Mission accomplished!

This simple 2 word phrase is among my favorite 2 word phrases. A few others are “Thank you”, “Package delivered” and “Let’s eat”. I am an achiever – at times an over achiever – but I’m working on that too.

What was the mission? To run an entire 5k without stopping. Now I totally get that some of you might be marathon runners and you’re chuckling right now. Aw, how cute – a little baby 5k? Only 3.1 miles? Some of you do 5 times that distance at a much faster pace. And good for you if you do!

The point I’m making is that this was MY goal, one that had haunted me for a long time. Ten years ago I had attempted this but always fell short and ended up walking.

But as you may have read previously, I started training in July, and continued with the goal scheduled for early November.

The event was Wanderlust, which is a Mindful Triathlon. I would never consider a real triathlon. Don’t you even know me? This event was right up my alley. It began with a 5k, then 75 minutes of yoga, and finishing with 25 minutes of meditation.

During the one hour drive to the event, I was focusing on the fact that I could – and would – run the whole thing. At check-in, this intention was confirmed so clearly. See, the 5k was not hard core with numbers and microchips and such. It was casual. Each participant received their word for the day to stick onto their clothing instead of pinning a number. Some were affixed with “Peace” and “Joy” and other lovely words.

As I arrived at the front of the check-in line, the word on top was this one.

When the volunteer saw the look of surprise on my face, she asked if I wanted a different word. After a moment of hesitation, I replied, “No, this is the word I am supposed to have.”

With this word plastered on my shirt, I knew for certain I would not be stopping to walk. No way! It had been declared that I was a runner. And I was. I ran the whole entire thing.

The rest of the event was amazing! Practicing yoga outside with 1000 people was an incredible experience. Holding a chair pose after running was another challenge for sure. I found people who shared their face paint, met a cool lady selling bracelets, and enjoyed this view during the meditation.

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The really great part is that I am continuing to run. At least once a week I am getting in 2 to 3 miles and plan to do a few more 5k’s. Of course I’m still practicing yoga, and have even wandered into a studio a couple of times this month. Faithfully engaging in an at home practice for several years, I had forgotten about the energy shared with others in a group practice. The meditation is still a work in progress, but isn’t that the idea?

It really is all about the practice, and the process. But also, there is something transforming about reaching a goal! My good friend Kris was the photographer for the event. I think this photo she took captures the joy I was feeling in doing just that.

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What goal are you working on? How can you state your intentions so that you have the best chance of success? A little goes a long way. Keep after it and you’ll get there my friends!

Thanks for reading, until next time,
Sherri

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See Sherri run…

Actually, just read about it. There are no photos to post just yet, but it’s happening. Over the last ten years, I have made the occasional attempt at running.

I chose a helpful app called Couch To 5k, which takes people from the couch to running a 5k in 9 weeks. I am definitely more fond of the couch.

Each week has 3 sessions that are each 30 minutes. Incrementally, the walking time becomes less and the running time becomes more. The “coach” tells you when to start and stop, so it’s super easy to follow. That is, once you have your shoes on and decide to actually listen.

Here was the general sequence of events around my running escapades:

1- Realize I need to lose weight.
2- Decide it’s time to begin running.
3- Convince my friend Julie to join me.
—Note, this was often Julie convincing me to join her.
4- Load Couch to 5K (C25K) and buy a cute running outfit.
5- Begin training for a few weeks.
6- Hit scheduling difficulties.
7- Hit physical difficulties.
8- Hit (substantial) mental difficulties.
9- Quit training before completing all 9 weeks and/or 30 minutes of running.
10- Participate in a couple of races, but fail to run an entire 5k.

This pattern continued for several years. There were occasions when we killed it and did so great! Other nights we skipped it altogether and drank wine in the hot tub. We both believed having a running buddy was our best strategy. It was absolutely more fun, but we never actually hit our goal.

I decided I would try it again, but as a solo mission. While it was easier to plan and schedule, it was more challenging to force myself to get up and go.

