To White Shores.

I hope that Ms. Maynard has found her peace.

As I have always wished for anyone in death, J.R.R. Tolkein wrote it the most eloquently:

unfurl

‘End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it. White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.’

To white shores and peace for her family.

Glitter and Sparkles,

Sara Rose

Eva 9.

Eva1
‘Simple. Like a mountain is simple.’ -Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Dear Eva,

You are almost half way done with being a kid, did you know that?

It’s kind of hard to imagine.

When I was pregnant with you, I knew you. That sounds sort of crazy, right?

But I knew a little girl that lived in my heart. She was small and brave.

She was sensitive and strong, and she was a fighter.

When I felt lonely as I was on bed rest, you would give me a resounding kick in the ribs to remind me that we had things to do together.

When you came into the world, you let out an indignant squeal, then opened your eyes and reached your little hand out to grasp my finger.

We have been through so much in these 9 years.

I am so amazed and proud of the young lady you are becoming.

You are intelligent, graceful, strong, and kind.

You have the most beautiful fire and a lovely soul.

I think you will keep growing in grace and brilliance.

When I was pregnant with you, I would sing this song every day.

Then when you cried and we walked the floor for hours every night, I still sang it.

It’s a love song and I always love my brilliant, gentle flame of a daughter.

You teach me more about how to be a good person than anyone that I know.

It is a wonder to see you working so hard (so adult like, even) at you classes, soccer, anything you put your hand to.

Always remaining gentle, kind, and even a bit of a little girl when you come to curl up in bed with us for cuddles and stories.

Happy birthday and remember to remain as ‘Simple as a mountain.’

Birthday Girl
Birthday Girl

“Steady As We Go”

I walk half way around the world,
Just to sit down by your side.
And I would do most anything girl,
To be the apple of your eye. Troubles they may come and go,
But good times they are the gold.
And if this road gets rocky girl,
Just steady as we go.

Any place you wanna go,
Know I’ll be next to you.
If it’s treasure baby you’re looking for,
I’ll search the whole world through.

Know troubles they may come and go,
But good times they’re the gold.
So if the road gets rocky girl,
Just steady as we go.

When the storm comes,
You shelter me.
And I don’t say a word,
And you know exactly what I mean.
In the darkest times,
You shine on me.
You set me free.
And keep me steady as we go.

So if your heart rings dry my love,
I will fill your cup.
And if your load gets heavy girl,
I will lift you up.

Troubles they may come and go,
But good times be the gold.
So if this road gets rocky girl,
Just steady as we go.

Happy birthday. Stay steady as we go.

Glitter and Sparkles,

Sara Rose

Counting

Counting his heart out, all the way to 20!
Counting his heart out, all the way to 20!

It can be a struggle to not post the ins and outs of daily life of Owen having autism because I so value his right to grow up and feel sane/normal/ok/accepted/ALLTHEFEELINGS.

But he has grown in some incredible leaps and bounds that I find so beautiful…I just have to share.

I am so very proud of him. I never expected that having this son of mine would be so profoundly changing for me.

It isn’t necessarily that autism is so hard. Really, if you think about it- everybody has hard days.

It challenges me to think outside the box, accept new ideas, and give myself over to letting things be.

You never really stop growing, if you are lucky- marriage, parenting, every day has something that can change how you think.

What a blessing to be alive and have these opportunities in your life, right!

Things can be so hard that I can forget to take the time to really LOOK at my wonderful children and see what beautiful little humans that they are becoming.

Owen has worked really hard this past summer and fall.

Sometimes, I miss it but there are days like today, where his growth and progress presents so loud and clear.

His sister and I have worked really hard on helping him become more verbal and be an active part of daily activities.

He often needs to spend time chilling out, unwinding, stimming, and not actively but passively participating.

Then he has these moments that blow you away.

Like when he actually asks you to play with him, watch a show on his computer with him, or wants to help with things- like cooking, putting something together, or yard stuff.

