What about your friends?

“I took a vow that from now on, I’m gon’ be my own best friend” – Beyonce’ “Me, Myself and I”

friend
frend/
noun
1.  a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.
2. The definition of friend is someone who is on your side. An example of a friend is an ally in a protest. Friend is defined as a person that you are fond of, with whom you talk or spend time. An example of a friend is the person you have known a long time and trust. – yourdictionary.com
What ya'll know about that Zack Attack!?!?

                                      What ya’ll know about that Zack Attack!?!?

Whodini asked a powerful question in 1984: “Friends, how many of us have them”? I can proudly raise my hand and reply, yes, I have friends, excellent ones at that, ones I can depend on 🙂 Friendship is something that I not only value, but cherish. The mutual bond and reciprocity provides me with the support and love I need, in the great and not so great times. We live in an era where the word has now transformed into a verb, (Friend me on Facebook), and we use it to describe a range of people in our lives, from our coworker to the person we go way back, when I use to have the red and black lumberjack, with the hat to match (Biggie Smalls is the illest).

But there’s one friend I’ve had somewhat of an on-again, off-again issues with. Our relationship has been a bit of a rollercoaster, filled with moments of tenderness coupled with torment. I would spend time with her, and sometimes feel uncomfortable in her presence. I’ve been mean to her for absolutely no reason, lied to her, ignored her needs at times. Sometimes I would stand up for her, other times, ignored her cries for help. We would hang out with others, and I would talk about her in a negative light, being overly critical, and never really giving her the props that she deserved.

A couple of close friends would call me on the carpet about all the sideways remarks, and tell me to check myself, but I would brush them and their opinions off. I felt like I knew this chick better than they did, and my opinion of her wasn’t up for debate, regardless of the evidence they would present to combat my stance.

I would stay mad at her for days over a decision she made, remind her of her shortcomings, point out those extra pounds she was carrying, being a downright jerk, and I eventually reached that fork in the road where I HAD to re-evaluate our relationship.

"Dat's my best friendddd"

                                       Roll that neck Bey! Let em know!

That friend’s name is Shelley…That friend is me.

One of the hard lessons I have learned over the past 7 years of my life is that I wasn’t a very good companion to myself. Though I’ve always thought of myself as a good friend, did I in turn show myself the same love and admiration that I share with my homies?

Do I really like myself? Am I kind to myself? Do I value myself? Where is my worth rooted? Do I cheer for myself? Believe in my talents? Can I see what others see in me? Do I make decisions that show how much I like/love myself? Do I treat myself well, and how? Do I accept myself, flaws and all? Have I taken the time to discover more about how I am?

I’ll admit, this experience (the c-word) stripped me down to a place emotionally that I had never been. EVER. It’s been a non-stop rebuilding process of my worth, but I have gradually reached the place where I am looking at this moment in my life for the opportunity to learn the art of self-care.

On my mission to be my own BFF, I pour into myself through reading countless books and blogs, having conversations, journaling, praying, listening to podcasts, going to retreats, cooking for myself, treating myself, taking social media breaks, you name it. I made it a priority to invest in myself, whether the gesture was grand or small. I have even taken up “mirror work” modeled by my fairy godmother Louise Hay, when you look at yourself in the mirror, look into your eyes, and speak positively over yourself. It may seem corny and weird, but it works wonders.

My relationship with myself has improved and I can see the tangible fruit of it. I can look in the mirror now and my initial thought won’t be critical or judgmental, but loving and kind. It’s hard work, and everyday I have to remind myself I was created in and from love, and that I am loved, not because of what I do, or the labels I or others place on me, but just because I am me. Months ago, I read a book called “Dying to be Me” by Anita Moorjani (life-changing) that dropped some serious knowledge into my soul. She wrote “I’m loved unconditionally, for no other reason than simply because I exist.”

Today, my sissie friend sent us a group text of this post below that was totally in line with with I’ve been feeling all week. I love how the truth always has a way of landing in my path. I’m so thankful for a community of friends that love me and show me how to love myself better. What’s your definition of friend?

IMG959963

Tell ’em why you mad son!!

Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights! 
Get up, stand up: don’t give up the fight!- Bob Marley “Get up, Stand Up”

Ya'll are serious aren't you?

