Category Archives: Cancer

Under One Roof: Ridiculous Rainbow Family Holiday

What a holiday!

A full-on Rainbow and Glitter Gala Celebration, with our Three Little Birds, Devon and his husband Felipe… and me, the Clutter Whore Ally Momma.

Best Christmas movie ever, besides "A Christmas Story."  I fully expected some crazy antics occurring with our weird family this Christmas, not unlike Clark Grizzwold's world.
Best Christmas movie ever, besides “A Christmas Story.” I fully expected some crazy antics occurring with our weird family this Christmas, not unlike Clark Grizzwold’s world.

Last year was the first year we spent Christmas together under one roof, mostly due to necessity.  I was recovering from one hell of a pre-chemo surgery, complete with tubes coming out of all kinds of places for drainage and some really great pain pills.

I needed help.  And Devon and company were there for me.

But this year was by choice.  I heard on more than one occasion from the kids that they were thrilled we could all get along well enough to be together under one roof.  I didn’t see this one coming nearly 10 years ago, but I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

To say life is different now than it was then is a complete understatement, but I loved it.  The fact that the kids felt it was a blessing was wonderful.

So, to brag a little and share my life with you (and to document our Christmas together because it’s my blog and I can do what I want with it), I am going to post pictures here and memorable moments so that maybe one day, when the dust has cleared in your world of finding out your spouse is gay, you might be able to see what is truly possible.

Life is stranger than fiction, and more beautiful than we can imagine if we keep our minds and hearts open after moving forward and working through our shtuff.  Know what I mean?

Here ya go!

Our break started off by me finishing the semester at Rainshadow with my students and getting all of my grading done so I wouldn’t have much work to do while I was off for three weeks.  If anyone tells you that they didn’t go into teaching for the perks of great breaks, then they are lying.  Teachers certainly don’t get paid enough for all we have to do, but having these breaks makes things pretty peachy, I must say.

We left the day after school was out to go to Sacramento, all six of us, to watch Thomas’ basketball tournament and do some massive shopping.  The road trip was a blast, the hotel room situation was spectacular and we spent way too much money on food and gifts.  But that’s okay.

Here are the photos of our road trip, including me relaxing at the mall with my feet up.  What a rough job shopping can be.  My clods were killing me!  Next time I will wear my Birkenstocks and not my Kick Cancer’s Ass Boots.

The trip went really well and it was so much fun spending time with them.  We all got along, which 10 years ago, I never would have imaged.

Next came Christmas Eve.

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The beautiful Christmas tree with obscene amount of gifts at Devon and Felipe’s house.

I was slated to stay there for a couple of days.  We did our usual Reese Family Christmas Eve Dinner with Devon’s family at his mom Virginia’s house.  Good food and LOTS of laughs.  We were all crying from laughter listening to Aunt Wendy explain the rational thought that went behind her Sims City obsession.  Gifts were exchanged and we made out with some great loot.  Thomas and I took a poll with my Facebook friends to see who looked better in his SWAGish hat.  It was a tie, by the way.

My sweet Middle Bird, Kate, came down with an acute ear infection while at Grandma’s that night.  Christmas Eve.  Ear infection.  Welcome to the world of having kids.

The brilliant thing?  All three of us parents were able to pitch in and help.  I did my best to comfort poor Kate, while the dads braved the only 24 hour pharmacy that was open to get her meds… and were there ’til 1 a.m.  Nightmare?  Yes.  But isn’t it great we were all there to help make our Christmas Eve work out?

The sweetest thing came from it.  This picture.  I sent it to Kate after telling her that I wouldn’t want to spend Christmas Eve any other way (she was feeling horrible for “ruining” our Christmas) and she told me it was her favorite picture of all time; she would “treasure it forever.”  Bam.  It’s all about being positive and having a little perspective.

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Here is the picture I took, cuddling with my sweetie pie Kate, who was feeling like crap. She said she will “treasure it forever.” Awww.

Christmas morning was beautiful.  There was very little chaos and lots of thoughtful gifts, including the handmade gift that my dad made for the girls (he made my sister and me a hand mirror as well, just like the ones pictured below and we still use them to this day). All of this, including playing Risk as a family, made for a memorable time with our Freaky Rainbow Crew.  Here’s a video and some pictures from that morning.

