Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas from Jake!

Merry Christmas from Jake!

Howdy, Y’all! This is Jake the Wondermutt. I’m getting older and spend my time napping. Keeping up with my people is exhausting!

Our year started well. Abbie played BOOM softball. Kait played Lonestar Soccer. She built the Keystone River Run Gondola and wrote a song. D’Lyn substituted at HBMS. Then … wait for it…. They brought home a puppy for Valentine’s Day. A puppy! Things haven’t been the same since Grayleigh Breck arrived. Breck ate a roll of toilet paper; I took a nap. My people skied/rode Beaver Creek and A-Basin for Spring Break. Epic snowball fight. The girls did their first double black diamond. Abbie & Kait were selected for the DFW 3-Day Youth Corps. Breck ate Mom’s book club book. I took a nap. Kait & Cate performed their original “He is the Light” at the Talent Show. God’s Not Dead! Franklin BBQ is worth the wait! Easter at the Creek with the Roarks – the septic system backed up. Ew! Biggs chaperoned the 5th grade Field Trip and toured an underground Prohibition-era brothel. D’Lyn took 7 kids to the Wyldlife Food Fight – then had to bring them home. Kait medaled at the District Robotics Competition. She got a concussion at soccer practice. Abbie played basketball, ran track and threw the discus for HBMS. Her ACT scores were State Recognized, and she is over-qualified to be a college football player. She was inducted into the NJHS. Kait loved wakeboard, basketball and ACU camps; Abbie hated Cavs Course. Breck ate a sock. I napped. Abbie played softball with STS. Reese’s Oreos, Lick Ice Cream, Krause Springs and Opi’s BBQ. Kait lived the dream at Rice Soccer Camp. Abbie aced Rice Volleyball Camp and Wyldlife Camp. D’Lyn’s hair was famous. Grannie Nelva’s 80th birthday! Breck ate the rug. Abbie FINALLY got her braces off. Abbie & Kait spent two weeks at Camp Blue Haven. Abbie earned the Bible award and “Crested” again. Biggs & D’Lyn fished Matagorda Bay with Scott Baehren. D’Lyn won. Breck ate a bra. I napped. Abbie was selected to play softball in Italy next summer! Ice Bucket Challenge! Kait is in 6th grade with her first locker. Abbie is in 8th – and is taking two HS classes. Her calculator is smarter than Mom. She played Volleyball for HBMS. That girl can serve! Breck learned to hunt Opening Weekend (I abstained.) Abbie joined Austin Stars 01; Biggs is coaching. Kait loves Wyldlife and her leaders. Shake it Off! Biggs & D’Lyn began a 4-6 week bathroom renovation to be finished by Halloween. Kait turned 12 and celebrated at Krause Springs. Biggs & D’Lyn celebrated their 17th anniversary. Breck flooded the kitchen, pantry and pool potty. A week later, Biggs was in Germany when it rained, flooded the kitchen, collapsed the retaining wall and the pool became a pond. Biggs got a leg lamp and a big mess for his birthday. Breck landscaped the back yard. We did not get Ebola. Or droplets. Abbie hits like Mike. Breck threw a party while our people were out of town. I napped. The police were called. Breck got hate mail. D’Lyn dyed her hair pink. Kait got braces – again. Houston hugs at the Renaissance Festival. Breck destroyed the trampoline and an ice chest. D’Lyn stalked Jen Hatmaker. Team Tiara raised over $60,000 for breast cancer. D’Lyn walked, and Abbie & Kait gave great hugs. Shiny Hineys everywhere! Abbie turned 14 on Day 3! Austin Stars ROCKED the Fall – can’t wait for Spring. Hand warmers in your bra. Breck called the police. Peanut Butter Fudge Cake for Thanksgiving in Waxahachie. Thanksgiving soccer tourney in Plano = time with friends. Kait is almost as tall as Abbie. Biggs is now “self-employed.” D’Lyn needs Duck Face for Dummies. Our bathroom STILL isn’t finished. Team Tiara celebrates 10 years and the $1 Million mark in 2015. Abbie will walk with D’Lyn! And… Must mail this quickly to say the girls had all A’s!

We hope you had a great 2014 and are wishing you a
Fantabulous 2015!  May God Bless You!

Love, Jake & Co. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I Can't Think of a Better Time....

I haven't been here in a long, long time. I needed a break, and I took it. I'm back. I'm not sure if my four friends are still here. If you are, thank you!

