Tolerate my worst, celebrate my best, or take a hike!

roses
“I’m selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control, and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” ~Marilyn Monroe

I’ve always loved that quote because it holds so true in so many situations/relationships in life. I mean, we all have bad days. People can choose to love us, or hate us, during the rough times and the good. If they choose to hate us during those times for whatever reason, then we really don’t need them in our lives, right?

RIGHT!

Lately, I’ve been surrounding myself with only positive people. That’s not to say that I don’t have negative people in my life. I really think that can’t be avoided at some level. I mean there’s one on every corner, kind of like gas stations. People surface in your life, they’ll show their support or their “ugly”, and it’s our decision whether to allow those situations or relationships to stay in our lives, or not.

I choose to shed myself of the negativity. I choose to embrace my impatience, my insecurities, my mistakes, my strengths, and my successes for they are my own and they make me who I am.

My family, my true friends, and my co-workers…they choose to accept me at my worst, and embrace and raise me up at my best. This people, is a magical thing. Yes, I’m surrounding myself with positivity and it’s nothing but roses and happiness for me and my future.

Haters gonna hate. So to those of you that can’t handle me at my worst, or celebrate me at my best, you sure as hell don’t deserve me in either case. To those of you that support me no matter what? I am eternally grateful that you tolerate me during my bad times, and choose to celebrate the good ones with me.

Can an Online Friendship be a True Friendship?

Now that’s a great question! I believe the answer to be yes for so many reasons, well 5 actually. I should talk about this more. I don’t believe in dating sites, I don’t believe in chat rooms. But I do believe in online communities and I KNOW for a fact that having a tribe, an online network, keeps me grounded. I love my friends. Sometimes I lote (love + hate) them because they do keep me grounded, but I’m happy to be a part of my close-knit group. Sometimes I find it hard to put into words how much they mean to me. And why would I when one of them put it so eloquently and allowed me to share it with y’all here? Without further ado, my friend, Janet from Going Crazy Wanna Go shares her story.
Photo by Dancenhance Entertainment


Guest Post by Janet from Going Crazy!! Wanna Go??!!

Before I started blogging, I was a blog reader. I would subscribe to my favorites and just read all day long about the lives of women who worked from home, worked outside the home, couponed to help their families save money, and taught others how to enjoy their children on a daily basis. I would comment where I felt a connection and support others as I often do in real life. I got to know a few of them, but I was just a reader to them. Sometimes the bloggers would respond and sometimes not, but I stayed loyal to quite a few of them for a while.

After I had read for several months, I started to think that maybe I could do this blog thing too. I reached out to a blogger who was near me and asked for her advice. She encouraged me and told me how she thought I could get started and then one day I took the leap. I didn’t know what I would write about, but I knew that others told me that I wrote well and were happy to see that I was using that skill for something enjoyable.

On my very first day of blogging (August 1, 2011) I came across another “newbie” and we started chatting. We found out that we both needed a LOT of help and we started learning new things and teaching each other. Not long after that we started a Newbie Blog Hop and a Facebook group for Newbies like us. We talked about the things we were learning and we had a great time. It turns out that my newbie friend is much younger than me and she had some family and marriage issues and the more we got to know about each other, the more we talked about our personal lives almost as much as we talked about our blogs (maybe more!). To this day, we are friends on Facebook and talk occasionally. The Newbie group is gone and the hop fizzled out (we passed it on to some newer newbies and I haven’t kept track of it), but our friendship is still there. Her original blog fizzled out and she started a new one, then she decided to move on to living her young, happy life. My blog is thriving, limping on some days and soaring on others, and it has been the source of a lot of happiness for my family. Someday I hope to meet Kristin  in real life and give her a big ‘ole hug.

Since making a friend in Kristin, I have continued to “meet” several people online and it amazes me daily that I have made so many friends through online groups and blogging. But, can an online friendship be a true friendship?
Can an online friendship be a true friendship?
I know that Christy has talked a lot on this blog about Collective Bias and you all already know what an amazing company this place can be to its bloggers. The community of Social Fabric is the stronghold of the company and I have met so many great people through working with them. When I was first starting out, I was timid and shy (still am in real life) and I doubted my work. I started up conversations with a few of my campaign leaders (who scared the crap out of me) and it turns out these people are (almost) just like me!

