April 28, 2009

GIVING BACK: Going 'All the Way' For One Day

I get an e-mail almost everyday, asking if e-Partners in Giving would be interested in some kind of volunteer initiative. (A lot of you can probably believe that, because I usually forward you a request right after that, asking you to be a part of it.)

Even though I have a hard time saying no to some amazing causes, I’ve started to be a little more selective. There aren’t enough hours in the day.

A few weeks ago, however, all the planets aligned and e-Partners in Giving was able to tackle three philanthropic endeavors on one Saturday.

MOM: “Can you help renovate a house for an underprivileged family in Glen Rose?”


CITY of FORT WORTH: “Please note that online registration is up and running for the 2009 Cowtown Great American Cleanup...”

Same day. Different times. Let’s do it!

ME: “If we’re going to go, we might as well go all the way. What else can we do that day?”

SAMARITAN HOUSE: “Run to Joe’s 5K and 10K coming up...”


In one string of e-mails...March 28th officially became e-Partners in Giving’s “Day of Giving.”

Of course, I can’t just go volunteer and not inform the world via Facebook or Twitter.

NOTE: I’m not bragging and/or showing off when I do this. I want it to be a motivational tool. I want people to say, “Drew is a pretty cool guy and he’s spending his Saturday giving back. Maybe I’ll turn off this golf tournament, skip my afternoon nap, or wait a couple hours to start drinking beer. I want to give back, too.”

Anyway...we were going to give back all day and I was going to blow it up via social media.

The following are the Twitter posts (and photos) from our “Day of Giving.”

A special thank you to members of the e-Partners in Giving family (especially TK and The Bulldog) for rolling up their sleeves for one full day of giving back. I love the fact that you guys have embraced our company’s vision and brand.

• e-Partners "Day of Giving" : Morning 10K benefiting Samaritan House, Cowtown Cleanup , and Christmas in Action (renovating homes for elderly)

• Decided to Tweet throughout our "Day of Giving" – 10K at 8 a.m. (Joe's Run) to benefit Samaritan House http://tinyurl.com/c9zz2j #giving

• When planning our "Day of Giving" – 30-degree weather & 30-mph wind gusts weren't in the forecast. Makes for better story. #giving

• e-Partners' "Day of Giving" itinerary: 10K for Samaritan House, Cowtown Cleanup (Fort Worth), & Christmas in Action (Glen Rose)

• 15 mins until 10K - NOT tweeting on course - cold, windy, great! #giving

• Running for Samaritan House, but representing w/ Back on My Feet T-shirt #giving

• 10K done (7:30 pace) Samaritan House provides opportunities to people w/ HIV & AIDS #giving

• Quick change in truck (junior high shower) starting Cowtown Cleanup #giving

• About 1/2 way done w/ Clean-up - a lot of trash b/c of old homeless camps - found vacuum & candy machine #giving

• Part 2 of "Day of Giving" done - I've got a truck full of trash & hour drive to Glen Rose (Christmas in Action) #giving

• Drive-thru for lunch - just realized that I haven't showered - nothing a little home improvement won't fix (little stiff too) #giving

• Part 3: Christmas in Action (renovating homes of elderly) http://www.christmasinaction.org #giving

• "Day of Giving" part 3 - cutting down trees & putting sheet metal around house Family w/ 4 kids, no dad & no $ #giving

• "Day of Giving" done - I'm pretty whipped and REALLY stinky I'm glad I did it! Never stop giving back #giving

• VERY sore from yesterday's "Day of Giving" -- starring down the barrel of a 17-mile run today. #giving

• Final Tweets from "Day of Giving" – Links: Samaritan House (http://tinyurl.com/c9zz2j); Cowtown Cleanup (http://tinyurl.com/d9npm2) #giving

• "Day of Giving" – Links: Christmas in Action (
http://tinyurl.com/d6tpg5); Back on My Feet (http://tinyurl.com/d9ebb8) #giving

As I reflected on the day, I realized that each initiative was simply a hand up – not a hand out – to a group of individuals or communities. It was reminder how fortunate we truly are, and how a small gesture of generosity can go a long way.

Whether it was the Samaritan House residents cheering us on at the end of the race, or seeing the appreciative mother of four whose quality of life just improved tenfold – it was a powerful day.


