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Me Dad 1975Two weeks ago, my dad lost his 6 month battle with Stage IV Colon Cancer. No matter how prepared you “think” you are, the loss of a parent is heartbreaking. Growing up my dad was this vibrant, physically fit man who was invincible in my eyes. Yet as I watched him slowly wither away, he became unrecognizable. Frail, irritated (well he was always irritated), stubborn (that’s in the blood line), basically not the person I once knew him to be. His illness came like a thief in the night and was too aggressive even for someone in good health to face.

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Read more: Losing My Dad & The Lessons it Taught Me

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Vicki Gunvalson BlogMy daughter and I recently attended the Southern Women’s Show and met Vicki Gunvalson from the Real Housewives of Orange County (RHOOC). Originally, I wasn’t expecting too much since TV celebrities I’ve met in the past haven’t exactly wowed me. In watching RHOOC for many years, Vicki is portrayed as an independently successful & feisty woman who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, knows how to party and can be a little coo coo crazy if pushed to the edge. Nevertheless, I was intrigued to meet the woman behind the gates of the OC.

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Read more: How Ms. Woo Hoo Reminded Me to Keep it Real

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Generous w/ TimeWhile watching my son's basketball game last week, I noticed a boy who had just finished playing and was sitting on the bleachers waiting to be picked up. Moments later a professional looking dad walked in with a little girl in a sparkly princess dress. The dad spotted his son and quickly rushed over to greet him. As the son stood up, the dad eagerly asked "how was the game?" to which the son replied "we won and I had the winning point!" Without hesitation, the dad, who was a few inches shorter than his son, reached up, grabbed his son's face, looked him right in the eyes and said "that's FANTASTIC!! Way to Go!!" This father was gleaming with radiant joy like I had never seen! He held his son in a warm embrace, patted him on the back and said "I'm so proud of you!" I could sense how much those words meant to the son even though his dad didn't see his amazing slam dunk in person! Nothing else mattered in that moment except praising his son for a game well played and sharing in his victory.

It was a loving Kodak moment I silently witnessed with great joy in my heart. As I sat there smiling to myself, it reminded me of how being in the moment and giving someone your undivided attention is one of the greatest gifts you can offer. I'm guilty of getting wrapped up in my busy life, barley having a free moment to myself by the end of the week. You put yourself on "autopilot" trying to multi-task everything you need to get done only to realize there aren't enough hours in one day. I'm here to tell you how important it is to STOP and smell the roses my friend.

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Read more: Slow Down & Be Generous with Your Time

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196A couple of years ago my husband and I were in a life-changing accident. We were headed to church when it began to drizzle ever so slightly. As we approached the highway’s on-ramp I had a gut wrenching feeling that we should turn around. Instead of verbalizing this, I ignored my instincts and kept reading my Sunday paper. Less than 5 minutes down the road our truck began hydroplaning at 60 mph. I peered at my husband with fearful eyes knowing we were in trouble. He calmly said, “It’s okay…we’re gonna be okay”.

The normal flow of traffic on this busy four-lane highway often exceeds 75 mph or more. On this morning, we just happened to be the only car in sight as we headed into a tailspin. My husband turned into the spin while attempting to control the wheel the best he could. I screamed in horror unsure of our fate and the well-being of our two-year old in the back seat. It’s true what they say… your whole life flashes before your eyes. I had no control of making the truck stop or the end result. By the grace of God, we eventually veered into the right shoulder instead of going the opposite way into the guard rail. I can’t recall how many times we spun because it was like watching my life in slow motion. What finally stopped us was the concrete culvert that ripped off the truck’s axel. I was so worried about my son that when I looked back realizing he was okay, I burst into tears.

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Read more: My Wake-up Call

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Matches Dreams

School is back in session and the lazy days of summer are almost over! As fall approaches, think of this season as a new beginning. It’s an opportunity to reflect on what you’ve accomplished so far and what you still want to cross off your 2013 list. By this time you may have forgotten what goals you set for yourself at the start of the year or maybe you’ve resorted to making excuses as to why you haven’t successfully completed them.

Do any of these resonate with you? I’m even guilty of a few of these…

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Read more: Reignite Your Dreams

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