Monday, October 28, 2013

The best advice

is advice that changes the giver just as much as the receiver. 

It all started with a simple facebook status thrown out by a friend; 'I want to run faster, what are your tips?" I didn't consider myself the vessel of any  particularly great speed-inducing tips, instead I was interested to see the tips she would get that I could implement in order to help my own legs be a little more hare and a little less turtle. And then I got tagged. So I left some advice, just a couple lines; 'here's what I do' coupled with the disclaimer that I'm a running enthusiast, not a running expert

Six hours later, I returned to the post to find a multitude of comments from others- profile pictures revealed runners with marathon medals, a cross country coach and a runner with a 5:25 1 mile PR. Cool beans, we're talking hard core runners dishing out tips to get faster. Happy smile, because running makes me happy, and interacting with other runners make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Scrolling through the comments, it only took a minute for my inner fuzzy-bunny to morph in a prickly cactus. Comment after comment with an identical tid-bit of advice........exactly the opposite of what I'd suggested. 
 Awkward turtle. 

Ability to admit that you are wrong when you actually feel you are is challenging

We've all given advice before. Solicited, unsolicited, heeded and unheeded. The occasion when we give someone advice that we know isn't beneficial is pretty rare............we've all had a "Rachel encourages Ross' girlfriend to shave her head moment"........but they are the exception, not the rule. Advice can be a tool to help others grow, but 9 times out of 10, we can grow from it too.

One of the greatest moments for personal growth that we will ever encounter is the opportunity to say "I was wrong". It's about as fun as getting dental work done, doing a burpee mile or watching the Cowboys play; but it's a springboard for more. 
There is zero shame in being wrong-- the shame comes from knowing you are wrong and refusing to acknowledge it. Don't be afraid to admit that you are wrong. If we can realize that we are wrong, we have the opportunity to change. Once we acknowledge it; we can put it into past tense and start fresh .
"I was wrong" is a whole lot easier to say than "I am wrong." 

When was the last time you gave advice? 

What is the best advice you've ever been given?

Leave me some good advice! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Five Things Friday.

I realize that one of the most boring posts known to the blogging world can be your staple "five things Friday" or "Tuesday Tangent" posts, but I love them. For me, I springboard those posts from my weekly reflection . I enjoy sharing the funny, unique and meaningful things that happened in my week and sometimes the random odd tidbits that just blurt out of my mouth come to mind. 
1. Everyone and their Grandma was racing last weekend and I got bitten by the racing bug. I was spiking a racing-envy-induced fever until I finally caved and found a race to run. This is probably one of my favorite things about the running community- you just do what you do, run your own race and you never know who you might impact! I thank you for the motivation; my wallet sends you dirty looks because I picked a destination race!!
choose wisely.
2. Word for the week! Don't say anything to yourself that you wouldn't say to your best friend, your spouse or your pastor. There's no room for self-hate. Ever.

3. Anyone else wrinkle their nose at the Green Bay uniforms on Sunday?? Dude, it's green and gold for a reason. Too bad we all can't be Aaron Rodgers and looks just smashing in every color on the color wheel.

4. You know that horrible feeling you get when you realize you left your phone on the roof of your car 18 miles into your commute?? Yeah, that's not fun. Considering my driving skills, I consider it a pure miracle that it was safe and sound right where I left it!

EDAM! that's punny

5. If you did not laugh at that, we cannot be friends. I sat dyyyying of laughter for almost 10 minutes. It put a smile on my face, a craving for cheese in me for the remainder of the day.

What was the last thing you said to yourself?

Where is the weirdest place you have ever left your phone?

What is your favorite type of cheese?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

then there was hope.

Running is more than just running. Come with me and see.


the excitement bubbling up inside while changing shoes.

the quick stretching, loosening up my legs.

the tension of the day slipping away as my feet meet the street.

the first rolling hill, my legs reminding me of yesterday's heavy deadlifts.

the late afternoon sun slipping towards the horizon, shifting colors every minute.

the strains of Eric Church spilling out of the truck with two pairs of boots protruding from beneath the hood.

the heart-rate building, the pace quickening.

the pavement decorated with leaves.

the truck full of teenage boys that circled the block. three times.

the unnoticed lip in the street that nearly caused a faceplant.

the light shifting, causing my own shadow to scare me.

the gratitude welling up within me for the ability to run.

