Friday, July 30, 2010

Kicking ASS this September!!

This post is dedicated to the memory of 14-year old Alex Smythe who died January 21st of this year.

Written January 21, 2010 approximately 6:00pm:

"I would like to start this, my last post, by thanking each and every single one of you for wishing me, and my mom well. Also for providing us not only with love and support but also for the food and goodies we enjoy.

As many of you know I was diagnosed with Leukemia AML type 2, and since November 15, 2009 I have been a resident of Summerlin Hospital, fighting this disease with your help love and support.

As I finished round one of chemo with some problems, because when I was admited, I was already sick. When it was over, I was allowed to spend my birthday holiday, and New Years at home, with my Mom. I look forward to going back for round 2 much stronger than before, and with a more positive attitude.

Round 2 started, and things were so good. I was eating everything under the sun, and more, even on the days of my chemo. I look forward to my second trip home, after I kicked the effects of the meds out of my body. On tuesday, things were kind of normal, but in the afternoon, when they were giving me calcium, I felt woozy, and weird, and that night it felt like the chemo effects were starting.

In the morning my mom called Aaron to keep me company, like we have in the past, but I was out of it because of the meds. I cannot recall the time that he got there. I started feeling this abdominal pain, and asked for some morphine, and even that didn't stop the pain. It was something that persisted through the day, and when my Mom got back, we asked the nurses for more medicine, but the pain was too much. Later that night, I tried to get up, but my legs couldnt support me, but I was in my mothers arms. When she called for help, there were nurses rushing in, calling for doctors who worked so hard, while crying, trying to save me.

At 2:07 AM, I took my last breath, with the help of these amazing nurses, and doctors, while holding my mom's hand, and I said my goodbyes, while sending all the love anyone could give to my mother.

I would like to thank you mom, first of all for giving me life, and believing in me through everything.

I love you mom, and I need you to believe in you Like you believed in me, and now I need you to be strong, and fight, like you fought for me.


PS: I know you guys want to help, and the best way is to reach Aaron with questions, concerns, or donations at: I need you to understand that right now is a tough time for all of us. Thank you again."

Ok, I'll wait until you blow your nose and wipe your tears...Go ahead, take your time - I needed quite a few minutes myself....

., ready to take some action? Read Heidi's message below welcoming EVERYONE to join Team Alex! Her goal is 200 members for the September 11th walk/run. Plenty of time to mark your calendars for a great time and a great cause!

"Two years ago, Alex and I ran the 5K for the Candlelighters and we had a blast! We were very impressed with the entire event. Alex loved the hot breakfast afterwards as well as all of the fun events (he came home with multi-colored spray painted hair and a huge smile).

I could have never imagined that this year I would be heading up a team in his memory. Alex always said I talked too much and now I am his voice and I will use it to get the word out to as many people as I can about this wonderful organization.

This event consists of a one mile walk, a 5K walk and a 5K race. Afterwards there will be a wonderful hot breakfast as well as activities for the entire family. Strollers and pets (on a leash) are welcome!

If you are unable to participate in the event, then please donate, in honor of Alex. Everyone who donates will receive a Team Alex bracelet. .
Those who come out and join us will also receive a Team Alex t-shirt.

We need your help in order to support the many programs and services that Candlelighters provides to hundreds of families on a day to day basis.

To join in the event, click the link below, click on Register here, click on Join a team, from the drop down box find Team Alex.

If you only wish to donate, still click on register here from the Candlelighters site but then click on Sponsor participant and put in my name, Heidi Smythe (aka Alex's mom).

Again, thank you to everyone for their continued support!"

Friday, July 23, 2010

The ABC's for the Spiritually Sick

A is for Acceptance
B is for Believe
C is for Consideration
D is for Dedication
E is for
F is for Forgive
G is for Gratitude
H is for Humility
I needs to be forgotten entirely
J is for Joyous
K is for Kindness
L is for Love
M is for Meditation
N is for Never say never
O is for Omnipresent
P is for Prayer
Q is for Quiet
R is for Remain teachable
S is for Service to others
T is for Tolerance
U is for Unity
V is for Vigilance
W is for Willingness
X is for
Y is for
Z is for

Monday, July 19, 2010

Looking Up Humility

I've been experiencing a genuine lack of Humility in my life, especially lately. I can feel the negative change in my daily activities, interactions with others and my irritability level. I know this will lead me back to drinking if I don't get a grip.

