Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lifetime of Hope Session - Grace: Congential Heart Defect

Meet Grace, born in 2011 with a congential heart defect.


Grace is about the sweetest of little girls I've ever met and if you didn't know she was born with this defect you would never be able to tell!!!

Upon learning of the diagnosis, Grace's parents were overwhelmed, but became very hopeful as their knowledge of the defect increased.  Grace's symptoms were enough to scare any parent, trouble feeding, growing and maintaining weight, but despite these terrifying symptoms her parents were very satisfied with the overall health care that she received.

Grace is a year post surgeries and all the scary stuff that surrounds her diagnosis, however, she still has follow-up care, but is doing well!!!!

A life threatening diagnosis can change anyone's outlook on life, Grace's parents are simply thankful for every minute they have with her.  They found their strength in having faith and when asked what their advice to others who may find themselves in a similar situation they said "Have faith and find the best doctors you can!"  A little piece of wisdom they wish to pass along is "God does not give you more then you can handle! We have learned this!"

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Parting is such sweet sorrow ... not really.

You know the scene in Romeo and Juliet where they both die, or rather Romeo thinks Juliet is dead, drinks poison and kills himself but then she awakens only to find Romeo dead? Well that was a little how the beginning of 2012 felt for me.  Let me explain ...

In December of 2011, things in my personal life were simply horrible. I had no idea how to end a relationship that I had been faking being happy in for several years and I felt helpless and hopeless.  I had started hitting a bottom that I really did not want to hit.  With choices made by another, choices were forced on my part.  Only to be halted briefly with what January brought. 

In January 2012, I came to realize that I had become a bigger part of a co-dependent relationship.  Me. Miss Independent is now co-dependent. I couldn't wrap my head around it.  I allowed lies, deceit, cheating and selfishness to become and overwhelm me.  I started to feel, once again, that I deserved to be treated this way.  With one more lie, a change I had hoped for ended.  Only I didn't realize it.  

February is pretty much a blur, all I really remember is feeling like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders again and not a single person to trust by my side. But, I started to make plans for me and my girls, plans that did not include this other person in my life. 

March was the beginning of the end of a chapter of my life, actually it was more like a volume in my encyclopedic auto-biography, but alas, it was the beginning of an end and the start of a new beginning.  I finally found my way out of this toxicity I had been involved in, and it was a lot easier then I imagined.  I also learned that I had developed a cyst again on my ovary, a fairly large one too, which was a large part of some other issues I was having, which I had attributed to just being caused by stress.

April, May, June and July were spent working on me, on my own happiness. I needed to find a place where I felt whole again.  A place where I knew who I was again.  It didn't take long, but it took a whole lot of courage on my part.  I was battling with becoming an improved me. 

August hit me hard, both in a good way and a bad way.  I'll explain the bad part first.  I had this looming feeling that another chapter of my life was coming to an end.  I had been working in a job that I thought I loved for nearly 6 years, but just wasn't happy anymore.  I wanted a way out without actually quitting or having to find another job.  As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for, because you will, eventually, get it.  It wasn't so much that I needed to be careful with what I was wishing for, but rather, that I was ready for what I was wishing for.  At the end of August, I had been informed that I was losing my job, corporate America had come in and taken over the small company that I had loved working for and shutting down the department I was a part of.  I was both happy and sad upon hearing this news.  I was happy because I can finally do what I love without having to worry about the effects of quitting a job. But sad because this was something I could rely on, a job with benefits and was very flexible when I needed it to be.  I had also started really talking to Al, literally, the man of my dreams, also someone I didn't think I would ever find. But from the very minute things "got real" with him, I embraced every moment of it, I feared nothing.  Which leads me into September...

