Loading...

The Test in my Testimony

 

teamnicollelogo

Today marks my 6th “cancer-versary” as a breast cancer “thriver.” WooHoo! Amen! And, wow! After rereading these words, the lyrics of a gospel song immediately came to mind. “As I look back over my life – And I think things over – I can truly say, that I’ve been blessed – I’ve got a testimony.” Make no mistake about it, I’ve experienced some extreme challenges while on this cancer journey. However, they are outnumbered by victory…after victory…after victory! 

I remember getting that phone call at work as if it were yesterday. The diagnosis simply made no sense. For decades, I had been doing everything recommended to lead a healthy lifestyle. I ate properly and exercised regularly. I never drank and never smoked. Cancer? The drive home was accompanied by a torrential downpour of tears. I can’t tell you how I arrived safely. But when I walked through the door, the silence was so loud. Cancer.

survivor airbrush

Somewhere between the tears, God managed to get my attention. He reminded me that during the years I spent on “Separated Street” and “Divorce Drive,” He provided everything that my children and I needed. I began to have great conversation with myself. “Yeah, that’s right. And if He could do all of that, He can certainly handle a cancer diagnosis.” From the very beginning, I knew that there was purpose connected to my diagnosis. My goal then became living – by any means necessary.

 

Days later, I had a 2-hour conversation with a survivor. She suggested that I include blueberries, strawberries, and tomatoes in my diet. My response? “Yuck, yuck, and yuck!” Since childhood, I have always hated the feel of seeds in my mouth. And now she wants me to eat them? After we hung up, the goal continued to ring in my ears: “living – by any means necessary.” I began the process of teaching myself to eat blueberries, strawberries, and tomatoes. It would take me 20 minutes to eat 1 strawberry and 5 blueberries. Talk about torture. Today, I absolutely love blueberries and strawberries, and I like tomatoes. Of course, I now wish that they had been part of my food repertoire earlier in life.

 

ribbon

6 years later, the goal remains the same and I apply it to everything. I’m clear – I fight cancer every day with every decision that I make related to my health – spirit, mind, and body. For example, I have to: 1) make good decisions about what I eat and drink, 2) monitor my stress levels and distance myself from negative people and experiences, and 3) be mindful of the products that I use on my body and in my home. I’m also clear that God is my center. He is responsible for the smile on my face and the joy in my heart. I have to stay plugged in and connected because He created me on purpose, with purpose, to fulfill purpose. Cancer just happens to be part of my purpose.

My purpose also includes this platform of promoting health and wellness as a lifestyle. My divine assignment is to “speak a word in season to him who is weary.” I don’t want a diagnosis of any type to be the wake up call that forces people to start paying attention to their health. The 25 years that I served in the field of education was the training ground for my current role as an inspirational speaker. I enjoy teaching people how to properly read and interpret nutrition labels. I love speaking to audiences about making lifestyle changes so that they can stress less and enjoy life more. My message can help someone improve the quality of their life, and possibly extend their quantity of days on Earth.

I strive to live each day with an exclamation point – not a comma, a period, or a question mark. I refuse to live a life of regret. My relationships with family and friends are extremely important to me. I make sure that I show and tell them that they are loved and appreciated. I believe that we should live like there’s no tomorrow. When you think about it, there really is no such thing as tomorrow. When tomorrow arrives, it’s called today.

bc girl“Every day is a good day. Some are just better than others.” I coined this phrase years ago and it has helped me get through some trying times. You may find it helpful as well. I envision a world without cancer. Until then, I’m committed to making a difference in the lives of others. 

Cancer didn’t happen TO me. It happened FOR me. And if I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.  

I can truly say, that I’ve been blessed – I’ve got a testimony.”

 

be NspireD!

Name2

 

 

Don’t Waste Time

Death. Divorce. Diagnosis. These life altering events were game changers in how I thought about and approached life. I decided not to live a life full of regrets. I also decided not to partake in the proverbial “would da’-could da’-should da’” syndrome. Instead, I chose to make a conscious decision to live life every day with an exclamation point – not a comma, not a period.

The “younger” I get, the more I think about how I use my time. 24 hours. 1,440 minutes. 86,400 seconds. Regardless of the number and its unit, each represents the same amount of time. Although we never seem to have enough time, we manage to make time or create time for people and activities deemed important. We always seem to be SO busy. But are we managing our time well?

“Life isn’t measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.”

A missed moment cannot be recaptured. It’s easy to miss them when our priorities are out of order. We take life and the people in our lives for granted too often. We hold on to grudges and offenses. We let petty issues negatively impact our relationships. But why? What’s the purpose? How does anyone benefit from strife, conflict, and confusion? In some families, the feud has been going on for so long that no one even remembers how it got started. Someone needs to raise the peace flag. Someone needs to extend the olive branch.

24 hours. 1,440 minutes. 86,400 seconds. If you only had one day to live, how would you spend it? Would you surround yourself with family and friends so that you could give and receive hugs and kisses? Would you say “I love you” or “I’m sorry?” Might you tell people how much they mean and how you appreciate them? What would you do to create lasting memories designed to linger after you’re gone? However you answered those questions, I suggest that you get in the habit of doing those things now.

“Life is about the journey, not the destination.”

Tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone. That person you put on the back burner? Move them to the front of the line. If you’re waiting for someone else to make the first move in repairing a relationship, you lead the way. No one knows how much time remains in our life journey. When we focus on the destination, we tend not to acknowledge and appreciate the beauty of the landscape around us.

Today is called the present because it is a gift. Gifts that stay in pretty boxes with perfectly tied bows aren’t much fun. The appreciation for the gift begins when the contents are revealed and put to use. Demonstrate an attitude of gratitude for the people in your life. A heartfelt “Thank you” will go much further than a critical and complaining spirit.

When we wake in the morning, we get to start all over again. 24 hours. 1,440 minutes. 86,400 seconds. What will you do so that you don’t waste time?

be NspireD!

Name2