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Tag Archives: motherhood

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!

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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!

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

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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!!

In Between

20 Aug

relay

I have been doing something subconsciously for awhile now and just realized it. I’m pretty sure most of us do this with our lives. I realized that my life timeline over the past 9 years was self-defined by the times I had cancer. I would speak in terms of cancer 1, 2, or 3…’when I had cancer the first time…’ or ‘ that happened when I had cancer 3..’. I believe everyone does this. We look back at our lives and pinpoint specific times or events and build around that; when ‘Child A’ graduated high school, when ‘Child B’ started kindergarten, when I started the new job, etc. It’s ok but I think for me, if I let my subconscious live from event to event I’m afraid I may miss living the time in between those points. I don’t want definitions for time because I just want to live every day to the fullest. I think of my daughter graduating high school this upcoming school year and I can’t help but feel sad. Here’s the deal…I can think of all the ‘lasts’ and be sad until the day comes when she leaves and starts her journey away from home OR I can cherish every single moment I get to spend with her until then. I get to feel and be present for every smile, tear, disappointment, and joy ALL ALONG THE WAY letting go of any sadness or thoughts of ‘but she’s leaving for college soon’, that’s what I want and I believe honestly how we all should be living.

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(photo courtesy of Kensington Church)

This was truly my intention after being faced with cancer initially almost 10 years ago but as time passed, old habits along with the stresses of life plowed through and I forgot (note the word intention in my statement). No one is promised another day, EVER.  The difference between cancer or any illness vs a sudden car crash, heart attack, etc is that death and the lingering prospect of death sits on your shoulder every day. So what? No one can escape death but it’s such a weird topic to talk about. I want to talk life, life in the in-between. I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by great people and a man that loves me and brings me so much joy. I cannot think of a day that goes by without laughter in my home and it’s such a blessing. So here it is, Cancer 4. I will cry, kick, scream, and fight, but most of all I will live in the in-between with intention. I don’t want to miss a moment to feel and see and smell and touch; whatever the emotion I will be in it and accepting of it for the time whether it’s grief or joy. I don’t want to waste my time projecting into the future and let a second pass not fully engaged in the present. I will do my part and trust God’s plan, whatever His plan may be. Life is such a beautiful thing.

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

This is still my lipstick journey but over the years I started slacking on wearing lipstick…I KNOW, RIGHT?? I have been wearing tinted lip balms, glosses on occasion, but more often than not I’ve been neglecting my beloved lipstick!! Well, NO MORE. This lipstick lovin girl is back. For the past few days I’ve put on lipstick in some brighter colors and I have forgotten how it can not only change your look but also change your mood.  So today I wear Aveda Nourish-mint Smoothing Lip Color in Cherrybud which is a brick red. This is the first Aveda lipstick I’ve tried and I really like it. It’s moisturizing, lasts a while, and is a little minty. I LOVE this color, it’s a warmer red so you can use it daily. Cheers!

 

From my teen son on Mother’s Day…

14 May
2014
Al
I got this letter/story today written by my youngest son who is 14. Parenting teens is such a challenge and sometimes we have to hang on to just the occasional bits of love and affirmation we get to feel like we’re doing something right. Sometimes we don’t even know what affects our kids or what they hang on to. This made my heart melt and made me ‘love cry.’ (I asked his permission to publish):
Ahhhhhhh! I let out a yawn as I wake up to the soft sound of a piano. Momma! I rush downstairs to the living space where medium-sized black piano was placed with my mom sitting there playing. I sit in a chair next to her along with my dog Roxy. We both enjoyed whenever momma would play and sing beautiful melodies. I always pressed pause on my life to listen to her beautiful music. “On my own….” she begins to sing one of her favorite songs from one of her favorite musicals “Les Miserables.” This was one of my favorites too.  She sang it so many times that she perfected it by now. The way her fingers moved on the keys made it seem like my mother was a wizard of some sort. I closed my eyes and imagined floating up and relaxing. Pure relaxation. That’s what it was. As the song went on it brought tears to my eyes just knowing how much my mom really loved to sing and how beautiful she was. I told myself that one day I’d do something that I love and show my kids what happiness is.
     
