The predicament of busy.

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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 consciousness. I cannot, for the sake of responsibility, believe that I will, from this year forward, never again need to worry. Because I always will, in some way or another. This is what we survivors do, I believe.

So to combat any anxiety that I feel, I try to do what most restless adults do: I stay busy. Or try to, anyway. Which sometimes feels more like a curse than a relief. But why a curse? Because the act of busyness can sometimes bring about more harm than good. Physically, and emotionally. Something that I’ve seen far too often in the lives of both adults, as well as those of children.

There’s a quote being thrown around, in many of my closest circles; “Stop the glorification of busy.” And it’s something that I wholeheartedly believe in. For myself, my daughter, and my family. After last summer’s 6 months of chemotherapy, where I was too sick to do anything on my own, one of the lessons I learned was that it was OKAY to NOT DO things. That it was OKAY to NOT be busy all the time. Because I’ve come to realize that being busy doesn’t always equate being happy. In many ways, being busy (running around & always making plans) prevents me, and many of those around me, from having the time to FEEL happiness. From acknowledging the quietness of being ALIVE. Because, yes, it’s generally within moments of silence, and quiet, that we truly FEEL the many things within our hearts & minds. Something that we’ve forgotten how to do, because of this drive to be busy doing things.

So maybe instead of allowing the busyness of life to dictate our every moment, maybe it’s time that we take the TIME to be STILL instead. Where instead of rushing to the store, we’ll sit in the parking lot, with the windows rolled down, listening to the breeze pushing it’s way through the trees. Or instead of doing the dishes every day,  we’ll let them sit in the sink, or in the dishwasher for one more day, so that we can go outside, and sit in a favorite chair, watching the clouds roll by. Maybe instead of pushing our children into 2 or 3 after-school activities, we’ll let them come home from a full day of school, so that they can PLAY instead. Where they have the freedom to DO or NOT do whatever they want. So that they can re-charge their imagination. So that we, as adults, can re-charge our lives, and in turn, our souls.

This one life of ours, is just that: one life. One chance to be who we truly WANT to be. Considering that we spend a good half of it (if not more than just half) in school, where school days are anywhere from 6-8 hours long, and then in jobs, where a job is anywhere from 40-50 hours a week, perhaps NOT being scheduled all the time, will give us the space, & time, to see the many blessings that this life has given us. To feel again. To let go of the glorification of busy, and just…breathe.

Those dishes sitting in the sink? That laundry piled up in the hamper? That dirty car resting in the driveway? They won’t be any less functional by being dirty for another 24 hours. But living through the quietness of being still? This is something much too precious to waste. This is time spend wisely.

Stop the glorification of busy. Rest. Relax. Breathe. You are worth it.

Butterfly Brave! A lesson in eggs!

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Beautiful, farm fresh eggs. With lovely speckled shells and thick (perfect) yolks. A dream for hard core bakers and pastry chefs like me. Every (rather infrequent) time I get my hands on fresh organic eggs like these, my heart sings a little (okay, a lot) like it’s Christmas Eve. In July. Since it IS July. Because not only do I love working with what I call “real” eggs within my recipes, but eggs have become incredibly symbolic in my 38 years thus far. For more reasons than I can relate in one small blog post.

Eggs, to me, to all humans, and most other mammals as well, mean one very important thing. Truly the most important thing. They mean life created. They, very technically, mean the realization of children, following in very expectant footprints. Love reincarnated. As I know, with every beat of my heart, because of my own own daughter, now 3-1/2 years old. She, who my husband & I fought for, for nearly 2 years, through more physical pain than most can imagine. Because we knew that we were meant to be parents. A miracle that the Universe, that God, bestowed upon us, in the form of this warm, affectionate, loving, spirited, fiery, mischievous soul who is our beautiful daughter, Arianna. The greatest gift we have ever received. Because of the beauty of one little egg, that despite all odds and every battle that I faced, became our Miracle.

So in light of my reminiscing, of the odds that were spoken (& assumed) against us, of the physical, exhausting pain that I endured while we struggled to create our Miracle Baby, of the many, many years that we could have “tried” yet didn’t, of the cancer specialist who urged us 11 years ago, after my 1st multiple tumor removal surgery, to begin our family THEN instead of risking my (then borderline) cancer from becoming malignant, today, after so many years of battle, this is what I’ve learned.

Don’t wait. If there’s something in your heart, beating up against your soul, screaming quietly to break out, to break free, to experience, let it. Let it break free. Let whatever passion that is, whatever dream of yours that may be, break free from whatever restraints have been holding it back, for whatever reasons. Let it happen. Take that dream, that passion, that lifelong goal, and just…do it. Now. Because there’s a reason why you’ve kept that passion, or dream of yours tightly bound, and confined within you, for so long. It’s something that your soul WANTS, NEEDS, something that’s been burning, and burning, brighter & brighter within you, something that’s made to be taken up within your hands, and molded, and shaped into being. Something that is meant to happen. Because the sad truth? Life is too short to not BE or DO the things that you truly WANT to do. Life is complicated, and messy, and very uncertain. But that’s NOT the point of life. The point of life is this: do what makes you happy. Do what your heart wants. Your dreams CAN come true, little by little, if you choose to let them. So don’t wait. Don’t wait any longer because of what this world has tricked you into believing. Let it just..happen. You might be surprised by what awaits when you do.

