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!

family

Words to my Mother

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I wrote a Mother’s Day poem for my Mom 27 years ago.  Just weeks before graduating from high school.  All the fighting and sneaking around and lying I had done.  All the awards and trophies and certificates, too.  So many things we had endured, loosely but inevitably connected.

I had chosen to go to college in Ohio, so I was facing being away from her for the first time.  I guess this poem, my gift to her, was my way of showing her that I had begun to understand what she had done for me.  What she had given up for me.  Our bond, which would now be stretched across state lines.

I remember crying as I wrote it, one line in particular.  I remember carefully writing the title in crayon, and smudging it with stuff to bring to mind the kindergarten creations of so many Mother’s Days past.

I laid it on her bed, always neatly made first thing in the morning.  On her paisley pillow, not far from her Pall Mall golds, her ashtray and lighter, the plastic tray filled with her earrings.  There was no fanfare.  I just left it there.

I don’t remember her reaction to the poem.  I’m sure she said thank you, but that may have been it.  With all the flurry of activity around my graduation, I’m sure it just got lost in the shuffle.

Nearly a dozen Mother’s Days came and went before my Mother passed away. At that time, I was pregnant with my first natural-born child and a new Mom to two toddlers. I was exhausted and overwhelmed trying to clean out my parents’ 25-year-old home.

I was sifting through the basket of papers she kept right next to her bed.  Underneath a few People magazines I found file folders with birth certificates, legal papers, these were important things…

then I saw the mauve paper peeking out.  And I knew just what it was. My poem.  Just next to some of the most important things in her life.  My poem.

My mother was not the type to gush.  I clearly got my sentimentality from my Dad.  But seeing my poem in with all her most important papers was all I needed to know.

I nearly lost that paper a couple of times, but eventually I had it framed and it still hangs next to my bed, just like where my mother kept it.  Some of it makes me chuckle now, the overinflated ideas and revelations of a too-big-thinking teenager.  But a lot of it still holds true.  I’ve shared a few lines from that poem below.

Hope you all are celebrating Mother’s Day in whatever way honors the women in your life the best.  Take some time to write words to a woman who has meant something to you.  Our words and our time are some of the most precious treasures we can share.

 

mother

I am born of you

out of a painful love that has

already outlasted my lifetime.

You surround me with your

words and your listening silence

and your arms…

 

mother

we are different stages of the same woman

who learn from each other like learning

from a separate self…

and that is why I say I am always with you – because

I am you

and happy to be, lucky to be

thankful to be

 

mother

what is to be is something we don’t know but I can see that it will involve distance

and I wonder how I will make it –

but I know your love can cover the whole world in its maternal infinity

and your wide arms will tuck me in each night even long after I am gone.

 

mother, (mom)

I would not have this future without the past you’ve so unselfishly given and given.

Thank you for my life. I love you.

-Beth

Mother’s Day, 1992

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perspective

Are you Broken?

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On any given day we are all a little broken. It could be a simple hangnail type of broken, a big breakup type of broken or anything in between.

Some days we break a little, like a small crack in your cell phone. Some days we seem to be broken in a million and one pieces like the shattering of a mirror. Fortunately for us, there are bandaids for little boo boos, bandages and Advil for bigger cuts and bruises and then there is always the gym, counselors and good friends to help you when the heavy kind of broken happens. Loss of a loved one, divorce, mental breakdown, financial losses can all leave one broken which is just part of life but we all need to find coping mechanisms to deal with brokenness.

Remember, everyone can break. It’s not a sign of weakness. One can break at 2 years old resulting in a tantrum. One can break in their teens when social struggles hit hard. One can break as an adult for many reasons and the elderly can even break. Caring for an aging family member takes a big toll on people but many don’t talk openly about it. Being broken offers an opportunity to realize change is needed.

I’m sure we all wish we could sprinkle pixie dust on our brokenness and it all just goes away.  In reality, it’s not that simple. It takes strength, wisdom, encouragement, time and perseverance to realign with what’s important and needed to move ahead when brokenness hits us.

