Thursday, January 29, 2009

Please check your kids homework

(Here's the reply the teacher received the following day)
Dear Mrs. Jones,
I wish to clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer.
I work at Home Depot and I told my daughter how hectic it was last week before the blizzard hit. I told her we sold out of every shovel we had, and then I found one more in the back room, and that several people were fighting over who would get the last shovel. Her picture doesn't show me dancing around a pole. It's supposed to depict me selling the last snow shovel we had at Home Depot!!
From now on I will remember to check her homework more thoroughly before she turns it in.


RAGBRAI route!!!

A hilly 442 miles in July in we come Team LIVESTRONG!!!!

Ironman AZ, a different reason to race

My dear friend that has been diagnosed with cancer again was the one that would have raced alongside me at Ironman AZ this year. In fact, it was going to be a three-fold celebration. Her 40th birthday, her first IM and 2 years since her cancer diagnosis. Because she won't be able to race with me...for a brief moment I thought about not going this year, that she was truly the reason why I had signed up.

As I headed to the pool last night and pretty much swam out of anger that she is going to have to fight again, bone marrow transplant and everything else that comes with it, I decided I HAVE to go and do this race.

I will train my ass off (let's hope so anyway, I would love for it to get smaller) and I will kick 140.6 miles in the teeth for my dear friend. I will carry her with me in each mile and I will remember her fight. As we say here at the LAF...

We believe in life. Your life. We believe in living every minute of it with every ounce of your being. And that you must not let cancer take control of it. We believe in energy: channeled and fierce. We believe in focus: getting smart and living strong. Unity is strength. Knowledge is power. Attitude is everything.

In fact in our Challenge series the line we use is: your participation will be one more powerful weapon in the fight against cancer. Go Ahead. Pick a Fight.

For my friend...I will do just that.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dear God, please be with my friend...

Why we all have our stories, a message today made my heart sink.

A beautiful wonderful friend of mine
runner and athlete extraordinaire
wife & mother of 3 children

She received her second diagnosis of lymphoma today. Yes, she beat it once about a year back and it has returned.

Please heal her a second time....


Read this entire story and then cheer for Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl this weekend...I just CAN'T cheer for the Steelers...

In a supermarket, Kurtis the stock boy, was busy working when a new voice came over the loud speaker asking for a carry out at register # 4. Kurtis was almost finished, wanted to get some fresh air, and decided to answer the call. As he approached the check-out stand a distant smile caught his eye, the new check-out girl was beautiful. She was an older woman (maybe 26, and he was only 22), and he fell in love.

Later that day, after his shift was over, he waited by the time-card clock to find out her name. She came into the break room, smiled softly at him, took her card, and punched out, then left. He looked at the time-card. It said, “Brenda.” He walked out, only to see her start walking up the road. Next day, he waited outside as she left the supermarket, and offered her a ride home. He looked harmless enough, and she accepted. When he dropped her off, he asked if maybe he could see her again, outside of work. She said it simply wasn't possible. He pressed her, and she explained she had two children, and she couldn't afford a baby-sitter, so he offered to pay for the baby-sitter. Reluctantly, she accepted his offer for a date for the following Saturday.

That Saturday night he arrived at her door only to have her tell him that she was unable to go with him. The baby-sitter had called and canceled. To which Kurtis replied, "Well, let's take the kids with us."

She tried to explain that taking the children was not an option, but again not taking no for an answer, he was insistent. Finally, Brenda brought him inside to meet her children. She had an older daughter who was just as cute as a bug, Kurtis thought, . . . then Brenda brought out her son, in a wheelchair. He was born a paraplegic with Down Syndrome.

Kurtis looked at Brenda and said, "I still don't understand why the kids can't come with us?"

Brenda was amazed. Most men would run away from a woman with two kids, especially if one had disabilities - just like her first husband and the father of her children had done.

Kurtis was not ordinary - - - he had a different mindset.

That evening Kurtis and Brenda loaded up the kids, went to dinner and the movies. When her son needed anything, Kurtis would take care of him. When he needed to use the restroom, Kurtis lifted him from his wheelchair, carried him, and brought him back. The kids loved Kurtis. At the end of the evening, Brenda knew this was the man she was going to marry and spend the rest of her life with.

A year later, they were married, and Kurtis adopted both of her children. Since then they have added five more kids.

So what happened to Kurtis the Stock Boy and Brenda the Check-Out Girl?

Well, Mr. & Mrs. Kurt Warner now live in Arizona, where he is currently employed as the quarterback of the National Football League Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals will play in Super Bowl XLIII (43) this coming Sunday.

It should be noted that in 2000 and 2002 he also quarterbacked the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowls XXXIV (34) and XXXVI (36). He has also been the NLF's Most Valuable Player (MVP) twice and the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player once.

