Saturday, September 26, 2015

Awareness and helping others

Just a warning that this post isn't flowers and rainbows, so brace yourself.

It's about cancer.

Everybody hates that word.  I am no different.

This topic---and ANY variety of cancer---has taken on a very personal note for me.  My family is suffering from it in every direction.  My mother with breast cancer, my cousin and two of my aunts with the same, my uncle and my niece's boyfriend (at 20 years old) with lymphoma.  My best friend, my former boss, my childhood friend, SO MANY of my relatives with skin cancer, and now a scare with my dad (which is all I hope it will be--just a scare), it seems that this awful disease is attacking lives and families from multiple angles these days.  That's why when I was approached by a lovely lady who'd been diagnosed with and BEAT mesothelioma, someone who wanted my help in spreading awareness about it, I felt it my duty to jump in.  We can never know when a life will be saved because a person is caused to look at their symptoms differently and maybe seek help because of them.  We can never know when our story or that of a loved one can bring comfort or hope or just a feeling of not being alone to someone else.  So here I am, broaching a painful subject for most, and sharing with you a little of what Heather Von St. James shared with me.

For a little background on Mesothelioma Awareness Day, I celebrate every year by raising awareness for mesothelioma.  It's often considered a "silent" disease because it can take decades for symptoms to begin to show and exposure to asbestos very easily occurred because the dangers weren't known.  I was exposed by wearing my dad's jacket that had been covered in "dust." :(  -- Heather Von St. James

You can learn more about Heather, her illness and her story by visiting her on social media or tuning in to her tweet chat on Friday (flyer at the bottom).

I'll end with this: For all those who are worried about their symptoms, for those who are awaiting a terrifying doctor's appointment, for those who are preparing for a test, for those who have just gotten the scariest diagnosis of their life and for those whose loved ones are at one of the stages above, please know that you are not alone.  Seek out support, be it in a group or a perfect stranger or a close friend or family member who has been through it before, find someone to talk to.  It can make the weight much more bearable.  You aren't suffering alone.  Only together, through sharing and awareness and fundraisers for research, can we make strides toward beating this horrific disease with all its many ugly faces.

Live every day like it's your last.  I know that's cliche, but it's so, so true!  We can never, ever know when this day, this hour will be the last one of its kind--where our loved ones are healthy and alive, where our bodies aren't ravaged by something we can't understand, where sadness and heartache aren't constant companions.  Enjoy every good day, every good minute. Take pictures.  Write about it in a journal.  Share it with your kids or your parents or your siblings or your best friend.  Whatever you do, grab every second with both hands and make wonderful memories.  I promise you won't regret it:)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Initium by Courtney Cole

The fantastic Courtney Cole has dropped an amazing little surprise on us today. It's called Initium and it's an utterly brilliant part of the Nocte series, something to tide us over until Lux comes out. Did I mention that it's brilliant? You should pick up a copy today before the price goes up. And if you aren't familiar with this series, you should start with Nocte. Prepare to be blown away! But for Initium, here's a quick little tease. You'll see what I mean by brilliant:)

I never knew what the consequences would be.
I say that like it’s a defense, an excuse.
It’s not. It’s simply the truth.
I never knew what he would become to me.
Through everything, he’s become everything.
My rock, my air, my love.
My everything.
And then….
Things changed.
Because it was wrong.
Because sometimes, our sons must pay for the sins of their fathers.
Or their mothers.
I’m afraid that I’m lost,
that I’m damned.
After you read this, you’ll probably agree.
Really, it doesn’t matter.
All that matters is that I save him.
Because he shouldn’t pay for my sin.
Judge me if you like.
But keep reading.
This is our beginning.
This is where the darkness truly starts.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Music of My Life

Do you ever feel like your life ever goes through periods of time where you have epiphany after epiphany?  Like all of a sudden you're learning so much about...stuff?  Well, I think I'm in one of those periods.  I feel like every day I learn some huge WOW type thing about life and health and happiness.  You know, the important stuff.  The one I'm going to tell you about today is related to music, hence the title.  Music is a huge part of my life and it brings me so much joy, and occasionally, it brings me some awesome moment of pure ecstasy, too!  Okay, maybe ecstasy is a strong word, but it sure does bring me a lot of pleasure:)  LOL

So, I was on my way back from town, driving along in my car, music blaring, minding my own business, when this song comes on. It's not a new song and I'd heard it several times before, but for some reason it just hit me like a ton of bricks that something about it--not necessarily all the words, but the feel of the song--reminded me of me and my hubby.  I downloaded it (I know you're not supposed to do things like that when you're driving, but in my defense, I was stopped at a red light when I did it) and I proceeded to listen to it on repeat for the rest of the way home.

I was already in good spirits when I walked in to find my husband making dinner.  He looked as handsome as ever, doing something kind and thoughtful for me. Nothing new there.  I told him I'd heard this great song that reminded me of us and then played it for him.  When the chorus came on, no lie, I broke out in cold chills all up and down my arms.  Hubby was looking at me over the stove and it occurred to me (not for the first time) that I love that man so much more than I ever thought I could love another human being. I mean, he is my other half.  My better half. He is what makes me happy. He is what keeps me sane. He is what keeps me grounded.  He is the person I want to walk through every day of my life with. I want to laugh with him, cry with him, experience new things with him, chase dreams with him.  That's no small thing, finding someone that you love that way. And I found it.  Found him.

As I listened to that song and we watched each other over the stove, I thought about how we really were born with fire and gold in our eyes.  Fire for life, fire for each other.  Together, we shine. He makes me shine.  I write for y'all, for myself, but I write about him.  We are lightning in a bottle. Or at least that's how he makes me feel.  He's the kind of happiness that I want to cherish every single day and I hope that every time I play that song, I'm reminded of that. I don't ever want to take him for granted, or take what we have for granted.  He's my happy place and, together, we can do anything.  He is the music of my life, his love the song I always want to sing.  Letting stress or worry or anything get in the way of the happiness he brings me is a tragedy.  Nothing is more important than he is (except God, of course. He always comes first), and I realized that if I keep my focus where it needs to be, on the positive rather than the negative, life is pretty dang sweet.  Every. Single. Day.

So carpe diem, y'all!  Hug your kids, kiss your man, tell your sister you love her.  Whoever is important to you, let them know.  Wallow in their love.  Revel in how blessed you are.  Concentrate on the things that matter most.  Everything else will take care of itself:)

Peace and love and book boyfriends.