The True Hidden Hero

My dad had no experience whatsoever in video production and he spent hours putting this video together to encourage others to look beyond the "Hollywood" lifestyle to find the true hidden heroes. So I did just that. David Bornancin, this is for you.

To The True Hidden Hero.

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A wise person once told me, “How You do One Thing is How You Do Everything,” and as I was reflecting on who I look up to the most, I realized the biggest hidden hero was right in my own home.

Colossians 3:23-24 tells us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

If you don’t know David Bornancin, his work alone shows his character, one we all can learn from.

He is a living and breathing example of someone who gives 100% effort at everything he does, not questioning, not complaining, but rather, always with a smile on his face. Even in the difficult times he is always ready to either make a snickering joke to relieve tension and stress others feel, or provide words of inspiration.

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He has dedicated his life to 30+ years in the software industry working for some of the top companies in the world, but more impressively, those who work with him speak of him with words of affirmation, remarking on his consistent character, hard work, and leadership.

As a kid, I was always inspired by my “cool dad” who traveled the world and would bring my brother and I little tokens from the places he went to, but it wasn’t until I reached adulthood and that our family had to endure true hardship not only financially, but with my mom’s development of a long-term disease, that I got to be a true witness myself to his incredible character, complete selflessness, and utter servitude.

I have watched and worked alongside him for 10+ years now, and have seen him not only put in 150% into his work day by day, but his care of my mom has her Alzheimer’s hit with rapid progression.

Taking care of someone with a terminal illness is hard enough, but to see how far and beyond he goes not only grounds me, but shows me how we are called to live our lives, as a service to others, as a source of hope and light in a world that can sometimes feel so dark.

There are so many examples I have gotten to witness, but one that just sticks out to me is seeing him, after not sleeping at all, take the time to wake up early and prepare what looked like a gourmet breakfast for my mom, sitting next to her and patiently feeding her before he started work.

Most people think, “It doesn’t really matter what someone with Alzheimer’s eats, they don’t know the difference.”

That’s not the way this man works. As I see him bustle away in the kitchen he goes, “Your mom loves steak, she’s going to love this.”

After all these years, he still tries to give her the best he can. Seeing his complete servitude and love for her probably destroys modern-day love for me, which has become a casual laxidasical, self-serving affair based on convenience and self gratification.


In his free time you think he would need to hit the bars, or do something to take his mind of off things… but no. You find him teaching himself Adobe Premiere, Adobe Audition and writing inspirational videos to help spark a little inspiration into the lives of those around him.

You see him ask questions, and really listen to the answers. You see him really invest in the world, using his ‘free time’ to research and study other cultures.

Coming from a Bible college and a community where questioning what we have grown to know is unheard of and taking on any state of vulnerability can lead to criticism instead of acceptance, he openly discusses and questions the world around him, wanting to dive deeper into our purpose and living out our calling, staying up late having discussions on the Bible, going on 11 mile hikes that he is completely ill-equipped for, but pushes through.

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They say how you do one thing is how you do everything, Dad, you are a shining example of someone who gives 150% to every aspect of your life, thank you for being My True Hidden Hero.


Your Daughter.

To The Woman Who Taught Me How to Write, Two Baby Boomers Who Deserve a Nod, PART 1

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 2.30.55 PM When I was younger I was always trying to be a jack-of-all-trades. I loved playing soccer and played on competitive premiere teams, I loved reading and became the fastest accelerated reader in my program and I loved singing, dancing, acting and writing. Although I've come to realize God hasn't given me the gift to become the next Celine Dion, I do know that he has given me a voice through my writing, and a lot of that has to do with my Grandma Shirley.

When I was about 4 years old my grandma Shirley started sending me letters on her typewriter and encourage me to write back. I LOVED getting these classic letters and knowing that these were original drafts. I loved seeing how if you made a mistake you had to scratch it out, and how careful you had to choose your words and pay attention to your writing and spelling- for you didn't want marks all over your paper.

I started typing letters to her and forcing my mom to take me to Office Max to get pretty special paper to put it on, but that still wasn't good enough for me. I wanted my letters to look just as authentic as Grandma Shirley's. One day my mom let me take out her big typewriter… and that's where it all began.

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I don't know if it was the clacking away, the fact that I felt like a real journalist writing a column for the New York Times or American Girl Magazine, or the BING that the typewriter made when it reached the end, but whatever it was, it felt real, and I was inspired.

