During the holiday season it seems everyone steps back to reflect on the year that is coming to an end. This year I will not only think back on the sadness of the year but also the many blessings and miracles all around me.

Katie was diagnosed with a malignant glioblastoma in January of 2013. A high school senior she was looking forward to Prom, Senior trip, Graduation and College. Her life and ours was about to change forever. Katie endured surgery, radiation and bi-weekly chemotherapy. In that time she still went to Disney with her senior class (school nurse and mom in tow). She went to prom as radiant and gorgeous as ever and she walked in graduation. Katie wanted to live as normal a life as possible, hence her saying “Love the Life you Live”.; Katie’s journey ended this summer after an 18 month battle.

Why does it take a tragedy of a young woman’s life being ended in such a horrible way to wake everyone around her to appreciate life?

My friend drove home after Katie’s funeral and told me she found herself angry at all of our neighbors for not knowing the pain our family was suffering. Her comment really made me think. I’m as guilty as the next person. Do we ever really know what is going on in someone else’ life or what their pain is?

These past months after losing Katie I have really tried to open my eyes to the people and world around me. There are little miracles happening everywhere if we can just stop to notice. Notice the smile on the old lady’s face in the checkout line when you say “Good Morning” to her. Watch for the good Samaritan helping the old man across the street. How about watching a baby take his first steps. The “Make a Wish” foundation sent Katie and hundreds of children on incredible family trips during their struggles. Little miracles putting smiles on people’s faces.

In my professional life I assist prospective franchise owners in selecting and investigating the best franchise for their life goals. I hope that my life experience this past year has made me a better coach for my clients. I listen to them and try to really feel what they are going through.Only then can I even hope to advise them on which franchise might allow them to balance their life and relationship goals with their career goals. Life is too short to spend it in an office building away from your family working for someone else who may or not really care about you.

This holiday season I will miss Katie terribly but her words “Love the Life you Live” will resonate with me in all that I do and with everyone I am blessed to spend time with. I wish the same for you!