“A Memory I’m Grateful For”

three years

It was four years ago today that I finished my last treatment for breast cancer. It was the day I had waited for since the journey began and as you can see by the look on my face, it was one of the happiest days of my life! It was over and my life was all my own to live again without the shadows of cancer hiding in the background.

And in that four years I’ve written and published two books and began to realize that my life purpose had become just that: a writer of my life experiences; a writer that wanted to make a difference in the world and in someone’s life by sharing her ups and downs and how she got through; and a writer who will never stop trying to help others.

I say that “chemo healed the cancer but the cancer healed me,” and it did. I became even stronger than before and learned how to put myself first and more importantly, how to love myself as much as I love the people in my life. I began to realize the importance of surrounding myself with positive people and that saying good-bye to the negative ones wasn’t a bad thing, but a necessity to live my best life. And that it’s okay to say “no” to things that don’t serve my Highest Good and to people and situations that cause me stress and drama.

In other words, cancer taught me to treat myself as well as I treat others, to love myself just as much, and to be just as kind to myself as I am to them.

Today I sit in a bit more gratitude than most days and am remembering that day four years ago. I’m remembering the lines of the song I wrote about that day:

“Journey is over, the battle is won, a new chapter started, a new day begun,So what do I do now? Where do I start? Do I take the road known or the one less traveled and follow my heart?”

What a day it was four years ago…

What an incredible life it’s been ever since…

What a  beautiful word to be blessed to call myself today: “survivor.”

It’s a good thing.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

Advertisements

“My Family…Together Again”

Two of my five children live at home, so there are moments I feel the pang of the “empty nest” syndrome. I’ve gotten used to my three oldest living across the country, only seeing them every year or two, so I don’t feel that pain of missing them all living home very often. They’ve been living out of my home for years now and I’m used to my two youngest being the only ones living with me.

Yet yesterday things felt like the old days and I was reminded of just how much I miss having a house filled with five children.

My oldest flew in yesterday morning from the West Coast and it must have been close to family2two years since I’ve seen him. He brought home his beautiful girl for all of us to meet and she was amazing! We all fell in love with her instantly and I’d like to believe that she felt the same about us.

I raced to the airport early in the morning to pick them both up and the tears fell as I saw him. They both walked towards me with open arms, hugs, kisses and some amazing West Coast energy! Just what this mom needed!

Yet seeing him was so much more than a hug…it brought back floods of emotions and memories of having them all live at home together. I remembered family dinners at the table every night and weekends filled with a stream of teenagers in and out and hanging around. It was heaven.

And yesterday felt like old times for me. Seeing him with his two youngest brothers, introducing them to his girl, teasing them and laughing I couldn’t help but feel a sense of peace, of happiness…of true joy.

I had forgotten what it was like to have my family together like that. These days even myfamily3 two youngest are working or going to school and I feel as though they’ve already left the nest.

Last night felt like old times, even though two of my kids were missing. It felt like the family I remembered; the family that grew up and moved on to their own adult lives. Yet as I remembered the memories I was also watching them all together and making new ones. Suddenly the babies and teenagers I remembered were sitting at a restaurant out to dinner with me…yet they were grown up! They had become men in what feels like an instant.

And my four boys have grown up into amazing men, and I don’t say that just because I’m their mom.

They are respectful, kind, compassionate and non-judgmental. They are truly the type of people I had hoped and wished that they would grow up to be.

And they are.

I sat in amazement last night, savoring every moment, taking in all that surrounded me. It was a night I’ll remember forever, until the next time we can all be together to make new memories.

I felt so much pride for these boys last night, especially my oldest. I watched how he spoke to and treated his girl…he loves her, she loves him, and the respect they have for one another is the type a mother hopes her child will find in a partner.

familyAnd he found that.

And I couldn’t be happier for him.

It was incredible night of being a family together again.

It was a night of my heart being so filled with love that it could have exploded.

These boys of mine…they are a gift to the world.

And they have been and always will be a gift to me.

And it’s a good thing.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

family4

 

All photos by Anne Dennish

 

 

“Show Me Your Soul”

The older I get, the better choices I make in who I allow into my tribe.

It’s true…so many people wear a mask and none of us ever know who someone really is until a situation occurs in which they show their true colors.

I want to surround myself with people who aren’t afraid to be who they are. I don’t want to spend my precious time with people who wear a mask just to be someone they’re not; with people who tell me what I want to hear instead of telling me the truth; with people who place more value on the attention they receive rather than the attention they give to others.

I want to surround myself with people who are true blue, who let the person they are shine through; with people who aren’t afraid to show me their flaws; with people who speak their truth to themselves and to others.

I want to see the heart and soul of another.

