A fresh start is upon us.

It’s not just a new year….It’s a new decade.

When I think of all that has happened in my life over this last decade, the possibilities of this new decade seem endless.

Ten years ago, Maple Tree was just a wish. A dream in my heart I only ever talked about with my husband.

A someday thing….Someday. When the kids are older and all in school. Someday. When we are more financially stable. Someday. When I have more time on my hands.

We all have those someday things, don’t we? I bet you are thinking of yours right now. It’s the first place our minds go when we allow ourselves the freedom to dream.

If there is anything I have learned this past decade, it’s that if you wait around for someday to come, it never will.

That is why my challenge to all of us – myself included – is to not only dream big this new decade…but to actually go for it! Live without regret. Do that scary, someday thing…today!

I understand. I am someone who has let fear hold me back more often than I’d like to admit. I struggle with self doubt more often than any of you would probably guess. I am a dreamer, but I am also plagued with limiting beliefs that see every (real or perceived) obstacle standing in the way of those dreams.

But after working with thousands of cancer survivors over the years… After watching women – some of them my exact age – lose their battle with cancer….wondering why them and why not me…I have learned something.

This life we have been given is a gift.

It’s true. It doesn’t matter what your circumstance might be. It doesn’t matter what your current health status is. It doesn’t matter how much you wish your life was different.

This life we are living right now is a gift.

And my one and only goal for the next decade is to live like I believe it.

I want to live like Jaimee, who loved her family fiercely. Who included her children in our exercise sessions. Who endured years of painful treatments just so she could have more time to spend with them. Who insisted on going on family vacations, even when she was probably too weak to go. Who shared with me the pride she felt when her son said she was the strongest person he knew.

I want to live like Jean, who was a brave, articulate ambassador for cancer awareness. Who spent her own time and money to meet with lawmakers to advocate on behalf of herself and the millions of others affected by this disease. Who was not afraid to show the dark side of cancer, knowing that it would spur others on to action.

I want to live like Vicki, who was scared, but fought with everything in her to stay positive. Who would encourage others around her when she was receiving chemotherapy. Who knew her prognosis was not good, but refused to give up until she exhausted every possible solution.

I want to live like my Pap, who was the kindest person I have ever known. Who loved unconditionally. Who had a smile that would light up any room. Who, when confined to a hospital bed, still would take a walk with me – even if it was just around the inside of his house.

I want to live like Patty, who taught me not to sweat the small stuff.

I want to live like Kara, who never lost her faith in God during her battle. Who used every ounce of strength she had to speak hope into the lives of those around her.

I want to live like Bob, who showed me how to smile through the tears.

I want to live like Barb, who brought her family together during her illness.

I want to live like Jenn, who loved others well, even in the midst of terminal brain cancer.

And finally, I want to live like Cynthia, who wasn’t afraid to say that cancer sucks….BUT she could do all things through Christ who strengthened her.

A new decade. A fresh start. A gift.

Together, let’s live like we believe it.