I will keep this brief. I have mixed feelings towards breast cancer awareness month. Yep, that’s what I said. I’m all about supporting the cause, and appreciate of the folks who genuinely put their time, money and efforts, but I can’t help but feel like the month is turning into a holiday of sorts. Pinktober. And that annoys me to my core.

TRICKERY!!!!!!!

TRICKERY!!!!!!!

Today I experienced that level of annoyance at a full time high. I gleefully glided in a cafeteria, which will remain nameless, ready to order lunch. My attention was drawn to the flyers stating, “In support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, today featured are homemade desserts”. Each dessert had a label with the pink ribbon on it, along with the price of that item. My eyes beamed with joy at the sight of all the chocolate covered strawberries, cupcakes, cookies, and crème puffs, but then I came back to my senses.

#1, sugar is cancer’s bff, but that’s another posting, and #2, are the proceeds of these sweet treats sales being donated to an organization? Being aware of the overuse of the pink ribbon to sell products, I asked; and was politely told, no. My initial sarcastic response was “oh, so you all are just going to exploit us huh” and then my inner Angela Davis kicked in. Not only is it not right, it’s downright deceptive. The only reason most people will even gravitate towards the sweets is because they are lured by the pink ribbon. I had a chat with the management to express my disappointment and they assured me they will follow up once they submitted my concern. I’m giving them until Friday.

This isn’t a cute holiday where you can wear pink for 31 days in a row. The harsh reality is that this year alone, over 220,000 women alone will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Sometimes it gets ugly, sometimes people pass away from it,  or women lose a part of their body they never thought they would. Don’t become immune to the cause due to the oversaturation. Be educated about the companies you so willingly give your money to. A “pinkwasher” is a company or organization that claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease.  To learn more about pinkwashing, click here:  http://thinkbeforeyoupink.org/?page_id=13(information from Beyond Boobs Inc).

I will leave you with this; go back to the basics. Pay attention to your bodies, do your monthly self breast exam, go to the doctor, get clinical exams, mammograms, encourage your friends and family to do the same, eat well, take on an exercise you enjoy, learn who benefits from your charitable purchase and what percentage of your money benefits is donated, and if you can, give a person that’s going through this experience, or any other for that matter, a HUG.

If you are looking for something to do this Saturday, October 26th, I’m having a small gathering in honor of this month from 1-4pm, to discuss this topic and introduce my budding project, PINK FIRE,  as well as watch a film called “Pink Ribbons, Inc”. If you’re interested in coming, email me at shellb1201@gmail.com and i’ll send you the DEETS!!

What do you all think about this month? Like, comment and subscribe!

The Waiting Game

I came in like a lamb, but I intend to leave like a lion- Sade Bullet Proof Soul

Just do it

Just do it

Procrastination is a total jerk and time robber, and I seem to have perfected the art of it to a tee. I started writing this blog this morning, and told myself, even wrote it on my daily to do list, that I would edit and post it tonight. But we all know that saying you’re going to do something, and doing it is two totally different things. This evening, I allowed the procrastination bug to devour me. I decided to go to the thrift store to “look around”, and an hour late emerged with a new dress, pants, two shirts and a vase. Then I got home, and decided I needed to get some exercised, went for a walk, got back home, cleaned the kitchen as I watched two episodes of trash reality tv (don’t judge me), cut up fruit, did a load of laundry, youtubed, synched my IPhone, made tea, then painted my toes. Ridiculous. It’s now 11:22pm, I should sleep, but I couldn’t let procrastination win tonight.

A month before my 30th birthday, I made a list of 30 things (sorta) I wanted to accomplish during my 30th year on this earth. I have a thing for lists, and I figured if I wrote it down, then it will inspire me and light the imaginary fire under my butt to get moving. That list has been hanging on my refrigerator since November, and it wasn’t until last week that I even glanced at it again. Here’s the good news: out of the 27 things I listed (yes, I only listed 27 things smh, a testament to my ever present battle with incompletion and idleness), 9 of them were completed. While I was happy to see that some of the things happened without much concentrated effort or planning, many of the things left on my list are going to take some initiative on my part.