I want to see who they are.

I want to see their truth.

It’s only when we can see the heart and soul of another that we can see the truth of who someone truly is.

And it’s a good thing.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

see a soul

 

 

“On Meeting Elizabeth Gilbert”

I’ve always loved the author, Elizabeth Gilbert. I’ve read most of what she’s written yet I have to say that her one book, which turned into a movie starring Julia Roberts, was my favorite, and that was the infamou “Eat, Pray, Love.” It’s a true story of her life at that point in her journey and one that I learned many life lessons from.

Another book she wrote, “Big Magic” is my second favorite because, as a writer, I understand all that she speaks of and writes about.

So when the opportunity came up a few weeks ago to see her speak in person, I jumped at the chance.

As a writer, I’ve always wanted to meet her and share my own books with her, but basie 4opportunities to do that are far and few in between. I’ve held onto the thought, actually, “the dream” of meeting her one day, and I’ve held that dream for many, many years.

As a spiritual person I knew that if my meeting her was meant to happen, it would, and it would happen as it should, how it should and when it would. So it was no surprise that in February a post from Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey appeared on my Facebook newsfeed: Elizabeth Gilbert would be speaking there. I knew I needed to get tickets and if that wasn’t enough, the event was being held  on my birthday! It was at moment that I knew the Universe had set this dream of mine up to become a reality…my patience and continued belief that I would meet her someday was paying off.

I proceeded directly to “purchase tickets” and much to my surprise and excitement found that I could buy tickets which also allowed a “meet and greet” with Liz. My head was spinning and my heart skipping beats as I realized that this dream of mine was coming true…that I would finally get to meet one of my “hero’s” of literature. I purchased the tickets and sat with the biggest grin on my face for the rest of the night…actually for everyday that was one day closer to that night.

As the time was quickly approaching I was beginning to get a bit nervous, after all, basiemeeting a “hero” can either be wonderful or a shot in the arm. What we perceive people to be through their books and social media does not always ring true when you meet them. I hoped upon hope that she would be everything I had imagined…

And she was…and she was more than I had imagined.

My love and I were about fifth in line to meet her. I knew she wasn’t signing any of her books that night, but had hoped she would accept my two books as my birthday gift to her!

Her staff took my coat and pocketbook, as well as my cell phone so that they could take pictures.  My heart was racing as I walked toward her. It was such a surreal moment of seeing her and walking towards this woman whose books had changed my life. As I approached her,  she smiled, said “hello,” and embraced me in a hug, one filled with all the love and light she is…and with an incredible amount of energy!

liz gilbertShe spent about five minutes speaking with me and graciously accepted my books. I told her that it was my birthday, to which she wished me a wonderful one, and that I had just reached my four year breast cancer survivor date. I offered my condolences over the loss of her wife, Rayya, and told her how much she meant to me. She took the time to pose for several pictures with me and I was on my way.

I was in heaven…on Cloud Nine, if you will. And so was every other person that had the chance to meet her that night.

It was time for her to speak so we took our seats in the fourth row. I snapped picturebasie 2 after picture and hung onto every profound word she spoke. Meeting her was a dream come true, yet I had one more opportunity to speak “one on one” from the audience with Liz. She had time for a few questions and I was right up in line in front of a microphone asking her mine. I felt as though it was a private conversation between the two of us, even though there was an entired audience sharing in it!

It was truly the most perfect birthday I’ve ever had, and that energy, that feeling of my dream coming into a reality lasted well past that night…once again an experience with Elizabeth Gilbert changed me a bit, put a few things in a different perspective, and made me want to be as good a writer as she is and be able to touch a life and the world in the laid back, easy going, and honest way that she does.

So if you were to ask me what she was like I would tell you this: She was beautiful, humble, kind, compassionate, honest, down to earth, sweet, warm, loving and an amazing human being to be in the presence of.

Thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert, for being all that I had hoped and more; for putting the real you out there for the world to see, not some facade of what the world wants you to be; and for embracing me, speaking with me, and accepting my two books that I’ve written, and two books which carry a lot of lessons I’ve learned from you.

It was my honor, my privilege, and my dream turned into a reality to meet you.

And that is my experience on meeting Elizabeth Gilbert.

It was one I will never forget.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

elizabeth and me

 

 

“February – My Month of Love and Milestones”

february my montFebruary has become one of the most important months for me; it’s one I look forward to more and more as each year passes. The reason for my excitement about February is because so many incredible things happened in my life. They were truly life changing events; moments of dreams coming true; and signs of hope, faith and love.

