An Angel Over My Daughter

5.22.15We are truly never alone in this world. Certain forces of nature are among us. While the notion may seem unthinkable, there is a certain reality to it.

I have always wondered whether Angels exist. Depending on religious beliefs, Angels can descend from Heaven to protect us from harm or enable something good to happen. If this belief is true, why do we experience setbacks, emotional pain, and misfortunes? What constitutes the parameters surrounding their descend? And why can’t we see them?

This past weekend my daughter attempted to learn to ride her bike without training wheels. She understood the concept, but her fear of falling prevented her from successfully riding. She would pedal for a second and then stop. Over and over. After two days, she was still unsuccessful as her fear consumed her thoughts.

The next day marked the six year anniversary of Cory’s passing. I distinctly asked my daughter that morning whether her mother ever appeared before her. Not that I really expected her to, yet I was still curious. Perhaps children can see Angels. My daughter simply responded no. That was it, nothing more to the conversation.

That afternoon, my daughter came home and decided at the last moment to try riding her bike without training wheels. Several attempts later, she was successfully riding!

Imagine, the same day of her mother’s passing is the same day she successfully learned to ride without training wheels.

There can only be one explanation. An Angel, my daughter’s mother, is watching over her. Perhaps on this emotional day, despite us not being able to see her, her presence was felt. She gave us a gift on this very day to help forever soften our landing.

I have always wondered whether Angels exist. Now I don’t have to. They are always watching over us awaiting for the right time to descend. All I can say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you…

Believe in Angels and “keep those feet moving.”

“Why Did Mommy Get Sick?”

5.15.15There are moments in life when children ask tough questions. Often at that moment we find ourselves in a quandary of deciding whether to answer truthfully and straight forward, or sugar coat in the best interest of protecting them.

It’s only fitting with this month being brain cancer awareness month that my daughter is asking tough questions about how her mother died. Questions from how/why she got cancer, why medicine couldn’t save her, and specific details of how she died. Questions that are continuously asked daily as we approach the six year anniversary date. Upon each answer you could see that she is pondering, trying to make sense of it all. It’s natural, she’s at the inquisitorial age. She’s come to learn that her home life is not the same as her peers in school. To her, it’s a much different perspective for girls growing up with only a father. To her credibility, she is right.

I’ve always been open with my daughter about her mother’s illness and passing. Sometimes the truth does hurt, but knowing how to tell the story can often soften the landing. Anytime I describe cancer, I use the term illness rather than sickness. To a child there needs to be a distinction between the two. I don’t want her to worry that each time she got sick or hears the word sick it could be correlated to her mother. Using better choice words enables me to fully describe the illness and sequence of events that followed.

Sometimes as I put my daughter to bed, there’s an eerie silence surrounding us. As I watch my daughter fall asleep, tears swell in my eyes thinking about the fact that she never really knew her mother. Besides stories and pictures, she virtually has no recollection of her own memories. Instead she has to rely on others to keep her mother’s legacy alive.  She’s a strong little girl, but I cannot imagine what she goes through each day with the loss. Perhaps that is why I choose to have an open relationship with her, even if that means answering the tough questions.

Some individuals may disagree with my rationale of full disclosure, but that’s okay. I respect that. It’s not about right and wrong. We all have our own values. Our own ways of coping.  Whatever brings comfort I believe should be deemed acceptable.

I have done my best to surround my daughter with family and friends that love her. To help soften her landing. She’s the light of my life and always will be. She’s my daughter… I am truly blessed to have her.

Be blessed for what you have and “keep those feet moving.”

What’s it Going to Take to Beat Cancer?

5.08.15What’s it going to take to beat cancer? How many more lives are going to be lost? How more affected?

Upon addressing crisis management for extended periods, being prepared, and providing alternative perceptions, even I can still be mystified by turn of events.

When I was younger, I didn’t know anyone diagnosed with cancer. Now it seems like I know too many. And many more that have lost their lives to this horrific disease. Words cannot bring to context my thoughts with regards to how I feel about cancer. I can only shake my head in disgust.

How did it get to this point? Where even medical science is helpless against the evil perils of cancer such as glioblastoma/stage 4. I’ve pondered and pondered. Still shaking my head. In the end I’ve come to the following conclusion that we cannot beat cancer with basic medical science alone. It’s too strong. Too ugly. We’ve become powerless. It’s not say that chances of survival are nonexistent, but upon facing a glioblastoma, it takes on an entire new dynamic.

Medical science tends to attack cancer at its source of origination. A starting point and clear objective to contain/destroy cancer cells. But is this truly effective? Is this the best army we have to attack? Alternatively, why not find the DNA strand and start there. Get blood cells to replicate and engage the body to fight its own battles too. Sometimes I wonder whether researchers actually found a way to cure and potentially prevent cancer, but lobbyists for drug companies have been too influential. Who knows for sure. But what I can tell you is that while this notion continues to get sorted out, cancer continues to strike at free will.

Cancer awareness is prevalent across the world. There are many support groups and organizations joining together to educate cancer awareness, such as American Cancer Society, Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute, Imerman Angels, Susan G Komen, Cancer Support Community, Macmillan Cancer Support.

We are united to support and fight battles. Never stop believing that together we can move mountains. We continue marching on and pushing each day, growing in numbers. And for those that are not yet on board, my question to you is how many more lives must be lost? How many more affected? Directly or indirectly impacted, join us as we fight as one.

Let’s defeat cancer and “keep those feet moving.”