the prayers going up for my running friends who are injured.
 the struggle to stay on pace.

the mental debate what my post-run fuel will be.

the first big hill.

the perfect Hollywood Undead tune to propel me to the top.

the feeling of accomplishment.

the dog that chased me and can indeed run faster than I can.

the coworker that honked and waved.

the thoughts about life. is this all my life is? if this is always how my life is, am I okay with that? who do I want to be? do my choices on the daily reflect where I want to end up in life?

the temptation to shortcut my intended 4 miles for 3.

the reminder that nothing worth having is easy.

the sweat dripping off my face.

the hill that felt like it would never end.

the little voice "this is too hard".

 the fight to try.

the realization that my running capris are tighter than they used to be......and not in a good way.

the choice to remember that the size of my pants has nothing to do with how valuable as I am as a person, or much I love running or what I will remember at the end of my life.

the dead end.

the scent of laundry freshener spilling out of the tiny white house on the corner.

the steady rhythm of my unused ear bud thumping against my chest.

the worry cropping up inside for my friend who is struggling.

the assurance that God will hold her just as closely as He holds me.

the elderly couple with walkers, circling the block together.

the end in sight.

the last little bit of energy expelled.

the dash to the end.

the smile.

the victory.

the hope that emerged within me.

If you saw me running, it may appear like just another run. Just some sweat, the city streets and the cool evening breeze.
But when we run, it's more.

What did you feel/notice/believe during your run today?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Happiness is...........

That my friends, was a beautiful weekend! 
I'm grateful for a full and abundant life and this past weekend I was able to disconnect and spend quality time with some very special people in my life. My entire family assembled for a far too short weekend of laughter, tears and lots of  "do-you-remembers?" It was also the first time in several months that I'd had two consecutive days off---I'd forgotten how wonderful three day weekends are! 
This morning as I dive back into work, studying, training and everything else that makes my world go round, I'm grateful for pieces of the weekend that's I'm savoring and the happiness they bring.

Happiness is;

Being loved for exactly who you are- the good, the bad and the crazy. 

Starbucks chai lattes.

Conversations with your sister that make you smile all day long.

Long walks with your best friends.

Sweaty, shaky, push-your-limits workouts. 

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." Isaiah 26:3

Removing the word regret from my vocabulary.

Highschool football games in drizzly, foggy, trying-to-snow weather.

Having a job that you love.

Baked potatoes and chili around the campfire.

Legitimately funny sports puns. 

What brings happiness to your heart today?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How to Slam-Dunk Life.

(To be clear; if we're talking about watching, playing or listening to basketball I'll be exiting the premises directly. There is only room in my heart for football, basketball you are out in the cold.) 

Picture me're sitting in the middle of a 3 day medical training, listening attentively to your instructor. The instructor poses the rhetorical question; "have you ever heard of basketball?" to which you mutter "unfortunately" in an almost inaudible tone, but your classmate hears and finds it humorous. Said classmate begins to laugh, chokes on his pizza and we're suddenly enacting our newly acquired medical training right there in the room. The very happy ending to this scenario includes my classmate being absolutely 100% a-okay post-choking episode and the instructor forgetting where ever he was headed with the basketball comment. 
The training concluded and as Roger bid me farewell he left me with this; "You get an A+ for humor, but don't forget that basketball can teach you some pretty cool life lessons." 

Two hour drive home = plenty of time to reflect- can I get a life lesson from basketball? 

Well, ahem. Isn't that profound. Yours truly has been doing a lot of learning lately. 

Sometimes I look in the mirror and think to myself "how did I get this grown up and still struggle with (insert emotional, financial or spiritual equivalent of) tying my shoes?" Maybe I wore crocs until I was 18, or maybe I was raised in the jungle with no shoes, or maybe I'm learning to lose. 

Wait, wait, wait-- I call a personal foul. You can't touch the other players, and I feel like life is manhandling me. Get tough, sweetheart, because sometime the refs don't see it like you feel it. 

So you're telling me that there are boundaries in this game?? I can't shoot from outside the court? Life is the same way- if you're outside your boundaries, it doesn't matter if you get it in the basket. It only counts if you shoot from within your boundaries.

You're telling me that traveling isn't cool- I have to dribble? That's right. There are no shortcuts in life- all good things take time.

It's called a rebound because when your shot goes to oopsie-town, it still has the potential to be turned into a score. Your missed shots are not the end of the world they can set someone else up for a score. Don't hide your faults, share your mistakes because others can and will benefit. 