It makes my heart swell when things happen, like this summer, where he actively wanted to play with his sister every day- in the pool, riding bikes, at the park, whatever.

Or days like today, where it’s cloudy and cold and Eva had her birthday sleepover with her best friend.

Today they spent the day playing games and then, running around wildly to play hide and go seek.

Owen wanted to play too! But more importantly, he took turns, he followed the rules, and squealed with delight at hiding or seeking.

It was sort of amazing.

I’m really proud of him today and everyday.

But it was one of the little moments, you can miss if you don’t let yourself catch it.

I listened to him count to 20, squeal, laugh, run, and participate, then thought,

‘I am so happy to have children that are joyful. I am so happy that he knows he is wonderful.’

Everything is AWESOME.
Everything is AWESOME.

Glitter and Sparkles,

Sara Rose

An Open Letter

losses

This must be my ‘Issues Month’. This one has been rolling around in my head since it hit the news.  I tossed it back and forth before I sat down and hesitantly jotted some of my ideas and feelings on the subject. Nolan and I talked about it, intently, for days.  At the end of the day, what I write here is not just an opinion but an actual belief. I fully believe in what I am about to state and I do know that it will cause controversy.

With that said, I want to issue a friendly warning. I will not tolerate negative and nasty comments on this subject. Nor ones of extreme dissent that take the form of attack.  I will do my best to present this as something that is open, loving, and supportive. You don’t have to agree, but we are ALL grown ups.  Play nicely.

This topic has roiled in the news for a few months now. It has churned in my heart too, and finally both a friend and my husband asked if I would speak on it. I reluctantly agreed, not because I am afraid of the fire but because I do so respect choice, privacy, and the difficulties life puts in front of us as being our own.  I took notes, read websites, the news, worked out a few different drafts….

Until I finally decided on a letter. I hope to find a way to deliver this to the person it is intended for, in time.  To me, there is a difference between making a choice out of fear and making it out of respect and love for those in your life.  I believe this person intends the latter. None of us have a right to judge character, actions, or intentions here.  We cannot cast stones, but we can pray that this person will move through their choice to find compassion, mercy, and grace.

chrysanthemum

 

To Brittany and your family,

In this crazy world, we will never meet.
It’s just that we have something in common and that is the same kind of brain cancer.
I had it when I was a toddler; obviously things went alright, I am still here.
Mine remained an easily removed astrocytoma.
There have been life long side effects.
I don’t mind.
I am thankful for that.
(No, this is not me begging you to rethink. Just wait.)

Then, then Christmas before my 30th birthday, I was diagnosed with a terrible form of ovarian cancer.
I kept it secret for awhile. I wanted to wait until I knew if I would walk away from this or not.
Clearly, I did.
I repeated ‘None of us find as much kindness in this world as we should’ to myself every morning.
I made it clear that whatever happened, I would make the choice that was kindest to my family, my loved ones, and myself.

I do not think there is glory in waiting to die painfully.
I have watched people die of what we have as they struggled until they end…..
It did not seem a measure of God’s grace nor did I find comfort in a long and gruesome death.
There is precious little time to appreciate those final moments, days, smiles, because we have no choice over where and when our death occurs.

I am an exception to a hard and fast fact.
The two kinds of cancers I suffered and the health issues that came with….
Very few people recover and I grateful that I am blessed.

But I am more grateful that there are women, such as you who validate the idea that there are choices with terminal illness.
You are not picking an easy out and we both know that any solution has a price.
I am exceptionally proud of you.
If I had walked out of my appointment, almost 3 years ago, and had been told that my prognosis was fatal, I would make your choice.
I would let my husband and children remember a happy mom who treasured every last minute and did not succumb to illness.

If my prognosis with brain cancer as a babe had been like yours, I would have wished an easy, fast death for myself so that my parents did not suffer.
You are giving yourself the chance to leave this world with a smile and that is an important thing.
I do not find death to be graceful or kind in these situations, or so many others.

