Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Hormones & Quirks

I never knew how much I liked teen agers until I became a youth leader. In fact, I think as  a young adult I was intimidated by them. I kind of grew into my comfort zone with them as my own children  went through their teen years. God has given me such a heart for teens, my heart breaks for them in today's world.

When I first began working with them, it was a small intimate group of kids that pretty much knew each other since their nursery days in the church. I cared about each of them personally. For the most part, I  watched them grow up. As the group grew, so did my world. I became more aware of their troubled hearts & the things that slap them in the face.

Some of them came from your so called "typical family," but lets be honest, most of them didn't. Few kids in today's world live a life with their same 2 parents & grow into their teen years with the security that comes with 2 parents that have a life long love & commitment to each other. However, it seems that in today's world, the best parents can have teens that go astray, & the non present parents may have teens which soar. The "nontraditional family" has raised some pretty awesome teens too. Sometimes, there is no rhyme or reason. It's just hormones & quirks.

We are all wired differently. That's not rocket science. So… it's what we do with what comes our way that sometimes determines the outcome. Sometimes the outcome is awful, so how do we respond to awful? How does a teen respond to overwhelming conditions that are out of their control & so far from what they would choose? Sometimes their life really sucks, & they need someone to help them process their anger & heartaches.

Being the wise old woman that I am (LOL), I must say based on my observations throughout my life, it's when teens try to solve their own problems or process their own depression, anger, etc… that their lives often take a turn for the worse. Just last night, I learned of a struggle of one of the teens in my youth group. I looked back on those years, probably 8 ish  years ago, & I had no idea this young person was suffering. Teens are masters at covering their heartache! They are masters at internalizing their pain & expressing it in harmful ways that pretty much sabotage their own lives.

Lately I've been aware of some pretty hard slaps in the face of teens I love. I sit here wondering why these slaps had to be so harsh. Why do they have to endure such pain? Why is it so hard to be a teen in today's culture? We can blame technology for much of it, but in the case of these few teens I mention, technology had nothing to do with what hit them square in the face. My heart weeps for them. I just needed to get this off my chest!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Why I raise money for Susan G. Komen...

It seems to me that when you step up to raise money for a cause, your motivation will impact your results. A little bit of conviction goes a long way. It drives your campaign (so to speak).

You may ask… "What's my motivation?"  That's an easy answer. Jamie, Haley, Kristen, & now my 2  year old grand daughter, Lily. I'm a family girl. Nothing in my world would bring me greater heartache than having to walk this Breast Cancer journey with one of my precious daughters or my blond & blue eyed grand daughter. It's hard for me to think about, let alone speak of such a horror.

Early on in my Breast Cancer journey, I asked Kitty, one of the counselors at The Cancer Center, how I would deal with my greatest fear. Her answer was simple, "A piece of your heart would die." I knew she hit the nail on the head!

I ask myself… "How can I save my daughters & my darling grand daughter from this atrocity?" My answer is simple. RESEARCH! Susan G. Komen's name is stamped on all of the great strides that have been made in this dignity stealing disease.

Resesarch done by Susan G. Komen saved my life. My aggressive Breast Cancer was HER2NEW positive. It was ESTROGEN positive. It was Stage 3. It paralyzed me in every aspect of my life. I couldn't say the 3 words, "I. have. cancer," for a year. I couldn't even talk to my closest friend for a month (even tho' she was with me when I received my diagnosis). Susan G. Komen had my back! Because of her research, there was treatment for my cancer. I am eternally grateful for Susan G. Komen. I am so grateful I even named my cat BELLA G. KOMEN !

I try not to dwell on the negatives in my life, but I  must be honest & transparent so that you understand my motivation. 7 months prior to my diagnosis, I had a clean mammogram. My husband found my lump. I thought it was surely a seam on my pajama pocket, but as fear began to run through my body like electricity, I realized that my pajamas had no pocket. It was a lump.

Breast Cancer has robbed me of much! I had chemo. I had a double mastectomy. I had radiation. Radiation is the gift that keeps on giving. It continues to shrink the skin on my left side which causes my breast to be hard & now about 2 " higher than the other side. This gift has no end in sight. My Double Mastectomy makes me feel as though I am wearing a Bra under my skin 24/7. Lastly, my chemo caused a neuromuscular disease I already had to go into full progression. It is a painful & crippling disease that robs me of my strength & stamina. There is no cure for it. There is NO end in sight. It will continue to progress.

My Team, Team Sweet Potatas, raised just over $10,000 for Susan G. Komen's Race for The Cure last year by using Facebook alone & a few emails sent to family members who are not on Facebook. 2 local businesses (The Ice Cream Shack of Sunnyland & Maria's: A Great Place to Eat in Washington) offered to put coffee cans out for me. My approach to posting on FB was not rocket science. I posted almost daily. I shared bits & pieces of my story. I shared photos & posts made for FB. I used the facts about Breast Cancer provided by Susan G. Komen. I kept it personal. You could say, I dogged people. Each donation is significant. Each donation helps save a life. I am SO humbled that my life was saved by the fundraisers who went before me. They never knew me. I will never know most of them. Some of them are no longer with us. Their work saved me. Because of them, I get to hold my Grand Babies, & believe me, their kisses are the best medicine I know.