Happiness Is Free

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I think at some point, in all of our lives, we start asking the question why. Why am I working at this job? Why am I here? And why can’t I? Just over a month ago I quit my first job after college. There are some things that simple won’t keep me at a workplace, and this was one of those things.

I’d wanted to quite the entire year I was there. Not because of the job itself, but rather because of two individuals. (Props to you two that got promoted on lies and scandal). I however, have moved on and along with moving on, I’ve learned a little bit more about myself, and I am proud.

It takes a strong individual to constantly try to be perfect in the eyes of others. What I’ve learned is this. It takes an even stronger individual to accept imperfection if it means doing the right thing. This was the case with my job. But lets forget about that now.

A month of summer has had a rejuvenating spell on me. Everyone has to work to make money. Money buys things, and therefore makes us happy. Can we be happy without money, or less than what we’re used to? Or for that matter, can we be happy with less-than-perfect lives?

Can money really buy happiness or is it free?

Some of the happiest people I know don’t have a lot of money. Others that do, seem so uptight and worried all the time about having enough. Where does the line have to be drawn?

When a hummingbird migrates North after spring when all the flowers are in bloom, do you think they worry about having enough money to travel with? Or do they fly carelessly, needing only the earth to survive? What makes us anymore special than that of animals or birds? A brain?

Why are so many things just so not important? If life is short, than why not live it happily? Why not do what you love and in the process make money? If living happily can mean imperfection, too, then sign me up because I’ve heard from a little birdie that happiness is free.

 

Living in a Summer Haze…

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Living life is more than simple breathing. It’s the awareness of living by means of sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing.

How does the air feel on your skin? Does the air smell like the sandy ocean? Or does is smell like fresh-cut grass? How does it feel when you see your feet barefoot in the grass, running like a child through a sprinkler and tasting drops of water as they fall to your lips? Can you hear the giggles?

Living is more than simply not being dead. It’s being alive, awake and alert that your body, mind, and senses are real. Living is enjoying these wonders while they last.

Have you ever stopped and just watched a hummingbird drink nectar as it’s perched? It’s like the whole world is in slow motion in that one moment so something so small can taste a sugary necessity.

Living is seeing these beauties and recognizing they are here, before they fly off quickly like the hummingbird’s wing.

Life throws obstacles at us, two at a time. It frustrates us and leaves us drained. It’s a sadness, really, when one cannot see the beauty and real purpose of life. With the way the world is going now, the earth needs us to see the real problems more than ever. Temperatures rising higher and higher. What will the breaking point be?

I had a dream the other night of a tree catching fire while a hummingbird with it’s nest stay protecting it’s two babies the size of dimes. Does she fly away from the fire, leaving her two babies behind or does she stay like Jin in the TV Show Lost, never leaving his loved one Sun, even if that means dying with them. I woke up before the decision even had to be made.

It really got me thinking about what really matters in life. Living, loving, and dreaming to understand a little better, sort things out. When we sleep we ponder on things for hours. When we wake up, the answer is so much clearer. The mind is fascinating, and we need to keep it close to nature and love for others and this earth. Compassion is in all of us.

Whatever it is you are doing, make sure you do it with a purpose. A purpose that betters something or someone in need. Whether it be a person with sickness or an animal in need. We are here to make this world better, not destroy it. So take time to see the beauty and discover the things that truly matter in life. Bring happiness where sadness is, and find love where hate has been forgiven. See the bigger picture. We are all here together, living on this earth.

The Worst Day To Try Chi Tea…

It was the day of my mom’s surgery. I sipped on a vanilla chi tea latte a friend told me the night before I must try. It’s not bad, but has a zing aftertaste all over my taste buds. A taste I can only describe now as the taste of that day. I will probably never order it again. My regular coffee is much better. Mom drinks coffee every morning, too, except that morning because she couldn’t. She had plans to stop at Starbucks right after her surgery, but we both knew she wouldn’t feel up to it…yet, we were optimistic that maybe this surgery would be no big thing. My mom has always been so strong. When she told me of her breast cancer, she comforted me instead of herself. I guess that’s how moms are, though.

I showed up to the hospital very early in the morning to see her before her surgery. She had a nervous smile on her face and I kept smiling back at her, to comfort her. She had already been hooked up to machines, needles poked into her arms, and beeps echoing the room that I will never forget. A lumpectomy and total removal of the nipple, and putting in a port were the daily plans for her. I knew it would be tough, but wanted to get her through what must be done. My mom made the surgery sound so simple, so normal, and so easy, but that didn’t stop me from worrying. She made it seem like an ordinary day, but it was far from that.

The moment my mom told me her shocking news my insides crashed like a million cars going sixty at a red four-way stop. She was following me up stairs to my loft bedroom to see baby clothes I’d bought for my sister (my mom’s soon-to-be first grand baby). I wasn’t aware of the ocean’s wave tide behind me filled with worried tears and confusion. I picked up what will be the third generation’s little clothes and turned around to face that red stop light. Crash. Tears flooded and choked both of us when she told me she thinks she has breast cancer.