As Tony Kushner once wrote, ‘It is only a painful sort of progress.’

Many people are shocked that I support you.
My dad committed suicide in a way that brutalized my mother and I for years to come.
I was raised Catholic, and I fought my way out of a grave.
So what?

I have no right to make your choices or decide that your peace is.
This is your life and death.
I only hope that you have no pain.
I hope you go to sleep that night and open your eyes to a beautiful, blinding blue horizon of promise and no sickness.
I hope your family is well and finds peace, in knowing this choice was made out of love.
I hope you fall asleep knowing you are loved and that this small act made a world a different place.

What people get so very wrong is that idea that we are the keeper of other people’s choices.
We are not and it’s contrite to think that. It cheapens the idea that we are our own stories.
Do I believe that God has a plan for each of us and that there is a struggle we each have?
Perhaps. But I cannot decide what your plan is or was.
You went through so much.
We do have the right to walk away.

I believe in you.
I want your family to see what I do.
That waiting to pull a plug in a hospice room can be the most awful thing you ever have to do.
There is something better for you when you finally choose to go to sleep.

Do not let anyone tell you any different.

Brittany Maynard and Spouse. A scan of the tumor that went from an Astrocytoma to a stage 4 Gioblastoma
Brittany Maynard and Spouse. A scan of the tumor that went from an Astrocytoma to a stage 4 Gioblastoma

Good night, to white shores, glitter, and sparkles,

Sara Rose

I have wrestled with this issue long in my heart.  But, I do not walk her walk.   I can only say that I have faced such terrible things in my life that I don’t begrudge her and nobody should.  We are not those who keep her soul safe and if one is Christian, then we believe she will receive salvation for putting her family before herself, choosing to be compassionate and kind, and possibly even approaching God through prayer about this decision.  We can never know and that is fine.  It is also fine for us to not agree and back away. As I said, her life is not yours- not to even judge.

To Whom It May Concern.

Dear World and Marketing Managers,

This may bee hard to hear.
Take a DEEP BREATH.
But I NEED you to know this.
It is NO WHERE NEAR Christmas yet.

Not even Hanukkah.
Nor Thanksgiving.
In fact, we still have to carve and paint pumpkins.

So, for the sake of the collective sanity of women every where.
Stop bombarding Pinterest and all Magazines with,
‘The Best and Easiest Festive Crafts for a Magical Holiday Season Yet! NO ONE WILL TOP YOU!’

Do you WANT a bunch of crazed, lunatic women hot glue gunning your hair to their mantel piece display of shimmering persimmons and sparkly glass reindeer prancing around candles that are lit?

Think of the liabilities here.

Enjoy some damned Halloween candy.
Get off my porch.

Watch this instead of planning your homemade wrapping paper.
Watch this instead of planning your homemade wrapping paper.

Love ya,

Sara Rose

Tough It Out.

Before we get started, let me say this post is not about how awesome Eva is. Well, she is, but really the whole point here is comparing two extremely similar situations, two out of many such situations happening across the country. Bullying is a serious issue, and standing against it is seriously important. Keep that in mind as you read.

 

I love the words ‘Tough It Out’. It can apply to all manner of things, right?

Stomach flu, a shitty divorce, pink eye, a bad day where have to work and can’t stay home in pj’s, diarrhea, twisted ankle, paper cuts, or a bad hair day…

Wait, what was that?  Oh yeah! Got a bad hair cut? Tough. It. Out!

Now, what if that hair cut isn’t bad? There’s a reason your hair got cut….

I have a point, I promise.

Here’s the deal. My generation basically falls into two pails with how we were parented- the kids who had to ‘tough it out’ or ‘mommy and daddy will fix everything- EVERYTHING!’

So, people think of this generation as being pretty jaded in our parenting efforts.

Our kids should have everything, right? I mean, the mean girls get it all, so do the asshole jocks, and the kids sitting under a tree at lunch, reading, are the LOSERS.

