Posted in cancer, faith, friend, God, Grace, gratitude, hapiness, healing, heart, help, Love, prayer, soul, Thanksgiving

Living From the Heart

Living from the heart.  What does this mean?  Another expression “living wholeheartedly.”  I love Brene Brown, she has done several great works on this subject of living wholeheartedly and authentically.  But what does it look like, this wholehearted living?

I will try to flesh this out in the way that I have been working on.  The Word courage actually has at the root of it “Heart”.  Middle English (denoting the heart, as the seat of feelings): from Old French corage, from Latin cor ‘heart.’  So we know that courage takes heart.  It has meant for me to moving forward despite the way I am feeling.  Courage does not mean that I am not afraid but that I continue on my path despite my fears.

The bible tells us that “perfect love casts out fear” 1John 4;18.  So, it is impossible to experience love when we are in a state of fear.  Courage is an act of faith, to move forward despite our fears.  It takes courage and faith to believe you are not dying of cancer when the doctors tell you that you have six months to live.

Much of this courage begins with thought and intention.  Humans are the only created being that have the ability to observe thought.  That means we can think about what we are thinking about.  We also have the ability to police those thoughts.

When I was first told I had six months to live, I sat one day and made a list of every negative, fatalistic thought that I had.  I memorized it and place it before myself so any time I had one of those thoughts, I recognized it and chased it from my mind.  I replaced it with prayers and healing intentions for myself.  This went on hundreds of times a day, in the beginning.  In time, I found I had less and less of those thoughts to chase.

I spend nearly a half and hour a day when I am in a dreamy state before I get up and and I do my work.  My true work.  I pray and meditate on my good health and healing intentions for my body.  I chase fear, I invite in love and light and express extreme gratitude for another day.  This time I spend is extremely important and it helps me to be fortified from within before I begin my day.  I am not in a particular position but I do practice breathing and listening to my breath.

In this state I envision and experience health with my thoughts and my emotions.  I express my gratitude for the simplest things: my body, my mind, my family, my husband, children, food, shelter.  I ask for nothing just gratitude for what I have.  I experience joy and contentment.  Here and now.

Living from the heart is rare.  People often say I am brave, if that means being authentic and genuine then yes, I am brave.  I guess I put a lot “out there” and express openly what others would not.  At times it does feel risky but it is mostly out of an attempt to help  someone who may be in a dark and fearful place.  To give them hope and potentially show them a way out.  I have been in dark places myself and I know how scary it can be to be alone with bad thoughts and intentions towards myself.  I spent many years there.  But those years have given me much compassion and understanding.

Living from the heart is healthy.  I believe it is what we were created to do.  To experience love and express love freely.  It is mainly negative experiences that cause us to wall ourselves off.  And with some folks who have proven themselves to be untrustworthy with our hearts, it is right to do.  I was not created to be anyone’s doormat.  Neither were you.  But I was created to be a welcome mat and there is a HUGE difference!!

I will share one of my favorite talks here:

 

Posted in cancer, God, gratitude, hapiness, Post Cancer, Survival, Thanksgiving, volunteerism

New Year and a New Adventure

As 2013 dawns, I embark on a new and exciting adventure. For the past nearly 3 years, I have worked at SCB Marketing and love it. I interviewed and got the job within weeks of finishing my cancer treatment. Jeff and Josh hired me in 2010 and I will always be grateful for the opportunity to serve Brevard County in such a positive way. I have absolutely loved the work and the people.
Within the past year, it has become apparent to me and nearly everyone around me that I have a real fire in my belly to serve the cancer community. I have found my true passion is in that arena. I love making a difference for people who are facing one of life’s greatest challenges. It does not matter whether I am facilitating a support group or speaking and raising money, it all is incredibly gratifying and something I must do.
Within the next month I will be transitioning from SCB to assume my new position as Marketing & Communication Director for Space Coast Cancer Center and Space Coast Cancer Foundation and I could not be more thrilled.
I will be working with one of my personal heroes Dr. Richard Levine and his partners. We will be working on initiatives to improve the quality of care and resources for cancer patients.
I covet your prayers and support as I assume this new role. And I would be remiss if I did not publicly thank God for this wonderful opportunity. God is good all the time!! WOW!!!!

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Posted in faith, friend, God, Grace, hapiness, healing, Love, prayer, soul, Thanksgiving

The value of an impression.

This is the premise of a lecture I gave this month at FIT in a Communication class for Business Executives.  I really enjoyed speaking in an academic environment, definitely a first and  a thrill for me.

I work at SCB Marketing and I am in the impression business.  My company is in the business of impressing different audiences in Brevard County.  Our clients and advertisers count on us and our ability to make impressions for them each and everyday.  The entire advertising industry relies on the fact that what we see and what impresses us, influences behavior.  When we keep our clients “top of mind”, they will be the ones who get your business, when you have a need that they can fulfill.

