Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Must Read: Second Acts That Change Lives: Making a Difference in the World (Paperback)


This is Mary Beth. A person I call a friend wrote a book that I believe this is a must read. Second Acts That Change Lives: Making a Difference in the World (Paperback). Of course, being one of the subjects of the book...well, that doesn't hurt either.

Mary Beth Sammons (Mary Beth as we know her) gets it. She understands that while you focus on things at home or personal items that you also need to give back to others. Why? Because you can - no other reason.

Mary Beth Sammons is an award-winning journalist, book author and women’s issues columnist whose work appears frequently in Family Circle, the Chicago Tribune’s lifestyle section and in leading consumer women’s magazines. She writes a daily blog – “We Carry Each Other) for RevolutionHealth.com’s (www.CarePages.com), which is the leading consumer health site specifically designed with the Family's Chief Medical Officer — women and other caregivers — in mind. Mary Beth is editorial vice-president for CarePages. Mary Beth specializes in stories that inspire ordinary people to do extraordinary things from a place deep in their hearts. She has written six books in the women’s self-help and mind/body/health field including co-author of “We Carry Each Other: Getting Through Life’s Toughest Times;“ “My Family: Collected Memories,” "Gifts With Heart," a collection of pay-it-forward stories from the publishers of "Random Acts of Kindness" and "InSPAration: A Teen's Guide to Healthy Living Inspired by The Nation's Top Spas." She has received several industry awards, including first place from United Press International for best spot news coverage, a PR Silver Anvil Award and an undergraduate scholarship from The William Randolph Hearst Foundation. Mary Beth knows how to engage a subject and how to extract and weave together the fine details that differentiate a pedestrian story from a powerful story.Mary Beth lives in Chicago’s suburbs with her three teen-age children. After-hours her new passion is competing in triathlons.

The funny thing is that I never really understood why I did Ironman or other endurance events until just recently. (Ironically, while I have been getting fat and recovering from one of those nagging injuries.) I do all this because I can. Because no matter how tired I am, I wake up before my alarm clock to go workout at 4:15 AM each day. I know that many of this blog's readers are the same. You wake up at 3:48 AM and cannot fall asleep even though you are dog ass tired and sore. A typical morning for me:
25 minutes before I go workout.
20 minutes before I go workout.
15 minutes - Do I need to pee?
10 minutes - I'm hungry.
5 minutes...Aw, screw it. I'm getting up!

Exercise is part of who I am. It does not define me, but it is part of me. I an an ordinary person doing extraordinary things. Think about that...we all are doing (or are capable) of doing extraordinary things. Do you use the gift? Do you affect others positively? For free? How about with no possible way of getting repaid? How are you helping others or are you just sucking in energy and money for your own bad self? It was Vince Lombardi, a very religious man beside being a famous football coach, who once said in an interview that "...you haven't done anything unless you do something for someone, a stranger, with no expectations of being repaid or rewarded." That's quite a statement isn't it? Brings up an interesting philosophical discussion regarding getting paid for working 40+ hours too. Would you do your job for free? If not, why are you still there?

For me exercise is a way I can help others as well as myself. The out-going person in me gains energy from being around people and doing exercise. (The exact opposite of my spouse...but that just makes the relaxing with her all that much better; because I don't really know how to "relax" and Lor does. Lorrie gains energy from solitude. Lately, I've become a bit too good at relaxing and my ab (singular) shows it.) Well, that's not entirely true. I have three abs. Five if you count "love handles" as two. Nearly a six pack!

One of my goals for 2009 is to try to qualify for USAT Olympic Distance Nationals. Now, many of you will say, "Too low of a goal. It's easy to just get there." I retort that I am in poor shape and have a lot of work to do. I have a plan. I didn't get to my current weight and fitness overnight and nothing will pull me back down quickly either. I'm fine* with that. (*Fine = freaked out, insecure, neurotic and emotional)

Another set of goals is to profoundly shape my clients lives with new levels of pain and achievement in their races or business ventures, lead another ALS spin a thon while trying to help John not lose his mind and to race/ride for those who cannot for themselves - I would like to do the October CAF ride from San Francisco to San Diego but need to raise $10,000 for the entry fee (plus my expenses). The funny thing about being injured this long is that I confirmed that helping someone who cannot "compete" or help themselves is the ultimate reward for me. Achieving a certain time won't do it. Qualifying for any particular race won't do it. Putting new carbon fiber legs on someone who doesn't have them or trying to add a new phrase to the dictionary (a la "ALS treatment" or "ALS Survivor") are things worth fighting for and all the BS we put up with. Like the athletes in Kona asking Jon Blais if he was racing the 2006 Ironman - when he was stuck in a wheelchair and unable to care for his most basic needs. Like having people back out of doing a spin a thon in a location like Boulder, CO after money was spent, pros contacted and locations secured. All the "athletes that care" in Boulder have gotten very quite when we truly need help. They don't matter.

Acts that change lives do.

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