Archives for October 2013

A Love Story

I know some of you are familiar with the Tripp Halstead story. I have been following it on Facebook for a very long time now. This is the story of a beautiful little boy and the never ending love and commitment of his parents.

love Tripp Halstead story baby

Almost a year ago on October 29, Tripp was playing on the playground at daycare and a huge limb fell out of a very high tree. It fell on his head and crushed his skull into many pieces. They took him to Winder-Barrow hospital and then flew him to Egleston Childrens hospital in Atlanta.

This is an excerpt from their website teamboom: (!our-story/c7h5) As soon as we got there, they let us see him. He looked perfect. No blood, no cuts, he looked so peaceful. Then the Dr started telling us how bad it was, and it took me some time to realize they were saying he could die. It was a slice to my heart and soul. So the next few hours after that were a total blur. When I dropped my happy, perfect boy off at daycare that morning, it might of been the last time I saw his smile or his eyes open or him awake. I will never take another day with my baby for granted. [Read more…]

Happy People Inspire Me!

I am currently reading a book on happiness and it has prompted much thought on the topic.  Since our focus this month is on inspiring people, I decided to write about “Happy People” because I find them to be very inspiring.  Who is the happiest person you know?  Can you think of more than one?  I have to admit, I had to stop and think  for a few minutes about my answer to this question.  Three people came to mind, two of them are no longer with me and one I am blessed to live with each and every day!

The first is my Dad, who was known for his belly laugh and overall cheery disposition.  He had one of those laughs that could be heard across the room.  He was always whistling a tune and hearing that happy sound is one of my fondest memories of my Dad.  Later, when he fought the battle for his life against cancer, he continued to be an inspiration.  He faced his illness with grace, courage and optimism until the very end.


The second person on my list was my Dad’s sister, my Aunt Margaret.   [Read more…]

Corrie Ten Boom – An Inspirational Lady

When trying to pick an inspirational person for this series, I had a hard time deciding who I wanted to highlight.  I can think of so many inspirational people that I have met or read about.

I decided to highlight a book I read about an amazing woman and her family who helped hide Jewish friends during WWII.  The book is called The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, together with Elizabeth Sherrill and John Sherrill.

Corrie Ten Boom The Hiding Place

This story details the life of a brave Dutch woman and her family and the events that lead to their eventual arrest and imprisonment.   [Read more…]

Remembering the Fallen

Today we are featuring the telling of a story by a man that I (Julie) worked with a few years ago. He served his country in the U.S. Air Force. Recently he posted this on Facebook and I found it both   touching and inspiring. I think so many of us forget many of the things our men and women in uniform go through. This story is a story of tragedy, remembrance and honoring. We must not forget the sacrifices they have made. Please say a little prayer tonight for the brave men of Yukla-27



Yukla Memorial yukla memorial 3


We’re Going Down.’
The last three words spoken by Yukla-27’s Aircraft Commander Skip Rogers and the same three words that will haunt me forever.
Eighteen years ago today, September 22, 1995, the world lost 24 of the finest men to ever pull on a flight suit. They were friends, family, co-workers, and most of all…..they were professionals!
I had the honor to fly with each and every one of them and knew several both as friends and fellow airborne warriors. Ernie Parrish worked for me in the Area Specialist shop at the 381st and was a fast burner in the making. He always had a smile for everyone and his return from his first flight was a dousing that will live in infamy! Anyone who was at Elmendorf AFB that morning had to have been touched in a way that can never be forgotten…..I know I was. The horror, the smoke, the sounds of sirens coming from every direction, and knowing that there was not a miracle left in the world big enough to change the outcome of that crash. To lose so many, so quickly, brings back the tears that never go away. The pain of the loss the never seems to lessen.
Everyone did everything right in the aftermath of that horrible day….culminating with a Memorial Service that will never be forgotten. I have a tape of that service…..but it is one tape that I will never watch…..I don’t think I could handle it emotionally. Just writing this requires multiple stoppages to clear the tears and to take that long cleansing breath that never seems to cleanse.
Elmendorf AFB built a beautiful memorial to the crew and I have had the honor to visit that memorial site many times in the last eighteen years, including my latest visit this year. Each time it is just as beautiful and the trees are that much taller…..and the pain remains and the tears flow. Tears that mark the loss, and the sadness of the loss, of so many friends… many professionals. Elmendorf built the site by the Eagle House…..a place for rescued Bald Eagles who have been injured and can no longer fly. It is so fitting to have them there….for the YUKLA callsign (that means Eagle)…..and to have them watching over our loved ones who fell and who also can never fly again.
I look forward to every trip I make to Alaska to visit with my son and his wonderful family. But I also look forward to making the journey to the YUKLA-27 Memorial to share some special moments and many, many tears with my fallen comrades. My incredible wife Mary and I will be making that journey again next year and I will most certainly go to the memorial once again to honor those 24 airborne heroes with my pain, with my pride, and with my tears.
To the men and families of YUKLA-27; I salute you. God Speed!

A Journey Back To Health – One Woman’s Amazing Weight Loss Story

I would like to introduce you to an amazing woman who is on an awesome journey towards weight loss. Meet Kelli a 40 year old woman who has lost 134.3 pounds to be exact!! I have known Kelli since she was a little girl. (Ok…now that is making me feel old!!!) I know that this is something she has struggled with for a long time. Her story is very motivating as her health had to take a big dip before she found the motivation. (Isn’t it that way for most of us!!??) But find it she did and sometimes it makes me tired just reading of all of the exercise and working out she is doing. So sit back, relax and read Kelli’s story. I hope it inspires you as much as it did me!! If  you would like to continue to follow Kelli’s progress, check our her motivational weight loss page at



What made you start your weight loss journey?

Weight loss has been a lifelong battle for me. Even though I played all sports in school, I was always a lot bigger than the other girls in my class. As time went on, I graduated from college and started working in high stress environment working long hours, rarely getting a lunch and either not eating all day or living on fast food with little to no exercise. That was a recipe for disaster. Ultimately I tipped the scales at 368 pounds. Even at 5’11 (5’10 with spine degeneration), that’s a lot of weight for anyone to carry. When I thought things couldn’t get worse, my Dermatologist prescribed Accutane to me for acne which wasn’t that bad. I basically broke out the week before and after my period, but this had gone on for like 15 years and I was tired of not getting results. What a mistake that was! Within a few short months I ended up on medical disability at the age of 36! Then I was hospitalized four times in four years (side effects from Accutane). At one point I was so sick that I was seeing 20 different medical professionals and sleeping 18 hours a day with medical co-pay bills exceeding $10,000 a year! I literally could not get out of bed. My body just wouldn’t move. Prior to that, regardless of 90 hour work weeks in a high stress leadership capacity, I was always an outgoing, high energy person who motivated others. My last position was Regional Director for EDS Credit Union in Michigan. After a year and a half in bed, one of my friends turned me onto her holistic practitioner, Sandy Waters, RN in Waterford who practiced Nutritional Response Testing (NRT/Muscle Testing). At that point I would have tried anything. It took 6 months of taking Organic Whole Food Supplements for me to be able to get out of bed. As soon as I was strong enough, I went right to a local fitness and training center and signed up for six months of personal training sessions. I was definitely on a quest to get my life back! I lost close to 100 pounds on my own in 10 months time, but then I fell into a terrible funk after my last hospitalization that I just couldn’t pull myself out of. My doctor prescribed Paxil for anxiety and depression. I could have eaten a house. I gained 60 pounds in two months! I was so mad, frustrated and just felt defeated. All that hard work down the drain! It was then that I decided to have weight loss surgery. Which is what I did on December 20, 2012. Knowing what I know now I wish I would have never had the surgery. I could have lost the weight on my own as hard as I’ve been training. Otherwise the surgery was a breeze. My Reiki Master/Teacher prepared my body before the surgery, sent me energy during the surgery and afterwards. I never once got sick and I was eating solid foods in 5 days, but that was part of the problem. Nothing changed. I can eat all the same foods, eat the same amount, sugar doesn’t make me sick, nothing. I had to change for me and I worked out hard. I lost this weight, the surgery wasn’t much help. Plus I recently found out that I don’t methylate (this means process toxins out of her body…I had to ask too!) and I’m Leptin Resistant, so I’m on supplements to correct that. And I started drinking Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar with Mother each day and the weights just been falling off me. There’s so much more, but I could be here all day listing the things that I did, things I tried, holistic healing, etc, but most of it you can read on my FB page.

