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Best Summer Ever. August 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — happyhealthyhealing @ 11:37 pm

Ok, so I know summer isn’t quite over yet. But I start school tomorrow, so it feels like the end. I just had to write about what a great summer it has been.

First of all, the weather was AMAZING! I can’t remember the last summer that had as many beach days! I feel so lucky that I was working part time (babysitting/nannying) and got to spend so much time at the beach. It’s so nice to get compliments on a great tan!

I always try my best to just enjoy my life as much as I can, and this summer, I feel I did just that. In the past year, I have made such great new friends. My part time babysitting job has turned into such a wonderful relationship with such a loving family. We have all gotten so close, it’s hard to believe I have only known them since October! Ben (5) and Zach (2) have been so much fun to watch over the past year. And to see and play with them at the beach brought back so many fun memories of spending time on the beach with my family when I was younger. Sometimes we forget the simple joys in life, like digging in the sand, running on the beach, and just having some carefree fun. It was also nice for my husband George to spend time with the boys as well. Not that I am ready for children anytime soon (I have three years of school and a business to start up first), but it was great seeing George enjoying time with the boys. Ben and Zach have helped show George that kids aren’t that scary, and can be quite enjoyable at times…

Nicole, the boys mom has also become a great friend. When I first took the job, I never imagined I would get a wonderful new friend. We have so much in common, and it’s nice to have someone to talk to about things. She lost her mom to breast cancer about a year and a half ago, so not that it’s a great thing to have in common, but it is nice to have each other for support, since we both lost someone very close. Nicole is just such an awesome person, and we both think we were brought together for a reason.

Another factor in making this the best summer ever has been my Kick friends. I can’t believe I have only known them since training in December, because they are all such great friends, I feel like I have know them much longer. I have gotten especially close with Jolene and Jessica. It’s been awhile since I have had close girlfriends, and life is so much more fun with all of these new people around! Between our long (ten mile) runs, beach days (finally got some in!), working out, and our almost daily emailing, I am just so thankful I got to meet them both and become such great friends.

And also a shout out to my little family…George and Sunnie. George and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary at our favorite B&B The Captain Lord Mansion in Kennebunkport, Maine. George, Sunnie and I spent many days and evenings at the beach, looking for sea glass and enjoying each others company. We threw some great parties, spent time with friends, and just had lots of fun together.

So now on the eve of my three year acupuncture school adventure, it’s nice to think about all the fun I feel I was so lucky to have this summer. I feel refreshed and ready for school. As my friend Meghan (another awesome girl who I met at NESA, taking prerequisite science classes this past year) says, after we graduate, we will be real people! It’s taken me awhile to get here, but I’m so happy to have direction in my life and to finally know that I am on the right path. And I’m really excited to be able to help my friends aches and pains with acupuncture in the future.

Cheers to a great summer!

 

Cleaning up August 20, 2010

Filed under: Cancer,Happiness — happyhealthyhealing @ 8:37 pm

George and I are moving to a new house by October 1st. So now we have the huge task of cleaning out the house we live in now. It always amazes me how much stuff accumulates over the years. Even when moving out at the end of a semester of college…like where does all of this stuff actually come from? And why do I have so much of it?

We are having a yard sale tomorrow to try and get rid of a lot of our maybe once treasured belongings. I have my iPod on shuffle and am trying to clean my room. (George and I share a room of course, but there is an extra bedroom where I keep all of my clothes, photo albums, notebooks…random stuff) So of course, I start finding some sentimental things as I’m cleaning, making this task a bit more complicated than I had anticipated.

I found a little photo album/scrap book that George had given to me after about a year or so of dating. It’s so nice to think how different you were with someone in the first couple of years compared to how much closer you are just a few years later. Although I think about it everyday, it’s also a nice little reminder of how sweet George really is, and of the special love we share.

