Sandy Ryan Popp

Courage and Beauty

COURAGE AND BEAUTY

Debby and her life love, Josh Dun threw a New Years’ party for family, close friends, and loved ones to meet and to ring in 2020. It was the perfect opportunity for their three very different sets of loved ones to get to meet and know one another. I decided to splurge on a dress. Little did I know that the dress would play a part in a decision to begin this year how I want to live it, with courage and beauty.

ENTER OLD SPARKLY

I was beginning to feel well after years of chronic pain precipitated by cancer and it’s treatment. I wanted to look my best. As I was packing and planning outfits for our upcoming NYE party and anniversary trip, I noticed “Old Sparkly” hanging in my closet. Old Sparkly was a small, black velvet dress, that I kept for over 30 years. She was embedded with pure, tiny crystals and adorned with a double slender belt with sweet silver loops. It looked like a New Years’ party, so I tossed her in the garment bag just in case.

STRAIGHT OUTTA HAPPY DAYS

I splurged on the most gorgeous, floor-length, burgundy beauty by Ralph Lauren specifically for the party. It was stunningly beautiful, fit me perfectly, and I planned on donning it all night. At around 10 pm, I went to the hotel room to freshen up. It was then that a glimmer from Old Sparkly reached out and held my eye. At that moment, I considered changing to ring in the new year in a different dress. Immediately, my thoughts chided me, “Who do you think you are to do a dress change in the middle of an event. You don’t have a ton of dresses to expend willy nilly.” (Yes, sometimes my self-talk uses lingo straight out of the show Happy Days.)

CANCER AND NEGATIVE SELF-TALK

My cancer battle showed me the necessity of recognizing and dealing with demeaning self-talk. While in the room, Old Sparkly’s crystals caught the light as if begging me to take her dancing. I ignored her and headed back down to the party reasoning that I should save her for another special occasion. After all, my Burgundy Beauty was so stunning. I was halfway to the elevator when courage came welling up. I thought, “Life isn’t getting any shorter, I may not go to another New Year’s party, I’m taking Sparkly for a spin.” This was my Declaration of Independence from those negative voices trying to define me or my actions.

FEELING MAGICAL

With shoes in hand, I darted back to the room. I felt almost magical with my Ralph Lauren flowing in the wake of my brisk walk. I tried on Sparkly for the first time in over 15 years. She fit me like a glove reminding me of all of the hard work I’ve put in on my body. I didn’t plan on the Sparkly being shorter than Beauty. I didn’t pack pantyhose that I desperately needed due to the new 20 plus bruises I had on my shins. (Subscribe Here for a future blog on this one) “Hose smoze,” I threw makeup on my legs and whisked myself back to the party.

READY OR NOT HERE WE COME

I looked better in Burgundy Beauty, but that was no longer the point. I was ringing in a new decade, a new way of life, and it had little to do with looking perfect. It had everything to do with banishing that negative talk, putting on my courage, and owning my decision. This made me feel strong, courageous, bold, thus beautiful. Writing this story inspired me to start posting this blog which until now has been a private journal. Like Old Sparkly, this site isn’t perfect. It’s not fully prepared with all of the bells and whistles, but that will eventually come. It’s the time to seize the moment, put on my courage and dance into 2020 with beauty and boldness. Welcome to my blog!

Me, Old Sparkly, my daughter Debby Ryan, and my daughter-in-law Sarah Ryan in the New Year's  2020 Photo booth.
Me, Old Sparkly, my daughter Debby Ryan, and my daughter-in-law Sarah in the NYE 2020 Photobooth.

16 thoughts on “Courage and Beauty

      1. We truly do need to seize the day, savor every living moment and stop getting hung up on little details that stop us from that. Thanks for sharing!

  1. Great reminder of what we can empower ourselves to do when we are brave! I love this story and will look forward to many others from you. I can see where Debby gets her courage from, you are both amazing!! Love you beautiful woman!! Kim Huber/McFadden

  2. Thank you Sandy! Cancer is a battle in itself and you have shown such courage in the Lord that will encourage every woman under attack….wether it be cancer (a disease), or en emotional (spiritual cancer) that can be beat. Keeping your eyes focused on the outcome produces the greatest victories!

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