How did you lose the weight?

A lot of hard work, self motivation, consistent dedication and determination! 🙂 I made a bold move and announced my weight loss journey and my six month goal on facebook. My plan was to lose 50 pounds by year end which I did. I checked in every time I worked out and posted my weekly weight loss numbers. I was training up to 14 hours in a week between two gyms and physical therapy and that was with two bad knees and a bad back. So all of my exercises had to be modified which made weight loss a lot slower for me. After losing 25 pounds I started posting weekly progression photos which was pretty powerful. What I found is that I was motivating others and in return their compliments and encouragement was motivating me right back.

I initially started working out with a personal trainer at VIP Fitness & Training in July 2011. I trained with Jackie 2-3 times a week and then joined Great Lakes Athletic Club for water aerobic classes and swimming to get my cardio in. Some weeks I was training up to 14 hours and that was after 5 knee surgeries and tipping the scales at 368. I desperately needed exercise that was easy on my joints. My goal was to lose 50 pounds by year end which is exactly what I did. In January 2012, I switched trainers and started weight lifting with Earl Hook. He has a program called “Pure Power.” It’s no joke! I was training 3-4 hours, 3x’s a week. The first day of training I could barely walk, sit or lift my fork at dinner and that’s no exaggeration. And that was AFTER working out 6 full months with a personal trainer PLUS cardio 5-7 days a week! That guy was hardcore, but he also got results. Shortly after starting Earls program, one of the guys that I graduated with, Tom Bos who is part owner of World Gym in Waterford sent me a message. He said, if you’re really serious about losing the weight, I’ll give you a FREE membership to my club and personally train you until you hit your goal. Talk about a GIFT from God…WOW! I’ve been training with Tom since March 2012.

Diet wise I slowly made lifestyle changes that I could live with; high protein, low carbs, low sugar. I took several nutrition classes and the holistic practitioners that I worked with were always educating me on nutrition and holistic practices. It was a true learning experience that I’m very grateful for. I also discovered which was a great tool for tracking my food (calories, protein, carbs, fats, etc). If you haven’t tried it, you should. It’s an eye opening experience. in the last six months I discovered the Paleo Diet (Caveman Diet). If you haven’t heard of it…Please Google it. It’s the healthiest eating lifestyle out there. It’s literally curing autoimmune diseases. You lose weight, lean out, get stronger, have more energy and your health improves dramatically. There’s no question that organic whole food heals…It’s proven.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Initially I was self motivated to save my life and get my health back on track. I wanted to take the stress off my joints, my knees and back were killing me. Plus diabetes and heart disease run on both sides of my family and those are definitely limbs of the family tree that I want to avoid.  I was inspired by all of the motivational saying and affirmations that I saw on facebook. They always gave me a positive energy boost. Plus as I started to lose weight others noticed and they always complimented me and encouraged my weight loss journey in person and on facebook. Recently I found myself being inspired by all of the other women at the gym who are there with me every day of the week. It takes a special person to have that level of dedication and commitment. Other things that motivated me were contests online like,, and many, many more just like it. I also began training for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk for Breast Cancer…60 miles in 3 Days. So I followed a grueling 6 day training schedule for that. Thankfully the finish line is in sight…I’ll be walking in Atlanta October 18-20. In July I signed up to walk The Biggest Loser Run/Walk series 15k (9.32 miles) in Chicago. That was my first official race which of course I walked because I literally can’t run. It’s just way too hard on my joints. Since then I walked The Michigan Mile & The Crim 10Miler in August, plus the Detroit Woman’s Half Marathon (13.1 miles) in September. At the end of October I’m walking the Halloween Hustle 10K (6.21 miles) at Stoney Creek Metro Park if anyone wants to join me. 🙂