Yaaay! 30s the new 20

Yaaay! 30s the new 20

As of June 1st, I’ve been 30 for exactly 6 months. Sitting at my kitchen table, I had to be honest with myself about what I have and have not accomplished, and the reason behind that. What shook me up the most was the question that lingered in my mind “What have you done in the past 183 days to really change your life?” Swallows the tough pill. I don’t know what it is, but it seems like after the age of 25, time fast forwards at the speed of lightning. You look up from your daily groundhog day of sleep, commute, work, commute, eat and sleep, another birthday is rapidly approaching, and you’re wondering why you haven’t been on vacation yet. Or why you haven’t blogged in 6 months. I had to admit to myself that I’m lazy. And not only lazy, but scared. You would think someone who beat cancer twice wouldnt be afraid of anything, but I’m still a sucka when it comes to my dreams. I make excuses and instead of coming home and working on my ideas and dreams, I sit on my couch, watch 2 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, eat cereal for dinner, then get ready for groundhog day to commence in the next 10 hours. Like Jay-Z said, this can’t be life.

I’m sharing all this in an effort to obtain some accountabilty. I have lists upon lists of ideas and goals, some of them dating back 8 years, that I have yet to complete. I’m the queen of partial efforts…I’ll start a book, get 2/3 thru, then won’t pick it back up for months. I still don’t know the fate of Katniss & Peta in District 13 (shout out to the Hunger Games fans). I need to finish what I start, and do something that scares the crap out of me! Even if I embarass myself in the process, I have to at least attempt it. A notebook full of dreams is useless if I don’t take the time to just try. It’s time to push myself to be a finisher because almost doesn’t count.

Do you all ever become afraid to live your dreams? Do your dreams sometimes feel too big? Share your thoughts, comment and subscribe!

James 2:14-15
The Message (MSG)

14-17 Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it?

I Miss Us…

I know some things have changed since the last I’ve seen you,
some good, some for the bad
All and all I can’t  complain that’s what I’ve been through
But seeing you reminds me of the precious  times we had- D’Angelo “One Mo’Gin”
this says it all...

this says it all…

I have to be honest. I haven’t written in quite some time because I just wasn’t moved to do so. I know that may not be good for readership, or for the people who actually patiently wait for me to post a new blog, but if I’m not feeling it, I just don’t force it. So here I am, sitting at my kitchen table, re-reading past posts and comments, and it hit me; I miss us. I miss sharing, I miss the exchange, I miss being honest, I miss typing, back spacing and re-typing my words as I pour out my heart digitally.

I created this blog for the sole purpose of sorting through my personal emotional rollercoaster of being diagnosed with breast cancer for the 2nd time in 2 years. It wasn’t to brag, boast or become the poster child for chicks under 40 with breast cancer. I just wanted to write through how I was feeling. After each post, I felt like a weight was lifted. Now that I really think about it, this blog started from a selfish place. It was all about me, and my feelings, and my journey. But then something beautiful happened. Other people started to open up, and be honest as well, sharing their stories of overcoming, being transparent about their struggles or simply were provided a little bit of hope and encouragement they needed to keep going. I’ve gotten so many calls, texts, or emails just saying thank you, or that I helped them in some way. That blesses my soul more than anything else.

At times, I struggle with what I should continue writing about. My treatments are completed, my hair has grown back with a vengeance, and my life has mellowed out from the initial shock of diagnosis. I really just want to be there for whoever needs me. I’m not trying to be deep, I’m just trying to be helpful. So, as it comes to me, I will write. Simple as that. No pressure or no stress in us getting reacquainted. Just know that I missed us, and I’m still here…

Me & my BIG mouth…

“…What we talkin’ bout Cuz I ain’t got time,
For what people be talkin’ bout all the time,
What we talkin’ bout fiction Or we talkin bout fact…
They Talk, We Did, Who cares what They say, They say, They say” -Jay-Z “What We Talkin Bout”

2 years old on Sargent Road…just yappin!

