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electing a new president and lessons learned.

In a matter of days our country will have elected a new President. Well, at least that is what is supposed to happen and with this election year, it is difficult to rely on “what is supposed to happen” as a guarantee.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired. It’s not just this election that has made me weary, it’s the political discourse over the last many years in our country that has made me so. Do we not live in a country that values democracy? At its core, doesn’t that mean that we value the ideal that there are many ways to look at the world and that, ultimately, our goal is to work together despite our differences? I’ve had enough of this at each other’s throats, blame game nonsense and I’d rather see images of our President spontaneously jogging through the White House with his/her dog than making angry faces on TV.

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Here’s your moment of bliss, in this election season.

It seems that many of us are overwhelmed by it all and it is hard to escape. I was intrigued by a recent article in the LA Times. They went to “The Happiest Place on Earth” yes, Disneyland, to see how the election was affecting people. The idea was that
there, people would be a little more optimistic. What they found was interesting – even the happiest place on earth can’t squelch the madness.
A few weeks ago, I posted something on my Facebook page that got a good bit of response, not actually on my page, but in private conversations, texts, emails, messages. Time and again, people wanted to talk about what we can learn from all of this and how we can change ourselves and the world for the better.screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-11-01-40-am

Now while I’m not claiming to be the best at these things, I do think there are some things that we can learn  – and do better at in life. So here you go, just some simple thoughts about what we can learn from this election season…

  1. Learn to apologize – not an “If you were offended by…” or “If I made a mistake…” but a simple, “I’m sorry and I’ll try hard to do better next time.” It’s quite liberating really.
  1. Realize your best intentions may not be how others see it. You know the old saying, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” That.
  1. Someone else’s shortcomings are not an excuse for your own. Period. So, let’s put on our big kid pants and move on.
  1. Remember that simple lesson we learned in kindergarten? Wait your turn and don’t interrupt. If you must, stand there jumping up and down with your hand in the air, but please, for the love of Tina Turner, wait your turn.
  1. There are at least two sides to every story, as right as you think your story is. And its corollary, it’s very easy to take a side when you only know one of them. In a nut shell, educating ourselves on things we don’t know about is a good thing. Like the Dos Equis guy says, “stay thirsty* my friends.” *thirsty for knowledge, though a cold beer and good conversation makes for profound learning.
  1. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. So, if you are in a debate about something, know your facts (verifiable ones, please). And along those lines,  how about we turn the burner down from boil to a nice simmer. I say we revive the days when people could sit and have civil discourse on, well, civics. Break out the School House Rock videos and make a party of it.
  1. Comparison is the thief of joy. I’ve realized this in parenting, but it is true in all arenas of life. Sure, you can compare apples to oranges, but isn’t it tastier to just make the dang fruit salad and enjoy it?
  1. As tragically humorous as some of this is and all the great punch lines for jokes and SNL skits it generates, this is real stuff that matters because it’s ultimately about people – not just us as individuals, but We the People (you remember that phrase, right?).
  1. Play well with others. In the end, we are all going to have to play well together or we will all be sitting on the bench during recess and that is no fun. [cue the pouty face.]

And perhaps the most important lesson of them all…

  1. If you loved someone before this whole thing started, you should still love them once it is all over. Don’t let your relationships be based on sound bites and Facebook posts (and do us all a favor – don’t let your vote be based on them either).

So, friends, there you have it. I would love to hear what you are learning…

 

 

 

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In my mind’s eye…

Y’all, I get grief from all sorts of people about having my phone with me almost everywhere I go. (Let’s be honest, I do have my limits so not EVERYWHERE, but we will leave it at that!) I love my iPhone. I’ll admit it. I have a sacred attachment to it. And it’s not for the reasons that you may think.  Yes, I like a regular social media fix and it is both a blessing and a curse to be able to check my email any time from anywhere, but that’s not why my iPhone is my trusted companion. I love my iPhone because it has the ability to be my mind’s eye.

Notice something online that I want to remember? Grab a screen shot. See something in a magazine I want to make note of? Snap a photo. That delicious meal that was plated so perfectly? Capture it before I devour it. I’ve read somewhere that iPhones are ruining our ability to remember on our own. That makes me giggle. I don’t need to blame a phone for that, I can take care of that just fine on my own thank you very much.

img_1946It’s more than all of that – and more than the 12,000 pictures I currently have on my phone (yep, you read that right) – though it has everything to do with memories.

Last summer while working to plant trees on a mountainside in Guatemala with AIR Guatemala, the wind began to blow and I was overwhelmed by the sound.  It was as if the trees erupted in magnificent applause. At the last second, I pulled out my phone and immediately hit “video record” without even knowing or caring what video was being captured – I simply yearned to remember the sound.

