Meeting humanitarian needs in Egypt

Regardless of what part of the world we live in, we each can do our part to make it a little better. That's what a friend dear and near to my heart, who presently lives in Egypt, has done. Elena wrote telling me of the human needs she had discovered since moving there,

"Having been in Egypt for only a short time has definitely had its share of adventure, adjustments and discoveries. One discovery that is evident all around us is the great need of funds for this region to alleviate the poverty, improve the heath care system, provide basic education for the young and so much more."
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) tells us that, "the number of poor people continues to increase as the population grows. Egypt has about 10.7 million poor people... About 80 per cent of girls are taken out of school before the age of ten to do farm work."

To do her part, Elena teamed up with CARE International and BG Energy Challenge to help meet some of these needs. An added bonus is that BP matched whatever donations were given to this particular fund raising effort. After completing the event, Elena wrote,
"To all my sponsors, Thank-you so much for your generous sponsorship in the CARE event. It was such an excellent experience and challenge for me to do the hike. There were 25 teams that participated and your contribution helped in raising over 100,000 dollars. One of the pictures below shows the estimated amount BG will be giving to CARE. Our team received the best "all ladies team" award. It really helped that we were the only all ladies team that participated. LOL. Here are some pictures of the event and our team. Love, Elena."

It's wonderful when we can have fun team-building moments while helping others less fortunate than us. I must confess that I'm not always as involved in meeting humanitarian needs as I feel I should be. But I'm trying to do what I can when I can. How about you? What humanitarian endeavors are you involved in? What organizations do you endorse and support? Write back and tell me about them.


Arlington Wreath Project

I'm patriotic...obnoxiously so. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I came from a land ruled by a totalitarian and oppressive government. Living in the United States is, for me, both a privilege and a gift from God, and one I do not take for granted. I realize the USA is not perfect. I'm not blind to its weak spots, though I choose to dwell on what's good and honorable about this great land.

With that in mind I'm sharing with you what one man, who's not even a veteran, is doing to honor this country. The Arlington Wreath Project is for real. I checked them out at Snopes.com, where we read,

Morrill Worcester initially brought 4,000 surplus wreaths from the holiday decoration company he owns to adorn gravesites at Arlington in 1992. Every year since then he has set aside several thousand wreaths especially for that purpose, driving to Arlington in December with a trailer full of decorations and dozens of volunteers to distribute them throughout the cemetery.
Since 1992 Worcester Wreath has donated 75,000 wreaths. Mr. Worcester has now expanded the Arlington Wreath Project into Wreaths Across America. For as little as $15 you can sponsor the placing of a wreath on a lain soldier's grave. Your gift is tax deductible. The website lists the closest participating locations where wreaths will be placed this year.

I loved reading what Mr. Worcester has to say, "it takes a lot of hands and a lot of hearts to make this happen each year. It is our way of giving something back, because without the sacrifices of our Veterans, and their families, we wouldn't be in a position to do any of this. The Arlington Project and Wreaths Across America is about the spirit of appreciation for what we have, and a determination to give something back."

That pretty much says it all. All I can add is a heartfelt thank you to our Veterans and to one man's vision of how to honor them.


Falalala Lifetime Speaks To Me

I've got work deadlines to meet and a house to pack for our move back east, so why am I spending time watching the Falalala Lifetime's holiday movies? Because they speak to my heart. They wake up all that is beautiful and empowering in me. They infuse me with the hope and vibrancy needed for me not just to survive whatever the day brings but to overcome it victoriously!
Falalala Lifetime announcement showing Carson Kressley and Melissa PetermanI love everything about Falalala Lifetime holiday movies lineup, including the commercials announcing them. Carson Kressley and Melissa Peterman are adorable as they invite viewers time and again to enjoy holiday movies every day and evening right up to Christmas day. However you celebrate the holiday season, adding a sprinkle of what Falalala Lifetime is offering would brighten it even more.


