Marriage Adventures

Bucket List Adventures By Family Unit Marriage

99 Bottles of Beer (or Wine) on the Wall


What’s almost better than drinking beer? Ask my husband and he’ll tell you it’s making beer! When I watch him brew beer he’s like a kid in a candy store, he gets all his pots and pans, funnels and equipment out and soon the kitchen looks like one gigantic science experiment but it’s cute to watch him work away on something he enjoys so much!

This year I asked him to expand on his skill set and try making wine! Much to my pleasure he is getting almost as big of kick out of trying different wines as he does with his beer. In just a couple months he has done one batch of beer and 4 batches of wine! I am starting to think we might have a new retirement plan going on here!


Plagued with a profound lack of space in our new no basement home, he got creative and improvised making my nice big pantry style closet in my laundry room the perfect storage spot for the carboys and buckets of wine. It is our new wine cellar of sorts!

Wine needs to stay at a constant temperature of 72 degrees while it is fermenting and I knew I was in trouble when one day I walked in to the laundry room with a basket full of clothes and was greeted with a toasty warm room complete with a heater! The room was exactly 72 degrees and I could see the wine “percolating” or whatever it is that it does in my pantry! While I may not have as much room in my laundry room anymore I do know we will have fun when friends come over to visit and we can share the fruits of our labor!


I got to help with the bottling phase and was pretty impressed when I realized not only does this stuff taste great but each batch gave us 27-30 freshly minted bottles of wine to share with friends and family or savor in our own backyard by the fire pit this summer! When Dan partnered his wine and beer making efforts with his BBQ smoking skills I knew we were going to have a busy summer of guests! All I know is I am looking forward to sampling some of these wines in the near future and relishing his pork brisket wrapped in bacon!!


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Styx and Stones

Styx and Stones
I think one of the absolutely coolest things to do is attend a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado. It simply has to be on everyone’s bucket list as an experience that can’t be matched at any other concert venue in the world!

A couple summers ago we kicked off summer with a bang by attending the 70-80-s rock band tri-fecta at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Ted Nugent reminded us what free speech and guitar playing are for by opening the concert with classics like “Cat Scratch Fever.”

A bit later, REO Speedwagon took us back to our glory days with “Heard it From a Friend” and their classic song written about hiking in the Rocky Mountains with “Ridin the Storm Out”. As the stars started to fill the Colorado night sky we heard them serenade us to “Take it On the Run” and the rock ballad “Keep On Loving You”

Styx then brought the starry night home with “Come Sail Away” “Renegade” “Too Much Time On My Hands” and “Babe”!

High School in the 70’s- 80’s in the Midwest was a special time of innocence and bands like REO Spreedwagon, Styx, Rush, ADCD and legends like Bob Segar and Jackson Browne made a lasting imprint on my soul. It was a time of discovery, of lasting friendships and it helped shape me into the person I am today.

As I sat that night in early May surrounded by the towering Red Rocks that naturally made one of Gods’ most beautiful Amphitheatres, and watched rock legends take me back in time, I was flooded with memories of a simpler time.

Music can make such a difference in our lives and while Tommy Shaw and others serenaded me I suddenly found myself appreciating my youth and the dear friends I shared my life with during those early years.

Modern singers like Eric Church say it best in his current hit “Springsteen” in the lyrics:

When I think about you
I think about 17
I think about my old Jeep
I think about the stars in the sky

Funny how a melody sounds like a memory
Like a sound track to a July Saturday night “Springsteen”

Everyone should make sure they get to see a rock legend performing under the stars at Red Rocks in the Rocky Mountains.

So my friend what’s next on your list?

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BREAKING NEWS! Join us on the first ever Couples Adventure Empower Your Marriage Moab, Utah

BREAKING NEWS! Join us on the first ever Couples Adventure Empower Your Marriage Moab, Utah
The guys have been really feeling left out of all the fun so this time we have created an epic adventure and we are inviting our better halves! It’s called Empower Your Marriage Couples Adventure trip to Moab, Utah October 9-12, 2015 and this is a groundbreaking and exciting trip that you and your spouse do not want to miss! (Meet Friday afternoon in Moab, Utah, have adventures Saturday and Sunday and head home Monday October 12)

This adventure is for couples, comrades on the adventure of life but instead of mowing the lawn, running the kids here and there; this weekend it’s all about just the two of you and why you are together in the first place!


