SLIDER

Boston Strong.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014





     I've been asked many times, "How do you stay so strong?" Or, "How do you keep on fighting?" And I can never give a straight answer. It wasn't something I was ever taught, no one gave me directions to follow to become this way, I just am this way. It's all I've ever known how to be. Fighting and staying strong have been the only options I have been given in my life- giving up has just never been part of my vocabulary. 
       
      On Monday I made my way down to the finish line of the Boston Marathon to watch as the runners came through. My heart skipped a few beats as I read the beautiful poster boards waving in the air, supporting each runner as they passed by. I was overcome with this sense of pride. I love my city, and I mean, I really love my city. Then it hit me, I am strong because of where I come from, I am Boston Strong. Those runners using all of their might to reach that finish line, thats Boston Strong. The heroes with missing limbs, inspiring as they ran by, thats Boston Strong. The people screaming and roaring on the sidelines, thats Boston Strong. The connection and unity you felt with random passerby's, thats Boston Strong. That saying rings true for all of us. When the term Boston Strong first came about, it spread like wildfire- but the thing is, we have always been strong, now we just have a saying to explain that strength.
     
      I am the way I am because of the city I grew up in. I am strong because the people of Boston give you no other choice then to be strong. This community of people do not accept defeat- hey just look at our sports teams. They tell you to stand up and "get the hell over it." They force you to keep pushing. We can at times come off rude to outsiders, but the passion that runs through our veins is undeniable
       
      Living in Alabama for a period of time, I stuck out like a sore thumb... Maybe it was because of the thick accent that came about after a few drinks, or maybe it's the spit fire in me that most southern belles weren't use to seeing. Or it could possibly be due to my whole, don't try and talk to me about your cities sports when I come from the best sports city in the US (I never said we weren't arrogant at times). A lot of people thought I was intimidating, that I hated them just because of how I came off...and I think a lot of Bostonians can relate to that. We have a tendency to come off as "smug," but regardless of how we come off, we are the way we are because we know what we believe in, we know what we care about, and never feel the need to put on a front to be accepted. We are filled with pride and resilience, and we will fight until the death to support the people we love and the city that we love. And if that causes us to come off "tough," so be it. We have that, you hurt one of us, you hurt all of us, type of attitude. This strength didn't just appear because of last years bombings, no, our strength has always been there... It was just amplified in the face of tragedy. Our at times, cold demeanor, can never overshadow the burning passion that fills us. 
         
      Let me ask you, where is Brad Pitt's hometown? Or how about George Clooney? What about Denzel Washington? You don't know? Okay, then let me switch it up... Where is Ben Affleck from? Or Matt Damon? How about Mark Wahlberg? I bet you could answer those.. That's what makes Boston different, peculiar some may say, we carry our city with us wherever we go. 


 

 

Giveaway time!

Monday, April 14, 2014

                 



              April showers bring... Giveaways! (Ok, cheesy...I know)
I am very excited about this giveaway! (And I know, "Mackenzie you always say that," but it's the absolute truth!) I have been talking with this wonderful lady, Laurel, on Etsy...she makes absolutely gorgeous...and INSPIRATIONAL!!! canvases! I was practically drooling as I scrolled through her page- I mean guys, I just did an inspirational board video... So it is pretty obvious these pieces are right up my alley! Go check out all of her pieces over at ElmStStudioPrintables. Seriously do it, you will be wanting to pin every one of them on your Pinterest. 
     And guess what (if you weren't able to guess, I'm worried about you)... She is letting me do a giveaway here on my blog! And GUESS WHAT AGAIN (I don't expect you to guess this one), she didn't offer to giveaway one piece, she offered two! How amazing? She herself said, "I'd also love to go ahead and giveaway 2 to the winner." So not only are all of her pieces amazing, she is as well! 
     I decided to wait until April to do this giveaway because I thought this is the perfect month for us to add some inspiration into our lives- there isn't many things that are more inspiring then the month of April, being able to see the switch from winter to spring clear as day... the flowers blooming, birds chirping, it's as if everyone gets a new, clean slate, a new chapter. I love it, putting all the burdens from the winter months behind us, and only looking forward as the sun glistens down on your bare face.
    And now what you guys have been waiting for, the rules for the giveaway! You have a week to enter, you can comment under this blog post... Or you can go onto the Breathe Easy Facebook page and like the status talking about this giveaway! Then I will pick all the names randomly! Once a winner as been chosen, you can go pick out which one you want on her Etsy account... As for the second piece, I am going to let Laurel pick that one! 
Hope this brings some inspiration back into your Monday morning!

