inspire, perspective

Excitement

Who doesn’t like a little excitement in their life? Who doesn’t get excited on a regular basis?

A big vacation starts tomorrow. The feeling of excitement hits you and sleep is no longer an option. The first day of school is upon you. Many emotions pass through your mind but one is definitely excitement to see what the day will hold. A birth of a new family member. Nerves are a-blazing but excitement is in the air. The examples are limitless in my mind.

Excitement is around us. It’s a word but also a feeling. Some show it visibly differently than others and that is okay. For me excitement is easily visible and can even be contagious.

My eyes light up. My curiosity is sparked. My brain fires on all cylinders. I engage others around me. Excitement is a stimulant to me in a way that many may not understand.

I feel excitement in my core and it radiates around me. I can wake up excited for the day where others are slow off the block or need coffee for arousal. This is what I mean when I say I feel excitement in my core. No dusting off needed to arouse my excitement, it sits at the core of my existence.

Some days it’s shaken and stirred. Other days the excitement becomes an inferno. It’s somewhere in between the reckless inferno and shaken when my mind works the best.

I am excited today and thus I decided to write. I often write in the morning when my senses are awakened with excitement. Content flows. Ideas go into the journal. Plans are made. Action is taken. Most of which happens before one gets up and has their morning coffee.

I am fond of the word excitement. It’s part of my aura. It’s part of my story. For now I will take my excitement off this page and into the world as it awaits. And there are some folks out there in the world that don’t appreciate my excitement. I have to assume it’s because their life is boring but I waste no time on that negativity. I just do me. Exciting me whenever possible.

I hope the word excitement has sparked some thought for you today. The post was meant to send you in that direction of excitement.

perspective

The Vault

The word vault came up in a conversation recently while I was visiting with the girls in the park one Sunday afternoon. Of course the visit was 6 feet away but it was a much needed time together for a group that missed each other immensely during the corona pandemic. Fresh air. Freedom. Fun with friends. Some of my favorites things in one place.

When the word was said I immediately thought bank vault. Where you store the gold blocks as you see in the bank heist movies. Then I drifted a bit in my mind and thought of the vault in track and field competitions, aka pole vault. Two different meanings of the same word.

In the conversation the vault was referred to as a memory bank as in your brain. The short- and long-term memories we all have and where they are stored, filed away or compartmentalized. The good, the bad, the ugly. All of the above is in essence in each person’s vault. We each have the ability to store, re-engage, or erase the items in our vault at our sole discretion. The power we have with such an important storage facility. Will this memory bank give us strength and comfort or does it provide stress we keep holding on to?

As I drifted off thinking about this word, I knew a post would be forthcoming as soon as I had moment to write. What’s in my vault? What do I re-engage and what do I purposely disconnect? So much to think about. So much power and will. Is this emotional intelligence?

That makes me wonder what is in others’ vaults. Is there happiness? Is there sadness? Is there emotional stress? Is there financial baggage? Everyone has skeletons in their closets or maybe I should say skeletons in their vaults. We all have the choice of when we open the vault, who we share the keys to our vault with and if we ever use what’s in the vault to provoke others.

As I was writing this I drifted many times into thoughts of the word vault and its variables. I thought of many trips to churches over my life and the powerful vaulted ceilings I saw over the years. The detail. The power. The design. What does my vault look like inside my brain? Clearly it’s my design but is it unique, is it an architectural dream or is it made of inferior material?

I actually know what my vault looks like in my mind. I know if it’s easily accessible or not. How many people have a secure vault and how many don’t? That’s more of the mystery to me but I’m a people person and I am genuinely intrigued by the complexity of humans.

I will ponder thoughts over my vault for days I am sure. I will be curious of the contents of others’ vaults around me as well. It may be the contents of said vaults that cause poor responses in times of challenge or struggle. Since we are in the midst of a pandemic I just thought I’d share this word and possibly my wisdom or rant regarding it.

The word vault. The mystery. The memories. The mind fuck. That’s the vault in my eyes.

inspire

Choose Joy Today

I understand Corona is getting the best or worst of many these days. It’s been a month since official lockdown has shut many operations down.

