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Tag Archives: love

Grateful?

25 Nov

joy

How do you stay grateful when you are living with Stage 4 cancer? It’s an interesting conundrum and it’s not that easy. I’ve read a few blogs on how people are grateful they got cancer…umm, no. My mind is tossed between living each day as if it’s your last yet being a little stuck in a place with many responsibilities. There are (many) days that I wish I could quit my job and conquer, or at least try,  to do all the things I wish I could have done or have wanted to do or to just be there for each of my kids following them around, holding their hands and hugging them (I’m sure they’d all love that, haha). Unfortunately since I am not independently wealthy I have to modify…a lot, and sometimes it gets sad for me because there are so many things I want to do with the time I have left whether it’s a little or a lot. Time is a funny thing. I was grateful to read this from author Ann Voskamp this week, ‘You have only one decision every day: how will you use your time? Sometimes the best use of your time is to stand and listen to a clock. We’re all terminal-and we all just want a number. What size is this bucket of time? How many days will I actually get? The hands of the clock are bound by the decisions of our hands.’ Day to day, minute by minute we decide. Yes we have to work and earn a living, but in that space of time is there something or someone to be grateful for? We have today. Can we be that something or someone for another person? Contentment stems from gratefulness, being grateful leads to joy and joy can change the world.

For this Thanksgiving weekend I’m not thankful to have cancer again but God has been so good through it all. Lately I have to say my heart’s been hurting a little because the days fly by so quickly and I feel like time’s just slipping away. ‘Heartache forces us to embrace God out of desperate, urgent need. God is never closer than when your heart is aching.’~Joni Eareckson Tada. I know I have to focus on gratitude for what God’s done through the cancer because it’s what gives me hope and I have to say that many of the things I’m grateful for today are because cancer has opened my eyes to them. I’m grateful that from the constant and consistent prayers of family, friends, and even strangers I have experienced the peace that passes all understanding. ‘Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.’~Phil 4:7, MSG.  I’m grateful for the people I am surrounded by who lift me up and encourage me and for the strength to let go of toxic relationships and focus on life giving ones. I am grateful that I have found a love that brings me joy and lots of laughter. I’m grateful that having cancer helps me focus on what’s truly important and therefore helps me more readily release the stupid things that stress me out. Through any adversity there is opportunity to grow in faith and in character if you see it that way and I am grateful that I have peace and joy and that my faith and dependence on God grows stronger because I have no control over circumstances. I am incredibly grateful that I have a God that I trust who offers me hope for not just me, but for my family; He knows my joys and my heartbreak and I know He hears my prayers and loves me. Whatever happens in the future, He’s got this and that is the greatest reason for gratitude.

Today I wear Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer. Of course I had to try something from the popular new Fenty Beauty by Rihanna brand and of course it had to be a lip product. I chose this because she literally only has this one gloss which is supposed to look great on all skin tones, well, it does. It is called Fenty Glow and it is a soft rosy gold color, great shine, great moisture, great color, and yes, universal. Gratitude looks great on everyone. Cheers!

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Can We Change?

14 Nov

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Recently I had a conversation with one of my coworkers about personality types and whether people could change or if we just are who we are; a deep topic but spurred on by another conversation I had with my boss. We are in sales so we talked about our specific personality types (defined by Myers-Briggs, Enneagram, etc) and how they relate to selling style and if one may be better than the other. In the end my coworker and I decided that we were created a certain way at our core and there are enhancements we can make to our specific types like being a little more aggressive or being a little more extroverted, but at our specific personality type stays the same. There’s a saying ‘fake it til you make it,’ can you fake kindness? Then there’s ‘this is how God made me.’ Is it? Is there a ‘bad’ personality type? I don’t believe there’s a bad type but maybe life experiences, disappointments, and our own insecurities make us ‘hard’?  Can we soften? Can people change? All tough questions.

I read this today and it really resonated with me: You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere.Why did you spill the coffee? ‘Well because someone bumped into me, of course!’Wrong answer. You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup. Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.*Whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill out.*Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled.*So we have to ask ourselves… “what’s in my cup?” When life or business gets tough, what spills over? Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility? Or anger, bitterness, harsh words and impulsive reactions? Whoa. When faced with adversity who are you because that is when your true thoughts and heart show. I have been around people who have raged and placed blame outside of themselves in troubling times but who does that hurt? It shows a core of anger and insecurity and the ‘ugly’ that rolls off their tongues is truly the ‘ugly’ that’s in their hearts. Matt 15:18 ‘But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart..’ Can they change? Nothing is impossible with God but first they must look in the mirror. I am no saint but with all the challenges life has thrown over the years all I can do is fall to my knees, cry out for peace, and be grateful for another day. Maybe that’s what it’s all about. It doesn’t depend on personality type because at all of our cores is love and the need to feel loved. Maybe it’s all about control. We go through so much in life; illness, hurt, broken relationships, etc and maybe we become hardened because those are the things we cannot control. So here’s what must change…not our personality type, but our need to control every circumstance or person, or in other words, our need to be God. Just my theory. ‘All is not what it is-it is always more. What seems like your story is but a line in the whole story’~Ann Voskamp.