A child blowing out the candles on her birthday cake just yesterday has become a moment none of us will forget and, not only will we not forget, we can share that moment with others.img_0984

Or when I was out for a run and passed a honeysuckle bush and immediately thought of sitting on the back porch of my grandma’s house.  I knew that I needed to take a picture to keep that treasured memory alive.  I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

img_3954I know, I know. Feel free to roll your eyes. Feel free to remind me that sometimes the memory of something is enough. And I know all too well that a photo or video can’t truly capture the beauty of every moment. But there are times, times when my mind’s eye draws a blank and I remember that I have a back up.

So, if you see me pulling out my phone at times that seem odd or if you wonder what I’m attempting to photograph, just know that there is a moment that I desire to remember and that you just might be a part of it.

 

 

 

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What would Dory do?

Another Disney-loving blogger invited me to be a part of A Month of Finding Dory to celebrate the release of Disney’s Finding Dory – so be sure to check out everything from fun activities for your guppies to how to Disney Bound as Dory – right HERE!fdaf489687

Now, I don’t know about you, but Dory is an amazing hero. I mean the girl can’t remember what she is doing from one minute to the next, but she somehow doesn’t stop. She musters up her courage and her posse and she gets it done. Whatever “it” is.  Dory believes in her own courage even when she can’t remember what she is actually up against. This speaks to me.

I want to be that person. The one who can deal with things on my own terms. When things get rough, I want to feel like I have what it takes to handle it. And I want a group of people around me who know all my issues and who cheer me on anyway.  Nothing standing between me Continue reading

The years are short…

So last week I shared with all of you sweet folks some words of encouragement about the days of Pre-K graduation because my Facebook 7811_10151515238697149_1930052226_nand Instagram feeds were blowing up with sweet babies finishing up their preschool days. Well, today it’s all about high school graduation. Those preschool days were long, but the high school years fly by.

For many of us, what happens next goes something like this…

In a blink of an eye, your gangly freshman is about to be dropped off at college – which, as you recall, is full of men with beards and women who you might mistake for moms on the playground – the same people who gave tours to you and your little high school junior and now they are about to share the same classrooms with her. It is frightening.

For those of you who are in this new stage of life, I have some thoughts for you and they are these: Continue reading

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The days are long…

7811_10151515238697149_1930052226_nMy Facebook and Instagram feeds are overflowing with proud faces, all basking in the glow of cap and gown, pomp and circumstance, diploma and accolade that come with graduation. Pre-K graduation. Yes, those little 4 and 5 year olds are about to embark on the real world and take the place by storm.

It won’t be long before those little ones are smelling up the house with their pre-pubescent funk – of the physical and emotional variety. And then the next thing you know, Continue reading

Mourning the loss

Our community has been shaken this week by the tragic and sudden loss of one of our young people in a car crash that took the lives of three others and has left another in critical condition.  Along with our loss, there are three other communities like ours grieving and another praying like their own life depended on it. And we all fall under an umbrella that binds us together – a university community of which these girls were a part. The circle of grief seems to be ever growing, welcoming us all in. 

Knowing that each of these young women is someone’s baby girl, someone’s childhood friend, someone’s sister, someone’s confidant and late night fast food companion, only widens the circumference to an incomprehensible proportion. Losing someone at such a young age and in such a sudden way feels almost surreal. Multiplying that by 4 only complicates our ability to grasp what is happening.  

I’m no expert on grief, but I do find myself in the middle of it on a regular basis. Part of what I do for a living is walk with people in and through their grief. I offer words of comfort and hope. I provide a shoulder to cry on and sometimes a target to rail at. And one thing I do know is that we grieve not only over the loss of a person, but we grieve over all the intangibles. Without warning that circle of grief turns into an monstrous Venn diagram. 

When I suffered a miscarriage early in a pregnancy, I mourned not only the loss of a child. I mourned the plans that we had begun to make. I mourned the idea of having two children. And even mourned the thought that pregnancy was easy for me. You understand. Anyone who has gone through loss – whether it be loss of life, loss of a job, loss of something else – you know that loss is greater than what others may see. The loss permeates the very air you breathe. 

And so today, we mourn. We mourn a young woman who was kind, funny, faithful. We grieve the loss of her gregarious smile and we mourn the way her eyes squinted so adorably when she did it. There is a loss of who she was in the circle of life and we mourn what that means for her family.

And as we struggle with the acute loss of that precious life, we begrudgingly recognize that we have more mourning to do. The loss of security, control, protection, invincibility. The loss of innocence and independence. The loss of the future looking the way we planned. The list could go on. 