The next thing I came across was such a nice little card from my sister Ashleigh. (In my family have an older brother Josh, then me, then Becca, who passed away in 2002, then Ashleigh, Kaitlyn and Ryan). It was a congratulations card saying how happy she was for me that I was getting married. She was excited for my new life with George, and wished that Becca were here, because she would be happy and excited as well. It brought a tear to my eye, remembering how genuinely happy Becca would get for everyone in our family when good things would happen. And because it’s so wonderful to have family to share and enjoy happiness and good fortune with you.

Then I found a speech I wrote for a public speaking class I took in college. It’s about Becca and family, etc. I started reading it, then I figured I would just put it in my blog….so here it is.

Written in 2006

It was October 13, 1999, two days after my 16th birthday. I remember it like it was yesterday. The phone rang. My mom said the test results were back and my younger sister Becca has cancer. Cancer. I had barely ever heard the word. My grandfather died of cancer, but he was 81. Becca was only 14. My life was significantly changed in an instant.

My sister was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma. The doctors said there was about a 20% chance of survival, and they would use chemotherapy and radiation to treat it. The next three years of my life are almost like a blur when I look back on it. I remember a lot of crying and disbelief in the first couple of months. I remember how heartbroken I was  to see my little sister lose all of her hair and so much weight. I remember hearing good news that the cancer was getting smaller and almost gone. And I remember crying on the phone with Becca when she told me the cancer was growing again. And I will never forget the night of September 30, 2002, when Becca could not fight the disease anymore. The night I said goodbye to my sister, and my family left the hospital without her.

The grief you feel from losing someone so young, that you are so close to, can only be explained as unbearable. It was so hard to watch my parents lose a daughter; no one ever thinks they will have to bury their own child. Our once even numbered family of eight turned into seven, and we knew we could never feel completely whole again.

Becca’s death took a lot out of me, but it was her life that changed me into the person I am today. I watched my little sister grow up quickly into the most brave, fearless, beautiful, inspirational young woman that I will ever know. Right from the beginning, she knew her chances weren’t good, but she endured many horrible treatments, and fought the disease as hard as she could. Even though she was so sick, she never complained, or showed us how sick she really was. Instead she would try to make things easier for everyone else, and not worry about herself. When her and my mom received bad news from the doctors, she would want everyone to go out for dinner together, and enjoy. So we wouldn’t have to think about her sickness as much. It breaks my heart to think of someone so young being so thoughtful and having wisdom way beyond her years. She was so young, but she knew how important it is to spend time with the people you love. She lived a great and inspirational life, with high spirits and a smile. She was happy and full of life, even when she knew it would be cut short.

Through my experiences, I’ve learned that life can be really hard. Sometimes much harder than you ever expect it to be. Things happen that you can’t control, and it can seem very unfair. But I have also learned that even when things are hard; it is the people who love you that get you through it. This came clear to me one day about five years ago. My family has always been big on Sunday dinner. With such a large family, it’s hard to get everybody together during the week, so Sunday is the day to catch up with everyone, and spend time together as a family. On this particular Sunday, my sister was in the hospital and my mom was with her. Since they were not going to be able to come home, we decided to bring Sunday dinner to them. My mom is and always has been the cook in our house. My dad and brothers will grill in the summer, but other than that, it’s my mom who cooks all of our meals. So to say the least, this was a big task for us. My dad took us to the store to get everything we needed, then the six of us worked together to cook the meal. We made chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad and dessert. (With 8 people in the family, we always needed a lot of food) Then we packed everything up and drove to Children’s Hospital in Boston. My mom and Becca were so happy to have a home cooked meal instead of take out or hospital food, and I was happy to have a quasi-normal Sunday dinner with my whole family.

So this is when everything came clear to me. We were in the hospital, one the seventh floor, in the cancer ward. The rooms were filled with children and teenagers fighting cancer, and my own sister was consumed with the disease herself, but we were all together. The eight of us were together, we were whole, and we were happy. This is when I realized that this is what it’s all about. If I could be sitting there in the hospital, in the face of my family’s own personal tragedy, but still find pleasure in life, then I knew I could get through anything. I knew Becca was going to die, we all did, and it killed us inside. But I found comfort, strength and support from my family. When you reach out to the people you love, you can get through anything. I’ve learned it is the people you love and the people who love you that are most important.

