There She Goes Talking About Boobs Again

The last time I posted about my boobs, my blog traffic went to the roof! Got tons of traffic from people googling the word boobs! I guess here it goes again! LOL!

I started with that intro to let you all know that I am doing well. No melancholy here.  The doctors’ visit went well although it was confirmed that there definitely is a lump in there.  Dr. Kenny ordered an ultrasound and biopsy.  We will know more after that.  It may very well be just fatty tissues lumped together or simply a benign lump.  We will not know the answer until after the tests. Either way, the lump has to go so I would need a surgery to remove that. Most likely I’d go to Oahu.  Maybe we can hold a Tweetup at the hospital Oahu Peeps? :)

I wanted to write this post to share with you how I ended up discovering the lump in my breast. There could be a lesson here. This may be of help to somebody someday.

A few months ago, we found out that @MrsHawaii was diagnosed with a breast cancer. She started a blog and I read it to know how I can pray for her specifically.   A few weeks later, I felt some itchiness in my boobs. No rash, no mosquito bites, just some random itchiness.  Then I remembered that Mrs. Hawaii said that’s one of the first things that happened that led them to the discovery of her breast cancer.  So at that time I thought I better get my yearly mammogram done since it’s been almost 3 years since I last had it done.

However, I am the kind of person who always procrastinate on doctors appointments.  I know I needed to get a mammogram but  I wasn’t motivated enough to actually call and schedule an appointment. I’d rather go to work or stay at home with my kids.  Besides, I didn’t want to be “psycho-somatic” on this. I just kept on thinking I am fine.  I did a quickie check on my boobs while in the shower and I didn’t feel lumps at all.  So everything was ok. Some occasional random itchiness still happens but just totally ignored it.

Now, about a week ago, we heard that one of our friends was diagnosed with a pancreatic cancer, Stage III, and he had to go to the mainland to be treated. We knew it’s fatal and we hoped for the best.  Yesterday, Father’s Day, we got a text saying that he died.  One week! One week from the diagnosis, he died.

We started talking about cancer. How some types of cancer can easily be treated when caught on an early stage (like breast cancer) and how others are just fatal, and when you’re diagnosed with it, you better get the life of your family in order.  And so we talked about the importance of being diagnosed early.

Last night before I went to take a shower, I did another self-exam on my breast. This time I did it carefully, and systematically, just like what some of the brochures on self exam teaches. And that when I felt the big lump on my right breast.  I told my husband about it, I showed him where it is and he confirmed that the is a lump in there.  First thing in the morning I scheduled a doctor’s appointment.  No. correction: first thing in the morning, I posted on Facebook. yep, posted about it on Facebook and asked for positive thoughts and prayers.

Holly molly, you guys rock! I got hundreds of likes and comments. What a supportive family and friends I have! I am truly blessed.

Now here is the  question – am I worried? The answer is “no”. I have the peace that passeth all understanding. I am positive that everything is gonna be alright.

I have to be honest though, I do not have the “name it and claim it” kind of faith. I am more of “whatever God’s will is, I will abide because I know He knows the best for me”.  I did think ahead. I did ask myself serious questions like, “what if it is cancer and I’m gonna die, will I be ready?”. The answer is yes and no.  Yes, I am ready in a way because I know that I will go to heaven because of Jesus Christ. But no, I am  not.  In a way I am not ready because I want to stay longer on earth. I want to see my son get married, I want to see my daughter get married, I want to be able to take care of my grand kids.  There are still a lot of things I want to do in life.  I know.. I should not even be thinking about death – but taking into consideration the fact that we just got a word that out friend just died, i couldn’t help but think about life and death.

Now back to my boobs, cancer or not, the lump will be taken out and I will go on with my life.

This little “incident” of a lump made me appreciate my family and friends, and life,  even more. Oh sure many of you I only see on Facebook, but really I can feel your love and support.

So on to my little boob adventure. I hope KLOUT does not make me an authority on boobs after this :)

I will probably do another blog post after the test and once we get the results. Then we can all party to celebrate the fact that it’s just a benign lump, right?

