Three Years Ago Today…

I love when Facebook reminds me I have memories to look back on, Friends. This morning I was reminded of some unusual things I did three years ago today that I will never forget!

Like at 3 am, when we made a renegade 30 minute trip to Mexico. And soon after, I could easily have been mistaken for a homeless person or gunshot victim when I found myself resting on the sands of Mission Beach…my first, but very short visit to San Diego.

Why? I was exhausted from the night that began partying and running amok in Vegas, then roadtripping for a midnight cookout on Big Bear Lake in California. So, yeah…I was tired, but there was little time to rest because we needed to watch the sun rise and then skedaddle back toward Vegas with our hair on fire while stopping briefly, and often along the way, to do some bizarre things.

The day had just begun and we still had LOTS to do, like a quick run through Red Rock Canyon on zero sleep before the clock ran out!

Does this sound like insanity? It was far more than that…it was the craziest fun I ever had! You can read more about our Questival, the 24 hour adventure race we crushed here.

Though the members of my amazing team, The Aquanauts, are scattered to the four corners of the Earth these days and our lives have all drastically changed since that adventure, I know it is an experience none of us will soon forget. I still can’t believe what luck put this 40-something on a team with these 20-somethings. They have no idea how important that event and their acceptance was in shaping who I am today.

I’d lost a ton of weight, transformed my body and life, battled back from some tough injuries sustained in a car accident, just waiting for my next game-changer. Little did I know Questival was merely the springboard of many crazy-awesome endeavors yet to come, but will remain my favorite race of all time!

Today I look back on those 24 hours and remember the feeling of just being a kid again. I never expected to be able to stay awake for the entire event, but was so stoked by the outcome, I had trouble coming down off the adrenaline high we all shared for hours after.

Though it’s been three years, it seems like only yesterday we made this shenanigan-filled memory happen. And because Facebook keeps reminding me, I will continue to make plans and go places to keep this middle-aged mom a forever young kid at heart! I can’t think of a better way to put my Best Foot Forward!

 

 

 

52 Fridays…Who Lifts You Higher?

Friends, these Fridays seem to come faster every week! So, you know what time it is…

Take some time to get cozy this weekend with your journal and beverage. Take a few deep breaths and find your calm. Now think about those around you, your family and friends, and consider this…

Do they lift you? Do you lift them? Put some effort into taking a closer look at your relationships. Observe what you notice, then pause with gratitude for those you hold dear.

 

40 Bags in 40 Days

Friends, I completed the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge last year with great success. What is it, you may ask? Today marks the beginning of Lent, and in observance of those 40 days of preparation, I’m choosing to spend a few minutes each day from now until Easter filling a daily garbage or grocery bag with items from around the house…those things that sit, unused. Here’s my bag from today…

It was quick and simple to do, as I’d already set some things aside to donate before even considering that I ought to participate in this challenge once again. Today’s bag holds a sweatshirt, 3 dress shirts, a couple tshirts, a sweater, two workout tops, 2 sets of patio glasswear, a set of formal dining napkins, a toy I made a while back, a few books, a skein of yarn and a few unmentionable odds and ends.

Friends, I didn’t even scratch the surface! But I remember what great progress I made on last year’s clutter and know it will happen again. And that’s a very good thing, because we recently found out a family member will be moving in with us this summer while she completes her college internship throughout the next school year. This is the perfect opportunity for me to let it all go in preparation!

I intend to take this challenge a step further, just as I did last year. Upon filling a bag each day, I will then drive it to Goodwill on my way to my gym just down the street…see where I’m going with this…can you say ACCOUNTABILITY?!?

I remember noticing throughout last year’s challenge how things began to feel lighter, airier. And, what a great way to get a jump on spring cleaning because even though I just returned from Florida yesterday…I have cabin fever lol!

Friends, feel free to join me in this gradual purge of stuff; decluttering is quite cathartic! And one more way to put our Best Foot Forward. With 39 bags left to go, I’m off to get a jump on that next one!

 

52 Fridays…Wherever You Go…

Happy 52 Fridays, Friends! Grab that journal, your pen and a cup of coziness! This week’s journaling adventure finds me here, in the beauty and warmth of Florida…

It’s easy to just be in a place this soulful. And that really got me thinking about the locations and life circumstances where it’s not quite as simple. This is something I’m doing some work with in my own life and thought it might speak to others too. So consider how you deal in every situation…

Take these wise words from Confucius…try them on for size. Turn them over in your mind and heart and explore within…is this how you roll? If not, is it how you want to? Turn to a fresh page in that journal of yours and enter the adventure of you.

 

Boobs, If You Love Them, Check Them!

Friends, I’m traveling to Jacksonville, Florida this evening on a mission…

Two years ago this weekend, I came together with some childhood friends to participate in a half marathon among other things. It was a great opportunity to catch up with one another and we had plenty of time to do that because we walked every last step of that 13.1 miles together.

