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Last week I attended my third funeral in the last year or so, all at the same church. Each was a bit different in nature yet they all yielded the same clarity and reflection. Whether it was a wonderful mother of three who lost her heroic battle with cancer, a young man who was taken far too early after a fairly routine chest cold turned fatal, or an accomplished, proud grandfather who never met a stranger who was gone in a blink of an eye after a freak blood clot incident, these stories remind us (at least me) that we all have numerous opportunities and blessings to focus on. I wanted to share some of these thoughts because I found it to be a nice way to (re)focus on the true spirit and nature of the holiday season.

  1. Appreciate the “small” things – Sure, we’ve all heard this time and time again. Many times it is realized after a terrible disaster, personal scare, or life-changing event. It is in these moments that we are stripped away of caring about the day-to-day rat race and have clarity on exactly what’s most important. Be it family, friends, physical health, or mental well being, I encourage you to take a few minutes to identify your core list. Doing so will shed some light on where your focus is – and where it likely should be.
  2. Value your time – I, for one, need to heed this advice as much as the next person. I’m a busy guy between my various commitments and many times give the most attention to the squeakiest wheel or most out of control fire. Regardless, it’s what we do with our time here on this Earth that defines us. So (note to self), stop wishing you had more time and redefine what you do with those 1,440 minutes in every day.
  3. Do something today – One of the many things I learned from reading “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch is that wishing you had done something in your life or complaining about the reasons why you did not or cannot accomplish something is lame (paraphrased). One of the funerals I attended was for a man that retired after a 25 year career as a partner in an insurance adjusting agency, who immediately went on to purchase a couple of beauty supply stores. To my knowledge he didn’t know the first thing about owning a retail business like this. He did this for several reasons, most importantly to have flexibility to not only provide for but to spend spend time with his growing family. And he would be the first to tell you that if he can do it, so can you. This isn’t about starting a business, but rather to encourage you to take up that hobby, train for that event, change careers, get more involved in that charity or church you love so much. No matter what it is, just do it… today!
  4. Get your priorities in order – Now, the above suggestions are all for naught if you lack clarity as to some order of importance. Take note as you work to identify those items in #1 that stand out as the points of focus in your life. Those need to be what you prioritize at the top of the list and should your list be greater than your waking hours, something has to give. This exercise of sorting and evaluating should provide some amazing and hopefully life-adjusting clarity from which you and those around you will benefit.

More than likely you’ve had a brush with something that gave you a wake up call of some kind. I can easily point to mine and it has truly rattled my cage. I’ll give you a hint…the title of my blog captures the raw emotion and the story can be found here. Let me be one more person to tell you that your life can change in the blink of an eye. I pray that it doesn’t take a catastrophic event to rattle your cage.

Sure there’s a 1000 books and websites dedicated to helping you find these answers, but in the end the common denominator is YOU. You have to sort through your life and decide whether your interested in changing and investing the time it will take to get there. Regardless of the outcome, I hope you find some piece of clarity and the happiness that generally accompanies a purpose filled life.


Because bikini car washes are so yesterday. (pictured: not me)

So every year I try to think of a new, creative way to fund raise and keep my seat warm in the Club 100. I do the standard letter & email campaigns to family and friends, but I’ve also done a few other things at work like an eBay auction, BBQ, fajitas & margaritas, walk-thru beer barn (big hit in my work environment), a golf tournament and most recently a casino party that our good friends hosted. Each of these had their up’s and down’s but it’s time to think outside the box a bit.

By nature I think and dream big, the issue comes when I try to pull it all together. That’s where good friends and logistical realists come in handy. In my time participating in this even, I have seen some incredibly creative & unique ideas that have raised thousands for MS research & support. So in the spirit of sharing, here’s a few ideas I’ve been kicking around for 2010:

1. Battle of the Bands >>> either real bands or team Rock Band contest. This will come down to the venue, prizes, and creativity of the participants (i.e. full KISS make up, etc).

2. Texas Hold ‘Em series >>> this is a mini series of poker where you have monthly winners working towards a grand prize. Thinking multi event (3-4) over the course of the new year where you can buy in each round and accumulate points. I like this even though I am not a great poker player.

3. Sponsors >>> this is the marketer in me. If people can sell ad space on their pregnant bellies, surely I can sell it on my self during a 2-day bike ride across N. Texas. I’m also thinking about how I can monetize this blog so I’ve started talking to several small businesses about profiling their products and getting a portion of any referral sales donated back to the National MS Society. If you know of any businesses who may be interested, please let me know and I’ll reach out to them to discuss a fair partnership.

Whatever your style or fund raising level, thank you for all that you do and please feel free to share your ideas or reach out with questions. Feel free to take any of these ideas and run with them.

Happy Thanksgiving,


Well, this blog isn’t about me or my story. It’s about two amazing ladies in my life and numerous other wonderful friends and family members of friends.

In years past, I prepare for the adventure that is the MS150 to raise funds for Multiple Sclerosis (“MS”) that affects millions of people worldwide, including my wonderful mom Valorie Noe. She’s been a rock throughout my life and this is the best way I know how to help find a cure for a frustrating and disabling disease.

Well, my passion for fundraising and first-hand knowledge of this frustrating, relentless disease grew ten fold in May 2008. Approximately five days after the 2008 MS150, my wife Andrea was diagnosed with MS. Man, life is full of surprises and this was the ultimate blind side punch.

The road leading up to the diagnosis was a rocky one. Shortly after giving birth to our second son Carson, Andrea began having trouble walking, specifically issues with her left leg dragging when she got tired or too hot. After months of numerous MRIs, tests, physical therapy and doctor’s visits, we were almost relieved to have a name for her symptoms.

It’s been about 18 months and thanks to the drugs and wonderful doctors, Andrea is doing better. Well, she’s not doing worse. That may sound negative but that’s the way you treat MS… hope is primarily based on not getting worse.

For the most part, her symptoms do not stop her from being an incredible mother to our two wild-and-crazy boys, amazing wife to a well-intentioned husband, wonderful teacher to her pre-schoolers, and thoughtful friend to her tight-nit circle of girlfriends. She is a rock and source of inspiration to all of the above, but especially to me.

So that brings us to how we can make a different together. The MS150 – a two-day, 150 mile bike ride – raises awareness and funds for Multiple Sclerosis research. As I’ve expressed before, it’s an incredible event that’s filled with hills, thrills and great times. As always, I’m riding with the Feisty Devils, the largest friends and family team in the nation. Lead by some of the most amazing and inspiring leaders I know, we have raised over $1,000,000 and counting for MS research. But we need your help in continuing the fight against MS by supporting events like the MS150 which funds newer & better drugs.

Please stay tuned over the coming months as I chronicle my adventures in training & fund raising as well as share my experiences as a husband who wants nothing more than to support and provide for my lovely wife Andrea.

Take care,


Top Fundraiser

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