One year later…


This is it. This month, last year, I was diagnosed with stage 3 Ovarian Cancer. Resulting in the following 6 months of (very brutal) chemotherapy. Chemotherapy which nearly killed me. Where I was so sick, that I eventually spiraled far, far down into the deepest depths of my own personal Hell. A Hell, in which I honestly was not sure that I would ever escape from.

But thanks to the mercy of God, the radiance of my then 3 year old daughter, and the daily support of my Mom, I fought my way out. And survived. And am here, currently in remission, one year later, living each day within the sheltering grace of this miracle. This 2nd chance at life. A 2nd chance which has changed nearly every aspect of who I am, as a wife, mother, and woman.

And so, in celebration of this 1 year remembrance, I’d like to share some of the most important things that I have learned within this past year. Things that I once took for granted, in so many various ways.

Firstly, being who I am as a Mother. Like most mothers, particulary mothers of younger children, before my cancer diagnosis, I struggled every day with the feeling of not being good enough. Where because of my depression and social anxiety, I wasn’t doing nearly as much as I should have been doing for & with my little girl. Where I foolishly believed that my daughter would be less happy because of not doing the many things & activities that I had seen so many other mothers of 3 year olds doing.  A feeling of inadequaetcy which became completely debilitating while I was undergoing those 6 hellish months of chemotherapy, when I could barely walk, more of less move from bed. It wasn’t until I had survived those 1st four months, when I truly understood what my mom & oldest sister kept reminding me. This being that it didn’t matter that I wasn’t able to take my daughter to the playground anymore, or be on the floor actively playing games with her, or hold her in my arms throughout the night. Because at the end of the day, no matter the many things that I wasn’t able to do, the one thing that mattered more than anything else to HER was that I showed that I loved her. Through a kiss, or hug, or held hand. It was that simple, through those simple actions of affection, to give her what she wanted, and needed, most. Because to her, then, as well as today, I AM enough for her. My love will ALWAYS be enough.

Another thing that I’ve learned most deeply, from then to now, is that every day is a reason to celebrate. Every day that I rise, with my family of 6 snuggled up besides me in our big bed, and every night when I rest my head, is a miracle in and of itself. Where the many moments within each hour, make up the whole of my life. The completion of my heart. Without the guarantee of another tomorrow. Since I now know, perhaps more so than most, how nothing is guaranteed in this life, and that everything (be it good or bad) is fleeting. And everything (EVERYTHING) is a blessing granted. Being able to tinker away in my kitchen, creating a new cake. Jumping in my car, by myself, and drive wherever is needed. Reading a full book again, without becoming completely overwhelmed. Doing the dishes, and mopping  the floor, and folding the laundry, all on my own. Taking my daughter to her favorite playground, where we’ll run around playing hide & seek, and climb rocks together. Being ACTIVE. All miracles to me, in their own little yet incredibly special ways. All blessings, to be cherished, and remembered.

All because God granted me this 2nd chance of life. A 2nd chance that I will strive my hardest to celebrate. Every new day. Every new moment. Because this life, be it busy or slow, is worth rejoicing in.

So tonight, as I push “publish” on this post, one year after my life was flipped upside down, and torn apart, I hope that no matter what you may be experiencing in life, you’ll always be able to breathe your way through it. And celebrate it for the miracle that it is.

“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”


Happiness Project#88: Watermelon Pops!



Oh, summer. With the exception of lovely summer flowers and homemade popsicles, I’m still not a fan of the season. Had it not been for my 4 year old wanting to be out & about swimming, and climbing, and jumping every day, I doubt I would leave my house. Ever. Well, okay, except for leaving the house when in need of new books. Because, books. Which I’ve been whipping through at a blistering speed. As in 3 to 4 books a week. A feat which I haven’t accomplished since I left working in the book industry a good 4 years ago. Apparently the book worm within me is very, very hungry.

