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Tag Archives: music

Amazing and Awful

27 Jun

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‘Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.’~L.R. Knost

Isn’t that the truth? Last Friday I took my daughter to her college orientation. Leaving her at the dorm the night before was awful (for me) and as I sat there in the silence of my hotel room I got teary-eyed thinking about all of my time with her leading up to this point. The orientation itself went well and it was pretty great seeing her be independent, meeting people, socializing, asking questions, I was so proud of the person she has become and is becoming. We ended the day by driving to northern Michigan to spend a few days at the lake; awful to amazing in less than 24 hours with some ordinary time to relax and exhale in between.

Last week I had my 3 month CT scan and as much as this has become a routine for me I was still anxious. I mean, I guess there are some things to be anxious about. I have formed a love/hate relationship with this because as much as I want to know if my cancer is stable, growing, (or gone), I also don’t want to know. I got the results over patient portal a few days ago and met with my doctor today. Right now ALL NECK AND

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They made me wear this today because I’m coughing

LUNG NODULES ARE STILL STABLE!!  Whew! So, awful last week, amazing today, and really awful (having cancer) and amazing (having stable disease) at the same time. There’s my current struggle. How do I act, process, make decisions and have lots of amazing moments but still have the awful undercurrent of cancer all.the.time.? Do I ignore it? Do I pretend I don’t have cancer and go about my merry way? Having cancer is not in my face all the time but it’s always looking at me through my rear view mirror, you know what I mean? It’s just always there so when prepping for my daughters prom, graduation, college orientation, it’s joyful and exciting but then in my ‘rear view mirror’ I’m reminded cancer follows and I start hoping I’m around for my son to do the same in a few years. Right now I’m 60/40; 60% looking forward , 40% distracted by cancer but I want to get to 90/10. How awesome would it be to have cancer thoughts only pop up 10% of the time. How awesome would it be to not have longer term visions and decisions be tinged with ‘but wait, I have cancer’; thoughts of retirement, grandkids, travel, etc. intertwined with I have cancer that’s really waiting to party in my body. It’s weird. I know I can’t ignore it or control it and I also know I don’t want it to consume me and influence every decision I make. Hmmmm . I was reading about courage again and read, ‘Alone of all creeds, Christianity has added courage to the virtues of the Creator. For the only courage worth calling courage must necessarily mean that the soul passes a breaking point and does not break.’~unknown

Here’s the good news. I don’t feel broken yet so maybe I’m brave. Maybe I have courage. My doctor told me today that since I’ve been consistently stable for the past year, we are going to stretch my CT scans to 6 months unless something changes in how I feel. I don’t want to hold my breath for 6 months. Maybe I’m feeling funky because it’s scan week. All I know is I want to live this ‘..heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life.’ I’ll take the awful, ordinary, mundane, and routine and be more intentional seeking out the amazing!

Today I wear Chantecaille Lip Chic lipstick in Nocturne. I LOVE these lipsticks. They have great color and are super moisturizing. I chose this color because it’s a bright berry which is perfect for summer or when your allergies make you look blah and you want just one pop of color! Cheers!

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Alive

20 May

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One day you and I will die, but before that day comes, let us live’~A. Arthur

Something happened after going through last month’s radiation experiment. When it was all said and done and when I found it didn’t work, I had overwhelming peace about everything. Maybe it’s all the prayers or just having simple faith and trust in God’s plan, but I have felt a complete shift in my mind. Since then, some of the weight of living with cancer has lifted off my shoulders and it’s been great. I think after the radiation I finally felt like I had done all I could in my power and now I could just let it go and truly leave it to the doctors and God. At church today we talked about defining moments and how during difficult times we want God to pull us out but sometimes He just gives us the strength to walk through and we just have to trust. Since the beginning of this crazy beautiful cancer journey in 2008 trust has been the theme; trusting God with HIS plan not MY plan. It has been 10 months since I first found out I had metastatic cancer. For 10 months my cancer tumors have been stable (not growing too quickly) and I am so grateful. Over the past 10 months I have shed tears and spent too much time contemplating the what ifs, but I’m done with that for now.  I’m alive, I feel pretty good, and I have today. I know I will still have ‘scanxiety’ at CT/PET scan time but…today’s good enough, no, today is great.

