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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Some great questioning from a great friend

Here is a great Email I received from a great Friend who took the time to ask questions as he really wanted to learn more… I thought I would share it to clear up some question that might be out there.


I know you put a lot of thought and insight into this and that you’re going through a lot right now. I respect how you channel your energy into your blog & other various projects that take balls and brains to accomplish (i.e. building a computer).

I realize there is quite a bit of “shock value” in planning your space mission and that you’ve put yourself “out there”. I love whacky stuff and the going for broke attitude. Without entrepreneurs and producers we have a boring world, and you my friend are far from boring.

I have 2 criticisms which you may have already addressed, and you know me well enough to realize this is raised with the intent of being constructive:

1) The reality you’re obviously facing here is that other people’s money comes into the equation. In theory, raising $200k is a piece of cake, but you’ve possibly simplified this a bit too much. Are you sure that Virgin Galactic is going to cost $200k in 5 years? (i.e. what if it costs less – are you re-imbursing a percentage to all of these fundraisers?) Have you done the appropriate research? What is the backup plan? It doesn’t exactly sound like space travel is a slam dunk, even for the company that is planning to offer it. They “plan” to provide sub-orbital spaceflights, but what is Jim Moss’s “plan” if in fact this mission is delayed or Virgin cancels the program altogether? I know you don’t have all the answers, but there is a feeling of shady that you’ll have to battle through and you will be accountable to all of these investors out there.

Virgin Galactic is a company within Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group which plans to provide sub-orbital spaceflights to the paying public, along with suborbital space science missions and orbital launches of small satellites. Further in the future Virgin Galactic hopes to offer orbital human spaceflights as well.

2) I’ve never started a non-profit, but my feeling is that you need to clean up the mission statement.

“to generate 2 million USD in corporate funding to create a non profit that provides tools and support to others, of all ages and demographics, to achieve their dreams.”

“Achieve their dreams?” Sorry buddy, but I just don’t know what this means. What dreams? What goals? Are you giving money to kids to start their own business? Go to the Super Bowl? If I’m in charge of a Fortune 500 company’s philanthropy efforts or if I’m on the board of a Venture Capital firm that reviews hundreds of grant applications a week, I’m reading this and asking much deeper questions. Is this a competitor to Make-A-Wish Foundation? Big Brothers & Big Sisters? What are the tools you’re talking about?

I want to look people in the eye and say my buddy is not a whack-o, and he needs your support, but I need more details from you in order to accomplish that…

Talk to me!

Your pal,

I responded….

You my friend are an excellent individual and I really cannot say how much I appreciate that you took the time to write down these thoughts, but also to put the time into the thinking involved. This is why I love ya buddy and I take it all entirely as constructive.

So here are some quick responses.

First of all the let me say that this is a very organic and so I am not pretending to have all of the answers to begin with, instead I am working away and filling in the blanks and firming things up over these first few months. Questioning like this is integral to that process. I am expecting that this will build momentum considerably over time and so it allows me to be a little loose now and firm things up over the next 90 days. The verbal - whacky up front commitment is a tool to do exactly that –be committed.

