Learn. Live. Hope, Musical MOtivation, Uncategorized

Livin’ on a Prayer

In the hospital after my second brain surgery in (June 2012) vs. (January 2013) living it up--visiting familyat the beach in St. Augustine, FL
In the hospital at Yale after my second brain surgery in (June 2012) vs. (January 2013) livin’ it up–visiting family at the beach in St. Augustine, FL

Well, I haven’t posted a blog in awhile, but in one way that is a good thing for me.  It is good because I have been very busy this past month, and the way things are looking, I am going to be pretty busy for a while it seems. I am the kind of person I have do something all of the time; keep moving, keep going.  If there is nothing for me to do, I find something to occupy my time.  When I am home alone, with no mode of transportation, I discover and create ways to keep myself busy.  I put effort into making each moment productive, in a way that can help me better myself physically and/or mentally.

Recently, I have been a huge fan of the work-outs provided on “On Demand” and I will do 2-5 of those workouts throughout the day (depending on how short/long they are).  Killer Core is one of my favorites right now.  I tried out one of the cardio dances, and let’s just say I will probably not be letting anyone see how ridiculous I must look doing that one!  I’ve also been building a website for my aunt’s new organization that we are in the midst of establishing (I can’t divulge much about that now but stayed tuned!). My aunt is very excited about the organization and her big plans, and I am very excited to be her right-hand (wo)man and utilize my writing and computer skills.  We both foresee very big things coming, and I am anxious to see how things pan-out.

The holidays are always a busy time for everyone, but through the holidays and shortly after I had several friends come to visit me, I went on a day-trip to Massachusetts for my cousin’s cheerleading competition, and then I spent two weeks in Florida visiting some of my family.  Just like that, January came, and now it is just about gone.  It was a great month, but I also have so much to look forward to and keep me busy in the next few months.  A productive Mo is a happy Mo.

Four of my really good friends, (whom I’ve met in college at Furman), all currently live within a rather short distance of Boston (just a few hours from me), so we are having a re-union this weekend in Boston, which I am also very excited for!  Besides my family, there is not one thing I love more in the world than my friends.  Those whom I consider my closest friends, I will have their back no matter what, and I hope they would do the same for me.  One of the best characteristics I consider of myself and my fellow Italian family is loyalty.  So if I deem you to be in the “MO-fia” as I call it, you’ll always be in good hands; but if you’re not, better start saying your prayers ; )

Speaking of prayers, the following week after traveling to Boston, I have  Bon Jovi and Taylor Swift concerts to look forward to.  I can’t wait to be Livin’ on a Prayer at Bon Jovi, TSwiftski is one of favorites.  We have a CD my aunt plays in the car, and when Livin’ on a Prayer comes on we crank the music up and we sing that song as loud (and it’s horrible) as we can.  My aunt has told me that when she hears it she thinks of me, and Yale, and how I was “livin’ on a prayer”.

Besides the concerts, I will be doing some travelling, and during which I will get to spend a couple of visits back in Greenville, SC (where I was living when I got ill).  While many of my close friends are dispersed around the country, some of my closet friends still reside in Greenville, so I am thrilled to be able to go and see them.  These won’t be your normal visits;  we’re talking one of my best friend’s bachellorette parties in Charleston, and her wedding in Greenville, SC this spring with a group of us who haven’t all been together in the same place, at the same time, since probably college….I am already anticipating stomach pain from laughing so hard.  I can’t wait to be singing karaoke, and fist pumping, and “livin’ on a prayer” with some of my best friends.  Those are some of the best times I’ve had.

When I get excited about things that are going to happen, I often times begin reflecting on the good ole’ times, and can’t wait to have new good times.  One of our favorite karaoke songs, and probably one of the most popular of all-time is of course, Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer.  Arguably, you could say I was; “livin’ on a prayer,” this past year.  I often times find myself thinking a lot, about all sort of things.  Why am I alive? Why are they dead?  What if I did this instead of that?  How can I make this gluten-free recipe delicious? How many days until Justin Timberlake’s new CD comes out?  How is the Cowboy’s defense going to be next year?  Why did so-and-so say that to me?  How am I going to afford health insurance when my Cobra expires?–there is no telling what is going through my head at any given moment.  Things that I question, I try to research and educate myself and by making myself some-what more knowledgeable on the subject.  I usually just end-up attaining a lot of useless facts, and being left with a ton of unanswered questions.

For instance, how did I get a life-saving liver transplant on the very last day I needed one when just one day later I would be dead?  How did I survive not one-but TWO brain surgeries for invasive aspergillosis which has a 80-90% mortality rate?  How could my body endured three MAJOR surgeries with-in a five week span?  How was I able to run the mile in 10:39 last month when I couldn’t even walk in May?  The strangest part is, every negative thing thrown in my way this past spring/summer, not only did I come out alive, but I came out swinging!  I know I strive to work hard to be the best that I can be in everything I do, but that certainly has it’s limitations.  Just like I have my “MO-fia,” there is someone, something, somewhere that has my back.  I am very grateful for what must be some-sort of divine intervention, which I like to think of as my guardian angels, and I don’t think I have just one.

