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One of the biggest desires of my heart is to raise a kid with an outward perspective in her life.  This inspired us to created the ultimate Halloween Hack to teach compassion!

I noticed a lot of times with awesome holidays like getting dressed up, going to Halloween and trick-or-treating, it’s so much fun but seems to un-train my daughter.All year long I teach my baby to say “please” and say “thank you”. Then on October 31st she’s going to strangers houses and saying “trick or treat”, getting carcinogens in the form of candy, then saying thank you without much human connection and running away. It feels like it’s been un-training what I trained all year long and turning the focus more towards selfishness instead of towards the spirit.

I took her out yesterday. We had an awesome time. We went to a little costume party at the Museum and it was a sweet little party where people were dressed like owls, birds and frogs instead of witches and ghosts. It was a sweet low key time, but I still noticed that there was a really heavy pressure on her to focus on herself instead of others. She was thinking,  “what candy am I going to get? When is it my turn?” My heart really went out to her because that’s a lot of pressure. I experienced that too, growing up.

I wasn’t encouraged to do much for Halloween as a kid. But on Christmas and birthdays, I remember that the pressure was always on. It was hard to have an attitude of gratefulness when the focus was self absorbed.

Focus on what’s happening for me, to me.  I just had this like fire lit in my spirit to make something different. So we came home and I’m just thinking “Oh my good

ness. She hasn’t even had candy. She hasn’t even had sugar, Why is she kind of derailing an it’s almost like she was acting like she had a sugar which is like wiggling all around”. I realized she was experiencing the pressure of being selfishly focused.  I just took a minute to pray, meditate actually was doing an activity next to me on the table and I took a few breaths and asked “What am I supposed to know? What am I supposed to do to shift the focus?” That’s when I got a fire in my belly because I realized this is the perfect opportunity to teach her how to serve others and teach her how to have an outward perspective and to be compassionate. In these times she can turn whatever is given to her back on other people, so we created “reverse trick or treating”.

We went out and tricked the neighbors by treating them so we going knock on the doors and we’d say : “Trick or Treating reverse” and they’d open the door, look at us completely dumbfounded, and say:

“Oh I don’t have any candy yet. I’m sorry”

Then Mia would say “Surprise! We’re here to serve you! Do you want some organic candy made from fresh fruits and vegetables, or would you likea fresh baked pumpkin spice muffin?!”

It was so sweet” as their jaws dropped and they couldn’t believe what we were doing. They wanted to have pictures with her and we went to homes around the area that we could walk to where people couldn’t get out of their home to go enjoy or we know a couple other people who they don’t get to see their grandchildren. Maybe they live too far away and we went and we serve them and to watch as my child was ignited. She had a different perspective. She was outwardly focused and her heart of compassion towards others blew me away.

I’m looking at this kid, thinking “Wow,  the only thing that changed was the way that we were perceiving what was going on”.

The plan afterwards was to take her to a little trick or treating event by the mall. My husband’s very very traditionally likes to do the trick or treating. He likes to do all the traditionals and I love that but I also feel compelled to uphold our goals with her and our main goal is to give her an outward focus and a heart of compassion. So we went to go trick or treating at the mall and we were to have her say please and thank you and just be polite and be the sweet self that she is. Well she was still trick or treating in reverse. So she would get a piece of candy, she would say  thank you and she would looked for somebody to give it to.  It was so neat because she’d walk up to these babies get down you know really low up to down to their eyes which they’re not much shorter than she is but it was the cutest thing and she’d say

“Would you like some candy? You want to trick or treating in reverse?”

The kids would look at her like “what?” She would give that piece of candy to the child. And it was so heartwarming to kind of see the outward perspective.

Halfway through she’s started to think about the candy she was giving away:

“Well I think I’d like to have candy too” and we’re like “Awesome, sure!” Check out all the candy that you get and Daddy will hold your favorite one at the end of the night you can have your favorite one. And so she keep trading up trading up if she got a bigger one or a different  one or better one or whatever something she was more excited about. She’d give it to her daddy and he would give her the other one. She would give that one to another child and at the end of the night she thoroughly enjoyed that piece of candy and she didn’t go sugar crazy. She’s not used to sugar so there’s a little bit much but we went ahead and gave her some veggies too which kind of nullify the effect. When you take in fiber at the same time as sugar it lessens the on the insulin level so we sat down, had some nice veggies and we just let her lick on that lollipop thing that she had gotten from Sees candy. She enjoyed that so much and we let her lick on it all through dinner. She was eating her grow foods too, and she was excited about it.

The families and the lives that were touched by this child blew my mind.

I just know it’s like when you see your child doing things and you know it has nothing to do with who you are, this is her genuine LOVE at work through her. This is the Spirit’s love at work through this little person. It was so amazing and she was just lit up with joy.

