Monday, December 29, 2014

2015 Manifesto

Manifesto comes from the latin word "manifestus" which means obvious or to make public. 

I've been on quite a journey the last few years and the older I get the more I feel like I need to learn which is quite the opposite of what I thought at 25. {who's with me?}

My 2015 Manifesto is quite obvious to all of us, but very few can follow through. I feel as though I've been, personally, learning these things here and there for the last few years, but for 2015 
I've decided they will be my target goal for every breath that I take. I think that part of what led me here was the "detox" I've been going through since October. 

Right after my mom died I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with grief, sadness, sorrow, responsibility. . . In addition to that, I was overwhelmed by the new role of making decisions for my dad and guiding my brother. Something about those moments led me to take a Facebook detox. Don't get me wrong I've always been a fan of social media and think it's a wonderful way to connect, but I also think it's a horrible way to consume a lot of time and take away joy from seeing what everyone else is "doing." 

It's been a few months and I've practiced the habit of posting very few updates, very few comments, and being less "like" happy. I've been more intentional of the way I'm spending my time. I left some groups that weren't enhancing my experience and turned off all notifications for all groups and pages. I muted some people from my timeline and deleted others completely. 

That detox taught me that I am in control of my time. I must be intentional about even something as trivial as social media. And if I should be intentional about something so menial, then I should REALLY be intentional about the things that truly matter to me: relationships, reading, writing, finances, family, health, connecting with God. 

It taught me that in order to guard my heart I need to guard what I see and hear. And let's be honest. Much of what we see or hear on Facebook or other social media outlets isn't always the BEST for us. {Is it bad? Maybe not. Is it good? Maybe. But is it the BEST?} 

It taught me to be who I am despite what the world says I should be. It taught me that if I spent less time wasted I would have more time to spend on the things that bring me passion. It has taught me that I probably need to speak less in order to HEAR HIM more. 

If I am wise about my intent I will pray more, love more, believe more and find my thankfulness even on the worst days. 

So, here's my public declaration for 2015. What about you? Do you have goals you're working toward for the new year? Do you write them down? Would love to hear how you'll be shaping your next level, so comment or email me! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Why a Facebook Detox is Necessary

So about a month ago I decided it was time for a Facebook break. Again. This is like the 10th time I've come to this conclusion since 2008. I just get fed up. There's always so much noise in my head anyway and with all of the content, groups, and notifications sometimes it's just too much. Plus, (PLUS), I manage and admin a few pages. I'm pretty sure I don't want to calculate up how much time I've spent on all of that. {embarrassing}

Every time I meet someone who tells me "I'm not on Facebook," I sort of step back and think how smart they are secretly! Something about being "off the grid" is intriguing and after the last few years, I'm all for stepping back and evaluating what things actually bring joy to my life. 

So this time, my goal for my MIA status on Facebook is longer than just a month. My first goal was just through the holidays, but now that it's been over a month I'm thinking I should shoot for longer!  

Besides checking the pages I admin and my messages, I don't know what's going on with anyone but myself and right now that's really helping me focus on what I'm doing. 

Here are some things I've learned: 

You need more time. Facebook is stealing it. Trust me. Once you start scrolling through that feed and get sidetracked by this personality quiz or that "interesting-but-possibly-fake news story," it's hard to look away. They have a hundred and one ways to take away your time and your sense of identity. Since I've been off of Facebook, specifically, I've read about 6 books, spent more time with my family doing puzzles, crafts, cooking together or just hanging out. 

Knowing every status a person makes doesn't make you better friends. And vice versa. I am "friends" with roughly 800 people, plus about 40 are following me (seeing all of my public posts most likely because of Jace) Some people I'm friends with and have seen in public, but even after making eye contact and smiling they keep walking. {why are we friends again?} Some people I know just from Facebook, but if I were to see them in real life walking down the cereal aisle at the local grocery store they would probably think I'm rude, because I don't recognize them! 

The things you want to see are being hidden from you by the algorithms (a fancy word for THEY ARE CONTROLLING YOUR EXPERIENCE). I swear I miss some of the most important goings-on from my most favorite friends because Facebook doesn't think I want to see them. And the pages I actually like and want to hear from often, nope. Those pages are out the window and replaced by the pages who've PAID for me to see them more often. I just can't. So I'm now making a point to be intentional with the people I see on a daily basis. I can control that experience and connect on a more personal level. 

