Archive for the ‘Reflections’ Category

During these days of uncertainty in the stock market and our country’s economy, I try to find different ways to keep on track and stay genuinely happy.  I wanted to share two tools I use on a regular basis.

In my life coaching practice I work with people in transition; both in their work and personal life.  One of the tools I use is visualization.  This is the process of forming mental images to help obtain your goals.  Some people use mind pictures, others use visualization boards (recently on Oprah) to achieve great things in their lives!  The instrument I use is called Mind Movies based on the Law of Attraction.  It is what I call visualization on steroids!   I personally love the idea and figure it sure can’t hurt spending three minutes in the morning starting off my day and ending my day with such a positive message!  Please watch, Jennifer’s Mind Movie and let me know what you think.  Steven is working on his as well.

Another tool I use in both my personal and business life is called SendOutCards.  I found this tool during a marketing class I was taking, saw the profound possibilities and signed up the next week!  The entire philosophy of SendOutCards is to act on our promptings!  What are promptings you ask?  They are thoughts you have during the day when someone comes into your mind and you are wondering how that person is doing, happy birthday, wishing them to get better or whatever!!!  This system makes it easy and affordable to act on those promptings!  I call it sending out “card love.”

Another great piece of this system is for your business!   I really believe sending a card is the true essence of relationship marketing.  We all know with today’s economy, now more than ever, we need to show our appreciation in the business realm to maintain and grow our customer/client base. SendOutCards has over 13,000 cards, gifts and gift cards to choose from with a vast business section.

With the holiday’s right around the corner, I would love to show you how easy and inexpensive this system is to use for both your personal and professional life!  Please click HERE to send out two complimentary greeting cards using the SendOutCards system.  Don’t wait for a birthday or anything, just send a card to someone you are thinking of right now.  You will see how easy it is to act on those promptings.  Also feel free to watch the DVD presentation on the web site about how the company got started.  If you have any questions please feel free to call (303-423-3779) or email me at Jennifer@livingyourpotential.com!

Have a fabulous day!!

Blessings, Jennifer

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Living Your Potential


I wanted to let you know about my new business practice — Personal Coaching. Coaching is an effective process to support individuals in creating something new for them. I coach my clients by providing perspective and support for self-awareness as they accomplish their business and personal goals.

My website, http://www.livingyourpotential.com/ will give you more information about my practice and a window into the magic inherent in the coaching relationship. I would like to offer you a gift of a free sample session by phone. Whether across the country or just down the street, coaching can work for you.  To understand the value, experience it for yourself!

Coaching is a valuable process for:

-Designing life intentions that include both your business and personal goals.-Building your personal integrity and learning to base all decisions on your values.

-Making meaningful and personal changes that reduce stress and simplify your life.

-Freeing up energy and other resources to attract what YOU want for YOUR life now.

The emerging profession of coaching has been covered on the NBC Nightly News, Donahue and CBS, This Morning and has been featured in Newsweek and USA Today as well as in over 100 other major media outlets. Coaching has received this positive attention because of the success of the clients who use a coach.

Here is a sample of what the media says about coaching: “Coaching…a new profession is developing to provide support, training and tools to help people grow in their personal, work, social and spiritual lives.” — Common Boundary

“They call themselves ‘coaches’ — a new breed of career counselors multiplying nationwide, promising to help unblock barriers to success, and make you a happier, better person, to boot.” — Denver Post

“Progressive managers and consultants have long made coaching part of their jobs, helping employees improve their work habits and interpersonal skills. But in recent years, coaching has emerged as a distinct occupation and source of help in the workplace.” — Sunday Oregonian

I feel I have been a life coach for all of my adult life.  I now have the tools to put those skills into action.  Again, my website is www.livingyourpotential.com and gives you more information about my practice. Contact me at (303)423-4075 or jennifer@livingyourpotential.com if you’re curious. I appreciate referrals, so please keep me in mind when you are talking with friends and business associates.



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Summer Getaway

This summer our family had the opportunity for some old fashioned Colorado mountain time.  Some friends of ours belong to High Country Club, a destination club with access to over 30 luxury residences.  Some days were going to be unused and they were so generous as to offer them to us.  We chose to go to Copper Mountain, a ski resort about 75 miles west of Denver for some fresh air and fun.

Our condo overlooked the Village at Copper Mountain.  We were surrounded by a variety of shops for outerwear, activities and eating.  In winter, this is the center of action with the main chairlift just a stones throw away from the condo.  The open area would be filled with bundled up seekers of downhill bliss.

