Posted by Linda on Sep 28, 2011 in Linda's posts
We had trained and collected money. Now it was time to do the race. It was a simple fitness race at Magnusson Park, one that is scheduled every month. Back in April when we were selecting the event this was the one that seemed to fit us best with several distances available: the 5K, 10K, 15K, or duathlon.
We had 23 people on Team Franklin this year. The Team is about keeping our bodies moving while we grieve the loss of Franklin. Here we are at the start line, and on the course.
This year we also focused on raising money to create an endowment for scholarships in Franklin’s honor. The center frame is Grace who is my competitor is the fundraising department. Every time I saw her we would compare notes to see which one of us was ahead at that moment. There are so many reasons I want to be like Grace when I grow-up. My goal is to never lose the competitive side of my personality and always wear it well, like she does.
As we wrap up Team Franklin for another year we are thankful for all who have participated in any way. To all who walked and ran with us, who donated, who cheered for us, who listened and supported: THANK YOU.
Posted by Tegan on Sep 26, 2011 in behind the scenes
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This rainy Seattle Monday, let me introduce you to One Brave Thing a Day‘s newest team member, our very own NY ray of sunshine, our agent Stephanie DeVita of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management!
After our extensive research into agents and queries, after several amazing referrals which gained us great input on our proposal but not yet a literary agent, we cold-submitted to a small list of agents. I was drawn to Stephanie’s clear respect and enthusiasm for publishing and her dedication. Her personal statement and photo seemed kind and inviting, but strong; maybe she was a Mouse That Roared, too? Her agency represents impressive authors and has an informative and entertaining website, including a great blog. (To get an idea of how brave we had to feel to query, take look at their client list, especially this page… Yowzah!)
Not many nail-biting, finger-crossing days later, Stephanie emailed in response to our query, asking for our full proposal. Then she scheduled a phone call with us. YES! We loved that from just our one-page letter, we stood out enough for someone we really liked to take a longer look.
Linda and I made that phone call side by side at my breakfast table, notes and scrap paper in front of us so we could scribble our questions and impressions to each other. Stephanie was clear and savvy. Her questions reflected her expertise. She explained what her role would be and what she would need from us, were she to represent us. Together we explored the “why” of One Brave Thing a Day.
We knew Stephanie was the right agent for us when she answered our question, “What interested you in our project?” Immediately, her voice warmed so we could hear the attachment every author hopes to hear from a reader someday. Linda’s story was unique, the kind of thing Stephanie had never seen before. Green burial was a new concept, and Stephanie wanted to know more about it– and this brave, strong mom who not only has a green burial plan for her daughter, but also does triathlons and coaches and faces life working from just one brave thing a day.
“You just won yourself a One Brave Thing a Day mousepad!” Linda announced. We danced in our chairs and couldn’t stop grinning. As soon as we got off the phone, we packed up one of the mousepads we had made with our logo and sent it to Stephanie. Within a week, Stephanie was the owner of “the coolest mousepad ever,” and we had signed with her.
Thank you, Stephanie, for all your hard work. We’re so glad you are on our team!
Have you ever had that mousepad-giving revelation, when you realize someone new is fully in your corner?
Posted by Linda on Sep 23, 2011 in Linda's posts
This is a story written by my friend Monica Wood and republished by permission. We are in season two of Team Franklin, a running/walking group that sprung up last year to suround her family as they were grieving the murder of their son, Franklin. Tomorrow is race day for us. I love how Monica writes; the words are letters to her son.
Linda walked us through a visualization exercise at your kick off event, helping us visualize what we hope to accomplish through Team Franklin. I love this kind of exercise to really get to the heart of what is resonating within me. I was surprised however, by the results. What I saw in my minds eye wasn’t achieving the goal of raising all of the money for the endowment, which is what I thought the answer would be. It wasn’t helping an art student pursue a career s/he loves, it wasn’t winning the incentives for recruiting the most people or raising the most funds (which I’m not eligible for but really want), it wasn’t even crossing the finish line with an amazing finishing time.
In my visualization, I saw pink fleshy lungs expanding and contracting in rhythmic motions. There was room for oxygen which allowed my body to thrive. It was like inhaling hope. They looked so happy and healthy they reminded me of winged cherubs and I felt this incredible yearning.
