With a heavy heart/ Zigs Quote

As I think about the tragedy this past weekend in El Paso and Dayton, I have a heavy heart.  Today none of us are safe from this. Our 8-year-old saw something on the iPad about the Dayton tragedy.  She asked where is Dayton OH?  Sad to think she is exposed to this.    

Today, I am grateful I am alive.  My heart goes out to the families that lost a loved one.  You will continue to be in our prayers.  We will never know why this happened.  It could have been resentment, anger, attention, retaliation, mental illness, or any number of reasons. 

Between 2009 and 2017 there have been 173 mass shootings.  Many killers targeted unrelated victims that stood no chance as the mass shooter held his gun that was equipped with high capacity magazines.  What a coward behind that war weapon.  Now I do not want to get into the politics of gun rights (what party supports them or what party does not).  However, we collectively deem it illegal to operate a vehicle when drunk or high.  This is a prudent law of safety to protect our fellow citizens.  I pray that both parties can come together and unite on this issue that is killing to many innocent victims. 

I was fortunate to be acquainted with Zig Ziglar in the mid 1990’s.  One of his famous quotes was “you can get out of life what you want out of life if you help enough other people get out of life what they want out of life.”  This is one we all can draw from.  I submit that these mass killers had too much of their attention on themselves and not on others.  Loving others is contagious.  If one does it ten will follow. 

While these tragedies happen far too often, there is still good in the world.  May the network news channels pick up on the kindness in our neighborhoods.  I think this bad publicity feeds the sick that are potentially targeting the next victims. 

Love more!  Recognize kindness when you see it.  It is all around you.    

  1. Find something you are grateful for today
  2. Be truly present for those you are with
  3. Ask yourself how you are feeding your mind body and spirit?

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God Speed!

I am grateful for you!

When this journey began 6 months ago, there were many unknowns.  How long would treatment last?  How would I feel?  Would the treatment work?  Would my quality of life suffer?  Would I one day be cancer free?  Because of the flood of love and support from our friends, family and coworkers, I have been able to stay in today and tackle each step.  I cannot thank everyone enough for how you have contributed to my recovery.  Your prayers are being answered. 

I am excited to share with you that the treatment is indeed working well.  This week was a scan day and they can be both exciting and exhausting at the same time.  Because of the Billions of dollars that have gone into research, I am able to balance my life with treatment very well.  That said, we need more.  Too many patients struggle and suffer through recovery.  I have a friend in Buffalo who has the exact same disease that I have, and he is not responding well.  I see more patients like my friend Doug every other week when I visit Dana Farber.  What amazes me from these patients are that outwardly they appear to struggle but they fight with an optimistic outlook.  They inspire me in all walks of my life. 

A big blessing this disease has brought me is the full understanding that we are not guaranteed tomorrow.  Tomorrow is only a hope.  Since we have today, lets maximize what we can get out of today.  When I say maximize, I primarily mean maximize the time you have with others.  Be PRESENT.  Our relationships are what we will have for an eternity.  That said the one relationship we cannot neglect is the one with our Father.  Our Holy Father has been with us all along to give us the strength to stay in today and do your part.  My part in this is to keep doing the work.  While I feel fantastic today, I have no idea how I will feel tomorrow but I could give two pennies for tomorrow because I am in today. 

Secondly, I have reconnected with so many amazing friends from different times in my life.  Just this week I was reconnected with my grade school friend Steve Niehoff.  Steve and I met in the first Grade and went to school all the way through 8th grade together. The attached picture is from St. Bart’s grade school basketball and baseball teams we played on together. Before reconnecting with Steve, I had forgotten how many amazing memories we had together.  Steve thank you for bringing me back to those awesome times.

As Mary and I left the Hospital yesterday, we discussed the blessing this disease has brought us.  While I know not everyone can look at illness in this light, I encourage everyone to regardless of where you are in life to do these three things with me:

  1. Find something you are Grateful for today
  2. Be truly Present for those you are with 
  3. Ask yourself how you are feeding your mind, body and spirit?

Again, thank you for your love, support and prayers.  As I tackle today, know that I feel your prayers being answered.  Please know you are included in our prayers. 

Let’s live in today at Gods speed!

Being Present can lead to some awesome places

About a month ago, I wrote on the relevance of being present.  Present to who is around you.  I try and work on this every day.  I want to share with you a couple of awesome people I encountered because of being present.  