Where do you find YOUR inspiration?

Sunday, April 6, 2014


I use this blog to talk about inspiration, how inspiration is the key to my own happiness. I talk about things one can do to keep themselves inspired, like the inspiration boards, but I don't really specify who or what it is, that causes my inspiration. This post may be a little cheesy, so go grab yourself a (few) glasses of wine, and enjoy!

Ok, lets start with the more expected means of my inspiration… 

My Family


They motivate me, yes, but they also inspire me. I see how hard each one works to reach their own goals, always making sure to put forth their best effort no matter what endeavor they are jumping into. I see how much support they give to one another, having no expectation of gratitude in return. I watch them express love so openly, without a second thought. It is beautiful to see people who display raw, authentic, and purely genuine intentions. Seeing them display these characteristics daily, inspires me to be these best person I can. 


 Friends



I have lost and gained friends throughout the years. I have felt betrayed, I have felt loved… But I think I can finally say, with confidence, I have finally formed a group of friends who I know will stick with me until the end… and if I do say so myself, I pick em good. All jokes aside, my friends are a main source behind my inspiration. They, like my family, love me without expecting something in return. They love me… that's it, no because, no reason why, they just love me. I see how hard they work at their own lives, fighting to reach each of their goals, and not falling apart when something doesn't go as planned. They perfectly balance work, friendships, family life, and do it with such ease. Each day, without a doubt, they inspire me to work for what I want… to never quite, and realize that NOTHING is going to come easy, but thats ok

Random people-


I know you are probably like, what? But it is true, seeing a person I don't know, working hard.. whether that person is working at Starbucks, McDonald's, or as a CEO of a large company… when they can do their job, and maintain a smile on their face no matter how hectic things can get… I can't think of many things more inspiring then that. 


Writings-


I still go onto Ashley's blog every now and again, and read some of her past posts she wrote while in Cleveland as she waited for her new lungs. Her uncanny ability to say all of those painful words with such ease, is still awe-worthy. Each sentence I read inspires me.
I also follow other blogs of people whom I don't know, and I find some sort of inspiration in many of them. 


Long car rides by myself-


I find myself on many occasions, jumping into my car, blasting some of my favorite songs, and driving with no destination in mind. I love those long, peaceful drives. I have the window ever so slightly cracked open, letting the sun sneak through to find a resting place on my cheek, creating the perfect scenario for  inspiration to be born. After all, when do you think I came up with this blog post?

Originality, Rawness-




Finding people who hold these traits. People who are themselves, flaws and all, play a big part in my own inspiration, they push me to appreciate the person I am.

Happiness-


Finding someone who, no matter what hardships life has thrown their way, is genuinely happy. People that realize life is going to have many of its... 'when it rains it pours,' moments, but still stands tall in that rain until the sun peaks through again.

Getting things accomplished-



Whether it be a small, minute accomplishment, or something on a larger scale… each accomplishment grants me the same amount of inspiration.

Doing something to help others-


Say's it all right there. Nothing more inspiring then helping someone out, to then see the smile YOU put on their face.

People who started from the bottom-


To quote Drake, "now we here." But really, people who came from nothing, and preserved through it all, and are now doing exactly what they've always dreamed. Reaching heights they thought were unattainable

The notion that, "if he/she could make their dreams a reality… so can I"


Think of someone you idolize, they are a normal person like you and I… if they could become what they are, what is stopping you from doing the same? 

Moments of reflection-


The time I take to realize how far I have come

So tell me, where do you find your inspiration?

Donate Life Month.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

 




