My TEDxSalt Lake City Application

As we're focusing on wine pairings with my cancer treatment, I thought I'd share my 300-word application for a TEDxSaltLakeCity talk. I just submitted this to the panel for consideration. "Meraki" is a Greek word that means doing something with passion and soul, and this is the theme for the upcoming TEDxSaltLakeCity event.

Kirsten is a wine school owner, sommelier, restaurant consultant and Huffington Post wine blogger. Wine is her focus whether she is preparing to teach a class on Merlot, studying a restaurant's menu to suggest wines that go with their dishes, or writing about how a particular wine pairs perfectly with laundry.

With both grandmothers, her mother, and a sister all having had breast cancer, Kirsten compared her family history to watching for deer while driving on mountain roads -- vigilance was key to avoid bad outcomes.

When she was, in fact, diagnosed with breast cancer, she felt the natural response of fear as she imagined what horrible things awaited her. She was paralyzed.

After a few weeks, she realized that she hit the proverbial deer on the mountain road... so she had venison.

Then her wine pairing passion, her Meraki, bubbled up through the paralyzing fear and reminded her that venison pairs beautifully with Syrah, a bold, peppery red that is powerful enough to stand up to game meats. Thinking about wine and food, Kirsten was suddenly able to focus.

She used her passion about pairing as she recovered from a double mastectomy, stocking easy-to-like Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc at her house, knowing they'd be perfect to serve any friend who walked through the door.

Doctors filling the expanders inserted in her chest? Napa Cabernet would be the only wine big enough offering huge black berry and cassis aromas, mouth-filling density, demanding complexity. A perfect pairing for her newly-inflated "rack."

Radiation for six weeks? Pinot Grigio, a crisp, white wine would cool her down... not to drink... just to bathe in.

Finally, what wine would she pair with doctors removing her last surgical drains? Kirsten demonstrated the proper way to open Champagne.

Passion trumps fear. Lift a glass to Meraki.

Do you have stories of passion trumping fear? Please share them with me!