Ten Decades Around The Sun

“Your greatest accomplishment will come when you learn to love every part of yourself”.

– Julie Shangle –

Yesterday, as I turned 60, I realized I’ve spent the better part of my life trying to be what other people thought I should be. I have a close circle of friends who I can be myself with, but for the most part, I’m a chameleon, changing colors dependent upon my environment- feeling extremely uncomfortable in large gatherings, yet the life of the party in smaller circles.

I’m the same girl dropping the F-bomb on the regular as the girl grabbing her holy oil out of her purse to lay hands on you and pray.

Up until recently, I’ve felt immensely flawed by this, but have since realized my worth, and truthfully speaking, the people who love me are the people who matter and those who don’t, well, bless and release. I’m an acquired taste to say the least.

Growing up, I was shy and introverted. Landing #7 out of eight children, I was the “observer”. Whatever the big kids got in trouble for, I avoided (until I got older and caused my own trouble). I was sensitive, but didn’t realize the implications of that sensitivity until during my adult years, finally understanding I was born with spiritual gifts of deep empathy and intuitiveness.

When my brother passed away last March, during his final weeks, I felt physical pain in the exact area of his body that was suffering. Sounds crazy, I know, but it’s true.

I instinctively knew my son bought a motorcycle when he was 19 yrs. old, while he was living away from home. He never told me until the day he called me from the emergency room following an accident that could have killed him.

I was so confused for many of my adult years … I didn’t put all the pieces together and learn about my true “abilities” until the last few years. I thought it was normal to have a keen sensitivity and allergy to smell, an ability to read a room the moment I walked in, to know when someone was lying to me, to “act” surprised over things I already knew were going to happen, and also be prompted to take actions – as if someone was sitting on my shoulder, telling me every step to make.

Once I realized the depth of these gifts, I was afraid of what people would think. Especially my “Christian” friends. It’s interesting how the people I’ve felt most judged by, through my adult life, were mainly my Christian acquaintances. I finally put two and two together and realized that being a Christian can mean many things to many people. We are all sinners. Only God knows our true hearts and I don’t think we will be going hand-in-hand on judgment day. We will atone for our sins and experience our life reviews – with Him and Him alone.

I’ve been alive for 21,901 days, but I feel as though I only started truly appreciating my life 989 days ago, when I was diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Cancer. There’s something about feeling a need to “get your affairs in order” before a major surgery that brings about a clearer reality and deeper appreciation for what you hold dear on this earth.

I thought about writing a book for so many years, and ended up co-authoring two books in the last 1 1/2 years. That was such a blessing and has inspired me to push forward with my desire to actually publish the books I’ve got rolling around in my brain.

As I prepare for a major liver surgery in less than three weeks, I’m – once again – getting my life organized before surgery. While it’s definitely something I’m not looking forward to, I realize this is part of the process with Neuroendocrine Cancer. It’s one of the ONLY cancers where the #1 protocol is to “cut out” everything you can cut out.

With that said, I believe this 60-year milestone is likely going to be the most pivotal year of my life. I’ve realized “your people” will likely never leave you. Others will take and take, especially if you’re a food source they need. When you stop feeding them the food they want, they will simply find another source of food. Newsflash: those aren’t your people.

This year will be filled with learning more about and honing in on my spiritual gifts, enjoying my grandchildren, breathing in nature, meditating to heal my emotional & physical body and creating beautiful art.

My passion to encourage and inspire cancer patients continues, as I gift HOPE chill cups to men and HOPE necklaces to women at every doctor visit.

My HOPE is for you to always know your worth.

My DESIRE is to leave people better than I found them.

My COMMITMENT is to be true to myself and love my imperfect self.

My EXPECTATION is to beat cancer and help others do the same.

My GOAL is to be at peace with the things that don’t matter.

My HAPPINESS will not be dependent on everything being ok.

I thank you for being in my life… for following my story… for supporting my HOPE ministry. May you embrace your beauty at any age. Don’t wait until you’re 60 to learn the lessons you need to learn for a more satisfying, vibrant life.

“Be brave, be kind, be bold, be fierce, be YOU”


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