Wednesday, November 27, 2013
I am taking a brief pause from the day because I feel it is very needed. This is the time we are to remember all the things we have to be thankful for yet I find myself in a place of anger tied to the repercussions of my biking accident. I guess I have reason to be upset. A mere 10 seconds of concern for the rest of the world from a guy in a truck to look in the mirror and I am in a much different place today. Instead a face plant at 21mph has so many things on hold. While my shoulder and arm are healing, other much more concerning ailments are presenting themselves that have me fearful my life of endurance sports comes to an end. I missed a 50K, I will miss CIM in two weeks, Oceanside 70.3 and AR50 are in danger, I most likely have to bow out of the AC 100, etc, etc. Anger is not a great place to dwell so I offer the following to myself:
·I am thankful that even if I never run another step in my life, I have already run farther than most ever will.
·I am thankful that despite my injuries, I am still here breathing and capable of savoring so many things that life has to offer.
·I am thankful for all of the quirky things that make my son Jaden for without him life would be far less interesting.
·I am thankful for the most amazing smile that rests on the face of my daughter Thalia. I am convinced her smile is capable of changing the world.
·I am thankful that my wife was stronger than cancer……twice.
·I am thankful that a recent cancer scare for my wife was simply a scare and that today she remains cancer free.
·I am thankful that my wife has had to power to forgive the many mistakes I have made along the way.
·I am thankful my father taught me how to work hard, laugh hard, enjoy challenges and how to fight back.
·I am thankful for an amazing job that never allows the opportunity of boredom.
·I am thankful for a mother that taught me compassion and exactly what having a big heart really means.
·I am thankful that my life crossed paths with Alison Chavez years ago because without saying a word to each other face to face over the past few months…..she has taught me what true strength is.
·I am thankful for all of the folks that helped me to raise over $20,000 this year towards finding a cure for cancer…..many of whom are also responsible for helping me raise the $135,000 life to date.
·I am thankful to Team in Training for allowing me to better myself while having the opportunity to impact lives.
·I am thankful to all of the folks on the Fall 2013 Westside marathon team for taking a leap of faith, believing they could do something they once thought impossible and for allowing me the chance to maybe see things a little differently.
·I am thankful that I have a second chance to be the Dad that my daughter Tiana deserved when she came into my life when she was 5 years old.
·I am thankful to many friends….. both real and virtual for being quite remarkable.
This list could keep going but I feel back on track. I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving and take a moment to look past all the challenges life has to offer to see all of the blessings that surround you. Cheers.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
It seems like yesterday that I asked my annual favor of everyone tied to Isabella’s Day but apparently another year has passed. For many of you reading this story, Isabella has probably touched your life through me. For many of you, we probably would not have met were it not for Isabella and her impact on my life. I made a promise to her that I would lead a good life…….be a good person………make a difference…..try to do more for the world than it does for me. I still have work to do. I have more improvements to make and I certainly have more things to accomplish but I would say I am on the right track. As I write this post, I know I could look Isabella in the eyes and tell her I am a better person today than I was a year ago. Improvement is good. The beauty of having your own personal Angel sitting in Heaven, though, is that you do not actually have to tell her…….she just knows or so that is what I choose to believe. While I do not walk around preaching the bible and while I drop a few too many foul words throughout the day and while I have a warped sense of humor that might be inappropriate for Heaven (although I am sure God has to fight back some laughter), I believe my little girl is with me all the time. I believe she meets me at the finish line of all my races and, while it may sound unbelievable to you……..I actually feel her from time to time. It very well could be my imagination but I have trouble with that theory because I am not walking around in life waiting for a sign that angels exist. Faith in anything is about believing with no sign of proof. I just live my life and try to make the best of most days. I try to do my very best at work so the company I work for is successful and that the team I work on can shine. I try to be the best Dad and husband I can be and I try to be someone that motivates others to do things they maybe thought were impossible. I try to beat cancer and will continue to do so until a cure is found. Along this road I travel…….from time to time………I feel my daughter. It is very infrequent, always quite unexpected and most times almost drops me to my knees in tears. Some of those tears are certainly sad because I miss my daughter…….I miss not getting to see her grow up……….I miss not getting to see her make mistakes……….I miss not getting to hear her laughter. I know I never heard my daughter but hopefully you understand what I mean. The silence on Christmas and Easter and the first day of school and August 1st is deafening and I would much rather have the sound of her voice so………..I miss it. Anyway, while some of these tears are sad there is also a huge part of these moments that are overwhelming in an amazing way. For a tiny moment in time, I feel connected to my little one and, be it true or not, the feeling is real. I would attempt to describe these moments but I am not nearly the writer I would need to be to do justice to the experience so I will leave it to your imagination.