This morning I received an amazing email from a friend about Humility. The subject is one that I still cannot really wrap my head around. Upon reading the email, I thought to reach out and ask others what their take on Humility was and to ask for some feedback.

That launched me into a desire to go deeper. I look at google images on Humility, to read various blogs about Humility, wanted to blog about it, to study it, to submerge myself in it.

I don't want to lose what I have found in my sobriety but if I'm going to be honest with myself, I know it's just a matter of time before I do, if I continue this selfish, self-centered way of living.

This post will be the first of a series on Humility. My thoughts, ideas, concepts, and such are not based on knowing Humility, they will be based on seeking it. I need more of this in my life and this is my "out loud" study on the topic.

As I've been taught, any adventure I start should begin with a Prayer to help me stay out of me and stay right sized...

The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
That where there is hatred,
I may bring love.
That where there is wrong,
I may bring the spirit of forgiveness.
That where there is discord,
I may bring harmony.
That where there is error,
I may bring truth.
That where there is doubt,
I may bring faith.
That where there is despair,
I may bring hope.
That where there are shadows,
I may bring light.
That where there is sadness,
I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort,
than to be comforted.
To understand,
than to be understood.
To love,
than to be loved.
For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.

For those of us in recovery, this Prayer is known as the 11th Step Prayer. It's amazing, as you can see. The few times I have read it, it speaks to me in specifics with ways I can better myself, thus gaining more of an understanding of Humility and what it is like to acutally live in it.

The following is a snipette from my friend's email on Humility. Some personal messages were deleted - my apologies if the flow is choppy.

"SO – to me – in short, Humility is to get yourself down to right size. Not to be better than or less than – but understanding that you are “equal” too all. Being Humble means to continuously take an inventory of yourself daily and acknowledge and accept your character defects when they arise so that you can remain teachable in asking God a saner and more desirable way for you to handle an unmanageable situation. You strive to be continuously teachable seeking God’s Will for you and not your own. ...we have to practice on a daily basis letting them go in order for us to have Humility and obtain serenity and peace. I like the saying - "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. "Ism" = Insecure, Selfish Me. "Ism" = I, Self, Me (The Ism is what holds us hostage...). In doing this – we allow ourselves to realize it is NOT all about us and we are able to practice, love, tolerance, patience, and Humility – when we react with our character defects (insecurity, self-centerdness, pride, etc.) we loose the ability to be teachable, acquire Humility and be of service to others. ...we have to get out of ourselves and our old way of thinking or it will kill us. I know that I LOVE to think about me, me, me – I annoy ME all the time – so I have to do this on a daily basis as well (at least try too to the best of my ability). When I am feeling unstable or in fear – I am obviously lacking any kind of faith in my higher power, so Humility is unreachable for me. ...pause when agitated or doubtful and ask God for the right decision or action (you know the drill, act – don’t react)."

I have been blessed in my 3 years in the city to have met some great people and to actually be even more blessed by some of their friendships. Recently, I had to opportunity to spend part of my day with a particular person that showed me exactly what it was like to be completely self-centered and a bit arrogant. Traits I am all too familiar with. It made me not want to be near this person much longer. You see, I already live with me 24/7 and cannot escape so being stuck around another just like me, no thank you. It only took 24 hours to see the lesson in my encounter with this person.

Within the same day, I came across an individual that was entirely "different". This person ooozed peace, calm, love, kindness, serenity, Humility. I found myself scooting over closer to her in the hopes of obtaining some of this by having a close proximity to her. Nope, not gonna happen that way.

This person spoke without of sense of entitlement, without a sense of "being smarter than" or "having being right". She spoke from the heart, out of genuine love, hope and concern for others. I knew right away that she possessed what I wanted. I was instantly thankful that I had a few moments with her, to SEE what Humility was like in action.

I'm going to stop here and get ready for my day. As I study more on Humility, I will share what that "Something Within" places in my path next.

Blessings to your day...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Quit Your Whining

Every morning, I take my dog out to the football fields behind my apartment around 5:00AM so she can run, sniff and play while I read my daily inspirations. Today's hit like a brick and I had to share.

"If you have time to whine and complain about something, then you have the time to do something about it." -Anthony J. D'Angelo

I don't know who this Anthony guy is but if I really wanted to, I'd look him up. I don't need to - I got what I needed from him with this one sentence.

