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11 Oct

Last week a great man passed away.  Yes, we all know that Steve Jobs of Apple passed away but that is not who I’m talking about today.  Yes, Steve Jobs was an incredible mind, innovator and inventor, he changed how we communicate today; but I’m talking about a man named Al.  Al was also a man in his 50’s, married with children.  For the past few years, my family and I (sometimes just my husband and I) frequented a local family restaurant.  The food was good and inexpensive and the atmosphere was extremely relaxed and family-friendly.  Al was the owner.  The first time we came, Al introduced himself, asked our names, and said welcome.  Subsequently, anytime we would come in, he would greet us by name and stop to chat every now and then.  Throughout the years (6 years to be exact), Al would have us taste the new soup he was trying to sell, bring us small desserts ‘on the house’, and after learning that I liked his warm rice pudding with whipped cream on top, he almost always brought some to the table for me.  That’s the man he was.  He remembered our names and what we liked.  If he wasn’t talking to us, he was wandering the restaurant talking to the other customers.

His funeral was last Saturday and hundreds of people showed up.  What made him so special?  He knew people’s names, he looked you in the eyes and focused on you when you spoke, he remembered small things about you and would ask how you were, he treated everyone special, regardless if they were there for a cup of coffee or for a full meal.  Al had customers of all ages and walks of life, he always had a smile on his face and you could tell that he cared.  About a month ago, my husband and I were there without the kids and he sat with us awhile and told us he sold the place.  We were sad that we wouldn’t see him so much, but happy he could finally relax and spend more time with his family.  On October 5th the world lost a visionary in Steve Jobs, but in our small community, we lost a man who cared for each of us.

How easy it is to make people feel special.  Remember their name, look them in the eye, care about their answers when you ask a question.  It makes a such a difference. I recently heard a quote, “There’s no rewind in life but it’s always being recorded.”  Think about it,  people everyday are recording or remembering your actions and you can’t take things back.

Today I wear Dior Addict Lip Polish  in Glow Expert in honor of Al because I know he made that conscious effort to make every person he interacted with feel a little more special and leave his restaurant with a glow.


Worth It

27 Sep

Recently a close friend of mine went through a terrible break-up.  If you knew her you would know that she is a beautiful, strong and intelligent  woman.  As I listened to her weep on the phone from a broken heart, I wondered if it was worth it.  Three years of ups and downs, being completely vulnerable only to be left with a broken, scarred, insecure self.  Was it worth it?  Is it worth it to lay your soul bare?  I venture to say ‘yes’. I asked her this same question just a few days after the break up and she agreed without hesitation that yes, it was completely worth it.  She was able to open her heart and feel several degrees of emotion and is now a richer person because of it.  She opened herself up to love and to feel love, but when she did that, she also opened herself up to feel the hurt.

With all that’s transpired in my life over the past few years with cancer constantly coming back and reminding me that life is short, I wear my emotions on my sleeve.  I used to be much more guarded and protective of my feelings, but I can’t do that anymore.  When I’m angry I express it, when I’m hurt or sad, I cry, and when I love, I can’t hold back and my heart overflows.  I feel extreme emotions, am I an emotional wreck?  Hardly.  Cancer has made me stronger mentally, but it has also made me a person who craves realness; real, raw emotions, real feelings, real people, no more games…not enough time.

My friend will recover and she’ll be stronger from the experience.  The danger happens when the scars build up and we don’t allow ourselves to heal.  Each time I have surgery on my neck there are new and additional scars, each surgeon has had to cut through the old layer of scars to get to the cancer.  It’s true of relationships too, the hurtful ones add to the old scars and it’s difficult cutting through those to open up.  But, I look at my scar on my neck and it’s a reminder that I am strong and I persevered, and I know myself better.  We are all creatures that crave love but , pardon the cliche’, we need to give love to get love.  Open yourself up and be real, take those risks.  You may get to know yourself a little better along the way too… it is worth it.

For today I chose Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment in Passion, a sheer crimson red lip balm that feels GREAT on your lips.  I chose it because it’s sheer enough to let your true colors shine through, but it’s red and called ‘passion’ so it’s a reminder to live and love passionately!


