Fight.

“Unity is strength. Knowledge is power. Attitude is everything.”

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Almost everyone has had their life impacted by cancer in some way or another. Whether it be a loved one or yourself, most people know the terror that comes after that awful word is muttered from someone’s lips. If you don’t know the turmoil it brings, consider yourself lucky, oh so lucky. Cancer is something that knows no boundaries. Knows no race, no sex, no religion. It doesn’t care how wealthy you may be or how good of a moral character you may possess. It rips through families and communities, bringing with it fear and uncertainty. But if you have been impacted by cancer you know the importance of the fight. The fight for joy. The fight to keep a smile on your face when you feel your world is crashing down. The fight to be a support system to your best friend when you have no words to help them. The fight to find a cure. The fight to survive.

This fighter mentality is something unlike anything on this planet. It unifies people from all walks of life. It brings hope to those that feel lost. It brings to light what is truly important in life: coming together as a human race to fight against a word that has caused too much pain and suffering in this world.

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The problem though? We are lacking the motivation and funds we need to make an impact. Yes, there are many organizations out there that are determined to find a cause for cancer and to provide support, but they operate on the funds they receive from donors and people like you. You see, many people assume that these organizations don’t need their help or that even if they were to donate, it wouldn’t have an impact. Well I’m here today to show a different perspective. Every single dollar that you donate to an organization will in fact help. It allows you to face the word cancer in the face and have real discussions about how you can engage in preventative care. It allows research to preform tests to come closer to a cure. It allows those who can’t afford treatment a shot at getting to survive.

Apparently, today is Global Cancer Day. Chevy and The American Cancer Society have teamed up and if you make your profile picture on Facebook or Twitter to the color purple then they will donate a dollar to the ACS, up to a million dollars. While this is a great campaign, can you imagine if everyone that actually changed their profile picture just donated $5 to the ACS or another cancer organization? Instead of just a million dollars donated, we would have 5 million dollars. See where I’m going here?

You can either take action to actually make a difference or just sit back and assume that someone else will take care of it. What if it meant saving the life of your mom? What if it meant being able to give treatment to your uncle who is slowing dying? That $5 looks a little different now doesn’t it? We all need to realize just how far a little can go and actively motivate ourselves and one another to fight, and to keep fighting long after the match is over.

“Cancer may leave your body, but it never leaves your life”

While I am finally “Cancer free” I can tell that it does not simply leave your life. You are always worried it may come back. You have flashbacks to the cold hospital rooms. You remember how low you felt but how you somehow managed to gather every ounce in your body to push yourself further than you imagined. Pushing the limits is something cancer survivors know very well. I decided to push my limits even more, I am running my second marathon but this time I’m gathering all I have. I’m fundraising for LIVESTRONG, a cause near and dear to my heart. I want to run 26.2 miles for every single cancer survivor, fighter, and those who may not have even been diagnosed yet. I’m running for those currently going through chemo who don’t have the energy to even stand. I’m running for every single loved one that has been lost. I’m running and I’m fighting for something that has set a fire deep within me, and I won’t stop until the day when there is a cure.

So I encourage you, find that motivation, it’s in you, I promise. Find that anger, the hatred towards cancer, the pain and the suffering. Channel all of that into something great. Take action and go out and fight. Fight for those you love. Fight for yourself. Fight for life. Fight for a cure.

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Click here if you’re interested in helping me fundraise for my next fight: 26.2 miles

Define Yourself

“You don’t need anyone’s affection or approval in order to be good enough. When someone rejects or abandons or judges you, it isn’t actually about you. It’s about them and their own insecurities, limitations, and needs, and you don’t have to internalize that. Your worth isn’t contingent upon other people’s acceptance of you — it’s something inherent. You exist, and therefore, you matter. You’re allowed to voice your thoughts and feelings. You’re allowed to assert your needs and take up space. You’re allowed to hold onto the truth that who you are is exactly enough. And you’re allowed to remove anyone from your life who makes you feel otherwise.”
-Daniell Koepke

Something that every single person has had an issue with at some point during their life is that of body image. Whether you were bullied when you were in grade school or constantly have a feeling that if you just lost a couple pounds you would be happier, most of us have faced the issue of trying to improve how we look. I myself have struggled with my image and it is something I am still addressing.

