Tag Archives: radiation

#thestruggleisreal

15 Nov

cold

I’ve kind of been feeling like a fake lately. I always write about finding the good in people, inspiration, and people having a story and how that story has shaped and molded them into who they are, their actions, their beliefs, etc. Well, I’ve been struggling and I mean really struggling at times with a couple things for a specific person from my past; hate and unforgiveness. That’s right, this is me being honest. I can find no other way to say it or to feel it. Yes, I know the saying ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ and also the conversation from the Bible where Jesus was asked how many times we need to forgive and He says ‘…not seven times, but seventy times seven.’ Believe me, I get it. I’ve listened to enough sermons that tell me that the one ‘suffering’ is the person who can’t forgive. Here’s the deal with me though, it’s the 70 times 7 thing. This is where it gets difficult because honestly it just gets tiring. It is so emotionally draining to forgive, release, then have another offense where you have to forgive again for essentially the same thing from the same person. Now, the hate comes in because the offenses done over and over are not directly toward me but to my children and I am one protective mama bear. I cannot stand the actions and lies told to them, and from where I stand it has become very difficult to separate sin from sinner. Fortunately my kids are older and wiser. Like all kids, they crave truth in both words and action and when the two don’t match they don’t pay attention and they lose trust. Sometimes there is this shadow of sadness that veils my days because of this situation and I can’t help but feel anger, then back to that hate thing. It’s a work in progress because I’m pretty confident it will never change.

I know this is vague and confusing but relationships, good and bad, are complex. Forgiveness in this case is hard because it is an action that literally for me has to be exercised daily for this specific person and it is mentally draining. It is truly that 70 times 7. How easy it would be to forgive someone for a single offense and be done with it but this has to be a constant, active process for me.  ‘Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.’~Corrie ten Boom  Yes, I will continue to forgive and gain strength from that. ‘Let no man pull you so low as to hate him’~ Martin Luther King Jr. Again, work in progress but I already feel a little better just talking (or writing) through it. Hurting people hurt people because of their own damage and insecurities;love the sinner, hate the sin. Last quote from an unknown author, ‘Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behavior, forgiveness prevents their behavior from destroying your heart.’ Done….for now.puppy

It turns out I don’t think I’m allergic to lipstick…I think I just have to stop rubbing my face in my new puppy’s fur. Today I wear Nars Audacious Lipstick in Charlotte which is a deep burgundy and great for this upcoming holiday season. These lipsticks are great because they have TONS of color and feel like nothing on your lips. Until next time…cheers!

The Why

28 Jan

Sculpture in Sedona, AZ called 'Changing Woman"

Sculpture in Sedona, AZ called ‘Changing Woman”


I’ve been writing my blog for almost 4 years and it’s been quite the journey; and with the growing number of followers and subscribers comes an occasional critic but also a sense of responsibility and sensitivity to you guys,the readers. Originally, this was a place that I spoke about the challenges of cancer multiple times, surgeries, coping, and of course lipstick in a positive light, but it has turned into a place about just living life and seeing the beauty of people and the moment (and still lipstick). Lately, I have been thinking about the ‘why’, why I write a blog and reassessing if I want to continue. First,I have always been a writer. I have kept a journal since I was 8 years old, in fact, my daughter read through some of my high school journals recently. Being an introvert, paper and pen was the place I could sort through my thoughts and feelings and boy, it’s fun going back and reading some of the stuff I stressed about and talked about. My journals are a place I talk to my imaginary best friend and tell her my innermost feelings, it’s a place where I talk to God and write down prayers for me and for others; journals for me have been my safe place to be who I really am without getting judged. I write it, release it, pray, then close the book…easy. So I write, makes sense I have a blog. Well there’s this other thing, I am a people-pleaser. I admit it and have been working on it for years. I have to say that getting cancer has actually pushed me a little because life is so short and trying to please people at the cost of your own soul is truly exhausting. So what does this have to do with my ‘why’… a lot actually. I want my blog to be honest and authentically me with no apologies and without fear of getting judged. I have always been a positive person and that will not change, but there always seems to be someone who says I shouldn’t write this or that and it gets a little frustrating because I’m back in the cycle of making sure everyone’s ok with everything which then gives me a bit of writer’s block. Well I’m done with censorship and although there are still topics I choose to be private about, my blog will not always be a warm and fuzzy Hallmark card. Life is hard and ugly sometimes and we’re all trying our best. I will always dig for the beauty in each person and each day but I will always speak the truth about how I am feeling and pray that some of my experiences resonate with you and can be of some encouragement. In turn, I will always love hearing from you and find great inspiration from you as well. Thanks for reading and following me along this path (as well as listening to me rant and process too).

