Archive for Inspiration

Cancer is a Jerk

My brother and I in the good ol' 70's.

My brother and I in the good ol’ 70’s.

I remember the day my Mom called me to tell me that my brother had been diagnosed with colon cancer. It was 2006, and I was at work when she told me. I remember feeling numb and in shock. “How can a 36-year-old get colon cancer?” I thought that stuff happened when you were much older. I was told you only start to get screenings for that after the age of 50.

And so began a roller coaster year of good news/bad news/good news. For anyone (and this will be most people I think) who has ever had a close relative with cancer, you know what I mean.

At one point doctors found a tumor, which they deemed inoperable. It’s words like that that make your heart stop. But not giving up hope, a team of doctors got together to review his case, and came up with a plan to try and remove the tumor. It was risky, and there was no guarantee, but they were going to operate anyway.

I’m glad they had that conference, because they did indeed remove the entire tumor, and my brother is alive and well today.

A couple years after my brother was diagnosed my mom called again, except this time she sounded more upset than when she told me about my brother. My childhood friend (and my brother’s classmate) Lorna was also diagnosed with colon cancer, except her diagnosis was much more severe than my brother’s. By the time she had any symptoms, the cancer had already spread to her lymph nodes and liver.

Lorna up until that point was thriving in life. She had a longtime boyfriend, dogs she loved, and was a surgical nurse. She was also one of the kindest people I’ve ever met in my life.

Lorna lost her battle with the disease in 2009. To this day it’s still the toughest loss I’ve ever had in my life. I saw her a week before she passed in the hospital, and I replay that day over in my head all the time. Could I have said something more to comfort her? Did I say all I needed to say to know how much she was loved? I still feel incredible guilt that I couldn’t do more or say more.

Cancer is a jerk!

I think CANCER is that one word that instills the most fear in humans. I mean, how many times have you have symptoms of something and all you think is, “Oh my God could it be cancer?” I see a lot of you raising your hands. Word to the wise: never Google your symptoms. 🙂

It gives me great comfort then, that on the great schoolyard of life, there is a warrior trying to defend us from that mean bully called cancer.

The Stowers Institute

The Stowers Institute for Medical Research was established in 1994 by the late Jim Stowers Jr., the founder of American Century Investments, and his wife Virginia Stowers. Through the generosity of American Century Investments’ founder, more than 40% of the firm’s profits are distributed to the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in a program called Profits with a Purpose.

American Century Investments also sponsors a celebrity golf tournament, which is happening this week in Lake Tahoe, where part of the proceeds will go to The Stowers Institute.

In a world where cancer is still a terrifying diagnosis, it really makes me happy to know there is a state of the art facility where brilliant minds have come together to try and eradicate this terrible disease.

To see what the Stowers Institute is all about, watch this inspiring video.

 

This post was created in partnership with American Century Investments. I have received compensation for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Workin’ on Stress-Free Living, & Giveaway!

photo-7As I mentioned in Friday’s post on Budget and the Beach, I said I would talk a little more about the book I just read called The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living (not an affiliate link).

In a nutshell, the book is fantastic! It was the first book I’ve read on the subject in a long time that made complete sense to me, and I have implemented so many things already that have made a dramatic difference in my goal to become more Type B. So much so that I plan on reading it again.

The book first talks about why we feel stress, then goes on to talk about the five principles to follow to relieve stress: Gratitude, Compassion, Acceptance, Higher Meaning, and Forgiveness. There are chapters on each of course, which go into a lot of detail.

There is no doubt about it that you just can’t read a book on stress-free living, and expect to be “cured.” The main thing I’ve gotten out of the first round of reading the book is being aware of what my stress triggers are, and trying to stop myself before I get upset, using the principles in the book.

I’m sure a lot of you are aware of the Sorry Not Sorry campaign going around the internet right now. If not, take some time out to watch it.

It made me aware of how much we, especially women, use the words, “I’m sorry,” when there were other less passive words to say instead, like “excuse me.”

I walked around that week and couldn’t help but notice how many times we say, “I’m sorry.” It seemed everyone was saying it. I even brought it up during my volleyball game with friends, and once I did we couldn’t concentrate, because we found ourselves saying “I’m sorry” all the time.

The same awareness is true about utilizing this book. So many of my stress triggers involve me not getting what I want. Maybe it was the car in front of me driving too slow (don’t they know I left the house late and might miss my appointment?!, or the fact that someone canceled plans on me (but I really wanted to see that movie tonight!).

So whenever I felt those familiar feelings, I started practicing one or more of the five principles: the driver in front of me might have mechanical problems, or maybe they are bringing their newborn home from the hospital for the first time, or the person canceling movie plans might have had the worst day at work ever, and just needed alone time. I mean I’ve certainly canceled plans before. The main principles I used were compassion, acceptance, and forgiveness.

So when I’m annoyed for whatever reason, I first have to be aware, then I practice. And practice some more…and perhaps it might always feel like hard work. But maybe someday it won’t…and the calmness will happen without even having to be aware anymore.

Anyway, it’s a good book, and I highly recommend picking it up at the library.

Here is the author talking more about the book:

Do you know what your stress triggers are, and have you ever thought about trying to move past them?