And finally, New Year’s Eve.  This day is officially Devon and Felipe’s 1st Anniversary after getting married last year in New York City.  So, I stayed with the kids at their house, took them out to The Hobbit and Pizza with another good friend of mine, and returned to their house to bring in the New Year with gambling for Hershey’s Kisses as well as a hotly contested game of chess.  What a wonderful way to bring in this year with the three best people in my life.  And without Devon (and Felipe, too) we wouldn’t have been here, doing these things, altogether.

So, basically, the holidays are over, but the memories live here for myself and anyone to view, hopefully forever.  Life is beautiful.  Expect things to be that way.  You might be surprised.

Happy Holidays and may your 2015 be extraordinary!

Emily

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Rainbow Family Christmas Vacation

Never in a thousand years would I have pictured myself having holidays with Devon and his husband and my kids all under one roof… 10+ years ago. I wanted to share my Facebook Thankfulness Post from today to give you some perspective on what time and moving forward can do for families who have a spouse that comes out. I am not guaranteeing this will happen for you, but I want to encourage you to be open. Take care of you. Let go of things and people you can’t control. And above all, LOVE. Love yourself, love your kids, love your friends. Love really can heal things because it is powerful.  Happy Holidays from me to you.

My wonderful sister, Lora. She and her family are beautiful people, inside and out.
My wonderful sister, Lora. She and her family are beautiful people, inside and out.

Day 340: December 19, 2014

Thankfulness for This Time Last Year

Nothing like receiving a text at 4:30 a.m. this morning from my Sis. That’s okay, Lora. I wasn’t sleeping or anything.

Actually, I was wide awake. And I was thinking about the exact same thing you wrote. Woman! We are so connected. Do you have telepathy?

“I was just thinking that a year ago today I was out at your place helping you recover from that awful surgery. I’m so glad we’re a year out from that. Miss you. Love you.”

No kidding. Ditto on all accounts. Worst surgery I hope I ever have to go through.

I continued my recovery over Christmas at Devon and Felipe’s house. Lots of great drugs. Way too many tubes and bags coming out of me. But the silver lining was that I got to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning under the same roof as my Rainbow Family. That part was wonderful.

Then they all left for NY. That made me sad and feel sorry for myself. Again, thankfully I had great drugs and wonderful Wendiana to help me out for a week with those spazzing dogs and movie marathons.

I was sad I couldn’t go with them. That’s what makes this holiday so special. Today we leave for a mini Rainbow Christmas vacation to Sacramento. All of us freaks in one car being a weird family. Basketball, music, shopping, laughter and memory making. To top it off, the whole doing Christmas under one roof was a brilliant idea, so we’re doing it again.

This is going to be one amazing holiday. I couldn’t have guessed in a million lifetimes that I would be where I am today, thinking like I do, without all of the blessings that my life “tragedies” have brought. I love my family. I love my life. I love feeling thankful.

Also, F you, Cancer. I made you my Bi**h.

Happy Holidays,
The Survivor

Unbecoming Emily

There’s just something about my daily thankfulness posts on The Book of Faces that really gives me clarity and perspective.  There’s a part of me that wishes I could go back in time and be this person of perspective during those tumultuous years after Devon’s Big Reveal.  But then, it wouldn’t work out the way it has, would it?  Of course not.  I’d be like that episode in Family Guy where Brian and Stewie have to keep going back in time and fixing the mess they created.  Don’t be Brian.  Don’t be Stewie.  Be who you are in this moment, and look forward to a day where you can see with clarity that you, too, are Unbecoming the very person you are meant to be.  Along the way, hold on to the positives when you can and find something to be thankful for, even if it is the fact that your two feet were placed on the floor from your bed, after the realities of your life hit you square in the schnoz, to keep moving forward to face your day, for good or ill.  Much love, Emily.

BrianStewieBackInTime

Day 312: November 21, 2014

Thankfulness for Unbecoming

I’m not talking about being unbecoming with my words, dress or attitude, as in being offensive. I do that enough on a daily basis, naturally. I’m talking about a different way of thinking.

This image said it all to me. It reminded me of myself and of people, especially those who (like me) made their lives center around another person and THEIR identity, and became who they thought they wanted to be with someone else in it.