As I walked into the Crinzi and Gullo Jewelry store recently, I overheard a conversation a customer was having with one of the store managers, Angela.  It caught my attention because I heard the words cancer treatment and Roswell.  I did not want to be obvious I was listening to them but could not help but hear that the customer was fighting cancer.  Now I could have walked out and been on my merry way.  Many would have suggested that I do just that.  However, I believe there are no accidents in life.  It was god’s plan that I not only meet the customer but also Angela.  So, I simply said, I overheard that you are a patient at Roswell, how are you responding?  He went on to tell me the positive experience he is having.  I let them know that hearing positive results help me in the journey I am on.  As Angela listened, she shared with me that she planned to launch Pure Positivity.  You can see me in the shirt below.  “How you think is how you live”.   You can pick these shirts up at Magpie, Hamburg, Cameleon, East Aurora and Cameleon, Ellicottville.  Angela’s Positivity is contagious.  

The other awesome encounter took place a week ago in Portland ME as I checked into the Westin.  I got out of my car at the hotel and I asked the bell man how he was doing.  He replied “awesome”.  While I was tired and wanted to get to bed, I sat there and talked with this young man about the blessing of being awesome.  You might remember the blog on being awesome.  I found his response awesome.    

If you are PRESENT, you are not alone, and you can impact others.  As you are PRESENT, remember you can either be one that brings people up or bring them down.  Angela and the young man at the Westin in Portland ME are bringer uppers.  

There are three things that I work on each day, so I can fully experience God’s blessing he has in store for me.  Those three things are:

  1. Reminding myself of what I am Grateful for
  2. Be truly Present for those you are with 
  3. What are you feeding your mind, body and spirit?

I am so blessed to be PRESENT today.  Think PURE POSITIVITY and be awesome today!

The Importance of Being a Part of!

As 17-year-old boy, I learned a lesson from an experience I had as a senior in high school that at the time was very traumatic but, in the end, turned out to be an awesome life lesson.  To fully appreciate the life lesson, you need to understand a bit about myself leading put to the fall off my senior year of high school.  

Growing up sport was my everything.  In our household the five of us played football, basketball, baseball, track, swam and played tennis.  Each of us performed reasonably well. I always wanted to impress my brother, sisters and parents with my performance.  Notice I said my performance.  Not the team performance.  This past weekend I found statistic sheets from my seventh grade and eighth grade basketball season that were quite impressive. These sheets reminded me of the emphasis on personal outcome vs team outcome.

When I headed to St. Xavier HS, there were 110 boys that tried out for the freshman basketball team.  Both my freshman and sophomore year I made the team and was squarely part of the top rotation.  Both years we won our league and collectively lost 2 games.

I knew going into my junior that that making the varsity team was going to be a big accomplishment.  The talent pool was rich.  From this group, we had 9 players go onto ay a college sport (5 basketball, 3 football, 1 soccer).  When the tryouts wrapped up I was so excited that I was going to be a part of the team.  I had made it.  From that point forward the season was an absolute blast.   We had one of the top teams in the state.  I saw very little meaningful playing time, but I was part of a special that sat at the end of the bench.  The group of 5 bonded very closely, and we coined ourselves the scrub club.  We took pride in pushing the top 8 during practice each day.  On occasion we would beat them.  We had a blast.  During games we would sit together praying we would get 3-4 minutes of playing time when the game was wrapped up.  This usually happened.  We measured our success by the score when we entered the game and what it was at the end.  We generally widened the margin.  That season, we won the City title and were poised to make a run in the state tournament.  We beat a good Kettering Alter team at UD arena to win the district championship. The next game we face Mount Healthy, a team we beat in the regular season. The game was back and forth but we ended up on the short end that day. Our season was over but it would live with is forever. Rarely does a week go by without thinking of this special group.  Our final ranking was #4 in the state.  I loved being part of that team.  

