Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Celebrate Life.

I had an experience yesterday that really made me stop and think. I had a free hour in my schedule allotted for lunch, so I sat on the comfy red couch in my office, ate my lunch, caught up on some emails.. and then read a story that both broke my heart and inspired me. I happened to be reading a blog post about a particular blogger's neighbor (blogger in question, Caitlyn Boyle- author/creator of Operation Beautiful)... these two women were gardening in their yards and began talking.. and Tonya, Caitlyn's neighbor, revealed that she was having a 'cancer party.' Cancer party?! Caitlyn thought that this meant that Tonya was hosting a fundraising event to benefit cancer patients/research.. when in fact, Tonya shared with her that she was actually diagnosed one week prior with an inoperable brain tumor. The words of this 32 year old woman, wife and mother of a 2 year old and a 3 year old: "I'm still trying to wrap my mind around things but I feel so positive and trust that God will take care of me and my family. I wanted to throw a party to celebrate life."   

At this point in the story, I was getting off the couch in my office, reaching for the kleenex and making sure my mascara wasn't smearing across my face. Apparently she had been experiencing migraines for quite some time, and after going through different medical tests, a tumor was found. Her medical expenses, transportation, and childcare (as a result of the tumor), etc. are beyond what she and her husband can afford. The medical costs could exceed upwards of 100k. If you are interested in reading more about her or donating anything to help her, you can find out more and how to do so here.

I think what touched me so much about this story is that Tonya's response to her diagnosis was to celebrate life. Her attitude is so remarkable in that it is one of gratitude in the face of extremely scary, overwhelming and uncertain circumstances. I felt (and still feel) impacted by her attitude in such a powerful way.. and have been reminded again what it looks like to live a life that is characterized by gratitude. This was also a great reminder to me that we don't choose our circumstances, but we certainly choose our actions, reactions and responses to such circumstances. Our responses reveal so much about our character and who we are as people! One thing that I'm all about promoting is a healthy beauty ideal, and I would say Tanya is beautiful. I love this quote by Roald Dahl- "A person who has good thoughts can never be ugly... If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely." A good attitude, good thoughts and a smile= beauty.
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On this day, I want to celebrate the life of my mother, who is beautiful, lives a life of gratitude and serves others well. Today, consider all that you have to be thankful for and take joy in those things. We are only given one day at a time.. take each day and celebrate the life you have been given. 
Happy Birthday Mom !!!

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