Monday, July 30, 2012

FIERCE & Famous: Eleanor Roosevelt

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. 
~ Eleanor Roosevelt



I am in awe of Eleanor Roosevelt for the genius gem of a quote right here, and although I am nowhere near as refined as Ms. Roosevelt, I would like to offer my own personal spin on what she is saying.

Ahem.

When your conversations veer off on a path of gossipy bullshit, you need to grab control of that conversation and recognize that you're being a catty bitch.

It's not easy, I know. Trust me, it's simple to talk about other people and find fault in how they're living their lives; gossip rags and websites wouldn't be in business if society didn't thrive on picking apart celebrities on a daily basis.

However.

And this is a BIG ASS however...


Your conversations don't need to be that small or petty, YOU have control of what you and your friends talk about. If one friend starts in on the, "OMG did you hear (blah blah) is cheating on (blah blah)??" you can steer that conversation away to, "OMG did you know that the human head weighs 8 pounds!!??"

Conversations that you are having for the sake of TALKING about other people are pointless.

To some degree, we all like gossip whether it's Robsten and their big cheating scandal (le gasp), or sharing with our closest friends "secrets" about our other friends, it's gossip on some level.

Where does it end? 

If you find yourself CRAVING gossip, NEEDING to talk about other people whether or not they are celebrities or friends or even family, you need to figure out what the fuck is so wrong in your own life or that you are missing that you can't find anything better to discuss than other people.

Try this...

The next time you're out with your friends or with a group of peers, watch who brings up the gossip and ask them why they feel the need to bring it up.

Sometimes people don't even realize they are being so petty and just need a slap back to reality.

You can do it.

YOU have a great mind.


 
 



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Friday, July 27, 2012

Are you a 10?

On a scale of 1 to 10, what's your self worth?

Do you define it by how you look? Or how you feel? Or what you do for a living?

We all have insecurities, we all have baggage and we all have scars but when it comes to what you are worth, remember this: You are PRICELESS.

No one else has your story, no one else has your beauty, and no one else has your scars.

All of those things make you beautiful.

You're not always going to feel like a 10 but *shrugs* what defines a 10? Who is to say that my idea of a 10 is the same as yours? Set the 10 to YOUR standards not what other people define as a 10.

Take control of your self-worth and ROCK that 10!



 
 



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FIERCE awards... Nothing typical about it!



 
 



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Thursday, July 26, 2012

August 8: Get Thee to the Greek (restaurant)!


FIERCE & Famous: Audrey Hepburn



84 days until the 2012 FIERCE awards and I have a great new blog idea! Each week I will be posting famous FIERCE women who live/lived a FIERCE life.

Audrey Hepburn is our first in this series because she was an original FIERCE woman.

She exuded class, charm, grace and blazed her own trail, focusing more on her humanitarian efforts than her Hollywood career.

She knew who she was and she made no apologies to anyone.

Who do you want to see featured?

Who do YOU want to honour this year? 

You have until Aug. 31 to get your nominations in for the 2012 FIERCE Women of the Year awards presented by Edmonton City Centre Mall.

We're bringing the WOW factor this year thanks to our amazing sponsors including Focus CommunicationsElegant TouchesRiver Cree Resort & CasinoSimplee Serene, and Sparkle ~ Passion Style. 

 
 



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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

85 days

Ugh.

I fell asleep last night at 8:30 p.m. after crawling into bed just before 8 p.m. and reading until the words in my book became a jumbled mess.

No wine, no martini, no nothing. Step 2.

I also stopped at the health food store to pick up some vitamins and get serious about this body reset thing.

85 days isn't a lot of time and I'm damn well not wasting one day at all.

Yesterday, I tweeted out to my good Twitter pal Heather aka @Smashfit and demanded asked nicely for some advice.


So I guess we shall see how the rest of today goes. In the mean time, don't forget to nominate the FIERCE Women in your life (open to women in Alberta only). Oh, and you should seriously consider becoming a FIERCE Sponsor. We only partner with the best of the best.

