health, working women

A Girl in Uniform

“If you ever get lost or need help, look for someone with a name tag or uniform on.”

These are the words we told our kids at places like Disney World when they were little, just in case. People in uniforms should be able to help.

I’m an avid sports parent. I love to show up and watch my daughters play, no matter the sport, no matter the team. I even try to go cheer for them when they are coaching or officiating games. Both of my daughters are refs for girls lacrosse.

Recently, one of my daughters had the honor of officiating youth championship games. I showed up to watch her in action. Hundreds of little kids, googles falling off, uniforms that don’t quite fit on their tiny bodies, all trying to get the hang of a sport I love, it brought back so many good memories. Games on Saturdays. Cheering for your team. Trophies and snacks after the game. And my daughter, once a youth player, now the ref.

Being a ref is not for the faint of heart. I know my attitude toward refs changed when my older daughter became one. Suddenly the heckling from the fans and coaches felt very personal. Why are they attacking her? Do they really think she is being paid by one team to make those calls? Don’t they know she’s a human and can hear their nasty insults? And if she can’t, I can?

My daughters each have very different personalities but they exude a cool, calm confidence on the field. They address irrational adults when necessary. It seems it is always the adults, very rarely the players who are ill-behaved. Unfortunately, bad behavior by at least a couple of adults is more the rule than the exception at these games.

In the end, though, it’s about the players. I remind them that the little girls are looking up to them. They are learning how to be fair. How to accept small setbacks like fouls and share the wins with their team. They are learning how to lead from a girl like them, just a few years further down the road.

I also tell them that some of the best refs are also teachers. Each of my daughters has almost a decade of field playing on their resume. They often know much more about the game than the coaches and spectators. So when a young high school team kept making the same fouls over and over, my daughter offered to demonstrate ways to prevent getting those fouls. They share knowledge and grow the game.

It’s a proud mama moment for sure, to see my girls nurture young players through their role. I cheer for the refs.

Before the championships, I called my youngest over to the fence for a quick pregame chat and picture. A minute later, a little girl, goggles half off, uniform all askew, came up and got her attention. My daughter walked her to the stands, helped her find her parents, then waited by the fence until her dad returned from the car. The little girl needed a jacket during warm ups.

I love that this little girl still thought to ask someone in uniform to help her. Despite what some adults might tell you, the ref is there to help.

dare to be different

What Goes Around

Do unto others as you would have done to you.

Treat others the way you would want to be treated.

What goes around comes around.

You get what you give.

There are many ways to phrase this fundamental principle of the world. From the Bible to modern day, it’s pretty much the same. Basically, you will generally get back what you put into your life (or other lives). This goes for all kinds of resources: attention, investment, energy, whatever.

Imagine this: you check your bank account only to find that your employer has paid you double what they owe you. What do you do? Just consider it a lucky gift in your favor and splurge on something fun? Keep it (and keep it quiet) but just save it for a rainy day? Call your boss and let them know what happened? No one will see, will they?

Imagine if you lost your wallet in a store. You get to the checkout only to realize you laid it down somewhere. What do you hope happens? It’s gone forever, or some kind person turned it in to customer service and you get it back and move on with your day? If someone sees a lost dog, should they just keep it or make a sincere effort to find the owners?

Does the reward you seek come back immediately? Not always. Not even usually. Cue the cries of unfairness. Poor, poor pitiful me. Yes, it does seem like nice people finish last sometimes. We can all point to examples of people who are dishonest, distasteful, or just plain disgusting getting the rewards that pass good folks by. We also see good people suffering for what seems like no reason. It can be a huge challenge to let those things go. But in the end, I also believe in…

Karma.

The universe will take care of things. And…

doing good is its own reward.

I try to let these be my guide when I feel that poor, poor pitiful me creeping in. When petty troubles pull me down and life seems to be the thief of joy. I tell myself to trust that things will work out. If I continue to put positivity and uplifting effort into the world, it will return to me. It may take time. It may be repaid in ways that surprise me, but it will return.

“Choose daily” has been a theme since the early days of this blog. What would I choose if you ran across the lost wallet or dog? What energy is my choice putting out into the world today?

I’m sure it sounds cheesy or trite or even naive. In the end, I just try to choose positivity, joy, giving people the benefit of the doubt, and trusting that they are doing their best with what they know at the time. This walks me back from anger and frustration. I focus on what I can control.

Regardless of what I may be faced with, I always have the choice to be kind, generous, and understanding. I’m not perfect at this, but I am getting better. There are still many days when it is easier said than done. My energies and daily choices create the world and return to me over and over.

healthy hacks, inspire

Karma and Kindness

When you are kind many things follow or fall into place. I always choose to fear less and progress forward. When I do so I seem to carry no extra weight or baggage in life.

It’s funny to think about but it’s an important rule to consider. Fear less. Focus on forward. Don’t let life’s dead weight halt your progress.

Kindness matters as well. When you explore a kindness matters motto in life good karma seems to follow. Not really sure how to articulate this other than using a key phases I have heard growing up:

You can fall in a bucket of shit but still come out smelling like roses. Is this really possible? Not physically possible but in life it is entirely possible. One’s life can be shaken to the core and disrupted yet one can still choose happy, kind, and so on. Making that choice is a conscious decision. Sometimes a daily decision.

