Wednesday, September 30, 2015

blah blah blah

last wednesday i learned that a friend of mine had been diagnosed with melanoma. it really pisses me off when people i love and care about are diagnosed with cancer. i feel like my diagnosis was in part to take one for my collective team, and those that i love should never have a diagnosis themselves. so when they do it is hard for all of the obvious reasons, but for me, it is even more difficult because i know how it feels to hear those words. and when i know they have heard the words "melanoma" i can relate even more and the pieces of my heart begin to clink around all over again.

last friday morning i learned that shannon had finished her fight.

last week i was in kansas city for training for a few days. out of a class of 14, i was one of two women (that will be a post of its own some day). the other woman in the class sat directly across from me and she had a huge band aid on her chin. whenever i see anyone with a band aid on their face, arm, leg, etc - i immediately think that they have had a biopsy. of course, i did not ask her any questions and hoped for her sake that she had not had a biopsy.

randomly (or maybe not so much), i sat next to her at dinner on friday night. i heard her tell one of the other people at the table that she had gone in to her see her doctor earlier in the week. she had a spot on her chin that kept scabbing and healing for over a year, and so she finally went into her doctor. she said that since she lives in florida, she is out in the sun all the time, doesn't ever wear sunscreen, and never has her skin checked (i would think that if you lived in florida you might be doing the opposite but that is just me). she said that her doctor was concerned that she had the issue for so long and that he had taken a big chunk out of her chin so now she had to wear this "stupid band aid." she then said that he had mentioned concern that it might be skin cancer, and she said "so if it is skin cancer, then it is just blah blah blah."

blah. blah. blah.

hearing those three words come out of her mouth pretty much put me at my breaking point. i had felt all day like i could barely keep it together, it took everything i had to override wanting to sit in my hotel room and cry to get out and actually go to dinner in the first place. and then because the cancer fates really like to mess with me, melanoma comes up within the first ten minutes of dinner.

so to hear "blah blah blah" as if it was nothing, was of course super hard for me to hear - not only because of what i have been through, but for all of my friends with melanoma, those still fighting and those that have hung up their boxing gloves. especially painful since it was just hours after i had heard about shannon.

there were probably a million things that i wanted to say to her at that point. but i took a deep breath and realized that i didn't want to say those things to her, i wanted to say them to melanoma. because she doesn't know what she doesn't know, and i hope that she never knows. and she certainly didn't need to hear my story as she was waiting to hear her own test results. i am pretty sure a "it was stage iii when i was first diagnosed and then spread to my lung" story isn't what anyone wants to hear when they think it will be blah blah blah.

so instead i spent the evening talking to her about our lives, our kids, how we both like to craft, etc. it seemed like a much better way to send her my good thoughts than unleashing something on her that really wasn't about her to begin with.

i have been thinking about her this week and hoping that she hears or has already heard the words "benign".

that is the kind of blah blah blah i wish for her.

the world needs more of that kind.

that i know for sure.

Monday, September 28, 2015


on friday morning, i got the news that another melanoma warrior had finished her fight.

shannon was diagnosed with melanoma after i was, we had connected right after she was diagnosed through some friends.

she had also started a blog and i have read every one of her entries through the years.

stories about her baby girl. stories about her husband. stories about her fight with melanoma.

the posts have been really hard for me to read lately as shannon knew she was going to be finishing her fight soon.

but knowing that didn't make it any easier on friday morning when i read the post, and it doesn't make it any easier as i feel all of the pieces of my heart clinking around inside of me as i walk.

saying goodbye is so damn hard.

today there was a blog posted that shannon had wrote called "break on through to the other side".

i think that she would like her words being shared with all of you. i think that her words deserve to be heard as far and wide as possible. they are reminders of the things in life that are the most important.

so i have included her words below, exactly as she wrote them.

i will miss reading her words, and rooting for her as she fought. but i wish her peace and am happy that she is no longer in pain. i hope that you will join me in sending lots of love out into the world to her family, her husband, and her little baby girl whose mom was one hell of a fighter.

rest in peace shannon, you will be missed but definitely never forgotten.

