A leap of faith

I didn’t nap today. I wanted to. I’m tired. But I couldn’t. Instead I cried. A lot. It’s been a while since I’ve cried and it must have been building up within my system because I couldn’t control it or contain it. The tears fell and they kept on falling. Even through my words, I couldn’t hold the tears back. I cried for a while, actually. Sometimes it seems like there are a lot of bad things happening all at once and it’s hard to see the light through it all. I think that’s part of what made me cry so hard. It was like one frustrating thing after another happened and I couldn’t see the point or the purpose in any of it.

Then the tears stopped. And I could see just a little more clearly. Yes, my eyes were red and puffy and I needed a few tissues. But it occurred to me that perhaps all that negativity is, quite literally, the point. What if all of those bad things are happening because of a change that needs to occur?

The details don’t matter but some of these bad things have been happening repeatedly. I keep trying to assume innocence and give the benefit of the doubt. Maybe I’m avoiding conflict but I like to think that I’m the type of person lately that assumes there is a good or valid reason behind certain actions. But there comes a point when we have to say enough is enough.

So…change. I’ve decided it’s needed. I’m not entirely sure what that looks like just yet and honestly, the options are a little scary. But that’s the point, isn’t it? To get out of your comfort zone and start living life differently? Why yes, I do think that is the point. And that’s what I plan to do. It won’t be easy and it won’t be something that I’ve done or experienced before but it will be worth it. All change that you create should be, right?

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A compassionate Saturday…and a small world

When we attended the K92.3 Survivors Meet & Greet last month, we met a wonderful warrior named Dixie who is a 4 year survivor. In an interesting twist, her husband is currently employed where Joe used to work prior to his current position. We all became fast friends and exchanged contact information. Earlier this week, Dixie invited us to be guests at an outreach event for a local breast cancer organization – Compassionate Hands and Hearts.

Today we attended this wonderful event and met dozens of incredible women – survivors, supporters and their families and friends. Every month these women get together and open their homes, their hearts, their stories and their love for local women battling breast cancer. Each and every one of them is a story of strength, courage and hope – filling a room with that much love can easily bring a person to tears. We spent the morning making new friends, enjoying delicious food and sharing stories.

In an interesting twist of fate, we were even able to meet a supporter of ours in person for the first time! My baby sister’s soon-to-be aunt-in-law has a sister who lives about an hour from us. She sends us cards regularly and prays for us every morning. Today, after seeing little man in his Red Phoenix shirt, she realized that she knew us and introduced herself. I immediately started bawling and hugged her. How cool is that?! What a small world…

As if the tears weren’t flowing enough already after spending time with these amazing, inspiring women, we were we able to witness this organization provide 6 incredible women fighting the fight with goodies and a financial gift. And then we were surprised at the end with a financial gift as well. What an amazing day.

I’ve heard there is strength in numbers. Although each of us has fought or is fighting this battle, I find strength with them.

I’ll share pictures once they’re posted!

So. Much. Love.

When I was a little girl, I loved to write letters. In between visits, my cousins and I would write back and forth to each other. During summer breaks, my closest friends and I would write to each other every few days; often making our own envelopes out of another sheet of paper. Sometimes we would fill them with confetti, which would cause quite a mess when opened! We would even look up the address to hotels and send letters to each other during family vacations. I remember excitedly checking the mail each day in anticipation of the arrival of a new letter addressed to me. There is just something so wonderful about receiving mail.

Although Jacob doesn’t know it yet, I’ve started (try) to pass along this love of letter writing to him. Each holiday, and every vacation, we send him a letter or post card. The letters usually have $1 in it and we share with him a few thoughts, words of wisdom or an event that occurred. We address it to him and mail it out – many times from our own mailbox. They are sealed and stored in a memory box for him to open sometime. We even did this when I was pregnant – addressed to “Baby”.

Where we live now, there aren’t mailboxes (in the typical sense) at each house but instead a large, metal mail box at the end of each road for all of the houses on that street. Typically, it takes a few days for us to check it because it isn’t right in front of our house. Since beginning this journey though, it has become a nightly tradition for us – something that I look forward to doing together. Jacob is strapped into his Radio-Flyer tricycle and we take a family walk to the mailbox together. Most days, that metal box is filled with a letter or a card or a package. Someone reaching out to send their love, their thoughts, their prayers or a surprise gift to let us know that they are thinking of us and that we are not alone in this journey.

Twice this week my husband returned from picking up little man with a gift for me; the first a gift basket filled with goodies from coworkers to remind me how strong I am and today an embroidered tote from daycare filled with goodies to keep me comfortable during treatment. This week, which is the hardest one for us, we have also been given a meal each night so we don’t have to cook.

And the list doesn’t end there – the calls, the texts, the fundraiser, the visits to see us, the prayers. So. Much. Love.

Writing this out, I can’t help but cry. I like to think that words come easy for me when writing but I don’t think I can properly express how much all of your kindness means to us. This is, by far, the most challenging, life-altering journey that we have ever been on and you have all done so much to help us through this. Each and every one of you. We are so humbled and so incredibly blessed with all of your love. There are so many different ways that one can demonstrate kindness, love and support…and I feel like we have seen every single possible way.

A dear friend said to me, “Our prayer is that this helps you and your family, even if it’s just a little.” Oh, but a little it is not. It is so much bigger than that.

Thank you. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

So I cried today

Years and years ago, I was chatting with my best friend about needing an outlet to cry. I wasn’t upset or sad or angry, I just needed a good cry. She recommended the movie The Notebook, which I had never seen. I immediately purchased it and watched. I bawled my eyes out. My goodness, I cried! It was a sad cry, an angry cry, a happy cry and a fulfilling cry. It was exactly what I needed. That movie is typically my go-to for a good cry now.

This morning, I woke up to a Facebook post to me that was inspiring and thoughtful about life. Then I watched a video that someone shared with me. It was a sweet little girl singing to her mother, who is battling Stage 4 breast cancer. I bawled my eyes out. I cried – hard. Everything about it brought me to tears and made me start reflecting on my own life.

Cancer sucks. It does. It sucks. It’s painful, exhausting, emotionally draining, time consuming, terrifying and about a million other words. But I try really hard to stay strong. It is what it is and I can’t change it. But I can fight it – and that is what I am doing with all of my being. But it’s not just me fighting this horrible disease. It is my husband, my son, my family, my friends – the entire Red Phoenix community. Everyone who is impacted and chooses to fight alongside of me. I am not alone in this.

Every single day of this battle, I am shown an act of love, kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness. My husband in the way he cares for our home and our son. My family, who puts everything aside to drive / fly down and take care of me during treatment. My in-laws, who watch our son and bring us meals. My family & friends, who send cards and packages and kind words and bring meals to feed us and so many other amazing things. People that I haven’t spoken to in years, who reach out to let me know they are thinking of me and praying for me.

So I cried today. I cried for all of the good great things that I have in my life – all of the incredible people that I am so grateful and so blessed to know.  It was exactly what I needed.