Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration’

Reflections

January 28, 2010

So I’ve been back 4 days now from LA, and I still can’t get my body back in tune with East coast time. Or maybe the exhaustion hasn’t completely left my body. I already feel like I am 3 weeks behind in everything I need to do, with no time to catch up on sleep or work…… 2010 just starts and time is flying by!!

Everyday since I’ve been back, there is something new I find in my daily activities to be thankful for. I feel like that is one of the best ways I can pay respects to Drew for the beautiful gift he shared with me – his life. It’s crazy because today it hit me like a ton of bricks. A few “incidents” happened today that really tested my nerves and my patience. What pushed me over the edge with them was priorities, realizations. These “incidents” are so meaningless, and stupid compared to the battles Drew faces on a daily basis. I was reading the latest People magazine and the cover was Heidi Montag and all of her plastic surgery. In the article she talked about how it really tested her marriage because Spencer had to pull down her pants for her to go to the bathroom. REALLY??? I thought I had one up because with my MS, my mom has had to carry me to the bathroom, so did my ex-husband. But that is truly nothing compared to what Drew has endured.

So, as I struggle to get back “normal” life here in Atlanta (my heart still feels like it went thru the Powerman…) here is what I know: I am a lucky person to know Drew Bates. I am humbled for being around him. For all of you out there that are just “friends” with him on facebook, I challenge you to really get to know him. See what he is all about, and how you can be a part of what will one day be his incredible empire. Make sure the ones you love know that you love them. Life can change so dramatically, so quickly. Hug them, kiss them, don’t go to bed mad at them. Let the small stuff go. Have no regets. Live your life to the absolute fullest it can be. Be thankful for every breathe you take, because you never know when it will be your last.

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Leaving LA

January 24, 2010

It breaks my heart seeing Drew leave LA. I feel like I’m dragging a kid out of the toy store. Drew and I shared a personal moment with him talking on the video about what he was disappointed about. Make no mistake, there was NO disappointment on the activities of the week. His disappointment lies with _______ well, I’ll let you wait and see that one once the documentary is done. I guarantee you, it will bring a tear to your eye and touch a place in your soul. For someone who has such a tough exterior, there is a soft side in there.

As I’m writing this I’m listening to my iPod, Needtobreathe. And the song, “The Heat” comes on, just as magically as the Josh Grobin song came on when I was flying out here…..
Let the drumbeats wash you over
Let the songs come and take you under
Push the life that brought you here, away from you tonight
There’s a place where the pain can’t touch ya
And there’s a fire where the heat won’t burn ya
It’s in the sound of your voice tonight singing in one song

You get a headache and you can take an advil. You break a bone, and the doc may give you a stronger pain pill. That doesn’t even begin to touch the pain Drew lives in. I look over at the goofball and he is dancing in his seat. He can always make me laugh. Change is inevitable, Drew is proof that you can survive it. Families are forever. No matter what you do, no matter what happens. Family is there. Family is love.

I am so thankful to add John and Joe to my family. This week is something I will never forget. And no words I write will ever do this justice. One day Drew, we will find that place where the pain can’t touch you.

The Height of Excellence

January 23, 2010

As we continue on this movie journey, in line with all drama’s we end this trip with an invitation to The Screen Actor’s Guild Awards Show. Words cannot begin to express what that experience was like. The second I put on my dress, I felt like a queen getting ready to go to her coronation. And Drew was absolutely handsome in his tux! It is the most sensational experience to walk the red carpet. If only these crazy fans in the stands were screaming my name…… I have to work on my impromptu smile. It’s harder than it looks people! You are concentrating on not stepping on your dress or falling, then at a nano-seconds notice you have to pose, smile, click – photo taken. You really have to be on your game walking the red carpet! Word to newbies out there who will eventually attend one of these shows – until you are famous enough to have someone carry your train down the red carpet, don’t get a dress with a long train…. Just saying….

Melissa and I got to be back stage with Joe. Joe designed the set for the awards show, and it was absolutely breathtaking!! Just beautiful. One thing I that has become crystal clear to me out here this week, I do not like to be in front of the camera. I prefer all the behind the scenes stuff. (Guess that’s a good thing Drew loves the camera so much!!) It was incredible being amongst all of these celebrities and incredible actors. To see Mo’nique win for Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role was very surreal. She was genuinely shocked she won. When she came off stage, she just had this deer in the headlights look, like she couldn’t believe what just happened. Seeing how completely giddy the cast of Glee was with their win was so much fun! I felt like I was celebrating right there with them.

