family, inspire

Resilience

The ability or capacity to bounce back and/or recover from a negative situation or difficulties in general. Resilience. Mental toughness. Strength.

Learning resilience at an early age is a must. It’s unfortunate when your child has to learn about resilience when they get a put in a crappy situation with adults who have ill intentions, but it happens. Sometimes it happens more than one likes to admit. For me I’m choosing to write about it.

This week I silently observed a male treat a developing/impressionable girl as a mere pawn. A pawn due to his own agenda but nonetheless a pawn. The lowest component in the game of chess, a pawn. Life is much like a chess game. Lots of moving pieces and many who think they are king or queen and like to push around pawns on the daily. This is the reality of life. Different days you may be in different roles on the chess board.

How you bend and flex with the trials and tribulations shows your character. Sometimes it shows grit, growth and resilience. For me this week I observed all of the above.

I watched a beautiful spirit say to herself, you can think I’m a pawn but really I’m a queen. I can let you think you win but in the end I win. I have resilience. I have a bright spirit that can’t be dulled by your ignorance.

I am me. I may be young but I’m versatile. I can do anything I set my mind to and I can do it better and with more conviction if you tell me I can’t, I won’t or I shouldn’t. Others can’t replicate. Many will try but fail.

I will run faster. I will lift heavier. I will push myself to be the best version of me. I will grow. I won’t sit still and be judged. Those who judge are really the pawns in life. One who tries to suppress a true queen is just an insignificant person.

As I hold my head up high, I strut as I walk away. I strut. I will glance over my shoulder with one last farewell. The farewell smirk that is a silent FU to you. Yes that is correct the FU glance that wishes you well in life.

You will need that good luck. I won’t. I have resilience. I have strength. I have courage. I have me. You may wish you did in the end, but you lost access with your insignificant behavior.

My observation was amazing to witness. My ability to watch that person shine through adversity. I’m glowing knowing she prevailed. She did it. She had fun doing it. She overcame.

She is amazing. Simply amazing. Meet my mini me. The shining star that a male tried to put in the corner for their own agenda. Does she look shaken? Absolutely not. She is a fearless girl ready to take on life and all it’s imperfections.

And just when I thought this post was finished the digital age awoke. The poking from the adult again in an online fashion. A cyber-bullying type event. What is wrong with people?

I will say it again and show another glowing picture. You can’t dull this girl’s shine. She is one of a kind. Gentle spirit, kind heart and an all-around athlete. Unfortunately some may be jealous of that and act selfishly. For that adult acting poorly: you have to look in the mirror each day and realize your behavior is a reflection of you and only you. Raise your bar. Don’t try to bring others down to your level.

This is a proud momma post. I adore this beautiful girl and won’t let anyone bully her. This situation is in our rear view where it belongs. Behind us!

family, perspective

I Sat Alone

Something I normally don’t do is sit alone. However once the pandemic hit I found myself sitting alone more and more. Not always by choice but by circumstance. In the 60 plus days of restrictions, I think I learned to master the art of sitting alone and how to use it as fuel for my mind and spirit. A rejuvenation method.

When I think about it, it’s funny how the universe can whisper to you in the darkest hours and let you see light that is really shining in on you, your surroundings and your inner circles.

Today I decided to sit alone by choice. I was going to wait in the car while my travel buddy took care of an extended pit stop. Instead I ventured off a beaten path. The unknown path led to a cement picnic table on the Tennessee River. Covered in moss, cobwebs and bugs. I was drawn to it like flies on shit.

Definitely not a spot I had ever been to. Not a spot I ever planned to visit but to my surprise I enjoyed it. I had a book to read. I had AirPods to listen to a few podcasts. My keys to set off an alarm if any creepers came near and of course a pair of fancy shades. The essentials so to speak.

To my surprise I was more drawn to the sounds of the land than my packed items. I listened to birds of all sorts chirp and sing. I listened to the sounds of a jet ski and pontoon boat passing in the distance of the river. I stared at interesting cobwebs. I watched ants crawl. My mind was at ease.

I’m on a trip to see family and mourn the loss of a loved one. Some alone time is good for the soul. It lets you reflect. It lets you be at peace with what is and will be the new normal. Life less one or in my case less two people.

Life isn’t easy. Life is messy on most days just like people. Not physically messy just complicated messy. As I jot down this post in comes a text from a former athlete I coached. A sweet, sweet text of condolences. When a young person you impacted takes the time to reach out to you, how can you not be moved?

As I enter this next line, this post shifts from mourning and solitude to appreciation and foresight. We all have a chance to brighten another’s day at any given time, but do we? We all have the ability to look ahead and see tomorrow but do we?