Picture This!
Close your eyes and picture this! It’s midmorning, the sky is bright and sunny with not a cloud in the sky and yet you are about to make a surprise entrance intro a crowd of unsuspecting people in a way worthy of the introduction scene to a Mission Impossible movie! Imagine the feeling of rappelling off a 120-foot sheer rock down into a crowd of unsuspecting onlookers taking the easy way on a hike from the parking lot. As the crowd looks up with amazement suddenly a badass team of comrade’s rappel in, showing the rest of the world it’s a hell of a lot of fun to the take the unconventional route!


Get out of your comfort zone as a couple
Now, imagine that priceless feeling you only get when you have just really pushed yourself outside the normal limits of life and done something so amazing, exciting, daring and bold that even your mother would be impressed? On second thought, maybe you shouldn’t tell your mom! That’s the kind of feeling the girls who put these weekends together love!

Our goal is to arrange the most adventure packed, wild west weekend that you have ever had and while we do that we are going to see new places, do new things and tap into our inner wild child just because most of us have long lost touch with that part of ourselves. Can you see the look of astonishment on the faces around you as you nonchalantly smile to the amazed strangers and give them that “ya, we just did that kind of satisfied rock rappeller look?”

Spots are Limited
The Empower Your Marriage Adventure spots are very limited and fill up very quickly so if you have made the New Year resolution to kick it up a notch in your relationship this is the opportunity of a lifetime and just what you have been waiting for.

Empower Your Adventure founders Jackie ( and sister Vicki (IronGirl) have partnered with the worlds best and hunkiest guides at Front Range Climbing Co to offer this once in life time opportunity. The adventure will begin Friday afternoon October 9 where we will meet in Moab, Utah and continue through Monday October 12. We will backcountry camp in the stunning Moab, Utah desert under the brightest starry nights you can imagine. We are going to Moab for a power packed weekend of badasery big time, full of rappelling off Moab’s spectacular 120 foot arches, rock climbing the stunning bluffs, hiking, camping, bonding, while we recharge our batteries and make new life long friendships! Nightly campfire chats have proven to be one of the many highlights.


Our Guides are the BEST!
Our guides at Front Range Climbing Co will take care of everything from, providing camp meals, permits, and finding the best adventures possible. We will be with professional guides every step of the way and they will provide all the climbing gear, ropes, and instruction that we need to make sure everyone on this adventure can participate in creating life long memories.

Front Range Climbing Co will customize the trip to our exact needs and offer us adventures that everyone can participate in. You need no special knowledge or prior climbing experience to participate. On our own custom Tough scale this adventure would come in at rating of a 6-7 so you have plenty of time to dust off your old hiking boots and get your spring zig back into your zag!

The Empower Your Marriage Moab, Utah Rock Climbing and Rappelling Adventure 2015 is offered at the staggeringly great deal of $485 if you register and pay in full by May 31. You will need to provide your own basic backcountry gear such as a backpack, sleeping bag, small 2 man tent, hiking boots and comfortable outdoor clothing. That’s it! We make it really easy!

All you have to do is say “HELL Yeah and click the link below today to register!”

Click Here to REGISTER Today What are you waiting for!!!!!!


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Don’t Hold the Garlic My Dear

Good Friends Good Friends[/caption]

Fun on the River!

Fun on the River!

I use my bucketlist as an ongoing outline for things I just must do at some point in my life. People ask me all the time “What’s next on your list?” and thankfully, I never run out of crazy things that I want to do, especially because as I do one bucketlist item I usually discover another two that I want to do hat I never even knew existed! This keeps it simple and fun and I never run out of ideas!

Booking our adventures for our recent vacation, my friend Mike learned about a river float called Garlic Mike’s that came highly recommended by our outfitter Three Rivers. Intrigued, Mike asked more questions immediately. Upon learning it was a recreational river float down the Gunnison River led by a guide who does all the work, ending at Garlic Mike’s Restaurant for excellent Italian Fine Dining on the river, my friend Mike did the only intelligent thing. He signed us up! A new bucketlist adventure was born!

The day of the float we showed up at 3:15 pm and Three Rivers Outfitters followed us the 15 miles down the road to Garlic Mike’s where we left our vehicle and clean dry clothes. They shuttled us back to the Outfitter base where we met up with our EMT, college boy, river guide friend Nick and loaded our cooler of beverages into the all-familiar blue river raft.