Name dropping

rollodex or phone file with cards I'm calling some very important people in the publishing business my friends these days. What? You don't believe me? How else would I know that Brian A. Klems, Online Managing Editor of Writer's Digest, is now the father of a precious baby girl? How would I know the moment a new title comes down the pike for Harper Perennial, including the title they sent as a review copy to CCF? How could I just ask Nathan Bransford, "a literary agent with the San Francisco office of Curtis Brown Ltd., a New York based agency that has been representing writers since 1914," to post an article to the CCF site under his name? Need I say more? These and several hundred other very important people have accepted my invitation to be listed as my friends under myspace profile.

Are you on myspace? If so, visit my profile page and send me a friend request. At the same time send me a message letting me know you read my blog so I know to accept your friend request. If you have not set up a profile page on myspace, why haven't you? Write me either way and let me hear your thoughts on myspace and other social networking sites.



After watching the award-winning film Bella I have mixed feelings about it. Am I glad I saw it? Yes. Would I recommend it to others? My answer would be a qualified yes. I like the movie but not the manner it is being presented, or rather misrepresented, by the media campaign surrounding it.

I prefer storylines that tell us what it is we're signing up for. Disney's "Enchanted is a film just as mushy, gushy, and lovey-dovey as Bella is. The difference is Enchanted asks its question from the beginning: "can a storybook view of romance survive in the real world?" It then proceeds to show that it can. There is hope. Individuals can make a difference.

Even though we're told Bella is "a love story that goes beyond romance," Bella is, above all, a movie "about a cause that matters." I would have preferred knowing beforehand that the cause was abortion. Is abortion such a divisive force that its part in the film needed to be kept under wraps in the advertising copy? It is true that Bella deals with the abortion issue. It's also true it goes beyond the rhetoric and into the humanity surrounding it, both that of the unborn baby and that of those close to its mother. The movie is a good vehicle for delivering truth in a caring and sensitive manner and deserves to employ truth in advertising in its media campaign.

Bella, directed by Alejandro Monteverde, won the People’s Choice Award at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, considered to be "the most influential film festival in the world." Even though it deals with a particularly controversial issue in America today, it also deals with mistakes we make that can haunt us for the rest of our lives. It's about how things that happen can kill the passion in us, the passion for living, for engaging life in all its fullness.

Bella is about family and friendship. It's about options and consequences surrounding decision-making. It's about hope and healing. It's a movie about everyday heroes and the ability they have to make humanity hopeful, beautiful and uplifting.

When you Google "Bella the movie" you'll find most folks, but not all, raving about it. Stephen Holden, of the NY Times, gave it a scathing review,

It is not hard to see why Bella, a saccharine trifle directed by Alejandro Monteverde, won the People’s Choice Award at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival. This is a movie that wears its bleeding heart on its sleeve and loves its characters to
distraction. Nothing—not even significant plot glitches and inconsistencies—is allowed to get in the way of its bear-hugging embrace of sweetness and light. [Stephen Holden/NY Times].

A film uses its artistic components to evoke a particular emotional response from audiences. Plot glitches and inconsistencies do make it hard for viewers to suspend disbelief and embrace the storyline. I'm not sure which plot glitch or inconsistency Holden is referring to. For me the movie's storyline worked. It was straight forward.

In his review, Holden brings out a point worth noting, "If Bella...is a mediocre cup of mush, the response to it suggests how desperate some people are for an urban fairy tale with a happy ending, no matter how ludicrous." This is good news for writers to create other such stories. I love to read books or watch movies with that type of ending. Based on the endorsements, awards, and reviews Bella is receiving, I'm not the only one who feels this way.

In addition to its #1 message on the topic of abortion, that there are options one can take besides aborting a human being, the other themes woven throughout the storyline are what would make this a movie worth watching and recommending. You won't be disappointed if you go prepared to see a slow and melodious story rich in values, hope and love. Know beforehand that it'll ask you to think about abortion and much more. Bella will ask you to consider what is true and beautiful and worth doing today in order to make this a better world for us all. Watch Bella and tell me what you think by posting your comments to my blog.