I can’t explain the answer to these questions I asked above with a mathematical equation, or a scientific law.  I also can’t explain it with a religion necessarily either. What I choose to explain it with is a lot of love and a frame-of-mind; a mind-set that is unwilling to compromise, unwilling to lose. I consider myself a believer-I believe in my family, I believe in my friends, I believe in my guardian angels looking over me, and most importantly I believe in myself.  I work hard at my goals, because I believe I can achieve them. I am here now, alive and making great strides, and for that, everyday, I give thanks for everyone’s belief in me, my amazing medical team, my mental and physical strength, my family and friend’s love and support all combined into one big positive force that propelled me to push with all of my might through the numerous, death-defying obstacles in my way.  I have gotten knocked down many times, but when I have gotten up, I only stood taller and stronger.  I lost my pulse four different times, and I am still here, doing better than ever.  I don’t believe there is anything or anybody out there that can knock me down, and keep me down, and whether that is true or not, it doesn’t matter because it is what I believe.  Someone can try, but good-luck with that, you will have the “MO-fia” after you, and I’ll be too busy “livin’ on a prayer”.  : D

“We’ve got to hold on, ready or not.
You live for the fight when it’s all that you’ve got.
Wooaaa, we’re halfway there. Wooaaa livin’ on a prayer.
Take my hand and we’ll make it, I swear. Livin’ on a prayer.”

Musical MOtivation, Uncategorized

Fly/I Believe I Can Fly

This is a mash-up of R.Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” and Nicki Minaj’s “Fly” (sung by the cast of Glee)

This song inspires me and when I listen to it and I feel like one day that will be me, and I am going to “fly”  “…Then I can do it if I just believe it, then there’s nothing to it….”

“Cry my eyes out for days upon days, such a heavy burden placed upon me, but when you go hard your nay’s become yay’s…..I came to win, to fight, to conquer, to thrive, I came to win, to survive, to prosper, to rise. I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky….”

Musical MOtivation

“Roll If Ya Fall”

I know Christmas is right around the corner and you have probably been decking the halls while jamming to some “Jingle Bell Rock,” but in case you wanted to give your ears a short break from “Santa Baby” you can with a song I love called, “Roll if Ya Fall” by Barefoot Truth.  I love me some Christmas music, but most of us can probably agree that Christmas songs can get old pretty quickly, especially after you’ve heard, “Frosty the Snowman” for the third time in the past hour.  I like to change my music up all of the time, and sometimes a good song is exactly the thing you need to motivate you to get going in whatever it is you have to get done.

“Roll if Ya Fall” just sparks something inside me to just feel happy.  When the song first begins, it always seems to put me in a day-dream where I am sitting on a beach somewhere with friends relaxing, sipping on a nice cold beverage, living the life.  The first time I heard the song, during the instrumental intro, I found myself bopping my head around and tapping my shoes to the beat of the bongos heard in the song. So I’m feeling it, I keep listening, I hear the lyrics and I realized that the song actually has some depth and meaning behind it.  Hold-up…this song has a chillaxin’ DMB essence to it, and it’s lyrics are somewhat motivational?!?  That is right up my alley, and that’s what I call a Mo-tastic song!

As I listen, the song describes life as a “game”, and the little things we do in our daily lives contribute to our final “score.”

“And when we add the score at the end of this life, I wanna say I won the game.”

Being the competitive person that I am, this really has my attention now. Whether you are competitive in nature or not, if life is considered a game, that is one game that I an sure you do not want to lose.

Eventually, one day my time will be up, all of ours will; but mine will not be right now. I have already proved on more than one occasion, that if you are going to try to take me down, I will go down swinging with both arms swinging.  If you knock me down, I will get back up.  You can even knock me down a few more times after that, and no matter what, I will get back up, and I find a similar sense of action is found in the lyrics of this song.

Another reason I love this song is because it asserts being tough, without the intensity, but rather in such a cool, and relaxing way.  “It’s a simple inspiration, it always gets me high…,” I always find inspiration in song lyrics and try to apply those lyrics to my life because a simple lyric can become a simple inspiration for me.  When I’m inspired, and it doesn’t take much, there is no doubt I’m going to “roll” if I fall.  Even though this past April and May I fell, and I fell about as hard as you can go down, I got up, and got “rollin.” I plan on continuing “rollin” even “if flat shadows get me down, I’ma roll if I fall.”  I advise you to not stand in my way, because more than likely you will get your ass run over!