Life Wide Open

Perseverance. Trust. Gratitude.  

Packing your five children, yourself and your husband into a 24-foot RV to travel the country is courageous enough. To do all that, managing a dangerous and chronic illness, requires an extra dose of bravery. But that’s just what Dana Gerrits decided to do — which is why she’s our guest for this week’s episode of The Brave Files.

While pregnant with her youngest child, Dana started to get extremely ill. She casually assumed her troubles her related to pregnancy and she shrugged it off as “nothing more than hormones.” However, after multiple trips to the emergency room, she started to think she was going crazy. What in the world was making her sick and why couldn’t they fix it. Finally, with a lot of trust in her own instincts, and a doctor who listened, Dana was diagnosed with Mast Cell Activation Disorder.

This devious and strange “disorder” means Dana needs to always be on guard. Her body fights to keep her alive and by doing so, it nearly kills her. Although living with her condition has its challenges, Dana took her diagnosis as motivation to live a full life. She honors her body and its fight by dancing, and she and her husband made the decision to live nomadically, taking their homeschooled children on a cross-country RV adventure while both continuing to work remotely from the road. Dana blogs about her family’s journey here. After months of cross-country travel, Dana and her family have finally re-settled in a new part of the country.

Tune in to hear how Dana and her family stay connected to their community, how they balance seven people in a tiny space and her illness. Learn what gave Dana the courage to take on this adventure and prepare to be awed!

The Brave Files. Learn how to live bravely. Click through to listen how toDana Gerrits is living courageously chronic illness and loves life.

Top Takeaways

  • Beauty can be found even in times of pain.
  • Your own experience is valid, even if others struggle to understand it.
  • There are many ways to find and connect with a community that supports you

GIving is Good!

A warrior at heart, Dana Gerrits supports the ongoing battle for social justice and supports  American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which fights for the constitutional rights of all Americans.  

 The beautiful Gerrits family!

The beautiful Gerrits family!

 Dana she her youngest, Claire in the hospital.

Dana she her youngest, Claire in the hospital.

 Dana preparing for a dance recital.

Dana preparing for a dance recital.

 Dana wearing a mask to help her breathe.

Dana wearing a mask to help her breathe.

 The Gerrits family home while traveling the country.

The Gerrits family home while traveling the country.

 The Gerrits family seeks adventure!

The Gerrits family seeks adventure!

Brave Out of Necessity

Tenacity. Perseverance. Confidence.  

When Kimberly Carson-Richards became a mother at age 14, she had no idea that raising her son would motivate her to pursue not only her own success but help others achieve success as well. Through believing in herself, even when others doubted her, and staying focused on her goals, Kimberly has achieved her dreams of building a better life.

It wasn’t always easy for Kimberly to finish high school, get her college degree and support herself as a young, single mom. Herself the child of a teen mother, Kimberly was determined to learn from not only her own mistakes but her mother’s experiences as well.

Now as the mother of two children, Kimberly has embarked on a new adventure as an entrepreneur after two decades in the traditional workforce. After a “soul session” with Stephane Hassein, Kimberly discovered a new path for herself and created Forward Momentum Coaching. Through her work as a coach, Kimberly has found new ways to help women create change in their lives so they can feel happier and experience success.

And that little boy born to a 14-year-old girl? He is now one of the youngest members of the Alberta Provincial Legislature. How’s that for building a successful life?!

Learn more about Kimberly’s inspiring story in this week’s episode of The Brave Files.

The Brave Files Podcast. Learn how to live bravely. Click through to listen how to Kimberly Carson-Richards has lived courageously teenage pregnancy.

Top Takeaways

  • Staying focused on your goals can help you during tough times
  • You get to choose whose judgment matters to you
  • Let your core values guide you through life’s big decisions
  • Your story is your own, and it may inspire someone else

Giving is Good!

Kimberly is a big supporter of Habitat for Humanity and organization that helps construct affordable housing for low-income families. Please give them some love this week!

 Kimberly and her son, Jon in 1992

Kimberly and her son, Jon in 1992

 Always close and always having fun together. Kimberly and Jon in 1996

Always close and always having fun together. Kimberly and Jon in 1996

 Kimberly with her two children, Jon and Mikaelyn.

