God Forgives The Maximum 2-20-18

In the Our Father we say: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” This is an equation. If you are not capable of forgiveness, how can God forgive you? The Lord wants to forgive you, but he cannot if you keep your heart closed and mercy cannot enter. One might object: “Father, I forgive, but I cannot forget that awful thing that he did to me….” The answer is to ask the Lord to help you forget. One must forgive as God forgives, and God forgives the maximum.”

—Pope Francis, as quoted in the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek

This affirmation came to me this morning from the Franciscan Dominicans. It was sent as a reflection to focus on during this lent season. It was ironic since for lent I have made the decision not only to pray for the people who have hurt me but for the ability to forgive them as well as forgive myself and have the strength to finally put the past behind me.

My father passed away on September 14, 2011. My life changed forever that day. That day my heart broke in a million pieces. Since then I have been on a journey that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I have tried very hard to put the pieces of my heart back together, however this has proved to be a difficult task. They say you attract what you put out. I suppose this is true. When you have a broken heart you become a magnet to attracting more people in to your life who are all to willing to break your heart and bring more sorrow. That’s what happened to me.

The good news is I’ve finally recognized this and I’m eager to move on and put the pieces of my life back together. I’m tired of being sad. I’m tired of being angry. I’m tired of waiting for an apology that will never come. I’m tired of just being tired and I’m tired of trying to change the past instead of trying to change my future.

The next 40 days I will pray asking god to heal my heart. I’ll pray for the strength to forgive the people that brought me so much pain and succumb to forgetting the past that has led me down this painful road. And yes, I will be praying for the people who broke my heart. I know it will be a difficult task but a necessary task for sure. After all, how can I ask for forgiveness when I can’t offer forgiveness myself.

They say it takes 28 days to form a habit. I’m hopeful that in 28 days I’ll develop a habit of forgiveness and finally find the peace and joy I’ve been searching for and spend the last 12 days of lent living a life free of the negative emotions that have held me hostage and replace that with hope for a brighter future as I close the door of my past once and for all.

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It’s Your Job To Set Your Tone 1-4-18

“It is your job to set your own tone.

So what you do is, you look for something that’s

easy for you to feel good about.

The aspect of your life that is going well,

there are always some of those.

And as you give your attention to that, you let that be

your reason for establishing your tone.

And as you set your tone relative to that,

now the universe accepts that as your tone

relative to all things, you see.

So all you have to do is find the feeling of well-being relative to any aspect of your life and stay there on it long enough that the universe can begin to respond to it…

And then things just get better and better and better and better. “

Abraham Hicks

This Moment 12-24-17

A poem by Maria Shriver

This moment

may you stop and take a moment.

Today, tonight, tomorrow,

may you take the time to reflect on all the moments that brought you here to this moment.

The moments that made your heart feel full;

The moments that took your breath away;

May you also remember the moments that made you cry.

The moment he said “no” to your sweet invitation,

or the moment she couldn’t meet you where you stood.

They are all moments that brought you here.

Do you remember the moment where you laughed

your head back, your hair blowing around, your beautiful face?

Do you remember the moment your child took your hand?

Do you remember that moment when they no longer did?

It all brings you to this moment.

Life is just simply a collection of moments.

Moments that made you and broke you and, yet, look at you,

standing here in this moment,

full of love, full of light, ready to set the world on fire with your glorious soul.

This moment is a moment of grace.

This is one powerful moment.

Embrace it.

My Terms 12-20-17

Wow three years ago I lost all of my hair. I was completely bald!! I’ve spent the last couple of years trying to grow back my hair. However as of late I have found myself realizing what a blessing the last three years have been. I’ve grown so much. All the things I thought were important are no longer important. Including hair. At the end of the day the only thing that counts is family. The rest of it doesn’t matter. My dad used to say “I’ve never seen a u-haul behind a Hearst. You can’t take it with you”

Today I bit the bullet and cut my hair short. I love it. In my opinion I’d rather spend time with family, friends, grandkids then spending time doing my hair!! The good news is three years later I cut my hair on my terms and not because some crazy drug called Chemo decided I had to. Life is short. Live life to the fullest. Enjoy every day like it’s your last day. Don’t get caught up in any drama.

It’s funny, the past few years all I’ve done is complain. I’ve complained about my hair, my nails, finances, health and I’ve complained because I’m no longer in San Francisco. However what I’ve come to realize is. that I’ve failed to recognize the blessings I’ve had all along. I only wish I had recognized this a long time ago. Life is good. Sometimes life throws us a curveball. I for one have been thrown several these past few years however while everything seemed so bad I suppose God was molding me to become a much better person. I’m really grateful for that.

