Happy Leap Day, everyone! Not only is this day super cool because it only comes around once every 4 years, but this particular Leap Day marks the beginning of my birthday week.
I have thought about several gift options as Mark has been asking me what I would like for my birthday. I haven't thought of anything great yet, at least not anything that he can purchase for me.
However, I have thought of something that would make me extremely happy this week.
I would love to visit the post office every single day during this week of birthday joy.
You see, if I had to go to the post office every day, that would mean that I am shipping books off to family, friends, friends of family and friends, and maybe even a complete stranger or two.
That would also mean that this book would hopefully be getting into the hands of people who are experiencing a trial of sorts and need a little pick me up and that would make me very happy indeed.
So, I decided to have a sale. If you haven't had a chance to purchase your own copy, now's the week to do it! I am offering the print versions at the lowest price that I possibly can. Writing this book has never been about making money, but this week, it's really not about making money. :)
It is about giving people the opportunity to purchase this book that will hopefully help them through a tough spot and give them the courage to say, "I can do hard things."
Here's the details...
Everything is 20% off- hardcovers, paperbacks, eBook.
One more thing!
I have a little contest in the works that includes winning a $25 gift card to Amazon or Target. The catch is, for one of the steps of this contest, you will have to have read the book. So now is really the week to purchase it if you are interested in participating in the contest.
Some people have expressed to me that they don't know how to buy a copy of the book. That is one of the downsides to self-publishing. It's not available at all of the major book stores. BUT! It is available through this website! Click here to go to my store page.
AND! It is available to purchase directly from me if you live in the Salt Lake City area. Send me an email and we can figure out a time and place to meet.
I know, without a doubt, that the song I have chosen for today is the song that someone needs to hear. Maybe that someone was me, maybe that someone is you. Whatever the case may be, I cannot deny that it is the song that our loving Father in Heaven wants me to share with you today.
I woke up early this morning and the only thought that I had in my head was the title of this song. It was 4:30 am. Too early for me to actually set foot out of my warm, snuggly bed, but I knew that I was getting a message from my Father.
I closed my eyes and tried to catch a few more winks of sleep, but by 5:30, I knew that it was no use. There would be no more sleeping for me until I sat down and wrote this post. My plan is to jump right back into my bed as soon as I hit the "publish" button, but we shall see...
I think I would like to share the song first, and then share with you the testimony that I have gained from its message.
What Heaven Sees in You
God Loves You.
He loves you as an individual person.
If there is only one thing that I am able to teach my children, it is this most important fact:
I need them to know, without a shadow of a doubt, that their Heavenly Father and Mother love them.
Once they know that- once they feel that, deep in their souls, then it will not matter what trials or adversity hits them. When you KNOW that you are a child of the almighty God and that HE LOVES YOU, you have the strength to withstand the storms that swirl around you.
God is real.
He loves you deeply.
He needs you to know that, today.
Now, my mom is probably going to get after me when she reads this post because I never told her that I was having an MRI. I didn't tell anyone...except for my husband. I learned my lesson the last time I had a scare when I told EVERYONE and then it was not only me that was freaked out, but my entire family- kids included. Plus, I really did not think that my back problems were due to the return of my old nemesis, cancer.
I quietly went to the hospital- by myself- and laid on an MRI table for 45 minutes while the machine buzzed and clicked around me. While I was willing my body to be still, I was also willing my mind to be at peace. That is much easier said than done when facing the "C" word. There is something about those 6 little letters that can strike fear in the heart of the bravest people.
Before I go any further with this post, I will tell you that everything is fine. I am healthy. No sign of the cancer showed up on the MRI, and so as far as I know, I am still cancer free. (Yay!)
This fear of recurrence is what life looks like on the other side of cancer. It doesn't matter what kind of cancer you had, what stage you were, or anything like that. Cancer is cancer and the thought of going through treatment again makes your very soul shiver. It's a tough thing and some days are worse than others. I have found that I am definitely having more good days then bad now that I am 4+ years from my diagnosis. I hope that trend continues as the years go by. But there will always be that one little section of my brain that says, "When it comes back..." And that's okay. I have made peace with that darling section of my brain and we have come to a truce of sorts. I let it think that the cancer is coming back someday, and in return, it stays tucked away and allows me function somewhat normally through my crazy life.