When my mother needed surgery when I was younger my Grandma moved from Florida to live with us and it was the ultimate treat. Besides writing she and my mom taught me how to sew and encouraged me to always be doing something creative.

She lived in small town called Bell, Florida where the coolest thing to do is go to the Super Wal-Mart 45 minutes away and for fun people would make butter, walk dogs and pick grapes and oranges. But my grandma, being a lover of learning realized that the kids did not have a library and decided to take action and start the VERY first library in Bell, Florida.

A real event at the Bell Library this year teaching kids safety with alligators.

It started off very small. I can remember visiting her tiny little library, connected to another store on the other side, where she rented out to hold a few hundred books and where neighbors would come to check out the library with hand-made cards.

Do you remember those? The cards that you would physically sign to check out books? Ahh the good old days….

I loved seeing those old cards in the back of the books. It was always so mystical and I was always left so awestruck to see the dozens of people my book before me, which pages they had scribbled on and what year the book was brought to them.

I loved it too because it was such a trust process. It was so easy to steal books this way- without librarians having it in their computer system of which specific day you checked it out… but this is all we had and my grandma pressed forth with her library.

A few years later when I went to visit, I of COURSE had to see her library. We both had such a fascination for words and literature.

The actual street view of Bell library today

I loved and still love the smell of libraries and bookstores today. Not knowing how old the books are, or how long they’ve been there, or who has read them… it’s just…amazing. To think that a girl from the 1940’s could have read the same book that I am reading now in 2013, and felt inspired in similar ways is just … awesome.

The following year Shriley decided the library wasn't big enough and raised the funds to purchase the other side of the store in order to expand and grow her library even further. This new library looked HUGE! It had computers, a kids area, decorations all over the walls, various sections of literature including romance novels, science fiction, and more.

AND….. it had a computerized system.

I have no idea how she did it. This is my GRANDMA we’re talking about! It’s not like she was born in our time with computer codes and websites! Yet somehow, with the help of others, she built an entire online, computerized database for her library.

What a selfless woman to spend so much time on creating a library for such a small town, without reaping any profit for herself whatsoever. To this day, the one and only Bell library still exists and is fully running… with my Grandma’s name on a special bronzed plaque right when you entire… Shirley Frey.

As I got older and her letters seemed to be getting longer I wrote less frequently and spent more time on school, friends and extracurriculars. It always felt like if I was going to write I would have to catch her up on EVERYTHING which is not something I had the motivation to do, and always felt so overwhelming.

Two years ago I won a trip to Florida and wanted to take my mom on the spa trip just me and her. With it only being 5 hours away from Grandma Shirley I figured we could rent a car and make the trip. However, I didn't realize my mom was much more sick than I thought with her Alzheimer's Disease and the trip was a huge turning point in our role reversal. It was hard enough to help her bathe than to rent a car at 21 for 2 or more days to go see Grandma.

Me & Mom in Florida- Hard experience, but also a great memory

These past few years I just kept thinking, I need to see Shirley. I need to talk to her about mom and I need to hear stories of our past, to feel full, to not forget anything, to somehow be able to recreate memories of my mom and Shirley that I may have lost… but there was always something getting in the way.

Two nights ago I got a text from my Uncle Paul that my Grandma Shirley passed away. I called my father crying. I should have gone to see her. I should have called her and I should have wrote her.

My uncle sent me a message saying that Shirley asked to see all of my videos. She was still thinking of me and still cheering me on, even from far away. Between Grandma Shirley passing away and my mom being very sick I am reminded of the need for immediacy of our actions and intentions we put into everything we do and the time we take out for the people we love.

I am comforted knowing that she was keeping up with my work and now feel encouraged knowing I have an angel looking down on me and saying, "Ashley, get back to work."

She always said she knew I would write a book one day and now without a doubt, I know I will. I love you Grandma Shirley and can still hear the clacking of your typewriter. I know you are having a blast with Jesus.

To read Part 2 Click here


Ashley B.


3 Lessons in Taormina and How Facebook is Worse Than Crack



 "It's not the places you'll remember, it's that conversations you had at the cousin's girlfriend's dad's pub."

Last night I had a choice. I could go have dinner with another family or I could take a road trip to Taormina with my friend, Anthony and some of his friends. I have been wanting to go to Taormina and between the two busses it would take to get there to the idea of traveling solo and they said we could reschedule the dinner so I decided that it would be way more fun to go with a group, especially one I already knew.

