Saturday, October 30, 2010

The loss of our daughter, continued...

Click on the below article link to obtain background information to this blog post:

Examiner article

It is heart breaking to read about the loss of a child. But it is so empowering to see someone survive such a loss and find purpose in its aftermath.

Lydia shared, “I truly believe that things happen to us on LIFE, because we're supposed to (GOD wants us to) do something with it. I think I've finally found my purpose in life. My mission is to raise awareness about both Asthma and organ donation. Here is the RIBBON that w/ the HELP of my Family & Friends on FB, I was able to have created & added to the "RIBBONS" page on FB. And, it's the 1st one of it's kind (ASTHMA) on FB, one of the largest Social NETWORKING site around. How cool is that?”

What have you survived that has gifted you with the strength to move forward and persevere by helping others? What is your mission? Share your story with me and my readers!

Friday, October 29, 2010

An act with required recognition feeds the ego, continued...

Click on the below article link to obtain background information to this blog post:

Examiner article

This article has really caused me to look closely at my volunteer work and charitable giving. I do look for recognition and this in itself helps to motivate me to continue to give. At the same time though, I have gifted anonymously in the past and I do still feel joy from this type of giving. I think if I had more to money to give I would do more of the random acts of kindness anonymously. It is pretty cool to leave this mysterious karmic gift to someone and then run for the hills; things like paying for the order behind you in the drive through or another tables bill when your dining out.

Do you think your just feeding the ego when you wait for the clerk to look before you put the tip in the jar or is this still giving from the heart? Drop me a note and leave your thoughts. I'm interested in what you have to say!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The most powerful means are words, continued...

Click on the below article to obtain background information to this blog post:

Examiner article

I've been on both sides of the "bullying" spectrum and I'm ashamed to share this. I was in kindergarden when I actively participated in picking on a fellow classmate for a short time. I was part of the crowd as apposed to someone who stood next to her and helped push back. I often think about this person and I wish her well and pray for forgiveness for my name calling.

As I grew and moved into middle school I made a choice to start going to church with my parents and at that time I decided to give up wearing pants. This phase of mine actually lasted a couple of years. I remember being called a freak by someone at school. The words did piece me. It gave me a glimpse of what I did to my classmate earlier in life.

From that point forward I became the person who stood up for others who weren't really embraced by the main-stream. As a teenager I gave up my dress wearing choice and became somewhat popular in my little circle. I was aggressive and full of life. I took this into my adult years and became a leader in my life. I'm proud of my adult reach to others as I always work to help those in need.

What are you doing to help others? Were you bullied, the person bullying or a by-stander? Share your story.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

To share his story, continued...

Click on the below article link to obtain background information to this blog post:

Examiner article

It seems it doesn’t matter how much we give, we always feel we didn’t give enough somewhere deep inside. Joleen discussed the guilt she felt relevant to her father and their struggle through Alzheimer’s Disease. From an outsider’s view, as I’m someone who reads her blog and knew her father Frank Senior, she was and continues to be a loving and brave soul, supportive beyond belief; I’m sure she has made her dad proud!

She shared, “There’s a LOT of guilt along the way. Guilt about putting him in a home against his will. Guilt about living your life while he’s locked up scared and confused. Guilt that you can’t hold his hand 24/7, 365. So it IS better that he’s gone and at peace now, that’s all he wanted. And now we can start healing and try to live the next chapter of our lives.

I feel Dad’s presence. In the moon. In sunsets. In special ways. I talk to him every day. I know that we’re somehow still connected. And I look forward to the day when I get to see him again!”

In closing, if you know someone who is suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease or who is supporting someone coping with it, Joleen suggests looking into this company.

She communicated, “CareScout is a national company I recently stumbled upon which sounds like it may be an affordable option for more people. Here is an email response I received from them.”

‘CareScout is a leading risk management partner of insurance companies and has been helping Americans make informed long-term care decisions since 1997.

Our company was founded on the principals of helping families evaluate quality and cost of care. To that end, we are objective by not collecting fees or any sort of payments from care providers. Due to that, we have a solid track record of negotiating discounts that can more than pay for our service.