When I needed advice on a series of posts for my blog, Mallery talked to me about the logistics of it all and what she loved about the idea. She encouraged me to just go for it and rock it! I still doubted myself, but her words stuck with me for over a year and one day I took the plunge and started writing about my messy house and then I had the motivation to clean it up!
When I started to get down about my weight and my body and I put myself down too much, Summer stepped in and started giving me pep talks on a daily basis. She told me her story of an abusive marriage and her own struggles with weight. She is unashamed on her blog and she encourages me to just put it all out there. She and Mallery are both Paleo believers and they told me that my healthy lifestyle IS Paleo too! Now, I’m more motivated than ever to get healthy, not worry about size, love myself and my own beauty as I am today, and encourage other women to love themselves as well.

When I needed work, was discouraged by the work I wasn’t getting, and was looking to branch out, Jillian stepped in and offered me work, encouraged me to keep writing, found jobs that were perfect for me. She is one of “those” moms – the ones who love crepe paper and parties and make the most amazing crafts – but she encourages me to keep crafting with my boy and just being myself.

When I think that my life sucks and I just need a laugh, Amy will step in with an inappropriate, but very funny, anecdote and instantly I’m laughing instead of on the edge of tears. Amy has encouraged me in my posts to be better, do better, and work hard. She has a full time job outside the home, just like me, and she is a source of inspiration for me.

And Christy, bless her big ‘ole Texas heart, she is my rock on most days. I can text, email, call, message her on Facebook, or just think of her sometimes, and life seems more bearable. I know that sounds really mushy and dramatic, but it’s true and if you read Christy’s blog, you know it is 100% accurate. Christy has “pulled me back from the ledge” more times than I can count. She has helped me emotionally, financially, and spiritually (and yes, I know, she’s not “religious”, but she has…). She is an amazing person and friend and I was blessed the day I “met” her.

Now, to answer the question of this post, I’ll say this. I have met each of these ladies once in real life last May at a conference. I might have spent 30 minutes total with each of them (if that long) because the conference was overwhelming to me and I was more than a little ill. Even though I haven’t spent face to face time with these ladies, I consider them my very best friends. When something sad or frustrating happens, I tell them. When something exciting or funny happens, I tell them. When I thought about leaving my husband recently, I told them.

I think you could say that YES, online friends can be true friends. Well, that is if you have online friends like mine.

Life Lessons, Cancer, Inspiration, and a Cure with MasterCard! #DoGood #MC

In an attempt to help MasterCard Dig In & Do Good to benefit Stand Up to Cancer, I have partnered with them through Collective Bias. I’m honored to share this program with you. And although I have been compensated for this post, I would do it anyway and all opinions, ideas, and photos are entirely my own or used with express permission. 

My Pappy, my mom’s dad, was my favorite man who ever lived. When he spoke, I listened. He taught me many life lessons in our 10 years together. He taught me to be kind and caring, to have fun and love everyone, no matter what, and he taught me about favorites. You see, as my Pappy explained, it was OK to have favorites. It doesn’t mean you love anyone else less, it means you realize that you click with some people better than others. You chose one spouse because they’re your favorite, you have best friends because they’re your favorite, you like one food better than others because it’s your favorite. Favorites aren’t always a bad thing. I was his favorite and I adored him. He was to walk me down the aisle. He was to be there for the birth of my first child. He was not. 


The last lesson my Pappy taught me, at the age of 10, was loss and cancer. It wasn’t his fault. The beast did that. He had just retired, bought a boat, and he was diagnosed with cancer. A brain tumor. I was too young to understand, but as I sat in his hospital room after his surgery, he tried to explain. I didn’t really get it, but the beast took my Pappy. I knew I hated the beast. 

My life moved on, because it had to, and I learned more about this beast over the years. I’ve lost friends. I’ve lost family members. I’ve seen this beast rear its ugly head WAY too often. It has to be stopped. Luckily there are brilliant people who can help through foundations that we should all support. Luckily there is MasterCard Dig In & Do Good. They’re making it easy for us to help foundations like Stand Up to Cancer which is where the end of cancer begins. SU2C is a groundbreaking initiative created to accelerate innovative cancer research to get therapies to patients and save lives now. You can help by simply buying your family dinner, spending over $10, and MasterCard does the rest. They make the donation because you ate dinner to help fund cancer CURE research. 

Who do you stand up for? What’s your personal story? Who inspires you to do good?

You see, I have this friend, and she’s my inspiration. We met in middle school and reconnected years back on Facebook. She’s had cancer since 1998, and she laughs at it (literally) and she stands up for others while she battles the beast herself. Her name is Jody. I absolutely love her. She inspires me to help and be a better person.

