Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Tis’ the time of year for waiting. Waiting in lines, waiting for Christmas, waiting for Santa…waiting. Waiting is so very hard to do. Sometimes you can wait an hour, a day, a month, a year or even a lifetime. It stinks to wait. Patience helps us wait, but there is only so much of that we each have. It is faith that keeps us waiting patiently. Faith that something good is about to happen. Faith that you’ll get through the line with no problems. Faith that you’ll get the gift that you’ve been waiting all year or forever for. Faith that "all good things come to those who wait."

Tis' the season for waiting…I’m waiting for something wonderful to come my way. Wrapped with a big red bow! A gift that has been in my dreams for a very long time. I can feel the anticipation, the excitement of something wonderful coming soon. So many prayers have been answered this year…why not a big one, too! I have faith that my waiting is over.

What are you waiting for?


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Feeling Alone...

It’s amazing to me how you can be around family and/or friends and still feel alone. Even after 17 years of a relationship/marriage there were times during it that I felt alone. However, I have never felt so alone as I have over this past year. Even more alone now than I did during my treatments. At that time I had so many people around me helping and supporting me. I asked for help and I got it. Now I’m rebounding back and feeling more alone than ever. Maybe it’s because I’m not asking for as much help. And maybe it’s a good thing. I don’t know.

I’m so used to having someone to call or text. Someone to talk to about what is happening in my life. But right now I’m sitting alone and it feels weird. There are people that I’d like to call or text but I can’t. They are busy with their lives or work or they are out of my life now and no longer available to me. This is the single life and I’m not sure if I like it. I like being with someone. I like sharing my day to day, my hopes, dreams and fears with someone I care about and who cares about me. I’d like a friend, a lover, a companion, a partner in my life someday. I know it’s time for me to be comfortable alone but it’s not something that I want to do. It’s very hard after so long to be alone.

Sure there is dating and meeting new people. Apparently there are dating rules and I’m not familiar with them. I’m used to relationship and I know what it takes to be in relationship. I’ve learned that. Now I have something new to learn. It is nice to know that there are people out there who are happy to teach me. Sometimes I feel needy because I like to talk so often but that’s me – that’s how I am. I’m trying to adapt to new rules. It sort of stinks because what I want some people feel isn’t where I need to be right now. And who doesn’t hate it when someone else knows what you need better than you…especially when they are right. I now know I need to be alone with myself and ok with it. I sure hope it gets easier.

The mixture of emotions comes and goes from day to day still. There are some therapeutic ways of dealing with all of it that I intend to do again and again until the emotions subside and life moves on at a better pace. Apparently, this space in my heart isn’t to be filled by anyone else but me. Time for me…only…and alone.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Chasing a Dream...

Sometimes in life we are unsure of our purpose. Do you know your purpose? I mean “really” know your purpose. For some women it’s being a mother and a wife, spreading joy and nurturing to their family, your job may feel like your purpose but if it just feels like a job than it’s probably not your purpose. Some women can go day to day and not feel a pull towards their purpose. They can feel content in the life they have chosen. Not I. I’ve known for many years that I have a bigger purpose in my life. I just wasn’t sure what it was…until now.

It’s a combination of things that I believe in, feel strongly about and can change or make a difference in another’s life. It’s something that I am passionate about. Something that is simple but I love and feel that others can benefit from. It’s a gift that I can share.

I am a designer, a dreamer at heart. I love my children and feel that they can be inspired each and every day to follow their dreams. It’s when we are children that we have the biggest dreams for ourselves. It’s when we are children that we are told that we are not good enough and told that we should forget our dreams. Why? We can be what we dream to be. We can find the Prince Charming that we dreamed about as a little girl. If you are patient it will all come. The problem is that most of us are not patient.

Since we are not patient we tend to make hasty choices and decisions. We decide we aren’t good enough to do what we dreamed of doing and do something else. Maybe something that our parents think we should do. We decide that this man is the best we can get or that we can change him to be our Prince Charming. So this is it. But if we were patient and understand that all good things come in time then maybe all those choices were a part of a learning process. Decisions that we can grow from and learn more about ourselves and our true purpose.

Life is a journey. Do what you are passionate about. Make a difference in other’s lives. Be a leader in your life and let your children see how brave and courageous you really are. Don’t let anyone stop you from dreaming but most of all don’t let yourself stop you from making you dream into a reality.

I recently took a test to find out what my strengths are. I wasn’t surprised at all by the results. They say a lot about me. See for yourself:

Your Top Strength

Spirituality, sense of purpose, and faith
You have strong and coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe. You know where you fit in the larger scheme. Your beliefs shape your actions and are a source of comfort to you.

Your Second Strength

You are aware of the good things that happen to you, and you never take them for granted. Your friends and family members know that you are a grateful person because you always take the time to express your thanks.

Your Third Strength

Hope, optimism, and future-mindedness
You expect the best in the future, and you work to achieve it. You believe that the future is something that you can control.

Your Fourth Strength

Capacity to love and be loved
You value close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated. The people to whom you feel most close are the same people who feel most close to you.

Your Fifth Strength

Forgiveness and mercy
You forgive those who have done you wrong. You always give people a second chance. Your guiding principle is mercy and not revenge.


Creativity, ingenuity, and originality
Thinking of new ways to do things is a crucial part of who you are. You are never content with doing something the conventional way if a better way is possible.


Honesty, authenticity, and genuineness
You are an honest person, not only by speaking the truth but by living your life in a genuine and authentic way. You are down to earth and without pretense; you are a "real" person.


