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Celebrating Twenty Years

Flowers from CAngel

I am feeling so blessed today, more than usual, as I celebrate this special milestone in my life. I wanted to share it with you, my friends, since you have been with me for many years. Twenty years ago today, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and, as you can imagine, I was devastated. My life turned upside down and I will admit, there have been many ups and downs over the last two decades. But I am still here and cancer free today.

I have learned so much over these past twenty years and I have so many loved ones, family and friends, doctors, nurses, lab techs, and even strangers to thank for helping me along the way. It took a village to get me to where I am and I am ever grateful to all of the angelic people who each made a positive difference in my life.

With a grateful heart, I have been blessed with this milestone. I learned so much from having breast cancer that I consider it a gift, for even though it took a lot from me, the life lessons I learned from it are priceless. Hence the name of my blog, The Presents of Presence.

For in being present with what is and what was, I learned that I am stronger than I ever knew I could be. I found inner strength and joy in the simplest moments which might have passed me by, if I didn’t learn to take each day as it comes. The color of a sunset, the warmth of a summer breeze, the amazing gifts from Mother Nature and the new beginning each dawn brings. Learning that life is short and love is the legacy I wish to leave behind when it is my turn to transition.

I learned that people may come and go, but I remain grateful for the good memories. I learned about forgiveness. I learned about healing, physical, mental, emotional, and how the body, mind, and soul work in conjunction. I discovered a deeper sense of spirituality, divinity, and the cultivating of inner peace.

I bonded with others who had cancer and found an incredible connection in helping them. I also lost a few friends I made through their untimely passing from the cancer we were fighting together. They inspired me to keep going even when they could no longer. I found a calling in helping others.

My rituals have evolved over the years to include prayers, quiet moments, a gratitude journal, and increasing my intuition and all of the precious gifts that I was too busy to explore. I have found me over the years, authentic me, the one with whom I am at peace.

I have scars from the many, many surgeries I have endured. I have health issues resulting from what I experienced and I am still checked often to make sure that the cancer remains at bay. Up until now, those check ups, twinges, strange lumps, etc. could put me into anxiety wondering if this were a dreaded reoccurrence come to pass. Perhaps now at twenty years, I will be able to ease that part of me, knowing that I have had this time to continue to heal myself.

The light of love never dims. Our heart lights shine on always and so tonight, as I raise a glass of champagne with my sons over dinner at home, I thank you all from my heart for your kindness, your support and your love. You are a blessing to me and I am so grateful for all of you.

Shine On!

xo

Christmas Will Never Be The Same Again

I realized today that Christmas will never be the same again after our new addition. Our house and all of its Christmas decorations are not in the same places anymore. As you can see above, the furry Christmas tree skirt continues to be askew because Buster loves to snuggle on it. So he does and I’m ok with it.

My sons and I are sitting and relaxing in the family room together while the puppy is in what we refer to as his corral (playpen) nearby. He’s relaxing after having gone outside for yet another romp in the grass, picking up sticks and leaves and carrying them around before we have to open his mouth to make sure he doesn’t choke. It’s like having a baby again, except this one eats things off the ground! LOL

This has been a long year, hasn’t it? Filled with many challenges, but on this day, I am feeling grateful that we are all still here, still healthy and happy. I hope that you are all doing well too. I was late designing the Christmas cards this year, so they are more like New Year’s cards, if in fact they arrive before the new year begins. A little nudge had me hesitant to choose a family photo for the card because I kept feeling as if a puppy were in our future, he’d arrive in time for his Christmas card debut. I am grateful to report that he did!

A golden retriever was not the breed we originally planned to get; as a black Labrador, like the one I had growing up, was our intent. Well, at first it was a husky which my older son had been begging to get for years, but even though I adore huskies too, I have heard they need a lot of exercise and we are not in the position for that at this time. So when we saw this little puppy locked eyes with us, touching our souls and letting us know that he was our new baby, there were no questions. I believe that we connect with our animals and bond through the love. They come to us when we are open and able to embrace what is meant to be.

I will tell you that occasionally I wonder what I was thinking as puppy training is a challenge at the moment. So if you have any tips and tricks, I’m listening and ready to learn!

Shine On!

xo

Merry Christmas To All

My dear friends, it has been a dog’s age since I’ve written and I apologize for the delay. I haven’t been on for quite awhile so I’ve been missing all that’s been happening in your lives. I hope that you are doing well and that all are healthy and happy in your families. Please let me know how you’re doing!

In the meantime, I’ll give you an update in case you’re interested. Our dearest American Bobtail cat Tiffy passed away this summer. She had been an integral part of our family and a beloved fur therapy kitty. Honestly, we were all quite devastated when she began to decline in health, but it was age-related. Tigger, our rescue cat, stayed the course with us, snuggling when we were teary and making us laugh when needed.

We started talking about getting a puppy as my one son has wanted one since he was little. But it had to be the right one for us and even though he begged for a husky puppy, I wasn’t convinced that we would be able to handle that type of high energy. I always believe that animals come to us (and we to them) with the right timing. So I’d like to introduce Buster, our golden retriever puppy who is 11 weeks old. We got him right before Christmas so that everyone would be home to bond with him and to let him acclimate to our home in the best way possible.

