Posted in about shae, badassery, fearless, relationships

Because I’m Worth It

One year someone said they pitied me for being alone on my birthday and not having anyone to buy me flowers or jewelry or whatever they thought a birthday gift should be.

Let me set the record straight. Again.

I’m never truly alone. I’ve had dozens of well wishes and phone calls. I was with a bunch of ladies at the salon this morning. I had great convos at Starbucks and with the nice lady at Smallcakes. Yesterday I talked with my Bestie for two hours. I’m also very fine company all by myself. Don’t worry, I’m good.

As for gifts… I buy myself flowers and not just on my birthday. They are always my favorites. I buy myself some fine jewelry, and it’s always exactly what I wanted. I’m particularly fond of my new rainbow topaz ring and matching earrings.

I know being alone on any given day makes most people uncomfortable. I am not one of those people. While I enjoy the company of many, I am just as happy going out by myself, whether that be for coffee, dinner, a movie or shopping.

If you are someone who waits for someone else to pamper you or buy you gifts, I hope you have someone in your life to do that for you so you do not remain in a constant state of disappointment. If you are there, by yourself, may I suggest making yourself happy. Buy the flowers. Get the ring. Treat yourself to a manipedi.

I’m worth it. Someday I hope you know that you are, too.

Posted in about shae, allergies, bariatric surgery, breast cancer, health, relationships, weight loss

ONE OF THOSE DAYS (I want my life back)

I had a low grade fever most of the day, and though I wanted to be home in bed, since I have dismally few sick days I pushed myself to go work. I had wanted to go out tonight and be with friends, but the fever didn’t leave.

I cried all the way home. I am more than frustrated with the state of me right now. I am a breast cancer survivor, 1.5 years now, and though I got to live I didn’t get my life back.

Don’t read that as I have nothing to live for, I do. I just never thought that this far down the road I’d still be trying to get my legs steady and back under me. I’ve spent all month wishing the color pink didn’t exist as it is a bright pastel reminder that though I’m a survivor, I’m still trying to find my way back to myself.

It’s incredibly difficult to express how I feel, and even more difficult when I can’t even figure out what to say. People who have not had breast cancer or an illness that totally changes their lives have no idea what I’m going through. For them, I no longer have breast cancer. Everything is great, right?


I don’t feel sorry for myself. In fact, I swim in a pretty steady stream of optimism most of the time. As I wait for weight loss surgery that will hopefully turn some health issues around for me, impatience is an unwelcome nag – a constant reminder that I’m not where I want to be.

I’m actually ill more than I let on. I catch everything these days. Compound that with my daily dose of allergy havoc, and my body feels lousy most of the time. I am saddled with a profound tiredness every day. My brain, when not having Tamoxifen/Lexapro delays and lost moments, is actually pretty active and eager to move life along.

I know many people whose bodies do not keep up with their brains, wishes, and hopes. I am now one of them. Throw aging on top of that mess and I feel ancient in my bones. I’m not ready to relinquish my spirit to that notion.

Doctors and friends promise me that after surgery, the energy will return as the weight falls off. I will sleep better. I won’t have to worry about my heart’s current issues. My plantars fascia won’t have as many issues carrying weight around. My knees will stop hurting. I won’t be sick all the time. I might get to stop taking a pill or two.

I want to believe all that. I really do. On days such as this, however, I just can’t, especially when I feel truly alone right at this moment. I know that will pass, but I can’t tell you how much I miss presence, something I had a satisfying portion of before cancer. Now, I know I don’t have enough. Thank God for the friends who meet me more than halfway when I need it and especially for the ones who come 90% of the way when 10% is all I have to give.

I’m so thankful for the few faithful that are ever-present, the ones whom I’m never out of mind when I’m out of sight and the ones who are never out of sight when I feel out of my mind. I love you all and I’m grateful you are on this journey with me.

Now for more meds and begging God for a good night’s sleep.

Posted in Lent, pics, relationships, Yahweh's fingerprints


Lent is upon us again.

Last night I made pancakes for two friends and we enjoyed each others’ company and enjoyed a tradition of what many do the night before Lent. We celebrated Fat Tuesday, the last night for forty days to indulge before entering a season of reflection, prayer, and fasting.

After my friends left, I pondered what I might learn during this Lenten season… Many things entered my mind, but nothing concrete hit me as I fell asleep.

When I woke up, however, I was overwhelmed by a deep notion that there was more of me left to heal. The heart of a terrified, eight-year old girl that I’ve tried to protect all my life. The age when I recoiled slowly inside myself, when I truly believe I lost the road map to what it truly means to be a woman… losing the desire to be feminine, the “weaker” vessel, when I made myself tough and self-reliant.

Long story short, though the adult me has found healing, I’ve protected the child inside me from having to deal with the abuse. While I’ve known that deep down somewhere… I just never could acknowledge it.

I began to cry and tried to get on with the tasks at hand – getting up, eating breakfast, going to work. I kept crying. I was so overwhelmed.

