Grateful Living

How many times have you heard, “Be grateful for what you have.”? What happens when life seems to be going all wrong and gratitude isn’t what we are feeling? Can we find the reason to be grateful in what we perceive as negative?

Life can be challenging and I’m grateful for that. It is in those challenges that I learn who I truly am and gain strength.

Sadness comes into our lives and gives us reason to be grateful for the happier times. Without sadness we could not know happiness.

A feeling of powerlessness over our situation is cause for gratitude in the knowledge that in these times we can turn to others for a helping hand. It deepens our connection to those we love.

Fear is always something to be grateful for. Fear at a primal level will keep us out of harms way. Fear that doesn’t come from a place of survival will lead us to push ourselves beyond our comfort zone and live life to the fullest.

Most of us would say it is easy to be grateful for family, food, and fun times. My challenge to you is to find something to be grateful for in every situation throughout your day and your life.

Enjoy the following video on Gratitude. I’m sure that in no time you will be singing along. Each day is filled with gifts waiting for you to untie the ribbons!


See a need, fill a need–that’s how I live each day. Do I always know how I am going to fill the needs of the day? No. The one thing I am certain of is that I would not be shown the need if there wasn’t some way of filling it. We are shown a need because we have the power to do something about it.

I am truly blessed with the friends in this community. All your donations go to helping fill those needs. Those of you who donated last week helped to feed a family with 4 young children that had almost no food. The money I make as a writer feeds me and the remainder goes to the random acts of kindness that happen every time I see someone who needs help. When I offer a Laughter Yoga session that is donation only, I make sure that everyone knows that although the donations are to cover my costs, if there is anyone in that class that has a need or knows someone else who does, those donations are theirs for the taking.

I have learned to be creative, think outside the box, and do whatever is within my means. If I don’t have what is needed I examine whether there may be some other way to be of assistance. It may be that I can guide someone in the direction of another person that can fill their need. I may make a phone call to a government agency asking the right questions to get the necessary solution. I don’t give up until I feel I have done everything humanly possible. There is always something we can do, even if it is to simply give someone a hug when that is all you have left to give.

I’ve quickly learned that when I give all I have, my needs are met. I won’t hide the truth, fear can sometimes get the best of me. I never let fear take control, I acknowledge that it exists and then I let go. Letting go can be a very powerful tool.

I’ve found that any time I am willing to let go of the outcome and let go of the fear everything works out for the best. I set my intention for the good of others, the universe and myself and all is well.

If you have ever found yourself in a place where you just don’t think there is anything you can do, remember, the most valuable thing you have to give is yourself and your time. Live to give!

Giving is Living!

How important is giving back to the community, your family, your friends, or even a complete stranger you meet on the street? Do you need to be wealthy to give back? Do you need to have hours of free time? Have you ever felt like you don’t have any skills that will be useful to someone else? Everyone has something they can contribute to the world around them. The tiniest acts of kindness can make the biggest difference in someone’s day. Just ask Kristin Pedemonti who has given away over 500 bottles of bubbles on the NYC subway and carries a “Free Hugs” sign wherever she goes, because we all need our daily quota of hugs.

It is important to the community as well as you to be actively giving back each day, even it is simply giving someone a hug to make their day a little brighter. I promise you that for every act of kindness you show not only will you bring joy to someone else but your day will be brighter and your body, mind and soul a bit healthier.

There are many ways to volunteer that don’t involve money in any way, not even a dime of gas. You don’t need hours of free time to bring a smile to someone’s face. Read a story to a child, compliment a stranger, give a hug to someone who may need one, share a meal with a neighbor, the list goes on and I am sure you can come up with a few of your own. Become a virtual volunteer, check out ways you can volunteer online, no special skills needed, if you are living, breathing and can do anything at all you have what it takes to make someone’s day better.

A 2005 Stanford University survey of 7000 older adults found that frequent volunteering and helping others is linked to a healthier, longer life. The study also showed it didn’t need to be giving on a grand scale, it could be anything meaningful.

Allen Luk’s 1991 survey of thousands of volunteers in the US found that people who helped others reported better health than peers in their age group who didn’t volunteer.

A recent survey of 4500 American volunteers showed the following;

  • 73% reported that volunteering lowered their stress levels
  • 89% reported that volunteering improved their sense of well being
  • 92% reported that volunteering enriched their sense of purpose

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and give some free hugs, blow some bubbles, give someone a have no excuse…I have given you links to some great opportunities and I’m sure you can create a few of your own…give to others and you will always be giving back to yourself.

For more on Kristen and her storytelling adventure as well as her literacy program please visit her site. To leave comments on her TED video click here.

Inspiration in the most unlikely places..

You may ask yourself, why I am visiting places along my journey that most people try to avoid. The answer would be a simple one, love and inspiration. I have learned that some of the most inspiring people are those you meet in some of the most typically uninspiring places. With my family history of cancer it is only fitting that these destinations be on my agenda. And I must say, using the Brompton is making that process a whole lot easier.

I received a very warm welcome to MD Anderson, Orlando from the moment I contacted them right through to the end of a wonderful tour. I was guided through the history of this premier health care facility and shown many unique features and programs by the centers Manager of Customer Relations. She has had an impressive 23 years with this organization and her dedication and pride show, not only in her smile, but in the wealth of information she imparts.