I’ve always been a talker, a woman of many words. In kindergarten my desk was right beside my teacher, Ms. McGee, facing the rest of the class. That was a “special” place for the “special” kids to sit. My 5-year-old self probably wasn’t even fazed. It probably made me feel important, even though it was a tactic of discipline, but in my mind it was an opportunity for me to be in the spotlight!! LOL. Throughout my life, my mouth has gotten me into and out of more situations, binds, and predicaments than you can imagine. I knew from an early age that putting words together was truly an art form, and that my gift of gab was something that I should embrace rather than shun. I always wanted to use my words as a source of positivity and enlightenment, but of course, being the human that I am, I’ve also used my words to tear down, gossip about and degrade others, and myself. I’ve always been extremely vocal, wearing it as a badge of honor in a sense when I was younger. I prided myself on being the chick that would “speak her mind”, and say what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted, and if anyone had an issue with that then they need to check themselves!! *insert angry black girl face & eye roll* All I can do now is shake my head at the Shelley from whence I’ve come, but thank God for growth. I’ve allowed Him (many times reluctantly) over the years to smooth me out in this area of my personality.

St. John’s Kindergarten 1988…can you pick me out the lineup lol

I didn’t really begin to understand the depth of this area until I began to know God more intimately. He created the entire world with words. God said, and then He saw. He even said it was good. He set the example for us on how to use our words, speaking those things that be not as though they were. (And ya’ll thought that came from The Secret LOL!) A few weeks ago I had the oddest dream. Not to go into too much detail, but it involved a warrior man, and young girl and me looking in on their interactions. The warrior man had just used his machete to slice out, get this, a TONGUE. Then he walked over to a huge tree and hung the tongue on a branch like an ornament, and showed it to the little girl. I woke up like WHOA, what did THAT mean?? I’ve drawn some conclusions of what it means for me, but I knew it served as a warning to be cautious about my words and how I communicate.

Many of us say how we feel, but many times how we feel isn’t reality. Not to get too philosophical on you, but I’ll give you an example. Say you go extra hard in the gym, and two days later, you feel like you’ve either pulled or strained something. You share it with those closest to you, and the more you talk about it, the pain gets worse! You finally go to the doctor, after convincing yourself that you have one of three ailments according to WebMD, only to find there is nothing wrong at all. What you perceived to be true, simply was not. You may be asking yourself why I’m talking about this on my blog where I usually discuss my journey in fighting cancer. Well, its simple. What you say affects what you see. Our words are like seeds, and trust and believe, they sprout, whether it’s a weed or beautiful flower. We have the ability and power to choose what we say. Throughout my adventure in cancerdom, I said all types of crazy things. “I’m fat”, “I’m ugly”, “My doctor is stupid”, “I feel horrible!” just to name a few. Those gripes got me nowhere, except treading in a sea of my own pity. I must admit I wallowed there at times, believing and saying things that simply were not true.

as simple as that..

It is important to remember when you face ANY challenge, whether it’s a disease, heartache, breakup, or breakdown, you have to be a watchdog over your mouth. You can use your words to make your situation better or worse. I’m an advocate for expressing yourself, but once you cross that line into self-pity or tearing others down, you must kick those feelings to the curb, and just speak the truth. Don’t allow yourself to fall for the okie doke, and fall into a pattern of negative speech. If you need to vent, do it with one person you trust, not your entire crew, or even worse Facebook or Twitter. Get it out, but then make sure you say the things out your mouth that will give you hope and the faith to press on. “I can do this”, “I get better with everyday that passes”, “I am healed”, “I’m more than a conqueror”. If you need to, write positive words and statements on post-it notes, and stick them in places like the mirror, your desk, door, etc. to remind yourself to speak life and not death. And if that becomes hard, just remember what your mama used to tell you all the time, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. Silence can be golden 🙂

Proverbs 18:21-The Message (MSG)

Words kill, words give life;  they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.

Ephesians 4:29-The Message (MSG)

 Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.

