“CleftCast” #podcast on “The Light of Inspiration” …

Hey friends,

Thanks for dropping by the site today.

This week’s “CleftCast” #podcast is on “The Light of Inspiration.” I believe within each person there is a light of inspiration from which helps themselves and can help others, too.

I hope you enjoy this week’s show.

Every minute counts … and you are loved.




You Are An Inspiration …

candlelight for inspiration

Inspiration … just the word itself might cause two internal reactions.

One: “Ah man, inspiration is so overrated. People talk about it all the stinking time. Yap, yap, yap … inspiration. Yeah, they don’t know how it is to walk through life with this face and body of mine and have people stare at me, make comments, or worse … having people in my own family shun me. Inspiration my butt. Take that inspiration and shove it.”

Two: “Inspiration is just what makes me feel better inside. It brings out the best in me and lets me stand up, be strong and move through life each day the best that I can do. Sure, I know I have limitations with my face and body … yet the limitations are (in some cases) what I put on myself. Not always. It helps to be an inspiration to others and feel inspired as much as possible.”

That’s two pretty stark contrasts when it comes to inspiration. Maybe exaggerated a bit, and I’m cool with that observation.

My point, though, is simply this. Just being YOU … as you are today, as you are reading this right now … are an inspiration. Even if you don’t even believe in inspiration, like it’s some hocus-pocus bullshit … that’s OK, too. Children, teenagers and young adults are always looking to peers for encouragement and inspiration. Sometimes, their craniofacial teams have therapists or social workers that can help support them through guidance, support and even a safe touch of love.

For some of us adults in the cleft lip/cleft palate/craniofacial community around the world, inspiration might have been found within a church, synagogue, mosque, nature or a trusted friend. Just a person who believed in us and loved us as we were without trying to change ourselves.

Inspiration can come through the sweet sounds of music. It can come through a wonderful book. Great works of literature have given men and women the strength to move through obstacles that have grown in their lives. Inspiration can be found in spiritual texts from the Holy Scriptures, the Torah, the Koran, and the Talmud. It can be found in poetry from writers like Khalil Gibran and Rumi to modern-day authors like Paolo Coelho and others.

Let me say this, too. For many people in this community, holy books have been used in harmful ways … to produce shame, guilt, fear and as a means to physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually abuse people. I am definitely NOT encouraging that type of behavior … just to be clear. These are just examples of where some people find inspiration.

What can be the greatest source of inspiration for one member of the cleft/craniofacial community to another? YOU! Yes, you … the one that’s going through the surgeries or the one that’s been through the surgeries, the doctor’s appointments, life’s triumphs and disappointments. YOU are the next man or woman up to take the stage of life and pave the way for others that come along in your footsteps.

YOU are an inspiration.

I am an inspiration.

We are all inspirations for one another … and, from my perspective, all of us have a little bit of light within us all to share with others. How bright or how dim that light is can pretty much be up to us and how we’re taking care of ourselves.

For the little kids and young children, just being themselves and allowing them to have the space to grow up as naturally as possible … that gives them safety and protection to be light.

For the young adults and teenagers trying to find their path in life, just figuring out what they want to do with their lives in this moment can be inspirational to others watching them from a distance.

For the adults in the 20-30-40 year old range, just staying healthy, getting the help you might need to figure out if this is the path of life to follow or is another one calling y0u … when people watch and observe you move through life with as much dignity and honor as possible, they are inspired.

For the older adults (OK friends, that mean’s 50 and up), did you ever consider that your journey can help others in the cleft/craniofacial community grow and become the women and men to support those that are still figuring out their path? YES!

So why are candles burning at the top of this blog post, you might ask. I choose to see light as a metaphor for inspiration. Candlelight, for centuries, has been symbolic of inspiration in times of solitude. Nature is pretty damned good, too, for inspiration. Look up into the skies … see mountains … breathe in fresh air … smell the sweet, cleansing aroma of rain … these touch our senses and even go deeper.

Be the best YOU that you can be today and every day. Trust me, people … YOU are an inspiration.

Every minute counts … and you are loved.


“CleftCast” #podcast on “The Art of Anger” …

Hey friends,

Well, it’s another “CleftCast” podcast for your listening and downloading pleasure.