Buster

If you had asked me in September if I were getting a Christmas puppy, I would have giggled, but here I am. Life always gives us opportunities to increase our joyful quotient and ours was in the form of a Golden Retriever puppy. So without further ado, welcome to our family Buster!

Shine On!

xo

Grateful For You!

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.

It turns what we have into enough, and more.

It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Melody Beattie

Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, my wishes for you remain the same. May you find peace within you. May you celebrate the love within and surrounding you. May you remember to be grateful for everything because you are here, present in our world, shining your beautiful light!

Have a lovely day today and may the angels shine down upon you with a flourish of blessings.

Shine On!

xo

A Family Thanksgiving

Saying Grace – Normal Rockwell

This image hung in the kitchen at my parents’ house for decades. On the wall, next to the kitchen table where we ate our daily meals because my Mom loved it. Each time I see this, I think of my Mom because it was so significant to her and part of our upbringing. It’s titled Saying Grace. Are you familiar with it?

For me it’s a good reminder that life is what we make of it. No matter who’s watching, we can be ourselves, authentically us, shining on and comfortable in our own skins. We don’t have to conform to the masses, but instead, stay true to ourselves. Counting our blessings even when they may seem small and passing along traditions that are important to us. Quietly, without fuss or fanfare, the simplicity in Saying Grace comforts me.

Do you feel it too?

Life was simpler then I think and many times Normal Rockwell captured that family-oriented simplicity in everyday living. It makes me grateful for the blessings I’ve received and isn’t that what Thanksgivng is all about? It’s not about the turkey, the sides or the pies. It’s about FAMILY (friends included) coming together with love, understanding and Freedom From Want, even for a short time.

Freedom From Want – Normal Rockwell

Sharing the Thanksgiving feast is a blessing that I count many times over. While both of my parents have now passed, these memories become even more precious as time goes by. Our family’s love continues. We are looking forward to spending time together, my sister’s family and mine. To be remembered, to be included, to share with others is priceless.

My wish for you is to have a Blessed Thanksgiving if it is one of the holidays you celebrate. Even if it isn’t, I send blessings your way too. Take a few minutes to give thanks and share your gratitude for what we concentrate on grows abundantly. I wish you Freedom From Want.

Happy Thanksgiving! We are blessed!

Shine On!

xo

Make A Joyful Noise

I awoke this morning before six am hearing:

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: Come before His presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord He is God: It is He who hath made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise: Be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; And His truth endureth to all generations.

Psalm 100:1-5 King James Version

I spoke along with my mind, knowing full well that today is the anniversary of my Mom’s passing and this was one of her favorite psalms. I laid there quietly with tears running down my cheeks, repeating the psalm that as children we said before bed every night with her, and in her last moments, we said at her bedside.

Of course you knew I’d be sad today because I loved my Mom. She was special. She was genuine and like me, she loved with her whole heart. But I miss her even more because I’ve been sick, and there’s nothing like a caring Mom to take care of you when you’re home sick. So I’m a bit more vulnerable today than usual.

But I miss her. I miss how she saw life and could absolutely make me laugh, even when I was sad. She saw through people’s baloney. She kept life real. Even with her condition, she didn’t forget some things that became funny over the years. She and my sister (in the photo) always had a good time wherever they went! Can’t you tell?

They made a JOYFUL NOISE and loved every second of it! That’s what life’s about – taking what you’re given and making the best of it. Being in the present moment and realizing the gift that is this precious present moment! I am thankful we had many of those over the years and that my sister and I continue the tradition together.

Thank you for reading today as my heartlight is grateful, but perhaps a bit dimmer than normal. Any love and light would be appreciated if you can spare some? Thank you in advance for sharing!

Shine On!

Xo

Tiffy Cat

Yesterday I picked up our sweet Tiffy from the vet. Her cremains were in a pretty wooden box that had a pale pink plaque with her name scripted on it. As well, there were her two front paw prints imprinted on a heart-shaped, white ornament that we can hang on our Christmas tree this year, as well as the certification that it was indeed our girl whose remains were in the box.

My sons and I unpacked her, tenderly holding what was left of our dearly departed cat. I’ll admit we all were teary as she was almost fourteen years old and had been with us from the beginning. It was the end of another chapter in our lives that we are going through together.

We’ve been through many changes together, my sons and me. Those difficulties have only bonded us closer together as we have endured many losses. I am proud of who they are and where we are as a family. I feel very blessed to be their Mom and even through these shared experience of losses, we have continued to grow together.

As we set Tiffy’s beautiful box next to our previous cat Chessie’s, our sweet Tigger whom we rescued seven years ago appeared. She sat on the floor facing the boxes, staring up at them. Her ears perked from time to time, but she remained still, her eyes looking up into the space where the boxes were.