  





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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

86 Days

I can't believe there are only 86 days until the FIERCE awards.

That's 86 days for me to prepare, organize, finalize, and change some of my own personal routines and habits.

I think for the next 86 days I will be posting progress reports on FIERCE and my own personal journey to shift my habits.

Today is the first step. I'm interested to get to the end of 86 days to look back and see how far I've come.


 
 



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Monday, July 23, 2012

Beyond the Rear View Mirror

Shelley Streit was a sponsor at the
2011 FIERCE Women of  Year awards
Image via YouAreFIERCE.com
I've had a lot of friends and acquaintances publish books lately and when I read their very personal stories, it seems weird in some ways because that person is actually real to me.

Does that make sense?

It's not like when you read a celebrity bio and go, "Ah, yeh, I know who she is," and feel somewhat connected to that person, it's more like you have coffee with someone and they hand you their life story to read.

I literally just finished reading Shelley Streit's book Beyond the Rear View Mirror and am impressed with how raw and vulnerable she is in telling her story. Shelley came into my life last year as a Facebook friend. I didn't know her other than maybe we exchanged tweets but one night, after venting my frustration with the lack of sponsors for the FIERCE awards and not knowing how I was going to make that event happen, she popped up in a Facebook chat saying, "How can I help you?"

My response was one of suspicion. 

I have (had, actually, I'm working to overcome that) a tough time trusting that people will offer help without expecting something in return or having serious ulterior motives so when I told Shelley that I was fine, hoping to brush her off, I was taken aback by her persistence to want to help me.

She immediately took a sponsorship and I sat in shock when I got a Paypal notice from her. I think I actually cried because I was so confused/moved by this generous offer from her. What I have learned since meeting her and having a few conversations with her is that she has a huge heart and will not say something she doesn't mean.

I've also seen her speak and let me tell you, she can captivate an audience.

I went to Shelley's book launch in April (yes, I have only just had a chance to read it), and have watched her soar, making opportunities and taking advantage of the opportunities that are presented to her.


via ShelleyStreitInc.com

Shelley had a pretty shitty childhood and is not close with her mother. 

She made choices in her life that got her to where she is today and they weren't always easy.

She got through certain situations by going into survival mode.
She's suffered through depression and been in the darkest place possible.
She has dug pretty fuckin' deep into herself to shift her mindset and become the FIERCE woman she is today. 


I can relate to Shelley on every single level; our stories are very similar yet vastly different.

Go. Get the book. You will thank me later.

Oh, and among the many things Shelley has accomplished (besides launching the book, being a mom, and being an entrepreneur) was launching the Real Growth Retreat last spring. From what I've been hearing, it was quite the success! I'm going this year to learn from other women and I hope to see you there. Check THAT out, too.

 
 



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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Make Jen's Day

Jen Banks via TechMommy.ca
I love being inspired by other women!

Jen Banks is a self-professed techy, geek mom who is covered in tattoos and likes her wine. She is also someone who's compassion and generosity caught the attention of the Twitterverse when she posted a blog called, "Go Ahead, Make My Day."

This blog caught my attention because of Jen's selfless act of kindness and turning what should be a day of celebrating her into a day of helping other people.
Sunday, July 22nd is my birthday and I have only one wish: 
I wish that all of my friends, family, Twitter followers, FB friends, blog readers and even people in my Google + circles take a moment this weekend to give something to charity.
Give your time, give food, give diapers, give formula, give clothing, give money, give breast milk. What you give doesn’t matter as much as helping someone who needs it. 
When you give, take a picture. Then make sure I see it.
Tweet it using the #makejensday hashtag
Join the Make Jen’s Day Facebook page and post your photos on the wall
Use the #makejensday hashtag on Instagram.
Write a blog post about your experience and link back to this post
Email it: jenniferbanksyeg@gmail.com
She wrote the post after helping out someone in need and recognizing that she had been helped her at various times in her life. For that, I have mad respect.

Jen is a perfect example of someone who is making a difference.


