Courage to wear a pink tutu

It takes courage to be vulnerable. Cancer patients don’t have a choice. They are thrust into it.  Bob Carey, a photographer who loves to make his wife laugh, chose to share that vulnerability as his wife worked her way through a second round of cancer treatments. His method? A pink tutu.

Bob’s courage and love for his wife make me smile.

And what better way to get back at cancer than with laughter.

One man had a very good idea to help his wife and many more battle breast cancer and he did it all in a pink tutu. New York photographer, Bob Carey posed in a tutu as a joke for a fundraiser in 2003.  Soon after, his wife was diagnosed with cancer and he began the tutu project.  He’s taken more than 100 pics of himself sporting the pink tutu in various locations. He’s launched a website to sell the photos to get donations. Carey is also compiling the pics for a book called “Ballerina” which comes out this fall.

Visit Bob’s web site at:

In honor of my amazing mother-in-law Pat, who lost her battle with ovarian cancer last week. A loving, strong and courageous woman, whom I will always be grateful to have spent precious time with.

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Long term friends

“Every morning when I wake up, I dedicate myself to helping others to find peace of mind. Then, when I meet people, I think of them as long term friends; I don’t regard others as strangers.”

Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Courage to climb your mountains

Manual for Climbing Mountains

–by Paulo Coelho

Choose the mountain you want to climb: don’t pay attention to what other people say, such as “that one’s more beautiful” or “this one’s easier”. You’ll be spending lots of energy and enthusiasm to reach your objective, so you’re the only one responsible and you should be sure of what you’re doing.

Know how to get close to it: mountains are often seen from far off – beautiful, interesting, full of challenges. But what happens when we try to draw closer? Roads run all around them, flowers grow between you and your objective, what seemed so clear on the map is tough in real life. So try all the paths and all the tracks until eventually one day you’re standing in front of the top that you yearn to reach.

Learn from someone who has already been up there: 
no matter how unique you feel, there is always someone who has had the same dream before you and ended up leaving marks that can make your journey easier; places to hang the rope, trails, broken branches to make the walking easier. The climb is yours, so is the responsibility, but don’t forget that the experience of others can help a lot.

When seen up close, dangers are controllable
: when you begin to climb the mountain of your dreams, pay attention to the surroundings. There are cliffs, of course. There are almost imperceptible cracks in the mountain rock. There are stones so polished by storms that they have become as slippery as ice. But if you know where you are placing each footstep, you will notice the traps and how to get around them.

The landscape changes, so enjoy it:
 of course, you have to have an objective in mind – to reach the top. But as you are going up, more things can be seen, and it’s no bother to stop now and again and enjoy the panorama around you. At every meter conquered, you can see a little further, so use this to discover things that you still had not noticed.

Respect your body: you can only climb a mountain if you give your body the attention it deserves. You have all the time that life grants you, as long as you walk without demanding what can’t be granted. If you go too fast you will grow tired and give up half way there. If you go too slow, night will fall and you will be lost. Enjoy the scenery, take delight in the cool spring water and the fruit that nature generously offers you, but keep on walking.

Respect your soul: 
don’t keep repeating “I’m going to make it”. Your soul already knows that, what it needs is to use the long journey to be able to grow, stretch along the horizon, touch the sky. An obsession does not help you at all to reach your objective, and even ends up taking the pleasure out of the climb. But pay attention: also, don’t keep saying “it’s harder than I thought”, because that will make you lose your inner strength.

Be prepared to climb one kilometer more: the way up to the top of the mountain is always longer than you think. Don’t fool yourself, the moment will arrive when what seemed so near is still very far. But since you were prepared to go beyond, this is not really a problem.

Be happy when you reach the top
: cry, clap your hands, shout to the four winds that you did it, let the wind – the wind is always blowing up there – purify your mind, refresh your tired and sweaty feet, open your eyes, clean the dust from your heart. It feels so good, what was just a dream before, a distant vision, is now part of your life, you did it!

Make a promise: now that you have discovered a force that you were not even aware of, tell yourself that from now on you will use this force for the rest of your days. Preferably, also promise to discover another mountain, and set off on another adventure.

Tell your story: yes, tell your story! Give your example. Tell everyone that it’s possible, and other people will then have the courage to face their own mountains.


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Soldiers Courage to Ride

Bike rides are so refreshing, I love them, and take for granted that I can hop on my bike any time and peddle to my hearts content.  Thanks to a program dubbed Soldier Ride, groups of wounded veterans get together to ride, but they don’t take anything for granted.

Sponsored by the Wounded Warrior Project, military veterans who have lost limbs or suffered injury during their tours participated in a 4 day Soldier Ride events all over the country.

Watch the video:

“Soldier Ride is a fast-growing, city-by-city national cycling event that raises money and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit that provides a variety of services and support for those injured while fighting overseas.”

The Wounded Warrior Project was founded in 2002 by John Melia and his brother, father and friends out of his basement.  Melia got the idea after being wounded in a helicopter crash while serving in Somalia in 1992. “We really fill a gap that’s been missing for a long time,” he said.

Read the NPR story: A Chance To Start Over – Wounded Vets Ride Again

Besides providing sporting events that help encourage and empower the wounded veterans, the Wounded Warrior Project also works to keep the needs of these vets visible through political action.

“The project also supported the creation and introduction of the Dignified Treatment of Wounded Warriors Act in the Senate. The act requires the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide additional tools and care for injured veterans.”

“It’s an amazing piece of legislation,” Delaney said. “It provides money if you’re seriously injured to help ease the burden of transition.”

The courage of these soldiers surpass their service on the battlefield. They support one another and bring awareness and dignity to the sacrifices made in the line of duty.

For more information:

* content from Jacksonville Business Journal by Dave Strupp, Staff Writer

* photos from

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Astound yourself

“If we did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.”

Thomas Edison (1847-1931) – American inventor and businessman

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The courage of our questions

“We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers.”

Carl Sagan (1934-1996) American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, and science educator in astronomy and natural sciences

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Story: A heart shattered by a glimpse into autism

Sometimes I read a story that hits me so hard I just can’t stop thinking about it. I keep rolling it around in my head, looking for answers, but knowing there are no simple answers when it comes to autism.

The following story is from blogger Rob Gorski (blog Lost and Tired), a father of 3 autistic sons. His story got the attention of CNN, who shared his post on their CNN Health page.

Rob’s tender heart and compassion put him high on my list of everyday heroes.


Canton, Ohio (CNN) — As the snow started falling, I drove to Giant Eagle to pick up some groceries. With a storm on the way, I needed to stock up on supplies in case we got snowed in.

I pulled into the parking lot of the store and found a spot right in front of the entrance. I sat there for a few minutes, collecting what I needed to take in.

As I reached over to the passenger seat to grab my wallet, I glanced over at the car next to me through the passenger window and saw three people who were loading their groceries into their car. I also saw a large man standing there, reaching over the hood of their car. He was wiping the snow and ice off the car’s windshield with his bare hands.

The owner of the vehicle looked at him with an icy stare that seemed to say, “How dare you touch my car.”

She seemed disgusted just breathing the same air as the man cleaning her windshield. Instead of asking him to stop or giving him a few dollars, she quickly climbed into her car and gunned the car forward so fast the man was knocked back.

A few seconds later, the man got up, walked to my car and knocked on my window. I hadn’t even processed what I had just witnessed. Now he was coming over to me and I had no idea what to say.

“Please, not now, I just want to get what I need and get home,” I thought to myself. Where I live, it’s common for people to approach you for money. I took a deep breath and started to open the door. The man opened it the rest of the way, being careful not to hit the car next to me.

This man stood well over 6 feet and wore sweatpants, a light flannel shirt and boots that were left untied. It was roughly 20 degrees outside and he was clearly not dressed for the cold.

In a rather abrupt voice, he broke the silence by asking, “Can I have your change?”

I scooped up the change I had in the car and gave him everything I had, which was only $2.37. After handing him the money, I explained that I didn’t have any more.

“I’m cold and hungry. Can you take me to the shelter?” he asked.

I noticed his hands. They were at his side but his fingers moved silently up and down, as though he was playing an invisible piano.

He spoke with great difficulty — in a stilted, mechanical fashion and his face showed no emotion.

I never felt threatened, although he stood in my personal space about 1 or 2 feet in front of me. He would occasionally look in my direction, but never at me. Although he stood so close, he avoided eye contact.

“Can you drive me to the shelter? Because it’s warm there and they have food,” he asked me again.

“I’m homeless and very hungry,” he said. “I’m not lying to you. If I lie to you then you might not help me.”

I really didn’t know what to say, because I wasn’t comfortable driving him anywhere.

Then he asked me to buy him some food and gloves. I thought about what to say. I knew he would have a hard time understanding: I don’t have any money. My family is struggling to survive each day. I was trying to figure out how to explain to him that I couldn’t help, but I was at a loss for words.

Then something happened that shook me to the core and completely broke my heart. As I was trying to tell him no, he looked me in the eyes. All of a sudden, I was looking at my oldest son.

My wife and I have three boys with autism; the oldest is 12. Looking at the bare-handed man was like looking through some special window at my oldest son, 20 or 30 years from now.

It was like being run over by a freight train. I was washed by a wave of clarity and my eyes and heart were now open to what was happening in front of me. Suddenly I was transformed from a person trying to avoid the whole situation into a parent, filled with compassion and understanding. He again asked me to buy him food because he was hungry and gloves because his hands were cold.

Something about him was so familiar.

Yes, I would buy him some food. I would never deny any of my children food if they were hungry. He smiled in my direction and took my hand without looking at me and led me into the store. His hands were cold, hardened and chapped.

I noticed the looks people gave me as I walked with the bare-handed man into the grocery store. His clothes were old, beaten up and had a foul odor.

He asked me to buy him a gift card so he could buy food later, when he would be hungry again. So we walked over to the rack and he picked out a Giant Eagle gift card. I put $25 on the gift card. I gave him $25 in cash and asked him to please buy some gloves and a bus ride to the shelter. He asked for the receipt so “When the police stop me, I can prove I didn’t steal this.”

He told me again that he wasn’t lying. I told him I knew he wasn’t.

He turned to walk away, stopped and looked in my direction as if to say “Thank you,” but didn’t. What he did said more than a simple thank you. He showed me his eyes again for a brief moment before he turned around and left.

I was beside myself with grief. How could someone I didn’t know have such a profound effect on me? It took everything I had not to burst into tears.

I just couldn’t shake just how much the bare-handed man reminded me of my oldest son. Their eyes, mannerisms and even the way they speak were so similar. My son struggles with boundaries and personal space simply because he doesn’t understand, not because he wants to be invasive.

All I could think was, “How does this happen?” I was smacked in the face with reality.

Someday I won’t be here to take care of my children. What if this happens to them? What if they are the ones wiping off a windshield with their bare hands and almost being run over by someone who doesn’t care?

I can’t let that happen. I won’t let that happen.

Since that cold February day in 2011, I have met the bare-handed man on a few more occasions. Along the way, I learned that his name is Tim and that he remembers me. Tim has shown me just how much work still needs to be done.

I would like to think that my experience that day — the way people treated Tim in that frozen parking lot — was an isolated incident. Sadly, I know it’s not. Things like this happen all the time. To this writer and father of three beautiful boys on the autism spectrum, this is simply unacceptable.

We need to do what we can to help the world better understand both children and adults with autism. I’m terrified of what the future might hold for my children. I have witnessed how cruel and unforgiving the world can be to people who are perceived as different. It is an ugly reality but one I’m working to help change.

Please help spread autism awareness, even if it’s one person at a time.

Remember that the autistic children of today will be the autistic adults of tomorrow. These people need and deserve our compassion, understanding and respect. Let’s help to ensure that what happened to my friend Tim in the parking lot of the Giant Eagle doesn’t have to happen to anyone else, ever again.


NOTE: I have copied his story in full here simply because I don’t want the link to be outdated after 6 months when they change stories, but you can visit the CNN site to see the original posting here: CNN Story

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