Tag Archives: People

Asked: What is a simple, yet absolutely Beautiful Story?

My  wife and I owned two dogs that we had owned before we met and brought  into the marriage.  Her dog was a pit bull/labrador cross named Zack,  and he hated me.  When our daughter was born, I said to the wife,”If he  so much as nips at the baby, he’s gone.”

We brought our  daughter home in a car seat, and both dogs sniffed and licked her, tails  wagging.  I had to pull Zack away from her because he wouldn’t stop  licking her.  Zack immediately became my daughter’s protector, and when  she was lying on a blanket on the floor, he always had to have one foot  on the blanket.

Zack loved my daughter immensely, and when she  became a little older always walked her to bed, and then slept on the  bed with her. He somehow knew whenever it was time to go upstairs, and  he would wait at the foot of the stairs for her, and then follow her up  to bed.

Zack was poisoned by some dirtbag neighbor kids, and we  had one of the worst days of our lives.  Watching my daughter say  goodbye to him as he laid still on the kitchen floor, my wife and I were  both sobbing.

At 8:00 that night, my daughter walked to the  stairs to go to bed.  At that moment, all three of us realized what was  about to happen.  After 5 years, she didn’t have Zack to accompany her  upstairs.  She looked at her mother and me with a look of horror and  panic.

It was at that moment that my dog, who loved my daughter  dearly, but was not in Zack’s league, stood up, walked over to her, and  nudged her with his head.  He put his foot on the stairs, and looked up  at her.  They walked up to bed, with my daughter holding tightly to his  neck.

For the next 6 years, until he died, Sam waited for her by the stairs each night.

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Since the Iraq war began five years ago, more than 30,000 American servicemen and women—including my husband, Kenny, a Marine master sergeant—have been wounded. In one sense, that’s actually ahopeful number. Battlefield medics these days are so skilled they’re saving soldiers who, in any other war, would’ve died.

That’s what happened to Kenny. During a firefight in Najaf a bullet ricocheted off an armored personnel carrier and pierced his head, entering under his right eye and exiting the left side of his skull. Medics kept him alive long enough to fly to a Baghdad military hospital. In a matter of days he was on his way to America.

Unfortunately, that’s not where the story ends. Not for Kenny, not for anyone else with war wounds, especially the thousands suffering what has become Iraq’s signature injury, traumatic brain damage. For those warriors and their families, a battlefield injury is like the start of a whole new war—not only to heal, but to navigate an often overwhelmed military medical system.

 

 
 

That, too, is what happened to Kenny—and to me. Up to the day Kenny was wounded I was what you could call a typical Marine wife. After—well, let’s just say I’ve discovered a fighting strength I never knew I had.

I first began to realize what we were up against the day Kenny arrived at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. It was five days after his injury and I was frantic. The only information I’d had came from patchy cell phone calls to officers and doctors in Iraq.

I’d had to drop everything—I taught aerobics at a YMCA near Camp Pendleton, where we lived with our two teenagers, Tasha and Alishia—figure out who would take care of the girls and board a red-eye to Maryland. I’d even had to put off seeing Kenny to fill out a financial hardship application to afford the rooming house provided for relatives of the wounded.

When I got upstairs to the intensive-care unit I saw a bank of monitors near the nurses’ station. One, identified by Kenny’s Social Security number, glowed with an X ray of a shattered skull. I drew a sharp breath and asked for the room number. I was starting down the hall when a doctor grabbed my arm. “Ma’am, why don’t you sit here first and let me brief you on his injuries.”

I stared at the doctor, incredulous. What could possibly be more soothing to Kenny than the loving presence of his wife? “I’m sorry,” I said. “He needs me. I don’t care how bad he looks. I’ve been waiting five days to see him and I’m going to his room right now.”

 

 
 

The doctor let go of my arm and I hurried to Kenny’s room. I paused at the door to compose myself then walked in. I didn’t recognize him. His head was swollen and disfigured, marked with dried blood and rows of staples. He lay passively, hooked to massive machines.

“Kenny, it’s me,” I said softly, trying not to cry. “Squeeze my hand if you know who I am.” His head didn’t move. But he squeezed my hand.

The following weeks I discovered that the disorienting experiences of those first days were only the beginning. Kenny and I had met in high school, married young, and for the next 17 years, raised our girls on bases around the country.

We knew a lot about being a Marine family. But nothing had prepared me for all the paperwork, decisions and medical terminology that came at us. I didn’t go to college and had no medical or legal training. I had to rely on my wits every time I was asked to sign something.

Early on I was presented with documents that would have retired Kenny from active duty, transferring his care to the Veterans Administration. I didn’t know exactly what that meant. But something about it seemed wrong. Didn’t they think he would get better? I didn’t sign the papers.