It’s been more than three years now since my sister passed away, and I still miss her and think about her everyday. Even though Becca is no longer with me in person, I have learned to keep her with me, and live a good life for both Becca and myself. She taught me the importance of life, and also the uncertainty of it. But most of all she taught me to love and appreciate my family and friends. I’ve always valued the people in my life, but Becca’s death made me realize just how important they really are.

People are so important; so value you family and friends and show your love and appreciation for them as much as you can. When times are hard look to your family for support, and when things are good, share you happiness with them. Don’t waste time agonizing and worrying about things, but instead try to find pleasure and happiness in all you do. Each day is a gift, so use it well and appreciate it.

It’s interesting looking over things you’ve written over the years. I better get back to going through stuff….who knows what else I’ll find..

 

To Singing Beach and Back July 12, 2010

Filed under: Exercise,Running,Uncategorized — happyhealthyhealing @ 10:32 pm

I love writing poems…so here it goes.

The alarm goes off, I just want to sleep,

I want to turn it off, and quiet the beep.

I struggle to open my eyes, the sun’s not quite up,

I sit up in bed and say hi to my pup.

Sleep still in my eyes, I slowly get dressed.

I think I would rather lay back down and rest.

But I head to the bathroom, brush my teeth and pee.

Gotta be ready, so the girls don’t have to wait for me.

Sneakers are on, I drink some water.

Glad we’re getting our run in, before it gets hotter.

At 7am the girls both arrive,

I’m just starting to feel more awake and alive.

We start off slow, then pick up the pace,

But not too fast, it isn’t a race.

We finish a couple miles, then a couple more.

We keep on going, even when we get sore.

We find some water along the way,

Happily hydrate, but know we can’t stay.

We’re almost to the beach, our halfway mark,

We make it up the hill and past the park.

The beach is so beautiful at this time of day,

Any pain or tiredness just goes away.

We breathe in the air, I just love the smell,

So glad we made it, and all did so well!

But we can’t stay too long, we have 5 miles to go

So I start jogging back with Jess and Jo.

The sun gets much hotter, beating on our faces,

I have to stop to retie my laces.

The way home is harder, but we keep going.

It’s better in the shade, when the wind is blowing.

The last couple of miles, we struggle a bit,

But we know we can make it, because we are fit!

Burned 1200 calories on our 2 hour run.

Glad I got up early, it was satisfying and fun!

So happy to have friends training together for the half,

Running is more fun with conversation and a laugh.

We help each other out and know we can make it,

Our able bodies can definitely take it!

We’ll practice until September, we’ll cross the finish line,

We’ll make it together, and do just fine!

 

Bittersweet Dreams May 7, 2010

Filed under: Body Issues,Cancer,Happiness,Stress — happyhealthyhealing @ 12:45 pm

I think about my sister Becca, who passed away September 30, 2002, everyday. I feel like she’s always with me. It’s very surreal now, almost eight years later. So much has changed in my life.

One of the toughest things about losing someone so young, is thinking about the person they would have been. Becca was so amazing for her short 17 years of life, I know she would have done great things as an adult.

Ever since Becca died, I have dreams about her. These dreams are usually so intense, I think of them more as visits from her. In my dreams about Becca, she is usually bald, and I either know she has cancer, or I know she’s dead. But still it’s always nice to “see” her. Two nights ago I had a bittersweet dream about Becca. In this dream, Becca had hair. It was braided so I knew it wasn’t a wig. In the dream she was so incredibly happy. She was telling me that she was getting married, and that she was going to attend acupuncture school with me, so we could have a practice together.

