Celebrating Hope  0

IMG_6180aabbBORDERn[2]Madisyn GreyFathers day.. a beautiful day full of celebration and contentment. A day of downtime and remembrance. For others it is a day where there is hopelessness, sadness, looking for guidance that is no longer there – a day full of remembrance that you can no longer “touch” and a day of remembrance that you wish you would not “feel.” It is just too painful, too real, to “in your face” on a day that is about celebration. It is a day among happiness where you wish you were invisible, you hope that people do not see your jealousy, your anger and gut wrenching sadness that will consume you if you let it. But know that you have greater power than that; YES! Acknowledge this feelings: be angry, be sad, weep, shout but then move through it. Move through it because as in everyday, today you will EMBRACE THE LOVE MORE THAN THE LOSS! You will find hope in those you love the most. If you are a #Widow you will let your children know that you will mourn with them but that today forward you will have your special day to celebrate this great hero in both your life and theirs. You will find your special way, together because thats what we do -as much as we are our children’s support system they are ours! Together we will shine on and move through this life remembering that beautiful being that taught us such valuable lessons in the time we had together on this earth. And to all of the sons and daughters missing their dads, the grandpas that are no longer with us that maybe raised us – shine on – no one can take away their spirit that resides deep inside your heart.
Our loved ones “being” can only be removed from our souls if we allow it! They will always be with us. Great contentment, joy and love reside in our “space” when we go towards our “grief” versus running away from it. I know this because I am a work in progress. Its hard work but together we’ve got this. So today find hope. My hope today is this song that I want to share, that I have shared several times. She is my strength, she is my “will” to keep going, she is my “light” and more than anything she is her daddy’s daughter and this song exemplifies who she is to me and how everyday I will keep working through my grief in the hopes of inspiring us all to “shine bright” even in the midst of great loss. Happy Fathers Day, Mark! – Our love “sparked” beauty way beyond the physical. https://youtu.be/SUNTU5oYx3c

Technology teaches and aids…  1



IMG_1428-marker 4 blogSarasota Red-Light Safety Camera Footage Leads to Surrender of Fatal Hit-and-Run Suspect

According to this June 12 report from First Coast News:

Malik Clyburn bonded out of the Sarasota County jail. He stared straight ahead despite a barrage of questions from reporters.

Why did he turn himself in? Sarasota Police Detective Kevin Schafer said, “After he saw the video we put out to you guys and you shared he said that’s when he knew he couldn’t live with himself.”

The red light camera video showing Clyburn’s 2012 gray Kia Optima striking the man in the wheelchair. The accident happened around 8:45 p.m. Tuesday at the intersection of U.S. 301 and 17th Street.

Continue to article: http://fcnews.tv/1SaYDbP


No Matter how you look at this article it is a very sad and sensitive subject. This person made a devastating decision that will be with him for the rest of his life. This crash was not his fault BUT because he left the scene of an accident where a fatality occured he will now face felony charges.   He is young and had his whole life ahead of him. He is really going to need support to figure out how to maneuver this decision that will affect him for the rest of his life.


The Red light safety Camera Law in Florida, otherwise known as The Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act was established in 2010 to illustrate the solution to Red Light running and help to curb and combat this deadly behavior that is taking the life of our most precious loved ones. Contrary to the critics these cameras are doing what they were designed to do. They are saving lives and preventing negligent crashes.

This article is obvious and points out how effective these camera systems are in relation to helping law enforcement combat crime as well.

A note from ATS:
“American Traffic Solutions (ATS) is pleased that video evidence from one of its
red-light safety cameras assisted the Sarasota Police Department in their investigation of this tragic fatal collision. Authorities say the quick sharing of the video from ATS with the police, the media and the public proved to be a contributing factor in the suspect’s decision to come forward. ATS offers its condolences to all family members touched by this tragedy.

Since July 2010, Florida law enforcement agencies have requested red-light safety camera video from ATS on more than 8,000 occasions as part of official investigations ranging from hit-and-runs and kidnapping, to murder and sexual assault.”


This article does a great job of letting the public know that in no way did this young man run a red light. Just because the video footage was captured does not mean that this individual would receive a red light running violation. In fact the spokesperson for the Sarasota Police department says, “”The light turned yellow which we saw in the video. He did not run the red light or commit any traffic infraction,” said Schafer. I point this out because numerous times the critics believe that the cameras systems are a scam and that people are being ticketed for going on yellow. ” A money grabber, they say.” You will only get a ticket if your front tires go over the white line on red! This means you are blatantly ignoring a safety law that could result in death.