I theorize that we are far more impressionable than we realize.  I theorize that EVERYTHING that we come in contact with, makes an impression upon us, influences us and ultimately takes us places.  From the time we are small children, we are constantly assimilating different stimuli and experiences and formulating our values, ideas and aspirations.  So, from what we eat, see, think, listen to, associate with……..our parents, friends, work associates.  What we read, watch on TV, play on our ipods……..impresses us in some form or fashion.

The degree that we are impressed depends on 2 things:  How malleable we are at the time and how much force or impact the stimuli has.  So, when we are young, we are very malleable and easily impressed.  As we mature, we become less impressionable but still remain more impressionable than we think or care to admit.

Let’s do a small exercise……think about the 3 most painful or difficult things that were ever said to you.  Most of us can think of those things rather quickly.  Now name the 3 best compliments you have ever received.  I guarantee that it will be more difficult for you to come up with the compliments then the slights.  We are much more easily impressed by the negative, rather than the positive.  Also, we read and assimilate the sub text easily.  For instance, your Mom/Dad tell you verbally that they love you but do not come to your school performances or games.  The actions of your parents completely belie their words and you will most likely get the impression that you are not loved/ worthy of their time.  When the truth is probably that your parents are self absorbed and critically damaged themselves.

My cancer experience was that profound experienced that made me realize, I had the wrong impression about myself.  If you look at your actions, who you surround yourself with and your self talk.  If it is all negative, you have gotten the wrong impression about you along the way.

So, when do people change?  People change when the pain of remaining the same exceeds the pain of change.  That is the place I got to shortly after my cancer diagnosis.  I was greatly impressed by my losses and the deep impact I felt on every possible level.  I knew that, if I did not change things within myself, I was a goner.  I would not survive cancer and  I would be lost.

Daily focus on healing, correcting negative self talk, surrounding myself with love and support are what pulled me through.  I allowed myself to be cared for and blessed by others.  That was very difficult for this independent soul, who’s first full sentence was “I’ll do it myself” at age 2.  It took multiple levels of programming to give you the wrong impression of yourself, it will take the same to de-program you and learn how to love yourself in a healthy way.

Some practical things to do……….

  • get a white board and write positive and affirming things to say to yourself when the negative voices speak.
  • Say I am statements daily and repeatedly:  I am HEALTHY, I am LOVED,   I am WORTHY!!
  • Take a personal inventory and list all your positive attributes!
  • Ask God to show you how HE sees you!
  • Get negative and non affirming people OUT of your life!!
  • Do nice things for yourself.  Treat yourself as you would your beloved child.
  • Nurture your interests and talents.  Do things that are good for your soul and make you smile.
  • Help someone else overcome an obstacle.

Every person on God’s green earth is loved by GOD!  He loved each of us so much that he chose to send his very own Son to atone  for when we fall short.  God will forgive you of any and all of our shortcomings if we just ask him to.  His word should impress you with his love and how he thinks about you!!

John 3:16-17

New King James Version (NKJV)

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Romans 5:8

New International Version (NIV)

8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Posted in faith, gratitude, hapiness, Thanksgiving

My Jubilee Year…….reflecting on my 50th year :)

As I stand on the precipice of my 51st year, I am taking time to reflect on this past year of my life.  I have a dear friend named Tommy who spoke prophetically to me as I was turning 50.  Tommy declared that this year was my Jubilee YEAR, he said that this would be a year of restoration.  He spoke that everything that cancer had removed would be restored by God……..only BETTER!!

The Jews were commanded by God to observe a Jubilee Year, every 50 years.  It was when any Israelite that was a slave was set free.  Debts were forgiven and slaves returned to their homes and clans.  The harvest was collected and the ground rested.  It is where the concept of the Sabbatical year comes from.

So I began my 50th year with a wonderful party.  I was surrounded by 75 people whom I know and love.  Family came from Maryland, we rented a room and kicked off my next 50 years!!  I had music, great food and I even sang with some of my chorus ladies.  We had a photobooth there and everyone had a lot of FUN!!!

So I rejoiced at the privilege of greeting my 50th year…………. 🙂  Not everyone gets to do that, you know?  So here is my Jubilee year in review, it’s been great!!

