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Mixed Tape Moments

6 Jul

I’m getting the hang of these moments … you know the ones you want to capture … like an awesome mixed tape. I found me some this week, just hanging out with my kids and going on our little day adventures.

I’ve made it a habit to stop time and just appreciate the little moment on the couch during movie night, or reading the newest title from the library, or laying in bed in the dark and just feeling the cool side of the pillow on my face and being thankful for the comfort it brings me.

With everyone I know having so much success in their life, and having all the dots connect, I’ve learned not to pay attention to their race or their place in it. I’m happy for them, but I’ve finally learned that I’m running on a different course, so I shouldn’t feel less because my I’m still walking the trail, while they’re at the finish line. I learned to pick up the moments. And I learned that everyday has some, I just have to remember to catch them. That’s what’s gonna mess me up. Paying attention to others and not catching my own moments can spiral into a crappy day.

But I think I’m getting the hang of it.

Just this week I caught one. Hanging out in the Great Outdoors and I just looked up and caught it. I snapped the shot and thought … yeah … this moment deserves it’s own mixed tape.

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I looked up from the cave and it just stood there.

The possibility.

The twists and turns of the day. The moment where everything can get sidetracked or move a step in the right direction. It stood there. The possibility.

The someday.

That someday was caught, and I caught it. Someday thoughts are what make memorable moments. Someday thoughts are the springboards of dreams. Someday moments light a fire under you so that you can start chasing it, and then it no longer becomes someday because you catch up to it and it becomes today.

The someday I found. I captured it.

I marked it with a picture on my broken down iPhone 0 and remembered. I may not have the house. I may not have the corner office with an assistant outside my door. I may not have pictures posted on a Facebook feed detailing the awesomeness of my universe and all its adventures. But I got the substance of a good life, the kind that deserves a mixed tape.

Buen Camino, my friends …

 

 

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Alternate Universes

7 May

It’s interesting, once you get older you realize the standards you set way back in your younger years may have softened, and sometimes circumstances of life set them in stone. Standards of what kind of life you wanted, what you would tolerate in relationships, what you would do once you had that corner office, what kind of parent you would be, what your Plan A would be, all these expectations of yourself sit on your shoulders.

I thought about all these expectations and standards recently, after hearing an interview with former Duke basketball player Jay Williams. Now I was a big Duke fan and I remember seeing him play ball back in the day, but sort of lost track of him after the NBA and then saw him pop out as a commentator. I didn’t realize what had happened in between.

You see his life didn’t turn out the way he imagined it would, circumstances changed the standards in his life. A motorcycle accident, on a motorcycle he wasn’t supposed to be riding in the first place, changed everything. An alternate future existed. Plan A was no longer in effect and there never was a Plan B. There was no plan for something like this.

But he found one.

It was a long road I imagine, having everything taken away from you. A choice you made contributed to that and now you were faced with picking up your life and starting over again.

In the interview Williams began talking about expectations and life and how angry and embarrassed he was that it had all been taken away. He’s in a better place now and has come to peace with where he is and feels that this was where he’s supposed to because had it not turned out that way, he would have just been another ball player that succumbs to the temptations of most professional players careers.

But what I found amazing was how he changed his perspective on standards. I mean I guess he had no choice, but how is that that you do that? How do you wrap your brain around the fact that you will no longer be able to meet the standards you set for yourself? How do you change the blueprints when the building is already built? People who you thought were your friends abandon you and you found yourself betraying your “I will never allow this to happen to me,” scenario. You fall into the never say never it happened to you club.

Williams talked about all this happening to him and says that he eventually turned the corner. He found acceptance of his new situation through a spiritual journey. He flipped the switch.

Then I wondered, could I do that if I had to?

And then remembered I already had.

