I’ve been taking some time off from blogging in case you haven’t noticed. I haven’t taken a planned break for years and wanted to reset. I’ve always blogged for the passion of it. To be able to share my own struggles, experiences, successes and hard work and have it help someone else – that’s my goal. That’s what inspires and motivates me. Learning about how others have succeeded has helped me throughout the years without a doubt. I don’t like to blog out of obligation and I guess that’s why I took a break. I just didn’t feel like writing. But, here I am again…
A few updates from the past month or so to catch everyone up:
I’ve been living large all Fall and Winter long. Not really paying attention to what I’m eating and like so many of us – hearing my inner voice tell me I shouldn’t be eating with abandon. And I have noticed that my lack of attention has slowly started to show on my body. So, when Wayne, my trainer, mentioned that we needed to start weighing me in again – because Spring/Summer is coming – it hit me like a ton of bricks. Oh SHIT. What? Why? Why? Really? Ugh…
I’ve been getting back in the swing of things with making sure I am getting enough protein and limiting the crap I’m eating. Exercise isn’t my issue. It’s CARBS. I love CARBS and sugar! Sign..
March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month
As many of you know, my silver fox of a husband, Scotty was diagnosed with colon cancer at the age 37, so it’s a cause that hits so close to home that it is my home! March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Colon Cancer is survivable if it’s caught early, so know the signs and symptoms.
One again, Team Hoagie’s Heroes will be running the 2017 Washington DC Scope It Out 5K at Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC on March 19th, We are celebrating Scotty’s 9th year colon cancer free. (He was diagnosed in July 2008). If you can, join us or support our Hoagie’s Heroes Team in Scope It Out with a tax-deductible donation.
With that said, I am beyond touched by the kindness of so many people that I have met. I have received donations from some wonderful, awesome unexpected people. It blows me away and truly warms my heart that the people around me are the best people in the world. Not that I had any doubt. I appreciate all the donations from everyone but here is a story that totally made me cry.
Title Boxing started last month having a monthly campaign whereas for every check in on Facebook, they donate a dollar to a charity. The person with the most check-ins for the month gets to choose the charity. I always check in as a matter of practice and I guess I was in the lead for a while. I had no idea, but a fellow boxer Donna saw my post on Facebook about supporting Team Hoagie’s Heroes. So, she set out to win the check in challenge and to surprise me, she picked my fundraising effort to donate to. When I sent her a note thanking her, she said,
“I saw your post about the 5k a couple of weeks ago and then heard that you and I were in a close race for the check-ins. I felt it was the perfect way to honor you and your husband. I am honored to be supporting you in some small way.”
How seriously kind and awesome was that? I’m blown away. I have met Donna a few times, maybe and yet – she did this. Now, that’s a stand-up person.
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It’s always been important for me to do some sort of charity regularly but I made a deal with myself to go outside of my norm and give back in different ways this year and do it at least monthly. So with that in mind, I read a Facebook call out that blood donation was needed and that they were especially in need of type O.
I happen to be Type O+.
Type O+ blood is important because it is the most common blood type (1 in 3 people have it) and therefore is needed most. It is what maintains the country’s blood supply. So, I checked online to see if I could make an appointment to donate and sure enough, there was an appointment available nearby. Here’s where I went: Inova Blood Donor Services
You can choose to donate plasma and platelets, but I opted for a whole blood donation. There was a dude there donating platelets and you could tell it was quite a process and takes some time.
After filling out the paperwork, I was taken into a little office and asked some general follow up questions. Then my blood pressure was taken and my finger was pricked to get some blood to check my iron levels. All was good, so I headed to the blood donation lounge chair area. There, the person taking my blood looked for a good vein – found one and got me all set up and the blood flowing. I’m not that squeamish around needles – my strategy is as long as I don’t look while they are sticking me – I’m good to go. I did have two babies after all!
Here are a few things to know before you go…
- Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, work out beforehand. The person who took my blood explained that many times if a person comes in after a workout, they are dehydrated and it’s not only harder to get blood from them, the patient could end up not feeling so good. Good to know, since I did indeed go in after a boxing workout!
- Bring ID. You will have to fill out some quick paperwork and they will need to see your ID.
- Make an appointment. I do believe that they will take walk ins but if you make an appointment, the entire process is not that long. At least when I went yesterday – from start to finish it took less than 30 mins.