For this year I put together a short video. You may have to watch this video on a PC as I work through copyright issues with YouTube but for now I am in compliance. In the video are some pictures of my time with Isabella………the nine months she grew safe and secure with my wife and the few minutes we had with her after she passed. I apologize if this is tough to watch or moves you to tears. That is not my plan but it might happen. I have pictures of Isabella from the hospital. I usually go out of my way ‘not’ to look at them but this year I had the courage to look once again. August 1, 2003 was a bad day. I am sure you can feel the sadness that was present when looking at the photos taken in the hospital. It was a horrible day….truthfully the worst….. but the story, as you probably know, did not end there. It took a few days but I stood up. I gained strength and I tried to give that strength to others. A horrible day out of which came amazing things. I also included a picture in the video that was used for the Isabella’s Day 2012 post taken by Rich Cruse, an amazing photographer. It is the way I like to imagine my little girl today……..a huge smile running around the beach. The last photo (actually a video clip) comes from a place deep within and is how I imagine seeing my daughter when I someday come to meet her. I do not know how Heaven works but I hope to see Isabella as my little girl when I get there. If Heaven is what makes us happy………..Isabella will be dancing around a meadow when I open my eyes after my time here is done. This really leads into the song that is playing behind the video. The song is called Bella and is by Angus and Julia Stone. A friend heard this song……knew of my story……….and sent it to me and I have listened to it almost every day since. Outside of my story, the song is amazing and I highly recommend the entire album called ‘A Book Like This’. I could not tell you what the song means to the artists. I only know what it means to me and it is about the time when I actually meet my little girl. I refuse to listen to all of the words in great detail because I hear what I hear and if I piece all of the lyrics together that meaning might change. The song opens with a young girl saying the words ‘Hello’. To me, those words are from my little girl as I open my eyes in another place. From there we proceed to do whatever she wants to do. I am just happy to be with her but at some point I stop her and ask ‘Can I have this dance with you?”. I always dance with my kids. I grew up in a techno/trance/hip hop world and despite being an old dude, my mind remembers the clubs so going crazy with my kids is the best. This dance with Isabella will be different though (although if Heaven is what makes you happy there will certainly be some bumping music). This dance will be a slow dance to make up for lost years…...my excuse to be able to hold her tight. From there we continue to do all of the extraordinary things I hope you can do in Heaven but at some point I stop and just watch Isabella dance around……..in a meadow which leads to the lyrics I always remember from this song:
“There she sits with them big old fields of daisies and rusty mills.
And when the sun it shines on her hair of gold,
I miss my little girl with her hair of gold. August 1st will be tough as always but I will make the best of it and spend time with my wife reflecting on a bad day but a great life. If you could do that favor for me one more time, I would appreciate it. It is simple but a grand gesture to help me remember a little girl that helped define me. In case you need a reminder of what the favor is or might be hearing it for the first time……..all I ask is that at any time throughout the day on 8/1/13, just raise a glass to Isabella. It could be your bottle of Nuun at the end of a long run or your coffee to start the day. It could be a sip of water or an expensive bottle of wine. None of that matters. Helping me remember is the important thing. As always thank you so much!
Christopher D. Wilno
Saturday, June 29, 2013
So the winners were drawn on Sunday night as promised. The video is posted below. Forgive the camera angle of my phone. I was instructed to hold my iPhone vertically which looks silly but, hey, I listened. You will also notice I introduce my wife to the right when she is to the left. I was not drunk for this drawing which is a guarantee because I do not drink (except for sips of very expensive wine now and then).
