Category Archives: Life

February

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February began with another wake up call, one that I really needed. The guy I had fallen for told me he just wants to be friends. Let’s just say I took it really hard and wondered what I did wrong. He did like me. I know that for sure. I shouldn’t have stopped dating but my feelings for him made me not want to go out with anyone else. I wish I hadn’t of been such a scaredy cat. I was trying to protect my heart. The funny thing is, I got hurt anyway. Eventually, I’ll meet someone who wants to be in my life. Maybe he wasn’t the guy for me and I wasn’t the girl for him and that’s why it never worked out. I regret not making more of an effort to see him. It doesn’t make any sense because I wanted to see him. Now I realize how important intimacy is for health and happiness. I fell for him because he is strong, smart and handsome. He sent me memes which made me laugh. He likes music and playing the drums. He is tall, loud and outspoken. I thought he was going to be dorky based on his profile but he turned out to be really cool. He’s been through a great deal of pain in his life too. I hope we both find happiness because we both deserve it.

I’ve learned a few things. Don’t ever chase a guy. If he’s not making any effort there’s a reason. He’s just not that into you or he’s seeing someone else or he’s given up. What saddens me is that there was potential between us, there were feelings, we had some similar interests, then it turned ugly because we disappointed each other. Anger is just love disappointed. We didn’t get our reps in, that’s a phrase I’ve heard a dating coach use. Try to see the person once a week or every other week or at least once a month otherwise it gets stale. He seemed to be very busy. The few times he wanted to see me, I was busy. I got tired of his excuses, “I’m a train wreck.” I can give you a run for your money on that one. The whole point of friendships and relationships is to help the other person heal. I let my fatigue and insecurities get in the way. I’m so used to being the sick person, having to take it easy and not overdo it, that I had trouble switching gears. I’m still trying to figure out how to be a normal person. I’ve gotten used to being alone and doing my own thing. I had such a strong physical attraction to him that I probably wouldn’t have gotten any work done lol. There’s more to life than work. I guess so.

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Over the holidays, an old coworker of mine from Liberty Mutual came into the store. He had been like a father figure to me. His wife died of cancer several years ago. A few weeks ago, he sent me an email to tell me what he liked about my book. He said there was one line that stood out for him, “Even beautiful things become ugly if we don’t take care of them.” I think he was referring to his marriage while I was referring to the lack of cleanliness in my bathroom lol. It’s true in both cases. Beautiful apartments and relationships deteriorate if we don’t take care of them. Not everyone is meant to be in your life and they bring a hard lesson. Sometimes you can remain friends, they’ll bring you sunshine and laughter again. You’ll just have to wait and see. I think I should start dating again. The whole point is to meet someone you’re compatible with and feel comfortable around. You have to let things happen organically. I was too much of a control freak. I couldn’t just let it be what it was. I needed more reassurance than I was getting from him and yet I blamed myself.

This time, I’m going into online dating with an open mind and willingness to meet someone. I have to be somebody’s dream girl lol. Maybe it took getting over my initial reluctance and sarcasm which was just a defense mechanism. Now I can say my intentions are pure. Christen told me to be patient and not to settle. I don’t think I was settling with him. He actually made me want to be a better person. At least I’ve had some dating experience and don’t feel like a complete newbie. I’m going to go with the flow rather than trying to force things to happen. I talked with my cousin, Heather, about dating. She said it took meeting a lot of guys before she found the one she got into a relationship with and eventually married. They’re expecting their first baby in August. I’m really excited for her! She said she had so much practice by the time she met Kyle that she was able to relax on the date and just be herself. She said she had almost given up. When it’s time for people to meet, they meet. It takes both people putting themselves out there. She was only on the site for a week when he messaged her. That’s fate, the work of the angels.

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I’m writing this post from Utah. I’m visiting my brother, sister-in-law, and nieces. It’s good to get away and spend time with my family. My nieces are growing up so fast. Emma will be three in March and Mary will be one in June. Mary isn’t feeling good, she’s been crying a lot. She has a cough, cold and fever. The doctor finally figured out she has an ear infection and gave her some medicine. I hope she feels better soon. They have pretty blue eyes like their dad and grandpa. They are very precious. I think a part of me is sad that I’m not going to have a baby even though I never really planned on it. The idea of labor has always scared me and I have enough trouble taking care of myself lol. The possibility has always loomed on the horizon so it’s natural to go through some kind of grief around it especially with turning 40 this month. I can be a great aunt which is a pretty cool thing! It’s very beautiful out here, the open space allows us to think clearly. It’s also nice to watch the Olympics, the athletes are very inspiring. Their dedication to the sport they love is truly remarkable.

I’m going to create a new dating profile and see where that goes. I’m not going to mention the fact that I’m a cancer survivor because I don’t want it to be their first impression. I’m going to continue applying for part-time jobs. I felt better when I was working, it gave me structure and helped me to feel more worthwhile. Having a job also kept me out of trouble. Sometimes, what you think is trouble is exactly what you need. For real, I get tired of behaving and wonder why I don’t let myself live. Several of my birthday messages were about having more fun. They’re right, I could let myself enjoy life more. I bought beer at the grocery to drink every once in awhile or when I have company. I thank God for teaching me about humility. Love doesn’t give to get, love gives to give. Love doesn’t get old unless it’s forsaken then it turns bitter, something that could’ve been so beautiful. It’s okay to have needs and sometimes get clingy. We should help each other to be strong instead of tearing each other down. I regret saying mean things, it wasn’t nice and he didn’t deserve it. I wanted butterflies in my stomach, I sure as hell got them.

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My birthday was February the 9th. I feel old, I’m over the hill now lol. Christen said I’m young at heart, so that’s a good thing! I celebrated my birthday a few times. I went to the Olive Garden with my mom, aunt, and cousin. I like the eggplant parmesan. I went to dinner at Cancun and a Cincinnati Cyclones game with my friends Christen and Melissa. I had a really good time. I’m going to Takahsi, a sushi restaurant, with my family in Utah. I like sushi, it’s yummy. We ended up getting pizza instead because the restaurant was packed. I have registered for Cancercon, an annual gathering for the young adult cancer movement, it’s in Denver in April. I’ll be meeting up with Lauren, Jenny and Rachael, my survivor friends from the First Descents rock climbing trip. I look forward to seeing them. I think the conference will be fun and educational. I’ve signed up for several sessions and activities. I’ll write a blog post about my experience. I need to stay positive and keep making progress. I’m tired of winter and ready for spring. Even though I’ll complain about the heat and humidity, I’ll be able to take my walks and see my favorite tree.

I’d like to start working out because it will help me in so many ways. If I can get my fitness level up, I can join an indoor soccer team. Yeah! I used to enjoy playing soccer. I have a natural athletic ability. I used to play forward and score goals. What better confidence booster is there? I’ve shied away from running because the last time I ran was seven years ago. I had just finished radiation. I was having a terrible pain at the base of my skull and worried the running had caused it. It wasn’t the running, the chemo had damaged my heart and nerves. I didn’t need to be running when I could barely walk to the mailbox. I am better now and my body is strong. I still worry about having a recurrence which is why I need to stop putting toxic foods into my body. Sugar is poison. I have to want to live, really want to live otherwise I won’t, it’s as simple as that. Yes, most of the time, I’m all talk, but not all of the time. I hope everyone is doing well. Take care.

