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Finish-Line Friday

10 Feb

Getting to the Finish Line on Friday …

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Priceless.

Definitely a high five moment for everyone. Glad everybody climbed their way through obstacles to make it this week. High five.

 

 

Motivation Mondays: The Upside To The Downside

23 Jan

I started off Saturday morning parking five long blocks away from the Metro station and putting my best parallel parking skills to the test — the kind where you have to turn down the music and high-five yourself when you finally turn the engine off.

As I got to the station the sight of the massive crowd made some people turn back, either changing their travel plans or just changing their plans for the day.

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🙂

 

But I saw an opportunity to move forward. Inch by inch onto the platform, linked arm in arm with women I had just met on my way to meet my Comadres of a lifetime. We started off as strangers on a train and but walked through the sliding doors knowing each other’s names and purpose, and wishing each other luck as we stepped forward into our future.

 

Civic engagement used to come every election, but now the grassroots movement on this side of town continues to be strong, especially around particular issues important to people, whether it be education, women’s rights, health care, or the environment. Everyone was speaking for something that mattered to them.

It  was moving to see so many women come together and peacefully unite for a cause. I was even prouder to be part of a country-wide effort that brought worldwide attention to this cause. Thousands upon thousands of people throughout the country … in New York, Atlanta, Boston, Seattle, Miami, Chicago, multiple cities throughout the world engaged. Everyone is watching.

Those that were apathetic  became more vigilant of their future and the potential dangers out there, and those that are passionate find ways to engage more people and continue inspiring others.

Marching with 750,000 people in favor of women’s rights made me feel certain during uncertain times. I left knowing what Gloria Steinem called “The Upside to the Downside,” and this was just step one.

 

 

Everyday Balloons Rockin’ 2017

1 Jan kramer

I saw that number one on my phone calendar after the clock struck midnight.

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Everyone probably saw it on their phones but the impact was different. It wasn’t a massive tsunami of emotion washing over me, more like a rippled water effect felt by skipping stones on a lake. A quiet peaceful a-ha moment in the midst of fireworks and celebrations.

It was a good revelation.

I entered the New Year with hugs and kisses from kids, music in the background, and fireworks from a distant celebration booming through our windows. Found some Big Magic in that space between our arms.

And then I remembered …

I mastered finding the Big Magic that hides in corners even when toxicity surrounded me  like a bad cold. I found the ninja skills it took to get to “The Juice,” that thing that I feel like bottling up after an awesome Gatorade-worthy moment. I found ways to hit the reset button and find peace when it was missing. I found the funny in 2016.

I’m gonna need me some more of that.

And it’s funny because all of that is what I set out to do and I was glad to be able to have done it. Some people don’t bother with lists, 2.0 Versions, or improvement projects. No resolutions and I get it. Lists suck sometimes. But all I’m trying to do, is do better than I did the year before, and I found that every year something new has helped me reach those goals.

This year Muay Thai Boxing helped me wake up like Clark Kent and leave like Superman …  got out of bed with my super strength and cape … ready to go. New energy. New vibe. New perspective.

I was Flawsome and it was awesome. I never knew my uppercut, left hook, and speed could knock someone’s lights out! I mean watch out if you try anything in the Target parking lot because my Marty McFly  appearance will fool you. And I like that. I like that people underestimate me. It’s amusing to see.  I like that 2016 had that surprise in store for me.

I like that I found a new adventure, that I tried something and it enhanced my life.

I like that I had new writing projects. Two this year, and even though they didn’t pan out, as you all know the downfall of my play,  I still found pages in the Silver Lining Playbook to help me out I still found stories. I still found the lesson and the funny, even though it sucked to do so sometimes.

So what’s in store for 2017?

I’d like to find more balloons.

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🙂 I LOVE Kramer. 

 

I like that Kramer embraces his FLAWSOMENESS. I like that he has everyday balloons.