Last year we went ahead  did the traditional Halloween trick or treating.

We did throw a little party  down the block  but we also did the traditional kind of Halloween trick or treating thing. Afterward she felt that pressure and derailed emotionally, yet she didn’t even have candy at all. Even though she didn’t know it was but she was just like kind of like tweaking out a little bit an just to see the way that the perspective shift and the behavior shifted in the same exact day and in the second half of the day she had candy and she still was so obedient.

She was so focused on loving others that by the end of the night she’s running up and down the mall, down the mall and she’s finding people dropping baby bottles and her picking up the baby bottles, giving it back to the mommy, she saw sweater that dropped, picked it up, found the owner of it. She searched around the mall until she found the owner of this little pink jacket.

And that was her Halloween. She was focused on loving and giving and being outside herself and it was just mind-blowing to watch that happen and then as the parents saw that they were thinking

“Oh my goodness! I’m going to do this next year too.” So a big group of us are going to do this, next year.

The things that were created deep within her from this experience were so powerful and profound. It was a blessing to be able to see how she served others and blessed others and inspired other families just a little tiny four year old. Never underestimate what you can do if you’re younger than someone. If your kid watching this keep in mind sometimes you’re sent here to serve others. Sometimes we are supposed to learn from you like I learn from  little Mia Bella. She’s four and a half years old and she showed me what compassion is all about. I love you guys and let’s make this a  compassionate holiday.

I’d love to hear what you think! Are you going to consider doing it too?!

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One of the ways I fell most fulfilled in my life is by seeing forward motion. I’m a home school mommy, co-owner of a fitness company, and an aspiring “super wife”. Because of this, sometimes my personal dreams, wishes, and feeling of fulfillment get put to the sides so that I could emphasize the things that my family needs. But today my husband, Gabe, has Mia for one full hour. They’re downstairs happily playing Legos, so I am going to build a luxury headboard!

This is a photo of our bed before.

The materials I used:

  • particle board
  • foam
  • 1.5 inch wood screws
  • silver thumbtacks
  • dupioni silk
  • hot glue gun
  • screw driver
  • iron

This is a DIY project that I’ve had in my head for over a year. I’m excited to see what I can accomplish in an hour. I found an awesome piece of particle board in my garage from a desk we built. It’s not super sturdy. It’s not super long-term, but it’s super “right now”. It’s even the perfect size. It’s about a foot bigger than my bed on each side. This will allow me to get a look really nice luxury look! I also found leftover foam that I had laying around from some cushions I made for my backyard.

I also have a gorgeous piece of dupioni silk left over from curtains I made for the living room. This is dupioni silk is so gorgeous and it’s going to be so regal looking!

I am using this fabric out of my massive collection because it is the perfect to fit over the particle board that I have.

After thinking about logistics for a couple of minutes. I flipped the slides over to create seams, and ironed it down.

Next I marked it in place and created seams with my sewing machine. I ended up running a little bit short on the hour that I though I had. A quick sewing job turned into about fifteen minutes. Later I realized that I could have used thumbtacks to create the illusion of sewn seams. This would have cut my project time down quite a bit.

Next, it was time for some unexpected “impact” testing. As I diligently sewed my heart out inside, I left my king-sized project in the garage. Do you know what happens when you leave a project in the garage? A husband might park on top of it with a family car. Much to my delight I was able to salvage the poor thing with a heroic iron and a soft damp cloth! This is precisely how I will keep it clean as well.

Next I used 1.5 inch wood screws in diamond patterns to created a tufted look. They went into the particle board easily and stay in place very well. I decided to go for an industrial look and leave the screws exposed. 

I lined the seams with a package of silver thumbtacks that I had inherited when my neighbor moved. My 5 year-old helped me place them in the particle board about an inch apart.

Lastly, I flipped my masterpiece over. I completed the edges with a fold over, which is held in place by hot glue.

It’s finally done! It took a little bit longer than an hour to complete but I was able to accomplish the remaining 30 minutes with the help of my daughter in little ten minute intervals. The best part is that it survived being run over by the family vehicle. So it’s been a good day! I’m about ready to curl up with my hunky hubby and enjoy our evening.

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My husband is a healthy athlete in his mid 30’s, yet we’ve spent the last 4 months in and out of the ER. How could heart problems of any kind possibly be in our story right now?!


The very first issue with my husband’s heart started long before the initial ER experience. For three days he emotionally detached and buried himself in his work. I knew something heavy was going on emotionally but I believed he’d come to me when he was ready. I tried to talk to him about it at one point and he just answered


“I have something that’s majorly disturbing me but I’m not ready to talk about it yet. “


Being the happy-go-lucky Pollyanna that I am I simply went along loving life and looking for ways to support him in everything. Finally, one night he got home from the gym and I could tell that something was devastatingly wrong. He came up to me with determination as I was folding laundry by the stairs.