With much pride, I can now report that I did not miss a single run! Every Monday, Thursday and Saturday for 9 weeks, this girl put on her shoes and hit the ground running, literally.

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Bonus – early morning sunrise on my running path

While I’ve successfully increased my run time to a full 30 minutes, I’m a bit short of the 3.1 mile mark. I’m going to keep with it though – we’re almost hitting acceptable weather for being outdoors in Florida. This is also the beginning of racing season. Sane people do not run outdoors in the Florida summers.

As my friend Susan put it, “You just have to throw your hat over the fence.” With that, I have committed to a 5k in just 3 more weeks, so it’s over the fence alright. I get to prove to myself that I can run this entire thing without stopping.

This is amazing! Not only am I seeing the positive physical results from running, I am noticing the increased self discipline. It’s for me, my health, and my sense of integrity. It feels fabulous to know that I will reach this goal by remaining focused and committed.

Once you get some momentum going, it’s easy to keep moving in a positive direction.

What goals are you reaching for? It doesn’t have to be a Marathon or an 8 minute mile. Maybe it’s just to work towards something that you didn’t quite accomplish before. You don’t have to wait for New Year’s to set a goal and give it your best shot!

Thanks for reading, until next time,
Sherri

Water, sunshine and love

Plants are the most amazing things ever. They give us oxygen and take in carbon dioxide. They produce flowers and fruit and their own seeds. Getting them to grow is not all that complicated.

Until recently however, I really did have a black thumb.

I killed nearly every single plant that came into my possession. Now and then there would be a survivor of the heartiest variety, but most fell victim to my neglectful ways. On a few occasions, one of my friends would give me a plant and I would cringe. The pressure to keep it alive was crippling.

Don’t get me wrong. I love plants. I love wandering around nurseries admiring all the beauty. I can barely remember the names or what they need, but I love to look. I stopped buying them years ago, knowing their fate was doomed given my pitiful plant parenting.

About 8 months ago, all of that changed. I am now a successful plant mom. Just look…

Here we have Hibiscus, Petunias, and others, then Cilantro, Basil and Parsley, and Sunflowers that I planted from seeds. At the bottom right, it’s a Miniature Rose plant from Prince Charming. This landscape is nothing short of a miracle.

Right now they all need some water, and it’s thundering but not raining, so I’m waiting to see what happens. Sunshine is a given here (um, yes, it’s the actual Sunshine State)! But the water will have to come from the hose soon if the sky doesn’t open up.

The love part is what I had to overcome. I always thought people who talked to their plants were a half a bubble off center. As it turns out, they know what’s up. Each day I greet all of my plants and check on them to see how they are. I am amazed at the difference this makes. Positive attention is really all that is required. If you’re interested, you can watch this silly video to see what I mean.

Even with all of this growth, I am still lacking in the self confidence department. When Prince Charming gave me the roses, I was terrified. I wasn’t sure I was ready for something so precious and beautiful. He assured me that I had what it takes to keep it healthy and happy. And he was right, so far, so good.

The parallel was not lost on me.

I felt a bit terrified when he and I began seeing each other. I wasn’t sure I was ready for something so precious and beautiful. He assured me that we have what it takes to keep things healthy and happy. And he was right, so far, so good.

It’s true that things don’t come to you until you are ready for them.

Learning to give of myself isn’t always easy. Having a commitment to care for another can feel like a big task, especially when my track record isn’t so great.

And then I remember, it’s just water, sunshine and love.

My past doesn’t define my future. I am learning and growing each day and letting my plants and our relationship do the same. How ridiculous would it be to tug on the leaves and stems? The key is to give freely, and not to force anything. And when everything is blooming, to relax and enjoy the beauty it brings to life.

Thanks for reading, until next time,
Sherri

Twelve credits in twelve weeks

You know what it’s like when someone is giving you advice on how to tackle a difficult thing? I mean, it’s good to have people cheering us on to higher heights. I love those kinds of people. Sometimes I am one of those people, encouraging and inspiring others who are facing challenges.

