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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awareness

Hope Over Heartache

Hope and heartache go together like ketchup and mustard, tacos and tequila, or chocolate and peanut butter.

Hope and heartache follow one through most, if not all stages of life. For me in the past year, I have seen far more heartaches than I should have but somehow found hope in the midst of the chaos.

One afternoon, after having an off morning, I grabbed some coffee with a friend. Not a planned event, just an opportunity that came about. A little coffee, some giggles and then a blog post. That’s right a blog post was like a shot of caramel in my coffee.

Sometimes I get the itch to write or type at inopportune times, but I flex to get it done. My inspiration is normally whimsical to an extent but my content is normally heartfelt and full of hope at the root or the end of the story.  A signature of sorts for this Chick. And with that I decided to blog about hope and heartache. Mainly because some like to read the good stuff. The juicy gossip. The tall tales or even the sweat stories I write.

Today’s post is a little different. It’s somewhat about life’s turbulent times. Life lessons. Speed bumps. Hurdles. We all have different versions of life’s blah moments.

It’s a choice for me. I choose to find hope instead of dwelling on the heartache of negative situations. It works for me. I like to reframe and bend and flex with life’s ups and downs.

The past few months, my life has definitely had some curve balls and some struggles. Through the days I followed my heart, I settled my mind, and I focused on the hope of a new day or a new beginning.

A restart button of sorts. Only time could allow this to happen and no specified time was known. For me that is like tackling the impossible. Not knowing the end game. Not knowing what’s next. Not knowing how long or how much.

Another person close to me was in the same situation. Not knowing what’s next. We can call them growing pains. Not knowing how to hit the restart button. They needed time to sort through the weeds to find the wisdom. The path. The path less traveled because it’s not an easy path.

As the days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, hope faded. Hope didn’t disappear, it faded. It took strength to endure the unknown in one area but that same fading allowed for sunshine to illuminate a path not visible to others. You see, sometimes giving up control to gain control is what is most needed in challenging life situations.

We can’t control or anticipate everything but we can control our emotions. How we react to uncomfortable situations, challenging people, and negativity. We choose each day to be happy and see hope or dwell on heartache and anger. What do you choose daily?

Trust me, some days are harder than others. Some days I need a friend to take my volume down a notch and other days I need to practice my patience muscles. Part of my mind balance is to stay fit. Keeping my body and mind stimulated is a must in my weekly routine.

With my mind balance, I choose daily to be around people and environments that  not only challenge me but inspire me. I reduce the negatives and walk away from individuals who wear anger and heartache on their chest daily.  I seek out those who need a pick-me-up. I seek the isolated individual who may have faded hope. I aim to help them see hope through their eyes.

As I write this post today it is my hope that somebody reading this can feel hopeful in whatever circumstance may be challenging them at the moment. Everyone has a battle of some sort in front of them. Most won’t see it daily.

Until next time, choose happy. Offer hope. Make a difference.

fitness and nutrition, perspective

Challenge Myself to be Last!

So this morning my workout buddy “JB” challenged me to be last. What does that mean? I strive to be first (or top five at least) every time out of the gate even if it’s not really attainable. I have the top of the pack mindset in most every task I take on.

He said push yourself! If you are finishing too quickly every time you are not pushing yourself. Challenge yourself to be last all of 2019. More weight. Harder movements. No sandbagging.

Challenge accepted, my friend. No excuses. Put up or shut up. Enough said. I’m a take action kind of girl so I will accept the task at hand. In return expect to hear the Mouth of the South pushing you back. Out of affection, of course.

Anyone else want to finish last with me? It’s the new first place because I’m challenging myself to go harder.

Short but sweet Monday motivation for you! Everyone needs a JB in their life to notice when you are coasting. Complacency can get the best of anyone at anytime. It will sneak up on you. But guess what? If you have a good support system around you, personally and professionally, you will be one of the few who keeps forging ahead. When you find the JB in your life, cherish it. Embrace the uncomfortable feeling that person gives you.

Then pass it on. If you are lucky enough to have the person to push you, push another. Maybe not off the ledge, but give a motivational push. Today. Tomorrow. And the next day.

That person may hear you but not react on the first occasion. It may take more than once. It may even take 6-12 months. Trust me I know somebody in that category who is slaying it today and passing on the motivation now but never really saw themselves as having that power.

Everyone has the power to positively impact others. It’s Monday peeps. Slay all day.

As a closing thought, cheer on my buddy JB with a like or a comment on the post. He is one-of-a-kind. A funny character. A motivator. A friend. A good hubby to his beautiful wife. A great mortgage banker and a hell of a work out buddy. From thick to thinner, he has been part of my story and will continue to be as long as he rises at 6:30am on the daily. Check out our Instagram for a quick video of JB’s personality when he was “pushing” me to work on my pullups last year. He got a boob job and all! JB’s pushing me to FINISH LAST put him at the TOP of my MONDAY MOTIVATION list. Give him a like or a comment so he feels the love worldwide. #BurchieMonday #AllDayTodayOnly

dare to be different, featured

The Photo Story

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If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you know the 2 Chicks have been through some pretty big changes this year.  Physically, professionally, personally, you name it, we changed it. To celebrate these changes and continue creating our big vision for 2019, we recently met for a photo shoot. Here’s a glimpse!

As usual, we got to laughing pretty quickly.

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And then, in classic #2chx style, one of us couldn’t stop laughing, which left the other rolling her eyes…

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And finally, the as-close-to-serious-as-we’re-getting-today moment… Are they angry?  Are they daydreaming? Bored? Do they even know each other? It’s anyone’s guess…

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Yup, that’s a glimpse of just a few of the faces of 2 Chicks and a Pen. Every day is an adventure.  Some days are giggles, some days eye rolls, some days who are you? We just wonder.

