Archive for December, 2010

Christmas Memories

// December 28th, 2010 // 3 Comments » // Reflections

With Christmas now just behind us I’d like to share a couple of my favorite recent memories. This year my wife Amy and I took our girls to get the “classic” Santa photo taken thinking of the fun it would be. It started with a line that ended at a not so jolly elf making sure everyone knew how best to spend their money. We entered the wonderland of swirly twirly gumdrops still happy and content until the moment we entered the dark lair of the bearded giant. Just the mere sight of him turned those smiles upside down.
The ensuing tear ridden panic-fit allowed us only one photo as the two, two-year olds wrestled their way from the grumpy old elf. The resulting photo is sure to be one of the best ever.

The other memory is of a Christmas spent working on the slopes, a day I was upset to have to work. Then I met my 14 year old client whose dying wish was to ski for a day. Unable to speak or to stand, I understood that skiing with him would indeed be a wonderful gift.  Having seen the resulting smile of a day on the slopes, I now ask what is the greatest gift I have given this year instead of The greatest gift I’ve received.

I’d like to hear your favorite memories too. Please comment and share a short story.

The Unwanted Visitor

// December 23rd, 2010 // 1 Comment » // Reflections

In this, a season of celebration and family get togethers, there are those whose pain and grief is only deepened where celebration seems a thing that will never be thiers again.  I am talking about life and death and in particular many friends of mine who have recently lost a loved one to an uninvited and unpredictable visitor.  We all hope for a long life that will end in old age, as we slumber – some are so lucky, but how do we explain and accept the passing of an infant in its 39th week, the loss of a five year old to a virus so aggressive his life ended within a matter of hours of contracting the virus?  Are we not all familiar with the saying “life’s not fair?”  How much moreso death?

I am ready to meet my maker when the day comes.  I don’t fear death nor do I wish it to come quickly, I am merely saying that for myself – no big deal.  What I do struggle with is the loss of those I love and to see those I love struggle with loss themselves.  What is most difficult is to come up with words which will add comfort.  I think that is because there are none.   What adds comfort is to remain near, to meet basic needs, to allow tears and be at the ready.  I may not be able to give peace or understanding, but I can give a shoulder, an arm, a meal and an ear (just not not all in one dish). 

At a certain age we expect to meet this visitor.  I see this as my friends now begin to lose their parents and my parents their friends and neighbors.  The pain and the loss are still there but also is the understanding of the value of a life fully lived. 

The unwanted visitor is always found near war-zones, highways, and hospitals and I am thankful for every day that goes by without a meeting because each day is a gift – whether we be 2 or 92.  But the gift that allows me to stand in confidence when death knocks at my door was given Christmas day two thousand and ten years ago.

Ice Cream This Christmas

// December 22nd, 2010 // No Comments » // Reflections

Today we have ice cream!

My wife, before our twins were born, was a teacher of 14 years.  She has countless stories of inspiration spoken from the mouths of babes.  Yet, there’s one story she continues to share from her very first year, that still impacts her today.  

Amy’s first year, she taught at a private Christian school in Santa Barbara, California.  She had a group of 11 second graders whom she adored.  There were six boys and five girls.  That’s an important fact to remember, as you’ll discover as I retell her story.  One of the little girls was having a birthday party.  She invited all four girls…yes, that’s right, I said four.  One little girl, Tracy Cooper, was not invited to this birthday party.  Tracy was popular and incredibly smart and loved Jesus more than anything.   The other little girl was indeed jealous, and as a result excluded her from the very short birthday list. 

 My wife felt so sad for little Tracy, she told her that on the day of the birthday party she and her roommate would invite Tracy to go to the pier for ice cream, hoping that would ease the pain of being left out.  (Something that my wife tells me, is even stronger for girls, than boys.)  On the day of the party, Amy and her friend drove to pick Tracy up, ready to have a tearful hello and a very sad companion for the day.  Instead, they were greeted by a little brown haired girl wearing a self made crown that said, “Yea, ice cream! Yea, ice cream!”   Tracy was filled with joy. 
They arrived at the pier, got their favorite flavors, and sat at the edge of the pier watching the Santa Barbara yachts sail by.  My wife and her friend Lisa began to have their own “adult conversation” that went something like this…

 “I wish I was out on that yacht today.” “I wish I was out on that yacht today, eating chocolate covered strawberries.” “ I wish I was out on that yacht today, eating chocolate covered strawberries, with the man of my dreams.” And so on…

 Out of the blue, this little girl with the “yea ice cream crown”  on her head interrupted and said, “ Yes, but Amy, Lisa, you have to be happy with what God’s given you today, and today, we have ice cream!”  

My wife said that she was so impacted by little Tracy’s statement because this small one had every right to be pouting.  She had been left out of a fairly important event, at least in the life of a seven year old.  Yet, she found the gratefulness that the Lord tells us we should have.  She was thankful for what the Lord had provided for her today, and today, it was ice cream.

The Morning Show with Eric and Lisa

// December 8th, 2010 // 1 Comment » // Events, Interviews

The Hosts

If you are able to tune in tomorrow, 12-8-2010, I will be on KLOVE radio’s morning show with hosts Eric and Lisa.  They will be interviewing me about what it takes to overcome the Everest’s in our lives, and the attributes of a successful team.  Tune in on line or over the air. has the info and a search bar to find the station in your area – just type in your zip code.  The interview will air at 6 a.m. & again at 9 a.m. Central time.

(5&8 a.m MST; 7 & 10 EST; 4 & 7 Pacific – Hawaii and Alaska, you are on your own)

Busy week in Indy

// December 7th, 2010 // 1 Comment » // Interviews

This busy week starts tomorrow with an interview on which will air on Wednesday, December 8. Please tune in if you are interested in hearing some positive and fun stories. I will post the times later. Then join me for a chat about the adventures I wrote about in my new book – The Summit: Faith Beyond Everest’s Death Zone. We all have an Everest in our lives and I’d like to know about yours. If you’ve got questions about my treks and climbs with incredible friends, some who happen to be blind – log on Thursday, December 9 at 11:30 AM Central. To join the conversation, follow: and We will be using the hashtag #thesummit. You may find helpful to follow the conversation.

During our chat, you can win copies of The Summit: Faith Beyond Everest’s Death Zone, a video documentary of my Everest climb with Erik Weihenmayer, and other fun stuff you can regift for Christmas. Between now and Thursday at 11:30 AM central, leave a few comments below on what you’d like to discuss. Thank you, I look forward to it!