I wondered if she felt their energies. If our Chessie and Tiffy were still here with us in spirit? If Tigger saw something that I could not? Or heard something that my ears were not able to hear? Or sensed something that I wasn’t noticing? Or if it was just a figment of my imagination that she was acting this way?

You know it has been said that cats can see spirits. Have you ever heard that? Have you ever heard that those who love us never leave us?

Either way, after a few minutes she went to cat nap in her bed. When she got up a little while later, she came over to snuggle with me. Pushing her head against me, marking me and reminding me that she is still here. Oh how grateful I am for her presence in our lives! I am sure it was a bit of an adjustment for her as well when Tiffy passed. She’s now the only cat here, and she seems to have begun to mimic some of Tiffy’s snuggling traits as well as meeting us at the door when we come home, which she hadn’t done before now. That was Tiffy’s job and she never failed to greet us enthusiastically!

While Tigger’s meow isn’t quite as bold as Tiffy’s, she seems to be practicing more often now. I guess it was easier when Tiffy spoke up for the two of them when it was time for treats. Now she has to speak up for herself.

Thanks for reading. I just wanted to let you know that Tiffy is back where she belongs, with her family who loves her. We are grateful for the years her loving presence was a part of our lives.

Shine On!

xo

Happy Blessed Easter

I wish you all a very Happy Blessed Easter. May an abundance of Easter blessings be yours. Above is the stained glass window from my childhood church which brings me back to the decades of Sundays I spent looking at this amazing window.

When I saw this photo, it touched my heart in ways that I hadn’t predicted. Something so very familiar and yet from so long ago brought a tear to my eye in a nostalgic way. Have you ever had this feeling? It’s the tenderness in the moment wrapped in the gratitude for their love.

May you all stay well. May you keep gratitude and joy in your hearts. Please continue to shine your heartlights for all to see for we need more light in this world. God Bless.

Shine On!

xo

Birthday Blessings

I am one of those people who loves her birthday. Perhaps it’s because I am so grateful to have made it another year around the sun that I am like a little girl when it comes to my birthday. The joy that emanates from me is palpable. Perhaps it is because I am a cancer survivor, but honestly, I’ve always been this way. I just love my birthday and I’m not afraid to show it!

Some people my age (ahem) may not feel the same way I do, but I can’t help it! I am thrilled to tell you how old I am for I have made it through some hard times and I’m still here! I’ve earned every wrinkle (through laughter and tears) and I’m thrilled that I can say I’m over 50 years old and still here! I don’t shy away from telling my age because it’s only a number to me. A way to count my years on this planet.

I feel immense gratitude toward all of the beautiful friends and family that I love so much for making my day special – each in their own way. There’s such a wave of love that has poured over me today that I am floating on a sea of love and enjoying every single minute of it. How I wish I could share this with you (well that’s why I’m writing!) so I can remember this special feeling.

The darling birds are chirping outside my window pane and I have my beloved cats here next to me as I sip my coffee in the quiet of the morning. My children are still soundly asleep, safe and happy in their home with me. All is well and I feel so much gratitude to God for all that I have.

This peaceful full of love feeling has my heartlight shining at maximum luminosity. There is a happy song playing in my heart. Can you hear it too?

Please allow me to share this joy with you! Allow my heart light and heart song to illuminate your day, shower peace and healing into your life and remain with you. Thank you all for reading and for being my sweet friends!

Shine On!

xo

The Smell of Spring

March always reminds me of daffodils because they grew in the backyard of my childhood home. Being a March baby, I clearly remember my Mom cutting the daffodils and placing them in a vase on our kitchen table every year around my birthday. To me, daffodils are that joyful expression that Spring is coming (as is my birthday)!

There is something cheerful about seeing the daffodils and smelling the earth starting to come alive in Springtime. I bought myself a handful of daffodils yesterday at the store. As I arranged them in a small vase that was my Mom’s, I was smiling. It’s the little things, those precious moments that I treasure. Don’t you?

It’s been getting warmer here in Jersey and the birds are chatting away more than usual. Perhaps it’s not more than usual, but simply that it’s been so quiet throughout the Winter months. It’s good to hear them prattling away and calling to each other. I have been watching them eat from the suet bird feeders I got this Winter. They are so much fun to watch!

However, I saw that there is a possibility of a snow storm next week and much to everyone else’s chagrin, I’m smiling about it! I love snow as well and would welcome one last snowfall before Spring is officially here. Back in the 70’s I remember a snow storm on my birthday which I loved! Perhaps we have another one in store for 2021?

I hope that all of you are healthy and happy. I haven’t been writing as much lately, but I do think of you often. My darling rabbits and wildlife haven’t been seen in a long while. I’m not sure if they’ve moved, are hibernating or perhaps have met their demise which saddens me. I’m hoping for a resurgence in the Spring. I’ll stay in touch and let you know!

In the meantime, may you have a lovely Thursday afternoon in March wherever you are. May you take a few moments to notice The Presents of Presence in your day. Take an extra moment or two to just be, look up at the sky, notice the grass and the smell of Spring starting. Count your blessings and be grateful for your loved ones by your side. I am grateful for all of you.

Shine On!

xo