Kimberly with her two children, Jon and Mikaelyn.

 Kim and her husband, Regan.

Kim and her husband, Regan.

Kimberly's Bio

Kimberly Carson-Richards is the founder of Forward Momentum Coaching Solutions. As a certified life & business coach, she shows women entrepreneurs how to overcome fear and self-doubt, so they can take their business and life to the next level.

Ms. Carson-Richards story of resiliency and courage started when she became a mother at the age of 14. In 2017, after spending 20 years following a vertical career path in retail, she felt a need to help inspire other women to find their own courageous path and so she left her corporate career behind.

Her upcoming projects include publishing a short story in a compilation book about living a courageous life.

 

Embrace the Fear

Fearless. Hopeful. Resilient.

When Dale Spencer was just 20 years old, he made a split-second decision that completely changed the course of his life. After an accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down, Dale leaned on his support system of family and friends to help him face his fears and achieve his goal of returning to college and getting his degree.

Today, Dale uses his experience as a touchstone, working with people of all ages and backgrounds to help them face and overcome their fears. He also serves on the board of directors the ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation, which educates young people about the importance of their own judgment and making good decisions throughout their lives. Every decision counts!

Dale, who has become an accomplished skier and marathon kayaker as well as a successful businessman, is living proof that fear can be overcome.

The Brave Files. Learn how to live bravely. Click through to listen how to Dale Spencer is living courageously paralysis

Top Takeaways

  • No matter what your fear is, you can problem-solve your way out of it
  • We choose what to do with our lives
  • Giving and receiving help is a strength, not a weakness
  • Small decisions can change your life forever
  • A strong support system is the best antidote for fear

Giving is Good!

Dale is an active supporter and board member for ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation. The organization helps students prevent spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, and death, by making smart decisions in life.

Dales Bio

Dale has triumphed over adversity and risen to the top of his profession, he continues to give back to his community, grow and take on new challenges. By using simple techniques to keep his fear in check and his mind focused, Dale has been able to achieve his life goals. Now he is sharing his experiences and helping others to attain their goals and ambitions.

Dale takes his audiences on a journey of real-life experiences and revelations. Together they identify obstacles, both professional and personal, which are common road blocks to achieving success. By re-introducing us to the skills we already have, Dale is able to illuminate the road to success.

Career Highlights-

Co-Producer of Several Award Winning Independent Films
2004 Business Person of the Year, Bartlett Chamber of Commerce
Elected to the Board of Education of Elgin School District U-46, 2005-current
Appointed to The National Board of Directors of ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation, 2006- current
Chairman of the Resource Development for Corporate Sponsorship for the ThinkFirst National Prevention Foundation, 2009 –current Chairman - “Voices for Injury Prevention” (VIP) Council, 2008-current
Recipient of the 2008 National VIP of the Year For Outstanding Commitment and Contribution to Injury Prevention
2012 Appointed to Deans Advisory Council of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at NIU

From Grieving to Giving

Authenticity. Vulnerability. Empathy.

Alexa Bigwarfe has been overcoming fear and tragedy for the majority of her life. When she was just 11 years old, she nearly became the victim of gun violence (long before school shootings were a regular occurrence in The United States). She also lost her newborn daughter after just 51 hours of birth. Alexa’s close call with gun violence and loss of a child has impacted every aspect of her life. She became one of the first members of her local chapter of Moms Demand Action in Columbia, South Carolina.

This mother of three knows firsthand the pain of losing a child, after the death of her daughter, Kathryn,  just a short time after giving birth to twins girls who had Twin to Twin Transfusion. Alexa channeled her grief into action, writing “Sunshine After the Storm” to guide other parents through the loss of a child and establishing a nonprofit of the same name to support grieving parents. For Alexa, the life-changing experience of losing a child awakened in her a passion for helping others. Whether through her publishing company Kat Biggie Press, where she partners with authors to help make their writing dreams come true, or through her support of organizations like Be Smart For Kids, which aims to reduce unintentional gun deaths, Alexa looks for ways to elevate people who are trying to make the world a better place — just like she is. Hear Alexa’s story and find out how you can help in this week’s episode of The Brave Files.

