Posted in Lessons He Taught Me, Mom Life

Complete

via Complete

I wasn’t going to write tonight, after spending a lot of time editing another post, but then I decided to search up posts about cancer–having a lot on my mind–and I found this title below:

“Cancer Is Completing My Life, Making It Whole”: The Blogging Journey of Julie Yip-Williams”

I started reading an excerpt from her blog and felt like someone’s hand was tightly squeezing my heart and throat. I thought I might break down in tears but the feeling just froze in place like I was holding my breath. I kept reading like a voracious animal that hadn’t eaten in days, wanting to understand her full journey from her perspective, hoping that it would help me to understand my own.

Just the title alone, I could relate to. Finding out you have cancer, whether it is the non-aggressive kind that I have which is said to move at a snail’s pace for most or the aggressive stage 4 colon cancer that this person had, really does complete your life in a way that would make most people wonder. It’s not exactly what people would shout joyously from the rooftops if cancer was a person. “You complete me!” is reserved for unrealistic romance movies not true life lessons.
Well, it completes your life like this. You never know if the cancer will be conquered by intense medical treatment, powerful prayer & the provision of God or if God will allow it to take it’s course teaching you a lot along the way and preparing you to meet Him face to face. It completes you because you do so much soul searching and leaning into God. You don’t put off things that God has been telling you to do anymore. You make time to do it because you understand that life is but a vapor. You could literally be here one day and not the next. You think about what kind of legacy you want to leave behind; how you want people to remember you. You want people to know that you love them and that you’re happy for their happiness; that you didn’t forget them. It completes you because you start to appreciate things differently instead of constantly rushing passed and somehow through that, you live fully. You take the time to smell the roses. And, I take the time to thank God for everything like the mountains after an energizing hike and a waterfall that mysteriously woke me up with it’s beauty and the way my daughter’s face lit up when she saw her completed birthday cake saying softly, “Wow, that’s really cool, Mom..”

Even though I don’t always feel good, in a lot of ways I live life more completely than people who criticize so much around them because I’m busy filling up my life with serving God and working on accomplishing things that will teach my daughter how important it is to do your best with fervor. To show her how important it is to fight your hardest out of love for your luvs. God gives me the drive to push when I’m tired but also reminds me to rest when it’s time to rest. Depending on Him so much, completes me. When I’m chasing love, I can learn the lessons God wants to teach me because I’m searching with everything in me.

You should read what Julie Yip-Williams had to say. She said it much better, being in the thick of it. https://julieyipwilliams.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/complete/

My own journey is really different than hers, of course.  I’m in stage 1A of Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma and the majority of people diagnosed with CTCL live just as long as anyone else. I’m basically living with a chronic disease like other people that don’t have the word lymphoma in the name of their ailment. The word scares me and I’d like to give it away to a trash can but at the same time it’s forced me to make better choices and to lean into God even more. Experiencing His presence and that closeness is living life to the fullest.
The exhaustion is hard and so are the nights when the itchy skin is unbearable. I wish I could shed my skin & grow new healthy skin along with a healthy lymphatic system. I hate going to work so lethargic and not remembering things as quickly as I want to. I can get moody and sometimes I just want to be alone so people won’t think I’m an airhead or a grump. I am learning perseverance on a deeper level & trusting God to get me through, though. I know God is with me even when I’m too tired to smile and I don’t feel like I’m radiating his light like I want to. I’m more whole because I’m not neglecting my soul for things that don’t give me everlasting life.

I hope this blog post helps someone to feel a little less alone and to realize that even when a family member or friend is going through the biggest trial of their life, they can also be moving through the best parts of their life because God is completing them and if they’re a believer, they are likely feeling a connection with God that is quite beautiful & reassuring beyond words.

 

 

Posted in Happy Little Photos, Mom Life, Photo Inspiration

Cake Decorating Saturday

via Daily Prompt: Frigid

Last Saturday morning, I woke up and went straight to the coffee maker to make a fresh pot of coffee.  As I waited on my French Roast to finish brewing, I stood against the kitchen counter in a stupor, looking over at the heart-shaped cake I had wrapped in tinfoil. I was planning to make my daughter’s Easter themed birthday cake all in one night but as usual I started too late and ran out of stamina.  I waited for the cake to completely cool, wrapped it up and set it aside to do in the morning.

Morning came and I was ready to try my hand at making this cool cake I saw online that was designed to look like an Easter basket. I ignored the fact that it looked beautiful outside and that I normally reserved baking for frigid weather, not days like that one.  More great, hiking-worthy days would come but that Saturday I had a lot to do in preparation for Easter and my daughter’s 11th birthday. And, truth be told, I was more in the mood to sip some coffee and decorate a cake while slowly–slothfully–waking up.