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I can vividly remember my years of being in the third grade to fifth grade when I was a little larger than the other girls in my class, and the constant bullying that would come from it. Fat jokes were a normal thing on the bus ride home and I remember countless days going home and just crying because I hated myself. I hated my big thighs, I hated that I didn’t have skinny arms like the girls in my class, I hated that I couldn’t be smaller. Then came high school, where the pressure to be little was unlike anything I have ever experienced . My junior and senior year of high school I would hardly eat throughout the day, then go to whatever sport practice I had and then often times when I got home I would either go on a run or go to the gym with one of my girlfriends. On the weekends, I would workout at least three times a day. I was the smallest size I have ever been in my entire life, which was a 4. But I realized I still wasn’t happy. I was in the best shape of my life but I still was comparing myself to the other girls in my class, just like I did when I was in elementary school. It took me to about my junior year of college, when I realized that no matter how much I tried, I would never get below a size 4 because I have thighs and a butt AND after I had thyroid cancer I came to the realization that my metabolism would be regulated by a pill, and I would have to be extremely careful about what I ate in order to maintain my goal weight. But then I asked myself, why am I defining who I am by my weight? Why am I trying to define who I AM by OTHERS? Why do I even have a goal weight?

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You see someone created you, with all your “imperfections” and when they were done making you, thought, wow that is a beautiful creation. I read something lately that caught my eye. You only get to see yourself in a very small dimension; when you look at yourself in the mirror or when you see yourself in a photo/video. You can’t see the way your eyes light up when you see something beautiful, you can’t see the way the corners of your mouth turn as you smile at a friend, you never get to see yourself as others see you. So why are you comparing yourself to others based on the sole comparison of looks? Now I know many of you are saying, ok Morgan we get it, love yourself, but it is so much more than that. It is finding acceptance with who you are and not letting how you look define you. We live in a world that is consumed with looks. It is everywhere we turn in the media, with guys and girls with perfectly sculpted bodies, beautiful hair and pearly white teeth. But its also in our day to day life. In college I cannot tell you how many times I would hear girls compliment other girls on how “good” they looked, but it was really about how skinny they were. Some people are naturally skinny and have a quick metabolism, while others, are born with a more muscular tone. The key here is to not let how you look define you. Instead focus on being healthy and happy. When I was in the third grade my mom would make me stand in front of the mirror every day of the week and tell her something that I loved about myself, and each day it had to be something different. I remember hating having to do this, but it has taught me a very important lesson on how I define myself. Now every morning as I get ready for the day I make myself find an attribute that I love about myself, like how I love my thunder thighs because they are pushing me to run my second marathon, or the way I have small wrinkles on my forehead because of the amount of laughter I engage in. This positive thought helps push me through the day not letting how I look define that day.

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I AM MORE THAN MY WEIGHT AND MY SIZE.

I AM MORE THAN MY OUTWARD APPEARANCE. 

So ask yourself, what defines who I am? And I challenge you to not use a number on a scale or the size of your clothes.

Power Hour Smoothie

Often times it can be challenging to be healthy, especially when you are crunched for time and money. I am always on the hunt for new recipes that are easy to make and that fit within my busy schedule. This morning I made one of my favorite smoothies, full of protein and goodness. The ingredients and recipe is below! Enjoy!

Ingredients: 

  • 1 large banana (frozen or normal)
  • 1 cup of soy milk (or regular milk whichever you prefer)
  • 2 scoops of chocolate protein powder
  • 1 spoon of peanut butter
  • Crushed ice (optional)

Directions

1. First cut up your banana into small pieces. I pre cut my bananas and froze them so I wouldn’t have to use ice
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2. Then add two scoops of protein powder. You can normally get this protein powder at target for around $15.
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3. Add one spoon of peanut butter

Image4. Then add one cup of soy milk

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5. Blend together and enjoy!

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The Experiences Of An Almost Grown Up

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So I’ve had this blog for awhile now and it has been something that I will come to on occasion and post whatever thoughts maybe on my mind at the moment. Well for the year 2014 I have committed myself to becoming an active blogger. To even further my commitment I officially purchased the domain name “Meaningful Merriment” so there is no turning back now.