What about this charging thing? I thought charging was a credit card term?? IN basketball terms, 'charging' is when you run over another player in attempt to get to the basket. When you're more worried about getting where you're going then you are about loving, caring and relating to people- you're charging through life. Not okay. 

The shot-clock matters. You've got to shoot. Don't waste your life clutching that ball- shoot before you miss your chance.

Roger was right. There are some pretty cool lessons in life derived from basketball. Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it can't teach you something. 

I'm learning to loose so I can win.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Five Things Friday.

1. October is hands-down my absolutely favorite month!! One of the favorite things about where I live is the beautiful seasons we enjoy. The weather has been so perfect-- warm afternoons sandwiched between crisp, chilly evenings! Absolutely love it. I will never understand how people survive living in areas of the country that don't have fall weather. The only possible perk I can see would be that you avoid the social norm of ugg boots, but I've been told that people in warm-climate states wear them too, so really; there is no perk. 
(That last sentence was not only ran on forever, but I also contradicted myself and proved my point wrong, essentially erasing any value that it had. Dude, have I got writing skills worth having!!)

2. This video broke my heart. WOW! I way feeling a little bit sorry for myself (read; having a major pity party) and I stumbled upon this. Attitude check!! These kids are heroes! Grab some tissues because you are going to need them! 

3. My sister and I had a debate over breakfast this week that we need help solving. Is it or is it not normal to order oatmeal at a restaurant? Her claim was that oatmeal is something anyone can make at home, so it shouldn't even be offered at restaurants. Say what?!?! Please cast your vote so we can clear up our debate!! 

4. I bought tickets this week for a trip out to see one of my best friends in Oregon! The trip is already shaping up to be amazing- I fly out there and then we'll be road-tripping back. I cannot wait!! The only thing that would make this trip better would be if I can find a race to run while I'm out there. (Oh, and free tickets would have been nice too.) Excuse me while I go stalk runningintheusa dot com. 

5. I want to give a shout out to my friend Katie who is running the Chicago Marathon this weekend! Katie is an amazing runner- this is her 2nd marathon and she's run multiple 1/2s. I so wish I was in the windy city to drag my carcass run alongside her! Please hop over to her blog and leave her some love and running well-wishes! 

What's your favorite thing about where you live?

Have you ever run the Chicago Marathon?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Never have I Ever.

Once upon a time there was a 12 year old girl at a bridal shower who was issued 4 pennies before the game 'never have I ever' was begun. The object of the game was to win all the pennies from the other guests. At the end of the game, said 12 year had won all the pennies. I remember thinking 'this was a pointless game, there is absolutely no skill involved'. No, indeed. Think about how many pennies YOU could win as a 12 year old at a bridal shower.........ahem. Time is now in my favor because I distinctly remember most of those questions and 10 years later; I'd still be winning those pennies because none of my answers have changed. Skills indeed. Old fashioned values and complete lack of a social life win every time!!

All kidding aside, Amanda (one of my favorite running, writing, makes you laugh and feel happy inside bloggers) is linking up a Never Have I Ever theme today.

Not only does it sound like a great subject for a post, but it also sounds like one smash-up of an online party-- I'm not about to waste a party invitation! Especially this one because you can attend from the comfort of your bed or couch with no need for make-up, rocking your post-run sweaty-ness while listening to paramore on repeat and drinking your 2nd protein shake of the day. Oh, just me?? 

+driven a manual vehicle without killing the engine at least once per mile.
they say practice makes perfect, but I beg to differ. I think I do worse each time I try.

+ participated in a painting project which didn't turn into a paint war. 
it's all fun and games until someone pulls their contact lens out.......covered in purple paint.

+turned down any opportunity to buy a hat.
I'm a sucker for hats.........they get me each and everytime. I buy them, wear them and my hat collection never stops growing. 

+made a cheesecake worth eating. 
this is particularly unusual news given the fact that my favorite dessert of all time happens to be cheesecake. For whatever reason, something in my DNA finds cheesecake making impossible. I take some comfort in this personal flaw by remembering that my cheesecake eating skills are beyond compare.

+won a game of monopoly
never even come close, if we're being honest. bucket list item!

(yes those are russell stovers chocolates on the board. trust me they made monopoly twice as fun!)

