family

For Dad

 

We sat in the parking lot in Virginia, 7:45 am last Sunday.

“My dad would be so proud of me,” I told the teens in the back seat. “I found the 24/7 taco place.” Street tacos with cilantro and onion on corn tortillas. Authentic. Just like the tacos he took me to eat at one of the first real taquerias in Atlanta over 30 years ago.  “Yelp says it’s a Richmond institution.”

Now, I can’t say I am truly just like him. He’d have ordered the tripe or tongue tacos or other more exotic meats. I’m a carne asada and al pastor girl. He would have gone crazy on the hot-hotter-hottest salsa bar. I chose the only one that said mild.

Dad, who loved to talk about how he didn’t even eat a taco until he was 25. He spent the rest of his life making up for lost time.

Then, after cheering for my daughter and her teammates at a lacrosse tournament, those teen girls and I drove a bit north to Kings Dominion.

Even with his broken body, my dad loved a great roller coaster. He could tell you the history and all kinds of fun facts about any coaster in the country, not to mention the first time he rode it. We even belonged to American Coaster Enthusiasts growing up. So spending Father’s Day at Kings Dominion was a fitting way to honor him. He also loved carousels, band organs, all things carnival and amusement. I don’t ride every roller coaster but I hope I’m getting better at embodying his sense of adventure.

What’s funny is I didn’t start out this Father’s Day thinking “what would my dad do today?” I didn’t set out to make the day a tribute to him.

It was after I stood back and reflected that I saw that some of the ways I do life and travel naturally reflect what he taught me by example.

Cheer for your kids. Be interested in what they like and want to do. Nurture those interests.

Eat at little, out of the way places. Take the scenic route sometimes. Try the local specialty. Support small, family businesses.

Be curious. Ask questions. Listen to the answers.  Ask more questions. Keep learning.

Ride roller coasters and merry-go-rounds. Embrace life’s ups and downs and even the rough, bumpy spots.  Delight in the unexpected. Enjoy the ride.

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fitness and nutrition

Murph 2019

The infamous Murph workout. Every year as a tribute to a fallen soldier. What an honor to complete!

3rd year participating in Murph. Each year I get better, but each year I struggle. Year after year I come back to do it. And I enjoying doing it with friends.

It’s a grueling workout. Done in extreme heat with limited rest. Days of recovery follow and only the craziest of crazy normally put it on their agenda.

Well, I am one of those crazies and I have many of friends that fall into that category as well.

Some complete Murph strict. Some complete a scaled version and some even do a modified version if traveling on vacation where equipment is limited. No matter what version, the community and cheering section is like no other. Nobody is done until everyone is done! Those who finish early run more with stragglers. Those who complete with friends cheer, count and celebrate. Some even come to watch and I even saw pom-poms one year.

This year was special. I did it with my 13-year-old daughter. Her first time. A test of her will, her stamina, and her grit. She completed her flavor of the Murph WOD and felt good when she finished. A feeling of triumph and a great way to memorialize a soldier.

I got to see a Mom to be complete the murph workout with her Mom and another friend who completed it weighted for the first time.

Another guy in the gym completed it in a girl’s tank top for flair. What will be next for me and others?

I will be back again next year to complete Murph. A new challenge for me: maybe a weighted vest, maybe no partitions. Time will tell.

If you don’t know anything about the Murph workout, look it up. If you go to the gym, test your skills. Trust me, it’s a good physical and mental workout.

Be sure to look at the last picture. It signifies the end of a great WOD and a throw back to our first book, The End. The end of an elephant’s butt.

Have a fitastic day!

balance

Active Recovery

Active recovery is common for athletes. Maybe some cardio or a lower intensity workout as your body recovers.

In addition to my active recovery days at the gym, I need active recovery time of my own. To some this may sound weird, but it’s needed.

Today, I didn’t turn on my laptop for anything business related. I didn’t answer any work email from my phone. I didn’t do any project planning with my executive team for next week.

I enjoyed the outdoors. I challenged myself physically and mentally. I tried something new. I had breakfast at a local restaurant with friends, both old and new. I spent some time being lazy and petting my dog.

I spent some time away from the crowds. I took a power nap because I could. I listened to the clock tick. I listened to my dog snore. I caught up with some people I haven’t connected with lately. I didn’t even turn on the tv.

