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Gratitude For Eight Years On WordPress

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I got a note from WordPress today telling me that eight years ago today, I began my blog.  It doesn’t seem that I have been writing for eight years to you all, but I’m assuming WordPress knows what it’s talking about, don’t you think?  Ah, the benefits of blogging!

In eight years, much has changed in my life.  My initial focus was to help other women battling cancer, specifically breast cancer as I endured it myself and I am still here.  But as life developed, I have written about other subjects too including:  poetry, pets, children, parents, relationships, Mother Nature, horseback riding, Alzheimer’s and Dementia, holidays, angels, spirituality, religion, Rabbit, Rabbit, photography, SendOutCards, amazing books and movies, inspirational quotes, life in general and even death because I had first hand experience with all of those topics.  While I was enduring hardships, you were all there for me with your loving support and I am ever grateful.  I wrote to share my experiences in hopes that I would be able to help someone else along that path.

I am ever grateful for the loving connections that have evolved through our blogging community which we have grown through our writings and by reaching out in kindness, generosity and always with a loving heart.  Friendships have blossomed through our writings that have cemented many of us soul to soul in miraculous ways.  From WordPress comments to emails to actual phone calls, I can count many deep friendships which span the world now for which I am honored to be a part of in this lifetime – and yet, we have never met face to face.  But the love is there, without ever being in each other’s physical presence.

It’s so interesting to me that I have yet to meet anyone face to face that I met through blogging and yet I count many of you as true friends.  What a gift this Presents of Presence has been for me!  I pray that you feel the same way – that my writings, my comments and my love for all of you shines its heartlight and helps to raise the energetic vibrations of this world’s energy to encourage peace, love, compassion and understanding along with connections to all.

May your heart be lifted today and may your heartlight shine for all to see, for I see you out there dearest friends and I am ever grateful, as always, for our connections.

Shine On!

xo

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The Present

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Today’s Daily Prompt of PRESENT was a no-brainer for me to write about because hello! it’s the name of my blog!  The Presents of Presence.

It’s been a HUGE PRESENT to write to you, to make connections with you and to get to know all of you!  I love our friendships and I feel grateful and honored to know you all!

Because if we look around, precious moments are presents and they are everywhere.  But they can be fleeting when we are not paying attention.  You know what I mean?  When you turn around and wonder, what in the world did I do yesterday?  Or how did this past week fly by?

We have a limited time on this earth dear friends.  Connections can be fleeting or lifelong.  Either way, we must take each and every special opportunity to savor them.

May you have a blessed day and continue to shine your heartlights!

Shine On!

xo

A New New Year’s Eve

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I was diagnosed with breast cancer on New Year’s Eve of 2001.  I won’t bore you with the details, but if you choose to search in my posts for those key words, you will find my story.  Much has happened since that fateful day and for many years, I felt downtrodden by the reminder of my cancerversary on New Year’s Eve.

Finally, I no longer hold that diagnosis in my heart/mind/soul as I used to in the past.  The cancer diagnosis was the beginning of my spiritual journey which has led me to this day, today, for which I am ever grateful.  My life hasn’t turned out as I’d planned.  Instead, I’ve endured a plethora of losses and yet, I remain grateful for each experience.  I see now that all of those life lessons have led me to today and the spiritual knowledge which I would have never received had my life been easy and cancer-free.  I have acquired so much depth of understanding which I would have never grown if I hadn’t had to endure so much pain in my life.  The experiences reminded me of how innately strong I am and how even though my life went through periods of darkness, my heartlight shines even more brightly now because of what I’ve endured.  Isn’t that always the way?  Do you feel the same way?

My heartlight dimmed at times of great stress, disease, fear and grief, but the innate sparkle never left me.  My faith has grown stronger.  My commitment to being me in all my quirks and glory, has only increased in strength and commitment.  My supply of self-love and love for all mankind has increased exponentially.  I love from the depths of my soul and have learned to receive healthy love as well.  I no longer worry about acceptance.  I am who I am and I am not afraid anymore.

I wish you all a lovely New Year’s Eve!  Let go of who and what doesn’t serve your spiritual growth.  Leave the past hurts behind.  Enjoy The Presents of Presence and may all unfold in 2018 with love, light and peace for you!

Shine On!

xo

Dahlia Trademark

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When I saw the Daily Prompt Trademark, I knew I had to write about it.  My trademark for a long time (if there can be such a thing for a simple blog) has been a pink dahlia which a friend took a photo of and then allowed me to use.

Why?  Because pink is the ‘color’ for breast cancer awareness and I love flowers!  Easy peasy answer!  Also, there’s something warm and inviting about the petals in a dahlia.  For me, it looks like they are reaching out in all directions for connections and you know, that’s what I love to do – to connect!