You see my future was taken from me, one of my futures and I had to accept something I did not want to because I had no choice. But I wasn’t driving a motorcycle. Just a sports injury that had taken me down my senior year, the year that was supposed to be Big Woman on Campus. I went through this terrible depression at the time. I mean I didn’t even know what it was and I didn’t have a label for it, and no one seemed to understand it, but I felt like the person I was supposed to be was gone. The person I saw myself as, my future, my Plan A was nonexistent. I would have to live by a new set of standards and I didn’t know how to do that. People didn’t seem to understand why I was feeling the way I did. Most of them dismissed me, told me to get over it. But I found it difficult getting over the one outlet that made me feel successful, the one thing that I identified with, the one thing that made me believe in myself, the one outlet where other people saw me the way I saw myself.

It was a long time before I could find the lesson in that one. I don’t think it happened until college and then I found another outlet that made me feel that way I found something intrinsic that helped me flipped the switch. It wasn’t a spiritual journey or relationship that made me turn the corner. It was knowing that so much time had passed and I was still standing, and that somehow on a daily basis I found the 2.0 version of myself.

Time, pain, and humor.

After hearing the Williams interview I was reminded of this struggle and of the standards and of where I thought I would be, and how life was supposed to look. I don’t know if I would have been here at this moment writing this story in the alternate universe, but the experiences along the way made for a roller-coaster journey that I’m still learning from.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

Finding My Storyteller Again.

4 Apr

I’d been inspired to be a better person. I’d been inspired to be a better parent. I’d been inspired to make a difference. Books, movies, documentaries, and shows have all had the power to affect this kind of change. But it’s been a long time since I’ve been inspired to be a better storyteller.

See the last time I felt this way, was when I finished Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture. That amazing book inspired me to be a better person and  better dreamer. It uncovered the importance of being a good storyteller and passing on those life lessons and anecdotes to the people who mattered most. And of course, it came at the right time … You know, just when I needed it. The universe helping me out, trying to get me on the right track.

That was a long time ago … And then Mitch Albom resurfaced.

You see, I hadn’t felt like a better storyteller in a long time, but this book … this book turned up the gears and found its way onto my path. And it found me just in time.

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The first time I read Mitch Albom, his book Tuesdays with Morrie, changed my trajectory. It helped me look for the lessons and wisdom that were passing me by, helped me listen to the stories and advice that my Dad, my mentor, and other good friends were trying to pass onto me. It helped me appreciate.

The next book I discovered, helped me to chase my own stories, make-believe and true. I was caught up in Frankie Presto’s story and his amazing life. I hadn’t heard of The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, but I was so glad I went looking for “something,” to read. I found it. Now that I’ve read it, I feel sad that I might not have come across it. It’s one of those amazing things you’re so glad happened that you get a little sad, because it could have almost never happened.

But it did. And I’m glad.

As a storyteller, I can appreciate how it is so beautifully crafted, woven with hints and clues and then everything connecting with the big reveal. I loved the mixing of jazz legends, musicians, and artists that came into Frankie’s life and how Frankie changed their lives. I enjoyed the different points of view and voices. I thought it interesting that Music, itself, was a character, the narrator.

Frankie’s journey across the globe, his musical and love adventure, drew me in right away. I loved this character, his passion, his humble kindness, his quest, his life lessons, his love for his guitar, the magic behind the six strings, and his love for Aurora. I rooted for him. I wished for things to happen for him. I wished for him to find his story, to know about his father, his teacher, his past, and his future. I rooted for his redemption and for his love of Aurora.

Throughout his journey I was inspired to find any lost stories of my own, stories of my father, of his childhood, stories that I never knew that could tell me something more. I was inspired to write something new. I also felt like writing my own stories, so that my kids would know my own adventure, so they could fill in the gaps when I was gone. I wanted to leave them something.

