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"Make Your Promise..."

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Written by Pat Curran

Posted on 17 January 2018

Last Updated 17 January 2018



“Be strong! You survive… You stay alive, no matter what occurs. I will find you… No matter how long it takes, no matter how far… I will find you.


--Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe in “Last of the Mohicans”

To see video, click here



As we enter Week 3, I am well aware that the adrenaline for starting something new is just about gone. Visualizing the road ahead has likely drained your spirit. The enormity of your goal may be generating some anxiety or fear.


If you are feeling any of this, I’m here to tell you its all normal. So, here’s what you do. Ask yourself, “What was the biggest, life changing promise I ever made in my life?” OK, got it? Now, ask yourself this. When you made this promise, was it based purely on logic? My guess is probably not. There likely was something else that compelled you to make that promise anyway. What was it?


Here's my life changing promise. It was July 17, 1992, the night before I had to leave for the Army. The road ahead was daunting. If I made it through the summer of basic training, I was going to spend the next year at the United States Military Academy’s Preparatory School where only 1 of 3 graduate and earn a slot into West Point. After that, it would mean 4 years at West Point and another 8 years of a combination of Active Duty and Reserve time in the US Army. That sounded intimidating, but, believe it or not, it was the least of my worries. Gina and I had just turned 18 years old and were dating for over 2 years at that point. Only 2% of all West Point Cadets who enter the academy with a girlfriend actually marry them after graduation. Divorce rates after graduation represented another significant hurdle that I dared not contemplate.


That night, I made my passionate plea. “Yes, I leave for the Army tomorrow morning, but in a couple of weeks you’ll be off to Penn State. That’s 4 years right there where we will both be very busy. We’ll just have to figure out how to manage the remaining 9 years as we go! We can do it. Tomorrow, I’m gone, but I promise that I will not stay a day longer in the Army than I have to. I promise with every fiber in being to not let you down!”  


13 Years… To any reasonable person, the math was insane. But, by the end of the night, we didn’t care! We promised each other that we would do everything possible to make this work. We both had different dreams and different paths yet we both believed in each other. If one of us had a set back, then the other was going to be there for them. When one of us succeeded, then the other one succeeded too.


So, let’s get back to the task at hand. By this point, you’ve created your dreams, your goals, and your action plans. But have you fully determined your why? If you haven’t, go ahead and do that right now. Then, make your promise. If you dig deep and commit to that “thing” that is bigger than you, I “promise” that you will find the energy to keep pressing on during the weeks ahead.


Keep fighting! Until next week…


God Bless,





Did this week’s message help you? If yes, here’s an opportunity to help other Great Americas, starting at just $25.

  • Fisher House: To donate, here
  • Tuesday’s Children   To donate, click here
  • Wounded Warrior Project: To donate, click here
  • Children of Fallen Patriots: To donate, click here,
  • USO’s Operation Care Package:  To donate, click here



Letters From Your Father – I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues


Don’t wish it away

Don’t look at it like its forever

Between you and me, I can honestly say

that things can only get better


And while I’m away,

dust out the demons inside

And it won’t be long, before you and me run

to that place in our hearts where we hide…


And I guess that’s why they call it the blues

Time on my hands could be time spent with you

Laughing like children, living like lovers

Rolling like thunder under the covers


And I guess that’s why they call it the blues…


Elton John singing, “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues”

To watch video, click here  


Dear Girls:


When looking back, the decision your Mom and I made to stay together after high school was the first real-world challenge we faced together. During the summer of 1992, most of our communication was through letters she sent to me. I was not given much time to write back but her letters kept coming. By the time summer finished, there were over 300 of us starting the academic year at West Point Prep School and only about 8 pay phones. There were no cell phones, Skype, email, or any other ways to communicate except by “snail mail” and pay phone. If I was lucky, your Mom would be in her dorm room studying when I called, and we would get about 10-15 min to catch up 2 or 3 times a week. As the year went on and our numbers at Prep School dwindled down to less than 100, it became a little easier to agree on a schedule to talk. Also, the rules became less stringent from March to May, which allowed me to make a few surprise weekend trips to Penn State.


After about a 3-week break, I then started West Point as a “New Cadet” in late June. Things became even harder for us to see/speak to each other. Plebes were limited to one 5-minute phone call every few weeks during the summer. I remember one time we used a call to plan to meet at the Catholic Chapel for 7am mass the next day. After the service, I kneeled next to your Mom so we could talk for a few minutes. We had about 10 minutes together where I remember us laughing a lot from both nervousness and joy. Then we had to say goodbye. As your Mom left, the Army Chaplain called me over and proceeded to give me a piece of his mind. “Not even safe to speak in a church,” I thought. “Would I do it again?” Forgive me, God but I remember thinking, “Hell, Yeah!!


The rest of 1993 and early 1994 was very similar where I had little chance or time allowed to be with your Mom with exception to Christmas Break and (2) weekend passes. Plebes were not allowed to listen to music, watch TV, or leave post on weekends until we were “recognized” after Spring Break. Admittedly, I created a few additional opportunities to see your Mom by breaking the rules without getting caught. If I got caught, I planned to just take the punishment. No lying and no excuses. And secretly, absolutely no regrets!


So, what did your Mom and I learn from all of this? Here are a couple of “rules” we informally followed that may make you think or laugh:


  1. Time (not money) is your most valuable resource. Use it wisely.
  2. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.       No drama!
  3. If it’s an emotional topic, repeat back what you heard before you respond.
  4. When the problem seems too big, just focus on a small goal and next steps.
  5. How you solve a problem will be remembered far longer than what you solved.
  6. When speaking, the person on the pay phone next to you is listening. This is good practice because later, your kids will be listening to your phone calls too!
  7. End every “tough” call with “I love you and somehow we’ll find a way…”
  8. Own the other person’s problem and work to solve it. Even the small stuff…
  9. Enjoy the good times. They go very, very fast.
  10. Love is an action verb. Work to grow & protect it! Be patient, but never passive.


Hope you enjoyed the story. Will write more next week…


With Love,





This Week in Training:


Now, after 2 weeks of training, I feel like I am starting to get into a routine. The distances are gradually growing; however, I am feeling tightness instead of sharp pain in certain areas of the body. That’s good news. This week’s challenge will be practicing my breathing and posture. Concept is that if I optimize breathing and posture I am likely to experience a significant difference during the longer distance workouts. Looking at this week’s schedule, I will get lots of opportunity to practice. J


Monday: Swim 5-10 x 100m; Strength Training: Knees, Hips, & Legs

Tuesday: Brick Workout – Bike 60 min, Run 45 min, 7 Chin-ups/50 Pushups

Wednesday: Swim 5 x 400m; Bike 1.5 hrs

Thursday: Swim 16 x 40m; 300 Workout

Friday: Run 80 min

Saturday: Bike 2.5 hrs

Sunday: Stretch (Sports w/Girls)



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