I'm a mean spam fighting machine

computer throwing out lots of spam emailI do hate Spam. Not the (to me) delicious canned luncheon food product the Hormel Foods Corporation makes, but the seemingly unending number of electronic Spam, unwanted and unsolicited emails that inundate my Inbox. Add to that the junk mail the postman delivers daily and the telemarketing phone calls and I'm ready to become a hermit, throw away my computer (gasp!), crawl into a cave and shut out the world.

I've spent countless hours fighting spam over the years, reporting spamming domains to my server, setting up spam filters at the server level and within my Outlook email program, and feeling that it was mostly a losing battle. The more time I spent fighting the onslaught, the greater the number of spam emails I was receiving. Not anymore! I'm now a lean mean spam fighting machine! These days I look forward to receiving spam. Why the change of heart? Because I'm no longer a victim. I'm fighting spam with the help of spamcop.net, a free service where you have the option of upgrading to their premium services if you want to avoid getting ads.

Here's a blurb on SpamCop's history, as stated on their website, SpamCop.net - Free spam reporting - Filtering - Information
"SpamCop is the premier web-based service for reporting and blocking spam...it processes over one million spam complaints a day and is supported by hundreds of thousands of users, a knowledgeable volunteer community, and a professional staff. SpamCop streamlines the process of determining the origin of spam emails and reporting them to the relevant Internet service providers."

stick figure holding up a flag that says don't give up the shipThere are ways to stop folks from sending you unwanted mail, whether through the U.S. Postal Service or via the Internet. Just because cyberspace is cluttered with junk doesn't mean you need to give up and either stop accessing the wonders of cyberspace of become a recluse. Don't give up the ship! Instead fight back and fight hard.

In addition to SpamCop.net, I found a website provided by, of all people, the DMA, the Direct Marketing Association. At first I thought it was like watching an anti-smoking commercial sponsored by a cigarette company but in many ways it makes sense that the DMA would want to empower consumers and help them keep unethical marketing firms out of the loop.

At the DMA's Consumer Assistance web page you'll find links to how to opt-out (remove your name) from lists marketing firms use to send electronic spam to your inbox and junk mail to your mail box. In addition, the DMA's Consumer Assistance page also has links on how to protect your identity from being stolen and how to safely shop online. Here are some of the links they provide:

Much of the information on the DMA's web page I was familiar with but some of it was new, like how to remove deceased individuals names from marketing lists. It's sad enough to have a loved one die...sadder still to see credit card offers delivered by your postman in their name.

This is how I've become a lean mean spam-fighting machine! I aggressively report spam to SpamCop, and have opted-out of mailing lists, telemarketing lists, and e-mail lists.

Knowledge is power. The more information we have and use the better we'll be at fighting spam. Let me know what works for you and what you're doing to become a lean mean spam fighting machine!


Cuba, Naturally

My uncle from Miami sent me this URL for a beautiful slide show on Cuba from National Geographic. It's called "Cuba: Naturally."

I learned a few things I didn't know about Cuba...the fact that they think the island was a land-bridge zillions of years ago between North and South America? That would make sense looking at the photo they show you. I'm a Geologist and studied Plate Tectonics but had not heard this about Cuba before. Enjoy the virtual visit to our island paradise, courtesy of National Geographic. :-)


Words Women Use

woman speakingHere's one of those anonymous writings we get sent by family and friends. This one made me laugh because I, like probably many other women, am guilty of using these words to mean just what they say they mean here. So go ahead and forward this to the men you know to warn them about future arguments they can avoid if they remember the terminology! And send it to your women friends to give them a good laugh!
  • "Fine" -- this is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

  • "Five minutes" -- if she is getting dressed, this is half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given 5 more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.
  • "Nothing" -- This is the calm before the storm. This means "something," and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with 'Nothing' usually end in "Fine."
  • "Go ahead" -- this is a dare, not permission. Don't do it.
  • "Loud sigh" -- This is not actually a word, but is a nonverbal statement often misunderstood by men. A "Loud Sigh" means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you over "Nothing."
  • "That's okay" -- this is one of the most dangerous statements that a woman can make to a man. "That's Okay" means that she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.
  • "Thanks" -- a woman is thanking you. Do not question it or faint. Just say you're welcome.
  • Oh, and before we forget, "Whatever" -- it's a woman's way of saying *!#@ YOU!