• Mission Statement at heading is not the completed mission statement just a quick overview of the project – act as a draw to get people deeper in looking for answers.
o That said – the Nonprofit project mission statement is firming up to be more… – support through the providing of resources, coaching, mentoring, networking, and financial support for likeminded individuals, looking to pursue their goals and dreams that will leave a positive mark on the world and its inhabitants. Projects to be reviewed and accepted by a panel of board members. But will also include resources and counseling available online to everyone to access and use in effort to better their own goal pursuits. We will pick some projects to put our weight behind and launch in a big way.
• As per cost of project…
o The Cost will be the cost at the time of purchase – I have spoken to them and the cost reduces as well as the amount of deposit depending on the flight priority that you are looking for. If you pay the full amount up front you take priority in the launch order.
o If the cost were to come down there will be fine print that the donations received would automatically kick in to the Non Profit to fund the ultimate project goal. I have a lawyer out of Denver working with me on the fine print, project legal etc.
o There will also be declarations that I will be accepting the donations as income and will personally pay the income taxes on the entire project out of my own funds until the non-profit is started.
o There are also three other companies working on doing this same project –so there may be some potential back up options if Virgin were to take a crap – a big part of the whole plan is that the pursuit of your dreams definitely requires adaptability as a key characteristic.
o So even though I might not get to fly for 5 years 7 years etc… I will have paid much sooner than that. The amount will likely not fluctuate within the first 5 years they have said and I expect to be completed within that time, but there will be fine print as I stated to touch on those potentialities
• As per people’s money being in question….
o I have spent a good deal of time with that. The Idea is that we accept micro donations. $1 $2 etc and that seriously diminishes the amount of commitment any 1 person makes.
 Additionally this is designed to reach out to even more people to get the word out and start the discussion about the importance of having dreams and holding on to them.
 I will be asking kids as well to donate a buck at the sacrifice of what a buck can do in their life – in order to make it happen – in exchange for some inspiration hopefully
o I will be setting up an escrow account where the monies will be kept in and managed by a lawyer and will be audited and reported on a regular basis.
 There will be a more formalized form to fill out when we progress enough to have our own shopping cart, where there will be check boxes for this stuff on the front end ie… If Jim dies beforehand I wish to have my dollar go to the A) red cross b ) united way c) sharks foundation
 There will also be a clause that allows me to transfer the flight into someone else at my choosing. Hint
 This paper work will be all kept and filled formally to be referenced if needed, including privacy agreements and all the legal stuff that is obviously very important.
• AS for looking your people in the eye and telling them I’m not whacky, please don’t, The trick to this thing is that it is a little whacky but…. Very important….. that it is all backed up and airtight. That is what will allow me to be whacky going forward, that I have learned the importance of the back end (ha insert jokes where suited…back end!)
• Also I do like your use of the Word investor in place of donator – I can use that – ask for investments in place of donations. I love that.
• There will be a whole other project surfacing that involves the Nonprofit aspect. This front end is just my personal project of going to space with the promise that that is where I am headed. That is a personal project that will be dependent upon my integrity. As we get some momentum the Nonprofit will become the priority as it will also serve as my place of employment. It will clear up more at that time as I pull together a board and team and volunteers, offices etc.

So major principles of the project – for your talking points when you are selling me to people who think I’m a whack job.
Pursuing our goals = making us happier = making us healthier
Based on the premise that life is too short and that we need to take responsibility for our own happiness and not leave it entirely to chance – Our life is our bus, we need to drive it, actively take the wheel, or we cannot complain where it goes.
I am taking the trip to space and raising the money etc as project #1 to prove I can and be an inspiration
My accomplishing my primary project should act as inspiration and create the clout needed to have the discussions about the nonprofit –
but I need to put my money where my mouth is first –
get my project really going and then use it as the catalyst to do the other and have everything buttoned up before then.

So this is your whacky friend who is really pumped that you took the time to ask the questions and I hope this helps you feel like the backside is getting buttoned up. I know you are only asking cause you care, and I know that you are also asking because you know it has some teeth!

Love ya buddy,

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dear Rotary Club... Thank You

January 21st, 2010

Rotary Club of Port Elgin
C.O. Ron Moss
668 Gustavus Street
Port Elgin, Ontario, Canada

Dear Rotarian's,
I cannot Thank you enough for the support that you offered via the Bonspiel you held to our benefit on January 18th, 2010. The past four months have proven to be a very trying time but a very educational one as well. I have learned so much about myself and have tried my absolute best to remain in good spirits. When you are pushed to your limits it is a wonderful human characteristic that we surprise ourselves and that people around us amaze us as well. As for the Rotary Club and its support, that was no surprise at all. I have been around for my father’s involvement in countless fundraisers and benefits that Rotary has organized and I never thought I would need to be on the receiving end of one but I appreciate it so much.
Between Medical expenses and lost Pay this illness will likely end up costing us between $75,000 and $100,000 USD which is no small amount to subtract from a person’s life. I know we will get through it all just fine, but it is made easier by people and groups like you who go out of their ways to help people in need. The Medical bills are still coming in and now that it is a new year our premiums have reset so we no longer operate under the previous year’s maximum payable. Your fund raising will help relieve some immediate pressure.