Now the summer between my junior and senior year came.  While I worked hard, it was not at the level of what I had done before.  I took for granted that I was part of the special team the year before and that earned me the right to be on the team as a senior.  Boy i was wrong. I had Coach Berning for Accounting class the last period of the day.  As class was letting out Coach Berning asked if he could talk to me.  He looked at me and said, Matt, “I do not think you are going to play that much this year and I think I have to cut you.”   My initial reaction was one of frustration.  I got a little emotional and took that as I was being cut.  I do not know this for sure but I truly believe that had if I looked coach in the eyes and said coach I will do anything to be a part of the team.  I will carry the balls, drive the bus and clean the floor I believe I would have been a part of the team.  Not so.  God had a different plan.  While I was crushed, as time went on it motivated me.  Sometimes, to fully know how much you want something you have to lose it first.  

What I learned at 17 was that scoring 16-20 points a game really did not mean anything to me at all.  What mattered to me was being part of the team.  I missed that dearly me senior year.  The second half of my senior year was tough in many aspects.  

At that point, I made my mind up that never again would I let effort be an issue with respect to the outcome.  I told myself that I would do everything possible to improve my odds of success.  While I learned a tough lesson at 17 I am grateful for this today.  I also learned that being part of a team is enormously more fun than flying solo.  I am part of some awesome teams today.  I am part of my family team, my professional team, my friendship team, the alumni team, my spiritual team and today the beating cancer team.   

I hope today each team I am part of can look at my participation in the team as being one of positive contribution.  I ask you if your contribution is adding to or detracting from your team’s goal?  While I valued being part of the basketball team in 1985/86, I gain much more gratification from the teams I am part of today.   

On each team there are different roles. Know your role and perfect that role.  The dynasty teams are not built will all super stars.  There are leaders and contributors or role players.

35 years after leaving accounting class, I can look back and thank Coach Berning for the gift he presented me.  While I have had some amazing accomplishments along the way, I believe my greatest performances are ahead of me.    

Do the little things today that others are afraid to do and be awesome!

God Speed.  

Eat, Sweat and Thrive- 1% better each day.

Last week I was so fortunate to be a part of the two-day training Principal hosted in Annapolis MD.  The leaders of this training were Coleman Ruiz and the Team from O2X.  I have included their respective websites below.  


The focus was on Nutrition, corporate fitness, mindfulness and sleep.  You may recall that this same team was on stage at our national sales meeting when I got the news that my cancer had reared its head again.  I was excited to be back with them after seeing positive results. Thank you to this team for setting me on a good path.  I absolutely picked up a few things last week that will aid my recovery going forward and others might find useful. 

Principal values their employees in such an amazing way that they recognize the stronger we are physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually the more effective we will be in every aspect of our life.  I am grateful for this support.  I thought you may find some of the highlights of value as you work towards improving your awesomeness!  Today what are you doing to be 1% better!

The Picture is the team I did my morning sweat with.

We do 4 things in our job each day:

– Functional Excellence is table stakes

– Physical and Mental readiness

– Team Cohesion and Leadership

– Warrior mindset (want to vs have to)

** what are we doing to improve the bottom 3?

– what do we absolutely have to do every day to master any of this- Breathe!!  If we do not breath we will die.  

-When goal setting- visualize, visualize (very similar to a recent blog of mine)

-Tip- compression socks for long flight travelers

-Whole30 diet- effective for inflammation. Lime disease etc… 

-Eat your collieries not from juice

-JFK Challenge- PE in school 1960’s video- find it on YouTube- hilarious

-Stay away from added sugars- for a 2500 calorie diet you can get 25g of sugar (does not include natural sugar)

-3g of carbs per lbs. of weight- 190lbs- 570G of carbs

-Ice bath for recovery/ start with shower.  Breath through your nose/. If in a bath fully submerged- 3 minutes/ just feet 10 minutes.  

-In Prepare/ Sweat/ Recover- if cutting anything cut sweat- As you age the prepare and recovery become more critical

-4 types of pain- Nociceptive (mechanical, chemical, thermal), Inflammatory- excitation of a nociceptor from inflammation, Neuropathic- caused by a lesion or disease of the nervous tissue ex… diabetes, spinal cord injury, stoke, pinched nerve, Cognitive affect- increase or decrease of- poor coping anxiety abuse genetics beliefs

-PAIN- an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage

-Tissues with good blood supple heal with Blood: muscles, bones, tendons, organs, fat 

-Examples of Tissues with poor blood supply are Cartledge labrum disc nerves and ligaments- healing this are different

-If you take in too many calories in a meal or carbs in a meal- Blood sugar spikes, body stores fat

-Foam roller and foot roller- very important for the recovery part of the equation