UnbecomingIsTheJourney

It has been so good to be alone. Yes, I had a relationship since Devon, a very serious one, and while I knew a little more about who I am before I met him, I didn’t REALLY know. While I sometimes get a woe-is-me attitude about not having someone in my life, when I look at the scheme of things, I really am blessed to get to figure out who I am by unraveling the person I thought I wanted to be or was becoming… without another person in my life.

Let’s just say it this way: If I hadn’t have found out about my ex, if I hadn’t have been cheated on by my past boyfriend, I wouldn’t have figured out the true me. I haven’t arrived yet, but the journey (despite the ka-ka) has been all worth it.

I love myself… now. I have learned who I am, and without having tried to be someone I am not, I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am today.

Man, that sounds confusing. I hope it makes some sense to you. If it does, then you probably have gone through some stuff that caused you to understand this.

I’m still figuring out who I am, but the core of me is recognized by my intellect. I am better equipped to let go of things and people that clash with that core, and I can let go with confidence, knowing that if I compromise who I am at my core, I will be right back to square one.

I don’t ever want to be in that square again.

So, comment and let me know if you get it. Let me know if you, too, are unbecoming. It’s a great place to be, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Love, Unbecoming Emily

P.S. Here is the quote by Mark Twain that I hang my hat on often: “There are no accidents, all things have a deep and calculated purpose; sometimes the methods employed by Providence seem strange and incongruous, but we have only to be patient and wait for the result: then we recognize that no others would have answered the purpose, and we are rebuked and humbled.”

marktwain

Those Pesky Plans We Made For Our Perfect Lives…

On my personal Facebook page, I have done my best to post something to be thankful for everyday since January 1, 2014, when I was diagnosed with Colon Cancer for the second time.  These thankfulness reflections truly helped me to stay as focused as possible on the positives during a really rough 7 months of my life.  I thought I would share this one with you all because maybe, just maybe you will find a little encouragement in it.  Blessings to you, big time.

Day 300: November 9, 2014

Thankfulness for Plans Not Working

Oh, those pesky plans!
Oh, those pesky plans!

I saw this picture today representing plans. It really struck a chord with me. Anyone who has lived a life open to whatever the Universe has in store for them will totally get it. And actually, ANY human will understand this, regardless of your life’s views.

I could make a Santa Clause list, starting when I was probably three-years-old, of all of the plans I made that absolutely did not work. One particular juvenile plan I had was when I was 5. I had the perfect scheme. The goal was to play longer with my neighbor Kelley Thomas, so I set my rusty but fast red Schwinn bike by the back porch door, waiting for my mom to fall asleep during our nap time, snuck out, and hightailed it over to her place. My plan worked! I played and played. Of course I didn’t see past the initial plan and didn’t make plans to get back home before Mom woke up. Let me tell you, I have never been spanked so hard in all my life… all the way home to my house. Being a parent myself, I’ll bet she was scared crapless, so I don’t blame her for tanning my hide. I can say with honesty that I never snuck out of the house as a teenager because of that episode. It taught me a valuable lesson.

Plans are great, until they don’t work. And looking back on all those plans, I’m so glad they didn’t. I wouldn’t be who I am today if they had worked.

I am pretty happy with how things turned out despite the fact that I made plans and tried to force things to happen.  I actually can include in those things to be thankful for that my ex came out of the closet.  Took me a long while to get there, but I really am thankful for it now.

So why do we even make plans, then? What is it that is so important about them when they probably won’t go as we have in our mind that they should? Should we just sit around and be led by some sort of spirit that will move us from place to place, making things happen without any effort on our part? I would love it if that were the case. Being open like that is pretty cool when it works out.

Some people would say that our plans are finite and God’s are often different than what we think we need or should be doing. I’m not necessary calling complete B.S. on that, because I think there’s more to it.  I don’t like the trite saying that well-meaning people often say:  There’s a reason this happened.  It isn’t that easy to accept, Man.  My spouse is gay and I’m supposed to be okay with that?  Don’t patronize me, okay?  You aren’t living it and I don’t want to accept it.  It’s just too much!

Plans often have to do with expectations, and while expectations aren’t inherently bad, they sure can lead to hurt, disappointment and even anger. Expectations are often coupled with control, or at least our perception of control that we think we have, and so when plans fail, especially big ones, our world crumbles. Are we actually angry at that person for ruining our expectations, or are we truly just disappointed that things aren’t going our way?

