The con artist and the dog lover

Two wonderful women have inspired me this Friday, giving me plenty to celebrate and think about over the weekend. Time to play and put my focus on what I love, big and small!

Saying goodbye to the con artist

It’s not about the diet and the weight, it’s about the living and being. In an amazing post today, Jude confesses how she has been a culinary con artist. She learned all the right things to say — to herself and her support staff — achieving a certain level of weight-loss success before failing, once again. She could talk a good game, she confessed, but faltered with her follow-through.

Her journey has brought her to a new place, one where she doesn’t diet or have an end goal. There is no objective outcome. She looks to make decisions to fuel her body, to be healthy, to enjoy her life.

In my own journey, I’ve discovered  several disconnects — intellectually understanding something, but not truly feeling it. There’s a difference between knowing and living. Jude puts it beautifully, inspiring me to think about where I’m pulling a con on myself these days and challenging me to make a connection to living without an end game.

Wagstrong! Supporting and celebrating our animal friends

Whenever I would ask my mom if we could have a dog, she would respond there were plenty of dogs in the neighborhood for me to play with. My rhetorical skills were severely lacking at age 7, leaving me without a good counter argument. Anyway, soon the ice cream truck would come down the street to distract me (some things never change) and I’d forget all about my dog question. Eventually, I’d go back to trying to capture grasshoppers and caterpillars in a coffee can so I could nurture and study them, developing my own brand of appreciation for our non-human friends.

Juli Goldstein with Stryder

Which brings me to the Stryder Cancer Foundation, an organization started by  Juli Goldstein (whose many hats include runner, marine mammal veterinarian and Ms. Florida). After Juli’s dog, Stryder, died from cancer, she wanted to help other people who had animal members of their family suffering from illness. And so, she created the Stryder Cancer Foundation (“Wagstrong”)  to help pet owners with financial and emotional support.

Juli is still in the process of establishing the organization as a non-profit, but already began some fundraising efforts in connection with racing the IronGirl halfmarathon in Clearwater, Fla., this weekend.

What inspires me is not just the cause, but Juli’s spirit and her energy in following her heart. She strikes me as a woman who knows who she is, what she loves, and allows the ideas and actions (the doing) to flow from there. Sure, there’s paperwork involved and a small growth curve. But you don’t have to be officially ordained to follow your passion. You can learn along the way. And you don’t need to roll out a huge campaign. Seemingly small contributions (of all kinds) tend to make the most meaningful impact in people’s lives.

(Visit the Stryder Cancer Foundation’s Facebook page for details, progress and to consider a donation.)

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