More love jars ready!

Although time consuming to make, I just LOVE seeing another bunch of Love Jars ready to go! These gave me something to focus on this week while I anxiously awaited the phone call to begin radiation. The plan is to start Monday or Tuesday of next week but I’ll know for sure tomorrow as they are finalizing my plan today.

Special thanks to my incredible friends for their help in making these Love Jars through time, support and supplies. Love you all!!  💗💚💗💚💗 Team Red Phoenix!


Wednesday blessings

I have been fighting a cold / sinus infection for a while now and it started to get the best of me the last few days.  Thanks to some medicine and rest, I am finally starting to feel a little better.  I hate not feeling well!  Today, I am grateful for:

  1. The ability to rest and take it easy while recovering from this illness.  As antsy as I am to start radiation, I am relieved that I have not had to fight through a sinus infection during my first days of it.
  2. The incredible husband that I have.  He is such an incredible supporter, in more ways than I could ever list.
  3. My upcoming birthday.  I feel incredibly blessed that I am able to celebrate it and that I am cancer free for it.  This means so much to me.

Tell me, friends, what are you grateful for today?  I am sure there are a lot of things so let me hear it!

Life is precious

Today I am reminded of how precious life is.

I learned this morning that a woman I met at the CHHO in November lost her battle with breast cancer last night. As I stared at the picture of her, I could feel my heart begin to ache. I remember hearing her introduce herself and sharing that she had a son. I remember the way her voice cracked as she said she was Stage 4 and that the cancer had spread to her bones. I remember the way my heart ached for her that day, as it aches for her again now. Though I only met her once, she left an impact on me.

As I thought about what her family, her friends and her son are going through right now, I broke down. I cried, a lot. There were big sobs and heavy tears and a lot of yelling despite being alone. I cried for this woman and her family and I cried for me and mine. I cried because cancer does not discriminate. I cried because cancer is selfish. I cried because I hate cancer. I cried because it was all that I could do.

And then I stopped. I wiped the tears from my face and stood up tall. I reminded myself that I am blessed to be here. I reminded myself that I need to continue living the life that I want to live. I need to follow my dreams and make every effort possible to make them a reality. I need to love hard, embrace every moment and let go of the things that cause me worry. I need to live. Because that is what I am here to do.

This is the only life I have and I want to make it the best life that it could possibly be.

Rest in peace, Traci. I pray for you, your family and your friends to find peace.

Easter blessings

Growing up, Easter was typically spent at my grandparents’ house. They would spend the days prior to the holiday preparing for dozens of grandkids to come participate in an egg hunt. Looking back, I realize that they must have bought hundreds of eggs for us kids, so that we could all find plenty. They owned a good amount of land and would hide the eggs all over it. All of us grandkids would gather after church and search for the eggs after we ate a big supper at noon. Our baskets would all be full of the bright colored eggs by mid-afternoon, when we would open them up and see what goodies we found. My grandparents were so good at hiding the eggs that we sometimes found one or two eggs in the weeks after the big event.

When I was a bit older, I was lucky enough to help them prepare for the hunt. I recall a large bag filled with tons of coins that would be used to fill the eggs. The amount in each egg varied and some of them were filled with sweet treats too. A few lucky kids would even find a one dollar bill in their egg. I have many wonderful memories of these events throughout my childhood.

In recent years, Joe & I have done different things to celebrate the holiday. Sometimes we would host dinner, sometimes we would go to his parents’ house and sometimes we would do something different. This year, we decided to start a new tradition for our little family of three. I bet you can guess what it involved…

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After Jacob woke up and found his basket filled with books, shirts and coin filled eggs, he ventured outside in search of eggs filled with grapes. This little man loves his grapes! Next, each coin was carefully placed in his piggy bank and each grape was plopped in his mouth or fed to one of us (a new favorite pastime of his). Then we packed a cooler and headed to (you guessed it!) the beach.

