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.

perspective

I Took the Dare! (And Now I’m Daring Myself!)

2019 was my Year of Fearless.

Some days, that word pushed me to do new things.  To live a little differently.  To take a breath and leap when I would usually just step back or walk away.  I still have many of the same fears, but they don’t hold me back quite as much or quite as often.

All in all, the fearless served me well.  I changed and grew in fearlessness, at least a little bit.

Now another turning of the year.  What should follow my year of fearless?

Last year, as I selected my word, I spent a lot of time thinking, considering options, weighing possibilities.

This year was a no-brainer.  It almost slapped me in the face. I picked up a set of notebooks while Christmas shopping, and there it was. So NOT me. But so needed to be!

The story began a while ago, in one of our gym-girl group chats.  Someone (not me!) asked for a challenge, which became a dare, which turned into a quite funny mid-November-damp-overcast-chilly-afternoon episode of me running a lap outside around the gym in a swimsuit.

 

Yup, I stripped off my gym clothes and took off running.  I mean, I’m a tank-top and shorts girl at the gym so the bathing suit was not much less than people see me wear most days, but still. Running through the parking lot in that for no apparent reason had me shallow-breathing-freaking-out through the entire class.

Growing up, whenever there was a game of truth or dare, I would quickly and silently slink out of the room.  If I had to play I always chose truth. Dare left too much to chance.

And so, my One Little Word of 2020 is….Dare.

Dare to live big. Dare to do crazy things.  Dare to continue to figure out who I am, and then dare to show people. Dare to put myself out there.

Dare to make big plans and, sometimes, dare to let go of the plan and see what happens. Dare to live in the moment.

Dare to dream outrageously. Dare to set big goals. And, maybe one of the things I fear most… dare to fail.  Dare to flop.  Dare to fall short.  Dare to (eek!) disappoint, then dust myself off and dare again even more relentlessly.

I’ve set my goals this year.  I set some that are all but surely out of reach.  This is totally out of character for me.  When I set goals, I usually pick something that I am relatively sure I can accomplish with a reasonable effort.  Not. This. Year.

The quote that I wrote in the front of my goal book:

“If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”

-Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Some of them do scare me.  But in some ways, that’s exciting.

What word is guiding you this year?

Looking forward to sharing the dares as the year goes along!

IMG_3923

 

awareness, featured

The trigger. The seize. The aftermath.

 

IMG_5743

He was clearly upset. Withdrawn. Facing away from us when they finally arrived after going around and around and around again trying to find us. So much effort and time trying to relax at the beach. Environmental conditions created stress. A lot of stress.

The trigger: stress in his environment. Unknown factors lurking. A racing mind.

Recently he had been doing so well with helping and navigating and being responsible in life and on this trip. I know he is growing up and takes such pride in his adult successes… he’s achieving and as he achieves new challenges come. He is growing up.

Miscommunication leads to frustration adding to elevated stress levels. Triggers in his world. Triggers that can spark negative thoughts and emotions that make his mind race. The peace in his brain turns to excitement or sparks.

After staring into the ocean, silent, for a while, I could see he was trying to manage those feelings. Those sparks that agitate him. He finally just turned over and laid down, head down, on the beach blanket. No sunscreen, no words, no nothing. He was trying to settle him. I know that feeling!

Every few minutes he would pick up his head and pound the sand where his face would lay as hard as he could. I figured he was trying to carve out a resting spot for his ears and cheeks. But he was also still working out that ball in his stomach. He probably popped up three times to pound the sand. I offered him our shovel but he didn’t respond. He was in his own space. His own head space. He was battling his inner demons.

A turbulent mind I would explain to most. Filled with why me? Why now? Why in public? What did I do to deserve this life? At one point he got up and went to put his feet in the water then went right back to sleeping, wrapping a shirt around his head. he just laid there silent and still in the sun. One may think this is no big deal.

I see it. I see the challenge. I see the mental burden. I see the chaos lurking. I see the pending explosion. The seize is here. The seize is happening.

It was the sound that hit me first. It was a guttural scream, a groan, a call. A shout. And then he was jumping, lunging, arms out reaching for the closest object or person of comfort.

5-8 seconds seems like a lifetime in this moment. Passers by freeze. Judgment is silent. An eerie feeling is in the air as those close say nothing.

