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Honk If You’re Thankful

Honk if you’re thankful!  Judging from the sounds of my morning and evening commutes, S. Florida drivers are super thankful.  Who knew that it was gratitude driving this behavior not anger issues or self importance as I had thought.  I wanted to share with you one of my favorite Debbie stories tonight.


Let me take you back to last winter.   Our boys had home games early.  The hubby picked up John and TK and bring them to the rink  for warm-ups.  Debbie and I didn’t need to be there an hour early. Consequently,  she picked me up an hour later.  She was even kind enough to stop at Dunkin’, so I could get my coffee fix.  On our drive to the rink, we talked about things she wanted to do in the near future.  She was headed North to New York to visit family and ski, but she wanted to go to Iceland to see the Northern lights.


It was then that she dropped it on me.  Debbie had decided that she wanted me to take her to a rave in Miami.  Keep in mind, this was probably a week or two after the devastating fire at a rave in San Francisco that had killed 36 people.  Not to mention, raves in Miami aren’t known to be held in the safest locations or be the safest events.

I looked her and asked if she was serious and/or crazy, she was in fact quite serious.  As I’m digesting this request, it dawns on me that Debbie determined that I might just be the hockey mom crazy enough to take her to a rave.  Sadly, and I hate to disappoint people here, even I am not that crazy.   We started talking it through and I told her that likely we’d both end up dead if we went to a rave in Miami.  Can you imagine two hockey moms at a rave with glow in the dark pacifiers?  I mean, can you?


Rather than head to a rave, I suggested we try going to Ultra or WMC in Miami.  The atmosphere would be similar, but more controlled than a warehouse rave.  Debbie started looking to possible DJ shows we could hit too, but that pesky hockey schedule kept getting in the way.  As it turns out, WMC and Ultra were scheduled on spring break when Debbie and the family were going to be out of town.

One of the things that struck me most in our conversation was the fact that Debbie and her family had been planning things in three month windows.  Debbie and John, throughout Deb’s illness, were both so inspiring in their attitudes and approach to life.  In that  moment, it struck me like a ton of bricks.  While we all plan our lives in days, months and years, they had been planning their life around an illness for almost two years.  Just when you think you’re inspired by people, they blow you away with their amazingness in a whole new way.

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On the heels of the boys’ state tournament, we received the devastating news.  Debbie’s doctors were admitting her to hospice.  Incomprehensibly, Debbie’s doctors determined that she had exhausted all treatment options.  It bothers me that Debbie and I never got to SoBe to enjoy a dance party, but I know she’s dancing in heaven.  The lesson here is don’t wait to pursue your passions or your bucket list trips – go for it now.  And of course, honk if you’re thankful.

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Lastly, tonight is the deadline for online registration for the Purple Stride event.  If you’re thinking about participating, it’s go time.  There is no deadline for online donations to the team.  However, donations received after Friday will not be applied to the team total.  You can join the team or donate here Support Team Deb Force Five!  You can also cheer us on Sunday at FAU.  The race starts at 8:30 am.

Tonight’s song is one of my favorites from Swedish House Mafia “Don’t You Worry Child.” At their peek, the group spent most of their time providing the soundtrack in SoBe.  I hope you enjoy the song!


Daily Prompt: honk

Goalielocks & Debbie

Goalielocks & Debbie actually sounds like the name of a television show, but its actually two of my favorite people for whom I’m eternally grateful.  Goalielocks always had an affinity for Debbie.  He loved her like a second mom.  Moreover, he had a profound respect for her.  He was devastated when she was diagnosed.  He actually knew before us as he had figured it out from comments TK had made at school.  However, he didn’t mention anything to us until after we had told him.   It was hard for him to wrap his head around the fact that she had done “everything right,” but was diagnosed with stage iv cancer.