That’s me … that’s what I want for 2017 … everyday balloons. I want to find reasons for the positive side of things when the day sucks, because I imagine stuff on a National scale will suck, but I’m hoping for hope. I’m hoping for a resurgence … like Rogue One.

I’m hoping that I find the gratitude and grace in things so that I can celebrate with stuff like Everyday Balloons.

As a parent I’ve got to have Everyday Balloons because failure and exhaustion hit hard on Friday nights, or any day of the week for that matter. Gray hairs, Vitamin D Supplements, and anti-aging cream should be celebrated. I’ve earned it.

As a member of a family deserving of their on Telemundo Telenovela, I’m distancing myself and removing all toxicity. I’m not standing for it any longer. If you don’t like my peaches … don’t shake my tree. If you’re not on board with Everyday Balloons then this ride is not for you, I’m pulling over and letting you out. I’m a fighter, I’ve remained unbroken no matter the environment, resilient. But I find it’s better when good-times-noodle-salad vibes surround you. My Big Magic pockets are getting bigger.

As a writer I need Everyday Balloons, for those times when I sit there daydreaming and wonder what I’ve been doing for the past 37 minutes, with only a paragraph on the page … I can give myself an Everyday Balloon for getting something written down and enhancing the outline nestled somewhere in my thoughts.

 

Everyday Balloons shouldn’t take away the glitter and shininess of New Year’s Eve balloons, but they should just serve as a reminder that little victories are still accomplishments and a high-five is deserved. With humor and gratitude I’ll be looking for little victories in 2017, in between a new adventure, I’ll be looking for Everyday Balloon moments.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

 

Resilient

30 Dec

“The un-concealing of something we never imagined …” — Pete Rollins

Quote of the year.

I think that’s what Jyn Erso was thinking when she set out on that Rogue One journey.

Yup.

Most definitely.

I mean Darth Vader in charge of the Universe?

Definitely sounds like the dark path ahead.

Definitely freaking everyone out right now, definitely freaked everyone out in the Star Wars Galaxy. So they banded together, a motley crew indeed, of The Goonies proportions. A blind guy, with awesome ninja skills and a powerful sidekick, who believed in the power of The Force. A pilot who realized he was on the wrong side and decided to do the right thing and join The Resistance, a reprogrammed android who is surprisingly hilarious throughout the entire movie reminding us that we need laughter during strife, and an Intelligence Officer who served in the Alliance and chose to believe in Jyn, to believe in a cause bigger than him.

In time of conflict, ordinary people choose to do extraordinary things and in doing so create hope for the future. Even though they died, hope and resilience rose from a Darth Vader cloak of tyranny. Their idea for a better future endured. I mean all you need is an idea … and some ninja skills.

I mean look at Luke and Leia Skywalker for crying out loud. Princess Leia … what a great character. Rest In Peace.

We’re sure to have some Skywalker type of people in 2017. Some Jyn and Captain Cassian leaders out there who fight the good fight, head the resistance. and continue being a beacon of hope, continue being resilient.

Resilient. Something needed for 2017. Definitely need to endure. Hope is resilient.

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I saw this awesome poster by my house … it definitely seemed fitting for the challenge.      TM & Lucasfilm LTD

 

“Rebellions are built on hope.” — Jyn Erso

 

 

Resilient Challenge Courtesy of The Daily Post

 

 

Blessed Project

12 Dec

Throughout all the dramatic moments that require a Costco-sized portion of chocolate and comedy, I find that gratitude helps change perspective. I can be angry, sad, frustrated, and gutted but if  I can find a moment of gratitude that changes my compass, and after a while I’m able to find the funny in not so funny situations.

I like to live by the Silver Linings Playbook when I can and finding blessings, big or small helps me stay on that page.

A good blogging buddy, Susie Lindau, kicked off The Blessed Project this month, which I thought was such a great way of sending positive vibes out to the universe. Can’t feel too much negativity when you’re thinking of things to be grateful for …

So I’ve found the beginnings of my list. I imagine that by December 31st, I will have added more and will definitely revisit as the year comes to an end and a new one begins.