Here's more about this philosophy from Forbes:

You need less of them and more of you. I'm convinced that Facebook is the worst of the social media giants. Not only are they controlling what you see but it also creates a space for you to focus more on other people and less on you, your family, your dreams, and your spirit. Is it just me or is that the biggest problem ever? 

But, really, trust me, the trouble is we all think we have enough time. 

"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." ~ James 4:14

And this is why Instagram is my jam right now......low maintenance, photos only. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

4 Reasons TimeHop Heals Me

If you're not what you'd call "tech savvy," then you probably haven't heard of the app Time Hop. (iOS version; Android version

It's a cute, little free app for your phone that will remind you what you were doing 1 year ago today. Depending on how long you've been using social media and which platforms you were posting to, it also has the ability to tell you what you were doing 2 years ago, 3 years ago and so on. 

Basically, you enter your Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram usernames and passwords and Time Hop pulls from those feeds in order to show you your very own "This Day in History." 

Now, if you've been reading my blog for any amount of time you know I've been struggling a lot lately. Death and cancer have tried to invade my life and my happiness. Some days are more difficult than others, but, usually, everyday some of my best moments come from looking back at my time hop feed and seeing what I was doing in years past at this time. 

4 Reasons TimeHop Heals Me: 

1. It reminds me of all that I've been given. There's nothing like having a low moment and scrolling through the day's time hop to see sweet faces of my kids when they were babies or being reminded of the love Jason and I share and all the times we've spent together.  Time hop reminds me of God's miracles as I re-watch #superJace and his cancer journey each day. 

2. It shows me what I believe. My favorite pastor always says "What you believe is more important than what anyone will ever tell you." I've been a "gratitude girl" for a very long time and faithful for a lot longer. No matter how many times I get knocked down it's always been my tendency to pop back up stronger and wiser. If I ever forget, time hop is always there to show me what I stand for and what I believe. 

3. It teaches me that where I am now isn't where I'm going to stay. The last 2 years have been looooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggg and even that is an understatement. There have been many days that I've felt stuck (like last blog post) and felt like this place is the only place I'll ever be. And yet, time hop sweetly teaches me that This Too Shall Pass is a life truth we shouldn't forget. 

4. It prompts me to live in the moment. Life is short. We aren't promised tomorrow. Do the things you can and take on the opportunities given to you. As I look back on each day's feed, I see the legacy I'm leaving and living. I see the family I'm growing and the traditions we are forming. I see the faith and the values we are instilling. It's sort of like Time Hop has allowed me to see my own life in motion and reminds me of what I truly hold important. 


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Where God Has Me

Lord, piece me back together again with your unfailing love. 

I'm struggling a lot with where God has me right now. I sometimes don't realize the crushing impact of all that's happened the past 2 years (or my whole life for that matter) until I, verbally, have to give some stranger the cliff note's version of my life: 

"...cancer....2 years of treatment down....2 more to go....
...lost my mom last had to be put in a facility for Alzheimer's a few days later because he was missing for a short time... is living with a new guardian one state over....."

I see people that I knew, friends who were in this technology world of mine and see how they've grown in their profession and career. I see people that I know that are meeting so many of their writing goals, or goals to start up that non-profit dream of theirs. 

And here I sit. 


Just being here. 

Because God's interruptions in my life have been above and beyond. 

And all I see are pieces of my broken heart staring back at me from the floor. 

No, I'm not trying to be strong for anyone. (Ask those closest to me.)
No, I don't think I'm the only one who's gone through these things nor will I be the last. 

No, I don't have any regrets. 

No, I'm not always consumed by the pain and struggle. 

I am needing A LOT more time alone to grieve, reflect, sort, and pray. I need more time than I ever expected. Right now, God is the only one who can speak to me or who can put up with me. Truth. 

I know everyone goes on auto pilot and says whatever cliche' phrase they have at that moment because they don't know what else to say: 

"I'm praying for you." 

"God loves you." 

"He's working through you in this season." 

"Bigger things are in store." 

"Satan is just trying to throw you off." 

"You are strong." 

"This too shall pass."

"Sorry for your loss." 

"It's just a season." 