I soon realized I had to be equally vigilant about Kenny’s care. His injury had left him with near-total amnesia and great difficulty speaking. Doctors and therapists worked hard with him. Some were incredibly dedicated. But there were many patients on the ward, and the staff was pulled in many directions.

 
 

Sometimes, doctors even had to accompany politicians and other VIPs touring the floor to visit wounded soldiers. As soon as they left I returned to a routine I’d developed. I got Kenny out of bed, washed him, took him around the ward and pointed out rooms with other Marines.

No subject got him talking like his fellow Marines. The week’s highlight was Sunday phone calls from the 15 men he’d commanded in Iraq. That, or me renting movies or talking about Tasha and Alishia.

As weeks went by I felt more confident. I learned every aspect of Kenny’s care, to the point I could do it when nurses weren’t available. I learned enough medical terms to talk knowledgeably with doctors—me, an aerobics teacher!

And I got savvy enough to request a copy of every piece of paper added to Kenny’s medical record. When a new doctor or therapist came in asking Kenny questions he’d answered a thousand times before—or couldn’t answer at all—I pulled out my records and pointed straight to the information.

Just as I was getting the hang of things,  Kenny was transferred to a VA rehabilitation hospital in Palo Alto, California. We were flown in a military transport plane. I had just gotten him settled into his room when a nurse said, “Visiting hours are from 1 to 7 p.m.”

I looked at her, surprised. “I’m sorry, I’m not a visitor. I’m Sgt. Sargent’s wife and have been at his bedside for the last month. He has amnesia. I assumed I’d be sleeping here.”

“Ma’am, here’s a list of nearby hotels.” As I left, I saw Kenny’s eyes widen with fear. I spent an anxious, maddening night at the Hometel, a place for vets to stay during hospital procedures. Not even prayer brought clear answers. My thoughts kept drifting back to myself, to the struggles we’d already been through. It was as if God were saying, Stay strong, Tonia.

At the hospital the next day, I found Kenny still looking terrified. I paged the nurse. “I don’t mean to be a nuisance,” I said, “but there has to be some way for me to stay with my husband. This is a whole new environment for him. I’m the only one he recognizes. What can I do?”

“You can visit during visiting hours.”

A neuropsychologist came in. “Ma’am,” she said, and her voice sounded tired, as if she had a job to do and I was making it harder, “this is your husband’s rehabilitation, not yours. It would be better if you left the work to us. Think of him as being away on a deployment.”

I looked at her, at the nurse. They showed no signs of yielding. Disappointment and anger came over me. What could I do to make them understand? Kenny was better because I’d helped with his care. I glanced at Kenny. His eyes were still frightened.

 

But I saw something else in them too. A glimmer of fight. A glimmer of Kenny, the proud Marine. I thought about myself, a Marine wife. What did that mean? Well, more than I used to think it did. I had already mastered one hospital. Kenny and I had come this far.

Now was not the time to back down. Stay strong, Tonia. I took a deep breath. “I am going to be by my husband’s side. If you won’t help me do that, I’ll find someone who will,” I said.

And that’s what I did. I contacted the local Marine Corps Reserve unit.

I pulled out business cards I’d collected from VIP visitors to Bethesda and called congressional offices. I signed up as a hospital volunteer, giving me no restricted visiting hours. And I offered to help the hospital raise money to build more housing for patients’ loved ones. In short, I became an advocate. I went to war.

Today, four years later, Kenny is back home in Oceanside and I’m still teaching aerobics. Everything else is different. Kenny made a remarkable recovery.

But he is not now, and never will be, the man he was before he shipped out for Iraq. He has retired from the Marines with 21 years of service—we waited to sign papers until he was eligible for a full pension—and is not working. He spends days cooking, cleaning and keeping an eye on the girls.

I’m still an advocate, speaking to church groups and Rotary clubs about the challenges of life after active duty. My message is simple. No matter when the Iraq war ends, the warriors who come home will need more than slogans, more than bumper stickers and ribbon magnets on cars.

 

 

 

Find comfort, humor and knowledge that God’s love extends to all His creatures – human and animal.

 

They’ll need resources to get the health care they need. Support for family members taking part in that care. A lot of prayer. And a nation committed to seeing them through. 

 

Iraqi War Veteran and his Wife

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Inspire One. – Who am I?

Who am I?

Inspire One.

Who am I? Unless you visited the “About It.” page on the blog, you probably don’t know what this whole thing is really about. I am passionately driven to inspire masses. From humor to art, philosophy to stories, I intend on creating an atmosphere that consists of the idea that inspiration is all around us and comes from all corners of the Earth. But first thing is first…What exactly is Inspiration?????