Happy birthday Jen! May all of your birthday wishes come true!

 
 



P.S. If this doesn't get Jen nominated for a FIERCE award I don't know what will. Totally FIERCE in my humble opinion. 

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Going Blue 4U

Image via SimpleeSerene
One of my most favourite FIERCE women to talk about is Lee Horbachewski. 

I love telling her story and sharing who she is with the world because her strength, resilience, compassion, and light make her relatable and endearing to so many people who have suffered through depression.

Lee struggled for many years with whether or not she should openly discuss the fact that she tried to commit suicide after a dark battle with depression. People would ask her, "Do you really want to be known as the 'Suicide Girl?'"

She shared her story on her blog, through speaking engagements and finally wrote a book called A Quiet Strong Voice which she recently launched in Calgary, AB.

In it, she shares her pain, her struggles, even her suicide note that she left for her friends and family. Towards the end of the book, she offers a chapter called, "Your Personal Reflection," which is a place for you to put your own thoughts through a series of questions, plus she offers resources and help for people in distress.

This book is more than a story. It's a guide for anyone who has ever suffered with depression. It's a book I wish I had when I was going through my own personal journey.

Lee is determined to change the stigma of depression and suicide, and she created a campaign called "Going Blue 4 U.

This campaign is a FUN way to bring awareness to mental illness. You can donate directly through the website or raise money and dye your hair blue! Right now, Lee has a fundraiser going on to raise money for Going Blue 4 U. Check it out!

I'm also giving away a signed copy of Lee's book. All YOU have to do is leave a comment on the blog. I will randomly draw a winner on July 31.
 



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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Gettin' Off... Online


PART 1 of our Good Girl's Guide to Cyber Sex 
by Tamara Plant


Why online erotica and cyber sex can actually help your relationship

When Anna* first joined Lush Stories, she was looking for a solution to her marital sex problems.

During her 25-year marriage, she had cheated on her husband and knew she didn't want to go down that path again but she also knew she needed to find an outlet for her sex drive.

Anna found an escape in an erotica community called LushStories.com where she could explore her fantasies in a non-judgmental and safe environment without ever having to risk losing her marriage.

“When I first joined, I was very frustrated with my sex life," Anna says.

“I have been married for 25 years and things such as losing our jobs and then our home, having to rebuild had put such stress on us (especially my husband … ego, identity, etc). We were not connecting. I cheated in life and not only was it not satisfying but I was CHEATING!

“I didn't want to do that to us, it was dangerous and I could lose the one thing that means the most to me, my honey.”

Lush is a free erotic literature and adult community website where you can publish, read and comment on erotic stories, but is also a community where people can interact and engage in conversations, build online friendships, indulge in cyber sex and discuss topics ranging from relationship advice to recipes to random sex acts.

“I had realized I enjoyed words ... a hot text did wonders so I started looking for that type of outlet and found Lush,” Anna says.

“Since then though, it has opened me to things I never knew I felt or was interested in. So now, it is an outlet for my sexuality and I am exploring things about my personality and sexual identity.
“I'm having so much FUN, it's exciting, erotic, sensual and so f-ing HOT ... I can not even imagine where I will go next. It also is a sexual aide!”

Anna has since included her husband in her online activities, dramatically improving their sex life and ultimately enhancing their relationship.

“Both stories and chat help me get my motor revved up,” Anna says. “I like to show my husband my favourites and let him take it in and see what kind of reaction I get.

“So far it is all goooood! But, much of the time it is about ‘self love,’ just reading, and going with it all on my own.”

Anna is not alone.

Women join Lush every day either as a place to rediscover their sexuality or engage in behaviour they may not try in real life.

Janet* joined Lush looking for the stories but she stayed because of the friends she has made and especially likes the overall usability of the website.

“The organization of the site makes it easy for me to find exactly what I am in the mood for," says Janet.
 “Then I discovered that Lush is a place that I am able to kick back and converse with like-minded people from all over the world in real-time chat.

