We have lots of days to celebrate things. Birthdays, holidays and one of them is Father’s Day. A day dedicated to the first man in our life who takes care of us and guides us; dad. I have been blessed with a very special dad. Now 86 years old, he has been the foundation in my life for care and concern. He is the one man who has loved me unconditionally, supported my decisions good or bad, but who has always let me know his opinion. There are many times we did not see eye to eye, but I grew up knowing that no matter what happened, what I may have done, my dad was always there for me. My dad is an incredible man and I love him so very much. Although I don’t get to see him as much as I want to, my daily conversations with him always put a smile on my face. It makes me sad to think there aren’t many dads like my dad, I find hope in the care and concern I see my son-in-law Michael have for my new baby grand daughter. I am watching the love of a father for his daughter evolve in front of my eyes knowing that he strives to be the type of dad my dad has been to me. For that I am very grateful and optimistic, and although my girls did not grow up like I did, Baby ‘K’ will have the unconditional love and support of her dad.
Today is National Cancer Survivors Day. A day to celebrate those who have fought cancer, those who have lost their battle, those who have waged the war on this deadly disease and pretty much anyone who has been affected by it. When you think about it in those terms, today is a day to be celebrated by millions, because cancer affects us all. Will there be massive media attention devoted towards today? I would venture to say no. So for those of us who have been on the frontline of cancer, the mothers, daughters, friends, doctors, nurses, neighbors and anyone touched by it, I say celebrate today! Spread the word, Tweet about it, blog about it, share it on your Facebook status or just tell your friends, and let the world know that while cancer is devastating it will never take hope away from those who are affected by it. Cancer sucks, but we will never give up and will continue to fight the fight against this deadly disease!
I love my life! There are those who may think my life has not been easy, and it hasn’t. I have faced pediatric cancer, an abusive husband, divorce, single parenthood and a host of other things that would make most people cower in fear. I love my life! I am blessed beyond my imagination and with the birth of my granddaughter affectionately known as Baby ‘k’ I have realized the value of strife, for without it I would not or could not appreciate the blessings called my life. Although my life is unconventional, it is all mine and I would not change a single thing about it! We may be an unconventional group of individuals, but we are a family and there is nothing in the world that could make me change a moment of it!
Babies are God’s way to let us know that no matter all the ‘bad’ stuff out there, life is good. My daughter gave birth last week and I became a first time grandmother. I am in love and this new chapter holds promise, joy and hope for us all. The promise of many tomorrows, the joy of today and the hope of a good life without tragedy and drama. Babies are beautiful and life is good. While the stress and heartache of life and the world may seem overwhelming at times, the innocence of a new baby gives us hope. Hope for new beginnings and a brand new little person’s opportunity to help all of us be better people and the world a better place.
Life has a funny way of presenting coincidence. There are some who say coincidence is just irony, I on the other hand beg to differ. Coincidence in my mind is God’s way of putting ‘pieces’ of life’s complications together. Tonight I attended a long time friends nuptials. For someone who has never been married, the process of a ‘wedding’ is priceless. It was beautiful, lovely and a great time for all. The thing I find as the irony or God’s coincidence is the ‘random’ couple who sat at our table. With unassigned seating anyone in that room of one hundred people could have sat with us. The couple that did however, had a common denominator with me that is undeniably my mission and role in this world. Their son is battling cancer. They apologized for having to leave early to get home in time for their daily call to their son. I understood completely and even sent my love. While I thought my mission tonight was to show my love and support of my longtime friend who finally found ‘the one’, it was about the couple who sat next to us who is struggling, hurting and hoping for a brighter tomorrow. None of us has a crystal ball on what will happen next. All we can control is this moment and even that is limited. I always am amazed by God’s master plan as he sends me in the direction that I am needed most. I learned yet again, that all we have to be grateful for is this right now, this moment and this second. Everything else is really just a waste of precious time!
For the past 11 years I have worked with a core group of dedicated volunteers on my pet project The Honeysuckle Foundation for Children with Cancer http://www.honeysucklefoundation.org. While initially formed due to Alicia’s wish to help other kids by my than 7-year-old cancer warrior, Honeysuckle has persevered. We have outlasted many things that should have sidelined us. We are still here and still helping.
A new chapter in Honeysuckle history is beginning and for that I am extremely grateful. Alicia and her new group of friends at University of Florida Innovation Academy are about to embark on a new adventure. With the help of longtime friend and soon to be academic advisor Maureen, this new group of pediatric cancer advocates will soon be meeting, planning, and working on fundraising to help. They will learn first hand how to educate and inspire others as well.
Pediatric cancer is one of the most unrecognized and unsupported cancers. Kids with cancer are not a demographic that is very marketable to businesses and companies. There are more ‘attractive’ causes with more marketing reach then kids with cancer and that is where support and dollars go. With this new group of volunteers the hope and eventual goal is to change that. Make ‘gold’ the new ‘pink’. Have September be recognized as the month for Pediatric Cancer Awareness and let the world know that kids get cancer too!
