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Happy Birthday, Beautiful

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

Today is the day I most look forward to each year. Beautiful thinks my birthday is my fave, but it’s really hers. Sure, I get excited about mine out of celebration of kicking CF’s butt one more year and seeing what she has secretly planned behind my back, but I get more of a kick doing whatever the heck she wants and trying to surprise her.

This year has been a roller coaster on many fronts (mostly related to stress in one way or another from one source or another), but a combination of dedication and stubbornness on both our parts has us ready to take on the next 8 months of 2011 with a vengeance! So, while today may not be the most well-planned day we’ve ever had, we are sure to have fun… and I’ll see if I can slip in some surprises along the way. She thinks I don’t plan things because I’m so good at actually freaking out about some things (like presents she asks for) but she doesn’t see scheming. Yes, Babe, I scheme about your big day, too.

Since you’re reading this, presumably before I wake up, don’t rush, but let’s try to leave a little early, pack our lunch like planned, wear street clothes over our beachwear, and take a detour to eat. I am pretty sure you’ll like it.

Take a walk with me down memory lane…

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My Trip to Chicago for a Conference

Back in 2005, I was already blogging about a game called World of Warcraft. I started on Blogspot and began writing every day as a way of journaling my way through my levels playing the game, as it’s a game that your character “levels up” as you play and gain experience. My memory was notoriously bad enough to warrant wanting to keep a record of things. I don’t know why, but I’m grateful that I did, as it would later become my career and way I bring in money. Websites and writing, that is, not playing the game.

I soon moved to the WordPress platform when my traffic reached levels that I thought deserved a domain name, so I bought a domain name and got a terrific hosting plan. I distinctly remember how painful it was to purchase an $80/yr plan up front, but it forever changed my life as I continued to write, break my site, fix my site, and grow an audience.

One blog I visited regularly at work was a haven for positive professionals who mused about life topics and business decisions. While I didn’t own a business yet (though I fantasized daily about being my own boss), I found that I had a knack for weighing options and discerning right and wrong in complex ethical situations based on others’ feedback of my comments. The Spring after Beautiful and I were wed – Spring of 2007 – the community around this blog organized a conference in Chicago called SOBCon: Successful Online Bloggers Conference.

Houston, we have a problem

I was flat broke. We were making enough to get by, but a $200 plane ticket, overnight in a Chicago hotel, and a $600 conference ticket were all out of the question. [Read more…]

Flat Out Exhausted: Day 1

Chi-townI’m in Chicago for a 4-day conference on leadership and loyalty. Everyone attending is in some way connected to a website or social media, many of us own our own companies. Some own empires worth millions of dollars. It’s a very exciting group of people to surround yourself with to show everyone, even the most beginner of the group, one thing above all else: you can do it, too.

Everyone speaking at the event began somewhere. One, if not the, most successful speaker in attendance was working in a retail wireless store as recently as 2006. He now commands a daily speaker’s fee that blew my mind the first time I read it. Is that my goal? Yes, and no. I want to connect with people and help them, just as I have been. If that happens to bring me success of that level that equates to financial gain in order to secure a future for my family should something happen to me, that’s great, too. One thing will never change: I am a giver who gives until it’s stupid. That is my nature, but I’ve learned to be wise with my gifts in the last few years, and I look forward to the opportunity to

What is most exhausting about this weekend is that they talk your ears off. Imagine being able to have a conversation with one of your role models. What would you talk about? What would you ask? Let’s explore that after I indulge myself telling you about my day first.

Apple StoreI woke up at 3am to get to the airport for a 6:50 flight that took me an hour back in time, only to start a gauntlet run. I had a client meeting a good 15 minute walk away, carrying my bag and camera. Then they drove me to my next client, and I took the bus back to the hotel… only I had to walk the last 1/4 mile in the 41 degree rain with 20mph winds. Then, I got to my room to charge my phone before our evening social… only to realize I left my cable at home hooked up to my keyboard. I schlepped 0.6 miles each way to the flagship Apple Store with the glass apple window to get a new cable. Cold and wet, I had 20 minutes to charge my phone.

Back to my point… Don’t reserve yourself for mediocrity, let alone failure. What makes the difference is determination, passion, the intangibles of life that you can’t teach, but you can certainly learn through experience. When everything stops being seen through a “they have what I want” lens, you will start to see your own successes. I still forget that more often than I care to admit, but I’m going into tomorrow with that from the start. Sure, I do want what they have, but I’m darn proud of where I stand today to be in this group of people working to make our value propositions to everyone even better.

Don’t let having CF stand in the way of anything you want that you should be able to do in your mind. Be reasonable, but think big and make it happen.

Stay tuned for more exhaustion and insight. The insight may have to wait until I return, decompress, and edit hundreds of photos, but they will come, and you will like what is in store.

I leave you with the only view of the Willis Tower I’ll have since the weather here is not going to make the $17 ticket to the top worth $2.

Willis Tower

 

Living With or Avoiding Anxiety

Nail-biterAnxiety is a common symptom of CF. There is anxiety from finances, whether or not something is going to make you sick, if you can get the meds you need in time and under budget, or if you can make it out of clinic without IVs or in the hospital.

I think there is a line chart that depicts anxiety in the life of a CFer. It starts low as a child in a healthy home environment, so long as their parents don’t pass on the anxiety they had when they found out. However, it’s high if you’re diagnosed later in life, but then diminishes once you realize it’s not the end of the world. Anxiety enters when trouble does. Sickness. Resistance to meds. Hearing the “T” word for the first time: transplant.

I’ll stop here for a second to pause and either remind or inform everyone that anxiety doesn’t do anyone any good. You can’t control the number of hairs on your head, your height, or the days of your life. There are some things that are always going to be out of your control, while others are under your influence by how you live and think. One thing is certain about all of these things: anxiety never changes the outcome. Since it has no positive bearing on things, we are advised “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Phil 4:6. It is okay to be concerned about things that press on you, but do not dwell on them and allow them to get a hold on your psyche.

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