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August 9, 2007

My wife, Nancy, gave me a special gift bag before the first time I tried to set off.  Inside, there were three envelopes.  There was one to open after 30 days, one to open after three months and one to open after six months. 

It must be a guy thing.  The first envelope was a card for our anniversary.  I had totally missed the meaning of the date on the envelope.  The card brought tears to my eyes.  Why had I not left her a card?  I was too distracted with getting ready for my trip.  I called Nancy.

I also had special packages to open at 30 days from my friends at the OAR rowing team in Seattle.  Inside, there were messages from my friends.  Nancy wrote, “I love you and believe in you.  You can do this.  You will achieve your dream.”  My friend, Matt Kear, included the first part of a poem that reads, “There is a race of men that can’t stand still.”  The other parts will be revealed later.  My other friend, Brad, wrote, “The journey begins with one stroke and the destination is achieved one stroke at a time.  Focus on the next stroke.”  Rich Brower wrote, “Remember the headaches of preparation?  Every day is a day closer to the goal!”

How true.  When I speak to students, I always tell them that 80 percent of the work is done when they reach the starting point.  I feel blessed.  I am ready physically and mentally for the trip ahead.

*Entry adapted for grades 5-8 by Andrea Rogers

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