My new website / project is officially in it's beta stage. I'm so excited to do the official release next month. I have put so much of myself into this and hope that it will help people looking for resources in the Lung Cancer community.
I permanently deleted my instagram in early April. I can not reactivate it. The data is gone forever. I did back up all the images for myself and children, but I will not be returning to instagram in that context again. For over a decade I overshared my life on social media leaving me to feel pressure to keep up with everyone. I was worried about follower counts, likes and other things that truly don't matter.
I also cleansed facebook. I was going to delete that too, but I need it for the communities I work with. So instead I deleted almost everyone except for family and the lung cancer community. It wasn't because I was mad at anyone or wanted to hurt people. It's because I am tired of social media and the way it creates a false sense of reality. I did leave my business pages up, and my gaming twitter to keep up with internet friends. But I am truly done with "social" media this time.
I will try to keep up with this blog as much as possible. Writing and blogging is part of the plan I have worked out with my therapist, but I can't help but feel overwhelmed here too. It doesn't feel like it's for me. It feels like it's for other people. No matter how hard I try to be honest, I can't be truly open as I want to be.
I don't understand when we as a society stopped picking up the phone and started to consider liking pictures on facebook or instagram as keeping up a friendship. I am guilty of this myself. I know I am. I am a bad friend too. Since moving from Pennsylvania, I only have one friend's telephone number. It's a sad reality I have sunk myself into. I feel like I need to pull away from it all in order to grow and learn.
I have had the same telephone number for over ten years. If anyone really needs to reach me.
National Advocacy Summit
hosted by The Lung Cancer Alliance
July 21-23, 2019
Washington Marriott at Metro Center
*Who should attend?
All patients, survivors, caregivers and loved ones, healthcare professionals and advocates committed to fighting lung cancer will benefit from bonding as a community to ignite change in our national health policy agenda. By attending the National Advocacy Summit, you’ll be joining like-minded people from across the United States who are ready to represent the collective voice of the lung cancer community on Capitol Hill.
What to Expect
At the Summit, you will connect with other individuals impacted by lung cancer and participate in two days of sharing, learning and personal storytelling. Expect an empowering experience where you will gain:
Knowledge—leading scientists and experts will speak about the latest research and treatment advancements and the critical role that collective advocacy plays in moving the needle.
Training/Experience—expert-led advocacy training, mock meetings and lots of practice on how to communicate your personal story. Meetings with your state senators and representatives are pre-scheduled so you can focus on making an impact.
Community Connections—by connecting and working with others in the lung cancer community you’ll be inspired, motivated and hopeful.
Together we will speak with one voice to our elected officials. You are the change for lung cancer.
Joking around with a friend tonight about Christianity and other religions he referred to me as his pagan friend. I didn't mind the assumption, just a little taken back by it.
I don't identify as any one religion. There are things in paganism that resonate with me, but truth be told there are things in Christianity that resonate with me as well.
I'm not sure I've ever addressed that and figured I would throw that out there incase others were wondering.
I have such a great relationship with the idea of the universe and love of nature. I believe we're all connected and that things happen for a reason. But I don't attach myself to any one religion. And I would not call myself religious. Perhaps a bit spiritual.
I was having the most hectic week. My son's SAT prep, calling doctor offices and dealing with insurance. This was the sweetest surprise ever! Thank you Hannah for the wonderful gifts. Best care package ever.
As this cold makes it's way out of here, who's starting a garden? I read a study on depression and gardening back in November and I promised myself I would continue to study aquaponics and perfect indoor gardening for year round home grown food.. especially those winter months.
My success stories so far have been broccoli, moong bean, and chia sprouting. I also did well with green basil, mint, and lavender.
One of my Lavender plants looked like it was going to die, so I harvested what I could to make oils for later.
I am looking forward starting some tomatoes on my back porch. As well as some bell peppers and egg plant.
I've stuck to 1,200 - 1,400 daily calories. On a cheat day I will eat as many as 2,200 calories. The days before a cheat I do light fasting. I will eat 1,000 calories to have some left over at the end of the week.
No gimmicks. I am not doing keto, starving myself or gone vegan. I don't care about that crazy wrap thing, and I haven't gone broke with pricey shakes. I still love food. I've just learned to change my relationship with food. It's been a long journey. I've gotten help through my doctor, dietitian, and close friends.
I am looking forward to doing my weigh in May 1st. I've not been weighing every week anymore as I've found it to be counterproductive.
I've been learning lots of new recipes and really enjoying cooking at home.
