Archive for April, 2011

26.2 is wicked fah

Here is a sneak peak of what the last weekend of my life looked like…trip created to support our friends running the marathon…turned into the trip of a lifetime.

If anyone is looking for a creative genius on their team, contact Ashley Ganski.


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Sneek Peek Sundays

Every Sunday I will attempt to share an excerpt from my work in progress…”You Can Hope”.

So, I’ve been in a bit of a blog hiatus. In the last month my time in Chicago has been limited…which means my time at my computer has mostly been spent talking about Autism or going on a little something that starts with ‘face’ and ends with ‘book’. But…the traveling is coming to a halt and You Can Hope is going back up on the list of priorities.

This post is written in honor of 2 of my very best friends who just completed the Boston Marathon three days ago with astonishing  times. It was such an honor to be a part of this journey with them starting 2 years ago and watching it come to completion this past Monday in Boston. More to come on the trip of a lifetime later.

October, 2009

There’s a word I don’t throw around too frequently….joy. Joy and I have had quite the battle in the last 7 months.

Pre march 26th I would call myself a cheap laugh. It doesn’t take long for me to start smiling. I think animals dressed as humans are hilarious. I love sentimental moments. I get choked up at the movie Elf. I love making lemonade when the bad day lemons come in. I really do think Disneyland is the happiest place on earth.

Enter the worst day.

I can count on one hand the moments that I have experienced pure joy in the last 7 months.

Now, I can add a second hand to the mix. Yesterday my two best friends ran 26.2 miles and qualified for the Boston Marathon. I was able to walk with them through the last 6 months.  And, when I say walk, I really mean eat brunch every Saturday with them after their long runs, talk about achy muscles and pretend like I’m in the best shape of my life.

Yesterday all that training paid off at the Chicago marathon. I’ve never been more proud of these two. They deserved every second of it. And for the first time my emotions, my tears, were not about sadness or pain…they were  pure joy, pride, and excitement for my friends. My raw emotion coming out in true form.

All someone had to say was ‘ their she is’ and the bedlam would begin. I would start yelling, screaming, and jumping out of control. And then, when that moment happened, when I combined my emotions with an actual visual of Janae or Charlie…forget about it. Everyone within a mile radius could hear what joy sounded like.  

Raw emotion seen in a positive light. First tears of joy I’ve cried in 7 months. This is a trend I cannot wait to begin.

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Every Sunday I will attempt to share an excerpt from my work in progress…”You Can Hope”.

Spoiler alert. This one is pretty intense. And puts me in a very vulnerable place, which is not easy for me. I have choosen to not share this excerpt for about two months…but if my intention is to write a raw, authentic, grief book…I might as well start here. Please feel free to share thoughts in the comments section, but if this  is brought up in person I will probably instantly shut down. Just as an FYI! haha.


Yesterday was the funeral.

During the reflection time, Greg and I spoke. Greg’s eulogy was the finest example anyone could have ever done of showcasing our dad’s life. It was an absolute picture of beauty in the midst of such pain. The perfect showcase of a son an incredible father had raised.

When the mic was handed to me, for the first time in 25 years, I had no words.  

Now, here we are,  getting ready to bury my dad’s body, and I finally knew what I needed to do. What I wanted to say. I wish I could talk to others about who my dad was, or what he meant to me. I wish I could be strong like my brother. But, in that moment, the only words I had were for my dad. I needed to thank him. Only him. For what he has shown me. What he has taught me. What I will never forget. And I needed to make a promise to him of what I was going to do for the rest of my life.

 So, on the back of one of the many sympathy cards that I had in my bedroom, I started writing. And once I started, I couldn’t stop.

 Dad- I will always strive to be the person you think I am. The person you saw me as. The person you knew I would become. I don’t know what I’m going to do without you. I hate that you are not here. But, I commit myself to God through this. I will strive to have faith like you. I will work hard. I will find a man that you would approve of.  I will make sure my kids know the Lord.  I will pray with them. I will pray with Mom and Greg. I will listen to Mom. I will talk with Greg. I will be here. This will always be my home. I will continue to make you proud. I will live out Romans 12. I will disciple people like you did. I will affect change in kid’s lives. I will love people. I will see you again Dad. Thank you for making me who I am. I love every part of it because it means that I have a piece of you with me always. Talk to me often Dad. Tell me you’re here. I can’t do this without you. I’ll take care of Greg, Greg will take care of us.  We will all see you again.

I got rid of all my words that morning. The rest of the day, I hardly spoke.



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The Joy List

I’m not someone who always has her to-do list done.