Nevertheless the choice to be kind normally sets a tone for life. You end up around similar mindset people. You tend to live with good karma/juju. You tend to be open to new environments, people, cultures, opportunities, and so on.

Kindness and karma. Think about how both sit in your life path today. See if you need to change things up a bit to test my theory. See if life throws you sunshine and rainbows or not.

awareness, perspective

Struggles

Everyone has struggles in life. Some dwell on them while other move past them. Sometimes struggles are magnified and lead to homelessness. Maybe not any one reason gets that person to such a state but there is a homeless population.

Some have drug and alcohol riddled backgrounds. Others may have some bad luck and financial woes. There may even be criminals lurking to hide out. Whatever the case they are human beings living through a struggle of life.

This past week I visited a homeless shelter. It was a big one and I came around the time where many were loitering outside in the cold. I stuck out like a sore thumb. I was a dressed in business attire for my work- related visit. How I felt the pit in my stomach as I strutted by those not as fortunate as me.

I heard comments about my shoes, my jacket and so on. It was a humbling experience before I even got in the door. Once I got in the building I had to clear the metal detector and other safety measures. Something I didn’t even think was needed but that shows you how naive I am.

The lobby was full of a diverse group of people. I could share my mental picture in this post however I’m opting to keep it to myself as I think many need to experience a visit for themselves to appreciate what they have and offer kindness to others.

I was escorted to the second floor on this day. I was meeting with 50 men working to better themselves through a residential program. Each had their own stories and struggles that they will soon overcome. Each was blessed to be in the program. Each was making strides today for a better tomorrow.

It was a great experience. I met some people who may not have otherwise crossed my path. My experience gave me many things to think about.

How many will graduate the program?

How many will relapse?

How many will end up in jail?

How many will not live to tell their story?

How many will help others?

How many people don’t ever get the chance to spend time with people who are trying to better themselves, to go from hopeless to hopeful? 

I will never know the answers to these questions. What I will know is I worked to improve communities today. I was kind. I extended an olive branch to others. I provide valuable information to others and my hope is that at just one received my message. The point of this post is just one. Just one person can make a difference. Just one person impacted can then make another difference. The domino effect impacts positive change. Positive actions are free. We all have the ability to offer hope and kindness to others less fortunate than us.

Never lose sight of who you are, where you came from, your life struggles and how you can impact others. I share my story today to help anyone near or far who needs hope. 

friendship, mental health

I Heard the Whisper

I don’t have any friends.

Silence.

I don’t have any friends said the social teen girl. Pause. Reflect. Think.

The beautiful girl is right. She has acquaintances. She has teammates. She has adults that are supportive. She has siblings. Unfortunately she is missing the friends piece of the equation. True friends.

The bestie or group of pals that come over to hang out. The girls that go to the movies. The inner circle of sorts. What could have happened to this social butterfly.

One word sums it up: corona.

Corona has taken away spontaneous trips to the mall. Quarantine has limited gatherings at other homes. Fear has lurked in every home limiting activities. The list goes on and on.

In this community two teens have died by suicide in the last 10 days. I can’t ignore that. I can’t understand a day in the life of these teens. Their desire to end their lives is the solution to their perceived problems at that time. We have to listen to these cries even if they are masked.

So many no you can’t. So much time alone. So many milestones and memories being missed in isolation. So much time is solitude in their room. Many sleep it off. Many struggle for daily motivation.

Who does the cheerleader role fall on when parents work? What if the teen is an only child? Is the school talking about this subject with this vulnerable age?  Are they offering parents solutions? Why no they are talking about tests scores and must complete your assignments or even pick your schedule for next year.

Do administrators even consider what a day in the life of a teen is like in isolation? They lost their friends. They lost their home away from home that is school. They lost competition in the classroom. The lost giggles in the hallway. They even lost their imagery. Always covered in a mask. Gasping for air. The image of themselves in a super cute outfit on the first day of school. Shopping for a prom dress. So many important things for a girl in her formative years.

Instead they get to go to the drive thru with their parents. Maybe a Netflix movie in the same place they eat, sleep, socialize, go to school, etc. (their house). Maybe weekends of extra homework because they lack the motivation to do it on day 1 when it was due. The list of blah goes on and on.

I see this cycle repeated. I try to engage my teen to give her fulfillment in the tiny box that is currently around her. It’s by no means perfect but it’s what I can offer today.

I often wonder if she drove and had a car if it would be different. Would being mobile allow her to wave at friends from the curb but allow her time to smile away from the homestead. I don’t have these answers. I may never have them.

For today I will enjoy the time I have. Tomorrow is not guaranteed for anyone. Memories last forever. Today I will make memories with her.

Parents don’t forget to look around you. Right in front of you. Listen. Spot the abnormalities and take action. Any action that lets them notice you see them. You hear them. You want to be with them. They need you. They don’t always feel like they have anyone left. Corona has taken much from many.

Don’t let environmental conditions take away another bright future.

This post was sparked by the song Pink just released with her daughter Willow, Cover Me in Sunshine. Pink noted they sang the song because it makes them happy and they wanted to share it to make others happy. They did it together. Today I will cover those around me in sunshine for no other reason than to make them happy.

Enjoy today. No matter how shitty things may be tomorrow. Every day is a new day to get covered in sunshine.