A hui hou!

* I am not doing a grammar check or spelling check. Not even proofreading as I am ready to go to bed. Will proofread tomorrow. Let me know if when you find the typos as I am sure there are :)

Lesson Learned From The Lump – There Is Power In Being Open

Today I received a negative news.  Usually we don’t like hearing the word “negative”, because it’s ummm, negative, you know what I mean.  But this time the “negative” news is actually a positive.  The biopsy result of the lump in my breast came back “negative” – that means there are no cancer cells! It’s just a lump, a cyst that we don’t have to worry about.  The negative was a great news!

There are many things I learned though this “lump in my breast situation”. There is one that I want to emphasize right now, and that is about openness.

There is power in being open.  Allowing others to others to support us and encourage us during a crisis or a difficult situation enables us to go through that situation with much confidence.

I won’t be able to fully describe the tremendous encouragement I got from family and friends right after I announced on Facebook that a lump was found in my breast and my concern that it might be cancer.  Hundreds of  replies. I read every single like and comments and I appreciated every.single.one of them.  The prayers, the positive thoughts, the love, the notes, messages and phone calls – all poured out on me and soaked in them throughout the process.  It kept me from being anxious, stressed or discouraged while I went through mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy.  Had I kept this “lump in my breast situation” to myself, I wouldn’t have been able to receive such outpouring of love.  This is indeed a lesson to learn.  When one goes through difficulties in life, it is good to be open to allow others to bless us with their love. 

Speaking of being open, I am also glad that I am very open about my faith in Jesus Christ, and that I give God the glory for the negative result of my lump.  I am always careful about doing this (calling it answered prayers) because I want to be sensitive to others who receive a different news than what I had.  When one gets a news that they have cancer, that does mean that their prayers were not answered and they have lesser faith than I do?  Absolutely not. It just means that God has another plan for their lives.  It is quite a complicated subject that can only be understood through the eyes of faith.

Once again, I want to express my deepest appreciation for all the support I got.  The prayers and positive thoughts I received from family and friends from various faith and beliefs made this “lump scare” not so scary at all.

So much to talk about, so much to share…..  until next time …

Business in A Box via Pure E-Commerce with Jennifer Varner

Many of you know that it has always been a desire of mine to be able to start a business that I can do from home. I have read books, I have researched online and looked at many possible options.

One idea  have in mind is to open an online store. I know… I know… it’s not original,  but it seems the best way for moms to make money while enjoying being a mother at home.  Many have done it and many are successful. However, when I looked at the process of starting it and getting an online store rolling, it got overwhelming!  What? I need to get this and that and set up this and that blah blah blah? I gave up…

And then … (oh my husband makes fun of me when I open my sentence with “and then ….”)  and then … last week a got an e-mail from Linda Sherran, the head of Marketing and PR for Pure E-Commerce,  informing me about this company Pure E-Commerce and how their Founder and CEO Jennifer Varner and her family just moved to Maui ….

Now before I talk about Jennifer Varner, you must know that I get a lot of e-mails from Marketers daily and most of then I simply say “No, thank you but I am not interested”.  But this one struck me so I checked it out.

How does one check out on someone these days?  Yep, Googled her!   I Googled Jennifer Varner to see if what Linda’s e-mail was telling me is true.

Holly Molly, it’s true!  This Jennifer Varner’s story is incredible and inspirational!

Jennifer’s family has been touched not once but twice with cancer.  Her husband, Jeff, was diagnosed with cancer just three weeks after their wedding.  Three years ago, Jennifer found out she herself had invasive breast cancer after celebrating the 10th year of her husband being free from colon cancer.  At the time, she was three months pregnant and her greatest fear was for the health of her unborn child. She chose to fight the cancer and underwent chemotherapy and multiple surgeries all while being pregnant!

