Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dear Brittany Maynard....

Maybe I am coming late to this party.

By now we all know the story of Brittany Maynard. The 29 year old who is choosing to take her own life before cancer takes it from her. 
All you need to do is google Brittany Maynard and 6.4 millions hits come up.

So I am joining the conversation late. 
Except I am not conversing I am simply writing her a letter she may or may not ever see.

Dear Brittany,

I am so sorry. I am sorry you are terminal. I am sorry you have no hope. I am sorry you have given up and most of all I am sorry others have given up on you.

When we know someone is suicidal we don’t encourage them. Instead, we wrap our arms around them, we tell them we love them and we work to get them help. We intervene.

I am sorry that few have jumped into intervene for you. Maybe it is due to their belief that you are better off dead or that they are afraid that it would be selfish to ask you to suffer on their behalf.

Wow. Brittany, There is more to life than the absence of pain. You still have the opportunity to love, to be loved.

You don’t need to sacrifice yourself for those you love. You are missing the point. Maybe you believe you are saving them from the pain of watching you suffer or you are saving them from the expenses of medical bills but those who love you – unconditionally would be grateful to suffer for you. Just ask.

Prior to being a mother I didn’t fully understand or even grasp what unconditional love was. So let me try to simply explain…

Newborn babies are VERY needy. On paper it would appear as if they had nothing to offer. They cannot feed themselves, they must be fed, burped, changed, rocked and you must also wipe their dirty behinds… Yet somehow, that experience is simply wonderful and for most (including me) it is the first time you experience unconditional love. It changes your life.

I imagine this same family that supports your decision to commit suicide is doing so because they are hurting deeply and would not dare ask you to suffer, but I would also imagine that the same parents who were over joyed to hold you as a helpless baby would again, hold you as a helpless woman. After all no matter how old you are, you are still their little girl.

I am not a husband but I am a wife.
Two things.
If my husband was faced with something like this I would cherish each day we were given and count them all as blessings. I would feel honored to be by his side in his final days.

As for being a husband. I won’t try to speak on any husbands behalf but what I do know about men is that they have a secret hero complex. Let your husband be your hero. Let him serve you, if not for your sake for his.

Your decision to take your life is stealing the people who love you the opportunity to show you unconditional love.

Your story has made national headlines. Few have not heard of you. But I am struggling with what your message is?

What are you telling terminal children? 
Children who are suffering, who have little time left. They still have hope, their parents still hope… but when they see others calling you a hero, when all you have done is given up. That is confusing. It is not heroic to give up!

Nobody likes a quitter. We learn this at a young age…  The only exception is those who push euthanasia. They aren’t your friends, they don’t love you. They prefer to talk despairing people like you off the edge because they don’t value life. Don’t give into their lies. If not for you or the millions of others suffering don’t give into the lies for the kids who suffer.

You have been given the gift that came in the package of a warning. Death is approaching sooner than later. This is a time for you to search for God. 
You have nothing to lose. 
Jesus used his suffering and death to restore hope. Follow his example.

Praying for you and your family.

-        -  Kelsey Garka

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Christie Buie | 2014 National Success Story Winner

I was recently asked this question: What are you most passionate about?

My initial thought was how do I sum this up????
So I asked my husband to help me summarize... In short this is what we came up with as a response.

The thing that I am most passionate about (aside from my family)  is helping others overcome adversity in their life.  
About seven years ago my husband and I learned that our unborn son would be born with a heart defect called HLHS (Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrom).  
To keep it short, this meant that he was going to be born with half of a heart and would require three major open heart surgeries within his first four years of life in order to get blood and oxygen to all the places in his body that require it.  This was obviously a devastating blow as my husband and I were so excited to start a family and have our first child.  Through a lot of prayer, support from friends and family, and an amazing medical resource at Children's Hospital in Seattle we are so happy that our son, Mason, is doing well and just started Kindergarten!  
During our time in the hospital we quickly realized that there was a whole other world out there. This is not seen unless your are looking at it.  So many people have to go through the same thing we did and we wanted to give back and show support for those people.  
At first this passion lead us to giveback to other heart families through support groups and social networking.  
But, it has since turned into helping others overcome anything in their life.  
For example, a member at one of our fitness centers won a national award for her success story. With over 2,000,000 members worldwide one of our member's was chosen because of the adversity and obstacles she overcame to change her life.  This member would tell you how much my husband and I had to do with this, but we certainly did not see it this way.  We simply provided support and a vessel for her to use as needed to meet her goals...... (It went on. But I am stopping)

This is the reason we risked it ALL to open a gym. This business wasn't handed to us. We risked our real money. Everything we had. 
We wanted to be able to meet people where they are. We wanted to be able to play a SMALL part in people making the decision to change their lives. 
We were spared the gift of Mason's life. 
When we walked away from his first surgery and it didn't break us. We felt compelled do something major. It was during this time when we decided to open our first gym. 

The road hasn't always been the smoothest. Owning a small business is hard but recently we were reminded that even though it doesn't always pay off financially it has paid off with greater rewards!

At this years Anytime Fitness Conference Christie Buie was named one of the National success stories of the year!

The Monroe Monitor wrote an amazing story about her as well. 
You can find it HERE

This year we took our team down to learn and celebrate!
Here are some of the best photos from the trip!!!

View my Flipagram
I love looking at photos set to music. Makes them more fun!

We have been busy this year. 
This is one of the many highlights!


We get crazy at these things and yes A LOT of people leave with new ink...

Made it just in time to join everyone for a drink!

And I got to spend some time with this awesome person! Makes my heart happy!


THE next morning. This happened!
Christie drank the cool aid!

Awards ceremony!

Not that I would have excepted anything else but Christie NAILED speaking in front of THOUSANDS!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Traveling home

We got back into port at 8am.
The original plan was to do some sight seeing and then head back on the train departing at 5:30pm.

This is our luggage. Ummmm not sure what we were thinking. How are we supposed to cart it around with two tired kids????

This sounded great before the trip began.
Now that it was over it sounded like a nightmare!
Mason and Kendall were tired and we were tired.

Thankfully my Mom said she would drive to Vancouver and rescue us.

Once we got off the boat we took a taxi back to the train station where we waited 1.5 hours until she arrived and then in the car we went and before we knew it we were back home!


We survived the BEST and LONGEST trip we have yet to take as a family.

Then we blinked. 
Within a few short hours I was back to work (and what a week to return...SERIOUSLY) and Mason started Kindergarten!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Day 7: At Sea

Today the Disney Cruise arranged a special meet and greet for Mason and Kendall!

Finally after 7 days Kendall decided she would actual hug Mickey!!!

They even walked around the boat with Mickey... Which made both Kendall and Mason feel really special since they were the envy of all kids who walked by!

The Captain of the boat even stopped in for a visit!

Once we were done visiting with Mickey it was off to meet Anna and Elsa!

Don't let this face fool you. He was EXCITED!

Goodbyes are always the hardest!!!

Danielle. She was our Disney host and arranged a lot of fun activities for us. She was also the one behind all of the goodies left in our room each night.....

Lito. Was our head server and with us each night at dinner!

Jack was our Assistant Server and also with us each night...

In fact speaking of dinner. Here are a few photos from our dinner shenanigans from the entire cruise!

Mason took over taking pictures. This was as good as they turned out!

Hanging out in the window waiting to be seated for dinner!

Thankful for my cappuccino!
It was needed most nights!

Dinner in and of itself was an adventure!
But then I don't think I would have expected anything else from Disney!