Tag Archives: singing


20 May


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!


Bruno Mars

13 Nov


This post is really random but I love Bruno Mars. Some things you already know about me…I love music, in college I started off as a music major with a dance minor, music is a huge part of my life. Maybe some things you don’t know about me…I’m usually not star struck, I don’t idolize people, and I’ve never been real crazy about a singular musician (minus the time I was president of the Harry Connick Jr fanclub). Ok, ok so I’m writing about Bruno because I have a slight chance to meet him in the near future (ahem, you know who you are, make it happen). So what is it about Bruno? It’s probably not what you think. So here’s my top reasons:

  1. He’s half Filipino (had to get that out of the way)
  2. He’s crazy talented; singer, songwriter, and plays a million instruments
  3. He looks like he’s having fun and loves what he’s doing (his moves aren’t bad either)
  4. He’s adorable (in a ‘he could be my son’ kind of way)
  5. He’s funny (anyone catch Saturday Night Live when he was on it)?
  6. He’s the ultimate entertainer
  7. He performs with such joy on his face I can’t help but smile
  8. He just seems so easy going and laid back

Now, I don’t know him at all, and I’m not attracted to him in a weird creepy way, I’m simply talking about his stage persona; I like what I see. How does that translate to real life? Those qualities are the same qualities in people I love being around; laid back, fun loving, and generally people who make me smile, or even better, laugh. I’m blessed to have lots of friends like this but more than that, I want to have those qualities too. Nothing better than bringing a smile to someone’s face.

Today I wear Tom Ford Lip Color in Crimson, a gorgeous deep red. Now, this is probably the most expensive lipstick I’ve ever bought, not to mention, I bought it in Paris a while back. Needless to say, I use it sparingly. Color’s great, texture’s great and if I do get to meet Bruno Mars, this will be in my bag!  Cheers!



It Is Well

2 Dec


The month of December has played a big part in my cancer experience. It was December 2007 when I first felt a lump at the base of my neck which started this whole journey. December 2009 I was told my cancer was back for the third time. December and Christmas now have both happy and sad memories and I find myself feeling reflective always praying for a better New Year. When I was in the hospital recovery room after my first surgery I had a vision or a dream, whatever you want to call it. This is something I have only told two people. One, a nurse who came to visit me every day in the ICU after my first radiation treatment, the other, a friend of mine who happens to be nurse, just out of the blue because she posted something on Facebook that brought up this particular memory.

My first surgery was unintentionally 7 hours long because of the amount of cancer in my neck. My nerve was cut leaving my right vocal cord permanently paralyzed. Without me knowing (obviously), my family was told devastating news..cancer and prognosis was bad, voice was probably gone, I would be in the ICU for a couple days and in the hospital for a few more days after that. It took awhile for me to wake up in the recovery room after the long surgery but I have a VIVID memory prior to waking up. If you’ve been following my blog you know I am a singer. What I saw before opening my eyes was me on a stage under a spotlight. I was alone, on the stage, in front of a black curtain and all I saw was the bright light and nothing else, no audience. I was singing a capella, no accompaniment, an old hymn called It Is Well With My Soul. All I felt was joy and peace as I sang it to no one, face in the light. When I opened my eyes moments later to see my husband teary eyed with bad news all I could feel was calm, I cry thinking about it. Here are some of the lyrics:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, You have taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

  • Refrain:
    It is well, with my soul,
    It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

So here I am today, December 2012. Life has had its challenges but no matter what has happened and what will come it is still well with my soul. In the hustle and bustle of the holidays and as we close out another year, take a deep breath and be thankful for life. Happy December!

Today I wear MAC Sheen Supreme lipstick in Bare Again which is a pinky beige color. This is my favorite MAC formulation because it’s super moisturizing but also has lots of color. I chose Bare Again kind of for the name because technically with the memories of my past Decembers along with the sheer busyness of this season I sometimes feel raw or ‘bare’. It is also a good ‘nude’ type lipstick, not too beige, and a little ‘pinky’. Cheers!

Old and New

5 Jun

A few days ago I met a beautiful woman, Michele, who happens to be a jewelry artisan.  She creates beautiful and unique pieces using natural stone, silver, and buttons!  She is a true artist that puts a lot of love into her pieces.  We actually met through Facebook where she posted some of her pieces on a wall of a friend of mine (gotta love technology).  Anyhow, through her research she discovered the ancient relationship between the healing properties of Lapis and thyroid cancer and she created an incredible choker for me (pictured above).  It fit perfectly, laid exactly over my scar, and she added a songbird atop a heart with wings because she knew I was a singer.  It was an incredible gift which left me speechless, emotional, and most of all grateful.  Michele is a new friend I have met because of cancer.

I have friends who have known me before cancer and now, I have friends who only know me because of the cancer.  I wonder if I am different to these two sets of friends.  I know that I am not the same person I used to be.  It is my ‘new normal’.  I see things differently, I feel things differently, and there are things I’m less tolerant of because life is too short.  I wonder if my old friends can see that because that is the only person my new friends have known. We are all continuously changing into the people God created us to be, but cancer and mortality have opened my eyes a little sooner.  Everyone is unique and is molded by their history.  It’s so fun listening to their stories and as I sat with Michele and listened to her story and how cancer has affected her life I knew that this was no ‘chance’ meeting.  I love all of my friends and I am so thankful that God brought every single person into my life at exactly the right time. 

