🙏🏻A Poem of Prayer for My Teenage Daughter’s Journey Through Middle School🙏🏻

If you met my 13 year-old daughter,

You’d know she’s a blessing to me.

Wisdom exceeding her years,

Just trying a teenager to be.

Although boys are not yet her focus,

Her heart has been broken by life.

Not trying to create any drama,

Just fighting to overcome strife.

With a heart as big as Texas,

She worries about those whom she loves.

Watching family members face severe illness,

She’s kept faith in her God who’s above.

So, no, she’s not your typical teen,

She cares not about what others wear.

But she gives all she has to her loved ones.

And if you need her, she’ll be there.

It hurts my heart to see her

Keep trying her best to conform.

When I know that God made her special,

To show others how to weather a storm.

While her gifts may not be the ones sought

By those looking to fit in a mold.

I have no doubt they will serve her

As she grows more courageous and bold.

So many kids face the pressure

To stand out and be the star of the school.

They must keep their opinions inside,

Do what’s asked of them, follow the rules.

Well, I was one of those who tried,

To please everyone with all I had.

But I realized many years later

On the inside, I was quite sad.

I’d spent so much energy complying,

There was none left for me to see…

The unique gifts and beauty inside me,

Everything God intended me to be.

So when I became a Momma, I knew

That I’d do whatever necessary

To empower my girl to be herself,

In spite of societal norms to the contrary.

So while this part of life may be a challenge.

And at times hard to see the big picture.

I have faith that her strength will continue to grow,

And her gifts will lead to amazing adventures.

I’m beyond proud to be the Mother

Of a girl who’s true to her higher power.

And I’ll walk beside her through every step of this journey,

Knowing God’s plan is greater than ours.

When it seems that you’re lost in the masses,

And can’t find the place you belong.

Please remember that you’re already there…

Where God placed you; He knew all along.

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🌸Not Unnoticed🌸

I hope you know just how much I see

What you sacrifice daily for our family.

The continuous acts of kindness you willingly share

Don’t go unnoticed; you’re always there.

To help and encourage every step of the way.

And remind us “today is a brand new day”.

The selfless ways you show your heart,

Have blessed me from the very start.

A thankless job, sometimes it may be.

But those who know you can always see.

Though life gets hard and takes a toll,

Your strength has been your constant role.

The hardships of care-taking, not for the weak.

Sometimes the near future can seem quite bleak.

The load I see you carry each day

Would cause so many to run away.

But you soldier on, asking God to guide

Your steps forward along the ride.

However difficult it proves to be,

You keep on loving and guiding our family.

Today, I say a prayer of thanks and hope you know,

I’m grateful for your love and your beautiful soul.

Happy Easter, Momma.

Love you dearly.

In the Pursuit of Peace, God’s Plan is Greater

I am a planner. I like to buy planners and pens, and use sticky notes. I have spent many hours of my life writing down my plans in a color-coordinated fashion, and marveling at the beauty of a month’s page filled with all of life’s daily details.

But, a breast cancer diagnosis and the related variety of surgeries and treatments (along with the never-ending list of unpredictable side effects) forced me to let go of my perceived control. Many days, I did not know what the next hour would hold, much less the next day, and certainly not the month ahead.

It has been five years since my world was turned upside down, and I’ve slowly returned to the beauty of planning. There are no words to describe the gratitude I feel for the ability to somewhat predict what lies ahead.

However, my mindset has changed in so many ways. Because I was forced to live with uncertainty, I grew more comfortable with the fact that some things are out of my control. Some days, my only plan involves maintaining my peace, in spite of my surroundings. For this reason, I started crocheting two years ago, following in the footsteps of my Grandmother’s talent.

She was the most peaceful person I’ve ever known, crocheting and praying every single day. She’s been gone for 15 years now. While I never learned to crochet from her, I quickly learned that I had an innate talent for using a hook and thread. I started with the basics, improving with each effort, with the ultimate goal of creating fine doilies like hers. I learned to read patterns, but found myself enjoying the experience more when I would “wing it”, allowing my soul to dictate the next stitch. I started the piece in this image with no pattern, and it became the one of which I’m most proud.

I couldn’t help but relate that to God’s plan for us, which we can not always see until we look back on how beautifully things worked together for our good.

As I embark on the final phase of my breast-cancer treatment (upcoming reconstruction), I am able to find peace, without needing to plan out every step of the journey. I know that whatever lies ahead will build strength, bring clarity, and form peace in my soul more so than any foreseeable circumstance that I could’ve planned…even with the prettiest planner and pen collection.

Here’s to fully trusting Him for a life that’s peaceful ahead.

