Friday, September 10, 2010

Week One: Be Happy

I know I'm slightly late getting this one out, but I wanted to do it justice. The first step in the video, which was easy to miss, was "Be Happy". It was easy to miss because it was on the first frame - a piece of tape with the words written on it.

Things I thought about during the week:

1. Odd that "Be Happy" would be the first item on the list. While it is, indeed, probably the most important thing on the list, it seems like it would have been saved for last . . .

2. "Be Happy" implies that being happy is a state of being. I pondered this one through the week.

After spending the time during the week focusing on being happy, I experienced many things - disappointment, failure, disillusionment, and fatigue. Through all of these things, though, I could always be happy. I think sometimes this is because of the trials I have faced through the years, the ones that almost killed me, and the ones I had to "fake it til I made it" through. Being happy is something I have a lot of practice with. During times that made me much less than happy in my life, I was always good at acting happy. Isn't that close to being happy?

As a result of the week of reflecting, I've come to realize that in this stage of my life, being happy means I am happy. My life has its fair share of unhappy moments, but when I take stock in my life, I truly have found happiness. I love my family, I love my husband, I love my job, and I'm proud of the person I have become. I choose happiness.

Next week: "Show Up."

Monday, August 30, 2010

Refocusing on what is real

Someone on my Facebook friends list posted a video that I really liked. As I watched it, I realized two things:

1. I have already done all of those things many times.
2. I need to focus on doing them more.

As a result, I've decided to do a series of blog posts, where I take one of the directives in the video and focus on it for a week, then write about my experiences in doing so.

Join me if you'd like - write your own blog, or simply comment to my posts each week. Stay tuned, and tune in to the video by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Clicking my heels . . .

House where I grew up
Originally uploaded by laner65
I've had to travel to Kansas unexpectedly to attend the funeral of a family member. This is the first time I've been back home since my mom moved away. I no longer have family in this town, so spending a few days here is a little strange for me. I decided today to take a little drive around my old stomping grounds.

Driving around, I saw the church my girl scout meetings were in, my elementary school (hasn't changed), my high school (changed a bunch), the house I grew up in (pictured here), the house I lived in when I moved out, and the house I lived in as a newly married person. Driving through the streets, I felt like a stranger, even though the streets themselves looked familiar and many of the sights I saw are just as I remember them - I don't belong here.

My home now is Texas. I can drive through these streets and find it recognizable, but it is almost as if I'm taking a virtual tour through a camera - I feel no connection, no need to reminisce, no feelings of wistfulness for a day gone by.

The Kansas has been taken out of the girl.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

If only it were that easy . . .

I've been Facebooking a lot lately and one of the people on my friend list, Brad Stephens, had a very thought-provoking question on his status the other day:

Q: You are sitting in a room on the table in front of you is a red button. You have 60 seconds, push the button and a cure to cancer will be found BUT you will die. Don't push and life continues as is. Do you push the button or not and why?

I answered it quickly. Yes, I would push the button.

As I went about my day after answering that question, it troubled me. Troubled me to the point that I was actually in tears some of the time, thinking about the question and my answer. I wondered why it bothered me so much and what kept coming to my mind was "If only it were that easy."

On this day, the lives of more than 30 families were forever changed when they found out one of their children - or their only child, or their grandchild, neice, nephew - has cancer. Great strides have been made in cancer research. Even so, at least 5 of those children will die from the illness or the treatment for it. Those children who do survive may battle new issues for the rest of their lives - lost limbs, decreased immunities, complications from the chemo drugs, insurance battles. Even if there are no lasting effects, they will forever be changed by having had to fight for their lives at such a young age.

If only it were as easy as pushing a button.

I'd push the button for the children who didn't make it.

I'd push the button for the ones who are missing an arm or a leg or both.

I'd push the button for the children who can no longer see because both of their eyes had to be removed to save their lives.

I'd push the button for the children who can no longer speak because their vocal chords had to be removed.

I'd push the button for the children who develop leukemia because of the chemotherapy drugs they are given to fight rhabdomyosarcoma.

I'd push the button for the little 2-year-old girl who died from a respiratory virus two months after she finished her last chemotherapy treatment for a brain tumor that was successfully removed. The same respiratory virus that my then 14-month-old baby was in the same hospital for after his first chemotherapy treatment.

I'd push the button because my son shouldn't have one leg shorter than the other. He shouldn't have tattoos (used to mark his skin for radiation treatments). He shouldn't need a prosthesis so that he can sit on two buttocks like everyone else. I'd push it because I shouldn't have a memory like the one I described in an earlier blog post (click here).

To me, it doesn't matter how small the inconvenience is for a child who has survived cancer - he or she shouldn't have to deal with it.

I'd push the button way before the 60 seconds was up.