Denette Jacob remembers well the day she realized, "We’re all just one phone call from our knees."
It was her son Jared’s year to shine on his high school gridiron; the head-turning rookie raised hopes for a spectacular season as he set his sights on earning a college football scholarship. Only four days before getting the call that would change her life, telling her that her son had a rare form of bone cancer that less than 10 percent of sufferers survive, Denette had leaned over and asked her husband, "How can our life get any better than this? We are truly blessed!"
They were living their dream—high school sweethearts raising four kids in the farmhouse they were restoring. Gathering together for pizza on Sunday nights, catching football every Friday, where it was more of a way of life than a just a game, they had it all.
Denette's brother was finding his way back, too, spending long hours on the phone with her, living in a cheap motel and driving his mother’s Taurus after a divorce and financial ruin. She had been his rock, and then, with a single phone call, their roles reversed.
"My issues seemed small [after JJ's diagnosis]. it was now my job to say, ‘Everything happens for a reason. Be grateful and everything will be OK,’" he remembers.
We all face challenges in our lives, especially in finding that attitude of gratitude through whatever life brings our way. It isn’t denial, refusing to deal with the tragic turns our lives might take but instead finding in them the resilience and determination that Jared had held on to for months in sterile hospital rooms, surrounded by tubes, needles, and intimidating machines.
In our way of looking at the ideal life—what we call the OolaLife—we seek balance in our seven key areas: fitness, finance, family, field, faith, friends, and fun. Part of manifesting that ideal life is kicking aside the barriers that threaten to throw us off our path and embracing the things that propel us toward realizing our dreams.