How my trip with Fathom in the Dominican Republic impacted me


How my trip with Fathom in the Dominican Republic impacted me

There is so much to reflect on from my incredible impact travel experience with Fathom in the Dominican Republic. The people that I met on our team, along with the locals that we interacted with and worked beside, truly left an impression on my heart. I have soooooo many stories to share with you!

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Missing the Mark – Our Valentine’s Day Fail

I have a friend who is great a making family traditions for holidays (even those lame Hallmark ones.) April Fool’s Day is even a big deal in her family!  Just ask the friend who ate a chocolate gnash covered cotton ball while visiting. (I’ll admit that one was a pretty good prank) She inspires me to put effort and details to create memories and traditions for my family.

So this year I thought I would try to make Valentine’s Day a little more special.  I missed the mark and that’s ok.  My perfect day had more of the elements of  a drama and endings of a romantic comedy.

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My Health is My Choice- 8 Types of Health to Focus on for a Better Year

8 areas to work on cover

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I want to focus on in 2015.

The phrase “My Health is My Choice” is what keeps on coming to me.

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Getting Through the Year of Firsts After You Lose A Loved One

Getting Through the Year of Firsts After You Lose A Loved One

This past year I lost a younger cousin, an aunt and a man who was like a grandfather to me. I think about their families often as they are beginning to experience the year of firsts. I know how painful that journey is and that it is a year you have to walk through whether you are ready or not. There will be birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays that they will now have to face without their loved one for the first time. This makes previously joyous occasions something that can be dreaded because now they are filled with grieve and extra sadness. It’s yet another reminder that they are not here. Any time that you loose someone you love, it is hard, but the year of firsts is especially hard.

For those closest to the one who died, the pain lasts long after the funeral, when it feels like everyone else has moved on with their life. My mom’s birthday and Thanksgiving were in the same month that my mom died. My family and my dad ended up going away for Thanksgiving weekend that first year because it was too hard to stay home. We needed to try to experience something fun for my son, who was a toddler at the time. We needed a sense of hope in the sadness. It was hard to get into decorating for Christmas that year too. Over the years I have decorated more for Christmas using some of her favorite decorations that she would place out each year. I have special picture ornaments on our Christmas tree to honor her memory along with my brother’s. Mother’s Day is another painful reminder of her absence. On that day, I observe all of the images on social media with daughters and sons celebrating their moms. It’s still a reminder of that stinging void. There are so many moments that I wish she could have been here for… including meeting her other grandson.

So how do you get through the year of firsts?

The answer is that it’s different for everyone.

You will have moments of sadness that will hit you at odd times, like while you are shopping or making dinner or when you hear a song that brings back a memory.

Crying is ok and good. It’s also a necessary part of the process. I tend to cry when I’m alone. Sometimes you just need that release.

Sharing stories and memories is therapeutic during these times. People who also cared for your loved one can be life giving during this time because they understand your pain.

Faith. Hope.

The only way I got through this tough time was because of my faith and the hope that I will see my loved ones again. That doesn’t mean that I understand the why, because I don’t.

The death of a loved one is something that you never get over. You just find new ways to live.


A potholder from a homeless man

A Potholder from a homeless man

I was involved in a feeding program for the homeless community in downtown Dallas for one semester during college.  Each week we would meet a pastor who would drive 30 miles one way with donated food from local fast food restaurants.  Each week we would spend time getting to know the people who came for a meal.

On my first day, I met a man named Charles.  He was middle aged and great at crocheting things.  The following week, I decided to bring  him some yarn.  As a college student it wasn’t much, but I thought it would be nice for him to have more supplies to make items with.

On one of my next visits I was given a gift from my friend.  A potholder.  That potholder has been in my kitchen since 1998.  It reminds me that someone who had nothing, gave a gift from the heart out of what little he had.

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Why We Need to Hear Stories of Failure and Success

Why we need stories of failure and success

I just attended the first ever conference that combines faith + entrepreneurship called Unpolished. We were blown away each session by an all star line up that could each headline a conference in their own right.

Many of my favorite takeaways were from lessons in failing. Why? Because all of us fail at something. It could be a start up, a career, a relationship, or a performance of some sort. We’ve all had moments where we had to decide if we would allow that failure to define us or define our future.

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2015 Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival

RAFF Film Fest Poster


Many of you know my story of having a brother with cerebral palsy which is why the ReelAbilities film festival in Cincinnati is very intruiguing to me. I love what it stands for and the inspiration that it will bring to those with and without disabilities.


The vision of the film festival says it all.


ReelAbilities is the largest national film festival dedicated to celebrating the lives, stories and art of people with disabilities.


Organized by LADD, the Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival presented by Macy’s is this region’s largest film festival whose unique purpose is bringing people together to explore differences and shared humanity.  It will be a week of celebration that include events, world class films and celebrities who experience disability.

The Film Festival will include a star studded awards premiere luncheon, gala, and 30 film and speaking events throughout Greater Cincinnati. All of the film screenings benefit local nonprofit organizations that enhance the lives of people with disabilities. 

The ReelAbilities Film Festival was founded in 2007 in New York City by the Manhattan JCC and has grown to become the largest film festival in the country dedicated to sharing the stories, lives and art of people who experience disability. It is now headquartered in Cincinnati and is a division of LADD. It includes a total of 13 Festivals across the country. Cincinnati holds the second largest one.

There are opportunities for you to get involved in this event at various venues all over Cincinnati.



The 2015 Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival

is from Thursday, February 26th – Saturday, March 7th  



You can find out more about the film festival and a complete listing of events from their website.




Disclosure: I was given a media admission for helping share about the film festival.