Basically I stripped out the noise of daily life. I embraced the giggles and laughter of today. I smelled the fresh air. I listened to somebody say grace at a table. I did however turn on some tunes in the car and jammed out shamelessly.

Do you ever just take a break? Do ever just need a break? Do you ever just need to turn down the volume on life to appreciate what’s right in front of you?

I encourage you to do it one afternoon. Maybe a Sunday after church. Maybe a Monday night, take a stroll in the park to gather your thoughts. Just make it fit in your schedule one day this week. Just embrace the challenge and invest in you.

The you in you needs to be strong for tomorrow. Resetting, refreshing and reapproaching your circumstances can often brighten your outlook.

Take my test and see what happens. Let me know how it goes.

fitness and nutrition, friendship

Jail Break Time

So something happened!

And I’m sure you think I went to jail but guess again! I entered a team in the 2019 Jail Break Challenge in my community.

I saw it advertised online. A 5k with obstacles. A little twist on the other extreme 5k’s I’ve done, so I said I’m going give it a go. Tasha is in. Courtney is in. Milagros is in. Team of 4 badass chicks it is. I just love my friends and how they dive right in with my crazy adventures.

Then a few more expressed interest. Team two formed. Lexi, Sarah, Chris and my oldest Nick filled out team 2. A coed team it is.

Time passes. A group chat starts. The weather calls for a monsoon. People get the jitters. But in the end everyone shows up bright and early, even the one who stayed out partying until the wee hours the night before.

There were some unhappy campers as the race started. I mean not mad, just realized that it was an extreme event versus a casual jog and the weather and the environment had emotions roaring. Coed team smack talks. Girls team fires back. Game on! Remember I’m on the girls team so I might have been the one firing back. Sixth place finish for the chicks and the coed team is behind us by about 3 minutes. It’s all good. We all finished. We had a blast and we tackled obstacles we were not sure if we could do. And most importantly nobody on our team left injured, well maybe we all have some scrapes and bruises but no ambulance was needed. That’s always a positive way to end.

Before the official race started, so much took place. There was the big decision of using the porta-potty or not. Those things might just be the nastiest things on the planet. Nope, I’m sure of it! The things one sees when the lid is lifted are just not right. Add a little southern heat and you have an awful aroma that will gag you in less than a second. Now that you have an amazing pre-race visual…

The adventure really started with a gunshot, and then a second just to be sure we heard the first one. Oh yeah, in the competitive division at 8:30 am in the pouring rain. I picked the competitive slot but the others missed that fine detail. Oops…

Tasha is out of the gate and almost rolls her ankle in a hole. We were not even 500 feet into the race. Meanwhile, it’s called the Jail Break race for a reason. It runs along side the jail with real prisoners, barbed wire fence and lots of deputies with guns. For a few of the girls it was a little too up close for them. Especially when the guys in orange jumpsuits were doing their assigned duties on the course. It was a giggle fest for me!

Moving on to the death trap, I mean obstacle one and it was really called the Death Trap. Truck through very murky water that probably had snakes and leeches and whatever else lurked below. It was gross for sure. Hope you watched the GoPro video on our insta story for a glimpse of the action and of course the proof that the obstacle was in fact named the Death Trap.

Though the winding woods we run. Carefully avoiding the tree stumps, prickly bushes, thorns, deep mud pockets and of course the exposed roots. There are fences to climb, logs to balance, haystacks to hurdle and so much more.

And then in the middle of the woods we see a random house. Probably used for training as it looked like it was fresh out of a movie set. Through a window we go after navigating a garage and stuff. Hopped a few creeks and then we approach the border of the jail.

All the creeks lead to passages under the roads. They are legit covered in wire and reinforced fencing. I guess it’s to limit the chance of escape. I’ve seen it in the movies but this was front and center. So was the noise of what I think was the mess hall. We could hear the sounds of breakfast or recreation time as we ran along the fence line in the woods and on the pavement. What an experience.

Then we are at a hill with a rope. But the hill is extremely muddy. Of course it is! We are in the middle of a torrential rain storm. We barely make it up just to find out you have to go back down. Hilarious, I said to myself. Now I’m waiting at the bottom for my teammates and oh crap…

A 200+ pound man from another team is sliding down the hill with no chance of stopping and he takes me out. Just like a bowling ball nailing the center pin! I’m surprised I didn’t see stars after that one. Covered in mud I am. Down comes Milagros laughing uncontrollably at what she just witnessed. We move on carefully navigating the brush with thorns so we don’t wipe out on the muddy path that slopes downward.

Oopsie. Another casualty. Another grown man slipped and went up in the air and wiped out in grand fashion. Can’t wait to watch that footage on my GoPro. We had to giggle but at the same time we knew it was embarrassing and most likely painful but that’s why we signed the waiver.

We carried sandbags, 30-pound buckets of rocks and dirt, got chased by prisoners, scaled a few high walls and of course climbed through black tubing and crawled through wires and ropes of all kinds.

Run run run we are about 30 minutes into the race and we hit the tower and the officer training course. Climbed the ropes to the top of tower and traversed down. The nicest officer was manning that obstacle and he gave us guidance on the easier way to maneuver the rope/slope. Thank goodness because some of us girls were not using good form before he gave us instruction. See we only pretend to know how to do things.

Just when we felt success at the tower we jumped up a hole into some other wooden enclosure onto what looked like a log version of uneven bars in gymnastics. Yes, you had to free jump, hang, swing and maneuver to the next obstacle. I thought I was on American Ninja Warrior for brief second.

Then a balance beam uphill and downhill with moving things that hit you if you don’t duck. Then you run to two-story A-frame wooden thing you need to climb and then get down from. Are you tired yet?

Our adrenaline was flowing for sure. Some more tubes, some more fences, a few rock walls, a rope climb and then the big finale. Our clothes weighed 10 pounds each by now and our shoes were full of mud, sand, dirt, water and grime. Every step required extra power compared to arriving steps when we were dry.

How does it end? What is awaiting us? Do we go upside down and navigate a rope to the end or do you jump in the dumpster full of nasty brown water and who knows what else or how many people peed in it?

What’s the answer? Which path do I choose?

I earned my shirt. I earned my medal. I cheered on my friends. I did something I never did before and I had a blast doing it all. No stress. No worries. I lived in the moment.

Some won’t take a chance on things that are new, that make them feel uncertain. I tend to like those things. I never know if I will fail and that’s okay. If I fail I can always try again another day or say that’s not my thing anyway.

The point is I try. I try often. I experiment. I invite. I’m curious. My curiosity keeps me growing and evolving.

Hoping your weekend adventures took you to new heights. I know mine did. Thanks for reading today.

P.S. I was supposed to go kayaking after this race. The monsoon made the river too high and unsafe. What a bummer, but instead I had some free time to write this blog on my comfy couch with my dog while I recovered under a blanket. I’m not complaining just explaining a day in the life.

awareness

Are You My Type?

Last week, Chick 1 posted about her Enneagram results.

As one of her business partners, she encouraged me to take the Enneagram test to learn more about myself and how I can grow. (And yes, she had to remind me more than once. I’m scattered. It’s a problem.)

Anyway, to mirror Chick 1’s approach, I thought I would share my top 3 Enneagram type areas with some comments…all three of these were basically tied for me.

Type 4: The Individualist

The Sensitive, Introspective Type:

Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental

There are several things about the description of Type 4 that come to mind.  Fours are thinkers and reflect a lot.  I was a philosophy major, and lived “the life of the mind” for many years, well into my PhD. (My Dad used to say I walked around with “a little black cloud over my head” from thinking too much.)

I do love to just sit and ponder things, and I tend to still be reflective in my work at school today.  Fours are also artistic. If you know me, you know I love singing, poetry, and other creative expressions.  Fours try to be distinctive and individual.  No one would believe it now, but I was actually voted Most Original of my senior class!  My crazy Goth-girl-in-Catholic-school is not so pronounced these days…I think some of these traits have actually taken a back seat as I have aged. In my teens and early twenties, I think this would have easily been the dominant type.

Type 2:  The Helper

The Caring, Interpersonal Type:

Demonstrative, Generous, People Pleasing, and Possessive

On my good days and in my heart of hearts, I do really love being generous.  I love writing letters, giving thoughtful gifts, and trying to lift people up. I call these kinds of activities “soul-feeding” for me. I have learned in recent years that time and attention are some of the greatest gifts I can give people I love and care about, even people I hardly know who may be in need.  (And, I do have a bowl of candy in my work space at all times, just like the description states!)  All of these go along with being a Type 2.