April 26, 2009

DEFINING MOMENT: What is Real Meaning of 'DNF'?

DNF is an acronym for “Did Not Finish.”

In regards to running, it’s unceremoniously placed next to the names of the people who never crossed the finish line of a particular race. You can usually find this unflattering distinction on the race web site and/or buried in the results of the local newspaper.

There are probably thousands and thousands of people who have unintentionally joined this infamous club.

Well, I am NOT proud to say that I’m now an official card-carrying member.

At mile 24 of the Country Music Marathon in Nashville, I walked off the course and into the medical tent.

I didn’t take one more step towards completing my third marathon.

My only glimpse of the finish line was through the ambulance window. I was being transported to a Nashville hospital for dehydration. (Symptoms: Severe cramps, nausea, light-headedness, wounded pride.)

No cheering crowds during the last .2 miles.

No sense of accomplishment.

No medal around my neck.

It wasn’t until I was discharged from the hospital – three hours and two bags of saline later – when the wave of emotions hit me. (It was like someone wearing out my soul with a baseball bat.)

I was calling friends and family to let them know that I was fine. (Very tired, very sore, extremely hungry – but fine.)

While I was on the phone with my mom, I just started to cry.

All I could think about was “DNF” – not the actual meaning and/or the fact that it would be next to my name forever in the Archived Results on the Marathon web site.

I just couldn’t stop thinking about what it represented:

• All my hard work over the last 16 weeks was for nothing.

• I set a goal and I was unable to reach it. (Probably the hardest thing to swallow.)

My emotions generated unnerving questions:

• Could I have kept going? (It was ONLY two more miles!!!!)

• Did I quit?

• Did I sell myself short?

• What did I do wrong? (Training? Diet? The way I approached the race?)

I played back every mile of the race, which kept the questions flowing:

• Too fast in mile 7 (WHY?)

• Let the long hill at mile 12 get into my head (WHY?)

• Not enough fluids after mile 13 (WHY?)

• Mile 16...I actually said to myself, “I’m in trouble.” (WHY?)

• Mile 17...started to cramp (WHY?)

• Mile 20...started to have doubts (WHY?)

• Mile 24....”Sir, are you OK?”.... “I don’t think so.” (WHY DID I SAY THAT?)

This was going to be my last marathon. My plan was to break the 4-hour barrier and switch to half marathons, adventure races, and triathlons. The training had taken its toll, and my love of lacing up my sneakers and hitting the pavement was bruised.

I had decided that Nashville was going to be the last time my legs carried me 26.2 miles.

Not finishing EVER crossed my mind, though.

As the warm tears cut through the salt residue on my cheeks, I realized that I HAD to run one more. I couldn’t finish my brief “marathon career” with a DNF.

Since I accidently left my confidence in the back of that ambulance, my doubt made me cry harder. I kept asking myself, “Can I do it again? Can I do it again?”

Well, it’s been 32 hours since I uttered those four pride-piercing words (“I don’t think so”) to the marathon medical staff.

Believe it or not it, the healing process has already started. (All the encouraging messages I received AND writing this blog post have helped considerably, but the fact that I’ve stopped feeling sorry myself and I’m now pissed off has changed my focus.)

I am more motivated than I have EVER been.

I’ve already decided that I am running the Rock ‘n' Roll Marathon in San Antonio on November 15th. (I start training the second week of August...IN THE HEAT.)




As we were packing up to come home from Nashville, I almost threw away my race number. I didn’t want to be reminded about that race in any shape, form, or fashion.

Then I remembered what Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski said after the Blue Devils got rolled in the ACC Tournament one year (109-66 loss to Virginia).

After the embarrassing loss, one of his staff members said with good intentions, “...here's to forgetting tonight ever happened.”

Coach K quickly interjected, “Here's to never forgetting tonight happened. Not ever.”

I must never forget about the 10th Annual Country Music Marathon. In the long run, this actually may be the race that ends up defining me.

I whole-heartedly support an organization (Back on My Feet) that helps individuals pick themselves up when they stumble, encourages them to dust themselves off, and most importantly inspires them to keep fighting.

If I felt sorry for myself for one more second (or remained embarrassed and/or defeated), I would be a hypocrite.

