The kids are back at school and summer is over. I’ve got quiet mornings again with coffee and a chance to reflect on a lot. In a crazy way, life has slowed down A LOT since March. For the past 14 years my life has been full of shooting and editing. Weekends at weddings and week days working from home. Being self employed is a wonderful thing that allows for a lot of flexibility in your schedule but it also means working 50-60 hours per week in some cases. David and I made the decision after my diagnosis for me to take on fewer projects so I can spend more time with him and the kids and conserve my energy for healing.
My mind since March has been on gratitude. We have been so immeasurably blessed not only this year, but all of our lives. True, bad things have happened. Disappointments have occurred and failures have come along, but when I look at our lives as a whole, we are incredibly fortunate people. My husband and children are amazing people who I adore. My parents are strong, loving and generous people who gave me a dream childhood full of love and learning, interesting experiences and lessons in the values I hold most dear. I love and admire my siblings and my grandparents were all people of love, kindness and integrity.
I get asked a lot about my outlook through this process and how we’re staying positive and the answer is simple: we have a lot to be grateful for. We could sit around and worry (don’t get me wrong, we do worry but don’t let it consume us). We could cry out “why us? why this?” but we decided early on that wasn’t going to help. The day we told the kids about my diagnosis we made a pledge that we’d find joy in every single day – even in the small things. Without joy, what would we be fighting for? Without gratitude, how would we find value in life?
We have been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity we’ve received from our community and friends. My group of girlfriends have worked hard to set up meal trains and a gofundme account. Friends, clients, family and even strangers have donated gift cards, meals and money to help our family through this time. Our dear friend John and his family made us the beneficiary of the donations to his family’s golf tournament that honors his brother, Chris (that was especially touching). We’ve had friends step in and drive our kids to practices and school. We will never forget their help and kindness!
This summer, besides feeling well and strong, I’m most grateful for the time our family spent together on a road trip to California. We decided the most important thing we could do would be to spend valuable time together. We drove first to San Fransisco where we had one of the most amazing experiences of our lives: a trip to Pixar Studios. We are HUGE fans of Pixar, not only their movies but their culture and brand. Pixar’s movies are full of hope and love and all things good in this life and always leave us feeling uplifted. David wrote a letter to the head of the studio (Pete Docter) last spring expressing his love and adoration for their company and to our huge surprise, they wrote back. We were invited to tour the studio, watch a private screening of two Pixar Shorts in the Steve Jobs Theater, eat in their cafe, shop in their store… it was truly surreal. It was an experience we will never forget. We then drove down to LA and Anaheim to visit Universal Studios and Disneyland. To say that I am grateful for that time together is an understatement. It was magical to all of us. We forgot our worries and just spent quality time together laughing, joking, and loving each other.
For me, positivity and gratitude have been the most powerful medicine and I can’t thank all of you enough for the love and support you’ve been sending our way. We feel it, we are affected by it and it is healing.