September brought me to a whole new volume in my encyclopedic auto-biography.  My best friend and I took a weekend trip to Gettysburg to visit a very dear friend and celebrate our birthdays.  I can honestly say, it was one of the best trips I have ever taken.  We laughed so much and had so much fun.  I turned 35 and got one of the best birthday gifts ever ... Al.  We had our first "official" date the day after my birthday and we've been together since.  Then, on September 10th, I received some news that practically devastated me.  I not only had a cyst on one of my ovaries, but now on both of them.  This would mean surgery.  I had to have my tubes tied, my right ovary removed, the cyst taken off my left ovary and have a uterine ablation. This means no more kids. Not that I really wanted anymore, but it's still felt a lot like my womanhood was being ripped away from me.  In the end, I also had to have my appendix out because it was twisted up with the cyst from my ovary ... can you say OUCH! It was also confirmed that I had stage 4 endometriosis, which was no big surprise, I had known for years that I suffered from it, just not the severity of it.   Back to Al, when I say that I literally found the man of my dreams, I really mean it.  I have forever said that I just want a man who will take care of me, not necessarily financially, but more in the terms of emotionally, physically and mentally ... and that is exactly what I have with Al!!!!  He completely amazes me and I feel like I am the luckiest girl in the world to have this man in my life!!! 

The rest of year has brought nothing but increased happiness in my life.  I finally feel like I am where I should be and I got to experience NYC and cross off two of my bucket list items with the man of my dreams and we had an amazing time!!!  So, goodbye 2012, you were good to me, but I have to make room for new and exciting experiences in 2013.


I hope you all have a wonderful new year filled with positive change and love.

Peace, Love and Light, 

Christine
http://www.lifetimememorieswny.com

Monday, December 24, 2012

Taking the magic out of Christmas ... and bringing it back. Finale.

"Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, 
doesn't come from a store."
~Dr. Seuss

Over the past 20 days, I have been on a quest to bring the magic of Christmas back to my heart and life.  I somehow lost the spirit of my favorite time of year over the past few years and I am very happy to say that I have re-ignited that flame and this has been a most wonderful Christmas for me.  This final edition is dedicated to family.  Not just any family, but my family.

I honestly don't know where I'd be without my family.  My girls and parents, especially.  My girls are my world. My everything.  Christmas probably wouldn't even be worth the craziness if I didn't have them.  My parents, have been two of the few people who have been by my side, supported me through every crazy decision, moment, and turn of my life.  I don't know how I'd get through just a normal day, let alone Christmas if I didn't have my girls or my parents in my life.  

I don't want Christmas to be over tomorrow.  I wish it weren't going to be here for a few more days.  Just so I can have a few more days of the anticipation, the preparations, the craziness.  Christmas is hard for a lot of people.  I tried to explain to Caitlin, just yesterday when she had a huge breakdown about her grandfather not being here this year for Christmas, that it is important to remember the good times, and keep them present in your heart, rather then dwelling on the fact that they aren't here.  This is very hard, I know, but it makes hard times that much more bearable when you can stop yourself from falling into negative thoughts and bring the positive ones forward.  

This year, Christmas has been amazing!!!  For the first time, I did what my mom use to do with me, I took Caitlin shopping for her presents, but still have a few tricks up my sleeve.  I also have started to teach Laurana what the true meaning of Christmas really is, that isn't not just about presents, but about family.  She's so cute when she goes through her list of family.  I have a man who is simply amazing, he treats me with love and respect and thinks it's cute when I sing (he must be deaf!!! LOL). 



For the first time in a LONG time, I feel like how I use to at Christmas time.  I don't feel like anything is missing, in fact, I'm so happy, I could cry!!!!  I hope you enjoyed reading about my journey, but even more so, I hope, more then anything, if you were like me and unable to find the magic of Christmas, that this helped you, even just a little.

Merry Christmas!!!!

Peace, Love and Light, 

Christine
http://www.lifetimememorieswny.com

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Taking the magic out of Christmas ... and bringing it back. Part 19.


"At Christmas, play and make good cheer, 
for Christmas comes but once a year."
~Thomas Tusser

Part 19 is dedicated to singing and dancing. I LOVE dancing, almost as much as I love singing! Neither of which I do very well. LOL BUT, it doesn't stop me from enjoying myself. 

Yesterday, while picking up all of the food for Christmas dinner, Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree came on in the grocery store and Laurana was singing it, so I started singing it with her and then I started dancing.  She was laughing so hard, then she kept trying to spin me.  So there we were, dancing in the dairy section of the grocery store.  It was a good time.  I didn't even care if people thought I was going absolutely insane.  It's a memory that we will have for many years, and who knows, maybe it even put a smile on someone's face. 