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Email: peacefulahead@gmail.com

Patiently Waiting to Turn the Page

Update: Pre-surgery appointment with plastic surgeon this morning. We are a GO for April 9! Now, to get everything prepared to take off work for about 6 weeks. So very thankful…IT’S TIME!!!🙌🏻

Below post from my former blog

Well, it’s been 5 years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and 4 years since I completed treatment (including a double mastectomy, chemo, radiation, followed by a hysterectomy 3 years ago to wrap things up). Because I had implants before my diagnosis and my awesome surgeon was able to save them, I’ve been able to delay reconstruction until I felt ready to conquer another challenge. I’ve spent the past few years focusing on healing and accepting my new normal, all with the help of an amazing counselor and precious friends and family who’ve stuck by me throughout the journey. I’ve adapted my wardrobe to disguise my misshapen breasts, one which displays a dimple since there was not much tissue removed on the side that didn’t contain cancer (it’s like it is winking at me in the mirror). The other is stretched thin due to the large amount of tissue removed where the cancer had been and the 35 doses of radiation to reduce the risk of recurrence. I refer to this one as a “microwaved donut” as it feels just like the bicep that rests nearby.

So, I’ve finally decided that it’s time to take on the reconstruction process. Having time to accept that my body is forever changed has been critical to my ability to move on. The surgery is called DIEP Flap reconstruction. Put simply, the surgeon will use my belly fat (thank you, my child, for being transverse breach, necessitating a c-section, which created the “pooch” that will serve me in a way I could’ve never anticipated) and creating breasts that will be constructed from my OWN tissue!

PSA: I’m NOT getting “new boobs”…those are gone, along with the sensations they possessed, and neither of those will never return. I am removing damaged parts of my body. I’ll be getting back the chance to dress in clothing that does not resemble a tent, and the possibility of feeling feminine when I go shopping and get ready to step out into the world every morning, without the constant reminders of the most challenging time of my life.

This surgery will not be easy on me or my family by any means. However, I know that the feeling of truly being able to close the door that breast cancer forced open in my life will be such a blessing. I’ve stopped “waiting for the other shoe to drop” (fearing a recurrence). I also realize that having cancer changed me in ways that I never could have imagine…not just physically, but spiritually. It has given me the beauty of friendships that I may have missed out on, and shown me that some people can not handle me at my worst. This has allowed me to focus my energy on those who love me in the good times, and the bad. I’ve been able to forgive those who weren’t there for me, realizing that we each have unique opportunities for enlightenment in this life, and it is not up to me to create those moments for others, but to value and appreciate my own experiences. I am grateful for the fact that I know now what truly matters in life, and I look forward to using the insight and perspective gained to love and live more fully for years to come.

Also, I get to have my port removed! What a blessing it has been for medical staff to access veins easily. However, it has been a constant reminder of life with cancer as I must visit the Cancer center once every 6-8 weeks to have it flushed. C’est la vie!

As you can see in the photo, I’ve cut my hair super short in preparation for surgery. I’ll also use this time to transition to my natural hair color (mostly gray), because…I really just want to be ME! (So thankful to be able to say that and mean it…freckles, wrinkles, scars, and all). Here’s to being comfortable in my skin at 44!

Saying a prayer for peace today as I wait for the surgery date to be set. I see a new beginning ahead, and I know it’s time to leave behind all of the things that no longer serve me. Thank God for second chances.

Beauty: It’s Not a Competition

As a child, my perception of beauty was formed by actresses, cover models and Miss America pageant contestants, all of which were blonde, thin, and tall. It’s been said that comparison is the thief of joy, and I’d like to add that it also steals our ability to see our own unique beauty. As a short, freckled, curly-haired girl, I was convinced that I didn’t have what it took to be beautiful.

Although my perception of beauty had evolved over time, I still had certain limitations ingrained in my mind. It took me 40 years and surviving the life-altering challenges of fighting breast cancer to finally recognize my own beauty. The disfigurement of my breasts after a double mastectomy sent me to a true living hell, trying to find my confidence, despite missing the most feminine part of myself. After all, those pieces of me were not necessary health-wise. But, oh, the mind games that were started by losing them. Looking at others, I could only see that they, once again, had something I did not.

Although my body quickly recovered, it’s taken several years for my mind to heal. I am now able to see that beauty is only in the eye of the beholder. My definition of that beauty has evolved, including strength, grace, and faith. I am certain that we are all made exactly in God’s image, and that this journey is so much more than fitting into society’s ideal of “beauty”. While I wouldn’t wish the devastating journey through breast cancer and treatment on one person on earth, it is my hope that by seeing my own true beauty, others may recognize their own. What a blessing it is to marvel at the beauty of others, no longer feeling inferior or less-than. May your confidence grow from what truly matters in this life, and may you have hope, knowing it’s peaceful ahead.