Create Better Energy for Yourself

5.01.15We yearn for alternative ways to enhance our lives. Opportunities or tangible items that will provide extra incentives. We explore the Internet looking to self-educate, unlocking secrets that can expose happiness and life fulfillment. Sometimes we are fortunate, sometimes not.
Who/what gets your best energy? Where is most of your energy spent? Work? Family? Friends? How about technology? Think of the time consumption you spend daily on your phone, tablet, or computer. Are you consistently checking Facebook in anticipation that you may have missed a post or to see who liked your recent post? Is this your best energy?

As we culture into a technological world, our devices sometimes consume our best energy. Family, friends become secondary. Remember those days you would spend hours chatting on the phone to loved ones and friends? Now it’s a quick text correspondence in-between activities. And should we accidentally leave our phones at home, we feel a bit lost as our connection to the greater world is on temporary hiatus.

Last week, I read a case study and I came across a sentence that asked me “Who/what was getting my best energy?” I reread the sentence. Then reread it again. And again. It finally occurred to me while technology has become an important part of our lives, it was also taking away my best energy at times.

Although my daughter typically gets my best energy, occasionally technology interferes. As I think more about the case study, I find myself moving further away from technology to enable that my daughter continues to gets my best energy. From the moment I pick her up from after care to her bedtime, technology for the most part is put away. No more work emails. No more personal emails, texts, or calls. I want my daughter to know that she is most important and there is nothing greater than our time spent together.  If she is going to get my best energy, I need to ensure I devote myself entirely. And you know what, I think she enjoys our uninterrupted time together too.

Decide who/what gets your best energy and “keep those feet moving.”

A Smile to Brighten the Day

4.24.15Our days are filled with stress and anxiety. We have good days, we have challenging days. We even have days that we are pushed to our limits. Pushed to the point that we want to crawl in bed and sleep the day away. But no matter the type of day you have, there is always someone that has it worse.

I believe in karma. What goes around, comes around. I am superstitious being born on the 13th. And I believe in always doing the right thing. Even if that means sacrificing. Lately I find myself smiling at individuals and telling them to enjoy their day as I pass by. I don’t know why or how this came to be, however, the reactions I get in return are fascinating.

Last week, I was buying lunch and I casually smiled and told the cashier to enjoy her day. She was so surprised by the compliment that she then offered a discount towards a smoothie. She mentioned that she was having a tough day and she said I brightened her day. In turn, she wanted to do something nice. The fact that she was having a tough day got me thinking about how many others are having tough days. And more importantly, how can I reach them to help.

Sometimes all it takes is a smile and genuine comment to lift spirits. A smile can be contagious and heart felt. It can truly make a small difference in the lives of many. Even for that brief moment, it means everything. Despite our own challenges, you never know who needs a quick “pick me up.”

Life is what you make of it. How you rise up to overcome challenges. How you touch the lives of others to make a difference. Even the slightest touch can have a profound influence. You don’t always necessarily have to go out of your way to make a difference. Sometimes a smile is all that is needed.

Brighten someone’s day and “keep those feet moving.”

Boost Your Confidence

4.17.15Have you ever noticed that when your confidence is high, you are on top of the world. But when your confidence is shattered or uncertain, you struggle with the next step forward. Why is that and how can we boost your confidence level?

Confidence can be cemented as part of the foundation to our existence. It can mean a difference between landing that career opportunity, managing relationships, the type of day you’re having, to overcoming an illness such as cancer. Without it, you become stuck in second gear, just grinding it out each day.

The key to gaining confidence is to find role models that can educate you, challenge you to rise to the top. Align yourself with those that are more confident than you. Observe how they handle stressful situations and use their positive energy to push themselves harder. And harder. And harder. Mimic their actions, use them as resources to enable you to gain confidence and strength. Learn to exert your confidence so that you can walk into any situation and knock down walls. Develop a short term memory. There are times you just have to let things go. It’s better to let sleeping dogs lie. Learn to let go of the barriers that surround you.

There is nothing you can’t conquer. Believe in yourself, believe in your abilities. That’s all it takes.  And once you get that, no one can take that away from you. Never let negatively bring you down. Be stronger than that. Anytime you need a confidence boost, remember these very words:

Become so strong that no one can rise above you.
Become so tough that no one can hurt you.
Become so powerful that you become untouchable.

Become untouchable and “keep those feet moving.”

Live Life to the Fullest

4.10.15Fears are supposed to protect us from harm. From the time we are infants to present day, our fears significant impact our lives. While there are good and bad fears, learning to cope with certain fears can help you live a fulfilled life.

I’ll admit, my greatest fear is dying. The very thought of it is unsettling. Too many emotions swirl my head and I can’t even conceive the notion of the unknown. But rather succumb to the sadness and thought, I choose to live my life to the fullest each day. I believe that everyone in life has a purpose. And as long as that purpose hasn’t been fulfilled, there is more life to live. So I’ve dedicated myself to give back, to help others enhance their life. To enable others to reach their potential, their dreams, and overcome personal challenges. There are over 7.1 billion people in this world. That’s a lot of opportunity for me. At this point, I just may live forever.

Sometimes I wonder if our fears are based upon our perceptions and interpretations of what we’ve heard or read. Or perhaps our own personal experiences have taught us to be fearful of certain aspects. There are days when it’s easier to hide inside and not venture out, but that’s not what life is about.

Life is about overcoming those fears. Empowering others to do the same. There are those who insist on hiding behind their fears, while others work to overcome it. Understanding that certain fears are more challenging than others, however, if you don’t attempt to mitigate your fears, you’ll never know what you are capable of achieving in life.

Life is full of fears, big and small. We have one life to live. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.

Live life to the fullest and “keep those feet moving.”