Lovin Who You Are

“It’s not about going back… it’s about life being ahead of you & you run at it, because you never know how far you can go.” —Penny Chenery Tweedy

 

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Source: KDHamptons.com

 

I have watched the movie Secretariat, seriously, a hundred times and not because I simply love horses. It was because Diane Lane gave a star performance portraying a remarkable woman by the name of Penny Chenery Tweedy, the First Lady of Racing. Today she is my #TuesdayHeroine.

Being a strong-minded, no-nonsense, feisty woman allows me to say, “I am who I am. And I will not apologize for who I am. If you love me, you will accept me… Just Because.”

Penny was that woman, who saved her family’s horse farm by listening to her gut and ignoring all the odds stacked high against her, especially in the male-dominated breeding and horse racing industry of her time. She was the youngest of three children and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College, then studied at the Columbia Business School. Penny knew for certain what she truly believed thanks to her parents, and she stuck to her guns when she made the decision to take on the responsibility of running the farm.

It appeared at times that the only support she had came from her father’s secretary and the farm’s horse trainer. As a child she loved horses; she listened and watched intently as her father, who came from poor beginnings, built their farm of great horses even though he was facing financial straits. Their trainer, who was a sneaky, conniving thief, was trying to rob them of great thoroughbreds. Right before her mom died, she stopped the sale of three of their great thoroughbreds, which was being brokered by that very same conniving trainer. Not to mention, he also happened to be rude, obnoxious, and definitely disrespectful toward Penny.

Penny had to juggle her marriage and family (a husband and four children), who remained in Boulder, Colorado, with the responsibilities of the family’s horse farm, which was surely challenging at times. But, what I loved about Ms. Chenery Tweedy is that she stuck to her guns and ignored her bothersome brother–a professor at Harvard–and her husband who had joined forces to get her to sell the farm and, of course, Secretariat before the 1973 Kentucky Derby. REALLY?!

Secretariat is an American Classic, the story of a remarkable horse that won the 1973 Triple Crown, whose records have yet to be broken. And it was Penny’s brilliant mindset at the “Coin-Toss” alongside her father’s brilliant mind from which Secretariat was reared. Thank God that she ignored all the Nay-Sayers and embraced her belief and trust in SELF.

The moral of the story is to Never Give Up!!! When you believe in a thing, believe it wholeheartedly, unequivocally, where you can’t be shaken, rattled, or removed from it until it reaches full potential.

“Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four Cs. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.” —Walt Disney

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Source: Yahoo! Sports

Thank you, Ms. Penny Chenery Tweedy, for setting the stage for excellence, for never quitting or giving up, and for representing women exceptionally well. You are my #TuesdayHerione.

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Love+Passion=Hope

“Love from one being to another can only be that two solitudes come nearer, recognize and protect and comfort each other.” – Han Suyin [Elizabeth Comber]

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Sonia Vallabh and Eric Minikel / Source: Boston Globe

I have been an ardent fan of 60 Minutes for over 25 years; and there has never been a time when I’m watching that I don’t find any of their segments life changing, informative (Halliburton), and just excellent news reporting.

Last Sunday, Sonia Vallbh and her husband Eric Minikel were featured in a story that left me in tears–but not tears of sadness, tears of joy. Sonia earned her B.A. in English literature from Swarthmore College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School; while Eric holds a B.S. in Chinese from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree in transportation and city planning from MIT. Currently, they are both doctoral students in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program at Harvard Medical School.

This amazing couple has joined forces to combat a brain disease, called Fatal Familial Insomnia (FFI), that also took the life of her mom. Sonia learned in 2011, that she carries the genetic mutation that caused her mom to die of the prion disease the year before.  Because FFI falls within that family of brain diseases, Sonia and Eric are focusing their studies on Prion diseases, which are “fatal neurodegenerative diseases caused by the spread of misfolded proteins across the brain.”

After watching this interview, it is clear that true Love never ends, and never stops in the face of overwhelming obstacles–just ask Eric and Sonia. While the cameras were on them both, the love in his eyes spoke volumes; along with the adoration, love, and respect that Eric clearly has for his wife. Sonia’s spirit is unmatched, encouraging, and heroic. She is not depressed and does not appear to be agitated or feeling like a victim. Instead, she’s definitely a victor because of her relentless pursuit to find a cure. And, we all know that it will not just be for her family, but for the world. AMAZING!!

So, in the face of that kind of determination, the question we need to ask ourselves is: why quit or give up? What do you have to lose by trying and giving it your all for the betterment of SELF?  It often seems like it would be easier to just make excuses for life’s dilemmas, or an “unhappy” childhood, or the fact that life hasn’t turned out in your favor, but are those excuses going to help us take ownership or accountability for life’s unexpected events? Likely not. Why not apply the energy it takes to make excuses to face your Goliath? When we have the strength to face our obstacles and tackle them, even a small step at a time, it is a better use of our energy than merely pointing fingers and playing the blame game.

Like Sonia and Eric, grab your life by the horns and take charge–knowing in the back of your mind that you can succeed and overcome anything that you put all of your heart, mind, and passion behind. It builds hope and reminds us of life’s exciting, joyful, and limitless possibilities.

Lovin Self is Victorious

“I can’t put it into words… everything that I do is a victory.” – Elizabeth Thompson

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I had the pleasure some years ago to watch the 2009 Ironman World Championship (in Kona, Hawaii) and witnessed firsthand Elizabeth Thompson’s unbelievable will and determination during the race. Today is #HeroineTuesday and Elizabeth Thompson is undoubtedly the winner, hands down. In 2007, Elizabeth Thompson suffered a stroke, leaving her unable to walk. Her remarkable story is that she finished at Kona, where lots of great athletes did not finish.

“Elizabeth Thompson was on holiday in Nice when she suddenly found herself on the floor, unable to move. She lost use of her arms and her legs. One eye started to twitch. Her body was shutting down too much for her to even think that she might be dying. It turns out Thompson was having a stroke. Volunteer fire fighters took her to the hospital. She spent weeks in that hospital, starting the re-learning process that would involve learning how to walk and talk again. Her first workout? Standing next to her bed. Her next one? Trying to walk across the room. A year later, Thompson managed to finish Ironman France-Nice … well enough to qualify for the 2009 Ironman World Championship; of which she finished that race, too.” -Kevin Mackinnon, 2009

Of course when I watched this some years ago, I was spellbound by her determination and unrelenting spirit to not quit, and not look at the mountain figuratively, but what was actually in front of her. Sometimes challenges can get overwhelming and throw you and your complete game plan out of whack. But, when we learn to only look at what’s in front of us and not focus on the BIG mountain (I can speak to this as an advanced skier who loves doing Black Diamonds), which is often far in the distance, we can finish our race just like Elizabeth Thompson did. So, grab fear by the horn, toss it aside, and continue on to your race–and you will succeed too!!