I personally believe that people need a reality check. Unfortunately we have proved as a society that we no longer know how to STOP ON RED. We need technology to provide us “training” so that lives can be saved! We live in a reckless and righteous society where risky behavior is occuring and people are paying the ultimate price.  People are  actually blaming a system for  “invading their privacy.”  We live in this society where people actually believe that negativity, anger and yelling loudly about their rights WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

My husband died at the hands of a negligent red light runner. He is not coming home! He will never be a father to my daughter and we will never know the beautiful life as a family we “could” of had. Instead of being angry, yelling loudly or spewing negativity towards people I made the decision to take action in hopes of preventing this type of negligent behavior that resulted in death for our family. With conviction, compassion and common sense I WANTED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Law enforcement, Education and Red Light Safety Cameras take part in saving lives and preventing deep heartache, they illustrate a step towards curbing this deadly behavior.  As motorists we have a responsibility to obey traffic safety laws so that we can keep each other safe. Technology is here to stay as long as we, as a society continue to grossly neglect that responsibility.


A “light” to love- Congratulations my Madisyn  1

IMG_2852In the midst of my beautiful journey heartache hit me with vengeance. No one is exempt. Taken in less than an instant; my one true love. Mark I will miss you for the rest of my life but I am in gratitude for the gift that we were so privy to create.
Yet in the midst of this horrific pain came light. A very bright light, our little ball of fire was born just 19 days later, thank you Madisyn Grace.
She is the bright light than entered my life and motivates me on a daily basis. She would not tell you this but she is beautiful, gifted, kind, funny as hell, stubborn as a Jack Ass at times, has a pure heart and has a calmness around her that soothes my soul just like her dear daddy did.
Today she will walk down the halls of Braden River Elementary School for the last time! Thank you BRE! We have had the most incredible staff take care of “our girl” as she is known by so many. They have loved her and I, nurtured us, and been there with us for all of our emotions! We truly would not have made it this far without your love, understanding and support! Thank you seems so boring! We love you all and will carry us with you always in our hearts!
Madisyn is going on to her dream school; the Out of Door Academy! I could not be more proud of her! All of her hard work and accomplishments has lead her to this next phase of her life. I know she will be accepted, nurtured and loved at ODA as well.
This beacon of beauty has filled my soul when it has felt empty. She has broken my heart with her heartaches; she has loved me and forgiven me through all of my single parenting screw-ups. She has laughed with me and loved me completely. How could I ask for more?
To my Madisyn Grace you will accomplish all that you desire. You have spirit, you have spark, and you have greatness running through your veins. Never take yourself too seriously, continue to strive to do your best and always be content and happy with who you are! You have already taught and changed the world by simply holding my hand in this life. I am who I am today because I have simply been loved. As Uncle Joe said the day you were born; Madisyn Grace you are your “daddy’s highest Mark and your Mommy’s Saving Grace.”
Thank you for your love, your light and lifting me up in this life. I will always walk beside you and from the side lines your daddy will always be watching you, you will never be alone and we will always be proud of you!
I love you to your daddy and back! Mamma

Not your Mamma’s Smorez’  1

IMG_2744-smores in jar for blogIMG_2752-Smores w:TopIt has been a while since I have blogged and a very long time since I have blogged a recipe! It is about that time! FIrst, let me tell you what I have been up to!

I have been on the road this last month! Every week I found myself in a different State and on a different airline! I have to say my travels were very “smooth.” I found myself in Philadelphia twice, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona and my last trip took me to DC! I loved every minute of those travels because I was able to do what I love! I am a speaker, spokesperson and the President of the National Coalition for Safer Roads (http://ncsrsafety.org) My last trip to DC allowed me to utilize my voice to share with the motoring public the most dangerous times to be on our roads. To educate on the value of being Mindful while driving and encourage if we all work together we can achieve a safer day on our highways and in turn save lives!
It turns out that summer is the most dangerous times when motorists are making negligent decisions and beautiful lives are being affected! I know that we can all do better!


WIth the travels behind me and the summer ahead I have been trying to come up with a dessert that I can take to a picnic for a few people that we have coming up! Everyone loves smores but this is an afternoon picnic- no fire here!
SO I decided to make “Smorez in a Jar” as an experiment! What I love about utilizing jars is you can put a top on them, stack them and pack them in ones picnic basket! Easy! And cute!


We love dark chocolate in this family but you can utilize any chocolate to make it work for you!


Building the Smorez: This specific recipe makes 4 Smorez in a Jar

Broil 8 Jet-Puffed S’moreMallows (Rectangle Marshmallows) – set them aside

Simple Graham Cracker Crust!
1 cup of Crushed Graham Crackers
1/3 cup Organic White Sugar in the Raw
4 Tablespoons of melted butter!
I pressed this mixture into a pie pan and baked on 350 for 10 minutes.
I let it cool for at least 15 minutes.