I was chatting with my mother a bit this morning. Her and I don't speak too much. She wasn't around when I was a child or much into my adulthood. I do try however to let her know what's going on with the children and myself even if it's a bit awkward. We discussed the feelings of watching our children grow up.
It's so hard to grasp that I have an almost 20 year old adult child. She's in college. She's engaged to be married and the idea of moving to London is on the table.
The years are just flying by and it's hard to take a moment to slow down. Even for one second.
This past February I had the honor of shooting my daughter's engagement pictures. They came out beautifully.
I have to remind myself that self love is a journey that will never have a destination. Always moving forward, learning, seeing new things. It's ok to change speed and direction. But it should never stop. Keep going.
••Banana egg pancakes••
▪Dash of cinnamon
▪Pinch of salt
Mash the bananas, add the eggs, salt, and cinnamon. Mix really well. Cook in a pan with light spray of olive oil
▪2 TBS PB Fit Chocolate Peanutbutter
▪1 TBS Chia Seeds
▪1/2 Cup Blueberries
Total Calories: 401
The "Let's Talk About Lung Cancer" social media page was something I never thought I would be making. These are the messages I never thought I would be making. It's funny how the universe gives us what we need right when we need it.
Before my father was ill, I knew very little about Lung Cancer. Admittedly I was very ignorant and uneducated on the subject. I believed some of the stigmas surrounding it. I just didn't know all of the things I do now because no one is talking about it. And after my dad lost his battle to Small Cell Lung Cancer, I was left feeling hopeless and without any purpose in my life.
It will be three years this coming summer that I started the Let's talk about Lung Cancer pages. I created them in hopes of reaching people. I wanted to share my dad's story and help educate those like me who knew little to nothing about Lung Cancer. I wanted share resources and support groups. I wanted to be the voice my father didn't have. Our family didn't.
Last night I had the thoughts of defeat. And I was wasting my time. That my message wasn't getting out there. I debated deleting the pages.
Then this morning I got this beautiful and terrible sadly message from a woman who recently lost her own father to Small Cell Lung Cancer. She found me through my pages and sharing my dads story. My words helped her get through her journey and are giving her hope for the future.
I don't think I have cried this hard in a long time.
The universe gives us signs. We just have to look for them. My purpose in life is to continue fighting this battle with you all. My Lung Cancer family here on the internet and in my in person support groups. You guys are my people. You are my tribe. Sometimes the best people in the world get lost along the way. I am here to THANK YOU for all of your continued support by talking about Lung Cancer. Spreading that awareness, and getting the word out there.
I won't ever give up. This is my life's purpose. Thank you all for everything you do.
If I could only share one itty bitty thing I learned walking this Earth the past 36 years it would be this; It's ok for other people to not like you. Their opinions have no weight on your life. It's their right to feel that way, and not your job to change their minds. Let them misunderstand you. Judge you. None of this matters in the beauty of life and the universe. Never doubt your self worth based on the opinions of anyone. Keep working on your authentic self and being as kind as possible. Only put the vibrations and energy out that you wish to receive. Everything eventually falls into place, especially when we stop allowing others to define who you are and start working on your own happiness. I have no idea what I am going to do with the next 36 years, but I am excited for this journey and those who continue to stick around along the way. Love and light always friends.
Do you see female genitalia in this photo? #ART in everything. Feminine magic is radiant this Monday morning. It's all a part of the journey!
My first thought of turning 36 this month is my new description. You know, if I ever went missing or committed a crime. Female, white... mid to late thirties.
Mid to late 30s.
Honestly, most days I still feel like I am 21. These numbers really don't hold the weight I thought they would. I still laugh, sing, have adventures and enjoy life.
In honor of the big 36, here are 36 things I have learned over my 36 years of life.. my little life tips...
1. There will never ever be an electronic device capable of giving the pure joy of reading a real paper book.
2. I never thought I would like being a mother, but it's actually pretty awesome.
3. Naps are amazing.
4. Happiness is a choice. And sometimes you really have to fight for it. Like really fight. But it's worth it. Life is too short to be content in sadness.
5. Your definition of love will change throughout the years. I used to think things always had to feel new and exciting... that they would be easy. But it's about learning to give and understanding it will always need an honest effort, open heart, and time. Be with someone you truly enjoy just being around.
6. Blood isn't the only requirement for families and stable bonds. It's not a requirement at all. Some of the most important people in our lives won't be blood family. And some of our blood family will let us down the most.
