Category Archives: journey

How Do You Tell Your Story?

My first locket... Blessed, Hope, Cross, Pink Ribbon, Pink Heart
My first locket…
Blessed, Hope, Cross, Pink Ribbon, Pink Heart

I tell my story in many ways. This is how I began to tell my story.  I hope you are encouraged by my story.

On December 26, 2008, my life changed forever.  I was 47 years old when I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.   I did not think this would ever happen to me. In all reality, it did.  By the time I was diagnosed, the cancer was Stage 3a and Grade 3, a very aggressive form of cancer.  The silver lining in all of this is that it was triple positive cancer.

When you receive a diagnosis of cancer, your life changes forever.  From that point on, you are known as the one who has cancer.  Some people deal with it by talking to everyone about every detail.  That just wasn’t me.   I prayed, spoke as if I was already healed and immersed myself in worship. I am a woman of faith and I put my trust in God to bring about His divine will.

It took years for me to be able to talk about my diagnosis and progress without tearing up. Eventually, I  became the principal at my own school.  I began to share my story with those who needed words of encouragement. Inner healing began to take place every time I reached out to help others.

During that time in my life, Origami Owl Custom Jewelry found me.  With the assistance of one of my teachers, I designed the locket in the picture above.  Wearing my custom locket gave me voice when I had no voice. I chose each of the charms because they have special meaning to me:

  • Pink Ribbon – Symbol of Breast Cancer
  • Cross – My hope is in the Lord.
  • Pink Hope oval – I was speaking ‘hope’ over my situation. (positive attitude)
  • Sparkle Pink Heart – I love anything pink and sparkly.
  • Blessed Plate – I am blessed.

In October, 2014, I began to share my story through my Facebook page and on my blog.  The purpose for my Facebook page is to: inspire, encourage and empower. I recently reconnected with Origami Owl to discover that their Mission Statement embraces the very purpose I started my Facebook page.

“Our mission is to be a force for good; to love, inspire & motivate people of all ages to reach their dreams & empower them to make a difference in the lives of others.”

I recently became a designer with Origami Owl to tell my story and to continue to be a force for good, inspiration and to make a difference in the lives of others. Every story is unique and important. YOU are important. How do you tell your story?

As my story changes, so does my locket. I have added... Designer Charm, Blog, Hope (script) Also, I put all charms in a heart locket because the cause will always be close to my heart.
As my story changes, so does my locket.
I have added… Designer Charm, Blog, Hope (script) Also, I put all charms in a heart locket because the cause will always be close to my heart.
Heart locket-different angle
Heart locket-different angle

I invite you to visit the Origami Owl Stories page to read more stories. http://www.laurasjourneyofhope.com/origami-owl-stories

Be Blessed.

Laura

Road Trip to the Carolinas

A long weekend, beautiful scenery and good friends are a great combination for a road trip.

The pictures tell the story. However, I do wonder about the names of some wildflowers. Maybe, you can help me out.

Beautiful mountain view.

Beautiful mountain view.

Carolina Chicadee Please let me know if we identified him correctly.

Carolina Chicadee
Please let me know if we identified him correctly.

Wildflowers Please help me out if you know what these are.
Wildflowers
Please help me out if you know what these are.
Love this bush growing wild. It appears to me a mini rose bush.  Please let me know if it is something different.
Love this bush growing wild. It appears to me a mini rose bush. Please let me know if it is something different.
Gorgeous reflection of the dock and trees on the pond.
Gorgeous reflection of the dock and trees on the pond.
 Beautiful picture of an antique tractor riding cycle mower.
Beautiful picture of an antique tractor riding cycle mower.

Sunlight as it shines on this barn. If you look closely, you can see a cow and a few goats.

Sunlight as it shines on this barn. If you look closely, you can see a cow and a few goats.

Good friends
Good friends

It was a busy couple of days and we had so much fun.

Take pride in how far you’ve come and have faith in how far you can go. In all of life’s craziness, remember to enjoy the journey.

I invite you to follow me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/laurasjourneyofhope.

Be Blessed.

Laura

Keeping It Real

IMG_5015

I’m just keeping it real.  How is it going with your gratitude journal?

I have been keeping my gratitude journal since May 1st.  On April 30, 2015, I invited you to join in. So, how is it going?