So, the first step I took in decorating Makayla’s cake was applying the double chocolate frosting she picked at Target.

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And as you can see, the second step involved cutting the individual KitKats to the correct size & placing them around the cake, generously adding more frosting to the candy to serve as “edible glue”.  It turned out to be a little more work than I expected because as I’d cut the individual KitKats, they’d sometimes break, making the KitKat way too short to match up with the length of the others.  It took a little trial and error before getting everything evened out. The scraps made a great snack for later so no complaints there.

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Next, I added the grass which was made out of shredded coconut mixed with green food coloring.

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I used these chocolate covered almonds with pastel Easter colors to represent Easter eggs.

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And here is my finished Easter themed birthday cake! Makayla loved it! The look on her face blessed me more than words can say.

It’s funny how doing something as simple as making an Easter/birthday cake lead me to sit and read Matthew 28: 1-10. I read it over and over, meditating on the day Jesus rose from the grave, imagining myself in the shoes of the women who found the tomb empty and later ran to the disciples with a message to go to Galilee to meet with Jesus. What an exciting day it was for them to see their Savior alive again and to share their joy with each other! This simple cake turned into my alone time with God, worshipping and thanking Him for who He is. I love days like this particular Saturday, where love for my daughter lead me back to the love my Savior has for me.

 

Posted in Happy Little Photos, Miss Sassypants, Mom Life, Photo Inspiration, Ponderings, Uncategorized

Is She Eleven Already?

 

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“Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.” -Psalm 127:3-4

My daughter’s birthday was last week.  Every year, we celebrate for three days.  We celebrate on the day of her birthday at home & at school by bringing in cupcakes or buying “birthday cookies”, she has a friends party and a family birthday party.

This year we celebrated a little differently.  For the day of her actual birthday, we went shopping for a fun outfit she could wear for the celebration with friends and then I ended up buying her a new purse, trendy sunglasses with blue tinted lens and a charcoal mask to try out together. When we got home, I made her tacos because it’s one of her favorite dinners while she made some cool cupcakes that were completely her own invention to bring to a church potluck.  While everything cooked, we took 20 minutes to lay on the living room floor, allowing our masks to dry and taking some time to meditate on the beauty of being still. Ahhh, why don’t we do that more often?

On birthday celebration #2, my boyfriend & I took her to the city with 2 of her close friends.  We knew every step of the way these animated–loud– kids would be bouncing all over the place, unable to contain their excitement. We were so right! We started out the day by taking them to our favorite deli to pick up breakfast for eating on the train.  As we predicted, just going to the deli was super fun for them–they were so silly, I couldn’t get one picture without contorted faces.  It was not possible for them to calm down and pose pretty.  I really couldn’t blame them.  I’d been looking forward to all of our fun plans all long week, too.

Once we made it to the train station, the girls linked arms and practically skipped to the ticket machines. The train ride was fun but we could have done without the foul-mouthed teenagers sitting in front of the kids.  On the flip side, we also ran into Makayla’s friend from school and her grandmother who I’m friends with.  Something about running into great people I know on the train just makes me happy.

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So, while we were in NYC, we walked out to The Highline that runs from Chelsea, Manhattan to the Meatpacking District. The walk was only 34 minutes from Grand Central and we enjoyed the walk, checking out cool stuff along the way, taking pictures, making videos and the gorgeous weather we were blessed with.  Makayla’s favorite part about the Highline was the fun playground they have on the Chelsea side.  It’s made out of recycled beams from the former freight train trestle and covered in some sort of people-friendly rubber that looks and feels pretty cool under your feet. The playground also had some cool tunnels that led to this contraption below.

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After we walked and played for awhile, the five of us were pretty hungry so Drew googled some restaurants that were nearby and we ended up eating at New York Burger Co.  The food was REALLY good. We will definitely go there again.  I had this really delicious grilled chicken sandwich the came with some kind of vegan sauce–tasted really good and it was nice to not have to worry about getting sick from any sort of dairy products, corn syrup or rice anything.  And their Idaho Fries where also pretty darn good!

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Just thinking about our time in the city makes me want to go back again very soon!  The Highline is now one of my favorite places to go in the city.  When I go back, I think I want to try the food at either Sugar Factory or The Green Room which is nestled in the heart of the Chelsea Market. I have a feeling I will probably go with The Green Room. The food is organic.

