False Alarm….It’s All Good!

Based on the comments, emails, and private messages I received all day it would appear that my poor choice of words led more than a few folks to worry unnecessarily about the place I was in this morning after reading my Facebook update about a new post to this blog. 

When facing adversity you always have a choice, succumb to it or rise above it…..I’m trying to rise above it and I could use your help today!

The better choice of words would have been…..this is my way of rising above it…..and then went on to describe how I felt my fundraising project for Charity Water was an example of that.

If you didn’t get the chance to read the post, please take a minute to do so and consider partnering with me to help build a well which will bring clean drinking water to a place where this is none.

While my choice of words might have led to some to possibly doubt my mental health;  for me there is NO DOUBTING how much support and prayers I have coming my way on a daily basis, something which humbles me to the point of not really having the words other than to say: 

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, one and all!

Which brings me to something I want and need to ask YOU…..

How can I be praying for you?

One thing I’m learning in all this is, for me to be able to leverage my faith in the midst of cancer, my focus has to be redirected from within and shifted UP and OUT.

By UP, I mean my focus has to be on God and the lessons He wants me to learn.

By OUT, my focus has to include the community around me, especially the relationships both old and new from which I draw so much strength.

So would you please allow me the opportunity to leverage my faith by letting me know how or what I can be praying for you?

  • One way would be to leave a comment at the bottom of this post which would allow the entire Leveraging Life community the opportunity to pray for you….something I think would be incredible especially when those who do prayed acknowledge it with a comment like so many of you did for me today on Facebook.
  • If you would like to keep the prayer request private click here or on the contact tab at the top and it will stay between you and me.

Thanks again traveling this journey with me!

trust God period!


trusting God period


Will you help make a difference?

The most important Friday Favorite ever!

Most Fridays I feature a website or a blog that for me has become a favorite. 

Our Friday Favorite for September 24, carries far greater importance than anything I’ve posted on Leveraging Life. For me it speaks to the core of what I believe Leveraging Life calls us all to do…Leverage our life experiences and life lessons for a good greater than ourselves.


  [cancer]  me + You =Charity:Water

The formula listed above is something that began earlier this summer when I learned my cancer had spread. As I came to terms with another surgery, more radiation, and possibly chemotherapy I fought the frustration by trying to find the silver lining, the lesson that was to be learned,  a way to turn lemons into lemonade.

And this is where my story, your story, &  charity water all intersect….at a WELL….eclipsing briefly one disease by preventing  other diseases simply by providing clean drinking water where there is none.

Please take a few minutes to watch the videos in this post and learn more about the work charity water is doing around the world.

The Turning Lemons to Lemonade campaign comes to an end on September 30 and $5,000.00 is needed to build a well or 100% of what is collected will be combined with other groups to build a well, so it is a “win-win” situation either way!

Is it possible to raise $4,130.00 in a week? That’s not for me to say and only time will tell. But I do believe anything is possible when you have Trust & Faith in God and a group of people put His words into action.  So really this has as much to do with honoring Him by acts and deeds as it does in the final number.

Please take 3 steps right now to make that difference.

  • Boldly pray for the effort and pray for the outcome.
  • Use the share buttons to the right and share this effort with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, & via email by providing a link to this page.
  • Make a donation, remember $10.00 or $20.00 makes a significant impact in the overall picture and the $870.00 raised thus far will change the lives of 43 people.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post, for your efforts to share the formula & this story, and for partnering with me to leverage life for a greater good!!


trusting God period

And the winner is……{name this} Contest

Puff the merkel cell Dragon


The winning entry comes from Dave in Fresno who is part of the merkel cell google group I am a member of and is also a mcc survivor himself. Dave said the machine resembled a dragon, an invisible fire breathing dragon, set out to kill any straggler cancer cells that surgery might have missed.

For any other cancer survivors out there dealing with radiation, feel free to adopt the name during your treatment, and just fill in the blank.

Puff the any cancer  Dragon

I have 18 more encounters with Puff over the next three weeks, so at least now I can greet him by name and challenge him to get the job done.
In describing the story behind the lyrics for Puff The Magic Dragon, Peter Yarrow has frequently explained that “Puff” is about the hardships of growing older, he has also said of the song that it “never had any meaning other than the obvious one” and is about the “loss of innocence”.  Ifound this after selecting the winner but it does actually reinforce the selection because, as the lyrics suggest, cancer truly is a hardship of growing old and anyone who has experienced radiation treatment will attest there is a loss of ones innocence! 
Thanks to everyone who entered and those who continue to share Leveraging Life with friends on Facebook and Twitter, those efforts help make this difficult season of radiation more tolerable!


trusting God period

YouTube MyChannel


Most Fridays I feature a website or a blog that for me has become a favorite. It maybe a favorite resource, a source of inspiration, or just some distraction I frequent. Give the Friday Favorite a look, read, or listen, and please share your favorites in the comment section; who knows maybe it will be the next Friday Favorite. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                         Friday Favorite September 17, 2010

My Channel 

A favorite of mine, which I have been using for over a year is a feature on YouTube called My Channel. 

With a few clicks you can create a account/profile and can start utilizing the “My Channel” feature which has become a personal jukebox for me when working in front of a computer.   

Provide as much or as little info as you like, for me I used the same public info I have on Twitter and my blog Leveraging Life to create a uniform social media presence, and then set up some playlists like you would on iTunes. If you click on my You Tube channel TomMartinATL  and you’ll see I have two playlists, Assorted and Worship.  Simply search for a favorite artist and or favorite song to see what is available. If you find something, give it a listen and if it is something worth saving click save button and your playlist drop with all your playlists appears, click where you want save it and your done. 

The thing I love about this is it’s FREE, no cost to download plus you get the chance to see if it is really something you want to add to your iTunes library. I also love the fact I can find so many different versions of the stuff I like especially live recordings with very good audio quality. Speaking of FREE take for example the Zac Brown Band’s song Free, a great song that I love, and a quick search revealed a live version from a concert at the Fox Theater here in Atlanta. 


I clicked save….put it in my assorted playlist and it’s a part of the rotation whenever I want to play that playlist. From there I can arrange the order of the rotation, delete what I’m bored with, and new material when I find it. 

Drawbacks I’ve found:

    • Some videos have poor audio quality or poor video quality or both
    • Some have no videos just albums covers  
    • Some may have 20 second commercial prior to video, but I’ve found that to be very few
    • No way to keep your channel private but you can limit what content you want to display by taking these steps: 

-Sign in and go to your channel page

-Click the “Edit” link in the upper right.

-Select the content you’d like to display

-Click the “Save Changes” button

 It’s all out there, videos, music, from classics to the latest & greatest, give YouTube my channel a test drive and see what you think!  


Life Lessons part two….Game On


Game On for me was much like preparing for big football game. Most football teams have scouts who learn everything there is to know about the opponent with the hope of finding weaknesses that can be exploited. Research was my way of scouting merkel cell cancer (mcc), unfortunately there is little published about this relatively new type of cancer, and there is even less focus by the cancer community from an awareness and funding perspective due to the low number diagnosed each year. Despite the limited information, my scouting/research confirmed enough of what had already been discussed with the medical team I was assembling to move forward with my game plan of surgery, skin graft, sentinel node dissection, and 6 weeks of radiation.

 Team Meeting

Another component of my Game On involved those difficult conversations with family and friends who needed to be told. I approached those talks under the false belief, that if my attitude was positive and upbeat it might somehow lessen their concern and worry. In my eyes I did pretty well; as I had my facts together what mcc was and what the medical team planned to do about it, that was until I spoke with my brother Mike. As I was telling him the news in my best upbeat spiel, an image of my 3 nieces flashed in my mind followed by another image where I was missing their proms, graduations, and weddings. I’m not sure if he caught me starting to choke up, but I’d have to admit that was the shortest of all my Game On conversations.  


Work was a different type of Game On, similar to a player trying to convince his coach that despite being at 80% he could still contribute to the win. For me it was important to reassure the owners of my company that I regarded this only as a bump in the road with minimal disruption at the dealership. But I knew it would open the door, and for the first time in my career, where my ability to do what they hired me to do would be evaluated not only on talent but also on availability, something I  had little say or control over.

Connections Community Causes


I love the internet! I love the way it connects people to causes they believe and creates communities which can do more together than they can do alone.

“As of 2009, an estimated quarter of Earth’s population uses the services of the Internet, according to Wikipedia.  In 1960’s, when the Internet was conceived, the intent was to facilitate the exchange of information between networks of computers. Today information is still exchanged but what dominates the Internet landscape is the connecting of people. Take a look at the top 10 US websites , half are exclusively community building websites; and it could be argued that actually 9 out of 10 utilize enough group and chat dynamics within their websites that foster community as well.

Traveling To Seattle – Part Three


One of the things I looked forward to when I was traveling to Seattle was the planning of what I would do in the down time away from the cancer center. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to plan as Dr. Nghiem and his Merkel Cell team at Seattle Cancer Care made room for me in their busy schedule and I had plenty of work to do at my Subaru dealership to get ready for my departure. I literally boarded the plane with only the address of my hotel, the times of my three doctor’s appointments, and no game plan for my trip to Seattle.

The randomness actually started in the seating assignments. Booking the trip within two weeks of the flight left me in a middle seat flying from Atlanta. The thought of over 5 hours sandwiched between two people compelled me to play the medical sympathy card with the flight attendant who helped me secure a window seat. Once my seat-belt was secure I began to read Pete Wilson’s Plan B book which held my attention for the first hour or so, until I glanced at Delta’s flight tracking map to see how far we had traveled. As gazed where we were and we would go as we were traveling to Seattle, realized how little I have seen of this country.

Not enough time for me, too focus on career, stuck in a routine of visiting the same places because it’s easy…comfortable…and safe.

It was in this moment my trip to Seattle turned into an adventure rather than a quest for clarity in my cancer journey. Traveling to Seattle offered me a break from my routine, an opportunity to explore the city I had never visited, and a means for personal growth I would not have experienced staying home in Atlanta.