Life is never about regrets or mistakes it’s always about new beginnings and sunshine for me. Today I worked on my photo reel. Photos of nature and beauty. Simple as it sounds but as complex as I make it when I visualize the purpose.

The purpose of today’s photo reel was to honor the people I lost while seeing the beauty in what they were about. I used nature to symbolize the beauty. Speaking of beauty nature takes another turn. Not one but two red cardinals are whipping by me and my picnic table. I didn’t grab a picture but I knew my two loved ones were letting me know all is good.

Simple. Sweet. Memorable. This post is dedicated to my dad and Irene. You may be gone but not forgotten. You both lived amazing lives.

I chose to close this post with a black and white photo as I’m closing the door on darkness and looking ahead to the bright sunshine of tomorrow and all that is visible on the horizon. A new day. A new beginning. A new set of goals and adventures that await.

Forging a path ahead is what those lost would want you to do. I may be a carrier of the message today but for anyone who reads this, the lesson can easy apply to you as well. Think about my post as a whisper from me to you. My universe to yours.

perspective

Stripping the Fun Stuff Away

The return to “normal” has begun.  Gyms, restaurants, hair salons, sports leagues, bowling alleys, summer camps and a host of other businesses have gotten the green light to open their doors. Yay! (right?)

Of course, nothing is really normal and the “new normal” has already lost it’s luster (if it ever had any). Opening business doors often comes along with an eye-popping list of new restrictions.

Both the chicks have recently given their views on restaurant dining.

Like restaurants, for many businesses, industries, and institutions, it’s still a strange time. We are all figuring it out on the fly, customers included.  I’ve noticed that in some cases, we are stuck trying to do the hard parts but the fun parts are what we miss now.  Here are a few examples:

Gyms are starting to reopen.  But, I never really stopped working out.  I’m still exercising in my basement or on the pavement most mornings due to financial and work constraints. Some lifting, some cardio, some basic bodyweight movement, Heroes on Mondays. I get my exercise in one way or another.

Is it the same?  Yes and no.  Yes, I get my movement in.  But some of the most enjoyable parts of the gym experience are gone.  I don’t see friends and like-minded people.  I don’t get coaching.  I don’t get to use all the great equipment. I don’t get the occasional coffee and breakfast after with friends. Sure, I don’t miss certain things about the gym, but some of the parts that made it fun and special (and the hard parts less hard) can’t be replicated in my home.

My work is a similar situation.  I am a librarian that teaches in an elementary school.  We left school for a long weekend in mid-March, not knowing that students and most teachers wouldn’t return this year.  Instead, we’ve been teaching and learning online for almost 9 weeks.

Are we getting the job done?  Yes and no.  Yes, there are lessons and many teachers working extremely hard to connect with students and families.  Yes, there is learning happening.  But, some of the parts that make school fun and meaningful are stripped away.  Field day. End-of-year culminations of work and celebrations.  Social time at lunch and recess on the playground. Working shoulder-to-shoulder to finish a puzzle or create something together. For me, it’s just walking through the library with a student and helping them find a great book.

Or reading a funny or suspenseful picture book to a live Kindergarten audience, laughing and responding together in that moment. Nothing replaces those. And those are some of the things that make school worth going to for many kids (not to mention food, etc.)  Instead, online school often seems like a lot more of the work and a lot less of the fun stuff that makes school special. (And yes, this is about the teachers, too.  I miss the energy of my students! Computer screens, while helpful, don’t cut it for connection!)

On the flip side, there are also students and families who aren’t built for distance learning.  Some have limited or no access to technology. Some need the structure and surroundings and encouragement of others working.  Some need the social benefits.  Some need the food and care that come along with being at school.  Some parents are working from home while also trying to manage multiple children learning online.  It is all extremely stressful.  School isn’t working for many, and it is definitely not the same even for those getting by.

Then, there are the fun things that are just not happening anymore at all.  Most notably for me are travel plans for myself and my family, and races I was training for.  Pleasure travel by anything other than car seems risky (and if you take a road trip, where do you stay overnight?)

I was sad that the triathlon I was training for got canceled.  They can’t guarantee safety and I am sure liability is also a big part of that decision.  Would I have wanted to participate in some sort of sanitized race?  I had mixed feelings about the virtual 10K I ran recently. Although it wasn’t terrible since I was able to do it with friends, I missed the trip to Nashville, the mass of runners, all the spectators and the thrill of race day. It just wasn’t the same. I may still do a virtual version of the triathlon at some point since I am already training.  But, some things just can’t be replaced.  You can’t take away some of the most fun and challenging parts and expect a similar experience. Again, some of the most fun stuff of life is stripped away.  And it is hard not to be bogged down in the frustration and sadness of it all.