I’ve done so much soul-searching lately and I blame/credit/acknowledge that’s because I have this new set of little brothers (which is odd to say because they’re both so dang tall) who help me more than they know. Both these guys approach challenges in different ways and both are wise beyond their years. They have each taught me more in such a short time than I could possibly teach them in a lifetime. Fun thing is they really don’t know it and I can picture both faces if I actually said all this to them. Above all, they make me laugh and smile, which are gifts I cherish in friends.

One brother has been a steadfast rudder in my life. He isn’t predictable by any means, but I know exactly what to expect from him. He speaks softly, but the weight of his words often hits me between the eyes with some force. He has such a peaceful soul, and has been so tolerant and understanding and willing to put up with me being all over the map sometimes. He gets excited about my dreams and discoveries. He is a gentle man who weighs his weighty words and finds something good to say about everybody and everything or he won’t say much at all. He’s someone I want to be like when I grow up.

The other brother, whom I only recently connected with, but feel like I’ve known forever… He’s the one who asks me all these soul-searching questions (and I’m like, do you even know me?!) that I’ve actually let myself think about and even dare to answer. When he commits to someone or some thing, he is ALL in. He ponders deeply, and is my complex, but transparent (to me) onion.

Oh, those walls, those shields… I know what they are. I’ve lived with them for 32 years. The extra weight of protection. The sarcasm. The toughness. The “at arm’s length.” The list is long. What I do know is that these walls keep me closed to love and keep me from truly pursuing my womanhood fully.

Yes, I am a woman. Yes, I do many feminine things, but I never have embraced my femininity. To embrace that part of myself, I have to let go of some fears and lies. I have to unfold and let that 8 year old girl, still innocent, who loved flowers and kittens and dolls and dresses grow up outside that room that I’ve protected her in and let her experience life out here, come what may.

The door creaked open and I can’t describe what I feel right now. Just know this is the scariest thing I’ve ever done because it’s from the scariest place I’ve ever been.

I’m still not certain what any of this means for the next forty days. Lest you think I will start wearing lace and hot pink… you would be mistaken. I don’t know that this is what that is about. What I do know is that as these walls fall down, I will know myself more intimately than I ever have before.

What I have discovered by re-examining the past few weeks, though, is that I find myself discovering more what it means to be a woman by being book-ended by two people who know how to treat someone who is vulnerable and in the midst of change.

As the walls fall down, the more I am able to freely give of myself in creative ways, and I look forward to that over the next forty days as well.

I go to sleep tonight so grateful, so encouraged and hopeful.

Buckle up, y’all. It’s going to be an interesting ride.

Posted in about shae, pics, relationships


Today would have been my brother Scott’s 43rd birthday. I think about him often and have many pictures that bring back happy memories.

Macho man reading The Little Ballerina to his sister.

My first band. Maybe Scott wanted to be Lawrence Welk?

We were always out in the snow!

Just after my first major, major haircut… after which my mother cried for days. The little twerp in front of me is my little brother, Danny.

On his birthday in 1994 with his daughter, Ashley.

Happy Birthday, Scott. You are missed, but never, ever forgotten.

Posted in friends, relationships, Yahweh's fingerprints


The last couple of weeks have stretched me tremendously. For months now I have seen my comfort zone in my rearview mirror, but now I think I’ve changed zip codes.

I’ll blog about my weekend retreat later this week. It was amazing and a real growing time for me. Tonight, though, I wanted to sit and process the end of an era in my life.

My roommate is sleeping in her new apartment tonight and for the first time in seven years, I am living on my own. God worked it out that we would only live 100 steps from each other (yes, I counted), but still, it feels incredibly odd that she won’t be living here anymore. Her leap of faith was a hop, skip and a jump, but she took it nonetheless. Hopefully she’ll take me up on my offer to do laundry in return for baked goods and we’ll see each other more often than not.

I look back at the last seven years and look at how much I’ve changed and I thank God for such a patient and understanding roommate. She helped me through some of the darkest times of my life and we’ve had many fun moments together as well. She has helped me navigate the minefield that is my life and I’ve emerged with all my limbs intact. I am grateful and know that relationship will continue, but it will be different… and I have to embrace that change.

Tomorrow night I will come home late and find my apartment half empty. While I’m excited to see what God has in store during this growing time, my heart is a bit sad. 100 steps away is a lot farther than five.

Posted in relationships, Yahweh's fingerprints


Killing someone’s dreams or doing whatever it takes to stunt someone’s growth is one of the most cruel, most heartless acts of selfishness that one person can do to another.

I’ve been so guilty of this that I cannot throw stones at the people that are just as guilty of such a horrendous act. I’ve also been in someone else’s fearful grip so I know both sides of this coin. The only thing I can do is take what I’ve learned from both experiences and help those I see whose dreams and growth are being squelched escape the dark vacuum, help their dreams come true and help them reach their full potential.