He didn’t understand how someone who didn’t smoke, drink, eat poorly and exercised regularly could get cancer.   My mother-in-law was diagnosed with Stage IV triple negative breast cancer in 2011.  At the time, Goalielocks was in fist grade. Undoubtedly, it was hard for us to tell the kids that their Grandma was so ill.  Nevertheless,  it made sense to him.  I’m sure that was weird to read that, but stick with me here.  Once we finished talking, Goalielocks said “it makes sense given she smokes, drinks, doesn’t eat right and doesn’t exercise.”  Strangely, as a six year old child, he had a pretty good handle on major diseases and their causes.   He was sad, but since the diagnosis made sense to him it wasn’t as scary.

Flash forward four years and the tough questions were coming our way.  While he could make sense of his Grandma’s diagnosis, he couldn’t wrap his head around Debbie’s.  Truth be told, I think many of us felt similarly.  It didn’t seem fair that someone who had followed all the rules ended up with this diagnosis.  Since the diagnosis didn’t makes sense based on behavioral patterns, the diagnosis was very scary.


Cancer is a scary disease.  Debbie, however, showed Goalielocks and all of us what true strength was.  Moreover, she showed us what it means to be brave, to persevere, to love, and to live fully.  We were honored to be able to help their family while Debbie was on hospice.  Consequently, my boys spent a lot of time with her those last weeks.  In what was the most difficult season of her life, she continued to show us all what it means to love selflessly, to live fully and be brave.  I am forever grateful for the time my kids, the hubby and I were able to spend with her.  While her neither her diagnosis nor her passing make sense to us, she will forever serve as our inspiration to love selflessly, live fully and persevere.

There’s only thirteen days left to the Purple Stride Event in Broward-Palm Beach.  While we’re still $4,000 away from our goal, I am hopeful we can close the gap in the coming week.  To join our team or donate in Deb’s honor, please click here.  Currently, there’s no panacea for Pancreatic Cancer as survival rates remain around 7-8%.

Tonight’s song  “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

The Beginning

Tonight I’d like to take you you back to the beginning of our story with John and Debbie as I continue my posts of gratitude.  When we met John and Debbie, we were still playing rec league hockey up at skate zone in addition to travel.  I know exactly what you’re thinking and you’re right.  We were absolutely crazy back then.  TK had just started skating and was an impressive player out of the gate.  The hubby knew instantly that he needed to make the jump from rec to travel.

It wasn’t until our first year of peewee, however, that TK and Goalielock’s ended up on a team together.  We had incredible group of kids, parents and coaches.  To date, that season remains as one of my favorite and most memorable seasons.  Debbie was our manager and as always was on top of everything.  She did an incredible job!   She organized our out of state tournament to Boston, which ended up being a magical albeit blizzard filled weekend.


For us, Boston almost didn’t happen.  The year before Goalielocks’ peewee A season, we started our own business. It was a huge, scary leap for the hubby and I.  The November of our peewee A season, hubby took a tennis ball to the eye in a freak accident that left him out of work for weeks.  Can you imagine the stress?  We had no employees, as finding qualified help in S. Florida is like finding a needle in a haystack, and the business was starting to gain momentum.   Honestly, I was ready to put him in a bubble.


No sooner had he gone back to work when he had a run in with a SUV and an unscrupulous driver in our neighborhood.  I’ll never forget when he called me from work to tell me he had broken his arm and he was driving to the doctor.  He’s absolutely crazy and did in fact drive himself, with a major break to his dominant arm, to the urgent care.  At the time, Jake was a sophomore in high school and not yet able to drive while the younger two were still in elementary.  To complicate things further each of the boys was playing travel hockey at the time with scattered practice times all week long.

I met hubby at the urgent care where they had tried to convince him to take an ambulance to the hospital.   There was no way my hubby was going to pay $500 for an ambulance ride 1.5 miles down the road to the hospital!  I picked him and got him into the ER right away.   Fortunately, the Bethesda West ER was incredible and took care of him immediately.