I have spent a good amount of time trying to think of a theme or purpose for my blog. I don’t want it to be a random assortment of thoughts, I want to be able to share my experiences as I grow and experience life. So I decided to have a couple different categories that actively surround my lifestyle and I will blog about a varying one each week. I am really excited about this and looking forward to being able to create posts that are relatable to others! So from here on out there will be 6 different categories on my blog and they are as follows:

  • Health & Wellness
  • Self-Improvment/Motivational
  • Creative/Style/Beauty
  • Spiritual
  • Love & Relationships
  • Homemade

Be on the lookout for a new post each week! May your days be meaningful and full of merriment!

light a fire

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Have you ever admired someone? Think of that person right now and all the qualities about them that make you admire them. Whether it be their strength, courage, determination, passion or dignity, normally you admire a quality in them that you wish you had or were better at possessing. We admire others because we aspire to be more like them. Have you ever realized that you could be the person someone else admires? Someone right now, looks up to you and wishes they had more qualities like you. We often forget that many times in life we are placed in roles where we are in the light and others are able to see more about our character than we realized.

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This can be used as a huge advantage or disadvantage. You have the potential to inspire others or discourage them depending on your daily actions. I have never really thought about this potential until recently when I was reflecting over my first couple months in Arlington. My schedule has been so hectic between classes, my internship, and working a part time job. I have found it difficult to find time for personal reflection but once I decided to make time for it, I realized what a crucial element it is to ones development.

As I look back over the past four months, which is crazy to think that I have been out in Arlington for that long, I have reflected on my day to day actions and my mentality for which I face each day. Many days, I am sleep deprived, stressed, have a to-do list that grows quicker than I can cross items off, and worried about where my life is going. However, there was a turning point when I realized that all of these things I view as “negative” aspects in my life, really aren’t so negative, and that my attitude on a daily basis has the potential to inspire others. My main responsibility for my internship is to manage the Redskins female fan club which is called WOW, Women of Washington Redskins, and for the month of October we decided to do ten interviews with breast cancer survivors and feature them on our blog. I helped with the organization of scheduling and helping set up the interviews, so I developed a somewhat relationship with these ladies. Many of the ladies that we had interviewed were coming to the ThinkPink! game, so we reached out and invited them to be a part of the fan tunnel on the field before the game started. Long story short, that game opened my eyes to how any gesture, or attitude that is positive, can truly inspire another person and it ignited a fire in me for what I wanted my career to be. The pure joy that was seen on these ladies faces was more to me than any payment I could be given for my internship. Hearing about their walks with cancer, and how it has shaped their lives, was a remarkable experience and was truly humbling. It made every single stressful day at the office worth it. After this game, my attitude changed about the mentality I maintain each day.

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Have you ever been having a bad day and someone is really nice to you, maybe it’s just asking you how your day is going, a compliment, or just a smile and it helps lighten your mood? Just think about the potential there. Your daily attitude, can help light a fire in someone else. It’s knowing this potential that drives me each day to push myself to have the best outlook possible so that I can maybe inspire someone else. It has definitely been a struggle on a day to day basis, but whenever I feel my mood starting to go in a negative direction, I remember how much joy I feel when someone I admire takes the time to invest time in me.

 So I challenge you, to use each day as an opportunity to light a fire in someone. Use your attitude and mentality to push yourself to be an optimistic and help raise the morale of those around you. You never know who admires you and who you could be inspiring. Let your actions speak volumes and who knows what fires will be started.

