Wednesday, June 26, 2013

2nd Thankful Thursday: Appreciate the Little Things

Welcome back to my 2nd edition of Thirteen Thankful Thursdays!

Have you ever stared at the stars and got lost in their beauty? Have you just watched the rain fall? Have you ever watched a bird sing, and actually listen to his tune? Have you ever really and truly just sat for 10 minutes and been engulfed with gratitude for the little things nature provides us? I never did.

When Steve and I went on our Cancermoon, I stood at the ocean one night and stared up in the sky. I just stared; I have no idea how long we were even there. I felt like I was the only person there, like I was standing on the edge of the abyss. In that moment, I felt as if I had reached the ultimate place of serenity. I realized, I just never appreciated this before. I don't ever remember being so calm in my entire life. I vowed that instance that I would forevermore take time to unequivocally enjoy the little things in life. That will be a vivid memory of mine for the rest of my life.

Since then I have just sat and watched birds sing, I have closed my eyes and felt the wind on my face, I have just watched the river flow in all its purity. I make it a point now to enjoy these things that have always so quickly passed me by. It shouldn't have taken Cancer to make me grateful.

And this is my challenge for you: Take 10 minutes of the day so just sit and appreciate the small things in life that we do not normally see or hear them for what they are worth. This world is a divine place.

Don't forget!
Share your Thankful Thursday missions with me by hashtagging #thankfulthursday on Facebook (YES! FB has hashtags now!), Twitter or Instagram!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

1st Thankful Thursday: Learn to say "Yes".

Welcome to my first edition of Thirteen Thankful Thursdays!

After the doctor told me that my breast cancer had rapidly spread through my body I seen my life flash before my eyes and it continued to do that for weeks after. BC (before cancer) Kate said no to her kids . . . a lot. I was always too busy; I had work, cleaning, or therapies with Stephen. I put off crafts, taking them places or just letting them do something they wanted to do mainly because I was just selfish. I was either needing to work on the computer, make telephone calls, felt like I needed an immaculate home, was tired, or just plain on didn't feel like dealing with it. It all changed the day I was told that I had Stage IV breast cancer.

AD (after diagnosis) Kate now says "yes" a lot more. This Kate doesn't spend countless hours on the computer doing work, she doesn't chat on the phone much, she doesn't worry about her house being cleaned, her laundry being done or making sure she has '5 minutes' to herself. I forget about small mundane tasks that I need to complete and try to focus more on spending those precious moments with the kids.

When Grace asked me "Mom, can we all sleep in Stephen's room tonight", I was going to say no, for no good reason other than I didn't feel like dealing with it and I thought, why? Why say no? If it is what will make them happy, then YES! So I pulled out the sleeping bags and let Grace and Lily sleep overnight in Stephen's room and watch a movie before bed. Later that night I couldn't help but think that one day, they will look back at that and think about how cool it was that they all did that.

My challenge to you this Thursday is this: Your kids will ask you something, you are going to think about it, and when you most want to say no, say yes instead. If they ask for ice cream for dinner- why not?! One day won't hurt them! If they ask to stay up an extra hour- why not?! Will one hour really screw up your night? What if they say "Mom, can we go to Disneyworld" SAY YES! Bring Disney to them, have pretend rides, dress up as princesses and your own parade, have fun with it! I could go on and on, but I better stop before I get carried away. My point is simply this, if it isn't going to injure, harm or kill them or anyone else, then seriously- why not just say yes?

Saying no less and yes more as a parent really does make you feel better, not only about yourself but your parenting skills. Your kids' faces will light up because they will expect you to say the same old "no". My Grace actually got so excited one day when I said yes to something that she cried. I could not believe the power of what a simple 'yes' can do!

Don't forget!
Share your Thankful Thursday missions with me by hashtagging #thankfulthursday on Facebook (YES! FB has hashtags now!), Twitter or Instagram!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Thankful Thursdays

I get asked all the time "What exactly do you want people to know"? Well, I want them to know a lot of things pertaining to my story, but most importantly, I want them to know that you can withstand the ravages of any storm and still see the rainbow at the end of it. I have been and am going through hell, but I am happy. So why can't you be? What is holding you back from being happy? Thoughts of how I can truly get what I want to be my legacy across have been swirling around in the old noggin, and I came up with what I thought was a pretty nifty idea, if I don't say so myself!

Thankful Thursdays 

For the next couple Thursday's (as long as chemo hasn't been harsh), I am going to be offering up a small task that I guarantee will make you happy and in the end thankful you accomplished it. They won't be crazy, so calm down. I'm not a tyrant, so I don't expect anyone to do all of them, but if perhaps you do, then you take after me and are pretty flippin' awesome. I am going to be doing these as well to help strengthen myself, my relationships and my life.

The point of these is to make you think. It is my hope to make people appreciate their kids, spouses, family, job, and life more than they do now. Because the reality is, I am living your worst nightmare. You don't want to be me, you don't want to be dying. Hell, I don't want to be only appreciating life because I am dying. I should I have been doing this a longggg time ago so I am spreading that message. Love, cherish and be thankful for your life because if I can, why can't you?

And why Thursdays? Well, I get chemo every single Thursday, it's a day I am starting to hate and wish never came. So, why not Thursday?

