cupsrunningover

Encouragement for this "run" we call life, because as C. S. Lewis said, "If one could run without getting tired, I don't think one would often want to do anything else".


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An Amazing Average Post: Jessica Alexander Fields (Or how I wound in Bali with someone I “met” on Kickstarter).

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Jess with one of her sponsor children in Bali

If you are reading this post, you are one of two people: Either you know my friend Jess or you don’t. If you do, you probably don’t need to read this (but I hope you will!) and if you don’t, I really hope you WILL read this, because I think everyone’s life can be made a little bit better by knowing Jess.

[If you missed the introductory post where I explained why I am writing about Amazing Average people, you might want to take a minute to check it out here, and you can see a couple of the past “honorees” here and here. Jessica is one of the very people that inspired this idea because she truly is an “average” person doing amazing things….usually 5 or 6 of them at one time!]

Jess’s story is hers to tell, but I don’t think she’d mind me telling you that her path has not been always an easy one. She has known pain in many places and she has had hard days and hard years and she has been hurt. What I love most about Jess is that despite that, and I would say because of it, she is one of the most joyful people I know- and it’s a joy that’s contagious.

Jess is at heart an artist and an amazingly talented one at that. I “met” Jess when a common friend posted information about her Kickstarter project to start her new business “Nutti Yogini”, a yoga-inspired active wear line of clothes. Since that day, there is rarely a day that goes by that I don’t have on SOMETHING that was created by Jess! It is so inspiring to hear her talk about her passion for her clothing line, because Jess is 100% committed to all of her clothing being 100% American made, down to the tiniest thread and button. This means that her prices are higher than some clothing lines who don’t share this commitment and she has had pressure to compromise in order to make a higher profit, but she has held on to her conviction and promise; I wear her clothes proudly (ok I’m basically a walking advertisement for her!)

Nutti Yogini wear

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You can climb mountains (or really big rocks) in Nutti Yogini clothes!

Jess is one of those unique people who is a blend of so many different things that somehow combine to make one amazing beautiful person. She is compassionate beyond words: if you are hurting or struggling, Jess is a friend who will cry with you and make you tea and then make you laugh. If you sit too long in the hurt, she’ll then gently but firmly remind you to get going again, and she’ll be right there to help you if you need her. Jess is honest about who she is and what she wants, and you never have to wonder what she means because Jess is beautifully authentic. She speaks up for herself and is direct and goal-oriented in a way that makes you want to sit up and take lessons. She is one of the hardest-working people I know, and to watch her get excited about her latest project or job is truly inspiring.  In beautiful contrast to this, Jess knows how to have fun, and to hear her laugh is one of my absolute favorite things.

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Another one of my favorite things about Jess is that she is truly a relational being. She is a caring and creative wife, “bonus mom”, daughter, friend, boss, mentor, co-worker and artist. (Of note, she is also a cat-lover and she’s such an amazing person in every other way, that I’ve even forgiven that!). She is always giving back out of what she has.  Whether it’s to her sponsor children we met in Bali or local girls who need a mentor and positive role-model, Jess isn’t afraid to give of herself and her blessings. I have watched her use words to encourage others in just the way they need it, and she showers around her love like she has an endless supply. She is quick to give and take advice and encouragement and I always come away from time with Jess feeling inspired and quietly refreshed.

In addition to creating super-cool clothes, Jess is an amazingly gifted jewelry artist. She was just voted Best Local artist for the third time in a row in the South Sound Magazine’s annual “Best of…” series.  Her pieces are each unique and lovely and carry a little piece of Jess’s personality and heart in them and I simply adore her work. The latest piece of Jess’s I bought right off her neck and I don’t think I’ve taken it off since!

Jess lives her life out loud- in a big bold beautiful sparkly way that makes you feel grateful just to know her. I try to always have a next “date” on the calendar with Jess, because she is a super-busy girl but I’m determined to continue to steal away a few moments every couple of months with her!

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Jess’s wedding- isn’t she a beautiful (artistic) bride?!

If you are interested in checking out some of Jess’s beautiful creations you can do that here: Nutti Yogini and here: Jessicaalexanderjewelry. I can promise you won’t regret any purchases you might be tempted to make, and in fact, the problem will be keeping yourself from buying more!  (Her new summer line was just released and it’s colorful and awesome, just as it always is!)