This time however, Nick did all the work, we enjoyed the river scenery and good company and sipped on beverages for the next two and a half hours while we floated to Garlic Mikes Restaurant in grand style!

Nick made it look exceptionally easy as he smoothly worked the two extra long oars and smoothly spun river tales and maneuvered us downstream.

When he offered to let me give it a try after hearing about my passion for new adventures I jumped at the chance.

Assuming my post on the center bench I grabbed the oars and pulled, expecting a familiar tug based upon my experience a few days before white water rafting and stand up paddle boarding.

I was as surprised as everyone on the boat when a loud grunt escaped my mouth in a very unladylike fashion.

The two oars had barely moved. Both shoulders screamed in protest. We went nowhere fast.

Looking back over my shoulder at a grinning “Nick The River Guide”, he replied, “It’s hard isn’t it?”

“No kidding!” I came back at him.

“This is soooooo hard!” I complained as I pulled with all my might and maybe moved us an inch or two in the right direction.

Humbled by my 3 minute go as a river guide I let that career idea float away and readily returned the long oars to my able bodied friend Nick and conceded I was not ready for prime time yet!

Finally at Garlic Mike’s we settled in for a delicious meal and good company perusing the menu for our favorite Italian fare.

I realize Italians love garlic and the place was called Garlic Mike’s, but I was still surprised when Robin pointed out her favorite menu item had two asterisks beside it noting it had extra garlic in the ingredients.

After a little bit of marital maneuvering and skillful negotiating, dear friends Robin and Mike came to an agreement. Neither would hold the garlic and they’d just hope they cancelled each other out if the aftershocks were too overwhelming!

I chuckled but realized I was in the presence of true love and had just witnessed the skilled and careful marital maneuvering of a veteran couple.

I got to experience an unexpected adventure that I didn’t even have on my list or know existed, celebrated with friends, realized I couldn’t cut it as a river guide, even in my dreams, and watched as two friends loved each other enough to not hold the garlic!!

I think these two will make it to 50 years!

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?”

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Butterflies and Horse Shit

Butterflies and Horse Shit

Butterflies are delicate, beautiful creatures that effortlessly seem to float in the air dancing from wildflower to wildflower.

They seem perfect, dancing only in the wind with each other like the new found love between lovers.

Newlywed love is like this, it gathers attention where it goes, it wraps the lovers in a cloak of intimacy and makes the world seem shiny, new and beautiful.

Last week as we vacationed with great friends and celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in the Rocky Mountains we embarked on a hike to a waterfall and mountain stream. My love for wildflowers was indulged as I found myself on the trail winding slowly higher and lined with Columbines, Primrose and Chickweed. The farther from the road we ventured the more butterflies seemed to dance around us around each new bend.

The combination of fresh mountain air, tall Ponderosa Pines tickling my senses, majestic peaks, charming birds and flirty butterflies brought out my romantic side. The perfumed mountain valley lined with wildflowers was intoxicating. Caught up in the moment it was easy to feel the love of great friends, and a charming husband, in fact, it was perfect and felt like a scene in a movie “The Sound of Music” that is until I stepped in a big pile of horse shit unceremoniously dumped in the middle of the trail. Black flies hungrily circling like miniature vultures. I found the irony along the trail amusing to say the least!

“What the heck?” I thought as I jumped off the trail into the tall grass.

“Where did all this come from?” I questioned my friends. “How can this perfect scene be marred by something so stinky and smelly?”

That’s when it hit me – what a metaphor for married life! Life isn’t perfect – it can be beautiful one minute and then messy, stinky and even smelly the next!

Hopefully you’ll be blessed to fall in love and share your life with your best friend but take this advice, sometimes your path life will be smooth and breathtakingly, almost painfully beautiful, and sometimes, usually when you least expect it, life is nothing more than a pile of poo!

Surviving it together and still liking each other at the end of the day takes patience, courage and a good sense of humor, just remember to laugh along the way, stop and smell the flowers and watch where you are stepping!

Celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary was a great bucketlist adventure!

So my friends, I ask you “what’s next on your list?”

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Take the Plunge

If you are going to do it, then take the plunge and really do it-don’t hold anything back. “Go big or go home” as the saying goes.