This probably sounds crazy to you, what could this possibly mean, right? Unfortunately, I know exactly what it means. My lungs remain in the perpetual stronghold of a giant black fist, whose grip is steadfast and constant. It’s made of malleable stone whose smooth, cold, hard surface finds the most inopportune times to squeeze ever tighter, cutting off my oxygen until I’m afraid my lungs will explode!
Each time I run, it stirs up your death in me, and my lungs constrict. I come out with the belief that this will be the day when I’m better, this will be the day when my lungs can fill with oxygen and my body will find its rhythm to run. And every day I’m disappointed because my heart has found more tears to expel. It’s never just a run, it’s always survival. Emotional survival.
Although, when I think about the alternative, this is better. Yes, it is disappointing not to recover, not to be who I once was as an athlete. However, what if I was able to fake it, to run as I did before without evidence of the pain inside? What future disability would form and grow if there was no outlet for my tears, the sorrow of losing you?
So, yes. I hate this season of grieving. I want my life back! I want you back!
However, those things are not in my power to retrieve. Those are things I can’t change. So, I continue showing up, hoping that this will be the day, because that is the best I can do.
None of us can imagine losing a loved one this way. That is why I am showing up tomorrow, that’s why an endowment has been created. I’d like to invite you to sponsor me in the usual pay pal way (type “Linda Keeney” in the “Name of Athlete” box), if this hits your heart.
Ta da! Snazzy business card holders!
During the summer, Linda and I met over the phone rather than holding our weekly in-person meetings. So last week, to celebrate our first time together face-to-face in months, we got these. The purple one is hers, the black is mine.
As our agent pitches our proposal to editors, our duty is to network, network, network (and write and edit, too). I thought these sturdy, professional accesories would help us get in the mood. Pulling my business cards out of a rubber band repurposed from a pint of blueberries just wasn’t the suave look I had in mind.
Next time we see you, we’ll probably whip these out and hand you a card! How can we resist?
In the meantime, we would really appreciate if you would do the digital equivalent of giving us your business card– please write a comment on posts that strike a chord with you! And you can also do us the huge favor of virtually passing our card on by sharing our site with people who you think might appreciate it.
Thanks so much for your support of www.onebravethingaday and Linda’s story, One Brave Thing a Day.
Do you have something special that helps you work up the courage to speak out about a project you’re working on?
Posted by Linda on Sep 19, 2011 in family
, life at home
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Now that Heather is a graduate and has some time on her hands, we are making it back to special places of her childhood for a nostalgic round of visits. We went to her much-loved elementary school last week.
The idea came to me over a sign that read, “PEACHES for sale.” It’s the same sign by the side of the road that I’ve spotted at the end of every summer for years.
Every year while Heather was in elementary school I would make a peach crisp and deliver it the week before school started while the staff was getting ready for students. If it was extremely hot then, I’d make peach smoothies instead. We haven’t been back with crisp or smoothies since she graduated 5th grade.
Time to bring back the peach crisp back-to-school tradition!
It was wonderful to reconnect with many of the same folks still there 10 years later. When I think of Team A, I think of all of us in the photo below. Starting on the left: Cilla, Heather’s teacher, has retired but still comes in once a week to volunteer; Margaret, Heather’s occupational therapist/physical therapist; and Julie, who is the head teacher now but was the new teacher back then; me; and Heather. The room feels the same, and it was a wonderful visit. (We went after school was out for the day, so that’s why it looks so quiet.)
If you ever feel like reconnecting with the people of your past, I say send the brave email and see if they respond. They might be too busy, but they might not. In our case, it was well recieved and a great thing to do. Can you ever tell teachers often enough that they mean so much in our world?
Posted by Tegan on Sep 15, 2011 in family
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Today I want to celebrate my brave, beautiful cousin Betsy!
Last Saturday, Betsy participated in Rhode Island’s Swim Across America in honor of her cousins (my mom and my aunt, who both died of cancer), Betsy’s friend Henrietta, and her sister-in-law Linda, a cancer survivor. Swim Across America takes place all around the country, with each state holding an open water swim of 1 mile or 1/2 mile. Betsy raised $1,500 for women’s oncology research this year, her second year participating. Despite warnings of high surf, the swim was on, and Betsy completed it with a smile.
Betsy’s open heart, her devotion to loved ones, her shining spirit, and her strong swim in the waters of New England are an inspiration to me and many others. She keeps love and hope alive.
I love you, Betsy!!
Who do you want to celebrate today?
