Misty Copeland teaches us to Just Bee!

Screenshot 2016-02-26 at 1.26.41 PM

Feel like you have been hearing a lot about Misty Copeland lately? Well you have! And there is good reason why.  Not only is Misty the first African American Principal Ballet Dancer in the American Ballet Theatre, she is also a writer, public speaker and role model to women, young and old.  
She has defied the odds from a very young age.  In terms of “dancing years”  Misty started very late at the age of 13 but was almost immediately recognized as a prodigy.  She had a difficult upbringing and at one point found herself in the middle of a custody battle between her guardians and her mother.  Ultimately it was decided that it was best for Misty to stay with her mother and through dedication and determination she grew into the beautiful ballerina she is today.  Her story of courage and triumph is incredibly inspiring, as is her undeniable artistry.  Misty teaches us all to Just bee!  Watch the video below and see how:

The Remarkable Ann Murray Paige

Every once in a while I stumble upon someone that is truly inspiring and can not help but to read all about them. They become a part of the voices I go to when I need strength. This was never more true than last year when I came across a speech given by a woman named Ann Murray Paige. I was planning to go to an event called The 100 hundred Gala for the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center that she had spoken at and was doing some research on the event when I found her speech. The event is a little fancy so my husband and I thought it would be our gift to each other to celebrate our anniversary and all that we had overcome. As I researched the event to see what it was all about I found Ann’s speech from a year or so prior. It was so moving I showed it to my husband when he came home from work and as he watched it his eyes welled up. That’s saying a lot for an Englishman! Sadly Ann passed away but her spirit most definitely lives on. If you watch the video below you will see why. I hope maybe it inspires you too.

Disclaimer: Ann died of breast cancer so if you are sensitive to that at this time please know that.

Sally Jane and Dealing with Recurrence

We feel it is important to share with our followers that I have had a setback and will be receiving more cancer treatment.  The great news is that my doctors do believe that they can get rid of the cancer and I will be back to life as I have known it for the last two years.  The bad news is I will need more chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.  This has been an incredibly difficult week and I have grieved so hard after hearing this news.  I have been shocked again, heartbroken all over, and scared for the physical toll that chemotherapy and surgery takes on me.  

Sam is not the newborn he was when I first went through this and is now aware of his surroundings and sensitive to my feelings.  As much as I have tried to protect him from this I know that he can tell something is not right.  He even asked “what’s wrong mommy?” 

At some point each day we turn on the music in the kitchen and dance around the island (I might like this as much or more than he does! haha)  Without noticing I had not been doing that, he came into the kitchen and pointed to the speaker and said “Dance Mommy! Dance!”  Normally I’m the one making him dance so it was obvious he was worried why I was not behaving normally and wanted me to be the happy person I am with him.  He also wanted me to do most of the tasks surrounding him and not my husband.  So I thought it was important to talk with him about it.  

I have some really great friends, one is a psychiatrist and the others psychologists, who have told me that children will let you know what they can emotionally handle.  So when Sam asks why I have to go to the Dr, rather than overwhelm him with adult fears and language, I ask why he thinks I need to go?  By turning the question back on him he can let me know what he’s ready to hear and may answer, “mommy feels sick so the Dr is going to make her better.” He is letting me know what he can process and most importantly what he can emotionally handle.  Sam’s language is not that developed yet! But I do still give him the opportunity to answer.  Over time they suggest I let him know a little bit more as he shows me when he is able to process it safely.

I came home with a chemotherapy pump that I have to wear from Tuesday-Thursday.  It looks like a purse/oversized remote control and he became very upset and grabbed it.  I realized that I had not truly explained to him what it was. We went into his playroom and I told him that mommy has a “medicine bag” that she will take home a few times in the next couple of months because she doesn’t feel well and it will make her feel better.  I let him touch it and we unzipped it so he could have a look inside.  I then told him I will only have it for a few months and that everything was going to be fine.  It is so hard for me to say “everything is going to be fine.” I’m dealing with the fear that everything might not, even with the positivity of my Drs, but Sam is too little to handle my “what ifs.”  What we know now is that everything is going to be fine.  At his age everything is black and white.  Either it is good or bad.  I can not expect him to understand that while the Dr’s think it is good (right now) I’m always afraid of the chance it could not be.  It was incredibly important that I tell him everything will be fine so he does not carry anxiety that he can not intellectually process yet. I’ve also spoken with his teacher who is going to use the same words we do such as “medicine bag” and that mommy is not feeling well so the Drs are going to make her better.   

Since launching Sally Jane I have heard so many amazing stories and have been inspired by the courage I have learned that many people have had to draw from within themselves through life.  This is my time to do that and like I have written about and spoken about so much I know I will find the strength as well.  A good friend recently said to me “Sally, we are going to go through a lot of tough S#$% together throughout our long lives and this is just one of those things.  It’s your turn to let us help you and one day you will help us.”  It meant so much to hear that and unfortunately I know it is so true.  Life can be so unforgivably hard but it is also beautiful.  The love and friendships you have are the things that carry you through those tough times and make it worth it.  As much as my initial instinct is to lock myself away in my house, watch trashy reality TV and be depressed, I know that staying connected to my community is what will help me find the courage I have to persevere.  