Or the kids who become very socially conscientious- also losers!!! Your kid should be dumping people in toilets and excelling at sports. GOSH.

So let’s say you have raised a kid that is ‘sensitive’. Another fun label.

Your kid cares about recycling, finds wounded animals, cries at sad movies, and is maybe a little shy.

Or your kid finds out that someone they love has cancer and is devastated.

They want to understand what’s happening, why they or others are sad, and they want to help.

I just find it ironic that we have all, at one time or another, said that we want a compassionate child.

One that will not bully. That will show kindness and consideration in any situation.

One that will see another person suffering and try to help.

Then we turn around and drill into them- be PERFECT and the BEST at everything.

It can be at the cost of anyone- all that matters is that you are better looking, smarter, more athletic, and the most popular.

Now let’s talk about a little girl. It might be one who has made news very recently or it might be one I have talked about a whole lot here.

This girl is fun, smart and feminine. She might be athletic, into books, bright colors.

She might just be a really awesome and compassionate kid who saw someone else suffering and wanted to support them.

That person had cancer and had to do chemotherapy. This little girl felt the scared, the hurt, the confusion and wanted to help, in some small way.

So, she cut her hair! In fact, she donated it! She was really proud and felt she could out.

But her classmates didn’t like it. Adults made strange, rude comments. You are told that you are a bad parent….

FOR LETTING YOUR GIRL LOOK LIKE A BOY.

And the best part? You get to ‘Tough It Out’.

Bullying is no catch phrase, people.  Not when there are 7 year olds taking pills or hanging themselves.

Not when there are school shootings at an average of one every 2.4 weeks.

No. Your kid shouldn’t have to endure being told that their appearance is lacking at any age.

So, you may have heard of a little gal called Jetta? She cut her hair to support someone she loved who is going through cancer.

Here is her page- https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stand-With-Jetta/861357587249282
Here is her page- https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stand-With-Jetta/861357587249282

That story that I just told? Jetta, honey, it was for you. Do you know why?

Because all those pictures of my daughter with short hair?

She cut her hair when I got cancer a few years ago.

Anyone who mocks her, she smiles and walks away.

No tears, girl. They aren’t worth it.

I wonder where Eva (who, by the way, wants to be your pen pal!) got the idea from short hair?

I'm Eva's momma.
I’m Eva’s momma.

Just an idea.

This post could have been about Jetta, or Eva, or BOTH. Not sure how I feel about that.

I will say this. As parents, adults, and humans- we are tasked with raising our children to be kind and compassionate, as well as driven to their personal goal of success.

It should not come at the cost of making others feel awful. That actually is not success.

Rise above and walk with beauty and grace.

Stop compartmentalizing bullying, people.

My daughter and this girl have suffered a bit too long for sticking to who they are.

This is not an option. I can understand that we all have to ‘Tough It Out’ on a bad day. That’s life.

That is also different than relentless teasing, mocking, and even violence to make a kid feel inferior.

I bet you know a few kids too. It is not okay.

They do NOT have to tough it out.

Glitter and Sparkles,

Sara Rose

A TEAL Light House.

Let me tell you a story. Not all stories are fairy tales, dramas, or comedies.

Some things just happen and you are left a bit battered but better.

A person can be a light house.

Terrible things happen around light houses- storms, tidal waves, high winds, terrible cold and heat.

TealLighthouseA light house is on the highest rocks because everyone is brought home from sea by the light house.

Nobody needs know of or see the cracks at the base.

Cracks that can be a cancer, one that aren’t fixed with paint, Spackle, or grout.

But the strange thing is that people that only have the distant view will say “THERE ARE NO CRACKS.”

In reality, they will not care if that lighthouse falls into sea, but they will be lost without that light.

That light is one person’s truth and it will change in color after the cracks have settled.

The fact is this – one in every 25 women will suffer some form of a feminine cancer – be it breast, cervical, ovarian, etc.