Hersheys Dark Chocolate Instant Pudding mix! YUMM!
Follow directions on package


4 pieces of Chocolate Bar for topper
(A mini Hersheys bar would be great! I used Godiva 70% Dark Chocolate Bar since I already had this in my pantry!)


4 Glass Jars with tops
Crumble the Graham Cracker crust and lay in bottom of jar
Add 1 large tablespoon of Dark Chocolate Pudding
Add 1 toasted Marshmallow
Add another large tablespoon of Dark Chocolate Pudding
Add Graham Cracker Crust over entire pudding mixture
Add 1 toasted Marshmallow and top with a piece of Chocolate!


This recipe can be modified anyway you want to! My daughter loved it! We ended up taking this sample down to watch the sunset! It was a fabulous treat!


Enjoy your kick off to summer! Share great recipes, laughter and love with friends and family alike!
What you can also share is the road! We have way too many fatalities on our highways that are negligent and preventable! The great news is that we all have the power to keep each other safe! We’ve got this!

This recipe goes out to my husband Mark whose life was taken by a red light runner! He would have LOVED this dark chocolate, gooey dessert!


Here’s to a great summer! To happiness, health, great food and nothing less than love!

Enjoy your Smorez in a jar! I know we did!

Seasons Greetings, Grief!  0

FSTD8BRG33OXPTO.LARGESEASONS GREETINGS! Well, it feels so loud these days. It seems as if people are shouting it when in truth their tone is probably no different than it has ever been. This year it just seems loud! Upon the death of a loved one life becomes foreign. It is almost as if you are in a different Country and cannot comprehend what other people are saying.
You move each moment as if you are walking on thin ice.
Will today be the day that you break? Or at the end of the day will you wipe your brow knowing that you maneuvered around that crack for yet another day?

SEASONS GREETINGS. No one speaks your loss. Even if someone else has been through a similar situation you do not want to hear about it. You nod graciously and find yourself consoling them. Words come out of our mouths that say –
“I am so sorry – my loss must be bringing up such hard memories for you.” How do we get to that place where we nurture other people and their grief instead of our own?
Maybe it is a survival reflex? Maybe if we don’t “feel” it we do not have to “own” it. But somehow in that moment of loss we have to embody it.
We become the representation of grief to our family, friends and the world around us that sees us.
Still today people say to me – “You remind me of Jackie Onassis, I think it’s the way you hold yourself and everyone around you together.”
I have never been “fake” in my grief I have always moved through my grief honestly and proficiently.
People have commented “you were chosen to go through this, only the strong survive- you are a survivor, there is a reason for this and when you look back someday you will reap the rewards of your loss?”

SEASON GREETINGS!! Really? I will be better for this someday? Because all I want right now is to be planning the Holidays with my beautiful husband who was “mowed down” by a red light runner two weeks prior to the birth of our daughter.
I want my daughter to be able to go shopping with my husband so she doesn’t have to feel yet again that she has gotten me “nothing” for Christmas even though I am telling her that her love, her beautiful hand made cards and her happiness are all that I need to make this a beautiful Christmas.
I want to look forward to New Years Eve where I can toast with my husband this life that we are getting through together and this daughter that we are privy to parent.
I want my husband back and I can’t have him back. I want him back for me! That’s what I want for Christmas!
I want him back for my daughter so that she can see the pride on her fathers face and know what love between a dad and his daughter really is.
I want him back for his parents, his brother, his nephews, his family and his friends. I want him back so that my parents do not have to “worry” about me being alone and I want him back so that my brother can feel whole again.
It has been 11 years. I want him back for me so that I can get rid of this gapping hole in my heart that will not seem to heal. That’s what I want for Christmas.

Season Greetings. This holiday season if you know a widow or a widower, someone that has experienced the pain of losing their children or children that have lost their parents, grandparents, brothers or sisters please bless them. Please hug them. Please pray for them. Loss is foreign. It is the “elephant in the room” that will not go away.
It can be a very daunting and lonely time… these holidays. The one gift you could give to all in grief is that hug – no words. We do not want to hear “they are in a better place, wait until you see the rewards for going through all of this or worse yet there is a reason all of this happened.” This Holiday season honor who we are and who we have had to become in our loss. Be patient, be kind and don’t walk away because it’s easier for you. We are trying to speak your language again, the truth is we are healing but we will never know the same words, thoughts, feelings or friendships, life just tastes different now. Most of us want that wonderful feeling again of Saying “SEASONS GREETINGS!” With an outward smile but on the inside we are shouting “SEASONS GREETINGS, GRIEF.” I am most certain that Jackie Onassis felt the same.

If you have experienced loss and know these feelings maybe this is why we are finding each other now.
Don’t be ashamed say it loud and proud: SEASONS GREETINGS GRIEF!
Acknowledge it; embrace it and them move through it. We don’t want to get stuck in it but have permission to divulge it.