Motivational Monday

_Keep your fave to the sun and you will

My goodness, how is it already the last day of August? I can’t believe September is almost here and the days of sunshine are getting shorter and shorter each week. But even though the sun may be shining less in the upcoming months, it doesn’t mean we get less sunshine in our lives. Lift your hearts up to the sun, your sun, and let the dark shadows cask behind you. It’s a new week, about to be a new month, soon to be a new season. Let this new week be filled with passion and sunshine that lifts up your spirits and brightens your day!

Lots of love & lights,

Jessy

p.s. my Grammy is in surgery this morning at the Brigham to help heal her, I would so appreciate all the positive vibes, prayers and energy sent her way.

Saturday = Make Yourself Happy Day 

This summer, I have so enjoyed every day I’ve been blessed enough to spend outside, soaking up the beautiful sunshine and being near or on the rejuvenating water. I feel so connected to our world, the earth and my inner self when I’m on the water, listening to the waves crash, watching the sun set on top of the ripples, and hearing the animals live naturally in their homes. I feel instantly grateful for the moment and for the day and life I’ve been given.

   
 Since these warm summer days on the water are limited in New England and we are closing in on our final days of sun rays and waves, I’ve tried to get out and active as much as possible. Theres a lovely state park near work that I’m able to rent paddle boards and go out on the lake so I’ve been doing that frequently after work. I’ll tell you, it makes such a difference. No matter how stressful the day was or how hectic it felt, standing on top of the water and rowing myself further and further away from land pushes away the worries of the day and brings my mind back to what’s really important and where my focus should truly be. I love the alone time, getting to be with just me, my thoughts and the sweet sounds of birds chirping, fish swimming and water moving. It’s peaceful and it’s always makes me feel a true sense of peace and happiness. 

  
Today, however, I had my favorite partner next to me. My Michael. We spent our morning at outdoor yoga in front of the Mystic River here in Somerville, drank our coffees and read our books in the park, and then put on our bathing suits and rented some boards to paddle down the Charles River. The wind was strong but we were together and enjoying the beauty that Saturday’s in New England in August have to offer.

  

  

  
Saturday’s should be called, “make yourself happy day” because we work hard all week, maybe doing things that we really aren’t passionate about but the majority of us are lucky enough to get two days a week to focus on ourself. It’s the time to make ourselves happy, make our inner beings smile. Whatever that means for you, I hope that’s what this day brings to you. 

Lots of love & light, 

Jessy 

Cast Your Stone

  
Sometimes I get caught up in the fact that my daily work doesn’t help anyone other than myself. I get upset thinking that my actual work leaves little to make a difference in the world. But this is a good reminder that making a difference in the world doesn’t always have to be made with a big splash. Sometimes it can be little things that you do, smiling at a stranger, donating $10 to your friends fundraiser, really listening to someone when they’re upset, babysitting for a family member, volunteering at a soup kitchen. Whatever it is, spending time doing something for someone else makes a difference. If we all made small ripples, it would create a large ocean current, with rolling beautiful waves.

Something to think about as we start the week. Even if it’s teensy tiny, make a difference today. 

