Fuck You, Cancer!

Insidious,

You sneak in,

Like a thief,

Unseen.

Entering the body,

Forcing it

To wage war on itself,

Sapping strength,

Muscle and bone,

Like a pestilence,

Stealing health.

And much needed time.

Confusion, devastation,

Questions and doubt…

“Why me, God?”

Or maybe

“Why them?”

Like a vampire,

You suck life and vitality

Leaving behind

A hollow reflection

That reverberates,

Aftershocks of destruction

To crumble

friends and families;

Those left behind,

And think you’ve won.

But that’s the battle,

Not the war.

Some things you can’t

Take.

They belong to the fighters.

The fierce warriors

Who stare you down,

Refusing to let you take

The love they give,

The life they live,

They never back down.

They fight and believe.

They are heroes,

Fortitude and fury

They battle until the body grows

Weary.

They teach…

Love, compassion,

And take back

What you sought to destroy.

For friends, family,

And mankind.

Help and hope–

To restore faith, belief,

And healing.

The beauty of sharing strength

Of loving support,

Of community and humanity,

And remind the world…

It’s not how you die

But how you LIVED!

I lost a dear childhood friend to cancer today after a 6 year battle. Even more, two amazing kids lost a mom and a loving husband lost his wife. A brother lost his baby sister and two parents lost their baby girl.

A year and a half before that, there was my father-in-law. And before that there was another few friends and an uncle…and the list goes on. Cancer has reared its nasty head in nearly everyone’s lives, but the miracle is in their relentless pursuit of life. Of living. Of never giving up, even if their bodies give out.

https://youtu.be/AHZCAcSh7ls

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Left Behind

Let me go.
I’m not here…
Chase your life;
Face your fear.
Find your passion
Feed your soul,
Reach for things
That make you whole.

Celebrate
Our memory,
Of laughter, tears;
A legacy.
Embrace the joy.
Never forget;
Keep moving forward,
Let go of regret.

Honor my gift,
Cherish and share,
The joy in remembrance;
You’ll find me there.
So open your arms,
Set yourself free,
And smile when you think back
On memories of me.

It’s been a while since I’ve been on here because life kind of got away with me. But today I was inspired to write something special. Something specific.

I was at a celebration of life service today. The mother of a friend passed away, so I went to help their family honor her. It also reminded me of some of my losses, but instead of focusing on what I hoped they knew, I found myself focusing on the message I’m pretty sure they wanted those of us left behind to hear.

A lot has been going on in my universe this last year. I started a new day job; one that I love, but limits the amount of time I have for writing, but it allows me to help change people’s lives. My sister gave birth to our first nephew on my side of the family….waaaay early. There were fears that we could lose them both, but they’re both thriving these days. And then there’s the step-dad. As most of you know, he’s more a father to me than my bio dad. Keep him in your thoughts. He’s battling cancer. I effing HATE that word.

What I’m trying to say is…. Please be patient with me. I still love you guys. I’m still here. I’ve just had a lot going on…. Including a project that I can’t say anything about yet. But I will. I miss you guys.

A Look Back and a Step Forward

New Year

As the year comes to an end, I’ve found myself reflective about 2013. Overall, it has been challenging, but with every year I learn that growth comes through challenges.

There were a few firsts….

This was the first full year since I was 14 years old that I did not have a “traditional” job working for someone else. It felt strange.

First time I’ve received letters/emails stating a company went another direction in their hiring process (because I was overqualified).

Went to my first readers conference, Authors After Dark 2013 in Savannah, and had a blast getting to know other readers…and picking the brains of some of my favorite writers.

Took my first temp job representing an electronics company in retail stores, teaching their employees about the company’s products, how to sell them, position them, and overcome customer objections.

Milestone Firsts… The GOOD STUFF!

But…even with those negatives…it was also the first time, despite all my stops and starts, that I published my first book…an erotic short! Those of you who’ve known and followed me for a while are not even a little surprised.

I got to meet one of my favorite blogging buddies, Renee A. Schuls-Jacobson, in person. The day we spent together was priceless to me….and quite hilarious. (She’s now going through some tough times, though, and could use lots of good thoughts and prayers.)

I survived my first ever 5K…and I hate to run! But, with the help of a few friends, we killed ColorVibe‘s run. Our team name? “Taste The Rainbow.” Hehehe!