7. Don't waste your time stressing out over what other people think of you. They have the right to these opinions and it's not your job to change their minds. You know your worth and value as a person.
8. You're never too old to keep dreaming, using your imagination, and telling stories. Magic and pretend isn't just for our child years.
9. Cooking at home is actually pretty awesome. Eating out is great, but creating a meal, especially for someone else is so rewarding. And it's fun to learn new recipes and techniques.
10. You need hobbies and things for yourself. Let them be as simple as playing video games or as complex as building delicate models. If it gives you happiness, go for it. Everyone needs a break from the real world.
11. Be grateful, practice gratitude. Sprinkle more kindness in the world than their is sand on a beach.
12. Having a personal relationship with nature and the universe is life changing. There is a certain comfort in knowing everything is connected and that we were all once stars. Simple reflection sitting on a beach, or watching the moon. It's wonderful.
13. Accumulating memories and experiences are far more important than possessions. When it's our last days on this Earth, we won't be thinking about our $1000 cellphones. We will be thinking about our friends, family, and that last sunset.
14. Spend time in silence. Learn about Meditation. Time alone in your own mind is priceless.
15. Our company affects us. It shifts and molds who we are. And I am not just speaking as an empath, I believe this applies to everyone. Surround yourself with good people who put out good vibes. The others will eat at you and eventually become a burden on your mental health.
16. Let the people you love and care about know that you do... and as often as you can. You really don't know what will happen. Life is so short.
17. When people tell you that you've changed, you're weird, or you're not who you used to be. Take it as a compliment. Even if it wasn't intended that way. We as humans should always be changing. Growing, learning new things, new perspectives, and opinions. Change and growth is a good thing. Be wary of those who aren't able to change, adapt, and grow.
18. Let others have their views and opinions. Remember that as long as their opinion isn't causing harm to another's quality of life, it's really no concern to you. In a time of Trump, this is especially hard for me. But learning to pick and choose your battles is important. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean either of you are wrong. Contrast brings clarity and compassion.
19. Ask questions and never stop learning. Dare to learn new perspectives.
20. Spend less time on social media. The happiest people I have met over the years don't even have a facebook page. I think social media is an important tool for keeping in touch with old friends. But it also causing a lot of inauthenticity in our lives and can sometimes cause more harm than good. Kill the mindless scrolling.
21. Less really can be more in terms of value in our friendships. Quality over quantity is very important.
22. Most people are good, decent people. In our hardest times on this Earth, it can be hard to see it. Especially for someone who struggles with leaking back to her cynical feelings towards humanity as I do. Sigh... but really, I know this to be true.
23. You will get through that worst day of life. It's different for everyone, and you will know it when it hits you. But also know, it's going to get better.
24. The friends that still want to talk to you when you disappear for weeks, months, and even years at a time. When you forget to call or text. Love them, adore them. Those are your forever people. They are your tribe.
25. Credit and debit can destroy your life. I am not even kidding. Take care of your credit score.
26. Drink water. Lol yeah, I'm serious. And coconut oil is for the skin. Don't eat it.
27. Grow your own plants and even food if possible. Fresh fruits and vegetables are delicious and magically taste better when you're the one who grew them.
28. The hardest part of making big changes in your life is making the decision to do it. Once that happens, the rest seems to fall into place.
29. I am enough. I am. And so are you. The more you love yourself, the easier it is to find the imbalances in your life.
30. I've never regretted taking time to work out or do yoga. The fact that I run from it is pretty silly honestly.
31. Deep conversations about everything and nothing set my soul on fire.
32. Just the simple act of making your bed can make your entire day better. I am not even kidding. Try it.
33. When you stop constantly focusing on the bad things, or the problems. The solutions come.
34. Trust your gut feelings. Your intuition. The vibes you get from people and things. Most times you're probably right.
35. When it comes to coffee, tea, icecream, and sushi... spend the little extra money when you can indulge. The quality matters.
36. Sex is better in your 30s. Trust me.
*Bonus life lesson* We can call this, like the extra candle, one to grow on...
37. There is an saying... "Do what you love, and love what you do." The cynicism inside me always lead me to laugh at this as most people will not make a living doing what they love. And I know what you're thinking, don't you love photography, and yes - I do, it's my world. But what I love about it is the 100% freedom and control with my art. I don't get that much when doing work for clients. And that is ok, I am here to do what I am paid to do when it comes to business. I am happy with my job, but what I am trying to convey here is much deeper. I learned that just because something you love to do isn't bringing you financial gain doesn't mean it doesn't have real value in your life. You can do what you love, and make money in something else. You just need to find balance. You're allowed to have both. The most rewarding things in my life, what I truly love doing is helping people in my online communities for Lung Cancer, and my volunteer work in hospices. I don't make any money doing these things, but the value is truly priceless. And even with my art and photography... my favorite pictures will always be the ones that I took for free.