Thanks Jess for letting me a part of your beautiful life.  You truly are an amazing person and I am so honored to be your friend!

Mr and Mrs Fields

Mr and Mrs Fields


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May Words I Wish I Wrote that I Wrote Down (in my journal)

Life has been BUSY (with a capital B, U, S and Y) and I’ve been writing less as I’ve been living and celebrating and sharing and working and running and listening… a good kind of busy. I scheduled in some time to write today, so I’m back with some words for you. Almost every single one of these made me want to say “this one is my favorite” and since I can’t say they are ALL my favorite, I’ll just say these words were all good for me to hear last month. Maybe one speaks to you in a specific way- I’d love to hear which one and why! However, even if you just read and move on, here’s hoping one or some of these words make your day a little more sparkly!

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It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery “The Little Prince”

You must constantly ask yourself these questions: Who am I around? What are they doing to me? What have they got me reading? What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most important, what do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself the big question: Is that ok? Your life does not get more right by chance, but by practical CHANGE.
Jim Rohn

Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am.
Thomas Merton

Do you want to be a power in the world? Then be yourself.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I don’t want that girl- she plays dirty”
Aiden McCann (6 yo) in reference to the Queen of hearts while playing (beating) me and Pete at “9 card stud”

Some beautiful things are more dazzling when they are still imperfect than when they have been too perfectly crafted.
la Rochefoucauld

No effort is required to define or even attain happiness, but enormous concentration is needed to abandon everything else.
Quentin Crisp

The ultimate test of a relationship is to disagree but to hold hands.
Alexandra Penney

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me, and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
Jesus. (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message)

Once you label me you negate me.
Soren Kierkegaard

One can often endure an extra pound of pain far more easily than we can suffer the withdrawl of an ounce of unaccustomed pleasure.
Sydney Harris

Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.
Shakespeare

No effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.
Helen Keller

No one is bored when he is trying to make something that is beautiful or to discover something that is true.
William Ralph Inge

A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, and a little less than his share of the credit.
Arnold Glasow

Never cut what you can untie.
Joseph Soubert

The true spirit of conversation consists more in bringing out the cleverness of others than in showing a great deal of it yourself; he who goes away pleased with himself and his own wit is also greatly pleased with you.
Jean de la Bruyere

One does not write what has already been written. One writes out of the storehouse of fresh revelation and his own personal knowledge gained through the painful experiences of growth. Ye cannot escape the growing experience without forfeiting the other. Ye shall cease writing if you cease learning. Ye do not learn as ye write, but write as ye learn.
Francis Roberts

There is nothing more genuine than breaking away from the chorus to learn the sound of your own voice.
Po Bronson
Measuring sticks always become weapons of self-harm.  And scales always lie. They don’t make a scale that ever told the truth about value, about worth, about significance.
Ann Voskamp

There can be no success or happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.
Freya Madeline Stark

A good example is far better than a good precept.
Dwight Moody

All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Life is 10% about what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.
Charles Swindoll

I am more afraid of an army of 100 sheep led by a lion than an army of 100 lions led by a sheep.
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord

Person to person, moment to moment, as we love, we change the world.
Samahria Lyte Kaufman

You can’t rely on how you look to sustain you. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul.
Lupita Nyong’o

We brag about the things that we think give us value.
Kathryn McIvor

You can not change the people around you, but you can change the people that you choose to be around.
Christine Caine

Only speak words that make souls stronger.
Ann Voskamp

The best portion of a good man’s life is his little nameless unremembered acts of kindness and of love.
William Wordsworth

In this world, you must be a bit too kind to be kind enough.
Pierre de Marivaux


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Word to the Words

Word to the Words

If you know me, you know I like to run.  I haven’t always liked to run but now it’s as much a part of me as my eye color (green) or my shoe size (which is quite large) or the fact that my favorite color is and always has been green.

You may have picked up on the fact that I also like to write, and more specifically that I love words, in any and all form.  I’ve written about that plenty before as well.

