Sunday, September 27, 2009

I Saw.....Paul Cardall

I saw my arms covered with goose bumps. I wondered how obvious they were as I sat across the kitchen table from Paul Cardall Friday evening.

I saw courage as I heard fascinating stories from the last few months that led up to his heart transplant which took place a few short weeks ago.

I saw amazing optimism, strength, and sense of humor in light of the fact that his old and worn heart was just replaced with a new one. I'm not ashamed to admit that I got queasy hearing about the surgery. My mind was begging my body: "Please, don't pass out. Please, don't pass out."

I saw hope as we talked about healing, and family, and our favorite episodes of The Office, and redemption, and determination, and our shared belief that everything happens for a reason.

I saw a knowledge that God knows each of us, knows what each of us is capable of, wants to help us, and really loves us. I think there is an insight that only comes to people who have truly walked the tightrope of mortality like Paul has.

I saw his medicine basket piled up with enough bottles to stock a pharmacy. Post-transplant medications seemed like a full course meal big enough to choke a walrus.

I saw goose bumps covering my arms as I heard Paul’s transplant experience. And it wasn’t because his house was cold.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Diagnosis: Road Rage

Diagnosis: Road rage.

Cause of Disorder: Driving In Salt Lake City.

Our family is in Salt Lake for the weekend. I swear to you, I would pull every last one of my graying hairs out if I had to drive in this every day. Among my driving pet peeves:
  • People going 15mph under the speed limit IN THE FAST LANE. (This one really makes me lose my marbles.)

  • Traffic. Oh, have mercy on my soul. The traffic. Are there seriously this many people that have to drive somewhere?

  • Road construction....EVERYWHERE. Yesterday I could have read most of War and Peace while we waited in road construction. We drove past the same guy a few times throughout the day. Every time, he was eating a bag of chips with a can of Coke. Delicious.

  • Drivers are scary. They cut people off, drive bad, and try to intimidate. Case in point:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Walmart Wierdness

I saw something shocking as I walked into Walmart a few days ago. I wished I had my camera with me. This was something you had to see to believe.

Near the entrance there was a stand holding plastic bags. But they weren't grocery sacks. They were......(wait for it)........Umbrella Bags. They were elongated, thin plastic bags with a picture of a wet umbrella on them, and clearly marked "Umbrella Bag". Free for the taking....just in case anyone had a wet umbrella.

I tried to figure out the likelihood that one of these Umbrella Bags would actually be needed at the St. George Walmart. A bag would be useful if:

1) It actually rained (which happens about 3 times a year in this area), then
2) You happened to be going to Walmart in alleged rain storm, then
3) You thought it was raining so hard you actually needed an umbrella, then
4) You actually owned an umbrella, then
5) You were female (heaven knows a man ain't taking an umbrella anywhere with him unless ordered to by a female), then
6) You were disturbed at the thought of having a wet unbrella in public.

If I'm figuring correctly, the possibility of a Walmart customer needing an Umbrella Bag is approximately 0.0017248 %. Next thing you know, some moron will design an umbrella for pets.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Miracle Of The Marathon

With only two weeks until my first marathon, I have been thinking a lot about why running a marathon is such an amazing feat. When I first started running, I thought the accomplishment came on marathon day when you actually finished running 26.2 miles.

I see things differently now though. I think the amazing thing about running a marathon is the dedication, time, effort, and will-power needed to prepare for those 26.2 miles. The amazing thing is the sacrifice needed to prepare the body for running 26.2 miles.

The personal things that have been amazing to me along my journey are:

  • Those mornings when the alarm goes off at 5:00am to go run. And my body is begging to go back to sleep. But I drag my weary body out of the sheets, put on the running shoes, and go.

  • Being a little (emphasize the world “little”) more conscious about what I eat. At the risk of sounding like a complete lunatic, I have been amazed that I actually don’t crave junk food as much as I used to. For me that isn’t just amazing. That is a miracle.

  • During a run, feeling my body sore and exhausted, but somehow I’ve been able to train my body to force through it and keep going.

  • Being so busy during the day that I have to go running at night after the family has gone to bed. There is a strange satisfaction in running at a time when you know most sane people are asleep. I like the sense of knowing that I’m pushing myself to do something most people wouldn’t do.

I can’t wait to watch people cross the finish line at the marathon. Knowing that each of them has a story is fascinating. I now have a sense of the endless hours and miles that came before their final 26.2 mile push.

I am convinced that the accomplishment in running a marathon isn’t race day amid the energy and cheering of the crowds. The accomplishment is all those lonely sacrifices that nobody ever sees.

St. George Marathon......Here I Come.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Newspaper Story About Charity Team

The Spectrum newspaper ran a story in today's paper about the marathon fundraiser.

Friend Decides To Make Marathon A Run For The Money
By Patrice St. Germain

Running 26 miles in a marathon gives a sense of accomplishment to the runner, but Cory Reese decided to give his run on October 3 extra meaning by putting together a charity team.

Reese, Karrie and Shane Nielsen and others will be running to raise money for Reese's friend Paul Cardall, a recent heart-transplant recipient through Intermountain Donor Services.

Reese said originally he planned on running and raising money on his own and the plans just got bigger.

"Other people thought running for a cause was a good idea," he said. "It makes it more meaningful to have all your training and hard work benefit somebody else."