The Brave Files Podcast. Alexa Bigwarfe. Grief, survival, motherhood, entrepreneurship.

Top Takeaways:

  • If you let them, life-changing experiences often change you for the better.
  • Speaking up for what’s right may be uncomfortable, but it’s worth it.
  • No matter what you’re going through, there are people out there who have been where you are, and who can help you get through it.
  • Don’t wait to celebrate — enjoy life’s moments as they come.
  • Be open to challenges to your own beliefs — don’t be afraid to learn and grow.

Giving is Good!

Alexa is a passionate supporter of the March of Dimes. She knows first hand how important their work is because it helped save her daughter’s life. The March of Dimes supports research and care for the health of mothers and babies around the world. Each year, Alexa gathers a group of people to march for the cause and help raise money and awareness. You can support them by donating here.

Alexa created the Sunshine After the Storm foundation after the loss of her daughter, Kathryn. The nonprofit organization provides encouragement, hope, advocacy and support for parents who have lost a child. As we mentioned in the interview, Alexa is always looking for self-care items and gift cards she can include in the care packages she sends to grieving parents. Donations can be made online or sent to PO Box 290041, Columbia, South Carolina 29229.

Alexa's book "Sunshine After The Storm."

 Alexa and her beautiful family coming together as a family to help others!

Alexa and her beautiful family coming together as a family to help others!

The Brave Files Podcast. Alexa Bigwarfe survivor of gun violence and loss of a child. Author. Publisher.
 Alexa turned her experience into a business and now helps empower other women to become writers!

Alexa turned her experience into a business and now helps empower other women to become writers!

Alexa's Bio:

Alexa Bigwarfe is a wife, mother to 3 wildlings, devoted advocate, blogger, author, and publisher. Her writing career began after her infant daughter passed away at 2 days old. She has written and/or edited and published eight books, including Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother and Ditch the Fear and Just Write It! She uses that hard-earned publishing knowledge to support other writers and entrepreneurs at writepublishsell.co. She also owns the small hybrid-publishing company Kat Biggie Press (katbiggiepress.com, dedicated to sharing women’s works of inspiration and self-help. Alexa is passionate about women's, infant, and children's health topics and has had more than 50 articles published in regional parenting magazines around the U.S. and Canada. In her journey to feature amazing women, she hosted the Women in Publishing Online Conference. She enjoys drinking wine, spending time with her husband and friends, traveling, and just because life isn’t full enough, hosting the “Lose the Cape!” podcast featuring inspirational mothers and women making a difference in the world. Start your writing journey with her free 30-days of simple strategies to start writing. Learn more here. You can find her on Facebook @WritepublishsellLLC and on twitter @katbiggie.

Queer Recovering Homophobe

Overcoming. Persistent. Authentic.

How does one go from being a severely depressed, homophobic, suicidal teen to being an empowered and passionate leader in the LGBTQ community? Tune in to this week’s episode of The brave Files to meet Mason Aid, who has done just this!

Mason Aid is an entrepreneur, community leader for Prism (an organization that supports LGBTQ youth), church elder, spouse, parent, and an overall amazing and inspiring person.

Mason is gender fluid and non-binary and, as such, uses they/their/them pronouns. While this may still be new to many people, it is an important question for many people today, "what are your pronouns." This is just one of the many things Mason teaches those they work with. 

In this episode, Mason shares their story of being a troubled teen with suicidal tendencies, living in a deeply conservative and religious small town and hiding who they truly are from everyone, even themself. Despite going through the darkest of times - - with determination, a lot of hard work and the loving support of their parents, Mason has overcome many obstacles and is now a mentor to kids venturing down a similar path.

The Brave Files, Mason Aid, LGBTQ Advocate, Mental Illness, courage.

One of the most interesting elements of the interview converges around Mason’s deep desire to reclaim their religion and do it in a safe and authentic way. Religion and spirituality is an integral part of Mason’s identity and being excommunicated from their former church, after coming out, was pure hell but faith has a way of finding, and clinging to, Mason. They are now an elder of an inclusive, sanctuary congregation where they are living out what it really means to be like Christ.

This is a truly inspirational story of the possibilities of turning your life around by first starting to be real with yourself. Mason may still have some bumps as they navigate bipolar disorder, starting a new business, having a family and, well, life in general. But it is real, it is 100% authentic and it is completely inspiring. 

