Time to Laugh !!!

Laney Lou!

Laney Lou!
Laney Lou!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Yes, I'm Still Alive!!!

No, I'm not dead yet although I'm sure many of you thought I was! I've had a few e-mails from those who were about ready to file a missing persons report but really, I'm still here! I've just been a little busy and a little lazy lately. We do have a new little one in our home to play with! Yes, Laney Lou is growing and is as cute as ever! Being a grandpa is the greatest!

So what's been happening? Well over the past 8 or 9 weeks or so, here is what I've done:

* Been totally consumed with my work which has been over the top if I might say so.
* Lost Becky's aunt Henrietta who died at age 93. Becky managed most of her affairs and now is still working on that. More below. What a great lady.
* Still working out and watching what I eat. A lot of ups and downs but maintaining. I've lost some of the same pounds at least 3 times!
* I've got some tendinitis in my right arm which is making it difficult to weight train.. ugh
* Becky and I bought some road bikes and are starting to get ready for the Tour de Cure in June.
* Have been tracking weight and calories on "My Plate" on great tracker!
* Celebrated Dax's and Lucy's birthdays.
* Read a couple of books.. "Unbroken", "A dog Named Slugger", and working on "Water for Elephants"
* Bought a Kindle for my Mother for Mother's day... Shhhhhh don't tell her! She came for a visit and loved reading mine!
* Bought a new camera.. digital SLR Canon T2i EOS. Nice for me!
* Went to Las Vegas for conference weekend and had a great time. Love it there! Yes, I did listen to conference!
* Survived another year with a stent in my heart! It's been 6 years now as of March 15th! Whoo hooo!
* Have been consumed in my church job too.
* Have greatly enjoyed my kids, grandkids and life!
* Listening to Jack Johnson and my friend Israel Kamakawiwo'ole "IZ" getting ready for Hawaii in May.. can't wait.

Okay, that's mostly what I've been up to but I need a new goal to motivate me to push a little harder on getting in shape. I need to do another 1/2 marathon for a target! Maybe the tour-de-cure will do it! I've pretty much been just maintaining my weight and fitness since January! I still need to lose another 25 lbs to meet my YNY goal! Spring is here, time to get with the program again!

Just a couple of words about Becky's Aunt Henrietta. In early January 1997 (14 years ago), Mary and Henrietta's house burned down while Mary (Becky's other aunt) was in the hospital. Mary & Henrietta had no children and lived together in a nice home by Utah State University in Logan. After the house burned down, Becky and I worked to salvage what we could and worked with the Insurance company to get the house re-built. That was a lot of work and we spent many weekends for the next year taking care of all of that. Mary died a month or so after the house burned down and Henrietta moved into an assisted living center in Logan. Like so many other things in life, it is the diversity that we encounter that spawns most of the blessings we receive. That was the case with Henrietta. Through the house burning down and the loss of Mary, we came to be the primary care givers to Henrietta. Becky was her only niece and we became very close with her over the coming years as we helped her manage her affairs and her new life in assisted living. Many trips were made and many lunches were eaten at Sizzler with Henrietta. During those times, she told us a lot of her childhood and much about her father and mother and their home and lumber/hardware business in Arimo, Id. Those are now wonderful memories to be cherished and nurtured.

For the last 14 years, we have watched Henrietta digress slowly as her health deteriorated. She eventually moved from Williamsburg (assisted living) to Terrace Grove (partial nursing) to Sunshine Terrace (full nursing). For 14 years, she never went back to her home. When it was finished being re-built, we took her to see it. She walked through it slowly one last time and then left. She never wanted to see it again so we sold it quickly.

For the last year or two, Henrietta had a hard time with dementia. she started losing track of everyone and would get quite confused. Prior to that, she was a very intelligent woman, very bright. Sometimes we would come to visit and she wouldn't know who we were. A few months before she passed, we visited her and she was very lucid. She not only knew who we were but had a good conversation with Becky. We knew there were powers far beyond our understanding at work that day and we both left crying and rejoicing in the brief gift we were given. For the next few visits, she didn't know who we were and didn't want visitors. We went one last time to see her on March 12th and to our surprise, she knew who we were! She couldn't say much but did tell Becky she loved her and as we were leaving, she gave us that little crooked smile and pointed a finger in the air. She said goodbye and Becky and I both walked out crying again knowing the end was near for her. I stopped in her bathroom to get a tissue as Becky walked out to the nurses desk. As i left her room, I turned to say goodbye and she gave me a wave and another crooked smile and said bye. That was the last any of us saw her. The next day in church, Becky got a call that she had passed. We are so grateful that we went to see her that day.

