Monday, September 29, 2014

I'm Not A Bitch But...

sometimes want to be. I want to let my guard down, let my emotions get the justice they deserve, simply put, I don't want to apologize for feeling the way I feel.

I am five days late for my period. I know I am not pregnant, not only because at this point we are actively not trying until I'm at a healthier weight, not only because I'm on birth control but because when I get that tiny, glimmer of hope I have to check. I have to just see if maybe a miracle has finally happened but those cruel damn sticks bodly and unequivocally tell me I am not pregnant.

Every time.

Since the time of my childhood I have loved children. I know, that sounds weird, but I always appreciated and loved the relationship between a mother and a child. The ability to bring life. To me that was the most important job in the world.

To me that is the most important and beautiful job in the world.

I know you may think you are being helpful or funny when you say any of the following:

"Maybe it's not meant to be" or "Just relax" or "Why don't you just adopt?" or "Man if my husband just looks at me I get knocked up"

but I can assure you that you indeed are not.

I promise for the first few years of my 13 year relationship with my hubby, I was relaxed, not at all worried about conceiving. I thought it would come in due time. Sometime in my early twenties for sure. But when that didn't happen I thought I'd be a mom in my late twenties. And here I am just welcomed into my thirties with no child of our own.

We have thought of adoption and even though if you google or bing costs of adoptions and it says it can be anywhere between 0 and 50,000 the people I have known and met have all ballparked it between 30-45 grand. Not exactly chump change.

I get that sometimes you may feel the need to say something, but sometimes all a friend needs is a welcoming silence, an outstretched arm and a shoulder to cry on.

It can still happen, we are working with a great ob/gyn, I am taking the medicine, shedding the weight, relaxing, and still holding onto hope.


There are days when the bitterness strikes and I find myself a little sad. I feel a little melancholy. I remember sharing a status back in the Myspace days (before being worried about conceiving) about being ready to be a mom and a few other women commented how they were too. I got messages from some other women who confided in their struggles and pain. Out of those 9 women who commented or messaged me, I am the only woman who has not had a child and l wonder if l will ever be part of the only group l have ever wanted to join-motherhood.

But you know what? l am still that friend that will listen to you complain about your morning sickness, your achy back and leaky breasts. l will always offer to babysit if l can. l will empathize about your lack of sleep. l will still love you maybe envy you a little, but love you and the children you bring into this world.

I just do not want to feel bad about the feelings l am expierencing. l do not need advice, smart ass remarks or lectures. At the very least, understand that l have heard them before-at the very complicated understand l have spent many nights, crying, wishing and praying for this miracle and am working with my doctors to make it a reality.

There is an odd stigma associated with sharing emotions. We feel the need to be happy, to be bright and optimistic and ignore the pain and sadness we may feel. We urge friends or even strangers to smile when we have no freaking clue what they are thinking and feeling. What is so wrong with being real with our emotions? What is so wrong about acknowledging them and processing them?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It is unhealthy to hide our emotions, our feelings, parts of ourselves to put others at ease.

We deserve to be real with ourselves.

I feel apologetic of not being able to be a "woman" the way I should. I feel sad about not being a mother. I wonder if I am waiting and preparing for something that may not happen. l feel like l am whining when l finally share my feelings with a friend who wants to know how l am 'really doing'.  I feel like a bitch when l feel a little jealous.

That being said, me being sad does not mean I am not happy for you.

It may take me a little bit longer to hit the 'like' button for your pregnancy announcement, my smile may seem a tiny bit strained when you tell me you cannot stand your kids and wish you could sell them, I may bring a ridiculous, big gift to your baby shower,it may take me a while to send a "congrats" note to you in the mail, but not because I am not happy for you. Because I am. I truly am.

It is just that I envisioned that kind of happiness for myself years ago and sometimes unknowns and realities alike are hard to come to grips with.

I am not normally a bitch. But sometimes I just want to cry and not feel guilty,  not explain myself and listen to stupid questions like are we 'doing it' correctly.