ColorVibe

ColorVibe

I wrote my first ever sponsored blog post, and it was a blast!

I turned 40. Fortunately this one won’t be repeated… overall, preparing for the party turned out to be very stressful, but the love and friendship I was shown was worth the effort.

I got to meet some of my favorite authors…like Cherise Sinclair (who tolerated me when I accosted her at the end of the autograph signing event).

She STILL autographed my book...

She STILL autographed my book…

And the lovely and talented Joey W. Hill who was gracious enough to take a pic with me at the elemental ball….

Me with Joey W. Hill

Me with Joey W. Hill

Not to mention the awesome author who transplanted to my hometown (Chicago), Julie Ann Walker…who bought me a drink and spent time chatting it up and laughing with me.

 

Me and Julie Ann Walker listening to my sister.

Me and Julie Ann Walker listening to my sister.

Or partying with C. J. Ellisson….at the pre-vampire ball party in her hotel room, then at her table.

Vampire Ball with C.J. Ellisson

Vampire Ball with C.J. Ellisson

 

There were a few heartbreaks

A dear friend of mine lost her battle to cancer. I tried to find a way to honor her memory…and share her love of life with you guys here.

My husband lost his job. That stung considering I had not found a day to day job outside of my writing. Fortunately he found a new one a couple weeks later.

Several more friends were diagnosed with various illnesses, mostly cancer.