But I do know at times in my life I have wandered into unhealthy territory with this tendency.  As I said in a recent conversation with Chick 1, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”   I’ll write more about this comment in an upcoming post, but for now I’ll just say I have, at times, sacrificed my own health (physical, mental, emotional) to put the needs of others first.  I am still working on how to balance my personal needs with those of others.  I’ll also reluctantly admit to being possessive or jealous at times. I have to adjust my inner soundtrack to keep this tendency in check.

I do think it’s funny that my top two appear to be opposites.  An individualist, but who likes to take care of others.  But then I think, I have a hard time accepting care and help from others.  (I dish it but I often can’t take it!) Go figure.

Type 9: The Peacemaker

The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type:

Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent

This is the person I am at work, more than any other place. I aspire to be easygoing.  When I left my last job, my boss described me as “steady.” That I was a calm, reassuring presence.  That I never seemed to get too ruffled.  This was a huge surprise to me, since my busy mind is often racing and worried.  I do strive to be a peaceful presence, while hiding the storm and insecurities inside.  And the Type 9 tendency to be creative, again, isn’t lost on me.

A more negative side of this is my tendency to avoid conflict at all costs.  I often worry about conflicts being the end of a relationship.  Some of the feelings and experiences I fear the most are being disconnected from the people I care about. So, I avoid conflict for long periods of time only to explode “out of the blue.”  Embracing conflict as a natural part of relationship and even as a step to growing to deeper connection and understanding is one of my challenges.

At the end, the description tells me to embrace exercise as a way to work through some aggressions.  Thanks, CrossFit!

This is a very different top 3 than Chick 1.  In fact, I giggled when my absolute-dead-last-barely-registered-on-the-scale Type was, you guessed it, Type 8, The Challenger, which is Chick 1’s dominant type.  The other two on the bottom were the remainder of her top 3, the Enthusiast and the Achiever.  I’ve mentioned before how people say we are an odd pair.  Well, in this regard they are definitely right! Exact polar opposites.

More on what those Enneagrams paired together might teach the Chicks in a future post.  In the mean time, I’ll be over here filling up my cup so it can runneth over for others, lifting heavy stuff so I can deal with others with a lighter hand, and being artsy-craftsy in my original / expressive way.

 

Did you take Chick 1’s Enneagram challenge?  What did you learn about yourself and how you might be the best version of YOU?  Share with us in the comments!

 

coaching, hustle

Purpose

 

Recently I was in a position where I needed to review my purpose, my passions, my goals and my visions. That seems like a mouthful in and of itself, but it is healthy to want to review where you are, where you are going, and if you are even on the right path in life with the right people in your inner circle.

Often times, people become complacent. They expect things versus earning things.  They stand still and are content with the status quo. They complain when things don’t go their way. They make excuses. I beat to a different drum. I mean, I complain a lot. A lot about things that don’t really matter much at all. Sometimes I complain about the weather. Sometimes I complain about my daily workout. Neither really impacts my day or aura, but I feel the need to complain and I usually do it out loud! But when it comes down to where I am heading in life and who is along for the ride, I don’t really waver on my direction or drive.

My Personal Side: I have three kids in three different age brackets: Young adult, emerging adult and teenager. Each has different needs from me at these various stages but each is given love, guidance and motivation to reach their next milestone. As our kids age, we shift roles as they navigate life and turn into independent learners and become responsible. We can only hope for success for each of our kids.

My Professional Side: I am successful professionally. I earn a good living but am I 100% challenged or loving everything I do? The answer is NO. There are tasks like monthly sales tax reporting, payroll, and dealing with human capital issues that I am not so passionate about.  These repetitive tasks require my time and energy. Is the trade off there for work/life balance? I am still figuring this out. I would much prefer a tropical island with good weather year-round and no need to have a professional side. Maybe that is in my near future….

My Healthy Living: I commit to eating healthy 90% of the time, limiting alcohol consumption, and making time for me (self-care). I heard somebody call that high maintenance today, but no it isn’t high maintenance, rather it’s high quality! For me, committing to me and my positive mental balance helps my patience/stamina when it comes to difficult family challenges, work challenges, and of course difficult people.

My Value: I know my personal/professional value. I encourage you to know your value. Continue to evolve as a person which will grow your value over time. Never let anyone diminish your self-worth. Once you allow another to dictate your worth, you will begin to struggle in other areas. Remember you control your value, not others.