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(photo by @ahborson)

One may find hope with Jesus and the church. Another may exit a bad relationship and find peace in forging ahead alone. Another may readjust financially to a setback with counseling or help from a friend. In each scenario options are visible. Taking a step may be hard but if a step is never taken one will never move forward and may be burdened with sadness and sorrow from the brokenness.

I describe brokenness to my kids as we all have an emptiness inside of us.  And some of that comes from the broken places that we all seem to collect throughout life…  Seeing that things aren’t perfect. Accidents happen with awful consequences.  Humans are messy and flawed. People let us down or fail us. We lose someone we care about, for whatever reason. Each of these leaves us cracked, spilling, a little emptier.

It’s up to each of us what we fill those broken spots with.  Will it be productive or destructive? Some will fill that emptiness with substances, addiction.  Some will fill it with meditation, yoga, religion. Some will fill it with giving.  Some with an empty kind of busy-ness. Some with hopelessness or detachment. Some may write their way through grief to a deeper understanding of themselves. Some will fill their lives with new or deeper relationships, reflection, and a true attempt to find joy in the brokenness.  We each choose how we fill those cracks, whether we choose carefully or consciously or now.  We choose how we mend ourselves and even others.

I read about the Japanese art of Kintsugi. It’s the centuries-old practice of repairing broken ceramic pieces with gold…in this tradition, the cracked and repaired spots are not blemishes, but make the piece more beautiful and unique.  It’s a powerful metaphor for our broken human life. Our cracks don’t mean we are useless. Instead, they are part of what make us precious and ultimately more valuable.

I am broken. I have repaired cracks in my life journey and I have many stage one cracks in my life now. I am content with my brokenness. Life is not perfect and neither am I. I grow through my life lessons. I wander. I encourage. I challenge. I test fate and when I do I risk it all. The risk could be emotional. The risk could be financial. The risk could be unknown.

If I lived in a bubble could I still break? Yes, of course. I can however control my attitude when I start each day. I can manage my emotions when times are tough and I can fuel my body with health and fitness regimens that help me stay the course. It’s all in the mindset.

It may be hard to share, but I find that when I am brave enough to share my broken, I often also get the chance to be closer to people.  So often, others are suffering in ways we don’t know or can’t see, even refuse to see.  If we take a risk, make ourselves vulnerable, show our tender spots to a trusted friend, we will often learn we are much less alone in our broken. Many are fighting battles we can’t imagine, and often they feel they are fighting them alone. The cracks are opportunities to shine a light on others and share a light in what can be a very dark time. Be the light and share your broken.  Be the gold that fills another and reflects their unique beauty.

Be the gold that fills the cracks. Your gold may melt different than mine but it doesn’t decline in value. Gold is precious just like you and me.

If you thought this post was meaningful, please share it. Share the words that speak to you. I know there are some keys phrases in this post that make me smile and work towards being a better person. I am always filling my cracks with gold and trying to help others find their gold to fill their cracks as well.

 

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(photo by @svklimkin)
awareness

The One about the Turtle Crossing the Road

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When she was little, my daughter Anne loved turtles.  She used “turtle girl” as her nickname online.  She had a turtle named Swimmy for a pet.  She loved reading about turtles.  When we went to the beach, I scheduled time for us to work with local turtle patrols, visit aquariums, or watch turtle hatchlings be released into the ocean.

Turtles were her thing.

She’e a teenager now and her interests have broadened, but deep down I think she still has a soft spot for turtles.

So it didn’t surprise me a couple of weeks ago when we were out and about, driving on a long rural road, and I dodged a turtle stopped right in the middle of our lane.

Just like I used to do when Anne was little, I screamed “turtle!” and, just like she did when she was little, she yelled “turn around!”

It was a long stretch of road with rolling hills…visibility was tricky…cars were flying by…no flat shoulder and few places to turn around.  When I finally turned to go back for the turtle, someone came up speeding behind me so I couldn’t pull over.  So, we found a place to turn around again, and tried again.

I had my hazard lights on so people knew I was up to something.  Pulled over on a soft grassy spot, then she gave a quick look and jumped out of the car.  She ran full force probably seventy-five yards back and got the little guy.  She picked him up gently and moved him across the road in the direction he was going, just like we learned about when she was little.  She placed him down right by a small pond near the side of the road.  And off he went. Safe for the moment.  And then off we went toward our destination, feeling like we helped the world in some small way.

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At least five cars passed over him while we were making that multi-step turn around.  Who knows how many more had flown past him, over him, as he slowly made his way across the lanes toward his goal.

All this made me wonder about how many people I know, who I see daily, who are trying to cross their own treacherous lanes in life.  How many people do I know who are moving toward goals but keep dodging obstacles, negativity, or just the rushing flow of the daily grind? How many are in periods where things in life are flying by, in different directions, leaving them pulled into their shells much of the time?

Do I even notice them?  Or am I just speeding by, consumed with my own tasks and concerns, not even seeing those who I could help along if I just slowed down and took time to pay attention?

And how can I lift them up, shoulder their burden, ease their journey somehow? How can I put my lights on so people know I am slowing down, wanting to help, up to something?

These are the questions that are on my mind this morning. It doesn’t take that much to help someone across a scary patch.  I just need to pay more attention, be willing to slow down. Be more open and attentive. Work to see the potholes and rough patches others might be crossing. Sharing my own bumps and tumbles so they feel safe sharing their own.

What good is it to make it to my destination more quickly, if I have passed over others I could have helped along the way?

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hustle

31 Days

31 days have come and gone in January 2019. I already feel like it was 365 days. Crazy I know.

January just seems like the longest month ever. Add the cold and that equates to another whole level of awful. Or maybe January just seems so long because I am always waiting for February to arrive. Once February comes and goes it’s time to think warm weather, sunshine and vacations on the horizon.

As a memory tracker I decided to write down 31 significant or interesting things that transpired in my life in January. Here is my 31-day reflection to start this month with a bang.

1. I survived a high speed car crash.
2. I completed my first weighted CrossFit workout.
3. I got a tattoo.
4. I drove 4 different rental cars within 5 days for stupid and annoying reasons.
5. I drove from Boston to Atlanta in under 19 hours as a solo driver.
6. I had a career change.
7. I gained weighed and lost weight.
8. I tracked my food journal every day.
9. I did manual labor work a few days.
10. I ate chowda while traveling.
11. I went ice skating.
12. I started a push-up challenge for 30 days.
13. I joined a coed spring softball team.
14. I signed up for the CrossFit open 2019.
15. I took an Olympic lifting class during the month.
16. I used “WTF” notes for various events in which WTF applied.
17. I shoveled snow.
18. I spent time with family and friends.
19. I flew on a plane.
20. I made new friends.
21. I tried new foods.
22. I cheered my daughter on during basketball games.
23. I ate out with all my boys this month despite everyone’s crazy schedules.
24. I dealt with drama full days.
25. I got a hair cut.
26. I got a massage.
27. I went to the doctor.
28. I didn’t have any alcohol.
29. I blogged.
30. I got some new shoes.
31. I completed tax checklist items.

As I look back on the month, I can safely say it was busy. In addition the time had many ups downs and everything in between.

Even when life tosses you to the wolves, we are still empowered to find our inner sunshine and really just seize the day, the week, the month.

Don’t ever let one negative take away all your positive mojo. We are each capable of defining our own path to success. We decide for ourselves. We put the work in to reap the benefits.

Keep on keeping on and take a moment to reflect on your January. Did you make the most of it? If you had a “do over” button, what would be different? If you had only one day left on earth what would you do with your day?

Spend some time thinking about what you can do or can’t do. Remember all can change in the blink of an eye so savor every moment and don’t wait for life to pass you by. No adventures happen while you are sitting still.

Happy February all. It’s my birth month and I accept gifts and celebrate all month long. Every day. All day. Happy b-day month to me!!!

I cant wait to see what my 47th birthday month has in store for me. Counting my blessings and anticipating life challenges along the way. No day is perfect but I’m going to tackle each day with enthusiasm.

dare to be different, featured

#1095days

The countdown is on!

I set the clock for 3 years or 1095 days or 26,280 hours. Three years to hit the fab at 50 mark. 1,095 days to crush some professional goals. 26,280 hours to get my fitness on (still hoping for abs).

Get your popcorn out. You have a front row seat. A chipper workout of sorts. A workout of the mind, the body and the spirit. One with many ups and downs and everything in between.

I will fight battles. I will climb mountains physically and mentally. I will make new friends and say goodbye to old ones. I will witness births and no doubt deaths of loved ones. I will see sunshine and darkness along the way.

I may find fame and fortune or I may end up hitting rock bottom. Whichever occurs you will get to watch the project unfold.

It will be a ride for the record books. What is at the end of the climb? A fantabulous year. I will turn 50 in 2022 and instead of celebrating one day or one month I will celebrate all year beginning 1.1.22, hence the countdown.

I will travel and soar to new sites and heights. Oh the adventures I will plan while I countdown the minutes, hours, days, months and years to 1.1.22.

I will chronicle my innermost thoughts, my ups, my downs and everything in between right here on this blog. 2019-2022 a glimpse of KT247. My blog will be a counterpart to the full story found in one badass book. Some will see three months some will see three years but this is a project that has been building for a lifetime. One must remember that life’s ups and downs can make you want to puke sometimes but most people like a good puke and tell story the day after. I will be banking on that fact as I chronicle my adventures here, there and everywhere.

Random footnote: the penguins in the spotlight pic represent me clicking my feet and tinkering around, thinking about the adventures to be had in the next three years as part of this project and the fun my partner and I will have packaging up this project in the full book version for all to see our dynamic duo style.

Success is generally dependent upon drive and persistence. I have both, but I also have a zest for life and a vim and vigor like no other. Some say it’s all in the Tinkersauce! Whatever the coin phrase is, it’s my story and I am writing about it. It’s all about me.

I will take the extra time, the extra effort to journal along the way. You won’t see everything but you will see what I note as highlights. You might have to buy the book to get the full story.

Get ready for the pictures, the videos, the stories, and so much more. Welcome to my world of storytelling with a twist!

#KT247 #2CHX #1095Days

balance

The Cray Cray Post

It’s been a capital-c CrAAazYyyy week for the 2 Chicks.

Chick 1 has had some teen drama to deal with on the home front. Chick 2 has had teen independence issues of her own this week. Different varieties, still exhausting.

In addition, both Chicks had professional trainings and speaking engagements to manage, on top of running households, parenting our other children, trying to eat healthy, fulfilling our regular work responsibilities, and getting to the gym each day. On most days moms flip roles so frequently that others around can easily take their ability to shift mindsets for granted.

Sometimes, when things get capital-c CrAAazYyyy, people will ask you “who is in your corner?”

We prefer to think in other shapes instead, like circles. We are both lucky to have close inner circles of trusted friends and family who can close in and keep us upright when life is out of balance.  Those circles are filled with people who can connect us with resources, reassure us with their common experiences, or just listen and jump in to do just about anything when needed.  It can also be a web that will catch and support as we find our center again.

This is a mom’s world. A working mom’s world. A community approach to managing life’s daily challenges and this community usually exists behind the scenes of the four walls of our homes.

Of course, as with most thing Chicks, we each have our own twist with our circles.

Chick 1 likes the infinity symbol.  It’s two circles or loops, showing the interconnection of her family, her friends, her co-workers, her mentors, and the loop means the boundaries are limitless.

KT Infinity Plus 1

Chick 2 sticks with the smaller, more simple circle.  Trust is difficult to give and only a precious few will gain access to her inner circle. It requires deep connection to help her manage her complex world.  But when things go sideways, she is always glad to have those friends to recenter her.

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Maybe your shape is a diamond.  Maybe it’s a pyramid.  Whatever your shape, remember and consider those who make it up carefully.  As we’ve been reminded lately, these central connections play a vital role in keeping our balance – mental, emotional, and social.

#2CHX