“OK, I’m ready to talk. I’m ready to tell you what’s been bothering me and I need you to be understanding and hear me out. I’m very concerned that I have something wrong with my heart.”


The way he said that instantly threw up red flags for me. I am completely convinced that words are physical things that our ears hear while our bodies become it. I immediately decided that I would not “buy into” that line of thought but I’d do my best to support his concerns. Our entire life is based on positivity but he went on speaking of chest pains that poinimg_8716t to heart trouble.


Wide eyed but full of faith I listened while trying to keep the discussion light and easy. We have always been truly limitless when it comes to trusting God for miraculous healing. We believe in the ability that He has put within us to cause healing within our physical beings. Our faith increased dramatically just several months prior when I was completely healed from “trigeminal neuralgia”. This is recognized by the medical community as an “incurable disease”. After pain like I have never felt in my life, I was healed completely without the need for radiation or brain surgery.


This was an extreme case but, our entire life together has been decorated with miraculous healings of all kinds. I remember one time as he prayed over the phone I was instantly healed from a scary case of pneumonia while I was away at college. Another time we prayed before church for a wound on the bottom of my foot that wouldn’t heal for months. At some point in our long service the wound scabbed over, turning completely black. When we got home I saw it and was startled. We touched it ever so slightly and the entire black scab fell off revealing fresh new unscathed baby skin beneath it. There of been other cases of severe pain dissipating after injury and a plethora of other profound miracles.


How could he be in such a desperate place of doubt? We don’t even have the details yet. Doesn’t he remember all the miracles we’ve seen and how we’ve been spared?


Trying to end the conversation while staying “light” about it all I began walking midway down the stairs. From the top of the stairs looking down at his happy go lucky wife who “wasn’t getting it” he stopped me.


“Priscilla, I need you to hear me. Something is wrong with my heart and I’m nervous it could take my life.”


That exact moment I felt what I like to call a “timestamp”. I feel a timestamp every time something life impacting is said.  It’s as if the universe stops moving and the course of life is set on another path. I felt the creation of a heart problem start at that exact moment.


I could tell that he was still in the thinking space after our conversation. I was available to him for support but never made it a “thing “.


One week later on a gorgeous sunny day I was curled up at the computer writing my book while he and Mia went to get eggs and almond milk at Costco.


15 minutes after they had left Mia came running up the stairs calmly muttering something about daddy not being right. I was confused but not alarmed as I got her started on a project next to me. Seconds later Gabe came stumbling up the stairs grasping his heart in a complete panic. Stunned, I led him into our bedroom and encouraged him to take a minute to breathe deeply. He tried for a split second then hissed out:


” I can’t! I can’t! Call 911 right now!”


Quickly I dove for the phone knocking the lamp and candles off the nightstand. In a flurry I couldn’t believe that I was actually using this number as I dialed….




I heard the phone begin to ring as I watched the color fade out of my husband’s face. I didn’t know this was possible but it went to a voicemail! In a controlled panic I dialed again….




To my shock and alarm the number was busy. How was this even possible?!





Gabe Tuft heart



Voicemail….no operators available! This can’t be real!


Quickly my ghost white husband jumped out of bed stumbling as he tried to find his feet and his equilibrium. Where was this escaping cardiac patient trying to go exactly? I could tell at this point he was barely lucid.


All 129 pounds of me flurried around him as he tried to stumble for the stairs in a fainting stupor. His 280 pound muscle bulging body slammed his head against the wall with a house shaking “thud” as his knees buckled repeatedly. At this point I would rather be crushed alive helping him get down safely than see him die right before my eyes. This was not happening!


Again another attempt at a rescue team….








He looked at me as I accidentally blurted aloud “There is no way that you’re not picking up!”


I just remember all of those stories that I’ve heard since I was a kid. You’re supposed to dial 911 and help is supposed to be there within seconds to save a life.


Instantly I flashed to the time my big brother and I called 911 just to giggle and hang up when we were little. This was way too harsh for payback.


I hung up and looked at him in despair. His face was still white and I started to feel the life leave his body.


Gabe and I are very spiritually interwoven. We are connected physically by the heart like I never thought possible between two human beings. At this moment he made this statement that let me know he was letting go:


“Actually honey, it’s OK. Just keep trying….I’m gonna sit here….and rest for just a moment.”


I felt a feeling that I will never forget. It was as if his soul was expanding outward and exiting his being. We felt the exact same sensation as it was happening to him.


Right before my eyes my husband’s soul was leaving his body. He sat gingerly and slipped into complete peacefulness for a fraction of a second.


Without a second breath I jerked him up suddenly with every ounce of my might.