I am grateful to be able to combine my love of running and writing in the form of a new blog (Run For Your Life) over at my friend and running coach’s website, where I get the privilege of writing for my running friends and family (which hopefully many of you are!).  (If you missed the first post, you can see it here).  I am excited about all the upcoming ideas that people submitted on topics they want to hear/read about and am already working on many of them, but today I wanted to write about the importance of words in running.   Curious?  In the interest of efficiency, I’m writing an essay in response to the final “points challenge” of our recent “Diehards Challenge”.  Aren’t you even more curious?  Click on over and check it out here:

Run For Your Life: Word to the Words


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February Words I Wish I Wrote that I Wrote Down (in my Journal)

Happy afternoon!  In the last 24 hours here in Washington (in typical Pac NW “spring” fashion) there has been sunshine, drizzle, rain and hail so that makes for a cozy afternoon catching up on rest and reading after a busy month.  This month’s list of quotes is a little shorter than usual, perhaps in honor of the short month.  Few in number, they are however rich in meaning and many of them I have come back to again and again and they will go on my “lifetime favorites” list.  Wherever you are today, whatever you are doing, I hope one of these quotes encourages, inspires, surprises or comforts you.

 

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Picture taken by my dad

That is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great.
Willa Cather

Life is like a landscape. You live in the midst of it, but can describe it only from the vantage point of distance.
Charles A. Lindbergh

How to gain, how to keep, how to recover happiness, is in fact for most men at all times the secret motive of all they do, and of all they are willing to endure.
William James

Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.
Reinhold Niebuh

Persons appear to us according to the light we throw upon them from our own minds.
Laura Ingalls Wilde

I will speak ill of no man and speak all the good I know of everybody.
Benjamin Franklin

Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.
Thomas Edison

Children think not of what is past, nor what is to come, but enjoy the present time, which few of us do.
Jean de La Bruyère

Extending your hand is extending yourself.
Rod McKuen

Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed.
Cavett Robert

Nothing can make our life, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness.
Leo Tolstoy

Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.
Robert Louis Stevenson

A society that has more justice is a society that needs less charity.
Ralph Nader

Every man has his secret sorrows, which the world knows not; and oftentimes we call a man cold when he is only sad.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening.
Henry David Thoreau


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Unintentional Childlessness: Love the Life You’re With

I found out when I was 15 years old.

It was pretty uneventful honestly- no eggs= no pregnancy= no baby.  I’m not sure you CAN really comprehend what that means at 15, but my #1 passion in life was babies and babysitting and  I had a kind boyfriend (you know the high school one you are absolutely certain is your soul mate and you’ll be married to forever?) who said “I don’t care”, so I immediately thought “No big deal, I’ll just adopt- that seems less painful anyway”.

And honestly, it really wasn’t a “big deal” for the next 17 years.  I continued babysitting-funding much of my high school activities by changing diapers and rocking sweethearts to sleep (JULIE! How are you MARRIED??).  In college and medical school I was busy working and studying and living and while I was ABSOLUTELY OVERJOYED as my sisters and friends started having kids, I can say with all honestly I wasn’t upset by my own lack of childbearing potential.  Then came marriage to a sweet guy who adored me and didn’t blink at forced adoption, followed by residency in Hawaii where we were too busy working (pre 80-hour work week! Sorry I couldn’t resist) and “sunning” and surfing and hiking and playing and living to feel any sense of anything missing in our lives.

Then came DC.  Fellowship for me and deployment #1 for the hubs who was gone for a full 18 months by the time it was all over.  A few weeks after he left, a full-on attack of the most intensive kind began that convinced me there was absolutely no way I could continue and live a full and happy life unless I had a baby- or at least a plan for one- ASAP.  There was much playing into this of course- my age, a large group of amazing friends with A LOT of kiddos, being “alone”, finally having a TEENSY bit of free time that you could imagine having another person to take care of without it sending you into a panic attack, and the new nearness to my sisters and hence 4 of (their eventually to be 7 kids and) my nieces and nephews (as well as double that many “honorary” ones- it’s a Hawaiian thing, being an “auntie”).  Then, in a two week period- SEVENTEEN friends and family announced that they were pregnant.  SEVENTEEN.  (That is one busy week of sending out birthday cards/gifts every year!) I thought I might actually die from the fighting emotions: pain, jealousy, anger, bitterness, joy, shame.  The ones that caused me to sincerely celebrate with them, planning showers and talking names and room colors and all things baby, and to then run home to crawl under the blankets and cry for hours about how intensely unfair life was and how ashamed this all made me feel.  There was certainly no way to share this with Deployed Pete as he was dealing with more pressing issues.  In addition, being a dual military couple in the setting of the insane deployment tempo present  then did not give me any hope that we would be in the same place for the amount of time needed to even BEGIN addressing adoption.   Those were some tough years.