I am journaling (writing my thoughts) right before I go to bed because it helps me focus my attention on the good things that happened during the day. I don’t really like to use the word journaling because for some that is the first roadblock and you might say, “I don’t have time for that.” or “I can’t add one more thing.” However, we all have 24 hours in the day and I encourage you to:

  • Take 5 minutes to reflect on something that you are thankful/grateful for and write it down. (beginning or end of day)
  • Make time for yourself.
  • Take time for yourself.
  • Keep it easy. (start with 1 thing) You don’t have to write a long list. Just start.

I said that I was just going to start with one thing and I ended up with 3 things on some days because once you recognize the positive things in your life, you will begin to see more and more positive and focus less on the negative.

Here is my journal from this week.

My personal gratitude journel
My personal gratitude journal

You can see on Mother’s day Sunday, May 11, 2015, I wrote:

  • Call from my girls
  • church
  • nice day

Okay…overall nice day.  I spoke to both of my girls on the phone. I could focus on the fact that one of my girls lives out-of-town and the other one works Saturdays and Sundays and always has since she had children. I’m keeping it real! That is very painful but I can’t change it so I accept it and focus on the fact that they called me.

Monday, May 11, 2015, I only have one thing written down, “finish 1st draft of e-book”.  I was working on the first draft of my e-book until about midnight and I was just thankful to complete it before my deadline. (You can be looking for the release of that book in the next couple of months. It is about my journey through breast cancer as a working mom, wife, daughter and believer.)

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015, was a banner day because I wrote 4 things.  I was so excited that my physical therapy for my wrist was good. Sure it hurt but he said that the joint is becoming more flexible. (Thank you, Jesus.) A highlight from that day is watching my grandchildren and Wyatt actually kissed me goodbye, That’s huge. Also, I connected with a friend who I hadn’t spoken to in a while.  We get so consumed by technology that we forget the value of a real conversation.

 You can see from my entries that I’m just keeping it real, nothing fancy.

So how is it going? Post in Facebook comments or on the blog comments.  I want to hear from you.

Be Blessed.

Laura

Art From The Heart

FullSizeRender (2)

I was at the clinic earlier this week and I dropped by the chemo lab to say “Hi” to the nurses. I recognized at least 5 of the nurses. They are truly caring individuals. The nurse who gave me the best advice during chemo has moved and no longer works there. That advice was “Don’t be a hero.”

I noticed that some new ceiling tiles were painted. I found out that cancer patients and their families painted all of the ceiling tiles. When I was getting my chemo treatments, I sat in a recliner with my feet up and listened to my praise and worship music.  When I opened my eyes I was staring at the ceiling, a ceiling of ‘art from the heart’. What an inspiration!

FullSizeRender (3)

IMG_0280

FullSizeRender (6)

IMG_0279

Ring The Bell

During my visit, a patient completed her last chemo and got to ring the bell.

RINGING OUT Ring this bell Three times well A toll to clearly say My treatment is done This course is run And I am on my way
RINGING OUT
Ring this bell
Three times well
A toll to clearly say
My treatment is done
This course is run
And I am on my way

I had tears in my eyes as her husband took pictures of her ringing the bell and pictures of her with the nurses.

I remember that chapter in my life…that feeling of relief.  As I moved to the next chapter in my life, I became more grateful and thankful.

Now I am going to add a ceiling tile to the collection of ‘Art From The Heart’.

Be Blessed.

Laura

Enjoy The Journey

Happy New Year!
Happy New Year!

I prefer to set goals rather than the traditional resolutions because I am constantly striving to improve.  I am a goal oriented person and set daily goals for myself.

The year 2014 was full of 1st’s for me:

  • Resigned my position with the local school board after 23 years of service.
  • Prioritized my family over work.
  • Became more involved with my grandchildren.
  • Started the ‘Laura’s Journey’ Facebook page to encourage, inspire and empower others.
  • Started http://www.laurasjourneyofhope.com as a blog.
  • 6 year breast cancer survivor as of 12-26-14

2015 will hold many more firsts...some I don’t even know about.  My goal, not resolution, is very basic. My goal is to be healthy: body, mind and soul.

Body…I have been eating clean since July 1, 2014.  I have room for improvement in this area.  I am walking my first 5K, Race For A Cure, this month.  I hope to walk many 5K’s for different causes in 2015.  This time, I walk for all who are fighting breast cancer.  I walk to celebrate all survivors and to remember those who lost their battle to this horrible disease. It will be the first time that I will be recognized as a survivor.