Afterwards I made one egg over-medium along with a piece of toast and made one for my mom too. She walked me to my bus stop and I waited to embark into another day in 2nd grade. Every day was an adventure for me at that age; I was a pirate or ninja or something of that nature during recess. The bus arrived and as I was sitting there next to my fellow pirate, I realized how much singing meant to my mom. She sang all her life and I wondered if she would travel to the places I did while she was singing. Places high in the sky or beautiful meadows or… I went on in my head thinking of the beautiful places on Earth which matched my moms music. I eagerly awaited going back home to another concert.
The next day was mothers day and I woke up bright and early with my siblings to fix up some breakfast with love to serve to my mom in bed. As we served her breakfast along with many hugs and kisses she began to cry. I never understood why she would cry at moments like these. Were the eggs not cooked right? She claims it’s because she loves us so much. I never cried for loving someone but I just went along with it. Today was her day. I remembered always begging God for a “Children’s Day,” like mothers day and fathers day, but when I told my mom she said “Children’s day is everyday.” That always made me mad.
 
It wasn’t until 5th grade I learned to appreciate my mom more and more. Divorce. That was the word brought up in conversation for the next 2 years. I could see that mom was more stressed than she had ever been. I had a hard time as well but had to fight through it to help my mom fight through it. She was stronger than I was, so we just helped each other along the way. She didn’t sing or play piano as frequently anymore, but when she did I would still sit and listen. She put ten times more effort and emotion into playing this time. I guess this was when her true colors came out. It was gorgeous to hear and I finally understood why you cry when you loved something. Sometimes I would hide in other rooms and listen because I was having a hard time and would often cry too. I routinely closed my eyes, forgot everything, and travel to another world with nothing but the sound of the piano playing in the background.
As I grow older it seems sometimes like I am growing apart from my mom, apart from myself and who I really am. Teenage years are a struggle for both of us and it must get worse before it gets better. I’m thinking back to my 2nd grade years trying to remember the relationship I had with my mom, then versus now. Trying to give her the tears of love again. She rarely plays anything anymore. I wish she did but I don’t wanna tell her. Just listening makes me set aside all my troubles for a brief moment. I will love my mom and her music forever. I’m always a momma’s boy at heart and I know I’ll never forget the music she played. It forever plays in my heart.
Happy mother’s day, love you❤

Mom Wars?

30 Mar

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I grew up with a working mom. She was a great mom who worked hard as a social worker in Detroit. I have lots of great memories as a kid and never felt deprived of mom time. I didn’t grow up with alot and both my parents had to work but one thing I knew without a doubt is that I could depend on my mom (and dad), even to this day. They made sure to never miss a concert, a play, a teacher conference, a field trip, etc, they were and have been consistently there for me and now their grandkids. A few days ago a friend of mine posted something on social media which made me sad. She was at a sporting event far away from home supporting her child but sitting in the stands she felt ignored, irrelevant, and judged as a mom.

When I was a young mom I remember the mom battle was between working mom and stay at home mom(SAHM) and there seemed to be lots of articles and commentaries on the subject. I would drop my kids off at preschool while dressed in a suit and remember feeling judged by some of the SAHM’s. Whether it was in my head because of guilt (mommy guilt is a whole different topic to discuss!) or whether it was because I wasn’t invited to some of the play dates/coffee dates so I didn’t know them as well, it was hard to ‘rise above’. Now (and maybe this is more relevant because of my kids’ age), it seems we are judged, compared to, or criticized by how much we do for our kids; lessons, private coaching, travel sports, $$$$$, etc. Here’s one thing I do know, we are all doing the best we can and we really just need to support each other. No one knows the depths of our circumstances or what happens in our homes. We are a bunch of imperfect people trying to raise perfect kids…ha, no such thing, don’t you remember your teen/young adult years? We cannot control who they like, what their interests are, and for the most part we have no control over the decisions they make after a certain point(trust me, I have a son who is almost 20 in college and I would LOVE to control some of his decisions). Go ahead and be alpha, tiger, or helicopter mom but don’t look down at the ones who choose not to or who simply don’t want to mother any of those ways or simply those who don’t have the energy.