“Not today buddy! ”


I quickly escorted him to the car buckled him in, scooped our four-year-old into her car seat, all while dialing 911 repeatedly. I was taking this guy to the ER on my own and I was determined to drive like a bat out of hell to get there before his soul slipped away.


After a total of six times getting a busy signal or a no operator message I gave up on 911 and focused on everything I knew. At this time I didn’t know much at all about a cardiac emergency. Since this episode I’ve become quite well versed but at this point I did all I knew to do outside of CPR.


My insides were having the panic attack of a lifetime but my outside was calm and collected with a slow firm tone in my voice. This is how I get in emergency moments. I think it must be a coping mechanism that helps me stay focused.


I looked over at his increasingly white face, oxygen deprived dark circles and his wilted looking body. I opened up lavender and peppermint essential oils to calm and awaken his nervous system.


I had been studying and writing about the power of intentional breath so I began having him take strong intentional rhythmic breaths as I counted. With one hand on his heart and the other hand on the wheel I gunned it to the closest ER 15-20 minutes away. At this point I began doing the only real thing I knew to do….PRAY.


img_0865This prayer was different than any other prayer that I’ve ever prayed over another human before this. I asked directly with certainty of God’s ability to work a miracle!


In this exact moment I felt the presence of God as if it was coming straight down into my skull coursing through my entire body, going through my arm into my hand and entering my husband through his chest cavity. I felt intense warmth in the palm of my hand and fingertips as it connected to my husband’s heart.


In this moment I felt full faith. In somewhat of a vision I saw total and complete wellness surge through my husband’s body. It was as if every one of his organs being restored to perfect health, even more complete, pink and well than they were before the nightmare that we had just witnessed.


I watched as his breathing stabilized immediately. The strength returned to his being, and color instantly returned to his face. He was alive and he was well.


Nonetheless we burst through the doors of the ER calling loudly for help. Expeditiously they hoisted him into a wheelchair which he barely fit into. They wheeled him back full speed for instant stabilization and life support procedures.


Holding it together for my little girl we held hands as we waited to see what the prognosis would be.


As his tests were being done I felt a pull within my heart knowing that he was having another terrifying moment. With a smile on my face for my little girl and tears streaming down my eyes we prayed again with complete faith that he would stabilize.


Later I learned that at this exact moment he did have a waning moment of panic. He felt like he was going back in to the terrifying episodes he had back out the house but he was in the loving care of the most precious ER nurses ever, Mary and Mary Ann. It was as if they were hand-picked for us.


About 10 minutes later Nurse Mary Ann came out with a tiny coloring book and a sheet of smiley face stickers for Mia. She didn’t have any words of comfort regarding her daddy’s condition but that didn’t stop our four-year-old from operating in full fledged faith mode.


Looking at the picture of an awkward little bird she had just colored she stopped and studied it for a moment. She reached for a tiny yellow smiley face sticker and stuck it to the bird to indicate a place on her daddy’s body that did feel good.


This was her brilliant way of transitioning to better feeling thoughts instead of emphasizing what we weren’t sure with his heart.


She started simply by placing the yellow smiley face sticker on the bird’s beak and looked up at me:


“Welp….daddy’s nose is feeling good!”


Next she stuck a sticker on the spindly looking bird leg, then the other:


“Daddy’s leg is feeling good… Daddy’s other leg is feeling good…”


She continued with the smiley faces until the bird was almost entirely covered. I was trying to be the strong one but SHE was the one encouraging me!


“Daddy’s eye is feeling good…..daddy’s arm is feeling good…..daddy’s foot is feeling good…”


I realized something so powerful as I watched what she was doing. Instead of fixating on what we were unsure of she was making lists of positive aspects and highlighting all of the things that were going right.


Not only did she raise my personal vibration but also captivated the attention of the entire “awkwardly silent” emergency waiting room. The couple seated closest to us had tears in their eyes realizing that our future might never be the same. Regardless, this hope rallying 4 year-old was holding onto a faith that was unshakable. We were all inspired!


Once her sticker sheet was nearly empty I noticed out of the corner of my eye that there was a tall Caucasian man with a kind face, white hair and a shaggy silvery beard walking towards the main door.


On his way out he stopped at our preschooler sized coloring table where I sat on a rickety blue toddler chair squished against the wall next to my tiny faith warrior.


I swear a vortex opened as every emergency waiting room occupant stared at the impending interaction. Slowly he knelt down on one knee to be level with Mia’s big hopeful brown eyes and spoke with strong intent:


“You are a very smart little girl. Your daddy is going to be fine.”


He looked at me with a soothing smile before standing up and walking towards the main exit.


I’m not quite sure where he had come from or where he was going. All I know is that he instantly covered both of us in a deeper level of certainty that this trauma was a fleeting moment in history.