At this point, you know I've heard it ALL and I'm kind of done. I know all of that. I believe all of that. I just can't get there yet, you know?

I'm still having difficulty even responding to text messages. I have at least 10 that are on my phone from sweet friends checking up on me, sending me love and prayers. This is definitely a test for them, too, I'm sure. It's not easy being my friend these days. I hope they aren't taking it personally because it really isn't. I just sort of have nothing to least not in my usual spunky sort of way.

Thursday, I, truly, didn't think I'd be able to make it to work. The day before sort of crumbled on top of me in the middle of a long run. 

At the end of the day, no matter what, I'm still in charge of A LOT of people and A LOT of decisions. 

I'm still in the search for an attorney to help me with paperwork for our non-profit. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with certain properties and belongings and when to plan trips away from home to take care of all the things that need my attention. 

Then, on top of all of the decision-making for my dad, any small, daily life set-back just knocks me back to the ground. 

Last week it was potato soup. Yes, potato soup......that turned into mashed potatoes. It did not turn out well and let's be honest, it wasn't about the potato soup. 


In between the "when-is-the-next-chemo-pill" and "thank-you-for-calling-to-update-me about-my-dad," I'm learning that I do better sitting with and talking with those who are IN the arena with me: those who've been down that cancer road; those who've lost a mom; those who are in the grief right now; those who are dealing with Alzheimer's; those who are doing all of those things and are young like me. 

Granted, there are those friends that just flat out make me LAUGH and laugh HARD. They don't even know they are the ones pulling me along each day and getting me through. 

All of the heavy "life" stuff didn't take away my humorous side. Yes, I'm still sad a lot of the time, but anytime I come across someone being snarky, it just makes me laugh-from-my-belly hard. 

I know many of you read here and don't comment. So, I know I'm not just talking to myself. (I'm at least hoping so)

I'm learning that no matter what your relationship with a parent was/is once they are gone every stage of grief is fair game. 

I'm learning that it's very hard to concentrate on the gratitudes and joys even when you're aware of them, especially in the middle of the grief-fog. (we are on day 35 of the #40daysofthanks challenge)

I'm learning that I have to be patient with myself and REALLY patient with others. 

I'm learning that you can be hard-pressed on every side, literally. 

I'm learning that grief is a part of life in so many ways and that just like all things in life you have no control over that process. 

I'm learning that stepping back from social media is good medicine for the soul. 

I'm learning that no matter what season I'm thrown into I can still be authentic about it all. 

I'm learning that my conversations with God aren't always rainbows and happiness and He doesn't expect them to be. 

I'm learning more about what He expects from me and, in the end, that is really all that matters because He has me exactly where He needs me. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The World is Not my Friend

This past weekend we took a family camping trip to a place called Camp John Marc. We went last year during Jace's first year of treatment. It's an oncology camp for kids and their families who are being treated at Children's Medical Center. 

I admit it. I wasn't really excited about going this year. It's a place that makes you vulnerable. It reminds you of the club you're a part of - the one none of us asked to join. 

I was already vulnerable. I was already emotionally raw. This grieving thing is not easy and I've already done it so many times, I should be a pro. 

I'm not. 

I came home Sunday tired and sore (that kickball game was hardcore competitive). I also came back with a new perspective and a reminder that I need to schedule fun and play into my very daunting and emotionally difficult schedule. It reminded me to check out from technology. We had no reception for 3 days and it was the best thing to happen to me. 

In times of stress, I'm a doer. When Jace first got sick, I set to work organizing and working a plan. Thankfully, I've taken the Kendall Life Language Assessment and have a little more insight into who and what I am. So, while the world would think being a "doer" is a good thing, I know it's just another way to numb myself from all that is going on with me in this moment. 

I have to work at being still and calm. This week was a little worse because I was in "single mom mode" since Jason had long training hours in Dallas. 

The world is not my friend because the world and it's demands do not allow time for me to be still or calm. There is no time in my day to find solitude. I have to be very intentional about finding moments of stillness. 

The world is not my friend because it tells me that numbing my grief and stress is the better way. I know it's not. It's a lie. I need time and space to grieve. 

The world is not my friend because it tells me I need to be "connected" online most of my day. Also a lie. For me, I need genuine, authentic, face-to-face connections a few times in my day. 

The world is not my friend because it tells me being alone is bad. Not true. I know that I need time alone each day to breathe, reflect, and rest. 