Hubby was in incredible pain and was having trouble recollecting what happened.  There was no way I was comfortable leaving him in the ER.  As this craziness was transpiring, our boys were still at school and After the Bell.  Thank God for the John and Debbie!  They had become neighbors when they moved into the Canyons a few months previously.  John and Debbie were our knights in shining armor.  They picked up the kids, fed them and even helped with homework.  Honestly, I cannot tell you what we would have done without them that day.

While we were in the ER, it was determined that hubby would have to be admitted to the hospital.   Moreover, he was scheduled to have major surgery on his arm the following morning.  Hubby was getting some new hardware!  When I went to pick the boys up from John and Debbie’s house, I was a hot mess.  They were so kind.  I left their house to bring the boys up to see the hubby in the hospital.

Fortunately, Hubby’s surgery went well.   His blood pressure was quite low due to the morphine, so he wasn’t able to get out during the day.  Once again John and Debbie came to the rescue taking care of our boys.   Through the afternoon and early evening, his blood pressure stabilized and his pain became manageable.  The doctor wrote the discharge orders with the caveat that he could urinate post surgery.  Oh boy, the struggle was real.  They brought him something he could use bedside, but he was having none of that.

He was finally able to go, so I started to help him un-tether the cords, unplug the IV and take off the blood pressure cuff.  This created a problem as we were at a hospital that serves a largely geriatric population and therefore uses bed alarms.   Long story short, as soon as I took up the blood pressure cuff, we set off a code blue.  As I walked towards the door to see what all the commotion was, I quickly realized that we were the commotion and they, meaning all the doctors and nurses on duty, were coming for us as they responded to the code blue.  I greeted them at the door to tell them he was simply trying to pee.  The nurses laughed and apologized for forgetting to turn off the bed alarm.  Thankfully, he was able to pee and he was discharged from the hospital.H


It was weeks before the hubby could drive again and my mom wasn’t able to come down until a week later.  In the interim, John and Debbie were instrumental in helping us function as a normal family.  They helped us with school and hockey.  We couldn’t have done it without them and are forever grateful to them.  While we were always at ready to return the favor, it was always a favor you didn’t want to return.

You never want your friends find themselves in a health emergency.  I never in a million years thought that in less than six weeks, they’d need us just as we had needed them.  I’ll never forget March 4th, 2015.  I had caravanned up to Orlando for our employee roadshow where I was one of the presenters.  This was my first time presenting to the group, so naturally I was petrified.


No sooner had we finished presenting, when I received a call from my hubby who was hysterical.  I was petrified.  Quickly, I walked out of the meeting room into the long windowed hallway that ran the length of the building.  I thought something horrible happened to the kids while I was in Orlando, so I was terrified.  Once he was able to collect himself, he told me that Debbie had been diagnosed with stage iv cancer.  My heart stopped as I collapsed back against the wall falling to my knees as I began to cry. 

At this time, they only knew that it was stage iv cancer and they needed our help.  We were going to be there for them in anyway they needed nothing more had to be said.  The “Meatloaf rule” went into full effect that day.   Today I’m grateful for the beauty of friends that become family.  For the type for friends that our always there at life’s lowest moments as well as life’s highest.  By the way, John even helped the hubby regain strength with some intense weight exercises.



In sixteen days, we’ll be running the Broward Palm Beach Purple Stride event in Debbie’s honor.  Please help us wage hope by joining us or donating to Team Deb Force Five.

Tonight’s song: Forever Young


Gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues, but the parent of all others.” – Cicero.  I drove to the rink to watch my youngest play to hockey games today with a heart full of gratitude.  First of all, the game was at home – a total godsend.  Secondly, there’s nothing better than watching your kid play the game they love.  No  matter how we hockey parents feel, we’re still gonna show up at the rink to watch our kids.  It didn’t hurt, of course, that they won both games.  Excitedly, the Mayor had the game wining goal in the 2nd game.