The girl who was sitting next to me in our low beach chair was the support. I knew what was happening and tried to jump in between them. Told him who I was and where he was. I used his name. It’s ok. It’s me. You’re on the beach. You are safe. Put my hand on his arm to try to calm him. He was still confused. He said his ribs were hurting and grabbed his side. That’s when I got scared since I didn’t know what that meant. I got help.

She was in in the water just feet away. Not out too far. I ran out to her and she was calm. She asked me what happened and just coolly walked back to him. She knew it was coming just didn’t know when.

At least she seemed cool compared to my jumpy insides. She called him over about halfway to him. Come get in the water with me. And he did. He went with her and they walked out together and a minute later he dove in the waves. I just watched silently as she cared for him and walked through it with him as she had a million times before. Then they called for boogie boards and I brought them quickly. Then off they went just laughing and swimming and hitting the waves.

When he came in you could tell he was a little quiet. Self conscious. She said he surveyed to see who noticed, who saw his episode. Like he has done many times before. Then the day just wore on. He threw the football and flew a boogie board like a kite and laughed and smiled his special radiant smile.

Did I do anything right? Did I help? His seizures are so different than the ones I had seen in the past. I thought I would help him get to the floor and try to cushion his head and protect him from hurting himself as the seizure ran its course. None of the that happened.

This was quick but violent. I wasn’t prepared. It was unexpected. If I was startled I could only imagine what this felt like for him. I understand he fears the seize daily. The unknown. The perceptions of others in the aftermath.

How would I feel living this way? Would I even want to live this way? I admire this boy for overcoming this challenge and the many challenges he will see in his future. Life isn’t easy. Adding a medical challenge like seizures to your life as you enter adulthood may be one of the toughest hurdles he will have to overcome.

I, like many others, admire this young man. He is so strong and so determined but also so tender and kind. He’s a caring soul. He loves kettle corn and kinder chocolate, he gives amazing hugs and is so generous with family and loved ones. He has also endured so much but never takes advantage. He works above and beyond and without drawing attention to it or complaining. He cares so hard for others, keeps a warrior’s heart while weathering storms in his own brain. New love new admiration. And a new desire to understand and cheer for him in ways that matter.

And then his Mom, who had taught him all of this with courage and resilience and determination. Who fights for him and expects him to become his best self. Uncompromising in her belief in him and advocacy for him.

I’m in awe and amazed constantly and more so now than ever. If you ever come across a family who battles daily with a medical challenge, offer kindness and hope your way.

You never know if it’s a good day or a bad day for them. They are most likely shielding their life struggles like most put a bandaid on a cut. Kindness matters. Never judge unless you can walk a day in that hero’s shoes.

He is my hero. Our hero. He his one tough cookie. Today we celebrate him and where he is going in life. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. Seize today.

Screen Shot 2019-11-07 at 9.12.55 PM

featured, friendship

They Get Me!

My close friends get me.

They get me at my best but they appreciate me at my worst. And no matter what, they are ready to support me when the sky is falling or when the sun is shining.

That’s how lucky I am. In the past 7 days, I was on the verge of meltdowns for various reasons and each time I wavered I found a pick-me-up. I connected with a friend who knew just what I needed without me saying what I needed. Heck I might not have even known what I need myself. The point is they knew.

Today it was a bad hair day. Call me crazy but it was. My hair felt like a mop or dead weight on my head. A toupee of sorts. Just dead weight. I called my friend/hairstylist and she just knew I needed her services stat. “Drop what you’re doing and come now,” she said. I did just that! In a blink of an eye I was in the car to her shop and wow what a difference she made in my day.

Changing my scenery, even if for a brief moment, was a game changer for my mood and my attitude. A little snip snip. A little conversation. Some giggles and it was time to conquer the rest of the day. Today I celebrate my pal Kim. Her swift action made my day. She was a mood changer in a big way. #moodswings

There is no doubt about it. If you feel good about you, one is unstoppable. Today my hair was my Kryponite. Not sure If it could have been my threat of giving myself a haircut that made her react as she did, but no matter what I’m glad she was there when I needed her. She said exactly what I needed to hear. Change your environment now.