Today is #GivingTuesday, and I can't think of a better day to come home to my blog.

It's been awhile. We moved to Austin. The girls have grown. We got a puppy. I backed over a utility pole yesterday. Life is good.

And I'm still walking.

2015 will mark Team Tiara's 10th year to walk in the 3-Day for the Cure. Next year we will cross the $1 Million mark. Whether you are considering walking with our team, or with another team, or solo, this post is for you.

If you've never walked before, you have no idea what you're getting into, I get it. You have NO idea just how much I get it. After nine walks, I have it down. I know the route. I know all the ins and outs.  BUT I was once in your shoes. (Actually, I didn't even have good shoes back then -- yours are probably much better!)

As you ponder whether or not to take the first step and Actually Sign Up, I'm hoping I can quiet some of your fears and help build your excitement.

A couple of weeks ago, I polled a few friends (okay, all of Facebook) to find out what held people back from walking.  I have to tell you, the fundraising was the #1 thing. 

"Fundraising is daunting."

You're right. It is. To walk in the 3-Day, you are required to raise at least $2300. That's a lot of money.  It is. And a whole year may seem like an awfully short time to raise it.

But here's the deal. It's not $2300 in a day or a week. It's $2300 in 11 months -- if you register today. Everyone on our team raises it differently, but the options are endless. Letters and emails work for me. Grandma Brenda sold hot dogs and drinks outside a grocery store. We've had poker tournaments and sold snow cones. And we've sold LOTS of T-shirts. Bake sales. Car washes. Baby-sitting.  Really. Endless opportunities. I know Abbie Biggs has grown up with this, but if she's not going to balk at $2300, I think you can do it too!!

As one of my friends said, the harder and bigger the amount, the grander the feeling of accomplishment. You can feel like a hero for a song by running any number of 5K's out there. But if you want to make a HUGE impact, the bigger the challenge, the greater the reward.

"I don't like asking people for money."

I get it. I don't like asking people for help. Never have. BUT don't look at it like that. You're not asking them to send you on a golf outing at Pebble Beach. You're asking them to fund breast cancer research. You aren't asking them to help YOU, really. You're asking them to help you help others. This is NOT a selfish pursuit. In fact, I'd wager to bet 3-Day walkers are among the least selfish people in the world. Remember, I've walked this thing nine times. The acts of service are legendary.

Another thing to remember -- people want to help. Almost everyone you meet has been touched by breast cancer in some way. They want to help. You are simply helping them find an easy, tax-deductible way to do it.

"What if I can't raise $2300??"

What if?? Let's say you raise $500 by March, hit a wall, and never raise another dollar. GREAT! Do you have any idea what $500 will do in the breast cancer world? You've just paid for FIVE mammograms for women / men who are uninsured or under-insured. You've potentially saved FIVE lives! You've made a difference -- in no way have you "failed."

What if you get to November and are $500 short and just cannot get it done?  I know every team is different but on Team Tiara, we have NEVER had a walker stick it out to the end and NOT been able to walk. I don't know how it happens -- it just does. We have had too many Pinktober Miracles to count. The money comes. It just does. If you step out in faith, it's crazy what God will do with that.

"Giving shouldn't hinge on you completing the grueling and time-consuming training and walking."

I'm a bit conflicted on this one. As I said earlier, the bigger the challenge, the greater the reward.  But I'm pretty open with people on this one. Every year, my goal is to walk all 60 miles. That doesn't always happen. Sometimes the work behind the scenes is more important than the actual mileage. 

While a LOT of walkers train like crazy, a lot don't. And while a lot of walkers do all 60 miles, many walkers sweep a few or a lot. I really think it's more about the money we raise than coming home unable to walk the next week. Because of that, all walkers on our team are encouraged to be smart, listen to their bodies, and sweep whenever necessary.

"I don't know what I'll be doing next November."

I get it. I can't plan a week's worth of groceries. Life happens. We've had walkers who had to drop at the last minute due to surgeries and grad school and all sorts of stuff.  In the end, even if they weren't able to walk, they still Saved Lives! I will say, though, we have many more walkers who make that commitment and stick to it.

"My family has _____ that weekend."

I get it. Opening Weekend is a religious holiday in Texas. Your daughter has a big soccer game that Saturday. Life happens. It does. But here's the deal. If you're like me, there'll be another big soccer game the next weekend. Or the next. Your Honey can leave the kids with their Gramma. Think about walking for the kids who don't have a Gramma to stay with or the ones whose Moms will never see a soccer game. If you are breathing, you are blessed. And you have the ability to bless others with this walk.

