You Can Tell It Anyway You Please

wall art

I recently came across this quote from one of my very favorite authors, Jandy Nelson.  She wrote my favorite book of all time (and I do a fair amount of reading…), I’ll Give You The Sun.  (Anyone here track their reading and the books they want to read on Goodreads? If you do, feel free to friend me!)  Today, I thought I’d share this nugget of wisdom from Jandy.

You can tell your story any way you damn well please.
It’s your solo.
– Jandy Nelson

Living A Manifesto

holstee manifesto

Adapting to life as a young adult cancer survivor is not easy.  The cries of do what you love and make every moment count can really be difficult to connect to when you’re not feeling well or still actively adjusting to your life post-cancer.  With this in mind, sometimes it is nice to have something to strive for…even if you need to acknowledge that there will be stepping stones along the way instead of giant leaps of progress.

A few years ago, I found this awesome manifesto from Holstee in a Seattle, WA shop.  I wanted it so badly but flying back across the country with a huge poster didn’t seem like the most logical thing to do.  The words of this manifesto resonated so deeply with me though…I was just about to leave graduate school and start Lacuna Loft.  I had a dream of a wonderful community where survivors, just like me, could come and learn to slow down yet still thrive in this new world.

A few months later, I received the life manifesto print for a gift.  It is now hanging in the Lacuna Loft office.

What kind of life manifesto do you live by?

image via

“This is your life.  Do what you love, and do it often.”

Want A Dose Of Daring?

man on cliff

Brene Brown, one of my very favorite authors, focuses her research on courage and vulnerability, among other things.  A few months ago, I signed up for her weekly newsletter that offers you a ‘dose of daring‘ every week in the form of a quote and a beautiful image.  I look forward to these emails every week and thought I’d share the link to sign up with you!

To get your own Dose of Daring each week, go here!

99 Things I Love Challenge

99 things i love

Last week I introduced what I thought would be a fun challenge, listing 99 things I love (and that you love).  Did you participate?  Did you make your own list?  I think challenges will be a new thing that we do every so often.  I’m thinking…a challenge to move 10,000 steps in one day…a challenge to spend 10 minutes in nature one day…a challenge to go outside your comfort zone one day…the possibilities are endless!  What do you think?  Ok!  Here’s my list, in no specific order:

