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January 2008
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October 2008

The Queen's Inspiration

The little device is from a company called the King of Hearts.  Well the Queen already has her king, and he most certainly does not come in a box.  She wrote, and did a great deal of it when her heart first gave her a problem, but the months went by, and she lost her energy and her motivation.  It was not until she came across an amazing woman in Africa that she regained her inspiration to write.  Now, it is perhaps the style of writing that became so inspirational.  Maryam, today my heart thanks you.

Queen of Hearts

It has been almost two years now... two years since the surgery. Some would say that is what shapes and defines a lot of who she is. Others would say that she spends too much time focusing on the past, and she needs to start thinking about the future. She thinks that there is no way that she can think about the future without incorporating the past. How can she? It is now a part of who she is, and guides a great deal of her decision making. The queen of hearts. Hmmm, that has a nice ring. Moving forward perhaps that is how she will think of herself.


"How do you find time to do it?"  That is a question I have been asked on many occasions as I balance my full time job, teaching fitness, working with the American Heart Association, writing, etc.  I am still not really sure what "it" is.  If it means living my life the way that I want to - well, it is not really finding the time, as much as it is making the time.  Something happened to me after I had my stroke and then my heart surgery.  My priorities shifted, as did my goals. Instead of doing some things in my life at 50, 40, or even 30%, I decided to do things at 75, 80, and 100%, and do more of what I like and less of what I did not like.  Realistically, there are those moments and days that everyone faces when you have do undertake certain tasks that are unpleasant.  But I have found (more often than not) it really comes down to choice and attitude.  If I am having a crazy work week, and have had three weekends in a row of plans - great plans mind you with amazing friends - then there are those weekends where I do not want to make any plans, and I do not even make excuses.  I just need to take a break from everything - from the people around me, and that is what re-energizes me to get back up and going full force on Monday morning.

I started to really think about all of this after reading an article about Dara Torres in the New York Times today.  She is someone who is truly an inspiration (or should be) to everyone.  She probably gets asked that same question:  How do you find time to do it... train for the Olympics, give inspirational speeches, be a single mother.  Not that I would know, but I am going to guess that she simply loves what she does.  That is the key - loving what you do and having an underlying passion for it.  This combination becomes inspiration to those around you.  It is putting in that extra effort that becomes inspirational to those around you.  Believe me, those little things do count.

In health,


How much...?

Last night I attended I huge gala - black tie, and the theme was "Hollywood Glamour".  I am one of those people who loves black tie events.  I love getting dressed up, getting my hair done, and going out.  The organization was not the American Heart Association, but another one that has been around for quite some time and is largely misunderstood throughout the country.  In any event, at first it seemed like one great big party.  The room was decorated in black and white with large palm frawns as table center-pieces.  There was an art-deco theme throughout, and most people did an amazing job in staying true to the "Hollywood Glamour" theme.

At one point during the brief speech in the beginning, my cousin turned to me and brought up an interesting point "How much of this do you think is going to the actual organization?"  He then referred to a 3-day walk he went to with his wife. During the walk there were showers for people and it was amazing."  He then went on to say that he would rather his donation do to research.  So of course when I woke up this morning (at 6am - who needs to wake up at 6am on a SUNDAY???) I had to look up where funding to the American Heart Association goes.  I have seen this information before, but it was on a handout, so I spent a while trying to find it on line.  But the information is there.  Also included is how much money goes towards the staff hired by the AHA.  I was impressed.  Keep in mind these numbers are from 2005, but it should be able to give you an indication of how funds are distributed:
Public health education 215,679,938
Research 141,620,216
Professional education and training 72,362,909
Community services 44,288,400

Total Program Expenses:

(from Figures are from 2005 American Heart Association.  Included in the Health Education line are fund raising efforts - roughly 34%.
After looking at these numbers, I feel pretty comfortable with how my money (the funds that I donate) is being used. 
In any event, in case you did not know, that is how the AHA distributes its funds!
In health,