Monday, March 26, 2007

a story for you

there was a sister-daughter-aunt-student-banker-friend who travelled to California to support-encourage-love-and all around celebrate with her mom who was turning 60. She kissed the nephews, rode on the roller coasters, spent time laughing at who-knows-what with her sister, enjoyed the presence of mother (obviously), siblings, grandpa, aunt, uncle, cousin, in-laws (not of her own marriage of course, as she is still single. wink wink.), family friends from days gone by (including her kindergarten teacher!) and probably many others she can't remember at the moment.

After six glorious days with her family, she flew back to the state of the Lone Star where she enjoyed the most excellent of Mexican food and wonderful company before landing ever-so-un-daintily in her bed about 1 am Thursday morning.

A rousing day of work kept our young lady occupied into the mid hours of the evening. Not feeling very much like a banker, this maiden of our story found the flip flops in the trunk of her car and traded them for her 3.5 inch heels before rolling up her carefully creased and dry-cleaned charcoal pants and entering a movie theatre, to see the extremely poignant (and in every way graphic) film called 300 (popcorn and large coke in tow). Responsibility hit on the way home for just long enough for our fair-haired girl to do two loads of laundry before retiring (in contented exhaustion).

Friday morning found the leading lady of our story waking long before the sun rose (which isn't difficult considering our recent daylight savings switch) to ready herself for work - and most importantly - pack her weekend bag for a little road trip. Taking complete advantage of every minute of her hard-earned "Spring Break", she worked until 6:30 on Friday evening and then left immediately for Abilene - the place of an overwhelming number of God's most amazing #1 people and #2 sunsets. Her weekend was a blur of laughter, love, most excellent home-roasted coffee, challenging conversations, loving & encouraging prayers on her behalf, a joyous trip to the local thrift store, family meals, dreaming and all around life-giving conversations with the most beautiful people in the world (including candice, blake & andrew - in no particular order).

Driving home late Sunday evening was inevitable as the weekend was so full and a happy heart does not normally long for the rhythmn of daily life while experience the unique symphony of a "vacation". But alas, the time came to once again hit the pillow and wake up to a day of perservering faith, most decidely changed and renewed by the warm memories of family still in her memory and friends close to her heart.

or something like that.
(pictures are from large murals inside Disneyland where, much like Chuck E Cheese's, a kid can be a kid. and so can I.) Those are the highlights of my last week which make a much better commentary than March Madness in my trying-to-learn-to-be-humble opinion.

More pictures of my sweet family will follow! :-)

Friday, March 09, 2007

ready for the weekend

Do you ever have that feeling, that heart, that DESIRE for something amazing to happen? Something BIG and wonderful and "sweep you off your feet"ish? I've been feeling that way for the last week or two. Things have been hard. Been sick (on antibiotics & allergy meds). Been trudging through work with what seems like a great weight on my shoulders.

I want MORE. More joy, more love, more peace. More security, more hope. . . and some rest.

Wednesday evening was a memorable night in my life. By 7:45 I had finished a final in an 8-week intensive Accounting course that I was taking for the MBA program I am working on. In case you have considered taking an 8-week intensive Accounting course, I have a recommendation: don't. This class passed the scale of "difficult" and moved into "survival of the fittest". I felt like a lawyer- or doctor-in-training. And that has passed. And I am happy.

This weekend I am rewarding myself: no schoolwork & a nap. Ah. . . life's simple pleasures.

Friday, March 02, 2007

3 days. 60 miles.

One of the things I have noticed about myself. I have grand plans that never quite come to fruition. I have "planned" for quite sometime to write a great story chronicling a recent endeavor I entered into in October. Well, that's not exactly right. I BEGAN the endeavor with a decision in March of '06 after being cleared by my doctor, started "walking" toward the goal in May and "finished the race" with my dear friend Jennifer October 27th - 29th. In fact, this whole thing is Jennifer's doing. . .she's the one who asked me to join in the fight.

The fight? Yes, the fight against breast cancer. The race to find a cure and give back to the community by raising funds for breast cancer awareness, education, research, and even funds to help with screening for those who can not afford it. Jennifer and I participated in the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day in Dallas-Fort Worth. We walked with 2700 others 60 miles over the course of 3 days. And boy, was it a trip! :-)
We enjoyed our fifteen minutes of fame when the picture to the right - taken by a 3-Day photographer- ended up on their website slide show. This is our "before" picture.