99 Things I Love:

  1. My hubby.  He is an amazing partner, is brilliantly creative, does a million things behind the scenes of Lacuna Loft, and tolerates my after 8 pm crabbiness.
  2. My family.  They live far away now but I love their quirky personalities and getting together with them.
  3. My oldest doggie daughter, Caya.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…that dog is my soul mate.  (Ssshhh, don’t tell my husband).
  4. My youngest doggie daughter, Inca.  She’s a handful and a half but she’s made me into a more patient person, and a moderately skilled dog trainer.
  5. Running Lacuna Loft.  There are many many hours spent each week running Lacuna Loft and all of its programs and I love it.
  6. Working with the Lacuna Loft Board of Directors and Advisory Board.  These women are amazing.  They consistently show up and get shit done on behalf of so many program participants at Lacuna Loft.
  7. Living in California.  I miss my midwestern thunderstorms and living closer to family…but the weather in Cali is great, I can go hiking right out my front door, and there is so much to do.
  8. Hiking.  Being in such close proximity to great hiking has done wondrous things for my nature preferring personality.
  9. Greek yogurt.  I love how creamy it is and how much protein it gives in one serving.
  10. Lemon curd.  I made some homemade a few years ago when I discovered meyer lemons…omg, so good!
  11. Foggy mornings.  Living in Northern California delivers a lot of fog in the mornings and I adore these moments.  Nice and cool with an almost always promise of sunshine later on.
  12. My home office.  My desk at home overlooks my street and has a great view up into the Berkeley hills.
  13. My wonderful yet faraway friends.  There are a few people that I still keep in very close contact with after moving to California and I love these friends so much.  They are truly a second family for me.
  14. Running.  A friend and I sign up for a race about every 8 months and it always encourages me to move.  I love the challenge of running.  I love overcoming the frequent feeling that my body doesn’t work right.  I love feeling powerful in the middle of a run.
  15. My fitbit.  This silly little device is awesome.  🙂
  16. Home cooked meals.  I don’t like cooking very much but I get a lot of satisfaction from cooking something yummy or having someone else cook something yummy for me.
  17. Take out.  🙂  There’s a vegetarian Chinese food restaurant near my apartment…yum.
  18. Crossing things off my to-do list.
  19. Reading.  I read a ton.  Not as much as a librarian friend of mine (you know who you are!) but still. 🙂
  20. Religion.  I enjoy learning about religions, faith traditions, and the way other people find spirituality in their lives.
  21. Sewing.  I taught myself to sew using a Get Quilty e-course about a year out of treatment and have never looked back.  I’ve made quilts, clothes, throw pillow covers, clutches, and more.
  22. Being barefoot.
  23. Hot tea.  My mother used to make me a warm cup of tea when I was up late doing homework.  I associate a lot of love with a hot mug of tea.
  24. Crafting.  I also started crafting about a year after my treatments ended and I really love trying new DIYs.  I’m not always good at the first iteration not working out…but I’m working on it 😉
  25. Empty beaches.
  26. Living across the street from a library.  I’m there a lot and always checking out way more than I can read in a few weeks at a time.
  27. Playing DnD.  I’m new to Dungeons & Dragons and it is already one of my very favorite things to do, ever.  (I’m a gnome with a boar!)
  28. Television marathons.  I have Netflix and absolutely love finding a show I like and watching a ton of it at once 🙂
  29. Dogs I meet on the street.  I often prefer dogs to people (sorry, everyone!  It’s really not personal!) and I love meeting new dogs as I’m out and about.
  30. Sending snail mail.
  31. Receiving snail mail…seriously the best.
  32. Coffee with milk…I love chocolate notes in my coffee and milk, frothy or otherwise.
  33. Being a Type A personality…I have come to appreciate this about myself because the alternative is being annoyed with myself a lot of the time.  Self-Love!
  34. Learning to cook vegetarian meals.  I’ve been a vegetarian for several years now and it took a bit of research into figuring out proper nutrition but now it’s second nature.
  35. Painted nails.  I love painting my nails…dark colors, bright colors, french tips, you name it.
  36. Rice krispie treats.
  37. Baking!  Pies, bars, brownies, blondies, bread, cinnamon rolls, oh my!  I love baking.
  38. Watching reality shows where other people bake.  Cupcake Wars is a favorite right now but The Great British Baking Show is the absolute best.
  39. Swimming.  When I haven’t gone swimming in a while I start having dreams of being in swim practice.  I adore the feeling of being in the water.
  40. Getting a new pair of running shoes.
  41. Getting a new swimsuit or pair of goggles.
  42. Big puffy clouds.
  43. Cool breezes.
  44. Staying up late watching movies.
  45. Going to bed early and waking up early.
  46. Hanging out with other young adult cancer survivors.  It took me several years after I’d finished treatments to really interact with another survivor.  This moment was lifechanging for me.
  47. My newer, California friends.  Making new friends as an adult is hard!  Slowly but surely 🙂
  48. Snuggling under blankets.  Northern California offers a lot of the perfect weather for blankets.  Not too warm and not too cold.
  49. Learning new things.  I have always been in a career where I learn new things absolutely every day.  This will continue to be a goal of mine and a very high priority.
  50. Flannel sheets.  Nothing cozier!
  51. Having photos around the house.
  52. A colorful pair of sunnies.
  53. Girls trips.  I go on a trip with a group of girlfriends from college and we have a blast.
  54. Organizing myself with to-do lists.  If I lost my paper planner I think I would panic.
  55. Space.  My education is all in Aerospace Engineering and I’m a complete space nerd.
  56. Star Trek.  Probably related to the above 🙂
  57. Taking long walks.
  58. Donuts…I didn’t used to eat them and then I got cancer and decided life was too short to avoid donuts!
  59. Loving a new haircut.
  60. Book clubs.  I’m in 3 different book clubs (if we count the one here at Lacuna Loft).
  61. Working with Lacuna Loft volunteers.  These young survivors are the toughest people around!
  62. The smell of pine.
  63. Decorating for Christmas.
  64. Knowing I’ve bought someone the perfect gift.
  65. Having an empty inbox…doesn’t happen very often.
  66. Have a clean home…notice I haven’t added ‘cleaning’ to this list 😉
  67. Biking.  I’ve started using my bike more frequently and going on bike rides with a rad group of people.
  68. Writing.  Writing has always been a sort of therapy in my life.
  69. Listening and singing along and dancing to music.
  70. Going to concerts.  I feel so alive with the right type of music in the right moment.
  71. Being married.  Seriously…so good.
  72. Being a doggie mama.  These girls bring so much love and light into my life and I’m proud to be their mama.
  73. Wine country.  The views, the wine, the good company.
  74. Trying new things.
  75. Playing board games.
  76. Ice Cream…seriously my favorite food.
  77. The smell of yeast.  Reminds me of my grandparents’ house growing up.
  78. Being outside.
  79. Traveling.
  80. Speaking French.
  81. Science.  I absolutely love figuring out how things work and thinking critically.
  82. Getting dressed up.  My normal ‘head to work’ wardrobe is fairly informal since I live in the Bay Area (the land of jeans and t-shirts haha) but I adore getting all snazzy and dolled up.
  83. Bubbly lemon water.  I drink a ton of water and I love adding fizz.
  84. Teal/Turquoise.  My absolute favorite color.
  85. Driving through the country, windows down, and music blaring.
  86. Being in the mountains.  Between beach and mountains, the mountains are definitely my happy place.
  87. Being a sister.  My little brother and I are almost a decade apart in age but he’s my favorite.  My older sister is French Canadian and I adore her.
  88. Midwestern thunderstorms…where the sky darkens and those huge dark clouds show up.  Absolutely beautiful.
  89. Eating breakfast…for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  90. Racing.  I enjoy having a race in the calendar to help motivate training.  It helps keep me moving.
  91. A warm bath.  A warm bathroom is always nice too.
  92. Talks about life.  There are certain friends who you can really delve into these conversations with and they are the best.
  93. Clean laundry smells…especially sheets.  Yeeessssss
  94. Paris.  My very favorite place.
  95. Rooftop cocktails…there is just something special about having a fun cocktail on an outdoor rooftop.
  96. Date nights.
  97. People watching…as an extroverted introvert (yep…that is a real thing), I often like to zone out and people watch around me.
  98. Whispy clouds
  99. Picnics in parks…since I have a tripawd we can’t go for long hikes with the pups, so I love hanging out in the grass with snacks

List The 99 Things You Love

99 things i love

Lacuna Loft’s Journaling program recently sent out a prompt based on this blog post: List 99 things you love.  It got me thinking (as a good journal prompt will)…what would my list of 99 things I love look like?

Does anyone want to make a challenge out of this?  I’ll publish my 99 Things I Love list next week but will you join me?  This activity seems like a great way to get writing, list making, creative thinking, positive thinking, and more…all at once!  Email us, comment below, share however you want to…let’s list together!

Flashback #3: Motivational Desktops

motivation after young adult cancer

To celebrate our 2-year anniversary of being a nonprofit, Lacuna Loft is bringing back our top 31 articles from our archives!  The countdown to our top post is continuing today with Flashback #3: Motivational Desktops, written by Mallory. These 31 articles are the best of the best and we’re very happy to share them with you again!  The countdown continues tomorrow!

….Learning how to be a survivor, or going through that which needed surviving…those are tough times in life.  As I continue living through survivorship, little motivational happy thoughts really help me re-correct my outlook on something if I seem to be straying into negative musings.  I like the continual, gentle reminders that life is tough, but we are here to survive….and that even through the tough times, life can be very beautiful.  What kind of reminders do you like to keep your outlook on life as positive and happy as possible?  I, for one, love a good motivational poster………


Read the rest of the article here!

A Happier Day Twitter Feed To The Rescue

Life during and after young adult cancer and chronic illness can get tough.  I’m fairly certain I have typed that exact statement more than once here at Lacuna Loft…this truth weighs heavier on my heart some days compared to others.

Recently I was having a bit of an off day…the kind where you’re not even sure what is causing the distress but discomfort hangs around nonetheless.  That’s when a friend sent me a link to this twitter feed.  Talk about a great resource for the best dog and cat pictures out there.  (With the occasional bunny, deer, and other adorable animals thrown in!)  After spending a few minutes scrolling the feed, I felt so much lighter and less bogged down by life’s realities.

Just goes to show you that sometimes all you need are some cute animal pictures to have a happier day!

A Happier Day Feed 1

A Happier Day Feed 2 A Happier Day Feed 3

Songs For Feeling Inspired

young adult cancer

I had a cancer scare a few months ago.  I haven’t shared it with you all yet…but I will.  Until then, when I was scared and feeling isolated and not sure what would happen next, I listened to this song over and over and over again.  I needed to remember that no matter what happened, it was important that I Was Here.

Do you have a song that makes you feel inspired during young adult cancer or illness?