Lots of love & light, 

Jessy

Practicing Patience

patience

Last week when Mike and I were at the beach, we bought our lunches ahead of time and packed them in our cooler. As I got our my sushi (weird beach meal, I know), and had just finished pouring out the soy sauce and opening the wasabi, I looked down to pick my first piece and with that, a little girl grabbed her shovel and proceeded to throw the sand back right towards me and all over my lunch. UGH. I couldn’t be mad though as she was probably 5 or 6. How does she know better? But then her mother looked at me and didn’t think an apology was necessary. Instead she grabbed the girl and said lets go down to the water. Annoyed? I was beyond. About a half an hour later, a VERY large family decided to plant themselves practically on top of us. So much so that Mike literally couldn’t put his chair back all the way without hitting our newfound neighbors. This would’ve been a little acceptable if there had been no spots left on the beach but at this point it was later in the day and so there were plenty of spots available if they had just walked about 50 feet to the left. As this happened, we both looked at each other, giving a “what the hell?” type of face. I quickly moved onto our towel to try to get as far away from them as possible. They were talking so loudly and, in my mind, I kept thinking that they were “ruining” our relaxation time. I was thinking of myself, my happiness, my day off, I was acting in my head as if it was my beach. With that, I took out a book I’m reading and as luck would have it, I was beginning a news chapter called patience. PATIENCE!!! Just when I had about no patience left in me. As I read, it talked about difficult moments and how we react to them. It suggested saying the phrase “Only I can destroy my peace and I choose not to do so” as a way to sink into a place of peace and calm. So I tried it, saying that phrase in my head over and over. And you know what? It helped. It didn’t get rid of all my frustrations but it began to put things in perspective— that although this family was sitting too close to our liking that it really ends up being my choice to let them aggravate me. I can choose to let them affect my time at the beach or I can choose to stay calm and continue to enjoy my day. So I chose to continue to enjoy my day.

There are so many times during any given day that our patience is tested. Driving, for example. For many people, it’s the first thing they do in the morning. I get up, make my smoothie and hop in the car. Only to feel like I’m in a rat race with people driving around, seemingly to me, like maniacs. People cut you off, flip you off (happens to me quite often!) and people piss you off. Other people can really do a number our inner peace but we should try not to let them. I’ve found that reminding myself that I too have cut people off, I too have flipped people off and God knows, I too have pissed people off. So instead of letting anger arise inside of you during these moments, it’s helpful to remind yourself that there’s a human inside that car, someone with a family, someone that’s trying to get to work on time too— I think often when we get so angry at people for little things like cutting us off on the road, we dehumanize them and act like they’re not a person just like us. I do it all the time, whenever someone cuts me off or is driving too slow for my liking, I cuss “at them” in the car and talk to myself about how annoying they are. But if we were out of the car, and I could see them face to face, would I ever tell them what an ass clown they were being? No, probably not. As soon as I was met with the actual human inside the car, I’d probably end up telling them “no big deal.” That’s because, for the most part, when you humanize people and realize they too make mistakes, just like you do, it’s easier to be less upset about whatever wrongdoing they did to you.

There is a legend that tells of a king who challenges his wise men to create a phrase that would always be true no matter what the time, place or conditions. They contemplated over this for many hours and meditated for weeks. Finally, they presented the king with a tablet inscribed with the words, “this too shall pass.” Ever since, these words have humbled the prideful and offered hope to the afflicted. These words can help in such a big or small way. They help in the moments when people cut you off. Yes, I had to slam on my brakes to avoid hitting the person. But guess what? I’m not in an accident and I didn’t hit them so that feeling needs to pass. That moment did so now I’m going to let it go — no need to hold on to anger over something that’s over and done with. This phrase can also be used for much bigger things. Like tough times in your life. I’ve said this phrase many times since being diagnosed… this too shall pass. It’s helped me when I’m in the rut of the day. It brings you hope when you need it. It allows you to shift your mindset to believe that better is coming.

Truly having patience is something that comes with much practice and mindfulness but in the end, being patient with others brings a much important sense of peace to yourself. It may not always be easy (or possible) to remind yourself of some of these things in the day to day moments, but it’s certainly worth the effort.

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

Dreams 

  
This is so perfect, I just love it.

Yesterday, after spending the day at the beach, soaking in the sun, reading with my feet buried in the sand and riding waves in the salt water, I floated off to sleep dreaming of owning a beach house in the future. It may be a lofty dream but it’s my dream and having that dream is all that matters. So as I start the new week, I can feel motivated and determined to take steps now to making it happen one day. It may take me 30 years, but if I work hard enough, I believe I can make it happen. Somehow, some way. 

What’s your dream? What are you going to do TODAY to take a step towards making that dream happen? 

Happy Monday friends, let’s make this week one that puts us that much closer to making those dreams a reality! 

