FierceI think sometimes fierce gets a glamorous image. It’s easy to think of finish lines, mountain tops, and triumphs when we think of the word fierce – but fierce isn’t the finish, it’s how you got there. Fierce is the long, lonely runs in the rain, months, even years before the starting line.

Fierce is giving it your all, knowing there is no finish line. Do or die. For real.

Fierce is defiantly holding your baby after the mastectomy, against doctors orders.

Fierce is getting up in the middle of the night to change your infant’s diaper as your body reels from the chemo induced nausea and fatigue.

Fierce is getting up the next morning to go back for another excruciating treatment. Day after day after day.

Fierce is not passive; fierce doesn’t have time for pity parties.

Fierce fights back.

Fierce isn’t pretty, but it’s beautiful.

Fierce is making difficult choices.

Fierce is finding the courage to have a difficult conversation.

Fierce is embracing your integrity, even when it makes you feel unloved.

Fierce is knowing who you are, and being that person the best you can.

Fierce keeps learning.

Fierce understands that sometimes learning means un-learning what is no longer true, or even more painful, what you finally understand was never true.

Fierce is understanding that cancer is not a shortcut to courage, or wisdom, or strength. You still have to do the work to gain and keep those qualities.

You don’t have to have cancer to be fierce.

You don’t have to have cancer to practice courage, or wisdom, or strength.

You have a choice.

You can be fierce.

How are you fierce?




This piece was written as part of the Clever Girls’ Collective Traveling Blue Wig Project. This project supports the Fierce Fund which will donate $20,000 this year to organizations that help girls and women. Check out their site and help select the Fierce Fund grant winner.

Judy Schwartz Haley is a mother, wife, student, writer, photographer, and breast cancer survivor. If you really want to see her get fierce, try to take her chocolate.

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LifeScript Web Portal: Healthy living for women

LifeScript Web Portal: Healthy living for women

This is a sponsored post by me on behalf of

After my breast cancer diagnosis, I spent many late nights curled up with my laptop and Dr. Internet, becoming increasingly terrified by the grim prospects offered up by the search engines. I needed information, but I had forgotten that the internet favors sensationalism, so the most extreme cases rise to the top. (more…)

Embracing right now

Embracing right now

I am happy. Right now. This minute while I’m typing these words.

embracing right now - CoffeeJitters.Net

It’s a little odd, I think, how seldom I recognize my own joy in the moment. I remember having been happy, but I seldom stop and think: “Wow. I’m really happy right now.” For me, the camera plays into the equation. I can really get lost in a moment with my camera, light, shadow, colors, movement, texture, and a certain twinkle in the eye. I can get lost in my happy little image world and have a perfectly lovely time. Hours, days, or even weeks later, as I’m editing the photos, I discover just how awesome the event really was.

Embracing Right Now

Life is full of beautiful moments, moments where the beauty is not in the image, but in the experience. Sometimes I let myself think that a moment must be documented to be real or precious. Not true. Building memories is important, but the initial experience is more important than each time it’s remembered.

Sometimes, I have to just put the camera down, and join the party myself. Even better – hand the camera over to someone else and let them capture me in the moment.

embracing right now - CoffeeJitters.Net

I still enjoy photography, but I have to remember not to let it replace interacting with my friends and family.

What about you? What can you do to embrace right now?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Worth the Effort: Coffee Bean Turkey with Sweet Onion Gravy

Worth the Effort: Coffee Bean Turkey with Sweet Onion Gravy

Tom Douglas, the guy who arguably put Seattle’s culinary scene on the map, took his place behind the stove of the demonstration kitchen at Macy’s, and started off by saying: “Today I want to talk to you about effort. If there is one thing I want you to take away today, it’s that it’s worth the effort.”

pears on kitchen counter

He was talking about cooking at home for your friends and family. He was talking about sharing not just the family recipes, but the stories that went along with them, such as the way the house smelled when his Grandma came to visit and made her famous schnecken, and the benefits of being the biggest kid in a very large family, when they all reached in to grab their favorite bits of the gooey treat.

“Create memories with your family around food, memories that involve all the senses. Those are what you will remember years from now.”

Tom Douglas

Take 3 recipes, he said, say for instance one pie, one cake, and one cookie recipe, even if you’re afraid of baking – especially if you’re afraid of baking. Make each one three times, following the directions exactly.  The trick to baking well is following the directions. By the third try, you will OWN that recipe.

