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Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September is childhood cancer awareness month and everyday 46 kids are diagnosed with cancer. You have the power to save these kids lives and change the statistics. There are so many ways to help give back to the children who are battling cancer. 

In honor of childhood cancer awareness month I decided to share more of my story with you and tell you about ways that you can help kids today. 

My story begins in June of 2008 when, at the age of 10, I was diagnosed with ALL leukemia (acute lymphoid leukemia). Being diagnosed at the age of 10 was a hard thing. I was old enough to understand that I was sick but I did not fully understand the gravity of my illness.

I fully remember being told I had cancer. I had been in the hospital for a few days at that point undergoing many tests to determined what my diagnosis would be. I was eager to be discharged because my grandparents were taking my older sister and I on a trip to Hawaii. I remember my grandfather sitting in my room with me as the doctors had called my parents out. When my parents returned so did the doctor. The doctor sat on my bed and told me I would not be able to go to Hawaii because I was very sick and that I had cancer. The doctor told me I had leukemia but it was very rare because it was also on my liver.

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At first I was angry that I could not go on vacation but then it began to sink in that I was really sick. During the next two and a half years of harsh and debilitating chemotherapy treatment my doctors and parents were completely open about everything I would undergo. I knew every single medication I was taking, every procedure I would endure and I was there for every discussion with the medical team. I really loved being able to learn about the medical aspects of the oncology field and found it all pretty fascinating. While undergoing the treatments I understood everything but the fact of how sick I truly was. It was not until recently that I realized the severity of my case. My diagnosis really forced me to mature a lot faster then most kids because of all I had to endure and witness. 

On November 3, 2010 I received my last chemotherapy treatment. This November will mark my seven years off chemotherapy and I will be two years official  cured of cancer. I do not like to dwell on the hardships that I have endured but rather look at the positives that have come from my experiences as I believe that any situation can be made into a positive one and God can take pain and use it for his purpose. 

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My sister Brittney and I knew we wanted to help brighten the sprits of children. Together we created a program through which we bring celebrities to visit children in hospitals battling life threatening illnesses. We decided since they could not leave the hospital we would bring the people they watched and admired to them. We currently work with hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We’ve personally worked with celebrities such as Nick Jonas, Bridgit Mendler, Cody Simpson, Miranda Cosgrove, Daughtry, SafetySuit, Ryan Beatty, Jana Kramer, Midnight Red, David Cook and Jake Miller.The best part about our program is seeing a child who hasn’t smiled in weeks suddenly smile and laugh, or receiving calls and notes from the parents tellings us how their sick child was finally able to act like a normal kid again. Celebrities have even told us that their experience visiting the children has inspired them to write songs. The joy we receive from being able to brighten up the children’s day even for just a few minuets is indescribable.

My sister and I have formulated our own all-natural bath and beauty products. We’ve always had a passion for this. After my diagnosis my skin became very sensitive because of all the medicine I was receiving. We became very aware of all the toxins and harsh chemicals that were in the products we were using. With the strong passion and support from our amazing family we launched our own bath and beauty line called the Frosting Company®. Our line of artisan products are free of gluten, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and artificial preservatives. Giving back is really important to my sister and I so we donate a portion of Frosting Company proceeds to childhood cancer research.

This Fall I am a college freshman. I absolutely love learning and I truly cherish the time spent in school because during chemotherapy treatments I was often too ill to attend. Another big part of my life is physical activity. During my diagnosis it was very hard for me to walk — let alone run. After finishing chemotherapy my main goal was being able to run and play sports again. I am overjoyed to say I have been able to accomplish that goal. Being able to stand on the court and play sports again is an amazing feeling.

To me it is important to convey a message of positivity and hope that anyone can make the most of any situation in life and that God can make every situation beautiful. Many do not understand and think it is odd when I say this, but l wouldn't change my experiences with having had cancer. Having experienced that I have become the person I am today, been blessed to meet countless amazing people that have changed my perspective on life, and have also made it my life’s mission to make a positive impact on as many people’s lives as possible, and been able to develop a deep faith. I have gained a great zest and appreciation for life. I know never to take anyone or anything for granted. I am able to stand today as living proof that you can take any life experience and allow that to be a catalyst for something amazing. I know that with determination everyone can follow their dreams as I am following mine. 

God is good through every single situation and no matter what you are facing he is beside you. My family and I would not have been able to get through that time if it had not been for our faith and trust in Jesus. God makes purpose through the pain and brings such joy into life despite any hardships. A bible verse that my family held close to us during that time and still do today is  “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed”- Luke 8:50. 

Every day is a gift and little things like being able to walk, or eat, go outside, doing my hair or even going for a run are things that mean the most to me because I know how blessed I am to do them. Life is such a gift and every day we are given is a amazing thing to thank God for. 

There are so many ways that you can help give back to kids battling cancer. 