Lots of love & light,

Jessy 

Finding the Happiness 

Yesterday, I was in a funk. My body was sore and I had a headache under my eyes that wouldn’t go away. I grumpily stumbled my way downstairs to sit down with my coffee, open my laptop and almost instantaneously get bombarded with instant messages and “high priority” emails. Too many things unexpectedly popping up and I started to slip into a mental abys of stress and negativity. As much as I like to tell myself, “I’ve got this” and that this whole working and getting chemo thing is easy-peasy, sometimes, to be honest, it’s not easy. Sometimes, it’s hard. Really really hard. Sometimes trying to balance working full time and having the effects of treatment weigh me down is, a lot. Yesterday, as I sat at the table ferociously pounding on my keyboard, I began to panic thinking about everything that I needed to get done before heading to the hospital. How much time was I going to lose while I was driving over? Would there be too many distractions at the Dana to get what I needed complete? I just didn’t have time for “this,” today, I thought. “This” being my time at the hospital. “This” being my treatment. “This” being what’s saving my life.
Shit.

Maybe I do have time for “this.” Maybe everything else is just going to have to take a back seat. 

I say that, as I sit here and think about it, but in the heat of the day, somehow my priorities had left me. That was, until my mom called to tell me that it had been exactly one year since we were together and I was rushed to the ER for pancreatitis. At that moment, after instantaneously beginning to cry, I was slapped in the face with the reminder that, today, as hard as it felt in the moments before, was NOTHING compared to what I went through that day. That day was hard. That day was scary. That day was stressful. That day stuff that really mattered happened. 
The thought of last year and the reality of the day at hand seemed too much to bear all of a sudden. I was sad. I was sad, and there didn’t feel like anything I could do about it.
Days like yesterday remind me that, as much as I try, not everyday gets to be sunshine and rainbows. Not everyday even gets to be a good one. But it’s important to try to find a little piece of happiness, even in the smallest of ways, every single day. So as I pondered on my way home about what would make me happy, I landed on cinnabun rolls and coffee ice cream and boy, was that a great decision. I giggled to myself as I sat on the couch and licked my fingers full of frosting. So was yesterday a fun-filled day? That answer would be no. But it still had a moment that made me smile so I will be grateful.
Here’s to hoping that you all find a little piece of happiness in each of your days. Even if it’s the teeeeeeensy teeeeeensy tiny, find the happiness. 
Lots of love & light,

Jessy 

Motivational Monday

motivational_quotes_1

I love this quote. So often we look at things with a “you win, you lose” attitude. One or the other. Black and white. But this puts the perfect positive spin on it— “losing” isn’t fun but life isn’t about winning every race. So when you don’t come out on top, sometimes that’s when the beauty comes out and you learn an incredible amount. Always having things go the way you want doesn’t always allow for true growth to happen. Hey, I never would’ve considered being diagnosed with leukemia as a “win” but I’ve learned and learned and learned so how can I look at it as a total loss? I can’t.

So seize the day— relish in your little wins and learn from those bumps along the way. It’ll be worth it in the end!

Happy Monday— go crush this day like the warrior you are!

Lots of love and light,

Jessy

American Ninja Warriors 

A year ago, my little body was starting to shut down a bit when it came to my pancreas and liver. I was sitting in a hospital room, hooked up on so many pain meds, being flushed with so much fluids, I was unable to not only get out of bed but unable to move myself up or down without the help of others. This would happen time and time again until February 2015 (knock on wood, it never happens again). During these bouts, I would end up having to use walkers, canes and go through physical therapy to “learn” how to walk again. But my body is strong and I’ve learned that so is my mind. With a good attitude and determination, you can do just about anything. 

So yesterday, I completed a 5K race with three of my favorite people in the world. I certainly didn’t run the whole time, but I had a blast and did the best I could do. The greatest part of this race? 10 inflatable obstacles to throw yourself into, bounce and slide down. I pretended I was an American Ninja (princess) warrior and laughed my ass off the entire time. Laughing is the best ab workout, anyways right? 

 How grateful I feel to be strong enough to complete a physical challenge like this. 🙏🏼   
 
   
 Happy Sunday, loves! Enjoy your day. 

