A Leap of Faith in Poland…Finding Family Roots in Auschwitz

National Holocaust Remembrance Day is April 27, 2014. This is a repost from my adventures in Poland a few years ago, and the adventure of finding my great grandmother’s records at the Auschwitz in Krakow Poland.

He never knew his grandmother. She died before he was even a twinkle in his own mothers’ eye. That was why one of the first places I had to travel on my adventures in Europe was to the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz in Krakow Poland to pay tribute to the woman I had been partially named after, and to give my dad a chance (even if it was just in seeing her name) to try to put the pieces together of what had happened in our family more than 70 years before. Continue reading

What’s Your Excuse? What can the Facebook Fitness Mom teach us about Success?


Maria Kang, a mother of 3 and fitness blogger, has been getting a ton of backlash for posting a photo of herself showing off her scantily clad, yet toned physique alongside her 3 young boys with the above caption: What’s YOUR excuse?

Although intended to be inspirational, the photo seemed to rub many people the wrong way and Kang received a barrage of negative comments. In response, she posted the following “apology” on her Facebook page, which has since received over 16 million views:

What you interpret is not MY fault. It’s yours. The first step in owning your life, your body and your destiny is to OWN the thoughts that come out of your own head. I didn’t create them. You created them.

Perhaps Ms. Kang’s choice of words may have been a bit harsh, and rather than dousing the fire she fanned the flame. Yet should she really have to apologize when her original intention was to inspire and motivate? Have you ever watched Jillian Michael’s on the Biggest Loser? She isn’t exactly all roses and cupcakes when she’s trying to push people through to get better results.

As a mother of 3 young children (the youngest being 8 months old when she took the photo) as well as running two successful businesses, Maria’s message was that if she could find the time, others could too. Is that to say that fitness and a 6 six pack of abs should be everyone’s priority? No. Is it saying that only fit women can be beautiful? Of course not. She is simply showing that she had a goal, and despite other obstacles, was able to accomplish it.

What do successful people do that failures don't?

What do successful people do that failures don’t?

Why is it that when we see someone achieving success we are so quick to judge them, or make our own excuses as to why we can’t have the same results? Rather than being inspired and motivated, we become the victim and refuse to take responsibility for our own actions, which in turn gives us the results we are unhappy with.

Rather than looking at the work that was accomplished to get where she is at, they allow her results to be a reflection of their own insecurities, and in my opinion miss the entire point that Mrs. Kang was trying to make.

It’s always annoying when I talk to people about traveling the world and when asked why they don’t travel themselves, an immediate flood of excuses comes: I don’t have enough money, I have kids, I have no one to travel with. These are merely obstacles. If you want something bad enough, there is always a way to work around those obstacles.

Success in any endeavor, whether that be in lifestyle, fitness, wealth, business, or relationships, requires action and persistent effort. I once heard success described as “the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” We all have our own ideals and priorities to strive for, and there are going to be obstacles and challenges along the way. These are what help build the character (or muscles) to become who and what we are striving to be, and are just merely part of that journey.

So the next time you catch yourself giving excuses for your own success or hating on someone else for accomplishing their own goals, stop and take a moment to think about the results you currently are receiving in your own life and how happy or unhappy you are with those results. If you are not happy, perhaps it might be wise to take a moment to listen to those who have paved their own way through a similar (or maybe even different journey) and plan and take your own action steps to change, rather than putting them down for accomplishing theirs. What are we? A bunch of jealous high school girls?

To Maria, I say: You Go Girl! Rock on with your bad self!

What’s your opinion of the photo and all of the backlash from it? Do you feel inspired or offended by her photo? Please write your comments below, and if you enjoyed this article, sign up for our weekly newsletter to receive more tips and tricks on how to live YOUR best life wright now!

5 Tips to Overcoming Language Barriers

630px-LearnLanguage660-620x300It can be a little intimidating heading to another country if you don’t fluently speak the language. I can’t tell you how many puzzled looks I gave while trying to decipher a train schedule or speak to a shopkeeper who only spoke in their native tongue. Language barriers can often deter someone from traveling to a foreign place altogether since learning a new language can be frustrating and time consuming, especially if you only plan to travel for a short time.

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Memories of Easter Sunday from The Holy Land

It’s been a while since I’ve celebrated Easter in the the “traditional” since. As I write this, I can hear the nieces and nephews giggling around the table as they dunk their hard boiled eggs and fingers into the brightly colored dyes; color crayons and stickers scattered around the table to put the final touches on their works of art. My older niece came in to check in on me, since usually I would be out there with the rest of the “kids” getting my fingers just as dirty.

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