Somewhere Someone Is Facing A Harder Battle 5-9-19

I’ve seen this before and every time I read the words it reminds me of how true this statement is. I will never forget when I was battling cancer. I was really feeling sorry for myself. No job, financially bankrupt, my hair, eyebrows, eyelashes and toe nails had fallen out. At the time I found myself feeling like my world was over. Father Michael encouraged me to volunteer at the homeless shelter at my church. I agreed.

My first day I received the greatest blessing ever. A huge dose of humble pie. All of our guests who were lined up outside came in to have breakfast. I had never met so many people who exuded more gratitude than those people I met that day. They had nothing. They were living in the park and yet their gratitude was overwhelming. I found myself feeling overwhelmed with a feeling that reminded me of just how ungrateful I had been. I couldn’t hold back the tears so I went to the back room and cried my eyes out. That day changed my life forever. I see others with a compassionate heart. Every time I feel sorry for myself I think of the wonderful people I met that day. Hence, a reminder there are always others who’s story is worse than mine.

Lend A Helping Hand 1-2-18

My mother and I had doctors appts today in Wenatchee. Afterwards we ran to Walmart. I don’t even remember why we went there however what I do remember is an incident that happened after we left. I can’t stop thinking about this.

After we left Walmart I saw a homeless man standing on the street corner by the signal light leaving Walmart. He had a sign that said “I’m homeless. Anything will help”.

For some reason rather than proceeding towards the signal light, I pulled in to this hamburger joint that’s near Walmart on the corner where this man was standing. My mother asked me what I was doing. I said “I’m going to buy that man lunch.” My mother asked “what man?” I said “the homeless man on the corner.”

It was tight wad Tuesday at the hamburger joint. I went through the drive-thru and ordered a cheeseburger, fries and Pepsi. After I got the order I drove towards the man. I called out to him. He walked towards my car and I handed him his drink and bag full of food. He said “I’ll sure take that Maam. Thank you. It will be my first meal today”. It was 2:00. He was so filled with gratitude. My heart went out to him. It was so cold today. I couldn’t imagine being homeless cold and hungry. I don’t know why I was inclined to do this today however I do believe that voice in my head prompting me to help that man was from god. I’m glad I did.

I’m sharing this story not for accolades rather to encourage everyone to lend a hand to those in need. It’s easy to walk away when you see someone on a street corner holding a sign. It’s easy to ignore them but really, is that the right thing to do? I try and put myself in their shoes. What if that was you? I often say “in a New York minute everything can change”. What I mean by that is “god giveth, god taketh away. I spend a whole $6.49 today. For some, that’s a lot. For me $6.49 is nothing if I can help someone in need.

Father Mario told a story once of a homeless man sitting in front of a bank asking for money. People walked in and out of the bank. Not one person helped him. They ignored him. Finally a young man walked out of the bank and lend the homeless man a helping hand. When he did, the homeless man stood up. As it turned out the man wasn’t homeless at all. Rather, he was Jesus. Father Mario asked the question “would you walk away if it was Jesus?” My answer has always been no which is why I try my best to not walk away. I’d hate to miss the chance to help someone only to find out the person I was helping was Jesus.

Next time you see someone in need, lend a helping hand. There are so many people suffering. One little act of kindness will go a long way and heck, who knows. The person you help might stand up and be Jesus.

Kat and Ali 12-28-17

They say there are no accidents in life. Especially when it comes to meeting people.

In 2014 I walked in to CPMC in San Francisco. I was scheduled for my chemotherapy treatment. That morning I prayed for an angel to come in to my life that would speak hope in to my life. It’s no secret my life in SF was rather tumultuous with my ex. Standing next to me while waiting for the elevator was a gentleman. We struck up a conversation. As it turned out he was a pastor from Vallejo. His wife had just had open heart surgery. His name is Ali. We have been friends ever since. Ali has blessed my life so much with his prayers, encouragement and support throughout the past few years.

That day Ali asked me if I would stop and see his wife Kat that week. He felt it would cheer her up. I made it a point to go visit Kat that week. She was very sick the day I went and was so down. I have never seen Ali or Kat since that day three years ago however we remain in contact via phone and text.

Today my calendar reminded me it was Kats birthday so I texted her a birthday message. Much to my surprise I received a call from Kat. She was crying. She called to thank me. Not only for remembering her birthday but for stopping to see her that day three years ago. Kat shared that I’m always saying what a blessing they are in my life but I have failed to recognize the blessing I have been in theirs. Kat told me the day I went to see her the doctor had just told her they found a blockage and would have to perform another surgery. She was so sad. She told me that my voice and smile lifted her spirits and after I left her doctors told her the blockage was gone and she would not need another surgery. She said she often forgets my name but has never forgotten my voice or smile and the miracle I brought in her life that day. I had no idea. Her words to me were “you always say Ali and I are a blessing in your life but you really were a blessing in our life that day. I will never forget you. I wanted you to know that”.