Summer is a different atmosphere.  Still the middle of activity, albeit more laid back, the Village had a peaceful aura about it.  The chairlift operated over slopes still awakening from the hard winter.  Even in late June, there were still drifts of white lingering from the frequent snow storms of last season.  The ride up the mountain still had briskness to it from intermittent cloud cover and a cool breeze.

Every day we had a wonderful experience as a family and we really valued it.  We were quite active the first day in the Village Square with Miniature Golf, Go Carts, Quad Power Jump, Bumper Boats, Climbing Wall and the Chairlift Ride.  Pursuant to my posting on Insanity in June, I pushed myself to see what my physical limits were.  I participated in all activities except the Climbing Wall as my body would definitely not support that and a nap was desperately needed anyway.  That evening, we had a wonderful dinner with some friends from Vail at a restaurant called La Tour and ended up running into more friends on our way out.

Thursday we went golfing with family friends that volunteer at the Copper Creek Golf Club.  They live in Florida during winter and Copper Mountain in the summer.  Their volunteer work allows them free unlimited golf for the season.  We were able to take advantage of that rate as their guests.  Christopher caddied and drove the cart.  That was scary at times on a mountain course, but overall he did quite well.  He was also our official photographer and enjoyed taking pictures of the beautiful terrain.

Friday was filled with a fishing adventure at Lake Dillon.  We had to walk in a little bit for lake access and I was grateful I had just purchased hiking boots that accommodate my leg braces.  They were a life saver as the path was filled with rocks and tree roots, a virtual land mine for ALS patients.  Christopher and I rigged up the fishing poles for bait fishing.  After several practice casts, Christopher had it down pretty well and so man versus fish ensued.  It wasn’t until Jennifer and Christopher went back to the car for snacks that the fish started biting.  I caught the first one while they were gone, of course.  Four rainbow trout were caught in all and Jennifer got some good reading in while patiently waiting for our lines to jump.

This mini vacation was probably the most activity I have had in the last two or three years as I wanted to see what I could do as opposed to what I think I should do.  I had an incredible time with my family and friends, so it was easily worth the temporary fatigue and pain endured.  Pushing limits for time spent this way is what adds to life’s abundance.  Have you reflected on how you are spending your time recently?

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Not all of us are historians.  All those dates and names are a blur to me for the most part.  However, on this day of American Independence as I hung up the American Flag, I chose to refresh my memory of the historic events that took place.  I do remember there were some problems with taxes from Britain and there was a shipment of tea that got dumped into a harbor.  These issues, among others eventually led to the Revolutionary War.  We won, of course, which led to the birth of this great nation.

I am embarrassed to say, but that is the vague recall of my early education of this historic series of actions.  I stumbled upon the web site Revolutionary War this morning and started reading.  I have just grazed the surface, but felt compelled to encourage all of us living in America during these difficult times to revisit the origins of this land we call home.

I know our annual festivities to watch the fireworks will have even more significance after my review of why we celebrate.  Understanding the meaning of our actions propels us to an entirely different level of perspective.  This is what life is about; actually feeling what we experience.

So when we have musical artists singing a different song (click here for the reference article) to the tune of our national anthem, I have to ask; where is your patriotism today?  There is always someone better off than us, but the most important thing to remember is that there is always someone worse off as well.

If your patriotism is not off the charts, especially today, then take a look around the world and gain some perspective of our freedoms.  Happy 232nd Birthday, America.  Thank you to all our forefathers who made this great Nation the land of the free.

God bless, America!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

At the start of such a crazy time of year we hope that you are able to take some time to reflect on what you are thankful for.  We are thankful for so much that it would probably take up your entire day just reading, so we will touch on some of the most poignant!  Life is so precious we couldn’t miss this opportunity to send out our thanks to all of you!

First and foremost we are thankful for our family and friends!  We would not be where we are today without all the support we receive.  On the eve of yet another ALS friend’s funeral to attend, we count our blessings that Steven is still doing as well as he is!  Christopher, the light of our life, is thriving in his new school environment.  Jennifer is able to run Extra Hands and also go back to school to pursue her calling in life. We can only pray that we can give back a portion of what we receive.

We count our blessings that we live in a country that we can believe in whatever we want without persecution and speak publicly of those beliefs.  We are free to worship what we believe in or not to worship anything. We can have the comfort working for corporate America or delve into entrepreneurship.   Our freedoms should not be taken for granted.