Mia turned around to stare at the kind man until she couldn’t see him anymore. Once he walked out of sight she turned abruptly to wrangle one last smiley face sticker for her “bird daddy” work of art. With determination she announced:


“… Daddy’s heart is feeling good! ”


Six hours later in the ER Gabe was sent home with the perfect EKG and no signs of lasting damage to the heart. We viewed it as a total miracle but came home with no solid explanation or diagnosis which made him concerned that it might happen again at random.


For the next few days Gabe was emotionally exhausted and recoiled to the couch to sleep off the trauma. He replayed what happened wondering if the nightmare could possibly return.


The clean bill of health showed that we had nothing to worry about and that his heart was perfect as far as they could tell.


Much to our deep regret, the episodes continued on repeat to varying degrees for months. Never again did I feel his soul leaving his body, never again did I worry about the health of his heart, but the episodes were quite terrifying for him nonetheless.


Quickly we got to know the rest of the ER staff by name. Every time we went in they would run an EKG and a multitude of tests that they had never run before while stabilizing him in the most comforting ways possible.


Mia and I had the perfect system in place. We learned to be able to go out the door at the drop of the hat, became well acquainted with the six-hour ER procedures. We even knew where to find the healthiest vending machines for a 2 AM snack fest. What we didn’t understand was why this kept happening to Gabe.

Mia at 2am in the ER

Mia at 2am in the ER

Mia at 1am in the ER

Mia at 1am in the ER

Mia at midnight

Mia at midnight in the ER

Mia and I had an unshakable faith which only grew in this difficult period of time. Over the course of four months I watched my “mountain-of-a-man” husband begin to doubt his ability to stay alive. That was an intense blow to the self-confidence toward the end. I was like watching my King be dethroned before my eyes.


Though every test showed that he was in perfect health they ordered more tests to be thorough. He worried every day if it would be his last time kissing his little girl and I good night before falling asleep. Would he wake up? I had moments of wondering as well.


At one point I began to watch as seeds of depression wane in and out. This was the perfect window for anxiety and fear to creep in. Suddenly I realized that we were living on auto pilot.


There were days he would seem more hopeful than others. Then I would watch him recoil into a shell of a man because he was unsure if he would live to spend Christmas with his little girl.


One bleak day I even signed documents to ensure that my sole ownership of our company would be secure should anything happen to him.


After extensive testing the cardiologist decided to put him on a two week heart monitor. He would wear this on his chest around the clock to see if we could get a more thorough idea of what was going on when he had these episodes. We noticed his heart was skipping beats regularly each day but the doctor was not significantly alarmed.


The day the heart rate monitor went on we found ourselves pulling an all-nighter in the ER once again. Again we’d be leaving without any clue leading us towards a solution. The good part was that we had ruled out so many more possible causes and there was still no lasting damage to the heart. For some reason this ER trip in particular I sent him into high alert where he began to disconnect and not feel like himself. Where were the answers?! Aren’t doctors supposed to just “know” stuff then send you home with happy drugs?! Not this time I guess.


Days later when he seemed to be doing a bit better then felt a painful jolt in his chest while he was driving on the freeway. Finding a way to maintain composure he got home. Once again we found ourselves bringing him in to get help. This time it happened in the daytime and I was able to get him in to see the cardiologist immediately. They brought him right back and set him up with an EKG. This time they ordered an echocardiogram and a stress test.


When he went in for the stress test they detected issues with his blood pressure which left him terrified for three days that he could have a sudden stroke.


On Christmas Eve we were with my mom and dad. He was building a lego city with Mia he had the scare of his life. His heart monitor started blinking red at random.  Of course he completely lost color in his face, feeling like a cooked turkey timer going off.


With his moose-sized carcass laid out on the hardwood floor of my parents Napa Valley home and his Mark Nason’s propped up on my mom’s handmade “Better Homes and Garden” pillows we called the cardiology unit.  We asked in a panic to talk to his Cardiologist. He was in the car driving to see family yet took the time to give us comfort.


All was well, no goose was cooked. We just had to secure the heart rate monitor a little better. It became dislodged and needed to be reconnected. No code red after all. It makes for a great story though.


In everything we were blessed with nurses and doctors that were hopeful encouraging and full of more love than I could ever imagine. The biggest godsend was the cardiologist that we connected with, Dr. Sanjay Dhar. In the cardiology unit they call Dr. Dhar The energizer bunny. This man is full of more life and love than any doctor I have ever known.heart patient


Even when we burst into his office in a complete heart attack panic he was calm, decisive and loving. He is swift with care and the ordering of procedures. At one point as Gabe was hooked up to an EKG he provided us comfort by showing Mia pictures of his own daughter and telling her stories to make her smile and laugh. He always gave us hugs goodbye.