Cultivate kindness. Invest it in yourself and others. Bitches and assholes do not just happen. They evolve, they explode from the once quiet person, they thrive from anger and misunderstanding.

I guess, I am just gently asking you to be kind. To me, to your friends, to your family, to strangers and especially to yourselves.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Reach And Work For It

"Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you will land among the stars."


Yes, I understand it. I support positivity and quotes and inspirational memes and lyrics that urge us to follow our dreams.

But I also support realism. I don't want the moon. I don't want to be somewhere I cannot breathe. I don't want to land among the stars either. Don't people understand that they are made of gases and will kill you? I want to be able to reach for dreams, my life goals with grace and poise, with an understanding they are plausible and possible.

Unfortunately, I have reached the point in my life where I am not sure if I should push on or give in to the mediocrity I worry awaits me. I used to wake in the middle of the night clutching, grasping, reaching for the closest instrument that could  properly catch the idea or stanza that sang to my soul. Now, when those ideas tempt me, when they tease me I only half-open one eye and debate writing them down, I wonder if there is a point to interrupting my sleep for a few pretty words that may take me nowhere.

It is not just my writing. It is my career, my health, my family life. I wonder and probably worry too much, if the things I am doing to make a positive change is worth it. I second guess my motives, my goals, my intentions and overanalyze them choosing to question myself to exhaustion if they are truly my goals. Are they worth the effort? Are they worth the hard work? Are they worth the time?

Am I worth the trouble?

Years ago, I would easily say no and walk away from what I wanted even if I was close to to it. I would button up any hope, desire, want and creativity and convince myself that the nice things in life were meant for other people.

Nice things?

Oh, you know, recognition, reaching personal fitness goals, confidence, doing what you wanted, feeling loved and loving those around you unabashedly.  Those sound like simple goals I know, but for someone that feels broken and not worthy, you might as well ask Benedict Cumberbatch not to be sexy, it is just not going to happen.

We talk ourselves out of being ourselves. We settle for second rate versions of ourselves and we should not.

We build up these fears, these doubts, these excuses for why we cannot achieve our happiness, our dreams. We blame setbacks and failures in our lives for not reaching for what we want. If we were wiser, and honest with ourselves we would learn from the experiences and use them as stepping stones to the life we want.

Over the years though, thanks to people that love me, and some hard work on myself, I found that I am worthy of the things that make me happy. I am no different than anyone else in this world who is brave enough to chase their daydreams.

Yes, it may be hard, it may be uncomfortable to break out of our everyday pattern and try something new to get closer to the life we want. Yes, we may fail, many, many times. We may look foolish and resemble nothing close to grace and poise when we reach for our dreams.

And that's okay.

We are worth the trouble it takes to reach for our dreams.

Our desires, our wants, and our fantasies. There is no perfect road to the life we want. It is all trial and error. It is mistake after mistake, a little foolishness, bravery and common sense that help us get to where we want to go.

I will never get published if I am too afraid to enter a contest or submit my work. I will never meet my weight loss goal if I slack on my exercising and quiet my inner cheerleader. I will not make an impact on my community if I stop volunteering and donating my time.

So yes, I will keep working myself into a sweaty frenzy and towards a healthier me. Yes, I will encourage my inner cheerleader to shout my praises. And yes, I will keep writing down my ideas when they sneak up on me in my sleep.

Dreams are beautiful. They are lovely to have but if we want to make them a reality we cannot simply reach for them and console ourselves with bitterness and sadness when it falls outside our grasp. Like anything else in life, we have to work for our dreams. We have to get dirt under our nails, we have to sacrifice, we have to be willing to make fools out of ourselves to make those dreams a reality.

But you know what? Honestly I would rather work for my dreams and myself than anyone else.