I always said that one day I would love to join the Rotary Club, and I think you just locked it up for me. Now I just have to figure out the secret handshake. On behalf of Myself, Jennifer, Wyatt and Olivia, thank you very much for your time and efforts but mostly for your thoughtfulness. I am very proud that my father identifies with such an incredible organization.

Jim Moss

AKA the “I am going to space guy”

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jennifer's Guest Blog

I’ve been meaning to write this guest blog and as most of you are aware, because of recent events I haven’t had much time to sit down and write. They say motherhood requires a certain amount of sacrifice and I didn’t fully appreciate that statement until I gave birth to Wyatt in 2007. Since then, I developed a profound appreciation for time, not just in a ticking clock sort of way, but in presence of mind and awareness of the moment. This desire to live in the moment grew, not only out of appreciation for the swiftness in which time passes, but in the longing for moments missed. No deeper could this feeling set in, then when I learned Jim had called 911 and was in the ER – he had no feeling in his hands and feet and was unable to walk. No one knew what was wrong and I saw life as I knew it, shift and disappear before my eyes. It was like someone was erasing my chalkboard without filling in the blank spots as they swept across the board. This man I love¸ the father of my children and the person with whom I planned to wrinkle with was sick and to what degree was still undetermined.

When we found out it was Guillain Barre, I felt like I was holding my breath for a long time underwater. For some reason, I knew that I would be triumphant in holding it for a Guinness Book of World Records amount of time. Yes – it would be challenging, but I am one of those people that if I put my mind to it and put on the proverbial work hat, I am calm in a crisis. I felt like Jim was too stubborn, and much too strong to let this illness take him over completely so I stayed in that mindset. Fortunately, my husband was exactly as I expected – too stubborn and too strong to let the illness take him over completely. We saw the illness stall and his recovery begin and Jim’s positive and inspirational voice take us up to the top of water so we could all breathe again.

The reason I wanted to write about my experience through all of this, is to share with others what I learned in the process. I won’t claim to have the authority on how to best support someone you love in crisis, but I do think that our experiences as a family shaped me to be a stronger person and hopefully, in future, shaped us to be a stronger family. When Jim was in the hospital for 28 days, I was 8 ½ months pregnant with a two-year old boy at home who had no idea why he had to “visit” daddy. I knew that Jim would have wanted me to do my best to keep stability in the home for the health of our children, and my health as his very pregnant wife. So, we worked as a team to create normalcy for each other – knowing that life hadn’t stopped around us.

As I mentioned, I put my hard hat on and Jim kept focused on recovery. There were so many moving parts to our lives at the time including: moving into a new home, preparing for maternity leave at work, life in general like fixing cars and paying bills – responsibilities that Jim would have cared for, had he been home, that I needed to take on. There were moments where daily life could have just stopped us in our tracks, but something much bigger was happening to us so we had to let life work itself out. I admit, there were times where I didn’t think I could hold my breath any longer. I couldn’t put the image of Jim struggling to walk out of my head at night and when he went back into the ER from rehab, I thought he may not make it to hold my hand at Olivia’s birth, or be the first arms to hold her when she entered the world. Those feelings hugged my days and hovered over me like a grey cloud and it would make me weary. Sometimes I couldn’t keep it from Jim and I was disappointed in myself that I didn’t hide it better, especially when he seemed to have such a positive grasp on his experience, as challenging as it was. I guess it was during this time that I realized how much I love this man and that my life without him would be devastating. I also learned that I needed to live in his world and rather than feel these very justified feelings, mirror his experience instead. Maybe I didn’t know what he feeling or going through, and he couldn’t know what I was dealing with at the time either. The truth is, neither of us needed to know. It had to be about being his cheering section, his safe place to hide if it got tough and arms to be held in when the loneliness of the hospital sunk in. I don’t know if I was able to provide as much of that kind of “wifely” support, the kind that only comes from a wife and not a friend because I was so focused on keeping the world around me from spinning, but I made it my daily promise to give him some semblance of normalcy. I tried to make it so my actions showed him that he was the most important person and through simple gestures like bringing him a coffee in the morning, just the way he liked it and working with his mom and my mom to bake homemade meals each night so we could eat together as a family, and to sit on his tiny bed until he fell asleep, watching our favorite TV shows, I was hopeful he would know just how much I love him. By maintaining these rituals and the constancy of home life, we all tried to make everything feel like it was a little bit of normal amidst all the uncertainty.