I guess what I’m saying is let’s be gentle with one another in these days, recognizing that we – all of us – mourn the loss in some way. The beauty and tragedy of our humanity is that somewhere our circles intersect. May God give us the strength and courage to hold the pieces of each other’s hearts together even as our own may be breaking. 

Blame it on the rain? I wish.

Life in the fast lane.

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Blame it on the rain? I wish.

I don’t race you. I race me.

Oh, wait. Let’s be honest. If you come up out of nowhere and try to pass me at the finish line – the race is on. Just ask my best running buddy. She will tell you that its all fun and games until that moment. A character flaw on my part? Perhaps. But 99% of the miles, it is just between me and whatever crazy goal I have gotten into my head about how fast (or slow, as the case may be) I would like to finish any given race.

Sometime last summer, I was coaxed into running the Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon by my buddy, Julie of Run. Walk. REPEAT. Julie is an ambassador for the race and she assured me that there it was a flat and fun course and the race wasn’t until April so I had plenty of time to prepare. She had me at flat. You see, that’s when the “PR POSSIBLE” (that’s personal record, not public relations) fireworks went off in my head! I registered immediately.

Now, here’s the thing. When one decides that they would like to run a race for a personal record, one should train with that PR in mind. Am I right? Or let me rephrase that. One should train. Period.

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For half the race, these were my people, but alas…

It’s not like I didn’t train. I just didn’t train enough – far enough, fast enough, enough enough. Something about it being our busiest season at work. Something about taking a 10 day european vacation with my daughter. Something about it being cold. Or rainy. Or the barometric pressure was too high or too low or something. Or something about something. You get the picture.

Long story short. I ran the race. It was indeed a flat and fun course. But all those “somethings” came back to taunt and haunt me while I was out there on that flat and fun course. I would love to blame my virtual collapse at mile 8.5 on the humidity that day (in my defense, it was brutal), but I have no something to blame but myself when I crossed that finish line almost 3 minutes behind my PR rather than 3 minutes ahead of it.

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This picture tells it all.                    It was rough.

Yet, like every good little runner does, I’ve gotten up. Brushed off my Mizuno Wave’s. Put on my favorite “fast” shorts.  And asked Jeff Galloway for some advice on how to run a little faster next time I decide that a PR is in my future…which, let’s be honest, is probably the next race I register for because I am, after all, my own best competitor.

Here’s what Jeff has to say about running faster! And don’t forget to register for this year’s Publix Savannah Women’s Half!

FAST AND FUN—It’s a state of mind 

Why is running faster a good thing?  Short and fast segments not only help you run faster in races.  If you run a few faster segments each week you can improve your running efficiency while receiving a better attitude boost.

How long should you be running before you add some faster running in?  After 2-3 months of regular running some short accelerations can be added with minimal risk of aches and pains.

Is it possible that running fast can actually be fun?  Yes.  The secret is be creative and limit the length of the fast segment at first.

How often should you run fast? Playful speed can be done once or twice a week.

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One of the bright spots on the course! She was an awesome chEARleader!

Four Faster, Fun Workouts
1. Speed play that you can do on your own. ACCELERATE AND GLIDE.  After an easy 10 minute warmup of slow running, pick up the pace for 10 steps, then coast off the momentum for 10-20 steps.  Don’t be obsessed about the number of steps as this is just a guideline.  Don’t sprint–be playful.  Gradually pick up the pace, and then glide back down to a jog.  Repeat 2-3 times on your first attempt, and take a one minute walk break.  Each week you could increase the number of accelerations as you wish, with a recommended walk break of 1-2 minutes between each.

1. Speed play you can do with one friend—CHASE game.  After an easy 5 minute jog together, one person takes the lead.  As the leader changes the pace (speeding up, then slowing down, speeding up) the follower tries to stay close but not pass.  After 3-5 minutes, take a 1-2 minute walk break and repeat with the other runner leading.  Repeat as many times as desired.

2. Speed play you can do with two friends—SURPRISE game. Following the same format as game 1, the follower tries to surprise the leader by passing gently but quickly.  While there should be no sprinting, it is OK to run fast for 10-30 steps to pass.

3. A speed play workout you can do with three or more friends— FOLLOW the LEADER RUNNING.  The group is running single file for a minute or two at an easy pace.  Then, the last runner, passes all of the other runners and takes the lead for a minute or two.  The current leader sets the pace, and takes a walk break.  When the running resumes, the last runner starts to move to the front.  Each runner gets to take the lead at least once in this game.

*I’m honored to be a part of the Galloway Blogger program. They provide tips for bloggers like me to share. Go check out the Jeff Galloway Official Website and find out more about the man and program that got me running and keeps me going!