A healthier Monte Cristo sandwich

Have you ever had a Monte Cristo sandwich? image of a Monte Cristo sandwich Is there a healthier version of the traditional one? This IS one delicious sandwich, filled with ham, cheese, turkey, mustard...and deep fried french bread style. When served with raspberry jam on the side you just close your eyes and pure bliss envelops you as you eat it.

I indulge in this maybe once a year and only when eating out as I've never tried doing it at home. Not until I stumbled upon a version of this recipe that's baked instead of deep fried and it looks just as yummy! You'll find the recipe at http://www.recipezaar.com/82119, submitted by chef Rita. Several folks have tried this recipe and posted their comments there on how good it was. If you make it, write in and let me know how you like it.


7 Random Things

Lauri from Lauri's Reflections tagged me to name 7 Random Things about myself as a prompt for me to blog more often. LOL. In my defense...I've been blogging my heart out via comments posted online, not at blogger but rather in myspace where I've started a Cuban themed group, the Cuba: Island of my heart group.

Ok then, here they are: 7 random things about myself:
  1. I'm a bookaholic.
  2. I'm originally from Cuba and thankful to be living in the USA these days, the country that took me in when I had to flee my homeland.
  3. I'm horrible at returning library books back on time so I'm always writing checks, large and small, made out to the Pikes Peak Library District. I was once greeted by the librarian as I walked in with my bag of books with "Oh! Here comes our job security!" LOL.
  4. I'm a published author and full SCBWI member.
  5. I write because I can't draw. LOL. Stick-figures is the extent of my illustration ability but I love to take words and string them together and see a picture come alive before my eyes.
  6. I LOVE sci-fi/fantary. Love to read it. Don't feel confident enough to write it yet. Love how these authors "dream forward" and, by so doing, offer a priceless gift to the world.
  7. I once took a 2-week vacation through England and Scotland with only the clothes on my back. Talk about packing light! Rick Steves...eat your heart out! LOL.

So then...what are 7 random things about yourself? Write back and tell me about them. :-)


Plan for post-Castro Cuba outlined

CubaLuisa Yanez, of the MiamiHerald.com, wrote an article titled "Plan for post-Castro Cuba outlined." I read it and wonder how much of the plan could ever be implemented. I think it's a sad chapter in history that millions of Cubans were displaced by Fidel's totalitarian government taking over and destroying what was known as an island paradise. But what voice could the exiled community really have in Cuba's present and future? That part I don't know.

Recently I went on a virtual scavanger hunt and actually found the church I went to as a child, la Primera Iglesia Bautista de Santiago de Cuba. I also have used Google Earth to find my home.

But these are wishful thinking type of activities. Would I like to physically go back to my home town of Santiago de Cuba and walk the streets I walked on as a child? Yes. Would I like to see the home I grew up in? Yes. Would I like to live in that home again? No. I am pretty sure it's nothing like what it used to be. When we left Cuba my grandparents wrote us to tell us the government had put four families in our home, turned it into a cuarteria, a slum type place where four families lived and the home was being destroyed.

I'm glad the Unidad Cubana plan Luisa Yanez refers to in her article actually mentions that the Cuban exiled community would not go back and try to reclaim their old homes. It'd be horrible if we did to those now living in Cuba what Israel has done to the Palestinians... sad... sad all around.