You can’t recreate the Mona Lisa with a Magic Marker. It just isn’t the same.  And will it ever be the same?  What do I expect? I don’t know. I know many people are trying their best.  I know many people disagree about how all of this is being carried out.  Frankly, between dealing with that personal and political drama and the abundance of the day-to-day changes, I am exhausted at times. The fun stuff buoys me along and there is so much less of that.  Nonetheless, I want to try to find the celebration in the irritation.  Today, I realized I would have never bought my road bike if I hadn’t set the triathlon as a goal.  My bike has been a huge part of my sanity through the stay-at-home orders. So there is a bit of sunshine.

It’s hard not to wonder when things will get back to some kind of regularity.  What will things look like on the other end? When can we plan a race, some pleasure travel?  When will I be able to read to kids again?  When is the finish line of this mess?  I can budget my energy if I have a finish line in sight.  But now we are in the long middle miles when it’s hard to stay energized and forward moving.

I think it’s ok to pout as long as you don’t wallow in it.  Acknowledge the loss then move on.  It might be easier if we knew the story had a happy ending.  I can deal with suspense as long as it gets resolved.  I have to believe that day will come.  Maybe not quite happily ever after, and maybe this is a heck of a long chapter, but it will be resolved.

 

 

 

 

 

balance, Teddie Aspen

Floating Away

Today I floated in the water at the lake on a boat. Social distancing safely while getting some water therapy as I called it. The calmness of this environment took away all the worries of the world even if for just a few hours.

The sound of the gentle waves hitting the boat were relaxing. A slight rocking motion to compliment the uneasy feeling of life right now was somewhat comforting. A few sound effects from the geese in the area while the radio plays softly in background was a good distraction as well.

It wasn’t super hot rather it was about 70 degrees with a gentle breeze. I had enough time to read a little of a book, rest my eyes, write a little and feel the warmth of the sun on my body. The vitamin D was much needed and so was the change of scenery.

Pollen count was very high where I was but it didn’t seem to bother me in the middle of the water. I got to see a crane at one point and saw a few jumping fish. Might not seem like a big deal but it added to the ambience.

My little puppy Teddie had her first trip on the water. I think she is going to like the boat as much as me this summer. She has the cutest little life jacket but it’s in blue. No cute pink or print was available so she isn’t really stylin’ but she is cute no matter what.

Sometimes we can take things in life for granted but in the midst of this corona virus I can safely say I’m thankful so many things. The sounds that may have seemed annoying before are probably the ones I miss the most right now.

The phone ringing off the hook. The kids screaming at the park. The laughter along with the tears. The competitive sounds at the gym. The giggle of my girls at a coffee date. So much to miss but for now I’m focused on what I have in front of me. A little more time. A little more quiet.

Hope you enjoyed my virtual water therapy with me. It may not be a perfect reflection but maybe it will offer some peaceful thoughts where you are especially if you are cooped up. A little sunshine can help anyone if they let their mind drift into a peaceful place.

 

celebrations

What a Craptastic Day

Today was a challenge from start to finish but some how late in the afternoon I made the day my bitch! That’s sort of the irony of headline word craptastic.

The dictionary states the word means remarkably poor quality which is true of my day. However I look at the word a little different. To me it’s a fusion crappy and fantastic which is really what my day was like. It started crappy and then I hit a patch allowing it to elevate to fantastic. The end of day net result is the smushing up of the two words.

Quirky explanation I’m sure but that is me in a nut shell. There were obviously many factors that made the day a trying one. It started with my doggie having an accident at 6am when I was rushing to the gym. One phone call/email after another I seemed to hit obstacles. I wanted to give up, but I didn’t give up. I just kept pushing through. Very much like I pushed through all my burpees this morning!

Boom there it was. The successful piece of the day I needed. It hit a little after 4pm out the blue. That little nugget allowed me to springboard into finishing the day strong. There were times I didn’t think I was gonna get out of the hole I was buried in, but with a little good luck, positive attitude and hard work I escaped the crazy.

Shit happens all day, everyday to lots of people. It’s really up to each individual to react to their individual shit pile or shit mound. Whatever degree of doo doo you have handed to you, you can choose to let the shit pile up or get the shovel and clear the path.

Today I cleared the path. Tomorrow may have a different outcome but I can’t worry about that. I’m too busy celebrating that I slayed the day and cleared the shit. Even if it’s temporary, I won the battle today. The impossible day became my bitch.

As I rise some days the doo doo starts with me knee deep in the muck of it. I’m still here ready today. How about you? Training my mind to deal with the poo pile of life.