Mason is launching their own podcast "All The Letters" on June 28th. It's going to be super interesting so be sure to check it out!

Mason has written some beautiful and powerful blog posts about many of the topics discussed in the episode. I highly encourage you to check them out!

TOP TAKEAWAYS:

  • Loving yourself and being true to who you really are is the first step to freedom

  • There is a large community of Christians that are working to reclaim the word “Christian” just as the LGBT community reclaimed the word queer.

  • Assumptions go both ways! It is as important to let go of our assumptions as much as we want others to let go of theirs.

GIVING IS GOOD: 

Mason's favorite charitable organization to support The Trevor Project - A national 24-hour, toll-free confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth. Mason also urges us to find and support your local LGBTQ center, volunteer, donate and be part of the community.

 Mason with their wife, Hilary and adorable daughter, Ashby. 

Mason with their wife, Hilary and adorable daughter, Ashby. 

Mason's Professional Bio:

Mason Aid is an LGBTQ educator and advocate focused on helping business owners be LGBTQ inclusive in their language and processes. They grew up on a small farm in rural Northeast Missouri and have since moved to the teeming metropolis of Columbia, Missouri. 

They got their start working with LGBTQ teens and found passion through this work. Seeing the experiences and lives of these amazing youth had a profound impact on Mason, and through their volunteer work, they found opportunities training educators and social service providers. They have since grown those opportunities into a business working with online entrepreneurs to help others avoid the “accidental asshole” moment. 

Mason loves spending time with their wife and baby, going on walks, cooking good food, and pretending to be a pretentious coffee snob.

You can connect with Mason on their Website, Instagram, and Facebook!

 

The Road to Everywhere

Becoming. Alignment. Drive.

Two years ago, Morgaine Trine had plans to become a curator of ancient Mediterranean history. Those plans, however,  kept hitting a brick wall no matter how hard she tried! Feeling utterly defeated, Morgaine realized that what she really wanted was to travel and simply be near this history that she loved so much. Not one for half-steps, Morgaine decided she would begin to travel, set a deadline for when she would leave and then set about figuring out how to support herself. Today, she is living her "why" as a boss-bookkeeper with her business Honestly Bookkeeping and traveling around the world.

In this episode, Morgaine calls in from sunny Las Palmas in Spain's Canary Islands to talk to Heather about her brave journey from unfulfilling part-time work to a radically different life-path as a traveling, virtual bookkeeper. Morgaine shares that, originally, she was dead-set against starting her own business but after a friend sent her a link to a course by the Bucketlist Bombshells, Work Online + Travel the World, she realized this was not only something she could do, it might just be the answer she was looking for.  

The Brave Files. Stories from people living courageously. Click through to listen how to Morgaine Trine is living courageously as she travels the world and runs her business.

While Morgaine says things are working out beautifully, it has not always been an easy path! Tune in to this episode of The Brave Files to learn how Morgaine overcame the barriers to her dream, persisted through the hurdles of establishing a new career and business, and pushed past the emotional and physical challenges of becoming the woman she feels she was always meant to be. If you want to learn more about Morgaine or work with her, check her out here.

Top Takeaways:

  • Take the time to find your "why," the thing that really drives and fulfills you, even if it's not the path you originally envisioned for yourself.

  • Set deadlines for yourself and make a plan. You can't get where you are going if you don't know where you’re headed.

  • Think of your overall vision as a “feeling” you want to have.

  • Don't wait until everything is perfect before you start. Allow yourself the space to take the first step before every detail is worked out.

  • Ask yourself, “what is holding me back right now?” Then focus on that instead of worrying about everything you need to do down the road.

  • Celebrate your successes and your wins. There's always more you could do, but focus on what you have already accomplished.

Bonus Biz Tip:

Morgaine uses Trello to stay as productive as possible (and our show host, Heather Vickery used Asana).

Giving is Good:

Morgaine’s favorite charity is Ekone and its an organization she has been involved with since age 12. Ekone believes that the earth is sacred, in and of itself - not a possession of humanity. As such, our proper role in the evolution of the earth is as stewards and caretakers - not owners and masters. This land stewardship trust has a kids' summer camp that teaches sustainability, land stewardship, and how to ride horses (among other fun summer activities!). Morgaine's experiences with Ekone had a huge influence on the person she has become, and she donates a portion of all her revenue to support their work.

