(That’s me hugging the incredible photographer Taylor Lord (who took our family photos) at the Fotolanthropy event.)
It’s been a little while since my last post, but there is a lot to catch you up on. First off, this past Tuesday I was invited to be honored at a Fotolanthropy event of the screening of Travis: A Solider’s Story. Fotolanthropy is a non-profit organization that chooses inspiring families’ stories and creates a photo album and documentary for the family to keep. They created this amazing documentary for my family (along with the incredibly talented photographer Taylor Lord and the amazing videographer Claire Huntsberger) . Check it out at www.fotolanthropy.com/agrayfaith/
The event was held at The Majestic Theater in Dallas, TX. I got to stand on the stage with other families that have inspiring stories that have been documented by Fotolanthropy. This event couldn’t have come at a better time as I’m going through a sad breakup. I had no idea what this night would do for my soul!
The event was on Veteran’s Day and the man being honored was a Veteran and a quadruple amputee. His name is SGT. Travis Mills (check out Travisthemovie.com). Travis was married and had just become the dad of a beautiful little girl when, after dropping his backpack on a land mine received severe damage to both of his arms and legs. After serious medication, surgeries, and coming to the realization that he had lost parts of his legs and arms, he came to the conclusion that his family needed him and he wasn’t going to let this challenge define him.
I watched as the video took us through Travis’ time in physical therapy. He talked about how his physical therapist told him that she would work as hard as he would and she wasn’t there to babysit him. He took her words to heart and instead of working out for his daily 1-hour time slot, he worked out for 4 hours a day. We all watched as he learned how to sit up, walk with his new prosthetic legs, and learned how to use his prosthetic arm all while laughing, cracking jokes, singing, and dancing.
There were images of his daughter lying on his chest looking up at him, not knowing there was anything different about her dad, just content that she had him there with her! This brought up a lot of emotion for me, because even though the circumstances are way different than mine, Ellie was about the age of Travis’ daughter when Andrew got sick, and she was often laying on a hospital bed with him. Mostly it made me sad because the one thing Ellie wants is her dad and I can’t give her that. I could have cried for days, but instead I cried a little and allowed my heart to be inspired and encouraged by this man’s will to not just live, but to live life to the fullest.
The film showed him joyfully doing household duties. You could tell he loved his family so much and that was one of the motivations for him to keep going. At the end of the video, he told us to Never, Never, Never Give Up. I thought that was such a relevant message to all of us in that room, because whether it’s cancer, another illness, losing someone you love, or taking care of a sick child, what we all had in common was that we aren’t giving up. We will keep going for ourselves, for our loved ones. I was so blessed by this video and it was just the reminder I needed to keep going, keep trusting God’s plan, and keep being of service to others.
Also, on my “what’s new” list this weekend I am starting a 7-month coaching certification program through The Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (IPEC). I chose this company as opposed to others because it came highly recommended by my life coach and I connect with IPEC’s style of coaching. I’m always looking to sharpen my skills as a coach and to learn how to better serve my clients. I’m also excited to share that since launching my life coaching business, I’m finding so much joy and fulfillment through connecting, coaching and inspiring other people going through various transitions in their lives.
I’m looking forward to this new chapter! I’m ready for the time and space to continue the grieving process of the loss of my husband, to truly connect with myself and what I want and where I’m headed, to grow in my skills as a life coach, to learn how to provide for my family through pursuing a career I’m incredibly passionate about and to be in a place to fully trust God to take care of us. It is when we stretch and challenge ourselves that we see the most confidence and growth in our lives. Thank you for being on this journey with me! It’s easier to go through the ups and downs when I have your love and support. Blessings.