Monday, July 23, 2012

Here There Be Dragons

If you're familiar with this phrase, then you know who I'm talking about. Superman's alter ego--no not Clark Kent--James A. Owen. I don't jest when I say Superman's alter ego. You'd have to read his book,

Drawing Out the Dragons: A Meditation on Art, Destiny, and the Power of Choice

to know what I mean. And I recommend that you do just that. I read it regularly. That is all I'll say about Drawing Out the Dragons, for now.

The point of this post is something he mentioned on his Facebook page recently. I don't know anyone who embodies the idea of a purpose-driven life more than he does. He lives his life courageously. He is a constant inspiration.

Here is what he said on July 9th, 2012:

There's really not much more I can add to this. I was discussing some details of a publishing deal - the subject of a forthcoming press release - with a friend, and his response was, "You're crazy - they'll never go for that." I replied tha...t it was already a done deal, and that the contract was already in progress. He commented that I just got lucky and I shouldn't count on it happening again - so I told him that the second - and larger - deal was forthcoming, and his response was again that I was lucky, followed by a remark that I was also blessed, because other people had to work for a living. I smiled, walked him to the door, ushered him out, wished him good luck, and said he didn't need to come back. Ever. Then I went back upstairs and wrote seven thousand words of a novel and drank a Perrier. It was a good night.

Followed by this quote from Mark Twain:

[Note: the first two sentences are Twain's, the rest by Thea Westra -]

The culture in which I've grown up is admired for its devotion to work and industry. Yes, we strive to be industrious. As noble as that is, I wonder if it doesn't in some way squelch the creative spirit. Be busy, work hard, and everything will work out. I'm not saying that artistic endeavors like art and writing don't require hard work--quite the opposite--I just thing that the immediate results of a paycheck is often appreciated, at least initially (and perhaps realistically, by some) more so than the time, effort, and struggles that go into art, which often are not considered industrious and for which we often don't see the payoff until years later.

I wish I'd had a mind more towards art in my formative years than a "traditional" career.

My wife and I are about to change that about ourselves. We'll replace one F word with another, Faith instead of Fear. We will live deliberate lives.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bike MS 2012: A Purpose-Driven Life

Me and Kate at the end of day two.
On June 23rd and 24th, I was fortunate enough to take part in Bike MS Utah: Harmons Best Dam Bike Ride to benifit the Utah chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

I was fortunate on many fronts. Bicycling is one of the few forms of exercise that I really enjoy. To be able to pair that with this great cause gives me tremenous satisfaction. It adds value to my life.

I got to share that weekend with my wife, Kate, and about a dozen of our friends.

Team Gates' Gears, named after my father-in-law who died of MS, was comprised of ten riders and two volunteers. Together we managed to raise $6000 for the MS Society. I can honestly say, I've never been so proud of a group of ragtag friends and family as I am of this group. There's nothing special about us. We're just like anyone else. But with some organization (thanks to our awesome team captain, Lenise,) a little effort, and a lot of heart, we achieved more than any one of us thought we would.

On that note, I have to take moment to thank all of those who supported me and donated to my cause. I could not have achieved what I did without you. Your generosity and compassion surprised me, moved me, and impressed me:

Josi K., Meredith G., Mike B., Margot H., Randy C., Rose L., SusieDee M., Teresa D., Dave M., & Jason P.

We did something new this year that made it even more memorable. We took part in the Bike MS Champion program.

The Bike MS Champions program pairs people living with MS with cyclists who ride in their honor. The champion pairs exchange e-mails ahead of time and often are able to arrange to meet at the ride’s finish. They will share their story with you and offer you encouragement as you fundraise, train and ride in Bike MS. You can share your Bike MS experience from training to finish line with them.

We were fortunate enough to welcome two MS Champions to our team: J.D. Early (read his story here) and Angelina Kump (read her story here). Connecting with these two amazing people and sharing this experience with them made our efforts all the more significant and personal.

J.D. and his wife MaryAnne

This was only our second year riding in Bike MS, but I know there will be many more to come. Participating in this event is part of how we live a purpose-driven life.

What's your purpose?

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