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Monday, February 14, 2011

Pay it Forward

It was over a year ago that my son and I were geocaching in the Ocala National Forest. The road was good and my car was moving.

Then the road got bad and a corner… and sand…and… STUCK!

For an hour we shoveled and pushed but that little car just wasn’t moving.

Then a couple of hunters came along in a four wheel drive pick-up truck. “Can you pull us out?”

It didn’t take long for them to hook up my little Saturn and pull our stuck behinds to the safety of the main road. I was very grateful that they came by when they did. I don’t know what we would have done had they not happened by when they did.

Fast forward to just this weekend.

I was again geocaching in the forest. This time I grew some common sense and I went with a friend that had a 4X4 SUV. Driving down and narrow sandy trail deep in the forest we came upon a small group of guys on ATV’s. With them was a dune buggy with a driver and a passenger. We said hello and drove on to a geocache a couple hundred yards down the trail.

As I’m looking for the cache I heard voices. The voices were getting closer and seemed pretty frantic. I came out of the woods to find the two guys from the dune buggy running down the trail.

“Our dune buggy…broke…an axle…our friends gone…no cell phone…no GPS…lost…”

After a few minutes he calmed down and we assessed their situation.

They didn’t know where they were or where their friends were. They couldn’t fix their buggy.
Of course it my turn to payback the guys that helped me last year.

“Hop in”.

We drove them about 10 miles through the forest to their campsite and their family. I’ve never seen a more thankful couple of guys.

It was no skin off my back. After all, some did it for me about a year ago….

The message for today is twofold: First, don’t feel bad when people help you. That is what they are there for. 

Second, be ready and willing to help someone else. After all, you never know when it will be your turn to need to help. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Autumn was 21 years old.

Autumn was 310 pounds.

Autumn was a mother of a young baby.

“You will die before you reach 30”.

This is what a brave doctor told this young lady. Instead of enjoying another 50 years she was planning on less than 9.

Autumn was shocked.

Can you imagine this young mother being told that she’d be dead before her kid turned 12? Autumn was told she should be dead because she was so unhealthy at 21 that her body just couldn’t handle it for  9 more years.

Autumn had a choice as a very young lady.

She could do what most people do and have a pity party. She could whine and complain and blame the world. She could be to have some silly surgery that may or may not work. She could go on living her lifestyle and chalk it up to “bad genetics” or “luck of the draw” or “stress” or any other reasons people have to being morbidly obese.

She did none of that.

Instead she started changing her diet; slowly at first. She went to seminars to learn how to eat properly. She saw specialists. She really started to focus on doing the simple things. She drank lots of water, cut her portion sizes down, and cut way back on soda and sweets.

She started walking and doing exercise tapes.

All of a sudden the pounds came off and the self esteem went up.

Within a few years Autumn had lost the weight. She went from 310 lbs at 21 to 120 pounds at 26.
Was it an overnight success story for Autumn? Nope. Did she stay a pillar of health at 120 lbs? Nope. Has it been easy? Nope.

Now at 32 Autumn has 4 kids. She isn’t 120 lbs anymore but doesn’t want to be that light. Today she is working hard to get back to a comfortable weight.

Autumn had a choose 11 years ago. Be dead in 9 years or live.

She chose life.

I’m glad that she made that choice because just a few weeks ago Autumn and her kids were at the park with a friend.

Autumn’s friend had a heart attack and died right there.

This man’s heart stopped.

Autumn (The 32 year old who was supposed to be dead at 30) and a bystander at the park did CPR and brought him back to life. Today Autumn is a lifesaver and a hero.

Not just that day in the park. Not just THAT day but also because of that other day 11 years ago. The day she decided to save… HER OWN LIFE.

I bet her kids are thankful and I bet the man she saved is thankful.

I know I am thankful because today she is a very close friend and one of the hardest working members of my program.

Autumn is a hero to me.