, there are things I would like to improve or just keep doing in the new year:


* Respect every person and invest in their story *Speak the truth * Be intentional *Live boldly *Keep dreaming big * As Eleanor Roosevelt says, ‘Do one thing everyday that scares you’… ‘You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience by which you really stop to look fear in the face.’

As I look toward 2013 I know big things are in store. I have that restless feeling that I get so often, so much so that I have strange energy brewing from my fingertips to my toes. I’m not sure what the future holds and I also know that life is short and time goes so fast. What are you thankful for? What are you looking forward to? Don’t hold back…SEIZE THE DAY!

Today I wear my go to red lipstick for the holidays Lancome L’Absolu Rouge in Merlot. It is a deep red/burgundy which I have loved for a few years. It’s surprisingly moisturizing (most reds are not) and for me, its the perfect evening red. Happy 2013…CHEERS!


16 Feb

The wait is over…almost 4 weeks ago blood was taken from me and shipped to California for an experimental blood test that could detect cancer cells. If you have followed my story you know that I not only have a strangely aggressive thyroid cancer which has kept coming back, but I also have thyroglobulin antibody. In the majority of thyroid cancer patients, thyroglobulin level changes in blood is used to detect cancer, but for me, I am in the select few whose body has an antibody against that. Because of that, I have had to have alternating PET scans and ultrasounds every three months to detect my cancer. Add that to the radiation drink (which I later found out my body is resistant to) and seven weeks of external beam radiation and I should be glowing. Fortunately for me, a couple things happened, some physician/scientist discovered this test that would work for people like me, and my personal doctor happened to be at a conference when he talked about it in December. The test is not yet available to the public (it will be very soon) but since the two of them met and personally talked about my case, they agreed to check my blood.

Today I got the call that I am cancer free. If you have had cancer multiple times you beam with excitement for about 30 seconds and then hesitate and say ,”Are you sure?” which is what I said to my doctor, followed by, “How accurate is this test?”  He told me that he was fully confident in this test to the point that he said ,”I’m going to say we repeat all tests in a year.”  A YEAR? I’m used to seeing him every 3 months followed with bloodwork and some type of scan. I told him a year was too long for me and he said his door would always be open. He said if I needed to see him every week he would not say no. My doctors have become my friends and comfort. I have had to lean on them so much over the past four years and when I don’t see them, I miss them. A year seems so long.

For now I feel great. My last post was about do overs with my day starting awesome and ending, well, not so awesome. Today my day started not so awesome (been battling flu like symptoms all week passed along from one family member to another), but is ending on a high note. I still have that hesitant joy, but I’ll let loose for now because I know God is in control.  Thank you all for your continued support and for joining me in this crazy lipstick journey!

Today, actually right this minute, I’m swiping Lancome Le Absolu Rouge in Merlot on my lips. It is an impossibly GORGEOUS deep red which is great for going out. Yes, I know it’s late, I don’t care…maybe I’ll walk in the kitchen after this and end the day with an actual glass of Merlot…cheers.


2 Nov


I was never very popular in school.  I wasn’t the prettiest or the most witty, no, I was the super shy, quiet, smart girl that sat in the middle of class; not in the front, not in the back.  I was not really invited to any parties and never really had a date until my senior year.  The only time my shyness was banished was when I sang.  Music stirred my heart, and my emotions were always transported through my voice.  I was not really depressed about not being part of the popular crowd because I was kind to everyone and had many friends because of that.  The flip side to that is that I was (and still am somewhat) a people pleaser.  Now, I have three kids, one of which is a teenager who just recently asked me about popularity.  He is the starting quarterback for the football team but he asked why it feels like all the trouble makers seem to be the popular kids.  I tried to do the ‘don’t worry about it be kind to others and be confident in yourself’ talk, but I remember feeling the same way.  It is so hard.

Recently, I’ve had to deal with a situation at work where I had to stand up to something that disturbed the status quo.  It has been very difficult for me.  I haven’t slept that well, and I’ve lost weight from the stress.  I realized that in my quest to ‘go along with things’ or to be popular, I have lost my own opinion and ‘gumption’.  For me, wanting to be popular equates to wanting to be liked by everyone and with my work situation, there are definitely people that will not be pleased in the end.  It is virtually impossible to please everyone and to be liked by everyone.  I told my son that more important than being popular is knowing who you are and what you believe in.  Popularity changes with each second of the clock so it’s critical to be true to yourself and stand on the foundation that God made everyone unique. I stepped forward at work and said something ,and even though I’m stressed about the decision, I know it was the right thing to do.  It’s a risk to be yourself, not caring whether your opinion is well liked or not, but it’s important.  Don’t lose your voice just to be liked or popular.  We were all created for a unique purpose and if we try to be like someone else, we lose a little. 

Today I wear Lancome’ Color Design lipstick in Curtain Call.  It is a sheer deep raspberry which looks amazing on my medium skintone, it’s great for the season.  Not only is it a great color, it’s got a great name.  This is your curtain call.  Wouldn’t it be great to come out as you?