 Kouklia, Cyprus

Kouklia, Cyprus

 Morgaine takes a selfie at selfie at Kourion, Cyprus

Morgaine takes a selfie at selfie at Kourion, Cyprus

 Duomo in Milan

Duomo in Milan

 Skyline of Paphos, Cyprus

Skyline of Paphos, Cyprus

 Palace of Knossos on Crete, Greece

Palace of Knossos on Crete, Greece

The Theory of Accountability Part 1 and 2

Loyalty. Trustworthy. Fatherhood.

Imagine being arrested, charged and sentenced to prison for a murder you didn’t commit. This week’s guest, Omar Yamini, experienced just that and he breaks all of the stereotypes of someone who has a murder conviction and served 15 years in prison. Omar reinvented himself after his release, graduated from college, become an education consultant, built a non-profit, started a family, and is an extraordinary member of society and one of the kindest hearted individuals I have ever known.

In this two-part interview, we explore Omar’s story and how our country’s criminal justice system failed him and thousands more who are and have been imprisoned for crimes they did not commit. He shares his personal experience of living inside prison and how much extreme mental effort it took to not become inhuman or broken. Omar constantly improved himself in preparation for his re-entry into the real world and even still, seven years after his release he continues to improve himself and help others do the same.

Omar is now using his freedom for something powerful and incredibly eye opening. Apart from writing the book What's Wrong With You!, Omar helps Chicago youth stay out of the prison system by working on their social and emotional learning and teaching them to identify the helpful and harmful influences that they will encounter and to make better choices with his company The Proper Perception.

The Brave Files. Learn how to live bravely. Click through to listen how to Omar Yamini's story of living through a 15-year imprisonment for a crime he didn't commit.

TOP TAKEAWAYS:

  • We need to be mindful of the company we keep, and the company our children keep

  • Knowing who your children are spending time with can, quite literally, save their lives.

  • Our criminal justice system is terrifyingly broken.

  • Thousands of African American men are imprisoned for life for crimes they did not commit.

  • Children need attention, connection, and people they can trust

  • People coming out from prison needs a strong support group that has social capital to lift them up, keep them focused, and that mentors them

  • Our mistakes, however large, do not define us. The story is yours to write and rewrite if you choose to.

  • The proper mindset can get you through even the most unimaginable thing

RESOURCES:

GIVING IS GOOD:


Determined To Be UpRight is the organization where Omar is Founder & Executive Director. The organization saves many as young people by helping them identify the helpful and harmful influences that they will encounter, prepare young people mentally by open their minds through travel and community service and giving them a deeply rooted support system.

 Omar teaches and shows what life is like in a prison cell.

Omar teaches and shows what life is like in a prison cell.

 Some of the kids Omar has worked with and helped re-shape their lives.

Some of the kids Omar has worked with and helped re-shape their lives.

 Omar, Carrie and their beautiful daughters. 

Omar, Carrie and their beautiful daughters. 

 Omar in action, changing lives!

Omar in action, changing lives!

 Omar's book "What's Wrong With You" is a MUST READ!

Omar's book "What's Wrong With You" is a MUST READ!

Can’t Keep Me Down

Lucky. Motivated. Tenacious

Alex Foley is a force and an inspiration. Life presented challenges to her from a very young age when she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at 9 years old, At the time, treatment for Diabetes was difficult and dangerous with tremendous side effects. Alex went through countless treatments and surgeries that lead to her loss of vision at 27. Despite all this, Alex has had more adventure than most able-bodied people have. She has literally climbed mountains, ridden motorcycles, traveled the world with her seeing eye dog, and built businesses (including her own wine label, Alex Elman Wines). Today she helps women become their healthiest, happiest selves as a mobile wellness coach at Wholy Foley Coaching.

In this interview, Alex shares with us the road she traveled from her early diagnosis to blindness and into acceptance and hope. Alex says she will never back down from a challenge and her story proves it. Tune in to hear the bits and pieces that make up her amazing life, and her outlook for the future.