Anyhow, I’m going off topic..it’s getting late and I’m still here at my kitchen table typing to you all as if I don’t have to wake up early tomorrow morning.  I will end with saying that on the third day of my daughter’s birthday celebration, we celebrated Easter & had a small family party for her. My favorite parts of that day where seeing her and my nephews run around my parent’s back yard looking for colorful, plastic Easter eggs and drinking my father’s first bottle of homemade wine with all of the “big people”.  Who knew my father could make such amazing wine?! There was a lot of laughter and great memories made last Sunday.  I feel blessed to have so many great people in my life to celebrate my daughter with.  Children really are a heritage from the Lord and a wonderful reward from Him!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Happy Little Photos, Mom Life, Photo Inspiration, Word Wonder

Affection & Wonder

20180112_072541via Daily Prompt: Wonder

This little girl of mine fills me with so much adoration and wonder. As I watch her off and on throughout the day, I’m in awe of who she has become. I think back to her quirky days as a toddler and the funny things she used to say as she was first developing language.

“Mama, I can feel my heart beeping!!”

Or how she would recognize the appropriate time to show appreciation and joyfully exclaim, “Thankum!” (Which meant “Thank you!”)

And I remember her at around 2 years old when she would speak so quickly I’d have to interpret for my friends because they had no idea what she just said.

One afternoon in the spring there was a little girl, maybe 4 or 5 years older than my daughter, who started playing with Makayla in our yard. They tried to strike up a conversation and after a few minutes the little girl looked at me strangely and asked, “Is she speaking Chinese??” It was funny because Makayla wasn’t quite 2 at that time and whatever she said to the neighbor girl really did sound like Chinese to me, too.

Now, she’s going to be 11 in less than a month and she’s so articulate. Since she was 4, people have noticed what a great memory she has for things and a vocabulary that you wouldn’t expect from someone so small. At almost 11, people don’t notice these things as much because she’s older now and it sort of goes along with her age.

She’s more independent than ever and knows exactly who she is. There is no shy bone in her body. She can definitely hold her own. And she is a bright, radiant light. I look at her full of love and wonder. It’s still hard to believe she’s mine.

Posted in Happy Little Photos, Lessons He Taught Me, Mom Life

In My Shoes

If my daughter was in my shoes right now, this is what I would tell her,

IMG_1337“Everyone needs some time to themselves. It’s perfectly normal. People push our buttons sometimes and a little break to do your own thing is healthy. Most likely, it will improve the relationship you are feeling frustrated with. There’s no reason to feel guilty when you just don’t feel like talking. Or maybe you want to talk to someone else that you haven’t talked to in ages. Also, normal. We’re all so different from each other. There are things we like about people in our lives that draws us to them just as there are things about the same people we’re not crazy about. We just need to have grace for each other but also be honest with ourselves when we need to pull back. If we don’t do it, you’ll have to do damage repair later. Some people don’t take honesty well. They just want you to not feel how you feel and get over it immediately. Most people need time so you take the time you need and remember to give others time to themselves too when they feel hurt by you. If you don’t or if you do, it can make or break a relationship.

Limiting the time you spend with one person can also help. You have more to talk about later when you come back together. The energy you get from being with a variety of other people can breathe life into that relationship that sometimes gets a little strained. It also fosters more positive feelings and conversation.

What’s most important is being restored by God and having enough opportunities to be restored by Him! Your relationship with God is the most important relationship in your life. If there’s not enough time with Him for your personality type (and I need a lot of time with Him), it will affect your relationships with people because your patience for people will start to diminish. You might start saying the first thing on your mind. You might just throw the towel in out of frustration and miss them later. And, then, you’ll also remember God’s command to encourage one another and build them up, realizing that you didn’t do that because you leaned back on your own wisdom.

Take some time to yourself, Makayla, when you know you need to be restored. Try your best to tell whoever that person in your life is, that you need time to yourself and time with God. Pray beforehand that this person will understand it will benefit them, too. That they will love you enough to give you what you need and that they’ll be confident enough in the Lord to trust Him. You serve God first and foremost. This is what you need to focus on. God’s plans will still prevail.”

We need to talk to ourselves with the same love and compassion we would have for our children when they are overwhelmed.

Posted in Mom Life, Photo Inspiration

It Runs In The Family

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It’s true. It runs in the family. We look like contortionists when we sleep. And it’s not just the females in the family. My father does it, too. Maybe my daughter & I got this unusual flexibility from him. When I was a kid, I remember watching Saturday morning cartoons like this except my left leg was bent too with my left foot propped up against my right hip bone.

When we sit on the couch or at the kitchen table, instead of sitting with our feet flat on the floor, we’re sitting sort of Indian style but our right leg is flipped over the left instead of both feet tucked under. My father, my daughter and I all do this without giving it a thought. Maybe we should have tried out for Cirque du Soleil?

