Posts Tagged ‘Thankfulness’

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.

The Pursuit of Excellence

January 21, 2010

This has been the theme of our trip – the pursuit of excellence. Drew came up with it and I feel it is rather fitting. Not just for this trip, as we meet with those who are best in the industry and study what they do and how they do it, but fitting for Drew as well. Monday was MLK day, alot of people were posting his quotes. There was one in particular that stuck out for me, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” That is Drew, that is this trip, that is UniquePublications – he took the first step when he couldn’t even see a single staircase out there!

And yesterday just seemed to capture this pursuit. John Shaffner gave us a tour of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. They recently moved into a new building, it was fabulous (to use Joe Stewart’s word!!) to see all of the accomplishments over the years. It’s one thing to sit on my couch and watch a show on the tv, but to see how it comes to life behind the scenes is truly magical. And I’ll be the first one to admit that I was wrong about how easy the life of an actor is. After seeing the run-thru’s and camera blocking for Two & a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory, showed me it’s not easy. They work 15 hour days. I have a new found appreciation for the industry.

Then to top off the night we went to the Hall of Fame Awards Show for The Academy. My first awards show!!! I could barely breathe I was so excited!! Amy Poehler was the host, alum from Saturday Night Live. Lorne Michaels and a lot of the cast sat at the table next to us. They were so gracious and took a picture with Drew. I got so tickled, one second I am taking a sip of my drink and turn to talk to the lady sitting next to me. The next second I see this wheelchair go zooming out of the corner of my eye – he was off!! He drove right up to Molly Shannon and started talking! It was classic! Candice Bergen, Charles Lisanby, Don Pardo, Gene Roddenberry, Dick Smothers, Tom Smothers and Bob Stewart were all inducted into the Hall of Fame. Some of those names I know you recognize, some you may not. I will tell you that I did NOT recognize Candice Bergen when she walked up on stage!! Maybe the change in her hair????

Lisanby is three-time Primetime Emmy Award winning director and production designer. One was for a special on Barry Manilow. Lisanby talked about the first time he heard of this invention called a television and said “he knew this was the beginning of something very important.” The Academy said what Lisanby didn’t know then was the importance television would play in his career, or how significant his contributions would be to the world of television. Let that sentence sink in for a minute. Because one day you will hear those same words spoken about Drew Bates!

Don Pardo is a staff announcer for NBC, better known as the announcer for Saturday Night Live!! We all know that voice! The man is 92 years old and still working. That shows a true love and passion for your job. That shows excellence!

Gene Roddenberry is a television writer and producer. I’ll give you a big hint on his claim to fame – “to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” For those of you who did not get the hint – Star Trek! In addition to his accomplishments with television, he was a decorated combat pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Continuing the excellence….

Everyone should know the Smothers Brothers. And for those that don’t recognize the name Bob Stewart, he is the genius that created many of the game shows you watched on tv growing up like The Price is Right and $10,000 Pyramid.

What made the night just perfect was sitting at the table with John Shaffner, Chairman and CEO of The Academy and Joe Stewart, Award winning set designer. John and Joe designed the set for Friends, I know we will all remember Monica’s apartment till the day we die!! That’s just one of the many lists of accomplishments they have. And seeing the permanent smile on Drew’s face as we watched the presentations and seeing the various talent that was in the room with us. Drew, this is just the start of your pursuit. I’m so glad I’m going on this journey with you!


January 20, 2010

I actually wrote this Tuesday night, just didn’t have time to post it….

Drew wanted a little alone time tonight to decompress, so Melissa and I went to the bar for a few drinks. A very harsh reality set in with me. Drew can’t go to sleep until we come back to the room. He can’t just say, “Okay, I’ve had enough for today” and call it an early night. Just about every move he makes depends on someone else. When’s the last time you laid down to take a nap? Remember how good that felt? Well, next time remember that nap is a LUXURY you take for granted everytime you lay your precious little head on that pillow. And what about that night you spent tossing and turning because you couldn’t sleep. You probably woke up the next day complaining about the bad night’s sleep you had. I know I have! The ability to toss and turn in your sleep is another LUXURY you take for granted.

As I’m writing this, Drew calls out for me – Did he take his night medicine? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten to take my medicine. But here’s the difference – I forget, I get up out of bed, go to my bathroom and take my medicine. He can’t. Someone has to put the pills in his mouth. I’m not writing this for you to feel sorry for him. Trust me, that is the LAST thing Drew wants. I’m writing this because of the basic functions we have in everyday life that all os us take for granted. And while he is literally busting his ass so that he’s not just another number on disability, working every breathing moment he has to make something out of himself so that people don’t see him as Drew the quad but Drew the brilliant artist, CNN is reporting about what message Michelle Obama’s fashion choices are sending America!! Really?? Are you serious?? Seems like we need to get our priorities straight. Maybe CNN needs some time alone to decompress!!!