I hope this list brought some perspective into my adult life, and maybe some hope for yours as well. You don't have to agree with everything I have said here, or anything for that matter. We all have to find our own little place in this world.
Until next time, love and light friends.
Not everyone will understand your journey, and they don’t have to. Those meant to grow along side of you will come. The path to authenticity is not about being liked, it’s about being real and honest with ourselves. Ascension is about becoming who we are truly meant to be. - AK
A little New Years offering for my alter. As I sit here and reflect, I used to view New Year's resolutions as a bad thing. I'd set them, I would fail. I would feel inadequate and unworthy. I stopped making them. I didn't set any goals for myself. I stood still. I laid stagnant in life for nearly 2 years. Towards the end of 2017 I said I was tired, and I had enough. I went on for most of my life believing that if you can't be happy where you are, you will never find happiness elsewhere. I am here to tell you that this idea, this motto... it's not true. It's ok to walk away. You can leave behind the unhappy relationships with friends, family, and the communities that are holding you back. It's ok to love yourself, and do what is best for YOU. I told my friends in November of that year I was leaving, and they kind of laughed it off. In fairness, I had said that I was leaving many times before. I am not sure I would have taken myself seriously either. I lived in a city and state I despised. A place I moved for my ex-husband and never wanted to go. 11 years of disgust. I was surround by pernicious people. People who were so unhappy in their own lives that you felt the bad vibes as soon as you went outside. It brought me nothing but pain. I had many toxic friendships that drew the life out of me. I slowly became a person I hated. Someone I didn't recognize when I looked in the mirror. I tried so hard to be happy... to grow and thrive where I was. I cut off the bad people. All of them. I kept to myself. But just like trees and plants.... if your roots are in bad soil, and your limbs and branches can not reach the light... you can not grow. I saved money, set small term goals and the end of March, 2018 I said goodbye forever to Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Life here in Chicago isn't perfect. I am still grieving. I am fighting PTSD, anxiety, and depression. However, I swear every single day I somehow still feel blessed. I feel as if my worst days here are so much better than some of the best in Pennsylvania. This year my goals are spiritual. Continue to thrive, find my relationship with nature and the universe. To make my own magic... only putting out kindness. I will post the full list below. If anyone reading this is scared to make a change, or doesn't think it will be worth it... I am here to tell you ignore those voices and set the goals. If I can do it, anyone can. You are worth the love and happiness in this world. Don't settle for anything less.
Our first Christmas in Illinois is filled with brand new traditions and keeping true to some of the old family ones as well. Friday was all about Winter Solstice and The Yule celebrations. We lit candles, remembered our loved ones, had a nice dinner, fixed our winter alter and charged our crystals with the full moon. Saturday was the early Celebration of my daughter's 19th birthday. Sunday we wrapped gifts and put them under the tree. Today, Christmas eve is all about my Italian side. We've been cooking and making crafts all day. I am making a big dinner. Then tomorrow is for our Mexican side of the family and we will be spending it with grandma, grandpa and the rest of the family. I can't wait for tamales.
I get a little tired of people who assume that just because you have kids, you are automatically completely uncool, and that all your time is spent wiping babies from head to toe, giving spit baths, criticizing their every move, volunteering for PTA, blogging in your spare time, clipping coupons before crock potting a pot roast, ironing the clothes, bleaching the whites, mopping the floors, harvesting your eggs, sewing for your etsy shop, scrapbooking the little things, taking pictures of everything they do, saving for college, reading Dr. Suess, socializing at the bus stop, sweeping the floor, laughing over coffee with your jogging stroller, wearing your birkenstocks and listening to Baby Einstein.
Just because I DO THESE THINGS OCCASIONALLY.
Does not mean for one second that sometimes I don’t just want to be a kick ass girl with streaks in her hair, a ring in her nose, a tattoo on her arm, concert tickets in her purse, vodka in her fridge, a leather mini-skirt in her closet, her best single friends and a standing reservation for Las Vegas once a year with a don’t ask don’t tell policy, and the desire to just once be seen as more than the mother of 5 kids. Sometimes I just want to be seen as a “Maggie”. A “Maggie” with an extremely adorable set of children… (I joke, but sometimes it's hard to over come labels. )