Yesterday, during the torrential rains of Tropical Storm Philippe, Goalielocks and I went to Dick’s and PetSmart.  While driving to the store, we started talking about the current state of youth sports.  For instance, when I was growing up most kids played multiple sports.  In contrast, today’s kids are specializing in one sport by age 12.  Moreover, the cost to play for today’s kids has become astronomical.  In order to stay competitive, many kids play on tournament teams, attend clinics, take private lessons and go to camps.   This, however, comes with an extremely colossal price tag that puts youth sports out of reach for many.   This was mind blowing to Goalielocks.  As we drove home last night, I think Goalielocks understood how lucky he’s been having played travel hockey since 2011.

My heart is full with gratitude for the boys’ opportunity to play hockey.  Our boys have been playing travel hockey since 2011.  In the year since, we’ve had incredible experiences with their teams.  Moreover, the boys had the fantastic opportunity to travel with their teams to Boston, Minnesota, Ottawa, Washington D.C., and Quebec.  This season we will be travelling to Chicago, Atlanta and Boston.  Needless to say my boys’ are extremely excited for these trips.

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There are many things that fill my heart with gratitude, but none more than the incredible people in my life.  From my parents and in-laws, to my brothers, my hockey family, my friends and my work squad, I am lucky to be surrounded by incredible people that make my heart sing.

Memorial Day

Several years ago we were in France for our dear friend’s wedding.  After enjoying the incredible ceremony and party, we headed to Normandy and Paris.  After a brief pit stop in the beautiful seaside town of Honfleur, we headed to Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery.   We knew it would be a tough place to visit, but I truly don’t think we understood just how powerful and emotional the visit would be.


From the moment we stepped onto Omaha Beach, you could feel the death, destruction and despair that had occurred there as if it had just happened.  The feeling was palpable and inescapable.  We started our visit by walking down to the beach where our troops handed landed.  When the attack was launched, it was planned to begin 1-3 hours after low tide, which represented a compromise between the Army and the Navy.  When we visited the beach that day, it was low tide.  As we stood on the beach looking at the beachhead, I couldn’t help but imagine how it must have looked to our troops on June 6, 1944.  The cliffs are steep and were heavily fortified.  As they made their way up the beach, grenades and mines would detonate.  That fateful day 6,600 American soldiers were killed in action, wounded or went missing in action.

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Over the course of the campaign to secure the beachhead, June 6, 1944 to August 21, 1944, 72,911 Americans were killed or went missing in action.  Omaha Beach present day is serene, beautiful and quiet, but the overwhelming feeling of loss that was omnipresent made for hard juxtaposition. It was almost hard to imagine the carnage that had happened in this beautiful place except for the pain of walking on hallowed ground in omnipresent.


We left the beach and began to walk through the cemetery.  It is here that over 9,000 men who died in the Normandy campaign are buried.  They came from all 50 states and were so young.   As we walked through the cemetery, I couldn’t hold back the tears.  The tomb of the unknown soldiers, of which there are many in Normandy, was difficult to see as a mother.  I could not imagine the pain their mothers endured never knowing what happened to their son and never having closure. My heart ached for them.

We were there in 2011, 67 years after the D-Day Invasion. There were flowers and personal notes left on several graves, which took me aback.  Sixty seven years later, the pain of loss from World War II was still very real.  The wounds of war are slow to heal.  We left the American Cemetery quietly and without speaking we headed to lunch.   The experience was heavy, emotional and one that took several days to digest before any of us could speak about it.


The American Cemetery was humbling visualization of how many brave soldiers, sailors and airmen were willing to go to their death to preserve our freedom.  Amazingly,  it is representative of only one campaign in one war.  In the course of American history, we have lost 651,008 servicemen and women.  This Memorial Day we remember those that paid the ultimate price to preserve our freedom.  The deep sense of gratitude hardly seems adequate for the price they paid.  Lastly, we hold near their families, friends, and battle buddies, who still feel the pain of their loss.