Definition of Beauty

LupitaThere is no need to preface this video because Lupita Nyong’o states it beautifully and profoundly. Please WATCH AND SHARE. Someone you know may need to see it…and, may benefit from it.



UPDATE: “No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.” ~Lupita Nyong’o (quote from 2014 Oscar speech, accepting award for Best Supporting Actress.


My Medical Choice by Angelina Jolie

Since the release of Angelina Jolie’s revelation of her medical condition in the New York Times op-ed, it has naturally been all over the media. As many have said, It took a lot of courage to disclose such a private matter, especially being such a high-profile person. Everyone must make choices in their life. And, the decision she made is probably made by hundreds, if not thousands of women on a daily basis. The majority of women going through the same or something similar, cannot reach the masses as she is able to do, so I commend her for sharing such a personal struggle.  I think her words need highlighting not because of her status in the industry, but, because when you take all of that away, at the core of things, she is just a woman, dealing with the same struggles that face many women.  I also like the fact that she ends it by pointing out the fact that, unlike her, many cannot afford to have the many procedures which she was able to have done.  It is a very touching, heartfelt and important message, and a must read for all women, and those who love them.

My Medical Choice

Published: May 14, 2013

MY MOTHER fought cancer for almost a decade and died at 56. She held out long enough to meet the first of her grandchildren and to hold them in her arms. But my other children will never have the chance to know her and experience how loving and gracious she was.

We often speak of “Mommy’s mommy,” and I find myself trying to explain the illness that took her away from us. They have asked if the same could happen to me. I have always told them not to worry, but the truth is I carry a “faulty” gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer andovarian cancer.

My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman.

Only a fraction of breast cancers result from an inherited gene mutation. Those with a defect in BRCA1 have a 65 percent risk of getting it, on average.

Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. I started with the breasts, as my risk of breast cancer is higher than my risk of ovarian cancer, and the surgery is more complex.

On April 27, I finished the three months of medical procedures that the mastectomies involved. During that time I have been able to keep this private and to carry on with my work.

But I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience. Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people’s hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness. But today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action.

My own process began on Feb. 2 with a procedure known as a “nipple delay,” which rules out disease in the breast ducts behind the nipple and draws extra blood flow to the area. This causes some pain and a lot of bruising, but it increases the chance of saving the nipple.

Two weeks later I had the major surgery, where the breast tissue is removed and temporary fillers are put in place. The operation can take eight hours. You wake up with drain tubes and expanders in your breasts. It does feel like a scene out of a science-fiction film. But days after surgery you can be back to a normal life.

Nine weeks later, the final surgery is completed with the reconstruction of the breasts with an implant. There have been many advances in this procedure in the last few years, and the results can be beautiful.

I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.

It is reassuring that they see nothing that makes them uncomfortable. They can see my small scars and that’s it. Everything else is just Mommy, the same as she always was. And they know that I love them and will do anything to be with them as long as I can. On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.

I am fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who is so loving and supportive. So to anyone who has a wife or girlfriend going through this, know that you are a very important part of the transition. Brad was at the Pink Lotus Breast Center, where I was treated, for every minute of the surgeries. We managed to find moments to laugh together. We knew this was the right thing to do for our family and that it would bring us closer. And it has.

For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options. I want to encourage every woman, especially if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, to seek out the information and medical experts who can help you through this aspect of your life, and to make your own informed choices.

I acknowledge that there are many wonderful holistic doctors working on alternatives to surgery. My own regimen will be posted in due course on the Web site of the Pink Lotus Breast Center. I hope that this will be helpful to other women.

Breast cancer alone kills some 458,000 people each year, according to the World Health Organization, mainly in low- and middle-income countries. It has got to be a priority to ensure that more women can access gene testing and lifesaving preventive treatment, whatever their means and background, wherever they live. The cost of testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2, at more than $3,000 in the United States, remains an obstacle for many women.

I choose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer. It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options.

Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of.


Angelina Jolie is an actress and director.


Sunday Smile: Song and Dance at the Gas Pump

This happy couple will certainly put a smile on your face.

What is Love?