We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.~May Sarton

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Today I wear NYX Cosmetics Extra Creamy lipstick in Snow White. These lipsticks are super inexpensive and can be found at Ulta, Target, and I’m sure a few other places. They are great! I use their extra creamy lipstick as well as the butter glosses and I love them both! Why this color? Snow White is famous for those ruby red lips and ebony hair; this lipstick is the reddest red. Live life real!! Cheers!

Quiz

4 Aug

2013-07-09 01.53.39-1
Yesterday my daughter and I spent a solid hour doing those quizzes on Facebook. You know the ones I’m talking about? What superhero are you? What’s your true calling? Where should you really live? Which character are you in a movie? etc…Yeah, it was fun, but a small part of me actually thought ,’wow’, really? Like I was starting to believe it; and on some of them my daughter would try to change her answers to the questions just so she would get a ‘destiny’ or personality that was better suited for her. Here’s my point, there are a lot of things that shape us and our opinion of ourselves, how much do we allow external forces to tell us what kind of person we are. Answer? ALL THE TIME. Whether it’s some quiz, or a person, we take that information and we wonder if it’s true. I spent some time this past weekend meeting new people and reuniting with a few from my past and it brought back memories of who I was before. If you’ve been reading my blog awhile you know I was kind of a super-shy-introvert-artist-type who didn’t really think was that special in any way. Did I conform to the image that people thought? Probably, don’t we all? Here’s what I know now, we’re all special, we’re all quirky, and we all have zitgarbage…woohoo! Now that’s freedom. We are our own worst critic and if we keep listening to what people think or to what quizzes tell us who we are then we’re missing out. The people who want to be around you will stick around because they love your imperfect soul and see beauty anyway. The rest simply don’t matter. Trying to be someone or something else that God made us to be is exhausting and usually never enough. Here’s a couple great quotes:

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.~Marilyn Monroe

Absolutely ridiculous…I love it! I dare you to be yourself…funnest.time.ever. By the way…I’m Wonderwoman, a Rockstar, a genius who should be living in NYC, and Cinderella…but I already knew those things…haha.

Today I wear Urban Decay lipstick in Venom which is a bright plum. I have this lipstick in a few colors and I love them. There is a ton of color in these lipsticks and they are surprisingly moisturizing. I chose this color because it’s bright and shocking which is sometimes how it feels when you start revealing your true self. Cheers!

The Book

16 Jul

Me Before You
I finally did it. It’s been at least a year and I’m embarrassed to even say it out loud. I finally finished reading a novel cover to cover. I love to read or at least I used to. In fact, for a very long time I would read 3-4 books a week, I even led a book club for several years, but for whatever reason (Candy Crush), it came to a screeching halt. Now, I will say I’ve read articles, magazines, short books, but none longer than about a 100 pages. I can’t place all the blame on Candy Crush, there’s Two Dots too (just kidding), but honestly because of all the personal craziness of my life over the past year, I have been drawn to brainless activity at the end of the day, not even wanting to involve myself in the drama of fictional lives. I had forgotten how enriched you can feel after reading a good book, how the characters can jump out at you and open thoughts and emotions, the feeling of getting to know them and wanting to know what’s next. I just finished reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and I actually cried (hardly ever happens to me). There were a few quotes (among many) that stood out to me, ‘The thing about being catapulted into a whole new life…is that it forces you to rethink your idea of who you are.’ ‘Knowing you still have possibilities is a luxury.’ ‘Just live well. Just live.’ Yes to all.

Over the past few months/years I have been catapulted into a whole new life. Life after cancer, life after divorce, life after whatever…we all have many ‘life afters’ but after each event it does force us to rethink who we are. Some events are bigger than others but surviving through each and knowing that a world of possibilities still exists is an amazing Derbyluxury isn’t it? Isn’t that what it means to survive and move forward? Look upward, look inward, push forward…live well. Sometimes it means trying new things, meeting new people, or going back and doing things you used to love but lost along the way. I watched Roller Derby (which I loved), I’ve gone dancing, I’ve watched concerts and musicals, and I have met some amazing new people as well as reconnected with friends I haven’t seen in awhile, and yes, I’m reading again and the list of unread books in my Kindle is crazy long. Who knows, maybe I’ll try to sing again somewhere too….In the meantime, back to books, back to people, and ultimately back to Anna.

Today I wear Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Lavender which is a bright purply orchid color. I bought this because orchid was THE color at the start of the season and this orchid packs a punch! These lipsticks are highly pigmented but not too drying and supposedly have anti-aging benefits. All I know is that this color brings out my inner ninja…k’pow!!