We spent the next week making arrangements for her viewing/funeral and burial. We had a modest service at the Allen-Hall funeral home in Logan and then took her back to her beloved Arimo to be buried next to Mary and close to her parents. She was a wonderful person and I am a much better person having known her. Becky and I were so blessed to have the chance to get to know her better and to be a part of her life. We just wish we could have spent more time with her and visited more often. We are so thankful for Becky's sister-in-law Noreen who would visit Henrietta weekly when we could only make it monthly if that.

So why am I telling you all of this in my blog? For a few reasons:

1. So you will know that it is through diversity and hardships that we experience the most growth and learning and certainly the most blessings.

2. So you will understand what my "Younger Next Year" journey is all about. If you want to be healthy, active, vibrant, lucid and engaged for the last 1/3 of your life, you should follow the YNY program. Henrietta spent the last 14 years of her life in assisted living or nursing homes. It wasn't what she wanted to do but she wasn't healthy enough to do anything else.

3. So you will be kind to your parents and the elderly. They have lived wonderful productive lives and are full of wisdom, history, intelligence and love if you will just give them a chance. You will never regret it and your lives will be enriched.

I try to talk to my mother a few times each week and although I hear the same stories several times, it means a lot to her, it means a lot to me and I get to hear her voice and feel her love. There will come a time in the near future when I won't have that chance and I will miss her terribly. But, what I won't have is regrets for not talking to her and not letting her know how much I love her. I do, and she knows it.

On another note, my brother Randy brought my niece Kirsten up for lunch and to pick up Ma from our house. It was so great to see them and to see Kirsten in her "civies" after being recently honorably discharged from the military. Kirsten is one of my heroes for her service to our country and her tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. I am so proud of her and what she has accomplished. Her husband Jeremy is still serving and I am proud of him too.

Another of the great joys in my life is seeing my kids and their spouses doing so well. They are all being great parents and leading happy and productive lives. My grandchildren, children and my wife Becky are my happiness. I don't know what I would do without any of them. I love to snuggle with Laney and to hear Lucy call me PaPa and to see Kyanna's eyes light up when she sees me. I love it when Kade gives me a big hug and when Dax shows me his Lego masterpieces. I love to see Darcy sing and perform for us. They all brighten my life and make me happy.

Life is good and that is why sometimes I don't write for two months!

I'll try to do better, so be happy everyone! Life is too short for anything else!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tiny Miracles - Laney Lou !!

It's been a while since we've heard the cry of a newborn baby in our house. What a blessing it is to have little Laney Lou join our family. She was born on Saturday February 12th to my youngest daughter Kristen and her husband Ben. What a joy! A gift from God bringing this new little personality, this new soul into our lives.

It doesn't seem so long ago that little Kristen was born to us and came into our lives. Of course she brought the same joy to us 25 years ago that Laney is now bringing. I am so proud of Kristen and Ben as they start out as new parents. Their love and devotion to each other and to their new little addition brings happiness to my soul. As they work together to grow their little family into an eternal unit, it is wonderful to witness. To see Kristen "My Little Dancer" hold her new little one, I can't help but wonder what the future will bring. I know Little Laney will be nurtured and given the best care and has come into a family that will love her unconditionally. I wonder if she will dance and sing and play as her mother did and become a "little dancer" to her daddy.

Laney is our 6th grandchild and each one has brought the same joy to us as their souls join with ours and their individual personalities develop. I love them all with all of my heart and soul as I do their parents. I am so proud and please with all of my children and their spouses and how they are living their lives and raising their children. What a joy this life is for Becky and I as we watch our family grow.

As I watched Becky holding Laney this morning, I said a quiet prayer and gave thanks for such a wonderful wife and matriarch of our growing family. She truly is a wonderful mother and grandmother.

Today we are celebrating my son-in-laws birthday (which is really next week) and all of my children and grandchildren are coming. There are 14 of us now! It is so much fun to have them all here and close by so we can get together!

I'll post some pics when I get them compiled! Kristen and Ben have some good ones posted on their blog if you want to go see! I have a link in my blog list for Kristen and Ben Faux. Go take a look, she really is cute; but as her grandpa, I might be just a little biased!

As far as my YNY journey goes, I'm still doing okay. I'm not eating as good as I should but the daily exercise/strength training is still on track. After a week and a half off due to stitches, etc. I'm back at it but have still plateaued on my weight! It's the food! Bad habits are hard to break!

