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.

adventure

Relax Was All She Typed

RELAX!

The one word received by text before I left the country for vacation in the beautiful island of St. Maarten. “Relax”

 How that word sat with me on the plane ride to my destination and beyond. Relax. 

How does a high strung, fast moving girl really relax? Is it possible? The questions that ran through my mind. The soul searching that would happen over the next few days as I figured out if I am capable of relaxing and what relaxing really feels like.

Routine went out the window first thing. No up early to workout. This was a first change of routine in over 4 years. Is this relaxing or was I stressed because I was breaking my routine? I did a shoulder shrug to myself repeatedly when I thought about this change.  Instead of working out hard core, I opted for a casual walk to a quaint little bakery kiosk where I was greeted by a bubbly island girl each morning. A creature of habit, I ordered the same thing each day. A plain but buttery croissant and a jug of orange juice. Both of these are not normal items I would have in the morning or in general but this week was about doing things differently. I was choosing to select differently while on vacation. Maybe not the best choice for balancing carbs / fats / proteins, but for this vacation break I was not worrying about what time I was eating and so on. Just like I wasn’t worried about writing on my blog. I was “checked” out on island time.

Island time is interesting. Everything moves slowly. People are extra bubbly and social. It was easy for me to go to bed early and sleep late each day. I had nowhere to rush to. No deadlines to meet. No bosses to answer to.  I enjoyed the sunsets, the spectacular views, the fresh smells and the people of the island I was on. I had no reason to stress over technology, business or life. There was no rushing to sports practice, no to do list, no deadlines to meet, no bosses to answer to. It seemed there were smiles everywhere. Workers smiled and greeted you at every interaction. Guests were cordial even if there was a language barrier. Island life is definitely slow. It seems to take 2-3 hours for a meal. Food is fresh, service is slow but pleasant, atmosphere is always “happy.”

At last a relaxing time of do something, nothing or whatever strikes my fancy. I snorkeled, enjoyed fish and shipwrecks in the waters below, ate many varieties of food, tasted a new drink called “ting,” rode a horse in the ocean, enjoyed a massage, and met many friendly faces. A few notable friends are described below:

New York – A sweet and sassy woman from NY whom I shared giggles with on my snorkeling trip but then found out she stayed at my resort. We bumped into each other multiple times making us new friends. 

Nix – A bus driver that was a bit quirky. He didn’t smile much and had a long face. He said the word “WOW” a lot. His quirkiness was memorable and his driving skills were interesting to say the least.

The New Zealanders – An older couple I met on a tour. A whole day spent with strangers who had a funny accent but enjoyed learning about our cultures as much as we did theirs. They arrived by cruise ship, us by plane. A chance encounter but one that left many memories. I especially enjoyed eating lunch with these new friends while we learned so much about our different countries. Again, a chance encounter that was very insightful.

John – A taxi cab driver turned tour guide. He picked us up in town at random for a ride back to the resort. He shared his cooler of drinks and gave us his card for his side hustle (tour guide). We booked a tour with the kind gentleman and spent another full day learning about the island from him. His charm, his humor, and his knowledge was a big part of our trip memories.

The cookie man – There is a cookie man and he works in a cheese shop. It may sound weird but he serves the freshest almond paste cookies at the cheese shop when you check out. These cookies were so amazing we went back for more a few days later. He was all out but he offered to make a special batch the next day. We couldn’t wait. We went back out of our way to meet the cookie man at the cheese shop to buy tons of cookies to bring home for our families. Do you think any actually made it home?

AJ – The jeweler, the joker, the hard worker. The friendliest jeweler in town. Oh, how he added to my memories this week. AJ was another chance encounter. I met a wonderful older lady on my plane ride to the island. She had been visiting this island for years and mentioned I should visit AJ should I desire any jewelry this trip. Of course I had to check out AJ and see what all the hype was about.

As you can see from the post above, I relaxed and enjoyed my island vacation, but more importantly I met new people. The kind souls that made my memories will be forever cherished. Some I will never see again, while others I hope to see sometime in the future should I make it back to this island. I never set out to meet new people nor did I have a specific goal in mind for my trip. In the end I had a great time and have an awesome memory book of the time spent on St. Maartin.