Oh yeah…one final surprise from the photo shoot.  Another example of just how different these 2 Chicks are…Who wore it better? Drop your thoughts in the comments! (I’d ask you which one the librarian is, but maybe that’s obvious….?)

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Anyway, big things are coming in 2019 for these 2 Chicks.  Our next chapter will be an exciting one! Keep following us here, on Instagram, and facebook for all the latest updates.

 

balance, giving, perspective

Holiday Smoliday

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This holiday season has looked a bit different than years past and different than I planned in my mind, but peaceful all at the same time.

This month I spent time on gratitude. I wrote hand written notes to those who made an impact on me. I shared some sweet Starbucks treats as an added bonus and it made me feel so happy to see the smiles for those who didn’t know they were coming.

I received as well. I met some girlfriends for an annual exchange event. It was a blast and I received some treasured keepsakes. A pickle ornament. Random but special. A notebook. A super secret notebook to pencil my ideas and visions. A bracelet. An intention bracelet that reminds me to love others unconditionally.  Stickers. Seems simple enough but they were motivating stickers. Power stickers to use as momentary reminders to take action. The infamous tank top. A bold statement given on a shirt to see if I have the brass to wear it in public. The answer is yes! My gal pals know me so well. They are also part of my inspiration. I continue to evolve as they support my goals and dreams.

I made my annual donations at Goodwill, coats to the homeless, books to kids and made some other charitable donations to warm my soul. Giving will always be part of my holiday season.

I spent some time rekindling with family and friends near and far. Sometimes when you only have the ability to make a call it’s still is better than no call at all. Technology offers the flexibility of FaceTime or Skype as well.

I cleared some clutter on the home front. Shifted some furniture and mindsets. I made some shifts personally and professionally to be aligned for the new year and all the crazy that 2019 has waiting for me.  Put up a new vision board to help focus on moving forward with vim and vigor. As part of this process I took some time to invest in myself as well. Nothing major, just aligning of key resources to support what’s ahead.

In order to be a strong leader, one must take slivers of time when they present themselves as opportunities to recharge your batteries. This could be in the form of pampering, it could be in the form of extra rest, some time alone, some time thinking, or maybe even a shopping spree. I won’t tell all my secrets here but I will stress the importance of self care. Self care is often overlooked and can cause stress for some.

I also emphasize the ability to give up control to gain control. Sometimes you battle so hard without seeing results, requiring you to let go in order forge ahead. This could be translated to business, personal or even relationships. Letting go can be hard but can be a necessity to reach the ultimate outcome you want or need.

The above leads me to risk. Every day one is faced with risk taking. Some take a cautious approach while others stare it down with optimism. I look at risk with ambition and optimism. I trust the process. I look ahead knowing what the worst could be, but smile at the thought of what can be.

As 2019 approaches for you, be fearless. Connect or reconnect with a loved one. Try something new that you have been putting off for whatever reason. Step out of your comfort zone and invest in YOU. The power of YOU is something you control!

I leave you with one of my cards from a vision board I use. It may help with any ups and downs you face in 2019.

More rants and blurbs to come in 2019 along with cool new projects on the horizon. #kt247

 

fitness and nutrition, perspective

Going the Extra Mile

It’s a phrase we hear often…someone who “goes the extra mile.”  But what does it really mean?

I’ve been thinking a lot about that phrase for the past few days.  I went to the gym on the day after Thanksgiving.  There wasn’t a workout at the times I could make it.  So, I took advantage of the open gym and walked in between classes. My goal was 10,000 meters.  My legs were screaming sore after a long Thanksgiving Day workout so I started by hopping on the bike erg and did a pretty quick 5,000 meters.

Then, moved over to the rower for a somewhat slower 3,000 meters.

Finally, I faced down the dreaded ski erg and did 2,000 meters, split in half.  (Ski is much more challenging for me!) I had stretched in between, so I was feeling pretty good and sweaty by this point.  I had a few minutes left before I had reached my hour-at-the-gym benchmark, but I had already met my 10,000 meter goal.  What to do?

Enter the Assault bike.

And on that, I just decided to do skip meters and do a mile. And as I rode, I got to thinking about the extra mile…which is what brings me to this post.

To go the extra mile is to go beyond what is required.  What is expected.  The minimum.  As my kids say (or used to say, since once I understand this kind of thing it is definitely past its moment) you can be basic or you can be extra…regular or over the top, I guess.

There are areas of life where I want to work harder to go the extra mile.  Friendship. Family. Fitness / Nutrition.  Those are probably the big three for me right now. Ones I want to work on.

How can I go the extra mile?

-Send a note or out-of-the-blue text to a friend who may need a pick-me-up (and couldn’t we all?)

-Remember to get all the things my family needs as I shop / do errands, etc.

-Check in with family and friends more often

-Make time for meaningful conversations and traditions as the holidays arrive

-Commit to both staying consistent and challenging myself as I workout

-Get serious about nutrition; buckle down (instead of backing down) in the face of challenges

-Give in unexpected ways: time, care, gifts, resources

I am not going to lie.  There are many areas of life where I am struggling to meet basic expectations.  But, at the same time, I feel a deep level of fulfillment when I exceed what I and others expect of me.  Over the next day or two I’ll be planning and making moves to get these things in motion.  Even just this list with a daily checkoff can be a step toward accountability and progress.

So, readers, how are YOU going to go the extra mile in the next month or two? How can you extend kindness, comfort, or even badassness to make your life and the lives of those around you a little more over-the-top-amazing? Tell us in the comments.

Here’s a glimpse of the sunrise that surprised me mid workout that morning, a brief break in a week of dreary rain. Be the unexpected, the surprising light for others and yourself.