My life has been awesome these last two years. Amazing what happens when you sober up. Lately, I've been reminded of a long lost dream of mine that I thought I had put away for good that last time I started pursuing it and failed miserably. It's not a coincidence that failing and being a drunk go together like fried bologna and mayo. Wow, it's hard to be a vegetarian sometimes. But I digress...

I've only told a few close friend about this but here it goes...I want to be a nurse. I want to go back to school, challenge myself again, get into Nursing school and make a difference in my life. I want to help another one of God's kids. Lord knows I've had enough surgeries and experience with hospitals to know a little bit about how it feels to interact with both great nurses and nurses that should not be allowed near sick people. It would be a great service to use that personal knowledge and use it for someone else's comfort.

God has better plans for me but I needed this job to teach me lessons about patience, personal growth, dealing with others, standing up for myself and most of all, believing in myself. When I leave this job, I will be taking so much more with me than when I came in.

So, the quote above told me that I could do one of two things with my future. Keep whining and being a victim about it or make a change and do something about it.

Stay tuned for what's in store. Things just got interesting...

Listen Up Kids!

The following post was written by my good friend Leslee back in June. It moved me so much as a mother that I asked if I could post it on my blog.

A friend has invited me to help her write an article for a local publication. The theme is nurturing your children’s spiritual life. We talked last night about choosing three points to make that would be most valuable in the lives of our kids. The first thing that popped into my head is the importance of intuition and listening to yourself.

I have a terrible, terrible memory so it may be that I just don’t remember BUT I don’t think I was ever told to listen to myself and the feelings that rise from within me. I knew to listen to my teachers, my parents, other adults in my life, and even my friends. It never occurred to me to listen to ME. In fact, I’d say I was often even afraid to listen to myself. When I knew the answers to questions in class I was terrified to raise my hand and respond for fear I’d be wrong and look stupid. I remember times when I went with the pack and joined in on not so nice behavior b/c following others was easier than not. I’m sure there was a little voice or a tug at my heart reminding me to do no harm, but I ignored that voice until the deed was done. Then I had to deal with the consequences of either getting in trouble, losing a friend, or feeling guilty.

I believe that teaching our children to stay connected and listen to the voice within is vital to their emotional health. I caught a few seconds of an Oprah episode yesterday. It was long enough to hear Oprah speak to this idea. The show topic must have been sexual abuse. She said that our kids need to pay attention to those “this doesn’t seem right” feelings and speak up when they have them. Too many kids stay silent when they are being hurt because somewhere along the line they’ve learned that they should listen to everyone else but themselves. We are wired with this protective instinct for a reason. We know when something isn’t right. Instead of listening to the outside pressure, whether from peers or “trusted” adults, our kids ought to be encouraged to listen to the quiet inner voice or feeling that is saying no, no, no.

So if I had any parenting advice for myself and others I would say to teach our children that they have an inner compass and how best to use it.

Leslee Horner's blog can be found here>>

Friday, July 9, 2010

For Bette

I originally posted this on 5/13/10 but I feel the need to share it again, for Bette.

This song has beautiful lyrics. Each time I hear it, I think of Bette, a lady I know that has suffered amazing pain, fear and uncertainty this year. I smile when I think of her because she has Faith and I know her rewards are going to be great. Her strength continue to amaze me and many, many others. Her God is Great.

JOSH WILSON ~ Before the Morning

Do you wonder why you have to
Feel the things that hurt you
If there’s a God who loves you where is He now

Maybe there are things you can’t see
And all those things are happening
To bring a better ending

Someday somehow you’ll see you’ll see

Would you dare would you dare to believe
That you still have a reason to sing
Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It can’t compare to the joy that’s coming
So hold on you gotta wait for the light
Press on and just fight the good fight
Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It’s just the dark before the morning

My friend you know how this all ends
You know where you’re going
You just don’t know how you’ll get there
So say a prayer

And hold on cause there’s good for those who love God
But life is not a snapshot
It might take a little time but you’ll see the bigger picture

Once you feel the weight of glory
All your pain will fade to memory

It’s just the hurt before the healing
Oh the pain that you’ve been feeling
It’s just the dark before the morning
(credits to

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

When "I'm Sorry" Is Not Enough

There are some wrongs that can never be made right. Some things from the past can never be made good again. No amount of “I’m sorry’s” or “Please forgive me’s” will make a bit of difference. They almost seem to make everything worse.

