Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Warrior Princess I Know.......

Hey everyone.

Tonight, I feel a need to share with you the story of my friend and her family.  When Coach and I lived in Illinois we were very blessed to make friends with loads of wonderful people and characters.  There was a wonderful woman that I instantly became drawn to.  She became a beacon of kindness in a strange, new place for me. She was bright, vibrant, outgoing, warm, compassionate and had beautiful daughters!!  She is the mighty Kimberly.

We all ended up moving within almost of year of each other.  She and her daughters trekked further West than Coach and I and ended up in a beautiful State with beautiful lives.  Coach and I ended up in Arizona and are learning to find the beauty in the stark contrasts of each season.

Prior to our move in 2012, we learned that Kimberly's oldest daughter, Ashley, was diagnosed with Pre-B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. What began as a nosebleed, that wouldn't stop, became an uphill fight that she has endured with wit and grace.

The Beautiful Ashley

At the time of diagnosis, Ashley was enrolled in college and had to withdraw so that she could get her game face on and get busy kicking leukemia's trash!!  She has been battling for more than a year now.  She has remained steadfast and taken this cancer by storm. 

I can't say enough good things about this family.  They are strong, they are centered, they are each other's biggest cheerleaders and they embraced my family when we were so new to the world of college coaching- even though there was no reason to do so: other than they are good people.

Digging out of our own hole, with A LOT of help from our friends, has taught me the value of community and reaching out.  So tonight, that's what I'm doing.  Coach and I are still not in the best of positions to give gobs of money, but we're helping as best we can, and that is the point.  If you can, please help.  If you're not in a position to give financially, please consider adding Ashley & her family to your prayers.  Every whispered plea, on their behalf, will do much to lift and sustain them through.

I am confident that much good can com from all of us pulling together and doing what we can to make this world a better place; we can start by embracing the fighters.  Ashley's mother introduced me to the title of Warrior Princess and it's one that I wear with pride; knowing full well that Ashley wears it with much strength.  She is my hero.

Details about Ashley and her family can be found here:

A.L.L. in for Ashley

Keep up the FIGHT Ashley!! I love you & your fabulous family!!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

There is Always Hope.

I'm dedicating this post to Boston.

I can say without a doubt, that millions of people awoke yesterday without even an inkling of what was about to unfold in their day.  I know that I did.

I had spent the weekend surprising a handful of people in Illinois, to thank them for giving me something to hope for.  They pulled me out of the dumps with pictures and cards, with donations and shout outs- essentially the were a part of a mass that helped in lifting me up when I couldn't lift myself.

The faces were priceless.  The reactions even more amazing.  It was all that I hoped it would be and still I missed getting to see many of those that were my cheerleaders from afar.  For them, I'm terribly sorry.  I did all that my body would allow and still, there weren't enough hours in the day.

I was able to bring the kiddos in this area a touch of AZ, with suckers that had scorpions inside of them.  While most preferred the ones filled with bubble-gum, others took the challenge and ate those darn scorpions right in front of me.  Whoa!!

The brown tid-bit in his left hand is part of the scorpion's body hanging out and yes, he did POP that thing in his mouth and chew away.  What a guy!!  It was a great trip and I left for the airport Monday morning feeling charged and ready to go (although my body wanted to lay down and die on the sidewalk- poor thing, I hope it catches up with my brain soon!).

Coach and I drove to St. Louis with a sense of peace and happiness.  We listened to a CD all the way back to Lambert airport and while sitting and waiting for the plane to arrive, we watched "The Justin Timberlake Experience" on CNN.  There was no talk of Boston, there was not discussion of the marathon that was taking place, it was just another day at the airport.

Coach's dad was the first one to mention it on the way back home after he had picked us up.  I listened and wondered what in the world would possess an individual to destroy someone else's happiness like that?  The ultimate victim being an 8 year old.  What kind of coward does something like that?  What kind of darkness has to totally engulf an individual to twist their mind into thinking that's a wonderful idea that will create change?  That's what it is, darkness.

Thankfully, there cannot be darkness without light.  It's just not possible.  Everything has an opposite that exudes hope and so last night I found one that spoke to me:

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook and I couldn't agree more with the sentiment.  Already this morning there are pictures posted of soldiers in Afghanistan running their own 5K in honor of the Boston Marathon victims.  There is a movement for anyone who has ever run in any sort of a contest to wear their shirts, or if they've never run then to wear something yellow.

When I was going through my bout of darkness, there was always light- I just had to look for it.

So today, I'm encouraging the same.  Look for the helpers.  Look for the light.  Find the phoenix of hope that always rises out of these devastating moments.  I'm off to change into my bright yellow running t-shirt from a 5K that I ran in 2 Summers ago and hopefully give off some elements of hope on a day that could otherwise be filled with darkness.

Choose to be the light. ~ Kami