If you take the numbers above and apply them to the list below, you will find that these are the winners (note: I added an extra prize):
Avatar DVD Set: Charles Antis
$25 Gift Card: Michael Burke
$50 Starbucks Card: Sean Savitt
HP Calculator: Tim Weston
Punk Rock Racing Gear: Lisa Williamson
Lexmark Printer: Charles Sooter
HP Printer: Justin Anderson
Kindle Ereader: Dave Floyd
Kindle Touch: Michael Burke
Beats Solo Headphones: Patricia Harris
Kindle Fire HD7: Bob Crisman
Acer NB: Michael Burke (Hat trick)
Beats Pill: Rick Leeson
HP Spectre XT: Charlene Levy
Thank you again!!!! I am leaving the original post unchanged below
|Elisabeth Waller Scott||49954|
|Hale & Hale DDS||50054|
|Hale & Hale DDS||50055|
|Hale & Hale DDS||50056|
|Hale & Hale DDS||50057|
|Hale & Hale DDS||50058|
|Hale & Hale DDS||50059|
|Jody Del Vecchio||50433|
|Jody Del Vecchio||50434|
|Jody Del Vecchio||50435|
|Jody Del Vecchio||50436|
|Jody Del Vecchio||50437|
|Jody Del Vecchio||50438|
|Jody Del Vecchio||50439|
|Jody Del Vecchio||50440|
|Jody Del Vecchio||50441|
|Jody Del Vecchio||50442|
|Jody Del Vecchio||50443|
|Jody Del Vecchio||50444|
|Jody Del Vecchio||50445|
|Jody Del Vecchio||50446|
|Jody Del Vecchio||50447|
|Miriam Sandy Hopkinson Sr||50027|
|Miriam Sandy Hopkinson Sr||50028|
|Miriam Sandy Hopkinson Sr||50029|
|Ronald Kaloper Eldridge||50024|
|Ronald Kaloper Eldridge||50025|
|Ronald Kaloper Eldridge||50026|
Sunday, April 21, 2013
I went to see the movie 42 today with my son. He really wanted to see it and I was hoping to expose him to the lesson(s) that could come out the story of Jackie Robinson. After seeing the movie, we sat and talked and I am confident I made the right decision to take him. I am writing this short post to my son Jaden….in case he finds himself in life needing a reminder…… and to anyone else that might be listening.
I sat through this movie mesmerized. I love any movie about baseball but this was for very different reasons and honestly my mind was a blur. I started wondering about the type of person I am today and really hoped that, had I lived during the time period when Jackie Robinson entered major league baseball, I would have been the guy that befriended Jackie Robinson and was accepting of change. I would like to think I would have been the guy speaking his mind about how the world should work and the guy that stood up against racism. I really believe I would have been that person. Growing up, while equality among color had made great strides….the world certainly was not perfect. I was always the guy that tried to make friends with and stick up for the guy/girl on the outside……..be it for color or any number of reasons. I was the guy that wanted everyone to feel accepted and fit in. Even later in life, albeit somewhat silly, I remember buying a t-shirt from Timberland in Chicago that read “Give Racism the Boot”. I wore that shirt proudly and in places that might have been considered risky. Many times I came close to getting my ass kicked but not by white people…..by African Americans because from afar they just saw a white dude wearing a shirt that had the word ‘racism’ on it. They assumed the worst until getting closer and actually reading what the shirt said. We would usually just laugh, exchange some words and move on but every one of those many instances broke down the color barrier a little more.
I am thankful today, that my children do not understand racism. Each of my children has friends of every race and religion and that is all they know. I have mentioned this before but I literally think my 5 year old daughter is color blind. She does have some African American friends who she thankfully only knows as ‘friends’. It is quite remarkable but if you ask my daughter to describe these friends, she will talk about what they wear or their sense of humor or how smart they are but she will never ever say they are ‘black’. Ask her 20 different ways; the color of their skin will never ever be included in one of her replies. It is the way things should be and I hope she applies this to everything in life from color to religion to sexual preference. We are all just people and if we unite as one, we can make the world a better place. I really think this is a big part of the message of the movie……for my son and for all of us.
“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives”
The story of Jackie Robinson tied to racism in the world but if you step back it is really tied to one man helping to change the world. Look at how far we have come since 1947 when Jackie Robinson entered major league baseball. Look where the world was then and look where it is today. After the movie, that is what I sat and told my son. One man made a difference. One man changed the world. You are one man, you can do exactly the same thing. Today, the world is not perfect. We have made great strides in some areas of injustice but there are still a lot of improvements to be made. There is disease, there is suffering and unfortunately race issues still exist as we have seen by recent events. We can all as individuals jump in and lend a hand. We can all as individuals make a difference. We can all as individuals make the world a better place and, as I have said many times, if we as individuals come together as one with this mentality, changing the world is a certainty. My fight is against cancer. What is your fight against? There is plenty of room for change in this world. It is just waiting for you to jump in and make it happen.
To my son and my daughter, may you always treat everyone equally, may you fight for those that are treated less than equal and may you always know that within you is the power to make a difference.