These cancers account for a big percentage of deaths amongst any woman who faces this diagnosis.

Even worse, a lot of these women have to fight for health care, insurance coverage, and worse – people to believe them.

Just like a bruise on your face should be hushed up, so should a cancer that touches anything uncomfortable to speak of.

So, you rebuild the lighthouse.

It’s now untouchable. There is a fence. You have moved to higher rocks.

Because what counts is that people need your light to shine so they can be safe.

Not the other way around.

Always speak your truth.
Always speak your truth.

I will never change the fact that I had cancer, that some people walked away instead of showing kindness, and that I have come out stronger but more guarded.

I have been tasked. There are other women that this has happened to and that need a sister to heal with.

Thus, my lighthouse shines TEAL for all of these other beautiful people.

We can always choose kindness. We can always choose light.

On an uncommonly warm day in November of 2011, I took the pup out for a run and felt a growing, hot pain in my back. It got worse and I felt more and more awful as three different doctors saw me, the first two eager to dismiss it as a muscle ache. It was the woman who delivered both of my children into this world who saw things were terribly wrong and looked for more.

I was diagnosed in the winter of 2011 with Ovarian Cancer (Epithelial, Stage IIIB). I will not give a detailed description of my diagnosis, other than that it was present on both ovaries and had begun to spread toward my stomach. It was horrid, painful, and a rude source of the wrong kind of attention.

We wanted, my husband and I, to show people how terribly confusing, scary, and dark this time period was. I actually never ventured far from my bedroom from the time I was diagnosed until we moved back to the Black Hills. I needed the dark, solitude, and the comfort of being alone sometimes.

Over the next 6 months, I was subjected to doctors changing constantly, being misinformed a lot of the time, and by the time I was approved for surgery, then chemotherapy, my insurance dropped me.

At the Beginning.
At the Beginning.

So many people rallied to my side when I reached out for help in one of the scariest and most uncertain times of my life. Others preferred to walk away.

I spent 2012 and 2013 finishing chemotherapy and finally getting an all clear.  I have spent the remainder of 2013 deciding where I stand.

I guess it goes like this. There are women who need to hear these stories, be informed, and have someone hold their hand during the dark times.

A teal sister and warrior. A woman who guards herself a bit more closely now, but will still shine.

I have never let anything stop me. As Edward Bloom would say “This is not my time, this isn’t how I go.”

I am blessed to have been given a task in this world. I am blessed to see my beautiful loved ones around me.

I am also blessed to have gone through so much pain. It only made me better.

I am so blessed.
I am so blessed.

(In honor of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, September 2014, I will be making donations in honor of the fundraisers we have done, my story and so many others to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund – http://www.ocrf.org/)

Glitter and Sparkles,

Sara Rose

Rainbows Smell Good! Let’s Talk Scentsy!

Y’all meet my girl, Rainbow! Today we are taking a break from #OCA and talking about taking a leap of faith to attain our dreams! That’s just what she did, a month ago, and is loving every minute of it. Read her journey and I hope you also Scentsy it up!

We love being colorful and awesome!
We love being colorful and awesome!

Hi everyone! My name is Rainbow, for real. I live in Central Florida with my husband Mark, and 4 children, Xander (10), Isaac (8), Makayla (7), and Gabriel (2). I’ve been a stay at home mom since halfway through my pregnancy with my youngest. One month ago I took a leap of faith and signed up to be an Independent Scentsy Consultant.  My husband has worked hard for as long as Ive known him. He’s working his way up the managerial ladder at Wal-Mart, and we pay all our meager bills on time. However, we had come to a point where no matter how hard my husband worked, we were not going to be able to make ends meet without me getting a job too. I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to give up the time with my baby, as frustrating as he can be, because he is my last, and I didn’t want to give up my already school shortened time with my older children. Something had to give.