Fairness, equity, and justice
Treating all people fairly is one of your abiding principles. You do not let your personal feelings bias your decisions about other people. You give everyone a chance.


Kindness and generosity
You are kind and generous to others, and you are never too busy to do a favor. You enjoy doing good deeds for others, even if you do not know them well.


Modesty and humility
You do not seek the spotlight, preferring to let your accomplishments speak for themselves. You do not regard yourself as special, and others recognize and value your modesty.


Bravery and valor
You are a courageous person who does not shrink from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain. You speak up for what is right even if there is opposition. You act on your convictions.


Citizenship, teamwork, and loyalty
You excel as a member of a group. You are a loyal and dedicated teammate, you always do your share, and you work hard for the success of your group.


Appreciation of beauty and excellence
You notice and appreciate beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in all domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience.


You excel at the tasks of leadership: encouraging a group to get things done and preserving harmony within the group by making everyone feel included. You do a good job organizing activities and seeing that they happen.


Love of learning
You love learning new things, whether in a class or on your own. You have always loved school, reading, and museums-anywhere and everywhere there is an opportunity to learn.


Zest, enthusiasm, and energy
Regardless of what you do, you approach it with excitement and energy. You never do anything halfway or halfheartedly. For you, life is an adventure.


Industry, diligence, and perseverance
You work hard to finish what you start. No matter the project, you "get it out the door" in timely fashion. You do not get distracted when you work, and you take satisfaction in completing tasks.


Perspective (wisdom)
Although you may not think of yourself as wise, your friends hold this view of you. They value your perspective on matters and turn to you for advice. You have a way of looking at the world that makes sense to others and to yourself.


Humor and playfulness
You like to laugh and tease. Bringing smiles to other people is important to you. You try to see the light side of all situations.


Social intelligence
You are aware of the motives and feelings of other people. You know what to do to fit in to different social situations, and you know what to do to put others at ease.


Curiosity and interest in the world
You are curious about everything. You are always asking questions, and you find all subjects and topics fascinating. You like exploration and discovery.


Judgment, critical thinking, and open-mindedness
Thinking things through and examining them from all sides are important aspects of who you are. You do not jump to conclusions, and you rely only on solid evidence to make your decisions. You are able to change your mind.


Caution, prudence, and discretion
You are a careful person, and your choices are consistently prudent ones. You do not say or do things that you might later regret.


Self-control and self-regulation
You self-consciously regulate what you feel and what you do. You are a disciplined person. You are in control of your appetites and your emotions, not vice versa.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What Next?

Sometimes in life you can find yourself standing there wondering where are you going, what are you doing, how are you going to get there. I feel myself at this point. After 2 months of taking it easy after chemo and radiation, my children have now started back to school and summer feels like it is almost over. My energy level and memory is improving but certainly not to the level that I’d like it to be. So what next with my life? I have felt a little out of balance lately and made personal goals to get this in check. My summer was a “boat” load of fun, but now it is time to focus on how I am going to take care of myself and my children from here on.

I’m a dreamer, a visual person. I have big plans for my solo life...lofty goals and high aspirations. I know I can do it. I have all the right people in place to help me get to where I want to be…where I dream to be. Life is worth the risk! The risk is worth the rewards! I have a second chance at my dreams coming true. I’m happy to realize this now instead of 20 yrs from now. I know anything is possible. I’ve learned that you can not depend on others to make you happy, to do the things you ask of them nor make your dreams come true. It is up to you and no one else. Along the way you can seek guidance but in the end it is only you who can make the biggest difference in your own life.

Life is a journey. I’ve hit some bumps along the way. There have been some road blocks and mountains to go over but it’s worth the ride. On this day, ask yourself if you have lived your dream. What if tomorrow life changed drastically for you...are you happy where you are, where you are going? What change can you make today to reach your goals?

Life is worth enjoying every minute, everyday. Worry about nothing, pray about everything. Open your heart to love and see what happens. Open yourself to change and see what opportunity comes about.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Live, Love, Laugh!!!

It’s been 7 weeks since my final radiation treatment. I’ve taken the time to get some much needed rest. Spent quality time with my children and friends and time to discover new people in my life. This summer’s goal for me has been to “Live, Love and Laugh”. Something that I haven’t done for a long time.

What does it mean to me to “Live”?
To live is to feel alive. Not just breathing and waking every morning but really alive. To know the feeling of contentment. To be able to sit back and look around you and feel full of life. To watch children play and laugh, to listen to a bird chirp and take a moment to thank God for new life. To feel the wind blow against my face while on the back of a motorcycle and feel the free to what life has to offer. And to realize that life is going to be good and smile just believing it. This is what living feels like to me. How about you? Are you really alive?

What does it mean to me to “Love”?
Love has always been different for me personally. My love has become more unconditional and when I give it – I give all of it. I made a conscious choice years ago to open my hear and to love everyone regardless of differences. Love my family, love my friends, love my clients, love people. Now when it comes to a more meaningful love – my love goes much deeper. It’s a love that is accepting, forgiving, trusting, giving, passionate and more to another level. It’s a love where I give all of my heart away. This love comes from deep within my heart and soul. What does love mean to you?