So what’s on the list …

 

 

Family.

They make me try harder than anyone and anything. I’m lucky to love somebody this much and to have this love  make me a better person. Every morning I get up with purpose, exhausted, but with purpose. They make my half-empty glass look half-full and I’m continually trying to appreciate the present, so that the years don’t feel so short.

I’m blessed with …

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🙂

Laughter …

I’m blessed to have a sense of humor to get me through the hard times. I feel really blessed that I find strength when others might have broken down by now. My ability to look for the funny helped me persevere through multiple bouts of failure in everyday life, in motherhood, parking wars, writer rejections, customer service reps, supermarket sweeps, and crazy lawsuits by some crazy chick. I’m blessed that I can write about my journey and know that laughter will be a large chapter.

I’m blessed to live in …

California … where the beach is my escape during weekends in the summer, spring, and fall, where the waves can help calm inner turmoil, where we can play soccer, baseball, and volleyball in the sand with my kids, where a boogie and the waves can wash away a bad mood and where nature is so close I can feel her whisper good things to me as the sun warms my face.

I’m blessed  …

 

that my father’s spirit is with me even though he’s passed away. I’m blessed that I remember the lessons he tried to teach me and that in the end I could call myself his friend. I wasn’t only family I was his friend.

I’m blessed that …

 

 

I find moments of inspiration and strength from unlikely places and they stick with me, they change my course and I’m better for it. I’m blessed to have learned lessons.

I’m blessed …

with a handful of friends, college buddies, work-out pals, life long friends that support me and accept me as I am, that don’t curb my enthusiasm and let my Marty McFly freak flag sail high.

I’m blessed …

 

with a love for sports, adventure, and bucket list shenanigans and for the opportunities that make these things happen. I’m blessed with opportunities that help give me peace, awesomeness, rejuvenation, feel-good feelings, confidence, mojo, juice, and that awesome Gatorade-Commercial- worthy-Ninja-Warrior feeling that gives me that Super Soul Sunday moment.

I’m blessed with opportunity … even though I might not see it sometimes, they’re there. Just got to take a closer look.  Everyday there’s a new chance, a new opportunity, for something amazing to happen, a moment of awesomeness that’s all I need.

 

 

It’s The Fourth Quarter

1 Dec

I’m just gonna close my eyes for a minute. That’s what I told myself. Just for a minute. That was on Monday and Wednesday night.

Just for a minute.

The power of sleep … it pulls me in like The Force, especially on cold nights when the warmth of the fuzzy blanket and fuzzy socks comforts me and the weight of parenthood makes my eyelids heavy. The click-clacking of my keyboard has been cold this week on the Word Press front, but the ideas are still swirling in my head and I’ve got a whole month before the year is done, so there’s still time.

It’s the fourth quarter, I always did well in the fourth quarter. So time to step it up a notch. One more shot before the buzzer rings. One last effort to put it all out there on the page. But I’m finding that this little philosophy is going to stretch its wings beyond my keyboard. I’m finding inspiration in lectures, speeches, and shows I hadn’t heard and seen before. Words that touched my heart because they were genuinely spoken.

You look to be humble and kind in your quest, and practice gratitude before you rest. You look to give it 100%, whatever 100% looks like that day. You look to rest your head on the pillow when the moon is out, and find that you have no regrets because you were kind and compassionate today.

Those are the kind of insights you need when it’s the fourth quarter, when you’re looking back on your plans or the bucket list adventures that you set out to conquer in January. You find your inner Clark Griswald as the holiday season comes around and you string up those lights because you believe in a better perspective.

It’s the fourth quarter and believe in silver lining playbooks.

Game on.

 

 

 

 

 

Looking For Candles …

14 Nov

The situation was so heavy that I had to take a week-long sabbatical from writing just to recover from the hit.

Backed up on editing, backed up on writing … and my NanoWriMo count … Duuuuuuuuuuuude I don’t … I mean … I don’t even know how that’s going to get back on track. Maybe if I had a Bill Murray Groundhog kind of day experience I could catch up on what I lost. But I have no movie magic to make that happen.