Until next time, may you find joy and happiness in your life as I have found in mine!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Giving Thanks, Seeking Miracles

It's been a couple of weeks since I spilled my thoughts onto these pages. Much has happened and I've stumbled a little on my quest for being "younger next year". Not because of any major problems but just some minor setbacks...nothing that I can't get over and get back into the program. I've missed a few workout sessions and aerobic exercise due to doctor's orders following the removal of a questionable mole on my back. A few stitches and a directive to hold off on lifting weights and working out for at least a week to let the scar heal before stressing it too much! And, because of working lunches etc. at work and a bit of a lazy attitude on my part, my eating has been crap! Got to get back on the program on Monday! I've hovered around the 25 lbs. lost arena for at least the last month and a half!! Plateaued out at about 235! So, time to get with the program! Monday it's back on board with 6 days a week of exercise and eating right!

I just want to say, that I am thankful that I and my family are all relatively healthy. There are millions or even billions on this earth that can't say that. Even though I'm overweight and out of shape, I can at least walk and talk and eat and get myself dressed and all of the little things we take for granted. For the most part, my body functions in the normal range and that goes for the rest of my family (a few minor health issues). So, I count myself very blessed regarding health and well-being.

As I mentioned, that's not the case for everyone and that goes for the son of some close friend of ours, Ed and Diane Sweet and their sons Tim and Brandon. I've known Ed for 15 years and his son Tim is struggling with kidney failure. Tim is 26 years old and was born with only one kidney. It has now failed and he is waiting and praying to find an acceptable donor. Here is an e-mail from Ed that I wanted to publish here.

As we have begun discussing with family and friends; Tim has end-stage kidney disease (ESRD). His solo kidney is no longer able to function at a level needed for his day-to-day life and his current kidney function is less than 8% of normal.

This is serious and it certainly changes Tim’s life and “state or normal” going forward. But, he has such a positive outlook. It is very encouraging to his mom and dad.

As a result of his ESRD, Tim is very anemic. This is a condition which has him weak and tired due to not having enough red blood cells. They are treating this anemia with Procrit (an epoetin), iron supplements and a very careful diet low in protein, sodium, potassium and phosphorus. After about 4-6 weeks, the doctor’s expect that he should see his red blood cell count get back close to normal.

As for his ESRD, he will be starting on dialysis full time by the end of this week or early next week. There are two types of dialysis; hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Tim has decided to go with peritoneal dialysis (PD). He had surgery two weeks ago to have a catheter placed into his peritoneal cavity in his stomach. He will need to dialyze for nine (9) hours a day, every single day. The positive to take away is that Tim can do this at home in his room and while he is sleeping at night. He could even travel if he wanted and bring his dialysis equipment with him.

Eventually however, Tim will need a transplant. The best case scenarios for him to do so are with a live related or a live unrelated donor. Fortunately, a person can donor a kidney without losing any of the kidney capacity they need to live an entire life. Unfortunately and ironically, neither myself, Diane or Brandon can be Tim’s donor. Our blood types are AB+, A+ and AB+. Tim’s blood type is B+. He needs someone with blood type O or B to be a donor. The donor can be O+, O-, B+ or B-. This is the first step. Once a blood match has been made, tissue will need to be checked but blood type match is a starting point.

I will be sure and keep you (the list will grow as I update others that I know will be concerned). A little prayer here and there will be greatly appreciated. And, if you know of B or O blood type family or friends that can and might want to consider donation, I would appreciate talking with them.

Thank you for your concern and support,


Tim is a great young man and I feel bad for him and his family. He is a fighter and is in the fight of his life right now. I am proud of him and his positive attitude through all of this. He has been active his whole life and played soccer at the semi-pro level in Germany for over a year. He came back to the States to go to school but had to quit soccer for health reasons. He needs a new kidney to resume a more normal life and to survive.

So while I'm sitting here trying to get in shape and be "younger next year", Tim is sitting there tethered to his dialysis machine praying to be alive in the years to come. Ed tells me he is an inspiration to everyone around him and is very positive. So I say, good for you Tim. Hang in there and we will help you look for a donor and keep you always in our prayers.

We are really seeking miracles and maybe some divine guidance and intervention. If anyone wants to be a living angel and an instrument in God's hands and would consider possible donation, you would be saving a life, and Tim's is a life worth saving. Please spread the word!

God Bless,


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

We did it !!!

Sometimes the stars align and a perfect day emerges with blue skies and sunshine and where a feeling of accomplishment and gratitude prevails. Last Saturday was such a day as Becky and I and a lot of family and friends all finished the St. George Half Marathon. No one broke any speed records but this race wasn't about that, it was about accomplishment, perseverance and endurance mixed in with maybe a little stubbornness and determination to never quit. For experienced runners, it was just a little morning jog but for me, it was much more. It was only a few short years ago I was laying in a hospital bed with major heart problems. So I feel fortunate to have another chance and to work toward something significant... for now, that's just walking 13.1 miles and surviving. Maybe later, I can improve on that but I'm happy with finishing!