What does it mean to me to “Laugh”?
“Laughter is the best medicine” rings so true to me. I haven’t laughed in a long time. I find myself laughing more and more each day and even though it takes my breath away because of the treatments and being short of breath it still feels so good to laugh again. Laughing at life, at thoughts, at others and at myself is helping me feel alive again. When was the last time you really laughed?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Stepping Over

There comes a point in your life where you simply MUST draw a line in the sand and step over to the other side. I have said from the beginning of this journey that when I was done with Cancer Treatments there would be a line in the sand that I will be stepping over. I WILL NOT look back at the past any longer. I WILL NOT listen to the past being brought up anymore. This story is over. There will be a new book to focus on. A book about new beginnings, new life and new possibilities from now on. There are many blank pages to fill. I have learned about how quickly life can pass you by. That you shouldn’t waste a minute on regrets and holding onto old thoughts that bring you down. Life is about living and living it to your fullest. Life is about loving yourself and surrounding yourself with good people that will hold you up during difficult times. It’s about knowing you are strong enough to get through the worse situations and come out on the other side a better person. Life is precious and should be cared for by each and every one of us. By the grace of God I have passed over this part of my life with more strength than I could imagine I ever had. Thank you to all of my wonderful friends and family that have seen me through. Should any of you need anything - reach out to me and know I am there for you, too.
Many Blessings to all of you!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Forever Changed

Many people face a life change at some point in their lives. Never would you think you would face all of a life change at one single point in your life. By now it is no secret that my marriage of 12 years is over. Cancer treatment is almost over. Life as I knew it is over. The person I knew I was is no longer the same. The man I loved is no longer the same. The family I once had is no longer the same. So how do you handle so much change at one single time in your life? One-day-at-a-time.

During the earlier months of my cancer treatments, I was growing spiritually and connecting myself to be closer to God. This is all a part of a cancer journey. I was very in touch with who I was. A cancer diagnosis is enough of a challenge to face with change happening inside of you. I was very trusting, forgiving, loving unconditionally, giving, kind, patient, compassionate and strong. I learned about love - it does not boast, it does not envy, it always endures. I grew into that person a few years ago through learning what love is. I had become her to get through other challenging times. Don’t get me wrong, there were moments where the old would rear its ugly head, but for the most part I was all of that to the ones I loved. I opened my heart and my door.

Who do you become when all those ways of being get trampled on by two people you trusted? Unfortunately, you become someone else. You become sad, hurt, angry and bitter. You can’t be the person you were because that person was taken advantage of at the most vulnerable time in her life. You have to wear that other person as a mask everyday but inside it’s different. Inside your heart is hardened and your walls are built. Many people tell me that time will heal these wounds. How much time – I don’t know? I will need to find the new person that I will be out of this. I can still be loving, giving, kind, patient, compassionate and very strong. Trusting and forgiving are not possible.

Out of every life changing event we can learn something. I believe that is the point to life. What have I learned from this experience? Never allow your man to have close female friends. It is not normal no matter what he says. Put your foot down or put him out the door. Because if YOU were important enough he would WANT to change for you. Also, if you ever heard the saying that a bird doesn’t leave its nest until it has another to go to – there is truth to that as well. One more that I recently heard - the grass is only greener where you water it. Hopefully he remembers to water his new grass.

Thank you for your prayers and support for me and my children at this time. We are so very grateful to see how God has worked in protecting us.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What shoe are you?

If you had to compare yourself to a shoe – what shoe would you be? I heard someone describe their husband as a well worn loafer recently and it got me thinking. What shoe am I?

I would describe myself as a well worn sandal. I love sandals. They are comfortable and with a little heal they make your feet look pretty. My sandals are strappy and simple. I like ones that I’ve worn for a long time. However, the heels are a little worn out. They have scratches on them. They have dirt stuck on the bottom and may look as if they have been chewed on by a dog. One would think to buy a new pair and I have, but it was the exact same pair because I liked them so much. They were comfortable – what can I say.

Remember the expression “put yourself in my shoes” or “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes and you’ll really know where they are coming from”? Is it really possible to put yourself in someone else’s shoes or walk a mile in their shoes to know who they are, what they are feeling, where they are coming from? You might get an inkling of what they are feeling but you will never get the fullest extent of who they are and what they are experiencing – good or bad.

Time to get a new pair of shoes…

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I was told recently that I haven’t been seeing signs. Funny enough, I have. However, for quite sometime I was blind to some signs that were in my face. Maybe you can call it denial, but they were there and I see them all very clearly now. Call it God, the Universe or Divine Intervention – whatever. I believe everything happens for a reason. It may be difficult to see when you are going through life changes but I believe God places people/signs/inner voice into our lives to guide us on our path.

For years, I have had moments where the little voice said “let --- go” but I chose to ignore it, hang on and fix. There was a moment that I was awoken out of bed at an ungodly hour by something bigger than myself in order to stop something from happening. To me that was a sign that this was meant to be. There were signs and stomach knotting that told me that certain people were not good, but I chose to ignore it. There were changed behaviors and things that should've clued me in. There were scrabble words that came up that should’ve warned me of deceit with someone. There was again that gut feeling and a conversation that should not have been ignored. Sometimes, we shut off to the signs that are right there in front of us. The ones we don’t want to see. The ones we deny. The ones that will hurt us.

Then there are other signs…like praying for help with something and the next thing you know someone is there or affirming your desire and a door opening with possibility. Needing help with insurance claims and someone out of the blue asking you if you need help with something like that. A doctor that you don’t normally see just happens to see you and also had the same disease. They are all signs – signs of a greater Power at work in our lives. Now we just need to not ignore the signs.