“Due to the sexual nature of the site, there is an openness here that exists no where else and not every conversation you have has to revolve around sex.

“It is one of the few places that I have found that creates an atmosphere of creativity and interaction between the authors and the readers. “There is also support for those of us who try to write and a wealth of knowledge to be discovered in the forums.

“Lush absolutely offers a comfort zone to express your sexuality. Basically, I come to Lush to be me. Thanks for providing that comfort zone."

Dr. Trina Read is a Sexologist, author and speaker who says erotica is a wonderful tool to incorporate into your sex life.

“Erotica is a fabulous way for women to enjoy their sexuality, whether they find the erotica in a bookstore or on-line makes no difference,” says Dr. Read.

“Accessing erotica on-line is simply one more access to the medium.”

If you’re worried about being stereotyped as a sexual deviant or feel strange using online erotica, don’t because erotica is mainstream and reading or participating in online chats is not something to feel ashamed about.

“The internet is still a very new and misunderstood medium,” she adds. “Because of negative media attention, anything to do with ‘cyber sex’ is considered deviant.

“The great thing about cyber sex is it allows people to fulfill a fantasy in the safety of their home.
“The best part is when a person takes that wonderful sexual energy from online and uses it with their partner in their own bed.”

What is Lush?

Users can join the site, creating their own profiles and personalize them with music, videos and status updates. Just like Facebook, there are news feeds to see what your friends have been up to, and you can personalize your privacy settings to suit your needs.

"Nicola" is the savvy businesswoman behind Lushstories.com, which she launched in December 2006 after three months of careful planning.

"I had been a member at several other erotic story sites prior to that, and was totally dissatisfied with their outdated setups," Nicola says.

"I knew I could plan something a lot more user friendly and more in line with the expectations of surfers in the Facebook / Web 2.0 era"

Lush continues to grow in popularity, and has 131,599 members world wide, the majority of users in the US, UK and Canada. The ratio of users is 60/40 men and women, with every sexual preference welcome, and there are over 832,097 forum topics currently being discussed by members and more than 20,000 stories posted in the Lush Library.

The level of engagement you want to participate in is completely up to you, whether it is strictly reading stories or hanging out in the chat rooms or playing in the forums, users can play on Lush and meet as many or as few people as they choose.

Think of Lush as a playground for adults.

“When setting up Lush, I researched the biggest websites in detail (Myspace, Facebook, Youtube etc), and decided we should add the best elements to our site," Nicola says.
“Luckily I have a brilliant programmer who was able to do absolutely everything I asked of him … and then some! The site has been nicknamed ‘The Facebook of Sex Stories’, so we've obviously got something right."

There is no doubt that Nicola succeeded in creating a safe place for adults to play.

“Most of our visitors come from search engines, and they are obviously interested in reading erotic stories. I think what keeps them coming back, is that lush is so much more than just a story site.

“The interface is clean, it's easy to navigate, we have forums, our own free chat rooms, and the member profile area are packed with features. There really is no other site that comes anywhere close to what we offer members, and it's all free.

"Above all else, we have created a community, and encourage interaction in as many ways as possible.

“You can leave comments on someone's story, drop them a private message, chat to them one-to-one, critique stories in the forums, say hi on their profile pages and talk to other members in the chat rooms.

“We also take great care in the day to day running of the site. Forum spammers, chat room nuisances and the like, are quickly spotted and banned.

“I think it gives many people a feeling of security knowing we take such steps."

Anna is grateful to Nicola for launching Lush and credits her and Lush for solving some of her major marital issues.

“Thank you Nicola, because we (my husband and I) are HOT... SMOKIN again. Still some struggles and lots of work to do but any relationship worth having is worth working for.”

Romance and Friendship

It’s not just sex and lust that you can find on Lush.

One couple on who met on the site are so dedicated to each other that their profiles ooze romance and passion.

Eternal_Lover and Lover_Eternal connected online with a simple hello but it developed into a story that Nicholas Sparks could have written.