With that being said the news gets uglier everyday. Talk of death, sadness, disease, shortages and so on. I choose not to watch because it sucks the life out of me.

On the same track social media is equally disgusting. Most days there are posts from those crying poor me, giving political rants, or worse slamming others because of their own personal dissatisfaction of circumstances. Most days I have to mute social media outlets because it can be draining.

What’s crazy is some people post away without thinking of who they may offend. If you are a business owner it could be a returning client you isolate. If you are a parent it could be your school teacher neighbor you anger. If you’re tired of being cooped up and give a medical rant you might be pissing off that very important healthcare worker that is in your network.

The value of social media can be far reaching but so can its hurt. Most people learn as adults to cool off before you type your feelings in an email or online. Right now this is an important lesson many may need to hear more than once.

Guess what people. I’m choosing joy. I’m choosing to tune out the negative news, negative people and negative ranters online. Bye. Gone. Ghosted. Just like that. My mental health doesn’t need your toxicity.

I clearly don’t need negative when I open my mail and see happy mail. Cards, letters, postcards or even porch drops of sweetness. I had the best homemade salsa delivered by a pal to my surprise. I had many lift-me-up note cards in the mail like the one below. All with uplifting messages. The one below is from an amazing healthcare worker on the front line. She has taken the time to send out hope cards to her friends. The world needs more of this and less negativity.

We are all in this Corona mess together. Everyone has limited opportunities yet we all have the opportunity to choose joy over hatred or sorrow. There are already impacts near and far. Healthcare workers and caregivers are getting sick or dying. This is real people. It’s not a conspiracy theory to shut your business down.

About a month ago I posted about what was taken away. The separation of my dad and mom at their age due to visitation restrictions. The loss of connection. This will last well past when most get off stay-at-home orders due to the risk category elderly fall into.

I can’t fix those circumstances but I had opportunities to offer hope and positivity in out of the box ways. I mailed a care package filled with his favorite candies to my dad so he would know people outside were thinking about him. We integrated Facetime visits whenever possible and that in itself can be challenging for those in their 80s. I designed a cool shirt for my mom and dad’s 59th anniversary that will most likely be spent apart. Not ideal situations but we are coping with the options afforded us. At the same time appreciating the lockdown to keep him and others safe within his facility.

As shown on the news, the elderly can be wiped out fast if this virus hits an assisted living place with common living areas much like a cruise ship. It’s messages like this on the news that can rattle one’s cage. I know this when I see my mom worrying about my dad after a news segment. Choosing the joy in the situation can overshadow the negative if you choose.

Crazy to think about but staying home can help if you think about the big picture. The keepsake below will help my folks ring in 59 years apart this year. It is their only anniversary apart to date but they still have each other and that a blessing. Choose joy everyone. Corona can’t take that away from you.

Speaking of time, it’s so precious. As I write this heartbreak has hit close by. A loss of a bright young soul to suicide. Yes this is real. As humans we are social. When people are confined to their homes others can’t see those suffering signs. Some will choose the only solution they see viable to their perceived problems. It’s sad but I know more will follow. Suicide, PTSD, substance abuse and depression are current issues impacting many. That’s not a conspiracy theory.

I watched my sister work in her garden in the past few days. Lettuce, tomatoes and other veggies are starting to blossom. We as a community will blossom and rise just like a new garden. Some years are more fruitful than others but if you work hard all can sprout.

Times of struggle are upon us all. How we react to this pandemic will show what we are made of and who we are as people. Check on those who seem distant. Be kind. Look beyond you to help others. I can’t emphasize this enough. Make your own garden sprout. A little sunshine, a little hard work, and a little hope will go a long way.

healthy hacks

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

IMG_8113

It’s an age old question…when you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Little known fact about Chick 2:

When I was just a wee one, I wanted to be a mailman, or what we would now call a mail carrier.

At six years old in my childhood home, so many summer afternoons I would watch out the front window starting about 1:00.  The mail would arrive between 1:15 and 2:00.  I’d wait anxiously for the sound…when I heard the stop, start, stop, start of the mail truck, I’d walk down our hilly driveway to intercept our family’s haul.