Alex was one of the world’s first pancreas transplant recipients and since then she no longer battles Diabetes and has been insulin free for 21 years! She hopes to one day get her vision back with eye transplant surgery as well. Alex is a testament that if we are brave enough, we are capable of nearly anything.

The Brave Files. Learn how to live bravely. Click through to listen how to Alex Foley is living courageously blindness and Type 1 Diabetes

Top Takeaways:

  • If Alex can literally do it all blind, you can do it too!

  • Rather than letting a big challenge or change shut you down, learn how to work around it and live your best life.

  • Celebrate each moment, because you never know how many more you’ll get.

Giving is good!

Alex met Hogan, her seeing-eye dog, in 1997. And she feels that it gave her life back. As such, she supports The Seeing Eye in New Jersey in the hopes that many more can have their lives back.

 Alex and Hogan, her first seeing-eye dog.

Alex and Hogan, her first seeing-eye dog.

 The beautiful label on Alex Elman Wine!

The beautiful label on Alex Elman Wine!

 Alex and her second seeing-eye dog, Hanley.

Alex and her second seeing-eye dog, Hanley.

Their Buns, My Oven

Crazy. Willing. At Peace.

The Brave Files returns this week with an inspiring story of friendship, pregnancy, and jumping into a familiar unknown. Heather sits down with longtime friend, Karen Kitto, this week to talk about her brave and selfless decision to be a surrogate for friends who were unable to carry their own children.

One day about 10 years ago Karen had a random thought that simply wouldn’t go away. She thought about being a surrogate for her friends, who were struggling to have their own children. Karen describes the decision as her “buying them admission to the amusement park.” She could carry the baby so that they could have the lifetime adventure of parenthood. After one failed attempt to inseminate, Karen was surprised to learn she was carrying two babies! It was a wonderful shock to her and to the mother of the babies. And so began the rollercoaster ride!

As with all stories, there were some struggles. Learning to juggle caring for taking care of her own two children and carrying two babies was a difficult job! She also developed Intrahepatic Cholestasis during the pregnancy which resulted in an early c-section.

All in all, Karen says she would make this sacrifice again if presented the opportunity. Tune in to hear this incridible story in Karen's own words.

The Brave Files Podcast. Living courageously through surrogacy and motherhood.

TOP TAKEAWAYS:

  • There is something magical about being able to truly help someone make a dream come true.
  • Making big sacrifices for someone else can give you a great sense of peace.

  • Sometimes you have to measure the end result against the immediate uncomfortableness to push yourself past your limits and do amazing things.

GIVING IS GOOD:

Karen supports Planned Parenthood (yes, we see the irony!) as she believes deeply in all women’s right to choose for themselves!. She also supports International Rescue Committee which is a wonderful worldwide organization that supports people in need.

  Karen with her youngest daughter, Sadie in August 2009 (just barely allowed to still fly!)

 Karen with her youngest daughter, Sadie in August 2009 (just barely allowed to still fly!)

 Karen holds one of the babies a few days after delivery. 

Karen holds one of the babies a few days after delivery. 

Proof of Life

Hopeful. Tenacious. Dynamic.

This week, Heather talks with  Khim Baggett who shares her incredible story of facing both death and life at the same time. At the age of 35, and completely out of the blue, Khim was diagnosed with breast cancer. Shortly thereafter, she also found out she was pregnant with her 3rd child. Prior to finding out she was pregnant, Khim felt sure cancer would be the end of her. Something about seeing her baby’s heartbeat in the doctor’s office gave her “proof of life.” Khim knew that she and her unborn child had to beat the odds and not become a statistic - - And they did!

Khim recalls the moment when she told the doctors “You’re worried about death, I’m worried about life” and decided to fight for her unborn child.  Khim is a true testament to both physical and mental strength. Rather than live a life in dread (an understandable emotion for such a hard time), Khim chose to use the heartbeat and life of her forthcoming child as motivation. Getting through cancer treatments wasn’t just about beating cancer it was about preserving life.

Khim finished radiation treatment in October of 2017 and is slated to begin reconstruction this May. Go get ‘em, Khim and baby Yuri is celebrating her 1st birthday today (April 19, 2018). Happy Birthday, Yuri!