Jody mentors young cancer patients, even while she’s being treated herself. She’s amazing. She lost her young friend, Heather, who was only 16 (for only 9 days in fact) when the beast took her life. And Jody helped throw a fundraiser for the family to pay the bills while they mourned the loss of their daughter. I hate that beast. 


But Jody, just like MasterCard and the Do Good Foundation, knows that there is a cure on the horizon. She knows that if we all support these missions (and there are many of them), there will be no more Heather stories in this world. Heather should have gone to her prom. Heather should have graduated high school. Heather should still be smiling today. She’s not, because of the beast. 


Here’s Jody’s story: She’s been through hell and back, yet sparkled through the beast’s attacks. In 1998, 3 weeks after her wedding, while running in a Relay for Life, her legs gave out. After several tests, the doctors diagnosed her with a form of Guillian Barre. Over the next few years, she went through different treatments and ended up having a port put in for IV treatments, 3 weeks on, 1 week off, for 2 years. Her legs giving out went from on/off to progressive constant. Her Neurologist OK’ed her to get into a clinical trial of stem cell transplant in 2007. The night before she went in for an all day nerve conduction, they found “the lump”, so they added an extra scan, and she got the cancer diagnosis 10 days after her 40th birthday. Breast cancer, stage II. 

They kicked her out of the clinical trial. When her long-term doctor cried, she responded with “But Doc! This means that I not only DON’T have to go to Chicago and live for 3 months in ‘the bubble’ away from my family, but I get the SAME drug here AND I get a boob upgrade out of the deal! It’s a win win”. That’s Jody! Double mastectomy 9/6/07. She hemorrhaged that night. Four weeks later she had 4 big rounds of Cytoxan and Taxotere. In the meantime, Neuro stuff reversed, she walked and felt better. Her nerves started to regenerate.

If she started wabbling again, they had to look for tumors. Guess what? She started wabbling again 8 months later. Stupid beast! The next scan showed a spot on her liver which resulted in 5 more rounds of heavy Cytoxan. That made her walk better and the spot was gone. Six months later, they found spots on her lungs. This meant 6 more rounds, same thing, all better. On maintenance every 3 months for 3-4 cycles.

Then brain surgery for a pituitary mass in October 2010. More chemo in February 2011. 

She was scheduled for “rounds” in June 2011 but she wanted to do a triathlon! She felt good so they allowed it. And she did it! That postponement, while she helped others and ran that triathlon, lasted 2 years. The “palsy”, as she calls it, came back in April of 2013. More chemo that May. Her counts were low but her scans looked good, and was walking fine. All is on hold. The lifetime dose of Cytoxan is limited so they’re holding off until absolutely necessary again, which is hopefully never. She actually thinks she’s lucky because her body sends off Neuro cascades when the tumors are small and they are detected early. 

Y’all she thinks she’s LUCKY! That’s why she’s helped others over the years. Because they weren’t LUCKY enough to have the signs that would help them suffer through these treatments and surgeries for the past 15 years and still be here to tell about them and help others. 

If Jody can help others, run triathlons, serve at children’s hospitals to mentor and inspire young children, and do Relays for Life to fund Cancer treatment, do you think you could take your family out to dinner and spend $10+ to support the Stand Up to Cancer Foundation? All you have to do is eat dinner and use your MasterCard between now and September 28th. 

And so we did our tiny part. The kids had fun. 

There was good food. 

And I paid with my PayPal MasterCard. So by doing nothing out of the ordinary, I’m helping others find a cure. I hope we’ll see a cure soon. No one else should suffer. There are so many intelligent people working on the cure. A simple family meal, a night of fun, might be the dollar donation that finds the cure. 

And there are more ways you can help through this program. Heck, you don’t even have to leave your house! To find out more, be sure to look through my Google+ Album to find out all of the ways you can help. 

Please don’t just sit there thinking you can’t help. Just don’t sit there and think it’s OK that Heather was stripped of her life. Don’t just sit there and think that the doctors can’t cure Jody. Don’t just sit there and think of all of your friends, or family, that are battling this beast. Don’t think you can’t help! Go create a table, go to dinner and pay with your MasterCard, share it on Facebook and Twitter, or just donate. Join the movement and do your part. Kill the beast. DON’T JUST SIT THERE AND DO NOTHING!