The retail price of our service is $499 although we are currently offering it as a special for $350. You mentioned that you were happy to see we are nationwide and I’d like to tell you a couple of other differentiating factors. We don’t charge by the hour and the price is all inclusive. The price is for an “episode” or event, which could be anywhere from weeks to several months. The end product of our service is to find specific services that are appropriate based on their needs, timing and price.

I’d love to chat with you further to answer further questions you may have. Please feel free to call me at the below number anytime.

Thanks again for contacting us.


Sarah C. Howes
Marketing Leader


230 Third Avenue, 2nd Floor
Waltham, MA 02451
Toll Free: 800-571-1918 x313
Direct Phone: 781-966-3313
Direct Fax: 866-933-1772

Can you relate to Joleen’s words? If so, leave a comment and let me know how.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Blissful Silence, continued...

Click on the below article link to obtain background information to this blog post:

Examiner article

Wow, I really never knew what embracing silence really meant while I was working and trying to keep up with a very demanding lifestyle. Running around 24/7 and never putting me on my list caused me to develop this thick skin that I thought was just as beneficial as quiet time. I just accepted my circumstances without trying to take the time I now know is necessary for my inner peace. This thick skin was my survival mechanism keeping in as a way to cope not my savior!

Today, there are 4 teenagers making their way through my world as they find their way in their own. It makes for a loud and busy life but I have still prioritized meditation within this craziness. It is the key to my clarity. It renews my faith and refuels my spirit like nothing else I've find. I'm hopeful my article will entice you to give silence a try. It is very therapeutic.

Give it a shot and drop me a note to let me know what you think!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

An anniversary of a loved ones death, continued...

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Examiner article

Unfortunately we have all experienced loss, it is part of life. It continues to tug at our hearts and souls daily. I'm sure most of you can ramble off very significant dates of hardship you have coped through and continue to work through as each anniversary arrives annually.

I loss my father in May of 2008 and then lost my job shortly after on October 17th. Both losses were devastating to me although, of course, the loss of my father was much more traumatic! I'm not taking my job loss lightly but many will come and go over my career but I have only one dad.

I feel really lucky that exactly 1 year, to the day, after my Dad died, my niece had her daughter. This precious little life gave us all cause to celebrate on this very life-altering date. Not everyone is as fortunate as we are in getting such a heavenly gift so timely but she was and continues to be greatly appreciated.

Bereavement pain is so awful and soul retching but it is universal. As we learn how others have released their tie to particular dates, it helps us to overcome in the same way. Can you share your story of perseverance with me and my readers? I'm hopeful your story will help empower us!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Music was his happy place, continued...

Click on the below article link for background information to this blog post:

Examiner article

I love the passion Joleen has and how devoted she is to helping the world. It is apparent she is one of Frank Firek Sr.’s children; he was a very passionate man and always on a mission! He and his wife spent a lot of time mentoring Detroit inner city children in a non-profit reading program they developed and maintained for years. I spent a lot of time with Frank in the business world. We negotiated our way to win-win contracts many times. And, through thick and thin, Frank was always there to count on!

When I asked Joleen if she had anything else she would like to share with my readers, she offered the below information.

In her words, “I hope that my family can make a difference with legislation on a few topics.

First off, we hope to influence changes in in-home professional care hiring standards (i.e., background checks). We have talked to key people in the Michigan government and look forward to helping with this movement. People in need should be able to depend on professionals they hire for help; they shouldn’t be afraid of being taking advantage of.

Secondly, I think the law against assisted suicide should be overturned. I think that the fact that we aren’t given a chance in this country to choose our own End of Life Strategy is ludicrous.

After his diagnosis, my father made it VERY KNOWN to friends and family that he had NO intention of going out slowly and taking everyone down with him along the way. He was adamant about taking his own life when he felt the time was right. He never shared with us his chosen means for doing this, as he didn’t want us to be held legally accountable for having known nor helped. All we could do in the matter was watch his clear mindedness turn blurry with the disease, clouding his judgment of what defined a good day vs. a bad day and quality of life. At some point, it became clear to us that he simply could no longer problem solve his way through his original plan. And we weren’t legally allowed to help. So he had to be put in an assisted living home eventually, which was absolutely against ALL of his wishes!