On the phone, I finally answered Anthony, "When in Roma!" Okay, so we weren't in Rome, we were in Taormina, which by the way is a beautiful little Harry Potter town at night. But it was still way better going in a group than solo.

It's the whole concept of, is life about the experience or the people? To me, I think people make an experience.

This has come up a lot in my life, with one of my friends in particular who would always say, "Wow, that's such a great experience," or "okay, let's do it, it's an experience," and I started to feel that he only wanted to go on adventures with me because I would, and because it was "an experience," whereas to me it was more important to become closer to my friends and doing cool things was just another way of connecting with them.

With that being said, Taormina was awesome because of the group I was with. We started with what was deemed the "best cannoli's in the world," to going somewhere for our "before dinner," where we had coffee and hot chocolate and ended up on some random Reality TV Show for an island off the coast of Sicily, to it now being "dinner time" - aka 9pm where we went to a fine-dining restaurant to have our-priced chicken salads to satisfy our need for something other than pasta and cheese.

(Pasta and cheese by the way, is always a good idea.)



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We realized that our international bunch- Italians, Australian, American and Thailander all could speak English more than we even knew and we started having more in-depth conversations past the whole- I love ricotta and what are Italian boys really like? To our philosophy on the strategic maneuvers guys use to pursue girls and how Facebook is a more powerful drug than crack or cocaine to the speed in which our physical and mental bodies move on Earth causes us to always be physically living in the past.

Although we all came from different parts of the world, with different backgrounds and different concepts of right and wrong, we all agreed on some general enlightening principles that I thought I would share….

3 Concepts Agreed by People from 4 Different Countries.

1. Facebook Messes with a Realistic Sense of Time and Space


We all decided that Facebook truly messes with real time and creates a false reality that becomes an addictive pursuit if not used properly (which most people don't.)

"The problem with Facebook is that you always want to be in more than one place at the same time," Anthony said. I find this entirely true. One minute you wish you were backpacking in the Phillipines with your best friend, the next minute you are questioning whether you should be getting married and having kids because that's what the kids from college are doing.

With wanting to get so many "likes" and checking their phones before, during and after they are doing something- it has become a DRUG. Traveling without Facebook has been the best thing ever, but after 10 days I started to realize that my new friends could only communicate with me through Facebook and they now wanted to see their own photos, so it became apparent to me that

Facebook is not evil, and when used for its original intention, can bring you closer to people. The problem is that instead of using it to become closer to people, we are using it to build some false "audience" almost like a promotional campaign that makes us "feel" closer to vast amounts of people, brings us no closer to the people closer to us and in turn makes us feel no more social than we were.

We examined a few different people and decided the most unhappy people on Facebook are the ones that are constantly posting things on Facebook.

However, this doesn't mean that those who don't post things on Facebook aren't addicted to Facebook. I have one friend that never posts anything at all, but she is constantly checking it to see what her friends are doing. So don't think you are flying high by never posting anything- but just don't let it control you as a whole.

It still happened, even if you didn't put it on Facebook. And it still happened even if you only got "3 Likes" for it.

Without having a reliable phone here, Facebook has been our way of making plans, or giving each other photos that we would otherwise not have seen. It is also a way to share this blog of the insights.

3. A Lesson from the Dalai Lama


Dalai Lama XIV

"Man surprised me most about humanity.Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived."

We are constantly worrying about the future so we are never actually living in the present and once we get to the "future" we are worrying about the past and how we were just not living in the present- essentially we are in a constant state of worry and never actually achieving anything and never actually happy.

3. A Picture is Not Worth a Thousand Words Anymore...but it can be.


I love photos, anyone will know that. I constantly have my camera on me, taking photos and video, but I was thinking about something crucial.

We are capturing photos to capture a moment in time, a memory, not to create a memory. I saw a friend write the other day that he is sick of "creating memories" from his photos. If you are setting something up to look like something else that never actually happened, then that memory essentially doesn't exist, just the memory of you setting it up.

If something is so staged and falsified, I wonder, if a picture is worth a thousand words, than what do those words actually say?

I love photos and when used properly, I think can provide a great memory and create a picture for others as well, again, it's all about the way we use technology. Take photos for you and for the people who are with you. Take them to remember things. Take them to capture REAL moments. Take them to paint a full picture. 