Today's blog is part of Sunday Confessions hosted by Hot Ash from More Than Cheese And Beer. Please stop by her site and see what she had to say about Reach, and what the other brave bloggers wrote about today.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Feats and Fails: September 26th, 2014

It is always good to take a step back and re-evaluate yourself and your week right? Well I am taking that opportunity today and joining in with More Than Cheese and Beer and some other awesome bloggers to focus on my feats and figure out my fails.

Let's start with the Fails, it is always best to get them out of the way:

-Boo to my back being cruel and cranky. I threw it out with some heavy balls-gosh I wish tht was a euphemism, but it so isn't. Just a ten pound ball and the back turned just the wrong way and it has caused me days of pain. But it slowly getting better.

-I have been super bad at counting my calories and entering my foods and exercise into My Fitness Pal. So going to rectify this.

-I may have lost my wedding ring. I should be more concerned but things tend to turn up, so that is what I am banking on. (Please universe, be nice to me on this one).

-Doing the not so fun exercises that help my back. It helps in the long run, but oh the burn and getting off the ground is oh-so interesting.

-Okay, really it has been just my back since it has made me cancel some plans that I really looked forward to this week.


-I endured the work week with this evil back and now I am treated with VACATION. Glorious, wonderful, do-nothing-be-a-lazy-bum-enjoying-the-little-things-in-life-not-working-myself-to-death vacation.

-I hit over 200 likes on my Facebook Blog Page, so thank you to all you likers, old and new ones. I appreciate you. Seriously, to take time to read what I scribble down and actually like my page it makes my heart happy.

-Bonus to being laid up, I was able to edit some stories I have been working on and write some poetry.

-I'm getting really close to losing 50 pounds since the beginning of the.year. I seriously cannot believe it.

-I was able to get this blog done today!

So take a moment to reflect on the good and the bad of the week and choose to learn and let go from the bad. Likewise with the good, take a moment to focus on the good things and rejoice for a moment.

Happy Friday!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Revenge? No thanks.

I am not a complicated person.

I do not do revenge. I cannot. It gets messy. I don't like messy.

Do I have people I have hurt? Yes. Did I set out to hurt them-no. Have people ever hurt me? Oh goodness yes.

Why no revenge?

Why not carve time out of my precious days on this earth to focus on being cruel and mean to someone who has hurt me?

Why not just ask them to hurt me over and over again?

Revenge is, cruel, it is mean, it is giving the target control over your emotions whether you want to admit it or not. It is allowing someone who hurt you to drive your actions.

It does nothing but perpetuate the circle of pain in this world. If your point of seeking revenge is to show the person how much they hurt you, I find that useless, because they know exactly how much they hurt you with their callous actions and words-they just do not care.

They do not care.

It is best to heal yourself, to lick your wounds, to find the happy in your soul and focus on growing it and move on.

Revenge fills your soul, it consumes you, it erodes away a little part of you when you seek it. It tears down compassion and integrity and replaces it with pettiness and anger.

It is choosing to drag out a connection, a relationship with someone who has caused you pain under the pretense of wanting to hurt them, wanting them to feel just as bad as you do, when in reality you just want to know why and how they could hurt you. Revenge will not help you answer those questions.

If you choose revenge, you are no better than the person who has hurt you.

I wish I could write something clever and outstanding about revenge, but this is it. I see no point in revenge. I find it disturbing to choose to spend our energy, the limited time we have on people that have aimed to tear us down rather than with people who would do anything to build us up.

Chances are, the people who are hurting others in their lives are searching for something, maybe love, maybe themselves, only they know. That does not excuse their behaviors or intentions no matter how screwed up they are. We should never hurt someone else's feelings because we are simply unsure of our own.

But if the person is truly in a weird place, looking for themselves, looking for happiness in the wrong places by causing pain, what do you think seeking revenge on them will do? Suddenly help them see the light of all that is good? Or is it going to drive them  back to doing exactly what you find appalling?