Give me the Green light…

“…With a pain in my chest and I’m wondering where did it come from (I got tested)

And the results came back, and the doctor said I’m sorry but you got cancer

I could not believe it so, I call my mama to calm my nerves

She got down on her knees, she said a prayer for me

Just keep on thanking Jesus, He’ll give you want you need

Now that was five years ago, I don’t have that pain no more

Doc said you can go home, cause all your cancer’s gone…

You saved me, You saved me, gave me a 2nd chance…”

-R. Kelly “You Saved Me”

Sunflower & Dollface 🙂

As the technician suddenly stormed out of the room, I was left standing in front of the mammogram machine confused. If it wasn’t for my sissie Ajoia being in the room with me, I would have burst into tears. My eyes darted to the computer screen were the image of my left breast was displayed. I did not know what I was looking at, but I didn’t think I saw anything alarming. All I knew was the last time a technician left the room in the middle of my mammogram, I had cancer. I played it cool though. Literally a million thoughts ran through my head as I waited for the door to open back up. I don’t know if Ajoia was scared too, but she didn’t show any signs of it. A drawn-out minute later, which felt more like 30 minutes, another technician entered the room to inform me that the other nurse got sick and she would be finishing up my mammogram. I wanted to hug and smack her at the same time. (Note to all healthcare professionals: please be conscious that your patient’s needs come first and any erratic or sudden behavior can cause anxiety and worry! Abruptly leaving the room scares people, well at least Shelley B. Geesh!) She finished taking the images, and then was escorted back to the waiting room to wait on the results. Since GW does digital mammography, they give you the results during your visit, which is wonderful. Some women still wait up to 2 weeks for the results, so I am thankful for that convenience. Waiting for results can be quite the nerve-racking experience. I just kept repeating in my mind, “just give me the green light so I can roll-out”!

After 20 minutes or so, Ajoia and I were able to go into the imaging center, where doctors display your mammogram images on huge computer screens and review your films. It’s pretty amazing to see what your boobs look like on the inside. I was more than elated to hear from the doctors that my mammogram was all clear. A rush of happiness filled my body. Another year under my belt.

As much as I wanted to be happy, a tinge of anxiety hit me as well. Most women don’t start getting mammograms until the age of 40; my first one at 25 lead to discovering I had cancer. Not the ideal first experience for a test that so many women dread. In a sense, it feels like the never-ending story. Tests don’t seem so scary when you know for sure you can past them. For instance, if someone gave me a 4th grade spelling test right now, I would pass with flying colors!! But a mammogram or BSGI…then I get nervous. I have to be honest. As much as I want to be the fearless, full of faith, speaking those things into existence type of chick, the fear and doubt creeps in, and the thought of having to take this test every year for the rest of my life is not my idea of a picnic.

The Never-Ending Story…that dog dragon was scary LOL

These are the moments when I am so thankful for the people in my life. The people who stand in the gap and pray for me when fear gripes my thoughts. The people who put on their game face, and even if they are scared, they don’t show any signs of it. The people who remind me of God’s promises and trust Him with my life, when I’m unable to make sense of this all. The people like Ajoia, who took off work without me even asking, to be by my side, and then practically pleaded with the technician to come in the room while I got my test done. Her persistence was not in vain, because the moment that nurse ran out of the room, Ajoia’s presence kept me calm.

Being faced with any challenge in your life can feel like you’re moving mountains. All you want to do is move past that moment and the fear that is attached to it, see the light at the end of the tunnel. Two years have flown by since my 2nd diagnosis, and I am still battling the residual doubts and anxiety associated with that, but the journey is so much sweeter when you give thanks for the victories won throughout the process. I may have to take these tests for the rest of my life, but I won’t have to take them alone. I can’t focus on the fact that I must take these tests forever, I must remind myself that this is an opportunity to have multiple victories and good reports year after year. Countless practice to exercise my faith muscle and kick that fear to the curb.  

Matthew 21:21

The Message (MSG)

 21-22But Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Yes—and if you embrace this kingdom life and don’t doubt God, you’ll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles. This mountain, for instance, you’ll tell, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it will jump. Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God.”

I Apologize…

“It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you…
…Time’s up, I’m sorry I kept you” -Eric B. & Rakim I Know You Got Soul

Smile!! The Champ is BIZZACK

Instead of listing a plethora of excuses, I’m just going to come out and say it; I’m sorry!!! I have been totally slacking on keeping up with my beloved blog. I’ve been so busy frolicking and concocting my plan to take over the world that I have totally neglected my blogging responsibilities. Can you find it in your heart to forgive me? You do 🙂 well GREAT!! Thank you! Now let’s get back to business.