I didn’t finish the 2009 Nashville Marathon. I’m not proud of that reality, but I’ve accepted it.

That DNF next to my name stands for "Do Not Forget."

I won't.

It’s time to get back on my feet and fight.

April 7, 2009


e-Partners in Giving has had its share of success over the last 11 months, but it has also had its share of hurdles, roadblocks, and set backs.

The biggest challenge we have faced to date – and continue to face on a daily basis – is blazing new trails in the death-care industry. Through partnerships with funeral homes across the country, we want to make memorial giving as easy as possible.

Easier said than done.

On a daily basis we get a handful of “...but that’s how we’ve always done it!” or “...why would we want to change?”

There are some days that can be nothing short of a beat down, but we regroup and continue raise awareness/interest about a product and a service we firmly believe in.

I recently read something by Jack Canfield (co-creator of “Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul”) that helped put our uphill climb into perspective. In his book “Success Principles,” he encourages the reader to “reject rejection.”

He says in order to be successful you need to learn how to deal with rejection.
“To get over rejection, you have to
realize that rejection is really a myth. It doesn’t really exist. It is simply a concept that you hold in your head. Think about it. If you ask Patty to have dinner with you and she says no, you didn’t have anyone to eat dinner with before you asked her, and you don’t have anyone to eat dinner with after you asked her. The situation didn’t get worse; it stayed the same. It only gets worse if you go inside and tell yourself something extra like ‘See, Mother was right. No one will ever like me. I am the slug of the universe.’ "

He shared a wonderfully great acronym: SWSWSWSW.

“Some will, some won’t; so what – someone’s waiting.”


He went on to give examples about those people who were turned down hundreds of time before they got a “yes.” (His “Chicken Soup” book received 130 rejections before eventually selling 8 million copies.)

The following words echoed in my soul: 

“If you’re committed to a cause that evokes your passion and commitment, you keep learning from your experiences, and you stay the course to the end, you will eventually create your desired outcome.”

April 6, 2009


Are social networking tools actually making us socially inept?

It kind of seems that way – 
at least in my world. 
(I pray that I'm not alone.)


Status update ... Comment ... Tweet ... Tweet ... Tweet ... Upload Photo ... Comment ... Tweet ... Blog Post .... Comment ... Status Update ... Upload Video ... Tweet ... blah, blah, blah.

Friend: "So what have you been up to? Oh....nevermind, I already know. You update your status more than a college freshman" 

Me: "Well, I've been ... oh, yeah ... duh .... I blogged about that last week. You probably read all about it." 

These are slight variations on two VERY REAL conversations that I've had in the last week.

One was a random encounter that I had with an old college friend at the Ballpark on Opening Day.

We hadn't seen each other in probably 10 to 12 years, but after we hugged each other's necks, we had NOTHING to catch up on. Since we're friends on Facebook, we were already in the know.

There didn't need to be any: 

"What are you doing these days?"

"Are you married? Kids?"

"We are you living?"

Heck, you can get all those questions answered just by visiting someone's Facebook homepage!

We did reminisce about seeing each other at another Ranger game years ago, but other than that quick story, our face-to-face reunion was kind of anti-climatic. (That sounds HORRIBLE, but I think she would agree.)

We had seen pictures of each other.

We knew which old friends we had kept up with.

We even knew what each other did over the weekend.

(And not gloriously.)

There are other little quirks in the real world that I have to have a personal pep-talk about:

• In order to speed up a story OR avoid it all together, I HAVE to stop asking, "Did you read my blog post about...?"

More often than not... they haven't, my ego is now bloodied, and they're already disinterested in a story that I haven't even started to tell.

• I have to stop telling stupid Twitter stories.

Only 200,000 people actively use Twitter, so there is a GREAT chance the person I'm sharing this story with doesn't care OR know what the hell I'm talking about.

• "You don't have a Facebook account?"

If I EVER ask you that question with ANY judgment in my voice... you have my permission to PUNCH ME IN THE FACE.

Unfortunately, these examples are just the tip of the iceberg. 


I'm not 100 percent sure, but I think I unconsciously started a 12-step process towards "recovery" with this blog post. It feels refreshing to acknowledge the gigantic purple elephant that has laid down in my personal life. 