I remember when I allowed myself to be ruled by fear and held onto the things I believed I couldn’t live without so tightly I squeezed the life out of them. Because of fear, I lost all those things anyway, and in most cases, left them damaged as well.

Sometimes, I still get scared I’ll lose something and I can feel my grip tighten. Everything in me wants to hold on with both hands and never let go. Then I remember what it felt like to be in that chokehold and I have no choice but to let go. At times, this is a daily process for me, but I refuse to be ruled by fear and instead I have to give faith and hope a chance to work their miracles.

If you love something set it free… is one of those worn out sayings usually stuck on a sign with birds that are flying away… but it’s a mirror of truth that reminds me that to offer someone I love the freedom to be themselves, or the freedom to reach their potential is the most loving thing I can do.

I must continue to be loving to myself as well. I must let go of the past and allow myself the freedom to reach my full potential. The more I grow, the more loving I will be, and when I look back at my life, I want to be remembered as the loving kind.

Posted in pics, relationships


There you were, just out of the corner of my eye.

Tall and whole… smiling.

Still in your prime, still strong, still here with me.

Then I blinked and saw reality.

But I know where you are, and I will see you again.

Whole and strong…smiling.

Happy Birthday, Scott.

Posted in relationships, Yahweh's fingerprints


Okay, so I watched this charming little movie tonight called The Princess Diaries. I totally identified with Mia, the poor, unfortunate klutz with bushy hair and thick eyebrows (think the daughter of Groucho Marx and Brooke Shields) who finds out she’s really a princess. If you’ve seen it, then you’ll understand why I roared with laughter when, at a fancy schmancy dinner with too many forks of various sizes and costly breakable dinnerware, Mia accidentally sets the person next to her on fire. My other favorite scene was when Mia tried to put on pantyhose on in the back of the limo. Yes, I totally identify with the teenage klutz, only I am not now a princess of a small insignificant European country that is famous for its pears. Hmm…

And now, other musings:

I once prayed with a young woman who was concerned about her husband, who, though raised in the church, had now stated he no longer believes in God. Personally, I cannot imagine saying, “‘Til death do us part,” with someone and then have them say, two years down the road, “oh, by the way, I don’t believe in God anymore.” The tears this young woman shed (young 20’s) as she told me her story made my heart heavy. She was committed to staying with him, praying for him, and hanging in there with him. She was really hurting, and though I prayed with her, I know her heart still had to hurt because she could not see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Have you ever left a wedding and known that “God did that,” or have you left and felt as if you’ve wasted an afternoon? I’ve seen many people I care about (who said the Christian aspect and God’s will, of course, was paramount) get married to “Christians” (see #4 from previous post) and reap much sorrow. Some gave up on the Christian aspect all together and married the man that asked, regardless of his spirituality or lack thereof. In love with being in love and not necessarily the person they married, the idea of getting married somehow threw off and overpowered their true spiritual radar and led them down the aisle of regret rather than down the aisle of celebration. I don’t know if this was the case of the young lady I prayed with or not. I do know, however, when I finished praying with her, I appreciated my singleness that much more. I would rather be happy and single than miserably married. Granted, when I was 25 I said that begrudgingly and with many tears… but at 34 I can now say it with a smile on my face and mean it wholeheartedly.

I truly admire married people who are in God’s will and make the whole marriage thing work. You know who they are… their wedding was a celebration, but more than that, they prepared for the marriage much harder and longer than they did for the wedding day itself. They are the married couple you make your boyfriend spend time with so he sees “how it’s really done.” They are the couple you most love to see fight so you can take notes on how they resolved the conflict and how they stayed married after Chuck forgot to bring the loaf of bread home after work (again). They are the couple you love to see discipline their children, manage their finances, run their home and take that cross-country vacation in the car with all of their children and enjoy the trip or at least live to tell about it. They are the couple that gently reminds you that the whole marriage thing is work, but it’s fun, frustrating and rewarding work.

I could write paragraph after paragraph about the accountability I have in this area (and many others), but I will just write one. All of us need accountability. If you start dating someone and you can’t or won’t take him to meet the people who hold you accountable, BIG FAT RED FLAG #1. If your best friend says, “What the crack are you thinking?” when she meets him — BIG FAT RED FLAG #2. If you compare this man to one half of your favorite godly married couple and he not only falls short, he falls off, BIG FAT RED FLAG #3. If you even get this far, you have to ask yourself: Is this guy worth it? Because, let me tell you, if he’s a red flag after red flag and you ignore all the red flags because you think it’s better to be married to a red flag than be single, you will be married and miserable and very lonely… because while people will be there for you no matter what, they may not stick around to watch you willingly self destruct.

Take it from this singleton: No red flag is worth it (and believe me, I’ve considered one red flag too many). I can say this with all honesty — I would rather be single and happy and free from the sorrow of a bad marriage than miserably married. I declare this often to many young people and will preach it from the rooftops even after I’m married to the man who exceeds comparisons to one half of my favorite godly married couple.