XOXO, 

Jessy 

Days full of sunshine & happiness 

Well, what a 6 days it was. It has been two years since Mike and I stayed in Portland and it was that trip that we “discovered” Peaks Island….  
That weekend was really special, not for any reason other than the fact that we got to relax and explore a new place together. The day we spent on Peaks Island, biking around the small village, looking at the beautiful ocean views off the cliffs and watching ferry boats come in and out as we ate and drank beers, is one of my all-time favorite days ever. During difficult and painful procedures throughout the past year, the doctors or nurses would tell me to try to relax and imagine I was in my favorite place in the world. Every time, I found myself on Peaks with my Michael. This unplanned, quick visit of a small island on the outskirts of Maine has brought me so much peace of mind and strength when I’ve needed it most. So to be healthy enough to be back there, with Mike, was magical. What’s more magical is that this trip was made possible because of the kindness and generosity of other people. Because a group of team members at HomeGoods started a pool last year and made me this beautiful booklet (that’s what happens when you have an incredibly talented art director heading up the project) to explain that they wanted me to “go back to peaks” for some rest and relaxation to make up for our cancelled Domincan trip in March 2014. This is from a team, I actually no longer get to work with at TJX, as I had been transferred to our Marmaxx division before getting diagnosed. But they came together to do something out of the kindness of their hearts just to make me smile. How lucky am I? These are the people who will ALWAYS be my TJX work family because they truly care about me as a human and not a number or just another employee. It’s a true blessing to have this type of connection and bond with people at work, so although I do not get to work with them regularly anymore, I will always be grateful of the relationships I was able to cultivate during my time with the most fabulous brand in all the land, HomeGoods.

With all that said, I want to share a few pictures with you all of our much-needed days away in Maine.

It started with a lake house with friends on Friday…

   
 
Then we headed to the beach near Portland where we went for long walks during the day and stayed at the Portland Harbor Hotel at night. I treated myself to a bath for FOUR days in a row. How much more relaxed does it get than that?! We ate at some of the most delicious restaurants, including Holy Donut. Wow, is Portland a winner for foodies! 

   
    
    
    
 
Then we packed it up, and took the ferry over to Peaks Island and stayed in a gorgeous little Inn. We started off by renting golf carts to explore the island where we found an old war cave/gun storage thing that is now completely full of graffiti but there’s such a beauty to it. We also spent time walking on the beach and making rock castles on a cliff with about 100 other “castles.” It’s like a natural version of Jenga, so cool!

   
    
    
    
    
   
We spent the next day riding our bikes, laying in the beach and HORSE BACK RIDING! Something I’ve wanted to do together for so long so it was so amazing to make it a reality. 

   
    
   
    
   
   

Yesterday it was back to reality. It was back to the hospital (but my numbers all look great so there’s nothing else I could ask for). 

   
   
And today I headed back to the office. However, I’m refusing to let my outdoor adventures cease so I headed to a state park across the street from work after I got out and rented myself a paddle board which I took out for almost two hours– paddling and stopping to do yoga on the water. How amazing! Now I’m sitting on the little beach here, watching kids splash around in be water and writing this post. Looks like even work days can be transformed into good days. 

  
I hope you have had a wonderful week and just think, tomorrow is FRIYAY!!!!! F

Lots of love and light,

Jessy 

I Get By with a Little Help From My Friends

Yesterday we were so lucky to spend some time with very close friends. They had rented a house on a lake in Maine with their family so we decided to visit and stay over before we start our mini vacation in Portland (writing this from the beach now! 😍) Anyways, while we were there, I was able to try paddle boarding which I’ve always wanted to do. So, at the before going in for dinner, I decided I wanted to take one out once more and went by myself. I started rowing and thought to myself, “wow I’m really good at this, I’m cruising.” So I continued rowing and found myself floating along the lake, completely in the moment. I kept looking up at the sky and then down at the water flowing around me and couldn’t help but feel so blessed and so thankful that I had been given this moment. I kept thinking to myself that it was about a year ago at this time that I was hit with pancreatitis and it was then that my most difficult physical troubles began. So I felt so lucky that I was strong enough now to be doing something active like this by myself. 