Posted by Linda on Sep 13, 2011 in life at home
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One of those days…Woke up feeling a little blue with cranky hips and figured I needed something extra.
What? I went to work to diagnose what might be the problem and the solution. I figured it had been a while since I had bought new running shoes. The ones I have were probably past there 500 mile mark and needed to be switched out. I knew a new pair of running shoes from my favorite store Super Jock n’ Jill followed by a run around Green Lake might be just what I needed. So I put my plan in motion. Instead of just going for a run, I had enough time to squeeze in time for new shoes too.
As always the folks at Super Jock n’ Jill were wonderful and had me in my new pair and out the door in no time. Ty, one of the managers, and I swap stories and he makes sure I get a discount. What a guy! Someday I will tell you a story about him that will make you want to buy your shoes there for the rest of your life. But I will save that story for a day when I have nothing to say… Back to cranky hips.
These are photos I took as I ran around Green Lake. Why I didn’t get a photo of a gentleman in a bright orange shirt running right in front of me most of the way shows me I have so far to go in the blogging world. I realized HE WAS THE STORY when I finished taking these photos of the final landmarks around the lake, and he was off in the distance. I was jogging with him the whole way and he was a workout! ( This run was actually 4 runs ago, thanks to the wonders of blog posting, and yes my cranky hips are much quieter now.)
This wasn’t a brave post as much as a keep going post. Some days we just need to keep going.
What do you use to keep going?
Posted by Linda on Sep 8, 2011 in Linda's posts
Not many people are like Judy, and I count myself privileged to know her. She has a high-powered profession that uses all her brain, reason, and ultra diplomacy skills. And she is excellent at what she does. My hope always is that she doesn’t work too hard. She can often do the 60-hour-a-week thing.(Photo of Judy above by Allen Welsch Photography)
What you might not get at first glance is where our connection lies. She is a triathlete and learned to swim as an adult 6 years ago. She entered the water one January evening coming from a place of fear of the water. Through many months and small victorious steps Judy became an open water swimmer.
This year I met her at the water because she is going to be the swimmer for her company team in a co-ed triathlon. It’s been two years since she had been in the open water (although we spend many Sunday evenings laps swimming at our favorite pool). Open water is a whole different animal. So the first lap (175 yards in a roped off area) was shaky, the second was better, and by the third Judy’s stroke was back in working order. It was fun to see it return so quickly. And even more fun to recount our triathlon road together over dinner after.
Judy is brave as she stretches outside of her comfort zone this Sunday morning. By saying, “I’m still an open water swimmer, it’s not only part of my history it’s part of my present.” Go, Judy go!!!
What do you have that is part of your history that needs to remain as part of your present?
Posted by Linda on Sep 6, 2011 in Linda's posts
This past week was the first week of the Lose for Good campaign in Weight Watchers. This is where the company matches $1.00 per pound of weight loss and donates it to hunger relief (up to 1 million dollars). Plus every Weight Watcher center has a food gathering place where members can bring food in each week equal to their weight loss; then that is donated to a local food bank.
I work at the Burien Center on Saturday mornings and our food bank will be the White Center Food Bank. A teacher in the room spoke up and said, “You need to know: that is the food bank that some of the kids in my classroom use.” Suddenly all of us saw the big blue box with the words “Lose for Good” written on the side in a different light, as a gathering place for her kids’ food. You could feel the mood in the room shift from doing good to compassion. A few more stories tumbled out about the need in the area.
The need is real and it is here and growing, and we can help. I want to think of ways to feed a food bank consistently. We are sporadic feeders of Hopelink in our area, and part of a church that has a garden that harvested over 300 lbs of food and counting for the same food bank. (I got to be on the harvesting and delivery crew a couple of times this summer.) I just want to figure out a system that keeps me feeding a food bank, thus feeding some kids in someone’s classroom, all year round.
Where is your local food bank? Share your tips of how you have gotten in the habit of feeding it.
Posted by Linda on Sep 2, 2011 in family
, life at home
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Toni is back! So our life around here feels like it went to full power again. Right away she was leaving notes and getting things rolling her way. It is amazing how good her energy is around our home. Heather is happier too, I’m sure. We are looking forward to settling into our new normal since Heather has graduated and won’t be going back to school in the fall the way she did for so many years. Now her school is with Toni and the zoo and the many other things they have planned.
I will keep you posted… It is just good to have her back.