The Life of the Party

So here’s something you may or may not care to know about me: I hate parties. Ever since I stopped drinking, I have stopped enjoying parties.

I love to emcee events and go to things that require me to have a specific role, but the idea of wandering around and chatting with people while totally sober is, well, sobering. If there are more than 5 people in attendance and it happens at night, I’m usually a no-show.

Last night I hosted a fundraising party for the Athens Race for the Cure. My girlfriend, who works for a company called “Thirty-One Gifts”, offered to donate a portion of her commission, so in a weak moment, I invited 31 or so people over to my home. Then I started to panic. What should I feed them? What should I say to them? Where will they all sit?

These are not high-falutin’ big-wigs from some fancy corporation that I’m trying to impress, these are my friends. And I was still scared!

I woke up the day of the party and had a severe talk with myself about how this was meant to be FUN and about how I would not scream at my children for getting the house dirty or touching the frosting on the cupcakes. I promised myself that I would enjoy the evening, and the day leading up to it.

And I did.

At one point last night, I was standing in the middle of my house when I was overcome by how blessed I am. I offered up a silent prayer, “Thank you God for bringing such amazing women into my home and into my life.”

As soon as gratitude entered my thoughts, my anxiety left. You can only think about one thing at a time, and instead of thinking about being the life of the party, I was finally able to think about all the beautiful lives at the party. Lives that God so carefully and purposefully has placed into my life.

FullSizeRender 6I can’t promise I’m turning into a regular party animal, or even a social butterfly, but I think huge progress was made last night in the way I will approach upcoming festivities. Gratitude beats anxiety every time.

And if I truly can’t make it to an event, I promise to be grateful for the invite.

Let Me Try Again

I blew it. I was on a radio show Monday morning and now, two days later, I am still wrestling with something I said. Has that ever happened to you? Something comes out of your mouth that was okay, but it wasn’t exactly what you meant to say? I want a do-over. Let me see if I can say it a little better in writing…

Here’s the situation. I was on the show to talk about my cancer journey and the upcoming Athens Race for the Cure. I had an entire hour to share my story! Do you know what it would cost to buy an hour of radio time? This was a priceless opportunity. Anyway, I digress.

The radio host asked where I found my strength and humor through my battle with breast cancer. I told him the story that I’ve shared on my blog, that after I had taken the tests, but before I even had the diagnosis, I felt God impressing something on my heart. The message was this: It’s going to be cancer. I need you to walk this journey publicly to show other women that I am with them in times of trouble. I need you to show them what my love looks like.

The radio host asked an important follow-up question. He said, “What advice do you have for people who don’t have your faith?”

That is where I blew it. I went on to stammer something about confiding in good friends and putting your feelings down on paper.

What I should have said is, “Get God now! In the good times, when you have your wits about you and can learn how much He loves you and all the promises He has made for His believers. He will come to you in your suffering, but it’s way easier if you walk into the suffering with Him holding your hand.”

You know, I think one of the sneakiest tricks of the devil is to let us have the good life. When all is well, we can become complacent. God? Why do I need God? I have a new truck and a 55 inch flatscreen. I’ll find God later, if I need Him. Right now, I don’t want to rock the boat. Things are good.

Rock the boat, people. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but at some point, you will need God. You will need his protection, provision, healing, counseling, wisdom, and eventually, you will need a ticket through the pearly gates of Heaven.

So that’s it. That’s my do-over. Thank you for letting me say here, what I should have had the guts to say on that radio program. Rock the boat my friends. Please. Get God now.

My Sweet Ride

I am clearly getting too big for my britches. Thanks to the Ohio University nursing students and other Race for the Cure volunteers, my face is plastered all over town. Going to Walmart? I’m there. How about your favorite coffee shop? Yep. Heading to the barber? I’m sitting in the window. I’m even in a men’s bathroom on campus. Don’t ask me how I know that.

In case you haven’t seen it, here it is, the official Race Poster. IMG_3864

Yours truly gets to be the honorary chair of the first ever Athens Race for the Cure, so you have to deal with seeing my picture all over town.

The Komen Columbus people have been setting up speaking engagements and media interviews for me. Just this morning I got to talk about the race on The Party Line, Southeastern Ohio’s oldest (and premiere) radio talk show.

I dropped off my car at the mechanic and then headed into the studio. When I was finished, I took the loaner truck to my next appointment, stopping at the bank and the grocery store along the way.

Well, who would have thought that some posters and a radio interview could have turned me into an instant celebrity? No one actually said anything to me, but as I was driving around town, people kept smiling and waving at me. I’d approach another car coming from the other direction and there’d be a hand held out the window in a friendly greeting. I felt so loved… and then all of a sudden I realized, they’re not waving at me, they’re waving at the truck. Oh, maybe I should have told you, this is what my ride looked like today: IMG_4054

It was Paul, the Muffler Man’s Chevy Tahoe. People were all excited to see me, because they thought they were seeing Paul.

I knew from the first time I met him, that Paul was one of the good guys. He is kind and genuine and hard-working and really an overall great guy. But as I drove around town, I realized that Paul has been so nice for so long to so many people, that his reputation precedes him. People see his truck and get excited thinking, “Hey! It’s Paul!”

I want to be like that. I want to live a life so full of integrity and kindness that people automatically associate my name with goodness, but it takes time. Reputations, well, good ones at least, are not grown overnight. You can’t buy it off Amazon or force it on people. You have to work hard, consistently, to earn that reputation. For me, that means choosing to be kind everyday, regardless of my moody emotions that threaten to rat me out. Some days I fail, but some days I don’t. And if Paul can do it, so can I. And so can you.

It was kind of fun thinking that people were totally loving me as I drove around town, but I gotta tell you, being loved feels good, but getting to love on others feels a whole lot better!