Today is the most important gift that we have been given. Use it. Before it’s gone.

All my love, xoxo

 

 

 

Happiness Project: 3 Days

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I’m just 3 days shy of going in for my 7th major surgery in 11 years. To remove my 6th tumor. This one being a 7cm tumor engulfing my adrenal gland. And no matter that I’ve undergone so many major surgeries, it never gets easier. I always go through short bouts of nerves and anxiety throughout the days leading up to the actual procedure. Because no matter how much I like both of my surgeons, and have been walked through the actual (very intriguing) 3-4 hour surgery, my brain, and my heart, can’t help but fret over it.

So in anticipation of my big day next week, I wanted to put to ink some of the most poignant lessons that I have learned in my 38 years. Because I know how quickly life can change. Sometimes in an instant.

BE SOFT.

I’ve had many individuals that have crossed my path, name me as soft hearted. And I’ve learned within the past couple years, that I would rather be soft hearted than not. This life, this world, can be so very cruel, and unforgiving. Because sometimes people believe that in order to get by, they must be thick skinned. But I’ve learned that even though being soft hearted, and open to the people around me, may cause me pain, and grief, it has never changed the brightness within my heart. Choosing to respond to the world around you in a soft way, isn’t a disability, or a weakness. It’s a strength. Of character, of will, of heart. So no matter those who seek to hurt you, may you also choose to see things with a soft heart.

LIVE YOUR OWN LIFE.

Throughout the years growing up within my family, my father affectionately named me the “black sheep” of my two other sisters. For whatever reason, I just went my own way, against the grain (so to speak). A way of doing things that is still very prevalent within my adult life. From being a children’s book specialist for 18 years (which paid just a little over minimum wage), to going about planning my wedding in a unconventional manner, to choosing to fight extreme pain (while risking my life), while my husband & I fought to conceive, to choosing to share my life, with all the ups & downs with friends, and strangers alike, without taming my own truth (no matter if my words have been liked or not), I’ve always chosen to do my own thing. To create my own way, without regard to any nay-sayer. Because no matter others opinions, at the end of the day, this is my life to live. To journey through. To create. No one else’s. And that’s a beautiful thing.

FOLLOW YOUR HEART.

It may seem like an impossibly surreal idea to follow one’s heart in such a hard world, but I’ve found that every time I follow my heart, instead of doing what seems most necessary, my life is better for it. Every time I’ve followed a passion of mine, I discovered parts of myself that I never knew existed. And every single one of these passions has led me into experiences that both challenge yet satisfy so many aspects of my intelligence and emotional stability. They’ve shown me that there IS a higher purpose to one’s life, beyond having (or not having) a typical 9-5 job. I believe that by following one’s heart, there will always be something learned of great worth & empowerment. And I wish that more individuals were just as willing to follow their own, instead of struggling so terribly for peace, and contentment, and happiness, in this hard world. Because I’ve learned that when you follow your heart, no matter the circumstances, life is simply better than before. More beautiful than before.

CHAMPION YOURSELF.

In the last 3 years, I’ve learned a staggering amount of information pertaining to mental illnesses, because of myself becoming bi-polar depressive, with a panic disorder. And the degree of ignorance involving the general public (not knowing enough about the “hidden” world of the mentally ill), is incredibly saddening. This stigma following those like me around, created from those without proper education or the ability to be compassionate, must change NOW. And by NOW, I mean with those like me challenging the ignorant many. I’ve discovered that though there will (inevitably) be those who don’t understand, and therefore walk away, there will always be those who DO choose to learn about, and therefore understand, the many facets of an individual living with a metal illnesses. Because although a mental illness changes things, (such as, perhaps, one’s ability to socialize or function in a predictable fashion) within one’s life, it does not become that whole person. This is why I’ve found that championing myself, by being completely open & honest about my struggles, is pivotal in opening up a much needed dialogue between myself, those like me, and those who do not know the necessary information pertaining to a loved one’s diagnosis, but WANT to learn. Sometimes, it takes one voice, to free the many. Be your own voice. Be your own champion. You ARE WORTH IT.

FIND YOUR PEOPLE. 

My family (my husband, mom, two sisters, cousin, and my mother & father-in-law), as well as a very small circle of 4 close friends, are my people. These individuals who know me, who get me. The ones who have never walked away, or left me, because of my many physical & mental disabilities. This group of mine, who continue to love me, truly love me, unconditionally, without reserve. Some who have been in my life for 20 years, some only a few years, or with one of my (now) out-of-state friends, a couple months. Yet no matter any distance, or time, or hardship between us, have chosen to be MY people. These are the kind of people to hold on to, and grow with. To love, and appreciate, with every ounce of being. When you find your people, never let them go. They will always be worth keeping.

BREATHE. 

Just breathe. Tomorrow will come when it’s ready. So until then, breathe.

Before I log off for my surgery next week, I’d like you all to know how appreciative I am of you choosing to get to know me, the real me, through this digital ink, and these many black words. Thank you for following my adventures, as both a recipe blogger, and a Mama. I’ll see you on the flip side! xoxo

*My sister gifted me with this beautiful Grateful Jar last Christmas! Etsy has similar designs, like this one, that you might like if you’re wanting to start your own penny collection!

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