Thanks to everyone who came to participate or just be a cheerleader! I was so inspired by you all and your drive to finish, its hard to put it all into words...but here goes:

Becky and the "all for one" crowd did great! They ran the first 6 miles or so without stopping. This was amazing since all of their training was mostly just walking. Becky, Jenny, Kathe, Katie, and Susanne comprised this group who vowed to stick together! They were way ahead of my friend Jim and I until Jenny pulled a muscle and they all stopped to help her. They finally went on together and walked the rest of the way in. I was proud of them all and especially my wife Becky who is still very sore from running! Jim and I finally caught them and finished a few minutes ahead but only because they stuck together when one of them was hurt. But as I said, the time didn't really matter.

My Son Jon came with Katie and Lucy! I was glad to see them there and Katie decided at the last minute to run the race and stayed with Becky and the girls throughout the whole race! Way to go Katie! Jon and Lucy took pics and cheered us on!

My daughter Kristen and her husband Ben weren't able to make it this year. They are running a different kind of marathon of their own. Kristen is pregnant with a new little baby girl "Laney Lou" and is due in a few weeks. We can't wait for little Laney to arrive! Kristen didn't want to risk being away from her doctors to come to St. George and we didn't want her to risk it either. But next year, they're in with one more little granddaughter to cheer us on!

The Bradfords came and supported us and Joe, Greta and Jenny all participated and finished well ahead of us slow pokes! Way to go you guys!

My Sister-in-law Jayne surprised us all by participating! I thought she was coming with my brother Kim (aka Kermit) to be a spectator but she entered and finished! I am so proud of her for doing this and so grateful that they came. She is really taking the "Younger Next Year" message to heart and is working hard to improve her health and her life. Now if she can get Kim to participate! Actually, we love Kim just the way he is but we would like him to be around for a long long time.

Our friends the Joneses and the Ridings came to run and support us. Jim walked the whole way with me and encouraged me to keep going and keep the pace. Randy, who never trained at all, came in ahead of our whole group! Susanne and Kathe ran with the "all for one" crowd as I mentioned and they all did great!

My wonderful 74 year old cousin Marilyn finished the entire 13.1 miles! I was so proud of her for finishing! She didn't think she could do it but she never gave up! Way to go Marilyn!

For the last 5 miles or so, Jim and I kept pace with an older gentleman who ran and walked. When he walked, we would catch up with him. Then he would run a little and get a ways ahead of us. Then he would walk and we would catch him again. He finished about the same time as us and we later found out that he was 83 years old and finished in 3:05! He is a living testament that you can lead and active and healthy life well into your 80s and beyond if you follow "Harry's rules" in "Younger Next Year." I hope I can still do that kind of thing when I'm 83!

It was great to see everyone and to have some fun and laughs. My brother Randy and his wife Winnie came down from Cedar City as did their son Dewey and His wife Stacy. Their encouragement and support was much appreciated! Thanks guys! Randy said next year he will watch all of the kids while everyone else races! Winnie, Dewey and Stacy said they would like to join in next year so someone will have to watch the little ones!

The farthest travelers were Kim and Jayne who came from Klamath Falls Oregon! They flew into Vegas and drove from there! I think Kim would rather drive all the way from Oregon than take another flight! Maybe next year Kim!

My mother and sister Peggy both came from Spanish Fork and West Jordan. They were great cheerleaders also. Randall and Vicki came along with Bert, Joe and families! Randall and Bert did a lot of golfing which is a favorite thing to do while in St. George! Whatever, we all had fun even if we weren't all together!

Stopped by to see Roger and MaryLou on the way home and had a great (but short) visit. It was good to see them and Jill also who is staying there for now while they look for a house. I hope they all can make it next year!

Well, one goal down on my YNY journey! Still have many to go and this is just the beginning. Still need to go by Harry's rules and lose more weight and continue to work out and be active every day. Its getting easier and I'm actually quite enjoying it!

I've lost 2 more % of my body fat but still have a long way to go. It is a good start though! I'm still losing weight but much more slowly. I'm at 28% body fat, my lean muscle mass is increasing while my overall weight is decreasing. So, I think I'm still on a good path.

I posted some pics on Facebook if you want to go look! I'll put a few here too!
Thanks again to everyone for a great weekend and everyone's invited next year so mark your calendars and keep being active!

Bye for now!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Luckiest !!!