In the past few months, I have had at least 6 people randomly question me about my blog, the most recent being an elementary school friend that I literally have not seen since the 90s. I ran into her recently while having brunch (one of my favorite frolicking activities) and she brought up the blog. That was definitely another reminder to me to get back into the swing of things. Alot has taken place since I last posted in January, so I will have tons of posts coming up to keep you all abreast (pun intended) LOL.

I just wanted to drop a quick note and thank you all for all the love, support and encouragement you have given to me throughout this process. I truly cannot thank you enough. Special thanks to my friends who challenge me and put that fire under my butt!! Shells is back on her post!! Love you!

Not right now…not at this time…

“And I always find, yeah, I always find somethin’ wrong
You been puttin’ up wit’ my ish just way too long
I’m so gifted at findin’ what I don’t like the most
So I think it’s time for us to have a toast”

-Kanye West “Runaway”

If you ask me...I'm ready

Sometimes, you just aren’t ready for some things that cross your path at a certain moment in your life. Most people would have a hard time admitting this, but I don’t. It doesn’t have to be anything complex either; it can something as simple as a book. This brings me to “The Alchemist”. Five months ago a close friend insisted that I read this book and raved it was a life changing work of art. Thirty-one pages in, not only was I befuddled; I was simply uninterested and placed the book ever so gently on my bookshelf. I was overwhelmed with the profound concepts, allegories and metaphors. It was just too deep for me at the time. I had some more growing and exploring to do to stretch my soul.

Fast forward to Monday the 9th. Sitting at my desk, having a serious case of the Monday blues (now I realize I was pms’ing as well). I had a full-fledged pity party, thug tears and all. I invited a friend to my sordid fiesta, subconsciously hoping he would agree with me as I self-loathed and condemned myself to loserdom.  As I cried myself a river, he patiently waited to interject on my gloomy parade and then lovingly told me I was my own worst enemy. I knew he was right. Instead of being thankful for all the victories in my life, I made the choice instead to focus on what I was lacking. Being hard on myself has always been a challenge. I always have this burdensome perception that I should be doing more, making more, happier, skinnier, smarter, traveling more, reading more, the list goes on. Then he reminded me to take a look at my 2011 and how much I accomplished. I started therapy, joined Weight Watchers, actually lost almost 20 pounds, finished treatment, had a clear mammogram and BSGI test and it was my 1st year living alone. And to top it all off, I was on the Dr. Oz show, XM Radio Broadminded show and spoke at Dilon Diagnostics for Breast Cancer Awareness month. God opened so many doors without me even asking, things literally just fell into my lap. How dare I act like my life is in the pits.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Cancer BITES

This brings me back to “The Alchemist”. Tuesday morning, as a set my alarm and gathered my belongings to jet out the door, something told me to grab The Alchemist off the shelf. With 8 seconds left on the alarm countdown, I doubled back, scanned the shelf, grabbed the book, and was out the door Indiana Jones style. I cracked the book open during my metro commute and decided to start with the introduction, a letter the author wrote about the book’s rise to popularity. He explains the 4 obstacles to fulfilling your dreams. That alone stirred my soul, but as I read the Oscar Wilde quote he referenced, I was overwhelmed with emotion. Oscar Wilde once said, “Each man kills the thing he loves”. It resonated with me because it’s a stronghold that I have been working on to break for quite sometime. I have been slaughtering my own dreams.

I’m a firm believer that all things work together, and that everything is connected. Monday’s pity party led me to a conversation to refocus, which led me to the book on Tuesday and its wise words. My emotions lied, but I was reminded of the truth. God has brought me through so many obstacles, and He’s been there before, during and after each victory. I had to make a list to remind myself to have an attitude of gratefulness. If He got me through cancer twice, surely He can help me get free of a self-defeating mindset. It doesn’t glorify Him, and that’s all I really want to do with my life.

This time around with The Alchemist, I’m on page 65 and cannot wait to read more. It took a few months of preparation but now my soul is ready to receive some nuggets of wisdom regarding one’s “Personal Legend.” The author concludes his letter saying “We forget all the obstacles we overcame, all the suffering we endured, all the things we had to give up in order to get this far…this is the most dangerous of obstacles because it has a kind of saintly aura about it: renouncing joy and conquest. But it you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become an instrument of God, you help the soul of the world, and you understand why you are here”. Selah.

