Sharing: our stories, our selves, our success ... by Dave Derraugh

In 2017 an anthology of men’s empowerment stories was printed and shared. I was honoured to be included in this sharing of stories and successes. I did not hesitate to join with these other amazingly strong men. I needed and wanted to share an important story of a life challenge and of a life growth and resilience. Looking back on the history of what was the motivation of and for that growth, it truly did need to be told and shared with the world. A story. But oh so much more than a story. The empowerment, the strength, the love, the compassion and the peace that all intertwined within the story of relationship and of resilience were and are what was and is the most important. The intertwining which lead to growth and gutsy purpose. The story that I wanted to tell as a part of the anthology, and which is even clearer to me today, was and is that personal growth and relationship growth and connection can and do happen simultaneously and on purpose - and with purpose. Not by coincidence or chance. Closeness and connection - Love and Life are real together - when done so intentionally and with intention. This is how strong connections start, grow and develop. This is one of the integral parts of our story that was and needed to be shared. It was an honour. With the sharing of our story, I wanted to engage the readers. Engage and envelope them with the positive and strengthening reality that life, its circumstances and challenges can be and are only temporary curve balls. A baseball analogy that I often enjoy and like using, being a baseball fan. Curve balls can be hit and hit harder than they are thrown. The hits are stronger and create far more affect and personal definition than any curve ball that hits the batter - meaning us in our lives. I wanted to share with our story, that despite being hit with some curve balls (Cristina both literally and figuratively) - that we stayed on base, in the park and on the strong, empowered, loving and winning team and reality of positive growth, resilience and recovery. Cristina and her special needs, as I touched on in the story, were often, regularly and absolutely special leads in her, my and our resilience, rebound, release and refocus. Cristina’s inner strength, emotional awareness and energy, and her positive approach and ability to openly share what her own personal needs and requirements were, empowered and enlightened us both. It increased our connection, our bond and our strength as a unified force and formidably so. Through and with the communication, which built trust and empowered our approach and unity. Cristina still, to this day, regularly asks me to have her back and to back her up - in various circumstances and discussions. In her choosing to share and empower her voices and her choices. Being one of the authors of the amazing anthology, our team grew in a way that is truly beyond description! The actual physical, emotional and purpose filled connections that were made through the engagement of the writing, sharing and empowering were and have been, as I mentioned, beyond description! And more than that, have developed into several connections of strength and strong friendship and support, at various levels. Some from the Sharing evening in Guelph when the anthology was launched in its live and real life form - and some since and on going with social media, social/professional connections and understanding and loving support. We are definitely part of a much stronger team as a result of the Sharing and Caring anthology. A much stronger connection and connecting of love, understanding, empathy, compassion and caring. A truly quality team from the anthology and beyond - with an amazing on field presence with strong arms - strong bats - but most importantly strong hearts. We have been truly blessed. Our human empowerment, individually, collectively and overall has been and is amazing! It has only been surpassed - and understandably so - by the power, love, connection and glorious guidance from God. The messages and words delivered with strength, timing, peace and on going beauty and wonder are and have been amazing and awesome! They have been absolutely life changing, freeing and ones of growth, strong and clear vision, of release and of a peaceful and peace-filled new reality. Doors opened. Doors closed. Thank you God! Hearts opened. Hearts opened. Hearts opened.

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