New Link:

Saturday, May 2, 2009


It has now been 6 months since I found out that I had cancer - Hodgkin’s Lymphoma to be exact. Early on I talked to many friends for words of wisdom, but one resonated to me more than I expected. She was very frank with me. She told me that I should thank Jesus for cancer and that I will be cleaning out all the garbage from my life and starting new. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear back then, but she was so right. I have a huge pile of garbage – one big piece in general - that I’ve cleaned out. I’m still not sure where to put it all – a dumpster would be nice. I do thank Jesus for cancer. This has given me a chance to know who people really are and who I really am.

My oncologist also told me I am cancer-free. He has no idea just how “cancer-free” I am. One final chemo treatment and some radiation to go, then new life begins.

“Trust is like a vase...once it's broken, though you can fix it the vase will never be same again.”

New links:

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Beautiful Space

For years now I have been helping many people create beautiful spaces. I’ve been fixing their problems and helping them decorate their homes to reflect their style. Never would I have guessed that I’d be creating a beautiful space for myself. I’m not talking about my home, I’m talking about my mind and my heart.

This journey has taken me to new levels. I continue to grow. When my husband and I met we were so young. In our early twenties. I had no idea who I really was at the time nor what love really was. I had an interesting upbringing that created me. My life has been so blessed to know the man of my dreams. He is a deeply, profound person, very insightful. He tried to teach me things over the years that I did not appreciate. That I could not understand. I understand now why God brought him into my life.

My heart and mind are creating a new space. This takes a little bit of time. It won’t be perfect but it is beautiful. It is somewhere on a soft, sandy, white beach. I am with the ones that I love so deeply. We are walking hand in hand. We stop to play in the water and laugh. There are shells along the edge that we pick up. Each shell looks so different yet they are all clustered together. Some have soft edges, some are rough. The years in the ocean have changed them but they are still beautiful. Now the shells are picked up by our hands and put into a bucket to go home. They will be washed clean and set somewhere. My children and I may make something out of them. Something new.

Each day is a new adventure, a new beginning. Seize it and make it yours.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


In stressful times, we find ourselves doing and saying crazy things. We find ourselves grasping for anything that might fix something or someone we love. It’s just what we do.

When something of value breaks you try to fix it. Anything is fixable. You may have to use more than your own hands to fix it and it may take extra glue and time for the glue to dry for it to work again. It’s not going to work just like it did before it broke. And you may need to pay money to have someone help fix it. But if it’s valued enough you will do anything you can to fix it.

I don’t think that just because something is broken it can’t be fixed with effort. Glue, band aids and tape may not work very well. They can hold it together for awhile but it can still leak. When that happens you don’t have to throw it away completely – especially when it’s something of value. You can put it on a shelf for safe keeping and take it out once in awhile and look at it and remember what it meant to you.

And who knows, maybe when you are out one day you may find something just like it. Then you can take it home and play with it, use it again. Never throw away something that you value so much just because it’s broken. There might just be another use for it.

"Part of being sane is being a little bit crazy." - Janet Long

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Step 1: Looking in the Mirror

Today, I looked in the bathroom mirror after my shower. I’ve looked at her before. I’ve looked at her everyday. But today was different. I noticed more of her. I looked beyond the dark circles around her eyes, the thinning hair, the disappearing eyebrows and eyelashes, the now permanent creases on her face from 38 years of living and 5 months of chemotherapy. She is beautiful – and I told her so today. She is amazing and full of life and possibility. She has learned a lot but has more to yet learn. She doesn’t need to hide anymore. She doesn’t need to wear a mask over who she is.

She deserves to be healthy. She deserves to take care of herself and put herself first. She deserves someone to love her for who she is and not who she was. She deserves to be heard and accepted of her opinions. She deserves to have everything life has to offer. She deserves to love herself and to be loved.

She is no longer that little girl missing her mommy. She is no longer that young teen taking physical and verbal abuse from young boys because of how she looks. She is no longer that young woman who doesn't know what love feels like because true love wasn't received while still young. She is letting go of all the hurt, sorrow, disappointment and pain that has been carried around for 38 years.

Today feels like spring...the perfect time to plant new seeds in my mind and see how they grow - to see how “she” grows. It is the perfect day to tell everyone that you love them but most importantly to tell yourself that you love YOU.

“Love is the highest form of acceptance, and judgment is the hard rejection of that acceptance.” – from the book Unattended Sorrow by Steven Levine

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Time for Healing

My doctor informed me that my treatments are going very well. I am healing. Now, if only, I can heal my heart and my soul.

I have been using this time to reflect and get in touch with my true self. The funny thing is, I have been trying to do this for so many years. In a way, this crisis has been an odd blessing, it has given me the chance to really get to know myself. To let go of the old and the idea that you have to look and act a certain way to be loved or to love yourself.

I have always considered myself to be a strong, independent woman. Those who know me would certainly agree. But deep inside there was a little girl who just wanted to be taken care of. She just wanted her mommy to hold her and tell her everything will be ok. She mourned the death of her mother once again – for a final time. She has been mourning the death of forever love. Now this strong, independent little girl is learning to love herself, forgive herself and move on by herself should she have to.

I thank everyone who has been following my blog and continue to do so. I have not responded to your comments because I simply wasn’t ready to. I’m still not quite ready to, but I can only say thank you. My faith has wavered these few months and it still wavers today. However, from each one of you who loves me regardless of what you know or don’t know about me – you are a blessing and a knowing gift from God in my life.