22 Aug

This morning I was driving an hour to my first appointment and I started feeling sorry for myself.  The sun was out, I was off to work, my kids were being taken care of by my visiting in-laws today, and we had just come off a great weekend of visiting a themepark (always fun people watching at those places) and just overall relaxing.  I got mad.  I was mad because without the cancer, life is really great.  I asked myself why I still had to be here, year after year, scan after scan, still showing cancer????  I was mad that my family and my friends had to go through this again and I hate being the downer of the group.  The one who has to say, ‘yes, it’s still there,’ or ‘yup, got cancer again.’  I really want to be normal and worry about normal things like what I should wear tomorrow or if my shoes match.  Is this my new normal?  I guess it is, and I’m not happy about it.  Being sick sucks.  I don’t look sick, I don’t feel sick and yet some small cell in my body is trying to take over.  I truly am ok with whatever may happen to me, I’m not ok with the fact that my family and friends have to worry about me again.  I’m sad for them, I’m mad for them.  I’m mad that my kids have to wonder how it’s all going to turn out, I’m mad that my parents,  friends, and the rest of the family have to ask how I’m doing and be afraid of the answer.

I read a quote today, “Life challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”-Bernice Johnson Reagan (thanks Jennifer).  Well, I thought I had me figured out the first, second, and third time, but now I’m getting a little confused.  It’s that roller coaster again and today, yes, I’m mad about it.  Sorry to vent, it’s frustrating.  Is this challenge paralyzing me?  Of course not and I continue discovering new aspects of myself.  In fact, I hope I am becoming a better version of myself daily.  We should all strive to do that, cancer or not.

Today I wore Sue Devitt lipstick in Australian Bight.  On me it’s RED (I probably looked like a Geisha, oh well).  I know it gave me the fighting spirit to forge ahead.  In the next few weeks I will be seeing my radiation oncologist and getting another ultrasound to see if the tumor is growing so I am putting out a challenge.

I would like to put out a ‘RED LIPSTICK CHALLENGE’ for those of you who love life and have the fighting spirit.  Wear red lipstick daily for three weeks and e-mail me how you felt and any stories you would like to share.  With your permission, I will share a few anonymously.  For the men reading my blog, carry something red in your car or pocket as a reminder to live life and e-mail me too.  You can send all e-mails to lipstickjourney@att.net.

I can’t wait to read your stories!  Here are some suggestions for reds:  Bobbi Brown Burnt Red, Smashbox Marvelous, Lancome Merlot, Bare Escentuals Buxom gloss in Brandi, Covergirl Natureluxe Cabernet, Burt’s Bees Red Dahlia tinted lipbalm.  Have fun!

Life Lessons Learned

26 Apr

My Family and Me at the Beach

Cancer is a funny thing. Not funny, just a sudden jolt of mortality. Many things flash through your mind when you’re told, “It doesn’t look good.” After hearing these words I thought of many things. First and foremost were my kids. They were 10, 7, and 5 at the time and all I could think of was I’m not afraid to die, but they need a mom. I get choked up thinking about it. Your perspective on life and truly living it changes in an instant. I was also told I would never sing again which was secondary at the time. I just learned that in the ‘private room’ my family was brought to discuss my surgery and all the complications, that in the end when the doctors finished by saying I would not be able to sing anymore, my mom started crying and said, “But she’s a singer.” It was something tangible and real that slapped her with the reality of the situation.

It’s been a long three years with the cancer coming back again and again and I have learned many things that I promised myself to never forget. Cherish and maximize every moment with your family, friends, and every person you get the chance to meet. We live in a virtual society so be present. People always walk away from your encounters feeling something. My goal is to leave them feeling positive or uplifted in some way. Live passionately and takes risks, life is short and can change in a blink of an eye…have no fear. Everyone has a story so don’t judge too quickly. There were long periods of time when I couldn’t speak because of vocal chord paralysis. It was my chance to truly listen and it was great. We take our health for granted sometimes. Having no voice was hard and frustrating; communication with the general public was difficult. Think about your voice, without it, you can’t go through a drive-thru, order at a restaurant, talk on the phone, etc. Just being alive and loved is a blessing. And of course, trust God and count your blessings; I knew He had a plan which gave me hope. Although it was different than mine I knew I had to trust Him.

 On a lighter note, I sang in front of an audience for the first time since my last surgery and radiation treatment a year ago. Yes, I’m singing again despite having a paralyzed vocal cord! I was extremely nervous most of the day, but when the time came I swiped on some red lipstick (Lancome-Merlot…beautiful deep red, great for evening) looked in the mirror and thought, “Oh Yeah, I can do this.” It went great. I also got a job offer this week (Korres Lip Butter Glaze-Raspberry, perfect for summer)! I was also asked to bring a group of ladies on a lipstick and wine tour through the mall…ummm hello? OF COURSE!  Life is a great adventure…LIVE IT UP!

My Family and Me Four Wheeling

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