And since we are here talking about our minds, let’s talk about how we can take care of our bodies! I’m giving away this awesome diet and fitness journal. It includes:

  • Daily page spreads to record food and beverages consumed, exercise, vitamins and supplements, and mood.
  • Weekly pages to keep track of progress and refine goals, with motivational tips.
  • Personal training pointers and charts for creating nutritional, metabolic, and fitness targets.
  • Nutrition index with detailed data on hundreds of the most common foods.

Contest is open to US & Canadian residents only.

photo 2 copy

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Why Happy is More Beautiful than Beautiful

ID-10054974When you look into the mirror, is there something you see that you’d like to change, or wish was different? I’ll bet 99% of you said yes.

Do you want a shapelier butt, bigger boobs, less wrinkles, longer hair, more hair, smaller nose, different color skin, or tighter stomach? Or perhaps all of the above? Well congratulations, you’re human!

As I get closer to my mid-cough-40’s, I start to do that thing that everyone jokes about, where you take your fingers to your temple and pull your skin upward to reveal your former 20-year-old self. “Oh…there she is!!!”

It doesn’t help that a good majority of the videos I work on nowadays are about products and procedures, which can “make you look five years younger.” I’ll get to my thoughts on that in a minute, because my theories are quite profound. 🙂

Back to the mirror. Save for a few adjustments you can make inexpensively on your own, like getting lots of sleep, staying hydrated, wearing sunscreen, eating healthy, and maintaining a good weight, there isn’t a whole lot we can do to change some things (unless we want to start spending the big bucks).

Your basic genetics, like your height, mouth, eyes, race, etc., are with you till the day you die. Remember when Steve Martin cried out in The Jerk, “you mean I’m going to stay this color?” Yup Steve, you are, so you might as well embrace it.

I’m going to admit something that is deeply personal, and this is not a ploy for compliments: I do not consider myself to be pretty. Cute maybe, in a girl next door way occasionally when I’m not feeling bloated, and I’m having a good hair day, but otherwise average. This is why you will never see me taking selfies willingly. Plus I kind of just hate then in general anyway.

I once went to an LA Kings hockey game ages ago with my then boyfriend, and a guy yelled from the stairs, “nice ass but an ugly face.” I ruminated for hours years on that comment. Never mind the fact that I had an apparently fantastic ass…nope, I was an ugly duckling. It’s funny how you can get a compliment on something and forget it five seconds later, but if someone says something mean, you carry that stuff around with you forever.

But I have news for myself and for you if you’ve ever felt that way: IT’S A WASTE OF F*CKING TIME!

All you are doing is robbing yourself of happiness, and in my opinion, happy is more beautiful than beautiful (and happy is a frugal beauty option too!)!

You ever have that friend who on paper is not “traditionally” beautiful, but seems to always have people falling at their feet? It’s because their essence is smokin’ hot baby!

Remember when Julie Roberts married singer Lyle Lovett, or when The Cars lead singer Rick Ocasek married supermodel Paulina Porizkova? People scratched their heads and thought, “huh.” But that’s because we are only looking at the surface…meaning looks. So are super hot people only allowed to marry other super hot people? Meh…boring!

To me, looks don’t mean crap if you are a sad, miserable person. And good looks don’t guarantee a happy, perfect life. Just look at how many Hollywood marriages end in divorce!

I have a female acquaintance that is very pretty. She checks off all the boxes of what is considered beautiful on the outside. But she is very insecure, and quite frankly has a bit of a mean, shallow personality at times. When she talks she is often gossiping about other people, and seems to blame a lot of outside circumstances for her cranky demeanor.

I also know a guy who is very good-looking and successful, but has the personality of a doormat (unless you are pretty yourself, in which case he is engaging), and completely lacks humility.

Yes, I realize it’s not a black or white, either/or situation. You might be both good-looking and have an awesome personality. Or you might be not so pretty and be a miserable jerk too. The point is, embrace that outer shell in its present state, and learn how to rock your inside more.

Chances are as you work on your inside, your outside appearance looks a lot more appealing. You start dressing better, taking care of yourself, exercising, and smiling a lot more because you don’t give a shit if your nose is somewhat bigger, and your (OMG!) thighs touch.

Back to the videos I work on (and I have to tread lightly because I don’t want to get in trouble), what I have noticed most is that the subjects, upon receiving treatments, seem substantially happier. But I’ll let you in on a little secret…I can barely tell the difference.

What HAS changed is their mindset. Because they believed the treatment worked…it actually did, and improved their happiness substantially!

So the point is, no one notices the flaws you see in the mirror as much as you do, and by shifting your mindset, you are going to be a much happier person, and in turn, become way more beautiful without changing your outside appearance.

If you aren’t convinced that you can be happy with the way you look, then watch this video for amazeballs inspiration. Chris is truly someone who exudes happiness despite his limitations. His spirit is infectiously happy, and what he says at 4:42 is profound: “I think if you’re worried about how you look, you’re cheating yourself out of opportunities.” Opportunities and happiness.

And if you need even more inspiration, read this great article in the Huffington Post called The One Routine Guaranteed To Make You Beautiful.

Are you robbing yourself of happiness because of how you feel you look on the outside? 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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