More often than not, life will take care of those who have a tendency to hurt others. Call it fate, karma, whatever you want to, but our actions-both good and bad-catch up to us. Our reputations precede us, whether we want them to or not. We can aim to revenge those who hurt us, but that is asking the universe to reserve a spot of karma ass-kicking for ourselves.

If there is a negative source in your life, remove it and move on. Focus on you. Do not feed it, do not encourage it, leave it alone and kick it out of your life.

Recognize that being hurt is a part of life, that is unavoidable. How we react, is totally our choice. Maybe this time you simply react and revenge on someone who has hurt you but what about next time? The next person who comes into your life -you think is going to hurt you hurt them first. Is that okay? Is that healthy? No, it's you allowing past experiences to control your present and your future and it is robbing you of happiness.

In the end, life is too short to focus on the people who have been cruel and mean to us. It is too short to allow anger and hate to dwell in our hearts and use our energy and time to hurt someone else when we could be focusing on building ourselves and others up.

This has been a Sunday Confession about Revenge, hosted by Hot Ash from More Than Cheese And Beer. Please don't forget to stop by the link up to find the posts from the other brave bloggers who linked up, with blogs that are probably more lighthearted and less preachy than mine today. And as always, have a Happy Sunday.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Confessions: My First Love

Today I am linking up with the wonderful Hot Ash from More Than Cheese And Beer for Sunday Confessions. The prompt is First Love. Grab a cup of something tasty, sit back and relax and read on and please don't forgret to head on back to the link up and check out the other brave bloggers who joined in today.

I was born a hopeless romantic. It is a cruel fate for a girl living in this world. I always imagined my first relationship to be of mushy love poems, saccharin sweet nick names and a lot of hand holding and splitting ice cream sundaes.

My first love, my first head-over-heels, butterflies dancing in my tummy, awkward, blush inducing, ugly crying when the heartbreak came was a disaster. I make no pretense of a happy, pure, sweet love. It was wrong and hidden and even 16 years later I find myself having trouble writing about it. Writing about him.

He wasn't my first kiss.

He wasn't the first to cop a feel.

He was, however, the first that made me feel. Good and bad. Physically and emotionally. He made me feel those feelings. The overwhelming, all consuming, powerful, amorous feelings.

I had just turned 14. He had moved in next door in the crappy duplex we lived in. He was older-in his mid twenties older-and just gotten out of prison and crashing with a long time friend of his.

His name was Jason. It started out somewhat sweet. He would come over when my mom was gone asking to borrow this or that. He would wait for me when I got off the bus in our long driveway and walk me home. He would feed me compliments. He would pick me flowers and leave them in my screendoor. He made me feel special.

When I step back now, I get a sick feeling. It was never love or anything close to it. It was manipulation and grooming. And he had all the tools.

Eventually the relationship progressed from curious innuendos to a physical relationship. And the niceties stopped immediately. The only compliments I received from him were backhanded. If I ever ate in front of him, he would mock me and question if I really needed to eat. He bought me alcohol and would get angry and rageful if I didn't want to drink.  He would accuse me of cheating on him and tell me that no one wanted me around anyway so it was better to stay home and not go out with friends.

He forgot my name seemingly. He would only call me a goodie two shoes, a fat ass, stupid slut or my favorite a bitch unless we were around other people, then he would act like he did not know me.

I was scared and becoming withdrawn and only blossomed when he gave me the rare five minutes of adoration he could muster, the five minutes of brain washing to keep a stupid teenage girl hooked.

My mother could sense something and asked frequently how she could help but I shared nothing until years later. I could not allow myself to shame her. I would not allow myself to embarrass her with my stupid actions. She would have been so disappointed, that was what I told myself. 

The one friend I confided in explained to me, that it must have been something I was doing wrong to make him upset and I should try to change. Years later at her graduation party, when I walked in on her dad hauling off on her mom, I totally understood where that horrid advice came from.

That hopeless romantic in me got scared and took off running. Something inside me broke, a little part of me that was full of light and silliness dimmed. I began to hate myself and my ridiculous notion of love.