This applies to almost every aspect of life, and it is much harder than it sounds, but it is worth repeating every now and then. Don’t do something halfway and then wonder why it didn’t work out. It doesn’t matter what the “It” is.

In the past 6 weeks life has left us with our heads spinning, but we have done some radical stuff around our house. We agreed to sell our house, sorted, purged, sold stuff, gave away stuff and then we boxed and moved/stored 25 years worth of family treasures. We dealt with the Colorado fires (which hit very close to home) and then I resigned my job so I could work full-time with my husband at our business. That’s an awful lot for just a few weeks, and we were appropriately exhausted!

I wrapped up my job, and then we headed on a week long vacation in Crested Butte with dear friends to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversaries. I have never needed a vacation as badly in my life!

I am now several days into my rejuvenating week long vacation, and I feel like a new woman! I am rested, relaxed, decompressed and properly chilled out! Even better, I have had the time to live out several bucketlist adventures!

The first adventure on the list for the week was to go white water rafting on the Taylor River in Colorado. We chose Three Rivers Outfitters to put our trust in and were very well taken care of and entertained!

When you white water raft in Colorado on a Class III, very technical river, you get assigned to a river guide, fitted with a dry suit (that was not very dry) equipped with a snug life vest, and then properly prepped with the “Safety Speech” where they terrify you with explicit details how to position yourself if you fall out of the boat, and how to rescue another rafter if they have the misfortune to fall out! Then you board the inflatable raft and go for it!

Our guide was a very friendly young man named Nick, who was a recent college grad, EMT, river guide and certified avalanche rescuer. I liked the fact hat we was so multi-talented and ready for any disaster-besides that he was fun!

Nick coached us how to paddle our oars together, taught us our commands: left 3, all 1, all back 3, right 2 and all 1, until the four of us fell into a rhythmic synchronized dance that would have impressed any Olympic team!

I guess 35 years of friendship and 25 years of marriage teaches you to work together well as a team! Anyway, Nick was impressed, and we proved to be an apt team of middle-aged rafters!

One of the biggest tricks to staying in the boat, I soon learned, was to wedge your toes under the seat in front of you as much as possible, so that if the raft took an unexpected jolt you could counterbalance yourself. I was terrified to get tossed from the boat and end up floating like an inflated blueberry Umpa Loompa (note the dry suit) so I wedged my toes in until I damn near hit my kneecaps! The first set of rapids tested my skill and I quickly learned to adjust to the unexpected and powerful flow of the river.

At this point, we rocked and rolled our way down the river with Nick at the helm, and the four of us providing the muscle power. It felt good to work together, and I learned we were good at anticipating each others’ moves, and we quickly learned to appreciate the combined power of our joined efforts.

White water rafting is all about learning to read the river anticipate its obstacles and go with the flow!

I quickly learned you couldn’t fight the power of the river. Instead, you have to learn to work with it. One person can’t row and guide the boat- it takes a team working together.

The huge rocks in the river were fascinating and intimidating also. We learned to read the river, from its smiley faces to its frowns. Smiles are good; frowns are bad; I liked the simplicity of that message.

Nick would direct us where to put our power in carefully coordinated and clear directions so that the raft worked with the river, not against it.

The rocks would divide the river forcing the rushing, frigid, snow runoff water to go around it, thus creating hazards, obstacles and dangerous pockets.

I was struck by the symbolism of this lesson. A river is much more powerful it its energy is not diverted, but instead channeled in one clear direction. It makes navigating much easier and your results are more powerful. The odds are much better you won’t crash and burn or end up going where you don’t want to go.

As I rafted down this gorgeous river I realized the potential strength in our recent decision to join professional efforts to work together to grow our business as a team. Alone we were vulnerable, divided and forced to navigate the dangerous waters of business separately, but together we would be undeterred, our efforts doubled by the combined power and singular goal. It was a leap of faith, but I knew there on the river we’d make the right decision for us.

As we paused mid-river for a break, Nick encouraged us to take “the plunge”; we decided to go for it as a team. Each of us stood on a rock in the middle of the river, guided by Nick, we leaned back into the unknown and took the plunge into the icy, powerful waters. It took out breath away as we hit the 58 degree water, but as we rose to the surface we were rewarded by the knowledge we had overcome our fears and we’d worked together to achieve our dreams.

Don’t be afraid to take your own plunge!

So my friend I ask you “what’s next on your list?”