I agree with the last lines in the bulletin, "They know that Marxism and Lenism have failed and that Cuba is a disaster and something needs to be done.'' My hope is that, somehow, those of us in the exiled community would work together with the Cubans in the island and help them take their 50-year old bandages off, sort of like the Biblical story where the onlookers are told to take Lazarus' bandages off when he comes back from the dead. I look forward to the day when Cuba comes back from the deadness and oppression it's lived under all these years and those freshly liberated Cubans, together with the help of the exiled community, can work together and build a healthier and brighter future for the Island of Our Hearts*.

*Island of My Heart is the working title of the middle grade novel on Cuba I'm writing.


Self-publishing through Publish America

What do you think of Publish America as a means to get a book published? So far I've not heard any positives, except those I read about on the PA website, but I'm open to views from both sides.

Jenna Glatzer is an "author of 16 books and hundreds of magazine articles and greeting cards." She's written an analysis of some of the reasons she doesn't recommend Publish America in the forum section of Absolute Write.

Medievalist, another forum participant at Absolute Write, has posted an article On Publish America as well.

On the other hand, I read on the Publish America website that Pulitzer Prize winner William Coughlin is one of their authors. And I also read there how many of its authors are writing for well known national publications as well, such as O Magazine.

Could it be that the non-edited versions of PA titles folks are talking about are from PA's early days, when the company first got started? Have they changed their editorial practices since then? Are the titles coming out of PA's presses being edited as needed? Could it also be that there's a time and a place to go with a POD (print-on-demand) publisher such as PA? Maybe an already established author, with a built-in audience, could do better self-publishing and selling their books directly. But where does that leave the new author who so desperately wants to break into the industry and has yet to find a traditional publisher or agent who'll take them on?

I'm perhaps trying too hard to give PA the benefit of the doubt. The more I have googled PA in the past the worse news I found! A.C. Crispin, from the Writers Beware blogs, minces no words when talking about PA...and neither do those who posted in reply to the blog, "A.C. Crispin - 65 - The Cult of PArsonality..."

What are your thoughts on PA or self-publishing at large? Have you dealt with Publish America yourself? What was your experience? Or that of your writing buddies? If we end up talking about self-publishing as a venue for new writers to break in that would be good as well. In the meantime I've added a link to Absolute Write and the Writers Beware blogs from this page.



Google the word "balseros" and you'll arrive at a list of links about The Cuban Rafter Phenomenon: A Unique Sea Exodus, "Between 1959 and 1994, in defiance of the law, more than 63,000 citizens left Cuba by sea in small groups and reached the United States alive. Thousands more washed up in the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and other Caribbean shores. Over the years, they have been collectively known as balseros (rafters) and their precarious vessels as balsas (rafts). At least 16,000 additional rafters did not survive the crossing."
  • There is a documentary by Spanish telejournalists Carlos Bosch and Josep Maria Domenech titled "Balseros." The film was an Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary in 2003.
  • Dick Gordon, from The Connection, has an audio show where he interviews Carlos Bosch on the making of the "Balseros" documentary. The program also includes several balseros talking about their experience.
  • Balseros by taxi is a news clip showing a 1948 Mercury taxi that "sailed" from Cuba on August 2006.
  • There are books such as The Big Idea: Balseros by Alfredo Gonzales, a balsero who survived to write about it.

And then three's the short YouTube video clip that posted to the Cuba: Island of my heart group in that I moderate in myspace,

Each time I watch this clip I laugh and cry at the ingenuity and desperation that would lead someone to make boats out of cars. I know what led each balsero to risk their lives and throw themselves to the mercy of the high seas. It's completely asphyxiating to live under an oppressive totalitarian regime such as the communist government Fidel Castro has imposed on the Cuban people.

I listen to the words of the song in the video and understand them to be true. [Here's a rough translation]: "They continue to arrive day after day, fighting wind, sun and sea. In destroyed balsas and even in car tires bound together. They only want to live in liberty. They bring in their pockets the hope that they can start their lives anew. They left their homes, family and friends, all this to live in liberty. Virgen de la Caridad, you who work miracles...I only ask that you do not stop looking after us...Some have not had the fortune [of surviving the journey] and have lost their lives at sea. For those who died we'll pray daily that they'll find peace in glory. All Cubans are one, those living there (in the island) and here (the exiled community). When Cuba is free we will be one [in the manner in which] Jose Marti united us...May they continue to arrive..."