To be able all communicate was a gift and a true example of how language is powerful in understanding others and the world around us. This is another reason why teaching English right now is so important to why I am in Italy.

When we got back to Siracusa, we ended the night at a place in Ortigia and prancing around the streets singing "Wrecking Ball" - which I've officially deemed as the song of the trip.

Do I remember the name of the streets in Toarmina or where we got the best cannolis in the world? No, but I do remember our theories from the Dahli Lama and how much Mona loves her dolce, and that is good enough of a memory for me.





Before You Make Your Goals for 2014 Watch this...


"When you are not pursuing your goal, you are literally committing spiritual suicide." This is a viral video going around from Rick Hall saying, "Before you make your goals for 2014, watch this video," and it was shared to me by my brother who gives it all he has every day.

Things to Remember When Setting Your Goals

(from the video)

1.It will never be the "perfect time." 

We see this a lot in the entertainment industry. "If I had a reel, then I would be successful." "My agent isn't calling me." "My look isn't right." My brother reminded me that you are working for yourself, not your agent. If this is your dream, you need to put more effort into it than everyone else, and you cannot live by emotions. One day, you will feel like working out. One day you won't. If you lived off of emotions everyday you would be right back to where you started, no where and not moving forward.

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2. "Greatness is a lot of things done well."

 My friend, Sarah Seman reminded me of this when she was training for her marathon, almost 27 miles from Orange County to Santa Monica. Every day she made a plan, how many miles she was going to run each day, what she was going to eat, how to keep her body and mind strong. But she did it, and she didn't do it over night, it took months of training. Screen Shot 2013-12-28 at 10.23.04 AM

3. "The biggest enemy you have to deal with, with yourself. If there is no enemy within the enemy outside can do us no harm." In my fusion yoga class on the first day I told the instructor, "I don't know if I can keep up with everyone else." He said, "If that's the reason why you're here, then get out now."

It is not you against everyone else. It is you against yourself. From that day on I did whatever it took to not look around. I went to the front of the room near the wall, I closed my eyes during poses, I focused on the meditation and the breathing. Within 2 weeks I was one of the people that others asked how to do poses.

Be the best version of yourself. You cannot make yourself into another person, and you shouldn't want to. There is a reason God gave you your body, your mind and your heart, strengthen what he's given you and stop looking around to compare. 

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4. "It's a lonely feeling when people don't believe in you anymore." Every success takes time and many people will think you're crazy. In today's society, if we don't see immediate results we immediately associate that with failure. Don't let your success be dependent on other's thoughts. Don't let their doubt control your actions. Keep moving forward toward your dream. Cut people off who don't believe in you. As my yoga instructor said, fill yourself up with the good and eliminate the bad, they are taking up room for more good.

5. "If you don't accomplish your dreams, you will be working for someone else to accomplish theirs."  This is something I find myself telling my friends often. I am not in this business to assist others in their dreams. If momentarily we may be, we must learn from our experiences and keep moving forward, never feel comfortable. If we get stuck in assisting for too long, we will always look at ourselves as assistants to others, versus the ones who have experience and drive to run the projects.

6. "There are things that you think you may never need to know, but could save your life from just knowing it one time." This is something I have experienced from my time in Italy. I have studied French for about 8 years now and being in Sicily, where very few people speak English, knowing French has been my biggest Savior (besides Jesus of course). I would have never thought the languages would be so similar or that it would have helped, but it did in very big ways.


6. "When you die, leave no opportunity left behind. Accomplish every single thing you were to accomplish." 

This is something my friend Aaron reminds me. He lives life like a crazy man from the outside, living in weird places and doing adrenaline-packed things, but on the inside is extremely strategic in his planning and what he does. He invests every day into multiple businesses, becoming the best of the best. The average person would most likely not have the patience or the stamina to carry out the mundane duties it takes to make his videos so complex, but he puts in the effort- putting out outstanding products instead of just average, and it pays off. He would always tell me, he always wants to take every opportunity, and he does. 

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7. "If it was easy everyone would do it." My father, who has led multi-million dollar deals in the software industry for more than 30 years reminds me this every day when my patience is running thin. It is easy to be a loser. It takes no effort. As the video says, most people are wishing and dreaming that they didn't have to work their average jobs in which they feel complacent, instead of actually working toward their goals.

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If you're not where you are. If you're not where you want to be. It has nothing to do with the system, but everything to do with you not making the sacrifice.