 

“Today my husband is cancer free! Today I am cancer free!  Most importantly, my baby, Kilian, is perfect! He is a survivor too; he took that long hard journey with me.  Through these events I have gained so much knowledge, wisdom and strength – more than I ever had, and more then I knew I could gain in a lifetime.  I live every moment, every day like it’s my last.  But I know it’s not. I plan on having an amazing future.  I have overcome and thrived.  Now it’s my desire to give back to another survivor who has overcome, and give them the possibility of an exciting, new future.” ( excerpt from and article about her on 2012 Aloha Auction for the Pacific Cancer Foundation)

 

Jennifer owned one of the largest online retail maternity businesses.  She opened Pure-Ecommerce.com to share all the experiences she learned while owning that business with others. Pure-Ecommerce, which was voted by Start Up Nation as one of the top 50 Women-Owned Businesses, is now celebrating its fifth anniversary and has helped 450 people realize their dreams of owning their own business and working for themselves.
Two things that make Pure Ecommerce unique is that all of the products loaded up onto the businesses are drop shipped so clients hold no inventory.  Additionally, once the client purchases the business, they work with them individually going over every aspect of setting up, running, and then growing an ecommerce business.  Those who “bought the business on the box” get 40 hours of consultation.

There are so many things to know about Jennifer Varner and her business Pure E-Commerce that instead of me trying to sum it up, I’d provide you the link.  The link will be on their Pure- E-Commerce website but be assured that she is in so many entrepreneur magazines and newspapers that whatever you read on her website were validated (I myself crossed checked the references). Here’s more about her:

About Pure E-Commerce
More Jennifer Varner and Pure E-Commerce
Press and Media on Jennifer Varner and Pure E-Commerce
Killian’s Kids
2012 Aloha Auction for the Pacific Cancer Foundation
2012 Survive and Thrive Giveaway

As you’ve read on her story, Jennifer is from North Carolina but you know what? Jennifer and her family recently moved to Maui! Yes, Maui!  The reason why Jennifer and her family family decided to live on Maui was that when Jennifer came here during her breast cancer recovery, she found Maui (and all of Hawaii) to be restorative. I agree with her :)

I am sure this will not be the last post I’d do about Jennifer and Pure E-Commerce as I am seriously considering consulting with them, and maybe someday buy one of their business in a box.  Maybe it’s time to open “A Maui Store” for “A Maui Blog” :)

Please check out this 2012 Aloha Auction and help spread the word around.

Bucket List (Part 1 – Visits and Travels)

For a long time, I resisted on creating a bucket list. However, while on the plane coming back from our wonderful visit in Connecticut, I decided to put together a list.  Let’s start with travels:

A. Visits and Travels

  1. Vacation to the Philippines with my teens, preferably during the Christmas season.
  2. Visit my brother Relly and his family in LA
  3. Visit my cousins Neil and Noel and Noel’s family.
  4. Go to New York City with Noelle – Mom and Daughter get away
  5. Go to France with Noelle – another Mom and Daughter get away
  6. Got to Lego Land as a Family – for Gardner
  7. Family Vacation in Italy
  8. Tour Israel  with my family or myself
  9. Tour Europe
  10. See the Grand Canyon
  11. Island Hop – visit all the Hawaiian Islands
  12. Visit my friends, the Mestidios, in Canada
  13. Disney World Family Vacation
  14. Tour around the Philippines – Boracay, Palawan, etc.
  15. A Safari Tour with Gardner
  16. Visit the Philippines and host a grand reunion with my relatives
  17. Visit the Philippines and host a grand reunion with my high school friends (one of the best times of my life)
  18. Visit the Philippines and host a grand reunion with my college friends (special times!)
  19. Visit the Philippines and Spend time at the Prayer Mountain
This now becomes my 3rd post for NoBloPoMo 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

For the first time in our family life here on Maui, we are celebrating Thanksgiving by ourselves. No friends around. Just us – Bradley, Gardner, Noelle and Liza. It feels kinda weird.  We are used to having friends in our house, or going to a friend’s house.  The kids keep on asking “is anyone coming tomorrow?” I think they too thinks it’s kinda weird that we are celebrating Thanksgiving by ourselves. It’s almost like we are left out.

I am sure we will be doing a lot of calling family and friends around the US to greet each and everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  But we will be eating Thanksgiving Dinner as a family, just us.

I think being by ourselves might be  good thing. Maybe we really need it, and it’s meant to be.  We can converse as a family. We can talk about what we are thankful for. We can be at ease with ourselves. I know it may be my “introvert” self talking right now.  But I am a firm believer of always looking at a positive in every situation, and interacting as a family is a good thing.

We are deep frying a turkey. We are cooking all the traditional side dishes that goes with it. Bradley is baking his famous delicious Apple Pie.  And we are going to have a sit down meal together.  I even bought some flowers to make our table look nice (yep that’s the one on the photo above).

We are blessed in more ways than one.  It is proper to take the time to reflect and be thankful for all the wonderful blessings we have.  Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Quiet Times on Maui – Rebooting My Morning Routine

Why is it that it’s so hard to “Be Still and Know” that God is God?

I wake up very early in the morning everyday. My internal body clock is set at 4:00 AM/ I must have been a rooster in my past life. No, not really because I don’t believe in that. The point is I wake up every early and I have a full 2 hours to myself before my family wakes up.  What I do with that 2 hours is entirely up to me.

This is what I think I should do in order:

Make my Chai Tea – 5 mins
Read my Bible while enjoying my chai tea – 5 mins.
Reflect and Meditate on what I have just read – 15 mins
Prayers – 15 mins.

TOTAL: 40 minutes. That’s 40 minutes of quiet time and re-filling.  A great way to start the day.  It’s 40 minutes, therefore I still have 80 minutes left before my family wakes up.

Next thing I need to do?

Exercise! – 30 minutes  (an hour or more on the weekends). And while exercising, I can still continue my reflection, meditation and prayers ….

Now let’s talk about what I really do during those 2 hours of quite times in the morning.

On second thought, let not talk about it. It’s kind of depressing.  It’s embarrassing to know that I am spending the first 2 hours of my waking time dealing with the “urgent” instead of the “important”.

This post is my attempt to make myself accountable. I starting anew. I am re-booting my life starting with rebooting my morning routine. Starting today, I am doing what I think I should be doing.