How desperate would you need to be to work clandestinely to build something you hope will float in the rough seas between Havana and Miami and hold your weight as well as that of your loved ones? Pretty desperate. And that's how thousands of Cubans living in Cuba feel. Desperate enough to risk their lives in order to escape the oppressive totalitarian government of Fidel Castro. If I could I'd change the law and make it so that if they just get to US waters they could get political asylum in the USA, not just if they actually touch US soil.

When my own family wanted to leave Cuba we were offered the opportunity to escape the island. But as my father used to say, "how far can you run with six little girls?" So we applied to leave the country and three years later received permission to leave, after turning over our home, car, and everything else we owned to the government...all except the three dresses and a pair of shoes each member of my family was allowed to take with them.

Do you know of a balsero that made it to US soil? What comes to mind when you watch the YouTube video clip? And listen to the words of the song?


"I Could Not Be Cuban"

I moderate a Cuban-themed group in myspace, the Cuba: Island of my heart group. Today a group member posted a link to Claudia 4 Libertad's August 13th blog titled, "I Could Never be a Cuban," where the blogger describes what being Cuban is all about and why she could not measure up to it. She honors Cubans in her writing by detailing much of what they've gone through over these past almost 50 years since Fidel Castro took over and imposed a repressive and totalitarian rule on the country. I visited the blog and have added a link to it from my page. I love the tag-line she gives her blog, "Proving that not only Cubans care about Cuba".

It is beyond belief that millions of Cubans have endure so much pain, for so long, in and out of the island. That they have survived the nightmare, and in many cases overcome it, is a testament to their indomitable spirit, the strength in the Cuban soul. That Cubans continue to stand up for what's right, even risking their lives to do it, is to be applauded and shouted from the rooftops! Highlights of Cuba's history since 1959 are covered in Claudia's blog entry. There it is. In that blog. Simply stated...and all true.

Her blog ends with the words, "I could not be Cuban because there is no better place in the world to live, in my opinion, than the United States. Cubans, sadly can no longer say that [of Cuba], since although before the revolution, the once beautiful Cuba received over one million immigrants in a thirty-two year period, Cubans will now risk their lives to leave and nobody is fleeing TO Cuba. That tells me that there are much better places to live than Cuba. If I were Cuban, knowing that would break my heart, especially if I had been around before Fidel Castro destroyed the island." I was around before Castro destroyed the island and my heart does break to see what he's done with it.

Claudia4Libertad's blog is a simple yet powerful overview of what being Cuban is about. It made me feel proud of my Cuban heritage...and happy to know that, indeed, "not only Cubans care about Cuba."


Write & Wrong: Kirstie Alley rocks!

Kirstie AlleyI watched the Lifetime original movie, "Write & Wrong" and loved it! It was funny yet thought-provoking, a wondrous representation of a writer's life and all it encompasses. There are great lines delivered by Byrdie Langdon (Kirstie Alley) throughout the movie such as when she's explaining to a young editor that older writers aren't dumb, "We don't get dumber as we get older." There are many such statements on what writing is all about, and Alley cleverly delivers them at just the right time and with just the right tone. Kirstie Alley is perfectly cast for this role, presenting both the vulnerable and strong side of a writer's personality. She brings to life the character of Byrdie Langdon, the writer she plays in the movie.

The movie contrasts good and not-so-good editors, with the character of Andrea playing the type of smart editor any writer would be lucky to work with. It is fun to listen as Andrea describes to Jason (Eric Christian) her favorite movies by giving log lines for each. We see the impact a good or bad acquisition can have on an editor's career and understand the truism that, "writing is an art but publishing is a business."

"Write & Wrong" takes many of the stereotypes we have about writing and publishing and goes beyond, into the very lives of writers and the editors and agents who acquire their manuscripts. It deals with the subject of ageism within the writing field in a comedic manner which does not take away from the seriousness of the subject as we get to see how it impacts the various characters' lives.