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Truthfully

What’s the first thing you look for in a person? When you meet someone, and you start to form a relationship with them, whether it is as a friend or maybe something more, there are qualities that you know you like and qualities that you know you dislike.  For myself, and I am sure many others, the most important trait I value in a person is honesty.
Growing up I was a very trusting child. I would believe anyone’s word because I had no reason to think they were not telling the truth. However, as I got older, I started to realize that this trait of trusting others had started to lead me into many situations where I would find pain and disappointment. I can remember so many times giving numerous chances to others only to be let down again and again. It was at this point I realized I had in fact become “too” trusting. I think this is a dangerous place to be because it opens up endless possibilities for you to subject yourself to pain.
Now I am a firm believer in finding the good in everyone, and when it comes to relationships I try and do just that. Whatever may be going wrong, I try and see the positive. However, with time I have found that sometimes you have to stop trying to make these positive attributes happen and if you are not receiving the support, care and overall love that you deserve from this person then you shouldn’t invest your energy.
I have had a couple people tell me that I have “trust issues” and that phrase has stuck with me ever since. When I think about what trust really is, at its core, it is the sole fire in all the relationships we have.  If you cannot tell someone the truth at any point in the day, what kind of relationship do you really have with them? Ask anyone who has really been betrayed, and when I say really betrayed I mean someone who has invested all their trust in one person only to have it come crashing down in a moment, and I am pretty sure they will agree that they have trust issues. I think we all have trust issues. We have all had people that have lied to us at one point or another. And we are all human, so we make mistakes; each of us has all lied to someone at one point or another in our lives.
I think the thing is, you have to find this happy medium. Above all else, you have to guard your heart. (Proverbs 4:23) But you have to be willing to let people in. With this comes patience and time. You have to take time getting to know someone. Don’t invest so much in them right off but also don’t hold back. It’s ok to be vulnerable with people, you never know, they may share the same story you do. We have all known heartache; it comes in many different sizes and forms.
 This heartache however, is a learning lesson, one that we must all take, look at, evaluate, and then continue on.  I have found that trusting God is the sole reason I keep my head up. You see, He has a plan for you, even with all these people that may be letting you down, he sees something in you, something special and he has people on this earth that are just like you. People with huge hearts, ready to give all they have to others, but who have been taken advantage of. He has these people, scattered across all places, and they are rare to find but trust me when I say that when you meet someone you can trust, and when I say trust, I mean really trust, with everything, you will know it. Just like you know that you can trust God, you will be able to open up again and find out how beautiful it is to have meaningful relationships with others. More importantly, you will be able to have a better relationship with the one person that will NEVER lie to you or NEVER let you down. Your Father is someone that you can always rely on, through thick and thin He is there for you. All you have to do is trust Him and trust his plan for your life. Like I said earlier we are all human and when you invest time in someone it is inevitable that they will let you down at one point or another, but when you invest your time and trust in the Lord, that is time well spent and time that will not go unnoticed.
Love without trust is blind and trust without love is numb. Keep your heart guarded and trust in the Lord with all of your heart and mind. It takes time to trust others and you just need to have the faith to put yourself out there despite everything that has happened to you. That my friends is true trust, getting knocked down time and time again but standing up for another blow with the belief that maybe this one time you will have someone there to help you stand on your two feet.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” – Proverbs 3:5-6

a broken beautiful mess

Sometimes, as we all know, life becomes messy. Most of our days are filled with small challenges, hurdles to jump and moments that test our patience and interfere with our happiness. Of course these occurrences do not occupy all of our time and seem to come in and out of our lives. However, sometimes these challenges are not brought to us by life itself but by our own selves. We all have struggles, doubts, insecurities, faults and fears. The thing I find interesting is how there are three types of people in the world; some people choose to hide all of these things from the outside trying to maintain an image of perfection. Others chose to expose every fault, who are consumed by insecurities, trying to constantly seek some sort of assurance that they are not the only one with these fears. Then there are some, and a very few at that, who chose to see themselves for who they are, broken and shattered but still beautiful. They are ok with this and they are not ashamed to let others see them for who they truly are.
For all of my life, I have struggled with trying to maintain a certain image in the eyes of others. Ever since I can remember I have been worried about what other people thought about me, always trying to make sure it was a positive image. I spent most of my college days trying to make the best impressions, but over time I learned that there are some people who are just not going to be impressed by you and you know what? That is totally ok. I also tried to hide my faults from everyone. For some reason, I thought that people wouldn’t like me if I was “this” or “that” way. I was worried, what if they judge me on my past? What if they think I’m weird when I start acting my goofy self? What will they think when I tell them about my cancer, and how it still scares me? But I quickly learned who I could be myself around, with all my brokenness, that would love me unconditionally. It was in these moments that I realized life is one big composure of little beautiful messes.
Life wouldn’t be the same without conflict. With no heartache, pain, suffering, tears, fights, struggles, addictions or hurt, there would be no growth. If we didn’t have all of this mess, how would we know what is truly beautiful? It takes looking at yourself, deep within yourself, and seeing all of your mess to truly appreciate how beautiful you are, not on the outside but on the inside. It takes time, to come to terms with all of the negative aspects about yourself and accept them for what they are. It takes a deep appreciation for life, and a decision to move forward brokenness and all. Lets face it, if you try hide all that’s wrong, you will still know what is really there and constantly fear that it will be exposed. If you are always harping on your insecurities and trying to fix them, aren’t you just trying to become someone that might not be you? You are you because of all of the broken pieces that make you up. I like to think of it like a mosaic. Have you ever seen one? Some of the most beautiful pieces of artwork have been created by taking tiny pieces of broken glass and using them to create an image or pattern and the end result is something beautiful. Imagine that, brokenness can create something beautiful.