This past month has been crazy. Busy. Challenging. Chaotic. Rewarding. Emotional. Humbling and let's just say one hell of a start to 2018. I challenged myself to being more focused in 2018 and let's just say it is a work in progress. When I started on this wild ride of INDY 5 months ago, I had no idea what I was doing. I've never ran a business. I knew what a non-profit was but didn't have the slightest clue as to how to start or create a foundation. I had a dream and a vision with a little bit of passion backing me. We all have this within us. The difference is, I finally got the courage to act upon what I have always dreamed about. If I have learned anything in the past six months it is that life is short. We all know this. We all tell people this but do we live it? When I say live it, do we truly live like tomorrow may never come? This was me, six short months ago. Even having lived for four years through a major illness which impacted mine and Kyle's life on a daily basis, I didn't live for today. After Kyle died and I realized that I was basically starting my life over - I had two paths that I could take. Path 1 - let it propel me to bigger and better things than I had ever imagined or Path 2 - Dwell on the past. Sulk and let it consume my life. I think you all know the path I chose. Here's the deal, bad things happen to good people daily. Good things happen to bad people daily. It's life. Its not fair and sometimes we don't exactly comprehend but have you ever thought that maybe there is a greater purpose to the pain and heartache you are being put through?
We all face storms. Having the strength and faith to weather the storm is not easy - trust me. There were days I didn't want to follow God. I didn't want to have faith but I realized that without it, what did I have? Sometimes things around us change because God wants to change us. Sometimes people think that just because you have Faith and a belief in a higher power means you will be saved from bad things happening. This couldn't be further from the truth. Faith is about making the impossible things in our life possible. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
COINCIDENCES OR MESSAGES FROM ABOVE? I'LL LET YOU DECIDE...
I kicked off January talking about goals and choosing one word. Since my last blog post a lot of really cool things have happened. The INDY Foundation selected and met our first INDY warriors of 2018. This was absolutely amazing, humbling, and an emotional experience. Both Joe and Melissa were welcoming and more than willing to share their cancer journey with me. This is not something that is easy, especially when it is something you are living, battling and trying to wrap your head around every single day. For me sometimes the hardest part was the fact that everyone else's lives were continuing on when mine felt like it was on hold. I've said it before - there were many times when I questioned why my friends were planning for marriage and babies, while I was planning a funeral. Fair? No, not at all. Reality is we don't get to chose the paths our lives take and sometimes coming to terms with that is by far the hardest part. You can make many plans but the lord's purpose will prevail. Proverbs 19:21
Meeting the DeYaeger and Scheffler families was healing in a lot of ways. Sharing our journeys with one another, allowed both of us to talk and relate to one another. Kyle and I didn't necessarily have that support group that we could lean on. At the age of 25 and 30, we didn't have a lot of people or friends that had gone through cancer. (Thank goodness). What I realized after my meetings with Joe/Shannon and Melissa/Royce is the level of comfort and relief that you can bring to people just by sharing your experiences. I could relate to the stresses, emotions and hardships that cancer brings to these families. Ultimately I don't have control over cancer and the journey that it takes within but if I can help those going through it, that is fulfilling in its self.
I have also received some amazing messages from y'all this month. You sure know how to make a girl feel loved. :) I have to share one of the messages I received a couple of weeks ago - "This is going to sound crazy, I have not seen Kyle since high school... I prayed for him, you and the families but the other night I had the most real dream about him. He was talking to me and asking me to call you and to let you know he is okay. I was wondering if I should message you or not but decided telling you was the right thing to do." The day I received this message was two days after I was praying, talking and wondering if Kyle was okay. That day I was also battling a nasty case of pink eye. It takes a lot for me to slow down and be sick. The days that I didn't get out of bed were the days that Kyle would take care of me because he knew I really wasn't well. That message was a message from my angel above continuing to take care of me when I wasn't feeling well. So thank you to the person that sent me that message. You made my day, week and month. There have been many other very heart felt messages and honestly I am speechless. INDY's mission is to provide love, faith and financial support by directly supporting the cancer warrior and their family verse the battle at hand. Honestly this is being made possible because of all of you ~ so thank you for making a difference.
HOT OFF THE PRESS!
This past month some other really cool things have happened. INDY Foundation was awarded a free radio package from Leighton Broadcasting - thanks to all the votes we received. I had the opportunity to meet with them last week to work out the details. Having gone into the meeting with really no idea what I had won, I left feeling extremely grateful and thankful. What an amazing gift we were given. The Leighton representative that I met with mentioned how impressed they were with our mission, website and what we were doing. She also shared with me that she lost her mother to cancer - as her eyes filled with tears. Coincidence? I truly believe people are put into our lives for a reason. Stay tuned for more details but tune into 98.9 starting March 1st to hear about INDY!
We also have a really exciting fundraiser coming up in March. As some of you know, one of Kyle's favorite songs was "I Can Only Imagine". There is a movie coming out in March, highlighting the story behind the song. If you haven't seen the trailer - watch it here.
INDY Foundation will be holding a private screening on Wednesday, March 21st at Parkwood 18 in Waite Park. More details and ticket information to follow but SAVE THE DATE for an epic event.
Today marks six months. The day that changed my life forever in both good ways and in bad. I miss Kyle, more everyday but I am also constantly reminded that even though he isn't physically here, his spirit lives on. This past month he sent me a lot of little reminders and messages, it was almost as if he never missed a beat just like you promised. "You think I annoyed you before, you just wait." his exact words. Even though I miss you like crazy ~ I know you are in a much better place and are helping to guide me into a future that I never could of imagined. Kyle's not done yet, it's only the beginning!
January has been a very exciting and rewarding start to 2018. I don't want to fool you in thinking that there haven't been challenges because there sure have. Everyday is a challenge. Everyday is an opportunity. Everyday is a new day. I have chosen to focus on the things that make me happy. The people that will encourage and inspire me. And believing in myself to find out what is beyond the fear. You never know unless you try - you never grow unless you fail - you learn from failures and become STRONGER. Be bold. Be relentless. Be unapologetic in the game of life. And if you are already there - then help someone who needs your courage, inspiration and positive energy to guide them in the right direction. Because you are NOT DONE YET.
XOXO ~ Kayla Strand