Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Travels

Sometimes I just want to get in my car and drive.

I’d drive all across the U.S. – with no specific destination in mind.

Maybe I’d drive to New York City to shop, see the Empire State Building and take a taxi across the Brooklyn Bridge. Then I’d head over to Montauk to walk along the beach and see a lighthouse or two. Perhaps I’d meet a new friend there. I could really use a friend. We could talk about the weather and watch the waves crash along the shore.

Or maybe I’d go the other way and go visit the hills of San Francisco and take a ferry to visit the empty cells of Alcatraz. I think it’d be fun to run across the Golden Gate Bridge, too. Next I’d stop in San Diego to visit the animals at the San Diego zoo. Or maybe I’d just lie by the beach and feel the warmth on my face again. That would be nice.

Sometimes I just feel so trapped here in Nebraska. January is always cold steel and dreary gray. And February, which is quickly approaching, really isn’t much of a change.

I am just praying for a swift winter and that spring is just right around the corner. I think we could all use a little more sunshine in our lives right about now.

XOXO,

MJ

 

 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Serendipity

"Johnathan Trager, prominent television producer for ESPN, died last night from complications of losing his soul mate and his fiancee. He was 35 years old. Soft-spoken and obsessive, Trager never looked the part of a hopeless romantic. But, in the final days of his life, he revealed an unknown side of his psyche. This hidden quasi-Jungian persona surfaced during the Agatha Christie-like pursuit of his long-reputed soul mate, a woman whom he only spent a few precious hours with. Sadly, the protracted search ended late Saturday night in complete and utter failure. Yet even in certain defeat, the courageous Trager secretly clung to the belief that life is not merely a series of meaningless accidents or coincidences. Uh-uh. But rather, it's a tapestry of events that culminate in an exquisite, sublime plan. Asked about the loss of his dear friend, Dean Kansky, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and executive editor of the New York Times, described Jonathan as a changed man in the last days of his life. "Things were clearer for him," Kansky noted. Ultimately Johnathan concluded that if we are to live life in harmony with the universe, we must all possess a powerful faith in what the ancients used to call 'fatum,' what we currently refer to as destiny."

Serendipity. It means a "happy accident" or a "pleasant surprise"...specifically the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it.

I watched this movie this morning. It reminds me, in an odd way, of my husband and I. It was funny, but I wasn't looking for him. I had almost given up on love. I was fed up. And then, by chance, he just kind of walked into my life.

But it's funny...looking back on how we were brought together...all the little coincidences. Meeting randomly at a newspaper. Having mutual friends without realizing it. Me living next door to his best friends in college. But always we seemed to bypass each other...until just the right moment. I like what Dean says in the movie, "Serendipity." Life really isn't "merely a series of meaningless accidents or coincidences. Uh-uh. But rather, it's a tapestry of events that culminate in an exquisite, sublime plan." It's like we were planned for each other from the very beginning. Every little thing in our lives had led up to each time we could have met...and it all culminated when we finally met for dinner that warm September evening.

When I talk with friends who just want to meet someone and fall in love, I just tell them that "it'll happen." And it really does. Love can't be rushed or sought out. It must accidentally fall in your lap. And that's the best kind of love...the kind where you're not ready for it, not expecting it. Because then you are wonderfully caught up in every little thing...every day is an unforgettable adventure. We must just let "fate" or "destiny" take its course - and stop worrying so much about what's to come. If we do that, we'll end up exactly where we're supposed to be.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A story about strength, courage and hope.

Hey everyone,

Recently, I was contacted by a woman who wanted me to help share her story about her fight with a deadly type of cancer - mesothelioma, which kills 90-95 percent of those who have it. She was only 36 years old at the time and had just given birth to her first child - a little girl.

To help her spread the word about this type of cancer - I decided to share her own words...words of strength, of courage, of love and of hope. It's my hope that her words might somehow touch someone else who is dealing with any form of cancer. If you are reading this, hopefully - whether by these words or by the words of family and friends around you - you realize you are not alone.

XOXO,
MJ


***


My Ordeal with Cancer as a New Mommy

There was a time in my life when I had to depend completely on the help and support of other people. I was only 36 years of age when things began changing for me. I had recently been celebrating the birth of my daughter, Lily, who made her introduction into the world on August 5th in 2005. My husband and I, along with our family, could not have been more excited to welcome Lily into our lives. It was at this very moment in my life that I felt complete, and it was almost as if nothing could possibly bring me down.

I went back to work shortly after giving birth to Lily, but things began taking a turn for the worse after that. I started to lose a lot of weight. Losing weight may have seemed normal after giving birth, but I was losing nearly 7 pounds each week. I started to feel tired all the time, and I hardly had any energy. This may not sound out of the ordinary for a new mother, but I felt like something was wrong. I decided to schedule an appointment with my primary physician, and after numerous tests, we found out what was going on.

Not long before Thanksgiving, back on November 21st, 2005, my physician informed me that I was suffering from malignant pleural mesothelioma, which is a form a cancer. This particular type of cancer usually occurs after a person has been exposed to asbestos. When I was younger, I had been exposed to asbestos without realizing it. I had originally believed my symptoms were attributed with the fact that I was a new mother, but those symptoms were actually symptoms of mesothelioma. It is typical for the symptoms of mesothelioma to occur 30-50 years after exposure to asbestos. My case was no different. The cancer waited almost 3 decades before rearing its ugly head.