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Have a great month,

Julie

Update: I got my dating profile set up on a site I’ve never been on before. I chose three photos and kept my answers short and sweet. I’m talking to a few guys. My allergies to cats and dogs definitely narrows the field down. Wish me luck! 🙂 Unfortunately, I have a cold and sore throat. I’m not feeling very well. 🙁 I haven’t been sick in awhile. We’re getting a bunch of snow tonight, hopefully we’ll be able to fly home this week although it’ll be hard to leave my nieces.

January

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To be honest, I didn’t start the new year off on the right foot. I’ll get to that later. I would like to begin the first post of the year writing about something positive. When I think about what’s helped me the most over the last five years, I’d have to say it was repeating affirmations. How do they help? You gain control of your thoughts, talk yourself through fears, and improve self-esteem. I always thought they were kind of silly just something New Age people practiced. But when my life took a turn for the worse, I had to reach for the light. Many years ago, when my anxiety was bad, saying affirmations got me through the day. There’s a saying in AA, it works if you work it. That’s very true. I’ve become stronger and more confident. I don’t struggle like I used to and it feels good. When I encounter a difficult situation, I tap back into that place of strength. I don’t even say them that much anymore. Since something happened recently that knocked me off balance, I felt like it was a great time to remind myself and I have them posted on my bulletin board.

My name is Julie and I love myself. Today is a new day and I treat myself with loving kindness. I am confident and capable. I am healthy and strong. I am calm and relaxed. I am safe and protected. Breathe in. All is well. Breathe out. All is well. Peace begins with me. I am grateful for my many blessings. God is good.

Those are my favorites. You can change them to suit your needs and situation. The key is to phrase them in a rhythm you like because when the words flow they are easier to remember and become automatic. I tend to say them rather quickly. Start with one or two sentences a day. I think that’s better than saying a bunch of them at once. You really want to feel the words and what they mean. I’ve practiced them so much that sometimes my mind is like, “Oh no, not that again!” Lol. There are so many affirmations. I’m going to find or create ten new ones to practice and post them in next month’s blog.

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I realized something else. I made my goals very general when they need to be more specific if I’m going to accomplish any of them. Resolutions are a good idea in theory, we should reassess how we’re doing, yet most of us have habits that are pretty set in stone. It takes time and energy to create new habits. I also think wintertime is not the easiest time weather wise to make big changes. I got upset with myself for continuing my bad habits which made me even more depressed. I bought Pepsi and golden Oreo cookies at the grocery store. I didn’t set any new habits in place so why would there have been any changes? Exercise more. How? Go to the fitness center or take a class. Eat healthier. How? Make healthy meals and limit my amount of sugar. Travel more. How? Register for events that interest me. Revise the novel. How? Work on the story instead of being on social media. See my friends more. How? Make plans with them.

I might as well just say it. I quit my job. For those of you who know me, that won’t come as a surprise. I have worked at many places over the years. Others might be shocked since I seemed really happy and excited to be there. I was and have been. Several things happened which forced me to give a two weeks notice. At the risk of going into too much detail, I’ll say it was a very good three month experience. It showed me what I am capable of and I’m proud of myself. I have faith that I can find another job I will enjoy even more. I was a seasonal hire and since the holidays are over my hours have been reduced. I need a certain amount to feel like it’s worthwhile otherwise I lose my momentum. The biggest reason was a conflict with my assistant manager. He became increasingly unpleasant, unhelpful, rude, and mean. I refuse to work in an environment where I’m being treated with such disrespect. I’m still baffled at his behavior and hope one day he realizes how to be a better supervisor and human being.

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Things happen for a reason. Maybe I was on the wrong path going in a straight line instead of climbing the next mountain. There’s nothing wrong with that, we can’t always be climbing mountains. The only one who knew about my past and getting disability was the manager. I didn’t tell anyone else because I was trying to move forward. One time, the manager asked me about my cancer story. I laughed and said, “I come here to get away from it and you’re asking me to talk about it.” He got transferred to another store so I had to tell the assistant managers because it was affecting my job to some extent and they needed to know. I had been late to several shifts and I’m just slower in general. I’m also a hard worker and I did a great job. I enjoyed helping the customers and feeling worthwhile. Even after improving my punctuality, he still wouldn’t lose the attitude. I decided the stress wasn’t worth it. I gave the new manager, who’s very nice, my notice and asked him not to schedule me with the assistant manager. I had one more shift with him and I’m proud of myself for facing him. Luckily, I won’t have to work with him anymore.

I’d say it was the garbage incident which sealed the deal for me. I always complete my share of the chores there. I vacuum at night, dust mop in the morning, clean the counters, and collect the trash. The assistant manager got the garbage and recycling ready then asked me to take it over by myself. We always go in pairs because it can be too much for one person, so I was surprised at his request. It was two big boxes of broken down boxes which is too heavy for me to lift into the compactor and several large bags of trash that can fall off the dolly if someone isn’t following behind. The compactor is a fair distance away over by the parking garage and it was 5 degrees that day. I told him, “No, I don’t want to take it over.” He about lost it. “You don’t want to take it over?” He asked. “No, it’s too much for me.” I answered. “I’m going to see what K thinks about that.” He stormed off. She took the trash over with me just to appease him. I wondered why he didn’t take it over himself. He’s young and healthy, it isn’t too much for him. I almost walked out that day, but she convinced me to stay and that it would be okay. It never got back to being okay.

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I don’t think it was a coincidence my car locked up on New Year’s Eve. It was as if the Universe was telling me not to go to work or just to pause for a moment and look at what’s really going on. While I was making progress and doing the right thing, I was avoiding other things in my life like intimacy and vulnerability. And I wasn’t working on any of my passion projects. My life had gotten out of balance again. I was running away from the things that really mattered to me. I told myself last New Years that I wouldn’t spend another New Years alone and what did I do? I spent it alone. I had to work the next morning which isn’t a good excuse. I was trying so hard to do a good job and I was doing a good job, but I still fell short in some areas which is to be expected for someone who struggles with physical and psychological issues. I walk away from that job with my head held high. They aren’t glad to see me go, except for one person lol. And I will miss the customers, but I think it’s for the best. I know I can find another job better suited for me and my abilities.

In terms of intimacy, yes, I need to be careful so I don’t get hurt, but avoiding the person I want to see is hurting me too. Instead of being brave, I’m being overly cautious. It’s okay to take a chance. I didn’t go on any dates this month, and I haven’t set up a new profile yet. I think it would be a good idea to start dating again. I found myself getting jealous of women who post provocative photos because I know how visual men are and I didn’t feel like I could compete with them. I actually wished I could be more slutty and now it just makes me laugh. That’s not who I am. I’m more reserved and that’s okay. I’m not in my twenties anymore. I’m sexy in my own way, that’s what I had to learn. That’s what we all have to learn. We don’t have to be anyone but exactly who we are. We aren’t attracted to people because we envision them as someone else, we’re attracted because we already think who they are is pretty damn neat. That’s what we don’t get. We cringe at our uniqueness instead of realizing it’s the very thing that makes us who we are. And who we are is what we have to give. God doesn’t make mistakes. Even a job that doesn’t work out, it’s not a mistake, it’s a learning experience. That’s what I take from this. That’s what I hope you all can take from this.