I could never have prayed for a better doctor. I did pray that Gabe would be in the hands of someone who is loving and knowledgeable but I wouldn’t have even known to ask for somebody better suited. I am a “pray and have faith” kind of girl. I am convinced that faith is better than any medical intervention possible. This happened to be Dr. Dhar’s exact take on cardiology as a practice. After each visit he helped Gabe gain back control by reminding him the power of God, faith and how our emotional climate affects what goes on with the body. This counts for double when it comes to the heart, our most powerful organ.


Some people have emotions that will embed themselves in different parts throughout the body but for many people emotions such as stress, anxiety, loss and many others will embed themselves in the heart usually causing heart disease or stroke.


This is a concept that  I have been studying intently  and writing about in my book since the inception of Gabe’s heart problems.


With the studies that I have done on the heart we are learning that chronic and terminal illness begins with emotional dysphoria. Reducing emotional stress by adopting positive perspectives, while spending time in regular prayer and meditation are the keys to health. Even when the emotions make us want to cringe and run to the nearest Valium Emporium, maintaining health means acknowledging these emotions.


Acknowledging these emotions doesn’t mean dissolving into a heap of tears and mourning every day of your life. Acknowledging is the act of recognizing that these emotions exist. We are not viewing them as good or bad emotions we are just recognizing that they exist. This allows us to defuse the aspects that don’t feel good and find a way to gain emotional stability with positive prospective.


Take for example a work deadline. Maybe you have something coming up that absolutely needs to be done within a week.


  1. Fact: “I have a deadline I need to meet “
  2. Recognize without judging whether it is good or bad.
  3. Note positive aspects (I have met deadlines in the past, the answers for completing this deadline will come to me, I am further along on this task that I was a week ago etc)
  4. Ask divinely for help then cling to unwavering faith. One way I do this is by imagining as if it was already done teaching my subconscious mind that it is possible. It trains the amygdala to see what success will look like and scour for more success in this area. I love this technique because it makes my prayer and meditation time more intentional.
  5. As busy as you are, take time to meditate allowing stressful thoughts (which is fear and doubt) to float by so that you can hear solutions in the stillness.

Emotional journeys are absolutely different for every person this is just something that I’ve learned works for me and those I have worked with.


As we put together the pieces of these five steps we began to feel peace and got some amazing news from a chiropractic appointment. The chiropractor noticed that Gabe had a rib in his chest out of place that was causing the numbness in his arms and the severe pain in his chest. When he was driving in the car and felt the jolt the chiropractor was sure this was the rib crying out for a bit of attention. This could be the answer! We were so encouraged and felt like we finally had some real answers that we could latch onto for the first time. With the relief that we felt I had 2 days without having to put on my Mario Andretti racing gear and gun it to the ER. I am a fan of drifting and all, but at 2 AM sleep is far more enticing.


Let me warn you, many times when I thought I’ve had this 5 step process all “dialed in”, the plot thickens. After all, we’ve learned from M.night Shyamalan that every good story has a twist. Allow me to explain.


The following week we were finally able to get him in for his long awaited echocardiogram.  The results we received turned out to be extensively more disconcerting than we originally anticipated.


When the test was performed the results didn’t look good. Dr. Dhar was called in by another cardiologist to do a second (more extensive) echocardiogram to see what was going on.


Figuring that the img_7821echocardiogram would be clear Gabe had Mia and I stay home. She has been in and out of his cardiac appointments nonstop with me and he wanted her to have a break. This meant I was physically separated from Gabe when he got the news.  He would have to wait there in the cardiac unit for further testing.


There he sat alone for the longest 45 minutes of our entire lives. He was escorted back to one of their private rooms that was not being used. Down to the last precious battery percentages on his iPhone he gave me that “one last call “before he waited in silence.


I’ve never heard a more defeated tone in my big strong husband’s voice. Since the beginning I knew that this trial was for his strength. Through all of the proceedings I have always had a massive level of faith that everything that he was enduring would be used in powerful ways but seeing him like this was devastating. Though I couldn’t be with him physically or by phone I knew that through the power of prayer that I could be in that room with him.

The second test was better but confirmed the first. He had four leaky valves and a Buick sized aorta that was enlarged to 51mm. Although Dr. Dhar decided to send him home he ordered a more specific invasive test to see if he was at risk for Aortic aneurysm.


In layman’s terms, this test concluded that he had a high mortality rate where he could literally bleed out internally in minutes. In the ER we were also made aware of a possibility for “instant death”. For obvious reasons that was a tough one to pallet.


From the very start Mia and I felt covered in peace. We were wrapped up in such a powerful faith that we never once worried if his life was in danger. This was in spite of the loose lipped possible prognosis attempts. I am a firm believer that faith massively multiplies the power of prayer.  In fact, without faith I call it an “anti-prayer”. This is why we kept all of this silent to the public. Gabe is so well loved in the public eye, and the thought of losing him is enough to make anyone worry. Worry = anti-prayers, and what we needed was a miracle.