There is still a lot of work to be done within me. With time my wounds will heal.
Many blessings...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Losing Faith

What is faith anyway? Why do people say “have faith”? I’ve tried having faith and it hasn’t gotten me anywhere. I’ve prayed and it hasn’t gotten me what I prayed for. All it has gotten me is a big mess and more than I can handle. Don’t you just love the phrase “God won’t give you more than you can handle?” Well, He has. And if He thinks He’s doing it because He loves me – I have to question that.

I’ve been through some crap in my life, but now I’m so far stuck in crap that I can’t even dig my way out. I’m just stuck in it. Stuck facing all the choices, decisions, actions and words that I’ve done over the years. I can’t take anything back. I can’t change what I have done to myself and to people I love. I’ve tried changing myself and finding faith to believe in - only to find myself at a crossroad in life wondering why. Why me? Why all of this at one time? Why?

Thursday, March 19, 2009


This week has been an emotional one. I have a lot of forgiveness to do someday. But today I was able to give someone else my true forgiveness. Someone that I love dearly and allowed differences to get in the way of a great friendship. It feels good to open my heart and see what comes in. It especially feels good to know how much someone really loves you - when you need it the most. It feels good to know that there is someone who will drop anything and come from miles away if I need them to. It feels good for a moment to not feel alone.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Climb Lyrics by Miley Cyrus

I can almost see it
That dream I'm dreamin, but
There's a voice inside my head sayin
You'll never reach it
Every step I'm taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking

But I, I gotta keep tryin
Gotta keep my head held high

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
That sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about whats waitin on the other side
Its the climb

The struggles I'm facin
The chances I'm takin
Sometimes might knock me down, but
No, I'm not breaking
I may not know it
But these are the moments that
I'm gonna remember most yeah
Just gotta keep going

And I, I got to be strong
Just keep pushing on, cause

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
That sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waitin on the other side
Its the climb

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
That sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waitin on the other side
Its the climb
Yeah yeah

Keep on movin
Keep climbin
Keep the faith, baby
Its all about, its all about the climb
Keep the faith
Keep your faith
Whoa, whoa

(...thank you for the inspiration Miley. Even if you are only 17...)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Life

Inside of me a part of myself is dying. I feel like a flower withering in the cold. Winter is coming to a close and spring is coming soon. I'm not sure who or how I'll be when this is over. Somedays I wish I could fast forward to just get a glimpse. "Patience" is whispered in my ear.
New life may take on a new meaning this year.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Simple Life

I am as guilty as many other women. I was driven by wanting. Wanting a bigger house, nicer car and clothing - better things. This was how I was raised. I came from a middle class, NJ family. I was the youngest and only girl so I got it all. One pout and my daddy got me what I wanted. I remember crying over needing an outfit for my Barbie doll and daddy took me to the store to pick something out. Maybe he was doing it out of guilt that my mother died when I was young or this was his only way of showing his love to me. Anyhow, my husband was left to clean up this mess. He grew up as an only child. His parents didn’t have much so when he got something new – it was more than likely used from a yard sale. It’s funny how much we are defined by our upbringing.

Before getting sick, I spent the previous year or so simplifying my life. Or so I thought I was. Now I am faced with real simplifying – getting down to what really matters – the basics of life. It is an emotional realization. A part of you knows what you have to let go of yet the other part wants to keep holding on. It was easy to call the cable company and cut back to basic cable. It’s not so easy to call the broker and cash in the IRA’s that you thought you’d have when you retired. Once I make the call to shut off the phone number to my business line - then I know it is real.

When it gets down to survival then it’s getting a simpler life weather you want it or not. I asked God to help me a year ago to define a simpler life. Above is what I came up with.

It’s been hanging by my desk for quite some time now. I have worked on all of these areas of my life. Or so I thought. Oprah has dedicated entire weeks and episodes to this subject. Many people are feeling it right now. Maybe you are one of them. It doesn’t matter how much YOU want to simplify – your EGO still gets in the way.

I have hidden behind the stuff for way too long. When everything is striped away – what’s left is what really matters - my family, my friends, my health. Now that is simple.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Letting Go

I have blogged before about letting go, but this time I want to talk about letting go in a bigger way. Big as in - did you ever have dreams for your life? Dreams of what you’ll be when you grow up? Of where you’ll live? How you’ll live? Who you’ll marry and what your kids will be like? We all have and not achieving some of these dreams is the reason so many people go through depression, mid life crisis and/or divorce.

I’ve had time to reflect upon my own dreams lately. Time to think about letting go of some of my own dreams. We are in unstable, financial times as it is and the addition of a health crisis on top of it doesn’t make it any better.

Four years ago, I had the opportunity to start my own decorating business. I dreamed of this happening. I had a passion for decorating and I was good at it. It was an exciting time and scary, too. I had dreams of making enough money to support my family so my husband didn’t have to work so hard. I worked my butt off to make my dream happen. One year into it I started to develop some health problems. I was putting myself under a lot of pressure to succeed. I was very driven. As well as there were so many aspects to this type of business that I wasn’t aware of and learned along the way. Each year I expected more income and instead I got more debt. Then each year I changed something that wasn’t working for me with the hope that my business would change. It hasn’t yet. It may be time to let go. Of course, I admit this but I am still unable to fully let go. This is my passion – my dream. After this health crisis works itself out and I can work again full-time – it may be time to work for someone else. I may need to give myself to another business and in turn receive a guaranteed paycheck to better support my family. I can always keep my decorating business on the side. The reality is – I can not live my dream full-time. In these unsure times one of us should bring home a regular paycheck and benefits. And that someone will have to be me – if there is an employer out there who will have me. Family comes first - dreams second.