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Have a great month,

Julie

p.s. My last shift was yesterday. Right before I left, I had a big sale and good connection with one of the customers. Sometimes they’re going on a trip to another country, the clothes are well suited for travel and it’s fun to help them shop. After the customer left, K and I looked at each and smiled. We talked about how that was the perfect way to end it, on a high note. Leaving wasn’t an easy decision to make, a part of me worried it was a step backwards and I’d get stuck again. I won’t let that happen. I have to follow my heart and maybe that is a luxury I have, but don’t think it doesn’t come with a cost because it does. What I have been through, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I can’t change what’s happened, I can only move forward. The things that are chronic, I have to find relief from rather than making them worse. Exercising and improving my diet will help with the pain and fatigue. The mess in my head, I have to straighten that out. Things are so much better than they were, I need to remember that and give myself credit for what I have accomplished. My birthday is next month and instead of being upset about the age I’m going to be, cringe, I’m going to embrace it. I need to start acting more like an adult. I won’t lose my innocence and curiosity, but I’ll start trusting my strength and wisdom more.

December

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Anyone tired of winter already? Ugh. It’s gotten really cold here. I didn’t go on any dates in December. I was busy with work and needed time to think. It seemed like I was either falling hard or not falling at all. Maybe that’s normal since I’ve been out of the dating scene for so long. Keep the date simple, meet for coffee and try to be more open-minded. My mom gets the mom of the year award, she helped me clean the bathroom. I have ptsd from treatment and have trouble using harsh cleaners. It was almost past the point of rescue and my mild cleaners weren’t working. Now I feel like I could have company over and not be completely embarrassed. The other day, I bought laundry detergent by myself. I walked down the aisle and didn’t have a panic attack. I’ve pumped gas twice now and it wasn’t so bad. All of these little victories feel empowering to me. It feels good to do normal things again. It’s not that things don’t bother me, I have tools to handle them: deep breathing, affirmations, and mental strength.

I’m going to hit the highlights of 2017 and set a few goals for 2018. It’s important to look at the progress we’ve made and things we’ve accomplished. I went to Utah twice to visit my family. I have the most amazing nieces. I participated in one book fair. I went rock climbing in the Adirondaks with First Descents and surfing in Maui with Project Koru. I met a bunch of cancer survivors who are now my friends. They inspire me daily. I saw the FCC soccer team play twice. I went swimming several times. I started dating and got a part-time job. I’d say that’s a pretty good year. It was. My goals for 2018 are to work, write, blog, exercise, eat healthy, date, and travel. I want to revise the novel, make art, do yoga, go indoor rock climbing, and get a television. I want to join a cancer support group, lead an art therapy group, and have more fun adventures. I want to get a tattoo on my left forearm, a butterfly, heart, cross, the word faith or all of them combined into one design. I want to go to some music concerts.

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I’m going to share my blogging process. Writing is very therapeutic for me even the next day tmi hangover I always have since I write so candidly. When I first started blogging, I wrote about various topics rather than my personal life. Now, I weave them together to make sense of my experiences and offer insights which might be helpful to the reader. There’s usually one sentence that sticks out because it’s unclear or didn’t get revised or is a seed for a future blog. I don’t go back and change the post. I let it be even if there are a few mistakes. It’s good for me to let it be imperfect. Most of the time, the first draft is handwritten. There’s usually something I’m ready to write, but if it’s early in the month and I’m not ready to start the next blog, I’ll write in my notebook. If thoughts come to me at night while I’m in bed which they often do, I use the notes app on my phone. Some people probably skip these first two steps and go straight to typing. Whatever works best for you is your process. I put the pictures in last because I think it breaks up the text and adds visual interest.

I have a pretty good idea of what topics I want to cover and what needs to go into the post. Then I roll the blog around in my head for a few days. This is kind of annoying but also kind of fun. Then it gets to the point where the words are ready and the post needs to get typed. I think all this prep work is to outsmart my inner critic who still tries to tell me not to write and that I don’t have anything to say. Then it has to be revised several times. The final post is the result of four or five drafts. I don’t usually look back at the handwritten stuff unless I’ve forgotten something. I try to write a fresh take with fast energy although at this point the major parts are nearly memorized. Some posts are easier to write because they take less preliminary work. It comes down to saying what I want to say in the way I want to say it. I think that’s the key. It’s like playing the right notes on a musical instrument. It takes a lot of practice but it doesn’t feel like work because you enjoy it. When you’re good at something and your family is proud of you, it makes you feel good about yourself.

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I want to address something because I heard a song about being just a number and it dawned on me what I might’ve done in last month’s post. When I wrote guy #3 and guy #5, my intention was to protect their identity by not revealing their names. I thought that’s what you’re supposed to do. It wasn’t to make anyone feel like they’re just a number. Guy #3 has a name, it’s Tommy. Guy #5’s name is Joseph. I feel bad about writing a post that takes jabs at someone in order to get a laugh. I don’t know how comedians are able to do that. I still have some anger and resentment to work through. We all do. It’s easy to criticize others because it takes the focus off of ourselves. I think I do a decent job of self-reflection by admitting to my errors and shortcomings. Maybe it’s easier for me to push people away than to let them get close which is something I’m still working on. I was raised on country music, it’s in my blood. I’d like to be with someone who can appreciate all types of music.

Let’s say a friend of mine had met five guys and was still interested in one of them. If she asked me for advice, I’d tell her, that’s a gd miracle, you’re so picky. Why not be happy? Why not take a chance? Practice what you preach. You deserve to be loved. Feel with your heart and think with your head. If it doesn’t work out, you’re strong enough to recover. He might not share your feelings, although he probably does. He might be talking to other women, but you’re just as awesome. He could break your heart, that’s a risk you’ll have to take. Friendship is the foundation. Get to know him better. When you care about someone, you stop playing games. Why would you keep dating when you’ve met someone you like? Why would you question what the good Lord has given you? He’s the only one you can’t stop thinking about, so stop being such a scaredy cat.

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Until you start dating exclusively or enter into a relationship you can see whomever you like. Your love is worth a lot but not if you keep it to yourself, so don’t be stingy with your love but don’t give your love to someone who can’t love you back. When someone gives you the run around, don’t run, just walk away. Don’t let a guy who doesn’t know if he wants to be in your life keep you from living your life. And you have to take your love goggles off so you can see the other fish. Follow your heart. That’s my advice. You’re going to anyway. Just slow down. That’s the lesson I learned today. I locked my keys in my car. I put my purse and keys on the passenger seat so I could scrape off the snow. I should’ve kept the keys in my coat pocket or started the engine but it took mom awhile to bring the extra set of keys so that wouldn’t have been good. Luckily, I was able to use my neighbor’s cell phone to call her and wait inside the building. I was late to work. When I get out of the grocery, I put my purse and keys on the seat and then put the groceries in the car and it’s never locked on its own before. It must’ve been the cold weather. Oh well. All is well.

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Have an awesome 2018!!

Julie

November

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November passed by very quickly. I’m late to get my blog posted. I was busy learning my new job and my family visited for a few days. Since I’ve had several different retail jobs in the past, I feel very comfortable running a register. I haven’t worked in seven years, this felt like a good place to start. I enjoy helping the customers which requires me to be friendly and confident. I feel better about myself because I’m testing my limits and no longer being afraid. It’s also good for me to be busy and out of the apartment. I didn’t want to spend another winter feeling alone and isolated. I’m grateful to have found a job close by. I stopped shopping for clothes while I was writing the book. I wore the same pair of blue sweatpants for a few years, so it’s nice to be around new clothes. Although, I still have trouble buying myself stuff which is something I’m working on. I’m learning how to feel comfortable in my body again. I’m learning how to have a life after cancer. I was already behind on the cleaning and laundry. Now, I have even more to get done but it seems like the busier I am, the better I manage my time.

