Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The way I see it....

Everybody has a story
Do you ever read those books where you get to the end and you think...yes! That right there! I couldn't agree more! That happened to me on Sunday when I finished a fictional book called, “One Hundred Names.”

It's about a journalist who is in the midst of scandal at the same time her mentor who taught her everything is dying of cancer. Kitty (the journalist) asks her friend what was the one story she wishes she would have written and didn't. The answer lies within 100 names on a single sheet of paper. Her friend passes away before she can ask her what the link is between the names. Doing this story as a tribute to her friend is a journey that Kitty decides to embark upon. She learns a lot about herself and others along the way.
Not to give away too much, but in the end she comes to this conclusion – every single person has a story to tell. Every single person has an extraordinary story. So much truth, am I right? I don't know if this story resonated with me because of my job or just because every person has a story that is unique unto themselves and I love learning about people.
This theme has been swirling around in my head lately ever since the last board meeting when they were talking about bullying. I kept thinking, what are we doing to throw these students together where they are with people they wouldn't normally be with? What can be done to pair two seemingly different kids to let them get to know each other better?  People, I truly believe, are more sympathetic and kinder when they get to know people.  And yes, I do think it is as simple as getting to know people.
Again, at church yesterday it hit me. Our minister was talking about differences amongst people and said that when it comes down to it, “people are people.” She encouraged us to meet in the middle and find out where others are coming from.
We are all just people. We all have things that have shaped us and molded us into the people that we are. We all have things that have happened to us that make us think the way we think. Wouldn't this earth be a much better place if instead of judging people, we started by learning more about them and respecting them?
I resort to thinking that everybody fights battles that we know nothing about. We all have inner struggles that we deal with. We don't know what it may have taken somebody else to even pull themselves out of bed this morning.
We are all unique. We all have our story that nobody else does. Nobody.
I'll leave you with these final thoughts from the book:
“We might all think that we are unremarkable, that our lives are boring, just because we aren't doing ground-breaking things or making headlines or winning awards. But the truth is we all do something that is fascinating, that is brave, that is something we should be proud of. ”
You are remarkable in a way that is uniquely you, I hope you remember that, but that's just the way I see it.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Dance Marathon 2016!

Iowa State's Dance Marathon was at the end of January.  Without a doubt, it is our absolute favorite day of the year!  At the beginning of the week we had to start counting down how many "sleeps" we had left until the big day.
Dance Marathon is neither a dance nor a marathon, but a celebration of LIFE!  For 12 hours, these students stand "for the kids" and raise money for the University of Iowa Children's Hospital.  This year, they raised over $362,000!  That does so much good for families just like ours. 
 This year, I thought I'd do something different for my post.  I thought I would ask everybody in the family what their two favorite things were about dM.  Here goes....

Jenna - 1. The morale dance!  Everybody learns it at the beginning of the day and it is done at the top of every hour.
2. Playing laser tag and doing the inflatables.
 Brody - 1. Playing with the college kids
              2. Power hour - this is the last hour of dancing.  There are glow sticks and tons of dancing and it is CRA.ZY.  I'm with Brody, it's awesome!

 3. Blake - 1. Hanging out with Nathan (our new family contact) and his girlfriend, Becca.
 2. The army inflatables
4. Bowen - 1. The morale dance (you can youtube this to see what I'm talking about).
 2. The game room (see above and below).
5. Aaron -  1. The hypnotist
 2. Seeing the "reveal" for the first time this year!  That was at the very end when they let everybody know how much money was raised.
I'm probably going to list more than two because I'm the blogger, so I can make my own rules. :)
 6. Jamie -  1. Power Hour
2. Seeing all the dM alumni
3. Connecting with other families (there are a few moms I've become close to and we love to catch-up).
 4. Hearing other miracle kids' stories
5. Having Steph and family with us. It means so much to us that they are now part of our family.
 6. And this is my favorite, hands-down....
Last year and this year we had the honor and privilege to share the last family story of the night.  It's a lot of pressure because everybody's tired and you're supposed to be super motivational.  I don't talk, Aaron talks.  The whole day I harass him with suggestions like, "You should talk about this..." Or, "Make sure you don't forget to say something about that...."  I make him nuts.  I know I do.  :)
Here's the thing though about Aaron.  He nails that speech.  I mean, he hits a home run out of the park.  He has the college kids laughing and crying and cheering.  I am so, so proud of him how he can convey our story to these dancers.  

One funny he told during the speech I have to share.  He was talking about me carrying the twins 37 weeks and then being induced.  He said both twins were good-sized, 7 lbs. apiece.  Aaron then proceeded to walk over and high-five me.... :) :)  

Another year over and more memories made.  More funds raised for a cause near and dear to our hears.  Thank you dancers for inspiring me.  Thank you families for sharing your stories of hope.  We feel so incredibly blessed to be part of this amazing thing called Iowa State's Dance Marathon!