Driving Forces


“Never, never, never quit!” – Winston Churchill (paraphrased)

What inspires you? I ask this because I wonder if you are like me, in that you need almost daily motivation to keep you moving towards whatever goals you have in front of you.

A friend of mine once told me that I inspire her. While she was not specific I assume she meant it regarding exercise, and not something like blurting inappropriate comments at work (which I have done) or burning down the building with microwave popcorn (something I almost did). It made me pause because we have been friends for a long time and frankly she knows what a dumb ass I can be. But it also had the reciprocal effect of inspiring me back. I mean, if I am someone’s inspiration, then it motivates me to keep trying.

Me&Shari

Finish line with Shari – Fox Cities Half Marathon, September 2009

In turn, I have been inspired by a lot of people in my life-mostly friends and family. Like my dad who began running in his late 40’s or my mom who used to walk six miles a day. My friend Dawn who helps me to be more accepting of myself or my friend Amanda who gave me the courage to go after a job I was afraid to reach for. Or my friend Shari, who asked me to run a half marathon with her, planting the seeds of belief and confidence in my ability.

My second half marathon, the Cellcom, I ran as a member of Team In Training for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, as a way of giving back for the research that saved my daughter’s life (she is a survivor). I had to fundraise, and for every donation I received, I asked if the donor had someone they would like me to run for. As the list grew, I became inspired by people who couldn’t run for themselves, and every step in every training run became a prayer for loved ones on my list. For my friend Lee, who was dying of pancreatic cancer (Miss you, Lee!), a co-workers sister newly diagnosed with liver cancer, a co-worker’s niece, a friend of my sister’s, a friend’s daughter who had already passed…the list was long. But each person on it kept me training, thru injuries, discouragement, and fatigue, until the day of the race.

Cellcom 2011

My shirt with all the names on it from the Cellcom Half thru Team in Training in 2011

My friend Vicki was recently diagnosed with Primary Progressive MS, for which there is basically no treatment nor cure. But instead of giving up, she has done her research and now uses a specific food plan, exercise, and natural supplements to help her keep moving forward. I am sure she has down days, but it’s not evident in her daily Facebook posts or in the positive way she greets these new challenges in her life. Reading about her journey (you can read about it too, here- Kickin’ MS) reminds me that each day is a gift and an opportunity for me to choose a healthy lifestyle.

Last November my good friend’s differently-abled nephew asked me to be part of his running team in the 2013 Bellin, through the My Team Triumph organization. This organization places differently-abled Captains with a team of Angels, who do the physical running while pushing their Captain in a myTEAM TRIUMPHspecially designed stroller. However, it is the Captain who provides the heart and spirit that fuels the legs of the angels, and I can already tell that Joey is high-octane! I want to be in the best shape I can for this event, not only to make it fun and memorable for Joey, a courageous young man who has faced more obstacles in his 26 years than most of us will face in a lifetime, but to have a physical body that can match the joy and determination he brings to the table.

I have this framed Erma Bombeck quote on my desk from the year I ran the Cellcom:

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say “I used everything You gave me”.

It was a Christmas gift from Shari, and I refer to it often when I want to quit. It reminds me of why I am here, why I try, why I keep fighting. I want my life to count. I don’t want to look back on time spent frittered away, but on a life where I have invested the gifts given to me by God, and turned a profit for His glory.

My final request in this post is to ask that if you found inspiration in my words, that you would return the favor and tell me what inspires you! What drives you? What are your talents? How are you using them or how do you wish to use them? Hopes and dreams will remain hopes and dreams unless you speak them into being. Let me hear from you!

Blessings,
Sue

10 thoughts on “Driving Forces

  1. Rose

    Sue, I ALWAYS find inspiration in your words and look forward to your posts. You always say just what I need to hear to put things in perspective, strengthen my faith, and make me smile! Many thanks…keep writing!! :

    Reply
  2. rosannephotos

    Beautifully writtten Sue! The mountains which surround me in my hometown call to me, to be part of the land. I feel calmer, more centered, when I can get out and be part of the world. Be it on skis, feet, bike, gardening or just sitting. When I travel, I connect in the desert or Island etc. I so enjoyed my fall visit with my Mother though recall missing the beauty of the land. Driving back from Denver (after my flight from Chicago), I could feel the calmness, just seeing the ground. Too many buildings and concrete are not my thing. How does the song go? “They paved paradise & put up a parking lot.” Give me paradise……………..

    Reply
    1. Sue Post author

      Thank you! Ah, you make me want to see the Rockies again! I agree whole heartedly with you too – there is nothing like turning your face to the sun, while the wind brushes your face. Hard to feel in the city – I think that is why I enjoy biking so much!

      Reply
  3. Peggy

    Sue, as I’ve said before, you were just a wee Lass the last time I remember seeing you before we moved from WI to MS. We met many great people in MS and had lots of experiences; however, we had to leave behind ALL of our relatives–2 sets of Grandparents, 20 Aunts/Uncles and about 40 cousins. Rarely to see them again. It has been fun/interesting to connect with relatives via FB. You are a fun/funny inspiration to me. You take serious issues and put a quirky spin on them.

    I am inspired by sense of family. Children inspire me—-their innocence, smiles/laughter, inquisitiveness and learning abilities. At present I care for my 3 grandchildren on a daily basis—a bit of Heaven for me!!!! Creating with my hands also fills my soul—so fixing things around the house, gardening, crafting, or even a good house cleaning can fill my cup.

    INteresting to find out that Uncle Tom was a runner and that your Mom walked 6 miles a day. Didn’t see that in our house; yet, most of us do something for exercise. Mom took up daily swimming/or treadmill walking after her heart attack at age 79.

    It would be fun to have the girl cousins at the “Sisters Weekend” that our Moms have.

    Reply
    1. Sue Post author

      Hi Peg-
      One of the things I love about FB is reconnecting with family and friends. I remember going to see you all (y’all) in MS when I was 5. I thought it was funny that I was the one with the accent!

      You are so blessed to be able to take care of your grand kids. And they are too!

      I love the idea of a “cousins” weekend!! It would be so fun to catch up and get to know one another again. What a great idea!

      Reply
  4. scubaqueen

    First you inspire me, as an old bag you still are rockin’. Then my hisband (50) who works out tirelessly. Then my mom (74) an my stepdad (83) who keep active volunteering, mom at her church and sewing outfits for the native Indians in Peru and my stepdad by volunteering at maaking projects at the local endangered birds of prey center, Not sure about I’m ready to post my dreams

    Reply
    1. Sue Post author

      Hey you old bag. You are one of the reasons I was brave enough to try clips on my bike. And you showed me that persistence with talent is far more effective than talent alone. I admire your ability to adapt anywhere, and your bravery in new situations. The day you showed up on my doorstep 37 years ago (damn we really are old bags) is in my top five of “best days of my life”. Rock on!

      Reply
  5. Dawn kulman

    You,my dearest friend, are my inspiration. I am so proud of all that you have done and can’t wait to see what’s next. Keep on trucking baby.

    Reply
    1. Sue Post author

      Back atcha my friend. You have given me the courage and belief in myself that has fueled my ambition. So get in the truck, baby- we have a lot more to accomplish!

      Reply

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