I realized something after watching a Youtube video where it talked about how our past isn’t baggage if it becomes a learned lesson. When you’re dating, if a person doesn’t appreciate your strength it’s because they’re trying to take advantage of you. I went on one date this month. I’ll call him guy #5 because that’s what he is, the fifth guy I’ve met from the dating site. He sent me a message and since I wasn’t completely repulsed by him, I thought I’d give him a chance. We talked on the phone about four times which now seems like wasted time although it takes time to get to know someone. He’s in a profession that I somewhat respect, yet the longer I talked with him the less and less I liked him. “Give him a chance,” my mom said. We agreed to meet after work at a restaurant near me. He was late to the date. I gave him the benefit of the doubt since he had a longer drive through rush hour. I wasn’t very nervous. I had already somewhat written him off, which I know sounds terrible. If nothing else, at least I’m being honest.

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I went into the date already annoyed at his ex-wife baggage which he talked about in length. He wanted to know what the other four guys did wrong so he could mold himself into someone I would like. It doesn’t work that way. You’re either the person that I like or you’re not. Sure, you can stop bad habits or change superficial stuff but it comes down to whether the person does it for you or not. He didn’t do it for me. And I just keep thinking, am I being too … I don’t even know the word. No, I’m not being too anything. I’m being myself. I had a good time with him at least in the beginning. We had good conversation, but the final straw came when he drank more than I was comfortable with and wanted to go somewhere else and keep drinking. I’m not a party girl that’s pretty obvious on my profile. I ate more sushi than he did. Oh dear. I can’t eat more sushi than anyone lol. He said he hadn’t ran that day and didn’t want the extra calories. I think there’s more calories in beer than sushi.

While we were eating, he said, “I don’t have any STDs.” Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that’s polite dinner conversation. He said he figured I had probably slept with the other four guys because I’m on a dating site and that’s what people are doing nowadays. Oh really? I’m too old to fall for peer pressure. I could’ve slept with him but I didn’t want to, nor did I want to get to know him better. I guess that’s the bottom line. I want to actually like the person I become intimate with and feel like they like me too rather than just being some girl they find attractive enough to sleep with. Actually, the final straw was when he said he doesn’t like rap or country music. Oh dear. When I asked him who he likes he said John Mayer. While he does have a few good songs, he’s not one of my favorites. To put down two genres of music that require skill, talent, and musicality, is absurd. He probably realized that by the look on my face. Ugh.

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I know I’m being too hard on him, that’s his opinion and he’s welcome to it. His niceness seemed insincere which also got on my nerves. Once again it sounds like I don’t like a perfectly nice guy. But if a person is just being nice to get something from you, how is that any better? I’ll admit, I’m a bit naive, a little slow to catch on. We all have issues, it’s whether we’re working on them or not. I got upset recently and cried about something. I’m doing something wrong. That’s it! I’m doing instead of being. I step into my masculine energy, try to make things happen, when that’s the guy’s job. I need to be more comfortable in my feminine energy. It’s okay to have feelings. If we didn’t have feelings, we’d be robots. My fears keep preventing me from getting closer to guy #3. Although I did see him again, I don’t feel like I made time for him. I focused on learning my job and seeing my family. I worried about whether he liked me or not. I wondered if I was pretty enough. And I didn’t want to get my heart broken. The problem is, you can’t go into it half-hearted or trying not to get hurt. That’s like half way striking the ball, it’s not going to go very far and you get hurt by stopping short. This is another example of how I deny myself what I really want instead of being brave.

I like my freedom too. I have to feel like I’m gaining rather than losing something by having them in my life. I didn’t feel that way with guy #5. I felt trapped and it seemed like he was trying to impress me by buying me an expensive dinner. As many of you know, I’m perfectly happy with a Pepsi and a burrito. I don’t want to throw him under the bus because it makes me sound rude and judgmental. I’m also trying to write a humorous post and dating is good material. My dad used to tell jokes and make people laugh, I think that’s what I’m trying to do. He wanted a second date and when I told him no, he got pretty upset and bad mouthed me. I told him about a quote I saw, I’m sure that helped, lol. It’s something like – if you don’t feel blessed to have them in your life, they’re someone else’s blessing. I’m not the one for him and he isn’t the one for me. You can’t force that to happen no matter how much you try. Love doesn’t work that way. I also heard something else – when you hit the lottery, you stop buying scratch offs. When you find what you’re looking for, you stop looking. It’s that simple. Trust takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight.

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I deactivated my dating account, there was only a month left of my subscription, because I don’t feel like my head is in the right place. In some ways, I’m not taking it seriously enough, it’s an opportunity to meet someone special. In other ways, I’m taking it too seriously, it should be fun. I also felt like I had hit a dead end on that site and it began to feel like a burden. When I feel like it’s time to start dating again, I’ll pick one of the free sites, I don’t want to spend any more money. Most importantly, I’ve decided not to say anything about being a cancer survivor in my profile, that’s not something they need to know right off the bat. I realize that now. While being a survivor is an advantage, I’m less likely to put up with a bunch of nonsense, it puts me at a disadvantage by creating a dark cloud around me. Sad but true. It’s a part of who I am, for better or worse. I can’t undo what’s been done. I can’t change what’s happened. I can only move forward and hope for the energy to get out of bed and make it through the day. I have faith in God and myself. Being alone has made me stronger and no one can take that away from me.

Since I still have some feelings for guy #3, I’m not giving the other guys a chance. You’re just supposed to hide your profile when that happens and see where it goes. I don’t know where it’s going or if it’s going to go anywhere. When I start thinking with my heart instead of my head, I get off track. What brings me back to center is the fact that dating is about finding the person who can give you what you need and vice versa. It isn’t about forcing someone to be someone they don’t want to be. I have to figure out what I need. It’s harder to go out with someone I actually like because it means something. It’s easy to go out with guys I don’t like because it doesn’t matter. If I’m just going to pick guys to reach the challenge number that isn’t right either. I should look on the bright side, I’m 1/3 of the way there. If I decide to complete the challenge, I only have to meet 10 more guys. I could pick up the pace, I move at the speed of a turtle. Some girls could set up 2-3 dates a week. I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had because they’ve helped me move forward. I just got my second paycheck and while it isn’t that much money, my mom is proud of me.

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I’m typing this on my new laptop, a 13 inch MacBook Air, which I’ve had for a few months now. At first, I didn’t like it and had a difficult adjustment which is normal for me when I get new things. I had a Dell Inspiron for many years (contrary to popular belief, I did not type the book on a typewriter lol) but it had stopped working. What do I love about the laptop? It’s lightweight, has a long battery life, and syncs with my phone. I love the keyboard. I can bang on the keys which is quite satisfying. I’ve gotten used to the screen resolution which bothered me at first. Since I have ginormous hands, I wouldn’t have been happy with the 12 inch MacBook despite it’s Retina display, the keyboard is smaller. I also had to upgrade my phone from a 5C to a 7 because I was out of storage. I couldn’t take photos and my email wouldn’t open. I’m very grateful for my new technology. I’m also hoping to get a television for Christmas. What’s come over me? Five years is long enough to go without a television. I’d like to watch Jeopardy, soccer games, movies, and a few of my favorite shows.