That is one dream – poof – gone. Of course, letting go of that dream means letting go of other dreams too. With the dream of better income came the dream for better things. Material things. I dreamed of a bigger, beautifully decorated home. Everyday, I help people with big homes make them more beautiful. I wanted what they had. I was tired of living in a small, cramped home. Now I realize that bigger isn’t always better. It’s not what you have that makes you happy. Happiness comes from within. We can live in this little house and still have everything because we have each other – our family. We have love and closeness – and that is what matters.

Dreams are good to have. They are well worth following. I’ll let you know if there are better things that follow when you let go of dreams - soon.


Jen’s Church Family is hosting a Mary Kay
and Premier Designs Jewelry Fundraiser Open House on
Friday March 6th
From 7:00 to 9:00 pm
At Asbury United Methodist Church
340 East Market Street York, Pa.
Hope you can come and support Jen and her Family.
A percentage of your total order will be given to them.
For questions please call Kathy Rizzuto at
717-600-1796 or email at rizzutokathy@hotmail.com

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thank you for visiting....

York Daily Record Story Link:


Saturday, February 14, 2009

It's ok to rest

I have been blessed today with time to rest my body, but my mind is unable to rest with questions that I need to share. I had the honor of a friend taking me to my last chemo treatment - someone that I considered an acquaintance before my diagnosis. I can now honestly say that most all of the women that have been an acquaintance in my life have now become “friends” due to the overwhelming love, support and giving to me and my family during this time.

Anyway, what keeps me from napping right now is the burning question of “if cancer happened to my husband would the attention and support be the same or different from his friends?” My guess is that his friends certainly wouldn’t be bringing dinners or offering to take our kids on a regular basis. My guess is their wives would be given the duty and they would certainly do it, too. I say this because I’ve noticed that it is not just me that is a “doer” but every woman that I meet is the same way. This has it’s pros and cons of course. I believe if you have a balance it is ok to be a doer. It’s in every woman’s nature. But you also have to be able to stop and care for your own needs.

With my occupation I have been in many homes and helped many women (and men) make their homes more comfortable. I’ve seen empty spaces that could be used as “getaway space” go unused. I’ve seen huge master bathrooms with soaking tubs that look so inviting. When I ask if my client uses it the answer is usually no.

I bring this subject up again because of another conversation with a friend who happens to be a doer, too. We acknowledge that we are like this and there are two things that can be done about it. One being we can acknowledge and accept it and not change it. Two being we can acknowledge it and change it. When faced with the notion of change we tend to get stuck. Why is change so hard? Change doesn’t have to be huge. Change can simply be walking away from the dishes in the sink or the floor that needs to be swept and retreat to our bedroom to read a book or just lay down for a half hour. If your home is anything like mine, there is usually a time period that the kids are content with the tv and my husband is on his laptop in another room. I take this time to go lay down (something I never did before) or read. Of course, expect an interruption at some point from the kids. Why? Because they are used to mom doing something for them when they need it. In my house, they will walk right past dad and come upstairs to me to ask for a drink when dad was in the kitchen. After a few weeks of retraining they are getting there. What’s scarier is that I found myself attempting to get up and go down and get the drink until my loving husband stepped in.

I share about this because rest and allowing others to help has been difficult for me and I understand why now. When I was first diagnosed, every person I talked to immediately asked “what could they do to help us.” I had no idea. At that time I was physically fine and able to do for myself. I was actually preparing myself for not needing help and still doing it all just to keep things “normal” in my home. It wasn’t until about two weeks ago that the effects of the chemo and my continual pushing to keep a normal pace took a turn for the need of more help.

Asking and accepting help is hard for most of us because we are the person that does for others. We are prideful to say the least and I am finding out that I am no different than anyone else. I have certainly been learning my lessons. God has a funny way of making us learn it regardless. I have never been one to ask for much help. And if I did I expected it to be done as I would do it. I’d look over my husbands shoulder to see if he’s folding the clothes like me or washing the dishes like me. I have had to “let go” of a lot of things lately. I have had to accept that if I can’t do them they will get done and it will be fine. And it has been. The dishes are clean, the laundry is getting done and put away. My house is getting as clean as it can be and sometimes I just have to turn away and remind myself that whatever it is I will get to that when I’m feeling better. It’s ok.

So, on this Valentine’s Day, I remind my women friends and all the other women who read this (I love you all just as God loves you) to acknowledge who you are and if you can be happier changing one thing. What would that be? Can you make it a part of your life? Will it make you a happier, healthier woman/mom? If so, it’s worth it.

Now I can rest my body and my mind.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Mom's Health REALLY Does Matter!!

I can’t speak any louder about this subject now more than ever. A friend and I were having lunch this past week and discussing (not gossiping) about how many mom’s we have come across who are not taking very good care of themselves. I’ve learned the hard way that ‘Mom’s Health Does Matter.’ Mother’s care for everyone else, yet seldom do they care enough for themselves.

Now I know there are mom’s out there who do take very good care of themselves and I’m not talking to you. I am talking to the mom’s who are trying to do it all. The mom with a business of her own, a career or a job. The mom with two or more children and a spouse with a full time job. I’m especially talking to the single mom who really has to do it all by no other choice. We run ourselves into the ground. We find ourselves taking care of everyone first and ourselves last. We ignore the fatigue or are told by our doctors that we do too much and just need to slow down. (If only we could!) I’ll tell you a story of someone I know well and maybe it will hit home…

Jane came from a family broken by a mother who took her own life at a young age. Her older brothers and father went astray after her mother’s sudden death. Jane was only 9 at the time and found she was more or less on her own now. As Jane grew up she got into some trouble but managed to get her life together – so it looked like. She married a wonderful man at age 26 after 5 years of really getting to know each other. They had their first child at 28 – a very, happy and healthy little girl. She was the twinkle in their eyes! As their little girl grew, Jane and her husband Bill considered having another child. Their first was such a joy, so why not.