It has taken me a long time to get to where I am now and it was not an easy road to travel. I still struggle a bit with anxiety and sometimes even bouts of depression as I try to navigate my life in between the cancer scares. I know that others have experienced some of these same feelings and that is why I am choosing to write about it today.
I want others to know that they are not alone! I also want to let them know that it is okay to meet with a counselor, a therapist, a psychologist, or another professional who can help him or her sort through these feelings. I also want to let them know that it is okay to take medication for these disorders. There is a stigma attached to mental health that needs to go away. I am not sure why we don't want to take care of our brain, which is the central location for everything else that happens in our body. If we have strep throat or a broken arm or some other physical ailment, we usually seek for medical attention right away. So why do we hesitate to make sure our brain is healthy?
This topic of recurrence and the anxiety associated with it is probably one that I will write about again. There is too much information to cover in just one blog post. So I will leave this post with a "to be continued" attached to it and I also want to leave a list of websites you can go to that have helpful information regarding life after cancer and dealing with the mental games that plague us.
Some helpful websites...
A Child's Prayer
I found it sad that Edward had a hard time finding a support group that was willing to include him in the conversations. I don't care who you are, male or female, young or old. If you have cancer, any form of cancer, I want to help you. I want to lend a listening ear and a helping hand. Cancer certainly does not care who it latches on to, so why should I?
There are a couple of links in the above article that I checked out and found very helpful. The first one is a blog by Oliver Bogler (who was mentioned in the article.) It is called "Entering a World of Pink" and I think it is a very informative site to check out if you are a man who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
The second website that was mentioned is also a great place for information about breast cancer for men and women..."Living Beyond Breast Cancer." If you are a survivor, you will want to check this site out. There are several articles that I read through today- in particular, the ones that talked about the fear and anxiety associated with recurrence.
That will be next week's topic and as always, if there is anything that you would like me to talk about, in relation to breast cancer, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are in this together and I want to make sure that I am writing about things that my readers have questions or are concerned about. :)
I take you back to late August 2011. I had just been diagnosed with Breast Cancer and I was floundering in a sea of fear, confusion, and depression. I was right in the middle of a terrible waiting game as we waited for test results which would lead us to knowing what stage of cancer I had, which would then lead to treatment options.
I was scared out of my mind.
I had a hard time sleeping during that particular time of my life and I remember one morning, I was tired of tossing and turning, so I decided to get out of bed and go read my scriptures in the family room. I gathered my blanket and my scriptures and laid down on the floor next to my sweet dog, Mei Mei.
I tried picking up the scriptures and reading them, but I just could not get my mind to shift away from fear and focus on what I was reading. I was playing a terrible "What If" game in my mind and it was consuming my every thought. Since music is something that has always been able to calm me down in times of stress, I decided to put on my headphones and see if I could will my brain to be silent so that I could get some rest.
I felt a little better after a few songs from my "Sunday Playlist" and had just about drifted off to sleep when this song started playing.
In my sleepy state of mind, the pounding fearful thoughts were finally silenced and I was able to just focus on the words of this beautiful hymn. The tears started rolling down my cheeks, followed by heaving sobs, as I was finally able to release some of the fear and anxiety I had been feeling. I buried my face into Mei Mei's soft fur and just let the tears flow. It was a very healing and spiritual moment for me that is etched into my brain forever.
If you are experiencing a time of fear, uncertainty, depression, confusion, or anything else that is robbing you of happiness, I hope that this song will be the gateway for a great healing moment for you as well.
Sending all of my love and best wishes on this Sabbath Day of rest.
Be Still My Soul
Be Still My Soul,
If you are a cancer survivor, or someone who has dealt with another chronic illness for years, there is definitely one thing that we all have in common...FATIGUE.
I am talking about a tiredness that seeps deep into your bones, like no other feeling of tired that you have ever felt before. It's the pits, really. Especially when all you want to do is just get on with your life and be active again.
