Sunday, June 16, 2013


He will always be more at home on an Allis Chalmer's tractor out in a hay field than in an office. He can fix just about anything on this planet, whether it be a broken window or a broken heart. He is a man of few words, but you can bet your ass when he has something to say, it's worth hearing. He is loving and caring. He is funny and he is wise. He can curse for three minutes straight without taking a breath. He is the strongest man I have ever met and he is the glue that keeps our family together. He is my Dad and I would not be who I am without him.

There are two  things in life that I know for certain:

1.) I drive my dad bat-shit crazy.
2.) He loves me more than I can even comprehend.

It's safe to say that my dad and I are very different. He is as level-headed as I am nonsensical. He likes to have a plan for everything. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants. He is focused and, I am, well......not. Sarcasm is typically lost on that man, whereas, I speak it fluently. As different as we are, he has never once discouraged me from being anything but true to myself. He may not always understand me but I know without a doubt, he ALWAYS supports me.

On my eighth birthday, I had a skating party at the roller rink in Hastings. My mom and I had it all planned out- basically the party of the year. However, the day before, she was invited to one of the big Husker football games of that year, by one of her friends. Not wanting her to miss out on an opportunity to have fun, dad traded in his cowboy boots for roller skates and took a group of unruly eight year olds to my Barbie skate party and insisted that she go to the game. This is one of my first recollections of his selflessness. He sacrificed his sanity to insure that both my mom and I had the best time. Plus, I'm sure he wore the hell out of that Barbie party hat!

When we were kids, he was an over-the-road truck driver and was usually gone 3-4 nights per week.  Every night he called to talk to my mom but he would always take a few minutes to talk Ethan and me, too.  He would listen to our stories and the happenings in our little lives and made us feel like we were the most important people in the world. I have to add that when Ethan and I were fighting and driving mom nuts, he would tell us that if we didn't straighten our asses up, he would jump through the phone and do it for us. I wasn't a super smart kid, but even I knew that, that was bullshit.... but, hey, it usually got our attention. Even though he was gone a lot he always made sure that he was there for the important stuff. There were few games, programs, or concerts that he missed. He may have had to come in late and stand in the back, but he was always there.

He has always sacrificed so that we had/have everything we need. He is my hero....not because of what he does but because of who he is. He believes in hard work and honesty. He believes in a man's word being their bond and on a handshake being their contract. Qualities that you don't find too often in this day and age. In a world full of uncertainties, he is one of the few constants in my life. I know how lucky I am to have been raised by such great parents but I am doubly lucky because as I have gotten older they have also became my friends. 

I watch as his mom battles end-stage dementia and am in awe as I see the same patience and caring that he has always had with his children shines through in an effort to help calm her. I know that every difficult decision he has to make weighs heavy on his heart yet he remains strong; for that is all he knows.

And I know as we come together to celebrate Father's Day, that this too is a day tinged with sadness for him. No parent should ever have to bury a child. Ethan was his best friend and days like this further remind him of his loss.  I worry that he has been so busy helping us girls through our grief that he hasn't had an opportunity to fully process his own.  Many of the things that he once loved, he no longer does, because those were the things they would do together. Life isn't fair...... I just wish I could shoulder that pain for both of them.........

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

 I don't tell you enough how thankful I am for all you do.

 Love you the most!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Warrior Dash

Several months ago when I agreed to do the Warrior Dash, I instantly thought of my Dad's famous last words, "Don't let your mouth write checks that your ass can't cash". Unfortunately, I was raised in a way that if I had given someone my word that I was going to do something, I had best do it, but I am not going to lie, I had a few doubts on whether finishing the race would even be feasible but alas I knew what had to be done.  I also knew that I would probably perish during and that next year they would have to rename it "The Laura Whitesel Memorial Dash".

Well, yesterday, I did it. I crossed the finish line. Granted, it was nearly two hours after I started but I finished. It wasn't graceful, it wasn't cute, hell, the majority of the time, it wasn't even dignified , but I finished. I went around the majority of the obstacles. I quit the race approximately 10 times throughout. I also quit life about the same amount of times. I should also mention that you have some crazy ass thoughts when you are out in the middle of nowhere in the pouring rain enduring the seventh level of hell that you had to pay for. Do you remember that movie, where rich hunters paid to hunt humans? I think it was called The Game. At one point, I had myself convinced I was part of a situation like that.

It was one of the hardest things I've ever done but along the course, I found something that I have been looking for, for a long time: clarity. It came in a simple sentence from Nichole. We were about a mile in and had just been passed by about 300 people when I told her that I was having some pretty bad thoughts about those people who were running in way that seemed so effortless. She said, "The only person you need to complete with is yourself." I had about two miles to process this which got me thinking to the Laura from this same time last year.

I think back to a year ago.....June 8, 2012- I was the Laura that I don't even know anymore. The Laura that was sedentary-that could barely walk around the block without getting winded. The Laura that was 60 pounds heavier than the one now. The Laura that questioned her own worth. The Laura who was slowly digging herself into an early grave..... I may have finished that race in the worst time in Warrior Dash history, but in every single way I was the victor. Crossing that finish line represented everything that I have worked so hard for in the last year. A journey that I have just skimmed the top of.

Basically, I Jump Through Fire Like It's My Job!

It's funny, in a moment where I felt so weak, I found strength. I was again reminded of why I was working on becoming healthier. It's not to be skinny. It's not so some guy will think my ass looks hot in Yoga pants. This journey is about living life the best way possible and pushing myself to become a little better each day.

Words don't even do justice for how immensely I felt loved yesterday. We were on the last stretch of the race and we came over the last hill and there standing by the fence line were the four most important people in my life, cheering me on in the cold, pouring rain. All having a million things they would have probably rather been doing but being there for me. Like I said, in every way I was the victor.   Unconditional love is a rare thing to find in life.What would we do without family? Every single day I thank my lucky stars for them. It doesn't matter how old you are, that moment when both of your parents tell you how proud they are of you, in that instance everything in the world was right.

I also have to give a shout out to my running partner, Nichole. She stayed with my every single step of the way. She walked with me even though she could have ran ahead. She talked me off the edge every single time. She was with me when I began this journey almost a year ago. She sat with me while I cried after I got the results of my stress test.  She is not afraid to call me on my bullshit. She has been my rock. Basically, she is the ultimate bad ass and one of my best friends! Thank you for everything.

P.S. I also feel the need to take the time to apologize to the event volunteer that I had less than nice thoughts about. We were at a point where it felt like we had went about 46 miles and he mentioned that we were barely half way. I can't recall all the specifics because I was not getting a whole lot of oxygen to my brain, at that point, but I am certain he was not the names I called him, nor was his mother.....