Thank you to University of Florida and the Innovation Academy!
I blog, I tweet, I stumble, I Pin and I Facebook. I spend hours ‘connecting’ with the world through my computer. Friends from yesteryear as well as new ones, the internet has given people an international audience to promote causes, share lives, seek new friendships and reconnect with old ones. The things I write about have been written about before, there are no new messages that haven’t been spoken already. The triumphs and struggles of people, the loss of loved ones, the excitement of new things, all part of the human condition. My words, while to some may be annoying others may find enlightening. The thing I find most fascinating is it really does not matter where you are people are pretty much the same. We laugh, we cry, we celebrate, we mourn and we face challenges with the same apprehension. We have families, friends, colleagues and co-workers. I was recently asked to write some words to be printed with my book Alicia’s Updates, addressing the people of Japan. Words of encouragement and hope to families dealing with pediatric cancer. I thought long and hard trying to find the words that might resonate with people a half a world away. I came up with the following because we all really are very much the same.
Life is a gift with the hope for tomorrow, but without any guarantees. Cancer can strike anyone at anytime and it knows no international boundaries. Whether in the United State or Japan people are diagnosed with cancer each and every day, for children being diagnosed that is the most devastating. We all know those who have battled cancer successfully like Alicia, and also know those who did not. Cancer should never define a person, but how they handle their cancer should. Determination, strength, unrelenting optimism and a great sense of humor are universal earmarks of a successful cancer experience. The journey through cancer affects not just the patient, but everyone surrounding them. Education and inspiration come from everyday people and everyday things; the challenge is to recognize them. I never would have wanted Alicia to get cancer however, her journey through treatment and beyond, the people we have met, the experiences we have had and the road we have traveled has been an inspiration and motivation to truly embrace and be grateful for the gift of today!
I dropped my youngest daughter off at college this week. My ‘baby’ is gone and after 24 years of chaos and kids, I finally have gotten a moment alone. My life has been filled with laughter and tears, hopes and disappointment and more drama than I personally care for. I got married only to have my husband divorce me. I gave birth to three children only to have my son renounce me. I gave my eldest daughter away at her wedding yet I gained a new ‘son’. I have struggled and triumphed. I fought my daughter’s cancer and founded a not for profit to help others do the same. I learned what ‘love’ really is and also learned who my friends really are. I wrote a book, had it published and went international when it got translated into Japanese. I am a speaker, advocate, teacher, real estate agent and president of a private company. I am passionate about what I do and wouldn’t change a moment of my life. For with each struggle there was an invaluable lesson to be learned. I appreciate everything in my life because of where I have been and the prospect of where I am going. I will soon have a baby granddaughter enter into my world and am ecstatic about welcoming her, loving her and letting her in on a little secret adventure called my life!
Wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a world of people acting respectfully and responsibly; a world where people spoke the truth instead of distorting it? Wouldn’t it be nice if your relatives were role models and nice people? Wouldn’t it be nice if those who supposedly loved us actually showed it to us with their actions instead of just saying they do? Wouldn’t it be nice if people got over things and learned compassion? For those who don’t like me………guess what, I don’t like you either. The difference between you and me however, is I actually have a life and am so over your drama, self-serving agenda and narcissistic ways. I am blessed, I actually got over things many years ago and I thank those who also have moved on and now have a meaningful loving place in our lives. We adore you and you know who you are. For those who cannot and will not move on, it would be admirable if as role models you could do what’s best for the kids who are now adults and learn to keep your distorted views of life to yourself. Show the kids how compassionate, respectful adults behave. That is how loving, mature informed adults act. Since you cannot or will not behave in a way becoming of a kind person, I guess it is safe to say you really don’t have a life of your own. When put in that context I guess all any of us can do is pity and feel sorry for you. You are missing out of so many good things. I also pray for you because what a terrible way to live one’s life.
October 24th is my mother’s birthday. She turned 85 years old today and my family is very blessed to still have her and my dad with us. My mother is suffering from issues and at her age she is not alone, but generally she is fine. How do you celebrate a birthday when you turn 85? What gift is appropriate and what wishes mean the most? The gift of another day is one only God can give. The gift of time with loved ones is one that family and friends can give. I have taught my girls to seize the moment and make that memory. You can replace things and possessions, you never can get back lost time. I feel bad that my son has missed out on not only his sisters and me, but on his wonderful grandparents who have so much to offer. My mother asked about her grandson today on her birthday. Forgotten was the fact she hadn’t seen or spoken to him in eight years. Like the innocence of a child she asked how he was. I wish I could give my mother the gift of her grandson. Some time spent with the woman who helped raise him and who still holds onto the memories of his childhood. He chose not to attend his sister’s wedding and now he will be missing out on the birth of his niece or nephew but most importantly he is missing out on his grandmother.
My mother turned 85 years old today and I pray to God I get to celebrate many more birthdays with her, her grandchildren and her great-grandchild! Happy Birthday Mom!!!
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