A Month of Thanks

November 1, 2009

A friend of mine had a great idea on facebook that since it’s November, and Thanksgiving, that each day she would post something she was thankful for. I thought it was an excellent idea. Too often we only focus on the bad and not enough on the good. So keep coming back to this one, I’ll update it as I add the daily things I am thankful for!!

Nov 1st – Its November… I’m going to post something I’m thankful for every day this month. Today I’m thankful for a God who loves, stands beside me, supports me and never turns His back on me. Even when I turn my back on Him! ♥

Nov 2nd – today I am thankful for the new medicine Tysabri. May it do it’s job of stopping the progression of MS in all who take it, and no more cases of PML. For alot of MS patients like myself out there, this drug is all we have left until they find a cure. So I’m thankful for it, and the special people who developed it.

Nov 3rd – today I am thankful for my beautiful grandmother, Nanny, who was born this day several years ago. (she would prob not like me to reveal her actual age..) She is a wise woman who was an excellent example of what it means to truly trust in the Lord and be a prayior warrior. I love you Nanny!!

Nov 4th – today I am thankful for those inspiring nicknames my Dad and Super Dave have given me – Wyatt Earp and The Swan. Even on our best days, everyone needs a little inspiration. Thank you for the motivation, thank you for being a part of this journey and thank you for helping me feel beautiful during something so ugly.

Nov 5th – today I am so incredibly thankful for my mother. You are so beautiful inside and out and have the most wondeful heart for God. You give me strength when I have none left. If I can ever be half the woman you are one day, then I’ll be a lucky girl. I love you more than you will ever know Mom.

Nov 6th – today I am thankful for all the men and women who serve in our military – past and present. You keep this country safe and make it possible for me to have the freedoms I have. I am so very grateful for that. And my prayers are with all the soldiers and families at Fort Hood.

Nov 7th – and today I am thankful for my mom’s magical trail mix. Not only is it a great low sodium snack, it serves for a great breakfast when you don’t have time to make anything. One day this trail mix will be available to the masses, but for now I get to enjoy it!!

Nov 8th – and today I am thankful that I still have a gut intuition that works. I was right yesterday when I said something wasn’t right. And with that, I am thankful I have family that is close by that can come running fast when my heart goes kaput. I couldn’t have made it through last night without you Mom & Dad.

Nov 9th – and today I’m thankful for chocolate!! Chocolate always puts a smile on my face. Especially Wyndy’s chocolate cake. Yummo!!!!

Nov 10th – and today I am thankful for time. Time for my heart to heal, time to figure out which way to turn next on this roadmap of life, time to just sit still and listen.

Nov 11th – and today I am thankful for all of our veterans, like my grandfather, who proudly served our country. May their stories never be forgotten, may their sacrifices always be honored. Happy Veterans Day!!

Nov 12th – and today I am thankful for two very important people in my life. My wonderful nephew Dustin – Happy Birthday! I still remember rocking you to sleep as a baby. You have been such a blessing to my life, and I’m so proud of all that you have accomplished & your service to our country in Operation Iraqi Freedom. I will jump out of a plane anyday with you!! And my beautiful cousin Jeanie. Happy Birthday to you!! You continue to inspire me with your strength & perserverance. I am in awe of what you have overcome and look forward to cliff jumping with you!!
I love you both and am so thankful to have you in my life!!!

Nov 13th – today I am thankful for my heart. Even though medically it’s weak, it’s strong in all the ways that count. I’ve almost made it a year recovering from my heart failure. No man nor science will break this heart. I urge all if you to please take care of your heart. Every minute a woman dies in this country of heart disease, every minute!!! It is THE #1 KILLER in America.

Nov 14th – today I am thankful for college football. You win some, you lose some, but ain’t nothing better than watching your team duke it out. And I am especially thankful for Tennessee football. You guys may not have shown up yesterday to play, but I love ya anyways. Go Big Orange!!!

Nov 15th – today I am thankful for Daron & Tiffany’s wedding anniversary. Daron, you brought the most wonderful woman into our family and gave me a best friend. I couldn’t have made it through 2008 without her. I am so grateful for both of you. Happy Anniversary guys, I love you!

