What Matters Most

My mother lost her two-year battle against breast and bone cancer over 10 years ago.  She was in the hospital on her birthday, so I bought her a cute stuffed bunny since it was close to Easter and a small wall plaque that read:

“All night, all day, may heavenly angels watch over you and keep you in all that you do.”

Four days later, I had to take back those presents as well as any other present I had ever given her.  But the give I could never take back, the one irreplaceable gift is TIME.  Once it’s gone, it’s gone.  You can’t get it back; you can’t return it.  Which makes it PRICELESS.

I moved closer to my mother two years before her death, not knowing she would be diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer shortly thereafter.  For two years, we spent every holiday and major life event together.  Between me and my sister, we accompanied her to her doctor’s appointments and consulted on her care.  It was without question the hardest time of my life, but I wouldn’t trade it for a thing.  I spent more time with my mother in those two years than any other time in my adult life, and I documented much of those experiences in scrapbooks.  Even in her illness, she was still so beautiful.  My mother passed away five years before my son was born.  Although she did not get the chance to meet him, he WILL know her through photos and journaled memories.    

I had the privilege of holding my mother’s hand as she took her last breath.  Her final words were “God is Sovereign.”  As I have reflected upon those words over the years since her passing, I’ve envisioned what MY last words in this life will be.  Knowing that my final words will be reflective of my final thoughts, I’ve asked myself some important questions:

  • Would I want my current thoughts to be my final thoughts in this life?  WORRY; STRESS; ANGER; FRUSTRATION; IRRITATION; DISSATISFACTION; IMPATIENCE; REGRET?

That’s an easy, NO WAY!

  • What would I rather be thinking about?  LOVE; SATISFACTION; THANKFULLNESS; HAPPINESS; PEACE?

Absolutely, YES!  So, how do I realign my life such that in my final moments, I’m thinking about those things that matter most?

I don’t have all the answers, but I find comfort in knowing my mother’s final thoughts were focused on her source of comfort and strength.  She taught me many lessons that guide me as a mother, and most importantly that by living a life in alignment with those things that matter most and being led by a higher power, I WILL find my own peace in living a life WELL DONE.

Creativity and Self-Care

I’ve been on a journey of self-care discovery for the past two years. I always viewed self-care as pampering (e.g. mani/pedis, massages, facials) or exercise time or healthy diets or vacations. Although I believe it can be all of those things, I also believe self-care is unique for everyone. And those things just didn’t get to the heart of what I needed. 

I met someone at a scrapbooking retreat whointroduced me to the concept of “creating for the sake of creating;” not to finish but to “be in process.” In this way I stumbled upon a self-care truth: CREATIVE EXPRESSION IS LIFE FOR ME!

Without creativity, I feel deprived, irritable, frustrated, tired (to name a few). It’s hard for me to give to others when my creative cup is dry. I have trouble focusing. I eat poorly and avoid exercise. The list goes on and on. Creative expression fills my cup; it gives the analytical part of my brain a rest and taps into the intuitive part of my brain thereby improving my problem-solving ability. I’m more generous in helping others. I’m more generous in helping myself. Again…the list goes on and on.

I offer this gift to you. If you are searching for a self-care option, give creative expression a try. You don’t have to be artsy or do scrapbooking. There are so many things you can try, from knitting to dancing to photography to cooking.  

Unlock another beautiful part of your mind through creativity!

The Gift of Self-Care

“When you start to carve out time for creating, for self-care and for personal development you have to be ruthless with saying no to other things.” The Reset Girl

None of us has unlimited time. We all have to make choices about what we do with our time and no oneshould be judged for choosing to do things that matter most.  I am fortunate to know so many amazing people who show me by example the importance of living a balanced life, and it’s a constantly evolving thing. My loved ones extend to me their grace because although I don’t connect with them everyday, they know my heart; and when we do get together it’s like we were never apart.

This is my tribute to all you amazing mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, aunts, sisters and all-around amazing women who sacrifice every day for the ones you love. You deserve to do exactly what makes you HAPPY, EVERYDAY, UNAPOLOGETICALLY.

A Special Gift During the Holidays

To those of you/us who are struggling with hidden illnesses, holidays can be hard. We often force ourselves to go to different events because we don’t want to feel left out or appear antisocial or feel embarrassed. But it’s hard to participate with celebratory activities when you can’t eat certain foods or drink certain beverages, your body aches, you need to be close to a restroom, you can’t be in the heat or sun, you have to take your meds, you can’t participate in physical activities…the list of “cants” goes on and on. And you just grin and bear it when you get the inevitable questions, “Why aren’t you…” fill in the blank. 

My wish for you today and every day is that you find peace in doing what you need to do to take care of yourself. You’d be surprised how many people are fighting hidden health battles of their own or who are more than willing to accommodate your needs. Feel courageous enough to say “no thanks,” bring your own food and drink, leave early or arrive late or stay home and binge on Netflix. You are not alone. I’m in this fight with you.