I’d sift through the daily pile of JC Penneys catalogs, electric bills, and who knows what else and most days find nothing for me.  But once in a while, in amidst all the typewritten envelopes, there would be a piece with my name handwritten on the front. Like a lottery win!

To this day, I LOVE getting personal mail.   Opening a personal letter or card is one of my life’s greatest delights.  Who wouldn’t want to be the person that delivers those, I thought?  Everyone looks forward to seeing you every day and all the treasures you bring!

Life has changed a lot since then.  Not only do I realize that most mail isn’t that exciting, these days most of our communication comes through email, texts, snaps, messages and so on.  Although I’ve given up on the career ambition of delivering mail, I still send mail as often as I can.  In the age of texts and emails, a handwritten letter stands out even more.

Here’s today’s healthy hack for pandemic life: send letters!

In these days of isolation, most of us don’t see each other much, if at all.  We have a need for connection and some of us may have more time since we aren’t commuting, etc. So, I’m sending postcards, uplifting quotes, funny cards, and letters to people far and near.  Sure I still text, but when I want people to pause, when I want them to know they are special, I send it through the mail.

Words are one of the things I enjoy sharing, whether it’s my own words or a well chosen quote. I tried painting watercolors, but it’s just not my thing.  I do enjoy making art, so I added some little accents to cards.  I will keep sending these so, in with all the bills and catalogs and coupon flyers, the handwriting on an envelope can bring someone (or many someones) a smile.  In the end, I still want to be a person who delivers joy when I grow up.

So, unlike many other things today, “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Add pandemics to that list in the US Postal Service’s unofficial motto. I’m grateful for these couriers of kindness.

Who can you reach out to in a different way today? Who needs a lift?

IMG_8030

 

 

dare to be different

Life’s Penalty Box

Growing up I knew about the penalty box. That’s where you got sent in the hockey game when you committed a foul of sorts. Bad behavior I would say in the heat of the moment.

I wanted to go into the penalty box. Maybe not to stay but I wanted to. I told my parents I wanted to play hockey. At the time I was enrolled in figure skating and I was decent and my training partner ended up going to the Olympics years later so I will say I was okay. But in figure skating girls had to wear white skates and sometimes they had fur on them.

I wanted pads, a stick and the black skates like my brothers and the neighborhood boys I played in the street with. My mom was horrified. Where would I dress out? In the hockey room silly…that was my response.

My mother’s response was absolutely not. A locker room is for boys only. They have jock straps and male parts. No way she said. This is the first time I learned about equal opportunity. Despite my mom’s resistance she let me do it. Play hockey that is on the all-boys team.

I’m sure the coach hated getting the token girl but they couldn’t say no because there wasn’t a girls team! Hahaha I thought to myself then and I giggle about it now as well. I had to change in the ticket office season after season. The window office that you pay money at but it had a wood piece covering up the window when I had a game so I could change. Little did I know I was receiving an accommodation because I lacked a penis.

I started on the C line (or the crappy line). I had to show my worth and do everything the boys could do in practice. And oh I sure did. I made it to the B line and then the A line. That’s when I became respected as a contributor. I liked reading my name in the paper each week for goals scored.

I moved on to baseball, not softball. Another no girls allowed club. I tried out for little league team. The powers that be wanted me to play triple-A instead. So I went and whomped on all the little boys and my coach also coached football so he said I’d like her to come play for me. I was excited. Bigger pads and a new sport to conquer.

Only there was a big but. My mom threw down the gauntlet. She said no. No more boy sports. I think she was horrified where my dad was thrilled. It ended up working out okay as high school was approaching and well, I hit my glow up. It worked out better for me to be one of the guys but look good in a dress too so I just went with the flow. How funny is it now that I can be one of the guys but still look good in a dress?!?!

Now as an adult I smile when I see the all-girls hockey teams at the collegiate level, when I see girls crossing over in male dominated sports. Why? Because it prepares the young girls for adulthood.

I fight for a seat at the man’s table more often than I’d like to admit. It sucks but I don’t back down. I have to check the box on applications stating I’m disadvantaged in business meaning I operate a women-owned business. There are so many eyebrows I raise as an adult that are not that different than when I was a kid.