It was on February 15th of 2015 that I met my love, Rob. We were two people who had new hope24been broken by prior relationships and had given up on love and dating. Yet it was through one long phone call that we got to know each other and the first date happened a week later on February 15th. We were nervous and unsure of whether we wanted to risk the heartbreak of another failed relationship, yet by the third date we had fallen in love. In just two weeks we’ll be locked away in an “undisclosed location” to celebrate our three year anniversary. No phones, no computers, and no work!

4 year survivorIt was on February 21st of 2014 that I underwent surgery for a lumpectomy. It was the last piece of my journey with breast cancer. It was on that date that I become cancer free and a survivor! It’s a day you hate to remember yet one that you want to celebrate year after year. Breast cancer was quite the journey for me; one that taught me so much about my life and myself. It helped me find my voice, stand in my truth, and to surround myself with only positive people. This year I will be celebrating my 4 year anniversary date! Each year is such a gift; each day is another blessing.

It was on February 23rd of 2016 that my last book, “Waking Up: Lessons Learned Throughsend to dad 1 My Adventures With Life and Breast Cancer” was published. It was a dream come true; one that became more than a book when I teamed up with a musician who wrote the music, sang, and recorded my song lyrics to the book. We did several public appearances together and used them as an opportunity to help others by making them a fundraiser. It’s another anniversary to celebrate, and a wonderful 2 year one at that!

promo picsAnd here’s the new and exciting news for this beautiful month of February, and strangely enough, an amazing coincidence: my newest book, “My Collective Soul: Things I Know Without Knowing Why” will be publicly released on February 23rd of 2018…just two years to the day that the last book was published! Yet I don’t believe in coincidences; I believe that everything happens for a reason and the Universe must have planned it this way.

And I’m so glad it did.

I am so incredibly grateful for this beautiful month of love and milestones.

I’m waiting to see what other endless possibilities the Universe has planned for me this month.

I have faith that it will be something amazing.

And I can’t wait to see what it is.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

gratitude for my life

 

“Life Is An Adventure”

adventure within

It was quite the weekend for me and after a 36 hour adventure in Connecticut, I’m home. I’m tired, yet filled with so many exciting stories to share with you about all that happened over the weekend! It was an adventure packed with new experiences and new people.

I always say: “Adventure is held within us and found all around us.” Remember that when you wake up each morning; you never know what the day will hold for you.

Life truly is an adventure, my friends, so enjoy the journey!

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

“Remembering The Last Day Of Chemo”

It was three years ago today that I wrote the following post below. It was my last day of treatment for my breast cancer. It seems like that day was a lifetime ago but I’m forever grateful for closing that chapter. The journey of breast cancer may be over, but the lessons I learned have become a part of me. As I say “Chemo healed the cancer, but the cancer healed me.”

And it did…

“Today was my very last treatment of the “golden ticket” drug, herceptin, at the Cancer Institute in New Brunswick. The nurses celebrated my milestone by decorating the medicine bag with stickers, throwing pink confetti at me, and making me a “last day of chemo” sign! Even though chemo was done months ago, I’m grateful that my every three week treatment has come to a close. It was a day of celebration and tears as I said good-bye to my “Angels” who have been there with me since last August. They were my teachers, my mentors, and my friends as I went through this journey with them. They truly are “Angels” and I am forever grateful to them for all that they did for me. The last piece will be on Thursday when I have my port removed. So this is one time I will not say that a chapter is finished and a new one started; tonight I raise a glass of wine to “finishing this book, and never opening it again!”

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

“Let’s Make A Chain of Gratitude”

 

Every morning before my feet hit the floor I open my eyes and say out loud: “thank you for another day.”

And that’s how I begin each day, with gratitude for having been gifted another day, with gratitude for knowing that I have the choice to make the day the best I can and gratitude in knowing that I have the ability to make a difference in the world with love and kindness.

“Gratitude” keeps us grounded and reminds us of what’s really important in our lives. It makes us stop and think about what’s important and that the smallest of things in our day can become the biggest of things we’re grateful for.

Let’s start a chain of “gratitude” together. Share a post, comment

or a picture of what you’re grateful for at this very moment. It can be as small as your first cup of hot coffee in the morning or as big as surviving an illness. Gratitude isn’t about the size of what you’re thankful for; gratitude is the confirmation that you’ve taken a moment in your day to realize how blessed you are.

Live each day with an “attitude of gratitude” and watch how your life will change. All good things come to us when we focus on all the good in our life and not on the bad. Life is filled with ups and downs, good and bad, yet when we focus on all the ups and the good the downs and the bad becomes less important and easier to handle.

So, what are you grateful for today? Let’s share our moments together…we just might be able to make a difference in the world together by sharing our moments of gratitude with each other and the world.

Let’s make a “gratitude chain.”

It’s a good thing.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~