Mind…I want to continue to fill my life with positive influences and have the courage to leave the negative influences behind.  The words you speak over your life are very telling.  When my girls were little, I would speak into them positive statements..

  • when you go to college…not if you go to college
  • when you get a car…not if you get a car
  • God has your plan…don’t worry
  • also, you could be president if you wanted to…

The world was open to them.

Soul…For me, this is my most important area.  I want to spend more time in my devotions seeking God’s direction. I want peaceful relationships with those in my inner circle.  Finally after 3 years, I am making progress toward peace with my dad’s death.  I was going to go see him on Saturday but he died on Monday.  I missed my opportunity. (This also comes under ‘mind’) For me, my soul still aches from that decision but I know he is in heaven.

Take pride in how far you’ve come and have faith in how far you can go. In all of life’s craziness, remember to enjoy the journey.

I invite you to follow me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/laurasjourneyofhope.com.

Happy New Year!

Be Blessed.

Laura

SURPRISE! RBW Celebration!

As I drove to work, I was mentally preparing myself for the emotions of the day.  I received the great news from the ultrasound but only Doug and I knew about that report because we wanted to wait until after the surgery.  In less than 24 hours, I would endure six hours of surgery that would require three specialist.  Today, I channeled my positivity to reflect on just how grateful I was for the staff at RBW.  I wrote the staff a letter so that I would not need to say any goodbyes.  I was not pleased to miss that last three days of school but you do not argue with doctors and I learned that my health was more important than my job.

Since the staff found out about my diagnosis when they returned to school in January of 2009, they continued to support me.  The first time I wore a wig I was so self conscious and they acted like it was no big deal.  When I had to wear my favorite fuzzy hat to work, they made me feel accepted.  They provided meals every Thursday for at least five months and my family looked forward to Thursdays.  My mom and I were just talking about that last night.  It was a much needed night off for the care givers not to worry about food. Every now and then, grade levels and individuals would give me care packets, gift cards and cards of encouragement.  They loved me through those difficult months and always treated me kindly.

Real men do wear pink!
Real men do wear pink!
RBW fabulous 'lunch bunch' looking good in pink!
RBW fabulous ‘lunch bunch’ looking good in pink!

When I got to school, I noticed one pink shirt, three pink shirts, grade levels of pink shirts and eventually realized that they all wore pink shirts on my last day.  It brings me to tears 5 1/2 years later as I write this blog.  I was surrounded by support and kindness every day.

After dismissal, Mrs. Ward, Principal, told me that she needed me to go with her to the Computer Lab.  She was quite convincing so off we went.  We did go to the Computer Lab and walked straight through to the back door of the Media Center where the entire staff had gathered and made a tunnel of pink to welcome me as I entered the room. (That was a tradition I brought to the school when I came years before.  On the last day of school, the staff gathered to make a tunnel for the last bus students to walk through as they boarded the bus.  The students always loved it.)  Needless to say, I was so overwhelmed.  As I looked around the room, there was a sea of pink.  The staff was wearing pink shirts, holding pink balloons and wearing surgical masks. It was an amazing show of support.

'tunnel of support'
‘tunnel of support’
Walking through the 'tunnel of support'
Walking through the ‘tunnel of support’
RBW staff...all in pink with their surgical masks
RBW staff…all in pink with their surgical masks

My birthday is in July so we gathered to celebrate an early birthday featuring my favorite colors: pink and yellow. They arranged for me to have a month of birthdays so that I would have a card to open every day during my recovery from surgery.  They also made a money ribbon because they knew I hadn’t been able to go to the beach during chemo and that was and still is one of my favorite places to relax.

My favorite wig and all three special cakes
My favorite wig and all three special cakes
Happy Early Birthday
Happy Early Birthday
Favorite colors...pink and yellow
Favorite colors…pink and yellow
It's all about the 'PINK'
It’s all about the ‘PINK’

Kindness, gratitude, compassion and joy surrounded me that day.  A journey through breast cancer or any other illness changes you.  You can allow it to change you for the good or you can become bitter.  It’s not easy!  Healing takes time.  Believe me…CANCER SUCKS, but life goes on and happiness is a choice.  I choose to be happy every day and I choose to SMILE!

I invite you to follow me on Facebook @ http://facebook.com/laurasjourneyofhope.

Be Blessed.