What is the hardest part?

The hardest part is to make it a lifestyle and keep going day after day after day. Especially the last 6 months training 7 days a week, most days twice a day. It’s a lot of work and patience. I got through by treating training like a job. I scheduled my work outs on my calendar and showed up to train like my pay check depended on it. Plus I had a lot of motivation to keep going. Someone was training me for FREE! #1 and that’s a huge gift that I couldn’t pass up. #2 I wouldn’t want to disappoint my trainer after all the time and effort that he put in. #3 This journey is for me! 🙂 #4 I’ve got a lot of people following my journey so I feel a sense of obligation to keep going for them. The old adage of, “One day at a time” is really how you do it.

What is the best part?

The best part is the relief that my joints are getting and how much my health has improved overall. Getting my energy levels back. Healing my gut and eliminating food allergies. After recent testing, I have a heart rate of 50 which they said is an athlete’s heart. I look and feel so much better. It’s so nice to go to a sporting event, concert or theater performance and fit in the seat. To be able to ride the rides at Cedar Point again. To fly in an airplane with leg and hip room and not have to use a seat belt extension. To fit comfortably in my car and other cars. To be able to ride my mountain bike again. To fit into size 14 clothing again! I’m still an 18 on the bottom, but I can’t wait to shop at a regular clothing store! I’m looking forward to hitting my goal and buying new clothes! 🙂 Having the option to go zip lining, ride in a helicopter or anything else that has a weight requirement. Comparing my before and after photos to see how far I’ve come. Receiving compliments everywhere I go on how great I look. And most of all…It makes me so HAPPY to know that I played a part in motivating and inspiring others on their journey.

Kelli photo 1BEFORE

Kelli's progressProgress Pictures!!

Kelli photo 7

Addiction: The Man Who Beat the Odds

Addiction is a topic not a lot of people like to talk about, but many of us know someone who struggle or have been touched by it personally. I have worked in the addiction field for a few years now and know this is not a battle easily won.

If you look at the numbers that are based on government data, you will find that while almost 10 percent of adults have some sort of addiction problem, only about 13% will ever seek help for it.  That right there is a scary statistic in its own right.  Most who need help do not ever seek it.

If you really want a rough estimate that sort of gives a decent answer to the question, you can always say “about 5% stay sober.”  This is not far from the truth.  In all actuality, you can see a sort of drop off rate as people try to stay sober for longer and longer.  In other words, if 100 people try to get sober, about 5% of them will make it to 90 days sober.

I would like to introduce you to a man who beat the odds.

Rick Schietart

I have know Rick for about 5 years now. He is an awesome guy. I love how he shares his recovery with others. I love how his greatest joy now is helping others achieve the same success he has achieved. Facebook has become a place where he shares his mission, his inspirations and his joys in helping others. Rick  just recently celebrated his 10th Anniversary in sobriety. This is SUCH an accomplishment. I have worked with hundreds of addicts in my career and I must say, not many reach this milestone. I am so incredibly proud of him. Not only is he sober, but he has done it the “right” way. By this I mean he has been God led. A lot of addicts I work with do not want to hear this, but I have yet to see anyone remain sober without God. Beating alcoholism is the hardest job a person will ever undertake. So please, be inspired by this story. I know addiction has touched so many people. Be inspired by Rick and know – recovery is possible.



