Sunday, May 26, 2013

Keeping Your Eyes Open

I just happened upon this blog post I started 9 months ago.  It really doesn't apply to my outlook at the moment, but it serves as a great reminder.  It began as a quote jumped out at me from a book I had been reading.  The quote is still here but I've rewritten the post. 

" some point, it doesn't matter who was right and who was wrong. At some point, being angry is just another bad habit, like smoking, and you keep poisoning yourself without thinking about it."

It isn't often that I take the time to underline a book and pull out a quote.  But this one....this one spoke volumes to me.

I came across this quote at the end of Jonathon Tripper's novel "This Is Where I Leave You"  during a flight to Portland, Oregon last August.  Not a bad book and honestly I can't remember much about the story but I jotted down this quote.

Flashback to the last week of August.  I was sitting on a flight bound for Portland, OR by way of Oakland, CA to meet up with some of my closest LIVESTRONG friends that just a few years ago were complete strangers thrown together in a van for the Hood to Coast Relay.  I was headed to a happy, friendship and let's face it, a fantastic city and part of the country.

But at that time, could I really say I was in a happy place?  Probably not.  I was still going through the motions of picking up the pieces.  Pieces I had ignored after Brian passed away and only became apparent after some personal upheaval the year before.  A year later, I was still struggling to move on.  Because it turns out I was angry and "poisoning myself without even thinking about it."

For those that know me really well, this is so unlike me.  I am not a grudge holder.  I am a forgiver.  But this situation was unforgivable yet it was holding me back.

Coming across this quote.....while I was in a situation with absolutely no distractions.....came at the absolute right time.

Any other time and it would have been missed.  How many other signs had I missed the months before, the year before that would have changed my course, changed my direction, changed my decisions?

What was it that caused this particular moment to exist?

Just a fantastic reminder to all of us that although it may be obvious to some of us the steps one needs to take in their lives at any given isn't particularly obvious to them.  And funny, this quote is something I would have told anyone else - and have always done in my past.  But this one situation blinded me and everything had to be aligned just perfectly for the "light-bulb" to go off.

Even coming across this unpublished blog post today is a complete unknown.  Why today?  

Life just amazes me. 

All the tragedy  sorrow, joy and celebration that we all experience.  And how in each circumstance - dependent upon numerous factors - each can be handled in such different methods depending upon the person and their state of mind at that very moment.

So, as you go forward with your day, your week, your month, your year.....keep an eye open for life's little signals and reminders in the places you don't expect them.  If we don't keep our eyes open for them. we could be stuck in a very different version of our life and self for much longer than we should be.

With that being said, I'll close with one of my most favorite quotes:

"Do not be afraid of death.  Be afraid of the half-lived life." - Laird Hamilton

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Motherless Mother's Day

The death of a mother is the first sorrow wept without her. ~ Author Unknown

A daughter without her mother is a woman broken. It is a loss that turns to arthritis and settles deep into her bones. ~ Kristin Hannah

Another Mother's Day.

My 43rd Mother's Day without my mother.

I have been blessed throughout my life to have plenty of "other mothers" in my life to help fill the void - my sisters, many of my friends mothers, and a wonderful mother-in-law who has always treated me as her own daughter - even more so after her son passed away. (Check out my past two years Mother's Day posts to read more about these incredible women - Our Other Mothers and Sisters as Mothers....Mothers as Sisters)

Yes, I am incredibly lucky to have had all these fantastic women in my life guiding me along life's difficult journey.

However, I would be lying to all of you if I said I didn't feel a void.

I have no memories of my mother but I've missed her my entire life.

Funny to miss something or someone you never knew, isn't it?


It is so very different than the void I have from the loss of my father, my sister and my husband.

But a void all the same.

And one that doesn't seem very apparent very often, but there are times....

....when I was going to my prom

....when I was deciding on colleges

....when I was feeling rejected and sad

....when I realized I was falling in love with Brian

....when I was getting married

....when I was pregnant for the first time

....and the second, third and fourth

....when I miscarried the third pregnancy

....when I struggled as a first time mom

...when I struggled with the loss of my spouse

All those major times in a girls's life that they rely upon their mother for guidance, support and love.

