I remember years ago when someone would tell me that their loved one was diagnosed with cancer, I would feel sadness for them but as horrible as it sounds the sadness was fleeting. It did not affect me. It is a different reaction now. When someone tells me that their loved one was/is diagnosed with cancer my eyes immediately swell up with tears and my heart begins to ache. I tell them if they need someone to talk to, prayers, anything, I'm there for them. Their sadness is now my sadness because I know what they're going to be going through. I'm aware of what their loved one is going to be going through.
I remember when my mom told me on one of her worst days that she was thankful to be going through this; because she now knew what others have gone through battling cancer. I knew what she meant but I did not want to understand it, I chose not to understand it because I was bitter watching my mom suffer. It was not fair. She did not deserve to suffer and be in the pain that she was. One year later and I’ve chosen to understand it because she knew something that I did not know. There is power in being able to relate.
Not just in sickness but in our everyday lives. In knowing that someone knows what you’re going through because they have gone through it as well. It’s an instant connection. It is the resounding, YES! That’s how I feel! It’s human nature to not want to go through things alone, to want someone to really get it, to understand, and not just say they understand. Because no matter how hard you try, unless you’ve gone through someone else’s experience you’ll always be a little detached.
There is comfort in knowing that you are not alone and that often makes the burden a lot less heavy to bear. Because sometimes you want more than just someone to listen but someone to really understand. There is power in being able to relate.
Something my mom knew then and something I know now.
I hope that you all had great weeks and that you have wonderful weekends! ♥
When Sean and I moved to Pennsylvania three years ago we arrived during the Fall season. We made it a point to check out the nearest pumpkin patch and I remember loving it so much, especially the apple cider donuts. It was such a good day and we said we’d do it again but life got in the way and good ole pumpkin picking was no longer a priority.
A few months ago, Cinthia told me that she had never gone pumpkin picking so I told her that we’d fix this immediately because there was no way this was allowed when we lived in such close proximity to several pumpkin patches. Because I already knew that the pumpkin patch we visited three years prior was a hit that was the one we decided on.
The day we chose was the best day for pumpkin picking as there was truly a Fall like quality in the air, you know that good, crisp feeling. Not too hot, not too cold, just that perfect Fall weather with the addition of the brightest blue sky. We had a great day picking up the best pumpkins to adorn our front entrances, slurping apple cider slushies and eating apple cider donuts.
It’s days like these that really make me appreciate the small joys in life. This kind of activity does not involve a lot of money nor does it involve much planning but it is one of those activities that I finish feeling a little more joy than I began with.
I didn’t know what to title this post but I think that says it all. I hate to be the bragging type but I think that when something good is in your life you need to shout it from the rooftops. Being able to count your blessings makes it so much easier when it rains. I’ve shared the not so good on this blog so I think it is only fair that I also acknowledge the great.
OK, a little back story that many of you already know! In 2013, I received my first DSLR. A canon rebel T3i. I love/loved that camera. (Should I mention the amount of comments I use to get back in the day? Omgoodness, I was not aware at the time how very engaged the blogging world was!) Moving along, having my first DLSR taught me that I truly appreciate the art of photography and that this was something that I wanted to take seriously even if not professionally. So, I taught myself how to shoot in manual mode and learned that camera in and out. Ever since I received that camera I've done countless numbers of photo-shoots for my friends and family. It is a hobby that I’m so glad to have and my friends and family have benefited, ha! Sean might not say the same but this here is my blog ;).
For my birthday last year Sean’s gift to me was a photography course. Unfortunately a lot of it I already knew but I was still able to gain some knowledge which I truly appreciate. It was during that time that I realized that my camera does have some limitations so I told myself that I’d start saving for an upgrade. After Christmas last year, I started putting money away for my upgrade. I was not in any rush because I still had my camera which works perfectly fine.
A few weeks ago, I was telling Sean how much I had saved and that by April/May 2017 I will have the money saved to buy my camera. He walked into the office where I was on the computer and asked me to show him the camera. I did and he laughed and said, "Hmm, you might be saving longer than you think". I laughed back and said, 'Nope, my schedule says that I’ll have it by April/May 2017". And that was that.
He also asked me what I wanted for my birthday which is always so difficult to me (because I either want a gift card for home stuff or camera related items) but this time I said that a nice tan trench coat would do.
Last Friday evening, I’m downstairs in our family room when Sean returns home from work and he’s talking to me while he’s going up the stairs. He’s saying, "I think you deserve this gift because you’ve had such a hard year. With your health issue earlier this year and with the loss of your mom ... but you’ve handled yourself so well. You’re strong, you don’t complain and you are still the most positive person I know. I know that this gift will make you happy". By this time he is coming back down the stairs and in his hands he’s holding a box. I look at the box and was confused because they wouldn’t fold a trench coat in the type of box he’s holding.
He hands me the box and says to open it. I have a bit of a hard type opening it so he uses his keys to slice the tape. And when I open the box I gasp. I was so surprised that for a few seconds no words came out of my mouth. And he’s watching me while also recording my reaction (which thank God did not record, lol) and soon I’m screaming and freaking out. Tears are running down my face and I just could not believe it. He had bought me the camera; a Canon 6D! When I told my sister, Emma, she said, "Give Sean a million kisses for me but I’m not surprised". And you know what? I shouldn’t be surprised because Sean is the most thoughtful person I know but still, I was so surprised.
I could not wait to get the camera out the box and charged but decided that I would wait until the morning to play with it. Talk about restraint that I normally do not possess.
The following morning I was like a kid on Christmas morning, playing with a new toy. I'll end this post with the first shots, shot on my camera. I did all these shots in manual mode because that is the mode I prefer to shoot all my pictures. I still have some work to do with figuring out all the capabilities this camera has but I can already tell the difference and I’m so thrilled. I shot it in low light over the weekend and could not believe how well it captures images. I’m looking forward to using and learning this camera for years to come! Looking at those first images I shot on manual modethree years ago, I can't believe how far I've come. I hope that in three more years I'll see even more growth!
This camera finally allows me to have the background in focus and the front blurred!
Oh and if you’re curious about what I’m going to do with the money I saved, I’ve decided that I’ll continue to save until Sean’s birthday in February that way I can get him a bomb ass gift. Not sure what it will be yet but it’ll be good. He deserves it.
Another birthday has come and it’s a reminder that it’s my second birthday without my mom. So much has happened in the last year. Heck, so much has happened in the last two years. Some things I never could have imagined. Sometimes I imagine that a lot of it can’t possibly be true. That this is all a bad dream and I just have not woken up yet. Sadly, it’s reality. My reality.
I’m heading into my 34th year with hope. Hope that things turn around for the better . I don’t want to fear the what-ifs. I don’t want to overthink everything. I really would like to just be happy. It seems quite naïve to write that but it’s true. It’s really all I’ve wanted from life. To be genuinely, ridiculously happy. And for the most part I believe I am. Some things in life have placed a substantial damper on it but I am happy and my smile hasn’t gotten any smaller. I still smile big. And to be honest, I’m glad that I can still say that.
Life isn’t always going to be easy. Years will change things. Make things better or worst. But we can choose how we respond to the curveballs. So for my 34th year, I choose to live life. I choose to be happy. I choose to be the person my mom raised me to be. I want to be able to look back and say that my 34th year was a turning point for me; that I got things done and achieved so much of what I want to achieve in my life. I want to say, "Faith, you rocked 34" on the eve of my next birthday so I'm working on that now.
To 34, I’m ready for you. Just suck a little less than 33 ;).
A couple of weekends ago, I had a girls weekend in the city. I’d been looking forward to this weekend for months.
Two years ago, I had a girls weekend with my best college girlfriends and we promised to do it the following year. Well, life got in the way and we were not able to do it but we certainly made up for it!
I talked about them a couple of years ago in this post if you would like to know a little back story about our friendships.
Unfortunately, Sherie was not able to make it so it wasn’t 100% complete because we missed her sassiness but we still managed to have the best time. I’ve seen Jihae (happy birthday Jihae!) and Stacy a few times in the last two years but Charmion I had not seen in two years so it was great to be reunited. She is the most chill of all of us. No joke; we tease her about how chill she is. Nothing bothers her.
We were not able to begin the weekend on Friday evening like two years ago but I did manage to get to the city early on Saturday that way I could feel like I had the whole day. We stayed at The Kimberly which wasn't the most convenient because construction is going on right now and their valet service is pretty much a joke to the dismay of Stacy who had driven to the city. Good hotel (think old time castle decor) but due to something they cannot control we won't be heading back until the construction is done.
After we checked in we had plans to go to the Met museum. Let's just say that shopping got in the way, majorly. Basic.
- Stacy making fun of my big hoop earrings. Whatevs. Huge hoops will always be my favorite.
We did dinner at Sushisamba and then after we went bar hopping and proceeded to have the most random, fun night. It ended at a trip to Rite Aid to pick up some snacks at almost three in the morning and then when we got back to our hotel we just laughed and talked (we already have our next reunion planned for next year, God's Willing) until we fell asleep.
You see that gem on the right? It's their amazing version of s'mores! You roast it in the fire and it gets nice and warm and when you bite into it it is cold because of the ice cream. It was so incredibly good. It took so much out of us not to order another round.
We woke up a little later than we intended and had brunch at The National and I seriously had the best potatoes I've ever had.
I don't know if I should even mention the amount of time I spent checking out all the fishes at the hotel. I guess there are some people who were born to be cool and others who were not. I'm in the latter.
I did not take nearly as many pictures as I intended. I seriously slacked and the pictures I did take were taken quickly without much thought into it. I really just wanted to savor the time with these beautiful women that I've been so lucky to call girlfriends for fifteen years. I feel I've been really blessed in the friendship department and am so, so grateful for it. Lord knows I've needed them in the last few years and I've never been disappointed. I hope that I'm as a good friend to them as they are to me. ♥