Overcoming obstacles with Optimism


I was fishing for dreams to share and hope to build…. I think I did well gathering both for myself and others during my time away.

Time Quote

I was fortunate to have been invited to speak to a wide variety of people the beginning of this month. This invitation took me halfway across the United States. The day after I returned home I was so exhausted I laid down in my bed early and slept for ten hours. It took me a few days to get rid of the jet lag and resume my usual schedule. It was a lot of work, but it was such an honor to have been invited.

6 Consecutive days
3,712 Miles flown round-trip
14 Presentations
2 Cities
2 Colleges (Thank you University of Iowa and Loras College for your warm hospitality)
1 Education Center (Thank you Regina Education Center. By the way, I loved being there on pajama day!)
1 Nurse’s group mixed with some amazing volunteers (Thank you University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinic nurses and volunteers for the wonderful gift of caring and compassion you provide to your patients daily.)
COUNTLESS conversations with incredible people who were willing to share their time and join me in a journey to help others learn from the lessons our lives have taught.

It was a whirlwind trip, but I always find myself gaining more than I could ever hope to offer when I hear of the impact we are capable of having on one another.



Insurance said I recovered as much as I could within a few months of my stroke, but I knew I could do more. I knew I would have to work hard, but my recovery was going to be worth every ounce of effort I put into it. It was necessary to improve beyond what I had suddenly been reduced to. Even with all of my hope, I never had the expectation that I would be back to 100% of where I was before my cerebral vascular accident (CVA). Did I want it back? Desperately! But, I also had to accept reality.


The reality, from the viewpoint on my hospital bed, was that I would never get everything back. Although, being a young stroke victim did offer a unique path to becoming a stroke survivor. I still am not graceful when I make a feeble attempt to jog, but at least I walk. My eyesight is completely missing on the left peripheral. Yet, through this I’ve come to realize a vision for a positive future has nothing to do with what your eyes see; rather, it is what your heart, mind, and soul can create for a reality.


I completely agree with C.S. Lewis. I learned. My God did I ever learn. I am extremely grateful I had this brutal teacher of life offer me these experiences. Growing up with epilepsy, I never would have thought I could have seizures which would nearly end my life. I never would have been able to comprehend the idea of brain surgery. I never understood what a stroke was. Why should’ve I? No one young faces things like these. (At least, that was the innocence I used to maintain.) I faced brutal teachers.


Yet, these battles have created an inner strength I never could have imagined. Within these unfortunate experiences, I have learned so much about our brains and bodies. I truly believe it is not only a need but also a gift to help share these life lessons and teach others who are in the midst of facing the brutal teachings life is throwing their way. I have learned. Now it is my hope, desire, and –might I even say- responsibility to help others through this unpredictable journey known as life.

“You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.” Clay P. Bedford

“I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.” Lily Tomlin


“If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn’t want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher’s job.” Donald D. Quinn

“If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers.” Edgar W. Howe

“Labor Day is a glorious holiday because your child will be going back to school the next day. It would have been called Independence Day, but that name was already taken.” Bill Dodds

Thank you morguefile.com for the use of this photo

Thank you morguefile.com for the use of this photo

“The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.” Tom Bodett

“I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.” Winston Churchill

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