How do I make the world a better place …

I try every day by spreading smiles, appreciation, and putting a little "gratitude in my attitude".    I offer random acts of kindness and help whenever possible to whomever possible.  But all of these things are just part of my character, ingrained in me since childhood as the right thing to do.  The things that I have tried to instill in my children so that they too will feel the need, the wonder and the joy of helping others and making their small mark on the world.

I also do something that is a little more personal.  There is a history of breast cancer in my family, so I participate in the Susan G. Komen For the Cure Breast Cancer 3-Day.   Rather than repeat all of the reasons, I'll just ask you to take a look here…

http://08.the3day.org/goto/gloriabelldc

&

http://08.the3day.org/goto/gloriabellphilly

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Home from the 3-Day

Well, I made it!  3-Days 60 miles and I walked every step of them.  After my disappointment with the knee injury last year, this felt really good.  There is so much more for me to say about my adventure this weekend, but it is going to have to wait for another day – much too late and much too tired tonight. 
But take a look at my photos on Flickr.com for a sampling of our 3 days.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/11715835@N08/

Thanks to everyone for all of your love and support!

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Changes & challenges

It seems that 2 words can describe my life lately – changes & challenges.  In the last few months, I have changed where I live, who I live with, my vision of the future and of how I see myself.  All of those changes have come with challenges — sometimes as major as just being able to get out of bed in the morning, sometimes as minor as trying to figure out where and how to hang a picture.  Today brought about another major change.  A person that I thought would be my friend forever has decided that it is better for him to end our relationship.  And this week brings up 2 more major challenges.  Facing the first birthday I have had alone in a lot of years and to top it off, it is my 42nd birthday.   The day after that I start out on my 3-day, 60 mile adventure in the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day.

So how do I face these challenges and the many more that will come into my life?  I wish I knew.  I wish that there was a guaranteed plan to tell me what to do when each change comes along and when I have to face each challenge. So far, none has shown up.  Everyone keeps telling me that there is not a manual.   At this point I am only putting one foot in front of the other.  Or some mornings, one foot out of bed.  I can honestly say that if it were not for my sons and my friends, I would not even be doing that.   The thought of my sons having to face being without me is what makes me keep going.  My friends are the ones who give me the support, encouragement, love, shoulders to lean and cry on and just, in general, keep me upright.

Well, to face the most recent change, I guess I just move on.  I can't force someone to want to be a part of my life. (As much as I would like to be able to.)  The most recent challenges are another thing though.   My birthday – I would like to just say I will forget about it, but birthdays have always been a big deal in my family, so they are to me too.  Once again some of my friends come to the rescue.  They are making sure that I don't spend my birthday alone.  Dad and (what a nice surprise), Sis came through too – the cards are already here.

Friday morning dawns very early for the other big challenge of my week – the 3-Day.  Fortunately, one of my dearest friends will be by my side as we take off on our little hike.  It is a really challenging undertaking, but one so very worth every step.  (See my earlier post on why I walk)

Thursday night, as I celebrate my birthday, my friends and I will raise a toast and mine will be to changes and challenges and finding the strength and faith to get through them.  To my friends, my sons and the rest of my family.  Thank you for being there to make sure I get through all of these things.

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Why I walk 60 miles ….

I walk in the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Breast Cancer 3-Day here in Philadelphia.  It is a 60 mile – 3 day (yes, 3 straight days) walk to raise money and awareness in the fight against breast cancer.
Now why, do you ask, do I do such a insane thing?  Here is part of why –

I begin my walk, for the 4th time, with fond memories and in honor of my mother and in honor of all of the other brave, amazing women and men who have fought breast cancer and won. And in fierce determination that, one day, there will be no others who have lost the battle. I push myself to, and beyond, my physical and emotional limits in hopes of a near future where my children and the world's children do not have know the fear of losing a loved one to breast cancer.
I walk for the sunrises they deserve to see and the children and grandchildren they deserve to hold. 

And I walk for selfish reasons.  I walk because I am scared.  Every mammogram has been a little abnormal, then comes the ultrasound and this time the MRI (having your breasts squashed in a claustrophic tube is no fun!) and all the time you can not take a breath waiting for the results.  I can only imagine the fear and horror of hearing the words that the test was not normal.

So here I go again, Yes, even after last year's stress fracture in my knee, the blisters, bumps and bruises, I am off again on my 3-Day journey. After last years 3-Day, as he was sentencing me to over 5 weeks on crutches, my orthopedist's exact words were "a human body is not meant to do this". He is probably right, but I also believe that a human body is not meant to go through the pain, fear and uncertainty of breast cancer either. So, again, I begin my small steps in the fight against this horrific disease.

And I ask all of you be with the thousands of us in spirit on Oct 5-9th (or find out the dates of  the walk is in your city and be there in person).  Do you want to know more?  Do you want to know how you can help?  Check out my website -   http://www.the3day.org/philadelphia07/gloriabell

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