May each and every one of you enjoy this incredible day and see the blessings, whether you are able to be with family and friends or just have a quiet day to yourself.  So from our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

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One month has blazed by since the Angels for ALS Gala 2007.  Time seems surreal to me, knowing I am outliving ALS expectations.  It also confirms that time appears to accelerate the older we get!

The evening was a very elegant and classic event.  It was an enchanting site to see everyone dressed to the nines at a beautiful venue with a common purpose in mind.  The silent auction area was bedazzled with lights, music, conversation and excitement.

Inside the dining room, 250 seats beckoned for company as the tables dazzled in their simplicity.  Black linens topped with red accents and white china glowed in the soft light of votive candles, highlighting the red cyclamen in the center.

Introductions and welcoming ensued before the theme of the evening was revealed.  Addie, one of our overachieving student volunteers, was impacted by the statistic that every 90 minutes an ALS patient is diagnosed and another one dies.  She produced a video simply asking what everyday people might do in 90 minutes.  As a 90 minute hourglass was overturned, Addie challenged the audience, asking what they could do in the next 90 minutes to make a difference in the ALS community.

After a scrumptious dinner topped off by a decadent flourless chocolate tort, Addie returned to the podium.  She addressed the audience by describing her transformation from the year before.  The patient her Extra Hands team was assisting had died this past summer.  The reality of ALS overwhelmed her.  In her grief, she had grown and become even more dedicated and motivated to make a difference.  By sharing her story, everyone in the audience understood what Extra Hands for ALS is all about.

Thereafter, local musician, Jeff King, mesmerized us with the song, “Angels Among Us,” to solidify our purpose in gathering.  Between Addie and Jeff, tears of sadness and joy were commonplace, reflecting the evening’s momentous impact on all who attended.

The live auction changed the reflective mood into one of excitement and anticipation.  Over $15,000 was raised as top notch destinations, LASIK surgery, beautiful fused glass artistry, music composition and a concert were auctioned off.

One of the highlights of the evening for us was to be able to recognize the many volunteers that make Extra Hands for ALS possible.  First, the outstanding student, mentor and family were acknowledged for the profound impact they are having on other people’s lives.  Then, all the students and mentors in attendance stood after their names were called.  As the audience understood just how many volunteers there were, a standing ovation erupted.  We are so incredibly proud of the people that choose to volunteer their time to make a difference in the ALS community.

The evening was topped off by dancing, mingling and picture taking.

Thank you so much to the gala committee that made the evening possible.  We met for weeks on end before the gala to plan, prepare and execute.  It’s difficult to imagine doing this event without the help of such selfless and caring people.

The generous support of many in kind donations that reduced our overall costs is extremely appreciated.  Especially, Signal Graphics, located at 1777 Larimer Street and Gourmet Fine Catering at 2601 Blake Street, Suite 105.  There were many others, but these two went above and beyond anything we could have hoped for.  Please patronize these businesses to help a show our gratitude.

Also, thank you to all the attendees and donors; from the table sponsors to the individuals and last but not least, our incredible volunteers.  Your generosity raised over $81,000 in support of Extra Hands for ALS and ALS TDI, our research partner.

It is never too late to contribute, so please follow this Angels for ALS Gala link to securely donate by credit card if you have not already done so.  Please make any checks payable to:

Extra Hands for ALS

c/o Steven & Jennifer Bishop

8237 Swadley Court

Arvada, CO 80005

We ordered too many Angels for ALS Gala 2007 champagne glasses and are selling them for $10 each.  We have approximately 80 left and they are not raising any money in our basement!  Lindsey, our outstanding student award recipient, designed and makes ALS Bracelets with the Extra Hands for ALS motto, BELIEVE in them. They come in S, M and L selling for $20 each.   Please specify quantities  with your check and provide contact information so we can get either/both or multiple items to you.

One last enormous thank you goes out to everyone who participated in the 2007 Angels for ALS Gala.

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Last night, on the 4th of July, Jennifer and I snuggled up and watched the annual fireworks display that the City of Arvada hosts and the radio station KOOL 105 sets to music.  Just prior, we had a great dinner with friends at our house with their two boys, so Christopher had a play date as well.  The food was great and the company even better.

We arrived somewhat late to the Stenger/Lutz Sports complex where the fireworks take place.  I was worried that we might have trouble getting a parking space, even with disabled plates.  As it turned out, we ended up with very close parking and a perfect view of the celebration directly below the massive booms and lights above us.

Since this is a regular tradition with us, it’s kind of a marker of my progression.  Jennifer and I were laying down with Christopher in a sleeping bag at our feet staring straight up when it hit me we were able to spend another 4th together.  Most of our other holiday plans are somewhat variable in activity, but we have made this an annual event for quite sometime.

