Day 210: Reflections on the 2013 Summit Assault

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My frequency of posts has diminished in the last weeks due to one factor: my wife’s business. Throughout June, we were extremely busy gutting and renovating what would become her studio/workshop. Although I expected good things to come from her jump into the world of brick & mortar retail, neither of us expected how successful she would be almost immediately. Without bragging too much, she has her third magazine interview tomorrow afternoon, and this past weekend alone shipped more orders than the month of May and June combined. It’s been a tremendous blessing, but we are very, very busy.

Consequently, however, I have had almost no access to the computer. Once the kids are in bed, she’s blogging, profiling, filling orders, responding to requests, etc… And being as how we’ve bootstrapped this entire startup without taking out a loan, money is tight and I am sans laptop. Therefore, I am relegated to my work iPad, which is horrendous to type on. But I’ll cowboy up tonight and fill you in on what is going on.

As I said, I’ve been filling most of my free time helping her get on top of how busy she’s become. My very rare free moments that are available to work on this Project have been consumed with the essentials: running, working out, and reading. Beginning last weekend, however, I have a busy 6 week stretch where I will knock out some of the biggest one-off goals: climb a mountain over 14,000 feet, skydive, run a Warrior Dash and complete another Tough Mudder.

Last Thursday began the whole fun filled escapades. My idea of driving to Colorado to summit a 14’er by myself evolved into a 7 person “guys road trip”, culminating in a summit assault on Mt Bierstadt. 3 trusted friends also came along, each bringing their oldest son. The trip was probably as much a rite of passage for these young men as it was an accomplishment for us. It was refreshing to see quality father-son bonding under pressure and fatigue. By Saturday midday, as we rose the final few feet to the top, I don’t think anyone cared anymore about standing on top of the rocks; I believe we were all more proud of the fact that we were together and had bonded well.

MTNTOP

That said, it was still amazing to be 14,060 feet above sea level.  To push your body to an endurance level that you don’t know you have is exhilarating.  To hit a wall which your body says is insurmountable and to go beyond it is incredible.  I’ve done many things in my life that remind me of just how awesome it is to be alive, and this was the latest.

Standing on the peak and looking out over 1,000 foot drops, seeing for miles and miles and realizing that you aren’t even at the highest possible point in your field of vision makes you realize how infinitely small you are in the vastness of creation.  Conversely, seeing how high you’ve come, studying the steep terrain, listening to your aching muscles sing with joy makes you understand how important you are in the grand scheme – no one but you could have made your body fight through the pain to get to the top.  You are amazing in a world full of amazing.

Aside from the joys of raising my arms in triumph on that mountaintop, the trip was filled with camaraderie, laughter and friendship.  As I sit here in bed, reminiscing, I realize that this particular trip will stay with me for a long time.  We’ve begun making plans for the 2014 Summit Assault, and I foresee this becoming a yearly tradition.

As for 2013, this ranks as one of the best accomplishments off my list of goals.  As always…

This is simply my journal as I try to better myself. I hope it inspires you to focus on yourself. Make 2013 YOUR year.

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Update

Since the last few weeks have been chaotic, I’ve had little time to get updates published.   However, as it is late July, I should be at least halfway through the majority of my goals.  Here’s where I stand…

Skills Goals:  Doing pretty well here.

  • Karate (begun 1/3)
  • Making fire without matches or a lighter (7/5)
  • Soap Making
  • (re)Mastering the Rubik’s Cube
  • Small craft woodworking (begun 2/12)
  • Beer Brewing
  • Become proficient with my handgun (begun 1/9)
  • Navigation by stars
  • One-handed shuffling (started practicing 2/27)
  • Baccarat
  • Bird watching (begun 1/3)
  • ???

Physical Goals: Also doing pretty good.

  • Run 182.5 miles in 2013 (see tracking meter to left)
  • Do a Polar Plunge fulfilled 1/1/2013
  • Run another Tough Mudder registered for 9/7 TM on 1/17
  • Run a Warrior Dash (running on Aug 3)
  • Skydive, again (Diving on Aug 11)
  • Workout every day (except for 3 days, I’m on track.)
  • Run a sprint triathlon
  • Summit a mountain over 14,000 feet (climbing this weekend)

The Book List…as you can see, I’m only through 7, when I should be through 12.  In all fairness, however, most of my reading is at night when I’m shuttered indoors…thus in the winter.