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Risky Business

Picture by Kyle Steiner

Risky Business

I will admit I am a late blooming unconventional adrenaline junkie. The funny part is that I had no idea how much I liked challenging the status quo until later in the season of my life. People ask me now “what’s next on your list?” and inquire as to the craziest thing I have ever done. They do so, like I am an expert at risk or something. What a concept.

My bucketlist is a bit slanted toward the adventurous and at first glance you might hypothysis that this is because I love the thrill of danger or can only find peace when faced with life or death situations. I would argue the contrary position in response. My bucketlist is about trying new things, getting out of my comfort zone, and most importantly, being able to look back on my life and say “I did that,” rather than “I wish I would have,” not about risk, for the sake of risk. I think it is about being willing to take a calculated chance.

Life happens fast. As a kid you think time will never pass. You count up on birthdays the minute you hit the six month mark and proudly proclaim that you are 8 ½ to anyone who will listen. Finally, you hit the big milestones, 16, 18, 21, but then something cruel starts to happen, and time starts to go by faster every year. Soon, ready or not, you hit 25, you hang onto 29, start to fear 35 and dread 40. Somewhere along the way you change your perspective. You stop and look back and think how did I blink and I go from a scared new mother to a veteran parent of teenagers?

Thinking about it like this puts some fuel in the tank for trying new things. If not now, when? Time to get moving, time to have an adventure!

Looking back at the choices of my life I can see threads of the risky business character, when as a young kid I was determined to learn to salom ski despite a profund lack of knowledge, training, and boat power. Stubbornness overcame common sense, and eventually, I figured it out.

Later, some thought I was nuts when I excitedly accepted my future husband’s marriage proposal at 22 years old. We were so naive about life, marriage and careers, but I was certain this was the love of my life and there was no way I was going to do anything but say yes. I’ve never been sorry.

Picture by Kyle Steiner

Even more thought we were nuts when we sold everything we had and moved across county with two babies so my husband could go to grad school and we could go into debt beyond our eyeballs!

We jumped into parenthood a few years before that, and somehow, managed to find our way to raising a couple of really cool young adults.

Our parents about had a heart attack when they found out we bought a home sight unseen in a small Adirondack town. “what the hell are they thinking?” they asked each other. We made some crazy sounding decisions along the way but in reality we never thought any of them were really risky. To us they were calculated choices.

In our minds, they were all carefully thought out, and they were calculated decisions, chances on a future that we were willing to bet on, because we believed we could handle the consequenses along the way.

In each situation, while to the rest of the world, we seemed to be dancing on the edge of disaster, we knew we were just taking the next step on our journey.

Picture by Kyle Steiner

Don’t think this was without it’s challenges or that we didn’t doubt ourseleves somewhere along the way. We did. We just looked at it like, we had no option, but to make it work, so we would continue to try things, assess, adjust, and reassess, until eventually things worked out.

Going into business for ourselves is really not any different. To the world this seems crazy, to us, it feels like a chance to fulfill our dreams. I am sure we will question our sanity more than once, but if I know us, we will just keep at it, until we make it happen. Stubborness has its advantages.

I fear that to many of our family, friends and neighbors our recent decisons again seem insane, risky and just plain nuts. Why would you put your house up for sale right now when prices are still down, why would you put your savings on the line, risk your future and buy into a business in a worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, why would the two of you be willing to work 7 days a week 16 hours a day week after week?

My answer is that this is a classic example of perspective. It’s all in how you look at it. It all comes down to this, is your glass half full or half empty? While others see dropping home prices, we see a turning market and buyers who have been sitting on the sidelines waiting to buy, especially now, with historically low interest rates. We see the opportunity to be our own bosses, to run our business passionately and the way see fit. We see it as a positive to bet our futures on each other. It has worked for us in the past. My bet is it will work in the future.

I have to tell you working this hard toward a common goal elicits a combination of feelings, exhaustion being at the top of the list, but it also is really fun and while the hours we are putting in are long the days have never gone faster.

My crazy ideas probably sound nuts to most of you but I think it is more fun to live life this way. I still don’t know what I am capable of and each new adventure and challenge that I face teaches me something new about myself. I call this creating the life I want. I call this my bucketlist.

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?”

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Invest in Yourself

The Big One
One of the big items on my bucketlist is to start a business with my husband and help him make it grow. This is something we have talked about and dreamed about for years. Over the years we’ve worked for others to make their businesses grow, and have had varying levels of responsibility in doing so, but this is something different. This is a chance to create something of our very own and watch it grow. I think that sounds exciting, and maybe just a little scary.