Anyhow, since summer is officially here, and I’m still attempting to resolve my distaste about it, my little girl & I decided to create a summer popsicle together, with her faaaaavorite summer fruit: the ever so juicy watermelon. A popsicle recipe that she did (nearly) entirely on her own. With her sticky little fingers, and beaming smile, and dancing brown eyes. Seeing this child of mine become so excited about creating new things, always make my heart proud. And sharing recipe adventures with her? Most definitely one of my favorite parts of being a Mommy.

So grab your little ones, and your favorite popsicle mold, and get into that kitchen! Particularly with this delightfully quick, and easy (though kinda messy), recipe!

1 pound fresh watermelon

4 teaspoons lime juice

4 teaspoons granulated sugar

Break out that mixture (or food processor), and set out an 8 to 10 cavity popsicle mold, with corresponding popsicle sticks.

With a large, serrated knife, cut up the watermelon into 4 large halves. Skin off the watermelon’s rind, before dicing up the 4 cut halves into small cubes. With an melon ball corer, remove those pesky watermelon seeds. Seeds in popsicles aren’t very tasty.

Throw those cubes of watermelon, along with the lime juice, and granulated sugar into the food processor, pulsing on high for a few minutes until the entire mixture is fully blended, and smooth.

Spoon out the watermelon mixture (I use a small mixing cup as a scoop), into each of the 8 popsicle cavities, filling each cavity all the way to the brim.

If your popsicle mold has a lid that has slots for popsicle sticks, slide in each stick before placing the mold into the freezer. If your popsicle mold does not have a slotted lid, add in the popsicle sticks after the popsicles have already been semi-frozen for at least an hour. Freeze until completely frozen solid.

I hope you all enjoy the beginning of this summer season! Or if you’re like me, who isn’t very particularly interested in the summer sun, perhaps you will enjoy the fun of creating your own fruity popsicles instead!

For the love of words.

This week has been rough. It’s incredibly hard to see someone that you love go through the ickiness of chemotherapy. Particularly when it reminds you too much of the hell that last summer was. So to stave off the roiling waves of PTSD, I decided to grab my camera, and hunt for my favorite summer […]

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Happiness Project#87: Banana Muffins!

PTSD. I’ve been through a ton of scary medical situations in my life, but none have created such a strong reaction from me as living with cancer has. Recently, someone very close to me was diagnosed with breast cancer, and has already gone through her 1st round of chemotherapy. Fortunately, although she’s had a couple […]

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The predicament of busy.

Every morning, I wake up breathing in the essence of life. Cherishing every new dawn, and every coinciding nightfall. Because this time of mine is precious. And not a certainty. It’s hard, if not nearly impossible, to go about my day without acknowledging the threat of possible re-lapse, that sits quietly (far) back within my […]

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A world without standard.

“Nothing makes a woman more beautiful, than the belief that she IS beautiful.” Let’s talk. Let’s talk about the idea of what “beauty” is, and how we, as people,  particularly as women and girls, become “beautiful.” Societies all over the world, show beauty in different ways. From what I’ve studied, women in Africa show beauty […]

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Happiness Project #86: Dragon Flyers Iced Lemonade!

Mothers Day this year was truly MAGICAL! This was the first Mothers Day where I was healthy enough to go out and celebrate Mothers Day with my little family of 3. Which is a testament to where I’ve been and how very far that I’ve come. What made it most US though, was how it […]

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“Look, Mommy! I’m the tallest!” It’s been a couple of months since I’ve posted anything. Not because I haven’t had the time (because I do have the time), but mostly because I’ve been reevaluating most, if not all, of my priorities in this 2nd chance of life. Last year, with the cancer diagnosis, and the […]

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Happiness Project#85: Minestrone Soup!

I can’t believe that it’s already 2017. Because of how grueling chemotherapy has been these past 6 months, I honestly never thought I’d make it to the new year. But, thanks be, I did it. I survived 6 months of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad endless days, and endless nights of fear, anxiety and […]

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Happiness Project #84: Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake!

It’s been 3 months since starting chemotherapy, and it’s been, without a doubt, the most difficult experience I’ve ever faced. I’m rarely feeling well enough to make it outside more or less whip up new blog posts. And I miss my life before cancer, in every way imaginable. However, despite now normal neuropathy of my […]

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