Finding Anna

7 Mar

2013-07-05 16.21.59
Do you ever feel like you’re living in a box…maybe I should say, a portrait? You all know that in general, I’ve spent most of my life as a people pleaser. This is not a bad thing, not at all. Putting others needs before yours? But what happens when you strive to please so much that you start losing yourself? Maybe even forgetting your needs, hopes, dreams? You start living in a box of what you think others want from you but forget about yourself. The past several years with cancer were intense but my focus was on the fight. Lots of things happen in the mind of a cancer patient. Am I going to die? Have I done anything of any significance? Will my kids be ok? In my case, will I be able to speak again, or breathe on my own? Then, if I survive, what things will I change? It has been almost four years now that I’ve technically been cancer free with a few scares along the way and I’ve said before that there are several things I can no longer tolerate; I have a hard time with rudeness, arrogance, judgement, rage, control, entitlement, and massive complaining about things we can’t change. Our time is too short here to waste our breath and energy, and that stuff adds undue stress, I just want peace.

For the past several months, maybe even a year, I have been able to reconnect with many friends from my past. A couple from high school, a couple from college, and a few from my life post college/starting a career era. It has been awesome. During this turbulent time, these ladies have been here to laugh and cry with me, but most of all, help me remember myself; what I loved, what I laughed about, my dreams, and oh…the memories and stories. I don’t believe in coincidence that much. I believe every meeting has a purpose and the timing is always right. Here is what I’ve learned, being a people pleaser is part of my personality, I like making people happy and feel loved and respected, but I can’t forget about me. I used to base decisions on what the other person wanted. Now, I think a little selfishness is ok. I also learned that although I may be on the sensitive side, I am mentally tough, strong, and as one friend put it..a bad ass chick (sorry for the profanity but I liked the description). Because of life experiences, we can never fully be who we once were, but it’s great to come back to your core, remember who you were and incorporate that into who you are now and who you want to be…and yes…I think I might be pretty bad ass.photo(6)

To the people who love you, you are beautiful already. This is not because they’re blind to your shortcomings but because they so clearly see your soul. Your shortcomings then dim by comparison. The people who care about you are willing to let you be imperfect and beautiful, too.’~V. Moran

Today I wear Urban Decay Revolution lipstick in F-bomb. These lipsticks are great in terms of having lots of color AND feeling buttery soft (which is usually a hard combo to find). I chose this color because it is a classic red and also for the name…just getting all the profanity out of the way. Cheers!

This Girl Is On Fire

21 Feb

Dancing on the streets of Paris with a breakdance crew

Dancing on the streets of Paris with a breakdance crew


I have a friend that I see every now and then. She is the person who always has a book to recommend or an author or a new song; not a fiction book, some type of inspirational or self-help book, but never cheesy. She always has great advice, not too pushy, and the way she comes across, with her added expressions, never ceases to crack me up! She’s actually hysterical and no matter what mood I’m in, I leave laughing. Anyhow, I saw her recently and of course she opens with ‘I just read this great book’ (uh huh, I’m already smiling) ‘It was written by this incredibly strong woman’…’All right’, I say as I take out a piece of paper to write name and author, like always…’Maybe you’ve heard of it, it’s called ‘My Lipstick Journey Through Cancer’ by Anna Warner’. Me…blank stare back. Then she stares at me square in the eyes and says ‘that’s right, she’s in there, bring her back.’ Believe it or not, that small gesture touched me deep in my soul and I started to feel that fire again (cue the theme from Rocky). Who am I? I’m a girl who auditioned for a show 3 times before finally getting on, I fought cancer 3 times also, I pushed through a science degree when all I wanted to do was sing and dance, and when people said I couldn’t, I did all I could to prove them wrong. Heck yeah, I’m a fighter.

There have also been a lot of opportunities recently that have popped up. I was asked by an artist and vocal coach from Atlanta if she could use my story as part of her Vocal Workshop, of course, thank you Heather! A national cancer organization has also asked me to speak and share my story at a national meeting for young physicians. On top of that, coming soon is an event near and dear to my heart, the annual Voice Day celebration that my physician puts together, and I am still fortunate to be able to sing and be a part of that special day. This week I also met up with a couple old co-workers and it was really great. I am so incredibly grateful for all of my experiences, good and bad, but mostly for all the people who God has weaved in and out of my life and journey at exactly the right time. I love you all. ‘She got both feet on the ground, And she’s burning it down. She got her head in the clouds,And she’s not backing down. This girl is on fire…~ Girl on Fire,Alicia Keys

Today I wear an old favorite, Buxom Full On Lip Polish in Brandi. These lipglosses are not sticky at all and make your lips tingle a little. I love the color Brandi because it adds kind of a deep berry shade to my lips while still being a little sheer. Check out the box it comes in…yeah, this girl is on fire…watch out! Cheers!

Real

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!