“Through God's grace, we met," says Eternal_Lover about his romance with his online love.
“Everything is a miracle, our relationship started with friendship when we simply started with 'hello.'”

They post the most romantic messages, pictures and songs on each others profiles, gushing about their happiness and declaring their undying love, proving that online erotica is more than hardcore sex or taboo subjects.

“We are both very romantic, love is what matters most to us and we love being so mushy and expressing our feelings for each other as much as possible,” says Lover_eternal.

“Lush give us a great way to do it with all the things we can do together here on the site,"
Eternal_lover agrees, saying, "In our relationship, love rules the lust. Love is more important for us than the sex.”

Although the couple have yet to meet in real life, they plan on doing so sooner than later.

The friendships/relationships you develop online are unique and anyone who has ever used an online dating service can understand this concept. However if you have never set foot in a chat room before, you may find the idea of online relationships strange.

The statistics of online relationships say otherwise. One in five relationships begin online and in 2009, 17% of couples who married met on a website and all of those relationships had to start as friendships.
Connecting with a person online is easier to do than you may think. It is the same as striking up a conversation with someone you might meet at a coffee shop.

Anna and Janet have both made some great friends online and are enjoying that aspect of Lush as well.

"I also have made friends from here which is also VERY new and a bit foreign, making friends I will probably never meet in life, but feeling they are really friends,” Anna says.

“I must say I am a happy Lusher.” M

COMING UP: PART 2 Why Do Women Visit Lush?

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Fighting for a Stranger

This is a story of two women. Both named Chris. Both 47. One full of life, ready to take on the world. The other, fighting a losing battle for her health. These women have never met, but they both are battling Cancer.


One with her life. The other by helping to find a cure.

I’m Chris, mom of three wonderful young adults, soccer player, Running Room instructor, perpetual volunteer and employee at a busy Pediatrics office in Edmonton.

I am surrounded by loving family and friends, I am full of life and I am ready to take on the world. And this is my story.The first time I heard about the Ride to Conquer Cancer was in February. It was only by chance that I found the flyer, which instantly caught my attention because I am always looking for something new to do, whether it’s ice climbing, running a marathon, driving to Mexico on a bus with 100 other people to build houses for those in need, or getting my motorcycle license. I don’t question my zest for life, I simply embrace it. I’m kicking 50 so “bring it on!”

The bright blue and yellow flyer read, Ride 200+ KM on a bicycle, after raising $2500 towards finding a cure! I was instantly intrigued and started to find reasons to ride; it’s for a good cause, the challenge of a two-day, 200+ km bicycle ride through the mountains, and I would have helped make a difference to those suffering from or directly affected by cancer.

I kept the brochure but didn’t follow up until Monday to get more information.

After speaking with Bradley at the Ride to Conquer Cancer office, I had to consider not only why but how I planned on registering; Individual? Team? Who am I riding for? How will I raise $2500? He helped alleviate my concerns and put the Ride into perspective.

I was convinced this was my next adventure.



Finding each other

A few weeks passed after that phone call and one afternoon at work, a patient’s mom walked in crying. I walked around my counter, offering tissues and a hug. She was distraught because she had only minutes before arriving, received the devastating news that her sister-in-law, Chris Bryan, had been diagnosed with Cancer. I was one of the first people she told and my heart was heavy with sadness for both Angie and Chris.

After Katelyn’s appointment, Angie and I chatted more about Chris. As Angie talked, all I could think of was, “What can I do to help?”

Chris, 47, is the same age as I am with basically the same family dynamics of three young adult children. I couldn’t shake this woman’s devastating news. I tried to put myself in her shoes but it was too horrifying to think about. I could shake the thoughts off - she couldn’t.

It was real for her.

It was her life now.

And she had to deal with it.

I called Angie a few days later to see how Chris was doing, and if they needed anything, not sure what I could have done. A few days later, Angie told me it was not good. Chris was in hospital for further testing and treatment.

At that point I had talked to Angie a few times when she told me about Chris’s blog and how I could go to her site and follow her progress.