After being married for 17 years, Jennifer said she was thinking the same thing about how blessed we were to still be able to watch the fireworks together.  I think it’s almost impossible to dwell in negativity when you see the majesty of a grand display such as this.

We tend to take in all the details.  The younger couples behind us that had been drinking, albeit a bit loud and obnoxious, were simply enjoying the show.  Christopher and his buddies were ever vigilant with the constant question, “Was that the finale?”  The wind was blowing pretty good which actually blew the smoke away from the lights for a crystal clear view of each explosion.  The designs that the fireworks can make now are amazing, from hearts to interlocking rings and stars.  This year added a new one that blew up into scores of bright lights and then propelled themselves like fireflies until the ember extinguished.  That was our favorite of the evening.

I woke up early this morning and let our two dogs, CJ and Tumnus out, and made a cup of coffee.  We planted some trees in the backyard this year and I went out to check on their progress.  They had been in shock after being transplanted and were now showing signs of new life.  For some reason the moon was still out as if watching me take things in.


This was a series of events that I haven’t pondered in a while and it is refreshing beyond belief when you take the time.  So on this day, take that extra moment to breathe the fresh air, walk up close to a tree or plant that is showing new growth, smile at a newborn and choose to make a positive difference in someone’s life.

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Weekend to Remember

The first weekend in March brought Jennifer and me to a Christian couples retreat entitled, “Weekend to Remember.”  We had heard about it through our church and others who had previously attended.  Jennifer was the true catalyst in attending and booked it months prior with a general nod of approval as I quickly forgot about it.

As the date approached, I realized that our marriage could definitely use some revitalizing.  Now understand that we have been married for almost 17 years and the last six have been together 24/7.  With me not able to work or drive, I am mostly homebound.  This statement is not for pity by any means as I have an incredible support system that is ready to take me anywhere if I need to go.  It simply means that most married people get a break from one another during the work day, for better or worse.

We basically were coexisting and co-parenting without realizing it.  This may seem difficult to fathom when we are faced with ALS everyday.  However, as I pointed out in the posting dated February 28th, “I’m still here,” we had fallen into the doldrums of life only to be reminded a little more often than most that life is precious.

The timing of the retreat was perfect as I had just finished that article and was ready for a fresh start.  Christopher stayed with our dear friends and his guardian’s for the weekend.  We headed off to Colorado Springs at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort about an hour and a half south of our house.  It is a beautiful resort set at the foot of Pikes Peak.  We were joined by Jennifer’s brother, John and wife, Shelly.  Although, this is a time to work on your own relationship, it was great having their company as well as perspective.

We would spend Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday in a conference setting with incredible speakers, breakout projects, homework and a date night.  Our first night project was spent with some brutal honesty about our relationship and what wasn’t right.  Why did we feel like we were coexisting when we were in love with each other?  We figured the organizers wanted to break you down before they built you back up over Saturday and Sunday!

Each session was biblically based, but non-threatening to the general public.  We found out that there were married, remarried and premarried couples in attendance.  The married couples varied from two weeks to 46 years together.  Some actually had divorce papers sitting at home based on the outcome of this weekend experience.  They told us at the end of the weekend that they were going to throw them away.

The majority of the sessions had to do with how to achieve oneness with your spouse, the way God intended.  Communication, expectations and responsibilities were main concepts of discussion.  There were so many stories that hit home for most that the mood was kept light by these anecdotes.  One of the sessions had the women separate from the men.  That was hilarious and yet so educational.

One of my favorite parts was date night on Saturday.  We were looking in the local directory for restaurants in the area.  We found one with a decent menu and off we went.  It turned out to be a bar with pool tables and loud music…not what we had in mind.  Just around the corner was another restaurant that looked a little more docile.  Walter’s Bistro was the name where we had the first date of our rekindled marriage.

The ambiance was perfect with an upscale feel, comfortable seats and serene lighting.  Two martinis’s, one up and slightly dirty, the other on the rocks with a twist, our usual.  We were going to have an appetizer but looked at the dessert list and found one of our favorites so we held out.  The main course was fantastic but what made the night was the wine.  The last wine on the last page of the wine list was one of Jennifer’s favorite, a 2001 Marques de Riscal.  I ordered it without her noticing, so when the waiter brought it, her eyes lit up.  It turned out to be the last bottle of the 2001 they had.  We finished up with Crème Brule that we had saved room for…yeah, right.