Then deployed Pete became returned Pete and Fellowship Dawn became deployed Dawn- we sort of passed in the night- and another year went by.  On my return came an immediate move cross country (yeah Gig Harbor! We do love you so!), a new job, board exams, post-deployment depression (probably not quite strong enough a word but that’s another topic for another day) and then- Yep- ANOTHER deployment.  This time together, for which I was thankful but let’s just say a tiny trailer in Iraq is not the same as a big house in the US for two people who had lived apart more than together in the last 4 years.  There was not enough room in that trailer for the both of us and all our accumulated demons and it was a tough few months.  Follow that with medical issues and marriage struggles on the return stateside and you are left with two worn-out people and even I could see at that point that “and baby makes 3” would NOT be a happy ending to our particular story.

I remember vividly the day I was standing in the kitchen of our cabin house, talking to my sweet, funny and wise friend Sara (do you remember this Sara?) and came to the conclusion that I truly had a choice.  I could keep fanning the flames of bitterness and anger and injustice and self-pity and shame and deep sadness, or I could just walk away and let them die out.  Don’t get me wrong, that is not INaction- to let them die out….because walking away from that fire is quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  BUT….

IT WORKED.  Really it did.  I don’t mean to say that from that time on a baby’s cry made me shudder or that suddenly a sloppy two-year-old kiss WASN’T the GREATEST thing ever (because truly for all time it IS- right??) or that there weren’t times I had to send a gift to the shower and trust my friend knew my heart was celebrating when my mouth couldn’t.  But suddenly (Renee’ is always telling me to watch for those “and suddenly” moments) the pain wasn’t so INTENSE, so pervading, so stop-what-you-are-doing-and-run inducing.  It was just a little part of me, sort of like my big feet, or the way my ears aren’t pierced exactly in the same place- a part of who I am that doesn’t have to define me but has shaped me, and I like to think- finally- for the better.

(An aside: please don’t feel sorry for me.  Please don’t feel the need to make me or yourself feel better by sending me all the miracle stories and “don’t give up” pleas because it will make me feel like you didn’t understand what I was saying above.  For me, in this life right now, I am truly, honestly at peace with the fact that we don’t have children.  If tomorrow, God decides to change that- I’ll write a post about it after I’ve had time to digest).

Embracing (or at least learning to live with) unintentional childlessness has actually made the last few years, while some of the hardest of my life for many reasons, also some of the best.  Laid-back Pete and I have always loved to travel, and we’ve been able to embrace that in a whole new way!  We’re able to make last minute plans to go last-minute places, or full-on detailed plans to go amazing places, that just truly aren’t possible (emotionally, logistically or financially) when you have diapers, bottles, teething, tantrums and naptimes to think about.  Almost weekly, someone tells me in some form of communication “I love your life!  I wish I had your life!” and I try to remember to say “Me too!”. Also, because of my life’s path, I am often able to listen and understand when others are going through their own infertility struggles with an ear that you just can’t have if you haven’t “been there”.  I don’t know if it’s helped anyone that much, but I do know that sometimes just being allowed to share our story- with no worries about judgment or unhelpful “helpful” advice is priceless.

I was thinking about all of these things last week and what the “point” of sharing them would be while  spending some relaxing, un-scheduled time at “home” in MS (b/c MS will ALWAYS be home)  with my sweet sister and her three (CRAZY) precious boys.  Preston (the typical oldest) INSISTS on setting his alarm to get up SUPER early so he won’t miss the bus (I SOOO get it!) and drinking coffee with him and Aiden (me coffee, they milk) as they ate breakfast and brushed teeth were some memories you just can’t ever take away from me.  And then this:

Bus Waiting

Bus Waiting

Ya’ll.  Tears- streaming tears.  I sat there thinking “THIS”- “This is what I am missing by not having kids”.  All these precious moments that are nothing moments until you look and see that they are EVERYTHING moments.  I was tempted to think “I love your life; I want your life” (and the old me would have gone down that path) but the new me said “Oh what a sweet life you have sister of mine and Oh how blessed I am to be a part of it”.