At another time, I needed to blow off some steam after a long and stressful
day. Not my normal workout time but I needed to get my fitness in. Because my mood and time was off I didn’t feel like working out in a class. I was interested more in solitude. Less people, more one-on-one time with myself and what I need to do to push through the day.

My fitness plays a role in releasing stress of my day. If my schedule is off and I missed my fitness regimen I may just shift my mood to bitterness or edgy at times without even noticing.

She didn’t know my plan for the day. She didn’t know the stress of my day. She didn’t know what I still needed to accomplish after hours that was time sensitive. We all can have peaks and valleys in our work load but this day was like a hurricane of sorts. Little did I know when I bumped into another pal she would make a positive shift in my day.

It started when she opted to run with me at the gym. An hour run to nowhere to be exact. She didn’t need to but she kept me company. We shared smiles. We gasped for air together. We challenged each other a bit. We people watched a little. We giggled. During that time there were no worries in my world. I just wasn’t thinking about my to-do list or the ignorant people I dealt with that day.

Unexpected timing and connections happen. Sometimes those unexpected plans end up being amongst the most treasured memories you can make. For today I am thankful for my friend Milags, her time and her ability to giggle on demand.

In this pic we might have even been having some competition on the air runners. I wonder who was going faster? It didn’t matter because the picture clarifies our happiness of just being side by side.

Friends come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life. You never know when you will find a special friend. When you find a quality friend, let them into your world. They may not stay forever, but you can have fun making memories while they are present.

Remember friends may come and go in your life but when they come and make an impact, let them know. Friends are part of your journey. Some stay longer than others but they all play a role at some point. Kindness matters.

And last but not least, there is a virtual toast to my gal pal and writing partner Chick 2. There isn’t a day or week that goes by when we don’t connect to work on a project, plan a surprise or figure out how to balance our hectic and weird life on the daily. Her balance and kindness are always present and we make for a dynamic duo in all adventures we pursue.

In the past week, Beth was my listener friend. The friend that didn’t pass judgment or act as a Negative Nelly when she could have. She let her calmness lighten the load of the world’s woes. Maybe it’s the PhD in her or maybe it’s her tender heart. Either way I choose to celebrate her. Cheers to my pal Beth.

And to those I didn’t specifically name in this post, I adore you all. My relationships are valued whether near or far. Every relationship has a story and each story has a part in my past, present and future. Each of you play a role in making my stories and adventures fun and desirable.

When my friends say “that sounds like a bad idea. What time should I be there?” That’s dedication to my crazy. I couldn’t forget to mention this tidbit as it’s such an important one. I have many friends who are willing to test their limits and adventure on whim most days. Some even conquer fears with me. Mainly the fear of the unknown. The best part is we get to do it together. The adventures are sometimes big while others are small. When you read this you know who you are. There are many of you in my life that add to my crazy and adventure willingly with me. Thank you!

You make my day, my week, my month. These adventures matter. They matter because they keep my life moving and changing. My balance is about shifting, juggling, adventuring all of which represent growth in my world. Thank you to all my friends who help me grow each week.

Until I write about you or others in my future blogs, help me celebrate the Three Musketeers above and my unnamed adventurer friendships who impact my my mood, my productivity, my week and without question my attitude.

Friends matter. The friends that matter most value you in good times and bad.

#friendship101 #besties #1095days

fitness and nutrition, hustle

Getting My Butt in Gear

IMG_6187

Just a few more days until half marathon time. It’s all about fine tuning and staying as injury-free as possible.

As I make my packing list, here are the most important things I’ll be sporting.

My new AirPods with my “run run run” playlist is probably my most important accessory. A birthday splurge.  I am all about the tunes while I’m running to keep me motivated (and distracted)…I’m lost without music.   I’ve been adding and scrubbing songs for months now.  From Earth, Wind, and Fire to Miranda Lambert, Elton John to Maren Morris, Madonna to Stevie Wonder and everything in between…I think I have about 7 hours of music on my playlist.  Hopefully I’m a little quicker than that!

Paired with my Apple Watch, another birthday gift that I’ve quickly grown fond of.  I love how it connects me to other members of my running group and keeps track of my mileage and pace.  I’m still figuring out all that it can do, but I’m enjoying it so far.