The Brave Files. Living Courageously through breast cancer and pregnancy.

Top Takeaways:

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff but don’t take things lying down either!

  • Live in the moment - push your kid in the grocery cart once in a while!

  • Surviving difficult experiences gives you a brand new perspective.

Giving is good!

Believe it or not, there is a charity that supports women who are in the same situation Khim was in! Hope for Two helps pregnant mothers who also are dealing with cancer.

In Khim’s own words:

I am kind of a walking paradox, I am shy and outgoing, social, but also fond of alone time. I am fascinated with fitness and nutrition, but can’t turn down a chocolate chip cookie or good french fries. Seriously though, I am just a girl- woman who loves Jesus, a daughter who loves her family, a wife and mama loving my squad to the best of my abilities.  Amid all this I’m navigating life with a new perspective after a surprise diagnosis of breast cancer at 35 years young while pregnant, doing my best to be more than just a cancer survivor but a thriver. Sharing my story in hopes that it will encourage someone out there who’s battling this beast called cancer.

 Khim posed for maternity photos after undergoing a double mastectomy. What a beautiful photo!

Khim posed for maternity photos after undergoing a double mastectomy. What a beautiful photo!

 Newborn Yuri (exactly a year ago today!)

Newborn Yuri (exactly a year ago today!)

 Khim and her husband, David, during a chemo treatment.

Khim and her husband, David, during a chemo treatment.

 All three of Khim's adorable kids, Owen, Micah and Yuri.

All three of Khim's adorable kids, Owen, Micah and Yuri.

 Khim rings the bell after getting the news she was in remission!

Khim rings the bell after getting the news she was in remission!

Face Everything and Rise

Broken. Abused. Whole.

Dr. Toscha Dickerson joins us for very impactful and sadly too relevant episode of the Brave Files. Toscha is an inspiring woman of many facets, but most notably known today for her work with non-profit ’S.T.R.E.S.S.O.U.T.’, (Striving to Reveal, Encourage, Succeed, and Strengthen Others by Uniting Together) and as the author of ‘Sisterhood: Traveling the Scarlet Road to an Authentic Life’.

All too often, and especially now, we hear stories of women (and men) who have dealt with abuse in their lives. Be it physical or emotional, this abuse leaves a profound mark and impacts our lives in many different ways. In every instance, it leaves the victims changed. Far too often we go through our lives thinking what would have happened if we did one thing differently, made one different decision. Would everything be changed, for better or for worse? Heather Vickery always says “Fear either owns you or empowers you” and Toscha agrees, that you shouldn’t want to be fearless. Without fear, we never get the chance to be brave. Inspiring, moving, and touching, this week’s show will hit home with many, and become a beacon of light as well.

The brave Files. Living courageously through abuse.

Top Takeaways: 

  •    FEAR is an acronym. You can either Forget Everything and Run. Or, you can Face everything and Rise!

  •    We find ways to convince ourselves that something is acceptable when it’s not. Act now!

  •    There is ALWAYS another day. Let your fears inspire you and keep moving forward.

  • Everyone deserves a second chance at life.

Giving is good!

Outside of her own organization,S.T.R.E.S.S.O.U.T.,  Toscha loves 2nd Chance, another group that helps previously abused women (and men).

 Toscha with a young lady that was honored at an event because she graduated from college despite all her obstacles

Toscha with a young lady that was honored at an event because she graduated from college despite all her obstacles

 Toscha telling her story and raising awareness for her organization on the Great Day Houston Morning Show

Toscha telling her story and raising awareness for her organization on the Great Day Houston Morning Show

Dr. Toscha Dickerson's Bio

Dr. Toscha Dickerson is an author, certified life coach, and founder/owner of Stress Out, a non-profit aimed at helping abused women get back on their path. Toscha, like many others, saw her fair share of abuse at a young age. Luckily, those moments of fear changed her and started her on the journey of where she landed today. Currently based in Houston, Toscha works with abused women in helping get their lives back to normal, often times many of which are recently out of jail.  

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Building Fireproof Houses

Progress  is progress, no matter how much time it takes. Brian Johnson joins us this week to talk about his journey into fighting for a better, and more equal America. Sit down, turn it up, and get inspired to tackle the world!

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