Two years later, they tried for child number two. First they had the misfortune of a miscarriage – which proved challenging for Jane. She became persistent to conceive again and three months later, they did. It was only two months into the pregnancy that Jane found herself grieving a sudden death of a very close friend. The shock and trauma of such an event during a pregnancy sent Jane into a state of depression. She didn’t know how to handle being pregnant and being sad. This combination caused a pregnancy that was stressful on Jane’s body as well as a stressful delivery.

When their second child was being delivered, Jane just made it to the hospital. Their son, came out within minutes of getting there and he was furious about entering the world. He was bruised and stiffened for days after delivery as well as mom was tired and sore from the delivery. Even still, they were sent home healthy enough to leave.

Within the first weeks home, Jane knew this second child was much different than the first. He wasn’t happy, he cried all the time and his “spitting up” turned into projectile vomit by 7 wks old. After much insisting that something was seriously wrong, Jane & Bill had an ultrasound done with their son and found he had a blockage in his stomach and had to have emergency surgery to correct it. The doctors assured them that their child will be fine and after this surgery he’d be a happier child. Well, he was fine, but he was not happier. Their son was simply colic after that and colic for the whole first year or more. It is a blur to them now.

They walked and talked to each other during that time, but did not really communicate. Their marriage was straining, but no one was doing anything about it. Jane cared for the children without really caring for herself. There were notes of forgetting conversations but dismissing it as no big thing or sleep deprivation. It’s been five years since the second child was born. Three years ago Jane noticed more things about herself that concerned her. It began with not just forgetting things but forgetting where she was going while driving. Feeling itchy all over, hot during the night, moodiness, foggy brain and unable to concentrate. She knew something wasn’t right. After many blood tests and visits to the doctors, it was presumed that she had a thyroid problem. She took the doctors advice and started taking Synthroid to fix it. However, she never felt right and was always still tired and foggy headed.

Three years later, she was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, a blood cancer. Yup, you guessed it…Jane is me. Many of the symptoms are similar and who knows if I really do have a thyroid problem or not. We’ll wait and tackle that later. But I ignored many things over the years about myself. I went to doctors but no one was able to find anything wrong. I should’ve learned to be more of an advocate for my own health after the issues with my son’s early health scare but I didn’t. I just went on feeling not myself and doing my work and taking care of my family and stressing out about money and how we’re going to pay the bills and our future and everything else….

When really, how much control do we really have over this stuff anyway? As I lay here typing my memories with a body filled with chemo and achy beyond achy and fatigued beyond fatigue…I wonder how did I get here? I see my path in the past. I only know that my future path will be different. I’ve had to “let go” of a lot of things, ideals and pride. I am blessed to be cared for and I know things have a way of working out. It’s not going to be easy at all but I have seen it happen so far and I know everything will be fine in the end.

So I have to take a stand for all of the mom’s out there who are putting themselves last. I beg of you to put yourself first. When you need to rest – rest. When you need to pamper yourself – pamper yourself. When you need to read a book – go read a book. Change now before you realize it’s too late. I can tell you from experience – it’s simply not worth the price and it could happen to you.

I love all of you! Every woman, every mom, every grandmother. Take care of yourself first and everything else will fall into place.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Two Month Doctor Update

This week was fun-packed with blood tests, a CAT scan, a doctor's appointment and in two days another chemo treatment. I thought I'd take a moment to update about the progress reported from my doctor today. The tumor's have reduced by half of what they were two months ago. This is a very good thing. It means the chemo treatments are working and another scan will be done in two months for more progress reporting.

As for my side effects and physical state from all of this...it's getting worse with every treatment. Unusual to other people, I tend to get nausea and ultra tired the week before a treatment instead of just after. If I could sleep or stay in bed all day - I would. The kiddos keep me going as any mom would have to. My lower back is aching more so this week than before as well. Tylenol with codine is now my new friend. The doctor seems to believe this may have a lot to do with the womanly monthly cycle and the chemo treatments together. Uhhh - wish "somedays" I was a man:)!

To date: I'm going on the 5th chemo treatment this Friday and 7 more to go. Almost to the half way point! Thank you to everyone who is following this blog, have offered help and prayers.

Check out the side bar for more offers for products that you can purchase and have a percentage go towards our families needs. There are great products including Mary Kay, Silpada jewelry, Filing Systems and more to come. Check back weekly for more offers. Valentine's Day is coming up soon! Don't forget to buy yourself something pretty, ladies - YOU DESERVE IT! And men, YOUR LADY DESERVES IT!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Start from the First Blog and Work Your Way UP!

There seems to be more and more to share. Unfortunately, I'm exhausted from painting the past two days so I'm going to make this a quickie. To make any sense of this, you may want to start from the first blog and work your way up.

My devoted husband, Bob, is also self employed. He has an Advertising/Graphic Design Agency that has been established for 14 years. As his wife, I can't say enough about the work that he does. His talent is amazing! Supporting us can also mean supporting his business. Visit his website www.whutta.com and connect with him about any advertising/design work your business may need.