Loner

3 Aug

 

I recently saw a movie called ‘A Little Bit of Heaven’ starring Kate Hudson. It is available for rent or On Demand if you have cable television. WARNING!! SPOILER ALERT!! READ ON IF YOU DON’T CARE IF I TELL YOU HOW IT ENDS!!! Anyhow, it is about a woman whose life is going great; good friends, great career. All is well until she is diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer and is told she either starts treatment right away or she dies. She begins treatment right away and about half way through the movie she finds out the treatment is not working…therefore…well, you can guess. What made this movie unique for me was that unlike other ‘cancer’ or ‘death/illness related’ movies, it was not really a bucket list movie. You know the ones…’I’m dying so I have to accomplish these things before I go’  movies. No, this movie has the main character completely focused on her relationships, strengthening them and even repairing them. It shares her feelings as well as her friends’ and parents feelings and struggles during an extrememly difficult time. The main character is a happy-go-lucky girl, always smiling and positive, but not really ever revealing the turmoil inside, kind of a loner. It reminded me so much of my own thoughts and feelings and it exposed to me what my family and friends may have felt over the past few years in my own struggle with cancer. I sobbed the whole time and at the end I could barely breathe because of how hard I was crying…I’m glad I was alone! I think the last time I cried that much watching a movie was when I saw ‘The Champ’ in the late 70’s. What kid wouldn’t cry watching a dad die?

So here’s the truth about me, some of you already know because I’ve written about it before, I am also a loner. Before cancer I was also happy-go-lucky, always smiling and positive (I still try to be), but…like the character in the movie, it has always been difficult for me to have deep, authentic relationships. Of course I’ve had many close friends over the years, but very few that I can say were deep. Deep relationships take a lot of time to develop and are vulnerable and difficult , a position I did not want to be in. Dont get me wrong,  I love to listen to people, hear their struggles, share their pain, but as for me sharing…not so much, and of course, to have an authentic relationship it needs to go both ways, right? Now, that was BEFORE cancer. Like the character in the movie, cancer opened my heart and it has not been able to close back up. I CRAVE relationships, honesty, authenticity, openness, etc. so much so that when I feel like a friendship is just riding the surface it drives me crazy. Well, there were things I did not agree with in the movie but overall I thought it was spot on. In the end, it’s not about your stuff or your accomplishments, it’s about people and relationships and ultimately love. So if you feel like crying and seeing a real tearjerker movie, this one’s for you.

Today I am wearing Aquaphor on my lips. Tragedy happened this week when I got hives on my lips from one of my newer lip products!! That’s right, I was allergic to a lipstick I bought but since I had purchased a couple lip balms too, it has taken the whole week to narrow down which one it was and I still have a few spots that are irritated. If my lips weren’t so big everyone would have seen the hives!  So, it’s been Vaseline or Aquaphor as my gloss for the past few days while my lips calm down. I LOVE Aquaphor. It is a great skin treatment for severely dry or chapped skin that you can use on lips, elbows, hands, and one of my favorite things to do is put some on my feet and then put socks on at night. In the morning your feet look like you just had a pedi! Cherish your friends and family, open your heart!

Nature vs. Nurture

8 Nov

I have had a crazy, stressful week this past week.  I eluded to a certain situation in my last blog and this week everything exploded and I was caught in the firestorm.  Everything revolved around a single person and their actions which finally caught up to them.  I’ve always wondered if bad choices really ever caught up to some people (because some seem to get away with a lot more than others), well now I know, sooner or later they do.  It was interesting watching everything unfold and because I’m always curious about people’s stories, I wondered what this person’s story was that made him who he was today.  It raises the question. ‘nature or nurture’?  Did God make us this way or did our environment create us into who we are today.  I say both.  One of my husband’s favorite phrases when he’s on a stubborn streak is, ” That’s how God made me and no one can change that.”  I believe that to an extent but I also believe that environment can soften and mold us.  I can only imagine the type of person he would’ve been had his parents not reigned him in. I believe we are all created with unique personalities and temperaments but I think our families, friends, and the environment we are raised in mold us too; and then of course, the different choices we make throughout our lifetime direct us one way or another.

People are funny and interesting and knowing people’s stories not only help you understand them more, but accept them and love them too.  I’m not saying that you have to accept their decisions or how they treat you, but it gives you a better handle on things in terms of ‘being the change’ for people (even if it means walking away).  I’m hoping this event may precipitate a change for the better but who knows.  I read a quote which says, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced”-J. Baldwin.  I understand we need to face our challenges or challenging people head on whether change happens or not.  Maybe it’s just to plant the seed or to be a part of that ‘nurture’. We all have a voice and I’m so thankful after cancer that I still have mine.  We need to use it not only to spark change but to be a blessing to others.

This week I wear Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Color in Crimson.  It’s a rich, deep, wine-red, color and the newest to my ever expanding collection.  It’s great for the holidays and red is always that reminder to for me to live life to the fullest…wear it like you mean it!

Popularity

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?

%d bloggers like this: