My MOM and why last night was AMAZING.

Jon, my nephew, and his teammates on state championship relay.

Jon, my nephew, and his teammates on the State Championship 200 Medley Relay.

Seeing my nephew, Jon, and his teammates win the first event of the Wisconsin State High School Boys Swimming Championships and then continuing to have sensational swims throughout the meet last night was incredible.

The boys’ dedication to their training and each other paid off – including bringing their school their first ever state champion (and doing so in 2 events)! Especially wonderful was knowing my Mom got to experience the joy of one of her swimmers (4 in this case) becoming a state champion.

Thanks to an amazing group of high school swimmers 17 years ago, I got to experience the joy of coaching a team that won the WI State Championships. AND thanks to my Mom.

Everything I knew about swimming, especially coaching swimming was from my Mom. She taught me about training, challenging athletes, leading with integrity, goal setting, visualization, and soo much more. In many ways, my Mom had a massive influence on our team winning back in 1998. Throughout that season, I could always ask myself, “What would my Mom do?”. She was and has been a constant role model throughout my life.

Mom-2015-WIAA-StateWhile last night was her first state titles as a high school coach, she was partly responsible for helping a team in 1998 win their first state title too. For that very reason, the emotion that hit me last night when the 200 Medley Relay she coaches touched in 1st Place is a moment I will never forget. To feel the fulfillment of seeing your Mom succeed at her life’s greatest passion is priceless. To know that her passion and dedication has and continues to help impact the lives of countless swimmers brings tears of joy to me as I type these words.

And in all this, she is our MOM!!!

“Join Up Dots” Podcast is FANTASTIC!

JoinUpDotsDo you listen to podcasts? Do you love having moments of discovery for yourself and your life – while also being entertained? If so, check out David Ralph’s sensational Join Up Dots” Podcast. David’s theme of “Join Up Dots” is inspired by the commencement speech Steve Jobs gave at Stanford where Jobs shared that you can’t join up the dots of life beforehand.

Each day (yes this is a DAILY podcast), David interviews a different individual from around world. His interviews are fun, insightful, and revealing.

When I was on David’s podcast a few months back, I shared with friends and colleagues that he was the most skilled and gifted host I had been interviewed by. Since that time, some of my friends have been on his show and all have agreed at what an incredible podcast David Ralph has created.

Through his down-to-earth approach and his ability to listen for the gifts inside of each comment a guest shares, David takes you, the listener, on a journey you might not have expected, especially when it comes to moments of self-discovery.

David helps each of us listeners discover the journeys of others. By the end of each episode, his guest and him has discussed how the dots joined up to get where they are today. By listening, you gain inspiration and specific strategies for making your own dreams and goals become reality.

Because the show is daily and David’s guests are so different in lifestyles, careers, and stories, you can always find an episode to connect with.

Find “Join Up Dots” and David Ralph on iTunes or at www.joinupdots.com.

After you listen to your first episode, will you please come back here to share your reaction? I’d love to hear your experience.

To Celebrate

celebrateAre you like me on your birthday? Do you ever wonder if you might be getting surprised? When I was 30 years old, Karen did just that. She surprised me with a huge party of family and friends. There was music, a DJ, lots of food, and being surrounded by loving family and friends. I remember thinking, “Wow! This is Awesome!

Yesterday, Karen and I discussed whether we should get friends together to go out and celebrate my birthday (we wouldn’t be able to celebrate tonight because of an event already scheduled). As the day moved on, we heard a group was getting together and going out. They are lots of fun to hang out with. Do we join them or do we do our own thing?

We decided to celebrate by the two of us going out to dinner and then to see standup comedy. Time together – to share, to laugh, to look into each other’s eyes at the dinner table and exchange no words – the moments where you don’t have to talk. You can just sit quietly looking into each other’s eyes and feeling the appreciation for mutual love, attraction, and gratitude. Those minutes or sometimes seconds of being in the moment.

Following dinner was a nice walk in the surrounding neighborhood and then the comedy show. Laughing is sooo much fun! Watching Karen laugh is the best. Her smile rocks.

Today includes going out for a fun meal with Karen and the two youngest boys to their favorite restaurant. Eating at their favorite restaurant always leads to smiles. The two older boys are away at college and so talking to them on the phone brings smiles. Smiles make for a wonderful birthday.

While incredibly grateful for the memories of my 30th Birthday party, the party is not what I remember most today. When technology did not make it easy to do so, Karen produced and gave me a 30th Birthday CD as my gift. The CD was filled with over 30 people throughout my life leaving messages for me. In those recordings were shared life memories, insights, friendship, and love. To this day, sometimes when I’m listening to music on my iPhone, one of the tracks from that CD begins playing. Soon, I find myself wanting to listen to more of the messages on the CD.

The party was never the celebration. No party is. The celebration was and continues to be the LOVE shared.

A birthday is a great time to reflect. On this day 45 years ago, my Mom endured through the pain of childbirth as only Moms can understand – to bring me into this world . . . to experience love each and every day and to live as fully as possible.

To each of you who have come into my life since that day in 1970, THANK YOU for being you and for the love you continue to share.

YOU are what I celebrate today.