I had to miss my half-sister’s wedding because of short notice and inability to afford plane tickets (they were nearly $1000).

~~~~~~~~~~

While I was listing a general recap of last year’s highlights, I was surprised at just how many positive things had happened last year. Why? Because the bad ones felt so big!

Overall, life is filled with good and bad…which makes it a bit bittersweet. It’s so easy to lose perspective and let the negative overtake you if you allow it to have a foot hold in your mind.

So, as I enter into 2014, I’m determined to go forward with my best foot forward and my attitude in check…and to make sure that I remember to celebrate all the positive milestones I’ll be experiencing along the way.

What about you? When you look back on this last year, what are some of your most standout moments, both good and bad?

I think The Verve had it right with their gorgeous song from Cruel Intentions….

Still

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In the loud noise,
The hustle and bustle
Of life,
Take time to

STOP

Look around,
Eyes wide open
And see
Majesty in nature,
Joy in life.

Learn the healing
And the power
In both laughter
And tears.

Say the words
That press your heart.
Remember
Truth
Both hurts and heals.
Choose wisely.

LIVE

Enjoy the little things,
A gentle smile,
Hugs from a child,
The caress
From a cool breeze.

Take these moments,
Both good and bad.
They bring strength,
Fill the soul.
And when the time comes
To say goodbye,
Let go,
You will never be forgotten.

Lost a dear friend to cancer last night. Some of you may remember her from previous posts. She fought bravely, valiantly. She’s no longer in pain. She will never be forgotten. The poem above is my attempt at putting her philosophy on life to paper.

Independence Day Hodgepodge

Thank you for all the wonderful birthday wishes both here and on Facebook. It’s meant the world. As most of you know, I tend to get pretty sentimental around Patriotic holidays.

Maybe it’s because it’s my birthday, or maybe it’s because the last couple days have been rough (just had one of my close friends moved to hospice with end stage cancer this week), but I’m not in the mood to tear my guts out today…or think too hard. She says she can feel good thoughts and prayers, so whichever way you believe…I’d appreciate anything for my friend Kenda.

It seems I have several friends battling this disease and winning (thank goodness), but even one loss seems like too many. Unfortunately, she hasn’t been my first friend/family to battle cancer, but she hasn’t lost yet…so all prayers are appreciated. This song is dedicated to all of my friends fighting cancer and all the folks who are loving and supporting them.

Today is also Independence Day… Which, of course, had me thinking back to the men and women who battled for our nation as well as our founding fathers. We had some pretty amazing guys!

With guys like Washington, Edison, Jefferson, Hancock and company, it’s hard to decide on a favorite…but I have a couple. Alexander Hamilton always seemed like a player/stud, so I had a bit of a soft spot for him.

My favorite quote came from Nathan Hale:

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

My second favorite is Patrick Henry‘s:

“Give me liberty or give me death.”

I must have always had some sort of fascination with sailors, though, because my all time favorite (and I have no idea why) was John Paul Jones. There’s something kind of badass about a guy who says, “Surrender? I have not yet begun to fight.” I understand that kind of mentality. I respect that fiery passion.

What about you guys? What are your favorite things about Independence day? Who is your favorite Revolutionary War/Founding Father?

Hope you enjoyed the fireworks on my birthday! 😉

Writing And Music And Where They Merge

I connect very strongly to music. I’m not telling most of you anything you didn’t already know. When I feel sad or lost or hurt or alone…music is my company and my anchor. When I’m happy or excited or energized…music helps me express myself. Regardless, the thing that centers me is music.

I’ve had friends ask me why, if I love music so much, did I choose to follow my bliss to writing? It’s a fair question. The thing that I love about my music are the fact that the smallest phrase can evoke a song into my head…and follow it’s path through my mouth. I love the spontaneity I can enjoy with music. If I decided to follow this as my discipline…I’d have to truly work at it. Practice. Repeat songs. For me, that would create a loss of joy….and probably, in the end, I’d come to resent that which I love so much today.

Writing, on the other hand, playing with words…tossing them to and fro to create just the right phrase, the right image…well, heck! I can do that all day. I love that aspect. It doesn’t get old or boring or tired. In fact, you’ll catch that it’s the lyrics of a song that truly draws me in. Yes, I can appreciate music that doesn’t have words…but my passion and imagination soars with lyrics.

I think that’s part of what makes certain movies so memorable to me, too! Their soundtracks…where long after the movie is done, you’ll hear a song on the radio and remember that moment, that scene, that image…and smile. I’m a sucker for movie soundtracks! Why? Because I get a variety of songs from a variety of talented musicians…sometimes artists I’d never otherwise discover!

So, today, I’m going to share with you my Top 5 favorite movie soundtracks…showcasing my favorite songs from each one…

But before that, I just wanted to thank you all for your encouraging words regarding my family…and the songs you shared…Please continue them. My father-in-law’s oncology appointment and scan are today. His doctor is pretty sure the cancer is back. That’s the thing about Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma…it will always come back. But he’s a 2 time survivor already, so I’m refusing to have anything but good thoughts. For me, that equates to music and laughter, so I’m going to share with you a little known Joey Lawrence song from an old movie he did called Prince For A Day. People forget that the guy could sing. For whatever reason, I saw that movie once when I was much younger, but the lyrics always stayed with me. You’ll see why.  The song is called “Don’t Lose Heart”.

And to feed my need for humor right now I figured I’d stick to Blossom alumni and give you guys one of my favorite Big Bang Theory experiments by Mayim Bialik.

Now, on to my top 5 movie Soundtracks in no particular order…

I can’t talk about soundtracks without mentioning The Sound Of Music. Who can resist the beauty of a voice like Julie Andrews? She is one of my all time favorite musicians…and always will be. (Christopher Plummer wasn’t exactly a slouch, either.) I nearly chose “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria”, but I have an even bigger, more romantic favorite… The discovery of a requited love…

The next song is from one of my all time favorite Christian Slater movies…Pump Up The Volume. I was torn between this Concrete Blonde song and Ivan Neville’s “Why Can’t I Fall In Love”.

I also loved 10 Things I Hate About You…so many great songs on this one…but this one gets me moving. Love Letters To Cleo…and miss Heath Ledger & have always been a big Julia Styles fan.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers stole my heart in the Pretty Woman Soundtrack, though the whole thing is chock full with awesome tunes!

I chose this last one to be my final selection because it’s powerful and uplifting…and something that lightens my heart…and hopefully yours. It’s from Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit. Man, can Lauryn Hill sing!

So what about you guys? Do you have favorite soundtracks? Maybe favorite songs from certain movies? What uplifts you when your heart is heavy? Your turn to share…and hopefully I’ve made you laugh…or smile…or brought back some memories. 🙂

Not Much To Say

Early this morning, my husband’s uncle passed away.  Those of you who’ve been following my blog knew we’d just found out he’d been ill only a couple of weeks ago.  He’d only found out he’d been ill a couple of weeks ago.  I hate cancer.  Saying goodbye sucks.  But death is another part of life.  I choose to think it’s not the end.  This song, to me, embodies that.

Not much to say tonight.  Live life.  It’s too short.  Don’t leave too much space for regrets.  Take time to hug and kiss the people you love.  It makes a difference.