24 May

My mom had many friends growing up but the two she spoke about the most were Adele and Rolly.  She shared many of her childhood stories of them with me. They were best friends through thick and thin and maintained their friendships well into adulthood (that’s 50+ years of friendship)!  Rolly’s family ended up in Toronto and Adele’s family in California.  She spoke to them by phone and more recently through e-mail.  Since we were in the Detroit area, we visited with Rolly and his family many times, I grew up knowing him and his kids, we even called each other cousins.  I didn’t see Adele quite as much because she was in California, but every time my mom spoke to her (and still speaks to her), they are laughing, crying, sharing memories, and creating new ones.

On April 17th, Rolly went to see a doctor because his skin was turning yellow.  They determined it was a blocked bile duct so they put in a stent.  On May 10th, he went back in complaining of pain.  Last Friday my mom got a call from Rolly’s wife saying that it was serious and it didn’t look good, Saturday my mom was on the phone with her friend Adele crying and reminiscing about their younger years with Rolly.  Sunday morning my mom took a bus to Toronto to see one of her best friends in his hospital room.  They were able to talk and laugh and cry when she arrived Sunday night and by Monday morning, he was gone.  In one short month, he went from vibrant to gone.

It is so hard to share your life for so long with someone and have only memories left, but is it worth it?  Absolutely!  We are made for relationships; to share our struggles and our joys, our heartaches and happiness.  Friends are God’s way of taking care of us.  Through my struggle with cancer, my friends made sure me and my family were taken care of.  They prayed for us, made meals for us, offered to drive my kids to their activities, drive me to my appointments, etc.  Without them, it would have been a lonely walk; they were God’s hands and feet to me during that difficult time.

Cherish the people God has brought into your life and tell them how much they mean to you.  You may not get that ‘later’ or ‘tomorrow’ or ‘I’ll tell them next time’.  I truly believe there is a purpose to every ‘chance’ meeting you have with someone.  Open yourself up and let people in, it’s hard and I’m bad at it (but I’m working on it too).  I can’t say it enough, we are a rushed and virtual society because it’s easy; but take the time to get to know someone and be a friend, it can only make your life richer.  From the movie It’s A Wonderful Life, “Remember George, no man is a failure who has friends.”

Lipstick today is Angel Skin from Chantecaille.  It is a nude color with a hint of pink.  If you’ve read my book you know I’m not that fond of nude so I top it with a Chantecaille gloss called Charm.  I chose Angel Skin for the name; to honor the death of Rolly but also the friends I have who to me are my angels here on earth.  Thank you for your friendship!

True Beauty

15 May


A couple strange things happened this week. A few days ago I had an eye exam for new glasses.  After the exam I was working with the tech to find new frames.  After she measured my eyeballs she said, ‘Wow, you’re perfectly symmetrical, that’s a big deal.’  When I asked her why, she said, ‘Well, most people are not symmetrical and there have been studies relating symmetry to attractiveness and beauty’. Hmmm.  I looked it up and yes, there have been studies, but they also say that bilateral symmetry is an important indicator of freedom from disease.  Well, as a child I had scarlet fever, chicken pox, chronic tonsillitis, and as an adult, allergies and of course, cancer.  In terms of attractiveness, I was not asked to too many dances or dates in high school; I was even set up for my senior prom by one of my teachers.  Perfect symmetry has not helped me much.  Another strange thing this week was the story of the 8 year old girl getting Botox from her mom. What?  How have we become so obsessed with outer beauty?

I’ve had the privilege this year of celebrating the life of two 90+ year old women, one for her birthday, and the other in her death.  The birthday party was in a nursing home and it was a celebration.  Ms. Louise wore a tiara and pale pink lipstick.  She gave a speech after blowing out her candles and said she’s had a good life and just wished for a good rest of her life. So simple, the beauty was in her eyes and the life she had lived so far; and of course, Grandma Lucille from my past blog.  In her passing, we reflected on the life she lived.  She was a beautiful woman because she loved people.

What is beauty?  After cancer, every person is beautiful to me. Here are my thoughts:

  • Beauty comes from our history
  • Beauty comes from knowing that we are each a unique creation; in being confident in how we are wired
  • Beauty comes from the depths of our soul, how we treat people and love even our enemy because we know they are also a unique creation and that they also have a story.

True beauty comes from within, and I don’t mean from within tubes of lipstick or jars of anti-aging lotions (although of course, those are fun to play with).  No amount of make up can change who we are on the inside.  True beauty comes from our story,  the pieces we pick up in our journey that continues to mold us into who we will be tomorrow.  Soak it all in; the good, the bad, and everything in between.

Today, I’m wearing YSL Golden Gloss #7.  It’s sheer, warm, sparkly gold, just how God looks at us, like precious gold.

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