One of my bucket list items is to take ball room dancing lessons, one day, I'll do it.  I took singing lessons, a few years back, I'm not sure it really helped any, but I had fun and it made me appreciate singing even more. Next month, I hoping to take a few Scottish dance lessons before attending the highly regarded Burns Supper.

Singing and dancing fill the heart with joy, take time today to dance and sing, even if it's in the middle of the dairy section! ;) 

 Peace, Love and Light,

Friday, December 21, 2012

Taking the magic out of Christmas ... and bringing it back. Part 18.

"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and 
behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."
~Norman Vincent Peale

Part 18 is dedicated to Christmas Lights.  So pretty and colorful, they twinkle and give off a soft glow of fun light.  I love driving around seeing houses lit up with all the pretty lights!!  They are just so beautiful, even more so in the snow.  

Growing up my parents use to take us to the Festival of Lights up in Niagara Falls, NY.  I can remember being so mesmerized by all the lights, it all seemed to be so huge to me at the time! I loved walking around and seeing all the light displays and being surrounded by trees and plants, it was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen!!!


Festival of Lights has since changed and the last time I went (probably about 10 years ago), it didn't seem as grandiose as it did when I was a kid, but I still enjoyed it just the same.  I am hoping to make it out to one of the lighting displays in my area this year, we will have to see how the weather holds up this weekend!!!

Do you have any fun memories of Christmas Lights?

 Peace, Love and Light,

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Taking the magic out of Christmas ... and bringing it back. Part 17.

"Look Doris, someday you're going to find that your way of facing this realistic world just doesn't work. And when you do, don't overlook those lovely intangibles. You'll discover those are the only things that are worthwhile."
~Fred Gailey (Miracle on 34th Street)

Part 17 is dedicated to Believing.  There is a very large part of me that believes in things like Santa Claus, fairy tales lives, happily ever afters and love at first sight.  I've been told that my beliefs are unrealistic and silly, even.  

As silly as it may seem, believing in these fantasies allows me to keep my inner child, well, young.  Think about how a child's face lights up when he or she sees Santa at Christmas time, the innocence of believing that one man is so powerful and magical, that never ceases to amaze me.  I love that innocence.  I love feeling that innocence.  It's not something that too many adults stop to experience.  I think that this is one thing that I inherited from my gram, her passion and love of the feeling of innocence.  Growing up, I never really seen that but since I've been on this journey of re-igniting the magic of Christmas in my heart over the last 17 days, she's been on my mind ... a lot. I realize just how much I miss her.  I realize just how empty my grandfather must feel every single day he lives to see another without her.  And, most importantly, I realize, even more so then ever before, just how important it is to appreciate making memories built on those of the past.

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass but rather about learning to dance in the rain ... so let's dance, and sing and sit on Santa's lap even tho we are "too old".  Who dictates what the age limit is for visits to Santa, anyways?



And just for the record, I will always believe in happily ever afters and love at first sight.  You see, a happily ever after does not necessarily mean that your relationship is perfect, made of butterflies and warm and fuzzy slippers under a canopy bed, but rather a relationship where you are perfect for each other and you mean enough to each other to fight for what you believe in.  That is my happily after. 

Do you believe?

Peace, Love and Light,

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Taking the magic out of Christmas ... and bringing it back. Part 16.


Warning ~Jenny Joseph
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Part 16 is dedicated to originality. The poem above isn't the least bit related to Christmas at all, but as I sit here editing photos and listening to Christmas songs I've not heard before, it hit me how nice it is to hear new and original songs of the season.  

The poem you just read was one my Granny loved, it is a true testament of how important it is to have fun, dare to be different, and go against the norm just because you can.  One thing I've always said about myself is that I am the epitome of my own self, meaning, I am the perfect example of myself and no one else.  I feel it is important to just be yourself.  Why try to be something you are not?  Life is ever changing, which means, we, too are ever evolving.  You never know what that next corner will have around it, so I try to live life to the fullest and to enjoy even the most mundane of moments.

Life can be so much fun if we just stop worrying about what's going to happen next and start to live for the now.  It's hard to do all the time, I understand, we all get caught in the web of tomorrow. but just for today, give it a try, stop worrying about tomorrow, and just have fun now.


Go sit on Santa's lap, ride on the carousel, go sledding ... answer the call of your inner child!!!! 

Peace, Love and Light,