Yes, I have had my sisters and other mothers to fill those voids during those times, but I've always wondered....

What was my mother like?
Am I anything like her?
Would I be a different version of me?
Would I have made different decisions?

Mother's Day often creeps up on me because honestly it wasn't ever a day that was celebrated in my childhood.  Just as Father's Day is not celebrated by my children.

It is a day of reflection on what is missing.  

Although, it is quite wonderful to know that all those things I missed in my lifetime, I am here to do for my children and hope to be here for all of them.

At this time next week, I'll be watching my oldest graduate from high school.  I'm sure he won't think anything special that I'm there because where else would I be?  But I'll be thinking how thankful I am to be there as I recall missing my mom at my own graduation.

Of course, I can't not mention the big villian here.....CANCER.  It was cancer that caused this void in my life.  It was cancer that made me feel all alone and different than everyone else.

In memory of my mother, I am making a donation to LIVESTRONG so others have resources available to them to win their battle with cancer and their children/spouses have a community available to them to help them realize they are not alone.

Please join me in honoring the women in our lives and the mothers other children have lost because of cancer by making a donation as well.
Donate to LIVESTRONG in honor of Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms in my life.  I love you all and am eternally grateful for each of you.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Coming Together Is a Beginning.....

....keeping together is progress; working together is success.

A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

Some cyclists.

       Several runners.

               A widow.

                      A hula hooper.

A kayaker.

       School teachers.


                      East coasters, Texans, Southerners, Midwesterners.

Hockey players.



                       Bird watchers.

A piano teaching bike commuter.

          A cycle shop owner.


                       Cancer survivors.

What do all these have in common?

They all motivate me each and every day.

Back in November I decided to combine my selfish need to hold myself accountable to exercising regularly again and spreading awareness of Movember - the month men grow mustaches to raise awareness of prostate cancer.

So I wrote a blog and introduced the idea of "The 30 Days of Movember - a Fitness Challenge."

My intent was purely selfish.  My running group had disbanded earlier that year and I was struggling to keep a routine fitness plan.

So I concocted this crazy idea to create a Facebook Fitness Challenge group.  30 Days of Fitness.

An idea to share my fitness goals and hold myself accountable to 10 or so friends....

And those 30 days flew by.

And the group continued to grow.  Friends inviting other friends.  And new friendships being created.

As the final days of November were being crossed off the calendar, I asked if anyone wanted to continue into December.  To my surprise, I received a very consistent message from my fellow Fitness Challenge participants - YES!

A December challenge was created  as the number of members continued to grow.

7 months later and we are still going strong!

The group discusses personal challenges, personal accomplishments and frustrations.

Others struggled just as I did to stay motivated during the cold dark winter months.  Together we set monthly goals, shared our New Year resolutions, and held each other accountable.

Together we accomplished what many of us could not accomplish alone.

Together we inspired one another.

Together we lost weight, planked, ran, hula hooped, shoveled snow, climbed stairs, drank more water, shared success stories, made each other laugh and cheered those up that became injured.

There is no pressure to post and no pressure period.

As you can see, it is a rather diverse group - many friends outside the page but many started out as strangers.  A merging of several webs of friends.  A web of support.  A web of inspiration.

It takes a village.....and although this village was started for selfish reasons, it has filled a void that was evident in my fitness world.  

All accomplished by a simple need to be held accountable and setting up a Facebook group.

No extravagant webpage design, no membership fees.  Just a bunch of strangers and friends sharing their daily workouts, frustrations, and goals with one another, while lending support to those same strangers and friends.

Every now and again someone will disappear for a few weeks - myself included.  No pressure from the members about your missing workouts.  But occasionally someone will ask where you are - not to make you feel guilty but to make sure you are okay.  A thoughtful caring group of individuals that I  look forward to hearing from all day long!

Do you have a need to be motivated, inspired, held accountable?  Consider joining our group.....or maybe creating your own!

And see firsthand what a group of individuals can accomplish together!

Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.