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

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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.