Frankie Presto reminded me how important stories are, and the importance of passing them onto the people that matter. Frankie Presto helped me find my storyteller again. When a book can do that, it’s pretty awesome. I hope he does something magical for you too.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

 

 

Wake-up Stories

23 Mar

Lately I’ve been searching for stories that move me. You know, like a judge on Star Search, looking for talent that inspires me. I’ve been roaming the Netflix, Amazon, cable television for stories that take me away or help me unwind at the end of the day. I’ve found a lot of good stories, definitely. But in this search I’ve also found inspiration in Podcasts.

It’s strange because when I was growing up I used to hate talk radio. I thought it was for older people. I thought why listen to people talk when I can hear music while I’m in the car. But I’ve found that I’m gravitating more to these podcasts than to what’s on the radio. I’m intrigued by people interviewing all kinds of artists and leaders in every field and the inspiration behind it all.

Now granted, there are some people and actors, who go out there and record ridiculous why-waste -your-time-listening-to-this-crap sessions and you have to sift through a massive amounts of crap to get to something good. But when you do it pays off.

It’s like getting exposed to all these autobiographies with insightful tidbits of wisdom for different parts of you life. And for some reason I find something I can takeaway from each session.

For the inspiration-you-can-do-it times I particularly enjoy Tim Ferriss, Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations, Eric Thomas’s Secret to Success Podcast and Tony Robbins. They interview so many people from so many walks of life and I always feel better after listening to their session. I walk away feeling like something is possible as long as I keep working at it, whether it’s my professional life or just life itself. I had never heard of Debbie Millman before, and I probably would never, considering she was a graphic designer and I had no interest in that field. But what she had to say about life made me pause.

I’ve touched bases with spirituality by listening to stuff from The RobCast where some of my favorite guests have been Elizabeth Gilbert, Pete Rollins, and Mike Lewis the 112th Best Squash Player in the World. His interviews and stories help bring a lightness of being and grace into my existence. Something I always need to work on when dealing with difficult people.

The Moment with Brian Koppelman make me think about my future as a writer and I was actually introduced to Brian through Tim Ferriss’s podcasts. As a writer, I find it extremely beneficial to hear about everyone’s process and problems and how they were in such a horrible bad spot, but managed to turn it around emotionally and artistically. It’s something I find inspirational when I’m losing the umph, which I had been as of late.

These stories … all of them, help push something in me. Something that goes missing on random days. But something I can get back after I go running, or boxing, or biking … that feel-good feeling. I get an extra dose of that, a push of encouragement from these stories.

I feel like I can’t start my day with that spring in my step if I don’t hear my feel-good song and a podcast. These stories aren’t like the winding down of the day Netflix at night sessions. These are wake-me-up-in-the-morning-because-this-is-your-life stories. You got one shot. What are doing? Get on it! They’ve become part of my morning routine and have helped me see possibilities when I’ve been emotionally or professionally sidelined.

So it may not be the same as the talk radio I grew up with, or it might be. Maybe I just came around to realizing that songs are not the only way to jump start your morning. Stories. Podcasts. Talk radio … can make it happen too.

 

 

Inspired and Ready For a Comeback Win

24 Feb

It was an inspirational story that unfolded in three periods, the kind of story that pulls at the heart because you’re not really hoping for yourself to succeed, you’re hoping for someone else.

It’s the kind that every parent has when they’re cheering for their kids. I don’t think I ever had that shoot-for-the-win-as-the-clock-winds-down fantasy when I was playing sports. I wanted to win, of course, but I was never the buzzer-beater dreamer. I was more of the playmaker and defensive beast. And I had hope back then, just as I do now. But now with kids it’s different.

My hope sits with them. I hope for them, I want them to experience the win, feel what it’s like to get a victory hug from your teammates, feel what it’s like to have a redemption win, feel what that’s like.

So when my son’s team lost their hockey tournament in a shoot-out, after the score remained the same in sudden death overtime, my heart broke a little because I wanted that so much for him. But I was still proud of his effort, of his heart, and defenseman skills. I wanted to show him that regardless of the score he should be proud of himself too. And the thing is … he was.

