Saturday, May 06, 2006

Of Life and Breath and Wine and Song

Living and Breathing in the Moment

We spend hours in the future, hoping or dreading; we waste time in the past regretting or reliving. Seldom do we recognize the present and the power it holds over our well-being.

Paul Motenko is the father of an extraordinary young woman named Stacy. Stacy was scheduled to speak at the SITE-SoCal luncheon yesterday, but was unable to change a mid-term exam and had to cancel. In her place she suggested her dad.

Stacy is a survivor. I’ve never met Stacy, but this is what I know. She was born with Cystic Fibrosis, an infant/childhood disease that up until the latter part of the last century was always fatal. Only in the last 25 years has medical understanding made strides in treating, extending, and improving the quality of life for CF children. Stacy learned early in life to cherish each breath and to live in the moment with hope for the future.

Even if Stacy had been able to reschedule her mid-term exam, she wouldn’t have been able to speak at our luncheon yesterday. She was in the hospital. Again. Frequent hospital stays for routine treatments and emergencies are nothing new to Stacy, or any other CF child.

Stacy’s father, Paul, could have opted out from his 10-minute speaking slot for our group. A daughter in the hospital is a good excuse. But Paul is also extraordinary. President and co-owner of BJs Restaurants, an upscale chain of brew houses in the western states, Paul stepped into the moment to share two of his passions: his daughter and his commitment to finding a cure for Cystic Fibrosis.

Paul has become one of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s strongest champions. He is a frequent speaker on behalf of CFF and won several accommodations for his support. Most impressive is his ongoing donations of a portion of sales from the Pizookie dessert served at BJ’s Brewhouse restaurants.

Living in the moment takes on new meaning when considering the challenges that make ordinary people extraordinary.

Of Wine and Song

Not to be forgotten, PJ Ochlan, the brand director for Cobblestone Vineyards, warmed up the SITE-SoCal guests with his generous pouring of Cobblestone Wines. PJ, a character actor of film and television is also the voice of K-Mozart’s (FM 105.1) Arts Report. A renaissance man of romance and humanities, PJ’s tale of his journey from actor to radio personality to sommelier resonated with notes from the soundtrack of a California dream.

PJ brought along Cobblestone’s two award-winning artisan wines. A 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon grown in Cobblestone’s home vineyards in the Arroyo Seco region of Monterey, California and a 2002 Chardonnay grown in California's renown Napa Valley.

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