I enjoyed seeing my brother, sister-in-law, and nieces. They flew here from Utah and stayed with my mom for five days. My aunts, uncles, and cousins came over for Thanksgiving dinner. I always enjoy seeing everyone and eating a delicious meal especially the sweet potato casserole, pecan and pumpkin pies. My niece, Emma, who will be three in March is very energetic and cute as a button. My other niece Mary, is five months old. She’s definitely more calm and quiet. Since I’m not having kids, I enjoy spending time with them. We went to the Entertrainment Junction and had a great time seeing the trains and taking pictures with Santa. Since I was so excited to see him, he gave me a token. I’m on his nice list lol. Since Christmas is right around the corner, it’s a good time to remember the reason for the season. Love. Joy. Hope. Faith. Gratitude. Family. Friendship. Strength. Purpose. Forgiveness. Humility. It’s not about presents although that’s one way we show our love and appreciation. Christmas is about the birth of potential, to see with new eyes, hope with renewed hope, and have faith that what is meant to be will be.

Have a happy Holiday,

Julie

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October

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What’s been going on since my last blog post? I spent two weeks in Utah visiting my brother, sister-in-law, and nieces. I had a really great time. My brother’s business trip to Amsterdam got postponed a few weeks so he was able to spend time with us. We went shopping at the Park City outlet mall and hiking in southern Utah where the terrain is desert with cactus and red rocks. My sister-in-law, Kristine, works at the Deer Valley Ski resort. She’s the head chef at one of their restaurants where we ate lunch after a beautiful drive through the mountains. The leaves were already changing colors and the aspens are almost as cool as willow trees. The higher we drove in elevation, the temperature dropped and everything was covered in snow.

At the risk of getting sappy, the love they share and the beautiful family they’ve created is awesome. I’m a proud aunt! Emma is two-and-a-half years old, Mary is four months. I don’t have much experience interacting with toddlers and babies so that was fun for me. Emma is very energetic while Mary has a quieter personality, lucky for them! They have one of those Echo things where you can tell it to play a song, it’s like a modern day jukebox. We had fun dancing to some tunes. I enjoyed holding little Mary and she fell asleep on my shoulder. I was able to pick her up when we she was crying and then she would stop crying. My energy was calm enough to calm her. I look forward to seeing them again when they visit next month.

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When I got back home, I had a mountain of laundry to do since I totally overpacked, lesson learned, then I focused on applying to different types of jobs hoping that something would fall into place. I put a great deal of faith into the Universe to lead me in the right direction, of course, it takes effort on my part and that’s where I’ve been falling short. I’ve done a lot of inner work. I trust my intuition. I’m not angry anymore although I have moments of animosity. Forgiveness is the answer, it brings us joy. All of the despair we’ve gone through has only deepened our appreciation for happiness. I know no other way to describe it. The point of life is not suffering, it’s not about working ourselves to death, it’s not about denying ourselves pleasure. Life is about taking risks even when we’re afraid because one day of adventure is worth a thousand days of comfort.

The next weekend, I went shopping with my mom to buy pants and jeans to wear since I’ve gotten used to wearing sweatpants. As many of you know, I haven’t worked a regular job in several years. I survived cancer and self-published a book, I wasn’t twiddling my thumbs. Although, I got disconnected from the world around me. My disability has become a crutch allowing me to stay sick instead of pushing myself to get better. This year, the survivor camps were an important part of my healing process. I met survivors my age and realized the struggle is real. I was damn proud to stand among them. The fact that we had to suffer and still suffer in the name of health makes no sense. What if the way to heal darkness is with light and love? I am grateful for modern medicine and have deep respect for anyone who chooses that path, I just don’t think I could fight that way again. Of course, it’s easy to speculate from the crowd.

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Family and friends notice when we’re not living up to our potential, but they often fall into the enabler role and things stay the same. Oftentimes, we bring new people into our lives who we know will call us on our shit. Even though the truth is hard to hear and we’ve heard it before, we’re finally ready to do something about it. We find the motivation to make changes and get our work done. I went out with one of the original four guys again because I wanted to see him. He was the third guy I met from the dating site. We played frisbee golf and now I regret complaining about the warm weather lol. He made me take a hard look at myself. I’m not going to give him more credit than he deserves because I’ve done the work, but he said something that struck me – I’m just going through the motions. He’s right. Fear does that to a person, it shuts down all possibility which makes us spectators instead of warriors. We all have wounds to heal. We all need love to survive. After awhile, no more healing happens in isolation, we need relationships. We have to allow ourselves to be imperfect because perfection is not something that God asks of us.

I’ve had three job interviews so far and …… I took the third job!!! During the first interview, which didn’t feel right at all, I realized I don’t need to apologize for what I’ve gone through and how long it has taken me to get back on my feet. Healing takes time, that’s the hard part, but that doesn’t mean I have to be hard on myself. Even God pardons sinners. The second interview went okay. I was offered the job but it didn’t feel right either. I went into two more stores that I was genuinely interested in and asked about my application, but I didn’t get the feeling they were hiring or that I was meant to be there. I decided to stop into the Eddie Bauer store at the Liberty Center, which is seven minutes away, and ask about my application. I love the store and their clothing. I feel comfortable there. It’s more than a brand, it’s a way of life. I support being active and enjoying nature because that’s how our spirits are refreshed and renewed.

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What happened next was very interesting. I asked the guy who was working there about the status of my application. He’s actually the store manager and gave me an interview the next day. My mom and I shop there during the day when it isn’t busy and he has helped us several times. He remembered me and my mom. He said he enjoys hiring people who embody what the brand stands for – live your adventure. That’s a lot to live up to, and yet it’s who I have become. Working there will help me to stay on this healthy path. I feel happy to have someone recognize that and give me a chance. He didn’t even have my application. I had to fill out a paper one. After the interview, which felt like I was talking with an old friend, he offered me a part-time job. I took the job! I feel good about my decision. It’s the right speed for me. Yes, I’m somewhat nervous. I look forward to learning the job and getting into a routine. I hope to help the store as much as they are helping me. This is a big step towards regaining my independence, confidence, and normalcy, all of things that I lost.

For awhile now, I’ve wanted to feel more productive in my community. Helping others improves our self-esteem by generating feelings of well-being and satisfaction. The reason health can be so tricky to achieve and maintain is because we have a mind, body and spirit to look after. If we neglect any one of these, which is so easy to do and because they’re interconnected, we’ll feel out of balance. Same goes for dating. It isn’t love that eludes us, we elude love, we stand in our own way, we mess things up because we’re afraid, we’re used to being abandoned by the people who were supposed to love us. That’s why it’s hard to receive love and not be suspicious or worried that it will be taken away. Love doesn’t leave us. Fear leaves us when we love. Fear leaves us when we laugh and play. Fear leaves us when there is a safe place of mutual respect, trust, and kindness.

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I’m sure some of you are waiting for some tasty tidbits from my dating life of which I have none to offer. I haven’t gone out with any new guys. I decided to put my energy into finding a job. That isn’t to say I’m done with dating, I just haven’t started up again. I have been back on the site. I’ve gotten a few messages some of which have potential. Although, I’d like to lower the challenge number because meeting 11 more guys seems like a lot. Or maybe I need to break it down into smaller chunks and meet 2-4 guys in the next two months. I want to be realistic and not go overboard while pushing myself to get out there. My friend, Christen, who gave me the idea, after hearing how well my first four dates went, knows me very well and wants the best for me. I’m glad she cares. Writing and working are safe activities for me because I’m in my head, yet they don’t get me the companionship my body craves. I think I’ve mastered the art of being single! There’s no shame in needing someone. Maybe the strongest thing I can do now is learn how to trust someone again.