Wow! I had no idea. I was very touched to hear her story. Even more so to know I somehow made a difference while in one of the greatest challenges in my own life.

The moral of the story is you never know whose life you’re going to bless. Strive to be a blessing for others. You may not see it today but one day you will discover that somehow you made a difference.

In It To Win It 7-30/16

I posted this on Facebook two years ago while I was fighting breast cancer. I’m blogging this post for those of you who are fighting breast cancer today. It has been a long two years for me. The side effects from chemo are still lingering. The fight has taken so much out of me and changed my life in so many ways. I’m tired and overcoming not only the side effects but the depression that came along with the challenge of chemo therapy, radiation, infusions, hormone blockers and a genetic mutation that causes many types of cancer. I was in it to win it two years ago.  This past two years I’ve overcome breast cancer, pre-colon cancer, skin cancer, neuropathy, the loss of my toe nails and fingernails, the loss of my hair, a breakup, my dignity and self respect. I’ve been verbally attacked and received not the most positive support.  I still have lymphodema, osteoporosis, my muscles and joints still hurt, I battle an auto-immune disease every day but I’m still in it and I’m winning it every day. 

Cancer has a way with treating everyone different. For some, their experience is easy, for others not so much. Be mindful of anyone fighting cancer. If you’ve never walked in their shoes please treat them with respect. Be empathetic and show your support. I haven’t received the best support. In fact I’ve been vilified by certain family members and others I held in high regard. I’ve even been compared to others whose experience with cancer was not the same as mine. Theirs was easy therefore my fight has been labeled “fake” I can only wish it was. I’ve met women who beat cancer one year and were fighting lung cancer, ovarian cancer or cervical cancer the next. Then there are the ones who fight hard and don’t make it. Do not judge anyone’s fight based on the fight of others. Everyone’s battle is different but what is the same is this nasty disease called cancer. In my opinion, cancer sucks. It’s changed my life in so many ways, both in a positive and negative way. My experience is my own. Everyone’s experience is there own too. So today, for those who have judged me or others, treated me or others poorly and hurt us in so many ways, here’s what I have to say. Be careful how you treat those fighting cancer. You never know when it may be you walking in their shoes. Cancer doesn’t care who you are, where you live or how much money you have. When you’re tagged…you’re it. Cancer is real and comes knocking when you least expect it and when it does you better be “in it to win it”

My post two years ago:

I made it back to San Francisco yesterday. I made it home to the familiar sounds of the crowds cheering for the SF Giants at the ball park across the street, cars honking, the hustle and bustle of the crowds downstairs and I thought how nice it was to be at home w my mom. The peace, quiet and serenity of just being home. The trip really wiped me out. I had a doctors appointment today. I had to have my blood drawn, my vitals checked and meet with my oncologist. While I was waiting I met a gal named Amanda. She was battling breast cancer. She is a Stage 1 and I’m a stage 1A. We are both going through the same treatment however our side effects differed. For one, she didn’t lose her hair until the second  or third treatment,  however she lost the feeling to her toes and fingers and has experienced leg swelling. Side effects I haven’t experienced yet, thank goodness. I met with my oncologist. She told me that she had chosen a very aggressive treatment for me because she wants to make sure she kills the cancer so I don’t have to go through this again. She also shared that while chemo is chemo, everyone’s experience is different. I thought this was interesting because I’ve met so many women and have had the opportunity to hear their story. A lot of women who are in their 20’s, 30’s & 40’s. We all have breast cancer. We are all fighting the disease but while our treatment is the same, our side effects are different. The experience is different. Before I began treatment I read several books that in truth scared me to death. I finally stopped reading them. I thought my oncologists interpretation today was spot on. I don’t mind sharing my journey in the hopes that it will be a wealth of encouragement if god forbid anyone finds themselves facing the same challenge. My advice is keep your mind open and remember that while others may experience one thing your experience will be different. What is the same is the disease. Keep fighting and never give up. The road may be hard but the end result is it’s beatable so be in it to win it. I’m taking a break from chemo for a couple of weeks to get my strength back. I’m going to use the time to eat healthy, rest and get my strength back so I can get through the next four treatments as a fighter. I’m in it to win it!! Going home was a good thing for me. Not everything went as planned but what it did give me is the motivation and determination to fight again.