When I woke up the next morning, I had a smile on my face, happy to think about my sister being so happy. But then, as happens, reality sets in. It’s amazing how you can forget about something, that’s such a part of you, for those first few moments when you aren’t completely awake.

So after having this dream, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Thinking about life and happiness and opportunities to follow your passions and dreams. Wherever she is, I know Becca is happy. And I know she is happy because I’m happy, because my family is happy. That’s how Becca was, she loved to bring others joy. When Becca would get news of the cancer spreading, she would want everyone to go out to dinner and have a good time. It’s hard to believe she was only 17 when she died, because she had wisdom way beyond her years.

As a way to honor Becca, I try to be happy everyday. It’s not always easy. I sometimes get stressed out by small things, I get down on myself for not having “the perfect body,” I get angry about things that I shouldn’t let bother me. Everyone has struggles, things that take joy and happiness away. It’s a challenge, but I think it’s a challenge we should all take. At times when we are feeling bad or sad, just take a step back. Think about how lucky you really are. Think about how strong your body is, how much it does for you, instead of how “fat” it is in places.  Check in with yourself, if you’re stressed, ask yourself if the stress is worth it. If not, try and do something about it. Find a job that makes you happy, try something new.

It’s always interesting to think about the little changes we make in life. Trying one new thing, talking to one new person, can send more good things your way. I did the initial training for Group Kick in December. Since then, I have gained so much confidence,  conquered some of my shyness, accomplished something meaningful, and most importantly made some new wonderful friends. Friends I never would have met if I didn’t go for it.

I’ve said the word “happy” about 100 times in this blog, but it’s such an important word. And we should all try to make it part of our daily life. Becca was a teenager, faced with a terminal illness at the young age 14. If she could be happy and optimistic while fighting childhood cancer, I think we owe it to ourselves to be happy as well. Spread the joy!

 

Blogging virgin’s first blog. May 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — happyhealthyhealing @ 1:24 pm

I met a couple of girls (I call them the twin-triplets) who blog, and got a little inspired. I have always loved to write so blogging seemed like a great outlet to express some thoughts, and just write or vent for anyone who wants to read it. It’s hard to think about what people will actually be interested in reading, but with our constant need to be connected to each other and finding out what others statuses are, I hope what I decide to write about will be somewhat interesting.

So I’m not quite sure exactly where this blog will go. I was married in August of 2008, to my husband George, who owns a small landscaping company and is about 8 years older than me. Thankfully, we haven’t had any real problems since then, we are happy and love to have fun together. We have disagreements of course, like how George doesn’t think I vacuum enough, then he “sweeps” and only later do I find out he has just swept all of the dust and dog hair into corners of the house.

I will most likely talk about our golden retriever Sunnie. She brings so much joy to my life, makes me laugh and is a great exercise partner. George thinks we’re just alike, short, blonde, a little dumb (like dumb blonde in a funny way, just saying a little dumb sounds harsh haha), kind of a goof, and cute (I added cute, it sounds better).

I am currently in a transitional period of my life, on the path to becoming a kick boxing acupuncturist. Well, sort of. I have just recently become a Group Kick instructor, something you wouldn’t expect a formerly very shy person to do. Also, I have been taking some science classes, this past year, and will become a full time student in August. I should graduate acupuncture school in 2013, right before I turn 30!

Another big part of my life, which is something about me that not everyone knows, is that my younger sister Becca died in 2002. She was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a muscular cancer, in 1999. I was just turning 16 and Becca was 14. Her life and death has had such an impact on me. I think about her every single day, and I always keep her with me. It still makes me sad, and I will always miss her. I grieve the relationship we would have had as adult sisters, and the fact that she never got to meet my husband, or any future children. But she gives me so much motivation to live a great life, to have a lot of fun, follow my passions and to try not to stress out about things too much.

So that’s the basic gist of it. More to come!

Enough blogging for today, the sunshine and warm weather are calling my name. Out for a run, then to the beach!

 

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Filed under: Uncategorized — happyhealthyhealing @ 12:13 pm

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