  • I started to facilitate a BC Support at SCCC to help other BC survivors.  We are up to 20 attendees and in Feb we will start on in Viera as well
  • By April 2011, I became a full time employee of SCB Marketing (no longer an independent contractor).
  • By June I had Merrill living with me (answering a 6 year prayer)
  • By July, I had health insurance (that is huge for me)
  • In August I was asked to be the survivor coordinator for the “B PINK Project”.  A great  project that will honor BC survivors and raise awareness and funds in our community.
  • I joined the ACS “Cattle Baron’s Committee” which raises funding for Cancer patients and sends kids with cancer to rock camp.
  • September, I got a NEW CAR!!!!
  • In September I was honored as SCCC “Survivor of the Year”.
  • In October I had 12 speaking engagements and “Put on my Pink bra” to Make Strides against breast cancer.  I had a team of 25 walkers for the event and we raised nearly $4000.  With USA giving me a huge donation.
  • In November I asked my love and one of the Strongest men I have ever known to be my husband.  We are getting married this summer 🙂
  • I have had my relationship with a precious child restored.  She was previously my step daughter and I had loved and missed her for nearly 2 years.  Thank you God!!
  • Dr. Guy has done a series of peels and laser on Dec 22nd which has corrected the damage to my skin from my cancer ordeal.
  • I was elected to the Cocoa Beach Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and was installed last night.
  • I have also had my prayer answered to be on Space Coast Cancer Foundation’s board.  I was asked this week to join the process to join the board.
  • This week, I got the word from my doctor, Dr. Levine that ALL my blood work is completely normal.  No residual weirdness from cancer.
  • I just got my statement from my retirement account and it is nice to be building something there again as well.
  • I am finally getting my old hair back.  Everyday more and more like my old hair 🙂

No matter where I look in my life I see God’s providence and blessing.  So, it is with great joy and anticipation that I enter my 51st year~~  I will NEVER complain about a birthday or growing older.  My Nana turned 94 yesterday and she did it so gracefully and beautifully.  I want to be just like her when I grow up….serving others, still inquisitive, and making new friends and memories!!

Tommy was 1000% CORRECT

Posted in faith, Grace, hapiness, healing, heart, Love, soul, Uncategorized

Groundhog Day………..Is this your special holiday?

In 1993 a comedic movie was released starring Bill Murray and Andie Mc Dowell.  The basic plot is as follows:

Self-centered and sour TV meteorologist Phil Connors (Bill Murray), news producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) and cameraman Larry (Chris Elliott) from fictional Pittsburgh television station WPBH-TV9 travel to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the annual Groundhog Dayfestivities with Punxsutawney Phil. Having grown tired of this assignment, Phil grudgingly gives his report and attempts to return to Pittsburgh when a blizzard shuts down the roads. Phil and his team are forced to return to Punxsutawney and stay in town overnight.

Phil wakes up to find that he is reliving February 2. The day plays out exactly as it did before, with no one else aware of the time loop, and only Phil aware of past events. At first he is confused, but, when the phenomenon continues on subsequent days, he decides to take advantage of the situation with no fear of long-term consequences: he learns secrets from the town’s residents, seduces women, steals money, drives recklessly, and gets thrown in jail. However, his attempts to get closer to Rita repeatedly fail.

Eventually, Phil becomes despondent and tries more and more drastically to end the time loop; he gives ridiculous and offensive reports on the festival, abuses residents, and eventually kidnaps Punxsutawney Phil and, after a police chase, drives into a quarry, evidently killing both himself and the groundhog. However, Phil wakes up and finds that nothing has changed; further attempts at suicide are just as fruitless as he continues to find himself awaking at 6:00 A.M. on the morning of February 2 with the clock-radio on his bedstand playing I Got You, Babe by Sonny & Cher.

When Phil explains the situation to Rita, she suggests that he should take advantage of it to improve himself. Inspired, Phil endeavors to try to learn more about Rita, building upon his knowledge of her and the town each day. He begins to use his by-now vast experience of the day to help as many people around town as possible. He uses the time to learn, among other things, to play piano, ice sculpt and speak French.

Eventually, Phil is able to befriend almost everyone he meets during the day, using his experiences to save lives, help townspeople, and to get closer to Rita. He crafts a report on the Groundhog Day celebration so eloquent that all the other stations turn their microphones to him. After the evening dance, Rita and Phil retire together to Phil’s room. He wakes the next morning and finds the time loop is broken; it is now February 3 and Rita is still with him. After going outside, Phil talks about living in Punxsutawney with Rita.

Think about your own life, do you have certain patterns of events, circumstances or failure, repeat themselves over and over?  Do you find yourself in the same failed relationships again and again.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the one common denominator in all these dramas is YOU!  You tell yourself that, you just need a better partner, boss.  You need to change the cast of characters etc.  What you don’t realize is that it is YOU that creates and re creates the same drama again and again.  You can change the names, but the core problem remains the same.

It has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  Are you insane?

What do you do to break the cycle?  Begin with YOU.  Realize that in order for your life to be different, YOU MUST BE DIFFERENT.  Being different feels really weird at first.  You will feel like a fish out of water.  But remember that in order to adopt different behavior patterns, you must adopt different behavior, thoughts and eventually beliefs.  It takes time and lots of consistent mental work.  Over time though, you can do it……..you can change your life.  BUT you must begin with YOU!!

How ironic that the Groundhog Day is all about shadows.  A shadow is an area where direct light from a light source cannot reach due to obstruction by an object.  The obstruction in this analogy is you and your unproductive, faulty beliefs and patterns.  Do yourself a favor and get out of your own way today.  Try to thoughtfully respond to others instead of reacting.  Your figurative spring could be just around the corner.

2 Corinthians 5:17New International Version (NIV

)17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!