"If you are reading this, than I have indeed passed on from this half of consciousness to the next. This is one of the ways the family of one of my dearest friends's looks at death and I love it. One time I am on this side of immortality, and the next moment, I'm on the other side. So beautiful.
In any case, if you are reading this, then I am no longer with you on this side, but I have no doubt that the other side is just as beautiful and intriguing as this side. Its biggest, and most obvious drawback obviously being that the vast majority of my friends and family remain here, on this side. That is the terrible part about dying young. Grandparents and great-grandparents who have had the luxury of time, have many friendly faces to greet them, where I have precious few (but they are so, so precious).
While you are still here on this side, please take the most of your time here. The greatest gift I have been given is the gift of connection. I have met and loved so many amazing people and been given love in return. It may be easier sometimes to huddle up with the cool blue screen, or to simply shut out the world outside entirely, but that is not where LIFE happens. Life happens in the gaps. We close those physical  gaps with hugs, kisses; we close those auditory gaps with "I love you's" and those "take care's" that REALLY mean it; We close those visual gaps with "ILY" signs flashed across the room (take the moment to learn "ILY," it's so easy and can make such a difference to a heart) and with warm smiles passed along with a warm coffee. Even taste and smell can cross gaps with more intimate encounters.
But do not neglect any of those encounters. Do not neglect any moment to say "I love you."
It is early morning as I write this and I can say without hesitation that the parts of my upcoming day that I look forward to with most pleasure are the smell of my sweet daughter's hair as I hope to catch a kiss on the top of her running head as she dashes past and the taste of my husband's beautiful lips as we say kiss somewhat more slowly.
So I say to the mama who is frazzled stay-at-home parent of three, just trying to keep his/her coffee warm (ha!): Find love in tousling of your child's unbrushed hair as it runs past. I say to the work-out-of-the-home parent of 2, who is trying to balance it all with impossible work deadlines, stress of the daily minutes, racing to get home before the Big Piano concert: Find love in the smile of your child's eyes as you finally rush into the concert only a few minutes late (you made it!). To the happily single person trying to find love: Find love in giving a gentle, loving smile to your favorite barista or an older person walking down the path. Everyone can find a moment or a place to give love. Even if the world seems unloving and unforgiving at times, send love out love the abyss. It may take some some time for the echo of of to return, but it WILL come, and just keep sending out messages of love in the meantime. You might be shocked.
Do not wait. Life is always trying to rush past us. Grab it in your arms, even as it fights you, grab it to give it a momentary kiss or peer deep into its eyes to really, truly say "I. Love. You." Because life will ALWAYS be trying to escape from our grasp and all we can do it try to grab it for just a moment longer."

Thursday, September 24, 2015

love note postcards

if you would like to receive some happy mail, and you would in turn like to send some happy mail out into the world, then you have a great opportunity coming up.

sign up for the love notes postcard project.

three weeks of happy mail love into your mailbox, and from your mailbox out into the world.

sounds pretty good to me.

you know i am in.

happy mail makes the world go 'round.


"we can choose courage or we can choose comfort,
but we can't have both. not at the same time."
(brene brown)
those words are from brene's book rising strong.
i just read the words yesterday for the first time, but i have been feeling the tug between comfort and courage over the last couple of weeks.
change is hard. it just is. there is no way around it.
leaving the place i had worked for 15 years to go some place new is one of the biggest changes i have ever made.
at times, it feels like courage, at other times it feels like an immeasurable lack of comfort.
so i am working on moving through the hard parts of change.
i am reminding myself that really good things can come from change, and no matter what, we learn new things along the way.
learning new things is always, always good.
so if this change brings me life experiences i would not have otherwise had, and makes me a little bit stronger, i will be thankful for that.
anytime that i can feel stronger, and maybe a little bit less afraid of change in the future, i will embrace it.
the thing about change is that you take a chance that maybe you fail.
but there is also a chance that you don't. and maybe you soar.
there is only one way to find out.
life is meant for taking chances. it is the best way to grow.
if i have learned one thing since july 16, 2010, it is that you should always choose to take chances and see where life takes you.
you may not know where you will end up.
but it will likely be right where you were meant to be.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

book read, goal accomplished

i busted out another september goal today.

i finished reading is everyone hanging out without me?

i had heard really good things about it and it did not disappoint.

i appreciated that she was so honest about so many different topics (comedy, marriage, physical appearances, to name just a few).

many times i was shaking my head in the "yes" motion because i thought that she nailed at topic with some really good points.

many times i was laughing out loud - like on a plane today when i accidentally scared the woman next to me when i suddenly busted out laughing. for the record, the book is now on her "to read" list as well (you are welcome mindy for the help with your book sales;)).

i had not heard of mindy before her role (which i loved) on "the office" (one of the best shows of all time) so it was pretty interesting to read in the book about her background. i haven't watched her show "the mindy project" yet but i am going to check it out. i also plan to read her new book that just came out -- why not me.

since i wrapped that book up, i dove right into brene brown's new book -- rising strong. i am over 100 pages in already and kind of want to stay up all night reading it. but that is probably not my best plan so i will pick it back up tomorrow.

after i finish that one, i have two more in the cue -- elizabeth gilbert's big magic which i have been waiting for a long time to come out, and jon acuff's do over. i saw him speak for the second time last week, and if you ever get the chance, i would highly recommend that you go to a presentation or book reading that he does. he is one of the best speakers i have ever heard. so good. can't wait to read that book and am pretty sure that the timing couldn't be better since i just switched jobs.

it feels good to get back to turning pages and having my nose in a book.

i always remember how much i love it when i get back into it.

with some good ones in the cue, i am looking forward to putting the phone down and picking the books up at night.