So as I’m thinking about all these things, I’m thinking what if we all learn to “Love the Life You’re With”?  (Can you read that without singing it?).  What if, when tempted to think “Why me” or “Why her” or “Why them” or any number of other thoughts based on why what you have isn’t good enough or how you’d do things differently if only you had the chance, what if we thought “I’m so happy for them” and “I am so grateful for what I DO have even in spite of (or sometimes BECAUSE of) what I DON’T have?  What if we did that?  What if when they (you) tell me “I love your life!” in that wistful way you do, I said “Me too!” and “Don’t you just love yours too though?!  You get to clean up baby milk-puke! I mean seriously!  How precious is that?  Just ask your grandmother how you’ll be LONGING to do that in about 10 years from now!”

What if we did that?  What if we loved OUR life AND celebrated the lives of those around us as well.  What if we give each other eyes to see our lives in a different way when we can’t see anything worth celebrating with our own blurred retinas?  What if we help each other read back over the stories of our lives and see how AMAZING they are?  What would that “look” like?  Wanna give it a try?  I would simply LOVE to hear your thoughts on this, or stories of how you are doing this??

OK- that’s all for now!  I’ve gotta go pack for a cruise- NO children allowed!


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January Words I Wish I Wrote that I Wrote Down (in my journal)

Happy February!  My January was slam full of all kinds of fun and new things and time with friends- ending with a great trail race on Orcas Island and a long-planned trip home to MS.  I have absolutely lowed seeing friends and family and some unexpected snow, and what more could you ask for than watching this Superbowl game with 3 sweet and crazy nephews while eating seafood gumbo with hot sauce and a seasonal Abita after biting into a baby in the King Cake.  Ahhhhh, there’s really no place like “home”.  I simply can’t pick a favorite from this list of amazing worlds below!  I’d love to hear which one is YOUR favorite!

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All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Always try to be a little kinder than is necessary.
J.M. Barrie

My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been.
Drake Arbus

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions.  Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
Mark Twain

Who is strong?  He that can conquer his bad habits.
Benjamin Franklin

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Galatians 5:22

To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming is the only end of life.
Robert Luis Stevenson

Waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother.  We are enlarged in the waiting.  We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us.  But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
Eugene Peterson

My own experience and development deepen every day my conviction that our moral progress may be measured by the degree in which we sympathize with individual suffering and individual joy.
George Eliot

Enough is abundance to the wise.
Euripide

Such are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind, for the soul is dyed by the thoughts.
Marcus Aurelius

You must constantly ask yourself these questions:  Who am I around?  What are they doing to me? What have they got me reading? What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most importantly, what do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself the big question: Is that ok? Your life does not get more right by chance, but by practical CHANGE.
Jim Rohn

Never never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake.  Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world.
Rainer Maria Rilke

Goodwill is the one and only asset that competition cannot undersell or destroy.
Ludwig Borne

There is something beautiful about all scars of whatever nature.  A scar means the hurt is over, the wound is closed and healed, done with.
Harry Crews

We are not so sensible of the greatest Health as of the least Sickness.
Benjamin Franklin

I have never been hurt by what I have not said.
Calvin Coolidge

Most people think that shadows follow, precede or surround beings or objects.  The truth is that they also surround words, ideas, desires, deeds, impulses and memories.
Elie Wiesel

To have what we want is riches, but to be able to do without is power.
George MacDonald

There are two kinds of light- the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.
James Thurber

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.
C. S. Lewis

A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.
Jean de la Fontaine

The true secret of happiness lies in the taking a genuine interest in al lthe details of daily life.
William Morris

The habit of being happy enables us to be freed or largely freed from the dominance of the outward conditions.
Robert Luis Stevenson

Let nothing upset you,
Let nothing startle you.
All things pass,
God does not change.
Patience wins all it seeks.
Whoever has God lacks nothing.
God alone is enough.
St Teresa of Avila

Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see life with a clear view again.
Alex Tan

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.
Robert Frost

Don’t allow someone else’s brokenness to undermine your wholeness.  You may not have said/done anything wrong, it is simply their perspective that is not right.  Hurting people hurt people.
Christine Caine

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
Winston Churchill

The stress of the disaster narrowed people’s fields of vision, as if they wore blinders to anyone’s experience but their own
“5 Days at Memorial”

It is a rare and beautiful thing when we choose to offer love in situations when most people would choose to scorn or ignore.
Lysa Terkeurst

