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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Your Life is What You Make of It

Phew, this week kicked off what will be a whirlwind of travel for me over the next month.  Yesterday, I was adding up all the miles I will fly and I found myself simultaneously shaking my head in disbelief while smiling at the same time.

More on that in a minute, but first, a few announcements:

My FREE newsletter comes out tomorrow and you are going to want to read this one!!!  It features our first ever 1000 Challenge Community Member Spotlight.  It is a truly remarkable and very inspiring story.  Here is the link to sign up for the newsletter:

I want to make the member spotlight a regular feature in my newsletter.  I hope this first story will inspire you to share yours.  Please email me if you would like to submit a story for the 1000 Challenge Community Member Spotlight.

Friday, October 12th, 2012 is going to be a BIG day.  Friday October 12th is going to be Random Acts of Kindness Day.  Please click here to see all the details about this event.  I hope you will participate and share your stories of your experiences.  I plan on gathering all the stories up and combining them into a blog post for us all to share.

Finally, the Holiday seasons are beginning and with them comes a huge influx of sugar.  If you need a little additional help to stave off those sugar cravings, check out The Sugar Challenge here

Ok back to the blog.

So yes, I will be flying a lot of miles over the course of the next month and it left me sharking my head and smiling at the same time.

The head shaking came from the realization of the shear volume and amount of time I will be spending doing air travel.  When all is said and done I think I will be flying nearly 50,000 miles over the next several weeks.  That equates to about: 70 hours in the air... wholly smokes!!

I just hope all the flights are on time... :)

The smiling came from the realization and reminder that Your Life is What You Make of It.

I have talked about this before, and you will here me talk about it again and again as it is such an important point.  YOUR LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT.

I grew up in a very small town.  Early on as kids we have choices to make.  One of the biggest ones I ever made was staying away from drugs and alcohol in school.

I watched many friends go down that path, but I had dreams of moving away and creating a life for myself.  A life that I wold not be able to create if I spent time doing drugs and alcohol.

As a freshmen in college, I was one of the most shy, insecure, self-conscious people you would ever meet.  I was lonely and lacked the social skills to make friends.  I was also on the verge of getting kicked out of school.

I could have given up, I could have moved home... that would have been an easy choice to make, but instead I choose differently.  I choose to work at coming out of my shell, to challenge myself, physically, socially, and intellectually.

In 2007, I suffered my first broken heart.  I was beyond devastated.  I cried so much morning the loss of the relationship, but what I realized deep down, was the tears were coming because I did not truly know myself.

I could have done nothing different, I could have continued on the same path I was on, and it was a pretty good one.  I had a good career opportunity sitting in front of me, I would have been able to meet another girl at some point, I had decent friends, but I wanted more.  I wanted a career of my design, not one that someone else designed.  I wanted to get to know myself before I was with someone else.  I wanted to have great friends, not just good ones.

Ok, get to the point Jesse....

The point is this, in life there are always going to be difficult decisions to make.  And in those most trying times, the easy way out is going to look more appealing than a piece of delicious chocolate cake.  Just because it is easy, does not mean it is the path that will lead you to living your greatest life.

Had I not made the choices I did, had I not chosen the more challenging road, had I not had dreams and goals to keep me focused, I would not be sitting here typing this for you all today.

And as I consistently work towards those bigger goals, the little ones come to fruition along the way... such as the ability to travel.  Which brings me back to the beginning of this blog and the smiling while shaking my head.

All the cool things I have gotten to do, all the places I have been privileged enough to see, the amazing people I have met, the inner passions I have discoverd; everything, has come as a direct result of the choices I have made.

Your Life is What YOU Make of It.

I come from a small town.  I have had and will have challenges just like you have and you will.  I promise you this: when you find yourself in those challenging times, when you find yourself at the fork in the road; be brave and choose the road you have not traveled before.  Challenge yourself to make the hard decision, the ones that holds the potential for your greatest life.

I promise you it is worth it.

Stay focused on your big dreams and your little ones will come true along the way.