Leap of Faith
We’ve never been in a position to take this leap of faith, but now we are and I am proud to say we are doing it. I think it is one thing to dream about something big like this for years, but to actually have the courage to make it happen is something totally different. It would be easier to just work for someone else, have them take all the risks, have them worry about paying the bills and making payroll, but then we’d never get to see what might happen-if. If we took the chance, if we bet on ourselves for once, or if we believed we could make it happen, what would happen?

Invest in Yourself
I like Warren Buffet, he seems like a levelheaded regular guy. He’s from Nebraska and he doesn’t subscribe to the Hollywood version of success. He seems like he tries to do the right thing. One my last trip through Nebraska I saw a billboard with his picture on it. The words were simple, but profound. They read plainly “Invest in Yourself.” When I saw these words up there it hit me, why not? Why not invest in us, instead of always investing in someone else’s dream.

This has been an incredibly hectic, exciting, stressful and liberating time for us. We’ve spent months researching what kind of business we’d like, we searched for a business we could purchase that was already up and running and couldn’t find one. We worked hard to come up with a unique business idea that we could create from scratch and we had a few but in the end we decided to go at this a different way.

Lifestyle Living
One of our criteria in this search was to find a business that would grow, would support us and most importantly would serve and help others. We also wanted a lifestyle business. Please don’t get me wrong, we were not searching for a business that would let us live a lifestyle of the rich and famous. That is not who we are or who we would ever want to become. What I am talking about was creating a business we believed in, that allowed us to do what was important to our family. We wanted to live where we wanted to be, we wanted to be able to focus on the things that were important to us, faith, family and helping people. We wanted to center our life on activities and fitness and the great and beautiful outdoors.

We finally found it and when we did we looked at each other and decided yes we were going to do more than just dream, we were going to take action, we were going to believe, and we were going to invest in ourselves.

I am sure there are those out there that think we are nuts, and maybe we are a bit off, but we are trying to live life in our own terms and we are following our heart. It feels really good.

We are embarking on the biggest adventure of them all and I think this is going to be great fun.

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?”

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IQ Test

If you ask me the key to a happy marriage is being able to fall in love with each other over and over. Unpredictable at best, you never know when these moments are going to happen, thankfully they do.

In 1999 we took our kids, ages 8 and 10 to Disneyland for the first time. We were all excited and ready to cram as much fun as possible into our week. After about three adventure packed days of Rock ‘n Roll Rollercoaster, All Star Parades and It’s a Small World  we crashed at our hotel a bit earlier than usual. I remember vividly lying on the hotel bed so tired I could hardly lift a leg! “My gosh, this Disney stuff is exhausting” I said to my husband.

“Ya I’m wiped out” he agreed with out moving an inch.

We had an absolutely splendid time and by the end of the week I was bone weary, more tired than I could ever remember being before in my life. Almost anxious to return home to get some rest we boarded the plane and headed for the comforts of home.

We had really had a busy fall, besides the usual back to school activities, we’d found out in September that we were moving from our rural home in New England to the suburbs of Tennessee.

We’d rushed to prep our home and get it on the market before the long New England winter moved in on us. Simultaneously, we’d purged our closets prepping for the upcoming move. We held a big garage sale and even got rid of all the baby items we were still toting around finally deciding the third baby we’d been hoping for over the past three years was just not going to happen.

The house hunting trip was stressful, in three days we toured 82 homes, finally settling on a new construction in the suburbs. Excited for our first ever new home we decided we could live without a fourth bedroom for guests and a basement.

The move had occurred the first of November and our scheduled Disney trip was for the week after Thanksgiving. We were exhausted from the move but happy to be able to take the kids on a trip of a lifetime and start our new life in the south.

As we landed back in Tennessee all I could think about was sleeping in my own bed, what I wasn’t thinking about was dates.

The next morning as I tried to pull myself from my warm bed and get the kids moving for school I glanced at the family calender on the regrigerator. The date caught my eye, “wow, how could it already be Dec. 6.!” I thought. “wait a minute, Dec. 6th!” it hit me that in the crazy rush to get moved, unpacked, host Thanksgiving and then go on our vacation I hadn’t had my – you know what. When was the last time? The more mental math I did the more my heart raced.