I was a stranger to Chris, someone who simply watched her progress via her blog and would send “feel better wishes” through her family.

From afar, I prayed for her.

After a week or so reading her blog, I decided to do the Ride To Conquer Cancer for Chris, and went through Angie to put my request forth to Chris who was at that time, home on oxygen, awaiting test results and going to the hospital for treatments.

At that moment, she became my reason for doing this ride.

Angie told Chris about me wanting to do this ride for her, in her honour, and she was surprised that a stranger would do this for her but happy about it, too.

Over the next few weeks Chris’s health deteriorated and the blog entries stopped. She was too sick to update.

Chris was not doing very well. She was re-admitted to the hospital but Angie kept me informed about her health.

I asked if I could meet her. I thought I might be a bright spot for her in her dreary days of hospitals, pain, doctors, medications, and treatments. I thought by meeting me, a total stranger who is bringing a bit of hope to her world, it might lift her spirits knowing that through her name, through this Ride, that she’d be helping come one step closer to finding a cure. Angie said she’d ask and let me know.

Two days later Angie left a voicemail message on my work phone asking me to come to the hospital that day to see Chris. She had taken a turn for the worse. My heart felt so very heavy in my chest and all I could think about was that she was so young.

This was not the way it was supposed to be for a woman her age. There is so much more life to live. I wished I had magic dust that I could sprinkle over her which had the ability to make this go away for her.

Meeting Chris

I decided to go see her on my lunch hour. She was in the Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton, which is a few blocks from my office. Before I left work, I wrote a letter to Chris, thinking she could either read it when alone, or have her husband read it to her if she was not up to reading it. I stopped at Safeway and bought a simple, but the most beautiful bouquet of carnations. They were in a vase filled with orange slices, completely round and bright orange. I had never seen a bouquet like this one. “It’s perfect,” I thought, and off I went to meet the woman whose life had such an impact on mine.

I peeked in Chris’ room, and looking back at me were about 20 faces, probably wondering who I was. I was apprehensive, feeling like I was treading on sacred family time. I thought I would just introduce myself to Chris and her family, talk a bit about the Ride, and then leave them to their bonding and healing time.

What I walked into was a room of sadness. Chris was unconscious and hadn’t been awake in more than 24 hours. As I stood there being introduced to her mother, father, children, nieces, nephews, and friends, I realized she was not going to make it. I found myself standing in the middle of the room, surrounded by Chris’ family while she lay in the bed, slowly slipping away.

Her mom asked me if I wanted some time alone with her, saying they would leave the room for me to chat with her. I said no, for two reasons; I didn’t want to take their time with their Chris, and I was unprepared to find her this way.

I thought that when it came time for the Ride, she would be there to cheer me on, or welcome me back from it. To this day, my biggest regret is not taking that moment with Chris.

But what I did do was read my letter. I stood up in the middle of the room, surrounded by her loving family. The room went silent as I and read my letter to Chris.

At that moment, I felt so connected to her.

She was so important to me and I was overwhelmed with emotion. I felt sad as I looked at her in her hospital bed. Such a beautiful woman. She seemed peaceful. Like she knew her entire family was around her. If I could feel the love in that room, I’m sure Chris did too. Her feet were uncovered revealing ten purple painted toneails complete with white painted flowers. Her toes were my focus point when I became emotional, as I read my letter and composed myself.

Make It Go Away
Make It Go Away by Holly Cole on Grooveshark
That visit stayed with me the entire day. I was not my usual self at work, and everyone noticed, even commented. I couldn’t stop thinking about Chris. After work I got into my car still thinking about her. I even wondered if I should go see her again. I turned on the CD player, wanting some mellow music. I bypassed eight songs until the song Make It Go Away by Holly Cole started playing. I listened to it three times and it was so obvious to me at that exact moment that this song was Chris’ way of finding me.
This is not the way you should see me. This is not the face I recognize Make it go away. Cause I am weak, and this is more than one should have to take. There are reasons with silver linings There are lessons but I dont care Cause I just need a hand that I can hold onto When its darker than death out there
Make It Go Away had such a powerful impact on me and renewed my commitment to Chris. It was like she was now a tired, weak soul and she was asking me to take over, to carry her. I went back twice after that initial visit, thinking there was no way I could walk into their lives, their world and say “I’m riding for Chris,” then walk away.
I was connected.
Each visit, I met more of her family and friends. I would sit with her Mom as she told me stories about Chris and cried because she knew she was about lose her daughter. I comforted her with a hug, and encouragement of what a great life she had with Chris. She said, “See, this is why you’re here. I thank you for coming here, and for doing this for our Chris.”