+watched an episode of Duck Dynasty
I can hear you now "turn in your keys and go"........but no. I'm a Duck Dynasty virgin with absolutely no intention of giving it up. Like, ever.

+gotten tired of photographing my nephews and nieces
Seriously, I'm not sure it's even possible! I'm indebted to my sisters for producing such modelish babies to snap hundreds of photos of. gosh, their faces. 
(speaking of which, um girls..........we're ready for another baby!!) 

+not been in the mood to run
six hours post marathon, I wanted to go for a run. Probably has more to do with my lack of a social life than any particular amazing ability, but I have yet to find anything as soothing and refreshing for my soul as running. 

+gotten a pedicure
combine my intense hatred of spending money with my ugly runner's feet and you have your explanation. 

Tell me-- what have you never, ever done?!?! 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


It was not just your average ordinary shift. I was 3.5 hours into an 8 hour shift but already on my 5th cup of coffee. I needed three hands, 2 brains and was regretting the nap I'd skipped in favor of instagram stalking 6 hours earlier. 
It was stressful chaos churning into complete mayhem, so all hands on deck. You do your job, I do mine and everything gets done. Things were crazy, but our heads were still bobbing above water. And suddenly our well-oiled machine snagged and the train came off the tracks. 
We all have to deal with Won't-Work-Wendy on occasion. 9 times out of 10, you can pick up the slack and compensate. The 10th time, it's a top spinning wildly on the crux of that one person doing their job and when they won't- your top goes crashing.

Calm down. Calm down. Calm down. 
I was biting my lip, trying to remind myself that there was a bigger picture. 
"Everyone has a story.  Don't judge a book by it's cover. People are fighting battles we can't see."

Another cup of coffee, some long, deep breaths. 
I tried to cool my jets. 
"maybe her husband died."
"maybe her son won't speak to her."
"maybe she's going through a bad break-up."
"maybe her car broke down."
"maybe she just found she has cancer."

I was trying. Valiantly trying to replace my anger and frustration for empathy and compassion for whatever tragedy she must be facing in life in order to be so irresponsible.

But something in me shook my head. I slogged through my overflowing mental corridors until finally, my thoughts spilled forth in tangible form. Of course everyone has their own story. 
Story of the day; she didn't want to do her job. 
Nobody could do their job properly because she wouldn't be bothered to do her job at all.

Sometimes the people we encounter aren't 'hurting', 'wounded', 'stressed', 'trying to cope'. 
Sometimes they are


 Those people need love too. 


Because when it comes down to it- those people are fighting a battle-- a battle with themselves. And when you fight yourself, that's the toughest battle known to man. Because the hardest battle to fight is against the ugliness within us. We're all lazy, selfish, insolent, begrudging, proud. When we look at a person operating in their ugliness, and allow it to change us; we all loose. They lost the battle, and in our response, we lose it too.
But their story, their words, their actions; they don't ever give us license to let our character slide. 

Love a little, love a lot and never underestimate what your response to someone else's behavior says about YOU. 

(Disclaimer; I have awesome coworkers. The individual mentioned in this post is someone completely unaffiliated with my employers, an outside agency that provides a specific service for us on occasion.)

Monday, October 7, 2013

I was sure I was going to drown.

I know I know, it's all over the internet, but I can't get enough of it. 
Two reasons;
 1. Can you be funnier than Jimmy Fallon #notevenpossible 
2. it's really turning me on to this whole hashtag craze. 
I've been watching it on repeat more than is probably healthy or normal, but's hysterical.

I had an easy 3 miler on the schedule post nightshift, but the thunder and lightening made me second guess myself. My first thought when I saw the rain pelting down was "hmmm......this could be fun". My second thought was along the lines of how much I hate to get my  running shoes wet. My third thought was somewhere in the vicinity of saving my run for later in the day when I'd get wet from sweat, not rain. Thankfully a coworker came to my mental rescue......."you're not going to run in that are you?"

I left my gps in the car because I didn't want to ruin it and stuck to running in circles on the track to avoid unnecessary puddles. Running in the rain is a tug of war between two different sections in my brain. The "running shoes are expensive stay avoid the puddles" section and the "see-all-the-puddles-jump-in-all-the-puddles" section. #kidatheart

 I felt a little bit like a triathlete- look at me  run and swim at the same time. Triathletes are absolutely mind-blowing, ridiculous rock stars that I stand in utter awe of. Running in the rain is the closet I'll ever come to a tri, that's for sure and certain.