The world is not my friend because it tells me I have to be a slave to my phone, email, other people's expectations and demands. Whatever. Don't be offended if I don't respond to you right away, especially now. Some times I'm not in a good place to even have a good text message conversation. 

The world is not my friend because this world is not my destination. I was not meant to stay here forever. It was not meant to give me a comfortable experience. 

So many questions still swirl around in my head and it, honestly, doesn't matter what anyone else feels or thinks about my questions. They are my questions. This is my moment. This is what my grief looks like. This is my story. And as hard as it is, I will rebel against everything the world tells me because it is not the truth. 

"Do not be transformed by the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:12

Thursday, October 16, 2014


"Are the days getting any better?"
"Just wanted to check on you. It seems like you're struggling a lot lately." 

I'm so thankful for people who are brave enough to actually check in on me. I know my life and it's struggles can be overwhelming to others, even intimidating.  (it is for me, too)

i sit. 

i cry out. 

i pray. 

i praise. 

There's so much of my story that I haven't shared yet. So many details of my own iceberg that isn't visible to the rest of the world. So many things I've wanted to share, but was silenced because of shame or fear. 

I am grieving the death of my mom. But that's not all. 

I'm grieving having to put my dad in a facility 500 miles away from me because of Alzheimer's and dementia. 

I'm grieving my brother having to have his own guardian now who is not a family member. 

I'm grieving my family. 

I'm grieving the unraveling. 

The truth is that so many things with my family of origin was a facade. More things than you can even imagine. Things that I know. Things that I saw. Things that I experienced. Things that if I told them to you, you'd probably tell me I was making it all up. 

Boy, do I wish I was. 

Someone asked me last week if I felt alone. 

Yes. I do feel alone a lot, but it's not a new feeling. I felt that way long before this season. I know that feelings are not the truth, though. 

The truth is that I am struggling. 

The truth is behind this face, this smile, this attitude of gratitude, I do struggle with this season. I wonder why. I wonder when I will find a time of rest. I wonder why me. 

I don't share all of this with you so you will pity me. 

I simply share it with you because I want someone out there, someone like me, someone struggling to know they are not alone. 

I share all of this with you so that my fear and shame will no longer have a voice. 

In my truth and in my story, I'm finding authenticity. 

All the while still going on this journey with Jace. Yesterday during chemo, we found out his end-of-treatment date. Yes, I'm thankful we have an end date. At the same time, I'm grieving the expectation I had that the date was sooner and the expectation I had for his kindergarten year. 

Without revealing the date (we want Jace to do that himself), I will say that he will be in treatment for his entire kindergarten school year. My hope was that he would be able to enjoy at least part of it as a "normal" kid. 

The truth is I am thankful through it all. I am praising even through the tears and the grief. 

God is good. I want those that read my story or see me in person to know that is always the bottom line for me. 

He has shown me His faithfulness and love time and time again. I never want my grief or my struggle or my pain to overpower that bottom line. 

I am not alone.

I am loved. 

I am highly favored. 

...and so are you. 


Thursday, October 9, 2014


Norma Rushing
October 19, 1945 - October 3, 2014

I've been silent on my blog for a while. A few months ago I got word that my mom was sick and had decided to go home on hospice care after a long hospital stay. We all knew what that meant. We all knew that she'd struggled since before Jace got sick with her own health. What many did not know is the behind-the-scenes of my relationship with her. I tried to be very careful and respectful of her about our struggling relationship. 

Much of my life was spent trying to make that relationship exactly what we both wanted. It was difficult on both of us for a long, long time. Months before she got sick we had stopped talking. I know why she shut me out and I know that I was only coming from a loving, caring place. There were some toxic people talking to her telling her things that were untrue about my motives for visiting. I struggled weeks before she passed with deciding the right time to travel the 11 hours to see her; to say goodbye. I knew my visit would cause stress and didn't want my presence to create any tension. 

As God always does, I finally felt led to make that long journey. I knew it was time. 

Thursday, I drove with my cousin to visit. We were prepared for what we would experience. We'd both been bracing ourselves for the reality of the future. 

Thankfully, we both made it in time to tell her we loved her and to say goodbye. 