Jim and I have learned to say, “This too shall pass”, but we also made a promise to ourselves to keep from living for the future. We need to be reminded that these everyday experiences shape us, change us and hopefully for the better. I am more aware of myself and my happiness and the need to prioritize happiness in my life too. What a better way to learn a lesson than to witness someone go through it. We should all be so lucky to learn from others and take the lessons out of it, to impart on our own journey. Our family could look at this last year as one of the worst years of our lives – but instead, we plan to look at 2009 as the year that defined us. What I hope you can take away from my story, is to learn it through us and not have to learn it the hard way. Take stock of your life, appreciate how wonderful it is and love it and everyone in it just a little bit more.

In the end, what I’ve taken away from all of this is a deepening of a belief system that started at the onset of parenthood and how I started off this blog – the importance of staying present. Through it all – Jim and I managed to stay present. In rough patches and in times of unimaginable harmony we strived to appreciate the moment. Sometimes, appreciating the moment is allowing room to fail and forgiving the moment itself as we never handle every situation in life with perfect accuracy and intention (another lesson I learned too well through this process). Sometimes, appreciating the moment is to simply live through it and know that time is fleeting. And, most importantly, sometimes appreciating the moment is to relish in it – learning that we all may lose the ability to walk, or run or hold our child again so don’t forget what that feels like every single day. When you feel rushed at night and you hear, “just one more story, mommy”, read one more story. When you feel too tired to pick up the PlayDoh or take out the scissors and paper and crayons, or feel like you’re too tired to get off the couch and play outside, or you’re too mad about the dishes in the sink to give your spouse a hug and kiss goodnight – remember that you could be a 911 call away from losing that ability altogether - that you may not get the chance to do these things, to play with your babies, or to hold your husband through the night. So, in short – lesson learned: appreciate this time we have with each other and do so right now – don’t waste time by doing it later, do it now.

Thanks for listening and supporting us.


Monday, January 18, 2010

goals and dreams and leading by example

Inspiration and the importance of supporting people who are trying to something good in life

A quick honest chat about the project….

There have been a lot of great questions lately regarding the project and the intentions of it. I know that there will be people who don't take the time to understand what I am doing, or who judge it with whatever opinion they have from the little they know about me or take the time to understand the project. I need those people. I need to be questioned and put to the test and reminded that I believe in this. I don't have it all figured out yet, and I don't want to. I really am betting that the journey, the changes and the adaptations the relationships and the side projects are going to be the greatest part of the whole thing. I'll put myself on a course for space, and get a whole lifetime of experience because of the first right minded change in direction.

I appreciate that people will have their opinions and I appreciate that they will take the time to voice them. I also appreciate the people, who come to the defense of the whole thing and the chatter that ensues, the fact that people are taking positions and defending their views, getting in the mix, that is a great thing. Our lives are easily drummed to sleep by the fast paced beating of the economic machine. We don't take enough time to sit and think, talk, argue about what we believe, concede to someone else's views, take a new view point or allow ourselves to be convinced of something good and true. There are many sub goals for this project of mine, and this increase in awareness is one of the major ones. When Obama was inaugurated, I felt this wonderful tingling inside of me. It was hope and inspiration and it was really wonderful, I loved it and I want to feel it more often. I would love to help other people to feel like that.

My niece is going to do a project on me for her school, we are going to do some video interviews and have some fun. We are going to try and do some new tech long distance communication. I am pumped that I can be an inspiration to my niece an I hope that she can be an inspiration to other kids. It is very contagious. What she suggested is actually something I had planned for the future. As a part of the awareness aspect of my project I am intending on "Skype-ing" into classrooms to get the discussion going with children, get them thinking about their dreams and goals and how to stay on track and not underestimate their abilities to reach them.