What made this night so special for me personally was Betty White receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award. Golden Girls is my all time favorite tv show EVER. I have every season on DVD and still watch them over and over and over again. She is what made me star struck. Just to be in her presence….. Amazing. Excellence.

One great aspect of this week is that there truly are still some good guys left in Hollywood. People who don’t conform to the superficial mask the industry wants you to put on, people who don’t buy into the hype that they are larger than life. But…. you still have a few bad apples out there too.

This is truly an experience I will never forget. (Although I would like to forget my little tumble down the stairs as I was rushing to get back stage to greet Kevin Bacon as he came off stage. Luckily, he didn’t see the tumble. Sadly, I didn’t get to see him…..Next time!)

Party Like It’s 1959!!

January 22, 2010

WOW!! John and Joe threw Drew the most amazing party last night! He got the chance to feel like a king (as if we weren’t already getting the royal treatment all week!) and visit with many of his old friends and colleagues from his days back in LA before the accident. And true to form from the rest of the week, John and Joe went big! We had a fabulous bar, fabulous food, fabulous hosts and a fabulous time!!

I have not seen that smile leave Drew’s face all week. Out here in LA, he is really in his element. LA is most definitely not made for everyone, but it is made for Drew. I really enjoyed getting a chance to meet his friends, hear old Drew stories and see how genuinely happy everyone is for him. I often talk about how I need to get my battery re-charged, and I think this party did that for Drew. In the depths of the woods of Blythewood, SC, one can often forget or lose sight of the audience that is out in the world cheering you on.

Like so many times this week, I am yet again reminded how very precious our lives are. How quickly life can change with every breathe that you take. How fast the road God sends you down can turn into a different direction. All the while we are strapped in holding on for the ride and praying we get there safely. How one minute you are driving your truck back to LA and next minute you are lying on a frozen road for 16 hours grasping on to your life, so that you can see another breathe.

Be thankful for the amenities and functionalities you have in your life. Be grateful for the people who love and support you. Tell the people you love that you love them, and don’t hold grudges. For it can all be gone and over with so quickly.

Are You Serious????

January 20, 2010

This trip really is just the opportunity of a lifetime!! Yesterday we spent the day at Warner Brothers studios on the set of Two & A Half Men and The Big Bang Theory. I am officially recanting anytime I said an actors job was easy. Seeing things from behind the scenes gives you a whole new/different perspective. They have to do several run-thru’s, camera blocking, get notes on how everything looks, do another run-thru. The process keeps going and going. And I had no idea how much time and work go into the set designs. The set designers actually help create storylines thru their visions and creativity. It’s simply amazing!! And even though they were working and “in their zone”, the actors still took time to visit with us. That really meant a lot to me. Personally, when I’m in the middle of a big project at work, I don’t want to be bothered. So, acting and the whole production of what you see on television is a hell of a lot harder than I ever imagined.
Very similiar to Drew’s life. Traveling with him and spending 24 hours a day with him really gives me a different perspective on things. I could only have imagined how hard life is as a quadrapalegic, but the reality is that it’s a hell of a lot harder than I could ever have imagined. And I’m just seeing the tip of the iceberg. Drew, you are one of the strongest people I have ever known!!

The Come Back Kid

January 18, 2010

If you have never been to an NBA game before, I highly recommend you go. Those guys are HUGE!! But what an electric game!! We had the incredible opportunity to sit in the suite at Staples Center. So the Lakers came out of the gate like something fierce, ready to stomp on the Magic. When they weren’t looking, the Magic snuck up and took the lead. That’s a little bit how my disease works. I come out of the gate swinging and kicking some ass, but when I get too comfortable or complacent I’ll get blindsided. If you are around Drew you will see him constantly moving. Part of that is for his comfort in the chair. But another part of that I feel is so he doesn’t get blindsided, so someone doesn’t sneak up on him and take the lead.

And let me tell you it would be very difficult for anyone to take the lead from Drew. Just as the Lakers had to stay focused, up their defense and nail the offense, Drew has to do the same thing. Hollywood is a very competitive market and a dog-fighting industry. If he isn’t constantly on top of his game, someone else could sneak in and take his spot.

Many people thought Drew was down and out after his car accident. And I will go ahead and say there are a lot of people I know who don’t have the strength, courage and determination to fight back from near death. As Drew says, “I kicked that 18-wheeler’s ass!” Yes sir, you did! You may not be on that basketball court playing against the Magic my friend, but you put on a much better show just being able to experience your life with you.

Drew Stops Traffic!!

January 17, 2010

So, we’ve landed and true to form, Mr. Dramatic could not wait to make his mark again in LA – so he stops traffic!! Ha! Living with MS, I am aware of many amenities that people take for granted. Traveling with Drew brings that to a whole new level. Even makes me feel like I need to go to confession and say 50 Hail Mary’s for how I have lived my life so selfishly. And I’m not even Catholic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

First, Delta leaves Drew’s wheelchair on the tarmac and its raining. This chair is his legs. Melissa and I were feverishly trying to get it dried off before we moved him into it. No one likes to sit in a wet chair! That would be like Delta dumping a big pitcher of water in your lap before you were allowed to get off the plane. Thanks Delta!! Then we got to wait 2 hours for them to finally get his shower chair off the plane. Really????? Why it didn’t come off with the rest of the luggage is beyond us. Many of you that follow this know that patience is not one of my virtues. Instead of Drew getting frustrated or angry, which he had every right to, he is smoozing and making jokes with the Delta guys. Lesson learned…. not only from a personal level, but a business one too. I know a lot of you travel every week with your job, I used to myself. Take a que from Drew!!

So… this brings me to him stopping traffic. We have a handicap accessible van as our rental car. The rental company sent over a van to pick us up. Well, the lift that comes down for Drew get in the bus can’t go down on the curb, it has to lay down on the road. So with a devilish grin on his face, Drew drives off the curb and into on-coming traffic where all the hotel and rental buses are coming to pick up people. “I’ll just wait right here”!! Ha!! I could not stop laughing at him. Buses were driving by looking at us like we were crazy. Nope, not crazy, just need you to think about how someone in a wheelchair travels. It’s definitely more entertaining than the average bear! But again, a lesson to be learned here – no matter what life throws in your face: HAVE NO FEAR! Be brave enough to drive out into oncoming traffic if that’s what it takes to get you where you need to go!

 We arrive at the hotel to the most fantastic gift basket in our room. It looked like one of the gift baskets the celebrities used to get at the awards shows. Time to kick back, have a drink, enjoy some cheese and crackers and just soak up that we are in LA!!!! That’s right – WE ARE IN LA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Watchout California!

The Flight to LA

January 17, 2010

First, can I just tell you how silly excited I am about this trip to LA. I’m going with Drew and his sister Melissa for a little vacation and to get some business done – get Redneck Ninja’s pitched!! Drew called me a little ball of energy when I met them at the bar, I think part of that was the entire pot of coffee I drank. Ha!

I’m reading this article on the flight about Anderson Cooper. In it he says, “You can’t predict how you’re going to respond when someone starts shooting or when suddenly your rights are taken away.” It immediately takes me back to my trip to Pakistan. When the very freedoms our soldiers are fighting for I lost the second I landed on foreign soil. The fear that invades you just by stepping outside to stretch your legs and walk down the street – will I get shot? kidnapped? As my mind was taking a dreadful walk down memory lane, Josh Grobin’s song “You Raise Me Up” comes on my iPod (yes, I know….a little girlish, but he has a great voice!) and I look over at Drew peacefully sleeping. It hits me that we also don’t know how we will react in the face of adversity. When you run into that brick wall called reality that you can’t move from the neck down. All of a sudden I feel like I’m in some Hollywood drama – listening to this song and tearing up over how surreal this moment is. I am going on the trip of a lifetime, getting this opportunity of a lifetime because of Drew. A man who can’t raise his own legs because of quadriplegia has raised up my hopes and spirits for the future. And while I have my Flip video camera to document things, it is not possible to capture this moment. “You raise me up to more than I can be.”

As I’m trying to soak all this in and hold it together so people don’t think I’m crazy, the rest of first class is worried about the score of the Minnesota – Dallas game. This may be one of the few times in my life I honestly don’t care about football. (besides, my Colts won yesterday…..)

Now I’m brought back to my own personal reality as I start to sneeze watching the flight attendant bring me another drink. Where is my Zyrtec??? I guess no matter how hard we fight it, we end up like our own mothers…. allergic to alcohol!!

Time to enjoy my next drink, find a good show on the tv to watch and we’ll be in LA soon!!

Cliff Jumping

November 6, 2009

If you read this blog consistently then you’ve seen a few reoccurring quotes that I love. One of the big one’s being “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain”.  And given that dancing is such a passion of mine, I’ve just kinda grabbed hold of this quote and ran with it. I even have a plaque with that quote on it hung up in my place…..

Last Saturday night, I found a new passion that I’m going to grab hold of and just run with it. That night I proudly sat in the audience and watched as my cousin, Jeanie, received her medal for 2 years being sober. There are only a handful of moments in my life that have truly taken my breath away – and this was one of them. Earlier this year I was humbled to have the honor of watching Jeanie as she told her story of her addictions and her journey to sobriety. But that journey didn’t stop there and it doesn’t stop as of Saturday night. That journey is one she has to make the decision to continue everyday when she wakes up. And for anyone out there reading this who thinks battling an addiction is easy or just simply “you stop doing it”, then I urge you to attend a meeting and listen to someone’s story. It truly is a fight against your demons everyday, but more beautifully it is such a testimony of just trusting in God and giving your battles over to Him.

“When God leads you to the edge of the cliff, trust Him fully and let go.
Only 1 of 2 things will happen, either He’ll catch you when you fall, or He’ll teach you how to fly!”

From hearing Jeanie’s story before I was touched by how much it was truly the grace of God that my cousin is still alive today. But what took my breath away on Saturday was seeing how my cousin had completely let go when she got to edge of that cliff and fully trusted God. Not only had He caught her, He taught her how to fly. Seeing God work His promises right before your eyes is not only beautiful and amazing, it’s just breathtaking! And now Jeanie is being a strong example for other new people who walk into that room on a Saturday night feeling lost, feeling lonely, feeling that they have no other options that it can be okay, that you can beat this demon, that you can get and stay sober.

Henry Miller said, “True strength lies in submission which permits one to dedicate his life, through devotion, to something beyond himself.” To me this is what being a Christian is about. Submission to dedicate ourselves to something beyond ourselves – to God. And that is one of the underlying principles in the Saturday Night Live group – you can’t do this without God.  And what an example of strength to make that jump fully trusting in God, not knowing how or where you’re going to land – just knowing He will be there beside you. The Anonymous part of the group is true anonymity, so I will not write about anything else that was said that night outside of Jeanie (because I have her permission) to keep the integrity of the group. What I will say, though, is I now understand why you are Jeanie’s family. You are a HUGE part of what got her to 2 years and I look forward to being there for every year after this one. And that also makes you a part of my family. Jeanie – I am so proud of you, your example and strength is an inspiration to me.

God tells us that He will never leave us or forsake us, that He will strengthen and protect us. I don’t know about you, but I’m gonna start going cliff jumping!!

I’m Permanent

September 28, 2009

So, Reality….. it’s been awhile since you and I have met in the ring for a match. I have to say it’s been interesting watching how our battles have grown, strategies changed, fighting styles matured even. And sometimes when you think I’m not looking, you try to throw a left hook in there to knock me off my feet. But what you keep forgetting is how my fighting style has changed, has grown, has matured. And you also seem to forget that I have one hell of a spinning back kick that has the force to break ribs (and has broken many boards in my lifetime!)

When we first started this little sparring match, I came out swinging with everything I had in me. I won a few rounds, and lost a few. I will say, I had some strong knockouts in my corner, but the rounds I lost were pretty brutal. Not only from a physical aspect, but an emotional one too. What I didn’t realize at first was that my wins were not enough to hold me through the losses. As I said before, in battle, the psychological warfare is just as important as the physical one. Where I once proudly wore the label of winner, I allowed you to replace it with one of damaged goods. Where I had gotten comfortable with the idea of being single, you made anger become my new companion. My hot air balloon that said I was going to be larger than life, you deflated. All of the essence that I felt made Lindsey, that defined me – you slowly took them away, one by one; leaving me empty. I needed more artillery. I needed a different strategy, my body wasn’t physically strong enough to just fight on its own like I had for all the years before with MS. A few months ago I wrote about how my strategy was changing, that I was no longer going to fight this fight by myself.  To take on me, you had to take on my army. (and need I just remind you one more time that my Dad is really not someone you want to piss off….. he was and still is one hell of a fighter and an incredible martial artist)

My new strategy was inspired by one of my martial artist heros – Bruce Lee. He was formally trained in Kung Fu, but later on developed his own “style” Jeet Kune Do, which means the way of intercepting the fist. That’s what I needed – a way to intercept your fist Reality. He felt that traditional styles of martial arts was too restrained and rigid, that the techniques were not practical for real-world street fighting. And I have to agree with him. Take for example one of the forms for Tae Kwon Do. It has me fighting off 6 attackers. But in the form, not all of the “invisible” attackers will attack at the same time, they remain stationary as you work your way through them. If I were truly in a street fight with 6 people, I guarantee you that three of them will be trying to hold me down while the others attack. (good luck with that by the way…) So, Bruce Lee developed his own philosophy that was outside the box, but better prepared his students for combat. I tried to take a similar approach, think a little outside the box, but better prepare myself for combat. That’s where I created my army of soldiers that have vowed to fight with me till the end.

And I’m proud to say that my new strategy is paying off! Today, the cardio told me he thought my heart sounded strong. That’s right, you heard me correctly Reality – STRONG! I’ll say it one more time, not weak but STRONG! In fact, he read my last echo to be 10% higher on my ejection fraction than what was previously reported. Do you know what that means???? I am safely out of the range of needing a pacemaker or defibulator in my chest. My heart is strong enough to pump/beat on its own. My heart is strong enough for me to start physically building back up my core strength. And when I do, buddy you really better watch out because the two things I want soo badly are back in my dance class and back on the mat in the dojo!

Learning to survive and adapt to this new life is my mission. Out of everything my army has given me, I feel like time is the most precious gift I can give back, and that’s just not something I’m willing to give up to you anymore Reality.

For some reason over the last couple of days, the song “Permanent” by David Cook has been playing on the playlist shuffle on my ipod. There is a line that has really stuck with me, “Will you think that you’re all alone, when no one’s there to hold your hand?”. See, that’s the point Reality. You wanted me to believe I was all alone. But I know that there isn’t a second of this fight, there isn’t a beat of my heart that goes alone. My heart would not be in the place it is today without my army.

Hope and motivation comes in all shapes and sizes. Whether it’s the Father that calmly prepares his daughter for the LSAT with his infinite words of wisdom or the Mother that firmly stands as that rock you can always lean on when you’re too tired to stand. Whether it’s that friend that won’t stop pushing you until you take that test or the sister that reminds you of how important you really are. Whether it’s a bite size snack that makes your sides hurt from laughing so hard or the goofiness that occurs from mixing chicken rings with Grey’s Anatomy. Whether it’s the Days of Thunder that make your heart feel alive again or an inspiring new friendship wrapped up in a Vince Dooley tie.

Not only am I not alone, Reality. I’m Permanent!

On Bruce Lee’s gravestone it says, “Your inspiration continues to guide us toward our personal liberation.” How true that is for me. Bruce also said that they key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering. I’ll venture out there to say there are a handful of people who think my life is worth remembering. Again Reality, I’m Permanent! I’ll go ahead and score this fight as a win for Team Lindsey!!

Permanent by: David Cook
Is this the moment where I look you in the eye?
Forgive my broken promise that you’ll never see me cry
And everything, it will surely change
Even if I tell you I won’t go away today

Will you think that you’re all alone
When no one’s there to hold your hand?
When all you know seems so far away
And everything is temporary, rest your head
I’m permanent

I know he’s living in hell every single day
And so I ask, oh God is there some way for me to take his place?
And when they say it’s all touch and go
I wish I could make it go away but still you say

Will you think that you’re all alone
When no one’s there to hold your hand?
When all you know seems so far away
And everything is temporary, rest your head
I’m permanent, I’m permanent

Is this the moment where I look you in the eye?
Forgive my promise that you’ll never see me cry