Being a mom is one of the if not THE hardest job in the world. I would venture to say that when we hold that baby in our arms for the first time we are not looking at them with tears in our eyes saying, ‘I hope you rebel one day’ or ‘I hope you do drugs’. No, we want our kids to succeed and be kind and conscientious adults, we want them to love others and to be confident in who they are, and as a parent I think we ultimately want them to know that no matter what, we love and support them, and that we are their biggest fans. This mom says it best, ‘Let’s make a deal. Stop the mom-judging. It’s tiring. … My soul needs rest and sometimes a friendly glance from another mom in the trenches who can totally relate on any other given day. Knowing you are not alone is such a gift to a mother’s spirit. Our choices may look different on how we feed, clothe and discipline our children, but our love for them and for others should outshine all of it. At the end of the day, all kids really need is love. Let’s focus on that.’~Laura Coffey.  So to the moms who have felt ignored or who may have felt judged by me, I apologize. I’m still an introvert so sometimes all I can manage is eye to eye contact and a smile and generally introverts are not going to be the first to start conversation. Feel free though to engage me in conversation and I will of course talk! Moms, let’s hold each other up and give each other encouragement. We don’t need to all be best friends but let’s make sure we don’t judge each other because we’re all doing our best. ‘If you judge people, you have no time to love them.’~Mother Teresa.

Today I wear Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment with Sunscreen in Berry. I have this tinted balm in a couple different colors. They are super buttery and loaded with color. I chose this color because it gives a serious pop of berry and I am so ready for spring!! Cheers!

Joy and Imperfection

25 Mar

Anna166

I read this quote the other day which said ‘No one gets to joy by trying to make everything perfect. One only arrives at joy by seeing in every imperfection all that is joy.’~Ann Voskamp. I really had to let that soak in. 2017 has been interesting so far and I feel like joy has been a constant thread which I am incredibly grateful for; and that’s joy without perfection because believe me, life is never perfect. The thing about joy is that people tend to interchange it with being happy and those are two very different things. Happiness comes and goes but joy runs far deeper and I think it is more related to a deeply contented soul which then brings more peace in every situation.

The whole concept of trying to make everything perfect is exhausting and definitely not joyful, instead it is joy stealing. After cancer, divorce, and now as I edge closer to 50, the concept of perfect life, perfect kids, perfect job, being a perfect parent, etc. has settled into the knowledge that there is no such thing no matter what someone else’s posts and pictures look like on Facebook. I am also settling into a place that all that doesn’t really matter and is truly unachievable, but there is perfect peace in knowing that no matter what, God is in control and not me. Ahhhh…sweet relief. It’s really exhausting trying to control our circumstances, our jobs, our kids, our life and futile to think what we manufacture can actually bring us joy. I heard a Ted Talk where the speaker said that because of social media we have manufactured a caricature of our true selves; our focus has now become how to make our character on social media perfect and it has come to a point that we try to live our real lives based on who we portray on social media. Whoa and how sad for our children who’s identity is so wrapped up in how many ‘likes’ they get.Statistics (NACMS) show that the number of people diagnosed with depression has increased 450% since 1987 and I have to think social media and comparison has a little to do with that.

So what do we do? How do we get closer to joy despite our circumstances? First, release control. Control stems from fear; fear of failure, fear that your kids may make the wrong decision, fear you may make the wrong decision. A wise person said,’Fear puts a boundary on what your love will cover’~S. Unger. Let go of trying to control, trust God, trust yourself, trust your parenting and your kids. Yes there will be mistakes but don’t put boundaries on your or God’s love. Second (and I admit I have to work on this), spend more time looking at the flowers or the sunrise, your spouse, your kids’ eyes or even a book than social media. That way you’d be less likely to be able to compare yourself to someone else whose life appears more perfect than yours. Third, be grateful and try to find pieces of good even in the bad. This one is hard but if you can sit in quiet and dig deep there’s always something good, even if it may be a lesson learned or just becoming closer and more dependent on God, trials are where your faith gets to sharpen…seeing joy in every imperfection.

Today I wear Thrive Causemetics Glossy Lip Mark in JoAnn which is a plum/mauve. This lip gloss has lots of color and is super moisturizing. I’m pretty much in love with it because it’s so easy to wear. They say that it’s a longwear liquid lipstick/stain but it’s not. It’s really a lipgloss with lots of color that you’ll have to reapply often but I still love it. I love this company because the founder designed it to give back hence the name ’causemetics.’ For every product purchased she donates one to empower women thriving through cancer or domestic abuse. The products are free of some of the harsh chemicals used in products today. What’s not to love about that? Cheers! (photo cred: Leanna Vite photography)

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