- Bring your own Post Donation Snack if you have Restrictions. They strongly encourage you to stick around their cafe area and enjoy a snack and a drink. It’s to ensure you don’t faint or have other strange side effects from the donation. The ‘cafe’ was stocked with high sugar, processed foods though. I just happened to have a protein bar in my purse that I ate. The fridge was full of fruit juices and water. I opted for water. Not a judgement, just a good to know…
- Post blood donation, take it easy. Drink lots of water and refrain from strenuous exercise or lifting heavy. Ha!
That’s it – 30 minutes from start to finish. I feel fine today and feel even better because I know I am helping someone, somewhere. If you can, donate! It’s an easy way to give back on a regular basis.
BTW: I donated in honor and memory of Mathias Giordano. Their family has set up a Team Mathias sponsor code 8164 so anyone can donate in his memory & for all the kids who have been affected by cancer.
Another cultural icon passes away too soon. George Michael was a huge part of my growing up. His music was a constant as I grew up in the 80s and early 90s. We have lost so many greats in music this year -Glenn Frey, David Bowie, Prince, George Michael…
Do you remember how controversial his song “I want your Sex” was? How it was obvious he was gay but wouldn’t publicly admit it because back then –artists didn’t talk about it. My how times have changed. I was trying to explain this whole thing to HB and she just looked at me like I was crazy. His music is so uncontroversial compared to what is put out today — but back in the 80s and 90s, he was blazing new trails and pumping out the hits.
This has been a rough year in so many ways – Politically, in the Pop Culture sphere, and around the World. I am sure I’m not the only one who is ready to put a pin in 2016 and call it a year. I’m not one to wish away time – but it’s been tough.
What do you think of the quote I included by George Michael? That “because of the media, the way the world is perceived is as a place where resources and time are running out?” I agree that our sense of normal has been skewed by the constant barrage of media images, today more than ever. It’s information overload and much of it is not accurate. It’s no surprise that the younger generation is having a rough time deciphering real from fake news. Do we even know what’s real anymore?
I know it’s the holiday season and things are supposed to be merry and bright, but that isn’t real either. There are a lot of people who are more depressed, alone and lonely during this time of year than any other — so, I want to suggest to everyone out there, let’s be kinder, more tolerant of one another and make decisions with the best of intentions. You never know what someone is going through or what might happen – so start at home, with yourself.
It should go without saying, but it’s more important than ever to look for ways to help each other out in our own neighborhoods and globally. Look for ways to lift each other up when possible -even if its simply a kind word and approach things with the best intentions. And, sometimes we need to remind ourselves that most people in our lives try to act with the best intentions even if they annoy us. And above all — BE KIND. Kindness Matters always.
Health Benefits of Kindness
Did you know there is scientific research that proves being kind and generous is actually good for your health? When you do something that makes you feel good, your body makes Oxytocin, which then releases nitric oxide which dilates your blood vessels and reduces your blood pressure!
Research has also shown a link between being kind and your body releasing dopamine, which helps with your mood and aids in giving you a sense of euphoria and eases anxiety.
Here’s some good info on Why Being Kind is Good for your Health to drive the point home even more…
On a related note, I do not share much related to religion here, however, this was a story and a lesson about kindness and support that should resonate with us all, especially now as we are seeing an increase in hate crimes and mean spirited politics…
“Let me tell you the secret of Judaism. When you warm other people’s hearts, you remain warm yourself. When you seek to support, encourage and inspire others; then you discover support, encouragement and inspiration in your own life as well. That, my friends, is “Judaism 101”.”
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I’ve been following the recent controversy around accepting refugees into our country. Our country was created by people fleeing oppression and it continues to flourish by all of us who make up this glorious melting pot.
History repeats itself – I shared a recent article about groups of people not wanting to accept Jewish refugees fleeing from Germany during WWII and we all know what happened there.
With the explosion of digital information there are groups of people who are taking advantage of situations like the terror in Paris to instill the fear of fear in people world wide. In this NYT editorial, Fearing Fear Itself, Paul Krugman makes the interesting point, “the biggest danger terrorism poses to our society comes not from the direct harm inflicted, but from the wrong-headed responses it can inspire.”