Our typical go-to spot was taken so we tried our hidden spot number two, which was also taken. Uh-oh. Spot number 3? Yup, taken. We thought for sure we were ahead of the crowds! Although not entirely prepared for our next go-to place, we found it was pretty deserted and set up there. It worked out perfectly; the rain that had been threatening all morning focused its energy around us and only landed a few cool drops on our heads.

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We spent the day fishing, collecting shells and playing in the sand. The tide was going out and Jacob had a blast running in and out of the shallow waves as they formed a little pool for him to play in. There were lots of birds for him to chase and the wind was strong enough to play ball with him. His giggles filled the air all day long. It was a warm day with a cool, humid breeze that only Florida can offer. It was relaxing and fun – a perfect combination for us. We ended the day snuggled up together, thankful for the blessings that Easter brought to us.

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Livin’ on a prayer…halfway there!


The other day I was chatting with my friend and she asked me how many Herceptin treatments I had left. I responded that I didn’t know. She was surprised, expecting that I had a countdown going like I did with my 6 aggressive treatments. I explained that I hadn’t counted them because I felt like there were a ton and didn’t want to feel overwhelmed. She was understanding but offered that I might feel better with the countdown, like I did before.

So I pulled out a calendar and counted out every three weeks until September.  In my head, there were at least 20 and I probably didn’t have enough wall space for all of that. To my surprise, I didn’t even have 10 left!  What?!  Ok, so I’ll be printing out new Red Phoenix symbols to start this countdown after all…  (how does she know me so well?!)

Today while Jacob and I were playing outside, I turned Pandora onto the Bon Jovi station. (My go-to station…well, aside from my 90s love songs station ;)) “Livin’ on a prayer” by Bon Jovi started playing and Jacob & I danced around the yard.  While yelling out the lyrics together, I found myself getting excited each time the chorus came on. “Whoaaaa, we’re halfway there!” As I picked up Jacob and spun him around, (Joe’s been practicing for the weddings we have this year!) I realized something.

We’re halfway there!  It’s been 8 months since diagnosis and I have 8 months until reconstruction. I’m halfway through it all! I mean, I know I’ll have recovery from reconstruction and eventually my port will need to be removed but the “big” phases of this journey are halfway done!  How exciting is that?!

I guess I should dance around outside more often.  :);)

Treatment day blessings


On this treatment day, I am grateful for:

1. An afternoon appointment that allowed me a morning of play with little man before the post treatment fatigue.
2.  A break in the crazy rain storms to get some fresh air outside.
3.  Slight overcast skies and all this hair growth so neither of us need a hat today!

I am truly too blessed to complain. How about you?

The beach


Beach 032416This week has been odd. I didn’t have a ton of appointments like usual. I made sure that there wasn’t a whole lot to do since I thought that I was starting radiation and wasn’t sure how I would feel, especially driving to and from the appointment every day. It’s not crazy far but considering the entire appointment should be less than 30 minutes, the 45 minute each way ride seems like a lot.

So, I spent the week somewhere in between not really being sure what to do with my time and feeling like I could do about 100 things a day. I was able to get some things done and yet I was still able to rest when I needed to. I was starting to get a little antsy but also feeling guilty for having a few days to just…be.

When sharing this thought with one of my very best friends since forever, she replied with a reminder that I have been through a lot this year and that it’s ok to take some time to relax. She also reminded me that it was only a few short weeks ago that I beat cancer. It helped to hear that and know that it’s ok.

So today, I went to the beach. With me, myself and I. I indulged in a sweet treat outside while watching the water, the clouds and the sun. I people watched while the spring breakers chatted all around me. I sat out by the water and stuck my feet in the sand. I walked the ocean and felt the cool waves on my feet. I read my book, wrote a little and chatted with the fisherman who setup next to me.

But mostly, I just was. I let my mind settle while the wind drifted away with my thoughts. And although I missed my boys hanging out beside me, the day was wonderful, peaceful, freeing.

My happy place. It was exactly what I needed before tomorrow’s treatment.