A friend of mine from high school, who now lives in Australia,  contacted me AGAIN to suggest I give Scentsy a try. I had completely ignored her suggestion about 8 months prior, but I noticed her. I noticed how excited she was, how easy it seemed to come to her, how quickly she advanced, and quite frankly, I wanted that too. (That was the extent of my experience with Scentsy at that point!) After talking it over with my husband, we decided I would give it a go. I was so excited! Well, the start up fee of $99 is astronomical when every little bit is carefully budgeted. For Pete’s sake, I’d only just took the kids back to school shoe shopping, an ordeal that left me tear stained and them only barely satisfied with their new kicks. We planned for the expense, and in the meantime,  I watched the team I would be joining.  I watched them support each other and encourage each other.  I watched them be excited over each other’s success. I personally was shown such love and encouragement that I saw no chance of failure. When there’s that much good, how can it be bad? The big day finally came, I registered, and a new journey began. I made the promise to hit the ground running, and now, a month later I’ve had 2 promotions and recruited 5 people. To be on the leadership side of thing already has been fun. I’ve loved helping MY team get their businesses up and running. Their excitement inspires me to do even more. I love that I have some good friends starting this journey with me, and we get to grow and learn together.

ALL THE SMELL GOOD!!!
ALL THE SMELL GOOD!!!

But WHY Scentsy?  Why not any other direct sales company? The people sold me long before I even tried the product. Then I tried it for myself and was sold. Scentsy’s flagship products are decorative ceramic warmers used to melt specially formulated wax bars. We offer a wide variety of warmer designs, all of them using either a 15, 20, or 25 watt bulb, with the exception of our Element warmers, which use a warming plate. Everything I have tried has amazed me. The wickless candles smell amazing; I’d used the knock-offs before but I only liked them, I never LOVED them. The warmers are even more gorgeous in real life than in the catalog pictures. The problems I had with the knock-offs,  mainly the warmer getting very hot and the wax scent not being strong enough, are not problems I have with my Scentsy warmers. All the fragrances are amazing and so very true to their description, and Ive actually LOVED some that i would not have ever tried before. My whole house smells fantastic, with every room now sporting some gorgeous Scentsy swag. Scentsy isn’t just wax and warmers though! We also carry a line of luxurious bath and body products, including body lotion, hand cream and fizzy bath tablets, and laundry products like liquid detergent, Washer Whiffs, and Dryer Disks, in our Layers by Scentsy products line. There’s also travel and purse sized stuff like room spray and lip balm, and even adorable stuffed animals, Scentsy Buddies, for the little ones or for those still young at heart. Each Buddy has a zippered pocket in the back, and comes with a scent pack, so it is not only adorable and snuggly soft, it smells good too! The Buddies are limited production; when one sells out a new one will be released. My kids LOVE their Buddies!

Buddies Rock!
Buddies Rock!

Everything I have tried has exceeded my expectations,  and I’m generally a hard sell. However, my favorite thing about Scentsy, something I love even more than the paycheck, is what I call “Scentsy magic” There is a look that I’ve seen happen to every person as the smell my wax testers. A first sniff, then a sparkle in their eye, and a second sniff. Sometimes they cry, sometimes we both cry. There’s goosebumps and stories and laughter. When a memory so special is remembered and shared, that sparkle, and those tears, that’s magic. I get to share that with people almost every day. I really feel like part of something special being able to share something I love so much.

When I first thought about joining Scentsy, I was doing it for the potential paycheck, obviously. My friend/sponser/mentor told me Scentsy changes lives, and while I never thought it was for real, it seemed like something I’d like to get in on. Now, just a short time later (I joined on August 13th) I have seen that what she said is true. I’ve seen the change Scentsy makes in people’s lives. I’m seeing it change my own. As a stay at home mom, I was having a hard time feeling like I was doing anything that mattered. I know what I do matters, but I’m talking more than laundry and home cooked dinners. I know my children and husband rely on my for nearly everything, bless their hearts, and I ABSOLUTELY love taking care of them, but I also needed something for ME. I have had so much fun doing this, so far anyways. I look forward to the next time I can tell someone how amazing Scentsy is. I’m doing really well, and the praise that’s been heaped upon me has been nice. No one congratulates you on a basket of laundry well folded, ya know? My husband has been super supportive from the start, and even said he’s noticed me having more confidence, and that he thinks it’s really sexy to me so excited about something. Three cheers for unexpected pluses, right?