My name is Rick S. and I am a recovering alcoholic. That statement alone took me 20 years to accept, yet that statement sets me free every time. It also took an extreme amount of pain for me to push my pride aside and do something about it. I am a 3rd generation alcoholic and a twelve step supporter. Just recently I celebrated my 10 years completely clean and sober and on my anniversary date a lot of my past comes flooding in, reminding how bad things can really get. You see I never was a bad person, but alcoholism is cunning, baffling, and powerful. It transformed me from a loving child to an emotionally vacant, useless human being who was an empty pit of want. I was a fortunate person, I always had my needs met by a loving family, yet that hole in my soul seemed to get bigger every year, and my wants became endless. I became robotic in my daily routine, work , drink, buy something, repeat……..In that selfish journey you can imagine the love ones in your life will try and help or request you stop, but I would not and never truly understood the POWER of my addiction. You see I had a love affair with the bottle only alcoholics can understand. It is all consuming, removing all good from ones life and making you believe the world would be better without you.

My last 6 months of using I was left in a 300,000 dollar home I thought I needed, surrounded by more material items then anyone possibly could use , wife  and family finally having enough of the mental and emotional torture I was putting them through, and I was left alone with my thoughts and 20 years of alcohol induced decisions. By me for months rarely eating, in and out of alcoholic delusions, locked in the darkest depressing room I could find, with a pistol………..They say the night is always darkest right before the dawn, and for me for some reason, it had to get that dark for me to experience the light. I had a complete spiritual experience, that is very hard for me to put into words, but let’s just say my path became focused, and my higher power embraced me and let me know I had a PURPOSE TO FULFILL and I was loved.

So at 36 I started everything new. There was no more home, career, wife or things, but now I looked at it different. Nothing to hold me back, only time to get me back better than ever, not for the sake of financial or material gain, but a new direction, spiritual fulfillment, because that had been lacking forever, and without it, PEACE can never be found. I must say a lot of fear was there, and still can be at times, but the exact opposite of that is FAITH, with that I can move mountains.  So I went to treatment, followed directions, became teachable. Something I never was because you must be humble to be teachable. But I had to do it, so I tried. I completed treatment, followed my therapists recommendations and lived in a 3/4 house after treatment in which daily life is based on recovery first everything else second. What a breath of fresh air, 16 guys of various ages just trying to stay clean and sober. I really needed that to learn how to live life again, because it’s not just about the using, but the behaviors that surrounded it, that if not addressed will bring me back to the substance. I ended up staying 9 months in that step down environment and learned a lot along the way. I shared a lot of wonderful moments there with my brothers of sobriety, and unfortunately some died. Yet for me, I really had a mission and wanted to live.  Many miracles happened along the way. My ex-wife was very happy I was trying to get sober and she signed off on our previous home, which allowed me to buy a fixer upper in my recovery community and also allowed me to finally give a gift from the heart and send her to school. I began to understand that our loved ones suffer more than I did; she had to watch me die a little bit more each day. So I made amends verbally and gave her that gift.  We never became remarried. I learned that love is not to wanna hold on so much as it is to let go. So I let her go with a kiss and a prayer that she would find happiness, and I continued to heal.

Today, as I stated before, I have 10 years clean. I now work at the same rehabilitation facility that I was a patient at, and I see miracles there every day. I make 1/4 of the income I use to make, but my heart is full and I want for nothing. I try and have only positive interactions with people in my daily life and really examine my motives so I no longer will reach out with less than good intentions. I figured out it’s not all about me, and I have a daily relationship with my higher power. So in 10 short years my life has come full circle, from light to complete darkness, to illumination better and brighter than ever. Life on life’s terms. GRATEFUL JUST TO BE and to be a part of the healing……..

Yours In Sobriety.  ( Rick S.)