A lesson on how to WIN each day

I have lived in Minnesota my entire life. The winter we've endured takes me back to my youth. It seemed like we always had abundant snow and cold weather that made us dream of the first days of spring.  

In my opinion, all of us have earned an early spring. Many of us have already dropped the ball on our New Year’s resolutions that, just a few months ago, we were committed to making happen. Too often, whether we are a student, parent or community member, the hurdles we face in life can get in the way of accomplishing the goals we set out to achieve.

Life’s struggles never come to an end. You cannot make one big effort to change your life and then be done. Too many times we are going to get started on our new life just as soon as we read that new book, lose those 10 pounds, save some money, etc. While we can wait to get all of our "ducks in a row" before getting started is one strategy, most of the time we end up with a bunch of dead ducks before we actually are able to implement anything. We really need to use the "what’s important now" (WIN) strategy Lou Holtz, a former college football coach, talks about.

On Dec. 10, I went to bed with an earache. I woke up the next morning, looked in the mirror and thought I'd had a stroke because one side of my face was kaput.  

I went to the hospital and was told it was "Bell’s Palsy." Generally caused by a virus, it comes on so quickly it causes temporary paralysis of one side of your face. Instantly, I was hearing- vision- and speech-impaired, and I had root canal pain for two weeks.  


It is hard to hide your face, and "temporary" is a long time when it happens to you. Some of the simple things that I love to do, like smiling at others, were impossible. (With this temporary setback, I had to smile at others from the inside.)  With one side of my face working and the other side frozen, everyday tasks like eating and drinking were a challenge.

As I was making progress with the Bell's Palsy I had a new challenge in my life. An early morning jogger for 35 years, I had a hard time catching my breath during three runs in a row in January. I assumed it was my asthma acting up, so I went to the hospital.  

A series of tests found a "very serious" blood clot in my lungs. I was told that many times the people who ignore the symptoms I had do not survive. In the hospital, hooked up to an IV, I started to ask myself "What’s important now?" The issues that had seemed hard and troubling were no longer important.

The good news is I am moving forward and have a clean bill of health. I am close to being able to smile on the outside again.

When I had the Bell's Palsy and blood clot, I prayed for a miracle. What I learned is that miracles were all around me in the people who stepped forwarded to encourage me, told me I was in their thoughts and dropped me a note. Their actions meant more to me then they will ever know.  

As we leave winter behind and move into spring, I’d like to remind you to live each day with purpose and passion. And never forget, the impossible takes a little longer, but each of us can do the impossible if we take the first step forward and keep moving.

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