Everything Matters

You matter. What you do makes a difference. Everything you think, every word you speak, every task you complete and those you don’t. Everything matters. It’s a gift to be alive even when it’s hard.

During a recent workout led by my Ironman, Businessman, Great Man brother-in-law, a pack of athlete ambassadors planked, lunged, bear-crawled, sprinted, stretched and fist pumped knowing the mantra is true. Give purpose to everything you do, it all matters.

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Ponder this.

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Thanks, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award Winning Poet, Mary Oliver for the ask.

The journey. The destination. Make it all count.

Ponder away but don’t forget Socrates’ wisdom:

To do is to be.

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This guy was smitten with the message.

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I hope you are too.

Go. Do. Be.

Runners:  It’s an honor lace up your shoes even more when it’s hot or cold or you hurt (but aren’t injured) or you don’t want to.

Yogi’s: That mat is your salvation, unfurl it, salute the sun even in the rain. Before you know it, you’ll be standing on your head resolving all your issues.

Tri-athletes: How awesome is it to move our body over crazy long miles in water, on a bike, on your legs? When it gets hard and you are suffering you thank God that you can. Your highs and your lows – all of it matters.

All people: It is not what you do when you chase your dreams but who you have become while you are in the process of achieving them.

And never, ever give up.

 

Sweet Sixteen

Sweet 2016.

This year my daughter turns 16. Her behavior is not always sweet (what teenager’s is??) but her heart and soul always is so. She is intense and beautiful and deeply feeling. A thinker. She is my teacher of patience and compassion.

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She reminds me to always do and be better.  Just when I think – I’ve got this parenting thing down with her she  mixes things up. First blush, this frustrates me – Can we just have a smooth sail for a moment? 

The wind and life always changes. Thank God. I love fresh air. Thank her.

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According to numerology:

  • 16 – is the number of perfect completeness.
  • In the Tarot, number 16 is the Tower card which symbolizes great changes, moving on to something or someplace completely new.

According to the Bible:

  • The number sixteen is symbolic of love and loving.
  • This duality of true love is represented by 8 + 8 = 16.

My girl will be 16 on March 16, 2016.  Triple Whammy.

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Currently she is training for her SECOND half marathon to honor her beloved cousin who left us on her 14th birthday March 16, 2014. She was just 16.

True love.

What does 16 mean to you?

 

 

 

 

Iron Maidens

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On December 23 I drove 34 miles at 5:15am to swim 2,000 yards with my race team. On this day, Dave Murray – guitarist for Iron Maiden turned 59. I am not a fan of British heavy metal music but I am of events that inspire a good headline. This one is truth indeed.

Here they are:

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My teammates extraordinaire (plus one not pictured, here) – the best of the best in heart, tenacity and inspired purpose. It’s never easy for me to get up in the 4’s as I call it… but getting to see my own personal Iron Maidens makes me smile each and every time no matter the ungodly hour.

And so it’s a year of such. Lucky me. Two long distance triathlons when I haven’t done even one.

2016, I  have you by the fitness horns.

Led by a Coach and an angel, our team will blaze a trail 140.6 miles long and make a difference in the lives of those effected by depression and anxiety. We are  finishing the work of a beautiful maiden whose iron will and determination to live her truth and help others remains tattooed on our purpose.

One of the jewels of our training can be a regular yoga and mindfulness practice. I eat this up as a yoga teacher and new triathlete would. I will be serving it by the bucket loads to my team mates. Mostly, I think they are up for it. Just maybe not in the 4’s.

Athletes, do you incorporate yoga in your training?

Yogi’s, do you also love a good swim, bike, or run?

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Let’s finish this.

I said yes.

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Now I  need a passport.

I am going here.

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To do this.

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A friend told me recently that she was trying to say Yes more often.

  • Date Night (need more).
  • Adventure (want more).
  • That third glass of wine (so easy).

The Yes Mantra was echoing when I got this a couple of weeks ago.

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The greatest year of my life? After this, heck yes.

A group of us are headed to Roth, Germany in July 2016 for DATEV Challenge Roth, the world’s largest long distance triathlon.  The purpose is to raise money and INTERNATIONAL awareness of the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation dedicated to erasing stigmas associated with teenage anxiety and depression and to developing and providing programs that help. Promoting the legacy message of my angel niece is a life’s calling to which I will always answer YES.

  • I have never been to Europe.
  • I have never done a race this long.
  • I never thought I’d have to wait to see her again.

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And so we do all there is to do. We fill our days with people and purpose we love.

We aren’t stopping with German beer. After some Bavarian pilsner we set our sites on Oatmeal Creme Pies at in Smoky Mountains of Tennessee for Little Debbie Ironman Chattanooga.

Do more than I ever thought I could do in one year??? Ummmm yes.

Do I believe I will cross the finish line after traversing 140.6 miles twice in a year?

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Yes.

So I have a lot of training, a ton of yoga, a ocean of gratitude for my family’s support and a blog to write. Will you hang with me for this amazing journey?

Please say yes.

Meet My Tattoo Artist

What a day!

February 16, 2015 brought snow, froze my pipes rendering me waterless with 3 children during a major Virginia snow. It also brought a new era to my 46 year old body. I am now a member of the tattoo club.

Meet the artist. The one-of-a-kind Leigh Odom.

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A lady with “Baby Phat” embroidered on her silky gold vest took this pre-tatt pic. Thanks, Ms. Phat!

Here’s the geography of my future body art:

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Straddling backwards a soft, high-backed leather chair of worn crackled red, I sat listening the musical cadence of Leigh’s voice as he told of his life’s work – a story that sounded like song. And sing it, he did. The machine purred. The lines got laid. It stung like a mother. One hour later I had a new shoulder.

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Leigh has the soul of an artist. Skin is one of his many media. He is kind and gentle and talented with bright lights behind his eyes. Helps since he uses needles to draw.

We all have a story. I am wearing mine. Thanks, Leigh.

Do you have a tattoo?

Would you ever?

Endearing Endurance

It’s never just a race.

It’s a crap-ton of training. It’s navigating a family, a job, a life to get the miles in that make the start line the real finish. The race is icing on the Ironman cake. If you finish, you lick up the sweetness of enduring the miles on race day – and everything that got you there. If you don’t, you try again – two weeks later.

And on Race Day Take 2, when you see your race-mate who is your beloved sister and your one-of-a-kind coach at the finish line you think of a little girl, the child of your beloved sister who left us at her own half marathon finish line. You weep for the loss.

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You weep for the love. You weep for the hole that can never, ever be filled. Along with her mother, you think of her father and her siblings and you send all of your everything to them.  You think of your amazing, no-questions-asked, 100% supportive spouse, your children, and your teammates. You think of  your hopes and fears and mistakes and for one moment everything converges into total aliveness. Such a contrast to the indescribable loss.

And yet she is here.

She is all around us, whispering with God’s breath still warm in her ear.

Go. Do. Be.

Fight the Good fight.

Finish the race.

Keep the faith.

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And do it again. No excuses.