Monday, September 21, 2015

in the dry

"two things to remember in life.
take care of your thoughts when you are alone,
and take care of your words when you are with people."

we are back home.

things are dry.

reconstruction is yet to be done.

but we are home.

and life is starting to be feel kind of normal again.

minus the lack of floors here and there.

i looked at my september goal list and kind of laughed yesterday.

but then realized through all of the craziness of the last two weeks,

i am actually not doing too bad on crossing them off.

so you can still bust out some goals when all is going down the drain,

oh wait, i mean when all is going down the walls.

happy tuesday.

Sunday, September 13, 2015


our plumbing drama has continued on.

wet walls. wet floors. and then folks that were supposed to help to start to dry things out created an even bigger problem. it is amazing the problems that can be caused by one little hose not being connected to a drain like it should have been, and instead pumping water right back into the room you are trying to dry out. ugh.

crazy how your life starts to look very differently the moment that you determine that you need to shut off all water in your house, that the fans running to try and dry out rooms sound like a jet engine, and your home suddenly becomes an entirely different place.

nerves frayed and stress levels climbing high.

but in between all of that chaos, the most important things shine through.

beth got good news on friday and her tests results came back clean. so thankful for that news, exactly what we were all hoping for.

even in the midst of everything else going on, that makes friday a great day.

i have no clue what this week is going to look like for us.

but here we go.

i hope this is a good week for you, and may the plumbing fates be good to you;)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

just what you need

wednesday night.

your daughter wants to play tag so you are running around your house.

you run into one of your downstairs room and it is like running into a full on rain puddle.

you immediately realize you have a big problem.

busted pipe.

wet carpets. wet walls. wet floor.


your night quickly changes direction to calls to insurance and claim adjusters.

you go to bed a bit frazzled and trying to figure out how your thursday is going to look.

you wake up and you have text from one of your favorite people that has a link and simply says "good morning. you are welcome"

without even having a clue of what is going on, your friend makes you laugh and you realize that whatever your day ends up like, it started with a really good laugh so it can't be that bad.

if you need a laugh too, you should check out this ellen degeneres and jimmy fallon lip sync.

good morning and you are welcome.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

hello september + good vibes for beth

ok, the game plan for this post was to kick off the fall with a great to do list for the month.

the problem is that apparently blogger hates me tonight and it is not letting me load the picture of the list.

maybe it is mad at me because i haven't been on here too much lately.

paybacks i guess.

but after trying to figure it out for about 5 minutes (beyond my patience threshold with blogger) i am moving on, and therefore making this just a little less interesting because you won't see it with my amazing photography (you know, the picture i took one shot of and called it good).

maybe blogger will let me load the picture when the month is done. but i am not holding my breath.

so here are the september to do's:
+++ run
+++ finish my book (currently reading "is everyone hanging out without me" by mindy kaling and it is really good/funny)
+++ send happy mail
+++ take a nap
+++ make popcorn
+++ celebrate family bdays
+++ get some pictures into albums
+++ try a new recipe
+++ make some cards
+++ take a nap, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
+++ drink a cider on my deck with the patio lights twinkling

as you can see, there are no specific numbers in any of these goals. yep, taking it easy this month and just focusing on the activities, not the miles or the pages. that is a much more important focus anyways, right? right.

also -- and really the most important part of this post - please send your good vibes/prayers/thoughts/mojo to my dear friend beth this week. she has a checkup round of tests this week to make sure that everything is going well, and she meets with her doctor on friday. i know, we all know that these tests are going to be just fine and squeaky clean, but just for some extra insurance, let's send the love her way anyways.

happy wednesday peeps, we are already half way there, how awesome is that?

pretty awesome if you ask me.

thanks for asking.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

day one

so this day.

she did it.

she rocked it.

she got on the bus.

she found her way into her new school.

she found the line that she belonged in for her class.

she helped another new student clean the tables after lunch (can i tell you how much i loved that email from the teacher around noon which made me even more proud of her - as if that was even possible).

she was all smiles when i picked her up.

she decided that she wanted frozen yogurt to celebrate her big day -- with four toppings.

she told us all about the day, even the part about having to wear necklaces to go to the restroom which she quickly told us was "ridiculous" because her teacher already knew where she was going.

she was so brave.

she had a mom that had tears streaming down as she drove away.

she was so brave.

she was my hero.

she always, always is.