01/12/2014 08:22 EST | Updated 03/14/2014 05:59 EDT

A Young Woman Of Influence and Her Dance With Life

I can remember sitting on my couch last January nursing bronchitis and watching Dr. Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie. Her message was powerfully moving and her call to action voiced with one simply profound question: "Now what are you going to do?"

"Be strong! We're not here to play, to dream or drift; there are miles to go and loads to lift. Be strong"...and with that she had my attention.

I can remember sitting on my couch last January nursing bronchitis and watching Dr. Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie. Her message was powerfully moving and her call to action voiced with one simply profound question: "Now what are you going to do?"

Regardless of your chosen belief system the question transcends religion, borders, troubles and all things life. I've asked myself this often after being inspired by other phenomenal speakers and shared lessons, yet I cannot say that I have always put thought into action.

Inspiration does that. It fans the flame of a temporary high and creates a spark, but until we're willing to take the messages and information we've received and put it to work in our own lives so that our story will be written as one who maximized our full potential, it remains just that. A message we heard, a book we read or a story that brought us to tears.

As she mentioned then which is still applicable now, we're living in extreme times beyond our regularly scheduled normal which then makes "now" the appointed time to live out what we have ingested and the fullness of who we are. Unfortunately, life seldom politely makes that request.

As I sit here almost one year later on the same couch but in perfect health, my mind drifts to an equally powerful sermon in motion. She may not have heard the call that day but is answering it in her fight for life.

Enter Tiana Smith. The beautiful cheerleader, soccer player, and honor student who walks to her own beat and is described as fashionable by her own standards. Her profile could read like the typical 16-year-olds with the only difference being that she has been diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a form of cancer that starts in the bones.

To follow her story through her blog and photos as she goes through treatments and surgeries is to be constantly refueled by her admirable strength, confidence and transparency. Her message is not for the silently addicted types to an inspirational story but best suited for the ones ready to tackle whatever it is that is literally trying to wreak havoc in their lives.

Tiana is that virtual tap reminding you that if she can wake up each day excited about life knowing that though her immediate circumstances have been changed her story is still written in victory, then so can you. Turbulence in our lives varies, but we're in our respective battles both separately and together, privately and publicly.

Now what are you going to do?

We can choose to mourn our situations indefinitely or romance how unfair life is but nothing changes from that emotional dance. We can live under the pretense that all is perfect and no help is needed while bursting at the emotional, physical or financial seams and drowning in pride or choose the road of transparency. Whatever the choice, we have got to hand it to life. While it presents different scenarios to us not once does it force us to go in any which direction. Instead, it will politely listen and watch how we respond and meet us there.

We are indeed living in extreme times and the demand to answer life's call has never been so dire. To move beyond this moment and on to the next successfully will require everything we have including a working knowledge and sound belief that you will make it out of whatever your circumstance may be. You will be healed. You will get the job you want. Your dream will come to pass. You will write that book. You will make a breakthrough in your area of interest. You will start that flourishing business. Simply put, our life goes in the direction of whatever it is we believe hence affording ourselves the luxury of a negative thought comes at a great cost.

Like Tiana, it is required that you think and function in the working knowledge of what is for sure and not become force fed the idea from fear that what is your right now is your entire story. This champion of life who is one of my she-roes of 2013 chronicles her story like this:

I am now... more than your typical American girl. I face challenges that most others do not have. However:

I am... on the path of recovery -- I claim that, even at the beginning of this healing journey.

I am... an example to others dealing with similar circumstances. I know the power of faith and positive thinking.

I am... more superior than a medical statistic. The healthcare industry will marvel at my progress.

I am...a testimony. In order to inspire others, you must have a story to tell. This is mine.

I am strong. I am brave. I am hopeful.

And yet...

I, like so many others, need you as well. I need your support.

I need to know that you are there. I need you to speak healing into my world, to include me in your prayers. I need you to remember my family; they will need strength as well. We are all in this together.

I need you to stand in the gap for me, on days when I may get discouraged.

As you visit her blog for a little encouragement, please leave a little warm note as well: