author moments, perspective

The Story Within a Story

Every story has a hidden story within. The why or the why not of the subject. Maybe the storyteller shared the hints, maybe they didn’t.

For example, I may write a blog post or story that shares a fun adventure but within the story is another story of personal triumph for a person on the journey with me. Maybe it’s even highlight a memory that is meaningful to me yet just a unique story to another. That is the beauty of storytelling.

In our last book we invited children to be authors with us. We did this intentionally. We wanted to provoke learning without telling them they were learning. We wanted to promote creativity. We wanted to share our love for writing. You wouldn’t know that from the book cover, but we left hints all around the book. It’s one of the coolest author notes we share with kids when we read and engage at book signings. Talk about a wow factor. It’s the story within the story.

Often times online we invite our readers to join us on the adventures we write about. We invite, provoke, engage others to do more with what they have. Be a better version of themselves. That’s a story of inspiration from within the bigger story.

Maybe my co-author is writing about something she wants to share and it includes her vantage point. Could there possibly be another vantage point within? Maybe you have to find the hidden door to find the message. Maybe that is her hook within her story. Of course there can be a story within a story, maybe even more than one story.

For each post we write we have many who like, some who don’t like and others who just breeze through the content. Whatever the reason or the season for the read, whatever the outcome is, we enjoy sharing our stories as authors. It’s what we choose to do.

We write our way. We leave clues in one post that may link to another or maybe not at all. We may write about the same topic yet it seems so different based on the voice we use or the vantage point. We may provide a visual or maybe we don’t. No real rhyme nor reason to our madness rather we just create what feels natural much like any other artist.

Our blog is a glimpse or a snapshot of us, not a biography or novel. For a tell-all you will most likely need to purchase our upcoming publications. Our blog space is a tool. A tool to motivate and share who we are with others. Today, tomorrow, and in the future.

Our interests will change over time as will our appearance and influences. This is another reason to check in with our site often. We change like the wind. We bend and flex with life. We share the ebbs and flows of life, even the tough stuff.

Since we are talking about a story within a story, I will share the inner secret of this post: bravery.

We are brave enough to share to the level we do. We are exposed. We have readers from Serbia to Japan and beyond. We are forever thankful for all of our readers (see our reader map below). We have friends and family who read our posts. We may even have business and professional colleagues who see us in a different light on this site.

To visualize the magnitude of our bravery: We could be on a plane and somebody notice us but we not notice them. This is a level of fearlessness that many will never encounter. For that, we share our story of boldness, bravery and unwavering sense of self with the wild and tangled web called the internet. The super highway of today.

We invite readers into our world. We are depositing a piece of us for our future grandchildren to read and learn about. There may be secret clues or passages within but you don’t get the full Monty online. We save the juicy stuff for the books and unfortunately we charge for those.

Until next time.

awareness

Suicidal Thoughts at Midnight

I heard titles and headlines matter, inspiring me to use a catchy title here in this blog that might get a click or two!

Hopefully I got your attention. September is National Suicide Prevention Month and today is actually World Suicide Day. I am dedicating this blog to anyone out there who needs to read this post.

You are important. You have a purpose today, tomorrow and the next day. No matter how difficult times can seem, there is always a path to see the sunshine and live another day.

Use the tools around you if you are struggling. Phone a friend when times are rough. Confide in a coworker or family member if you need somebody to connect with. If you are not the type who finds it easy to share personal information, take advantage of a suicide hotline or confidential app.

 

#bethe1to

Be the one to listen. Listen for the suicide warning signs.

Be the one to watch. Look for the suicide warning signs.

Be the one to question. Ask a question, save a life.

Be the one to ask: are you thinking about suicide? Be direct!

Be the one to persuade. Helping somebody see it’s easy to get help calling a toll free number is key.

Be the one to refer for help. Help them make the appointment for help. Volunteer to go with them to ease the tension.

Be the one to help save a life.

We can all offer hope to another. Hope is free. You just have to put forth a little effort.

Helping save a life is purpose work. Put the suicide helpline in your phone favorites today. You never know when you might need to share it with a friend or loved one.

1-800-283-TALK

24 hours a day
7 days a week
365 days a year

– A crisis doesn’t have a timeline. Be prepared to help keep somebody safe. One life matters.
– Talk to your kids. Let them know of two trusted adults they can contact if they need help.

Take my suicide awareness challenge. Post on social media today about suicide awareness. Pass on the national hotline number to somebody at work or home. Write a hand written note to somebody who may be struggling. Connect with those who need a little extra support right now.

Education is prevention. Pass on a tidbit of knowledge from this blog and I will feel like this post had a purpose.

Much love to all! Stay safe.

giving

Joy multiplies

Summer heat has arrived in Georgia. It’s zinnia season.

Fun fact about me:  I cannot grow anything.  I have been known to kill “maintenance-free” plants.

Everyone else in my family can grow things, though. So we have gardens in our yard sprouting flowers and food much of the year.

Zinnias are some of my favorite flowers. We’ve had small patches of them in the front and back for a while now. This year, without planting or any effort, a huge patch of them sprouted up in our front yard.

When we first got zinnias growing at home, I mainly wanted to watch them in the yard.  I never picked too many. I’d just enjoy them growing there for as long as I could.

After trying that for a while, here’s the cool thing I learned about zinnias:

The more you cut the blooms, the more blooms will grow.

So I try to cut all the new blooms a few times a week. I cut them just above where the stem splits.  These turn into a flood of endless bouquets that spread to friends from life, work, school, family, the gym, and so on.  And the more I cut them, the more blossoms appear and multiply.

It’s like the zinnias know you appreciate them, so they give you more of what you like.

When I think about it, many people are like that.  If you show appreciation for what they offer, they give you more of it. Gratitude matters.

With the zinnias, I also get to see smiles from friends who get a small gift of beauty and knowing they are treasured. Perhaps they, in turn, pass a bit of beauty or kindness along in their own way.

It really does not take much effort to brighten a day.  Joy multiplies and spreads.  Share some of what you have with others. Flowers, treats, even just a simple note can change a mood, an outlook, or make a challenging road more beautiful.

 

 

 

 

adventure

Riding Topless

Did that title get your attention?

It refers to riding topless in my Jeep for those of you who are wondering. Relaxing, riding topless, and too noisy to talk to be specific! That’s exactly what my auto text responder says when I’m enjoying the beautiful sunshine or night sky traveling by Jeep.

The smell of fresh cut grass, flowers in bloom or just cool crisp morning air. Your senses come alive riding topless in a Jeep. It’s also an opportunity to blast some music and ignore cell phones and the distractions of the busy day.

Riding topless isn’t just limited to the Jeep. You can have the same free feeling on a bike, scooter, motorcycle, boat or jet ski to name a few. Whether on land or water, you can see the sky above, feel the wind in your face, enjoy the scents of a fresh BBQ in the distance, and feeling the heat on your skin can be mood changing moments.

If any of those topless activities seem far fetched for you try a walk. A light casual walk. Listen to the birds chirp, smell today. Settle your mind. Smile and repeat as often as you can.

Get topless!

adventure, family

Passport, Please

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12 years it sat in a strong box. Waiting to be reissued. Waiting for a glorious stamp or two. How did I let it get so dusty and neglected?

Work, kids, commitments, and so much more all stood in my way. They all halted my adventures on an international scale.  Although I didn’t really have a need to travel internationally, I could have, and maybe should have, but it was going to be such a pain to update my passport because I had a name change since the passport was originally issued (thanks, marriage). I made excuses and I let time slip away.

Well, the passport expired in 2007. That means I have been procrastinating a bit and my life of adventure was limited to stateside sights. I won’t complain as I visited a lot of places in the U. S., but adventure awaits me over the border.

Today I just did it. I dusted off the old book, gathered my documents and got photo ready. I looked up my location list to do the deed. This time, I took my youngest along to get hers with me.

I thought back to my teen years and thought of the adventures I had with my parents when I went to Europe a couple of times. Germany, Austria, Switzerland, among others. The food, the culture, the shopping, the language, each was an experience in itself. I need to show my youngest the world.

She is an adventurer just like her mom. So why not? Why wait? A plan is in motion. A new destination each year for the next five years. Some travels alone. Some with friends. Some with family. Maybe even a school trip will be on the horizon. She will be ready. I will be ready. Memories are on the horizon.

No need to cram for documents and rush to travel. We are both ready to go-go-go. On a whim or with a plan. We will get going when we want to.

We have a five year plan. A plan to travel and explore and hopefully stamp those passports. Where will we go? Who will we meet? When do we leave?

No answers to those questions yet but we are one step closer to adventure. We are planning: The time of year. The possible destinations. The gift of travel. The experiences to share.

As I write I think of all the countries that read this blog. I think who I might see on a train, on a plane, etc. You may know me, but I don’t know you. If by chance we meet, please say hello.

Passport adventure blogs to follow as the future becomes the present. Send me ideas of must-see places to put in my 5-year travel plan.

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!

perspective

Junkyard Stories

Tragedy struck close to home a short bit ago. A medical emergency. A car. An ambulance. And so much more…

I’ve been waiting to write this post until the dust settled a bit. Emotions were high. Lives were altered. A new normal was on the horizon. Blurred vision on most days but clarity can be in sight for him. Time will be needed.

Everyone walked away and hopefully lessons were learned by all. I met strangers that day who cared. They cared enough to follow up the next day. Kindness can exist outside our of inner circle.

Life is precious. Life can be taken in an instant. I have seen tragedy strike many families. It is never fun nor easy. I escaped that fate that day if only by a hair. But the thought was there.

When the phone rings. That call. The silence. The sirens. The need to act NOW. The emergency call nobody wants to get, ever.

Putting trust in others. Knowing you knew the paramedic on the scene. What a coincidence or blessing? A burden was lifted. The torch of trust was passed. You balance what needs to be done. You support those involved and rebuild what crumbled.

Through a history of events I ended up at the junkyard. To see a new car crumbled into bits and pieces yet thankful my story ended in the most positive way possible. A life was spared. A valued life. A young life.

But then I looked to the side and saw another vehicle. Less crumbled but scorched. No windows. No doors. Were those occupants as lucky?

Off in the distance a truck must have rolled and rolled during its misfortune. There were globs of grass and dirt and other things sticking out of the vehicle in a way I could only envision that the vehicle flipped many times. The roof was dented and sunken a good distance.

My curious mind sat for a moment and thought of all the untold stories in the junkyard. Was there heartache? Were there financial pains? Was there death? I will never know, but I did think. And I knew how lucky I was in that moment. He might not know today, but I know.

I thought about how thankful I was for things I had. For the experiences I have had thus far and the journeys I still see in my future. I was thankful for a life being spared.

As life shifts, we must shift our mindset to complement change. We must deal with a new set of circumstances yet appreciate what got us to said point in time.

I am blessed not stressed.

I am happy not sappy.

I live but still love.

I fear but don’t but don’t let fear steer.

I am lucky.