It really did feel like a first date, but we had no camera to commemorate it.  The couple next to us had one and we asked if they would take our picture and email it to us.  True to their word, they had sent it to us on Monday after we had returned. Click here for the picture.

We came back from the weekend rejuvenated with life and the oneness of our marriage.  Thank you to www.familylife.com for their dedication to improving marriages and building the bonds of oneness that allow these relationships to persevere.  I invite you to peruse the website with an open mind and heart.  On a similar note, our dear friend, Randy Ferguson hosts a series for both individuals and couples called Love, Courage and Achievement or LCA for short.  His web site is www.lcaproject.com.

Jennifer and I have been reading quite a bit lately and hope to put up a list of books with short reviews at some point.  We bought several books from the weekend.  This is part of my new adventure and pursuit of purpose in my life.  The books are diverse and contemplative.  They invite introspection.  So many times we don’t know what questions to ask ourselves to make us better spouses, parents and friends.  How many of us want to know?

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There were an incredible amount of supportive and encouraging emails that followed the last posting.  Thank you all so much.  One person in particular brought something to my attention.  She was wondering if there were any other slower progressing patients out there.  Let’s define slower progression, generally, as still mobile and independent approximately three years from diagnoses.  This doesn’t mean you aren’t using any assistive devices, i.e. AFO’s (Ancle Foot Orthosis, aka Ankle Brace), canes, occasional wheelchair for long periods of walking or standing, etc.  Simply put, if you feel your progression is considerably slower than you anticipated, you are who we are looking for.

The purpose of identifying this demographic is that slower progressing ALS patients begin to feel slightly out of place in support groups.  The feeling is that we aren’t relating to the relatively normal progression of ALS very well.  We don’t quite experience the “Always Loosing Something” perspective of the disease.  This is not a reflection on either progression, simply an observation.  Therefore, if we can identify some people in this slower progressing group, we could begin a forum that would be helpful in dealing with some of the feelings outlined in the previous post, “I’m Still Here.”

Soooo, if you fit into this slow ALS demographic (physically, not mentally, ha ha) or know someone who does, will you please reply and let us know if this separate forum is of interest?

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Yes, I’m still here.

It has been a long time since posting to our site.  This has been a particularly hard winter.  Yes, we do live in Colorado, but the meteorologists here say it’s been the coldest in 30 years and we have had snow on the ground for two months.  We’re used to getting a foot dumped on us and it being 57 degrees and sunny the next day when everything melts.  At last, we had a major meltdown the last couple weeks and we can see most of the grass again.  Yet today, it is cold and snowing again.

However, the weather hasn’t been the only tough thing.  We have lost 5 of our patients in the last two months.  Emotionally, it has been a strange time dealing with ALS and my unusual longevity.  Jennifer and I thought and planned on me being dead by now.  Thank the Lord, I am not.  However, I feel a bit like I’m in Purgatory, right now.  Don’t get me wrong, by any means; I feel completely blessed with this slow progression as it has allowed me to enjoy and experience so many things that I thought I was going to miss.

It’s how I imagine outliving your retirement might be.  Now what?  I don’t feel like I’m living up to my potential right now and the motivation factor is running low.  Half of me is in this end of life mode of taking everything in and enjoying all the little things God has set before me; the other half is in the rut most people deal with of day to day life.  It’s the second half of this that is troubling me.  I have this constant reminder (ALS) of how precious life is and yet, because of my slow progression I get caught up in the monotony of life.  I am so used to my own symptoms that my body often compensates to changes before I realize anything has happened.  Then, all it takes is a visit to an ALS patient with a typical progression to bring me back to the reality of the disease.  And they say ALS doesn’t affect the mind.  Ha!  Maybe it’s time to see a counselor.

I still know I am making a difference through Extra Hands and thoroughly enjoy meeting the patients, students and mentors.  These are truly beautiful people and inspirational to me and others they come into contact with.  It is so refreshing to see how selfless and compassionate people can be.  They are really my role models and make me wish I had done a smidgeon of what they are doing during my previous life before ALS.

Overall, I am coping and staying positive as much as possible.  It is just one of those transitional moments when one contemplates the next stage of life.  It is time I take my own advice I have offered on this site:

If you don’t know what your passion is, then make finding it your passion.

I am in the process of reinventing myself and improving my relationships.  How can I be a better husband, father and friend?  What can I do to make my life more meaningful?

Spring will soon be upon us and with it brings new life.  I plan to ride that wave and create a new adventure.  However, I’m not going to wait until then, as it takes some planning and a strong will.  Who will join me?

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