Posted in Mom Life, Ponderings, Word Wonder

Daily Prompt: Tardypants and the Pickle Guy

via Daily Prompt: Tardy

When my daughter and I walked through the doors of the gymnasium, the kids were warming up, practicing their serves and laughing. We were ten minutes early for volleyball clinic. Parents and their children kept trickling in after the designated start time of 6pm.  I was happy to be early. There were plenty of seats to choose from which was much better than arriving even ten minutes late and having to sit on the hard floor.  I don’t have much of a butt anymore with my diet change and training for a half marathon. It’s kind of strange for someone who’s never been lacking in that department.

As I was watching the girls do sprints and run around the gym, my eyes scanned the room. Where was my neighbor friend Gina? She bailed on me. When she shows up tardy for volleyball practice, I’ll have to ask her if she got caught up talking to The Pickle Guy at the grocery store. That guy was unusually passionate about selling pickles. Don’t get me wrong… We enjoy pickles with our chips and sandwiches but he liked them so much he talked abt them everyday, all day for a living. It kind of makes me wonder if he secretly despises them at this point.  Or if he’s sick of being referred to as “The Pickle Guy” like I am when people call me “The Signing Lady”.

 

 

Posted in Mom Life, Palpating Poetry

Why Do You Run?

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I run because it makes me feel alive

Because I love proving to myself that I can beat my personal time

Because I like to sweat

And I like to feel sore from the hard work

And I like to succeed at doing something that wasn’t easy

Because it feels so exhilarating that I didn’t quit

Because it beats out the stress

And it helps me to enjoy the simpler things when it’s time to rest

And I need that tangible success

I run because it helps me believe I can make it through anything

Because I’m a warrior when I run

Because I prove to myself the fight is still in me when I’m sick

And I believe I can be cured if I live life with a healthy frame of mind

And I know that God is by my side giving me strength to persevere as I unwind

I run because it makes me feel alive

Because He died so I could live life abundantly, not like something in me has died.

 

 

Posted in Mom Life, Photo Inspiration

Having Fun And Staying Active In The Winter Months

 

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Every year, during the winter season, I feel that pull to start staying indoors more and go out less.  Especially when the short days of winter begin.  Most of us are effected by it.  Right around 5 o’clock, it’s so dark outside my body feels like it’s almost time for bed and it shocks me that all I want to do is put on pajamas and curl up on the couch. I’m typically a pretty active person. All summer long and into the fall, I’m out and about either working or taking my daughter on fun excursions and in search of new adventures.  Suddenly it begins getting dark at 4 and my body physiologically feels the difference.  It’s kind of an amazing phenomenon when you think about it. So what do you do when you feel this way? Do you succumb to the overwhelming urge to just lay down and do nothing?  Do you force yourself to do a few odds and ends around the house and then lay down to relax? Maybe you do that in the beginning and then decide you have to fight this slothful feeling and find ways to energize yourself despite the lack of sunlight.

This year, the time change really seemed to hit me worse than other years.  I was really feeling unmotivated by the time I got home from work.  I decided to leave things where they were instead of making the place immaculate.  I started liking the way it looked to leave my projects out with balls of lacing thread lined up on my bookshelf in varying colors, a pair of scissors, a yarn needle, pencils and crochet hooks popping out the tops of the thread like it was a pin cushion. My handwritten snowflake and earring patterns could be found stuffed underneath.  All of our scrapbooking supplies with a Shutterfly envelope stuffed full of pictures sat stacked on top of a small table near the couch. I’d leave the dishes in the sink for a couple days or put off getting to all of the mail at once.  These weren’t things I’d do as much before the time change, but I realized I just needed to ease into the season and rest more than usual until I got used to it.  I’ve talked to other people about the effects of the time change and a lot of people have said they feel more tired than previous years. Maybe we’re getting old?

