It isn't about the absence of fear, but doing things in spite of it. Each Friday I recognize amazing females I've come across that are helping others change their lives in a positive way and represent a type of fearlessness that we can all learn from and be inspired by.
Her energy is contagious, her sweet heart connects you to her instantly, and she's strong as hell! Meet Jen Steffes!
Jen and I have 111 mutual friends and people of the highest regard. I don't recall why or when we became Facebook friends but it seemed as thought she was someone to know. I would say I was right. The positive vibes and messages she was putting out in the world pull you in and I personally was inspired by here as I'm sure many of you were. When she found out about her brain cancer diagnosis, her world changed, but so did the world around her.
For more on her story and to follow it, read her CaringBridge.
Why I picked Jen:
1. She's just like me......and you.
At first, knowing she was in a direct sales business was a connection. We of course were both moms. But all in all she's like so many of us and that's what so many of us connect with her. She's a hard worker, a loving mom and wife and does her best with what she has every day and that's something we all want to see in ourselves. Which brings me to my next point.
2. She made a choice
Positivity is 110% a CHOICE. What she was served up in life was horrible, and hard, and exhausting. But she chose to see the opportunity in it. She choice to be invigorated with the love that surrounded her. Yes, she has bad days, bad thoughts, bad moments just like everyone else, but how she chooses to focus makes all the different. What could we be learning from the trials we are going through.
3. She gives to others without seizing.
Well before there was ever a diagnoses, Jen was giving of her time, her heart, her energy. She gave to her family, her friends, her team. So naturally, hundreds of people were ready to step up and give to her. Throughout this season, she continues to give of herself in ways that may go unnoticed but sharing her heart, and pain with so many people has had a huge impact and is giving in the most unselfish of ways.
Here is Jen and her Real, Raw, Brutal Truth.
I can’t stop crying. I’ve spent over an hour on my couch sobbing.... Thank you, mostly, to a new steroid probably, but also to all the feels. Feeling it all and allowing myself to take a pause and feel all of it. Every little part. Somehow my husband and closest friends know~ ok, it’s no mystery, see #1 below, but they showed up today, as they do everyday. A gentle, loving text and a bag of freshly picked cherry tomatoes left at my door is all it takes. This is our reality. The Steffes’ ... we are now a hashtag. #SteffesStrong
It’s all seemed so surreal since April 7th. Seizures. A mass on my brain. Inoperable Brain Tumor. No driving for 3 months. Brain surgery to get 6 biopsies. 12 staples. ICU. Fall Risk. Temporary loss of right hand function. Diagnosis. It’s cancer. Daily Proton Radiation. Hair loss. MRI’s. Chemo. Two drug reactions. A new chemo. Measuring time in “Rounds”. The healthiest I’ve ever been~ a CrossFit, nutrition selling, momma, now battling the C word. A cancerous brain tumor. What in the actual bleep?!
And, this weekend, a benefit.
How can this be real life? Our simple little, mostly uneventful life? Over 600 people are expected to attend. A tribe of warriors that rallied April 8th; when we announced our Plot Twist and have worked so hard ever since. I’m confident enough to say thousands of people have done something for us. Made a meal, brought a gift, mailed a card, made a donation, showed up weekly to a benefit meeting, walked biz to biz to get donations, checked in on us, gave me a ride, sat with me at radiation or chemo, hung a flier, made a commercial, and most importantly prayed for us. Our family. #SteffesStrong is now plastered all over Facebook and Rochester. Wow.
If I could share my biggest lessons over the last 5 1/2 months (because there have been so many). It’d be these at this moment in time:
1. Show up for people. Say a prayer. Reach out if they cross your mind. Just a simple text can change another’s day. This is not a random coincidence; God has placed them there for a reason. Don’t ignore it.
2. Let people show up for you. It’s hard; ohhhhhh, it’s so hard, but when you do, let go and let God place others into your life to help you, you can achieve it.
3. Stop feeling, thinking and speaking F you Cancer (all the time. Once in awhile it’s still necessary). You can’t stop it from effecting you and your loved ones. So rather, begin to say, Thank You Cancer. What?! Yes... this is where I am. “Thank You, Cancer”!
Thank YOU for waking me up. Thank you for showing me the love that surrounds me. Thank you for showing me what real human kindness and compassion is all about. Thank you for so many positive interactions and blessings. Thank you for showing me just how God truly works in each of our lives. Thank you for showing me the world is good. Thank you for showing me just how fragile life is. Thank you for showing me that #SteffesStrong is a real thing! Thank you for strengthening my marriage, my relationships with my children and also my family and friends. I will beat you, Cancer... though your lessons are awesome; you’re not welcome to stick around much longer. But, I will forever be grateful you showed up for a short while. All my love, Jen