Archive for August, 2012

August 29, 2012

Strive to Surprise

When I got out of bed this morning, I would have laughed in your face if you told me I was going to run across the Golden Gate Bridge today. When I woke up this morning, I did not expect to run to Marin, I didn’t even want to do it, nor had I even thought about doing it. In fact, when I woke up this morning I was actually pretty sore from the last two days of workouts, and today was supposed to be my take-it-easy stretching day. It was a constant feeling, lasting until the early afternoon when my legs were getting so tense from sitting at my computer all day, I thought would be good to stretch my legs with an easy jog to a store called the Sports Basement. You see, I needed to go to the Sports Basement to ask about renting some camping gear for an upcoming trip, and the store is only about a mile from my apartment. So I started my jog, started to loosen up my legs a bit, and started a journey to the Sports Basement.

Only, I quickly forgot about my sore legs. It was such a beautiful day today in the Bay, at a sunny and almost wind-less 70 degrees. I was on a mission as I ran through the Presidio Park and Crissy Fields, with sun on my skin and the most magnificent view to keep me distracted. I came to a crossroads (literally), between taking a right to the Sports Basement, or taking a left for the Golden Gate Bridge.

Until that very second, the thought to run to Marin had not yet entered my mind. But I decided to surprise myself, and do something I have never done before. I veered to the left and didn’t let anything, anyone, or even me, stop myself. That very second, I made a new goal to run to the end of the bridge, touch Marin County, and run back to the Sports Basement to get my errand done.

As most of you know, I have a slight obsession with this bridge. I first saw it when I was 5 years old and still living in South Africa; I’ve seen its replica in Lisbon, Portugal. I’ve driven across it many times; I’ve even sailed and cruised under it. I’ve written about it; I’ve taken countless pictures of it. But today was the first time I ever ran across the Golden Gate Bridge.

The astonishing views of the Bay, the vast beauty and bewildering complexity of running over this infrastructure did help my adrenaline, of course. These pictures will never do it justice, and my love for the bridge, the bay and the city only grew astronomically. (I run with my iPhone and try not to stop but only for a second to snap the shot!). And as I ran along with breath-taking views, I couldn’t help but think about how happy and liberated I was that I decided to do this last second. I couldn’t help but think about how fulfilling it felt to have accomplished something that I didn’t even prepare myself to do. I couldn’t help but feel fortunate for my ability to run, appreciative of the city I live in, and more importantly, motivated to continue to test, challenge, and surprise myself.

Now, I don’t want you to mumble to yourself about how ‘I’m sure she’s just a runner and this wasn’t that difficult of a task’. You’d be wrong. Unlike my dad and my sister, I did not exactly get the running gene. Sure, I like to run… about 3 or 4 miles. I stick to yoga, spin and the little mile runs. Two weeks ago, my dad and sister gently forced me to go running one morning with them (like always) while we were in San Diego. We ran 5 miles and I just about died, having to stop and undoubtedly complaining the whole way. But today, I unexpectedly ran almost 8 miles.

I surprised myself. I challenged myself. I astounded myself. And it reminded me that this is one of the greatest, small things in life that you can do. Maybe running isn’t your thing, and I’m not asking you to wake up tomorrow morning and run to Marin. I’m just trying to remind you to every once in a while, do something you hadn’t planned to do. Do something different, something challenging, or even something you don’t think you will like. Keep working towards the big dreams and goals you set for yourself, but every so often strive for a new goal you didn’t think you had. Make a last minute decision, unexpected turn, or create a new challenge.

You might just surprise yourself. I sure did.

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August 20, 2012

The Story of Jesse and Kelly Cottle

I have a story that needs to be shared, and I regret that my words will never do the justice that it deserves. It is a story of the two most beautiful people in the world, and their journey destined to find each other through any obstacles. I want to share the story of Jesse and Kelly.

Kelly and I have been friends our entire lives, literally. Our older sisters met in preschool in South Africa, our parents became close and our families stuck together from crazy holiday trips to immigration to the United States. Kelly and I spent hours and hours together, swimming, biking, putting on dances, making up all sorts of business ideas as eight-year olds, playing Mancala, and dreaming up crazy concoctions in the kitchen. I’ve seen Kelly grow into such a beautiful woman inside and out, with such a gentle spirit, who has a heart for God, she sees the greatness in the little things, and is loyal beyond bound.

Before meeting Kelly, Jesse was serving our country in Afghanistan. As a Marine, Jesse was working as an EOD Technician, which stands for Explosive Ordinance Disposal. He stepped on an undetected IED, or Improvised Explosive Device, and was blown into the air, losing both of his legs instantly. But God had bigger plans for Jesse. Three years ago, Jesse’s life drastically changed as he hung onto his life, and carried on with a positive attitude, a grateful understanding, faith and a severely deepened appreciation for life.

Two years ago Jesse came to meet Kelly, a record holding Boise State swimmer, at her swim meet in San Diego as their families had met previously while he was overseas. You would think he might hesitate as he walked across the wet floor in his brand new prosthetic legs he was just getting used to. But you’d be wrong. Jesse, yet again, faced the world with courage and determination, and then, changed Kelly’s world forever.

Kelly and Jesse bring life, love, and happiness to everyone around them. They act as a team, they laugh and play, understand what the other is thinking, they share common values and morals, and most of all, they love each other in a way that can only be described as pre-destined. If you ask Kelly, God had a plan for Jesse to continue to bring happiness to this world. If you ask Jesse, God’s plan was for Kelly to bring him happiness. She carries him on her back to the beach, and he shows her the beauty in the small things in life. She helps him to balance truth, purity and faith while he provides strength, courage and braveness. Together, they have all the right parts. Together, they are whole. Together, there will be no such thing as defeat.

Their story is a true testament to a life of devotion, faith, love, happiness, friendship, courage and loyalty. I am so blessed to know them both, and I will be forever grateful for the day that Jesse’s life was saved. This weekend, I was honored as I stood beside Kelly as a bridesmaid as she married the man of her dreams. Their wedding was spectacular, beautiful and sincere. Kelly looked absolutely gorgeous, and the happiest I have ever seen her. As their friends and family watched, they vowed to forever love each other through thick and thin, sickness and health, wars and turmoil, and anything that faces them in the future. I have no doubt that their love will stay true until death does them part.

Congratulations to the two most beautiful people in this world, your story is an inspiration to me that love has no bounds, depths, or limits.

Love, Chianne