I will never forget that moment. I took her hand. I looked into her eyes and said "I love you." She nodded and raised her head closer to mine and said "I love you, too." I kissed her on the forehead and stroked her hair. 

We left Thursday night knowing that would be our last visit. We got the call the next morning that she was gone. 

I've been preparing myself for this for a long time.  I knew what this would mean for my family. My mom was the caretaker of both my brother and my dad. Without her, we knew they would both need things put in place for their care. 

Many of the things normal families discuss and put in place were not discussed at all. 

I've had a full range of emotions since the time I knew she only had months left. Anger, sadness, hope. . . 

The thing about both of us is that we both said exactly what was on our minds. We both lived different lives. We both approached pain and struggle differently. 

She tried so hard for many years to escape all the painful experiences she had, including my brother's death.

Here's what I read at her memorial earlier this week: 

Unfortunately, my dad is unable to be here today. He is struggling with Alzheimer's and is, currently, in the hospital in NM.

"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creating, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." 
Romans 8:38

The moment right before my brother died was the very moment I realized just how loved I was. It was the moment I knew God was in the middle of everything we experience. Nothing can separate us from the love He has for us.

Everyone sitting here today is a testament of just how loved my mom and our family was.

Each one of us have different memories of her and had different experiences with her.

What you may not know is just like in any family there is the highlight reel and then the behind the scenes. My relationship with my mom was a difficult one. Like some of you here, I continued to try to reach out, love her, pour into her and remind her just how cared for she was.

My brothers death was a pivotal point in our family. My mom struggled very much to come to terms with that day. And though we have been lucky enough to still have our sweet Jace, I do know how difficult that journey was for her.

Those experiences can cause us to isolate ourselves from everyone and everything. It can cause us to believe no one cares and is just going on about their lives. 

Since that day I have prayed so very hard she would realize that abundant love. I'm choosing to believe the minute she was gone from this earth, she not only realized it but opened her arms and ran to it.

Thank u to each of you for your presence here today and for loving on my mom one last time. 

There were so many people that loved my mom and reached out to her often. Some got through and some didn't. It didn't make them love her any less, including me. It's been heartwarming to read and hear stories of how she helped others, made people laugh, or just made them feel special.

In this season of my life, cancer with Jace, losing my mom, losing my dad also in a sense, and being so far from my brother, some look at me from afar and probably say "Man, I'm glad that's not me!" 

I say, "THANK YOU, GOD! In this season, I'm closer to You. I am closer to Your miracles. I'm closer to others. Thank YOU for showing up every single time I've needed you and for leading me to honor not only my mother, but the life I have and, ultimately, You. " 

One thing my mom did for me every year was try to join my 40 Days of Thankfulness Challenge. We would love for you to join us this year! 

October 8 - November 16

RIP Mom. You and John-John are together again finally. <3 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Indestructible Me

"Keep pretending everything is fine. 
Keep doing the thing that only benefits you. 
One day you'll see you're not in control. 
One day you'll see how you could've been loved." 

God uses storms to cleanse us. Sometimes He has to fiercely work on people to bring them closer to Him. 

I know storm after storm is meant to cleanse me. Some storms are about me and some aren't. But there are days when I often ask "WHY?" and cry out "I'm drowning!

Then, I go back and forth with myself and my circumstances (some public, some not). 


This one phrase humbles me to my knees every single time. 

One day you'll read how He redeemed me, protected me, saved me, and loved me because even after all of the uphill climbs and the many miles, every single time I look back all I see is His complete and authentic love. 

Today, as I was just about to lose sight of trusting and having faith in the unseen, I glanced over at a shirt that was sent to my by Vanessa, owner and creator of RUFFLES  WITH LOVE

She's started a new line for indestructible women and is using her website to tell their stories and inspire women like them. 


I was so honored to be able to wear one of her new shirts. So after a long day at work, I pulled myself off of the couch and slipped it over my head. 

There was something empowering about wearing it. It reminded me how strong I am, how strong I've been, how even on the days I think I'm the weakest, He still guides me and keeps His armor around me no matter what chaos, selfishness, drama, negativity, or criticism is swirling around me. 

Circumstances still haven't destroyed me. 

And they won't. 

Still running my race. 
Focused on the goal. 
Anchored in Him. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Childhood Cancer - Now That You Know, DONATE!

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Action Month! 