My First Hana Retreat …. Back in 2009

I live on Maui, one of the most beautiful places in on earth.  That alone should make me happy all day, each and everyday, right?  rrrright….. But in reality, it’s not the case. It’s not that simple.  “Living” whether you are on Maui, or any parts of the world, means responsibility.  It does not mean play in the ocean all day.  That’s why there are such phrases like “work for a living” or “high cost of living” …
And speaking of “high cost of living” – that’s the price we pay for living on Maui.  For many of us, it’s a choice we made….
About a month ago, I was feeling overwhelmed with all my responsibilities as a working mom.  By nature I am a very nurturing and introspective person.  I do not have a type A personality. I like laid back living. The more subdued. Yet many times I do function as a type A.  I like getting things done, I enjoy overseeing projects and  accomplishing tasks.  I like being active and socializing and all that.  However, at the end of the day, I always need   to re-charge in quietness and serenity.  If I don’t get enough of those quiet moments, I get cranky.
I love being a mom.  I love being a wife.  I love being a homemaker. And if given a chance and opportunity, if we can afford it, I would give up my “work with pay job outside of our home” to be a “full time mom”.  But we are not in a position to do that right now …
The good thing is I have a great job.  I have the job that a working mom would desire.  I have a generous employer who are kind and pays me well. My work time is 9AM to 2PM which give me ample time to drop off my kids to school and pick them up instead of them  using a school bus. I enjoy what I do and I am good at what  I am doing. It’s a perfect working situation for a working mom…
All that to say that even though I love what I am doing and I enjoy both worlds, I still had this feeling of being “overwhelmed”.  They say “passionate people” are prone to that, and yes, I am passionate about being a mom and about many things I do.
Lately I had noticed that I am not “as nice” as I used to be.  I am a bit more cranky than usual, I get easily offended, negative thoughts enter my mind quickly and I dwell on it longer that just vanishing it away as soon as I feel it.  These were thoughts of envy, jealousy, resentment and sometimes anger.  These were negative thoughts and energies which I didn’t want to have or don’t want to have …
I knew it was time for  a retreat but I didn’t know when, where and how.  Then the invitation to stay at Hotel Hana Maui came along.  Who would have say “no” to an opportunity to stay on Hotel Hana Maui for a weekend? Definitely not I.
It was supposed to be a “lovers get-away” for my husband and I.  But our dear friends from the mainland came to visit and they scheduled to stay in our house the same time we were scheduled to go to Hana.  These friends are wonderful friends close to us so it was a bit of a dilemma on what to do.  After discussing, my husband decided he would stay at home in Kihei, while I go to Hana for the weekend.
At first it seems that it was wrong for my husband to stay and let me go by myself.  But actually, it’s a blessing in disguise. I really needed a time alone.  I wanted a quite time to be able to reflect.  It’s what that title of this post is all about. That “sometimes we have to step back to move forward”….
It’s Sunday morning right now, my last day here at Hotel Hana Maui.  I had a very relaxing time here on Hana.  I had enough time to think, to reflect and to rethink.  This place is awesome.  It truly is heavenly for me.  My stay here affirmed that quietness and reflection is good for the soul.
This afternoon I am going back to Kihei with a great resolve.  I had made plans, I had set some goals, and all these I committed to God to make happen. I feel more positive, energized, I am ready to conquer. I am going back with a greater confidence as a mom, a wife, a friend, an employee and as a person. I had a restful  weekend here on a luxurious Hotel Hana Maui and this is a gift I am so thankful for.  My husband even gave me a gift of “spa lomi lomi massage” (he called me to tell me I should get one, that even though it’s a bit expensive I should do it, and I did).
This is just one of the many posts that I would be doing about my staycation and retreat here on Hana.  I wanted to post this to encourage those who are weary and tired to take some time to relax, reflect and rethink.  Remember “sometimes, we need to step back in order to move forward”.

Waikapu Gardens House For Sale

Yes, that’s our house in Waikapu Gardens Subdivision.  We bought it new in 2007. At that time I was still working for Spencer Homes.  My reason for buying this house is that I want to retire there someday.  I thought it will be a perfect home for me when I get old.

But then we realized, we (our family) are “Kihei people”. We like living in this warmer part of Maui.   We like living close to Keawakapu Beach because that our dog Sonny’s favorite beach.  And so we put this beautiful house on the market today.

The house plan is called Model 3. It used to be called Model C back when we were developing and building Piilani Village II and III.  It was a very popular model, always in demand and the first to sell whenever it becomes available.  That is why I think it will sell fast. There are many reasons why I think it will sell fast but the house lay-out itself is a big reason. It really was the favorite. And there is nothing in the market right now on this model.  I doubt it if there will be one soon.

We purchased this house in 2007 and we only have had 2 tenants.  The first tenant who occupied the house worked for the Air Force.   She was assigned to Maui (lucky her) and she brought her family here.  The were the perfect tenants! They took care of our property so well.  In the 3 years that they rented from us, their payment are always on time and we never heard a problem from them.  The only reason they moved out is because she was re-assigned back to the mainland.  They left the house is a very good condition, ready for the next tenant to move in.  The next tenants are great as well.  They were like the first one. I know… we are lucky to have responsible tenants!  The house is still occupied so please do not disturb them.  If you are interested to buy this house, please call our Realtor, Renona Barrozo – 357-1844.  Please, serious inquiries only. Let your realtor contact our realtor. And if you don’t have a realtor, I highly recommend you talk to Renona and hire her as your realtor too.