I arrived at about 10:15am and was greeted by two smiling happy women working the reception area. As I waited for my tour guide to arrive I watched and listened. This wasn’t about what I saw as much as what I didn’t see. Yes there were people who were very sick coming and going from their appointments and treatments. What was not present was sadness or an air of negativity. I would find later in my tour that it didn’t seem to exist anywhere in the building.

I won’t linger on the history of MD Anderson, for that you can visit their website
I will instead touch on things that I think go above and beyond in making this a stand out facility. The first thing you notice when looking at anything concerning MD Anderson is that the word Cancer in the name has a strike through it and underneath the name the words, “Making Cancer History”. This is one very powerful message.

This beautiful lady sits in the lobby/reception area, her name is Sophie and I was told she is the “Cower of Hope” and her name holds a special meaning. Rearrange the letters, have you figured it out? Hope Is! She is adorable and fun, loved her rain boots and beads. She helps to set the tone and lightened the mood of what could otherwise be a very somber environment.

I noticed a gentleman coming in with a wheeled cart filled to the brim with fresh citrus. He was immediately greeted at the reception area with a smile and a hug. He explained that this fruit was just a small token of his appreciation for the care his wife had been receiving. He went on to explain what all the things in the basket were and then talked a bit more about his story. I politely spoke up and said I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation and that I was grateful to hear such an inspiring story. He explained that he couldn’t express how grateful he was and that if it weren’t for the doctors and nurses at MD Anderson, he didn’t believe his wife would still be with him. This was just the beginning of the gratitude I sensed from so many people on this tour. If you are reading this sir, thank you for the grapefruit!

Up we go to a testing floor. The first thing you hear and see when you come off the elevator is Craig. He is playing a soft, soothing tune on his guitar, it was almost Zen like. I was told that he is part of the Arts Program and moves around to different areas to play as a way of additionally soothing the patients. It was amazing, thanks to Craig for taking his picture with me.
It turns out that music is only a small part of MD Anderson’s Arts Program and I would see some of that later in the morning.

The little touches that make a big difference didn’t end with the Arts Program. Even the art on the walls was carefully chosen. Next floor of the tour, I met a wonderful woman who had just come back from running with the Team Livestrong in Austin. It was clear that she loved what she was doing. Livestrong is a resounding message throughout this center.

One thing that stood out as I made my way around this facility was that they are treating the patient, not just the disease. I was taken to an area where integrative medicine or mind/body medicine is offered. The most fun for me with my massage therapy and Reiki background. Once again it was the little touches that stood out. Yes they offer presentations on healthy living, and nutrition, but who would have thought about a drum circle, tai chi, and a Labyrinth. Better yet, how about afternoon tea.

Or how about the small class we passed along the way learning how to make healthy dessert choices. I was introduced to the leaders in that class and I could immediately see they were very passionate about what they were doing. They certainly had everyone’s attention.

Just outside of this area where they held afternoon tea was a special bell hanging on the wall. This bell is for anyone who has finished their treatment. They are told to ring it in celebration of life and the end of treatment. How cool is that.

There are many more great things I could say about the couple of hours I spent at MD Anderson however I would just like to end this post with a thank you to all the wonderful people at MD Anderson. You are doing a spectacular job. I think this last picture sums up in one word what the atmosphere at MD Anderson speaks volumes to. So you see, many inspiring moments can come from the most unlikely places. Share your inspiring moments in an unlikely place in the comments below.


Where do I begin this update? Every moment of the day I feel so blessed. I am blessed to have all of you, my followers and supporters. I am blessed to be able to do what I am doing. I am blessed by all the kind strangers I meet along this journey. I can’t begin to count all my blessings, I will start with the two newest.

The first came as a complete surprise. I was contacted via Say Hello which isn’t unusual but this time it was someone who was hired by a major university health system to do an educational infographic on cervical cancer risk factors and preventative measures. It was explained to me that this company found me while researching information for the work they were hired to do and that my story inspired the design for the infographic. Now how cool is that! In less than a 2 week period of online collaboration the project was finished and is now live. I am so honored to have been asked to be a part of this project that will be an educational tool for potentially thousands and thousands of women. Please check it out, it is interactive so drive the car and whatever you do, don’t forget to click on the bicycle. Follow this link;

On to the second blessing. I do believe that everyone that enters our lives is a teacher and although we may not know the lesson at the time, we need to just be mindful and learn. Some of you know that one way I am able to keep spreading smiles and happiness to survivors is by taking on some freelance writing projects. I was searching through some ads and came across one that peaked my interest. I could feel the emotion in the ad. It was written by a father who lost his daughter to a little known disease. I replied to that ad offering my assistance. After exchanging a few email I was introduced to the founder of an organization that celebrates women. Just this week I was featured on that site;

I cannot begin to express the gratitude I feel for being asked to be part of these amazing projects. The exciting thing is there are more to come. I can’t share just yet but you will be the first to know.

Positive intent brings positive results. If you are struggling and not sure where you are going in life, set your intentions in the way you wish to go. See life as you want it to be and that is what you will soon create.