As a writer you would think I had a lot to say …  I mean many people had a lot to say, but there were just no words for this epic fail of a decision.

So now I’m left to turn to hope … just like the rest of the country, well at least half of it, channeling anger into something positive and just waiting for the inevitable disaster to hit and brace for impact. Too bad Captain Sully is not the pilot of this plane we’d have a better outlook for our future.

But in the wake of all this mess I did what I always do … tried to find the funny in not so funny situations and hope during hopeless times.

I’ve got to say Eleanor Roosevelt is pretty badass when it comes to hope …

 

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So I went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and hung out in the Beyond section looking for some pretty awesome candles, I mean the best ones they could possibly have … like the ones in glass with some lemongrass aroma in there. And considering the situation I might need more than one, at least two, three or ten.

 

So I’m lighting them up, channeling my energies, and ready to return to the page. This one, courtesy of fellow blogger Jaime over at Live To Write, helped me find the words.

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Writer Wednesdays …

2 Nov

There wasn’t just one, but two reasons …

Telling stories and making people feel.

I was reminded of my two favorite aspects of being a writer just recently. I wasn’t even looking for it, but the reasons came and I was super grateful that they did. Sometimes during writer’s block or a daydreaming marathon, where you only get one sentence on the page, you might lose your way for a minute, especially with the Madness of NanoWriMo in full effect. You get lost as to what your favorite part of being a writer is when the discipline of it all drives you to exhaustion during a word count check for the NanoWriMo marathon of November.

So I was humbled by the words that came my way from a young lady I have yet to meet, but she was kind enough to stop by and let me know what my stories had done for her. Anna over at Anna’s Rambles decided to stop by on a Writer Wednesday to explore some of my Insecure Writer’s Support Group posts and she found a little something I was hoping someone would find.

Hope and encouragement.

Some of my stories had touched her in some way and I was happy to know that my writing had made someone feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel something so much that they found encouragement and hope to continue writing themselves.

Writers often second guess themselves and are probably their toughest critics, I know I am. So when I get this kind of feedback, it’s very rewarding to know that my instincts were right all along. I don’t write for gold stars or pats on the back, although they are pretty awesome to receive and I welcome them whenever they knock on my door. But I write the stories so that my voice can be heard, so that people can feel, either by relating to, understanding, or realizing that someone else once felt what they felt. They were there, where you are now.

I write so that when I’m long gone, my kids can one day say they knew who I was and they felt my heart because I always put it out on the page. Funny. Sad. Frustrated. Angry. Ecstatic. Heartbroken. Proud. They’ll know me even when I’m gone, because my stories will still be around, on the page, in photo albums, or in their hearts, still connecting to them.

The people down at the Insecure Writer’s Support Group asked what’s the best aspect of being a writer? My response …

Telling stories and making people feel.

Thanks for the reminder, Anna.

Buen Camino.

 

 

 

 

I Guess This Is What It Feels Like

27 Jun

I’m always grateful when this day comes.

It’s a reminder.

Let your Freak Flag fly, give 100 percent, empty the tank, and wake up on Monday morning feeling blessed and ready to rock.

Even if you’re having a rough one, Shark Week sets you straight.

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I actually started my week living like it was Shark Week without even knowing it.

The events of this weekend just sent me straight to Tony-Robbins-state-of-mind. For the fifth year in row I competed in the TinMan Triathlon and despite the 71-year old IronMan chick leaving me in the dust, it was the best one yet.

I ran and swam my fastest times ever, and despite Devil’s Canyon trying to break down the cyclist in me, I kept at it and managed to get to the top of that mountain and let me tell you … my quads were feeling like Tina Turner’s.

I raised the volume up on my playlists and just kept going. Once I crossed the finish line, I heard my inner voice … you did it. And I smiled. After battling the dry heat, the agony and pain of my butt during that long bike ride, and the near drowning incident in the water because some chick kept hitting me mid-stroke and some dude almost kicked me in the face, after all that I had made it.  It felt good, like Rocky-at-the-top-of-those-steps-good.