It’s just like the Shine On! xo that I use to end my posts.  Maybe that’s a trademark too?  I began using that awhile back.  It just seemed to evolve as my blog has as well.  I like it because it makes me smile and I hope it makes you smile too!

How about your trademark?

I’d love to hear why you use what you do in your blog as well!

Shine On!

xo

Enduring Breast Cancer Survivor

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This may be a controversial post, I’m just warning you.  Maybe not, depending on how you view what I feel.  I’m a breast cancer survivor although I abhor the badge survivor.  Yes, I survived breast cancer and have for almost 16 years, but I am not one of those who go to the Pinktober or Breast Cancer Walks with pink frilly enthusiasm.  It’s just not me.

I think it’s nice that people unite for those walks to raise money for research, but in the sixteen years since I was diagnosed, there have been a few strides, but not many.  So where’s the funding going?

There are thousands of items bedazzled with the pink ribbon during Breast Cancer Awareness month that are for sale.  While I appreciate it, I also feel the superficiality of it.  For enduring breast cancer isn’t all pink ribbons.

It’s grueling surgeries, treatments and fear-induced sleepless nights.  Like all life threatening situations, it requires bravery to face our inevitable death, with the threat of it coming too soon.  I was 34 years old when I was diagnosed out of the blue, having found an M&M sized lump in my breast.  Complete shock overtook me on that New Year’s Eve in 2001 when the diagnosis was delivered.

Fast forward to 2017 after having endured countless surgeries, chemotherapy (ACT) and radiation, not to mention a double mastectomy, two implant replacements and then a radical replacement of my breasts with my own fat tissue instead of implants because my body kept rejecting them, I’ve been through the ringer like many people have in my situation.  I’ve lost my hair, been in menopause since 2003 and aged faster than my friends because of the illness.  I have lingering effects from the cancer which include chronic fatigue which I battle daily.  The funny thing about the chronic fatigue is that most people just don’t understand what I experience because I look normal (or as normal as possible).  But that’s a whole different post.

However, the word survivor when applied to my breast cancer experience sticks in my craw.  Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think I merit the word survivor.  Victims of the Holocaust merit the word survivor, people who survived horrendous experiences merit the word survivor in my book.  But for me, no.

Me, I endured breast cancer.  While its aftereffects still play a role in my daily life, I am gratefully still here.  Sure, I have had more threats to my health than I can count anymore.  I am tested routinely due to other complications and I have endured countless uncomfortable tests and more sleepless nights than I want to remember.

The term survivor to me is having lived through something awful and to be able to go on afterwards.  Maybe that’s how some people feel about their diagnosis in the breast cancer world.  For me, it’s not a been there, done that, wear the pink sparkly t-shirt and smile.  It’s still enduring the illness in whatever shape and form it reemerges.

The Presents of Presence emerged from my journey with breast cancer.  In being present with my feelings, acknowledging the gifts in this moment and in taking the time to be mindful, spiritual and experiencing all that presence allows, is how I live my life now.  I am still a work in progress.  I thank you for reading my post today, for holding my hand when needed, for your kindness and connections and for showing your heartlight as a beacon of hope for others.

Shine On!

xo

 

 

It’s Just The Circle Of Life

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I don’t mean any disrespect when I write – It’s just the circle of life.  It’s more of a factual statement than one which diminishes the emotion of birth to death.  As humans, we have experienced our own birth and someday we will experience our own death.  We may even experience by proxy, the death of friends, family and loved ones.  As women, we may even experience the gift of giving birth.

As a breast cancer survivor, I have experienced the thought of death as well.  Perhaps it’s not just those of us with illnesses that know the darkness that shrouds the fear at death’s door.  But it becomes a rite of passage when we are diagnosed with a disease which is a known killer.  It’s how we deal with that threat that the disease can take our lives which varies, person to person.

There’s no right way to deal with a breast cancer diagnosis and each of us who have heard those words, ‘you have cancer’ can attest to the fact that our lives completely change in a moment.  Forevermore we live with the threat that it won’t be cured or that it will return with a vengeance.  We fear the cancer, the treatment and the cloud that perpetually hangs back, in our peripheral view for the rest of our lives.  We mourn the loss of good health that we once had.  We crumble in the dark late at night fearing the worst, yet hoping for the best, making promises to the Universe or to God with pleas for strength, for one more day, for a cure, for peace.

We endure pain in order to be cured, yet the psyche many times does not ever find peace again to heal our spiritual self.  I have seen people who have become broken shells of their former selves after a diagnosis, never to fully regain the momentum of life afterwards for the fear of the cancer returning never leaves us.  Even if we put it in the back of our minds or try to totally erase it from our view, its specter awaits, lurking for the next lump’s arrival, the next battery of tests that are not within normal range, the next procedure to investigate some abnormality in the body.  It doesn’t really ever end.