Warner's case is as instructive as it is well-known. In 1994, after being cut by the Green Bay Packers, he found himself working the nightshift at a Hy-Vee grocery store near his alma mater, - - - that noted football factory known as Northern Iowa. - - - By February 2000, he'd won a Super Bowl ring and the first of his two MVP awards. (Kurt led the St. Louis Rams in defeating the Tennessee Titans, 23-16 in Super Bowl XXXIV, 30 Jan 2000.)

Warner first went to the Super Bowl with the Rams as an improbable success story, a former grocery bagger and a graduate of NFL Europe and the Arena Football League who'd gotten a starting chance with the St. Louis Rams because of an injury to starter Trent Green. He returns to Super Bowl XLIII with the Arizona Cardinals at age 37, as perhaps an even more improbable reclamation project.

"There were plenty of [times] when I wondered if I would ever start again," Warner said Tuesday. "There were moments when you were just thinking about starting and getting back in and playing and playing well. The Super Bowl kind of gets pushed to the back burner."

Warner said he thinks he showed his new teammates from his first practice with the team he still had something left in his arm. But he had to prove himself to a new coaching staff when the Cardinals fired Dennis Green and hired Ken Whisenhunt before the 2007 season. The club had drafted Matt Leinart in the first round in 200to be its quarterback of the future. But Cardinals offensive line coach Russ Grimm said Tuesday that the new staff had an open mind about Warner when it took charge, and Whisenhunt ended up going with Warner as the full-time starter after Leinart broke his collarbone in the fifth game of the 2007 season.

"Kurt has always been a great player," Grimm said. "He was the MVP in St. Louis, so you know he's a good quarterback. When you get around him, you realize what type of person he is. He's a great person. He works at it. He's a great leader for a lot of young players. The experience factor is there. He'll get on the young guys if they're not going their job."

"With this season and in 1999 with the Rams, when we were in a similar situation, those are probably the two things that I'm gonna take with me more than anything when I leave this game," Warner said Tuesday. "It's not gonna be about touchdown passes thrown or games won. It's going to be about being a part of two organizations that nobody expected anything from, and being able to be a part of them taking a run to the Super Bowl, exceeding expectations, and changing perceptions."

AND THE REST OF THE STORY: Today when Kurt, his wife, and seven children go out to eat he has one of his children pick out a family eating at the restaurant. Kurt then tells the restaurant staff he is picking up the tab for that family's dinner, anonymously. He remembers the days he was working nights in the grocery store and feeding his family on food stamps. Makes it hard not to root for Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, doesn’t it?

Friday, January 23, 2009

You're proud NOW???

As inspiring as Tuesday, January 20th was and yes, I do agree that it was great to see the nation come together and yes, I do agree that Obama has this "thing" about him that makes you want to act and get your hands dirty and yes, I do believe that America needs change and that we need to go back to our roots and really move forward in a non-partisan, peace-ful way...HOWEVER....I don't get the comments such as:
"He said things that apply to all Americans. Everyone here should be proud to be an American now."

"I am proud to be an American now, especially after I see Obama move to close GITMO"

"Who wouldn't be proud to be an American now?"

"I can finally stop planning my move to Canada as I feel inspired and proud now to live in American and be an American"

Even our first lady, “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country, “because it feels like hope is making a comeback.”

Nothing America has done in Michelle Obama’s adult life, which at 44 goes back 26 years to 1982, has made her proud of her country? Nothing? Not winning the Cold War? Not our regular and orderly transitions of power based on the rule of law? Not the fact that we feed and defend the world, not that we lead in science and technology research. Not the fact that she and her husband were able to go to Ivy League schools before embarking on extremely lucrative careers? Not the fact that we help out in disasters wherever they strike in the world? Nothing has made Michelle Obama proud of her country in her entire adult life?

I mean....REALLY? I would completely agree that Bush had a HORRIBLE final term and I don't envy his position in that the LARGEST terrorist attack on our nation happened during his term. The man is human, he made mistakes and yes....I believe he needs some help in public speaking, but has America really WAITED for one person to be in front to inspire, heal, protect, motivate and make you PROUD? really? I would like to say those are all things we could choose to be on a daily basis?

Some of you really don't know how GOOD we have it, and I mean good. Maybe I have had experiences outside of the U.S. that have made me proud all along. Such as a 3 year stint in Saudi-Arabia when I was younger. For me, it was fine, I was a child and my rights were pretty normal (other than I almost got my bible taken away at customs when we were moving into the country, which would NEVER happen in the USA as we give people freedom of religion) But if you ask my mother about those 3 years...she couldn't drive, she couldn't go outside the small U.S. compound we lived in without the full Arab garb on, she couldn't go to a meal with my father and enjoy it WITH him as men and women were often separated. And had we lived there just a few years later, my older sister and I at the age of 16 would had to of lived like this. Oh, and then there was the time that a young Arab kid hit my sister...and I mean hit across the face...when my Dad (remember he is a Marine) went to confront the kid and his father. The father said she probably deserved it. My Dad then hit the kid that hit my sister...and well, for a few weeks waited to see if we were deported. The church we started on our US compound...we had to have people watch for locals because if we were turned into the government, it was out of the country we went.

Then there was the year I lived in Japan. Yes, I had it pretty decent there as I was working for Disney, but as a woman in that country...absolutely NO RESPECT.

I don't wait for a President, a US Senator, a Governor to make me proud. That is a choice I make everyday because I am thankful and proud to have been born in a FREE country. I know some of you will argue that I am caucasion and so I have not had to fight like an African-American or any other minority in our country. And I would agree with you. I have not, nor do I think the treatment of them in history was right. I do think we have come a long way in that especially since thinking about MLK day this past Monday. There was a man who was proud! He stood up and fought for equal rights for all people and he chose to be proud and never stopped believing this could happen for the US. The key is he chose this...he didn't stop and feel sorry for himself. He chose to be proud and believe.

It just seems weird that some of you NOW are I watch in anticipation of the first 100 days and what Obama will change and do, I don't sit and wait to be proud because of HIS actions, I will continue to stand up for this great nation and ALL that it has to offer me because our Consitution says...."WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." I don't think it says...Our president of the United States, in order to form.....

For those of you planning moves to Canada....go, get out, because when times get tough for our nation, it's people like you that are tearing it down.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A lesson in Mastery....

I have been thinking a lot lately. yeah, I know, I should stop that, right? I feel inundated with messages on hope, change, service...which is really good but it just has me thinking, which then fills me with anxiety, which then causes me to plan my total world domination as I now see it. ok, maybe that was a bit far. One of the best talks on service I have heard in a while was at church this past Sunday. Honestly, my church is not like some of you are thinking "church" I mean, we can wear jeans!?!?! AND the seats have cup holders for your coffee like in the movie really is great. It was a guest speaker this past weekend and yes, it was a call to service much like when I went to Northland, my church back in Orlando a few weekends ago.

One of the things I love that I had read about recently was the pastor talked about the Mastery Curve. Progress on the road to mastery is full of sharp inclines followed by long plateaus. The idea of Mastery is to enjoy the ride, to be pleased with small wins, and to be patient. It’s taking pleasure in the practice or routine, rather than being focused only on the end goal.

In the actual learning experience, progress is less regular; the upward spurts vary; the plateaus have their own dips and rises along the way. But the general progression is almost always the same. To take the master's journey, you have to practice diligently, striving to hone your skills, to attain new levels of competence. But while doing so - and this is the inexorable fact of the journey - you also have to be willing to spend most of your time on a plateau, to keep practicing even when you seem to be getting nowhere.

He (Ted, the guest speaker) continued to explain that greatness if often found in the daily grind. He gave examples with sports, relationships, jobs, spirituality....and well, I have fallen into all those categories at one point in time. I had this renewed sense of when I know I am sitting on that plateau that is where the REAL work begins!!! if I can just recognize that....then you eventually get to that new level of growth..onward and upward you go!! Remember, even when we are doing the right thing, change takes a toll. Time and effort are needed to implement change....

So from now on resolutions just seem silly because maybe sometimes I need to resolve to really LIVE in the grind. I need to take the instruction, practice diligently, surrender all the negative, move forward with intention and just like that.....WORLD DOMINATION and I continue on the path of all things rad.

You might does this connect to service? Well, that was what I was thinking at first but how can we possibly serve others out of self-less heart if we are not willing to fight it out in our own lives? Acts of service...excuse me...GENUINE acts of service allow us to recognize our own poverty. (i know...ouch) When I volunteer I begin to discover some of those deep seeded truths(if I allow myself)while on that plateau...

ok...plateau...ready or I COME!!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

History....Yes, indeed.

Certainly January, 20th was historic today as I sat will colleagues and watched Obama be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. I loved where he said "we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin the work of rebuilding America." It must be a group effort and we must move forward and trust our leaders, whether you side with them or not. It is our job to pray for our leaders and support.

I then returned to my desk and had an email from Dad. It was sent to my brother Thomas and he had copied us all on it. Here is what it said:

Thomas Jefferson Wilson II,
Today, Tuesday 20 January 2009, is a historic day for our nation as we inaugurate our 44th President, but it is even more historic to your Mother, all who love you, and me. It is the Fifth Anniversary of your freedom from Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a Cancer which nearly claimed your life in December 2002.

We are eternally thankful to your doctors, medical science, all those who supported you in your struggle, and our Lord Jesus Christ who made your victory successful.
God has spared you for a special purpose. Never forget or doubt that.

Your challenge is to never forget you are His son, that thanks to Christ you are saved for eternity, and your mission is to BE FAITHFUL to Christ and His Gospel.

May God continue to bless you and may you do your best to spread His Gospel until you draw your final breath.

In days of old before a battle, Marines would say to their buddies, "I'll meet you on the high ground." The high ground was always the objective they were attacking. The statement was a positive affirmation that they would win the battle and still be alive to enjoy their victory. For Christians it has eternal meaning of our guarantee of heaven (our "high ground").

Son, Mom and I will meet you on "The High Ground," no matter what happens in this life.

Dad and Mother

I still can't seem to remove the tears from my eyes and be so very thankful.

Hug someone you love today.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day of Service

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is...What are you doing for others?" Martin Luther King, Jr.

I can't believe what this next week holds for our country. Celebrating MLK day on Monday and then the innauguration of America's first Black President on Tuesday. I wish that all employer's gave off Monday, I am fortunate to be working for such a place. Something that you may or may not know is that Monday is being called a National Day of Service. President-elect Obama believes that we, as Americans, have a responsibility to help our communities and fellow citizens. In summoning a new spirit of service, he is calling on us to make an enduring commitment to our neighborhoods. If one looks up the definition of Service it is: work done by one person or group that benefits another.

If you can get out this weekend or Monday and reach out to your neighborhood or community that would be great! You can look up an event on USASERVICE.ORG or create one yourself that maybe you can involve your neighbors to join in!! It's not too late!!

If you are in Austin, there are a lot of different things to choose from...remember Change starts in our own homes and so if you can take even an hour and give back, it will be worth it...I promise!

I will be helping out at the new LAF building and serving lunch at the Capitol Area Food Bank. I have this quote sitting at my desk:
I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.

Don't be silent about the things that matter!! And if you do go out and serve, report back and let me know how it went!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

what it isn't.

One week into 2009 and things are good....Got back from some amazing family time (will post pictures later), had 3 days in Austin and then off to Orlando where Team LIVESTRONG will take on the Disney Marathon this weekend. I will be going after the Half Marathon on Saturday trying to do continue my 1 Half Marathon per month to keep up the base training for all things Ironman in the Fall. So far I did the San Antonio with a 4 minute PR of 1:51, then in December the OUC with a PR of a lovely read that right, but a PR is PR my friends and now Disney and already looking at Austin Half in February. I really decided I am not a lover of the Full Marathon unless it happens to be after a 112 mile bike ride and a 2.4 mile swim. I know...get me my medication, right?? I won't do another marathon until November 22 of this year.

Week one of training went rather well with a few good runs, a ride on my trainer and got to swim yesterday in Orlando which was quite nice!!! I was back to swimming my 100 at a 1:45 pace and I continue to work on my core and leg strength so I can get close to my 1 hour swim goal at the IM!! My focus with training at least until June is to take it easy. 2-3 hour bike rides, 10 mile runs here and there, core and strength....nothing like an IM schedule that will cause me to get burnt out before June. And maybe, just maybe...I will fall in love with my bike again.

I also tried to sit with my journal and make REALISTIC resolutions....things that at the end of 2009 that would make me a better person. Then it crossed my is it that our lists' tend to look this: In 2009 I will.......Yes, I will have a few of those..I will complete my second IM, I will learn to be more patient, be HOTT in May (I did that for you Fuller) but what if we all decided to make a list like this:

In 2009 I will not.....

*be so hard on myself, and will not be such a type A perfectionist
*put down my appearance or my size and self-deprecate
*take things personally
*compare myself to others

I think that is more what I will resolve to do. I finished reading this book called Now, Discover Your Strengths and I read it from a stand point of wanting to understand others in the workplace and even the fundraisers that volunteer with the LAF. It was good for that but it was also self-convicting in that I need to not be so hard on myself when I "fail" I am human and not perfect, and no one expects me to be. And if they do...I should bless and release them right out of my life. It was so good to be reminded why we are all so very different and how if we stop and look for the strenghts and not focus on the weaknesses..our lives, our jobs, our relationships would function so very differently. I love that.

I wrote this song a few years ago and the hook of it was

It's exactly what you did
It's exactly what you did
It's exactly what you did
not do.

It popped up on my iPod on the plane to Orlando and it allowed me to go down this road of what I will not do anymore in 2009.....

anyone want to join me?