overcoming

The Inevitable Fear

And you’re back?  Hooray for another Face Your Fear Friday!

All of us fear it in one way or another. Death. Don’t leave! My hope is that this lights a fire under you to mend fences. Have no regrets.  This life boils down to one thing in my mind. It’s not about building the biggest business. It’s not about how many things you can fit into your castle of a house. What it starts and ends with is love.

In all seriousness, I don’t fear my own death one bit. That might sound morbid, but I’ve just come to accept the circle of life. Here’s my biggest fear, truth be told: My leaving this planet or someone I love leaving this planet not knowing how much I love them. I was sitting with my two cousins at [Stacked Pickle] a little over a month ago. We were talking about getting our cousins together to do a camping trip this summer so we could all be in one place and just enjoy each other’s company outside of the hustle and bustle of every day life. I think Joe thanked me for organizing it – and that was all it took.  Tears started flowing down my cheeks and I said, “You know, my biggest fear is that I won’t see you guys or people that I love again – and you won’t know how much I love you.” And the tears kept coming.  The truth is that the tears finally stopped the day after, but even now, writing this out – my eyes are starting to fill up.

I lost my mom nearly 6 years ago to a horrid disease – pancreatic cancer. I’d be lying if I told you that a part of me didn’t die that day as well. Before that day came though – my GOD, we had a rocky relationship.  I took her for granted more times than I care to remember. I was selfish. She was demanding and controlling. It felt like one head butt session after another. I even remember when she was feeling so badly before her diagnosis – I felt like she was exaggerating – because that’s what she did. Everything was bigger than life (which is probably why I love the movie Big Fish). As I sat in that tiny little consultation room with about 10 other family members, the doctor told me news that flipped my whole world upside down. As much as this woman annoyed me. As much as I’d thought her purpose in life was to destroy mine – the reality of the woman who loved me enough to give me life – flashed right in front of me. In that moment, I realized just how self-centered we can be as humans. Before this moment, I’d lived my life for me. On October 11th, 2007 – my life was no longer just about what I wanted and what I needed. At around 10:30 am that very day, my life’s purpose became saving my mother’s life. No doctor was going to tell me I couldn’t either.

I tried – and I failed. One thing I didn’t fail at though: I rebuilt an incredible, loving, connected relationship with my momma. I apologized for the little things and the big things.  I bathed her, massaged her, and at the end, flushed her IV lines, fed her – and ultimately…. let her go.  As I was sitting next to her as she was in her hospital bed a couple of weeks before she passed, her best friend, Patty was there.  I got a little emotional and started to apologize again.  She looked at me and said, “honey, it’s ok.  Let it go.”  Then she looked at Patty and said, “Isn’t it funny? Your kids can wound you deeply and all it takes is a heartfelt apology and EVERYTHING is ok. And I mean it, sis.” As she turns back to me.. “Everything is ok.”  Now that’s love.

I want to leave you with this video from Patrick Swayzee and Barbara Walters.  It’s ironic that this man passed from the same dreaded disease. The reason I share it though – is the tail end of this video. “It’s amazing, Molly. The love inside… You take it with you.”  Live each day like it’s your last – and love just the same.  Mend fences.  Pride is a monster and it’s not worth the regrets you’ll have once it’s too late.

If you have interest in learning more about Pancreatic Cancer or would like to donate to research please visit the —->PanCan Site <—–

Facing My Fear Turned…. SMELLY!

Remember how I said one fear may seem absolutely asinine to you – but to me – it’s paralyzing?  That’s a picture of my first fear blog.  Most of you will probably read this and be like, “are you serious?”  YES, I’M FREAKING SERIOUS!

This fear has been ridiculous and has had complete control of my life in regard to food.  Now, let me just preempt this by saying that I know I’m a bit of a nut job.  In some ways – with me – something’s just.. not… right.  I’m fully aware, so no need to verbally flog me.

Hi, my name is Amber.  And I have a fear of any vegetable that comes on pizza. :-(

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I know.  Ridiculous.

Why?  Well, the texture of mushrooms remind me of human flesh.  How much human flesh have I consumed, you ask? Oh.  None.  But thanks for asking.

Onions and peppers – well I don’t want to ruin foods you like for you, but when you bite into either of those (especially when they’re hidden well in food or under a bun), it reminds me of biting into the hard shell of a cockroach.  Plus, you even get the burst of roach juice.  In my mind of course.

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So… Friday.  I decided.  I was going to overcome this.  My two biggest fears as far as food goes were onions and mushrooms.  I have two pretty incredible (words don’t do them justice) friends.  The husband of the husband-wife duo can cook his tail off.  I told them of my plight to overcome these fears and he had his mission.  He was going to make the best onion mushroom dish this side of the… well… UNIVERSE!  I haven’t had any such thing that I even remotely enjoy.

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As I was waiting for him to cook, I decided I was tough.  I can do this.  I’m eating this onion.  RAW.  Pictures speak for themselves.  An hour later, I’ve consumed a mini-tin of wintergreen Altoids, dark chocolate covered dried bananas and a container of plain greek yogurt trying to cover up the taste of raw onion.  I won’t be eating raw onion all by itself again any time soon.

And then the moment of truth.  A little bit of this, a little bit of that, lots of onion and mushroom and…. chopped cashew!  The texture of the cashew distracted me enough to actually enjoy the taste and texture of the onion and mushroom.  I ate the whole dang bowl.  And could have had more!

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May seem small to you – but to me, a whole new culinary world has opened up to me that I’ve shut out my entire life.  All of it.

Thanks guys!  Just want to keep encouraging you to do something at least once a week that makes you step outside of the box.  Something that scares you.  Even just a fuzz.  Grow YOU!!  Go get ‘em!

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