Relentlessly Resilient

We live in challenging times, and it seems only to be getting tougher. Michelle Scharf and Jennie Taylor are no strangers to overcoming adversity. Michelle lost her husband to metastatic prostate cancer. Jennie's husband, Major Brent Taylor, was killed in the service of our country. Learn how these two women crossed paths and join them as they visit with others enduring challenges and teach us how they are exercising resiliency, finding value in their grief, and purpose in moving forward.

Episodes

  • April 6, 2021

    Vickie Walker talks about losing her husband in the Trolley Square mass shooting in 2007

    In this week's episode, Michelle Scharf is joined by Vickie Walker to talk about losing her husband, Jeff, in the Trolley Square shooting in 2007, learning that her son, A.J. had been injured in the shooting and the chaotic events that followed.

    Then Vickie opens up about her response once she found out that A.J. was going to require potentially life-ending surgery, navigating through the trauma that came with such a horrific event, and her decision to create, Circles of Comfort, an organization that focuses on helping crime victims all throughout Utah.

    Lastly, we talk about the importance of writing in a gratitude journal and positive ways to stay resilient while experiencing grief and life's struggles.

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  • March 30, 2021

    Courtney Checketts remembers her husband, Rocky, after he died in a hiking accident in Moab

    In this week's episode, Jennie Taylor and Michelle Scharf are joined by Courtney Checketts to talk about meeting her husband Rocky, getting the news that the child she had been carrying for 20 weeks had passed away, and how such tragic news brought her and Rocky even closer together.

    Then Courtney opens up about the moment she was told that Rocky was killed in a hiking accident down in Moab, the beautiful funeral they had for Rocky, how Courtney took over his business following his passing, and what resilience means to her.

     

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  • March 23, 2021

    Jennifer Funk opens up about the loss of her husband — Major Brad Funk

    In this week's episode, Michelle Scharf and Jennie Taylor are joined by Jennifer Funk to remember meeting her husband, Brad, their amazing first date, and getting proposed to Florida while on vacation.

    Then Jennifer talks about living the "airforce dream life", the moment she got the news that Brad had been killed in the line of duty, and how she was able to overcome the initial shock of such tragic news.

    Jennifer also opens up about why she would meet other widows sooner following her loss, how her "Create Hope Foundation" can help widows with so many aspects of their own loss, and what resilience looks like to her. 

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  • March 16, 2021

    Sue Duckworth explains how she was scammed for over $90,000 through online dating apps

    In this week's episode, Jennie Taylor and Michelle Scharf are joined by former Rep. Sue Duckworth (House District 22) on adapting to a new world of dating as a widow, the dangers of online dating, and how she was taken advantage of for over $90,000 in credit card debt.

    Sue also dives into her feelings of doubt to represent her district after being taken advantage of, the moment she contemplated taking her own life, and how she was able to overcome the mental health challenges that came with her situation.

    We also discuss a couple of ways to protect yourself against online scams.

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  • March 9, 2021

    Jeff Smith talks about overcoming the physical and mental struggles of losing his eyesight

    In this week's episode, Jennie Taylor and Michelle Scharf are joined by Jeff Smith to talk about the challenges he's experienced after losing his eyesight decades ago, how his memories have been ingrained in his mind, and how he overcame the negative mindset that initially came with losing his eyesight.

    Then we also talk about the source of his optimism, openly talking about our complaints as a form of grieving, and how his faith has helped shape who he is today.

    Jeff then talks about the pain that he experienced after losing a son to the disease of addiction and how he shows resilience every day.

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  • March 4, 2021

    John and Monica open up about losing their daughter, Tabitha, to SMA years after losing Taleah

    We continue our discussion with John and Monica English. In the first episode, we spoke with them about the loss of their daughter, Taleah and in this episode, they open up about being able to help contribute towards Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) research following Taleah's passing, why it helped when their daughter Tabitha was born and ultimately diagnosed with SMA, and how it prepared the family to tackle such an experience head-on.

    John and Monica also recall how SMA policies and protocols changed to help many of others who suffered from experiences as they had for so long with Taleah and what resiliency means to them after losing two of their daughters.

     

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  • March 2, 2021

    John and Monica English remember their daughter — Taleah — after being diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy

    In this week's episode, Jennie Taylor and Michelle Scharf are joined by John and Monica English to remember their daughter, Taleah.

    They recall the moment that Taleah was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), how they were able to provide the best care for Taleah, and the impact that Taleah's diagnosis had on their family.

    Then John and Monica talk about losing Taleah a couple of days before her 4th birthday, where they got the inspiration for her funeral, and how they learned to be so resilient after Taleah's passing.