This weekend I was blessed by an img_7380-1unbelievable surprise. My son’s recreational basketball team comprised of most of his closest friends surprised me by wearing t-shirts especially made (by the moms) in support of  my cancer journey. I cry thinking about and looking at the pictures. The beautiful thing about releasing control over whatever situation you may be in is that it frees your heart to love more, to be more authentic and to be kind. You get to be more of your authentic self because you also release the need to control people and reactions and crap in general and you get to live the golden rule ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’~Matt 7:12. What you put out into the world comes back 10-fold and those shirts on those boys created by the moms was a HUGE 10-fold bounce back. My grateful heart is once again mush.

img_5039-1Today’s lipstick is YSL Rouge Pur Couture Dazzling Lights Edition Lipstick in Le Rouge which is blood red. These lipsticks are a little pricey but super moisturizing. For whatever reason the lipstick just feels luxurious on your lips but I’m not gonna lie, the color slips off my lips pretty quickly. Never the less, if you want to splurge, YSL and Tom Ford are the two brands that are splurge-worthy. I chose this color because it’s red and a great color for the holidays! Cheers!

Dream On

7 Nov

 

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Senior picture, photo cred Leanna Vite Photography

I took my daughter for her first college visit last weekend. She’s a senior and while others started their visits last summer she had a job and club volleyball which rolled into the school volleyball season. As a mom it was the sad reality that sooner than later I would be sending my second child off into the world. I can’t even talk about the emotions of launching a daughter yet. For my daughter, who felt right at home at the college she visited, well, I think she felt an urgency to decide what course of study she wanted to pursue. After looking at all the classes and all the directions she could go she is carefully considering what the best choice would be for her. I still remember feeling the pressure to decide what I wanted to do for the rest of my life; literally I thought whatever I chose would be for the REST.OF.MY.LIFE.  What’s funny and what I’ve tried to explain to my kids is that in life you’re never truly stuck in a career and that you have to give yourself some grace. Some of the important questions I’ve asked my daughter is, who are you? What are your gifts and talents? What do you love? How has God made you? What were some of your childhood dreams? Sometimes some of the decisions we make or people/friends influence lead us into different directions but we can’t discount our history, our dreams, our core.

 

Who am I? I started college as a music major but ended with a degree in science. We make choices and we move on. Living with cancer has diverted my tracks more than once and every single time I get to self reflect and redirect. The beautiful part about all of it is life has been hard and awesome and although I’ve always wondered about the career path that I’ve chosen to stick with over 25 years, I am so grateful. I work and have worked with some amazing people who have become my closest friends. The times I feel like I randomly landed in this career that I maybe would not have chosen in my youth, I end up grateful for the blessings it has provided and also thankful I get to infuse my own personality and passions into my discussions. I miss singing, sometimes so much my heart hurts when I hear a beautiful song that I used to be able to sing.  Cancer took that passion and childhood dream away from me but I have been given new ones. This time around with cancer being a tad more serious I am asking those questions again…what do I love, what were my childhood dreams, what are my current dreams…and I feel more of an urgency to lead my daily life in that direction, it’s been an awesome time.

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.~Langston Hughes

‘A broken-winged bird that cannot fly.’ We were all created as individuals with unique  gifts and talents but stress, responsibility, kids, life in general can throw these weird curves that make us veer off the path that we wanted or that we thought we’d be on but it’s ok. It ain’t over til it’s over. So who are you? What were your dreams? What makes your heart beat a little faster? What  did you think you would be doing when you grew up? I’m not there yet but with cancer I get to reflect and redirect daily and it’s exciting. Never forget the pieces of you that make you who you are and feed it daily…good for the soul and not just for the kids to think about.

Today I get excited about the Give Me More Lip Sephora lip collection of favorites out for the holidays because what lipstick lover wouldn’t want a box of lip products? Cheers!

 

 

 

 

Love

16 Oct

fall

I had lunch with a friend recently and at the end of lunch she asked me if I still believe in love or being in love because she just didn’t know what that meant anymore. I had a few responses to her questions but I’ve been thinking a lot about them. In a lifetime we get to experience both love and hurt and a lot of junk in between. We love God, our parents, kids, friends, and pets, but when it comes to being ‘in love’ or ‘falling in love’, it’s a completely different definition. Being or falling ‘in love’ is a feeling that I believe comes and goes. The actual act or ‘action’ of love is what sustains a love relationship with a spouse or significant other. Yes, I believe in love and what that means for me is that I finally get to exhale because I get to be the person I was created to be with no risk. It means that in my current cancer journey I have no doubt that he will be there to lean on and to hold my hand at my appointments, scans, and all the times in between. Love doesn’t necessarily mean wanting to be with each other 24/7 because we are created as individuals and that would be just plain weird and codependent. There are no words necessary but there are actions which mostly build you up and make you feel like you’re ok exactly the way you are. Ahhh yes…at the end of a hard day…exhale, he’s there…you get good news…breathe, he’s there…news your cancer’s back…exhale, he’s with you to hold your hand. No human love is perfect because we are all imperfect. God’s love is perfect and I know he loves me exactly how He made me…exhale. I spent years holding my breath and now I get to exhale. I have a friend, I get to laugh, and I get to breathe. I’m so grateful. ‘Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.’ ~Lao Tzu

Over the past few weeks I’ve been able to speak to friends, coworkers, and many of the parents’ of my kids’ friends and teammates about my current cancer journey. We’ve shared a few tears and I’ve been so overwhelmed by the support, love, and help that’s been offered. I am beyond grateful and so blown away by the good in people’s hearts. One thing that I believe I’ve been able to impress on people is the essence of time, especially to my parent friends. Time is a funny thing; when everything’s going well we believe we have all the time in the world. I’m already sad that I have a daughter that’s a senior in high school and preparing to launch, but now I add the component of wanting to still be around to be able to watch my youngest who’s a freshman launch too. My heart hurts thinking about it. So if speaking to me, listening to me, or reading my words make you hug your child harder; if it makes you breathe in the fresh air of a new day and smile, if it pushes you to take the risk, if it makes you realize the brevity of life and helps you enjoy it more, then I am grateful. I have been able to sit back and see the beauty of people and I don’t miss a chance to hug my kids and tell them I love them. It’s a beautiful time. Love harder. ‘You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.’~ Mahatma Gandhibeach

Today I wear Thrive Cosmetics Glossy Lip Mark in Pamela which is the perfect everyday color (mauve/brown). This company works in collaboration with giving partners to provide products, services, and training to women going through cancer treatment at hospitals and events around the world. I love a good cause, I also love the color and texture of this lipgloss. It’s a little heavier than a typical gloss and has great color. Cheers!

Eclipse

1 Oct

 

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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!

Prayer, Christianity

24 Sep

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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!

 

Dad

17 Jun

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What is the difference between a father and a dad? Basically a father passes on his biology but a dad gives you his heart and his love. I have teens and as of late I have come to the conclusion with quite certainty that we as parents have to go through the teen years for a couple reasons. First, to be tortured and reminded that we are actually getting older, and second to remind us of how we were at their age and thus making us eternally grateful for the parents we have that tolerated us, what a cycle. So for my daddy, thank you…  dadlaugh

To the man who is the oldest of 7, the big brother and helper to his family, that married, had a child and decided to move his small family 8,304 miles away from home in hopes of creating a better life for his kids. To the man who makes us all laugh by laughing hard at the jokes he’s telling BEFORE getting to the punch line. To the one who gave me my love and appreciation for music by ‘air’ conducting the symphony in our family room; Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, and always humming or singing around the house or simply singing a response to your question. Who took us to music in the park on Belle Isle and brought me to my first musical and concert. Who taught me how to catch a baseball, shoot a basket, and how to ride a bike. To the man who never missed my choir concerts, shows, or anything I did and who would randomly visit me at college to take me to dinner, then drive 3 hours home. To the one who disciplined hard but loved harder. To the man who took early retirement so my kids wouldn’t have to spend too much time in daycare and even now as lolo/grandpa will try not to miss any of my kids’ games or events. To the one redcoatdadthat continues to show me what love and sacrifice look like; who loves my mom and supports our family, who is still fiercely protective and gentle and giving. This is my daddy. The one who worried and was probably ‘tortured’ by me when I was a teen but who loved me to beyond and back. I am forever his little girl. I am forever grateful to have been blessed with a great dad. Thank you, proud to call you daddy.

 

Yes, this is still my lipstick journey so I will end by recommending one of my favorite lip products of all time, Dior Addict Lip Glow. It feels like a lip balm but brings out the perfect shade of pink/berry on your lips. I always have one in my purse! I chose this because it just enhances you and what you were already born with! Thanks dad, cheers!

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