Friday, November 8, 2013

Once Upon a Wedding Shower

Fair warning ... uber photo overload ahead.

I have a friend ... we'll call her Kristen ... who recently got married. I like this friend Kristen. A lot. She has quickly wound her way into the deepest parts of my heart. I have another friend ... we'll call her Larissa ... who also recently got married. I like this friend Larissa. A lot. She also quickly wound her way into the deepest parts of my heart. Sadly, I was out of town for Larissa's wedding. She had a dinosaur at her wedding. Cool, right? A dinosaur. I digress. Well Kristen got married a month after Larissa did. The friends decided to throw Kristen a bridal shower. One thing you should know about Kristen is there are very few things she loves more than Disney. Anything Disney. We thought and thought of what we could do that would be worthy of Kristen's Disney love. We hit the Pinterest boards and came up with a Mad Hatter Tea Party. We had a nice lunch with a few beverages. We played a game, if I remember right, and then had a lip sync off. Kristen won. Honestly I am not sure how this all came together because Mel and I were in the car accident Thursday and this was on Saturday. My friends really are just about the best thing ever!! Behold: 

Miscellaneous tea cups from DI assembled into center pieces.
Old tea spoons and original Alice art work face cards.
These center pieces and cards looked so amazing thanks to Sparky and Selena.
It was halfway through the party before I found this little stowaway ...
I'd like to name him ... but he was not mine to name. 
Tea cups, tea pots, saucers, spoons, hot glue, and a little imagination. 
Canning jars and fancy straws served as our "tea cups".
We put some long tables together and waited for the guests to arrive. 
Mel made these super cute Drink Me bottles with colored water in pretty bottles. 

Tea sandwiches included pinwheels and cucumber sandwiches. Served on tea plates. 
Three beverages: Cucumber mint
Strawberry citrus
Berry lemon/limeade 
This cake was made by my other mother, inside was red velvet. Super cute, mighty tasty.
We also served cups of goodies including apples and peanut butter, carrots and ranch, strawberries and brown sugar.
These Mad Hatter boxes were the party favor to be filled with candy from the candy bar. 
Kristen's face upon seeing it all was pretty priceless.
Riss was such a good sport when Kristen called dibs on shower winner.
Sparky came up with the original idea, and Mel, despite being in a lot of post car accident pain, was brilliant at keeping me organized. 
This face. This face I love!
I do love this girl!

Thanks to Mel, Sparky, Selena, Tiffanie, Larissa, Michelle, and Casey this was one of the funnest showers in the history of showers. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

It's the Journey ... Not the Finish Line

November 17, 2013 is fast approaching. It is the date of the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. My amazing brother Barry and my awesome sister Colleen and I have been training to run in it. Barry is running the full marathon, Colleen is running the half. I have been training for the half as well. I admit to not being as diligent as Barry or Colleen in my training, but I was rearing to go. And then this happened:

My friend Mel and I were hit from behind on October 10. (I do have to say, if you have to get in a car accident, do it with Mel! She is a rock star!) So Lola, my car, got a new bumper. Mel and I ... well we were a little worse off than Lola. Admission: I am angry.

Set aside the concussion, the ankles, the whiplash, the bruised ribs, and the torn rotator cuff/Labrums injury. Set aside the numerous phone calls and hours spent fighting with insurance. Set aside the sleepless nights because of pain. Set it all aside. I am angry because I cannot run the half marathon that I have been working so hard for. 

I posted this status update on facebook:

I have used facebook to help raise awareness and money for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and my Las Vegas 1/2 marathon that is 4 weeks away. Sadly because of the car accident that was last week I am not going to be able to particiate in the race. ... I want to tell everyone who donated their time, yard sale items, and money how very grateful I am for all of it. I especially want to thank everyone who encouraged this fat girl to run and did not give up on me. It means the world. I will still be in Vegas cheering my team on and screaming my loudest for my siblings who have worked so hard for this. GO team Johnson!! GO MMRF Power Team. Cancer still sucks, and frankly car accidents do as well. Thanks again for everyone who has supported me! There will be another race. 

I felt like a failure posting that. I felt like I had let everyone down, including me. I felt like the world was ending and I was a disappointment to my family, my mother, and myself. I cried typing the facebook status. Not the "oh I am sad" cry but the "this is the ugliest cry in the world" cry. I wanted to ignore the 'likes' and comments for my update because I was sure they were going to make me feel worse as people expressed their disappointment in my failure. That they would make me feel like the failure I felt like. True story!

Nothing could have been further from the truth. I was overwhelmed with encouragement and love. One of the comments, from a lady I admire and respect, said: Remember that it's the journey, not the destination. Look what you've gained along the way. The last 13 miles matters not.

It was exactly what I needed to hear. I realize that the race and the medal are kind of like a grand prize. But it is not the finish line on November 17 that is the goal or the ultimate finish line I am working toward. 

My main goal in participating in this race was to raise funds and awareness for Multiple Myeloma cancer research. I've raised $1,500 so far on my page and my siblings and I are so close to collectively raising $4500. This cancer has turned our lives upside down and will one day take the life of my dear mother. Until that day (which is hope and pray is many years away) she lives in pretty constant pain because her bones are so fragile. There is currently no cure for Multiple Myeloma. So the funds we raise for a cure are vital. Will they save the life of my mother? Probably not, but they will one day have a cure for this cancer and our efforts will save the life of someone else's mother. It will save someone else the same heartache my siblings and I feel for our mother. When Mom was diagnosed the life expectancy of myeloma patients was 3-5 years. That was 6 years ago. The life expectancy now of myeloma patients is upwards of 10 years. That increase is due to people raising funds for research. That race is much more important than 13.1 miles in Las Vegas in 10 days. That is a race that has no finish line until there is a cure. 

My secondary goal was for me to lose weight and get healthy. I am not anywhere close to my goal weight, but if you told me 2 years ago and I would run ... and enjoy running a little ... I would have said you were on crack. I have not been able to run for a few weeks and I miss it. I miss feeling like my lungs were on fire and I just cannot go one more step. I miss the sweat after a 4 mile run. I miss the sore muscles post run. I miss the solitude of just being in my own world. I miss the exhilaration of knowing that this fat girl ran 4 miles. I love buying new pants because the old ones no longer fit. The race to lose weight is not over because I cannot run on November 17. That race has no finish line until I feel healthy.

There were other benefits that I had no clue would come with training for a race. I can never again say I cannot run. I can run. I can never again say I can't do hard things. I can. If my mom can fight like hell to beat cancer, not once, but twice in the last 5 years, then I can do hard things too. I have more self confidence and care less what others think of me in regard to how I look. Now I cannot say that I do not care at all what others' opinion of me is ... I do care ... but I care less than I did a year ago. 

The journey to this marathon as been incredible. I am still mad that I cannot participate in the run next week. I am mad that someone else's careless actions have robbed me of certain joys in life and made things much harder for a short time. But my journey has been amazing. And lucky for me there are more finish lines to look forward to. There are many more miles to run and a lot more money to raise for The MMRF. I am looking forward to continuing this journey. And finding a finish line of a half marathon one day. For now, I will slow down and heal from the accident. I will do what I can to continue to lose weight. I will enjoy spending time with my family in 10 days. I no longer feel like a failure because I can't participate. I have had a 2 year journey getting ready for a race and will just keep racing. Keep fighting. Keep working. Keep laughing. And keep loving. I am imperfect, and I am enough.