In regards to my murals, I've had a few questions about them. One of the slideshows to the right of this blog shows a variety of murals and wall designs that I have done. Designing a mural starts with the size of the wall to be covered. Generally, pricing is estimated by the square footage and depends on the design. A mural can be designed in a "simple to paint" style, printed on transparency and projected onto a wall to trace. Any experienced painter could follow the lines and color codes. Another option is having a mural designed and printed onto custom wallpaper that can be hung by any experienced paper hanger.
Email me a picture of your room with the wall in question and I can come up with a creative idea for it. Just email me at jen@jforddesigns.com with a description, pictures and what you'd like to achieve for the room.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hats of Hope

Order a Hat of Hope!

They make a great gift for yourself or a friend.

Color: Black & Light Pink Fun Fur Yarn with Light Pink Ribbon
One Size fits Most
Scarf available as a set

Adult Hat Only: $26.50 w/tax
Adult Hat & Scarf Set: $42.40 w/tax

Child Hat Only: $21.20 w/tax
Child Hat & Scarf Set: $31.80 w/tax

$5 Shipping & Handling charge outside York, PA
In York, PA - free delivery

Payment options - Paypal, cash or check
Please allow 3 weeks for delivery as these are handmade. Thank you for your order.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How You Can Help

It is hard to ask for help and so many people have offered. I often wonder why I shy away from accepting or just telling someone what they can do. I think it is just pride getting in the way. This platform offers me an easier way to communicate our needs.

I will be having chemo treatments until early May 2009. They are scheduled every two weeks. Check my calendar to the right of this page for the next month of scheduling. I could use offers to drive and pick me up from my treatments since I feel very groggy afterwards. They are being scheduled for Fridays and usually take about 3 hours.

Other ways to be helpful:

On Saturdays after my chemo, I need to rest. My children have a lot of energy and could use playdate offers together or separately. Chloe is 9 and Carson is 5. They may be shy at first but generally play well with others. They also love going to the movies and have a list of ones they'd like to see.

Meals are currently being provided around my chemo days by my church family. I have not asked for any other days since I am feeling well enough to make dinner most of the time. However, a surprise drop off is always welcome even if it can be frozen to save time and trips to the grocery store.

I am a hard worker which has posed a challenge for me to rest. I do have days that I am well enough to work, but I am pacing myself. I have worked hard for over 3 years to get my interior decorating business off the ground. I am available to consult on a home, do design plans, design/order custom window treatments and light decorative painting. If you are in or around York, PA I'd be happy to make an appointment to see your home. Please email me at jen@jforddesigns.com to discuss.

One of my passions has been creating wall designs and murals. If this is something you'd like to do in your home I can come up with designs and you can have them painted by someone else or we can discuss ways to have them made as wallpaper or adhesives.

Last but not least, to the right there is a link to donate. I resisted this offer but it is available for anyone who is able to help us at this time. A part of me wants to explain all the financial woos that go along with a cancer diagnosis but most people have a good idea what could be involved.

My family thanks you from the bottom of our hearts! So many have helped us get this far and will see us to the end as well and we thank all of you. It is a humbling time. Prayers are always welcomed as well. I know they have been strong for us and we have found God working in our lives. Thank you everyone for caring.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Diagnosis - The Day The Bomb Dropped

The day you hear the words, "you have cancer" is a day you will never forget. This is never in your plans. This is what you never want or ask for. Especially at 37 years old, running a family with two young children, just getting your own business off the ground floor, and busy with life. For anyone who has been diagnosed with any type of cancer, the emotions, thoughts, fears and roller coaster ride are not ones you DO NOT want to be on. But you are here...now what...

On November 5, 2008, two days after having a swollen lymph node removed, I received the phone call with the final diagnosis - Hodgkins Lymphoma, a blood cancer. At this point I knew what my possibilities were after too much googling. I didn't want cancer, but if it was going to be any cancer this one had a lot of hope with treatment and remission. Many people came out of the woodwork. I already knew two people who had this type of cancer - so I had someone to talk to. After having a chance to digest this diagnosis I talked to anyone who could shed light on what to expect from chemo treatment.

One month later after many tests, meeting my new doctor and "temporary best friend" - my oncologist and confirming stage 2 of Hodgkins, I started my first chemo on December 4, 2008. I cannot describe the anxious feeling that sweeps through you when facing the unknown. I heard so many stories about other people and how their bodies handled chemo. Most stories were not very encouraging to say the least.

So here I am...preparing for my 4th chemo treatment this Friday. My body is handling it well with some side effects and my mind is doing better. Now I am working on my spirit. I am a faithful Christian woman. I have overcome a lot of things in my life and have turned to God for help and strength and turned away as well. "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger." "God doesn't give us more than we can handle." Sometimes these sayings are hard to hear, but right now they are keeping me going and I am turning to God for answers and reasons. I know I will get through this and be a stronger person in the end.

When faced with difficult times, and we are all having them today with the economy, explaining to young children about cancer and not being able to do some of the enjoyable things we like to do can be hard. I have been raising my children in a church environment where they can learn and understand more about God and Jesus and what it means to be a Christian person. At age 9, my daughter Chloe has a lot of questions. The biggest question being "why would God do this to you Mommy?" (I answered that one very well. My pastor would be proud.) At age 5, my son Carson was sure I was going to die or if he kissed me he'd get cancer, too. My husband has taken the financial burdens on since I am only working my business part-time. "When one person in a family has cancer - everyone has cancer." This is so true. It has changed our current lives and our future. We take each day one-at-a-time and pray that all will be well in the end.