8 Non-fiction books
Captivating – John & Stasi Eldredge  Completed 2/1/13
Raising Girls – James Dobson
Killing Lincoln – Bill O’Reilly
How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie Completed 4/17/13
Beautiful Outlaw – John Eldredge Completed 5/3/13
Rules for Radicals – Saul Alinsky
Out of Africa – Karen Blixen
Ball Four – Jim Bouton

8 Classics I haven’t yet read (Chosen from a list of 100 Books to Read Before You Die)
For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway
The Shack – William P Young
Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
On the Road – Jack Kerouac
Education of a Wandering Man – Louis L’Amour
Dracula – Bram Stoker Completed 2/18/13
The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

8 other books of my choosing
Agenda 21 – Glenn Beck Completed 1/3/13
The Wind Through the Keyhole – Stephen King
Pirate Latitudes – Michael Crichton Completed 5/7/13
Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer Completed 3/13/13

Personal Goals: This is where I am struggling the most.  I’m doing fine on the dishes and charities, but have fallen behind on everything else.  I will be focusing here the most over the next few weeks, to create that habitual desire to do better.

  • Name 52 people who matter/have influence in my life, and why.
  • Watch 13 classic movies I’ve never seen
  • Donate time, energy or money to 12 different charities
  • Complete the pre-reqs for enrolling in an MBA
  • Complete one business certificate/executive course
  • Complete one cooking course
  • Master 12 dishes
  • Finally study my ancestoral history

And now I hear the girls awake and playing in their room, so I must sign off and go be mean daddy.  It’s bedtime.  As always…

This is simply my journal as I try to better myself. I hope it inspires you to focus on yourself. Make 2013 YOUR year.

Day 200: Tough Going

It’s been a long week.  The wife was in D-town for her friend’s funeral.  I had the kids all by myself, juggling that with work.  But the weekend is here, and one week from today, I’ll be prepping to climb a 14’er in Colorado.  The next few weekends are going to be intense and intensely awesome.  Mountain climbing, skydiving, Warrior Dashing, and celebrating our anniversary (a bit after the date).  On top of that, the wife’s business is starting to boom.  So that’s good great!

 

Day 196: Be Careful What You Say

I wish I could write this under more positive circumstances.  I really do.  But it’s not possible.  One of my wife’s oldest and closest friends from high school passed away two nights ago, and all signs point to suicide.  She had battled mild depression for several years, dating back to a snowmobile accident a few years back.  I didn’t know her, but from the stories I’ve heard, a good portion of her battle centered on her self-confidence and her appearance after the accident.  Including a battle with weight.

On Friday night, she attended a major league baseball game with her husband.  At the game, a fan seated behind her became drunk and belligerent, making fun of people and saying nasty things.  One of those things was a comment about my wife’s friend’s weight.

Needless to say, her friend couldn’t let go of the comment…the ugly rambling of a drunk cut to her core.  On Sunday, word spread quickly that she had failed to wake up in the morning.  While the official cause of death is currently pending as accidental overdose of sleeping pills, everyone who knows her has read between the lines and knows what really happens.

She left behind a husband and three daughters, all teenagers.

She left behind many, many caring friends.

She left behind tears.

She left behind a world in which a casual, throwaway comment from an inebriated tongue can cause life-ending pain.

She left behind a story that hurts to hear.

I didn’t personally know her.  I’ve seen her pictures in photo albums and on Facebook.  I’ve heard her friends talk about her and her beautiful daughters.  I’ve known firsthand that she was a source of strength to a young, impressionable girl entering the halls of high school: my wife.  And I’ve now come to know that she battled these demons for years.

I can not eulogize someone I didn’t know.  There will be many people who can do that this week.  I can not speak of how her family is coping.  Others will be there there in their sorrow.  I don’t know much of her story beside what I have been told.  But I do know this: the tongue is a wicked, wicked instrument and we wield it far too freely.

I wish to teach my children many things as they grow.  First, to know their faith and trust in Him.  Second, to love their family above everyone else.  Third, to always strive for achievement and excellence.  And fourth, to control their temper and tongues.  ]

Maximus said it well in the movie Gladiator when speaking of our actions here on Earth:

“What we do in life echoes in eternity.”

I think you can take creative liberty, apply it to the quote, and come up with something equally as poignant:

“What we say in life echoes through our lifetime.”

Lord knows I’ve said things I regret.  Harsh words to an ex.  Ill phrases to my family.  Ugly statements to my friends.  Lies, half-truths, and the occasional aforementioned drunk spew.  I have no doubt I’ve caused sleepless nights, tear stained faces, and tortured conversations.  For these, I am deeply and truly sorry.

I have contemplated beginning an online crusade to find this woman who may have caused this young woman’s suicide.  With enough connections to the town where it happened, I’ve no doubt that someone, somewhere, could eventually connect me to her.  I don’t want to berate her, pseudo-lynch her, or anything of that nature.  I would just like to calmly let her know that her actions and words on a hot summer night at a baseball game, after consuming a few too many beers, left a husband without a wife and three young girls without a mother.  Despite all precautions this drunk may have taken, including having a designated driver, she nonetheless drove someone to death.

I don’t think I will pursue that crusade, however, because this isn’t my fight to fight.  I have a voice that can do more good by bringing her tragedy to your attention.  And if you remember anything from today, please remember this: A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. (Proverbs 15:4).

It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.
Matthew 15:11