I believe that if a person is educated on the topic of their incurable disease and they therefore choose to prematurely end their life, they should be allowed to do so with dignity. The fact that a person’s only option to end their life (without getting others legally involved) is to do it alone is unconscionable. Why should a person who’s surrounded by loved ones in their life be forced to die alone like an injured animal? It’s humiliating. We take mercy upon even our dogs and cats and allow them to be put to sleep. Why should we treat our beloved family members differently? I don’t think it’s humane.

Plus, the astronomical figures of rising healthcare costs for the elderly, in particular Alzheimer’s sufferers, is no longer manageable. It requires too much money and resources over too long a period of time that most people cannot afford to adequately take care of themselves. And, the number of new cases are rising exponentially. (see statistics on my website)

I could go on and on about the healthcare system in this country and how they treat people with Alzheimer’s like they have leprosy but I will get off my soap box for now. It’s just that, after the way I saw my dad drugged into oblivion in the psychiatric ward against our/his will, I realize that the medical community is going about this all wrong. These people have to be treated with love and respect, not fear and intimidation. Sometimes the only thing that is still recognizable and comfortable to them is their spouse; shouldn’t family caregivers be financially reciprocated to stay at home and care for their loved one vs. throwing them into an assisted living facility where they will be a drain on limited resources, plus alone and confused…? Until a cure is found, this horrendous disease IS coming to knock on all of our doors.”

Are you supporting a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease? If so, can you relate to Joleen’s feedback? Drop me a note about your experience.

Family photo by Amanda Coulon, Focal Point, Inc.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Living your life to the fullest, continued...

Click on the below article link to obtain background information to this blog post:

Examiner article

I've been working on living in the moment for the past couple of years. REALIZING that multi-tasking totally destroys this concept! I had to throw away my old self and retrain my thinking. I found that my God given senses are the best tools that help me "live in the moment".

When you're trying to take something in, think about how all of your senses apply. Really look closely at the environment and become one with it. Good, bad or in different when you take it all in, it makes an impression and this process, in itself, enables you to release it and move on in a healthy way.

Have you made an effort to live in the moment? How has this changed your life? Drop me a note and tell me about it!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Is what you see what you get, continued...

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Examiner article

For the most part, anyone who really knows me knows I'm real from the outside in and inside out. I learned early in life that it is to exhausting to put any energy into anything other than the truth. This can be both good and bad at times. You see, I'm the friend you ask for a real opinion. Don't ask me if you don't want the truth otherwise you could get really upset!

The truth might hurt but I do believe it will set you free. So, if you're hiding anything, summon the courage to open up and brave the journey it creates. Let go of your secret. It might seem a little harder at first but once you get "real" you'll find your way and you'll find your ego isn't lighting the path!

What secrets are you keeping from your family and/or friends? Are you willing to share?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

To teach a lesson, sternly but with kindness, continued...

Click on the below article link to obtain background information to this blog post:

Examiner article

It really amazes me how the Firek family’s bond strengthened during their hardship and how their compassion for human kind overpowered their anger as they followed through and participated in the court trial.

Joleen talked about how she forgave the criminals, “It was easier to forgive the boys and to simply look FORWARD. I don’t know how to explain how I accomplished that. I mean, I don’t like them. But I don’t hate them or wish them ill will. I hope one day they will pay back the world in kindness 100-fold for the horrible things they have done up to now.”

She continued, “I don’t talk about this openly in my blog or with my friends, but I think part of how I accomplished the forgiveness part had to do with believing in God. I sat in that courtroom, so tired from the past 2 years of my life (divorced, laid off, broke, exhausted caregiver) that I refused to take on one more upset. So I put it in God’s hands.”

Joleen offered advice to help others who are struggling through an overwhelming care giving situation, “There is a job position which sounds very vague and tends to be very expensive: Geriatric Care Manager, Care Advocate, Senior Care Expert, Care Consultant. We made the choice NOT to hire a Care Consultant. Knowing what I know now, BIG mistake! We had so many curve balls thrown at us within a 3 year period, we were exhausted. Not only that, but when it came down to needing a home for Dad which would tolerate violent residents (as Dad had become one), there’s no way to decipher one home from the others. Non-profits like Alzheimer’s Association are legally unable to tell you which homes on the general list are better or worse from the others; they can only give you a long list of homes for you to start investigating. Only an experienced Care Consultant knows the little differences!”