Circumstances don’t change your heart.  They reveal it.
Sammy Rhodes

This is why we can’t measure the value of our decisions based on outcomes.  Most of life is not an outcome.  Most of life is unfolding on the road in front of us.  The “outcome” can change as fast as the scenery.
Allie Vestervelt “Traveling Light”

When you are living in your passion, people around you who were sleeping will be woke up.  That’s how you know.  When we become who we were made to be, we come alive, but the people around us come alive too!  Where your passion meets their need that is your calling.
Allie Vestervelt “Traveling Light”

We write to taste life twice.  Once in the moment, and once in retrospection.
Anais Nin

Don’t ask yourself what this world needs.  Ask yourself what makes you come alive and do that.  Because what this world needs are people who have come alive.
John Eldredge

I believe in words, in the power and potential they possess, that what we say is significant and it’s up to us to share our stories.  But I also believe there comes a time when you can’t just write about life.  You have to life it.  Even when it scares you half to death…….What great writers do, and maybe great people, is they step into the mess.  They do the difficult job of caring, not just about what they do but who they do it for.  And that’s something rare.
Jeff Goins

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
Martin Luther King Jr


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An Amazing Average Post: Alexa Martin

Happy 2014 friends!

I’m so excited about this post- the next post in my Amazing Average People series.   (If you have no idea what I am talking about, just click here and here and you’ll be caught up in no time).

One of my biggest passions and happiness-bringers is supporting small business owners, friends and family (whether in blood or virtual/digital form) and “average” people who are doing AMAZING things.  As I began working on this series that would not get off my mind and heart, I wondered if it would connect with others-if I’d be able to share the amazing-ness of these people I’m going to tell you about one by one.  I was so so excited to see that, based on the amount of responses, texts, calls, messages and emails I received, it seems to have done just that!  So thank you “readers” for reminding me how blessed I am to have such giving and passionate friends and family.  I am grateful for you.

I’m going to keep my post today short, because I want to send you right over to the website (Dirty Girls Trail Runners) of the subject of this post: my running coach, but more importantly my friend, Alexa Martin.  If you know her, you already know most of what I could tell you, and if you don’t, well, I’m sorry, because she is one pretty amazing person.  (If you know her, you also know that I did NOT tell her I was writing this post, because she would have found some way to stop me- ha!  Too bad Alexa- I’m pretty sneaky when I wanna be!).

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Sun Mountain 25K 2013

Alexa is one of those people that just makes you instantly feel welcome, safe, normal, cherished, important and capable right from the minute you meet her.  She’s compassionate, she’s funny- (impish even maybe at times?), she’s flexible, she’s giving and she’s a brilliant coach and runner who gives more than sometimes seems possible to other people.  I have watched, first myself, and then others, be transformed physically, mentally and emotionally by joining her classes and the amazing running community here in our town that she has helped shape and energize.  While teaching you how to improve form and technique and ability as well as any coach I’ve ever known or seen, more importantly, she teaches you personal lessons about strength and courage and endurance and kindness to yourself and others that have the ability to transform you entirely.  In light of my new, more focused focus on the importance of using our words well, Alexa is one person who is constantly reinforcing this lesson to us all as regards the way we talk to one of the most important people in our lives: ourselves.  There is no price tag on these types of lessons and I am so grateful to be learning from her.

I’m so excited to tell you that I’m going to be helping spread some of her coaching tips and wisdom to you in the coming weeks and months.  We’ll be adding a section to her website where you can find her tried and true advice for whatever your question, problem, struggle or new challenge or goal is.

In addition, I am so grateful to be writing on a new blog on her website Run For Your LIfe, where we’ll be discussing all the different ways that Running (exercise) is good for your health- be it physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, relational or any other aspect of health.  I hope you’ll take a minute to click on over and read the introductory post (click here) where I explain how in the heck I came to love something so much that I spent the first 34 years of my life in complete hatred of.  Even if you HATE to run, and actually ESPECIALLY if you abhor running, I hope you’ll take the time to at least skim through it because you might be surprised to hear my story.

I hope that you have an “Alexa” in your life, or maybe you are one yourself.  In honor of celebrating Amazing Average people everywhere, why not take 5 minutes today to tell “her” thanks or do something special to show “her” (or yourself) that she is making a difference in the world.  (And then go check out the new blog at the link…this one…here!)

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