Archive for July, 2012

And What About Your Ripple?

July 4th, 2012 | 1 comment

It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped.

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.

~Robert Francis Kennedy~

Last night at the stroke of midnight, I found myself standing on an empty beach, staring up at the moon.  My husband and dog by my side, we stood quietly and listened to the soft breeze from the  ocean whip through the tall grasses of the dunes.  The moon glistened its beams across the water, and served as our lantern as we navigated the  beach in the dead of night.

It was beautiful, quiet and reverent.  We gave thanks for our lives, and all the blessings. I gave thanks for my son Brendan, and the amazing young man he has become.  And we remembered Stephen, thinking about his smile, his giving nature, his ability to see the good in each and every situation. Of course, this day will always be a reminder of the moment he left us.  But, we choose to focus on this day as a celebration of him and the impact his life has made, and continues to make with his ripple.

I think that it what I find so amazing as I reflect back over the past three years.  His ripple continues. 

It travels within the lives of each of his family and friends.  The ripple reminds us all to make the most of our time here, to celebrate the  “one little things” in life.  The blessings that cannot be purchased, but rather sit within our hearts.  Stephen’s ripple urges us to seek out and find the purpose in our own lives, to look within and find the connection to a life that is larger than our own imagination.

And that’s just the people he knew.  With JOLT, we have people from all corners of the earth who come together to talk about their “one little things.”  Some may know that Stephen is the inspiration for this movement, others may not.  But, they sit within the ripple of his life, affected by this boy they never met.

And so today three years later, that is the message I have for you.  Look at the difference a life can make.  Look at the ripple that can extend from a life well lived.

Each day I wake up, I think about Stephen’s ripple, and I ask myself about my own.  I can only hope that I can create a beautiful, loving ripple with my life as well.

And what about you?  What’s your ripple looking like so far?

Death is never easy to understand.  But it presents us with an opportunity to grow and learn.  It sends a clear message of the impermanence of our existence, and forces us to confront our own lives with a magnifying glass.  That is a good thing.  Don’t run away from it because it hurts. Learn from it, and let the ripples of another teach you about the impact of your own life.

Take some time today to celebrate Stephen’s ripple, as well as think about your own,




100 Day Challenge…Success and Renewed Determination…

July 3rd, 2012 | 2 comments

Take care of your body with steadfast fidelity.  The soul must see through these eyes alone, and if they are dim, the whole world is clouded.

~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe~

100 days….it’s hard to believe that we are here.  I wanted to share the results today, so I can take tomorrow and celebrate Stephen.  I started this challenge with my husband to honor Stephen, but as each day has passed, I am realizing that this challenge has shown me how to honor myself too.  I have learned how to really take care of myself in the way I deserve.

100 days later, I feel I’ve really turned a corner in my life.  The way I care for myself on the outside is starting to match up with the way I’ve nurtured my soul on the inside since losing Stephen.  I did a great job for the past three years working through some of the hardest emotions one can imagine, but truly ignored the outside vessel as I did so. Now, I am feeling good, I have more energy, and I think I may be slightly more pleasant to be around.  It all seems to be falling into place.

We’ve also heard from people all over the world who have decided to start their own challenge and work on their health.  How exciting to know we are all doing it one pound at a time!  People from Ireland, Australia, Canada and the United States all working towards feeling better about themselves.  This challenge was not ever about being in competition with anyone else, it’s about your choice to become the best version of yourself.

So, here’s the final numbers.  My husband and I laughed this morning as we compiled the results, as we actually tied in the exact number of pounds lost.

img_5973 On my way….and looking forward to continuing the journey towards health.[/caption]


Weight:  Down 35 pounds.

Total inches lost: So far, I’ve lost a total of 29.6 inches. I feel great about those changes, especially that seven of those total inches came from my waistline.

My total steps?  968, 327.

img_5964Brady, looking and feeling great and ready for a 10,000 step walk on the beach.[/caption]


Weight: Down 35 pounds

Total Inches Lost:  We measured, but he did not measure from the start so we were going from old measurements.  It showed a 6 and a half-inch overall decrease, with 2.5 of those inches from his waistline.  I think it is much more, but we have no way of knowing the details.

But the biggest result we want to celebrate is the change in our thinking. My eyes have been opened to possibility with each step I take.  We feel stronger, and have made the connection between physical activity and emotional peace.  We’re  encouraged for the future, and know this is just the first step in our journey.  Brady and I have already planned out our goals for the rest of 2012.  I intend to keep going, to get myself to that goal weight.

The past 100 days have not always been easy.  Some workouts were fun, some were terrible.  It was tough confronting the issues I have with food.  It’s been an emotional  roller coaster ride as I dealt with body image issues that I’ve carried with me my entire life. I still have them.  When looking at  the recent photos of myself for this post or the Observer article, I see what I don’t like before I see what I do…..

I am a work in progress.

But, just as I learned with practicing gratitude after loss, that’s what life is about.  It’s about being a work in progress.  You are creating your own masterpiece and you alone are the artist.  My painting is not finished yet but I’m using more color, I’ve added some flowers, and a bend in the road.  The key is to keep adding paint.  Just because your life is not working now, it doesn’t mean you can’t change it.  Pick up your brush, you are in control.

I can’t wait to continue this journey.  It’s truly become part of our lives now.  It’s not a diet, or a workout, it’s just life.  On vacation, we jump out of bed and go for a two-hour walk.  Not because we have to….because it makes us feel good.  It gives us a chance to drink in some of the beauty God has placed before us.  It gives us perspective on the rest of our life.

Tomorrow, as we celebrate Stephen and the 4th of July, I will do so as a healthier person.  Looking up to the blue sky and the heavens, I feel Stephen’s smile.

Wishing you all a huge canvas, plenty of paint, and a brush to create the masterpiece for your life,