Everyone is pretty much the same…

ImageI 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!

A Secret Adventure Called My Life

family wedding photo

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!

Happy Birthday Mom!

The bride and her grandparents!
The bride and her grandparents!

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!!!

Celebrate 2013!

end of prism concertJanuary 2013 is off to a quick start and another year is well on its way.  There is a saying that time flies when you are having fun, so I guess I must be having a blast because weeks just seem to zip by.  The new year is like a reboot for our lives, a chance to start all over again and set new goals.    There are many who vow to lose weight, eat healthy and exercise.  Being fiscally responsible is something our government should make as one of its goals and then there is the goal to be more philanthropic by giving more freely of our time and money for those less fortunate.   Whatever the goal, it is a chance for each of us to examine those things that are not working for us and try to fix them.  This new year brings lots of exciting change in my life with an impending graduation and marriage in my family.  As I try to savor every second of it and etch each event into my memory, I am very aware just how quickly these life events will come and go and am just so thankful that I have wonderful people and events in my life to celebrate.  I am truly blessed and my goal for 2013 is to enjoy every second of it!  Happy 2013!

Pediatric Cancer Awareness

September is almost over and with it the hope that pediatric cancer awareness month would get national attention and major support.  Cancer is a terrible disease no matter who the victim is young or old, but even more so for a child.  The battle to beat cancer and survive becomes paramount when kids should be enjoying childhood and life.  Unfortunately, there are those children who lose their battle leaving family and friends behind to deal with a loss that can never be healed.  For those who survive their cancer, it is not without a life long cost of health issues and post secondary cancer risks.  Cancer sucks!  I have devoted the past ten years to pediatric cancer and raising money for psycho-social support and trying to elevate the cause to a national level it deserves.  The inspiration and motivation behind my cause, soon to be 17-year-old Alicia, is the driving force.  The Honeysuckle Foundation for Children with Cancer www.honeysucklefoundation.org  has done some amazing things these past ten years and while we have had the ups and downs of not for profits, we will persevere and grow.  Let Gold Be Told the newest branch of the Honeysuckle Foundation is Alicia’s personal quest to bring national attention to pediatric cancer awareness and a dedicated day for all of those who have been touched by pediatric cancer to unite, support each other and bring attention to the plight of pediatric cancer patients and families everywhere.  We are growing and evolving.  I am asking anyone with a story of pediatric cancer who will share it with us to be posted on Alicia’s Facebook page Let Gold Be Told to email to me.  The hope or goal is every story is an important one and no one should be forgotten.  Email me if you want to be part of our movement and let’s  hope next year I will be writing about the success of our first annual Let Gold Be Told pediatric cancer awareness day!



A leopard cannot change its spots…

People are people and this world is filled with lots of them.  Family, friends, neighbors, co-workers the list goes on and on.  Life is full  of constant introductions and interactions with others.  There are people we like, people we tolerate and people we love.  While philosophers have spent the ages trying to figure out the meaning of life, I take a more simplistic view.  I believe we are here to be happy and share that happiness with the world.   I have learned to recognize life’s blessings, be grateful, make a positive difference and to recognize when it is time to move on.  I view each day as a lesson.  I may learn something about myself or someone else, but I try to be pragmatic and look at things in the scheme of ‘life’; the big picture of  achieving my goals to take care of my family, help those in need and keep myself healthy along the way.  Everyone however,  is faced with the toxic person who sucks the life right out of us.  The person who is angry, self-centered and destructive. This is the person I steer clear of.  Sometimes this person presents themselves in the form of a neighbor, co-worker or ‘friend’, which makes the decision to extricate yourself from them fairly easy.  What however, if this person is a member of your own family?  To what lengths does someone go to in order to try to ‘preserve’ a relationship when all that relationship does is destroy you?  Like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, not every relationship is a perfect fit, in fact most are not.  We must be willing to compromise, be silent and be accepting.  There are times though, when we need to re-evaluate our relationships and make the tough decision our own well-being far outweighs any benefit of dealing with a toxic person.  Positive people are a blessing, the negative ones a cancer.   We remove cancer with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.   Just like cancer, in order to survive it is necessary to remove toxic people from our life in order to preserve ourselves.  The decision is never an easy one, however the reward is monumental.  There are times you have to ‘cut your losses’ and walk away from the drama for our own sake because our lives depend upon it.


Pinterest Logo


I love Pinterest! The latest and greatest social media craze since Facebook or Linked In has me hooked. Like a vision board from ‘The Secret’ Pinterest lets me post and organize all my favorite and beautiful things. I have found wonderful recipes, gotten great wedding ideas and have pinned lots of pretty items. I have found humorous quotes and examples of places I would like to visit one day. The site is simple and lets me follow other pinners like my friend Diana, who I have learned has similar taste as well as a similar sense of humor . I find Pinterest to be a nice distraction from a lot of the other news and media online that gets me more aggravated than anything. I like pretty things and I like to have them available for my viewing on Pinterest. For those who have joined the ranks of us pinners, I wish you happy Pinning!


Motivation comes from within.  Our lives keep us moving towards goals and our aspirations get us there.  It is when we really want something that we work the hardest.  Complacency gets you no where, yet motivation can move mountains.  I have devoted the past ten years to my pet project The Honeysuckle Foundation for Children with Cancer. I believe the work we do is so important that I have put aside many other things in order to keep our mission alive and our work going.  I also believe my group of friends and family who volunteer their time to help me are angels.   I often think about all the little charities just like mine, started by parents who either lost children or who’s lives have been impacted by sickness.  Those people who have stepped up and devoted themselves to helping the world.  One dollar at a time, one child at a time the amount of money and resources donated to kids with cancer by  these dedicated people is immeasurable.  When I think of many of us affected, I believe God chose those of us who would use these experiences to help others and make this world a little better than it was before.  We are motivated to do what we do because we care!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love is the basis of life.  With it, you have everything, without it you have nothing.  Whether it’s the love of a child, parent or friend, love is what makes us feel special.  A connection to another human being that allows us to look past faults and flaws and appreciate that person for their good qualities instead.  There is a fine line however between love and hate.  Look at the divorce statistics if you do not believe it.  The core attribute of being human is emotion with love being at the top of the list. If there was more love in this world wouldn’t the world be a much better place? If people and society could focus on love instead of hate what a different world this could be; a world filled with love.

Love is beautiful and while everyday should be a day to celebrate its beauty, today February 14th is Valentine’s Day a day dedicated to love in all it’s splendour.  May you share a Happy Valentine’s Day with all those people you love and even some who you may not.  Love let’s us look past the bad and that is not such a bad thing.

Happy Valentine’s Day!