I’m actually the opposite. Usually, I’m adding item number 1.5 million onto that said list.

But….having items ‘not crossed off’ my list doesn’t stress me out. It gives my energy. I’m not what you would call a ‘sitter’. I’m more of a 27 year old with untreated ADD.  I’m rocking that to-do list every moment I can. From my job, to my life, to the foundation, to writing. I love to work on what I’m passionate about.

All this to say, if I met me this past week and then read what I just wrote I would call myself a humongous liar. I have been completely stressed, feeling as if I have so many things to do, and no time to do them. On top of that, everything I have gotten done has been in a major time crunch so it has not even felt good when I completed it. Of course, all this stress and anxiety completely screwed my emotional stability. This past week I entered a dark place full of worry, concerns, and thoughts that were so far from my natural mind trek. Ehh. It was horrible.

What a difference a mood makes. As I was annoying myself, once again, with the running dialogue of darkness I sat down, put everything that I was working on away and just starting writing out all the things in my life that I am thankful for. I’m not even kidding you, I went into a state of bliss and nothing could get me down. Maybe this is me going into my hippie brain, but Solomon backs me up…Proverbs 14:30 – “A heart at peace gives life to the body”

So here is a small piece of the running list I created of some of the things I’m so grateful for:

– The way my mom gets fired up about things. Could be anything from Glen Beck to how much she loves her son.

– My brothers ‘pauses’ he makes while he is telling a story. I’m not sure if its for dramatic effect or if hes thinking before he speaks, but I’m captivated. In my head, his stories are like oscar worthy movies. I could listen all day.

– The absolute fact that I can not talk about my closest friends without smiling.

– The view of the city as your driving north on lake shore drive.

– Little Will, who I love being a pseudo aunt too.

– Stories at work from parents when they begin to see change in their child.    

– Small group Wednesdays. Community. Can’t beat it.

– Memories of my childhood. Home videos to put an image on those memories.

– Being able to close my eyes and still see my Grandma sitting on her couch through her front window as we pull into her driveway.

– Still being able to hear my dads voice. I hope that never leaves.

– Getting goosebumps after hearing a great story or listening to a sweet song.

– Banter with my roommate.

– The first sip of really good coffee.

– Good TV…aka 30 rock or off the map.

– The smell of play dough. Not sure if its because it reminds me of childhood, babysitting days, or my current dream job. But I love it.

– When I actually say something funny that is quick-witted and it doesn’t take me a long time to think of. And of course, when people laugh at what I say.

– The moments that you know that God is speaking to you. Ehh…now that is the best.

PLEASE share whats on your list!!! I’m aiming for 10 comments here guys…we can do it!

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Every Sunday I will attempt to share an excerpt from my work in progress…”You Can Hope”.

September 2009

My dad never liked tattoos. I came home over Thanksgiving break as a rebel freshman in college. I told my parents in the ‘firmest’ voice that I could muster that when they saw me next I would have a tattoo on my body!  My dad just shuttered, “Really Kia, really”. He didn’t tell me I couldn’t, but I knew I didn’t have his full approval.

Christmas came around, he asked. I said yes.

” Is it on a part of your body where I can see it?”



I never heard another word about it, until March 2007 when I told him the tattoo was expanding. The same shutter appeared. But this time the reason was not because I was trying to be a badass, it was because the woman who helped shape my life, my grandma, had passed away 6 months ago. I knew I wanted her life verse on my body, “faith, hope, love.”

My grandma was a woman to be reckoned with. She went through tragedy after tragedy in her long life, and just kept on fighting. She lived with dignity and she knew she had what she needed to get through each challenge, and that was faith, hope, and love. Everyone around her heard this mantra until she  took her last breath.

He smiled. “well maybe I’ll like this one.”

Now, here I am, 6 months after his death knowing a tattoo will shortly appear on my body.  This is a fine line, and an important task…. What do I put on my body that will not cause my dad to shutter, but will cause him to smile? What life verse reminds me of him? What can I put on myself that marks healing yet doesn’t make me want to break down and cry?

Isaiah 53:55 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

I will always carry the wound of my dads death with me. I will go through the rest of my life with only his memory.

But through this wound, I will be healed. Through every wound I encounter, I will be healed.

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Mountain Love

Three days post vaca and I’m still so behind with life! I need a solid 12 hours of time with my to do list and then I’ll be good!

Here is a quick picture journey of the copper mountain retreat…

Leaving Denver…Entering the mountains

Reason for the trip…Mountain Love

Stunning bride

What else do you do in the mountains besides go after a great vertical…

And of course, every good trip ends by driving a rock!

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