He smiled as he got his second place medal for his weekend tournament and I was too … but I still wanted that for him. Just like parents everywhere, you want them to feel that sunshine glow. Just like fans everywhere, you place your hopes on your team and wish them to victory, not because you want something for yourself, but more so because you want that feel-good-feeling for them, the kind of feeling I got from watching the US Women’s Hockey team win the gold.

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It was an intensely stressful and dramatic moment of exuberance. I jumped off the couch, pumped my fist in the air, and said what every hockey fan that had seen Miracle had said … YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

Late Wednesday night, I witnessed the come-from-behind redemption win that had been in the sights of the women’s hockey team since the Sochi Olympics.

It was the kind of game that had this House of Sports residents fully engaged and putting all her hope on a young goalie, the kind of hope that makes players faster, stronger, and more skilled. You hope that the best version of your player is out there and that you did what you could to support them. And it is this kind of inspirational play that you hope catches the spirit of your kids.

And I’m happy to report that watching the women’s hockey team play Canada for the gold was an inspirational testament that resonated with thousands of people and found a spot in the heart of my kids.

Congrats to the women’s hockey team on a job well done. Earning some medals and inspiring future generations of athletes to give it everything they got. My son is ready for this weekend’s game and he’s ready for his Miracle making a comeback kind of win.

Buen Camino, my friends!

 

 

Princess Leia and Wonder Woman Unite

23 Jan

It was a different kind of powerful that day … a surge of hope and promise among so many attacks and so much destruction felt good.

It was different this time, though.

My kids were with me and the connections to the movement much stronger.

Recently watching some of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches and marches, encouraged them to come with me, which was a pleasant surprise. To march along with thousands of others at the Women’s March for the second year in a row this weekend and have them by my side pulled at my heart. I don’t know why I got so emotional marching with them and having them chant alongside me, marching for women’s rights, the environment, Dreamers, healthcare, people of color, education, and the First Amendment.

Everyone marched for different reasons, as every woman, and man, had different priorities. But everyone was there in solidarity because they all wanted one thing: change. Everyone united and willing to share their voices for a better future, and the fact that my kids were sharing their voices made me proud. Proud to the point where my heart felt it, the pit of my stomach felt it, the mom in me felt it. To know that they’ll look back upon it when they’re older and say, as a kid I did something to make my future better. I was part of something bigger than myself, I was part of something that helped register voters and make a difference for the better, I was part of history. That made me proud.

The fact that my daughter was among so many signs encouraging women strength and diversity was promising. Her biggest connection was the Wonder Woman force appearing throughout the march. Beginning to sow the seed of empowerment, self-esteem, and strength at an early age was important. And the wave of Wonder Women provided an eye-opening experience.

 

 

My son’s connection came through the Star Wars theme of course. He was unaware of all the Princess Leia signs he would encounter. He made a point to let me know that she was a general in the Resistance and a good one at that. Seeing Princess Leia’s signs everywhere stating that a woman’s place was in the resistance helped him relate to the strength and importance of a woman’s voice, of his mom’s and his sister’s, as well as his own. He mentioned that Luke Skywalker was also there and played a huge role in taking down Darth Vader.

So in a unification of super heroes and intergalactic leaders from galaxies far, far, away  we cemented our hope for the future through this ever growing grass movement. And I’m happy to say that I saw hundreds of voter registration forms being filled out all morning long.

Everyone there was ready for change, in every avenue of our lives. The time has come to make things better. United we stand for a better future, marching toward equality and justice. Hope is there in 2018.

Buen Camino my friends!

Make Your Own Momentum

15 Jan

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This was the day about inspiration and dreams that are bigger than yourself. Learning to push forward when everything is pulling you back. It’s a time to remember that when obstacles seem insurmountable and destinations seem so far ahead, it’s important to remember … make your own momentum. You’ll get there. Slow or fast …  but you’ll get there.

