Dream BIG! Tatyana McFadden

When Life Hands You Lemons….

fRiDaY FuN & fEeLiNgS! xo

Here’s a story that I was so grateful to be a part of….When Life Hands You Lemons

when life gives you lemons


When Life Hands You Lemons…

Are you afraid to dream big? I was reminded of this quote the other day, “The person who thinks he can and the person who thinks he can’t are both right” – Henry Ford.  I have to agree, it’s true, and I get the feeling that Henry Ford must have known someone like Tatyana McFadden, one of our recent Paralympian Silver Medal Winners.

I met Tatyana on a cold wintery day, in Park City, Utah. I had worked with quite a few Olympians and Paralympians over a few days, and I’ve always been blown away by these athletes who know how to push the body beyond what is possible.

So I guess you could say that I was feeling quite inspired already, as we followed the athletes through their workouts and saw their super human strength. That strength btw, is not something that just came naturally for these athletes, but a part of who they are because of the fight and determination that drives them.

Dream BIG! When You Think You Can't, Tatyana McFadden

I had a make shift makeup and hair station set up in the dance studio at the recreation club. I saw something flash past and looked up to see Tatyana McFadden and her wheelchair come flying into the room. She shot a beaming smile in my direction and I knew that I liked her already. But what I was about to learn would actually send chills up and down my spine.

As I draped Tatyana and started into her makeup, we did the usual chit chat thing. I was intrigued by her name, which is beautiful, and  asked where it came from. She said she was born in Russia, where she lived the first 6 years of her life–and then she continued–“in an orphanage.” My heart sunk, but that wasn’t all…

She was also born with Spina Bifida. But at age 6, she was adopted by a wonderful woman who was from the States. After the adoption, her new mom took her to the US and got her to a doctor. He checked Tatyana out and said she was dying and that nothing could be done. But her mom refused to give up and enrolled little Tatyana into a physical fitness program.

When Life Hands You Lemons

Tatyana was destined to die, but through exercise alone, is now destined to live. And not only that, she  now thrives. She has a beautifully developed upper body and knows how to use it. 🙂 As we went through Tatyana’s workout, the entire crew was left speechless by the difficult exercises she went through. She did some type of sit-ups on a bench where she’d lift up and throw a ball at one of our crew guys and he was supposed to throw it right back. All he had to do was stand there and get the ball back to her but she shot the ball at him over and over and he couldn’t keep up. In her gracious way, Tatyana schooled him.

Dream BIG! When You Think You Can't, Tatyana McFadden

At times I was afraid she might be pushing beyond what was possible and I’d reach out to help her.  But she wouldn’t accept any help. So watching her lift herself up to high bars and swing her body up and over and down, and in and out of her wheelchair was pretty humbling, to say the least.

To Tatyana, there are no limits, and I was so moved by her. I asked her what helped her see life that way and without hesitation she credited her mom, explaining that she never treated her as though she had any handicaps and would make her do things herself in order to overcome.

Wow. That was powerful. We live in a society that tries to label just about everything as a handicap. A society that breeds victims. Yet here was a beautiful girl who truly has a handicap, but refuses to see it as anything that could hold her back, ever. And look at where that mindset has taken her!

Tatyana is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. She’s friendly, appreciative, kind, optimistic, and the list could go on and on. Every one of us walked away from that shoot inspired to do better, to look at the possibilities instead of the limitations, and to push beyond them all.

I had fun giving her a cute braid into a bun hairstyle. It was her idea and it looked adorable on her. So if you’re not yet subscribed to our youtube channel, you’ll want to be so you can see how to do this simple and fun style yourself. We’ll be posting that tutorial next week.

Dream BIG! When You Think You Can't, Tatyana McFadden

Tatyana also had the most creative headband idea that will blow you away. She often is seen in photos with this very simple DIY headband. We’ll show you that fun trick too.

And in the mean time, think about what goes on in the mind of someone like Tatyana, think of the thoughts that have the power to change your life too. Dream BIG! Because you can truly be whatever you let yourself believe that you can be.

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Laurie & Tiffany

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