I am coming up on 16 years since I was diagnosed and I can attest that it never ends.  Sure, we can go on merrily with our lives, hoping our happy-go-lucky charade continues to not provoke questions from others as to our health status.  We can cry at night when things aren’t good, but nobody understands this unless you have endured it.  We can be strong when needed and mask our fears to the masses.  After awhile, we even believe ourselves until something happens to knock us off-kilter and wham, we are back again in the throes of fear and wondering if the circle of life is at its end.

I understand dear friends.  I truly do.  Even the word remission is not a peaceful feeling as it only masks the tingling sensation of peace for the moment and the trembling fear of if/when the other shoe will drop again.

I don’t know why I am writing this post today.  It seems to be flowing out of me at a supersonic speed.  My fingers type so quickly and yet I am not sure if I am even making sense.  I’ve had many scares over the years.  Tumor markers which are higher than normal, lumps that have to be biopsied, scary tests to endure all while knowing that could be in store.  Crying in the night or during the day when nobody’s home.  Feeling the whoosh of relief when the doctor proclaims it’s ok for now.  Reliving the nightmares of past experiences knowing I’m on my own.  It’s hard, but we can live through the experience and keep going.  That’s the common denominator really.  Keep waking up to a new day.  Nightfall is hardest I know – that dead of night overwhelming feeling which is only diminished by sleep.  And the realization as dawn comes that we must face the reality in our situation.  I’m here for you.  I have been there and I feel blessed that I am still here to walk with you when you need a friend.

The circle of life begins and ends in a momentous way – birth and death – bringing the light of our souls into the world and then allowing the extinguishing of our soul light to be free.

Shine On!

xo

P.S.  I’m fine, so no worries.  I don’t know why this post wrote itself today, but it did. xo

 

via Daily Prompt: Circle

Cancer Changed Me

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Hope ~ Strength ~ Power ~ Belief ~ Courage ~ Honor ~ Determination

I have been told that cancer changed me.  Indeed, it wasn’t said it in the nicest of ways.  In fact, it was taken as a disparaging comment and I was appalled by the off-hand comment.  My first reaction was to defend myself at the time, to show how cancer didn’t change me.  But I left well-enough alone and decided to say nothing.  However, I was hurt by the retort.

Had cancer really changed me?

The question mulled in my head for days and many sleepless nights, more than I’d like to admit, but it’s true.  I’ve written how cancer changes you enough times in this blog to know that the reality is – YES, cancer changes most of us.  It has to, or we wouldn’t still be here.  For we have seen into the yawning mouth of our own demise, endured the most feared emotions and have come out of it alive, so far.  Looking at your own potential death does change you.

It makes you more aware for the most part.  Some of us now see with finite definition that life is short and there are no guarantees how much time we have on this earth.  We become grateful for the beauty in nature, for the simple pleasures that kindness brings and for a real, loving hug which can cure many ills.  We look to connect with others more because we know what it’s like to feel alone.  We share our stories, encourage each other and find the courage to be who we authentically are!  We smile when we are tired.  We work hard to overcome obstacles and to be there for others, even when we feel depleted.  We take that extra moment to smile and to enjoy goodness when it comes into our lives.  We are grateful for the support that we have been given and we look to support others to continue the flow of goodness.  We share tips to help others and happily receive tips to make our lives easier.

We know that all the money in the world, with all the frivolities are fleeting and really don’t mean a damn when death comes knocking at our door.  It’s that silence between ourselves and our maker (or our beliefs) in the quiet of the night that counts.  It’s regarding peace within as a precious gift, time spent with loved ones and a centered calm in which to retreat when life becomes hard.  It’s the voice within the stillness which speaks of love, gratitude, peace with ourselves and others and God.

Yes, cancer changed me.  That’s for sure.  Perhaps it was the misunderstanding of me that caused this person to spout the ‘dig’ as I took it.  Sometimes it takes a loss for us to be humble and perhaps there will be people who simply never understand.  And that’s ok with me.

I am me, authentically me.  I make mistakes, I ask for forgiveness and I forgive.  I choose to live in a state of peace within when I can, but I am always evolving, ever growing and yet, trying to do all things with love.  I intend to do my best, at any given moment, but I’m human.  I’m a work in progress.  Aren’t we all?

What’s precious to me in my life is love, kindness and connections and I strive every day to live with those three precious gems in my life.  Cancer made me a better person by giving me so many lessons in my life.  I’ve learned so much from cancer, even though I never wanted to endure that disease.  Looking back on my life, I realize that I am who I am today because of cancer.  Even if others don’t understand me, it’s ok now.  I’m at peace and I’m ever grateful for the peace within me.

Shine On!

xo