The holiday season can be a very busy and hectic time. I should be more excited about dating and make good use of this opportunity to learn about myself. I still like one of the original four guys and even though we had rocky start, I feel blessed to know him. He makes me laugh. There’s a depth to him that matches my depth. I don’t know if that makes any sense. I know better than to put my cards on the table. Let’s just say, I feel like I’m the Bachelorette and I’ve already chosen my favorite lol. I’m going to follow my heart. What else can I do? I also realize the importance of not putting all of my eggs into one basket. Even though I enjoy being alone and have plenty to occupy my time, I wonder if I could share my life with someone down the road. I’m the type who wants a relationship, yet I don’t give a lot of chances and I’m quick to dismiss guys when I don’t feel a connection with them. I have trouble letting people love me. Dating is hard work. I keep forgetting that it could be a fun experience.

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I need to give myself credit for how far I’ve come while encouraging myself to do more. It isn’t about dating a certain number of guys, those are just guidelines to get me to see the bigger picture. Life is too precious, like my sweet baby niece, Mary, to waste it on self-doubt or negativity. I need to quit disrespecting God with my bad attitude and inability to let go of the past. I can trust where this path is taking me and I’m smart enough to know when it’s leading my astray. The best thing we can offer someone is friendship that’s the foundation, the bowl filled with ice cream. Passion is an added bonus, the whipped cream and chocolate syrup. Having the whole damn sundae is the holy grail. I won’t settle for less. I can’t settle for less. It’s what we all deserve, love that knocks us off our feet in awe and surrender and gratitude that there can be something so beautiful and amazing in this fucked up world, if only we can hold it gently and carefully. That’s why we’re here, one of the many reasons, to love like we’ve never been hurt and live like we’ve never been lost.

Have a great week,

Julie

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April – Update

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It’s always out of the blue. Good things seem to happen out of the blue, most likely because they’re orchestrated by angels. I almost didn’t look at his message. I thought it was from the cat guy because they have the same name. Why would the cat guy be sending me another message? And why did he message me in the first place? I clearly stated in my profile – I’m allergic to cats and dogs. He said he saw that but didn’t think it was an extreme allergy. Lol. He obviously doesn’t have allergies because he also volunteers at a dog shelter. Oh my. He seemed like a really nice guy and was actually going to take one lucky lady to four concerts this summer. I told him, thanks for the message, yes, my allergies are extreme and have fun at the concerts.

When I opened up his message, “I’d like to talk with you if you’re willing. What is the last spirituality book you enjoyed reading?” I think my jaw dropped and my pulse quickened. There was something masculine and strong about his picture that didn’t disgust me. He has a seriousness about him with a touch of sadness that made me wonder if something bad had happened. He’s divorced, maybe she died? When I looked at the second picture, I saw him and his two beautiful daughters, they were smiling and happy. They are five and four years old. He has full custody. At the risk of seeming over eager, I only liked his profile but didn’t message back. He took this to mean my membership had expired, sent me another message saying he’d really like to talk with me and would hold onto hope. I am fond of hope.

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When someone finds me fascinating or even tolerable, I’m suspicious. It’s not due to low self-esteem, I know I have a lot to offer. I think it’s a normal reaction or maybe I’m afraid of being hurt again. In reality, my isolation is twice as harmful. When talking about her now fiance, I remember my cousin saying, “he messaged me first.” The dynamic was right from the beginning that’s why it worked. The man gives while the women receives, then she gives while he receives. It has to start with the man. For once, I’m not the aggressor, although I can be aggressive, we are assuming our natural roles. We both want a relationship. I hope we have a connection when we meet this weekend. He chose a coffee shop that’s closer to where I live, which I think is very sweet. I’m excited to meet him. I don’t know how much I’ll share here, I want to respect his privacy. Sometimes I get tired of social media. These lives we pretend to have by only showing the happy moments. Life has sad moments, too.

If you’ve read the previous post, you’re probably thinking I sound a bit contradictory. I said I don’t want kids, that is, I don’t want to have kids through labor. I am more than okay with meeting a man who already has children. And I would stay in Cincinnati for the right person. What about the guy who lives in California? I still think he’s a great guy, but he won’t step up to the plate which leads me to believe he doesn’t share my feelings and pining away over him makes me look like an idiot, and I’m tired of looking like an idiot. I enjoy talking with the new guy, J. We both have the same first initial. I could be the strong survivor that he sees in my pictures. And I could make him happy. Imagine that? I would actually be doing something right. I could be loved and adored instead of the person who does everything wrong. We could learn from each other. Isn’t that what we’re here for? Maybe I should try to be less snarky and sarcastic. That might help!

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Did I have a good time in Utah? I sure did. My niece is so precious. She adores my mom, follows her everywhere, they are best buddies. Every morning, bright and early, I heard Emma calling out for Grandma. She also says, “I need it” and “Emma do it.” After a few days, she warmed up to me and began saying my name. She’s so cheerful and happy. She’s athletic and strong. She laughs at almost everything and is very perceptive. When I made her a friendship bracelet and put it on her tiny wrist, she held out her other wrist and said, “two.” There’s no way you can tell that sweet angel, “no.” I quickly got to making another bracelet and tied it onto her other wrist. She enjoyed playing with the stamps, stickers, and markers I brought for her. She has an entourage of stuffed animals which she sometimes carries everywhere. It’s neat to see my brother with her, he’s a great dad, talks to her calmly, takes her to the park, and makes sure she eats her lunch. Our dad would be proud. I know he was there with us in spirit – happy to see us happy.

What’s on my plate? The date, the book fair, and then Camp Koru. I also need to get more laundry and cleaning done. I still have to buy a few things from the packing list. I’m going to be super productive and make good use of my time. Yes, I’m a bit stressed and overwhelmed, why wouldn’t I be? I’m going to breathe and pray that everything turns out well. I probably won’t be packing my suitcase super neatly like I did for Utah, it might just get thrown in. My therapist (who I stopped seeing  a few months ago because I felt like I was talking the talk and not walking the walk) would appreciate that! Any time I don’t give in to my ocd tendencies is a victory. Although, it is good to be organized! My second interview, with Terri from A Fresh Chapter, went okay and I’ve applied for a scholarship to help offset the cost of the volunteer abroad program. The weather has gotten warm here. I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter, if that’s what you celebrate! 🙂

Have a great week,

Julie

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April – Dating and Travel

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If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you’re probably thinking, she’s completely obsessed with him. Let’s use the word “enamored,” it sounds less crazy. We praise athletes for their long hours of practice and devotion to the sport, yet we frown upon people who get too infatuated. I know it’s slightly different, but don’t we want that to happen? Would you want your sweetheart to be on-the-fence about you? When people get married, it’s because they’ve chosen that person over everyone else or in today’s age until they get divorced. It’s having other options and still choosing them because there’s something amazing about them that everyone else lacks. It’s how my grandma’s face would light up when she described my grandpa.