I thought that I messed up a possible good relationship, that I was doing the wrong things, that I was a failure and that I was not worthy of love. Of being taken on dates and sweet kisses. Silly nicknames and inside jokes. I was not worthy to be cherished and respected. I began to believe I deserved his rough hands and cruel tongue. I began to believe I was worthless and could do no right. I began to believe this was the only way I deserved to be loved.

It lasted for months but felt like eternity. He ended up going back to prison for an assault and battery charge.  It has taken me years to unlearn the way of thinking he introduced me to.

It took a few more crappy 'boyfriends' and bad experiences to realize I didn't deserve to be treated like shit.

It took one man with the patience of a thousand to instill in me that I was worthy of love but that I needed to love myself first to fully accept and appreciate the love in the world.

It took me a while to fall back in love with life, to trust it, to cherish it. Even though I am with a man who loves me and cherishes me with my goofy, giddiness and solemn, serious moments. It has taken years to move forward, to trust that not every man is the same, that every relationship is not doomed, that it is okay to be a hopeless romantic.

Even after the first few years of our relationship, I didn't quite trust him, I didn't quite believe he could love me like he promised he did. He never tired of complimenting me or loving me but begged me to love myself. To tell myself at one thing I liked about myself a day for a week, for a month, then for a year. To journal, to write again, to paint again, to be brave enough to trust myself and my feelings and to let them out. To fall in love with myself.

And I have.

If you have not I encourage you to do so. It is a journey, a long one, a never ending one, one I expect to be on the rest of my life. It is a beautiful relationship where you only fall deeper in love and trust and begin to do what you want to do. I imagine that this feeling I have, loving myself, is what my first love should have felt like-new and adventurous, sweet and simple, innocent then lovingly educated.

With this love I can love harder and wiser. I do not doubt my worth or value or look to someone else to define me. I define me. I accept me. I love me. I accept love and compliments and never let anyone talk down to me or disrespect me. I am worthy of love and so much more.  I am a renewed, foolhardy, hopeless romantic. I cannot help it and don't want to.

Love is not easy. lt is not all happy times and musical inducing moments.  Sometimes it is pain and heartache and bewildering and you must lean on your inner strength to help you through the confusing times. lt is building yourself up when you are spiraling to new crazy depths. lt is learning to move on, forgiving, and accepting what is best for you and realizing you are worthy of love.

Love and self-love is not easy or for the weak. lt demands courage and hardwork and just enough foolishness to believe in the good, the sweet, the romance that lives in this world.

My first love had its occasional sweet moments, gentle kisses and furtive glances but was soured by manipulative behaviors and cruel actions. It is a chapter of my life I cannot change. Without that chapter I would never know the beauty and reality of this love, of a hard, breathtaking love, of the joy of learning to accept love and love myself.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Use Your Words: September 12, 2014

Happy Friday friends!

Today’s post is a writing challenge.This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

I’m using:

death first ~ neverending ~ love ~ honor ~ green jello

They were submitted by: Robin from Someone Else's Genius.

Thanks Robin :)

The sun shone dimly through the kitchen window. I stood in the kitchen I had grown up in, shaking and gripping the counter for dear life. The day that was just breaking should be full of promise and hope but it was simply breaking-like I was.

My younger sister sat in her well-worn, blue flannel, robe, her hands loosely holding the cup of steaming tea in front of her. Earl grey. It was her go to when life became too much. Some people turn to alcohol; my sweet sister turns to tea, her hypnotic, narcotic for her soul. Her eyes were staring far away, maybe to a distant memory of a happier time, maybe to the last vacation we took with our parents, I just knew she was anywhere but here and now.

I just knew when I got the call at 4:00 a.m. that the only place I could be, the only place that would bring me some semblance of comfort was wherever my sister was. I drove blindly, begging the tears to stop and praying for courage and strength to get me to the house where we grew up.

