Monday, November 30, 2009

Who we are~

I have been thinking lately that so much of who we are and how we define ourselves is based on our physical ability.  For example growing up I was defined as an athlete I did ever sport, swimming, softball, volleyball, basketball, track.  I swam competitively for 11 years, this is who I was, I was an athlete.  In college I worked at a gym I was a trainer, aerobics and spin instructor I was active to say the least. Throughout my entire adult life I have been focused on fitness and health, some of my friends would venture to say I was "obsessed" with it.  I grew up this way.  My mother, as long as I can remember, has been a fitness freak, aerobics instructor, personal trainer, body builder, Pilate's instructor and so on.  It's in my blood, it's who I was, it's how I defined myself.  I was proud of it.

Most of my adventures around the world have been defined by physical ability.  I backpacked and hitch hiked my way through New Zealand carrying a bag that was way to heavy, I built houses in Africa with my hands, I cycled my way through Thailand and Cambodia, I have swam in numerous oceans, climbed countless mountains, looked for adventure everywhere I went.  I snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef, went white water rafting and jumped out of a plane at 14,000 feet all in my 25th year.  This is who I am, this is how I define myself.

I have always been fiercely independent and prided myself on the strength of my body the things it could do.  I was always the strongest, the one who could open that horribly tight lid, the one who could lift just about anything.  I loved having a firm hand shake. This was me these were my abilities.

I am struggling with who I am becoming and letting go of who I was for so many years.  I hate needing help, I hate being reminded everyday of the things I can no longer do by the lack of my ability.  I hate that I can't read my favorite magazine "Shape" because it reminds me of all the things I can't do.  I hate that when I watch a movie all I can think is how is that woman able to walk in those heels, get that outfit on, carry that baby?  It is hard for me to fathom I have run my last race, or lifted my last weight.  Will I ever be able to write properly again or cut my own nails, will I ever do another jumping jack, will I ever get to be a mom?  These are my struggles and at the moment they feel very heavy.

I know I have other attributes and that in time the pain of my loss will ease but how do you change who you are or rather who you were? 

This too shall pass~

Monday, November 16, 2009

What a weekend~

Mike and I have so much to be thankful for! We are surrounded by people who love,support and comfort us. In the past three weeks we have had a fundraiser every weekend all put on by our friends.

This past Friday night my Starlight family threw Mike and I an All American trivia night. There were about 11 teams and it was so well organised, thanks Loz and Tash! Everyone had to dress in an American theme. My team was "Double Wide" we went as trailer trash.  Not only did they raise us heaps of cash but it was such a fun and entertaining night, we had a blast!  We can't thank everyone enough.

Mike and I have been overwhelmed by everyones generosity, we are continually reminded how great humans can be to each other.

On Saturday we went over to our friend Margie and Mike's house for lunch.  They live about 20 minutes outside of the city in what seems like a forest paradise.  Margie made an amazing lunch and we had a lovely time exploring their property.

On Sunday I met up with my friend Sim for coffee, then my mother-in-law came over to help us clean our house.  What a lovely lady!  We then went over to our friend Gabby's for a swim.

What a great weekend, busy but great.

FYI- I don't smoke, nor do I recommend it for pregnant women.  I do however recommend hot dogs.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

Guest Blogger~Mike

G'day folks, i'm stopping by to share some thoughts and extend some thank yous.

It seems to me that there is an aspect of human nature that violently and instinctually resists pain and suffering in other people.

When global disasters such as the 2004 boxing day tsunami, or the bush fires in Victoria earlier this year occur individuals and communities rail against the injustice of the situation and find ways to make a difference.

I think it must be about trying to keep a balance in our little worlds. If something terrible happens and makes us feel like evil or injustice are dominating things then in order to feel good about life people take action to correct the scales.

We donate money, write notes, give hugs, coordinate events, hold vigils, advocate for change and share thoughts and feelings.

Stacy and I are facing a challenge and a personal disaster with our motor neuron disease diagnosis. Our experience has been that individuals and communities close to us are driven to attempt to redress this imbalance.

On Saturday the 31st of October our great friends Tony, Genevieve, Mat and Sandra ran a frisbee tournament called the Big Sky 9's.

This frisbee tournament involved 14 teams, 140 players, 10 hours of frisbee games and some concerted fund raising efforts. There is plenty of information on the Big Sky blog site listed above including some figures of the financial success of the day.

It was an excellent day and was a wonderful outpouring of love from the frisbee community to Stace and I. We are so grateful to the organising team, the volunteers who helped on the day and everyone who came to participate as players and spectators.

It was an amazing day, plus Stay's Allstars won the final.

On Sunday the 8th of November our little friend Leila Hutton organised a fun run fund raiser for Stacy and I. In Leila's words she had the idea for a fun run, expected that maybe 40 people or so would get involved and it would be a nice little day.

The reality was that it was a nice little day involving around 200 people, multiple donated raffle prizes, a delicious home cooked breakfast and 3km of hard but enjoyable yards around the Roma St. parklands.

Both events were always going to be successful as they were excellent positive events that Stacy and I could focus on and take strength and comfort from. What none of the organisers or Stacy and I could realistically had imagined was the quantity and magnitude of people's generosity.

On both of the fund raising days Stacy and I were overwhelmed by the dramatic gestures of kindness displayed by people who wished to help out in this difficult situation.

The events were amazing as a tool for easing the difficulties that Stacy and I will face over the coming time, and as an act of human kindness guided towards creating balance in our little world they were both incredibly successful.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the events. Thank you to all the people who made donations for raffles and personal donations to us. Thank you to Leila, Gen, Tony, Mat and Sandra for coordinating the events and providing an opportunity for people to express their support.

To everyone who has been so loving to Stacy and I, thank you very much. We feel like we are wrapped up in the community and very supported.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What a month~

About 3 weeks ago I got a call from Brad who is the husband of Tawnya, my best friend since high school. Mike and I are the God-Parents to Audrey, their soon to be daughter. Because we live so far away I didn’t really get to be a part of Tawn’s pregnancy. I really wanted to see her pregnant, but it just didn’t seem like that was a possibility until Brad offered to fly me home to surprise Tawn at her baby shower. I couldn’t believe his generosity and of course accepted his offer.

I flew into Montana on a Saturday night and the baby shower was on Sunday afternoon. It was the best surprise ever!! I have a video of it that I will post once it is downloaded. I was only home for a whirlwind week, but it was so worth it. I was able to spend time with my family as well as help Tawnya with some preparations for the baby. It was a very special time and cannot thank Brad enough.

Fast forward to this weekend, on October 28, 2009 Audrey Rae Gilchrist was born!! I was sooo excited! Mom and baby are doing great. Then on November 1, 2009 my friend Lynsey who was due November 21st gave birth to her daughter Tavia Lili Gayton! I cannot believe both my girls came in the same week! I am so happy for both of them and thank God for their safe delivery.

Oh man Mike and I have had a huge weekend! I will post all about it very soon.

Stay tuned~

I thought I would leave you with a little preview. First picture is Tavia Lili and second is Audrey Rae. Soo cute!