I don't get many things right the first time
In fact, I am told that a lot
Now I know all the wrong turns, the stumbles and falls
Brought me here

And where was I before the day
That I first saw your lovely face?
Now I see it everyday
And I know

That I am
I am
I am
The luckiest

What if I'd been born fifty years before you
In a house on a street where you lived?
Maybe I'd be outside as you passed on your bike
Would I know?

And in a white sea of eyes
I see one pair that I recognize
And I know

That I am
I am
I am
The luckiest

I love you more than I have ever found a way to say to you

Next door there's an old man who lived to his nineties
And one day passed away in his sleep
And his wife; she stayed for a couple of days
And passed away

I'm sorry, I know that's a strange way to tell you that I know we belong
That I know

That I am
I am
I am
The luckiest

You know, I have to agree with Ben Folds, I am the Luckiest. I have the good fortune to be married to someone who supports me 100% and who puts up with me in this quest to be younger and to get into better shape. She matches me step for step and works out just as hard as I do. In fact, I think she is working harder. She goes to Jazzercise on days we don't walk. She walks/runs when I mostly just walk. She is really doing great and is looking great. We are really enjoying working out and walking together even though we go at different paces. I can't wait until summer when we can go biking, hiking and other things together to get in and keep in shape. She is also supporting me on the food front and is giving me great support and is cooking with and shopping for better and healthier foods. It is so important to have support on the home front when you are attempting a major lifestyle change. Becky supports me unconditionally and that makes all the difference. I love her enthusiasm and her drive to get up at 5:00am to go walking and to continue down the "younger next year" path. Thanks Becky! You are the love of my life and I truly am the Luckiest!

Walking one week from today in the 1/2M! I'm not expecting miracles, just want to finish in under 3.5 hours! I'm really looking forward to it and would like to invite anyone to come and participate or just watch. It should be a lot of fun!

My daughter Jennifer ran last year and challenged us to do it this year. In our process to get ready, several others have joined the adventure! Here are folks I know are going and many more might go:

Walking or Running:
Jenny Brumfield Daughter (she started this adventure)
Asiel Brumfield Son-in-law
Bret & Kathy Taylor Friends
Randy & Suzanne Jones Friends
Jim & Kathe Riding Friends
Joe & Greta Bradford Nephew & Niece
Bert & Jenny Bradford Nephew & Niece

Mama Myrl My wonderful mother
Peggy Draper Sister
Vicki & Randall Bradford Sister & Brother-in-law
Kermit & Jayne Warner Brother & Sister-in-law (coming from Oregon!)
Randy & Winnie Warner Brother & Sister-in-law
Jon & Katie Warner Son & Daughter-in-law (might make it, just getting home from Hawaii)!

Should be a party and everyone is welcome!!!

Walked 6.6 miles last night since we couldn't walk today (went to a funeral in Arimo, ID). This week we will do short walks to get rested and ready for Saturday. Should get 8-10 miles this week is all. Since I bought my new shoes the end of December, I will have about 60 miles on them before Saturday! They feel great and I'm glad I have them broke in pretty well.

Everybody have a great week!


Mark... The Luckiest!

Monday, January 10, 2011


Getting closer! Walked 12 miles at the Kearns Olympic Speed Skating Oval on Saturday. Their track goes around the Speed skating track and is an oddball length but it beats Gene Fullmer where we would have had to go 192 laps to make 12 miles! As it was, I went 41 laps in the 3rd lane which is 12 miles and did it in 2 hours and 55 minutes! (not too bad for a fat man!) At that rate I hope to make the 1/2 M in under 3 hours and 30 minutes! Whoo Hooo!

Takin' it a little easier this week and next. The 12 miles was our longest pre-race walk. Now its glide into home with shorter walks. After this one, I'm going to start running a little and see if I can build up my wind and endurance. I would like to run one someday and maybe do a marathon! That's a long way out but someday!! For now, I have only one goal and that is to finish this one!

If the long range forecast is correct, it will be in the 40s and possibly raining! That doesn't sound fun at all! May need to take an extra pair of dry socks!

Well, the route has been changed and updated on the website! It looks like it backtracks on itself a bit! I'm sure I'll be passing many going the opposite way as me and they will be miles ahead! Oh well!

Jon and Katie are in Hawaii this week (temps in the 70s) but they hope to come down to St. George Friday night the 21st. I hope they can make it! It will be fun to see everyone and to walk in the rain!! We'll be there unless Kristen has little Laney at that time! Can't wait for our #6 grandchild!

Hope everyone has had a great start to their New Year! Now its to bed because we have to walk 5 miles at 5:30am!!