Over the course of the last few weeks, we (as a country) have witnessed a rare phenomenon all over social media. The ice bucket challenge for ALS. I first started seeing the ice bucket challenge on Facebook. My husband talked about seeing videos of the various challenges on Twitter. My Dad (who is not on social media) even received the challenge via text from his brother. It was really sweeping across the nation. All of these people were willing to dump a bucket of ice water over their head to raise awareness for ALS, a terrible debilitating disease that ends in a slow and painful death. They were also willing to give of their money. I read one report that stated the ALS Foundation had collected $75 million dollars in donations to date, up $1.9 million from what was received last year over the same period. I found those numbers impressive and almost hard to believe. Now as we entered into the second and third week of these challenges there were those who were deviating a little from the original challenge. They may have still been willing to suffer through the bucket of ice, but they were giving their money to causes that were personal to them. One of my best friends posted a video of her son taking the ice bucket challenge for their family and shared they would be donating to the American Cancer Society in memory of her Dad. Another friend declined the challenge, but encouraged others to read about the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors which was dear to her because of the burns she herself had lived through. She also said this, "Benevolence is good folks, But it's okay to give where your heart leads you." Oh my!!! how I love this!!! GIVE where your heart leads you!
When I was a stay at home Mom back a few years ago the kids and I enjoyed watching Dora. She taught us all to think about and share a favorite part of something. My favorite part of the ice bucket challenges has been the spirit of giving!!! And it is not even Christmas time!! So when I was challenged by my oldest niece I started contemplating how I would accept the challenge. Now my two oldest children had accepted the challenge from friends in support of ALS. It gave me a great opportunity to explain to them what ALS is, and how people are affected by it. After watching them gasp for breath (as I doubled over in laughter) I decided the ice bucket was not for me!! But I liked the idea of our giving hurting a little.
I know I am a little different, and I do think differently than most. I seem to draw connections among things when others don't. For example, all this talk of ice made me think of one of my favorite commercials. Please click on the following link: http://vimeo.com/41783340 It is the second part that I most enjoy. No matter what movie I go to see I always look forward to the clinking ice and the pouring soda. I have often said I do not know what it is like to struggle with addiction, but that statement is just not true. I am a soda feen!!! I can hear the "pop" of a soda can and my mouth will water. Dr. Pepper and Coke are my favorites, but I will not discriminate. I really like most flavors of carbonation. Certain foods just beg for a soda to drink with them. I remember drinking a Mountain Dew on a very hot summer day after softball practice one time when I was a kid. I don't think I had ever had anything taste so good and refreshing.
But sadly I am not a kid anymore. And soda is really not good for me. There are all kinds of lists out there as to why soda is so unhealthy. Several years ago, I quit them cold turkey. I decided I just could not justify the calories they contained. I started eating a lot healthier, and I lost close to 25 lbs. My reward.... drinking one soda a day. (Crazy, I know!!) I would start my day with a Dr. Pepper every morning. I told myself it was my coffee. Well, my one in the morning turned into drinking them more often. My healthy eating was suffering and the weight was slowly creeping back up. I needed an intervention.
As all the ice bucket challenges were being posted from all over I was struggling once again to quit cold turkey. So in my head it makes sense to me for my ice bucket challenge to be no more soda drinking!!! I will make my donation to Donate Life in honor of my godson, and the family who made a life changing decision for him in their darkest of days. Every time I crave a soda may I be reminded of the Mom who in the midst of her pain and loss decided to give so another could live. Wow!!! To remember such amazing strength is humbling in any challenge I may face.