Today’s lipstick is Iced Amethyst by Revlon!  It’s kind of a purply-silver.  Don’t let the color scare you because it actually goes on soft.  It highlights a natural plum lip color (like mine) and adds a little sheen.  Like my friends, old and new, they highlight my life and are just ‘icing on the cake’!

I Love Birthdays

31 May

Survivor Lap

Last weekend I was able to walk and sing at my first Relay For Life event and it was an amazing experience.  The survivors were given purple shirts which read ‘Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back.’  What a great mantra because that is what we were all there to do.  There were so many survivors, all different ages, colors, genders, cancer knows no bounds. During my trip around the track in the Survivor Lap, I was overwhelmed with joy at the fact that my fight is currently over and I have won.  I couldn’t keep a smile off my face.  At one point my mom (who walked the lap with me along with my family) turned around and said, ‘I want to cry’.  I was walking with fighters; people given no choice but to stand up and fight for their lives.  We are told we are strong when in fact, we rise up and do what we need to do.  The sign that impacted me the most in that lap was one that read ‘I love birthdays.’  I was overcome with emotion and just couldn’t stop the tears. The thing is, is that I have always loved birthdays.  As a child, even though I didn’t have many birthday parties, my parents made me feel like the most important person on that day.  It was a celebration of me.  After cancer, birthdays are all the more important.  The first surgeon said my diagnosis was poor and wasn’t sure how much time I had left, and with the cancer continually coming back I wasn’t so sure myself.  Every birthday since that diagnosis has been a milestone for me.  I tear up every year at the significance of a birthday.  It has also been a time to reflect on the past year and its events.  After the survivor lap I was asked to sing which was overwhelming.  I made it through ‘Over the Rainbow’ and as the crowd of survivors, walkers, and supporters, all people touched by cancer, applauded, I wept.  I was told I would never sing again and here I was.

Me and Audrey (with her red painted hair)

Me and Audrey (with her red painted hair)




Something fun that I did this week was to go on my second lipstick consultation trip.  I shopped with a friend to help her find her perfect shade for this season.  It turned out to be a new Armani long wear lipgloss in Plum.  It’s a light plum gloss with great consistency and not too much shimmer…I bought one too!  That will be my color this week…light plum; highlighting your natural self and adding a little bling, enough said!

I love birthdays!

Just Breathe

10 May

It’s springtime in Michigan (finally).  Grass is starting to look green again, trees, flowers, and bushes are blooming, and for me, spring allergies are starting up.  What that means in my world is that since having cancer, surgeries in my neck, radiation, and vocal chord paralysis, it has become increasingly more difficult to breathe.  I already have a dry throat from the RAI and external beam radiation but since I take allergy meds, it gets even drier.  Sometimes the dryness makes me cough uncontrollably for long periods of time.  Because of my paralysis, my cough sounds more like a bark or a sneeze.  People either say “bless you” or they slowly move as far away from me as possible.  The coughing and drainage make my vocal chords swell which in turn make it more difficult for me to breathe.

  All this to say that breathing is a miracle.  We have five senses; see, hear, taste, touch, smell.  They say that when people are missing even one of these, that their other senses    become heightened.  But breathing on the other hand is life;  without breath, there’s no life and when breathing is difficult, there’s fear.  Last week I visited with part of my voice team (from the book, Dr. Rubin and Dr. Menaldi).  It’s amazing to me how observant they are. They can hear and detect different nuances to my voice and my breathing just when they hear me speak or even while I’m just sitting there.  I have less fear knowing that they’re prepared to aid in my breathing and speaking as necessary and are always there checking on me.

I know for me that my difficulties will happen every spring and fall, or even at random times, but that’s ok.  It’s now a part of me, a reminder of the amazing journey I’ve been through, and a reminder to slow down and listen to my body and to simply breathe in life.  Take a deep breath, smell the new flowers, the freshly mowed lawn, the springtime air, and remember to thank God for life and the miracle of new beginnings. 

This week I am wearing Bare Escentuals Buxom Lips lip gloss in Kanani.  It is a beautiful, sheer peachy pink color.  What’s great about the Buxom glosses is that they make your lips tingle when you put them on.  Since we’re talking spring and new life, I thought this tingle would wake your lips up!  I’ve also been asked about other cosmetics I use.  First off, I buy lipstick all the time, the rest of the stuff, maybe once a year. I’ll start with foundation for today.  For everyday, I use Bare Escentuals Mineral Powder-matte.  It’s just a light powder that melts into your skin.  For the days I feel like I may need more coverage (when I’m tired or for a special event), I’ll wear Armani Luminous Silk foundation.  This is a miracle product because it’s light as air yet covers every flaw, it’s also got buildable coverage.  So that’s it…Happy Spring (and always wear SPF)!

Life Lessons Learned

26 Apr

My Family and Me at the Beach

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

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

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

My Family and Me Four Wheeling

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