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,


Friday, September 7, 2012

Lessons from my Dreams

I still dream about my Dad.  Even though it has been over two years, every couple months I dream about him. Each dream ends virtually the same, with me becoming aware I am dreaming about him then waking myself with real tears and an out loud cry for him... I usually remember almost none of the dream.
As I type this I have a fresh set of tears from another dream about my Dad, but this one is different, the memory is still here. And I think I am supposed to share it with you all as the words I am typing began to fill my head before I ever started typing.
At first I thought I had forgotten the dream and continued sobbing, but then I did something different, I asked myself a question about the dream. Suddenly I remembered almost the entire dream.
In the dream, I was talking to some stranger, whose face I could not see. It was hidden in the shadows. Anyways I was explaining to this stranger what a great little league baseball player I was when in fact I wasn't.
It should be noted that My entire little league career I think I got a total of 2 base hits in the two years I played little league. It wasn't because of a lack of skill. It was because I had developed such a low self esteem and low confidence about myself that every time I stepped up to the plate, I was scared to swing at the ball and I was scared of getting made fun by the other players when I faltered.
As I am telling this mysterious figure about what a "superstar little leaguer" I was I am suddenly transported to one specific game I played in. I am watching the game, but not from the stands. And the field is reversed almost like looking in a mirror.
This game was significant because all my life I'd wanted to hit a home run, but never did. This game was the closest I'd ever come.
I was explaining this to the mysterious stranger in the dream. As I am doing so I see myself come up to bat and instantly I can remember how I felt during that at bat. All throughout little league I remember I felt like a failure every time I went to the plate. Every time I walked to the plate my head was hanging in anticipation for my next failure.
This at bat was a different one. In my dream I could remember that day. I could remember that day as being one of the only days I ever stepped up to the plate with confidence, knowing inside myself I could hit the ball.
I told the mysterious stranger in my dream this as I looked at my 11 year old self, standing at the plate.
All my life I'd always wanted to hit a home run...
The pitcher threw the 1st pitch and I connected. I had never hit a ball in the sweet spot before,  I had never hit a pitch where it felt virtually effortless, and this one did.
As I am explaining all this to the mysterious figure, the dream slows down so I can tell and relive every detail of that moment.
Making contact with the ball
Feeling strong as it left my bat
Knowing it was a home-run
Watching it sail further towards the fence
Making my first step away from the plate
Watching the infielders look up and over their shoulders
The parents in the stands coming to their feet... I'd never had the stands come to their feet for me before.
Watching the ball, going, going, ...
"It wasn't to be," I told the mysterious stranger. As we watched the ball curve right for a foul ball at the last second.
As I watched all this vividly happen in super slow motion, I became choked up and told the mysterious stranger I could not continue my story. Tears began to flow.
"Why?" Asked the mysterious stranger?
"Because," I said
"Because, I figured out why I am seeing the baseball field at a different view than it really was.". "From this view, I can see my Dad's car parked in the field, he had come to watch me, and there it is." I began bawling uncontrollably in my dream as I pointed out my Dad's blue Ford Taurus to this mysterious stranger.
I was crying so hard. Suddenly the mysterious stranger rushed out of the darkness to console me - it was my Dad.
"Jess," my Dad asked, "why were you trying to make yourself sound like a better baseball player than you were?"
I don't recall what my answer was because at this point I realized my sobs were becoming more and more uncontrollable and I was starting to wake myself up.   In addition I was becoming aware of a tension in my arms and a numbing in my hands.
As my conscious mind began to take over, my sub-conscious mind began to fade away and so did the image of my Dad.  I squeezed my eyes tighter trying to hold the image, only to wake myself up with crying eyes, and my usual " DAD" shout trying to keep him from leaving.
As I became more aware I realized that the reason my arms were so tense and my hands were so numb was that I was hugging a pillow so tight that I was cutting off my own circulation. My pillow was my Mysterious Stranger, the hug was for my Dad.
So why am I sharing all of this with You.
Often, when I fall asleep, I think about specific things and how I can utilize those things/experiences to help people.
Last week I took a bunch of pictures of the sunrise. And as I was falling asleep last night, I asked myself, how can I use those sunrise/sunset pictures to help me help people?
And this is why I believe I remember as much of the dream as I do and why I am supposed to share.
Remember when I started writing this blog, I said "I usually don't remember my dreams, but this time I asked myself a question about the dream and suddenly I could remember."
Well as the dream came back to me the words "sunrise" and "sunset" kept flashing in my head. Then the words began to form sentences:


"Every sunrise is a
 symbolic beginning
 of a new day and 
 serves as a reminder
 that this day is a gift.
 So while you have it 
make sure you live
 your day doing, and 
saying what is most 


"Every sunset is a reminder that the day is nearly over and that if you have not yet done the things that are the most important to you and told the people you love that you do, then you better hurray up and do it because tomorrow is not guaranteed. The only thing that is, is this moment.

And finally, the pillow... I cannot recall one time in my life when I ever hugged my Dad with such love and such intensity equal to the amount of love and intensity I was trying to squeeze through that pillow.
In this life, I am never going to get that opportunity to give my Dad a hug like that.
I took days, I took time, I took life for granted just like we all do.
Here's the thing: while I can't go back and change that with my Dad, what I can do is make a change going forward. And you can too!
My advice I am going to give myself and share with you is this:
When you hug someone today, tomorrow, and everyday for the rest of your life, think about hugging them as if that is your last chance you will ever have to hug them. 
The sun will rise and the sun will set. Life will continue  on, but there is no guarantee that you and I will continue on with it.
Thank you Dad for this lesson.
I love and miss you.

Enjoy the pics, 

Carpe Diem,