Most of you are aware now how often children are diagnosed and thrown into this community without warning. If you've been reading this blog or this caring bridge for any amount of time, especially at the beginning of our journey, then you know we've been very candid about our struggles and our victories with Jace and leukemia. 

I think I'm speaking for most of the families I know affected by childhood cancer when I say we celebrate when anyone wears a Super Jace T-shirt, remembers yellow Wednesdays or donates to our new passion Operation Love in hopes of making it a non-profit for families of childhood cancer  (We always need donations!). We are thrilled because doing these things means YOU are being AWARE and thinking outside of what's going on in your own life. 

Now we are being candid about taking action. 

The only way that we will make a difference is if we band together and DONATE to places that are making a difference in research and in lives. 

Fellow cancer mom, Candi ( and I put together a list of specific places that we know, firsthand, are focusing, specifically, on childhood cancer. You may see some of your favorite charities not listed. We wanted to give you a list of organizations that we as cancer parents trust and know are giving most of their donations to childhood cancer research. (more info

Some of the links below are organizations that either help families financially or help give the kids and the families some great memories during treatment that we've worked with, personally. 

The following list should be helpful to you as you make your choice for donations this month. 

Childhood Cancer Donation List

**direct money only to childhood cancer related causes, primarily research

If you'd like to, specifically, help a family whose child is currently undergoing treatment, please email us for more information.   

Visit Charity Navigator to view efficiencies & financial information for many major charities:

Cure Search

Triumph Over Kid Cancer

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation

Alex's Lemonade Stand

Local - Texas
Team Connor

Heroes for Children

Sarcoma specific:
Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative

1 Million 4 Anna


Make A Wish

Hope Kids

Kenna's Kids

Peach's Neet Feet

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Dear Teachers

Dear teachers of our 3 "littles,"

I'm so thankful for YOU today. You will probably spend more time with them than we will this year. You'll teach them, love them, direct them and protect them. You'll watch them grow, see them run and play, cheer when they master a concept, and probably see them shed a tear or two. We hope you experience authentic joy while you spend time getting to know each of them and see what we see in them that is so precious. We pray for you daily because raising kids takes a village and now you are part of our family...our village. 

Love, prayers and gratitude....
The Poncios 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

My Soul Weeps

I will always wonder who you would have been. 
What would you look like now? 
What would your favorite food be? 
What kind of music would you listen to? 
Would you be married? With kids? 
Would our family be closer because you stayed? 

Grief is a rollercoaster ride that you cannot get off.  Sometimes it slams into you without any warning. Other times the ride is slow enough that you can slightly open your eyes and look around.

My soul weeps because of grief. Strengthen me according to Your word. ~Psalm 119:28

Some years go by and I am able to make it through the anniversary week with only love and lots of comfort. 

Other years go by and that week is full of nightmares, flashbacks, and unanswered questions. 

This year I was not prepared for the grief that surrounded my heart. 

All I wanted to do was jump in the car and drive back to the last place I saw you. 

July 26, a day etched in my memory forever.

My memory plays the same scenes over and over and I do my best to overcome them. 

Watching you walk out the door, Knowing you wouldn't be back. Feeling paralyzed and scared, yet knowing without a doubt that God was there in that moment with all of us.
Seeing the cyclist riding by our house and realizing that his life was normal, but my life had just changed forever. 

My grief is not just for a brother I lost, but for a family, for a future that we didn't have, for parents who lost a son, for the realization that my innocent thoughts about life were taken way too soon. 

Maybe it's because I now realize that I could've lost my own son, too, just last year on January 26 (I'm not a fan of the #26). 

The thing about death and grief is that even after almost 30 years, I'm still consumed by grief some days. It's not as it was in the beginning. The pain has dulled over the years, but it's still present and hits me out of the blue. 

As this week went by and my subconscious knew what week it was, I decided to not be consumed by it. I gave myself a day. Then, I picked myself up and started making plans. 

I got my hair professionally colored for the first time. 
I made 2 dinner dates with friends. 
I spent more time laughing. 
I wrote down all of the good from the week. 
I surrounded myself with those who love me. 
I started some new projects. 
I reminded myself - I AM STRONG. 