I was inspired by this message. I felt like it would be my mantra for the 2018 year. And then today of all days it rang true. People like Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Rigoberta Menchu, and Cesar Chavez … they all dreamed big dreams and had plenty of hardships along the way, but they found the ingenuity to make their own momentum and see things that others thought were impossible to be very possible. While creating their own momentum they inspired others to do the same, to unite for a cause, for dream, for a future.

And it is because of all of these leaders that I’m able to sit here and dream my own dreams. They faced the ugliness of this world and the worst in people and still came out with strength to do what was right. They made it easier for others to dream of impossibilities, to make people believe that something better was within reach.

When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t thinking of inspirational figures and what they did to make my life easier today. But I’m going to bed knowing that I taught my kids about them, heard their speeches and seen their faces and know that we’re resting on soft pillows and thinking about big futures because they paved the yellow brick road ahead. I’m thinking of the power of his words to create magic. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired millions to believe, even in the face of danger they believed.

So in thinking about all that today means the most important lesson would be not to waste it.

Can’t be waiting for things to happen … definitely have to make my own momentum.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

 

On My 1000th Post I’m Keeping All of It … Because I’m Looking for The Power of Failure

1 Jan

What is it that finds you this year?

Last year inspiration struck after watching a Seinfeld episode. Kramer came crashing into Jerry’s apartment as always and he had his everyday balloons, not his New Year’s Eve balloons but his everyday balloons and I wanted that for myself.

And so in 2017 I went out to find them. And I did. My resolutions, my quest, my mission, my goals, my bucket list items, my journeys … Whatever I called it, I found it. And being the mother of two Nickelodeon-aged kids who go on adventures and try my patience on a weekly basis … It was hard. But I did it. I found the sparkle in the everyday shenanigans and they were there to help me. A lot of things managed to push the scales in my favor.

Podcasts became the X factor for me last year.  I found all these good nooks and crannies on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday Conversations, The Tim Ferriss Show, The Robcast, This American Life, TED Talks Daily, and StoryCorps. These story whispers traveled through time and space to get to me and give me something I needed, just like reading books, articles, or WordPress blog posts or watching movies or shows on Netflix or Amazon reminded me of a lesson learned when I needed reminding.

Running  in The Great Outdoors was also a piece of the puzzle that helped me get it together. The magic of the path hidden among the trees and hills was the daily therapy to help me find my center.

And the thing is … I’m still going to need the same things this year.

I may find something new, but I’ve learned that this system works for me. It helps find the everyday balloons, pockets of happiness, silver linings playbook mentality necessary to thrive.

So I’m keeping all of it.

Yup.

I need it in 2018 as well because I realized what works for me when I’m trying to find the funny. And this is my formula, so I’m keeping it. All of it. Probably adding a few things as the months go by though, because this year I’m looking to find  the Power of Failure. It seems like a downer, but it’s a glass-half-full mentality. I know that with writing and parenthood, failure is going to happen. It’s part of the process, I’ve got to take my underdog mentality and find what the power of it is this year. In the midst of the heartache, tears, frustration, and gallons, upon gallons of Rocky Road ice cream, I’m gonna try to find the power of failure this year. Because most of the time I just think it just sucks. I get back up again and I’m ready for Round II, III, and IV but I still think failure sucks.

I’m gonna try to spin it around and see if it adds to the good-time-noodle-salad moments of life. That’s the the quest this year. It’s not going to involve comparing my failures with others, or seeing how further ahead others are on their life journey, but to see if the power of failure can help me in mine. I’m gonna wait and see …

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I’m gonna wait for it.

So on my 1000th post of WordPress on this mini milestone of a moment, I’m gonna mark it with my quest to finding the Power of Failure this year.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

 

 

The Last Day … Don’t Forget About The Day

30 Dec

I got one day left in 2017.

One!

How am I gonna spend it? How are you going to spend it?