Inspirationin·spi·ra·tion

1. something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create : a force or influence that inspires someone

2. person, place, experience, etc., that makes someone want to do or create something

3. a good idea

And that is exactly it: “makes someone want to DO something.” We live in one of the most interesting eras of history where  ONE person can make a difference, be it minuscule or extraordinary. YOU can make a difference. And that is the mantra for this brand.

Inspire One.’s Goal

The goal is to “Inspire One. Inspire All.,” through a myriad of sources. Yeah it is kind of cliché, or cheesy….but still, it is for a good cause! I want to motivate the athlete to not let his disabilities get in his way. I want to inspire the socially-awkward girl to face her fears and run for class president. I want the 50-year old to start that business he always wanted to. I want to make a difference.

One person at a time…or post, I will make a difference. This is the “Inspire One.” Experience.

This blog was created somewhat 3-weeks ago. The following was exponential. Today there is 80 followers and I appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you. You guys are what will make this brand strong, recognizable, and known to the masses. YOU are the focal point of this brand. You will be the ones who will make Inspire One.’s message and mission loud and clear.

Plans for the Future

The plan is to reach hundreds of thousands of people and spread the “Inspire One. Inspire All.” message across the nation and the globe. In the near future, “Inspire One.” will release products to do just that. Striving to be a better “Life is Good” brand, the slogan just as well may be: “Life is good…but sometimes we all need a little inspiration ;)”

The plan always consists of selling T-shirts with the “Inspire One.” logo on the front, and a quote of inspiration on the back. There will definitely be updates on this idea in the near future with pictures of the product, but this is the first “reveal.”

The main message of this post though, is to thank all of you for your support. You may not have known the determination of this brand when you first pressed that follow button, but I assure you that you are the building blocks to the success of Inspire One.. This is a brand that is created by you, for you. Keep up the support, tell your friends, spread the message and inspiration!

Thank you all.

-Inspire One.

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Gary Vaynerchuk Speech

Richard St. John talks about success. He delivers a very simple but absolutely meaningful message on how you can reach success and then hold on to it. His message is:
if you stop trying to reach for success, failure will come and hit you hard sooner than you think.

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The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

ImageJuliane Koepcke grew up in Lima, Peru, before moving, at 14, to the Peruvian rain forest, where her parents, Maria and Hans-Wilhelm Koepcke, established the Panguana Ecological Research Station. After two years of accompanying them on research trips into the jungle, Juliane returned to Lima to complete high school.

On December 24, 1971, Juliane, 17, and her mother boarded a flight in Lima bound for Pucallpa, the city with an airport closest to Panguana, to visit her father for Christmas. In her own words:

My days in Lima are wonderful. Despite my jungle experience, I am a schoolgirl. I spend my vacations in Panguana and my school days with classmates in Lima.

My mother prefers to fly to Pucallpa earlier, but a school dance and my high school graduation ceremony are on December 22 and 23, respectively. I beg my mother to let me attend.

“All right,” she said. “We’ll fly on the 24th.”

The airport is packed when we arrive the morning of Christmas Eve. Several flights had been canceled the day before, and hundreds of people now crowd the ticket counters. About 11 a.m., we gather for boarding. My mother and I sit in the second-to-last row on a three-seat bench. I’m by the window as always; my mother sits beside me; a heavyset man sits in the aisle seat. Mother doesn’t like flying. She’s an ornithologist and says it’s unnatural that a bird made of metal takes off into the air.

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The Philosophy

True that.

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What are the biggest misconceptions we have about Life?

That we have to fight and achieve something “grand” to stay happy. This cartoon sums it all.

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Stop and Hear the Music

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousand of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. 

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule. 

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk. 

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on. 

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition. 

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. 

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats average $100. 

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context? 

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: 

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

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Inspirational People.

Throughout our history, amazing people have lived and died. So many important people inspired people along the way through the life’s journey.Without them, certain things we know today may have not existed. From war, to music, inspiration comes from all walks of life and it is amazing to explore it! Here is a list of some significant inspirational people from different categories who shaped our world:

– Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was born Feb 12, 1809, in Hardin Country, Kentucky. His family upbringing was modest; his parents from Virginia were neither wealthy or well known. At an early age, the young lincolnAbraham lost his mother and his father moved away to Indiana. Abraham had to work hard splitting logs and other manual labour. But, he also had a thirst for knowledge and worked very hard to excel in his studies. This led him to become trained as a lawyer. He spent  eight years working on the Illinois court circuit; his ambition, drive and capacity for hard work were evident to all around him. He also had a good sense of humour and was depreciating about his looks.

“If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?”

He married Mary Todd and had four children, although three died before reaching maturity.

As a lawyer, Abraham developed a great capacity for quick thinking and oratory. His interest in public issues encouraged him to stand for public office. In 1854 he was elected to the House of Representatives and he tried to gain nomination for the Senate in 1858. Although he lost this election, his debating skills caused him to become well known within the Republican party. In particular, during this campaign he gave one of his best remembered speeches.

 

 

Caesar was a politician and general of the late Roman republic, who greatly extended the Roman empire before seizing power and making himself dictator of Rome, paving the way for the imperial system.

Julius Caesar was born in Rome on 12 or 13 July 100 BC into the prestigious Julian clan. His family were closely connected with the

Bust of Julius Caesar

Bust of Julius Caesar

Marian faction in Roman politics. Caesar himself progressed within the Roman political system, becoming in succession quaestor (69), aedile (65) and praetor (62). In 61-60 BC he served as governor of the Roman province of Spain. Back in Rome in 60, Caesar made a pact with Pompey and Crassus, who helped him to get elected as consul for 59 BC. The following year he was appointed governor of Roman Gaul where he stayed for eight years, adding the whole of modern France and Belgium to the Roman empire, and making Rome safe from the possibility of Gallic invasions. He made two expeditions to Britain, in 55 BC and 54 BC.

Caesar then returned to Italy, disregarding the authority of the senate and famously crossing the Rubicon river without disbanding his army. In the ensuing civil war Caesar defeated the republican forces. Pompey, their leader, fled to Egypt where he was assassinated. Caesar followed him and became romantically involved with the Egyptian queen, Cleopatra.

Caesar was now master of Rome and made himself consul and dictator. He used his power to carry out much-needed reform, relieving debt, enlarging the senate, building the Forum Iulium and revising the calendar. Dictatorship was always regarded a temporary position but in 44 BC, Caesar took it for life. His success and ambition alienated strongly republican senators. A group of these, led by Cassius and Brutus, assassinated Caesar on the Ides (15) of March 44 BC. This sparked the final round of civil wars that ended the Republic and brought about the elevation of Caesar’s great nephew and designated heir, Octavian, as Augustus, the first emperor.

Vince Lombardi was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1913. As head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Packers, Lombardi Vince-Lombardi-9385362-1-402led the team to three NFL championships and to victories in Super Bowls I and II (1967 and 1968). Because of his success, he became a national symbol of single-minded determination to win. As coach, general manager and part owner of the Washington Redskins, Lombardi led that team to its first winning season in 14 years in 1969. He died from colon cancer in 1970.

QUOTE

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.”

– Vince Lombardi

Famed football coach Vincent Thomas Lombardi was born in Brooklyn, New York, on June 11, 1913. The oldest of five children and the son of an Italian immigrant, Vince Lombardi was steeped in a life dominated by the Catholic Church. At the age of 15, Lombardi enrolled at the Cathedral College of Immaculate Conception, where he intended to study to become a priest.

Two years later, however, Lombardi changed his mind and bolted for the St. Francis Preparatory School. There, he starred as the football’s fullback, paving the way for a football career at Fordham University. At Fordham, Lombardi was one of the football team’s “Seven Blocks of Granite,” a nickname for the team’s sturdy offensive line.

Following a short stint as a pro football player, Lombardi started studying law, before getting swayed back to the field as a coach at St. Cecilia High School in Englewood, New Jersey. He stayed there for eight seasons, and then left for a new coaching position at Fordham.

Lombardi’s coaching career at his old university was brief, lasting just a few seasons. In 1949, he left for West Point, whose iconic coach, Red Blaik, hired Lombardi as his offensive line coach. Lombardi stayed at West Point for five seasons before packing his bags again, this time for the NFL, as head coach of the New York Giants.

Lombardi’s five seasons in New York, which saw him lead the franchise to the 1956 league title, only elevated his status and his value to NFL owners. In 1959, Lombardi changed employers again, when he signed a five-year deal to head up the Green Bay Packers.

Under Lombardi’s tight-fisted leadership, the struggling Packers were transformed into hard-nosed winners: Over the course of his career with the team, he led the club to a 105-35-6 record and five championships, including three straight titles, from 1965 to 1967. The team never suffered a losing season under the Hall of Fame coach.

After retiring from coaching following the 1967 season and working strictly as the Packers’ general manager, Lombardi left Green Bay in 1969 to return to the field as the head coach of the Washington Redskins. With his new franchise, Lombardi proved to have his old touch, leading the club to its first winning record in 14 years.

A second year with the Redskins, though, never materialized for Lombardi. In the summer of 1970, he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of colon cancer. He died nearly two months later, on September 3, 1970.

As a tribute, the NFL’s Super Bowl trophy was named in his honor shortly after his passing. In 1971 the late coach was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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