The clincher statement goes a little something like this, “The time is going to pass anyway. If doing “x” takes 5 years, well y’know, those 5 years are going to come and go whether you are working on “x” or not.” Translation: suck it up and do “x”. No one wants to waste time. It’s so much better to work toward an amazing and lofty goal, am I right?

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Y’all, I did 4 college classes this summer. And worked full time, had weekly dates with Prince Charming, kept a (fairly) clean house, had time with others who are important, celebrated my 50th birthday, and volunteered on the beach once a week.

Now that it’s over, I can actually breathe and relax. Yes, there is a massage scheduled and a vacation booked and zero assignments or tests for TWO WHOLE WEEKS.

Also, because I am not all that humble, you need to know that I got A’s in all 4 classes. The real miracle is this…

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No one died.

I don’t even think I was (that) bitchy. It was intense for sure, and at week 9, I wanted to cry. But I hung in there and now it’s done. By signing up for this time of insanity, I shaved 7 months off of my previous graduation date of December 2019. And what did I learn, you’re asking?

That every now and then, you gotta step up your pace to get to the finish line. It’s okay to take on a crazy amount of work (or whatever). Just be super realistic about what it will feel like and look like. If someone had told me it was going to be a cakewalk, I would have failed. But I succeeded because folks around me said things like, “Wow, that’s a lot,” and “That’s no picnic,” and “You’re working too?”. Those realistic comments were exactly what I needed to hear.

I think I’ll really like the next 2 normal paced semesters, which are also my final 2 semesters! In the meantime, I’m catching up on all kinds of fun things, like time in the art studio, with a book (that is not assigned), and binging on some Netflix.

So what kind of insanity are you considering? It’s okay to take on big, challenging seasons. Just be realistic with yourself, and help those near you understand your commitments. And when the season has passed, and you have succeeded, appreciate your cheerleaders!

Thanks for reading, until next time,
Sherri

Me and my ___ thumb

It’s spring time… which doesn’t mean the same thing in Florida as it does everywhere else. It’s not like we’ve been freezing or shoveling snow for months. It really means more traffic and crowded everything. But still, spring inspires gardening and flowers and such. Soon it will be too hot to exist sans air conditioning and we will be banished inside. Now is the perfect time to do outdoorsy things, such as napping in one’s hammock. Here, let me demonstrate.

IMG_6492While I have perfected this part of the great outdoors, I have not perfected gardening. Not even a little bit. It’s been said that I have a black thumb. It’s bizarre. I mean, my dad is a farmer. Not like a couple of acres somewhere to play on. He is a legit farmer with many hundreds of acres, you guys. This man who shares his DNA with me has made his entire adult livelihood from growing things (are there adoption papers I don’t know about?). My plant care / growth skills are the worst. Silk has been my only hope. As green as his thumb is, mine is definitely not.

IMG_4784Until now. My friend Pat wanted to help beautify my new place with some fresh landscaping. A reasonable and logical fear is that I will kill it all dead. It would then be considered premeditated murder knowing their unlikely survival. I suggested we start small, like maybe a couple of potted plants to see what happens.

outside houseAnd look what showed up on my front lawn? These stunningly gorgeous (and enormous) pots! And the flowers to go in them. Hibiscus, Geraniums and Petunias. These are huge and beautiful and exactly what I would have picked out and paid for if I didn’t have a rap sheet for being a plant murderer. And he stumbled across them for free, just for me. How fabulous!

But now the pressure is on to keep these babies watered and happy. It’s so hard, but for three whole weeks now these happy and bright blossoms greet me when I arrive at my front door.

With my expression of gratitude, I confessed my doubt in my ability to keep these precious plants alive. Pat reassured me when he said, “Listen sis, your dad’s a farmer. I have faith that you can do this. It’s in your blood.”

You see, sometimes our friends have more faith in us than we have in ourselves.

