Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Day of Dispair that Didn't Turn into Days of Dispair

"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." 

Yesterday was a rough day.
I have no idea why.

The day started well.

And nothing went wrong.
No bad encounters with other human beings.
No issues with kids.
No problems with my car.
No complaints or issues at work.
as time ticked on throughout the day,
a cloud of doom started forming in my mind.
Sadness started to sneak in.
Boredom and unhappiness with my life drifted in.
Feelings of my life wasting away seeped in.
Dispair of loneliness crept in.
Slowly....very slowly....so slowly I didn't realize it until I was home from work.
I escaped from the kids for a few moments....in the nick of time....and burst into uncontrollable tears.
But then I reached out.

I sent a note to a friend and posted a tweet.

Within moments I had notes back from my LIVESTRONG family friends.

Lifting my spirits.

Inspiring me.

Rekindling my inner spirit.

Reminding me to LIVESTRONG.

And off to the gym I dragged myself.

And I kicked that sadness' butt.....but only after after my "inner spirit rekindled" by friends....some I've never met before but we have a common bond with LIVESTRONG.

I chalk yesterday up to another day that cancer tried beating me down.....those feelings would never have existed if Brian, Mom, Dad and my sister were still here with me.


I have a lot of cancer hating ass kicker friends that LIVESTRONG......

And we will NOT let you impact our lives ANYMORE!

Monday, September 19, 2011

My 8-year old Inspiriation

August....a month filled with both dread and joy. Every year August creeps up on me.....I suspect I am not alone.

August means the end of summer....back to school.....last minute vacations-which means extra work at work to prepare for said vacation or covering for others.  Budget time....the return of the college students - meaning the quiet laziness of the downtown area around the campus changes.....some may say it comes back to life but surprisingly, this city gal loves the relaxing feel....sitting outside at the coffee shop, meeting friends for a glass of wine or pint on the outdoor patios, going for ice cream or even lying in the grass in the middle of the downtown circle watching the clouds.

It also marks the 8th anniversary of the birth of my mini-me.....my red-headed fireball daughter that makes me laugh....a smile from her warms my soul.   She was an unexpected  present to Brian and I.  We had  planned on only two children but I can't imagine our family being complete without her.

I am realizing more and more each day that there was a plan for Rachel's arrival. She not only looks like me....but she compliments me. Rachel is 100% a free spirit.....maybe that's typical of red-heads.....her creativity, energy, and overall spirit keep me going on days I want to crawl back under the covers.   She finds joy in the littlest things....a bike ride to the crab apple tree down the street is worthy of a 20 minute story -or better yet a song or operetta - although the ride may have only been 2 minutes long.

This little 8 year old joined me on my trip to Philadelphia to participate in the LIVESTRONG Challenge....to recognize the anniversary of her Dad's passing and her birthday.  She jumped right in - first by creating a memory card for Brian to post on the LIVESTRONG Memory wall.

As we met up with our team in the hotel lobby for dinner due to a monsoon rain taking place outside (and a mini river flowing into the lobby), Rachel approached this as an opportunity.  She spent the evening approaching others with a variety of our team items - t-shirts, magnets, water bottles and even strawberry jam.  This little ball of fire raised over $150 for LIVESTRONG that evening.

The morning of the 5K she was tired from the trip and late night, but perserved anyways.....running/walking/and hula hooping (yes, hula hooping) the distance.  Rachel approached others effortlessly.  The joy she displayed all day long made the milestone of that particular day much easier to deal with.

Yep, hula hooping on a 5K!
And she finishes....on the 7th anniversary of her Dad's passing

That evening, she was off hula hooping in the lobby.....and raised yet another $25 for her hula hooping prowess.  She immediately handed the money to me so we could donate to LIVESTRONG.  A very selfless act on her behalf - and not one I can imagine many children doing when there is a nice big mall across the parking lot.

Raising money for LIVESTRONG....if only I could hula hoop too!
 Sunday morning - her birthday none the less - Rachel rose early and jumped on her bike to complete a 10 mile bike ride in "Hilly Philly".....in the rain....with the same effortless perseverance she diplays each and every day.

Crossing the finish line - on her 8th birthday

And she's off!

Still full of smiles & energy at the end

Riding in memory of her Dad 
This is just another reason WHY I am so passionate about LIVESTRONGHow could I not be?  This little girl could be sad about missing out on memories with her Dad, but instead she turns what could have been a somber day into a day filled with joy.  Her thoughts are constantly on wanting to help others from losing their parents.  Instead she lives each day fully....no regrets....no sadness....only looking forward!

Rachel brings smiles to my face all day long....as I suspect she does with many other people.  She is a testament to LIVINGSTRONG.

I know a lot of you say I inspire you....but Rachel inspires ME!

This post isn't about fundraising but continuing to live life to it's fullest.  However, if you would like to support mine and Rachel's efforts to help families have a lifetime of memories together, please consider making a donation using the link below:

And if you would like us to honor your loved one on our tribute wall or on my back as I run NYC, please leave me a comment.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Pebbles in Our Lives

"Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain." ~Author Unknown

I came across this quote earlier this week and it really struck a chord with me.  
Each and everyone of us have our "pebbles"....some are more significant than others, but we all have them.
It is how we approach these "pebbles" that defines who we are, how we live our lives, how others look at us - for guidance, for inspiration, etc.
I am often told that I inspire others....this always amazes me as I have my share of "pebbles" each day, and I don't always approach them in a positive manner.  There are times I let those "pebbles" stick to the bottom of my foot and irritate me all day.  
I am often told that I am strong....again, this amazes me as I don't view myself as strong.  What everyone does not see are the emotional breakdowns I have, the discouragement I often feel, the negativity that sneaks in and takes over.
Those feelings of discouragement come and go, just as the periods of intense strength come and go.  Thankfully for the wonderful friends and support I have, the periods of discouragement are fleeting.
I don't consider myself any stronger than anyone else.  I have just been dealt some difficult situations but I truly believe we are all capable of surviving with the same ups and downs that I have.  
I also believe that we ALL have something going on in our lives that can knock us down at any moment. 
I compare it to that pebble that gets stuck in your shoe that becomes an irritation....and will continue to be an irritation unless you take time to stop, untie your shoe and shake it out.  If I don't stop to shake it out, the walk or run will be unsuccessful. 
The same goes with the "pebbles" in our lives.  Some are easy to ignore and persevere through.....others you need to stop, take a deep breath and "shake it out."  For me, shaking it out is sometimes writing my blog, reaching out to others, going  for a run.  But, the point is, I need to recognize those moments and make the effort to address it.
Surrounding yourself with positive supportive empathetic friends is important....and to recognize that those same friends have "pebbles" they need to shake out - regardless of how big or small.  The pebble is an irritation that is keeping them from crossing the mountain.

And keep in mind as you make judgments about others, you have NO idea what may be going on in their lives that is creating a change in an emotional or physical state.  Take a moment to reach out and ask how life is going, help identify the "pebble" and get them back on track to climb that mountain.

I know that I'd be a horrendous emotional wreck if others didn't question my down periods. 

It is tough being viewed as strong all the time.....and I am grateful for those that recognize that strength isn't always in play.
Thanks for continuing to support my blog and my occasional "venting".  Each time I put the words on the page, it is often clearing a pebble - or a rock - out of my path to success.