My immune system isn't what it used to be. I don't think it will ever be what it was pre-cancer. When I am stressed and have too much on my plate, and then finally get a chance to breathe again - I crash and burn . . . hard. If I have a busy month where I am going from thing-to-thing and stressed about life/work, the following month I am sick. My hands and feet swell up, my body aches with a fever and I stay in bed all day. These next few weeks are going to be rough on my immune system. I am taking a handful of vitamins, exercising when I have time, and trying to get enough sleep in hopes that I will trick my body and beat the system. I even ordered a green tea at Starbucks today instead of a coffee - big things, people.
It is a good thing that these next few weeks are nonstop, though. After 2 years of hoping and praying that Lighthouse will finally take off and be able to help more families, it has. So many doors have opened this last month. I have quit my job and am focusing on Lighthouse full time, which is terrifying and exciting at the same time. Next week I have a meeting at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago with the oncology social workers. I have been trying to get into other hospitals to become a resource for their families for quite some time and it's finally happened. While I am in Chicago we will also be helping a family.
When I return from Chicago I will have two days to prepare before I head to Houston. When Hurricane Harvey hit, I felt compelled to help. Lighthouse put out a Harvey Relief shirt. In the process of finding families to help, I became overwhelmed with how many people are still struggling and feel forgotten. My inbox became full of applications from parents who were desperate to help their families. My one criteria for the applicants was that they have a child with cancer, life-threatening-illness, or disability. People wrote in who have children with Leukemia, Neuroblastoma, Sickle Cell Anemia, Autism, Down Syndrome, and severe emotional disorders. I knew after reading their stories that I had to go to them. Thanks to the generosity of a dear friend, we are able to make that happen. At the end of this month, myself and two others will be headed to Houston to represent Lighthouse and help victims of the hurricane.
The entire time I am in Houston, my mom will be moving out of the place my family has called home for 15 years. Starting a business is no easy task. I am so grateful to have parents who understand that it takes time and lots of patience. Until I am able to support myself off of Lighthouse, I am still living with my mom. When I return from Houston, it won't be to my house.
Moving, traveling to Chicago and Houston, trying to find an office space, fundraising for families, applying for grants, all while trying to plan our second Lighthouse Holiday Party. Lighthouse is really starting to grow in ways that I have been waiting for for what feels like forever. It is all happening at once, which is so exciting, but I am trying to not get overwhelmed and pull back. I am currently listening to Brené Brown's book Braving The Wilderness. I am kind of obsessed with her right now and watched all her TED Talks and interviews on YouTube last night when I should have been sleeping. In an interview with Oprah she talks about how joy is terrifying. This confused me at first, because who would be terrified of feeling joyful? Brené says, "When we lose our tolerance to be vulnerable, joy becomes foreboding." and that sometimes in our experiences, we are "dress rehearsing tragedy so we can beat vulnerability to the punch." I don't want to fail. I don't want Lighthouse to be something that in 5 years people have forgotten about. I think in some ways I have been "dress rehearsing" failure and not pushing myself so that I won't be disappointed if it doesn't work.
You cannot practice joy without being grateful. The feelings of joy and gratitude go hand-in-hand. I must stop avoiding success and what I am meant to do for fear of the worst. Instead, I must practice gratitude. I am grateful for experiencing cancer and all that it has brought to my life. I am grateful for 2 years of hard work and feeling stuck. I am grateful for the busyness and chaos that is to come.
To stay updated on all that is to come for Lighthouse, make sure to follow us on Instagram: @lighthouseforhope. This is where I update the most frequently.
We will be helping lots of families while we are in Houston. To help us do this, visit our Amazon Wish List.
Be a light!