At the beginning of August I was crying in a shoe store because I couldn’t get my kids the shoes they wanted for school. I took a risk and invested in myself, and now I have a job I love, I can contribute financially while staying home to make clean clothes and hot dinners and help with homework, and I can offer this amazing opportunity to others. As of today, September 19th, I have personally recruited 6 people. I’ve also been fortunate enough to meet the sales requirements for the highest new consultant award, Scentsational Start Level 3. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it all, really. I hope to continue doing well, and I hope lots of other people decide to take the risk and invest in themselves. Even if you’re like me, and $99 is a lot up front, it’s so worth it. Anyone interested in learning more can contact me atmrsmizzark@gmail.com,  or through my website,https://rainbowwade.scentsy.us. I would love to spread the Scentsy love!  Also, check out both the current catalog and the Fall Holiday catalog!

Thank you for my Scentsy, Rainbow! Love working with you!

Glitter and Sparkles,

Sara Rose

Light It Up Teal: Power of Pretty.

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One of the most important things I did things I did for myself during cancer/chemo/recovery was to make sure that I truly took time for myself. Whether it was a bath with essential oils, an extra cup of tea and a good book, a pretty shade of lipstick, a nice walk….or most importantly, having lovely nails.  There were days when my skin was blotchy, my skin was awful, my nausea was at an all time super awesome high, but I could take a look at my pretty toes and fingers, then have a little smile.

is that vain? No. Taking care of yourself is the most important thing a woman can do, but it is essential, crucial even when you are in treatment for something that could have been life threatening. You need something to boost your spirits, be it prayer, music, or surrounding yourself with loveliness. I chose prayer/meditation, making sure to never tax myself too much, and surround myself with loveliness.

One of the greatest things I got to do in the last couple years was visit my friend Hollie a couple times a month. Sometimes I was feeling so low, and she would crack me up, listen attentively and offer sound advice, and at the end of an hour present me with lovely hands! Sometimes, when I was especially down, she would smile and say “My treat. Go forget about all the negativity for awhile!” She is one o the most talented and kindest people I have met. She understands so much about the hardships we can all go through and always offers kindness- a lesson that I try to take with me regularly.

I posted here a gallery of her work, my own polishes, and cool Jamberry’s. I’ve had the privilege to work with another very kind friend, Sarah Alanis. She introduced me to Jamberry’s- which have been great as my nails start to heal. They are such a fun option and addition to my collection of nail pretties. I love them because they are vegan, affordable, they last a long time, and one set has more than one manicure and pedicure in it!

Together, Connie, Sarah Alanis and I are partnering on my other awesome Ovarian Cancer Awareness fundraiser!  We have designed 3 special sets of Jams for the cause, the company is donating and we are donating matching amounts based on this great fundraiser! Just like Connie and I’s other fundraiser with EO4 bracelets- you shop and we donate to this amazing cause.

Everyone, Ovarian Cancer is one of the chief causes of death amongst cancers in the female reproductive system.  What is so important is that we come forward and create opportunities for awareness, action, and advocacy.  Plus, shopping for an awesome cause when the goods are high quality and affordable is always a win-win scenario!

This is the start of a huge year for me, guys and gals. Awareness on this important health issue is needed because not enough people know what it even is. Advocacy is the name of the game and as I celebrate my first year of being off of chemo and cancer free, I will be lighting it up TEAL in every way that I can.  Consider our fundraisers, donating to an important and reputable organization that is doing this important work helps us take steps forward for our women, everywhere.  I listed a huge amount of different organizations in Connie’s post, but when I post my story this week, I will be talking about the work I want to do as well.