When the hateful words have been said, when the trust has been broken, there might not ever be a way of making it better. Some people just don’t care about you anymore. Some people write you out of their lives and gladly never look back. Some simply choose not to forgive, not wanting to let the person “off the hook”. And some just don’t have to capacity to let go of the pain.

Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter. People have the right to hold on to the hurt as long as they choose. Most of us have done some terrible things and forgiveness is just not an option for those we’ve hurt.

When we, as the “wrongdoers” are not granted restitution for our mistakes, we have to accept this. If we’ve been honest with our part in the errors we’ve made, asked humbly for forgiveness and offered to do whatever we can to make it better, we’ve done all we can do. If our loved one cannot or will not accept our request, we can go no further. We’re drunks, not Superheroes.

The pain of not being forgiven cuts deep, sometimes much deeper than the original reason such forgiveness is sought. Maybe that’s the motive for our loved ones not to forgive us. Maybe they want us to hurt for as long as possible. They want to dig in the spurs for the rest of our lives to get back at us for the mess we’ve put them through. Maybe the love and trust is gone forever and the relationship is damaged beyond repair. This continued pain for past wrongs hurts just as it is intended to. It's our turn to see how it feels.

In recovery, we grow hearts; we feel everything. We no longer run from the pain or numb our spirits from consequences. But we also grow backbones. We no longer crawl before anyone, even those we love dearly that we so desperately want to mend fences with but will not allow it.

When the wreckage from our past stares us in the face and no restitution is granted, it’s over. There’s absolutely nothing more we can do. Going back and re-writing the past is impossible.

Our responsibility now is to ourselves and our fellows. We put one foot in front of the other, hold our head high with the knowledge we would never do those things again, and be the best person to ourselves and to others that we can, for one day at a time.

Lack of forgiveness does not mean defeat. It is not an excuse to wallow in more self pity. It is a chance to humble ourselves to the fact that we have been hurtful beings and to own our part of that. Then all we can do is move forward, learn from it and let go.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Prescription from Dr. "What's Important, M.D." for "All of Us"

• Your health is up to you, as is the life you live. Creating better health creates a better life.
• Love your lover. Hug your children. Be a good friend. Care about others and let them care about you. Apologize. Laugh a lot. Have fun.
• Make soup for a sick friend. Don’t save your special things – use them every day.
• Forgive. Time heals. Make peace with your past.
• Regard your tone of voice. Choose your words wisely; you can never take them back.
• Stay in touch with people you care about.
• Treat others well.
• Give out at least one compliment every day.
• Simplify. Have a regular cleanup day.
• If you don’t like something, change it.
• Spend your money on experiences more than on things. The memories will last longer.
• Focus on what is working in your life and do more of it. You grow and thrive by what excites you – that is passion!
• Be compassionate.
• Quit complaining; it only makes you and everyone around you miserable.
• Don’t be afraid to learn new things. Be receptive to feedback; it will help you to grow.
• Leave 10 minutes early for everything, no matter where you are headed.
• Anger is impotent. Let it go.
• Confidence is rocket fuel for your life. Cultivate it by feeding your mind with positive thoughts and by ignoring the negative ones.
• What you think about yourself is more important that what others think. Say something good about yourself every day.
• Have humility.
• Embrace gratitude by giving thanks every day – no matter what happens. Lear from your bad experiences/
• Anticipate roadblocks. Life is full of doubts and fears.
• Dare to take risks. Everything happens for a reason, though you many never know what it is.
• Give more than you take.
• Listen more than you speak.
• Leave a legacy.
• When people tell you that you can’t, don’t listen. Anything is possible. Only YOU can do it.
• Repeat this daily. Live one-day-at-a-time.

Source: Las Vegas Business Press Volume 27, Issue 26 Column Writer Robin Jay, Business Coach

UPDATE: Livia to the Rescue!!

Quick Update of Eva and Livia...

Livia is fitting in just great with the family, even the family Beagle.

On Twitter this morning, Amanda (Eva's mom) posted this:

@TeamEva Good news/bad news...Livia indeed does what she is trained for and saves Eva's life. :)

@TeamEva (@IHavDefx) Livia helped by letting me know that she stopped breathing and was blue-ish and started stimulating her. It was awesome!!'s that for amazing! If you were a part of helping bring Livia home, YOU made a difference today.

And for that, I love you.