The message of this movie is that age does not matter when the writing is good and sells. "Write & Wrong" is more than a "feel good" movie. It empowers and encourages the viewer to reach for their highest potential, whatever their field of work, and regardless of how young or old they are. The movie is on again Monday, 6/4/07, on the Lifetime TV channel.

I'd love to hear from all those who watched this movie. Did you like it? Why or why not?


Why do you blog?

I'd love to hear from site visitors as to why they blog. I gave a talk last year at our regional SCBWI conference and will be giving it again in April. I titled the talk, "Websites, Blogs, and Platform Building."

When it comes to writers, I do feel that every published and yet-to-be-published writer should have a website and/or a blog. They are a means to an end: building your platform. It's your platform that editors and agents look for once they fall in love with your writing...and even before! The workshop i give covers what you need to know in order to launch your own website and/or blog in a cost-effective manner. It covers the terminology, software, costs, philosophy, design components, etiquette, and maintenance of good sites that inspire visitors to bookmark them and come back to them time and again. Sometime in the future I may put this info in an eBook. I'll let you know when I do.

Now the above is for writers...but who else blogs? and why? I'd love to hear from you! Tell me why you blog. Do you have more than one blog? What topics are you blogging on? Fun stuff, huh?


Got Marathons On My Mind

Christine Gary, Tufts University cheerleader & marathoner in the 2007 President's Marathon ChallengeChristine Gary: 13:45:20
i ran a half marathon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ...HALF MARATHON!
Christine Gary: 13:53:18
and i was tired from the get go...like i started running and was thinking ooooh boy, this is gonna be a long run, i have no energy... haha... and it was cold

Those were the words I found on my IM window when I came to work this morning. It was my daughter sharing with me the thrill of one more practice run as she trains to run in the 111th Boston Marathon on April 16, 2007, a distance of 26 miles, 385 yards (42.195 Kilometers). She'd run 11 miles with her team members and then ran an additional 2 miles on her own to make it a half marathon.

The news that her training is right on track led me to google "Boston Marathon" and, in so doing, I landed on one of the most inspirational stories I've read in a long time. I discovered all about Team Hoyt. This is a father-son team who's now run 24 consecutive Boston Marathons. Their time? One of their marathons clocked in at 2:40:47. That's running 26.2 miles under three hours... and that with the father pushing his son who cannot walk. Watch this 7 minute video and be inspired! Team Hoyt is scheduled to run the 2007 Boston Marathon. I sent an IM to Christine, "Christine! You'll be running alongside them!" And she replied, "or faaaaaaaaaaaaar behind them."

About the Tufts University Marathon Challenge

Tufts University President, Lawrence S. Bacow, leads The President's Marathon Challenge

Christine is running the 2007 Boston Marathon as a team member of The
President's Marathon Challenge
at Tufts University. "Each spring for
the last four years nearly 200 Tufts students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents
and friends have taken on a dual challenge: to run the Boston Marathon and to raise funds to help support health, nutrition and fitness programs at Tufts. The participants complete the challenge under the guidance of experts from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts and Tufts sports medicine staff." [Boston Athletic Association News].

Christine and every one of the 200 marathoners with the Tufts University Marathon Challenge Team is committed to their mission: "to raise funding to support nutrition, medical, and fitness research and education at Tufts." President Bacow has a goal of raising $75,000. Christine is half way on her goal of raising $1,000. You may sponsor Christine or any of the runners in the Tufts Marathon Challenge, including President Bacow. You'll receive a tax deductible receipt from Tufts University once your gift is processed.

I was inspired today by a student, a university president and a father and son team. For each of them running The Boston Marathon is a grueling challenge but as President Bacow says, "the pain is temporary, but the pride is permanent." My heart swells with pride for each of these marathoners and the legacy they leave behind as they each run and raise funds for tremendously worthwhile causes.