In my defense, I’ve started dating. Well, I haven’t actually gone on a date, but I’ve been talking with a guy who lives about 20 minutes away. He’s asked me out three times now but I’ve turned him down, so I guess I haven’t started dating! He wanted to meet up last weekend and I told him I was busy which wasn’t a lie. Then he wanted to pick me up and go to a bar in downtown Cincinnati, that’s a bad idea for several reasons. Then he mentioned a winery near Oxford. I don’t like wine. I’m not trying to be difficult. I think a good first date is meeting for coffee or lunch or at a bookstore. I could mention that to him. The problem is, I don’t think he’s “the one.” You’re probably thinking, well, you haven’t given him a chance. No, I haven’t, yet I know when something has potential and when it doesn’t.

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He seems like a decent guy, he’s just not my guy. He’s shorter than me. God blessed me with long appendages. I want to be with a guy who’s my height or taller. He wants kids. I don’t want kids. I’m not a baby maker. I ain’t gonna be his baby mama. I feel pretty strongly about that. And it’s interesting the majority of guys on that site seem to want kids. He’s buying a house in Cincinnati. We all know that’s the last place I would buy a house. Why was I even talking to him? Back in February, as a birthday present to myself, I joined MeetMindful, a dating site for people who are into spirituality, meditation, and yoga. There’s a very small pool of men to choose from which is good in a way. I might’ve gotten overwhelmed by the amount of men on a larger site. Until I take it seriously and make the effort, it’ll be a waste of money. I’m always working on something else and dating gets moved to the bottom of the list. I need to get my priorities figured out.

I don’t know if I’m going to renew my membership. I guess I would recommend the site, you get three free days to see what it’s like. At first, I was mad at myself for joining and decided it was a waste of money, so I tried to put some effort into it which is why I started talking with him. Although now I realize when I text him back it just encourages him. Something else worth mentioning, I had “cancer survivor” in my bio and it seemed like I wasn’t getting much attention. I wondered if that was the cause. I deleted the ominous words and got two messages which was just a coincidence. It felt better without the heavy label, then it felt like I was keeping a secret or trying to be someone else, so I put them back on there. Update: it hasn’t made a difference. I’ve gotten the same amount of messages. I think it’s something they need to know and if it’s a deal breaker, like dogs and cats are for me, then we don’t have to waste our time.

He seemed genuinely interested which surprised me. I think he’s lonely or I’m incredibly fascinating to talk with! I don’t think he was just being nice to get in my pants although he could’ve been. He was winking at me and I thought to myself, why are you winking at me? Please stop. Maybe I’m not ready for dating. He sensed that I didn’t like the winking and switched to regular smileys. He seems immature even though he’s 34. There’s a seriousness about me now that caught me by surprise. I can’t go back to the recklessness of my twenties. Those days are long gone. I need to focus on my diet and exercise, the missing pieces of the puzzle, the things that are going to save my life. And real love grows like a beautiful flower in a magical garden. I’m going to keep looking even though I’ve already found him.

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You might also be wondering if I’ve made any travel plans this year. I’m going to Utah with my mom to visit with my brother, sister-in-law, and niece for a week in April. My niece is two years old now. I’m really excited to see her. My sister-in-law is pregnant again, due in July. It’s a girl! 🙂 I booked my flight to Salt Lake City then found out I’d been taken off the waitlist for the Athletes for Cancer – Camp Koru program, which means I’m going in May rather than November. Instead of tears of joy, I was crying tears of overwhelm because I had four trips in the next three months which is a lot even for a person who doesn’t struggle with anything. Camp Koru is in Maui, Hawaii, the mythical place I’ve long to go to since I was a little girl. The day after I made my flight, I had a lot of anxiety and it took about a day to calm down. I still can’t believe I’m going there. It doesn’t help that I stopped exercising during the winter and my bikini body is nowhere to be found. Of course, I found a way to put pressure on myself.

Guess which trip got taken off the table? The book fair in Berkeley which is in early June. My friend, Christen, wasn’t able to go with me after all and the trip had fallen apart. 🙁 They aren’t pairing authors up this year and it would’ve been difficult running the booth alone. Even though I was disappointed, I’ve realized giving a few gift wrapped copies of my book to survivors who become my friends feels better than selling them on the street to strangers. The trip that got to stay, rock climbing with First Descents at the end of June. This is what my schedule looks like for the next three months: April – Utah, May – Hawaii, June – New York. I wanted to travel, well, I’m getting my chance now! If you want to start traveling, you have to start traveling. I hope I haven’t pushed myself too far outside of my comfort zone and I can get ready in time. Have a little faith in me.

I’m also applying for a volunteer abroad program for cancer survivors which would be for two weeks in November. To pay for the cost of the program, I’ll hold a fundraiser which I’m surprisingly excited about it. Everyone who donates will receive an arts & crafts item made by me. There are five choices: friendship bracelet, origami envelop with a quote, glass gem magnet, affirmation card, Polaroid photo taken in Peru. I’m about to get crafty! 🙂 Before I get too excited, I have a second interview with A Fresh Chapter’s founder Terri Wingham. I’ll find out by May 1st if I’ve been selected to join them as a cancer ambassador and truly begin to heal the emotional scars of cancer. What have I learned from all of my planning and yearning? God doesn’t give you what you want, He gives you what you need.

Have a great week,

Julie

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holiday recap

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I hope Santa brought you everything you wanted and more. I had a very nice Christmas. The weather warmed up a bit, and I spent three days with my family. As expected, I ate way too many cookies!! Next year, I’m going to bake some healthy cookies to contribute to the cookie table. On Christmas day, I went to my aunt Joyce’s house in Kentucky. My uncle, John, who was my dad’s best friend brought up a good point. “Didn’t writing the book help you to heal, you know, getting all that out?” I answered. “Yes, I guess so, I do feel like a weight has been lifted.” I wrote the book to share my story, get closure, and help other survivors. I had forgotten why. I don’t give myself credit for how far I’ve come because it never feels like enough. I get upset when I hit plateaus or as of late having taken what feels like a back step.

There’s nothing wrong with regrouping and reevaluating the game plan. But you see, that’s where I have it wrong, life isn’t a game. It’s not about having the newest car, latest phone, or highest score, although those things are important in their own way, they aren’t the essence of life. There’s a quote, “Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.” -Unknown. I think that’s why we have the ritual of opening presents because it takes us one step closer to the magic. Yes, it’s nice to get new things, but it’s more important spending time with the people we love. Time is all we have and we waste so much of it caring about what other people think and harboring resentment because life took a different turn.

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But what if the wrong turn, the pain and confusion, was something we had to go through in order to become stronger? What if the experience of sickness and powerlessness is going to lead me to health and power? One can only hope. I wanted to mention George Michael’s passing, not that I knew him or anything, because I’ve always been a fan of his music. When I was little, my favorite song was “Faith.” You can ask my mom, I’d dance around my room in a state of bliss. I didn’t really know what the lyrics meant but I liked the song. I also thought he was really cute. He had a unique voice – the voice of an angel can soothe. I’d listen to the radio, Casey Kasem’s Top 40 Countdown and record songs onto blank cassette tapes. You had to press down the record and play buttons at the same time! I made a lot of mix tapes. Even when I was younger, music brought me joy.

I got a lot of positive feedback from my aunts, uncles, and cousins. “Write another book, start dating, move to Hawaii.” I also practiced grounding when my anxiety acted up, although the wine worked just as well. What did I get for Christmas? Some gift cards and clothes. I want to end the blog this week with pictures of my niece, Emma. She got a few presents, lol. My brother said she wanted to play with each one before going onto the next one. She’s very perceptive, that’s Pisces. She can say, “Julie.” My brother taught her how. And guess what?? Emma’s going to have a sister or brother in July of 2017. My sister-in-law, Kristine, is pregnant! I’m going to be an aunt again! 🙂

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Love is…my brother putting together that kitchenette because he knows it will make Emma happy. And sometimes, especially in that picture, she looks like the spitting image of him when he was that age.