This week’s topic is “The Art of Anger.” Now I don’t have all the answers around how to deal with anger, yet I do just offer some thoughts around the subject from my own life experiences. I hope you enjoy it, download it and share it with others in the cleft/craniofacial community.



Every minute counts … and you are loved.

Blessings and peace,



The Voices In Our Head …

There is a powerful moment in life where spending too much time listening to the voices in your head becomes weary.

These voices are ones that continually drive home messages about shame, guilt, fear, isolation, loneliness, unworthiness, and the big one for most of us — “You are not beautiful.”

Now here are two ways to look  at these voices: One, that they are real and valid and speak truth. Two, that they are simply raising attention and awareness to parts of our lives that need healing and love.

The voices are mostly negative. Yet within all of us, there is energy … a drive that can be tapped into so that the voices don’t take over our lives. I have seen people that I know and love get way, way deep with the voices and, ultimately, they cannot come back and see their lives and loved ones through sanity. Add in there getting sucked into that vortex of dysfunctionality … while dealing with my own stuff … and it becomes a concoction for craziness.

It is tough enough to walk through life with cleft lip/cleft palate/craniofacial anomalies. Paying too  much attention to the voices makes it that  much harder.

Today, in this moment, let us — you and I — just walk through this day as best as possible. The voices are there … and we can ignore them together. We also have a choice to pay a little attention to them, then walk away. Leave them alone. Don’t stir up drama and chaos simply because it’s what you and I may be so used to in our lives. Living alone for many years, I can tell  you that I’ve gotten that game down pretty good. Yet it is not a pretty game. It’s sad.

Therefore, turn down the negative noise and seek the positive vibrations … the good vibrations (pardon the Beach Boys reference).

May we all strive today for a positive, healthy, vibrant life in the face of our anomalies.

Every minute counts … and  you are loved.

“CleftCast” podcast on Stress: How It Affects the Cleft and Craniofacial World

Hi friends,

Thanks for stopping by Heartfelt Smiles’ web home.

This week’s “CleftCast” #podcast focuses on the issue of stress and how it can affect those of us in the cleft lip/cleft palate/craniofacial community. I know you will find this informative and, hopefully, helpful too.

Every minute counts … and you are loved.




The Healthy Smile: You, Your Child and Emotional Education

Hi there,

Before reading further, I want you to take a few minutes and watch this video.

I want to welcome you to “The Healthy Smile,” a series of programs dedicated to the emotional well-being of children, teenagers, young adults and adults with cleft lip/cleft palate/craniofacial anomalies.

The initial “Healthy Smile” program is titled “You, Your Child and Emotional Education.” The focus will be on learning more about what you and I can do to help alleviate communication blocks within children who want to talk and communicate. Now all children through the early developmental years have a learning curve. This curve, though, is steeper when a child has physical challenges. They also have emotional challenges, too, and this program helps navigate that course a little easier.

What’s in the program? Here are the details:

* Five tele-seminar calls, one per week, focusing on a specific topic of interest.

* Weekly “TweetChats” on Twitter using the hashtag #healthysmile.

* Entry into a private Facebook page for “The Healthy Smile” where the conversation continues between tele-seminar calls.

* A free subscription to “The Daily Smile,” a daily dose of inspiration for both child and parent.

Now the total price value for this program is $250, yet right now all of this is available for $75 $30. That’s right — $30!

This is a GREAT offer, so make sure you reserve your place today. This OFFER will end on Aug. 23!

I hope you will come along and take part in this exciting program. Let us learn and grow together. We’ll have some fun, a few laughs, a few tears … and learn a lot together.

“The Healthy Smile” program is a subsidiary of SMSOUL, LLC.

Click on link and make your purchase today!



Every minute counts … and you are loved.


“CleftCast” on Overcoming The Fear of Speaking Up for Yourself …

Hi friends … it’s that time of the week again! 🙂

I hope this message finds you all doing well.

This week’s “CleftCast” #podcast focuses on overcoming the fear of speaking up for yourself. It’s a tough thing to do when you are just learning how to speak, how to say words and enunciate properly, and it’s hard to do if people around you don’t want to hear what you have to say. How odd! This is not always the case, OK. Yet it happens sometimes in different communities, be they school, church, or friends.

Well, here’s “CleftCast” and I hope you enjoy it.

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Let’s start a conversation that keeps everyone active, vibrant and involved. I look forward to hearing from you all.

Blessings and peace,