By the end of my 2nd mile the sky was getting light, but the rain was also picking up a bit. I was pretty sure I was going to drown. My messy mop of really-needs-trimmed  hair was collecting water that poured directly down my face.  
I thought about taking multitasking to a completely new level- I could throw some shampoo in my hair and call it a free shower. hmmm......probably no.  #crazyandiknowit

Post run soakingness. It really was a beautiful run! Running in the rain can be cold, but this was pretty much the perfect temperature! While I was running I wrote this post in my head, but somehow it was a lot funnier in my brain than it is out on paper............#ithinkimfunnyevenifyoudon't 

When was the last time you ran in the rain? 

How do you dry your running shoes?

What's your opinion on hashtags?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Five Things Friday.

1. That horrible moment when you don't realize your own strength.........and bend your kitchen faucet. Seriously, who even does that? No more pushups for this girl. 

2. Last night was I was taking out the garbage in the middle of the very dark night, I realized that I only needed one hand to heft the bag. Naturally my other hand felt useless and bored and I decided to take out my earrings........and then dropped one on the ground. It's one of my very favorite pairs, so every minute I spent searching for it was worth it. 
Moral of the story- don't take your earrings out while you take the garbage out.

3. Somehow I lost or mislaid my foam roller......and my hammies have not stopped crying. If it doesn't reappear soon I'll be sneaking into my neighbor's house to use his probably break down and buy a new one.

4. Chocolate-peanut-butter-protein-pancakes consumed while watching my little brother's football game tonight. Yum. It felt strangely reminiscent of airport security when I brought my pancakes, jerky and a gallon of water into the game.....smuggled in my purse. (P.S.

5. It's supposed to be October, but it's been so humid I have to keep the windows rolled down just to sit in my car. And turn sideways when I go through the door. And hashtag about it on instagram (#curlygirlproblems, please read that in Jimmy Fallon's voice). There's no product on the face of this earth strong enough to tame this mane. 

How often do you loose an earring? 

When was the last time you snuck food into a movie theater, game or jail?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Smile and I'll shoot!

So ya'll know I love to run, eat, be an Aunt, drink too much coffee, I'm not so good with snakes and I turn everything into a joke. Have I mentioned that I'm also a fan of photography?
I love life. I love moments that matter. I love seeing life through my lens.
One of my childhood friends contacted me in July to see about getting some snapshots with her boyfriend while he was visiting for the weekend. In between arranging the shoot and the day of; he popped the question! I loved capturing a snippet of their relationship through my lens. It's not everyday that you get to take engagement pictures for a friend you've known for over half your life!!

I try to use a blend of candid portraits and photo journalism in my photo shoots- freezing those special moments when they happen. Engagement shoots are by far my favorite- what's not to love about two head-over-heels individuals?
 I like to think of these images being something that my client will treasure for years, something that's more than just flossy paper and ink- but a moment in time, an emotion carefully preserved.

Love is a choice. It's not always easy- sometimes it's a fight. I like to think that someday 15 years down the road, when children and mortgages and illness and all manner of speed bumps have crossed their paths; my clients can pull out these photos and be transported back to that moment when their love first blossomed.

 When hearts and minds first met and planned and hoped and dreamed for a bright and happy future. Someday a tired husband will flip back and see that vibrant face of his young bride-to-be in those glossy images, and remember that her young and willing heart promised him forever and always. And all those years later, though the shady park is traded for the walls of a too-small house, and her carefully planned outfit replaced by whatever is still clean after 3 nights of staying up with their sick baby-- that commitment, that passion for each other still burns within both their hearts.

That her eyes still hold that sparkle for him, and only him and nothing makes his voice as soft as when he says her name. Time and change can reroute their path through life, but no matter where it takes them, they stand hand-in-hand, ready to face whatever they may encounter.

Can a photo do all that? Can a smile snapshot make such a difference? I think so- I know so. I'd hardly call myself a skilled photographer- I'm lucky just to capture the photo, and if the lighting happens to work out, thank my lucky stars, it's a true miracle. But I know what good photos can do. I've seen the way they can  be more- so much more than just photos. I'll keep trying, run my settings until my camera and I are one. Constant improvement, 100% dedication. 

Congratulations, Daniel & Kourtney! So excited for you both, and looking forward to your wedding!!