When we pray with worry it’s like telling God “this is what I want but I don’t believe that you’re capable”. This is why we keep meddling in the resistant way that we are so accustomed. So many of us are used to “working with all our might” to make things happen. I was stuck there for a long time, sometimes I still am. Now I am learning that it to be done for me in the blink of an eye with faith. Yes, it takes effort and action on our part but when we take the whole thing into our own hands suddenly we have thwarted the miracles that come with unwavering faith.


I learned this lesson from my daughter. In frustration she asks for help untying a knot but refuses to move her hands so I can help her. I could have her knot untied in a split second but with her hands in the way I’m not even able start. Can you catch the metaphor?


At this time I got the news the sun began to set. I rushed outside to spend time praying and meditating. I laid out a rug in the backyard, gave Mia an almond butter sandwich and fresh strawberries to keep her happily seated beside me.


It’s not uncommon for us to go outside together for a sunset “Medi Sesh” but this time Mia could tell that something was weighing heavy on me. She is no stranger to the sight of me in deep meditation with the sun hitting my face. Many times she will curl up in my lap and sit there while touching my face gently. Though she is respectful most of the time not to disturb my time with God, at times she will get my attention just to make eye contact with me when I am in this precious spiritual space.meditation conciousness


This time she sat cross legged on the rug in front of me. I could feel her sweet presence. I opened my eyes to see her sweet chubby cheeks smothered in almond butter and her body frozen in time as she eye-gazed inquisitively.


Again…”timestamp”. I knew it was a profound moment. Her faith could double my faith in an instant.  I felt compelled and told her precise details about what was going on with daddy’s heart in a descriptive yet non-fear inducing way.


Quickly she chimed in:


“Ok. All we have to do is pray for daddy’s heart to shrink and stop leaking”


Well of course that’s all! I adore how her mind works. She was 100% right!


If you’re familiar with the way that the heart works you know that this is not something that happens. I had told her this but I have taught her to believe that ALL things are possible with God. I smiled and we prayed specifically for this exact thing. When he was in WWE he’s healthy heart was measured at 44 – 46MM, having no other baseline we asked for exactly that. With Mia’s choice of words we also asked for daddy’s heart to “stop leaking “. Looking into her deep brown “no more worries” eyes I knew that (in this moment) he was already healed.


There was an incredibly difficult three day waiting period for a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE). In the meantime we put him on our Genesis diet to bring down his blood pressure and cholesterol. The (TEE) is an extensive invasive test where they would anesthetize him in the cardiac unit of memorial hospital and stick tubes with cameras down his throat to get an exact reading on how much trouble his heart was really in.


Some of our best friends Brandon Griffith and Howard Perry became permanent fixtures in our home as Gabe sifted through the emotions from the weight of all of this. They were there like only best buddies would be. They even took the day off work to be there for his TEE.

Howard Perry, Brandon Griffith

Howie, Gabe and Brandon with Mia

As Gabe sat on the couch wanting to do nothing but hold our daughter, millions of thoughts went through his mind. He is a positive guy with monster-truck-size faith but there was no denying the risks. There was a chance of him dying instantly or having his chest opened midway through the test for immediate heart surgery. Though I knew that this would not be the case it was a trying time in our lives. We were absolutely determined that these scenarios were not our story. This is the same mindset that we chose as I faced my bout with this seemingly incurable trigeminal neuralgia. We love to use the phrase:


“This is not my story it’s just a chapter in my really awesome book”


When the day came for the TEE Howard and Brandon showed up bright and early to make Gabe laugh and smile in a difficult time. Howie even bought Mia a coloring book and crayons to keep her busy. Brandon gave snuggles and indulged her with bubble gum. When we arrived at the hospital his incredibly supportive parents were sitting there smiling hopefully and stood up to greet him with hugs as he walked through the door.


It felt like a lifetime as we checked him in, got him set up with an IV and waited for Dr. Dhar to arrive.


As I sat with him bedside I felt so helpless. I wanted to reach inside his chest fix everything and soothe the anxious feelings that he was not expressing. As I held his hand tightly I asked if there was anything I could do. He stepped into courage in that moment that amazed me.


Then ask me to pray with him for exactly what we wanted. When we are alone together we can create worlds. With complete specificity we asked for his heart to shrink back down to 44 or 46 and for the leaks to resolve, just as Mia and I had prayed. In this moment it didn’t matter what doctor’s claim was impossible. What matters is complete and total healing through unwavering faith.


Finally it was time. We locked eyes as the kind nurses wheeled him on a gurney through the big white doors into the procedure room. I felt like I was a world away from him when the doors shut but I knew that he was well. I waited with expectation.