Pick recipes you want to be known for, and be the person who’s known for bringing it. You don’t have to be a great cook, just well practiced at a few recipes. You can grow your repertoire later, just start with three.


Tom prepared three recipes for us: Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Broccoli Rabe and Fontina, Coffee-Bean Turkey with Sweet Onion Gravy, and Pear Tarts with Dreamy Caramel Sauce.  

Now, I don’t have room enough to share all three recipes in one post, so I’ve picked one to share today, perhaps more on another day. You’ll just have to come back and visit my blog again some day. Two of the recipes are from Tom’s new cookbook that he is promoting, The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook. Of course, the recipe I chose to share has something to do with coffee, Coffee Bean Turkey with Sweet Onion Gravy. This recipe is from the Macy’s Culinary Council Thanksgiving & Holiday Cookbook.

“Seattle is famous for its coffee. And that inspired me to stuff the turkey cavity with whole roasted coffee beans. Turns out they add a nice toasty-smoky aroma that seasons the bird from within. I leave them in even after the turkey’s done. If a few slip out at the table while I’m carving, it’s a good conversation starter.”

Tom Douglas

Get this one ready for Thanksgiving:


tom douglas and judy schwartz haley
Tom Douglas and Judy Schwartz Haley

FTC Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I was paid to attend this event, but as always, my opinions remain my own.

Holly Yashi Jewelry {Giveaway}

Holly Yashi Jewelry {Giveaway}

Holly Yashi logoI just drool over Holly Yashi Jewelry. Their designs are quirky and out of the ordinary,  yet still delicate and elegant. I love that combination.

My husband gave me a Holly Yashi set for our very first wedding anniversary, and it’s still a wardrobe staple for me. So, when Holly Yashi’s representative contacted me about doing a giveaway on my blog, my heart skipped a beat.

Holly Hosterman, Creative Director and Co-Founder of Holly Yashi, was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago.   (more…)

Members Unite

Members Unite

I was selected for this campaign by Clever Girls Collective. This post is sponsored by Members Unite.

“The doggie makes him feel better?”
“That’s right, they give doggies to soldiers who are hurt, and the doggies help them to get stronger, be happy, and feel loved.”
“I like that.”

Gem has her hand in most of my blog posts in one way or another. When I was hired to review the Members Unite program, where users vote on a collectively funded project each month, I pulled her right up beside me to help out with the review.

Each month, nine philanthropic projects are highlighted. Members read up on the details, and vote on which project their membership dollars, in our case $5 a month, would fund.

Members Unite

Gem and I did not agree on many of these projects. She was much more taken with the projects that focused on making people happy (not surprising for a two-year-old), while I was more interested in the projects that help with nutrition and education. But we both easily agreed on the dogs for wounded veterans.

I love the fact that these little projects are funding something specific: 30 front doors for habitat for humanity, or tutors for 30 homeless children for one year, or planting 5,000 trees in Brazil, just to name a few. This takes giving to a different level, and helps me feel more involved in what my donation is doing. My measly $5 is not getting lost in a giant fund to be used for whatever, it is to go to this specific project. There’s a shift that takes place in my brain around that. I don’t have a lot of money to give, but I can give $5, and in this case, I know what the $5 will go towards, and I know it will make a difference.

I’m going to keep watching this program, to see how it plays out for a couple months, and how the voting process proceeds, but so far I’m impressed. Each week more information will be provided about the projects that survive the previous weeks cut. So as you go along through the month, you learn more, and become more involved with the projects for which you are voting.

“One person giving $20 is a drop in the ocean.  One thousand people giving $20 brings clean water to a village for a lifetime”

Additionally, I love the fact that this project brings to my attention 9 different projects that amazing people are working on each month. That’s a lot of awesome to introduce into our lives. It’s good to see other people do good. It’s good to get exposure to a wide array of possibilities. It’s good to have this kind of inspiration for our own future projects. And it’s good to have a chance to deal in to these projects, even on the $5 level. I want my daughter to see that her opportunities for making a difference in the world are limitless. She will be joining me in voting on Members Unite projects each month.

For more information: The site includes a useful FAQ that outlines the transparency of their financials, the vetting process for projects, membership information (yes you can cancel with 30 days notice, no long term commitment required) and a number of other relevant and useful pieces of information. It’s well worth the read.

UPDATE: For a limited time, Members Unite is offering my community a 50% off discount on the annual membership fee of $25! Use code “WELOVEMOMS” when you sign up!

Let me know if you join 🙂