Today I just want peace in my life. I’m looking forward to what good things God has in store for me. I hope it’s much peace, love and harmony. As for the hair….well it’s sure going to be nice to not have to focus on something silly as doing my hair.

Friends, money, material things and even hair will come and go but it’s family that will always be there. That’s what’s really important. Once upon a time I was on top of the world. I had it all. Looks, a good job, material things and even money. Today things are much different. Today I’ll take peace, love, family and good health over any of those things I once thought were more important. I’m living life on my terms. That includes doing crazy things like cutting my hair!! Short hair…..you rock!!!

I’m Coming Out 12-5-17

Today is a “coming out” kind of day for me. My birthday is Saturday so to celebrate, I’m flying to San Francisco to spend it with my cousin, who also happens to be my best friend. I haven’t been back for a year and a half.

I left San Francisco in May of 2015 after a long battle with Cancer. I also left a tumultuous relationship that brought so much strife in to my life. I’ve spent the last two years hiding out in my room at my mothers house. It’s no secret I’ve not only battled anxiety as well as PTSD but I’ve also struggled to heal from the side effects left behind from treatment. I’ll admit returning to San Francisco is really scary. After all, my departure was not on good terms.

I was blessed to cash in some airline miles and bought myself a round trip ticket for $11.20. What a steal!! As the time draws closer to driving to the airport I find myself nervous and very fearful. I suppose because my return to my beloved city by the bay opens the door to having to face the reality of what I left behind and why. It also means going out of my comfort zone (my bedroom) and learning to live life again.

Life happens sometimes. Occasionally we run away from reality and sweep the wreckage of our past under the carpet. We become complacent in our “safe” place. That’s what’s happened to me. I’ve become very complacent in the comfort of my room at my mothers which has become my safe place. I’m excited to go to San Francisco. I’m excited to spend time with my cousin but at the same time I’m scared. I’m not sure what the days ahead have in store for me however, what I do know is I’m ready to take on the challenge.

Diana Ross sang a song called “I’m Coming Out”. This song holds a special meaning for me today. In so many ways I’m Coming Out. As I board my flight to San Francisco I recognize I’m no longer the same woman I was when I left San Francisco two years ago. However, I really like this new me. Saturday is my birthday. The beginning of a new year and a new me. What better city to launch my “Coming Out” as the new me than my favorite city…..my beloved city by the bay. Look out San Francisco!!! I’m coming back!!

Black Friday 11-25-17 revised from 2014

I wrote this blog in 2014. It was a challenging year. However, after reading my reflection on the holiday season three years ago, I still stand by what I wrote.

The Christmas season has become so commercialized as has Thanksgiving. This year I had the most wonderful thanksgiving ever. I spent the entire day with my friends, family and even my grandkids. Black Friday was spent having lunch with the people I love and today I’ll spend another day with family.

Maybe I missed out on all the great deals but I certainly didn’t miss out on the best deal out there. Quality time with the people I love. I can’t put a price tag on that. In the midst of it all, my heart is always with those in need. I do my best to give of myself as often as I can. For me that really is having a holiday spirit.

BLACK FRIDAY 2014

For the past week or more all I see are advertisements or news stories about Black Friday. The biggest shopping day of the year. I find it amusing how the holiday season has become so commercialized. Four years ago I was driving to work and while I listened to the radio, a commercial came on about the Christmas season. What I found interesting, was not only had Thanksgiving not rolled around, neither had Halloween! These past few months have not only been the most challenging months of my life, it’s given me a whole new perspective on how I view things. I realize that life isn’t about the material things we acquire or the amount of money we have, the gifts we give others during the holidays, it’s really all about family and the people we love. It’s how we choose to live life.

Four years later, I began seeing Christmas decorations the first week of October. The holiday season has taken on a whole new meaning. No longer is it about being thankful on thanksgiving or being surrounded by family on Christmas morning, it’s all about the material things. Being diagnosed with cancer comes with so many negative challenges but it also has a positive impact on a persons life. Cancer can really change a persons perspective on life. It is a realization of what’s really important. My friend in North Carolina send me a quote yesterday that she saw at a cancer unit. It said “you’re going to want to give up……DONT!!!” Fighting cancer is tough business but the silver lining is you become more aware of what’s important. More often than not, living and spending quality time with family is what becomes more important than waiting in line to buy the perfect gift on Black Friday. Family is what gives a person the inspiration to not give up!