Romans 5:3-5 The Message (MSG)

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

Countdown…

This is the only thing for 29 I could find...see how it's forgotten lol

I think its amusing how society only puts emphasis on certain birthdays, 16, 21, 30, 40, 50…those ages stick out as major milestones in this thing called life, but why? Why not celebrate 22 with the same vigor and enthusiam as 21? If you ask me, its culpable. In 29 days, I will be 29 years old. The age 29 is often overshadowed by the ever alluring presence of 30 lurking around the corner. But 30’s eve is exciting to me, and I welcome it with open arms.  I’ve been telling my friends since I was 26, “Look, I’m almost 30”, but now, its really true. I’m thankful for every second, moment, month and year that I am alive, and if you know me, you know that I don’t take birthdays lightly. Time has flown since my 28th birthday, when all I wanted was to get back a sense of normalcy. Now that I feel like a brand new Shelley, it’s time to celebrate!

In anticipation of year 29, I have concocted a list of 29 things I would like to accomplish in 29 days. Everyday is a new opportunity to do something different, learn something new, and help someone else. During Chapter 28, my goal was rebirth. In year 29, I plan to shine 🙂 I’m not putting any pressure on myself to complete them all by no means; just giving myself some added motivation…let the games begin!!!!!!

29 in 29 for 29

  1. Go swimming
  2.  go hiking at Great Falls
  3.  take a jewelry making class
  4. do 10 cartwheels in a row
  5. take a Qi-gong class
  6. read Wuthering Heights
  7. go see an artist/live band I’ve never heard live
  8. choose pics for my wall art
  9. Finish Mad Men Season 4
  10. measure windows for blinds
  11. clean out my office
  12. make a homemade carrot cake
  13. hit my goal weight of 145
  14. take ballet or tap class
  15. carve a pumpkin
  16. buy a matching bra/panty set
  17. make or bring lunch to a chemo patient
  18. hang my living room curtains
  19. volunteer
  20. design my 1st too cute tee
  21. visit a museum I’ve never been to (Newseum??)
  22. get a massage & facial
  23. get dolled up and go to dinner at a new restaurant
  24. rent a bike and ride thru DC
  25. complete a new vision board
  26. give away clothes to Goodwill
  27. take socasize class
  28. learn the French alphabet and numbers 1-20
  29. make a new recipe and invite Moms, Pops, Kells and Reg for dinner 🙂

Well folks, that’s my 29 in 29 for 29. Encourage me, cheer me on, and think of some things you want to do to celebrate yourself as well. Let’s gooooooo!!!!!!!!

I hate how much I love you…

Why everything that’s supposed to be bad make me feel so good?
Everything they told me not to is exactly what I would
Man I tried to stop man I tried the best I could
But (You make me smile)
“Addiction”- Kanye West

This is my idea of a crackhouse

I must admit, just thinking of sugar makes me smile. Cake is my ultimate frenemy. We have an intensely complicated relationship, and just when I believe I’m ready to let go, the memories of our good times together flood my brain. Remember that time back in ’88 Shells, when you had a rough day at school, but you came home, and I was waiting for you with open arms in the form of an Oatmeal Crème pie? Yes, Little Debbie, I recall. I blame it on my upbringing. Every important event, accomplishment, celebration, and even sad moments like funerals, sugar was always there, silently waiting in the wings to comfort me and make me feel happy again. Whether it was my Aunt Anne’s homemade Lemon Cake (which she still has not shared the secret recipe), or the chocolate ho-ho sitting at the bottom of my lunchbox, sweets treats have been there every step of the way.

