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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Public Schools, Here I Come

I'm SO excited to speak at my first public high school venue in February! Thank you, Principal Dana Moen, for caring so much about the 700 students at Classical Academy to have me speak to them and their parents.

Spreading my message of hope and healing to a live audience is one of the best ways to reach out and make a difference.

I can't wait!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Recognize Anyone?

The immensely talented Nathan Leon from Visionary Film Productions just released a video he made of the Mental Health Conference where I spoke in November.

I'm blown away.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Wristband--Version 2.0 

If you want one of these babies, ask your youth group, high school, or other organization to sponsor one of my talks. The only way to get one is to see me live.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


I'm in the midst of finishing up my first college semester. That means it's a very hectic time right now with preparing for talks, trying to get good grades, and just the everyday stuff that happens. 

And I don't handle stress very well.

Unfortunately, the main way I handle stress is by a series of weird habits, including, but not limited to, picking at my nails, pretending to play the piano on any surface, and other generally annoying habits that calm me down but drive everybody else up the wall.

But I've been really working hard on being calm throughout the day--something I think all of us would like to do. It's been going well, actually. Every day I seem a little bit more at peace than the day before. Most of the time, at least. There will always be those days where I pick at myself and "play" the piano so much that everyone around me becomes as stressed as I am, and that doesn't help anyone.

The key to finding peace in my life is being content with where I am right now. I mean, yes, I have goals and dreams for the future, but it's necessary to be at peace with what I'm doing in the present, so I can enjoy the journey.

One practical way of finding peace in life is to take five minutes a day to just do nothing. Maybe pray or meditate on something if you feel inspired, but I just shut down my mind and be calm for that time.

When I was first told about this technique, I thought, Yeah, right. I have so much to do. I can't spare five minutes from my day. But then I tried it, and I came to the realization that five minutes isn't a long time at all. This little practice has helped greatly in relaxing me, and I've been able to improve my life because of the inspiration I've received during those times.

So during your hectic week, I encourage you to try to find the best way to bring peace into your life, even if just for a few moments each day. 

Because depression can cause turmoil and anxiety, embark on the journey to discover the calm in your storm.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Two Years

"You are such a Blessing. I am a mom of a wonderful 16 year old son who is currently battling depression. You give me such hope. This is such a scary road, but he is being treated, and we are just praying that it will be successful. Thank you for your story, and for being out there for those of us that are in the middle of the journey."

I recently received this message, and as I was preparing for the two year anniversary of the crash--and my survival and rebirth--I was struck about how appropriate this was for today. 

I could never have imagined that my life would turn out this way: mentally healthy and helping others to survive, too. I could never have seen myself blessed, much less a blessing to someone else. I had no hope. 

But in two years, I've gone from this

to this

I still have a bit of trouble believing it myself.

And something else I still have a hard time believing is that I can actually make a difference in people's lives. It's seems that's something too big for me. 
But with the hope I have for my future comes the hope that, yes, I can do something. And I'm going to keep doing something as long as there are hurting people out there.

I will never give up.

I'm unashamed.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Too Many to Count

Ahh, Thanksgiving. One of the many days Americans find an excuse to feast. 

Doesn't it sometimes seem we miss the real point of a holiday? I was asking myself why I celebrate Thanksgiving, and I came to a frightening answer: for a chance to stuff myself with food. I mean, yes, of course I remember that today is a day for celebrating our blessings and giving thanks for them, but do I really do that to the extent that I should?

To whom much is given, much will be expected.

I've been given so much (starting with the fact that I'm alive), and it's about time I step up to sincerely thank the many people who played a part in the reason I'm where I am today. You already know about Lenny, so here are some others:

God. How many miracles have I experienced? Too many to count.

My parents. For everything (including suffering through my corny jokes).

My friends. For always being there for me.

Dr. Marc Newman. For transforming me into a speaker. I can't say enough about how he selflessly gave his time to help me effectively communicate hope to teens, their parents, and any audience. He gets it. If you ever need a pro-life speaker at your church or event, this is the guy for you--and he does so much more than that, too. Check him out:

Deacon Jim Walsh, Linda Areola, and Kent Peters
Kent Peters, Linda Areola, and Deacon Jim Walsh. For being like family to me and blazing the trail for a mental health network in the parishes of San Diego County! Their support and guidance have been invaluable, and their office is a second home to me.

Jeanne Roy. For being a District Attorney who doesn't use a cookie cutter approach to her cases. She genuinely cares about making a difference.

Riverside County Mental Health Department Parent Partners. Christine Lestage and Lori Lacey-Payne encouraged me to start a support group. They've always shown how much they believe that each life is precious.

And to all of you. For supporting me in my mission and being totally awesome! 

I was talking about fraternal love with my friends the other day, and I can honestly tell you (without it being weird) that I love you all and wish you the very best Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Upcoming Talks

I love speaking to audiences where I can make an impact. Love it, love it, love it. Especially to teens. But if you know of any groups that need to hear my life-saving message, I'd love to speak to them, too. Just fill out the contact form on the right or book me through CMG Booking. Here's a list of where I'll be in the next three weeks:

November 29, 2014
                          Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church
                          Pacific Beach, CA
                          Family Conference on Depression 
December 1, 2014
                          Good Shepherd Catholic Church
                          Mira Mesa, CA
                          Edge Middle School CCD 
                          "Depression Confession" (age appropriate)
                          7:00 p.m.  

December 16, 2014
                          St. Pius X Catholic Church
                          Chula Vista, CA
                          Youth Group 
                          "Depression Confession"
                          6:30 p.m.

Whew! That makes 11 engagements from July through December. We've received many requests for 2015 already, so it's promising to be a busy year, too. Thank you to all who have heard me speak in person and for those who are currently attempting to book me for their organizations. My list of talks has grown, and I also offer specialized presentations upon request.

I hope that, one day, my message will no longer be necessary, but until then, I'll do my best to spread the word that every life is precious and can't be erased.