I kept my mind busy by reading books with Mia.  After a while Brandon, Howie, Mom and Dad and I began to fidget with anticipation as we sweat it out in the tiny waiting room.  I began to feel restless. Waiting for 5 minutes was like a lifetime. After 20 minutes I simply went into a time warp with no concept of time.


Then I saw a beautiful sight! I looked up and felt complete relief as Dr Dhar, donning his surgical blues, walked out of the procedure room looking calm.


I could hear the snapping as he removed his latex gloves. He signaled to me through the window. I burst through the doors ready to hear the news.


Me, my butterflies and my happy skipping daughter followed him back to his private office. He pulled out a fresh sheet of paper and a bright blue permanent marker:


“This will make it easier to explain.”


I waited forgetting to take a breath while he drew a perfectionist rendering of Gabe’s heart and his aortic valve. While it took a split second to sketch, it felt like a millennium to me. I just wanted to know if my hubby was okay. I bubbled over with anticipation for his expertise as Mia bounced happily at my side tugging on my leather jacket.


“You see”, he explained precisely, “this is his aortic valve. It showed leaking which we felt compelled to investigate. We now see only minimal/trace leakage. We have no worries whatsoever at this time. 


We had told you previously in the echo testing that we saw that his heart was enlarged to the concerning level of 51 which put him at high risk. After extensive investigation we see that it is between 44 and 46. His blood pressure and cholesterol are normal as well. I have no further concerns at this time.”


I could have fainted with delight but instead I jumped up and down cheerleader style while yelling “WhaaaHoooo!”


Telling Dr. Dhar about our specific prayers and meditations he laughed out loud and high-fived me. Since Mia was causing as much elated commotion as I was he high-fived her too.


As Mia and I floated on clouds out of Dr. Dhar’s office as the assistants were wheeling Gabe out of the procedure room on a gurney. Without hesitation we mauled the poor guy with hugs, kisses and screams of elation! We had our guy back! It was like we were given a second chance to live. He was healed and he was well! No more testing, worries, fears or doubt.


He came out shockingly lucid which His dad was quick to note.


“You sound great, son, so lucid.”


“Ya dad I feel really normal, except for that strange pink elephant I keep seeing over there.”


Indeed it was refreshing to have my sweet man (and his awkward sense of humor) back with yet another death defying miracle under his belt.


We drove home with the music blasting.  Howie, Mia and Brandon were having a screaming tickle war in the back seat. The sound of a furious rainstorm was beating down on the windshield. Despite all of this, we have never had a more peaceful drive home. I could feel my heart and breathing syncopate to his as we held hands on the drive home.


Back at the house I made a genesis friendly green chicken soup while we danced, laughed, made a few videos with the boys and busted out halo on Xbox 360 for old time sake.


Though he is still recovering from his procedure with some pretty painful inflammation, it’s all just a reminder of what is possible with faith.


It feels as though my husband’s beating heart was taken out of his chest for months, then replaced with one that had an exponentially higher level of prospective and faith. He is a warrior like I have never seen. We still aren’t sure what all of this equates to or how it happened. Can tests done multiple times be that far off with the same results? Or more plausible….Hearts don’t just shrink back….or do they?


Tomorrow we go in for a follow up high-five. I have a gift for Dr. Dhar. It is a gift I have held on to for exactly one year this month wondering who I would bless with it. It is a necklace given to me by a dear friend Christine Krenos on her birthday. It is one of my most precious possessions. The word GRATEFUL is inscribed on it.  It is a Giving Key necklace made by the transitioning homeless community. It is made to wear as you embrace the word.  When the time feels right you give it to someone who needs it more than you.


I did embrace the true meaning of this word to the fullest extent in 2016. I have always worn it with honor, knowing that it would one day be a gift for someone who needs it more than me. I always believed that I would “know” who it would go to and that it would be a profound gift.back-exercises-workouts


As we were going through the extensive cardiac proceedings Dr. Dhar was like an energetic ray of light and love. He was unwavering in his hopefulness but thorough, nonetheless. He told us that the most important thing to focus on was not “fear of what might happen” but gratefulness for the gift of life. We are so deeply inspired by the testament of faith this cardiologist represents. What value he adds to his profession! Not only is he skilled as a doctor, but his love and prospective offers a special kind of emotional healing of its own. This special necklace will now be his. It will serve as a tangible reminder of the huge impact he has on others.


Gabe is now full of more strength and power than I have ever seen in him! He is vital in every sense of the word.  He values life and believes now more than ever in the power of mircles.


After this experience we’ll never be the same. We’ll pray a little earlier, we’ll love a little harder and we’ll always address that creepy pink elephant in the room just for fun.


In the end, my husband got a full faith “heart transplant”.  It just wasn’t at all what we expected.



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