Bill and GladFor the answer to that question, watch this video:

Bill responds to the reaction to his video:

The song “Real Love” by Eric Benet came to mind after watching the videos above. Read the lyrics to see if you agree.


Paralyzed by ALS, Susan Spencer-Wendel Writes Memoir About the Beauty of Living

Spencer-Wendel with her family. (Photo:

Spencer-Wendel with her family. (Photo:

By Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo Shine 

As her body succumbed to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, journalist Susan Spencer-Wendelwrote her life story. It took her three months to type it, letter by letter on her iPhone, using just her right thumb – all of her other fingers had stopped working by then.

“I cannot lift my arms to feed myself or hug my children,” the 45-year-old mother of three wrote in “Until I Say Goodbye: My Year of Living With Joy,” which will be published in March. By then, she says, she will probably no longer be able to speak clearly.

“My muscles are dying, and they cannot return. I will never again be able to move my tongue enough to clearly say, ‘I love you’,” she wrote. “Swiftly, surely, I am dying. But I am alive today.”

“Until I Say Goodbye” will become available in March 2013. (Image:

“Until I Say Goodbye” will become available in March 2013. (Image:

A former courts reporter for the Palm Beach Post newspaper in south Florida, Spencer-Wendel lives in Florida with her husband, John, and their children, Marina, 15, Aubrey, 11, and Wesley, 8. She was diagnosed with the disease during the summer of 2011, and swiftly decided to make every moment count.

Spencer-Wendel, who was adopted, met her birth mother in Northern California and journeyed to Cyprus to learn about her birth father. Before her body could fail her, she traveled to the Yukon to see the Northern Lights with her best friend, Nancy Maass Kinnally, in December 2011; her hands were so weak that Kinnally had to dress her in the heavy-duty cold-weather gear.

“Time to stop dreaming and start doing, I thought,” she wrote of her trip.

She and her daughter, then just 14, went to New York City to pick out Marina’s wedding dress at Kleinfeld’s Bridal, where the TLC reality show “Say Yes to the Dress” is set. Both mother and daughter are fans of the show; both know that Spencer-Wendel will not live to see her daughter walk down the aisle.

“As my beautiful daughter walks out of the dressing room in white silk, I will see her ten years in the future, in the back room right before her wedding, giddy and crying, overwhelmed by a moment I will never share,” she wrote. “When my only daughter thinks of me on her wedding day, as I hope she will, I want her to think of my smile when I say to her at Kleinfeld’s, ‘You are my beautiful’.”

She and her husband went to Budapest to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary in May 2012. She wrote about her travels for the Palm Beach Post, where her stories caught the eye of editors at publishing giant HarperCollins. They offered her $2 million for her memoir; co-written with Bret Witter, “Until I Say Good-Bye” is expected to be translated into 25 languages. Universal Studios paid her another $2 million for the movie rights to her story.

But she knows that she doesn’t have much time left.

“My decline is speeding up: each day I lose more steps and words. I now choke at most every meal, episodes which leave people around me screaming ‘Should we call 911?’ Ergo, I don’t eat much anymore,” she wrote in a New Year’s email to The Palm Beach Post.

“I knew it would be this way. So for Thanksgiving we had our major holiday event. Our entire families-40 in all-came. Was wonderful. Hectic, but wonderful,” she continued. “Thus, Christmas is a time just for John and me and our children.”

They celebrated by giving money to their favorite charities, and special “forever” gifts for family members-scrapbooks for her children, jewelry that can be handed down to her future daughters-in-law and grandchildren, personal gifts for her husband and parents. But the most tangible part of her legacy is her book.

“I am writing about accepting, about living with joy and dying with joy and laughing a helluva lot in the process,” Spencer-Wendel wrote on her website. With her memoir, she’s crossing one last item off of her life’s to-do list: “To make people laugh and cry and hug their children and joke with their friends and dwell in how wonderful it is to be alive.”


I have received many responses to many of the posts on this blog, thus far. However, may I request that you please reply in the comment section of the blog  – as opposed to on Twitter, Facebook, emails, etc. – so that all responses will be together. Your comment may be helpful to others who come across something that they can relate to. You can comment anonymously.

Thank you and many blessings.