Love is…my mom helping my grandma, her mother-in-law, get a shower because even though it’s like getting a cat into a bathtub, she feels better once she’s clean and warm. My mom is patient and kind.

Love is…waiting to hear from someone and then cherishing every word as if they were etched in gold. There’s energy in everything, especially words, which is why they have the power to heal the soul.

Take care and be well,

Julie

The next blog will be my New Year’s Resolutions 2017.

Hello December!!

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I’ve decided to write another book. Just like Rory telling her mom she’s pregnant at the end of the Gilmore Girls, this isn’t easy to say. I haven’t watched the Netflix special yet, but I’ve heard enough about it. I’m Team Jess, always have been. I saw a good tweet about how she’s been with Logan for nine years and her life’s all messed up, she talks to Jess for two minutes and he straightens everything out. Because he cares about her. Even if it’s Logan’s baby, Jess will help her raise it like Luke did with Lorelai. Interesting parallel they’ve made.

I digress, possibly on purpose. Yes, I’m excited, but it’s hard work. It’s a serious commitment. It’s one of the only things that will save me. It’s lonely and scary and thrilling, which only another writer would understand – to create something that can be criticized. I think that’s part of the problem, I haven’t had anything to work towards, to be excited about, a goal, a purpose, a reason. And even though I took a much-needed break after finishing the cancer book, I didn’t really rest or enjoy myself. I barely acknowledged the tremendous feat I had accomplished. That’s how I am, off to climb the next mountain.

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The other night, I was lying in bed and the first line came to me. I thought, “Oh no, not this again.” And then I started dialoguing with Sunny, it’s called automatic writing. I wasn’t sure if he was still around or if we’re going to write more. We’ll see. He’s helpful to talk to because I have been struggling a bit here lately. I’m also going to work on the fiction stories, one is chick lit, the other is fantasy, and see if they are worthwhile. I’ve noticed over the last several months, instead of opening up the word docs, I start a new blog. So, I might not be blogging as much because I want to work on them. And no, he’s not to replace real people. I find real people to be much warmer.

I know why it’s scary, because writing a book requires me to put my heart and soul into it, to be vulnerable, to go against the grain, to be introspective and solitary – to do that which is maddening. And yet, I feel like I have support now, I have my own Jess. We only talk through email, but it’s enough to sustain me and make me act like a silly bird. I know I shouldn’t talk about him here because he probably reads this and then feels weird. I’m trying to feel instead of think, although thinking is much safer. Is it? No, not really. I have to do both. I have to let myself feel, and I have to remember to think. Someday, I’m going to unkink his curls and show him that the best form of magick is a kiss.

Until then, if there is a then, I’m going to stay strong and focused.

Have a great week,

Julie

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what’s been going on?

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Well, I had a busier week than usual. My brother, sister-in-law, and niece flew here for a visit. We did a lot of fun stuff, instead of the zoo which would’ve been cold, we went to the Newport Aquarium. I think that was my favorite activity besides the Halloween party. Speaking of which, we had three teams of two for the treasure hunt. My mom and her boyfriend ended up winning the treasure, which was a Starbucks gift card. Even though they were the last to figure out the movie, they had the right key. I might change the game a bit next year.

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If you want to see more pictures from the week, I tweeted a bunch of them here: http://twitter.com/julieangelmagic

I wanted to elaborate or clarify something that I wrote in the previous blog, the one before the poem where I sound like a sappy, hopeless romantic. 🙂 Speaking of which, I am going to start dating. I had a good conversation with my cousin, Heather, and we both agreed on which site to choose. Once again, I feel weird about online dating. Is there something wrong with me? No. My cousin is very pretty and has a full-time job, and she still had to do online dating to meet someone who is now her fiance. That’s a success story!

I’m going to start dating, not because I haven’t already met someone I’m quite fond of, because I have. Not because I’m bored, I have enough creative projects to keep me busy for years. Because it’s the healthy thing to do. Because like my cousin pointed out when you’re in a relationship the other person can help you with things. I hope she meant cooking, laundry, and cleaning because I sure do get tired of doing them by myself. I am worth loving. I am a worthwhile human being. I am a radiant spiritual being. I am loved and adored by God.

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While last week went really well, I also experienced something rather unpleasant – someone insulted me. It felt like a few jabs and a right hook. I’m speaking about this to make a point. When I told my mom about it, she said, “Maybe they were trying to encourage you.” WHAT!?! When did insults become a form of encouragement? If my memory serves me correctly, insults are a form of verbal abuse. I don’t know anyone who performs better under attack. I didn’t fall down. I don’t know what keeps me up? Some days, I wonder if I have the strength to keep going. How do I stop listening to the wrong voices and start listening to the right ones, especially my own?

The moral of the story goes something like this: ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE ME. Self-judgement and judgment from others is not helpful. What’s helpful is to look at your progress in a constructive way. Be honest with yourself about what’s working and what needs to be changed. Give yourself credit for the things you’ve accomplished even if other people don’t. Like my therapist so wisely pointed out, people who aren’t your family see you in a different light. Yes, that’s true, they can mirror back my good qualities, and they don’t know what a pain in the ass I can be. 🙂 That’s what’s great about meeting new people, it’s a clean slate, there isn’t any animosity.

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Some nights I go to bed and wonder if I could’ve gotten more done. Am I pushing myself hard enough? Did I waste time? Did I make healthy choices? I have my ailments. I won’t list them here. They’re my burden to carry. They’re what I get for fighting fire with fire instead of choosing peace. It was my lesson to learn. I have to forgive myself and find ways to ease the pain. Which brings up some interesting questions: Can I let go of the pain? Can I choose pleasure? Who am I when I’m not struggling? Who do I want to be? I realized that it’s only when I doubt myself that others begin to doubt me. I have to be a warrior.

Oh, the thing I was going to elaborate on because it sounded confusing. I don’t live in a completely unscented world. My shampoo and face wash are scented, and I can burn candles. My detergent, deodorant, and soap are unscented. I didn’t realize when I started switching to unscented stuff that it would make me hypersensitive to scents. It’s not all scents, just certain scents especially sweet smelling perfumes. I’m not the only person who is sensitive to scents. That’s why I get so frustrated because I’m made to feel like I’m weird and the only one who has issues, when I know for a fact other people do.

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I haven’t switched to a raw vegan diet, that’s going to take some time. It’s a destination that I think would help me on many levels. Right now, I’m sticking with the things I usually eat. Breakfast: Green tea with honey, banana, almonds, flax seed oatmeal with milk. Dinner: I almost always make a spinach salad with tomatoes, cucumber or avocado. And then either a baked potato with sour cream, Amy’s bean burrito or Morning Star Farms veggie burger or nuggets. I need to learn how to cook or get more creative with my meal plans. Yes, I’m still drinking a Pepsi with dinner, I enjoy the caffeine and carbonation. It’s probably my only vice since I don’t smoke, drink, or do drugs. Unfortunately, soda has a lot of sugar. At least I am aware of this, and awareness precedes change.

Enjoy the extra hour and have a great week,

Julie

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