Now why would they create a DOUBLE DECKER!!??! SMH

You may be asking yourself why I am even discussing my struggles with sugar on my blog about cancer. But touché my friends, the phrase “You are what you eat” have never become clearer to me until after diagnosis. I’m an avid reader, so immediately upon being diagnosed with cancer, I was adamant about educating myself on the disease as well as prevention. As I dove headfirst into all of the material, one ideology was ever-present: Sugar is the DEVIL. Being the sugar addict that I am, I took this very personal. In my mind, I began to defend sugar like any BFF would do. But after each book I read, I came to the harsh realization that I have been sleeping with the enemy for 28 years.  When I got to page 67 in the book “Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life” by David Servan-Schreiber (2 time brain cancer survivor), the first words on the page said “Cancer feeds on Sugar”. I had to let that marinate for a second. Did you know that the PET scan machine, used to detect cancer, simply measures the areas in the body that consume the most glucose? Yeh, I didn’t either. Cancer LOVES glucose, and the more glucose in your system, the more you are feeding the cancer, and assisting it in its growth. Scary thought huh? Yes, imagine how I felt. I could not help but wonder if all those gummy bears and cupcakes I ate assisted the tumors in my breasts to grow.  It also reads “They promote the factors of inflammation, which, as we saw in chapter 4, also stimulate cell growth and act, in turn, as fertilizer for tumors”. Inflammation is one of the causing factors to all disease in the body, so if you are eating foods that promote inflammation, you are preparing your body to become sick. It’s as simple as that.

The American Institute for Cancer Research estimates that 40% of breast cancers are preventable through diet and lifestyle measures. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, and I want to raise awareness that diets are a major cause of adult cancers, including breast cancer.  I also want to raise awareness that women are not powerless against breast cancer or any type of disease for that matter – mammograms for ‘early detection’ are not the only defense. You have the power, and the power is in what you EAT!  It is possible to take responsibility over your health so you never have to walk down the road I did.

In Proverbs, the Bible says we live and die by the choices we make, and to choose life. But I realized that people don’t have this mentality when it comes to food. You look both ways before crossing the street to prevent getting hit by a car, but then you eat fried and high fat food  every day, and never think of preventing diabetes or heart disease. Last week I watched a documentary called “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead”. During the course of his travels across America while on a 60 day juice fast, Joe interviewed many people about food and their ideas on fasting. Most of them thought he was absolutely insane, while others felt like food is just food, and I’m going to die anyways, it might as well be at the hands of a pork chop. SMH. One brotha even proclaimed, “Well when I die, I sure hope God has ribs in Heaven”. Le sigh. Having a disease twice made me think twice about what I eat, but I know this is not the case for many people. I’m willing to go to extremes to stay healthy and live as long as I can.

Kris & My Boo Dr. Oz

In one of my favorite books Crazy Sexy Cancer, Kris Carr tells her story of being diagnosed with an incurable, inoperable and medically untreatable liver cancer. She was diagnosed at stage IV, and the doctors told her to just “watch and wait”. *insert straight befuddled face* Kris took matters into her own hands and adopted a diet and lifestyle that promoted health and wholeness, transforming herself into a Wellness Warrior. 11 years later, though she still has cancer (which is now stagnant), she’s thriving and living a healthy lifestyle, and spreading the message far and wide.  Your body was designed to fight off any disease, but many of our immune systems lay dormant and defenseless because they aren’t being properly charged up.

In an effort to step outside of my comfort zone, and challenge myself, I have decided to embark on a 10 day juice fast, inspired by the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”. I’ve done many fasts before, but never one with just fresh juice. I’m especially interested in starting the fall season out with this juice fast because traditionally, this is the season that I gained at LEAST 7-8 pounds. This is normally the time of year when I let my sweet tooth make all the decisions for me, and as a result end up gaining weight that I usually regret by Dec 31st. This year will be different. I am putting my health first now, and not waiting for the New Year to make drastic changes. CanSer (as Kris refers to it) partially forced me into a healthier lifestyle, and I definitely look at as an upgrade. Kris says “My wake-up call encouraged me to make a total lifestyle upgrade inside and out..I learned that a nutrient dense, plant-based diet rules, the Standard American Diet kills, stress sucks (all life-force), exercise is non-negotiable, joy is utterly contagious, and having fun must be taken seriously.” I couldn’t agree more!!

So who wants to take your health life by the horns and join me on the juice fast?? 🙂 Cheers to the good life! I’ll drink some Mean Green Juice to THAT!

My 27th bday..toasting it up with Cupcakes SMH