I love my male counterparts, don’t get me wrong. I love their energy, their strength and their abs most days. I do however appreciate a level playing field if we have to compete. That could be a scaled weight in a lifting competition. It could be fair treatment in a business loan application. It could be a fair shot at a head coach position vs. an assistant. I mean you can see this all the way up to the presidency.

The world has come a long way but surely has a long way to go to even out the playing field. Today’s post is all about the modern day sexism that surrounds us all in one way or another.

This post was titled life’s penalty box for a reason. I said I liked to see what it was like to be in the box. The box is full of life lessons. They will be there tomorrow, they are there today and they were there when I was a kid. I embraced the challenge of the box when I was kid and am doing so now as an adult.

Heck I even go in and out of the penalty box within the four walls of my own home. Which gender is expected to cook, clean, do laundry, bring home the bacon, and attend parent conferences? Ahhh the penalty box is somewhat like Pandora’s box.

Since this is a 2 chicks blog site I am entitled to such a rant. Xoxo to any males who read this.

coaching, inspire

Unexpected Motivation

I’m a coach. I love every bit of inspiring young kids. I enjoy watching them surpass their limits without even noticing. I admire the pure joy when they get better. I like to help kids stay fit early on in life. I like building a team or community with diverse players.

I even enjoy the uglier side of coaching. The side that includes a loss by one point or the athlete that has to overcome a bad performance. These struggles are life lessons and those learning the lessons have no idea how valuable those teaching moments were at that time. That’s the hidden beauty I see and get to experience!

As the high school season is about to start for lacrosse, I get to celebrate my past players when they reach a new level. As I was mid-post I got this heartwarming message from a family I coached for many years who now resides in another state:

Hey there, KK made varsity at her new school. She is thrilled, but you’re still her favorite coach😁😁🥍🥍🥍

Being a coach can be challenging but the rewards definitely fill your emotional tank. I had an experience with a young girl this week that I know from a distance. A few years younger than the group I normally take on, but circumstances allowed her to work with me on a special team. This unlikely pairing yielded unexpected motivation.

A great kid. A coachable kid. A hard worker. These are my favorite players to work with. The ones who are like a sponge. Ready to soak up the knowledge and soar. Maybe it’s the age? Could be since the age I’m normally with has hit puberty and normally has a mind of their own along with opinions and attitudes.

She had many firsts in her time with our team. First goal, new friends, new game rules, new field format, and higher level of competition. She attacked it all with a positive spirit, a smile and an “I can do it” attitude. She exceeded all expectations and she was thankful for her opportunity.

If her successes were not the icing on the cake then what was? What made this player special was she told me she wanted to be an author when she grew up and she knew I was an author. She did her research. She was a fan. Not the fan that wanted your autograph but the fan girl that wanted to know about the writing process. How to make her dream a reality.

How to become a writer is much like being an athlete. You have to keep working to get better. You have to have content to write about. You need to be consistently working hard to improve. You need to evolve.

The smile on her face and mine when we made this connection was the beginning of a new relationship. One of a different kind of mentoring. A challenge that I will look forward to. Motivation for both of us. Inspiration for both of us.

She likes a good plot twist. A murder mystery. A novel with a twist. She is well on her way to hitting her lofty goals as a writer.

When I put my head on my pillow as I write this entry I sigh and say life is good. No money was made in this transaction. No strategic planning was needed. Just raw opportunities to inspire another. If that’s not motivation I don’t know what is.

This weekend I traveled with my team. I was their coach. I had a job to do. What I got in return was memories, motivation and an abundance of inspiration. If I was asked to sum up my coaching experience this weekend in one word, I would say amazing.
Simply amazing.

dare to be different, friendship

A Little Chick Story

I am sure some of you are looking for a flirty chick flick type of story, but this is just a chick story about where we got our start. Boring to some but memorable to us.

2 Chicks and a Pen met on the lacrosse field. One chick on each side of the fence which is so symbolic to our overall bond and relation in general. One chick was a coach and one chick was a spectator. A particular spectator who spent most days hiding under an umbrella avoiding the sun, the shade, people, and rain on any given day. The coach however was loud and in-your-face kind of coach which was what made the two most unlikely to be paired in the way we are today.

An unlikely duo developed a friendship first through their kids. Then quickly friends turned into extended family. From there the friendship developed into a deep-rooted partnership that took on the brand that we know today as 2 Chicks and a Pen.

3 children’s books published, a business formed, countless blog adventures documented, thousands of fans around the world, and so many memories made. From napkin scribbles at a local restaurant to book signings to field research destinations, we have experienced so much on our path and we have so more ahead of us.

The picture below shows us running a 15k together this month. We have also run a half marathon, some 5k extreme races and some 10k races together. I’m sure when we started writing together running races wasn’t even a blip on the radar. Now we schedule fitness events throughout the year. This is just one of the ways we have grown in love of fitness, friendship and ability to share stories with others.

The way the story goes, we launched in 3 days according to Chick 2, but that’s fairly inaccurate. We actually have several years under our belt currently. Originally we connected almost immediately but that’s not 3 days or even 3 weeks. We began using writing prompts as a way to get to know each other. We traded countless hours writing and chatting. Trust followed.

Soon after, 2 Chicks and a Pen hatched as a legitimate business entity. Goals were set. Timelines established. Projects mapped out on the horizon. We went on to naturally evolve as writers, motivators, athletes and so much more. Our story is unique to us. Nobody will be able to replicate our vision.

The creative spark we have is definitively categorized as amazing. Our timeline is limitless. Our zest for life and sharing it on a large scale is fearless. Our opposite personalities is part of the dynamic. We just do things the #2chx way.

Our journey has had many twists and turns and ups and downs to say the least. We live life so it’s expected. Juggling families, careers, life and our own personal journeys. Somehow on our path Chick 2 joined the Crossfit movement and hasn’t looked back. We did some research and development on nutrition and used ourselves as guinea pigs. Some of these stories we share on this very blog. That’s just one of the side bars that spun off of 2 Chicks. One of many.

We took the road less traveled. We are a legal business entity. We register our business and pay taxes each year. We have a big online presence yet we are active in our community. We have an expensive hobby but we set out with a goal to improve lives through literacy. Whether we write on paper, print our stories in book form or write online we are communicating in our grandest fashion. We are succeeding at our mission and leaving a literal legacy behind.

Word wizards of sorts. We have so much to share some days that we are busting at the seams. While other days we may suffer from writer’s block and can’t string a sentence together. One chick may hold on to featured articles for days or weeks or even months on end until they reach perfection. One chick may write away fast in the moment but has to rewrite several times to correct typos. It’s a creative process for us. We do it over and over and love every opportunity we can sink our teeth into.

My favorite memory to date is reading our stories to kids and having them ask questions about us, our writing process and the whys behind the stories. When they realize what’s beyond the book itself their curiosity sparks. I want to be a writer! I want to be an illustrator! I want to make a cartoon book with my friend! Those innocent but curious minds are in growth mode. Exposing them to our stories lets them see opportunities for themselves. Infinite opportunities.

Chick 1’s writing process is notably different than Chick 2’s. Neither is wrong or right, just different. We are constantly evolving and choosing our path(s) as we mature in our creative minds. Keep watching.

We appreciate you joining in on our public ride or chickscapades whether it’s one post you read or many. We leave a trail of chick dust here, there and everywhere. You may see us on the web, maybe you follow us on Instagram, maybe you catch our tweets, maybe you are one of our local pals who knows us around town. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, we love you.

As Valentine’s week is upon us. We wanted to share a little of our inside story to you. As a sort of love story for the world. Our love of literacy. Our passion for serving others through words. Who doesn’t love a good back story.

Give us a like online. A social share. Be our Valentine this year. Send us a sweet note. A quick feedback note can let us know what you like about our brand. If you don’t like us it’s okay, we know we are not a one-size-fits-all model. That’s why you can choose to visit our page or invest in our books.

2 Chicks’ next public event is on 2/22/20, an event honoring Veterans and supporting suicide prevention efforts, which is near and dear to both Chicks’ hearts. If you are interested in getting involved check out this link. You can donate online.

http://www.official22wod.com/

Happy Valentine’s week!