"I can't take off work."

Okay. So join us Friday night and walk 40 miles instead of 60. Yes, you'll miss Babe's Banana Pudding. You can make it work. I know I'm blessed because I don't have this issue, but I HAVE to believe you can make it work.

"I don't know anyone -- 60 miles is a lot to walk alone."

You're right -- it would be. BUT you don't have to do it alone. You can join a team like Team Tiara or a host of others and have an immediate family to walk with. Or you can walk solo and meet friends along the way. Either way, you don't have to walk alone.

"My kids are young."

I get it. Abbie & Kait weren't always middle-schoolers. When we started this road, they were 3 and 5. I remember "training" (I didn't really get the whole training thing back then.) while they accompanied me in their Fisher Price Jeep. AND I remember pushing it home when the battery died.

I remember those days. I remember desperately needing to do something for ME. I remember how good it felt just to get out of the house and walk.

And even more than that, I watch two girls who grew up with this -- two girls who inherently give of themselves. That time you spend will be blessed, and generations will reap the rewards.

"I'm not in shape."

Yeah, buddy. Let me tell you -- I get it. When I started this I thought half a mile was something. And 60? Holy Cow.

But it changes you. It changes your shape and your attitude and your outlook on life. Training a little or a lot makes you stronger. If you're not in shape today, you have 11 months to get that way. And if you're not in shape then, you have sweep vans driving by to give you a bump forward.

Exercise does not have a downside. Ever.

"I don't have time to train."

Okay. Don't. I don't follow the training schedule, either. I do a few walks beginning September 1, but none of those are over 7 miles. If you can walk 3 miles, you can walk the 3-Day -- there's a pit stop every 3 miles or so. And if you can't, you just hop in sweep van and bump forwards. It's more a mind thing than a physical thing if you ask me.  If you DO train, you'll be in incredible shape. Again, exercise does not have a downside.

"I can't walk because of ____ (insert health issue / injury here.)"

If you simply can't walk, the 3-Day is ALWAYS in need of volunteers and crew. AND Team Tiara is ALWAYS in need of walker-stalkers and ground support. We can find a place for you somewhere!!

"I've been doing this thing for years, and I'm just plain tired."

I get it. I am, too. But I can't quit on my peeps. I can't imagine quitting on Rachel or Saralyn or Grandma Brenda. Yes, this is incredibly time-consuming. Yes, I'd love to spend three days on a beach somewhere. BUT I do this thing for those who don't have choices anymore.

"I have a cause that's just as important to me."

YAY!  You go, girl! You get out there and you do your part to fix your thing. I'm going to hang out over here and work on saving your boobies while you're at it. It takes a Village. As long as you're doing something, how can we complain about that??

"My ____ had a different kind of cancer."

I'm so sorry. I know Pinktober is overwhelming. And I know it probably hurts you because it's not Tealtober or Purpletober or Goldtober.  But here's the deal. I firmly believe that if we can find a CURE for THIS cancer, the others will fall in line. In the meantime, the research and developments we are funding benefit many other cancers as well. Again, you go fix your thing and let me work on this piece of the puzzle.

"I don't want to sleep in a tent."

Okay. We have a block of rooms at a REALLY nice hotel nearby and will be thrilled to hook you up with that!

"I don't do Porta Potties."

I don't, either. But Porta Potties trump chemo any day. They really aren't that bad -- as long as you remember to lock the door.

So here's the deal....

I've covered just about every "negative" my friends offered up. But you already knew I wouldn't stop there -- right??  Here are just a few positives to get you pumped up.

Firemen. Peanut butter & jelly grammiches. Instant friends. Survivors. Youth Corps. Kids cheering outside schools. Hugs. Prayer. Tiaras. Shiny hineys. Dance Party. Helping others. Fight the Beast. The Memory Tent. Channel your anger. Sisters. Victory. Advocate. I can do Something. Honoring life. Because I can. Renew the fight. Giving back.

And it all comes back around to that. Giving back.

It's #GivingTuesday, y'all. I can't think of a better way to give than a gift that will keep giving.  Hop on over to Team Tiara's 3-Day Page and register to join our team.  It's only $35 through Thursday.  You can spend $35 to register for a 5K, get a T-shirt and go on. Or you can spend $35 to register for three days that will save lives -- and the life you save may be your own. 

If you're STILL not up for walking with us, please consider making a donation.

Thank you!!