Reese said he got to know Cardall 10 years ago when he was trying to get into the music business. He became friends with Cardall who just had a CD, The Christmas Box, make it to the Billboard charts.

First a mentor, then a friend, Reese wanted to help Cardall who was waiting for a heart and received his transplant, after waiting a year, on Thursday.

Money raised by Reese and the other runners on the team, with the help of sales of a CD Reese, Cardall and other pianists put together, will go to help Cardall and Intermountain Donor Services.

Karrie Nielsen said she felt running on the charity team was a great idea and knows the importance of organ donation because one of her cousins donated a kidney to the cousin's sister.

Dixie Madsen, public education/public relations coordinator for Intermountain Donor Services said as of Friday morning, there were 103,497 people on the waiting list for organ donation. Last year, Madsen said, 27,900 people received transplants.

"The need there (for organ donation) is great and that is one of the points of fundraising - to increase education and get people thinking about it," Madsen said.

Madsen said there are many misconceptions about organ donation including costs to the donor or donors family, of which there is none, and people self-excluding themselves because they can not donate blood or have a condition that requires medication. Madsen said people think the doctors may not try as hard to save their life because they are an organ donor which is also not true.

"We never want something to happen. We are all about encouraging the use of seat belts and helmets but if something does happen, a lot of good can come from that decision to donate," she said.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hysterical DUI Dancing

This video of a DUI stop is hysterically funny. I weep every time I watch it. I think this guy should audition for "So You Think You Can Dance".

Paul Cardall Gets A New Heart!!!!

Today has been very special. Earlier in the day my friend Paul Cardall received a new heart!!! After a year of being on the transplant list and being so sick that he has spent the last month in the hospital he finally received a heart transplant.

I feel relieved and thankful and hopeful. I have a deep feeling that lots of prayers were answered today. You know how sometimes you're filled with so much gratitude that it can't be put into words? That's how I feel.

Paul's music is on the new piano collection CD "Road of Hope" to be released October 3rd. Every bit of the proceeds will go toward helping with his medical expenses. For some amazing music click on the cover to order the album.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Beware Of Peer Pressure

Today's lesson: The Dangers Of Falling Into Peer Pressure.

My (former) friend Luke talked me into joining him in a booth at Peach Days in Hurricane. He has a photography business and asked me to join him and sell CDs. The thought of hanging out in 100 degree heat for two long days didn't sound like my idea of a good time. But I gave into peer pressure. Bad - Cory! Bad!

Within a stone's throw you could find:
  • A food stand selling fried Twinkies,

  • A booth with a huge cage of hermit crabs,

  • A hefty supply of people wearing either Nascar apparel or Wolf Howling At The Moon shirts.

  • People ready and willing to give you an airbrush tatoo,

  • And enough tie-dye to cover Boise.

I couldn't believe Luke talked me into this. I considered shanking him with a blunt toothbrush.

Fortunately for Luke I didn't have a toothbrush with me. I would have held him down and given him papercuts on his eyeballs. Fortunately for Luke he's much bigger than me. I would have dared him to put his tongue on a frozen flagpole. Fortunately for Luke it was 100 degrees outside.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New Piano CD - Road of Hope

Drum roll please......introducing the cover of the new piano CD "Road of Hope" available October 3rd 2009! I've been listening to the music from this album over and over again. The songs here are simply amazing.

Check out this track list:
1. Our Love - Paul Cardall
2. Autumn Road - David Tolk
3. My Little Girl - Jon Schmidt
4. You Will Soar - Cory Reese
5. Heavenly Hands - Marshall McDonald
6. Muir Woods - Michael R. Hicks
7. Return To Eden - Paul Cardall
8. Cherished Moments - Jon Schmidt
9. Believe - Cory Reese
10. Last Jerusalem Sunset - Michael R. Hicks
11. For Lisa - David Tolk
12. Morning Light - Marshall McDonald
13. The Release - Paul Cardall

You'd be hard-pressed to find a finer collection of piano music. The best part is that you can receive one of these CDs by donating to a cool charity! Click HERE to order.

A Man's Guide: How To Bottle Peaches

Mel and I love peaches. So yesterday we bought a box full and added them to a bucket of peaches from her mom's tree. Then we went on a bottling frenzy. We ended up bottling around 22 quarts of fruit.

I ain't never bottled nuthin' in my whole life. For you fellow newbies who've never bottled peaches, let me explain the process to you:

1) Get yourself lots of peaches. Of course you need to keep them inside so they don't liquefy in the southern Utah heat. And of course the fruit flies will then take up residence in your kitchen. You will be drastically outnumbered.

2) Buy bottles. At this point it's totally normal to ask yourself what's so morally wrong about eating canned peaches from the grocery store. It isn't such a bad idea to listen to that still, small voice. It's not too late to abort the project.

3) Send the kids upstairs so they won't bother you during the process. Disregard any loud thuds, sounds of splashing, tattling, or crying that you hear from upstairs.

4) Cut off the bruised sections of the peaches. Don't forget to insert ear plugs since your wife will scream when a spider pops out from underneath a peach.

5) Boil the peaches so you can remove the skin. Removing the skin is sometimes as easy as catching a three year old slathered in Crisco.

6) Insert peach slices into bottles. Simultaneously mutter to yourself that this was way more work than it's worth.

I now realize that bottling fruit isn't for the faint of heart. Sissies need not apply. You need a strong will. And determination. And time. And earplugs.