Cure search is an amazing organization that works to help fund childhood cancer research to find cures and establish better treatments plans. There are many ways you can be involved with the organization. Click the link to learn more - https://curesearch.org 

St. Jude is a research hospital that works to find cures for kids battling cancer. Cancer treatments are extremely expensive and St. Jude families never see a bill for treatments their children receive. Click the link to learn more- https://www.stjude.org 

If you order from Carolina Clothing company On iWorld shopping center with each purchase portions of each order go to organizations. Click the link to learn more https://iworldshoppingcenter.com/carolina-clothing/

Camp Can Do Forever is a amazing organization that is a life changing summer camp for kids diagnosed with cancer. Click here to learn more how you can help https://www.campcandoforever.org

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Back to School Tips for Staying Positive and Productive

The three months in-between summer break and school starting always seem to feel like the quickest months of the year! The fall is my absolute favorite season but I love the carefree feelings that come along with the summer season.

School has been on my mind lately with the impending start to my college career.Often times on social media I receive questions from readers about being happy and learning to look at the positives in life! Since the school year is right around the corner I wanted to sit down and share habits and tips that I keep during the school year to stay positive and create the happiest most productive environment that I can! 

1.  MAKE TIME FOR JESUS -  If we want to call ourselves “christians” then in doing so it's important to keep ourselves accountable for building a strong spiritual life and keeping Jesus at the center of everything we do. Maybe you are busy and buried in a mountain of school work. Maybe you're the star athlete and have practice and games all night long. Maybe you're in drama club and it is taking up so much of your time! Whatever is consuming your time, is great, it's such an amazing thing to be involved in school but it’s important to remember everyone is busy. Each person has a busy life with things to do and places to be. Life comes down to your priorities and if you want to keep Jesus at the center of your life and keep faith a priority you can make time. Instead of watching that Netflix show everyone is talking about, spend at least 15 minitues reading the bible! If you care about something you can find time to devote to it! 

2. Do Not Procrastinate- I am so guilty for being a procrastinator and waiting till the last possible minute to get things done but each time I regret it! The sooner things get done the less likely things will pile up and the easier it will be to find free time to do fun things! When a professor or teacher assigns work don’t wait until the night before it’s due to finish it and cause yourself unnecessary stress! Unnecessary stress due to procrastination is just plain unnecessary and totally preventable! 

3. Stop having FOMO- Fear of missing out is something I think everyone can relate to! There are so many fun actives, parties, hang outs, school events etc. that go on during the school year but only so may hours in the day. With responsibilities like school work, sports, clubs and whatever else you may be involved in it’s almost impossible to maintain a healthy balance of all those things and attend the fun things going on! Sometimes you might have to miss a Friday night football game to write a paper or have to stay home on a Tuesday night to study for a huge test coming up but just because you miss one event doesn’t mean you will miss out on all the fun! It’s important to keep priorities straight and remember that for the one thing you miss there will be many more fun opportunities that you can be a part of!

4. Prioritize- Keep your priorities straight! I can not stress this one enough! One thing I always say to my friends or even post on twitter is “Life comes down to your priorities, and what you prioritize you make time for.”  Make sure you have your priorities straight and you know what matters most in life. What matters most are priorities in my life are Faith and keeping God first, finding time to be with my family, making sure I can do my school work and dedicate time to get good grades, working and being able to dedicate time to help contribute to their success, making time to spend with my friends and having fun with them! Life comes down to what you make a priority and the things you keep on that list you will always make sure to have time for! 

5. Let Go of Stress- Life is so short and being in school shouldn't be a stressful thing. Whenever I am stressed out about something I learned it’s important to step back and reevaluate the situation and try and understand what is even causing me to stress out to begin with. One rule of thumb someone taught me years ago was to ask myself “is this really going to matter in five years from now” and if the answer is no then the reason for stress probably isn’t justified.

6. Stay Away from Drama - In my personal opinion life is so much better when it’s drama free and everyone is on good terms. Don’t let your year be ruined by feeding into drama and allowing little things to get in the way.

7. Get Involved - Get involved with school, join a club, try out for a sports team or go to a dance! Studies show students who are involved do better academically! It’s great to be able to meet others who have similar interest and be able to be involved with your school. 

8. Don’t Get Caught in Comparisons- Don’t get caught in the trap of comparisons. Don’t compare your grades with your friends and feel less than because your score is lower. You’re intelligence is so much more deeper than a number on a piece of paper. Don’t compare the number of people in your friend group to others. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing your life to the others around you. Enjoy the life God has given you and embrace everything that makes you, you! 

9. Invest Time in the Right People- Time is valuable and the people who you surround yourself with are a reflection of you! When it comes to picking friends, choose wisely and make sure that you invest time with the people who truly care and love you.

10. Take Time to Read the Course Syllabus- When your professor or teacher hands out a course syllabus take time to actually read it and know what’s upcoming for future assignments. It may seem like those due dates are far away but if you plan ahead, you will thank yourself later.