After coming up with 2+2=5 over and over I decided a quick trip to Walmart was in order. Now!

Once I got home, I ran in and quickly completed my “test.” Positive, instantly. I redid the “test.” Positive, instantly.

“Oh my, I can’t wait until tonight to share the news with my husband, time for Plan B” I thought.

I quickly dialed his work number. ‘Hey, honey” I innocently started the conversation with, followed by -panic, “now what?” Plan C. “what are you doing for lunch? Maybe we could meet at Chili’s for lunch?” I asked.

“Oh hey, that would be nice” he readily agreed.

When I walked into the restaurant a couple hours later he was already seated. One look at me and he knew something was up .

“What’s wrong” he quizzed me.

Deciding no preamble was necessary. I jumped in with both feet, “I took a test today- and it was POSITIVE!” I blurted out in a rush.

“What kind of a test, an IQ test?” he asked without missing nary a beat.

“Now-the OTHER kind of test!” I fired back at him over our chips and salsa, as if there were only two tests in the entire world.

Staring at him for some kind of response I could see the lightbulb go off and I could see his eyes sparkle.

“What are we going to do?” I wined!

“Well, I think we are going to have another baby” he grinned back at me.

That was it-I fell in love again.

I was just so exhausted and absolutely not thinking of babies at that moment in my life-shock still had me a bit numb.

“Now? But we sold all the baby stuff just four weeks ago. We don’t have an extra bedroom and we just bought the house! We’ve been waiting for the baby for three years and no he/she decides to come!” crazy thoughts raced through my head.

He just sat there and grinned. “Well, what do you know!” he said.

I loved the way he handled my irrational, exhausted, hormonal, half crazed state of mind. I loved the way he grinned when he realized what kind of test I’d taken. I loved the fact that he thought I’d passed an IQ test! I just fell in love again.

Nine months later our baby girl was born to the most excited little family of four you can imagine. Her bedroom was the laundry room and we bought all new baby items. It was absolutely wonderful. God knew what he was doing!

My son said it best on the second day she was home. “Mom, I had no idea we were so boring until Maggie came along!” I agree, either did I.

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?”

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Change in Perspective




About 10 years ago my husband of 11 years announced to me that he wanted to compete in an Ironman Triathlon. This was surprising news considering he had not worked out in years, and although he was active in sports in high school he had not shown any interest in participating other than turning on the TV.

Not wanting to seem like I doubter, I offered a fairly noncommittal “hum.” I was pretty sure this was not going to go anywhere so I engaged in a little conversation.

“Isn’t that the big thing they do in Hawaii?” I asked.

“Yes, but you have to qualify for Hawaii, they have other competitions all over the US that you do not have to qualify for.” He explained.

“Well, what exactly is a triathlon?” I ventured.

“A competition where you swim 2.4 miles, then you bike for 112 miles and then you run 26.2 miles” he patiently explained.

“All in one day?” was my uninformed question.

“Yes!” he enthusiastically explained.

In my mind, I thought there was no way anyone could possibly do all that in one day, certainly not my wonderful husband.

The next week my loving husband announced he was going for a run, in Tennessee where the humidity averaged 80% and the temperatures even at 5:00 am often exceeded 85 degrees. He returned home soon, covered in sweat and soaking wet. I was pretty sure this was not going to last too long but I tried to be encouraging and supportive. “I am proud of you for trying.” I replied.

Soon my husband joined a gym and continued to focus on improving his health. He worked out and slowly he was able to get back into fighting shape, so to speak.

After several months of training he asked me how I felt about him doing an Ironman in San Francisco so we could combine a trip to see my sister with a race for him. Interested I started asking questions. “That could be cool, where would you race?” I inquired.

“Well you swim from Alcatraz and then you bike and swim a route in the city.” He explained.

“Wait a minute, you SWIM from ALCATRAZ? Are you kidding? You can’t swim from Alcatraz; they put Alcatraz out there for a reason! No one escapes from Alcatraz! There are sharks in the water for heavens sake!” I shrieked passionately!

I have never actually told my husband no when he presented a new idea or plan, but this was something totally different. There was no way I could go along with this hair-brain plan even if I got to see my sister out of it!

“Can’t you find a race where you swim in a lake or something?” I begged him.

“OK,” he replied just moderately defeated.