I love the movie Dodgeball, especially the training antics of Patches O'Houlihan.  Such a crack up.  But a wrench being thrown into your plans isn't so funny.
I love the movie Dodgeball, especially the training antics of Patches O’Houlihan. Such a crack up. But a wrench being thrown into your plans isn’t so funny.

I’m thinking about big and little things here. Big things like marriage without ever experiencing divorce or betrayal, or education we receive because heck, we are going to have that dream job, that doesn’t pan out in reality. We strive, we toil, we put in sweat equity, and then things might crumble anyway. As far as the little things, I often make plans to get out of the door on time to get kids to school and get to work, and then something comes up to throw a wrench in those perfectly laid plans. I always planned to win a basketball game, but sometimes we lost. Tears were shed, anger was felt, blaming occurred, but it is a reality because losing is never the plan.

It’s maddening.

But we need to make plans. Otherwise we’d all be a bunch of lazy slugs all the time, waiting for something to come to us in some miraculous way. We prep, we practice, we perfect skills, yet we still don’t see the plans come to fruition sometimes.

This is why we need to have larger life goals about our inner selves. When we compare plans working out or not to our hearts and ultimately our souls, plans can fail and we can trust that perhaps there may be a reason we will only understand in the future.

So, I keep my Inner Emily in mind when I make plans, and I keep my expectations in check as best as I can. I focus on the things I actually can control, accept the things I can’t, and seek the wisdom I need to evaluate the difference between the two.

And when I look at this graph, I see that the second image of how plans actually look in the scheme of things is a lot more interesting and even beautiful. I like the swirls, turns, twists and notice that in the end, it is still raising toward the goal of my Inner Emily, which is to live life, love life and impact others.

LifeIsBeautiful
I hope you make plans, but are open to them changing if they will make you a stronger, more loving, more living and more impacting person toward others. Because then, and only then, can you really know that the plans you made played a part in that, regardless if they work out or not.

Love, The Life Event Planner

Despite This. Despite That.

Each day since January 1, 2014, I have been keeping a Thankfulness Journal as a way to help me get through my six months of chemo for my second bout with Colon Cancer.  While it certainly wasn’t easy, for some reason my journal helped me to be more positive.  Often times, I would mention my divorce with Devon and his Big Reveal in them, but it turned into thankfulness for that.  Being thankful is a powerful tool.  It cause you to think on a different plane and snaps you back to reality with a better feel for looking for positive stuff in the middle of crises.  Try it.  You might like it.  You can find all of my Thankfulness posts on the blog that my ex and I run together by clicking here.

Day 220: August 20, 2014

Thankfulness for Despite

Despite this. Despite that. We all have things that we have to overcome despite the happenings in our lives.

Mine are cancer and divorce. What are yours?

If we don’t overcome them, work through them, face them… we can become bitter shells of what we are meant to be. Who we are at our core depends on overcoming the crap that happens, whether it is our own fault or the choices/failings of others who effect us.

We all know those people in our lives that when their number shows up on our phones, we hit “ignore call.” We have been bitten too many times by them with their bitterness and woe is me attitude. Nothing we say or do helps them move forward. Everything we say is met with a “but…” and we avoid those people like the plague. They are like a broken record, repeating the same ol’ shite over and over again.

I don’t want to be one of those people. I think I have been in the past. Yes, I talk about everything, and even repeat the same mantras… but I know that I have a heart for change and a fairly decent track record of moving forward in my life.

I don’t want to be the person who people see walking toward them and they try to come up with an excuse before I even open my mouth of why they can’t talk right now. So, I try to be cognizant of being like that. Won’t you please tell me if I am like that? I don’t want to embarrass myself.

Everyone needs to work through their stuff. Sometimes they need help from others. I am good with that because I can relate. Moving forward despite what life throws at you is a very big deal. Using those circumstances to help others move forward is worth talking about… as much as you can. But beating a dead horse isn’t pretty. Ever.

So, what can YOU use in your life from your past that can help others, and how can you keep moving forward without causing people to dodge your calls because they can’t stand listening to you? It’s a balance, and I’m proud to say that I while I will write about cancer and my divorce story many times in the future, I am not stuck there.

Cancer gone. I am happy. Life is wonderful.

Love, Emily is Living Despite It AllSheWasUnstoppable