My Purpose Work: I do a lot of purpose work. Some people see the purpose work, while it’s hidden in plain sight to others. This is where I fill my tank. Not my gas tank, my emotional tank. My purpose work helps carry me through the challenging times of the hustle and bustle of carting kids around or managing mundane business tasks.

Did you know 2 Chicks donates books each year to kids in need? Improving literacy one child at a time is part of our purpose work. Should you want to help sponsor a book drive in your area, contact us today.

Find your purpose. Live your purpose. Pass the passion of living your life with purpose to others. Many get caught up in their daily to-do lists and forget about laughing, smiling, and inspiring others. Offering hope, humor, smiles, and high-fives are all free. If only more people acted with kindness.

Signing off for now.  2 Chicks have a sizzling summer planned with lots of writing.  Watch our blog weekly for updates.

We are knee-deep in our #1095Days project which includes you, the audience!  Be sure to read, comment, and let us know what you like and don’t like.  You are part of our story!

dare to be different, hustle

Gifts or Shadows?

What are your gifts or shadows? I took my Enneagram test to verify what I already knew, but also to see how I could play better in the sandbox with others I collaborate with on the daily. I have taken many tests that are similar in nature. Most come out and highlight my dominant gifts or shadows, but this tool allowed me to look a little deeper. It was a good time to test myself. See what the report revealed. Have I changed? What personality types could I clash with? How can I improve?

I am a few years older since my last test of this sort. I am in a different space personally and professionally. I collaborate with a mixed group of individuals now. Timing was good to take a deeper look at me. Below are a few fun facts.

I am an 8 not a 10. Shocker alert! Shoot, I always thought I was a 10 across the board! Just kidding, there are no 10s. I wonder if that is by design? What is an 8 you might wonder?

Number 8 represents The Challenger:

The Powerful, Dominating Type:

Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational

If you spend anytime around me in the workplace, in the gym, on the field or anywhere for that matter, you are sure to see the challenger in me. Heck, I even drive a fierce red Challenger on the daily. Talk about an irony. Guess I will keep that car since it mirrors my persona!

Next up in the rankings, the results show me as The Enthusiast:

The Busy, Variety-Seeking Type:

Spontaneous, Versatile, Distractible, and Scattered

For those who know me well, they often see me as a headlines girl. The one who looks for shiny objects in those long board meetings. The squirrely friend in the pack. I often enjoy chaos and note the scattered, smothered and covered hash browns you can order at Waffle House when painting a visual to others. #distractible

The next two types came in close so I will list them both below:

The Achiever:

The Success-Oriented, Efficient Type:

Adaptive, Excelling, Driven, and Image-Conscious

I am a driver, no joke there. Not too good at the passenger role but I play it from time to time to keep peace. I strive for success in every aspect of life and I note that a positive image is a must. I would say I ranked up high in the achiever category for good reasons.

The Loyalist:

The Committed, Security-Oriented Type:

Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, and Suspicious

I am disciplined and aim to keep humor in my life. I plan for rainy days and am always suspicious of other people’s motives. This is yet another trait that doesn’t surprise me.

I have the details printed, highlighted and cross-referenced to those I work with closely. I still have one individual to fine tune my traits with, yet that person has failed to complete their Enneagram test. It’s really doesn’t shock me. Some people find it difficult to self-evaluate. Looking in the mirror can be hard. Some don’t want to face the hard truth.

When one person challenges another to look in the mirror, the other can feel intimidated regardless of the real motivation. This is where perception and reality come into play. Your perception of me or my actions may not be the reality. Step out of your comfort zone today. Take an Enneagram Test. I don’t get paid to endorse this test, I just think it’s a good tool to review where you are and how you interact with others around you.

https://www.enneagraminstitute.com

It’s difficult to acknowledge you need to improve yourself but the reality is we all grow each day. Nobody is perfect. We never will be. We can only be the best version of ourselves and it takes time and energy to continue to develop that person. It really takes a lifetime.

At my ripe old age of 47, I can say I have grown by leaps and bounds. Some years the growth was slower than others, but when I recognize the opportunity to grow, I never hesitate. I seize the opportunity and go for it. Challenge yourself today in honor of my car (the red Challenger) and my Type 8, The Challenger. Remember nothing ventured, nothing gained. Will you grow a little today?