It might be my favorite gift of the holiday season. Sara's book is being released January 5th-today! I was lucky enough to be a part of the "launch team." Since we had a PDF file of the book sent to us, imagine my utter delight in opening a package with Sara's and Mary's book inside!
Sara blogged at Gitzen Girl starting 2008. We were blogging buds from the start- and soul sisters shortly thereafter. As my friend Robin, at All Things Heart and Home, so succinctly says in her post...
"Sara, a beautiful vibrant young woman, developed a rare autoimmune disease in her twenty’s and suffered with ever increasing and debilitating pain for nearly 20 years... But something else was increasing throughout those years…Sara’s trust in God which resulted in Sara exuding this fantastically beautiful spirit of joy." So well said, Robin! If you want another beautiful perspective and a chance to win a copy of the book you should visit Robin today!
It was months after my stage iv breast cancer diagnosis that our sweet Gitz went to her heavenly home, in 2011. But first she took the time to breathe as much life into me, through her faith and joy filled words, on a "virtual couch," on facebook, she made for Robin and I too "sit" and talk with each other.
I brought the book to chemo and dove right in. But it wasn't until this weekend that I truly squirreled myself away in quiet and found myself dog-earring pages. Then underlining in pink. Then writing notes in the margins. Soaking it in, cherishing her words, embracing her keen insight and shedding fresh tears for how close her words make her feel to me. That urge is ever present to fling out a text, pound out an email, or pick up the phone and call. Yet a part of me knows, shes here, close by, with the flush of her wings stirring the air every now and again.
As I sat thinking about her life, her lessons, and how she mentored me to live with a terminal diagnosis, long before I knew I would need it, I had also been looking for my new word for the year 2016.
As I sat re-reading the passages I had underlined, I saw a theme keep showing up. Two words. And choose was always a part of them. And while joy was often the second one, many other words were used as well. Trust, hope, faith, gratitude, purpose, God, etc.
Then on page 27 she talks about the last time she went outside. She'd gone to visit her doctor for what would be the last time. And knowing her body would react in a harsh way to the air and allergens outside, she came back to the condo and relished a few minutes with her mom and dad on the patio.
"A lot of things aren't going right because I left the house on Thursday. But I choose the joy. I choose the conversation, the relationships, the breeze and the sunshine. And I especially choose the French fries."
That's our Sara! And that's why I am choosing the word "choose," in honor of her. I pray that "joy" is my go to word. As she so wisely says "I choose the joy. When something is going badly and I'm dwelling on it, I think instead of something for which I am grateful for. I swear to you, it's as simple as that. You just have to decide today, and again tomorrow. And before you know it, you'll have an attitude of joy more than any other attitude you have at your disposal."
I hope all of you will get a chance to choose Sara's book= Choose Joy. You may even find a few words in it from a friend of Sara's named, *cough* Vicky! I knew of one of the parts, but to turn the page and suddenly see my name and one of the many, many questions I posed to her... humbled and honored to say the least.
So just in case you can't get your copy just now- In honor of our sweet Sara, I'd like to give one copy away!
Please leave a comment below and I'll pick a winner at 5 pm on Thursday night through random.org with winner announced at a later date!
I'm off to see Dr. Panwalkar today with results from my PET scan. Then off to chemo infusion for the afternoon, hopefully wrapping up in time for Nolan's hockey games tonight.
Its a blessed day- I pray you all decide to "choose," to live it to its fullest today!