I have a very humorous personality. I love to laugh. I especially love those who make me laugh and I love any comedian who is funny. I love Ellen Degeneres. She’s hysterical. Will Ferrell. Jim Gaffigan, Eddie Murphy, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler….the list goes on. If you’re funny you have a place in my book. I was watching Jimmy Kimmel last night. He’s a riot. His monologue was hilarious. He poked fun at everything including Thanksgiving and Black Friday. He said he felt it was inappropriate to make people work on Thanksgiving. It’s a holiday that you should spend with your family. He went on to say that even more disturbing were the people who set up camps on a sidewalk on Thanksgiving to be the first in line for Black Friday. He had a stellar idea. Jimmy’s idea was that those who felt the need to camp out on a sidewalk over night in preparation for Black Friday, should open their homes to all the homeless people so they had a warm and cozy place to sleep. Now I have to admit, I found myself laughing but the truth is I laughed because it was true.

That’s how silly we’ve all become. A homeless person would give anything not to sleep in a tent on a sidewalk, while we would be willing to do it for a “good deal”.

There are so many homeless people in San Francisco. My heart sinks and my stomach hurts every time I’m in the car and I see people passed out or I take my walks and I pass these people on the sidewalk. Some are homeless not by choice. They’ve experienced a job loss or a tragedy. Jimmy Kimmel’s joke last night was funny but if you think about it for a few minutes, it can really put things in to perspective.

Thursday will be another Thanksgiving I won’t be spending with my family. It sucks. I wish I was. These days Black Friday isn’t even on my list. Being surrounded by family is the only thing that I think about. I met with my radiation oncologist last Friday. I was surprised to hear that I will need 36 radiation treatments opposed to 30. He wanted me to start right away. I have opted to start the 7 week ordeal after Christmas. I’d like to go home for the holidays and spend the time with my family. Somehow, that’s more important to me than anything else including Black Friday. Today I have my planning appointment along with a cat scan to prepare for the 7 week ordeal. I have a long year ahead of me, not to mention 5 years of keeping my fingers crossed. I hate having cancer but in some ways I’m grateful for the experience and the new perspective it’s given me on how I view life. Everything I thought was important is no longer in the forefront. Living is along with the love of friends and family and the quality time we share as we go through this thing called life.

This Thanksgiving, focus on the things you have to be grateful for. Focus on the time you are lucky enough to share with your family. Everything else is just stuff. That includes that great deal you’re waiting in line for on that very popular day that has become the biggest day of the year…..Black Friday. And if you can’t resist the biggest shopping day of the year, then take Jimmy Kimmel’s advice. Open your home to the homeless 😄.

New Beginnings…The Story Of A Butterfly 9-14-17

This was written by someone very dear to me. She would like to remain anonymous however, our hope is it will inspire someone to keep moving forward today. 

“Siempre adelante” ….(always moving forward)

I’m grateful for new beginnings. I am finally realizing that change, while hard, isn’t always bad.  I’m leaving what doesn’t work behind me and focusing on the new, the exciting, the unknown. That which brings growth and new perspective.  
Change has always been hard for me. Really, REALLY, hard. I am such a creature of comfort it’s ridiculous. But for the last year or so my life has undergone lots of change. I finally left the boy friend I ALWAYS went back to. A relationship that kept me from growing and becoming the person I am destined to be. I resigned from my job of 18 years— as it no longer challenged me. I wasn’t part of something positive anymore. I was actually surviving and NOT thriving.  

It’s strange how “hard” I thought it was going to be to move on from both of these situations as they were such huge parts of my identity. Who would I be once these labels, these relationships, these fantasies of the future fell away? Once I took stock of what these situations were costing me- I took action. How much do we have to endure before giving ourselves permission to let go? I was so tired of selling myself short. As one person put it, it was like wearing old clothes- they fit, but they weren’t my style anymore.  

After the butterfly leaves the cocoon, she spreads her wings and flies. The process takes time, but the end result is amazing. We all endure tough times but what does it cost us to carry these burdens? I’ve learned to view my challenges as “gifts”. They have taught me to love myself, to honor myself and to trust the journey in front of me. While not always easy, it is ALWAYS worth it.  

Last week a fleeting thought came to mind- and I realized that I am DOING IT. I am finally living life on my own terms! I will never forget that I am the artist of my story. Looking at life through this new lens, I realize how free I feel, how the possibilities in front of me are endless. I feel like a kid waking up on Christmas day. I’ve learned to trust God, the process and most importantly myself.    

“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” –  Tony Robbins