Lately I’ve placed an important chunk of feeling and expectation and emotion into what happens on the first day of the year. I think about day one, the start of a new adventure, of a new (or old) something that will catapult change into my life. But other than the party- or midnight countdown I don’t really place a huge emphasis on the last day of the year. And you know what? I should. It’s the last day. You’ve got to squeeze the juice out of every lemon.

So what’s the plan?

Am I going to wake up and magically take a trip to an awesome destination, making it the best day of my life? Probably not. Australia is too expensive on my starving-writer budget at the moment, but that doesn’t mean it’s not in my future again. So the last day of the year will be an in-house adventure. Something NOT involving laundry … doing it, folding it, putting it away. Laundry in any shape or form. I don’t want to be running errands or scrubbing toilets either. Things like this should be banned on the last day and first day of the year. I’m not saying I’ll be out on a second honeymoon getting waited on and tended to every minute of every hour. But let’s just have a day to do something you want to do and not something you need to do.

But if I’m being honest though, it feels like a let’s-go-down-with-the-ship kind of night. Not a Woo-Hoo-Times-Square-noise-maker extravaganza. But a day of sunshine and something and a night with a good story, something to be grateful for and Cup O’ Noodles. People can hate on Cup O’ Noodles all they want, but sometimes on days like this, or rainy days it’s comforting. It’s terribly bad for you and has like 500,000 grams of sodium but it’s on my agenda for tomorrow night.

And tomorrow day still holds an adventure for me. An outdoor adventure that will make me feel the feel-good-vibes that get me through the day.

I’ll start the day with a run in the natural oasis that sits in the middle of my city, surrounded by the sounds of birds, wind, moving branches and my breath. The sun will warm my face as I steady my breath, and I’ll gain a sense of peace looking at how its golden rays peak through the trees and wake up the leaves. A moment of Zen. I just need one good one, and I’m hoping that’s it tomorrow.

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And while I’m stretching and breathing in the fresh earthy smell of a freshly watered woodsy area, Tim Ferriss along with one of his Tribe of Mentors will be talking to me through my headphones filling the space between my breaths with positivity and the idea that IT is possible.

That’s how the last morning of 2017 will go … the rest of the day is set up for an ocean or water adventure, but that’s always up for grabs because with weather and kids, you always have to be prepared for a change of plans. The unpredictable happens often and go with the flow mentality is always helpful.

So … Buen Camino my friends!!!  I will see you again in 2018. Don’t forget about the last day, the night will be there to party, or sleep in, but don’t forget about the last day!

 

 

 

The Warm and Fuzzies Comeback Blessed Moments

20 Dec

The Underdog Gene.

I’ve got it.

Being able to get back up again … to turn the corner.

I think that’s the blessing I was given from birth … that and being able to find the funny in situations requiring a little light.

This year’s Blessed Project combines both of these. Susie Lindau over at Susie’s Wild Ride had this awesome idea last year to list the blessings and positives of your life that year. Things that gave you the Warm and Fuzzies and help vanquish the bummers of the year and focus on the good time noodle salad moments.

So she brought it back again and I’m up for a look back at these moments in time.

All these memories came during a comeback … comeback from rejection, comeback from failure, comeback from arguments, comeback from family  frustrations, comeback from life kicking my ass.

These blessed moments turned things around to the point where I didn’t feel the bitterness of the downward spiral, but an uplifting nature of turning the corner. I keep them close to help remember how blessed I am and to be grateful for the life I’ve got, because with scrapes and all I always get back up. Gratitude and laughter have been a big part of my Blessed Project this year.

 

Empowerment at the beginning of the year …

 

 

Adventures with my kids that made my heart much bigger …

 

 

Quiet moments of inspiration …

 

 

Finding the funny …

 

 

Bucket List Adventures …

 

Remembering I can always get up and knowing that my Dad is always with me gives me the warm and fuzzies comeback strength to keep going …

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Buen Camino my friends!