I knew it was just a matter of time for Chris.
One morning I called the hospital to check on Chris and the nurse told me the news, softly, with such a degree of sympathy, that Chris had passed away. I hung up the phone and cried. For the loss of a woman so young. For her children, her husband, her family and for things she’ll never experience. She was diagnosed December 16, 2008 and died April 16, 2009, five months to the day from being diagnosed to losing her battle.

At that moment, she became my angel.
I begin each cycle training with a moment of silence for Chris. I have her picture (in a plastic name tag holder) pinned to my bicycle bag. She’s with me. Her and I are doing this together. “we “ will raise this money toward the cure. Even in her death, she’s ‘helping others,” myself included. I was unsure if I’d go to her funeral, again part of me felt I wasn’t a part of their family/friend group. But then it hit me! Chris and I were connected, and for me it was strong. I had to go to this funeral, I had to say goodbye to Chris, the woman whose life (and now death) have impacted my own life tremendously. Her funeral was like none I’ve ever been to. I slowly walked in looking for familiar faces and was amazed with the amount of people there. I talked a bit with the family I had already met, and then it was time for everyone to take a seat. But there were no seats! I had to stand, along with over a hundred other people. There must have been 4000 people there. What a testament to who Chris was in life. As I listened to her brother, sisters, husband, children, parents talk about her life, I became more and more proud of her. I remember thinking, “I wish I knew this woman.” Everyone who spoke had the same outlook of Chris; happy, fun, full of laughter, upbeat, positive, and loving. Although her life ended at 47, she touched the lives of so so very many people. Mine included, without ever meeting.

The voice of an angel
Angie’s daughter Katelyn, 4, was having a hard time understanding why Auntie Chrissy was not here anymore. Her parents (Chris’s brother Doug) and Angie told Katelyn that Chris was going to Heaven and would call when she got there and tell them she was OK. They put it at the back of their minds, and thought that when she was older they would talk about it. One day I called to see how everyone was doing. Angie answered the phone without saying hello, but rather, “Oh hi Chris !” and we chatted for a few minutes. Unbeknownst to Angie and I, Katelyn heard the phone ring, and her mother answer. She asked, “Was that Auntie Chrissy calling to say she’s in heaven and OK?” Angie answered, “Yes, yes it was. She said she loves you too.” Katelyn ran off smiling, confident that Auntie was OK. I cried when Angie called me later to tell me that story. I believe God has a part in all this. He placed us together for a reason. Although we may not understand the why of it all, we should realize that we’re all here to help each other, count on each other. It could be your neighbour, your co-worker, or someone you’ve never met that might benefit by your actions to show concern, compassion, and love for a fellow human. Personally, I have never been so touched by another person I have never actually have met. It goes to show that you can be connected or bonded through emotion, through thoughts, through the heart. I feel so protective of Chris. This is our ride. And I will do her proud.

Christine Jarvis on her final Ride to Conquer Cancer in June 2012

Editor’s Note: This is Christine Jarvis' story that was published in the 2009 Summer edition of MOM Magazine. Christine went on to ride in the Ride to Conquer Cancer every year until her death less than a month after her 51st birthday. 

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Huh. I've been doing it all wrong

I saw this tweet from Melissa Stewart The Importance of Maintaining a Respectable Online Persona http://goo.gl/Wv4Q2 via @hensel and immediately had to check out the blog (I rarely write blogs let alone read them) and had to chuckle at these "rules" because I am SO not a rule girl.




Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What are you waiting for?

You Are Loved by Josh Groban on Grooveshark

I have a real problem with waiting.

I hate waiting to "be happy" or waiting to tell someone I love them. I don't like waiting to live life or waiting for a reason to celebrate.

Have you ever been to a funeral and heard all of the wonderful things that are said about a person and the life they lived?

Or after someone passes away, the outpouring of heartfelt emotions that are rarely shared when the person is alive?

Not waiting is one of the reasons I created the FIERCE Women of the Year awards. I refuse to wait to tell my friends that I love them. I don't care how uncomfortable it makes them to hear it or how much I look like Paul Rudd in I Love You, Man.

Shit needs to be said.

It's like those tributes at the Oscars or Grammys celebrating the lives of celebs who have OD'd passed away; nice, sweet, awwww so touching.

Ahem.

How about CELEBRATE the people you love, right now, at this moment. 

Cheer them on! Champion their accomplishments! Show them how much their life matters while they are ALIVE to be see it.

When I heard the news that Christine Jarvis, our first-ever Graceful Goddess recipient, was killed, I was devastated but I kept reminding myself that I got the chance to honour her life while she was here. Chris was more than a FIERCE winner, she was the woman who I counted on to make sure my kids were taken care of when I needed to schedule them with the pediatrician she  worked for. She watched me launch MOM Magazine and encouraged me when I launched FIERCE. Our brief visits at the doctor's office led to a sweet relationship through Facebook and I watched her share her life through pictures and posts. She was always genuinely happy, thoughtful, positive and maternal. She never expected anything in return for her charitable efforts, she was the proudest mom I know, and she quietly lived a full life.

I know the award meant a lot to her and she was humbled by the recognition but now that she's gone, it's one of the things I'm most proud of in my life.

Don't wait until it's too late to recognize the people in your life.

Nominations for the 2012 FIERCE Women of the Year awards are open until Aug, 31 to Alberta women. The event will be dedicated to the memory of Christine and I know she will be smiling and clapping along there with us.


 


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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Celebrating you... right now

When I created the FIERCE Women of the Year awards, it was with the intention of celebrating women who make a difference in the lives of others whether it was within their own homes or on a global scale.

It was about celebrating women RIGHT NOW, honouring their lives, their accomplishments, and their presence in this world.

The death of my friend Christine Jarvis, who was also our first-ever Graceful Goddess recipient, has been tough for me to comprehend, and not because I don't deal well with grief or loss (fuck, I've dealt enough with it in my life). I think it's difficult because of the sudden loss of such a bright life.

I've had to remind myself to be FIERCE, to remember that

Saying goodbye to a Graceful Goddess


I hate having to write this post.

I've been dreading it since I heard the news last night.

There is a woman who most of you have never heard of. She lived a happy, quiet, and full life, generously touching the lives of others with her genuine beauty. She glowed from the inside out, her warmth and soothing presence calming the inconsolable, and her first thought was always of how she could help someone in need.

Her name wasn't splashed across newspapers on a regular basis, she wasn't a blogger, she didn't impose her opinions on anyone through social media, and she had no time for anything but making sure she lived life to it's fullest.

Christine Jarvis was our first-ever Graceful Goddess recipient of the FIERCE Awards but more than that, she was someone I considered a friend.

On Saturday, July 7, Christine died doing one of the things she loved most; driving her cherished motorcycle she lovingly named Rosie.

At the 2011 FIERCE awards, I invited the previous winners to present awards and Chris gladly and humbly accepted the offer. During her speech, she spoke of how much it meant to her to have the honour of being our first-ever Graceful Goddess recipient and how she looked at her diamond award whenever she needed a reminder that she was FIERCE.

Chris was 51 years old when she died but she touched so many lives in her short time here. She leaves behind three children, three grandchildren and countless lives she has changed for the better.

Rest in peace graceful goddess. The world is a better place because you were here.

t.