Because even though this week (read brief story here) marked how long I've lived without you, I know that you would want me to LIVE LOUD and keep going. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Lessons from a Leukemia Mom

1. People are genuinely good and want to help. Let them. 

This was the biggest lesson I've come away with and it's been the most difficult one so far. It's HARD to let go and admit that you cannot do something alone. It's not easy to ask for and receive help or believe that people just want to help without anything in return. The world programs us to believe that we must do all things ALONE and be adults and take on all responsibility onto our own shoulders. It's a lie. We need to band together and help each other do life. We need to be able to give whatever we can to a need in someone's life. Sometimes that means donating money or making a meal or just being a friend. 

2. Like all traumatic events, this revealed everyone's true character, including mine.

All abrupt events, typically, will reveal your true character. I've watched this happen before, but was not prepared for the extent of the reveal this time. When your world is shaken you are either standing on a firm foundation or you are not. You cannot fake that. I watched as not only my son was getting treated for a life-threatening illness, but as close relationships were being tested because cancer was now a factor. I was not prepared for the actions and words of others nor was I prepared to know how to handle those situations. Now, I'm stronger in my boundaries and more confident in how to deal with those obstacles. I'm also learning more about who I am and how strong I really am. 

3. Re-examining your life and priorities cannot be avoided. 

Better to do it now than to wait for that life changing event. If you're putting anything before your relationships, your health, or your well-being, don't. All it takes is a few words to jolt you into realizing what's really important. That work deadline/meeting is meaningless. Eating junk to cover up emotional struggle doesn't make the struggle disappear and means you're giving up your health too soon. Are you telling your kids "not now" and "maybe later?" Are you not taking in the gratitude of  the simple moments of a snuggle, a lazy, boring day, or your healthy child? No worries. Something will jolt you into realizing what's REAL and what's not. 

4. Life Goes On. 

I know this lesson way too well. On the one hand we love that life goes on. It means that the struggle won't last and "this too shall pass." But on the other hand, it means that life does go on and sometimes, when you're in a grieving state or life has stopped for you, it feels like everyone is moving on and leaving you to sit in that pain. Bottom line: that feeling sucks. But it's also a motivating factor that your life will see better days. Maybe not the exact days you had planned, but you're still living and breathing and so living is your purpose! We still have a lot of days (about 500) left on this leukemia journey and we still have some struggles to overcome, but we've seen worse days. And that's the key. We've all had worse days but they always pass. Always. 

5. Negativity will always try to win. 

You ARE stronger. You ARE. Ok, so that is a little self-talk that I've been working on myself. Voices from the past will always try to tell you that you're not good enough, you're not worthy, or you deserve whatever uphill struggle you're walking. What's key here is to surround yourself with people who will LIFT you up and remind you of all the things you believe and believe in: hope, love, healing, rest, miracles....When you find people to be your circle of trust you are entrusting them to do all of these things and continue to be on call for you whenever you need them. See #1. We aren't meant to do life alone, but we aren't meant to do life with all the negative people, either. :)  

6. You are more than your role. 

"Super Jace's Mom!" I get that a lot. I'm ok with it. I'm proud of it even. I'm so lucky to get to be his mom. But I'm still more than just that and as the months have gone by it's been easy to feel that most everyone just cares about him and what he's doing or how his treatment is going. Some days I feel like yelling, "I'm HERE TOO!" This is something I have had to work hard at overcoming. I am a caregiver and I'll be the first to tell you that his treatment and progress is top of my priority list, but I do other things, too, and enjoy being other things. 

7. Re-defining yourself is ok.

 I'm now in the stages of finding the new Tisha. The Tisha who has walked through this cancer storm and is coming out on the other side. I'm not the same. I don't do family, friendships, work, love, or passion the same way that I did before. I don't like all the same things I did before and am finding joy in new things that give me peace. Instead of trying to be everywhere and share everything, I'm picking the things I enjoy the most and only sharing what I feel in the moment with no obligation. Being the old Tisha in a new season just won't work. 

8. There will always be another "Goliath." 

Pray for strength and wisdom. Don't pray for an easy life. Strength and wisdom will come because you're open to it in expectation. An easy life doesn't exist. I refer to life's struggles as Goliaths. They all seem giant when we are in the midst of them, but as long as we are faithful we already know how they end! Each struggle is only there to teach you something and prepare you for the next. There are always valleys and mountains! I'm so thankful I'm just not continuously walking around in the desert!