Nov 16th –  today I am thankful for the days I wake up & can walk. Today wasn’t one of them & it makes me realize how much even I take walking for granted. Over 400,000 Americans suffer the debilitating effects of MS. Say a prayer for them today,not all have access to the support system or resources like I do. I’m thankful …for days I can walk,for the fighting spirit on days I can’t & the people that love me regardless.

Nov 17th – today I am thankful for Trader Joe’s. You have the most wondeful alternatives for people who are on different or restrictive diets. I heart Trader Joes!!

Nov 18th – today I am thankful for all the doors that are opening for me. This just keeps getting better and better. I don’t know what God’s plan is for me yet, but I’m enjoying the ride as we find out. As I said before, the best is yet to come.

Nov 19th – today I am thankful for my Dad. Not only are you my hero, you have always been my #1 cheerleader (next to Mom). You believe in me when I don’t believe in myself, you motivate me when I hit brick walls and you give me sledgehammers to make my own doors when the world slams them in my face. Not only am …I proud of eveything you are and have done in this world, I know DaddyFrank is proud of the son, father, doctor and now DaddyFrank you have become. I am honored to have you as my father. I only hope I can fill your big shoes one day!! I love you Dad!!

Nov 20th –  today I am thankful for college mascots. Uga, you did a lot for the University of Georgia and the SEC. As the only college mascot to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated, you brought much attention and respect to our conference. RIP and my condolences to all the Georgia fans.

Nov 21st – today I am thankful for my bike.And for my brother introducing me to the love of cycling.You have given me a wonderful outlet to let go and get away from the world for a little while, when I’m on my bike. Not to mention a way for me to prove all the doctors wrong,I will ride the MS Bike Tour aga…in.Taking her today over to Terry’s to get some work done, don’t know why my cateye isn’t working.

Nov 22nd – today I am thankful for good soup on a cold, chilly day. Just makes you feel all warm and cozy. And yes, you can have really good, low sodium soup. My version is ever better than the original in most cases.

Nov 23rd – today I am thankful for my ex-husband. Happy Birthday Waleed. While our marriage didn’t work,you taught me more about myself than anyone has. It’s because of you that I am a better woman, a stronger Christian, & if God grants me the chance again -will be a better wife one day. I wish… you all the happiness & joys that I am finding in my life again. Shukria, mayra dost!!

Nov 24th – today I am thankful for my smile! It sure hasn’t left my face all day long and I love days like these. As I said earlier, the best is yet to come… and things just keep getting better. And I have to give a special shout-out thanks to my DaddyFrank who is smiling on me in Heaven. I wouldn’t have this smile without you! You were the best orthadontist to ever grace this earth!

Nov 25th – and today I am thankful for second chances. God has granted me two big ones and I am eternally grateful. I am lucky to be alive. For whatever reason the Big Man just wasn’t ready for me. So I’m going to make the most of my second chance with everything in me, grabbing hold and not letting go. If you’re lucky enough to get a second chance, make something worthwhile of it. God didn’t let you down, so don’t let Him down.

Nov 26th – and today I am thankful I don’t have to eat any turkey!!! I love non-traditional Thanksgiving dinners. Lobster – here I come!!!! 🙂 But I hope everyone else enjoys their turkey and has a Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 26th – and today I am truly thankful I’m alive. My doctor told me I wasn’t supposed to make it to the end of this year, and my heart is getting stronger. So thank you God for keeping me here, there is so much I have left to do in this world. And thank yo…u to my family and friends who have supported me over the last year. I am blessed.

Nov 27th – and today I am thankful for the beauty, peace and serenity of the North Georgia mountains. There truly is a place in this world where you can leave all your worries behind in the city, and my parents just happen to own it!!!

Nov 28th – today I am thankful for the true friends in my life who stick with me thru thick and thin, good or bad, happy or sad times. Those that have loved me no matter what. I am so fortunate for the great friends I have in my life. Thank you for being there, for making me laugh and definitely for making my life fun and interesting!!

Nov 29th – today I am thankful for families who open their hearts & lives up to adoption. Every child deserves a family. I am thankful Carrie made it to Africa safely & got to see Mykah & Jackson yesterday. Please pray the adoption process is a speedy one & for safe travels home. Chris & Carrie, I can’t wait to m…eet the new additions to your family.

Nov 30th – and today I am thankful for my dear friend Drew Bates, his company Unique Publications and his incredible project Redneck Ninjas. You continue to inspire me with your creativity and determination. I …am so thankful you kicked that 18-wheelers butt and am honored to be a part of your life. I look forward to this adventure and being a part of the journey with you as Redneck Ninjas goes worldwide!!! Everybody needs a little ninja!!!