Black and White

Black and White

Sept10-4I went to a banquet I attend yearly.  This year’s theme was “Hats Off”.  I found a black and white hat and dress.  My boyfriend and I walked up toward The Olmstead together and we crossed the path of a man that was walking out into the parking lot.  He walked up to me and joked that maybe we should have arrived together since he too was dressed in black and white.  I mean, this dude was dressed to the “T” in black and white combinations.   We all laughed, my boyfriend and I went on in the building and started looking at silent auction items.

The guy came up to us again and started talking with us.  This time he touched my boyfriend’s chest, removed his nametag and said “Remember, your nametag always goes on the side of your body where people can easily see it when they shake your hand”.  He asked me if my mother approved of my boyfriend and I said unfortunately she passed away before she could meet him. The entire time this guy talked to us he had a very friendly personality and a smile.  It was just interesting that he took so much pleasure in us.

More minutes pass on.  We are still looking at various bid items.  I feel something at my shoulders and look back.  This guy presents me with this bag.  In it are a pair of earrings, a necklace and bracelet.  The colors of the jewelry are black and white!  (At the time I actually didn’t have on any of that type of jewelry).  I looked at him funny at first and jokingly asked him if he stole it off one of the auction tables.  He laughed and told us that he does auctions on the side and he keeps random items in his car.

Once the banquet started and we sat at our table, I decided to put on the jewelry.  It matched perfectly.  I looked around the banquet hall for the guy because I wanted to thank him for such a kind gesture.  I found him sitting at a pretty distinguished table surrounded by all of the oncologist doctors that treated many of the cancer survivors at the banquet.  I walked to the table and said hello to all the others at the table and found out the guy was married to one of the female oncologists.

As the banquet came to an end, I went and said my goodbyes and saw my boyfriend once again talking to this guy.  This time they were exchanging phone numbers.  My boyfriend mentioned the field of work he was in and this guy knew a great mentor that he should talk to.  Here is a guy that is just genuinely a nice human.  He wasn’t flirting with me.  He wasn’t trying to hustle my boyfriend.  He is a guy with a great personality and our paths just happened to cross at just the right time.

Everyone enters our lives for a reason.  Be careful of who you block out of your life just because they look a little different from you.   There are positive people on every corner, you just must keep your eyes, heart and mind open when they come near.

M.Y. September 2010

One Wish

One Wish

May10-1She’s the only one I ever knew.  The one person that believed in me when everyone else had doubts.  She was the person that felt I could do no wrong, and even when I did she still loved me unconditionally.  She let me know I was special, intelligent, gifted and beautiful.  And she loved to brag on my accomplishments.  She was proud to see me flourish and find my way.  And then May 23, 2001 came.  That’s the day my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer.  In addition to fighting the disease, my mother’s main worry was what would happen to me – her only child.

I didn’t know until years later, but my mother initially kept a journal of her battles with ovarian cancer.  She also talked about overcoming different obstacles.  And then one day, she stopped writing.  The same day she stopped writing in her journal, is the day I moved out of her house and into my own apartment.   I never knew that my move affected her.

For the five years she battled cancer our relationship blossomed.  I made sure I took one day each week to spend the night at her house.  As her health declined I stayed more nights.  As I saw her become more weak, yet still look elegant and a symbol of strength, I knew there were many questions I always wanted to know.  So, I had someone interview her and discuss things like how she met my father, why she chose our church and what advice she has to offer me.  I cherish that video.

My mother passed away on May 23, 2006.  I was at peace with her death because she and I had a special bond that still lives within me.  Since my mother’s death I have made it my mission to give back to the Louisville community in the same way my parents did.  If you knew my mother, she was definitely one of God’s angels sent to make a difference on everyone that came in her path.  And while I will never be Dr. Lillian Yeager, I will continue to strive and make my own personal mark.