One thing that has helped me battle the fatigue monster is Yoga. Let me clarify something though...I am not consistent at it in any way, shape, or form. I go through spurts where I am fairly consistent and I feel really good during those times. Then I get busy with other things and practicing yoga goes right out the window, along with my peace and "serenity now" feelings.
I wish this wasn't the case. I wish that I could say that I dedicate a solid hour to yoga every day, but then reality slaps me in the face and I remember my life at the moment. My life does not have time for an hour of yoga every day, but I do have time for at least 15-20 minutes of it. That is certainly better than no yoga at all and I can definitely feel a difference in my body and spirit when I take the time to do it.
There are so many options for yoga. You don't have to spend money on classes or anything like that. There are plenty of great podcasts, apps, and YouTube videos to get you the yoga fix that you are looking for. One of my favorites is "Yoga with Adriene" on YouTube. She has several series that are fun and she is really sweet and engaging.
I also found something on Pinterest that has been helpful and it is really good when you do only have 10-15 minutes to chill. Click here and you will find 5 simple yoga poses that will help your body and your mind relax.
Well, after only a week, I am finally going to get pictures up from my first ever book signing. Yay!
It went very well. Better than I expected AND none of my recurring nightmares came true, so that was a bonus.
It was so fun to see family and friends and I am SO grateful to all of you! Thank you for coming! Thank you for your support! Thank you for loving me on this special night.
I also have to thank the lovely people at Marissa's Books in Murray, UT.
There truly are no words to express how grateful I am to you for your kindness and generosity. I will recommend you to everyone that I meet.
Guys! Go to Marissa's Books! They are amazing! (Plus, they have copies of my book there, so that's awesome. :)
There was a lot of laughter and a lot of smiles.
And, oh yes, a huge amount of hugging. I loved every minute of every hug. If I missed hugging you or missed out on a photo op...I'm sorry! I tried to get to everyone!
I would like to offer a very big THANK YOU to my friend, Kelli, and my sweet mother-in-law, Karen, for their help in running the sales that night. I couldn't have done this without you.
Also, many thanks and much love to my husband. Thank you for supporting me in this adventure and for taking all of these wonderful pictures. Again, I couldn't have done this, any of this, without you. Love you so much.
What a fun night. It was so much fun that I say, "Let's do it again!"
This time, I'm hitting the road. Southern Utah, here I come! Are you ready?
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing/If You Could Hie to Kolob
2. When we build upon a firm foundation in Christ, we cannot fail and we will never be alone. But, we have to give him the whole of our heart, our everything.
Lyrics from "Come Thou Fount..."
"Praise the mount,
I'm fixed upon it.
Mount of thy Redeeming Love."
"O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above."
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
If You Could Hie to Kolob
by Steven Sharp Nelson
It is going to be a good day.
Today also marks another very important milestone for me. It was 4 years ago on this very day that I said goodbye to the chemo that I loathed and loved at the same time. I loathed it for obvious reasons. It made me sick and made my body hurt. But I loved it because it had done it's job of killing my real enemy- the cancer that had invaded my body. To celebrate that very important day, my friends and family gave me a party. A beautiful, lively, lovely, and very pink, party. It was one of the greatest moments of my life.
(WARNING...if you do not like the color pink, I would not look at the following pictures.)
I hope to see a lot of these friendly faces at Marissa's Books as we celebrate another milestone in this journey. I have not come this far without you and I don't want to continue without you either.
This journey has been about 3 things from the very beginning...
1. God and my Savior, Jesus Christ. I cannot deny the guidance that I have felt from them nor am I ashamed to admit that I am where I am because of the blessings that I have received from them. I have not done this alone.
2. My family. From the 5 precious people that I share a home with to the many, many other members of my family- again, I have not made it this far alone. I feel so blessed and lucky to be surrounded by so many amazing people.
3. My friends. I love you all so much and I am so grateful to have each and every one of you in my life.
I am loving my second chance at life.
Every day is an opportunity to do good and to be a little better than the day before.
I love being a mommy.
It's my favorite thing in this world and my most important job.
What's Happening on
Come Follow Me
Survivor Sister Scoop
Tips And Tricks
You Can Do Hard Things
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