This was a great event right there on the streets along beautiful Jacksonville Beach. The weekend was created in 2008 by a three-time breast cancer survivor, Donna. It has become the wildly popular and successful annual Donna Marathon Weekend to FINISH breast cancer.

Back in 2016, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really there to support breast cancer, I was there to share a good time with friends…

As we worked our way along the course, there was a party on every corner! There were lots of posters with boobie humor, and many spectators came dressed for the occasion…like this boob-loving ape!

It was easy for someone like me who was not personally touched by breast cancer to miss the point; I simply viewed the finish line as a fun accomplishment…

But for some reason, my attitude changed. As I looked through the photos from that weekend, they spoke to me…especially the one with the ape. It suddenly occurred to me, I was LONG overdue for a mammogram. And I’m sure glad it did, because as soon as I returned from Jacksonville, I scheduled an appointment.

When one mammogram became another, then an ultrasound, and a biopsy, I slowly began to gain a wider understanding of what that weekend was all about. I was really lucky, though, Friends, my biopsy came back benign. But because the tumor was precancerous, my team wanted that thing out…and that’s when it started getting very real for me. A lumpectomy was my next hurdle.

I’d been working with a health coach prior to (and during) all of this, and I was in a really good place. Rather than fearing the worst throughout the process, I kept my thoughts in check. I kept reassuring myself, and everyone worried for me, that this was nothing until it was something. And at that point, it was still nothing.

Again, Friends, I was very lucky. Blessed, rather. My post-op pathology also came back clean. AMEN!

You’d better believe I made my annual appointment the very moment I could for the following year, where something else turned up, but was much less than last year.

This was all fresh on my mind as I decided to do Donna’s half again this year, as I registered for the event months back, and as I packed this morning. So much so, I called radiology to schedule my appointment for this year before I left for the airport. I’m not due to go back until May, but you’d better believe I will be there and every year from now on!

I look forward to this weekend. I’ve learned my lesson and I know this half will be less about the laughs and ALL about the gratitude!

 

52 Fridays…Exist or Live?

It’s already here again, Friends; Happy Friday! Reserve a few quiet moments for yourself, grab that journal, get cozy and let’s reflect on 52 Fridays-Week 5!

Lately, when I observe myself doing something, I measure it against our quote for this week. In doing so, I know if that action/behavior serves me or not.

Take some time to really look at your current life. If you find yourself merely existing, is that all you hope for? What would it take for you to live? I mean wholeheartedly, deliberately living on and with purpose?

Or maybe you are already living but still desire more?

Let the thoughts and ideas come and simply allow them to pour across your page. You might be surprised by what emerges. Study it. Try it on for size. How does it feel? Is it what you want?

Friends, it all boils down to this…do we want to take life as it comes or go forth with intention?

Stronger Than Ever!

Friends, I began my day the same way I always do. I reached for my very broken-in copy of Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. I’ve read this daily bit of encouragement for many years now. It’s uncanny just how closely each excerpt resembles what I encounter throughout any given day…the perfect dosage of exactly what I need! Some days are downright intense with resonance and realization. Today’s entry was an extreme example; one I was not expecting! It was Jesus telling me he is my strength and my shield, not to wonder what is on the road ahead, or waste energy worrying…when I’m afraid, I should remember he is my shield. And the big kicker…”My Presence watches over you continually, protecting you from both known and unknown dangers.”

The strong reverberation echoed clear to my soul; I remembered why this passage struck me so. Today is an odd anniversary for me. Four years ago tonight, that protection was perfectly demonstrated…

Those of you who’ve been with me for a while recall how Eric and I got up close and personal with a pickup truck, and you might remember the evidence of some heavenly protection buffering the impact…

If you missed this part of my journey, you can catch up with a post from 2016 and 2017 that demonstrate how my healing has ventured far beyond the physical!

I’ve made some great progress in how I remember January 31, 2014. I know I must have read the same Jesus Calling passage that morning, I just never expected to be on the receiving end of such immense protection that evening. As I read it again this morning, I understand more and more what that night was all about. My perspective has continued to shift from the challenges and struggles that night imparted toward what profound gifts were bestowed…blessings of survival, gratitude, a fresh new journey toward more strength than I ever thought I could embody, a deep appreciation for a good samaritan and rockstar paramedics (my son will officially be one in May). Yeah, thinking about it now hits me straight in the feels all over again!

Another gift I’ve been granted from that evening is the return visit of chronic pain each time the clouds bring forth a new storm. I can seriously forecast the weather with it! I no longer associate this pain with self-pity; my fresher perspective reminds me that pain is proof that I’m still here and I have important work to do!

Friends, if you are struggling with something tough right now, I’m really sorry! But I encourage you to look at what the bigger picture is telling you. Can you adopt a wider, more positive perspective on what is actually going on?

I keep coming back to this quote I swiped off Facebook. I was not ready to understand its truth the first weeks, months, years following that night of trauma, but it makes perfect sense to me now.

Thanks for having our backs and helping me be prove this true, JC!

 

10 Ways to Win Your Week

Friends, I spent some time looking at the week before me…it’s a busy one. But I’m looking ahead for very good reason; I’m setting an intention, right now (as always), to be mindful of my time in order to win my week. Because when I do, I feel like this…

See, if I don’t gaze forward in awareness of upcoming events and possible triggers, the week will likely have its way with me, leaving unwanted consequences in its trail. By taking a peek at my upcoming week and making a plan of attack, I’ve already decided to win my week. Here are 10 ways I plan to do just that…

1. Set yourself up for success in the kitchen. If that means running to the store today, do it! Ensure that you have plentiful healthy food options that are ready for those on-the-go times throughout the week when you’d ordinarily make less than stellar choices. Keep some snacks handy throughout your day so you don’t even have to think…just refuel. If you want to take it a step further, purge all the junk that’s lurking in your cupboards!

2. Schedule your workouts. Look at your planner and place your workouts within. You will be far more likely to follow through if you’ve already made a plan of action. I promise!

3.  Invite company to the fun. If you’ve decided to try a new class, take a break or lunchtime walk, attempt a new hike or adventure, or are just doing the same-old same-old take a friend along. It will feel less like a chore and more like a party with a family member, co-worker or bestie. Better yet, this person may turn out to be the best darn accountability buddy you’ve ever had.

4. Hydrate! Even though it’s winter and you may feel like you need it less…drink that water! Shoot for the recommended 64 ounces per day.

5. Make sleep a priority. Sometimes we have to get protective of our time to accomplish this, but you are worth it! Sleep goes way beyond just feeling rested…there are all kinds of important benefits/restoration a good night’s sleep provides your body. And did you know, the National Sleep Foundation recommends adults between 18-64 years of age get 7-9 hours of sleep per night? Work on it!

6. Do what you love! Carve out a bit of time each day doing something you love. Whether that’s reading, crafting, gardening, playing a game, catching the latest episode of your inspiring podcast or simply meditating…do it!

7. Plan something to look forward to. Whether it’s setting a goal, registering for an event or planning a datenight, getaway or trip, put something on the calendar and make it happen. Without something to work toward, train for or eagerly await, we can feel stuck simply going through life’s daily motions.

8. Defend your time. Are you one of those people that says yes to all those extra commitments, only to find yourself feeling bogged down, trapped and overwhelmed? The magic word here is NO! Use it, mean it and don’t forget saying no to other people means saying yes to your wellbeing.

9. Don’t forget self care! This is also known as me-time. It is not selfish to do something kind for yourself, it’s necessary. Take time for a calming massage, soothing bath, facial, pedicure or nap. Take care of you! I challenge you to take it a step further and put ME-DAY on your calendar for an entire day each month and treat yo self. You will be amazed at how this enhances the rest of your month!

10. Look at the bright side. It’s there, within every situation, so look for and find the bright side in everything rather than dwelling on the negative. It might be tough at first, but you will find that silver lining if you take the opportunity to look. This is a most meaningful step toward a lifetime rich in gratitude.

This may seem like a lot to juggle, but the good news is it’s not rocket science. Start small in embracing these 10 practices; soon they will become second nature. Friends, have a great week and reach for the WIN!

52 Fridays…Get The Weight Off Your Shoulders

Happy Friday, Friends! It’s that time once again…

Grab your journal, pen, calming beverage, (maybe fuzzy socks?!?) and ease into that comfy chair.

Today I’m exploring all that stuff I still carry around. That baggage that weighs us down. Do you know what it is for you? It makes not only climbing, but mere moving a difficult chore. Is this any way to go through life?

Put a name to each of these weights. Take a deep breath in as you read one at a time. And with each exhale, one by one, LET. THEM. GO!

It may be far easier said than done; I know, I’d been carrying the weight of the world on my tired shoulders for years, but the sooner we release that heaviness, the quicker we can begin a pretty phenomenal ascent up toward a lighter, happier life.

Spend some time with this today, tomorrow, this weekend. Find those things you can breathe into, to see if you can let something go.

Our 52 Fridays quote really says it all…

Let’s all find a way to just climb.

52 Fridays…Time Flies!

Happy Friday, Friends! It’s that time of week again already. If you haven’t joined us yet for 52 Fridays, today is the perfect time to begin!

Grab your journal, a favorite pen, a calming beverage…find a few quiet moments and ease into a comfy place.

I have such a hard time believing we are three Fridays into 2018 already…how is that possible? Where in the world is the pause button? The concept of time is something I struggle with again and again, so I thought I’d look deeper today.

I cracked open my planner and the proof was right there…in the day-to-day busyness. I am continually reminded if I don’t make a conscious effort to schedule time for ME, it doesn’t happen. I’m digging into this with my journal today…

So there’s our quote for the week.

Let this idea soak in, turn it over in your mind. Close your eyes and breathe. What does it mean for you? How will you let this idea shape the rest of today? Or the weekend? The rest of this month? How will you navigate the remainder of 2018?

Remember, you’re in the pilot’s seat!