My hero.

May 7, 2012

May 7, 2012

I knew I would marry a hero.

I’ve always been drawn to inspirational men. Men who have a story. Men who have a passion…

Men who want to make a difference.

It’s Monday afternoon and my sweaty husband just came home from painting one of my parent’s care homes. Not because he was told – but because he volunteered. He does that often. He volunteers to take pictures for a family event, to barbeque at someone’s party or to chaperone kids while swimming. He’s a man’s man. He enjoys funny jokes, a good movie and a heated political conversation.

He’s my husband, David Casler. The father of our three sons. A former Marine. And a car bomb survivor.

Exactly seven years ago, while working as a Private Security Contractor in Iraq, David was in a Tahoe SUV along with two other convoys. In an instant, a suicide bomber drove his explosive-filled car into the convoy in front of him. A large explosion lodged a piece of shrapnel into David’s brain. In shock and bleeding, his colleague, Mark, pulled him out of their vehicle and led him to an alley before their convoy also exploded due to heat, oil and grenades. David was taken by his team who commandeered an Iraqi police truck to the International zone where he blacked out the moment he reached the military hospital. He was airlifted to Germany where he endured his first of six brain surgeries.

22 people died that day.

David re-learned how to walk and talk again. In addition to his depression and unrelenting seizures, he also dealt with a difficult divorce. In 2007, a few months before we met, he finally received a cranioplasty to correct the symmetry of his skull. In this period, he began to write.

We met because of his writings.

One day in September 2007 I decided to network with more nonprofits on myspace. While browsing, I saw a comment by a handsome man. I clicked his profile and went directly to his blogs. In his writings I immediately sensed a deep, prolific and profound human being. I didn’t know his history. I didn’t view his pictures. I didn’t even check if he was single! I just subscribed to his writings without adding him as a friend.

Two weeks later, a stranger left several comments on my blogs. After much questioning, I realized it was “the poet” I had subscribed to earlier. From that moment we spent sleepless nights talking, sharing writings and dreaming about a future together.

This is an essay written several years ago, by a man I adore, love, honor and respect.

Observations of Life by a Person with a Traumatic Brain Injury” By David Casler

It wasn’t that long ago that I was running for my life. A distance of time and space. Or maybe running towards my new life. “Time waits for no man.” The phrase is almost uncanny. Did you ever think that a life without regrets would be so scary? A life with no regrets is said too quickly.

It requires you to actually think of the future, the possibilities and uncertainty. I think people say it in reflection with no projection. That would require understanding of every path that life is going to take them. Life is too beautifully uncertain. Where you stand right now, is a sentence in a paragraph of a long story with no ending.

My observations are of life. Life, is the many people interacting and the effects that resonate from that interaction. Without life there would be no observations to observe. Here we are. The effects of everything we do have consequences. Are you prepared to except the consequences, good or bad, of life?

President Truman once said “No man is an island unto themselves.” Some people feel like islands in that they want to be left alone. Others, in that they think that they have effected no one. They think their life is meaningless, it is not.

You were born. You were one of a million that could have been born. The fact that you WERE, makes you the strongest. Whether you think it or not, you are. You fought with life and you won the race to be here. Please, never take that for granted. If you are saying, “Well, my life sucks, great prize I won!?” I ask you to consider one thing. The beauty of life is that we feel. We love to feel love. We hate to feel sad.

When you feel angry, sad or depressed, use it to your advantage. Use it to give yourself strength. When we are mad, there is a lot of power we hold in our bodies. When I would get angry at trying to learn how to walk again, that anger gave me the strength to challenge myself harder. When I felt good, I would meditate on my foot that wouldn’t work, I would close my eyes and see and think of my brain making connections, and then I would try to wiggle my toe. It stressed me out when I didn’t see the gains that I wanted to see, but I kept on. Now I walk, now I run.

Sometimes life is not about us. The joy we get from helping others, helps us. The light bulb was not invented because people needed it. It was invented because the inventor got irritated at reading the paper in the dark. It had more practical uses as time went by. And here we are. The effects, no matter what the reasoning, are here. They will expand in time, past our understanding, past our life.

So, what is life? In my opinion, life is but a thought. Simple. A thought derived by a feeling that expands infinitely. The momentum of that thought travels faster then light through our bodies. It brakes itself up into rays that continue to grow and split the farther the thought travels. That thought, is you. Ever growing, ever expanding in knowledge of the world and most importantly, yourself…..

After his cranioplasty

David’s vehicle was the second one.

coming to the U.S.


Learning to walk again

Before the bomb


  • Reply Linda Moua April 29, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Such an inspirational story! He’s a beautiful man with a beautiful heart & mind. You and your husband are such an inspiration to me. <3 Thank you for sharing your stories.

  • Reply Geraldine May 7, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Thank you very much for that. Hearing his story helps me get through the pain of migraines every day. He is an inspiration.

    • Reply Maria Kang May 14, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      Thanks Geraldine. He is pretty amazing…I can’t imagine ever having to deal with head issues.

  • Reply Ciskia May 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Wow, what a truly amazing set of events. You are very inspirational. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Athena October 14, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Ignore the haters. The first thing I thought when I saw your photo was that you were trying to inspire people not bring them down. I have two boys- 1 and 4, I started working out when I couldn’t lose the baby weight after my first son. I was naturally skinny before but now I am even skinnier (more importantly healthier) since doing something about my unhappiness with my weight. I hate when unfit people say things to me like “oh I hate you, you had two kids and you are so skinny!” Well use your hating energy and work out instead. It’s not like there’s a limit to how many people can work out per day! I work hard to stay in shape and I am not going to be sorry about it! While the other pre K moms are drinking coffee and having a pastry, I’m running 8 miles. If anyone asks about me running, I always invite them to join me sometime. I was very defensive when I read about people hating your picture (even though I was just at home with my boys). You inspire me to work out even more! Great job, you are beautiful inside and out!

    • Reply shannon October 17, 2013 at 9:46 pm

      Ignore those haters! They just want to be “victims”. Were paying millions on weight loss surgery and diabetes medications! People don’t want to hear the truth! I work out every single day! I think what you did was great. I never plan on being a fat lazy wife. And if people hate that, good!

  • Reply dc October 25, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    I hope you understand that all walks are not alike and although i consider myself fit its definitely not a top priority for me. I also noticed that before your husbands accudent he was an overseas contrator. Its unlikely you pay the bills in the house since thats an extremely lucrative occupation. I do pay all my bills alone, cared for both my.parents before my father died of alzheimers. His last few months were spent in a nursing home because he would get violent with me and my mother and all other family basically gave up dealing with it because it was too difficult to watch. I have a son to raise and can only work part time. Although its perfectly fine for you to proud of yourself that wouldnt make you very popular so you decided to offend a whole lot of people that now wont think very highly of you. For the love of money…I think you should try supporting your children alone, care for your parents in your home and then ask me what MY excuse is because at that point ill ask you the same.

    • Reply dcsquared December 3, 2013 at 1:34 am

      I think we all now know your excuse, or should we say many excuses! You generalize a whole lot about someone who asks you a simple question. One that isn’t directed toward you personally but it burns you deeply enough to follow this woman who inspires thousands. It appears that you are highly offended by others that succeed and you are obviously too busy making excuses to ever be a success like Maria. If you weren’t such a sullen soul, you would probably be able to find someone to help you along with your dreams and aspirations but you’re way too busy being miserable about other’s successes and yet still making excuses. I know women who have many more complicated life road bumps that you whimper over and they still find the time to make their life, body and family the best that they can. That is Maria’s message, not one of perfection, just one of NO EXCUSES!

    • Reply DCCubed December 6, 2013 at 6:19 am


      Your life is tough, but so is everyone else’s. Whether she is solely responsible for paying the bills herself, she got her education, she had her own life before she met someone to share it with. He also suffered the injuries BEFORE they met. She is not the shamer or the bully here, you are. You are using your own, albeit very sad, life story to make someone feel invalid because they took their own life issues and used it as a catalyst to take charge. Stop being so negative and get up from in front of your computer where you’re wasting energy being mad at someone else’s success…The 5 minutes it took you to write that comment could have been used to do a couple of planks or make a healthy snack.

    • Reply Angel December 14, 2013 at 1:40 pm

      I am pretty sure she knows that we all have different lifestyles and responsibilities.

    • Reply Dave January 19, 2014 at 12:52 am

      Maria and I were not married when I was a contractor. When I met her she was caring for her mother who suffers for many illnesses. We built a life together, made good investment and are now very stable. She has every right to ask an open question. If you don’t feel it applies to you, you don’t have to answer. By answering you concede that you somehow think she is talking to you, knows you and your situation and is heartless. Context, context…………context.

  • Reply get a life maria January 8, 2014 at 10:05 am

    you’re pathetic. bullying somoene for their opinion dcsquare and dccube!

    maria doesn’t even acknowlege that her “interaction via facebook” had resulted in “bad consequnces.”

    get a life maria. you talk about you are so busy for the tv. and you area always working out at the park when you are with your kids so you don’t have time for being on your iphone. yet you have time to blog?!!!!! you have time to be on facebook?!!! oh please, you aren’t a inspiration at all. you are a pathetic bully!!!!!

    • Reply monique May 7, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      And you must be a fat woman. Get off your ass and go exercise instead of criticinsing Maria. You don’t even know her, how can you be so judgmental? She doesn’t have to apologise for been healthy and an example to all of us. Now, you get a life and a gym membership , you must eat mc donnalds every day, all day. Ha ha ha!!! You’re jealous because uou4 have no control over yoyr life, over your eating habits. Now Maria, you are so beautiful. I enjoyed reading a little bit of your husband’s story. Thanks for sharing it with us. We love you. Xxx

    • Reply Dong May 17, 2014 at 12:45 am

      You sound to be narrow-minded, over-jealous, judgmental, unhappy, and hateful towards people around you. I feel sorry for you. Look at yourself, and learn how to get a good life.

    • Reply Dong May 17, 2014 at 12:46 am

      Dong May 17, 2014 at 12:45 am
      You sound to be narrow-minded, over-jealous, judgmental, unhappy, and hateful towards people around you. I feel sorry for you. Look at yourself, and learn how to get a good life.

  • Reply Lovelyn January 18, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Wow, what a wonderful story. You guys are perfect for each other. Thank you for inspiring women. Keep up the good works!

  • Reply Maria Tobar January 18, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    I love this story
    I believe that we all have a purpose on earth.. and does the reason your husband survived
    not only that he has to help you raise you’re beautiful children….
    I hope you both continue to make life is beautiful…
    God bless your family…

  • Reply I am a divorced person March 7, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” –Jesus Christ

    Jesus calls remarriage after a divorce ADULTERY.

    “A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 7:39

    “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the
    sexually immoral and adulterous.” Hebrews 13:4

    Scripture clearly slams the door shut on remarriage.

    • Reply Manda May 7, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      Do you share this as an education purpose or to blast your so called religious knowledge. Just because you can resite passages and have the freedom of speech does not mean you are as God-loving you make yourself to be. I’m not going to judge you because it’s a sin to jugde. That is God’s own doing to jugde. I am going to say you are wasting your life away spreading more hatred than love. You people who would rather scream than have a discussion makes people like me look bad. I will continue to love our God because he is my father. But you need an attitude adjustment. Make your voice heard without pressing on other’s bubble. Be a teacher, not a politician.

      As for Maria,
      I love you. You are so inspirational and ivee been following your move since your Excuse picture! My fiance always quotes back to you whenever I get lazy with my day.

    • Reply Michelle May 7, 2014 at 4:58 pm

      Honey, Jesus loves you, but everyone else thinks you’re an asshole.

      • Reply Michelle May 7, 2014 at 5:02 pm

        My above comment was to “divorced person”. Maria, I love you! Ignore the trolls. Partially because of you, I have lost those last 15 pounds of baby weight after TEN years and more importantly, am fit and healthy again. I have your calendar and it inspires me every day. Thank you!

    • Reply Paige May 7, 2014 at 8:34 pm

      Oh my god shut up

    • Reply EJ May 8, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      . “Love God and love your neighbour as yourself” now I think that one trumps all your verses put together! …Maria is doing just that and so has her husband, if I am not mistaken he has fought on the front lines to allow you the freedom to speak your mind, ridiculous as it seems to be! If you don’t like what Maria writes I am sure you are welcome to stop reading it? And you left a vital piece out of your first quote there by the way.

  • Reply Emily March 10, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    I am a TBI survivor and having a really bad day so this was just what I needed, thank you!

  • Reply christel May 7, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Thank-you for sharing! Thank your husband for his service from me and my family! Blessings!

  • Reply Alysa May 7, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I adore you and your family. You truly are an inspiration to me. I’ve been so lazy lately and really not happy with how I look. You push me. You motivate me. Seriously. I know that sounds funny, but it’s true. I’m also motivated by the mirror and by my husband and kiddies being excited when I do something active!! Lol. Sad but true. Thank you Maria and family. 🙂

  • Reply Brandie Baxter May 7, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Thank you for sharing. I am so sorry for the people being so mean and hateful. I don’t understand why they just can’t keep their comments to themselves. As for the one that wants to use the Bible as a weapon remember Jesus also said,” Let he who is with out sin cast the first stone.” So unless you are God you have no right to judge.
    Thank you again Maria for letting us into your life you are an inspiration.

  • Reply Scott May 7, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Simpler Fi Marine, once a Marine always a Marine. Great story forget all the negative comments, some people have nothing better to do.

  • Reply Dana A. May 7, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    I was wondering if he ever gets to see his children from the previous marage? And how do you like being a step mom? You are both an inspiration !!

  • Reply Bill May 7, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Thanks to both of you for showing the rest of us inspiration and what people can achieve, no matter what the obstacles, if we are determined enough.

  • Reply mariA May 7, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Beautiful story, inspirational.

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