One advantage of this house compared to the other homes in Waikapu Gardens is that it does not have a neighbor directly behind.  It’s a quite side and dead-end street therefore has a bit more privacy.   Our yard is also bigger compared to the average yards at Waikapu Gardens.

I  have worked with Spencer Homes for 13 years and I know they build good houses. The people bought and live there makes it a good neighborhood as well.  Waikapu Gardens is a great place to live in the Central area. Close to school and Offices.

Going back to the lay-out and why it’s extremely popular – it is because of the big open are in the living/dining area and a functional, highly efficient kitchen.  Here are the photos of the kitchen  in two different angles:

 

This Waikapu Gardens homes for sale has 3 bedroom and 2 baths. It also has a 2 car garage. You can take a look at the listing for more details:  Waikapu Gardens, Model 3

You can view the Subdivision Map and other details about Waikapu Gardens by visiting Spencer Homes Maui website

Please contact Renona Barrozo of Lani Realty if you are interested to purchase this home. Her contact number are on this link (upper left) – Waikapu Gardens Listing

Bringing Every Thoughts Captive To The Obedience Of Christ

This past couple weeks I had been doing some “spiritual spring cleaning”.  I have done a lot of scrubbing and I think some (or most) of the painful parts of cleaning is over.  At least for now. We all know that cleaning is a never ending “chore”, and so I must maintain the cleanliness, and someday I will once again have to do some deep cleaning as I had been doing this past weeks.

What helped me is this spiritual spring cleaning thing is the verse in the Bible that says:

Casting down arguments, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;  – 2 Cor. 10:5 KJV


Most of the spiritual battles I have are fought inside my head (and my heart).   They start as small thoughts … then a conversation between two voices inside my head.  Please do not think I am schizophrenic, I am  not.  But the “two voices” is how I can best describe the thing that goes on in my head. The only was to win is to bring my thoughts to the obedience of Christ. I did and I won.

Two “issues” I was able to deal this past couple of weeks were “Pride and Envy”. These are tough ones to deal with because they are very subtle when they come in. They sneak in the back door. They pretend they are “with us and for us” and yet they come to destroy us. These two are not obvious in my life. None or only few of my family and friends will say I have issues with pride and envy.  These nasty     issues are imbedded in the heart where no one else sees, and only comes visible when exposed by the true light.  These “pride and envy” are dangerous enemies in our spiritual battles and the only way to win is to fully arm ourselves with the Grace of God.

I was planning to write details of this battle that went on my mind, but I think I need to go back to bed and get some sleep.  In the meantime, here is a link to an article about envy that I really like.  It comes from the website “Desiring God” which is now one of my favorite websites to go to and read.  John Piper’s writings are truly inspirational.

Answered Prayers

“Call unto me, and I will answer you…and show you great things which you do not know”. I am quoting this verse out of memory.. I know it’s in Jeremiah somewhere. I will add the correct verse later…

A couple of hours after I posted my blog about “friends”, I turned the radio on and guess what the preacher was talking about on the radio?. He’s talking about the verse I quoted earlier about friends. Some may call this co-incidence, I call it answered prayer. It was a comfort and encouragement to listen to Pastor Jeremiah talk about “friendship”. Every word spoken seems a direct response to many of my questions to God. What an awesome God we have.

And it does not end there. Another thing that is causing major stress and anxiety in me is the fact that I couldn’t figure out this immigration papers that I need to finalize ASAP. This is disturbing to me… I am an office manager and I do my job well…and yet when it comes to figuring out this paperwork I have been hitting a dead end. It was very very frustrating to say the least. Finally, I thought I’d stop being “stingy”. I’d just call a law office who specializes in immigration law and I’d consult. I’d pay – whatever. Well, when I looked at the directory, the law firm we use for the company I work for is listed as one of the “Immigration Law” expert. (I didn’t know they do immigration stuff). I called them. Since I have a very good relationship with this law firm (from receptionist, to secretary to many of the attorneys), the Senior attroney is very willing to help me out on this, pro bono! He told me to go see him at his office today at 3PM! Talk about answered prayer!