11. Use an Agenda or Planner - During the school year life gets much busier between work, classes and a social life. The best way to stay on top of all those tasks is to get an agenda and make it a priority to right down important plans, due dates etc. so you don’t over extend and forget to get tasks done.

12. Set Realistic Goals - Set goals you know you can achieve. Ask yourself what you want out of this school year and make a list of all the things you want to happen. Keep the list you make in a place you will see often to hold yourself accountable.

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The Answer to Our Prayers

God always answers prayers but sometimes in unexpected ways and always in his time. Sometimes it is hard to understand how God is answering our prayers when we don’t see them being answered instantly. 

We live in a world where as soon as we want something we can have it. When we have a question, we Google it and within seconds it is answered. When we are craving pizza it can be at our door in 15 minutes or less! We order something online, it can be shipped to our door the next day. Most times worldly things we want we can have in an extremely short amount of time, with little to no effort. There are things we want, we don’t even have to leave the comfort of our own homes to get. We have become a society obsessed with instantaneous gratification, obsessed with our own timing and having things instantly

God doesn’t work that way! God isn’t going to work in our time because he work in his own! His timing is better than any we could imagine and the way he answers our prayers is in a way that is perfectly fitting to our lives. 

As a little girl I thought when I prayed it was a lot like going the get a gum ball from the gum machine.  When I was younger my family would go to this little pizza shop for dinner that had a huge gum ball machine in the doorway.  Every time we went there after we had finished our food my dad would give my sister and I quarters to go get gum form the big gum ball machine. I would run over to the gum ball machine put the quarter in, twist the knob and out would come a giant gum ball! 

Just like most little kids imagine how things work, I imagined praying worked just like the gum ball machine. Every night when My parents would tuck me into bed and they would say prayers with me, I though while we prayed it was liking putting the quarter in the machine and twisting the knob. I would think  as soon as I said the prayer the next day when I woke up  the prayer would be answered and spout out just like the gum ball was.  

I don’t know why, how or when I started to think praying like a gum ball machine but most little kids come up with strange reasonings for how things work, thats how I rationalized praying. Now Whenever I think of God answering our prayerslike a gum ball machine it makes me laugh at how silly I was. If praying really did work that way I think this world would be a whole lot different then it is!

Prayers are so powerful and praying really does work but the way God answers our prayers are in unexpected ways and with his own plan. 

After church a few Sundays ago a friend of mine told me a story of how a women was relying on God to answer her prayer and he answered it in a unexpected way. The story went that this woman lived in a town being hit by a hurricane and everyone was being evacuated but she refused to leave because she was trusting God to save her. So the storm progressed and the first floor of her home flooded so she had to go to the second floor and when she did a boat came around and offered to take her to safety, but she responded by saying “No, I am trusting God to save me.” So the storm got worse and worse and her house was flooded so she climbed and sat on her roof and a helicopter came and offered to save her and she responded by saying “No, I am trusting God to save me.”  The the storm got so bad and the lady keep trusting God, but she passed away and when she got to heaven she asked God why he didn’t save her and he said “I did try to, I sent the boat, and the helicopter.”

The moral of the story is to keep your eyes opens for the way God is answering your prayers. We can’t be so stubborn to think that God will answer our prayers in the way we imagine him to. God answers prayers in his way, that is sometimes things we could have never expected. He knows what is best for our lives and the way he answers our prayers are in ways that he knows is best suited for us. We need to keep our minds open and be flexible to watch the way God works in our lives. 

 

There is a reason for everything. Every person you meet God is working through, each failure you experienceGod is working through, each and everything in life our lives happen for a reason. If you are praying for something that has not come into fruition yet there is one of two reasons why you might not see it happening 

    1    It’s not the right time yet

    2    Its not meant for you    

God knows the time for everything and he perfectly works out every detail in our lives to reflect his master plan. If you are praying to get into a college but receive a rejection notice trust that God has somewhere better for you. If you are praying for God to bring a wonderful boyfriend or girlfriendinto your life trust and hasn’t yet, trust that right now isn’t the right time, if you are praying for something that isn’t coming to fruition know that God has a plan and he is allowing it to unfold in your life. 

 

One lesson that is prevalent in my life is learning that things don’t happen in my timing but in God’s timing and for his greater plan. I can think out how I want my life to be and when I will be ready for certain situations to unfold but the truth of the matter is that I have no idea where my life will be in 6 months let alone a few years from now. I have free will to make choices but ultimately God  is the author of my story and the way my life turns out is in hands.  

Prayer is powerful, and God answers our prayers in the way that is best for our lives. He brings people into our life with purpose, we go through trials to learn lessons, we experience everything in this life for a reason and he is allowing it to all unfold in his way, in his timing. God is the author to our stories he ultimately knows exactly how our lives will go. 

Whenever I am in a uncertain situation the thought that always comforts me is that God already knows, how my life turns out, the friends I have, the man Iwill marry, the jobs I have, the people I meet, everything. God knows it all and my life is in his hands and what is meant to be will unfold, in his timing

Photo credits: Pinterest

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