This Mother’s Day I ask everyone to do one thing.  Make amends with the ones you love.  We can’t pick our relatives but we can definitely support them and let them know we care. So often we think so much about ourselves and hold grudges against people that have caused us harm.  Realize, though, that nobody is perfect and tomorrow isn’t promised.  Ask anyone that has lost a parent, sibling or child that they never made amends with.   It’s a feeling that can haunt you and one that you can’t reverse.  So this Mother’s Day, reach out to someone and tell them you love them.  Maybe you’ll call your brother that you haven’t talked to all year.  Why not send your childhood friend a text message just to say hello.  And even though you and your mother may fight like cats and dogs (or maybe your father was never there for you) – reach out and show you care.

M.Y.  May 2010

It’s All in the Numbers

It’s All In The Numbers

May09-5So this past weekend was an interesting one.  Saturday was my first National fitness competition.  I was nervous about it.  I also had all of these other emotions running through my head because the weekend represented so much more.

May 23, 2009.  This day represented the 3 year anniversary of my mother’s death.  When my mother passed away in 2006, it was exactly 3 days before my 30th birthday (May 26).  If both of my parents would have been alive then, it would have also been 3 days before their 33rd wedding anniversary. (Yes, I crashed their 3rd wedding anniversary by being born a month early).

So here it is 3 years later on May 23.  This is the anniversary once again.  Now, it’s 3 days before I turn 33.  Yeah that’s a lot of threes!  If you caught up and understood all of it, you’re doing good things this morning.

While training for my competition, I continually wore a teal bracelet that says “OverCome” which represents Ovarian Cancer.  This competition was dedicated to my mother and I wanted to do well.  I didn’t know how I’d be emotionally on that day, but wanted to do my best.

The morning judging started out well – until my music skipped in the middle of my routine.  Although the crowd encouraged me to keep going and clapped at the end, I was frustrated that I wasn’t able to perform it the way it should have been.  Luckily, the judges let me perform it again at the end of the other competitors.  By the end of judging, I had no idea how I placed.

Since this was a National contest, there were many talented women there.  I was amazed at some of the routines and found some moves I will try to incorporate into my future performances.  Awards were given out that night.  I set a goal for my placing and accomplished it.  I walked away with a great National ranking and thought it was pretty interesting that my placing went right along with the same number that represented that entire weekend! pics/video here

(thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes!)

M.Y. May 2009

Birthday Giveback

“Birthday Giveback”
May08-3I get to celebrate my birthday, May 26, this year on Memorial Day – how fitting!  My mother passed away two years ago on May 23 (three days before my 30th birthday).  So, for the past two years as my birthday has neared, I’ve also had the blessing of remembering my mother’s life.

If you knew my mother, you knew she was dedicated to the community and giving back to others.  She didn’t care about your age, race or sex – to sit down with her for five minutes made you feel as if you were the most important person around.  I’ve now decided to remember her life each year by giving back to others.

Last year I had two skating parties to raise funds for both St. George’s Community Center and the KY Center for African American Heritage.  I also hosted a luncheon at my work to inform my colleagues, friends and others about Ovarian Cancer.

This year I did a little something different.  My mother was involved in a cancer support group called Ovarian Awareness of KY (OAK).  Many of the people that were there when my mother was alive are still survivors in the group.  I decided to give back to each of them and thank them simply for being wonderful people.  Yesterday, I sponsored a tea for 25 volunteers, survivors and their caregivers at La Tea Da at Dolfingers.  It was such a joyous experience and each lady was treated like a queen.  I also made a small angel to give to each woman and let them know that although times may be tough and sometimes they feel like nobody cares about them, they have made a difference in my life and are angels in my eyes and others.  The angel was small, so I asked them to place it in their wallet.  The next time they are feeling down, I suggested they get it out to remind themselves that they are special and do make a difference.
Although birthdays are supposed to be about celebrating your own life (don’t worry I will try to find the perfect piece of dessert to indulge), we also need to take that time to celebrate the people that helped get us where we are today!

M.Y. May 2008