I love that people are passionate; it is one of the defining characteristics that make us human. When we lose that and subsequently drone away at life, stop pursuing our goals and dreams, our lives turn into the movie Groundhog Day. The days just keep repeating themselves until we figure out the meaning and the important stuff. It might be cliché but life is too short; people are dying around us, text messaging drivers running over babies, earthquakes in Haiti, 911, airplane underwear bombs. If there was ever a time to support the people who are trying to do more with their life, people who are trying to lead us into change, it is now. That might sound self-serving but I really believe it.

In earthquake lingo, I had a minor tremor last September, when the Guillain Barre hit. In fact, as I sit here right now the bottoms of my feet are still tingling and my big toe is completely numb. One day my 7.2 quake will hit and if I am trapped under the rubble of my own life, when all of the construct collapses down on me, I hope as I lay there and wait for help, I can say that I was awake, I breathed in life, I took chances, I got people talking and thinking, I inspired people. If I can do that, when my time comes, I'll have done something right.

Thanks for your continued interest and support in my journey through Guillain Barre, life, and my trip to space.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Let It Be

Be Like an Air Balloon…

Be Like an Air Balloon…

I was sitting in my office this morning (yes that office), doing my morning reading, and I came across a great little segment from some unnamed person's grandfather.

    "In almost every case of adapting to life's unexpected changes, you can advance more freely if first you let go of something."

It then proceeds to outline a fill in the blank exercise:

    To __________ more, ___________ less

Example:     To climb more, carry less

        To hear more, talk less

        To create more, think less (this was mine)


I thought this was a very interesting concept. I have to admit I hadn't thought in this manner before and it occurred to me that this was living more like an air balloon. For an air balloon to take flight it has to drop some weight. I thought this was a pertinent metaphor to life. Not that you necessarily have to drop all of the weights but as the saying goes… lose the dead weight. Once again it requires us to stop and think about what is and isn't healthy in our lives and then act in a motion towards the more healthy.


For me my trip to space is my "more healthy". I am not expecting the trip itself to be the best part, instead I am looking most forward to the process, the journey towards earning it. Hopefully I'll go up a little faster than a hot air balloon, but maybe a nice slow balloon ride wouldn't be so bad either? Sounds like something worth adding to the journey.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Year’s resolutions and the 5lbs that my butt got for Christmas

It has been a busy couple of weeks but now it is time to get back to a routine that will keep me getting healthier. It seems that major holidays like Christmas, have a habit of taking you out of your routine. You replace some of your good habits with some less productive ones i.e. drinking and eating too much. Then, enter stage left – New Years and the New Year's resolution, and right on the heels of all of the frolic and fancy of Christmas; when you're feeling guilty about the 5-10 LBS that your ass got for Christmas, and you liver density has increased from medium soft to firm. That is the perfect time to make promises to yourself that you really aren't going to keep, but man do they sound great.

This year I am keeping it simple; focus on getting and being healthier. Whether I like it or not, it will be a transition year. We had originally planned on moving home to Canada this year, but when I got sick we kind of put all plans on hold and we are now just getting back around to redefining what those plans are. Additionally, we had the stork drop off a little bundle for us and new babies have a tendency to throw the old paradigm a shifty curveball. In past blogs I have listed some of the things that have been keeping me healthy; writing, reading, my space project, walking and meditating. Also hopefully I can get back to more rigorous workouts but that is a lower priority. I have ADHD (no big surprise to those of you that know me) and so I need to stay busy, but also I am a little bit limited as to what I can do. I am around the house more of the time because we are now parents of two children. As a result I have been making little projects around the house to keep me occupied and they work for the most part. Recently I built a brand new computer from scratch and totally loved doing it. I also find I really need to get out of the house. I am a people person and I thrive off of the energy of other people.

I have also really been enjoying the blogging and I am going to expand into some other writing as well. I have two blogs going right now, this one, and I am starting up a third one, where I can be fun and a little more edgy, show more of the dark side of my humor for those that know me, It will be a little bit more of a catch all, for videos, jokes, movie reviews etc. more input and media from other people like a Facebook page.

Let me know if there is any topics or other things that you'd like to hear about, what you do and don't like, and… please comment with yours or any other crazy New Year's resolutions that you have heard this year?

Thanks for the continued support,