Everyone Is Facing A Battle 3-12-16

On March 12, 2014 my ex and I were on our way back from Scottsdale Arizona after spending five days at spring training. I’m a huge fan of baseball and even huger fan of the San Francisco Giants!!! We had spend the week cheering on the Giants.  I posted this story on Facebook. It popped up as one of my memories today. I remembered this flight and the impact this young woman had on my life. I am sharing on my blog today as a reminder you never know what people are going through until you spend a day walking in their shoes. Be kind. Be compassionate and always try to bring joy in someone’s life, especially when they’re having a bad day. 

  
On the flight home from Scottsdale we had the same seats w a view of the engine as we did on the flight there. To the right of us was a young mother who was trying to console her screaming baby. It was very annoying to many people on the plane. I’ll admit I too was a little bit frustrated. I could see the young mother was frustrated so I finally got up and asked her if shed like some help. She was so appreciative. I sat next to the young girl. She was 21 years old. I was able to finally console the baby and he fell asleep. I decided to sit next to her for the duration of the flight. I didn’t want to wake the baby so I just held him for his mom. 

Sometimes in life you never know what the person next to you might be going through. At times we don’t stop to ask. As it turned out this young mother had moved to the Bay Area a few months prior after her son was born. Her baby was born that October. This young moms name was Stacy & her sons name was Jaiden. Stacy was returning from Arizona where she had gone to visit her daughter who had a birthday that week. She would’ve been 3 years old. The previous July while Stacy was pregnant she took her daughter to the pool. She turned around for a brief second. Long enough for her daughter to run off & fall in to the kiddie pool. Stacy’s daughter drowned. It was an accidental death that was not just caused by drowning but her daughter had asthma. Stacy shared how the paramedics had tried so hard to save her daughter. Like any mother she was devastated. 

The trauma she endured was hard on her pregnancy. She shared that her baby experienced colic & would cry  for hours. She had been told that the trauma not only effected her but possibly affected her baby. She moved to the Bay Area to stay w her godparents in the hopes of healing. She was in counseling and her family had been very supportive. 

As we began to land baby Jaiden woke up. He was screaming. For some reason I prayed & asked god to please console this baby. You’ll never believe this but the baby stopped crying. Stacy and I talked to him, rubbed his back until we landed. My heart went out to this young mother.

After we returned home I found  I couldnt stop thinking about Stacy and her baby. I certainly prayed for her & hoped she would overcome. 

I decided to share this story because often times we all become frustrated w other people. We don’t take the time to listen to the real story. Next time you encounter a frustrating situation take the time to ask the person if everything is ok & be sure to listen. I know I will do the same. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind always and take the time to listen. 

  

The Book of James 2-10-14

On December 28th I flew home to San Francisco after spending 11 days home in Quincy, Washington with my family. The following day I began radiation treatment. The following week, I found myself at the State Disability office. There had been a mistake on my paperwork that needed to be resolved. Ahead of me was a young man. He was asking the woman at the front desk many questions. I could tell he was confused and overwhelmed. For some reason I reached out to him. I offered to help him with his paperwork. The young man shared he had just returned from a 28 day stay at a rehab facility for drug addiction. His name was Jim. Jim shared he was a flight attendant as well as a nurse. He had been battling addiction to prescription drugs. He was very emotional, scared and overwhelmed. My heart went out to him since I am no stranger to addiction. I have been in recovery from alcohol addiction since 2002. I am now 12 years sober. I remembered how I felt when I was released from the rehab facility so many years ago. I not only shared my story, but I did my best to offer words of encouragement. Jim felt hopeless and I felt the need to encourage him not to give up. He was so grateful. Since that day, I text Jim words of encouragement once or twice a week and he does the same for me.

A couple of weeks ago I went downstairs. I had a few things I needed to buy at Safeway. As I approached Safeway I couldn’t help but notice a homeless man sitting with his dog. He looked sad and I sensed he felt hopeless. He had a sign that read “anything helps. God bless you”. I felt this pain in the pit of my stomach. The look on this mans face touched my heart so I walked up to him and said “I’m walking in to Safeway, is there anything I can get you?” He looked at me and much to my surprise he answered “I’d love a blueberry yogurt.” I couldn’t believe it. He could’ve asked for anything but instead all he asked for was a blueberry yogurt. As I walked in to the store I could feel a lump in my throat, not to mention, a tugging at my heart strings. My heart kept telling me not only to buy this man yogurt but I needed to give him money. I bought him 2 Greek blueberry yogurts and for some reason I asked for $20 cash back after I paid for my groceries. In addition to that, I asked the checker to give me the change as follows: one -$10, one – $5 and five – $1’s. I have no idea why but when I left the store I walked towards this homeless man. I handed him his yogurt and as I handed him the money I told him I didn’t know why but I felt the need to help him. He looked at me and reached out to me. He hugged me and said “God bless you”. I asked him what his name was. He answered “James”. James shared he had been homeless for the past 3 years after a streak of bad luck professionally but the good news was he had just qualified for housing. Unfortunately, the circumstances it took for him to be moved in to a home were less than stellar. He had been diagnosed with two types of cancer. My heart sank when he told me this and for some reason I began to cry. I told James I had never been inclined to give a homeless person more than a couple of dollars but something inside of me kept saying “you have to help this person”. I stood there crying and James reached out again and gave me a hug. He told me I was a good person and he knew God was going to bless me. I walked home that night praying for James asking God to bless him in a miraculous way. I haven’t seen James since that night but I find myself praying for him everyday. James touched my life that night in more ways I could have ever touched his. He reminded me not only to be grateful but to be compassionate toward others.