When I received the diagnosis, I immediately thought about Lily and how she was only 3 ½ months at the time. During the appointment, my doctor said that if I chose not to receive treatment, I would only have a little over a year to survive. I realized that this was serious and that I had to go through whatever it would take so that I could survive. It was February 2nd, right after the holiday season, when I headed to Boston for treatment, which I would be receiving from a top mesothelioma doctor who had plenty of experience. During the surgery, I had to have my left lung removed from my body. This is considered a very serious procedure, but I knew it was my only option. After the procedure, I spent over two weeks in the hospital to recover, and then another 2 months recovering my body until I got started with chemotherapy, along with radiation. I was going through a lot and still trying to be a great mom.

During my stay in Boston, my parents graciously accepted the task of raising Lily in their home in South Dakota for the time being. They received lots of support from the community and people who simply wanted to help. I was also able to make friends in the hospital, receiving plenty of support from others. While my parents were raising Lily, they continuously took pictures of her as she learned to do all types of new things. I was proud, although the pictures made me want to cry because I wanted to be there, but I knew I was doing the right thing, and had to be away from her then, so that I can be here for her now.

Several years later, we are all living in each moment. The cancer diagnosis itself was a very negative point in my life. However, the support and love I received from so many kind hearts was definitely a positive part of it all. I will remain thankful for the positive things. We as a family never take anything for granted, and that is how it will always be.


 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Women really ARE crazy!

Sometimes I feel bad for the guys who date or marry us women.

Guys are so much simpler to understand and deal with. They're not conniving, jealous beings at heart. Well, MOST of them are not.

But women are.

Now, I am a woman. I'm married to a great guy. He's the most easily understood person I have ever met. He is open and honest...he doesn't hide his feelings from me. He doesn't feel the need to lie or cheat. He would NEVER play mind games with me.

And I am thankful for that.

As a woman, I hate mind games. I hate playing mind games with people (of course I am human and it has happened) and I hate playing them with myself. That's the worst.

Today on Facebook, I ran across a picture that said, "When a woman says 'Do whatever you want,' do NOT do whatever you want." I won't lie, it made me kind of mad.

How is that not mean? And evil and conniving? I mean seriously. Who plays these minds games with their boyfriends or husbands? If I don't want my husband to do something, I will tell him straight to his face. None of this dangerously skating on thin ice with me. If I'm mad at him, I tell him. I don't play cruel games.

Most guys don't play mind games - or can't even begin to understand them. Most guys are straightforward and if you tell them to "do whatever you want," nine times out of ten they're probably going to do whatever they want because, well, "you told them they could." And then they're in "big trouble" without really understanding why they're in trouble. Of course, this is all depending on the tone of your voice. I think most guys will detect when a woman says something like that but has venom literally dripping from her words. It's still mean, though. Just tell him straight up, for crying out loud!

It's like these women are just LOOKING for a way to start a fight. And it drives me nuts. It also labels women as crazy, mind-controlling b****es. Not all of us are like that. Truly.

So to you women out there who DO play mind games - knock it off, will ya? It's time to grow up, be a WOMAN and talk to your man like an adult. Not only to your man but to other women as well. We're not children anymore. I think your boyfriend or husband will appreciate you more if he isn't having to dissect your crazy emotional jargon every other hour.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My, my, how life has changed...

It’s sometimes weird to think about how my life has changed since becoming an adult - especially a married adult.

I think how much it’s changed really struck me this past Christmas. I’m married now, so my family is my husband. I have to split family time equally with his family and my family. That’s really hard – especially for someone like me whose family is my life. It was weird having to miss stuff…or only make it to half the evening. And it kind of made me sad – but being married to Kevin is what I’ve always wanted since I first fell in love with him. And so I couldn’t think of a better way to spend Christmas now – with him and I never having to leave each other. But a part of me – the part that will always miss being a little kid and who overly cherishes my grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins – is sad that I might have to start missing things.

It was weird not waking up at my parent’s house – to my dad waking me up with the video camera, excitedly proclaiming, “Santa Claus came last night!” (Even though I quit believing in a real-life Santa Claus when I was a kid…he did it every year until last year – my last year before being married.) Those memories are what made Christmas for me. And I can’t have those anymore. Part of me knew this time would always come and, while I am OK with it, part of me will always miss it a little bit.

I also don’t like not having my sister, her husband and their baby home with us. That makes Christmas incomplete whether or not I was to spend every moment with my family. And I think Christmas was hard for my mom this year because my sister isn’t living here so she didn’t get to see Vera on her first Christmas – and they no longer have any kids waking up with them on Christmas morning. I could tell she was a bit blue this year.

I know every year it will get easier to not spend every moment of every holiday with my side of the family. Kevin and I will start making our own traditions…ones we can pass down to our children someday. And us having kids will certainly cheer my parents up…since they’ll have little ones to dote on again! If only Jessica and Bruce would move back…they’d have Vera here all the time to spoil and spend time with.

I guess that’s what life is…it’s full of uncertainty and change. It’s always a little bit scary but I think there’s beauty in adventure…even for those of us who aren’t fond of adventuring past our little Hobbit holes.

But however scary it is…I am so ready to embrace this first full year of being married to my wonderful husband. I look forward to the chance to cherish him and I as a family…even if that does mean missing things I’ve always done with my parents. It’s going to be a grand adventure and one I wouldn’t miss for the world!

XOXO,
MJ