"About Time" More Than Just a Chick Flick: My Latest Revelation

From the billboards around town and the countless trailers, one would think “About Time,” was just going to be another Rachel McAdams chick flick- a movie girls would beg their boyfriends to see and a movie boyfriends would pay large amounts of cash to avoid. But I challenge you to actually give this movie a shot, it’s a lot deeper than the ordinary love story and challenged me in many ways.


The Premise

At age 21 Tim Lake discovers that the men in his family have an inherited gift to travel back in time. From day one he knows that this will not be about money or careers for him, but about love.  When he meets Mary, a young, insecure “reader” from a publishing firm, he does everything in his mind to try to make their meeting and dates better each time by using time travel.  He slowly learns that not everything can be fixed using time travel and what it really takes to live a fulfilled life by having to face issues and problems that come his way and learning how to confront life without being scared or jaded.  A wonderful movie about love, loss and life that is bound to hit home in one way or another.

Why Should You see the Film?

  1. The theme is more than a “romantic” love between a man and a woman and more about a love for a deeper life.
  2. The film follows a man and his story, instead of centered solely around a woman.
  3. The movie showcases what happens when one doesn’t take opportunities and the outcome of that.
  4. The main character learns that the obstacles and bad things that happen in your life sometimes can’t be avoided, but those are the things that will shape you the most.
  5. The film will challenge the way you carry out your everyday mundane tasks, how you see and treat people, where your head is at and what you are filling it with.
  6. The film also shows genuine pursuit of love- what it really looks like for a man to pursue a woman, how he doesn’t fall into temptation, how he goes for exactly what he wants.
  7. Rachel McAdams plays an adorable “Mary” who is an ordinary woman, insecure about her life and appearance, yet lovable and relatable.
  8. The film will allow you to see your wishes and dreams of “time travel” in a whole new light- and challenge why so many people wish they had it or think they need it.
  9. The film will make you slow down.
  10. The film marks on how everything in life is a choice for you to choose.

 Here’s what I left with… (*SPOILER ALERT*)

The main character doesn’t need to use time travel, and the whole lesson that he learned is to try not to go back in time and change it or re-live it, but to live as if you had already lived it once so as not to get caught up in the every day worries.   It’s amazing to reflect on how much time worries and fears can take up our days, and what life could look like without any of these things.

It’s the little things in life…

It’s the little things; you don’t have to do huge gigantic things to have a memory. It can be pouring coffee, or reading together or taking the time to laugh about a silly song.  It doesn’t have to be some extraordinary feet that you complete that day, it’s the ordinary memories that can change you and reshape you. When you think about it, it’s not necessarily the crazy bold random things we do once a year that define who we are, but rather the choices we make on a daily basis.

“Bad things” Shape Us

The main character learned that he can’t change the bad things and that it’s the bad things in life that helped to change him, helped him learn from his mistakes and grow from them.

We always want to take away all of the bad things that are happening in our lives, but sometimes it’s learning day by day how to handle them, how to get through them, how to love deeper, how to put ourselves out there.

“It is our CHOICE to live Boldly.”

I really did learn that it is YOUR CHOOSE to live boldly and that it is YOUR CHOICE to recognize the people around you, instead of taking them for granted, like most of us do.  It really encouraged me to appreciate the little things, and to find ways to actually do that.

What Living Intentionally Looks Like

To truly live intentionally means filling your life with the good, even if it’s small, and to try to not focus on the bad, because the bad probably isn’t as bad as you think it is. It’s probably shaped you into who you are today.

Makes You Re-think the Purpose of the “Entertainment Industry”

I was reminded how much the cinema can change your life, with the stories they tell, and that everyone thinks the entertainment industry is garbage, but that we have the power to tell the most spectacular stories, even if it’s just an ordinary kind of story on a platform that can affect so many people, and not many other mediums can do that.

So for the people who think the entertainment industry is garbage, maybe you’re not filling your head with the right kind of entertainment that’s being put out there, because a movie doesn’t have to be something you watch and think huh?

I want to be involved in films that make you think and also make you respond to life.

Lastly, It’s Not All About Being Inspired

I think a part of that is all about reflection and not just taking something and moving past it within the first couple of minutes of coming out of the theater and doing something new but really reflecting on each thing you come across. So you can change if something has inspired you.

It’s not all about being inspired, it’s about what you do after you’re inspired.