In so many other areas in my life, I am walking on new roads and in new ways. Previous choices and habits and ways of thinking are largely gone. With this new season, I get to choose what I will try (again). One of my favorite people on the planet, Jen Hatmaker, says in her latest book, Of Mess and Moxie, “You don’t have to be who you once were.” This is just one reason that I love her so much. It’s permission to start fresh.

It’s true. I don’t have to have a black thumb for the rest of my life. Yes, I’m busy, but surely I can water plants. It’s not that hard. It’s a simple matter of paying attention. If I want to have dazzling blooms outside my front door, then I can. Especially when I have good friends with enough faith in me to deliver them, pots and all.

IMG_6524I don’t have to let my past define my future. And neither do you. Bloom brightly!

Thanks for reading, until next time,
Sherri

 

 

Goals and marshmallows

Ahh… it’s mid January and I’ve had to restart my resolutions already. Please tell me I’m not alone here.

It’s not the typical “it got too hard and so I just quit” reason that my resolve collapsed. It was a 48 hour stomach bug. Apparently 7up and saltine crackers are not Whole30 compliant. My 30 days of practicing True Yoga with Adriene also went to the wayside, but hey, I rediscovered some ab muscles without her.

Just three days after the plague lifted, my daughter came into town to celebrate her sister’s birthday. It was a lovely and slightly guilt ridden time of eating and drinking as I pleased. Hibachi is a tradition for this birthday child, and I’ll admit I’m a sucker for fried rice with yum yum sauce. But alas, the binge came to a halt with the post-birthday return flight. No more plague, no more birthday, no more excuses. I was ready to reestablish that healthy lifestyle thing.

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And I have! I started over! I’m six days behind on yoga and officially one week into the Whole30 (again). It looks like I’ll be committed until Valentine’s Day when I’m sure to receive some pity candy (ha, that’s not real, but it kind of is. I’ll accept chocolate for any reason. I’m shallow that way).

It was interesting to note my dedication to these New Year’s plans of eating healthy and practicing yoga daily. I’m a big fan of observing and learning from my own behavior. Plus it often provides a good laugh.

I realized that it is super duper hard for me to keep momentum! Especially when it’s already two weeks in and everyone else has flaked out on their resolutions and carrying on life like a normal person. And it’s not pretty. Taco Tuesdays with the work crew? No thanks. Free office bagels on Thursdays? Sorry, can’t.  Also, Happy Hour of any flavor? Nope, not this month. That’s not the worst danged part though. The real tragedy is that I cannot enjoy s’mores around my very own fire pit.

Digression: I can barely stand not impaling a marshmallow when there is a perfectly good fire crackling away. Roasted marshmallows are my absolute favorite things. It’s okay to skip the chocolate and graham crackers if need be. If I were on death row, I would request an entire package of roasted gooey, golden brown marshmallows as my last meal. Finding a picture for this post caused me to tear up a bit. I don’t know what to think of those who purposely set their marshmallows on fire to have them ruined blackened and crusty and burnt. They must be heathens.

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THIS is perfection… Golden brown. Not charred, for the love.

Back to the topic. It’s so hard to muster the energy and grit to move in a direction, then come to a halt or even digress, and then start again. How do we do it?

Just like that. Simply come right back to where you were. We are talking about goals here, not marshmallows. See what I did there?

Momentum, even in it’s smallest increment, helps propel us to our goals. We catch a wave, ride with the wind, begin to pick up steam, all of those lovely metaphors (or similes? I always get them mixed up). Momentum defined is “the impetus and driving force gained by the development of a process or course of events.”

How do you regain your momentum after a setback? What compels you to start again when your well-intentioned plans have been hijacked?

For me, I return to the “why”. Why were those resolutions and goals and plans in place anyway?

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Daily goal – 100 ounces!

Because I want to be healthy. And I want to be the appropriate weight for my height. And since growing taller is not an option, getting thinner is what I’m left with. