Do unto others….

karmaI had an epiphany this morning!  No doubt, it was already rumbling around in my head, but today, I was finally able to verbalize it.  It happened when my husband thanked me for taking care of him.  Can I tell you, that is one of my favorite things in the world to do.

Rich had surgery earlier this week to repair an umbilical hernia, the hernia wasn’t new, it’s been hanging around for years, but he finally decided it was time to repair it.  That had a lot to do with the amount of weight he has lost in the last year, the hernia no longer had the padding around it and was becoming uncomfortable.  This surgery is done all over the country on a daily basis, but that didn’t stop me from worrying. In fact, I have come to the conclusion that I am a world class worrier.  While this surgery was minor by most standards, it was huge to me.  This man is my world.

Now I don’t mean that in the sense that I don’t have an identity without him, it’s just that we have intertwined our lives so completely that without him and our offroad career, I have no home, no job, no family (no offense to my kids), no friends.  I know I can make more, but this is the lifestyle we have chosen together and I love that.  Several times this year, we have talked about retiring, it always comes back to….but, I love our family!

So back to my epiphany, when you are young and in a relationship, oftentimes you are keeping score, who does what for whom.  If I do the dishes, he should do the laundry, if I put the kids to bed, he should do …, there is always a score.  What a mistake that is!

As Rich thanked me this morning, I realized that I get as much pleasure out of taking care of him as he does.  I look for ways to do things for him, which focuses me on looking for ways to do things for others too.  This is the take away, if you are working for others, you don’t have time or energy to be jealous or disappointed when someone doesn’t do something for you.  How much more positive is life like this!


Day -210 – Social Marketing 101

outloud quoteMy life has become one that is lived online…how weird is that.  For years, I would have been described as an introvert, after all, I am an accountant, a career not really known for its’ extroverts.  Then a big thing happened, I joined the Jaycees around my 28th birthday, as shy and retiring as I may have been then, things changed rapidly.  I still enjoyed being by myself, but, I learned how to get along in a group.  Then another Big thing happened, I met my husband, this was almost 20 years later, but Big Rich – the ultimate extrovert, joined my life.  If ever I was going to shatter my shell, this was the time.

My husband is a big goofball, he laughs easily and finds humor in the silliest of things.  He’s also an intellectual and is a very quick wit, not much escapes his notice.  And because his personality is so big, he lives our life out loud.  Facebook is an important part of our world.  It helps us to keep in touch, to share what we see, heck, I even publish my blog on it.  I’m not sure how we got along without it.

Yesterday I created a couple of “groups” on Facebook, it’s an important thing to do, a place to share information with people that have a common interest with you.  Everyone doesn’t have to be friends, so you eliminate the need for that.  Of course, Facebook doesn’t make it easy – you only get to add 50 people in the beginning and they don’t give you a list of friends, you have to try to remember all their names.  If I slighted anyone, believe me, it was unintentional.  I was down to typing “a” “b” and seeing what names it suggested.

And then there is that weird element that gets factored in….I specifically named it WE Rock “Competitors” and Dirt Riot “Competitors” – so why would people who aren’t “competitors” want to join?  I’m still trying to figure that little piece out.

One of the things I appreciate most about living life online, I get to keep up with everyone else too.  I’ve done the smart thing and eliminated the whiners off my newsfeed.  All that are left are those I care about.  It keeps us in touch when something big happens, and amazingly, there is always something.  So, for you Facebook stalkers who never post anything, please know that the rest of us are interested in you too.  Go ahead, take a chance and life your life out loud, with no apologies


…and don’t forget my friend Joel Moranton…these are his photos

Day -98 – eHarmony Success Story

eharmonyWe just celebrated our one year wedding anniversary, as part of that, I tagged eharmony on our Facebook post.  They responded with, “tell us your story.”  So here is what I sent them.  There are many more pieces, but this is the big picture.

“I want to share our story, not because it is unique in how we found each other…eHarmony is doing that everyday…but we are unique in what we have done with our lives since.

Rich and I were matched on 12/20/08.  I had been divorced after 25 years of marriage, Rich had recently become a widower after an equal 25 years of marriage.  We figured we started our relationship with 50 years experience, so we knew what we wanted and more importantly what we didn’t want.

We began slowly, just as is suggested, it took us almost three months to finally meet, there were 600 miles between us, so planning was required.  I was skeptical about being in a relationship and at the end of our first weekend together, I told him “Don’t do it. Don’t fall in love with me. I am trouble.”  That was how I was feeling, I hadn’t done anything but hurt everyone in my way for awhile now.  We continued talking and about three weeks later he sent me a text that said “ I think I am in serious like with you.”  That was it for me, I was hooked.

In July 2010, we got engaged, by then Rich had moved to Idaho and we were helping to raise his infant grandson, this would be a temporary situation, but at the time, we just weren’t sure where it was going.  My friends suggested I didn’t have to do that, my kids were raised, I didn’t have to take on a newborn.  I told them, “I love Rich, if he comes with a child, I will take him too, this is the right thing for us to do.”  And it was.

Not long after, we had four adult girls (daughters and friends) and an infant living with us, that was a challenging year, but we survived it with humor.  Everyone kept asking when we were getting married, I told them, the day after the end of the world.  Not that I believed the world was ending, but because the Mayan calendar was in the news and it was an easy response.

About December 12, 2012, Rich reminded me that the end of the world was next week, was I ready to be married?  I asked for the opportunity to sleep on it.  By this time, our lives were so intertwined, there wouldn’t be much change in our living arrangements, but the paperwork had scared me a little.  The next morning, I told him I had a plan.  We called our favorite local sports bar owner, arranged an End of the World party after they closed on the 21st; called a friend to have him arrange to be ordained; and sent messages to our friends that we were having an End of the World as we Know it Party.  Only one couple caught on.  At midnight, we quieted the room, told them since no zombies were knocking at the door, we were going to go ahead and get married.  It was incredible, a great party, a fun time, the looks on my friends faces was priceless.  We had pulled off a surprise wedding. (Check out Day 287 for the wedding.) 

We just celebrated our 5 year anniversary from being matched and our 1 year wedding anniversary.  So that is the “romantic” stuff, the stuff your commercials are made of, everyone dreams of finding the one, but we really did.  Distance was overcome, baggage was thrown out, we truly are the happiest couple I know.

This is the rest of the story….

My husband is an off-road event promoter, for the ten years before we met, he put on 6 to 10 events a year, all over the country.  He has friends all over the world and is an icon in his industry.  I didn’t know anyone, a complete outsider, offroad was not my passion.  My passion is business, no matter what the form.  I had a stable, secure job as the Chief Financial Officer for a 40+ million dollar company.  I loved my career, but I was changing my lifestyle after my youngest child graduated from high school, with or without a partner.  I wanted adventure and travel.

As we got to know each other, we started to play to each other’s strengths, he let me take over duties in his company that were administratively oriented, he remained the people person and the visionary.  In 2011, we expanded his business with an upstart racing organization, so in addition to the extreme rock crawling, we were now racing.  Our test market played so well, we expanded the company to include racing all over the country and go full time in 2012.  I retired from my job, we rented the 3000 sq foot house out, and moved in to a 280 sq foot RV – well kind of.  We refer to our RV as a poor man’s NASCAR hauler, it is a converted semi-truck that we use as our office and our home.  We travel fulltime, if we aren’t at one of our own events, we are at another offroad event.  The business has taken off, we have followers, we have fans, we have friends and we have family, nationwide.  We bring a family atmosphere to an intense competition, we play hard, we work hard, we are a partnership. 

2014 is adding some new things to our field of play, in addition to the offroad events with vehicles, we are adding a running series.  We are also working with an emmy-nominated film editor to produce a made-for-tv competition series that is being pitched to major networks.  Our life is about fun and travel, love and friendship.  I truly found my life’s partner and am blessed every day with an incredible life.  Everyone should have it as great as we do.”

Check out our lives:  

Day -54 – Thankfulness

thankfulMy life is so full of good things, I can barely contain my joy sometimes.  My blessings are numerous…I have good health, a great man, incredible children, fabulous friends, an abundance of everything.  Truly Life, liberty and happiness are mine.

Each Thanksgiving I look around and Thank God for everything in my life.  I am a bit of a Pollyanna, maybe I’ve mentioned that before; I just don’t see any point in dwelling on the negatives – at least in my writing.  I have bad days like the rest of you, but there is something about grabbing my keyboard that makes me think positive thoughts.

For years, I have sent a half dozen emails on Thanksgiving morning, they begin with “I am thankful for you…” and then I say why.  This is something I send to my children and my husband, and generally one or two others who really have an impact on my life at the moment.  Folks that I just can’t seem to get by without.  Right now that would require a couple of dozen emails, so I’m going to post it here.  If it applies to you, you will recognize yourself, even if we’ve never met…

“I am thankful for you.  On this Thanksgiving, I look at all the things that matter to me and realize that you are one of them.  I am proud of your   resourcefulness, your talent, your willingness to share with others.  I am proud of your infectious smile and your laughter and the way you bring out the best in me.  I am proud of your willingness to work hard, no matter what the task, day in and day out.

Thank you for being someone who matters, for taking the time to look out for others, for listening to my silly ideas and for appreciating me.  It is because of  you that I am who I am and I couldn’t be prouder at this moment to call you my friend.  Thanks for being you.”

Do you know someone you should send this note to?

Day 35 – Grandkids

kidsWe are so fortunate that we have the family that we do. We drove out of Anchorage today down to the city of Kenai to be greeted by two of the sweetest little faces.  We have a total of three grandchildren, two in Alaska and one in Idaho.  I wouldn’t trade a single one.  I am fortunate enough to have been married in to their lives, the two in Alaska, when I married Rich; I got Jacob when Kayla got married.  I am so lucky.

Payten is just over a year old; she is crawling and kind of walking; her favorite toy is her purple turtle.  She is super sweet, her facial expressions are the best.  Whenever Grandpa asks her for a kiss, she wrinkles up her nose and says “nooooo”, but she says it so dang cute, with a little New Jersey twang.  Grandpa just laughs. It took her a minute to warm up to us, but now she crawls all over us.

Austin is 3 ½; we have known him well since he was born.  Austin came to live with us when he was about six weeks old.  For the first few months he moved back and forth between our son’s house and ours.  When he was six months old, he moved in to our house with his mom for the next nine months.  We got to know him well.  As we sat at dinner that first night, he looked over and said “I love you Grandma.”  I love that kid, he is so dang sweet.

I think the most generous thing anyone can do is open up their home to you.  We’ve been staying with Rich and Brittany for the week, interrupting their routine, throwing off the kids’ schedule, we’ve got our own room, but anytime you have family in your house, I know it’s not easy.  Of course, this gives us great access to the grandkids, and that is why we are here, to get to know them, to make sure they know us.

I love our family, those that I’m currently with and all the others.  But for this week, I’m going to love on those babies and enjoy every one of those hugs and kisses I can coax out of them this week.