“ I  want to be supportive, but come on, Alcatraz?” I begged again.

Months later he came back to me with a new plan. “How about Utah?” he asked testing the water so to speak.

“I found a new race that I think would work. Ironman is hosting an inaugural race in Provo, Utah next summer. I would swim in a small lake just out side of town. Then I’d bike in the mountains and run in town. What do you think?” he asked as he pitched his new plan.

“Sounds great to me, let’s do it.” I endorsed his big plan.

I spent the next several months watching my husband set seriously challenging goals and then every day take little steps toward that goal. He worked hard, he trained hard, he ran, he biked and he swam. He read books and he studied tapes. I was impressed and I became a believer.

About a year later we packed the van and headed west to Utah.

The day of the big race we woke very early, I could tell he was both excited and a little scared. I am sure he was wondering if he had trained enough and if he had what it took to handle the mental challenge.

Hours later the kids and I stood on the shore of the lake and watched in awe as 2000 competitors all dressed in black wet suits and matching purple swim caps jumped into the water almost as one, and began the grueling day ahead of them.

Having never been at an event like this, I stood just trying to take it all in and understand how this all works. The lake wasn’t big but the wind was really blowing hard. It was impossible to see how the competitors could handle the huge swells, almost 4 feet high.

Finally, I got brave and asked a woman and man standing next to me on the shore- line. “How do the swimmers handle waves like that?” I asked.
“Well, I don’t know” came the reply. “I have never seen conditions this bad.” They honestly answered me. Fear started to swell in my heart.

“How well does your husband swim?” they asked me.

“Oh I don’t know! He can swim in the pool at the Recreation Center in our neighborhood, but I have no idea how well he will do in a lake with 4 feet swells!” I answered. My voice rising as it started to reflect my hysterical nerves.

Within seconds the Ironman officials announced they were calling the race because of the unsafe conditions. They were announcing it right now and the athletes would soon be coming back in.

I stood on the shore frantically searching for my husband when suddenly, I saw a recreational boat roaring toward the dock. I could see a man and woman kneeling on the floor of the boat pushing on something. Much to my horror, I realized they were doing CPR on an athlete as they came to a sudden stop, an ambulance siren ringing in my ears.

“Oh my God!” I whispered, panic rising in my blood.

I struggled to maintain some semblance of control, I did have my three small children with me and I did not want to scare them. I found a race official and asked how I could find my husband.

The volunteer sadly replied that they had no idea who was out of the water and who was not. The only thing they could suggest was that I go stand by his bike because that is where his transition bag would be and if he were out of the water he’d go there for dry clothing. “This was the best they could offer me?” I thought!

I did as I was instructed and I waited there for almost 90 minutes until I finally saw my husband coming on shore and heading toward the bike rack. In nearly a full out panic by now, I rushed to him and gave him a huge hug. He pulled back from me giving me a strange look “what are you doing” he asked.

“Where have you been?” the words rushed out of me.

“What do you mean? I have been swimming.” He replied a bit disgusted.

“There are all kinds of people missing, don’t you get it? They called the race almost 90 minutes ago and I couldn’t find you anywhere. I was afraid something had happened to you! They took two people away in ambulances!” The words rushed out of me.

“I am fine, I thought I was swimming a good race. I had no idea they cancelled the race.” He calmly explained to me a bit embarrassed by the way I was acting.

Finally, assured my husband was fine and in good shape I relaxed just a bit.

The race officials got the situation back under control and restarted the race with the bike and the run soon to follow. I spent the rest of the day watching for my husbnad to bike and run by, the kids and I cheering him on as best we could.

My husband did something really cool that day, he showed me that amazing things can happen once you change your perspective. Once he decided he wanted to complete an Ironman he changed his perspective about what was possible. As soon as he believed he could do it he simply took many little steps toward his goal until his goal became a reality. He taught me that once you decide to do something, anything could happen, even something that should be impossible.

One of my goals in life is to help my husband make a dream come true. I tried to be his support team and believe in him when he needed it the most. The sad thing is that he is the one who taught me the most that day. It was a powerful lesson for me.

I have never been so proud of my husband as I was when the announcer loudly proclaimed in the microphone, “Dan you are an Ironman!”

Later, laughing about the excitement of the day I told him he might as well have done the Alcatraz Ironman, it couldn’t have been much more dangerous than this one was!

Ironman Dan


So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list.”

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