This is priceless advice from someone who is now working to help others impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. She is devoting her efforts into making a documentary about their journey with her father Frank. Learn more about their story by following her blog, Frankly Speaking: Alzheimer’s. It is filled with family, love, sorrow and hope for a better future for others!

Joleen’s parting words about her father, “He wanted so badly to make a difference and leave the world a better place than he found it; he chose to do this one person at a time. He lived his life with a Pay It Forward mentality. I believe that most people who passed in his wake knew that he was someone exceptional!”

Photo credit, Karrie Martin~Wings & Roots Photography

Friday, October 8, 2010

The key to happiness, continued...

Click on the below article link to obtain background information to this blog post:

Examiner article

I think for most, including myself, we let our ego get in the way of our happiness. It likes to guide us by gauging our level of happy by the toys we own. In the article I ask you to list 3 intangible things that will bring you happiness and then to engage yourself by applying action to the list. For me, I am happy when my creativity helps relieve pain from others suffering hardship. It is the goal and foundation of my work today. I feel like the tip of my iceberg (in a good way) has surfaced allowing me to feel the warmth that comes from this intangible but very real feeling. The next thing for me is self-love. I'm getting there but I can't check this one off yet. I'm working on my health by exercising several times a week and changing my perspective of what is acceptable to me. I thank my body daily for enabling me to get out of bed and accomplish my many lists but I'm still tweaking this one! The 3rd item for me is making sure my actions reinforce my words. In other words, I practice what I preach. I want to be authentic all of the time. This is very important. I realize I am not perfect, I'm far from it, but I need to make sure my efforts are sincere and I embrace the world and myself in this manner!

Share with me 3 intangibles that make you happy. I'm excited to know!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Top ten stress relievers, continued

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Examiner article

This is the 2ND article I've posted listing ten stress relievers. They, of course, overlap. When I was busy in the corporate world I blew off lists like the one in my article today. I didn't allow myself the time to step out of my multi-tasked lifestyle. Of course, in this lifestyle I was extremely unhealthy; migraines, stomach issues, reflux etc. Today, I still take medicine for reflux but the headaches and stomach issues come very seldom now as apposed to weekly/daily previously.

I credit this to my curiosity for tapping into a universal peace and comfort that gifts me with grounding and balance. I've always believed in prayer but it offers so much more when I intertwine it with meditation. I also get so much more out of my exercise when I practice a short yoga session after a 30 minute run. Utilizing and interchanging all of these tools help me to find gratitude for my body (mind, body & spirit) in its current condition!

Can you leave a comment explaining how you achieve inner peace and balance in your life? I love to explore new ideas!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Diagnosed with Autism, continued...

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Examiner article

I love to see a Mom who is 100% vested into her family and to see how this investment reaps the ultimate reward; contributing healthy children who become successful adults! When I asked her about what she is most proud of, she got emotional. Her response, “This always makes me cry. I am proud of my family. I am proud of Michael in the work he is willing to put forward to understand his surroundings as well as us. I am proud of the effort that we have all put in to our family as a whole. As far as I am concerned, it is not just about Michael, it’s about every member of our family. We can now say, 17 years later, we have raised and continue to raise great kids. Challenges aside, which we have had many, I always look forward to what is coming with pride and confidence.”

They are successful in embracing each other and teaching and learning from one another. ANCA has helped them achieve healthy living; This community is truly heaven sent!

Can you recommend any organizations that are helping you? If so, send me a note. I love to learn about new programs that help our communities.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The secrets of making dreams come true, continued...

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Examiner article

It is really interesting to me to consider Walt Disney's recipe for success. He obviously created an empire and from what I've read, he did it with the utmost courage, constancy, confidence and curiosity. It is pretty cool how he shared to empower others. Do you agree with him? If not, what might your recipe be? What would you add or take away?

I think he summed it up perfectly and his legacy lives on as proof to it!