This past week I got to sing again and it’s been awhile. After losing function in a vocal cord and now having a little difficulty breathing my confidence level has waned but I was grateful for the img_2409opportunity. I picked a song with a lot of meaning to me along with lyrics that expressed exactly how I feel right now, needless to say, I got SUPER emotional. You can watch the performance here…'(https://youtu.be/mj9P47mkQ6wSo many things I thought would bring me happiness. Some dreams that are reality today. Such an irony the things that mean the most to me, are the memories I’ve made along the way. So if there’s anything I’ve learned from this journey I am on, simple truth will keep you going simple love will keep you strong. ‘Cause there are questions without answers, flames that never die, heartaches we go through are often blessings in disguise. Thank you lord, how could I ask for more?

I’m living with cancer but I’m alive. I don’t look sick so most people I run into would never know. I admit however that when I run into the ‘me’ monsters I do use it to shut them down. Are you familiar with the comedian Brian Regan and the skit ‘I walked on the moon’? It’s hilarious, you can watch it here (https://youtu.be/qBJ6yptGqm4). So yes, I’ve said, ‘Yeah? Well I have Stage 4 metastatic cancer.’ That usually stops people in their tracks. Sorry. We all have stuff we are dealing with which makes our lives richer. Now what? I’m alive. Don’t feel sorry for me, don’t look at me like I’m dying, and don’t assume I just want to stay home and rest (although that’s a pretty good assumption most of the time). Do keep praying, do ask questions (I’m ok talking about cancer and how things are going), and do buy me presents…hahaha. I love my life.

The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.~Eleanor Roosevelt

Just breathing isn’t living.~Eleanor H. Porter <<<——————-#truth!

Today I wear Fenty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer. I’ve written about this before, I love it. It’s shiny, not sticky, and has a good amount of shimmer to it. It’s a warm gold which looks great on everyone and can be used alone or on top of whatever color. I chose it because everyone could use a little glitter in their day! Cheers!

In Between

20 Aug

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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!

 

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!

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❤

Symphony

29 Oct

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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!

Music

26 Jan

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The topic this week for my blogging group GBE2 is ‘music’. Where should I start? I don’t know what my life would be like without music. You know when you’re watching a movie and if something scary or emotional is taking place there’s music in the background? My world is a little like that. For many of the events in my life, there is a song that matches. Music has always been a part of me thanks mostly to my parents. They love music and even from my earliest memories, I have always been surrounded with it; from musicals, to classical concerts in the park, or even my dad singing around the house or conducting a fake orchestra. My mom says I sang all the way to Detroit on the flight from the Philippines when I was 2, Tiny Bubbles and Pearly Shells. At age 8, I saw the musical Annie and memorized the songs with dreams of being Annie (Asian Annie? no way). At 9 or 10 I saw Grease and learned ,Hopelessly Devoted to You, Asian Sandy? Not a chance. Dance lessons and piano lessons started at the age of 7 and at ag14 I sang and played the piano for the first time in public at a talent show and won first place, Looking Through the Eyes of Love. It all came together, Guys and Dolls, Brigadoon, Anything Goes, West Side Story; musicals in high school and college brought my singing and dancing together. Sometimes when I see people I care about or if I’m going through emotional times I hear music, different songs pop in my head. Waking up from my first surgery,It Is Well, surviving my second surgery, Good To Be Me, surviving cancer the third time, How Could I Ask For More. wss

Yes, music has shaped me and has allowed me to express myself in different ways. The way music affects me is difficult to describe, sometimes it’s the melody, sometimes, the words, and sometimes the voice itself. Victor Hugo said it best,“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”. What about you? What does the soundtrack of your life sound like? I know my story is not done, my musical is still being written and I’m still hearing the music; it’s pretty cool.

Today I wear lipstick from a local Michigan cosmetic company called Whip Hand Cosmetics. I am wearing their Lip Creme in Shock which is a beautiful deep pinky plum color. I love this lip creme because it feels lighter than lipstick and is super moisturizing. It’s hard to describe because it feels like a non-sticky gloss but the color lasts like a stain…simply awesome. I also have to talk about their most popular product Set the Stage Makeup Primer. I have literally tried at least 10 primers from Laura Mercier, to Smashbox, to even Revlon. Since I’m in my 40’s I’m just looking for something that can smooth my face without feeling thick. Theirs has been the best so far! It feels smooth, blurs the lines and does not feel like another layer of something on your face under your makeup. Again, hard to describe. Enjoy the music that is your life!

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