Tag Archives: aaron

On Gaps, Struggles & Purpose

I’ve been through some trials in my life, but this season of life I’m currently in seems to be one of the biggest struggles of my life. It’s not anything really big that I’m going through, it’s just a collection of a bunch of little things. A collection of family issues/worries, pending decisions, pending moves I need to make, pending hard conversations I need to have. As I’m writing this, I realize that a lot of things just require me to take action but it’s really not that simple, either. I very much feel like I can’t make certain moves because I’m waiting for other things to happen first. However, I’m also at this place wondering if I’m wasting my time? Am I waiting for things that will never happen? Am I hoping for things that will never change?

Here’s a little something only few people know about me. I have a big tendency to hesitate or maybe you could call it procrastinate. However, I was never that person in school to procrastinate on homework, projects, etc., however, it seems when it comes to other things, adult life sorts of things, I do have a tendency to procrastinate. Give someone an answer, step out of my comfort zone, make a tough decision or confront someone about something uncomfortable.. these are things I definitely will hesitate to do.

Living in the GapAt church on Sunday, our pastor taught us that The Gap is the Gift. The ‘gap’ being the gap between where we are and where we want to be. I’m definitely in a huge gap right now. Where I am in life is definitely not where I wanted to be. You might have heard me mention on social media lately that I really need to be better about being content in the present and wanting to flee from certain things. I am able to look back and wish that I had been happier where I was, I wish that I had appreciated more instead of being so focused on the reasons NOT to be happy. I am able to realize that there is a reason for everything and I need to stop being so depressed and down about where I am right now and just appreciate what IS good. They say gratitude is the antidote for negativity. If we stop focusing on the negative and what we DON’T have and be thankful for what we DO have, we will be much happier in life. The gap IS the gift. We ALWAYS have something to be thankful for. Now that’s something to get excited about!

On a somewhat related note, I’ve really been wanting to write about something else that has been in my mind and heart lately. On Easter this year, March 27, 2016, my brother, Aaron, would have been 34 years old. This time of year he’s always on my mind more, but this year especially is weighing pretty heavy on my heart. 10 years ago.. he was starting what would have been his last age here on this Earth and what would be the last few months of his life. Just a few short days after turning 24, he would find out he was in heart failure and there was no other further course for him other than a heart transplant. When I think about that time and that emotional roller coaster ride that started right around that time I am also able to look back with such gratitude. Such gratitude that I was so fortunate to have such an inspiring young man as a brother.

Aaron & ReeseMy brother’s life also reminds me to be thankful for my health and take care of myself better (which is something that I have not been so great at lately). He struggled with his health since he was born. He never got the luxury that so many of us have. He never knew what “normal” health felt like. But did he ever live his life that way? No! In fact he lived his life in spite of his health and lived a life fuller with more purpose with more gratitude than anyone I ever knew. He lived more like Jesus than anyone I have ever known since. He was a nice guy, a joy to be around and if he didn’t like someone, he never ever let it show. I spent 22 years of my life following in footsteps that I could never ever fill. As he grew older he grew so much wiser. He had such strong faith and though he faced some of the greatest struggles he was never afraid because he knew, without any doubt, that if he left this world, he was going to heaven. When people visited him in the hospital where he was waiting for a heart transplant and they asked him if he was afraid. He would tell them with 100% confidence, that he was not afraid because it was a win-win for him. He would either get a brand new NORMAL heart and get to continue living his life or he would leave this Earth and get to be with his Father in Heaven. Wow! I still struggle to hold back the tears when I think about that. Not to mention, instead of being down and out about living in the Gap of his life.. he was instead going around to the other residents in the hospital talking to them about Jesus. He was such an incredible guy.. and I miss him every day. I miss all the little ways he would purposely annoy me and I miss those moments of pure joy and laughter. Nobody could make me laugh harder than him, especially when he was with some of his best buddies. Being with them together was always a total riot!

AaronHe has gone on to heaven because his purpose here was finished, but I am still left behind which means I still have some work to do. I need to be better about telling people about Jesus. I need to be better at sharing my brother’s story because I know that part of my purpose, part of the reason I was blessed to call him my brother is because I am now placed perfectly to be able to share about his story with others. You hear people say all the time.. “Why does God allow bad things happen to good people?” sometimes we can’t see the whole picture when we’re struggling, but sometimes our struggles are exactly what helps save others.

MV5BMjkyOTI5NzgxMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjg4MzQzNzE@._V1_SX640_SY720_I went to see the movie Miracles From Heaven with my Dad last weekend and both of us absolutely bawled most of the time. I’m sure we were a lot more emotional given what we had been through with my brother, but also it really reminded me that I need to be doing more to share my brother’s story. Last year I was perfectly positioned in a city that really needs Jesus and I should have been better about sharing the story. There are many others here in Virginia whose lives were personally touched by Aaron’s that can continue to share his legacy here, I should have done more when I was in a new place and I intend to go back and do just that, eventually. Not to mention.. in this GAP that I’m in right now, I need to remind myself that I am still here. I need to be thankful for my health and take better care of myself, physically, emotionally and especially spiritually.