         It is finally April.. Let me repeat that, it is finaallllllllly April! I think to say that us in the North East are excited about that, would be the understatement of the year. Even if it isn't the warmest of weather, it is currently around 50 degrees, anything is better than the tundra like temperatures we are coming from- I think this was probably one of the worst winters I can think of, how wonderful it was my first winter back from Auburn. I did have Auburns weather still saved on my iPhones weather app, and let me tell you how many let downs I experienced when opening the app to see 65 degrees... Only to realize I hadn't swiped over to Boston's weather. Anywho, it's now Spring! I can hear the birds, I can see the pavement... may not be exciting for some of you, but for us New Englanders, we are sick of seeing white stuff we have grown to hate so much. Ahhh, just feel spring in the air.
      But this month doesn't just bring the joy of knowing winter has come to an end...no, it brings another, more emotional, feeling for me. April is Donate Life month. I've seen my mother,father, three of my aunts (one donating twice) and myself, all donate an organ to save a life. It is the greatest gift a person can give to another. But what happens when they can't do a living related transplant (like the ones my family had done before) well, you must wait for a cadaveric transplant (from the deceased) and this is where the importance of other people checking yes on their license, comes in. I watched my sister die while waiting for a second set of new lungs, she was number one on the list, but died all because those lungs never came. But people were continuing to die everyday...How could this be that for six months lungs never came? That question began to haunt me. The anger I felt after realizing the answer, the lack of organ donors in our world, motivated me to push the importance or organ donation and  how crucial it is for people to become one. If you haven't seen the need first hand, that doesn't make the need any less real- just look at my families story.
      So check yes to being an organ donor... You could save a life. If there were more organ donors out there... I would still have the person I had planned, for as long back as I can remember, as the maid of honor in my future wedding. I would still have that person whose future children would have play dates with my own, while the two of us sipped on a glass of wine, chatting and bickering like sisters do. Instead, I have to find a way to incorporate her memory in my wedding, I'll have to show my children pictures of someone they will never meet, and I will sip on a glass of wine myself as I look through a photo album of her pictures.

You can check out the guest blog I did all about organ donation, here

     Here are some scary facts from organdonor.gov

During your visit to organdonor.gov, someone may have been added to the waiting list. It happens every 10 minutes.
Each day, an average of 79 people receive organ transplants. However, an average of 18 people die each day waiting for transplants that can’t take place because of the shortage of donated organs.
People of every age give and receive organ donations. In 2012, 28,051 people received organ transplants. Here’s the number of recipients by age group:
                 1 Year Old: 277 (252 deceased, 25 living donors)
                 1 – 5 Years: 520 (422 deceased, 98 living donors)
                 6 – 10 Years: 280 (220 deceased, 60 living donors)
                 11 – 17 Years: 695 (539 deceased, 156 living donors)
                 18 – 34 Years: 3,105 (2,010 deceased, 1,095 living donors)
                 35 – 49 Years: 6,386  (4,809 deceased, 1.577 living donors)
                 50 – 64 Years: 12,155 (10,096 deceased, 2,059 living donors)
                 65+ Years: 4,633 (3,839 deceased, 794 living donors)

     Someday you may not need your organ, so give it someone who does. Prevent someone else from watching their loved one lose a battle they could have won. Become an organ donor by just checking yes. If more people did, my older sister could have been sitting next to me right now.

Asbestos Awareness.

Friday, March 28, 2014


       



      A week ago I was contacted by Heather; a women whose story shows true strength and perseverance. After hearing all that she has been through, and the continuous courage she conveyed through it all, I knew I needed to highlight her on my own blog! She is filled with exactly what I preach, inspiration. Her story, like mine, can save lives.
      Just eight years ago, Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma; a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. She was exposed to asbestos as a child due to her fathers occupation as a construction worker.  Something as simple as her wearing her fathers jacket, a memory she use to smile about, has now caused her so much grief. 
       She got this terrible diagnosis after giving birth to her daughter. One of the most beautiful moments of her life, giving birth to Lily, quickly turned to one of the worst… she was given only fifteen months to live. Thankfully, Heather received a life saving surgery, which included the removal of her left lung. Her story ends on a more positive note, but there are still so many in our world today who are battling this malicious disease, and many of whom, don't win that battle. 
       She informed me that Asbestos Awareness week is right around the corner and she is determined to get the word spread about this terrible mineral. After clicking on her page, I could't believe all that I was reading! Asbestos is still being used in many areas of the United States, some areas include office buildings, building materials in homes, and naval ships- it is absolutely terrifying that there is still an allowance for the use of Asbestos, knowing how deadly it is. Asbestos exposure is the number one cause of occupational cancer, hearing this hit close to home. My grandfather lost his life due to mesothelioma, which was caused by Asbestos from his work. My grandfather lost his life in 1990... and in 2014, the US still has yet to ban it.
         Something has to be done to stop this, and that is what Heathers mission has become. But she can’t do this alone, and therefore we need to all come together and spread the word, our voices can stop this. 

   Heather told me that after her lung removal 8 years ago, her and her family celebrate with a day they call “Lung Leavin’ Day” where they write their biggest fears on plates and throw them into a fire. Her sister and husband came up with the name, and it has helped them all get through their fears and hardships! I loved hearing this, and definitely see it as something I might do on the anniversary of the kidney transplant. Click here to learn more about 'Lung Leavin' Day' 

Here are some other links you should check out:

Help us spread the word, and help us BAN the use of Asbestos!