So sadly I will once again have to draw from the “Just Bee!” phrase we have been sharing with so many since launching but now with the strength in knowing there are so many others out there pushing and persevering through pain as well.  

XO Sally Jane

(I will) Bee Courageous, Bee Bold, Bee a Survivor, Just Bee!

Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, reflects on 2015 and the death of her husband

                                                                   People Magazine (http://bit.ly/1OiI61t)                                                                    People Magazine (http://bit.ly/1OiI61t)

If you have not been following Sheryl Sandberg’s, the COO of Facebook, personal posts we strongly suggest you do.  She has shown incredible strength and vulnerability to include others in her experience following the sudden death of her husband 8 months ago.  She often speaks about coming to terms with “Plan B” which entails life without her husband when she so desperately wants “Plan A,” the life she had before this tragedy.  Not only has Sheryl inspired us with her success as a woman in business, and taught us to “Lean In,” she is also now including us in her beautiful and intimate analysis of a terribly sad time in her life.  

In this latest post she discusses how her best friends have helped her get through the process of death and that she could not do it without their support.  We often say “we need each other to get through this life,” and Sheryl’s experience shows how a simple card from a friend can carry her through a very dark day.  You can find Sheryl”s post here.    

Spread your holiday cheer to the ones who need it most

The holiday season can be filled with love, cheer, beauty and lots of fun, but it’s important to remember that this time of year can exacerbate any pain that someone you love might be going through.  Not only is it getting darker earlier, maybe a little colder, it’s also a time of year where we compare our lives to others the most.  We also set expectations for how things should be that aren’t always achievable.  It’s important to spread your holiday cheer with support and kindness for those who need it most.    

I had my first round of chemotherapy on December 5th, 2013.  I had chemotherapy every other week and was fortunate to have the week of Christmas off.  It was my first Christmas with my new baby, his first Christmas, and our first Christmas as a family dealing with a serious cancer diagnosis and the after effects of chemotherapy.  My husband and I put all our efforts into making it special for Sam, (even though he was only an infant!) but depression did loom over us.  As much as I didn’t show it thoughts ran through my mind:  would this be my last Christmas?  Would it be my only Christmas with my son?  How can I continue to appear happy and not take from this special day for my husband and son when inside I am devastated?  Until being diagnosed at 7 months pregnant I had expected to have Sam around my due date, December 5th (ironically my first day of chemotherapy instead) so I had imagined our first Christmas together much differently.     

What we were going through made us truly embrace and enjoy the holiday but it also brought out a lot of our fears and pain.  How we wished to be like all the other new families celebrating their baby’s first Christmas.  Looking back I am amazed at the hard time I gave myself about not having gotten a Christmas card together to send out of Sam, or have ordered a special ornament with his name on it.  I can see now that to have expected to have gotten that together among everything else we were going through was insane!!! But it is amazing how tough we can be on ourselves.       

If you are going through a hard time, it’s important to let the others around you know.  Don’t be ashamed to not always be feeling Merry, It’s more common than you might think.  If you’re Christmas spirit is in full effect, then while you decorate your tree, shop for friends and family, remember to think of those who may be going through a tough time and reach out to them.  They may be going through more than you realize and need to be reminded that they are not alone, especially during the holiday season.  Let’s spread our holiday cheer to the ones who need it most.    

Sally Jane’s 10 ways to “survive” the Holidays!!

Although we love to Bee inspired, we also love to Bee jolly.  Here’s Sally Jane’s list of 10 ways to “survive” the holidays!

  1. Start eating healthy now.  It’s easier to gain back the weight you lost before the holidays than to lose the weight you gained over the holidays.
  2. Comfy tights and a flowy dress seriously help you gain back that weight.  Choose your holiday outfit wisely.
  3. Shop online, you do not need to deal with the parking stress.
  4. Remember the people you are “forced” to shop for you do actually love.
  5. Practice your surprised and happy face.  Remember it’s a gift, they didn’t have to get you anything!
  6. Take it easy on the vino the night before, you’ll want to be able to drink on the day.
  7. Set yourself a budget and congratulate yourself when you only go over the limit x2.
  8. Be prepared for the elements.  Most likely you either have a relative who barely puts the heat on or who cranks it to 90.  Pack accordingly.
  9. Spend more time playing with the little kids.  It leaves less time for adults to ask you questions about your life.
  10. Bee grateful.  Life is tough and you made it through another year.  Look around and be reminded of all the good things you have and the people you love.  We need each other to get through this life.

A Gift That Tells a Story

Silver Bee Necklace - the perfect gift that tells a story
Silver Bee Necklace – the perfect gift that tells a story

If you are racking your brain looking for a unique gift for the fashionable woman or girl in your life, look no further!  Sally Jane jewelry is the gift that sparks a conversation, it tells a story, and is something so beautifully unique and meaningful no one will have ever received anything like it before!  

We offer 12 different designs allowing you to choose the perfect look for your friend or loved one. Whether they like silver, gold, delicate charms, more pronounced designs, necklaces or bracelets we offer an array of choices of our signature bee design.  Write your own message of hope, love or encouragement on the back of our insert.  This is what the holidays are meant for; giving a gift that tells the receiver they are unique, loved, and deserve something thoughtful, everlasting and inspirational.  

Remember to take 20 off with the code Holiday20