I'm not sure what step I'm on, but I think I'm on my way.

By the way...it was GREAT seeing you today, Ms. Carroll. Let's not let another 10 to 12 years get away from us.



Opening Day 2009

Brother-in-law (Mike Bacsik) and his dad in pre-game festivities


The Team

The Former Prez (George W.)

Taking the field

The first pitch


April 1, 2009

'Forward this e-mail or be eaten alive by crickets' – Can't I just share it because it touched my heart?

I'm not a big e-mail forwarder. 

Actually, if you forward me an e-mail chain – "please send to 12 people or something bad will happen to your sister" –it's probably going to stop with me. (Sorry, Sue and Allie.) 

That's if I even open and/or read the e-mail at all.

Well, the other day my mom sent me a forward of a forward (Fwd: FW:). The title wasn't anything fancy or sexy. It simply said, "This is a sweet story." 

To make a long story short ... I opened it, I read it, and I absolutely loved it.

Instead of blowing up the Inboxes of all my contacts, I decided to blog about it. 

NOTE: I removed all the "please forward" and "keep this going" directives. I just wanted to share something that touched my heart. 

The smell of rain 
Author Unkown

A cold March wind danced around the dead of night in Dallas as the doctor walked into the small hospital room of Diana Blessing. She was still groggy from surgery.

Her husband, David, held her hand as they braced themselves for the latest news.

That afternoon of March 10, 1991 , complications had forced Diana, only 24-weeks pregnant, to undergo an emergency Cesarean to deliver couple's new daughter, Dana Lu Blessing.

At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound nine ounces, they already knew she was perilously premature.

Still, the doctor's soft words dropped like bombs.

"I don't think she's going to make it," he said, as kindly as he could.

'There's only a 10-percent chance she will live through the night, and even then, if by some slim chance she does make it, her future could be a very cruel one'

Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described the devastating problems Dana would likely face if she survived.

She would never walk, she would never talk, she would probably be blind, and she would certainly be prone to other catastrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation, and on and on.

"No! No!" was all Diana could say.

She and David, with their 5-year-old son Dustin, had long dreamed of the day they would have a daughter to become a family of four.

Now, within a matter of hours, that dream was slipping away

But as those first days passed, a new agony set in for David and Diana. Because Dana's underdeveloped nervous system was essentially 'raw', the lightest kiss or caress only intensified her discomfort, so they couldn't even cradle their tiny baby girl against their chests to offer the strength of their love.

All they could do, as Dana struggled alone beneath the ultraviolet light in the tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would stay close to their precious little girl.

There was never a moment when Dana suddenly grew stronger.

But as the weeks went by, she did slowly gain an ounce of weight here and an ounce of strength there.

At last, when Dana turned two months old. her parents were able to hold her in their arms for the very first time.

And two months later, though doctors continued to gently but grimly warn that her chances of surviving, much less living any kind of normal life, were next to zero, Dana went home from the hospital, just as her mother had predicted.

Five years later, when Dana was a petite but feisty young girl with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life.

She showed no signs whatsoever of any mental or physical impairment. Simply, she was everything a little girl can be and more. But that happy ending is far from the end of her story.

One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving , Texas , Dana was sitting in her mother's lap in the bleachers of a local ball park where her brother Dustin's baseball team was practicing.

As always, Dana was chattering nonstop with her mother and several other adults sitting nearby when she suddenly fell silent Hugging her arms across her chest, little Dana asked, "Do you smell that?"

Smelling the air and detecting the approach of ! a thunderstorm, Diana replied, "Yes, it smells like rain."

Dana closed her eyes and again asked, "Do you smell that?"

Once again, her mother replied, "Yes, I think we're about to get wet. It smells like rain."

Still caught in the moment, Dana shook her head, patted her thin shoulders with her small hands and loudly announced,

"No, it smells like Him....It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest."

Tears blurred Diana's eyes as Dana happily hopped down to play with the other children.

Before the rains came, her daughter's words confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing family had known, at least in their hearts, all along.

During those long days and nights of her first two months of her life, when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding Dana on His chest and it is His loving scent that she remembers so well.

(NOTE: Sending forwarded e-mails that tug at your heart strings right before lunch on Tuesdays are pretty effective.)

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