My parents had a love that was legendary and never-ending. It was bold and comforting. My father loved my mother with a quiet passion that was undeniable. They would rather face death first then renounce the love that had for each other. When you were in the same room as them, you could feel the love fill the room. When they left, they left a little of their love behind, a trail to a happy life.

They worked hard their whole lives. My father worked at a factory 6 days a week. He came home dirty and foul smelling. Whenever my sister and I would scrunch our faces at the chemical smell that clung to my father when he got out of work, my mother would admonish us. She told us that smell was the smell of sacrifice and hard work. That was the smell that put food on our table and clothes on our back and we should be honored to smell it. Her love for my father was just as fierce as the love he had for her.

My mother worked hard as well. She kept the house, kept us, somehow kept her mind and was always taking odd and end jobs. There was no job that was too big or too little for my mother. She would clean people's houses and do clothing alterations for the women in our neighborhood. Eventually, they saved enough so she could open her own little dry-cleaning and alteration shop.

It was even more hard work, but my parents loved it because it was theirs. They made their dreams come to life and had love to support each other and every one of their endeavors. When it was time, they sold it, for a good profit. I sometimes thought I should have shown more interest, invested myself in it, wanted that life, but I didn't. My parents never expected my sister or I to take over, but I wonder if we would be sitting here this sour morning if one of us were still running that little store.

After they retired, my parents started enjoying vacations they had always dreamed of taking. Mexico. The Grand Canyon. Thailand. An Alaskan Cruise.

And this cursed one, to Machu Picchu, in Peru.

Absentmindedly, I opened the fridge looking for something. The normally, scrumptious left overs held no appeal to me. The tea and lemonade on the shelves would not quench my thirst. I shut the door, I would not find anything in here, I was searching for answers and peace, not green jello.

On my still shaky legs I left the fridge and went to the table to sit with my sister. She stopped staring at the calendar on the wall and turned slowly to me. The phone began to ring and we both jumped up. When I picked up, it was a bad connection, with a person speaking English poorly, but we did not care. We hungered for information, for any news on our parents.

"Hello, is Clara there? Clara? This Eddie, we talk earlier. Your parents are at hospital now, we were able to rescue them and get them to hospital. They not conscious and have lots of injuries. I have passed your information to hospital; they call you when they know more."

'Thank you', I say, numbly and quietly but with much love. 'Thank you, for keeping us updated' , I whispered and hung up the phone. My hand gripped the base of the phone, clutching at my only connection to my parents wondering when we would hear again. Slowly, I forced my hand to slip off the receiver, letting go and hoping when we did hear, that it would be good news, better news.

I was still in shock from the first phone call that woke me up this morning. The one where I first spoke to Eddie, their travel guide, who said they had fallen off Machu Picchu and that there was a rescue effort in progress but they had not reached them yet. I was confused, so confused, I knew they were going there to see it, never in my wildest dreams would I think they would attempt to climb it. But they did and were not successful.

My sister and I clung to each other and cried. We wished and prayed to anything and anyone that would listen. We needed good news. We needed them to be okay.

We needed our parents.

The sun began to shine through the window, brighter and filling the room with its light. Reminding me that things can always get brighter. Dear God, I needed that reminder that things could get brighter.

Please stop by the other brave bloggers who linked up and see what they did with the words they were given::

Baking In A Tornado

Spatulas On Parade

Stacy Sews and Schools

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo

Evil Joy Speaks

Someone Else’s Genius

Confessions of a part-time working mom

Follow me home . . .

The Bergham’s Life Chronicles

The Sadder But Wiser Girl

Battered Hope

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Featurette Wednesday: September 10, 2014

It has been a while since I have done a Featurette on a person.

I think it is time to bring this back. In the past, I have done my featurettes on Fridays, but I think Wednesdays work better as I am currently doing Wonderful Wednesdays where the point is not to ignore the bad and evil in the world, but to focus on the good that is abundant in the world as well.
Featurette Wednesday is now the name.

