Ok, before we move on, lets get a few things out of the way!
1) Yes, I know, every year should be the "year of the wife"!
If you're married.
Or at least that would be smart.
Which I am not often accused of, now that I think of it!
2) No, I do not know what the Chinese year is, so this has no correlation to me deeming 2009 the "Litzinger Year of the Wife" (TM)
3) Yes, I am going to race in 2009!
Angela and I always try to have a priority of giving! Which really isn't all that easy on one income, 3 kids and well, me!
We have discovered that the best way to give is for it to be a natural part of our lives. So, for example, when I signed up for the marathon last year, I took the option to donate. If I don't have the money to donate, then I don't have the money to register. Much in the same way as if you don't have money to tip the waiter/waitress then you don't have the money to go out to eat!
The model for this came to us from my two trips that I made to Guatemala. As part of the mission, I would not only buy an airline ticket and pay $300 for food and shelter (to the organization) but would also give $300 toward supplies, etc. for the organization to buy and employ Guatemalans! Of course, this was still only a part of all the spending involved in a trip like this.
This is freely done, there is no guilt about it, no worries, no anything, it just is. In fact I think that it is fine that we are such a wealthy nation and guilt in an ineffective method to encourage giving. But I also think that amount of giving by us Americans (as a percentage of income) is well, not fine! Statistics have shown that the more we have had over the years, the less we have given. Did you know that typically Americans spend $450 billion dollars a year on Christmas but that it would only cost $10 billion to dig wells so that everybody can have clean water? Again, 450 billion; no problem, 10 billion; problem! Let's be wealthy, but let's also live!
Last September, I took a slip for Ironman Wisconsin (this is somehow related to the conversation, I think). The very next week, my wife and I took off on vacation and by the time we were back home, the window to pay for my slot was gone. My fault, I didn't check my email, thought I had plenty of time, yada, yada, yada. But I didn't pursue it too hard other than an email asking for me to be able to purchase it. When I didn't get a response, I probably felt a little relieved.
But I also came out of it more convicted. If I can't pay for a community slot, then I can't race an Ironman. And right now, I can't pay for a community spot. But who knows, maybe in a couple of months I can????? This does not mean that I think anybody else should have this conviction. Everybody has there own way of giving! I'm just sharing with you one example of how I have chosen to make it a part of my life. An important part of my life, in the same way that I have made my wife and kids a part of my life, my work, my training and exercise and so much more. Of course, I too often have to renew these commitments being all too human.
This leads to the fact that Angela, my wife, is going to register for the 2009 3 Day walk for Breast Cancer! Here in the Twin Cities, it is from August 21-23! It is my plan to help her raise the money, support here steep increase in activity (sorry honey) and take off from work that weekend so she doesn't have to think or worry about the kids.
I am also planning to send (or hopefully bring) Angela to the 2009 4th annual Gluten Free Culinary Summit. The 2008 Summit is why we went to Providence, RI this past September. Hopefully (please, please, please) it's back in Colorado where it usually is this year. But there are lots a places I would love to go, so I'll be happy with anywhere as long as its not the same weekend as the 3 day. Unfortunately, we don't have a date or place yet, but we expect to find out soon.
Those are our priorities. Truthfully, it is also possibly our limits as far as affordability. But also truthfully, I have had plenty of opportunity for overtime and maybe those opportunities will continue? If I feel my savings are going well, that I'm able to help others in a pretty bad economy and there is some additional money, then I may just race an Ironman by the end of 2009! I am absolutely, definitely saving for a 2010 Ironman and I always first think of Lake Placid when I think of where I want to race. We shall see.
Marathons are not looking so great for me this year, at least as far as scheduling goes. At least for the big ones. Grandma's, Fargo, Twin Cities are all on my weekend to work this year!!! So, I am considering Madison on May 24th? or possibly Illinois on April 11 or I may just consider no spring marathon and either race Chicago or Whistlestop in the fall!
I am also planning on Minnesota Border to Border July 28-31! In fact I have enough people interested that there may be 2 teams formed if more are willing? This will be a great time as Bigun, TacBoy, Trimama, IronmomJenny and possibly more are racing this!
I will race more just to keep the enthusiasm going, but I'm not sure what yet. I do want to race a 1/2 Ironman! Or maybe an Ironman distance that is not done by NA sports? Same distance, same accomplishment! Hmmm, I better keep that on the 2010 burner.
Some of my plans for Minnesota races may depend on you Minnesotan's. Can't wait to see if we can align our calendars.
Have a good week!