My travel time was just right. Enough time to enjoy the relaxing life yet not too long to miss out on all that requires my time on the daily on the home front. I am thankful for many things after this week. Too many to list. As thanksgiving has recently past, I will just say I am thankful for the “relax” text as it set The tone for my week. Thank you, Kim, for the one word text! I appreciate you.

My vacation time was spent on the friendly island of St. Maarten. I spent most of my time on the Dutch side, however I did visit the French side as well as visit Anguilla and Prickly Pear on the British side. I highly recommend travel to St. Maarten and I encourage you to fly a big airline vs. a discount airline. If you make it there be sure to visit the beach by the airport to watch the planes land. It is definitely an experience.

I am leaving you with a few snapshots of my trip. It is my hope that you find some peace in the tranquil pictures. They are meant to spur thought of relaxation and happiness.

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adventure, balance, Teddie Aspen

Neglected

Neglected is the word that comes to mind when I think of this blog site in the last 30 days.

As I shake my head in disappointment, I actually remind myself that I was busy making memories and just didn’t have a free moment to share the glimpses of these memories with the world. A temporary state of course, which means I will most likely be posting repeatedly in the coming weeks and months to ensure this blog moves into an elevated status instead of a neglected status.

This blog isn’t always about life but sometimes it is. Life for me is good, but hectic. The holidays are upon us which add chaos to any family, but I definitely had a busy six weeks or so full of personal and professional travel. Stay tuned for updates via the blog.

On top of the above, I welcomed the cutest little bundle of joy to my family. Not a baby, well maybe a baby. My baby. The cutest little Golden Doodle puppy who answers to the fabulous name of Teddie Aspen. Since a picture is worth a thousand words I am going to leave you with a few of my favorite pics of Teddie. I am warning you I will probably post many, many more through the year as I document training and other puppy stuff under the Teddie Aspen header.

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fitness and nutrition

Train, Train, Train

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It all started in July, when I ran my best 10k time at the Peachtree Road Race on 7/4/19. I was bitten by the running bug…sort of?!?!?!

How can I get better? What’s my next goal? I really don’t enjoy running and I really don’t have a runner’s physique. Oh well, we will put these thick thighs to the test in a couple of months.

I got an invite to do a 1/2 marathon. Boom. I signed up. I asked a few friends to join in. Now it’s time to train, or pretend to be trained, by the starting gunshot.

I progressed with weekly walk/jogs on Sundays with whomever I could get to train with me and I added in some extra meters on the air runner at my box when I had time.

3 mile run/walk on a stretch of road with gym buddies. 6 mile walk with the girls. 5 mile pacer in the park. Sundays at 7am are now my training runs. So many miles. Sprints were tossed in as well as some time on the air runner. Hoping to get better form and a better pace. Not to mention looking for longer stretches of mileage without taking a break.

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Two new pairs of shoes. Nike Air Pegasus 35’s which I ran the Peachtree in and Nike Zoom Romero with a little more cushion. I was told to alternate them in my training so I could decide which one I liked the most and then the one pair wouldn’t be worn out. Wonder which ones will make the cut for race day?!?!

So far I’m voting for the Air Pegasus but time will tell.

I like shoes and Nike shoes might be an addiction so I won’t complain about buying another pair. Maybe the Pegasus 36’s. We shall see.

I almost forgot, I got a sweet note from one of my training partners this week. It was a great way to celebrate the the training journey with a friend. See the photo for a glimpse of my note.

I’ll try to post each month on my training progress. Stay tuned.

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fitness and nutrition

It’s a 1/2 but it’s a start

ktend5

Today I registered for my first 1/2 marathon. I might be crazy but in about 4 months I will walk, jog, or crawl over that finish line.

I will blog about my training along the way and of course the emotions that will go along with the whole process as well.

I have 5k’s, 10k’s and one 15k in my past, but never a half marathon. My running spans over 20 years but I’ve never been a runner, if that makes sense. I am more of a 50-yard-dash kind of girl. Quick and easy and over before you know it. I also never really ran any of those races start to finish…they all had a mix of breaks built in.

Why a 1/2 marathon? I got a push from my oldest son to sign up and guess what? I took the bait. Now it’s time to see if I can get some friends in the mix.

My most recent 10k time was 1 hour 16 minutes in the July heat. I am aiming for 2 hours 30 minutes for the half marathon. Can I do it? Let me know what you think my finishing time will be. An online bet of sorts. Send us a message with your best guess!

Wish me luck! And don’t forget to send me tips if you are an avid runner.

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!

adventure

Summer Adventures, Part 2

Sarasota, Florida was the destination and adventuring was the name of the game.

Girls trip time. 5 girls in tow. 3 teens and two mommas ready to see what they can cram into a few days at the beach destination.

Roof top swimming upon arrival. What a blast to see the sun set and enjoy the atmosphere after some time in the car. Some quick photos for the girls by the moonlight. Early rise to travel the town by bike the next day. The bike seat was nothing short of uncomfortable but it was a beach bike and it was on our must do list. We rode to the bay and explored away. Uncomfortable? Maybe, but adventure nonetheless.

We unexpectedly found a bike decorated at the bayfront near a tiki bar. We were not sure if it was a symbol of death by the water as it was decorated in white and was somewhat angelic. Boy, were we wrong! It was a symbol of peace and and we discovered this after asking about the history of the bike at the hotel. And then our unexpected adventure began…

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How many of the randomly decorated bikes could we find in the next few days? The next one was the mustard yellow one on the corner and then the old school ten speed adorned with flowers in the park. How many more will we find?

 

 

We stumbled on a kids bike decked out in print but somebody actually wrote junk not art on this one…check out the seat in the pic. Each bike is chained to a post of some sort and they are randomly scattered across the city. Next up was pink cheetah print. This one might have been one of my favs but that’s because we found this while driving and had to make a u-turn to snag a photo.

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We were on a scavenger hunt of sorts. We found a baby blue bike on the shore just over the bridge after a day on the beach. We made this a photo opportunity for our crew at sunset. We had to bang another u-turn again to catch the butterfly bike and then we caught the odd bird house bike at red light the last day we were in town.

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Unexpected adventures can yield to unexpected fun, just like the group of new friends we had dinner with one night. All types of backgrounds came together to chill and enjoy some conversation, cocktails and food. Unplanned, unexpected good times.

And the last bike we found was a scary octopus looking bike full of scales of some sort. What a whirlwind adventure that was unplanned. We got to learn a little about a local artist while on our trip and just got to share in some sleuthing with the girls as we were out and about each day.

Fun Friday was set aside for the beach and I was on a mission. I had to complete a handstand challenge. A handstand unassisted on the beach. In public. In my bathing suit. Feet kissing and no assistance. Can miracles happen? Well I had been practicing in the weeks approaching the trip and I was confident, but I never even attempted a handstand on a soft surface like the sand. Would I fall over? Would I chicken out? Would my friend capture the moment for proof?

Well, I am happy to report it’s a done deal. I sealed the deal and can officially take this off my bucket list. It might not be the prettiest handstand but it’s a freestyle handstand. No wall to catch me. No support. Just me putting in work. My day, my week and my month was complete in that very moment.

 

#goalgetter even on vacation. I mean, my pal David told me it’s not a beach trip until you do a handstand on the beach so hopefully I will continue to be fit enough as I age to continue this new beach tradition with whomever my travel mates are.

And then there was the cherry on top…. the young girls did handstands with me. A triple threat. A handstanding trio. That’s modeling, folks. Lead by example and people around you will want to level up and see what they can do, too. None of us were gymnasts. We just wanted to do beach handstands. And handstands we did.

Done and done. A few short days of rest and relaxation along with car ride giggles and snacks and of course late night chats and tropical frose drinks. Can’t complain about the adventures I had these past few days.

Wonder where my summa adventures will take me next time. I bet it will be stateside but you never know. Stay tuned!

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