“The world would be a whole lot safer if people would stop caring about politics and start caring about people.” – a friend on facebook
It also goes along with the sensitivity of society lately. Disruption, thinking differently, being better at something or inadvertently saying something stupid – any and all of the above can produce responses that seem unfit for the situation.
Here are just a few examples I’ve seen lately…
Online, people can’t make an off color joke (intentionally or unintentionally) without it becoming a big ordeal, causing an uproar, a boycott or producing a verbal lashing. What used to happen? We would think to ourselves or even say out loud “oh that person is an asshole” and we moved on.
Kids and sports. My son and I were not that thrilled that he received a ‘participation’ trophy for playing flag football this Fall. All I did was pay to have him on a team and he got a trophy at the end of the season. That is not trophy worthy in my book and as it turned out, it wasn’t trophy worthy in his book either.
I think all of this ultra-sensitivity is causing people to be less kind, more risk averse, and too careful -which seems to be the sentiment in this email my brother sent to me today (copied below). I obviously did not write it. It was one of those long, forwarded, you don’t know who really wrote it, emails, but it resonated with me because I do think we as a world are becoming more and more sensitive and less tolerant than is good for us.
TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE 1930s, ’40s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s!!
First, we survived being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes.
Then, after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets, and, when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads.
As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes..
Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.
We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And we weren’t overweight. WHY?
Because we were always outside playing…that’s why!
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day. –And, we were OKAY.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem..
We did not have Play Stations, Nintendos and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVDs, no surround-sound or CDs,
no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.
WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
We fell out of trees, got cut, broken bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from those accidents.
We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or just a bare hand, and no one would call child services to report abuse.
We ate worms, and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and -although we were told it would happen- we did not put out very many eyes.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors ever. The past 50 to 85 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas..
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
If YOU are one of those born between 1925-1975, CONGRATULATIONS!
You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good. While you are at it, forward it to your kids, so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.
Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn’t it ?
I’ve been quiet on here the past week or so. Nothing really going on and nothing to really inspire me to write and as I have always said – if it has to be forced, then it’s not right.
I’m about to head out of town to see a dear friend of mine get married. Brittany was my intern at K12 years ago, and then we hired her and she worked for me for a few more years. Have you ever met someone and you just clicked with them right away? That was me and Britt Britt. I instantly felt connected to her and we have always had each other’s back. At K12, in our department, that was really important since it was such a cut throat/mean environment with everyone trying to one up everyone else. Looking back now, the best thing about working there was Brittany. She lives far away now which bums me out but I love that girl —
Have you noticed lately that it seems people seem to be over sensitive and over reactive about everything lately? I get some of the bigger issues but someone says an off color joke or makes an ignorant comment and the internet explodes. What happened to saying “Hey that person is an asshole” and moving on. Nowadays people rally together and the media grabs hold and before you know it -that person has been financially or publicly ruined or at least shamed. We all say stupid shit — some more than others and it’s not a crime. We are a free country and free to think and believe what we want to believe. When a celebrity says something super stupid – I don’t feel the need to publicly shame them. I just think to myself –well, they are out of touch, spoiled asshats and I move on. I may or may not buy their records, or give my money to their causes or movies. That’s my choice but it is still a free country isn’t it and we are FREE to say stupid comments without fear of what will happen publicly.
One of my favorite sayings is Grab some popcorn and watch what happens…
I have found asshat people tend to be their own worst enemy. Ultimately they will bring themselves down. Maybe you have a co-worker that is lazy and arrogant. Sit back and watch him hang himself. It may take time but it will happen. Same goes for mean spirited, nasty people. You don’t need to help them, they do the job themselves.
Is your kid athletic? Do they ride a skateboard or bike? Both of you read this article: Teen fights for his life after skateboard crash
“Robin wants everyone to remember this: “It doesn’t matter how old you are … you’d be a lot cooler if you wore a helmet instead of putting your family and friends and loved ones through this.”
Robin said she did not push him to wear his helmet because she wanted to be the cool mom, and she does not want anyone else to feel the heartache she does.”
I’m sure we have all been there – and made exceptions to rules that we know are in place for our kid’s safety. Some are more dangerous than others. Never compromise on them wearing a helmet!
Every day you have to make the decision to be happy and approach things with the best of intentions. Some days it’s not easy, especially when you are feeling like things aren’t going the way you imagined. There are lots of examples of true kindness and beauty every day to help remind us to be thankful for all we have.