When the doctors said it’s time to say goodbyes I gave her another smile and slowly walked back to the waiting room, attempting my best to hide my worried eyes. I told my grandma and grandpa that we’d be back before she’s out of surgery in two hours. So Henry (my boyfriend of almost six years) and I went for coffee since it was so early in the morning. I was optimistic with the early sunny morning, yet worried, a weird combination…maybe it was positive confusion? Maybe I had daughter instinct and knew something wasn’t right. I just knew something wasn’t right. At this point all we knew was that there was a cancerous bump that they were removing.

I sipped that chi tea, anxious to get back to the hospital to see her in recovery. When we got back to the waiting room, we waited a few minutes then the doctor came in and told us she was out of surgery, but before we could see her, the doctor wanted to talk with us. We crowded our way into this smaller seating room filled with brochures. She told us that when she did the surgery and removed lymph she found a lot more cancer, spread so much it’s deep around veins and lit up all over her arm… “stage III at least” she said unable to promise anything. She also wasn’t able to put in a port, which is required for her chemo. Tears streamed my face and I found myself mad at the doctor. Henry comforted me and I wiped my tears dry so I could go see my mom with a smile on my face.

I walked back to see her flat on the hospital bed with a pink bloody band around her now uneven chest. I stood up by her head but she was still sleepy. Five minutes later, still sleepy. She should be waking up soon and be alert…but she’s not. We waited and waited. I spoke to her “hi mom” and when she saw me she smiled and said “did you get your coffee?” I held her hand and watched as she still wasn’t able to keep her eyes open. I should have just ordered coffee, not chi tea. Something isn’t right.

More and more doctors crept their way in the room staring at the blood pressure monitor. Lower and lower it crept. They’d ask her how she was feeling and she was still sleepy and hot. Each of us took turns talking to her and watching that monitor go lower as time went on. By now she should have been awake and able to leave the hospital. Eventually another doctor came in and called for tests on her heart and found liquid around her heart, and when asking her more questions realized she had already been diagnosed pre-diabetic. Why didn’t they know this BEFORE the surgery? I was so mad but when they saw this, the new doctor wasted no time calling med flight to our bigger city…where I wanted her to go in the first place.

I can’t remember how many tests they did and how many times they said “say goodbye.” Because honestly it was enough to make every hello a gift. My mom was med-flighted that day and spent days in the hospital. After that more and more doctor appointments, surgery to put the port in, and then chemotherapy. Last week I saw my mom with no hair and she is beautiful. It’s a gift that she is still here. Four days before mother’s day, my mom will have her last “red devil” chemotherapy until she moves on to the radiation every day. She is weak after chemotherapy and noxious. Her eye sight is affected from all the pills she takes and she has no energy and is losing weight. The crazy thing about all of this is how fast it happened.

This mother’s day, I’m going to plant flowers for my mom’s “outdoor escape” as she calls it. Her place to escape everything around her. Where hummingbirds fly around her sitting on the swing and where she can drink her favorite coffee on her rare good days.

Silver Linings In All That Changes

Summer is coming. I can feel it secretly in the air. It’s waiting to warm the ground and bring the colorful birds back. When I was younger, my mom would fill all the hummingbird feeders around our white porch. Dad would get beautiful blooming flowers and hang them near the feeders. My younger sister and I would put on our small bikinis and jump in the pool out back. I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss that.

But life changes and people change with it. Whether its for the worse, the better, or just because. Sometimes it’s hard to understand change and all that comes with it. After each winter, we are faced with the change of people and we continue life in a new year. Then, comes summer. The grass grows, children play outside, birds chirp, the sun stays out longer, and our feet feel warm. It’s like the light at the end of the tunnel.

As this summer approaches, I am faced with three things. Different in every aspect, yet all a big change in someone’s life. And it seems all three come out at the same time. My dad will be getting remarried. My sister will be growing a baby bump. And finally, my mom will be losing her hair. I never thought I would have to see her go through something like this…breast cancer.

Do I think she is right for him? Do I think my sister is ready for a baby? Is my mom able to do this? To be honest…I really don’t know how all of this will work out. I’m just looking at the silver linings in all of it.

To start, my dad was lonely for so long after my mom. He works hard and wants someone to share his life with. So, however crazy she may seem at times, the silver lining is that my dad won’t be lonely anymore.

Next, my sister. She’s been lost searching for her purpose for years after high school. So much ambition, just not in college. She wants more from life…kinda how I feel now. Expecting a baby has changed her life in such a good way right now. This is only the beginning for her. And me? I’m the lucky one to be the Godmother and Aunt! I’m also planning the baby shower. Silver linings.

My mom. Someone who has always been there for me through thick and thin. When she was poor to when she was rich and poor again. She’s always known what to say. Finding out she has breast cancer has changed her daily life, almost instantly. This must be the tipping point. I’ve never seen her more ambitious. It is only the beginning though. Many months of chemotherapy are ahead of her. The silver lining here…I still have my mom at my side, and now it’s my turn to help her.

As summer comes, my mom will get sick, my dad remarried, and my sister will grow a baby bump. What will I do? I will plan a baby shower, plant my garden of beautiful blooms and whisper three times to the hummingbirds, silver linings, silver linings, silver linings.