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Sand in the Hourglass of Life

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We had the uniquely powerful privilege of meeting and spending time with one of the most inspiring women, and couples, we’ve ever met. This is one of those where, if you think you’re having a bad day, think about Kim Stemple.

Sending this to you here early in the year to help you dig a little deeper to find that inspiration for the resolutions we all made at the dawn of the new year, to drive yourself a little harder…and, to stop and smell the roses, honey and salt water while you can.

Make this your year.

Perhaps this story will help with your resolve to carry through with those resolutions.

Kim and her husband Jim stopped in our Georgetown store this past fall.

We offered them a glass of wine or rum. Jim was in, Kim said she’s on chemo and needed to pass. This is a woman of great vitality and incredible spirit. Her husband is a retired marine (no such thing as an ex-marine) whose waters run strong and deep.

She’s been fighting the cancer and chronic disease for a while. With that incredible burden…her energy was infectious and Jim’s strength pronounced. It’s so clear this man is just a rock.

They laughed, told stories, offered encouragement about life, and overcoming life’s challenges. She shared with us about the organization she founded, “We Finish Together”, where runners and athletes donate their hard-earned medals to someone very sick or in deep need. Often with a note attached or etched into the ribbon. Just that simple, but powerful, gesture has lifted countless spirits of people struggling through dark moments. It’s now gaining traction…more about it is reflected in the links below.

One Saturday late last December, Kim and Jim swung by to visit with us one last time.

Bright, energetic and the most incredible positive energy coming from that slightly built body. I leaned over, held her hands and asked how she was doing. I was expecting a “great” or “things looking up”. What came next leveled me.

She told me that the chemo wasn’t working and the sand in life’s hourglass was moving towards the end. I stood there looking at these two incredible people, and started to choke up. She squeezed my hand hard and said, “It’s ok. I get to define how I go out.”

To give you perspective, she ran the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon. Her doctors said the question wasn’t whether she would die in the race, but what mile-marker it would happen. Didn’t deter her in the least, posted one of her best times ever…but was running it for Jim. Her last race, her last medal to the guy that’s stood by her.

I’ve struggled sharing this story. It’s really about one of the good one’s being taken too early in life.

Even as she stared down the harshness of her mortality, she found a way to lift me and lift everyone around her.

For each of us, perhaps the true challenge is not “it’s about me” but rather what are we doing to make a difference in someone else’s life. Whether it is an intense level of dedicated effort or a simple, random act of kindness or just giving a stranger on the street a warm smile. In Kim’s case, she’s gone deep in her focus on others and helping make a difference while she fights with every ounce of strength she has.

Kim reflected her life’s view with the following quote: “I am going to die; we are all going to die—I just have a little different perspective on it.” “So, I’m doing what makes me happy instead of laying on the couch looking at the loose hair on the pillow.”

As we were about to say goodbye, she insisted the photo of her and I be retaken to include our booklet “Live Life Now”. That’s how she lives her life.


We’re going to share a few links and encourage you to click through and read these stories...then challenge yourself to dig a little deeper and give just a little more.

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