Time continued to go by and I continued to not have a care in the world. When I got to a certain point, I decided it was probably time to turn around. I started to switch directions. Difficultly #1. After multiple tries, I got the board turned around started rowing towards the house, which at this point was far, farrrrr out of sight. So I start paddling, as hard as I could but wasn’t moving too fast anymore. Oh well, I thought, no big deal. Then all of a sudden I see Michael paddling along in a kayak. “Rescuer #1” has arrived. He gets to me and instantly asks if I’m okay followed with “what the hell are you doing?” I’m baffled. Doesn’t he mean, what the hell is he doing? I’m fine. I’m having a great time. After telling him he can leave because I’m good on my own, he decides to stay and kayak next to me as I try to adventure back. So I go a few minutes passing a house with a family sitting on their deck. Tired, I decide to pause to take a break. As I stop, I realize I am FLYING backward; right pass the family I just passed a few minutes ago. Uh oh. Difficultly #2. So Mike says, you need help? Nope, I say. I’ve still got this. So I start paddling again and as the wind picks up, I begin to realize that I’m going at a rate of  about 1 inch a minute. Gotta change my strategy. So I sit on my board and decide that’ll help the situation. No such luck. Now Mike starts insisting that I let him help. So, begrudgingly, I say okay and we tie my paddle board to his kayak and it’s decided that he’s going to try to tow me back. Difficultly #3. I’m determined to pull my own weight so I try paddling while he is as well. Too many cooks in the kitchen. Next I decide I’m going to get in the water behind the paddle board and start kicking as I hold onto the board so he doesn’t have my weight to pull along. Difficulty #4. As that’s failing miserably, I let go of the paddle board and decide I’m just going to swim back. It takes a few minutes for him to notice that I’m swimming alongside but once he does, that doesn’t go over well. Difficultly #5. We then start arguing as he’s convinced that it’s going to either take hours for me to get back to the house, I’m going to drowned trying or at the very least “puke blood.” So as the words “my parents paid for 13 years of swimming lessons for a reason, I AM FINEEEEE” 🏊🏽 are being screamed out of my mouth, “Rescuer #2” comes up in his kayak. We’ve now both been gone for so long, everyone at the house is beginning to seriously worry. I then tell our friend Nate that I’m just swimming back and he gives me a definitive “that’s not going to work.” It’s now decided that I’m going to get in his kayak and he’s going to be able to paddle board back. So we pull over, I eat shit as I attempt to get in the kayak and then am finally successful the second try. Then, finally, all three of us find ourselves rowing back into our dock. Mission complete. 

After a while of explaining myself and apologizing, I went to an upstairs deck and laid on a hammock overlooking the lake and laughed to myself at the debauchery that had just ensued. But as I was chuckling to myself about what a disaster my original peaceful paddle boarding adventure had turned into, I also thought about how I did end up truly needing help. When Mike first arrived, I was annoyed to be honest. I felt like he was overreacting and not trusting me enough to understand that I am able to take care of myself. I was so determined to prove him wrong, and to show that I could do this on my own, we wasted a lot of time, attempting different ways that we could make it back, ways that ultimately didn’t work and made me more tired than I already was becoming. I tend to do this, in an effort to prove that I’m not weak, I over exert myself and don’t take the help when I actually need it. I’ve learned in the past year, that it’s so important to take help. Everyone needs help, we’re individuals but we can only survive by being dependent on first ourselves but then others too. I forget this often, as I did yesterday, but it was a good lesson to learn (once again) that sometimes you have to put aside your pride and just say yes when those that love you are trying to help you. That sometimes, taking the help can be the strongest thing you can do, not the weakest.

Moral of the story: be conscious of the currents. If you’re cruising down a lake the first time you’ve ever paddle boarded, instead of thinking “I’m Queen👑 of the paddle board🏄🏻,” you might wanna think, “the wind could be helping me and I may be screwed when I turn around.” Note to self: be more humble. 🙏🏼

Happy weekend friends.

Lots of love & light, 

Jessy