Sunday, September 27, 2015

Pope Francis in Philly, The City of Brotherly Love

Well Pope Francis has come and gone. Even as non-Catholics, he reminded us here in the USA that family is everything. Family is the key to happiness, success and virtue.

Photo shared from

It is a bit a difficult to connect to this statement when many I know, include myself came from very broken family structures. There sometimes is no fixing or mending, but merely trying to figure out ways to start new ones. However, in the end when family is damaged, all involved are broken. This bond is among the hardest to mend.

Many outsiders may judge, because perhaps they came from that strong perfect structure that the Pope spoke of. Maybe they just never seen or felt what broken means or what it even looks like. It is real, and it is a daily struggle. We all write our futures by our actions, but sometimes our futures are altered by the actions of others. Perhaps this is part of "everything happens for a reason". I don't know. In the end, I truly feel that a broken family structure is the worst pain and anxiety that many in the world carry with them each and every single day.

So, if you took anything from the Pope this weekend, take away the idea of freeing your mind from judgement. There is no need for you to judge and add more stress and anxiety to folks that already suffer from their own struggles inside. Let's love and respect one another the same way we would want to be treated. Let us refocus on the definition of family, as we all know it is not always blood relations.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

An Inspiring story of one man, one motorcycle and his mission to bring Suicide awareness to the forefront.

A year ago I was making my way into work one morning. Only that day turned out to be a different morning, which changed my mood for the rest of the day and honestly the next few days there after.

I had just parked and was walking to the main door to scan in. When I saw a guy messing around with a MSR universal windscreen. He was attempting to install it on an old beautiful BMW. I have a huge soft spot for the vintage bikes and if I had the money, I would probably have a garage of vintage BMW, Suzuki, Honda, Indian...well you get the idea. Nonetheless, many of you all know me, I am not that type of person to just walk on by without starting a conversation. This guys had his bike was fully packed up with luggage and I knew he was about to embark on a journey. Only his journey was a life mission.

Photo taken by Chris Michael, visit his blog to see more photos of his bike and the folks he met along the way.
After my evaluation of what was going on I finally had approached him and asked if he needed help. He looked up somewhat happy that someone was there and offering assistance. We got to talking and went through introductions. He said his name was Chris and he was about to start a motorcycle journey consisting of interviews with strangers all around one emotional topic, suicide. More particularly men who lost their fathers to suicide. I was floored! I was not expecting to hear that, usually in my work parking lot I meet folks off to Alaska, or Key West, or just going across country for a ride. Not often do you meet someone on such a heart felt mission for change. It was the type of movement that inspired change.

Chris went on to tell me about his Kick Starter campaign to get this series of interviews funded for and how the Suicide Prevention Association was also supporting his project. He continued with his story as he personally opened up to me that he had lost his father to suicide and the emotion, pain and struggles that brought to his family. He had just recently started coming to terms with it, and began disclosing the truth. He continued saying it was such a struggle to talk about such a topic, most folks just do not want to discuss it. I can understand that, because it seems like you mention suicide and everyone disperses. Knowing this happens, Chris wanted to make it a topic of healing. Which hence drove the passion to want to reach out to other men that had not talked about it, but were really wanting to deep down inside. Chris was amazed at the response he got from folks and the voluntary interviews that just poured in via email or phone.

After such a deep discussion I realized I really had to get in to work to start my day. We managed to get the windscreen installed as he was about to ride up to New York to record his first interview. We exchanged contact information so we could keep in touch. Fast forward to a year later and some emails between then and now, I get an email the other morning from Chris. He writes,
"Well, I just wanted to let you know that I finished the first series of audio interviews and you can read about it here, and hear the episodes at"
I hope you all can take the time to listen to these stories, as I have started doing, and open your hearts and mind to the courage it took these men to speak publicly about their fathers and suicide. I will leave you all today with another informational piece taken from Chris's blog regarding Getting Help:
If you need to talk to someone now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and you’ll be connected with a trained counselor. They can also connect you to mental health services in your area. The line is available 24/7 and is for people in crisis and those who support people in crisis. 
If you are a Veteran or a family member of a Veteran, you can access specialized crisis services through the
Confidential Veteran's crisis chat.
If you've lost someone to suicide, you may find the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's resources, stories and local groups helpful.Explore their site and connect with other survivors here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Life After Wedding Planning

For those of you reading this blog, yes, I survived wedding planning. First off, I have to say, cheers to other ladies that made it through. Heck, big cheers to the fellas as well, because we all know "mom's" like to take over. Cool and thoughtful of them, but damn right stressful.

I honestly have to say, after you sit down and reflect on the experience it really was one of the most anxiety driven experiences of my life. None of it brought on by myself or my partner. All of it brought on by others. We understood is was all in good nature, but honestly it was a nightmare. People are freaking crazy about wedding planning and it does not need to be so crazy.

Many nights I sat with my fiance questioning the idea of marriage and how nothing but stress has come of this. Many nights he and I spoke of how we need to try to stay positive and how this may just be another test from the powers that be. Many nights he just wanted to call the whole thing off, just because of the level of stress it was on both of us. Sure we could have eloped, but think about that for a minute. A wedding day with no one to party with. I could not imagine that one bit, even though I am the type of person that will make friends anywhere and everywhere. The wedding went on as planned, even though jumping off a bridge was more attractive than planning this event.

From people laughing at you because you choose not to have Bridesmaids or Groomsmen. To folks asking about center pieces, that one ever really pays attention to. To wasting money on flowers that do nothing but make people sneeze. To invites and thank you cards that people just open up and then through away in the trash. I am an earth day born child. Waste is not in my vocabulary. Sitting through listening to people laughing at the ideas I had really was a stressful thing to do. In the end, I was getting married not them. Somehow, the roles change and you get bumped off the curb. Standing your ground seems to make tension, however, it was the best thing I did. I was just sick of it all and so was my fiance.

Fast forward to the wedding day, which turned out to be the most amazing day of my life. Not something this car wrenching, bike wrenching chic would say. At the end of the whole ordeal, we had many of guests thank us for having such a relaxed and chill wedding. A wedding that did not require them to wear suits/fancy dresses, a wedding that did not have assigned sitting, a wedding that more of a house party and forced you to talk to people you have never seen before in your life. Well that was the type of day it was and that in the end was what my husband and I were trying to accomplish.

When they say the person you are going to marry creeps up on you and love smacks you in the face when you least expect it, they are not joking. Luke and I met a friends BBQ, however I was so intoxicated I do not recall ever saying much to him. Our first date however, was one of the nicest days I can remember. From that day on EVERYTHING changed.

Once you wake up the next morning, married, you think to yourself "holy shit, yesterday went by so so so fast"! Your then fiance, now "husband", try saying that ten times fast half hung over, boy is it an eye opener. Trust me I tried it! I think I got right after a gallon of coffee and 4 Advil! He was pretty much doing the same thing, all I could hear is "wifey", I have a "wifey". Those words never sounded so good. So to wrap this up, Cheers! to the couples that survived wedding planning. Life after it, is pretty damn good! Minus the damn thank you cards, "ain't nobody got time for that!"