IMG_6133

I’ll admit, I’m building my outfit around the shorts.  I have tried several different brands, but I’m going with one of my pairs of Constantly Varied Gear shorts.  I am a 5″ inseam girl.  I love the comfort of them and don’t forget another key element – POCKETS!

IMG_9539

But which pair to wear?  I thought I would wear my colorful unicorns or mermaids, with my Sunday Runday tank top from Miles and Pace.  But, then I feel pretty unstoppable in my Thunderstruck pair with my Strong Like Bull tank.  No matter which pair, it will be CVG shorts, a tank top, and a coordinating V Sport Bra.  (In a recent update, my thighs  started leaning out in the last month, so it will be a size down plain black pair of CVGs!)

Finally, I have a little belt that I bought years ago from amazon to carry along the essentials – ID, gels, pain reliever.  It has been with me since my very first Peachtree Road Race 4 years ago. Wouldn’t feel like a long race without it.

What a difference from that day four years ago, July 2015. I’ve covered many miles since then.  I’ve shed many pounds and even some bad habits along the way.  I’ve picked up some new ways of thinking (and ok, a few wrinkles).  One thing is sure…it is a long haul, and one I still work at every day.    I don’t really believe in “before and after” shots, but there are definitely differences along the path that are worth reflecting on.

IMG_FB45268D22F8-1

I have made many changes between now and then.  But I still feel the excitement in this picture…this is a girl getting ready to take on the Peachtree Road Race 10K for the first time!  She is nervous, excited, and joyful all at once.

Here I am again in October 2019, facing something new with a tangle of criss-crossed feelings. The day is nearly here! So exciting! Can’t wait for this time with my running group, finally reaching the start line, when we can make our goals happen.  Pictures, giggles, and fun to follow.  And then, what will the next goal be?

 

 

 

fitness and nutrition, hustle

Rock N’ Roll Time

The final countdown is on. Travel plans are made. We are ready to lace up and run in less than 30 days.

Prep time is almost over. Did we do enough? Are we ready?

Took me several weeks to get cozy in my shoes. Finally got music working on my Apple Watch and AirPods. Still not where I need to be on weekly miles but I am putting in effort.

Working on sprints and intervals each week as the months turn into weeks and weeks turn into days before the big event.

Still trying to find the perfect running pants or shorts. This is what’s making me the most nervous right now. I don’t want to be chafed, period. Time to start biting the nails. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, it’s also time for the CrossFit Open amid marathon training. Why do I always double stack my trainings? Will I be able to handle both?

As the days wind down, the cold feet set in. A few of my running mates are opting to downgrade to the 5k leg vs. 13.1 miles. Each have their own reasons, as I have mine for pushing through. I don’t need to be the best. I don’t need to be the fastest. I just need to get it done. Part of my life lessons to myself come from reaching beyond my comfort zone. Pushing the limits so to speak. If I’m healthy on race day, I’m putting my best foot forward one step at a time. There was a time in my life where a 5k seemed impossible, and I did not only one, but many.

Now is the time for me to see if I can push the mileage up to 13.1 and earn that sticker.

Wish me luck!

perspective

Age is Just a Number, Right?

14, 19, 50 are the years I’ve celebrated this month in just my immediate family, aka birthdays. Each requiring different celebrations, gifts, and so on.

Interestingly enough, each year reflects different milestones and challenges that hit in those life periods. This also made me reflect on my elderly parents who sit in their 80’s now. What advice would they pass on? How different was their life at those ages? How different is their life now? What will our futures look like in another 30 years?

Technology alone has shifted our world tremendously. When I think back 19 years I think of 9/11 and Y2K. When I think back almost 50 years, I think about a blissful childhood where life was carefree. No cell phones, no iPads, no frills. When I think back just shy of 14 years, I think of the housing market crash and all the changes that arose from that.

So many questions. So much history lived in just my life journey. Time to saddle up and enjoy whatever life adventures or hurdles come my way in the next several years. Fortunately my blog is an online repository for my future grandkids to sift through and see what life was like through my lens.

Reflection is good. Take a glance at your last ten years. Where have you been, what new adventures have you tackled? If things seem stale in your life, get up and live. Life can pass you by if you just sit still in the easy comfort zone. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. We all still have today so live like there is no tomorrow.

Laugh more. Love many. Live life. Leave your regrets behind.