And I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it while I was running, while I was biking uphill, and when I was on my last lap. Every part of it felt good, because I was trying. Then my kids did their mini-triathlon and their efforts made me so proud, I was having a parent moment right there at the finish line. While I was high-fiving them, I realized I had come in second place for my division and I couldn’t believe it.

I was so busy celebrating my kids’ finish, especially since it was my daughter’s first time, that I didn’t hear them call my name. I had done something I never thought would happen. I wasn’t aiming for that, I was just trying to do better than last year. I was just trying, giving it all I had. Emptying the tank. That’s all. I didn’t think there be an extra reward. But there was …

For the first time in five years I placed second.

I smiled again.

I realized … I guess this is what it feels like … this is what it feels like to live every week like it’s Shark Week, with or without the medal.

I was glad for the reminder.

.

 

 

 

Mr. Trebek, I’d Like To Take Failure For 300

22 Jun

I used to think it was bullshit.

Helping people.

Not that I don’t help people. I do. I enjoy it. But I never really did it to get something out of it. I did it because I wanted to help. I genuinely did it just for the other person.

But it wasn’t until recently that I realized that helping others would make me feel better about myself when I was feeling pretty crappy.

A couple of weeks ago an organization I was involved with at school had a women’s conference. All these college girls in leadership roles came down to my city to participate in workshops, team buildings skills, and Q&A panels.

Now I wasn’t the typical alumni. Most that graduated are suit-and-tie successful, working in nonprofits, schools, and business sectors. Stuff where you have an office, an assistant, and a business card. I tried to rally some of them up to go, because they’re pretty awesome women who would have blown their minds, but no one could or wanted to go.

So I went on my own.

I wasn’t sure what I could contribute seeing how my path wasn’t and isn’t a straight connect-the-dots-A-to-B story of success.

But when I went I heard similar stories from the young women there, uncertainty scared them, the future worried them even if they were prepared, finding connections, jobs and the “real world” after college concerned them.

I realized … they were scared of failure.

Duuuuuuuuude.

I was like, man. I got this! I felt like I was on Jeopardy and my category was up. Failure for 300 please.

I know everything there is to know about failure. I fail at least once a week.

So with this alumni panel speaking words of here’s the path to success, here are all the steps I took that led to success with no problem, I spoke of failure. I spoke of how it WILL happen, no matter how much you study or how hard you prepare, you are going to fail, and if someone tells you it hasn’t happened to them … they’re lying.

I continued with my speech …

Failure happens. Nobody ever told me that. Good people, hard working people, smart people, they fail. And you shouldn’t be scared of that.

It’s gonna happen, and you’re gonna think that you’re the only one because no one is going to talk about it. But they do fail. We’re out there. Everywhere. People who fail.

You just have to get up.

That was the key. Not giving up.

I mentioned that a lot of my failures make for great stories. Just have to find the funny in the not-so-funny situations.

I was asked the night before to read one of my stories, or something that had been published during the workshop. Funny enough, there was failure in it. The amusing first love, coming-of-age story that turns out all right after failure. And the thing is, that was the first time I had read my work aloud to others.

It was trip.

I was talking about failures and ended up having a small success up on that podium. It felt good to have them respond so well to my piece, but it felt even better to know that I was able to give them something of myself that might one day help them out.

You know the day when failure happens and they feel every bit of awful in every part of their heart and spirit, and they’re chugging on that Two-Buck-Chuck wine bottle from Trader Joe’s or scraping the bottom of that Dryer’s Chocolate Chip Ice Cream tub. When they’re at that low point, I hope they remember my story, or mini-speech on the alumni panel, and I hope it makes them feel better.

It might. I had a feeling when I left, that I had made an impact on a few of them. Having my experiences with failures help someone out … dude that definitely felt good.

Buen Camino friends!