Many friends and family donated to the cause or helped support us by participating in our very own fundraiser (purchasing pink roses and flower arrangements that we had designed.) It was all quite a journey that I had hoped to spell out in great detail, but time keeps slipping away and it will be October of 2007 before I could get it all written down. So this little summary will have to suffice.

Walking 60 miles takes training. And even after training walks starting at 2 miles and working all the way up to 15 miles (in the 104 degree heat of Texas summers!), the walk was still a challenge. The greatest challenge was the chilling wind that hit us on our first day out. I developed "plantar fascitis" -- something I never had before. One of the athletic trainers taped me up on our lunch break and got me back to the walk. I was taped up again and again during the course of the 3 days. (Note the pic that Jennifer took saying we had to have proof of me standing in my favorite line. ha ha. very funny. Taping was my favorite past time. Slathering on the free goop for sore muscles was Jennifer's vice for the weekend.) Sports med people, doctors & chiropractors volunteered hours of time to keep our bodies going. Harley riders from every walk of life became our crossing guards and safety personnel. Bicyclists biked back and forth checking on the health of the participants. "Sweep" vans drove by honking all the way. Volunteers checked us in, served us supper, made us laugh or patted us on the back. And people cheered us on. When it felt like you couldn't take another step someone was there. Maybe a big group at a cheer station with banners and noisemakers and the whole nine yards. Or Jennifer's husband, Lance, who delivered hot lattes to us on Day 2 when we needed a caffeine rush to keep us going. Or maybe the single woman on Day 3 standing alone by her car, clapping and saying over and over again to the walkers as they passed, "Thank you for walking! Thank you for walking!" with her bald head being shaded by a hat and her t-shirt proclaiming, "CANCER SUCKS".

Here was one of our favorite volunteers, greeting us after Day 2, 40 miles:

Jennifer and I laughed and cried, got "stove up" (a phrase my sweet East-Texas farm friend taught me), had great conversation and stretches of quiet, waited in long lines for a hot shower and had late night talks in our tent that can NEVER be repeated.

One last note: if you ever want to go on a walk, I could be your walking buddy!

And here are two "after" shots: notice the puffy, tear stained faces as we walked the last half mile or so entering into the Fort Worth Stockyards amidst the cheers of hundreds and hundreds of people. Seeing husbands and children, people from the community and cancer survivors, (all complete strangers to me) coming out to show their support. Time and time again, I was reminded of the "great cloud of witnesses" who are watching us run this race of life and I was changed forever in a moment. The spiritual impact of such a physical event is hard to explain in words.
Here we are having walked through closing ceremonies. The journey was HARD, physically taxing our bodies and challenging us emotionally as well. But the pay off was sweet. In one weekend, we joined forces with men and women in our area to raise $6.1 million to help in the fight against breast cancer. The sore muscles and blisters are just a memory now. And Jennifer and I are contemplating doing it all again. ?!

So my not-so-grand entry is now complete. I'll check it off my list and move on to some other "grand" plan. (And try to share it with you in a more timely fashion next time!)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

friends doing great things

I have great friends. I recommend that everyone keep great friends. Old friends, new friends. . . time doesn't matter when you can consider the laughter or tears that have been shared. Please note: my friends do incredible things.

From my inbox today are two special notes: Alisa (who grew up in New Mexico, became most treasured of roommates in college, and currently hails from Mexico where she lives with some great man that I have never met.) Most days Alisa encourages us all to think and notice what beauty surrounds us. Today she encouraged our little email circle that there are opportunities to give to charities that support the politically oppressed. Want more details? Check out

And one other treasure that arrived in my inbox. A re- introduction to an old college friend named Max. He was beloved by my circle of girlfriends back in the day. Now he is husband, preacher, counselor, and up & coming filmmaker all from the great state of New York. Check out this recent short film if you have a stomach for scary movies. (You have been warned.)

That is all for this short entry of todays edition of "friends new and old who are wonderful". Promise to right more in March than I did in February!