Monday, December 21, 2015

Fundraising for Emily's Power for a Cure

Five years ago I became, the luckiest woman alive. I became, a mother of a healthy baby girl. Her name is Aven, and she changed my life forever.

Me and my baby girl...Aven

On one level, the change is obvious. My house resembles a daycare instead of a triathlete’s gear closet. There are toys on the floor where there used to be running shoes and allen wrenches. I used to need black out curtains to sleep and now I can sleep in a twin bed, with a 5 year old strangling/hugging me, and all the lights on.
Aven loves pink, is infatuated with alicorns (Unicorn + Pegasus – I had no clue what it was either until she taught me), wants to be an artist, and is the most precious little girl in my life.
I have been told stories of another little girl who was, I think, a lot like my Aven. Emily Ransom’s mother has told me Emily was fashionable and bright, particular and opinionated, and she was adored. She was the little sister of two older brothers, and she was known as the Pink Power Ranger Princess. In October of 2005, at the tender age of 2, she was diagnosed with stage IV Neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer of the sympathetic nervous system. She bravely completed 5 rounds of Chemotherapy, had 3 surgeries, 4 blood transfusions, and made 2 trips to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital where her stem cells were harvested. On February 20, 2006, during her 4th surgery, she won her battle with cancer and, as her family says, “went to swim in Heaven and dance with Jesus.” All of this in less than 5 months.
Every time I think of Emily, I think of Aven. Their mutual love of pink, their white blonde hair, and the love they give others. I am devastated when I think of Emily’s absence in their family and their home. I could not bear to lose my daughter. I don’t know how the Ransoms – or any family who loses a child – survive such a terrible loss.
But each year 600-700 children are diagnosed with Neuroblastoma; there are currently 9 children in Chattanooga who are fighting this disease. For high-risk patients, there is only a 30% survival rate, and that statistic has remained the same for 30 years.
Emily’s Power for a Cure is a foundation established by Emily’s family to raise awareness and raise funds to find a cure for Neuroblastoma, while supporting families and children who are currently in treatment for the disease.
I am dusting off the cob-webs from my tri gear and racing a half Ironman with other Power for a Cure members in Chattanooga, TN on May 22nd. I hope to raise $1,000 in memory of Emily Ransom and in honor of all of the other children who are fighting to live. I am getting my courage and determination from Emily and Aven.
“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond.”
Mr. Fred Rogers

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tour de Cure - Chattanooga: I'm gonna die!

Well. Well. Well.

I have thought of this a few times over the past couple months, but then quickly became ashamed that I have not FINISHED 1 thing on my "complete before I'm 40" list. So I avoided writing all together.

I thought well, maybe if I can try to squeak out 1 thing it might not look as much like a failure as I thought. That is the problem with putting things "out" there.

Although, I will accomplish 1 thing. I am $700 on the way to reaching my $1000 goal of raising money for a charity. On October 10th I am going to ride 100 miles for Tour de Cure - Chattanooga.

So I have gotten a bike, a formidable feat since I sold everything I had when we closed the bike shop we owned. And I have ridden a total of 22 miles! I am well on my way to training for 100 miles with a mountain climb.

OMG what have I gotten myself into????

I'm gonna die. Yup. Totally fall over on the mountain climb and pass the heck out. It is only 2200 feet of climbing...what am I crying about? EVERYTHING. I haven't ridden a bike more than 25 miles in 4 years!

Well. I am doing it. I raised the money. I have a bike. It is going to be an epic day - but I am going to get through this thing. 

...and for future reference, I am going to shut my big mouth and only attempt to write checks that my body and schedule can cash.

Monday, January 19, 2015

20 Things to do before I'm 3 months

1. Raise money for a cause
2. Zip line
3. Camp with kids
4. Take Aven horseback riding
5. Vacation at the beach
6. Get a six pack (not beer)
7. Learn to play the ukulele
8. Hike a 14er
9. SUP
10. Do 5 pull-ups
11. Learn to shoot a long bow
12. Catch up on baby books
13. Organize photos/videos
14. Learn to 2-step with turns
15. Learn to pole dance
16. Learn to sing
17. Cover up wrist and get lace tattoos
18. Climb 5.10 outside clean
19. Take a self-defense class
20. Learn 100 ALS signs

First thing on the list. CHECK! 40 here we come...

What? You are turning 40?!?

Friday, January 2, 2015

I Call Bullshit on 2014!

Whoa! That was crazy. Today is January 2nd and we are officially finished with the holidays. Thank God. This year was good. OK. It was fine..actually it totally sucked. 2014 was not my favorite.

Although the holidays were a little better, but I wish we were able to go on vacation to the beach over the holidays, I wish we had more time off, and I wish we had a little more sun. But you know what?

I don't mean to be Debbie Downer, but wishing for things to happen vs. making things happen has been my complete and utter downfall this year. Last year on NYE, we wrote our wishes for 2014 on a cute little piece of paper and put it in our NYE wish box. The same thing Andy and I have done for the last 4 years. Guess what happened? Nothing. The same bull-shit that happens every year. None of the wishes came true. They were all like, "I wish we have more money next year." "I wish we are all healthy next year." Bla bla bla. This year we didn't do any of our traditional traditions and it was great. We woke up Christmas morning to just the 4 of us. We didn't have any travel plans. We didn't do the big NYE feast and we didn't try to squeeze a hike in miserable cold weather with 2 little kids in tow. 

We just hung. I felt like a teenager. IT. WAS. AWESOME. Not having expectations for the holidays and just enjoying the little time I have off from work with my family was good.

There were some things we loved and I totally need to write down because they were too precious and I don't want to forget them. All of them centered around the kids. 

1. This is the first year Aven has been old enough to articulate and understand what Santa is and that she would like certain things for Christmas. One day she came running up to Andy and I (almost breathless) and said, "Can we put dolls sold separately on my list?" Andy and I were like "Sure..." To each other: "What the heck is dolls sold separately?" Then we were watching TV with her and saw this commercial...Oh Yeah!!! Each Sold Separately. #Cutebeyondwords

2. Santa left a note saying Aven's presents were wrapped in RED paper and Tristan's presents were wrapped in BLUE. One week later Aven told day care what Santa did. Looks like this tradition is going to stick.

3. We made Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve.

4. Tristan followed his big sister everywhere. He wanted to do everything she did. It was the sweetest thing to watch them together.

5. We took Aven to see Santa at Camp Jordan's Festival of Lights. Tristan was fascinated by all the blue lights. 

6. We had Aven's 4th birthday party...with friends. Tangled theme. She had a Tangled cake, Mother Gothel pinata (with frying pan), and floating lights. Come to find out the floating lights are illegal in Tennessee, so probably not doing that in the future. Darn, because they were SO COOL!

So for 2015, I am not doing wishes. I am not going to hope for good things for the future. I am gonna work my ass off.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Social Network Phenom - The Circle

Life is crazy - full of change and prediction.

Within that simple sentence everything rings true. Life. Our lives. Our essence. Our souls. The energy that emanates out of our skin and bones, that makes each and every person important and unique, is mind boggling crazy.

Life is ever changing, evolving, and growing. You are not the same person you were 10 years ago OR even 10 minutes ago. Thoughts that have come into your mind have created new opinions of things. the same time life is very predictive. We know tomorrow is Saturday and we are going to do whatever it is we usually do on Saturday; and the next day, and the next.

Recently, I had the opportunity to go to the juggernaut of marketing conferences. Dreamforce. This marketing and sales conference in San Francisco is put on by the company who created Salesforce. Salesfoce is a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool. Salesforce is headquartered out of San Francisco. Salesforce is a cloud based tool used to organize a company's sales leads and lead information. Dreamforce is BIG. I mean BIG. There were 130,000 people who signed up and attended this conference. I was able to sign up for sessions to learn more about social media, marketing, Pardot (Salesforces's marketing automation tool), and network. Here are some photos:

Branding. Branding. Branding. Oh yeah...that is Tony Robbins giving a keynote on the big screen in the background.

Some attendees playing ping-pong and bags on "campus"

Yeah...I got to hear Hillary Clinton speak. On the left is Marc Benioff CEO of Salesforce. On the far right is Klaus Schwab Chairman of the World Economic Forum...Freaking COOL!

Attendees were asked to bring can goods. The goal was to provide 1,000,000 meals to San Francisco needy people.
I also got to attend a Bruno Mars concert. I am not a fan, so thank gosh there was CAKE in the venue next door! YES! To say the least, it was a super wicked cool opportunity and great educational conference.

I was reading THIS the entire time.

Life was imitating art. I was thoroughly freaked out. In a nutshell, The Circle is about 1 company that manages ALL social media. 1 company. No more Facebook. No more Twitter. No more anything, ONLY The Circle. There was a "campus," people playing games on said campus, great influential speakers doting pearls of wisdom on the "Circlers," and the common goal to make the world "better." With most good plot lines there is a problem. The problem with The Cirlce is there is a monopoly and everyone thinks the growing reach of The Circle is great -- anyone who thinks differently, suspiciously gets their lives turned upside down (digitally speaking), and finds themselves in jail. 


I love my job. I love being in marketing. I love feeling like I am learning new things, new ideas, growing, and obtaining knowledge at every turn. Social media allows us to learn and be so close to people emotionally when they are so far away physically. OR does it? Do we use social media to merely obtain more friends/followers? Do we think we are actually learning things coming through our news-feed? 

This experience has not made me turn away from social media, but given me pause to evaluate why I use social media and the power I hold in the palm of my hand. My goal is to value life and all the change and invariably predictive annoying things that come with it. 

I don't know...maybe we should all be super freaked out by The Circle, current social media, and the losing battle between privacy and policing those who need to be watched. Maybe we should throw out our laptops, tablets, phones, and go live off the grid...but then again if you read The Circle we all know how Mercer ends up.