Cancer sucks! Here’s an amazing story of kindness by high school students who gave up their class trip to donate the money to their principal’s cancer treatment.
SELFLESS SACRIFICE: A high school principal was brought to tears when her senior class unanimously decided to give up their class trip to donate nearly $8,000 to her cancer treatment. HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS SACRIFICE CLASS TRIP TO DONATE TO PRINCIPAL’S CANCER CARE
I have been trying to walk during my lunch hours and listen to podcasts that focus on certain themes like leadership and improvement. Not only does it allow me to be close to nature, it’s also an opportunity to learn and grow and also just have time to think on regular basis. When was the last time you spent time just thinking? I have spoken about this problem before: We as a society don’t know how to carve out even just a little time to THINK.
Lately, I am enjoying The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes. Howes is an American author, entrepreneur, and former professional Arena League football player who hosts The School of Greatness, a talk show distributed as a podcast.
“The goal of the School of Greatness is to share inspiring stories from the most brilliant business minds, world class athletes and influential celebrities on the planet; to help you find out what makes great people great.”
During my walks, while I am listening, I find myself regularly noting down advice or things that strike me as relevant. I usually send myself a text so it doesn’t get lost. Last week, I was listening to The School of Greatness podcast entitled Become Superhuman at Any Skill with Tim Ferriss. In this podcast, Lewis wanted to learn some things about Tim that most people don’t know.
If you aren’t familiar with Tim Ferriss, he’s a noted speaker and author of the Four Hour Workweek. He’s a pretty cool, innovative and interesting guy.
Tim was asked to name three people in his life (beyond his parents) that made an impact by showing him kindness. This question struck me for some reason. Maybe it was having to name three people. How many people can clearly identify three people (in the past or today) that fit that description? How did those people impact your life trajectory? It’s not a question I have ever really considered and I am not sure that I can name three people that have had a marked impact on my life’s path by their kindness. I have had lots of kindness shown to me throughout the years, but have not had the pleasure of finding a mentor, coach or leader that I would put under that category. Kind of disheartening if I am being honest. When I think of kind people, my first thought is my husband Scott. He is seriously one of the kindest people I have ever met – from day one until today. He rarely if ever has an unkind word to say about anyone and I credit him with teaching me to see see things with a different perspective.
What about you? When was the last time you thought about who in your life has shown you true kindness and helped set you on your path to greatness?
Today is another opportunity to make a difference. Even if it’s in some small way. The smallest act of kindness can make a huge change in someone’s life. Have you ever visited the Humans of New York website? I love seeing the posts every day. It’s a reminder that every one has an important and impactful story. We are all human, going through this thing called life…
Look around the web and you will find a ton of stories of kindness and changing someone’s life. Here are two recent ones about crowd-sourcing kindness:
- Detroit Man Who Walks 21 Miles To, From Work Receives New Car
- Teen’s Humans of New York Story Inspires President Obama
Approaching your daily life from a place of good intentions and kindness is a skill that needs to be practiced. It’s something you have to be aware of which reminded me of a recent post I read that asked if you were aware of your breath?
Having control of your breath can help decrease stress, connect you to your life purpose, and help you be present in the moment. My mantra bracelet says “be here now’ – which I wear to remind me to be present and learn to enjoy what’s happening at that moment. I tend to be a rusher –wanting to head into the next experience or moment before the first one is even done. I have been working on slowing down and learning to flourish in the experience – not just wait for the experience to be over. All of that is wrapped up in fear because I am not being comfortable with instability. But, you know what? I am finding that instability can actually inspire and motivate me to greater things!
- Saturday: Boxing
- Sunday: Boxing
I started my new job yesterday –and it’s quite a bigger role than I have had before which means I am responsible for a lot more than ever and will be able to learn a lot more than ever. Although it scares me, it also excites me. The past two days I have been flooded with a ton of information — and with all that in my head, I have been exhausted. For a moment today, I started to feel overwhelmed and scared that maybe I bit off more than I can chew. I started to doubt my experience — then recognized what I was doing, took a moment, took a breathe and told myself to calm down. I don’t have to solve it all at once or alone…
With all this change, I know I need to make sure my fitness doesn’t suffer. I got up for my 6A class to start my day as usual and I felt so much better…
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