In the mean time, please head to our fundraisers! Your dollars matter- even if it is just $1!  Light it up TEAL on Tuesdays, wear that color and tell people that you are proud to know women who have overcome this and a variety of other feminine cancers!  Tomorrow, I’ll be sporting my TEAL, promoting these fundraisers, and advocating on behalf of women who haven’t found their voice yet!

Check out Jamberry and our fundraisers.  Light it up TEAL!  Remember how much your support has always meant to me and will continue to as I continue this awesome journey.

Glitter and Sparkles,

Sara Rose

Learning Without A Teacher Is Hard Work: Nolan Goes TEAL.

Us 2

Death is something that has always frightened me. In a world filled with ephemera, pop fads, and 140-character life updates, death has a permanence to it that terrifies me.

Cancer is something I associate closely with death. It’s not completely curable or treatable, unfathomable amounts of time and money are spent each year findings new ways for people that suffer various types of cancer to live longer, and ultimately it seems to hide and come back in new and devastating ways.

So, when Sara was told she had irregular cells in her uterus and on her cervix and that she needed a hysterectomy after our son was born, I was naturally worried. That worry didn’t go away, in part because I naturally make everything a worst-case scenario and in part because they refused to take her ovaries. When she received her ovarian cancer diagnosis 2 years later, it felt like my world was ending.

Now, because she’d had cancer before we both knew the odds of her getting some form of cancer during our marriage was pretty high. I didn’t expect it before 30. It’s too young. It’s too soon. We have kids. I love her too much for this to be real. These are the thoughts that went through my head.

WithEva WithOwen

As time wore on and we battled insurance and finance issues, scheduling issues, and tried to juggle our lives around a disease that ate away at both of us more each day, I got angry. I got depressed. I got lonely. Sara was there, but she wasn’t herself. She was tired, uncomfortable, and not filled with the energy I’d become so used to and dependent on.

These were the hardest problems I faced, and while we had our parents’ support, and the support of our small group of friends and family, a lot of times encouraging words weren’t enough. I was a young adult trying to cope with the realities of something I hadn’t thought would happen until my hair was grey and my face was wrinkled. And I had to do it alone. The doctors, our friends, our family, everyone had advice, but so little of it was useful, educational, and absolutely nowhere offered any words that were soothing or comforting.

That’s why this issue, this month of awareness is so important to me. Nobody should have to go through this unequipped, uninformed, and alone. Yes, there are good, qualified charities to donate to that help with offsetting costs or furthering research, but to me, the fact is that cancer, especially ovarian and other types of women’s cancer are not going away any time soon.

We need to raise awareness and find ways to provide support for those battling cancer but also those supporting someone who is fighting that fight. Organizations that provide educational materials about these types of cancer, local and national support groups to help all those affected deal with the emotional aspects of this trying process, this is where I feel there is the most work to be done. I’m a firm believer that knowing your enemy is half the battle, but with so much misinformation, so many snake-oil salesmen, and an economy clawing for every desperate dollar, we need to know who our allies are that can help teach us.

So, please, take the time this month to educate yourself about the organizations out there that are trying to educate and support families dealing with ovarian and other women’s cancers. And if you can’t or choose not to donate, please take the time to read and educate yourself, both to help prevent such a tragedy from striking you or your family and to become an instrument of support should tragedy strike someone you know.

Above all, remember that this is not just a women’s issue, but also a men’s issue, a family issue, one that affects and alters the lives of everyone who faces it – it is a living issue.
Us

After years of dealing with ovarian cancer, sleepless nights, sleepless weeks, unfamiliar treatments and doctors and words and tests, I feel like I’ve learned a lot, but I’ve also learned it the hard way. The cancer can always come back, and that worry will never go away, but knowing ways to help my family, support the woman I love, and empower myself in troubled times allow me to worry less and focus more on how to move forward, living life fully, one day at a time.