Now, that I’ve had time to adjust, I’ve been finding more exciting ways to get out to do new things and make fun memories with my daughter, family & friends.  Before Christmas, we made plans to go to NYC with a close friend and explore the city during Christmas time.  Occasionally, I work out there and I love walking back to Grand Central Station at night after work.  I have a new appreciation for Christmas window displays at Macy’s and just how beautifully decorated everything is. I love the Christmas lights, the wreaths and walking through Bryant Park at night to watch the ice skaters and to just take in the view of happy people enjoying themselves. For all those reasons, I decided this year that I wanted to wander around and share these special things with people I loved. It was cold out and somehow that made it even more fun. We went to Saks Fifth Avenue, saw St. Patrick’s Cathedral all decorated for Christmas–it was the first time seeing that for each of us, we accidentally walked passed Trump Towers–not realizing until we saw a female police officer dressed in full riot gear with a huge gun almost the same height as her.  We milled around the inside of the Rockefeller Center, not knowing NBC records the news & the Today Show there or that it was built like a mall with lots of interesting stores and places to eat.  Really, we saw and did so much while we were there and it was all a blast.  Even stopping at a Starbucks to get coffee and a lemonade for my daughter was so much more fun to do than in upstate NY because it was different than our everyday routines.  Really, going out to try different things or to share things you love with people who are important to you breathes more life into your soul. So, what else have I gone out to do that may help you to think of things that you can do to get more into that happy frame of mind?

Exercise, especially running or cardio strength training, helps me to get a little spunk back.  I started tracking my runs with an app called Runtopia last July.  Again, since the dark days of winter started, I’ve been feeling less desire to workout.  Yesterday, I was feeling apprehensive and I knew I needed to get back on my treadmill to pound out the stress. Part of what got me on that treadmill was remembering the endorphin release when I run and part of it was that I thought it would be really cool to do one last run for 2017 and record it with Runtopia.  Let me tell you, it helped me to feel so much better. God knows what we need and He gave us exercise to keep us healthy mentally & physically.  Did you know that exercise is the most potent and underutilized antidepressant? And it’s free… I read this meme posted on Instagram and I said to myself, “Amen! That is so true!”

Something else that helps is starting new traditions that you love so much you would rather do them than sit on the couch. Particularly, something that challenges you in a way that you enjoy because you have fun, you impress yourself with your ability to do it and it comes with a great reward that is healthy for your mind, body and soul.  Last, New Year’s Day, my daughter and I bundled ourselves up to go hiking up a mountain that was mostly vertical.  This year, we made a tradition out of it and went back again to start our year out with an adventure. Wow, we forgot how breathless this climb would be!  We invited someone special to come with us this time and we got the cardio endurance work out of the year.  This time we went with ice cleats on our boots and made it to the top much faster.  The view, the feat and the fact that we made it to the top was so uplifting.  We were all smiling despite our sore legs.  And we learned some great things from that hike like how to work as a team, to look out for each other in order to keep each other safe, outdoor survival skills, how to have fun in the cold and to be prepared for anything.  Traditions like this build great relationships and give us more things we can look forward to doing as a family.  They make great memories and definitely help me to stay active in the winter.  If you want to chase away the winter blues and start laughing more again, I encourage you to try out some of these ideas.

 

Posted in Mom Life

Disheveled

I woke up this morning to the screaming of my house phone.  I didn’t know what was happening as my dreams were fighting with reality and I was struggling to figure out which was which.  As I scrambled off the couch, I worked hard to figure out where the phone was as I simultaneously tried to keep my balance.  I was so sick I thought I was going fall over.  My body was wet with perspiration, my head & face hurt, I was coughing like an old woman with emphysema and I still had body aches.  When I found the phone, I was more happy to stop the ringing than I was to find out who was calling.

It turned out to be my father on the other line, checking in to see how I was doing and if I was going to work today.  It was 8 o’clock. Why hadn’t my alarm gone off? The night before, I had asked my daughter to turn my alarm on. She had some trouble with it so I went in to check that the right time was set for it to wail.  It wasn’t the right time so I fixed it but I didn’t look to see if she had mistakenly changed the current time.. Ahhh…that’s what went wrong.  Note to self, I need to teach my 10 year old how to use an alarm clock. Preferably when I’m not deliriously sick.  Thank God, her Grandpa was willing to drop her off at school.  Thank God, I have such supportive parents.

As I started making her sandwich, Makayla told me in her chipper way, “I thought I wanted to stay home to take care of you today, but I’m really happy I’m going to school! I’m really happy I’m going to school for 2 reasons! Do you wanna know what they are?! One, it’s Manny Monday, that means my class gets to see a new picture of baby Manny on the Classroom Dojo that Mrs. Ruiz sends. Also, I won’t miss the next chapter in Wonder that Mrs. Pelaz is going to read and on Monday we do a craft. OH! And we have PE today!”

“I’m so glad you have such great teachers and that you love the things you’re doing in school.  You’re kinda making me wish I was in the fifth grade again, ” I chuckled, not mentioning that she actually gave me 4 fantastic reasons to go to school.  Her joy and excitement was so contagious, I couldn’t help but give her a kiss on her forehead and a side-ways hug. She has the amazing ability to make me smile and remember the lovable things about life even when I’m sick.