This morning I walked to the bank to withdraw the money from state disability that had been deposited in to an account the state had set up for me to receive my benefits. I withdrew the money to deposit in to my personal account so I can pay my bills. I’ve become a regular at Bank of America since becoming disabled with breast cancer nearly a year ago. The tellers have all been so wonderful and supportive as I’ve fought this nasty disease. One of the tellers even gave me a pin in the shape of a pink bow a few months ago. As I waited for the teller to withdraw my money, an employee was assisting a gentlemen. He was frustrated and the young female employee was doing her best to assist him. She walked away for a minute to do something and when she left the gentlemen looked at me and in frustration said he couldn’t take it anymore. I looked at him and said “things could be worse”. His reply was “I don’t think so. I just want to give up!” Earlier this morning I had seen the following quote on Twitter.

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I liked it so much I saved it. I read it to this gentlemen and encouraged him not to give up. He told me he had given up on hope, God and people. He didn’t believe in anything anymore. He was now living in a shelter and didn’t know what to do. I said “don’t give up! Things will get better!” He looked at me with a defeated and discouraged look on his face and replied “I don’t think so”. I knew exactly how he felt. After all I’ve found myself rock bottom for the past two years. At that moment, the female employee had returned and was trying to assist him. I turned around to finish my transaction. When I was finished the gentleman was gone. The employees thanked me for my help. The female employee shared the man had left. I ran out the door and saw this man crossing the street. I chased him and when I caught up to him I handed him a $20 bill. He looked at me and said “no you don’t have to do that!” I replied “yes I do!” I put the bill in his pocket and said “I hope you will start believing again!” He was so humbled saying “thank you”. I reached out my hand to shake his while asking him for his name. I couldn’t believe it. His name was Jim. I told Jim to start believing and to remember there are good people in this world. He said “yes there are and you’re one of them”.

As I walked home I remembered a homily my priest had told us many years ago. He told the story of a homeless man who was sitting outside of a bank. Everyone who walked in and out of the bank ignored him and treated him like he was garbage. Only one person stopped to help him. As it turned out the homeless man was actually Jesus. The moral of my priests story was always help others in need. You never know when it might be Jesus. I never forgot that homily and have used that story as an inspiration to help others. Unfortunately, the past few years have been so challenging that I found myself forgetting to help others while busy thinking only of myself. Feeling sorry for myself and missing out on not only my blessings but the opportunity to bless others. The more I reflected on the events at the bank and Father Mario’s homily, I remembered Jim at the disability office, James the homeless guy in front of Safeway and Jim the hopeless, non believer at the bank, I realized in all three instances I had a tugging at my heart to help these people. All three men were down on their luck and all three men had something else in common, their name. While two of them referred to themselves as Jim they were all James. I wondered what this all meant. I opened up my bible to the book of James and the first thing I read was “James, a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ”. I went on to read the entire book of James but the chapter that really stood out to me was James 2 verses 1-7 & 14-16. I am attaching a link on this blog today. I hope you will take the time to click on the link and read chapter two. If you’re a believer you will understand why I find myself so touched as I write this. In my opinion, I’m not a saint, I’m just a girl who did the right thing and I feel good about it. You see, I didn’t change these men’s life in anyway, they actually changed mine. They reminded me that any time we have the opportunity to be compassionate towards others, we need to act on it because while we may be a blessing to the person in need, the real blessing comes to ourselves when we take the time to think of others and remember, you never know if the person you walk away from or choose to ignore is not just a homeless guy, rather he’s Jesus. And I don’t know about you, but I’d hate to miss out by walking away from the most high God just because he was down on his luck or homeless and receiving the greatest blessing of all.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James+2%3A1-16&version=ESV