As far as the movie, everyone should go see it! Great movie.. very touching and it’s a true story! Here’s the trailer:


Leave a Legacy

Leave a Legacy

Those of you who have known me for a while or have me added on Facebook, probably have heard mention of my brother in Heaven, Aaron. When you hear of someone young passing away, it seems we usually assume that it was something sudden; a tragic car accident, a drug overdose, a suicide, etc. The reality is my brother’s passing wasn’t really sudden in that way. He struggled with health issues his entire life. He was born with a congenital heart defect known as tricuspid atresia, which means he was born without a right ventricle. Despite having to have numerous surgeries, procedures, checkups and medications he was able to live a relatively normal life and oftentimes most people were never even aware he had a heart condition.

Aaron

I think most people, if they were ever in the same position he was in, would probably have lived their life much differently than he did. I think most people, myself probably included, would be angry, bitter and negative. Few people know that sometimes he also had his share of days where he felt negative and down about his life but majority of the time, in spite of his circumstances, he lived his life to the fullest with a smile and always thought more of others than he ever thought of himself. His positive attitude was infectious. Every person he encountered, even if they were reluctant at first, became a fast friend and as such, he was a man of many friends whom he loved being around. He was spectacular at making people happy and making people laugh and I don’t know about you, but I certainly could use more people like that in a world that seems so negative!

Above all, he was a man of unfailing faith and a love for Christ that seemed unmatched. He never forced others to believe what he believed but he had this ability to, little by little, chisel away the hard, rough exterior that people put up to guard themselves and make them see how much better life could be if they lived more like he did. He showed love to people who were definitely not the easiest to love and even showed love to the people who hurt him or people he maybe didn’t like all that much. He treated everyone the same.

In the 22 years of my life that I got to share with him, I learned so much. I know I have a completely different personality than he had, but when I think of living a better life, I think of living more like he did. He changed so many lives in just 24 years and the ripples of his life are still going strong. I can’t even imagine the number of people out there that I don’t even know that probably have a story of how their lives were impacted by him. And this week I am thankful I got a little bit more insight into a few of those lives who were changed.

The reason I felt compelled to write more about him is because on Sunday my church had a sermon all about being “STUCK” in the middle of disappointment. We all face disappointment, it’s a part of life, but what we learned on Sunday, is that God is present with a purpose even in those times of disappointment. In order to drive the point home, they showed a video of my Dad talking about my brother and how his attitude and faith even when facing a heart transplant really changed his life. I wanted to share the video of the sermon on my blog, not just because it’s my Dad and my brother but because I feel that it is part of my duty, being left behind, to share the story in hopes that it will inspire others and in order to keep those ripples flowing.

Sunday Snippets

Lately I’ve been on a mission to challenge myself more. I don’t even know why it started.. maybe I just felt like it would be a nice way to revive my life. Not that my life needed to be revived, but hey.. we can always use improving, right? So first it started with.. “30 Day Squat Challenge? 55-250 Squats a day? I CAN DO THAT!” I almost did too! But at Day 28 I threw my back out again. But hey! My legs have never looked better! Then I said.. “HEY! I’m challenging myself to drink more water daily. 12 8oz. cups per day? SURE!” Haha! This one is an ongoing challenge, but it makes a huge difference too. My skin has never looked so good!

Anyway, point is I like the feeling of seeing a challenge and having the confidence in myself to be able to see it through. Maybe this is the way I’ve been living my life for the last three years but it’s been great. So I want to encourage you to do the same. Challenge yourself! Whether it’s to workout more, break your own fitness records, drink more water, or just speak out every positive thought about someone. Seriously, have you ever watched someone after they’ve been complimented (especially girls) I feel like you can just see their aura glow when they’ve been complimented. NEVER HOLD BACK A COMPLIMENT! SPEAK IT! Anyway, I digress.. just challenge yourself. It keeps life interesting!

So, in the spirit of challenges.. I need to CHALLENGE myself to get back to blogging. I stopped over the last year and a half for really stupid reasons. Won’t go into detail, but blogging makes me happy and I’m on a mission to do more of what makes me happy. Also, I want a place to post about my fitness adventures (AND CHALLENGES) and start posting some before an afters. Something I wish I did when I first started my health journey 3 years ago. BUT, no time like the present! So I’ll work on digging up old photos and make a nice before and after to show you guys and start taking pictures more regularly so I can see my progress (because sometimes I still feel like I’m that 244 pound girl).

And one last snippet for today.. On this day 7 years ago, my brother left this Earth and joined the party up in Heaven. I can’t believe it’s been 7 years and I can’t believe how much I’ve changed in that 7 years.. not just physically but emotionally, spiritually and even just the personal growth. I’ve changed so much just in this last year. I wonder if when he looks down from time to time if he’s proud of the woman I’ve become and the choices I’ve made. I’m sure he won’t agree with ALL of my choices.. but I hope he’s at least proud of me.

That’s all for today’s snippets. Going to work on updating the blog and fix some plugins and such! Stay tuned!