Category: Health & Wellness

Fly A Little Higher…The Blog Tour

zach sobiech

Last year, on May 20th, I wrote about Zach Sobiech who lost his battle with osteosarcoma at age 18. Zach didn’t go quietly. He left the world with a musical gift called Clouds which hit #1 on the charts the week he died. Laura Sobiech, Zach’s mother, just released her memoir of Zach’s journey yesterday. The book, Fly A Little Higher, is written from her perspective as she deals with her own emotions and prepares for her son’s death. Grab your copy HERE

Laura asked that I be part of her Blog Tour, which is celebrating the release of Fly A Little Higher this week. I am honored to be a part of such a wonderful launch, and am grateful that, in some small way, I can participate in being part of Zach’s legacy.

As I read the book, I found myself relating to Laura, imagining that I would have similar struggles and questions if I had to walk the same path with my son. Laura turned to God and asked that out of this tragedy, Zach’s death could mean something…something big. She encouraged Zach to write letters to his family, but that wasn’t his style. Rather, he wrote songs to communicate his feelings and encourage his loved ones to stay positive and make each day meaningful. I believe that her encouragement was an integral part of his musical legacy. As parents, we influence our children because we believe their potential as limitless.

When I first heard Clouds, I connected to it instantly, playing it over and over again. I loved the lighthearted pings from the glockenspiel, the sense of rising and falling with the lyrics, the clear message about faith in God and the refreshing innocence in Zach’s voice. It made me question my own legacy and how I could follow in Zach’s footsteps by creating something big. It made me reflect upon what is important to me.

I can’t play an instrument (except the air guitar and kazoo) or carry a tune (as proven in many late night karaoke attempts); however, attending concerts, remembering lyrics, introducing others to the meaning of songs and supporting the arts has always been part of my passion. Zach shared something very personal with the world and has encouraged me to “fly a little higher” and share my very personal ‘Ultimate Mix Tape’ playlist. Each song is a favorite because it reminds me of a moment or inspires me with its meaning. Clouds is one of the few songs on my playlist that contains both elements. ‘Ultimate Mix Tape’ Playlist

I hope that you get to know me a little better through these songs and their stories. If you discover a new favorite of your own as a result of exploring this list, then my heart will smile. I encourage each of you to create your own playlist. What a wonderful gift to give your friends and family. Please, take your time compiling your list; mine took DAYS. Revisiting various times in my life and listening to many old favorites brought back so many raw emotions. I laughed, cried and even blushed. Thank you, Zach, for leading by example and encouraging me to “Fly A Little Higher” as well.

Last year, on May 20th, I wrote about Zach Sobiech who lost his battle with osteosarcoma at age 18. Zach didn't go quiet...

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What Would You Do?

Gerdi McKenna is amazed by such a beautiful gesture of love.

Please watch this amazing video before you read my post, or else you won’t understand a word I am about to say. It is about true friendship and women who are stripping down, so hopefully one of those topics appeals to you and convinces you that this is worth just 4 minutes of your time…

Anything for love … from Albert Bredenhann on Vimeo.

So, it wasn’t really about women “stripping down” but they did shed a bit…and hopefully it got more people to experience this amazing display of true friendship and love. I now grant you permission to continue :-)

Watching this story unfold raised so many questions in my mind. Would I actually do that if faced with the same invitation? I don’t know that I could answer that honestly until I sat in the salon chair. Would I let the opinions of others influence my decision? If I was in Gerdi’s situation, how many of my friends would be there in all of their bald glory? Would I be surprised by some of the faces that I saw and some that were missing? Could we celebrate each other with as much joy if we didn’t have a hardship come along to create the opportunity?

This video points out the obvious…without our health we really have nothing, good friends can help you get through any situation, and…a little champagne can make any party more fun (duh…)! But it also points out two other facts. First, that bald IS beautiful. I couldn’t help but notice how each woman looked more beautiful after she made the sacrifice of her hair. They each gave up their pride with JOY and it shone so brightly through their eyes and their smiles. It gave them a rawness that allowed us to more clearly see their inner spirits. And, second, that anyone can give. The things that matter most don’t cost money. It is the gestures, the smiles, the listening, the hugs, the daily kindnesses that mean the most. If we could each choose to give a little more of ourselves, in a personal way, the world would be a better place…with a few more happy bald people.

Please watch this amazing video before you read my post, or else you won't understand a word I am about to say. It is ab...

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In Sickness and In Health

in sickness and in health

When we get married, we promise to love each other in sickness and in health. But when we say those words, we often don’t know what may come our way.

Meet our monthly contest winner, Lisa Likes. Lisa writes, “I had 12 inches of my colon removed and then it got infected and I had to have another surgery on Valentines Day. My hubby now has to unpack and pack my open wound everyday, twice a day, and never complains and cries when I do! We missed Valentines Day and our anniversary is on the 27th, which I am sure we will miss also! I love and appreciate all he does.”

I love that Lisa pointed out that her husband lovingly helps her without complaining. It is one thing to do what we have promised to do, but it is another to do those tough things with a positive attitude. I will be sending “Hubby” something special as well. He deserves it!

Feel better Lisa and thanks for reminding us that if we make the choice to do the tough things without complaining, we show our love even more!

When we get married, we promise to love each other in sickness and in health. But when we say those words, we often don'...

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Cards for Cassie

Cards for Cassie

Are you looking for a simple and affordable way to make a difference this week? Here’s your opportunity!

On February 6th, Cassie was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (aka Breast Cancer) at age 30. Because she has inflammatory breast cancer and multiple masses, she has to go through chemotherapy prior to undergoing a double mastectomy. The news came on the same day as the 10th anniversary of her daughter’s death. Cassie said that it was fitting to “have all bad things happen on the same day.” She has two young boys, Jaxon (7) and Callen (4). What I find most inspiring about Cassie’s story is that she is married to Josh, an Army parachute rigger, or ’92R’ for those familiar with Military Occupation Specialties. The family, originally from Texas, has been stationed in Kaiserslautern, Germany since August of 2012. That is a huge change from the Lone Star State!

Of course, we all deeply appreciate the commitment that our service men and women make to preserving our freedom, but we must also applaud the commitment that the ‘force behind the force’ (the family) makes. Postponing careers, changing schools, leaving family and friends behind and missing out on the comforts of home are just a few examples of the sacrifices that they make. Cassie attends school and has continued to pursue her advanced education while in Germany. She has been getting up in the middle of the night to attend classes online and has still managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA. Thankfully, her school has allowed her to take a leave of absence during her treatment and is holding a place for her in the program.

Cassie and Josh sporting PINK in Germany!  A united front...

Cassie and Josh sporting PINK in Germany! A united front…

We have set a goal to gather 100 uplifting cards to help Cassie fight the fight and remind her that people at home are sending positive thoughts and prayers her way. We will keep a running total on our website as we receive them.

Please send a card to:

Just Jenerous
Attn: Cards for Cassie
PO Box 3152
Windermere, FL 34786

Write a thoughtful note, include inspiring quotes, add a poem, tell a joke, make a bookmark, get creative! Anything loving goes!

Cassie doesn’t know that this is happening, so she will be very surprised when she gets her care package. The plan is to have her open it on Skype. We will record the call and post a video on our website.

In addition, Molly Hills (one of our favorite Just Jenerous supporters) has generously donated three Stella & Dot “Courage” bracelets, which state “from caring comes strength.” So true! One is for Cassie, one is for her BFF (Rachel) who is helping to coordinate the give and one is for one of our card contributors. We will put all of your names in a hat and draw one lucky winner, so please put your name and return address on the envelope. Cassie will also receive a beautiful Stella & Dot “Frida” scarf, which can double as a fun pink head wrap!

Please send your cards ASAP! And please SHARE this card campaign with all of your friends. It is a simple and easy way to make a huge difference in the life of one of our Army wives!

Are you looking for a simple and affordable way to make a difference this week? Here's your opportunity! On February 6th...

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Survivor Summit

Mt. Kilimanjaro

We each have a special purpose; I firmly believe this. Some waste their time searching for it, rather than creating it. Some accidentally stumble upon dumb luck. Others, discover their calling later in life and use their experience to conjure up the courage to relentlessly pursue their passion. But few of us are able to realize it at a young age and work hard enough to achieve these ambitions, often not realizing that the path they are on is intentional and purposeful until it impacts their personal lives.

Meet Dr. Robert Masson, a Central Florida Neurosurgeon, who just climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro at age 50 with a team of 17 to personally raise $20,000 for cancer research via the Livestrong Foundation. I had the pleasure of meeting Rob many years ago, but never knew his personal story until learning about his recent climb.

When Rob was a young medical student, his stepmother died of cervical cancer as his 10-year-old half sisters sat by her side. Fast forward about a decade and his twin sisters were thriving as track stars at Arizona State. Rob was the Chief Resident of Neurological Surgery at University of Florida Shands Hospital and was at the Dallas airport flying to a neurosurgery interview in Seattle, when he was paged over the PA system. He soon learned that one of his sisters had a bad kidney infection and needed a needle biopsy. Listening to his intuition, he got on the last flight to Phoenix so he could be with her and review her case. He knew a needle biopsy was too risky for her to endure, so against the doctor’s advice, he had her flown back to UF Shands where his trusted team of surgeons and advisors were able to perform a 14-hour right kidney resection, which included surgery on a third of her liver. She survived the surgery, then a year of chemo/radiation and even an experimental bone marrow treatment. Calley had a 5-percent/5-year survival projection. Thankfully, she is still thriving and living life to its fullest…traveling, teaching yoga, rescuing animals and loving an active outdoor lifestyle!

Last year, Calley and her twin sister, Christie, watched alongside Rob and his brothers as their father tragically lost a 13-year battle to prostate cancer.

Rob’s commitment to medicine, and his pursuit of purpose, saved his sister’s life. He has endured so much loss, but continues to work hard through his career and through his recent personal achievements to help those who, like his family members, face cancer. Dr. Masson serves as a reminder to us all that pursuing our purpose often serves a greater purpose than we may realize at the time. Listen to that inner voice and pursue your dreams. That voice is there for a reason.

You can visit Rob’s Livestrong page here

Dr. Robert Masson (top row, second from the right) with Wendy Chioji and Marc Middleton at Survivor's Summit (Mt. Kilimanjaro) via the Livestrong Foundation.

Dr. Robert Masson (top row, seconf from the right) with Wendy Chioji and Marc Middleton at Survivor’s Summit (Mt. Kilimanjaro) via the Livestrong Foundation.


We each have a special purpose; I firmly believe this. Some waste their time searching for it, rather than creating it....

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