Kindness is the game.

Typically, in the past on Fridays, I interview a person with the majority of questions focusing on kindness.

But why?

Because we see negativity every day and I think it is important to focus on the positive and remind ourselves that there are wonderful people in this world.

No matter a person's background, status, or creed I believe they have been shown kindness in their life and have shown others kindness as well.

And I would like to tell that story.

Josephine is a volunteer at my work. Whenever she is here, she lights the place up with her contagious smile, easy going attitude and willingness to help. She is a survivor of breast cancer and everything else life has thrown at her. While some people tend to hold on to the things that have hurt them, Josephine has grown from them and used them as stepping stones to bring happiness and love to those around her.

When she comes in to volunteer, she talks with the patients, helps them get ready for their exams, and offers help to the staff when she can. But most of all she is herself. She is genuine and that is treasured that above all else. Our department is graced by Josephine's presence once a week, which we always crave more, but we know we are lucky to to have a volunteer who is sweet, caring and full of love.

Name: Josephine Terrell

Age: 45

Favorite Quote or personal motto: This helped me when I was waiting to find out if I needed have chemotherapy. A fellow church goer came up to me and offered me encouragement. He told me, 'Sometimes you think we have to have this great big faith, but we don’t, sometimes we need just that mustard seed sized faith to help get us through the day'. It was exactly I needed to hear and has stayed with me ever since.

Best act of kindness you have received/witnessed:

When I began going through my radiation treatment, I received this beautiful, big plant that had gift cards to places that I liked to eat and shop. Later on, I found out it was an organization called Tempting Tables, that does acts of kindness for patients going through treatment that gave me that basket. It truly lifted my spirits.

What do you think the world needs more of?

Love. Really. I have a big heart and I love people and am loved but I know not everyone has love in their lives. We need to reach out more to people who need love in their lives. There are so many people that can benefit from someone simply reaching out to them.

How are you trying to be the change in the world?

By putting more love out there. We are starting a program in our church where we can help people who are sick going through treatment. We want to lift their spirits, to help their mental health as well. When I received that basket when I was going through radiation, it helped me so much. It is important to focus on healing the physical body, but it is just as important to heal the spiritual and mental health of our friends and family. When someone is going through a rough time it is important that we lift them up if we can.

Last act of kindness you have done:

We have a couple who is mentally disabled that lives down the street from us. They come by all the time asking for help with things, like transportation. I try to help them out whenever I can. I would say my last act of kindness was taking them where they needed to go.

Greatest story of kindness you have heard:

There is not one individually that stands out to me. But I find the stories that scream kindness to me are the ones like Make A Wish, where businesses, celebrities, family and friends all work in together to grant a wish to a child who may be terminal. It is not simply giving them a day of fun, it is giving them the ability to be a child, to make memories, and enjoy the time they have while they are here.

Any regrets:

I would say no. Everything I have done, even the mistakes and wrong choices I have made, I have learned from. They are my expierences not my regrets. And they are the best teacher in life.

Why do you volunteer:

I wanted to volunteer because I was treated so well when I was going through my treatment for cancer. When they announced that they were looking for volunteers at the breast center, I instantly knew that it was something I had to do. I fit volunteering in one day a week into my crazy schedule because I believe in it and this was my opportuinty to give back to our community and our patients.

What is the bravest thing you have ever done?

I can honestly say it was fighting breast cancer.

What advice would you give to people who are going through a rough time?

Everyone has different beliefs, so this is hard. I would say, if you are going through a rough time, a time so rough that there is no logic, and a hard road ahead you need to lean on your faith. You cannot simply 'say do this or do that' everyone is different. What works for one person may not work for someone else. For me and many others, I know we need to lean on our faith. That is what I know to work personally for me. Some people are not religious though and don't have a faith to rely on. In those cases, they need to figure out what they believe in, what they can hold on to, so that can find them courage to keep going through the tough times ahead.