Share your Thankful Thursday missions with me by hashtagging #thankfulthursday on Facebook (YES! FB has hashtags now!), Twitter or Instagram!

Monday, June 10, 2013

What I'd Tell My Younger, Skinnier, Cancer-Free Self

I have been thinking so much lately about things I wish I would have done, people I would have listened to, and goals I had followed through with when I was growing up. .

I have no regrets. Every broken heart, every tear, every hardship has made me who I am today and I love me. There are however, many things I wish I could tell my younger, skinnier and cancer-free self.

And it goes somethin' like this.

You are beautiful, don't ever believe you are not. High School is like a jungle, everyone fights to be the alpha; you don't need to be. You are you, and that is pretty damned good. Girls and boys are cruel, surround yourself with family, they are all you ever need. Don't worry about what people think about you- trust me, they are not around in 10 years. You will one day find true friendship, and when you find it you will know. Don't be a follower, be a leader. Say no, and say it often. Stand up for what you believe in. You are one of the smartest chicks I know (Yep, I am biased) and don't ever let anyone make you feel stupid. Don't feel inferior to anyone, no one is better than you. You deserve good. You deserve love. You will think many many, many, many times that you have found love, but trust me, the minute you have found love, it hits you like a ton of bricks. You will see your future in his eyes and think he is (and always will be) the sexiest man alive. Stand up for what you believe in.  Don't give in and don't give up- ever. Bad things happen because they just do. You didn't do anything to have bad things happen to you; they will make your future so embrace the hardships and grow within them. One of your greatest attributes is that you are a wonderful advocate and have a voice that people love to listen to. Exercise that often. Most women never leave High School; drama is everywhere, steer clear of it. It brings you down. Some of them ooze negativity, stay away from them. Don't waste your time on people that treat you bad. Don't dwell, it wastes time; important time you will wish you had back. The past is your past because it is behind you, your present is here and now and truly is a gift. Stop trying to find the answers to the universe, if it was meant to be known, what fun would life be? You once believed, and not too long ago was it, that dreams do not come true. Look at what you have, and rejoice in it. Your dreams have come true; maybe not the way you wished they had, but they still do. Seize every moment. Cherish every minute. You are a great mother, never feel like you are not giving your all. I don't hear your kids complainin'! Most importantly, never lose faith, never lose hope and never stop loving. I absolutely guarantee that all of those will prevail. Always.

Love Eternally,
Your Older, Fatter, Cancerous Self  


Cancer-stricken mother see her kids attend prom

Cancer-stricken mother see her kids attend prom

1 / 2
Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
Steve and Kate Crawford pose for photos with their children (from left) Lily, 4, Stephen, 3, and Grace, 4, prior to the Belle Vernon Area High School prom march on May 17, 2013.
About Stacey Federoff
Stacey Federoff 724-836-6660
Staff Reporter

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By Stacey Federoff

Published: Saturday, May 18, 2013, 12:01 a.m.Updated: Monday, May 20, 2013 

Kate Crawford smiled and laughed as her son and daughters crossed the stage of the Belle Vernon Area High School auditorium.
Then, the smile gave way to tears of joy as her husband, Stephen, escorted the newly crowned prom prince and princesses across the stage during the school's annual prom grand march.
Much younger than the rest of the prom participants, the audience cheered when twins Lily and Grace, 4, and younger brother Stephen Jr., 3 — the girls in embellished white dresses and their brother in a vest and dress shirt — received their crowns.
“The generosity continues to overwhelm me,” said Steve, just before he helped his children across the stage.
The 29-year-old mother from Rostraver has aggressive stage IV breast cancer that has spread throughout her body since she was diagnosed Jan. 25.
Doctors have given her less than a 30 percent chance of living five years.
With that in mind, she wanted to cherish new experiences with her children, so she created a “Mommy Bucket List,” including activities such as watching them take piano lessons, a trip to Disney World — and seeing them at the prom.
Crawford started Project Sweet Peas that helps parents with children in neonatal intensive care units after her own daughter Shannon, born in January 2007, was premature and struggled for three days with heart and diaphragm defects before dying.
Crawford said each experience on the “bucket list” helps her strengthen her relationships with her children, which she realizes some mothers don't get the chance to do.
“I know what it's like, so it does make me treasure this time a little bit more,” she said while at Salon Eye Candy in North Belle Vernon getting their hair and nails done for the big event Friday.
Prom sponsor Christin Maatta said students were eager to help the local family.
“When they understood Kate's story, they jumped in to help do whatever they could do to make her dream come true and are proud to share their special day with Gracie, Stephen and Lily,” Maatta said.
Students from the school's National Honor Society sold ice cream sundaes at lunch and raised $600 for the family, part of which treated them to dinner after the grand march at The Back Porch restaurant in Speers.
All That Glitters in Perryopolis donated the crowns, Monessen Florist donated bouquets of pink daisies for the girls and Leona Sprentz of Burlington Coat Factory in Monroeville donated the dresses and tuxedo.
“I'm always the giver, so to be on the other end and to be a receiver is just amazing,” Kate Crawford said.
She said she hopes parents are thankful for all the moments they are able to spend with their children.
“You should hug your children tighter every day because you never know when the end will be ... you should cherish your children every day,” she said.
Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660

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