Martha Carr Skype Book Clubs - Learn More


Jenn Gibbons showing us all what it looks like to inspire others by our actions.

Jenn Gibbons is a good friend of mine who gives of her time and her talents to others and now she needs your help.

Jenn has been attempting to be the first woman to row Lake Michigan solo and was set to row to Beaver Island a little over a week ago when she was attacked and sexually assaulted by a man in the early morning hours. Investigators believe the assailant traveled a long distance to commit the assault.

The suspect is described as a white male in his 30′s, approximately 5’8” to 6’ tall, with a fair amount of facial stubble hair, but not a full beard or mustache. The man has light eyes, an average to athletic build and shorter well-kept hair. He was wearing a grayish, green t-shirt, jean shorts and tennis shoes. A bright yellow Jeep Wrangler was seen in the area with a spare tire on the back and a yellow smiley face on it. Investigators are seeking information about the Jeep and anyone with information should call the Michigan State Police toll-free at 1-866-411-0018.

Prayers and awareness and love for Jenn along with an inner knowledge that a lot of us have earned the hard way, including Jenn.

Jenn is not only going to be okay, she’s going to triumph over this. Evidence of that truth is already apparent. When you read this Jenn will already be back out on Lake Michigan rowing again, this time with a pit crew keeping her safe. Her spirit is far more powerful than one man’s violent act and Jenn’s on a mission to kick cancer’s ass. More on that can be found at Row4Row.

I don’t see myself as a survivor or a warrior, although I’ve been called both. I’m not defined by those things. I hold hope that love really does trump everything and I’m willing to keep going to set that truth free and find out where the edges of that truth lies. I’m willing today to risk it all for that truth.

Jenn was back on her voyage only days after the attack accompanied by volunteers who supplied bikes and equipment so that she could keep going but on land for awhile. And friends who are into cycling showed up to keep her company on her journey. Now, at last she is back with her beloved boat and is rowing. Keep going, Jenn and show us all what can be done when we believe for the better. Help us all set our truth free. (You can also see more from Jenn on The 5K Project Page at this site in the videos.)


Row4Row coach, Jenn Gibbons talks about her upcoming quest to row Lake Michigan to raise awareness about cancer and exercise.


Jenn Gibbons, founder of Row4Row on a practice run

My late father was fond of saying that my worst quality was also my best quality. He saw me as stubborn and with every passing year I see a deeper level of wisdom to what he was trying to get across. I don’t always know when to walk away and let something go because it’s been over for awhile. I may have in the past even at times managed to drag others into trying to resuscitate some threadbare project or a relationship to no avail.

However, my sales pitch was so good that a lot of time and effort was wasted going in directions that were over and kaput, if only I’d admit it.

The flip side of that though is that when the going gets tough I have an amazing ability to hang in there. Some have referred to it as endurance and that’s gotten me through training for a marathon, moving unexpectedly on my own from New York to Chicago, raising Louie on my own, persisting as a writer and a whole host of other things. That’s a useful trait to reach some of the bigger goals.

The tricky part in the equation is being able to recognize which of the two situations I’m in and then taking action. In the past I wanted to get to the action part so quickly and fix things that there was no time to figure out if I needed to go or keep moving forward, no matter how difficult. Pausing for a moment to let things unfolds would have taken some faith that most things work out and some of them take time.

But, as I’ve said before, I was more of a ‘who stole the other half of the glass kind of girl’ and was always staying alert trying to prevent any upcoming disasters. Somewhere in there I also thought that meant preventing the disasters of everyone in my immediate circle so I didn’t have to deal with the fall-out there, either.

That appears generous and soft-hearted at first but there’s a lot of selfishness in there mixed with a dollop of arrogance that I’m the best one to fix it or that I can even do anything about whatever it is.

I thought of myself as a team player but I was really thinking of myself most of the time.

Now, as most everyone who reads this column knows I’ve been trying to figure out how to get more exercise and lose weight for quite some time with stops and starts. It would seem that I’m often trying to accomplish that with the least amount of effort but I’m working on that part too.

One of the things I’ve had to also factor in after the cancer surgery on my leg is a new paradigm that says I can’t do everything the way I used to do it. A flexible leg brace is necessary for almost every kind of exercise now and I’ve stubbornly refused to wear it.

However, there’s one exception to the list and that’s rowing. I can row on an erg and get plenty of exercise and never put on the brace. I even found a great organization in Chicago, that is made up of female breast cancer survivors and founded by Jenn Gibbons, a great coach and advocate. They practice and row as a team out on the water and cheer each other on in general. [click to continue…]