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  • February 23, 2021

    Kitty Dunn recalls losing her son, David, to cancer and how her grief has evolved over the years

    In this week's episode, Jennie Taylor and Michelle Scharf are joined by Kitty Dunn to remember her son David. She talks about when he became hospitalized with pneumonia but was later confirmed to have a tumor in his kidney and the moment he was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin's Disease. 

    Then Kitty talks about how David overcame such a challenge, his decision to join the airforce, and the day David called her to let them know that he had terminal cancer.

    Kitty also talks about losing David 8 months following his diagnosis, the birth of his daughter, how her grief has evolved in the years since David's passing, and what resiliency means to her.

     

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  • February 17, 2021

    Jane Horton remembers and shares her love for her husband — Spc. Chris Horton

    In this week's episode, Jennie Taylor and Michelle Scharf are joined by Jane Horton (Senior Advisor in the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon) to talk about meeting her husband, Spc. Christopher Horton, his love for our country, and his decision to go to Afghanistan to serve his country. 

    Then Jane opens up about the moment she got a knock on the door informing her that her husband had been killed in action on September 9th, 2011, her decision to commit to honoring her husband's life, and the emotions she felt when Chris's body came back to America.

    Lastly, Jane talks about hitting her grief head-on, what resilience means to her, and how her love for Chris has evolved over the past ten years.

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  • February 9, 2021

    Cindy Cloninger recalls the moment her husband, John, was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme

    In this week's episode, we're joined by Cindy Cloninger to talk about her husband John, how 9/11 shaped their lives during their relationship, and how they moved to Morgan, UT to continue building the perfect family. 

    She then recalls the moment in 2010 that led to John going to the ER where doctors ultimately diagnosed him with Glioblastoma Multiforme — the most aggressive type of cancer that begins within the brain.

    Cindy also opens up about John's regression after his diagnosis, how they became even closer following the diagnosis, and how her life evolved following his passing.

    Then Cindy talks about what resilience means to her and how it helps shape her family every day. 

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  • February 2, 2021

    Brittany Taylor on how mental health has shaped her relationship with her ex-husband

    In this week's episode, Michelle Scharf and Jennie Taylor are joined by Brittany Taylor to open up about her experience with resiliency after meeting her ex-husband Bryan, how she felt like she found her best friend that she didn't know she needed, and how Bryan's mental health began to slip after he began to experience stress while in law school.

    Brittany also remembers Bryan's first suicide attempt, the work they put in to try and get Bryan the help he needed, and what led Brittany to file for divorce from Bryan.

    She also talks about the mysteries that led Bryan down such a path, how she's been able to stay close with Bryan over the years, and how she's evolved after years of soul searching.

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  • January 26, 2021

    Ryan Wilcox shares his story of overcoming a life-altering car accident

    In this week's episode, Jennie Taylor and Michelle Scharf are joined by Ryan Wilcox (Utah House Representative - District 7) to talk about the moments that led up to an accident that would change his life forever.

    Ryan describes the injuries he sustained in the car accident, the most challenging parts of his recovery, and the painting that made him realize that he needed to just let go of the things that he couldn't control.

    Lastly, he opens up about how his life has changed since the accident and what he has learned about resiliency throughout his struggles.

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  • January 19, 2021

    Timothy Hawkes remembers his late mother — MaryJane Davidson Hawkes

    Michelle Scharf and Jennie Taylor are joined by Timothy Hawkes (Utah House of Representative - District 18) to remember Timothy's late-mother — MaryJane Davidson Hawkes. He opens up about how his younger brother, Ben, struggled with mental illness at an early age, how Ben's substance abuse and mental illness impacted his family, and the moments that led to Ben taking their mother's life after suffering from a schizophrenic episode.

    Timothy also talks about grieving the loss of his mother, how he has commemorated her, and how 'Coco' inspired Timothy's family to keep his mother's spirit alive.

    You can see the lessons that Timothy's mother taught him that he talks about in the episode at: lessonsmymothertaughtme.blogspot.com

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  • January 12, 2021

    Ganel-Lyn Condie talks about how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting suicide rates

    In this week's episode, Jennie Taylor and Michelle Scharf are joined by Ganel-Lyn Condie (award-winning journalist and the former editor of Wasatch Woman magazine) to talk about how the pandemic is affecting our mental health and why she suspects a rise in cases of suicide due to the various effects of COVID-19.

    Ganel-Lyn also talks about how losing her sister to suicide after struggling with mental health issues, tips for better understanding the signs of suicide, and how to open the conversation with a loved one or a friend on if they are having thoughts of self-harm.

    Then she discusses the importance of being honest with your emotions with those around you, how to help others who are dealing with grief, why you need to have SOS friends and what it means to be an SOS friend yourself.

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  • January 7, 2021

    How Tiffany and Travis Vendela embody what it means to be resilient

    In part two of this week's episode, Michelle Scharf and Jennie Taylor are continuing their conversation with Tiffany Vendela about her and her husband, Travis's, journey after he suffered a serious injury while deployed in Iraq.

    Tiffany opens up about how some of life's most simple activities became much harder after the accident, Montel Williams giving them a surprise wedding, and the moment Travis was able to join Tiffany on the stage when she graduated with her doctorate in physical therapy.

    She also talks about the pain that Travis started to feel after receiving prosthetics, their struggles with managing pain medications, and what an impact their new smart home had on their lives.

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  • January 5, 2021

    Tiffany Vendela shares her and her husbands journey after he was hit by an IED in Iraq

    In this week’s episode, Michelle Scharf and Jennie Taylor are joined by Tiffany Vendela to talk about how she met her husband, Travis Vendela, how they fell in love, and how deployment to Iraq led to Travis suffering a catastrophic injury that changed their lives forever.

    She explains the events that took place on February 7th, 2007 that cost Travis both of his legs after a humvee he was in was hit by an IED (Improvised explosive device).

    Tiffany then talks about the extent of Travis’s injuries, what his recovery process has looked like over the years, and how Travis’s recovery further solidified their relationship’s bond more than they could ever imagine.

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  • December 22, 2020

    Sarah Galvez opens up about being diagnosed with limbic encephalitis

    In this week’s episode, Michelle Scharf and Jennie Taylor are joined by Sarah Galvez, who is the daughter of recent guests, Tony and Amy Galvez. She talks to us about how suddenly passing out in a bathroom led to her being diagnosed with limbic encephalitis after a series of misdiagnoses.

    Then Sarah talks about the steps she had to take to reduce the swelling in her head, how the swelling led to her having short-term memory loss, and why she is ultimately going to need brain surgery to relieve some of the remaining issues relating to the swelling.

    Sarah also dives into the hardest part about not being able to make her own decisions following her diagnosis, how her kids handled the adjustments their family had to make, and how Sarah’s kids are still impacted by her diagnosis to this day.

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  • December 17, 2020

    Aimee Winder Newton opens up about almost losing her daughter, Aubree, due to a brain tumor

    In this week’s episode, Michelle Scharf and Jennie Taylor are joined by Aimee Winder Newton to talk about her experience when she was told by doctors that her then two-year-old daughter, Aubree, was going to require brain surgery after doctors found a tumor growing in her brain.

    Aimee also opens up about how her family was able to stay positive after surgeons were only able to remove 25% of the tumor and why it was so mentally challenging to stay positive after the tumor began to grow at a rapid rate — ultimately requiring a second surgery.

    She also talks about what the recovery process has looked like for Aubree, the moment her family found out the tumor miraculously disappeared, and how Aimee’s relationship with gratitude has evolved over the years.

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  • December 15, 2020

    Domenic Rossetti opens up about overcoming hardship and the joy of helping others in need

    In this week's episode, Jennie Taylor and Michelle Scharf are joined by Domenic Rossetti to talk about joining the army in his early twenties, being deployed to Bosnia, and how the tragedies he witnessed began to take a toll on his mental health.

    Domenic then opens up about moving to Utah to train UFC fighters until his gym closed down that led to a decrease in his mental health, getting help through the Valor house, and facing the demons of his past.

    He also talks about absorbing the words of the bible for the first time, being able to stabilize his life after finding Jesus Christ, and how he's paying it forward to others who are in need.

    Lastly, Domenic talks about the difficulties of transitioning to civilian life and why it is so important to ask for help if you are struggling. 

    If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out to Calvary Chapel and ask Domenic and we'll get you the help you need immediately.

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  • December 10, 2020

    Charlotte Ekstrom recalls how a water skiing accident taught her how to be resilient

    In this week’s episode, Michelle and Jennie are joined by Charlotte Ekstrom who recalls how a water skiing accident led to her requiring knee surgery that completely halted her normal life of being a mom to multiple children and a wife to a husband.

    She talks about the struggles she encountered during her recovery period, how she was able to care for their newborn, and the emotional challenges that come with receiving help.

    Then Charlotte talks about some of the defining lessons she learned through her hardships and she also gives a couple of tips on ways to stay resilient.

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  • December 8, 2020

    Maryse shares the heartbreaking story of losing the love of her life due to suicide

    In this week’s episode, Jennie Taylor and Michelle Scharf are joined by their friend Maryse to talk about meeting her husband, Curtis, and how he completely took her heart the first moment she met him. Maryse also opens up about how the two of them built a beautiful life with an amazing family.

    Then we dive into how their family dynamic began to erode after Curtis’s mental health began to deteriorate to the point where he began to speak openly about suicide and his depression.

    Maryse also talks about the emotions she felt after she filed to have Curtis submitted into the nearby psych ward, being threatened every day by her own husband, and the moment Curtis almost killed their 13-year-old son after a confrontation.

    Lastly, Maryse recalls the moment Curtis took his own life due to the effects of CTE and how she and her family has been able to overcome such a horrific tragedy. 

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  • December 3, 2020

    Ryan Craner on why it's so important to start planning for your financial future now

    In this week’s episode, Jennie and Michelle speak with Ryan Craner, the founder, President, and CEO of Strategic Planning Group, to talk about the importance of financial planning for life’s hardships, the benefits of investing in a Wealth Management Advisor sooner than later, and the questions we should be asking about managing our finances.

    Then Ryan talks about different plans that you need to be aware of to ensure you’re setting yourself up for retirement success, the complexities of managing your 401k and IRA accounts, and why you should consider getting an advisor immediately even if you’re not incredibly wealthy.

    To learn more about Strategic Planning Group, you can visit their website here: https://www.spgutah.com/

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  • November 26, 2020

    Celebrations of life and handling grief during the holidays

    In this week’s episode, Jennie and Michelle open up about feeling grief during the holidays and how it can affect you both mentally and physically.

    Then Michelle talks about why she decided to start planning funerals for her family in order to have enough time to truly honor a loved one and how John’s funeral came to be.

    They also look back on John and Brent’s quirks that made them who they are, why there is so much bitterness that comes with grief, and the impact of Brent's funeral.

    Lastly, Jennie and Michelle talk about how asking for help and support is a fundamental aspect of resiliency.

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  • November 19, 2020

    Dave Thurman opens up about overcoming the loss of his wife due to Cervical cancer

    In this week’s episode, Michelle and Jennie are joined by Dave Thurman to talk about the loss of his wife, Malia, due to Cervical cancer in March of this year. He also talks about how her initial diagnosis was listed as curable but ultimately turned into a terminal diagnosis shortly after.

    Dave also talks about how Malia went through 24 rounds of radiation treatment and 5 chemo treatments and how after all of that work, Malia was finally cancer-free. But then Dave opens up about how cancer came back with a vengeance.

    Then Dave recalls what it was like to go back into cancer treatment with Malia for the second time, the final visit with their oncologist, and how their entire family changed the moment that Malia passed. 

    He also explains what it was like to grieve during the pandemic, the celebration of life he was finally able to have after the restrictions were lifted, and what the past few months have looked like for Dave and his family.

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  • November 6, 2020

    Jen and Aaron open up about the loss of their son — Crew

    In this week’s episode, Jennie and Michelle are joined by Aaron and Jen Gabrielson to talk about their beautiful family and their son, Crew.

    Jen and Aaron recall the painful moment when Crew was found lifeless in the pool, how it has affected their family since the tragic loss, and the sadness they bear to this day after their unfortunate loss.

    Jen and Aaron also talk about how the loss of Crew strained their marriage and the steps they have taken to help ease their pain and heal after such a life-altering tragedy.

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  • November 6, 2020

    Tony and Amy remember their late son — Marine Cpl. Adam Galvez

    In this week’s episode, Michelle and Jennie are joined by Tony and Amy Galvez to talk about their late son, Marine Cpl. Adam Galvez, who lost his life in Iraq in 2006.

    We talk about how Adam was the life of the party, his passion for being a mechanic, and his drive to be a marine on the frontlines. Tony and Amy recall the night where Adam’s regiment was attacked by a suicide bomber and how Adam rushed to help save his comrades.

    Then they open up about Adam’s injuries, his decision to stay in Iraq, and the events that led to Adam losing his life while driving a light armored vehicle (LAV).

    Tony and Amy also remember the moment they learned about the loss of their son, the emotions they battled throughout the years, and how they found a way to help others by creating care packages for hundreds of marines.

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  • November 6, 2020

    Finding resilience after losing a loved one with Jennie Taylor and Michelle Scharf

    In the first episode of Relentlessly Resilient with Michelle Scharf and Jennie Taylor, the ladies talk about their late husbands and the beautiful, but sad story that has bonded them together through Major Brent Taylor, who was killed in action. We also dive into the importance of resilience and Jennie and Michelle's pledge to you, the listener of this podcast.

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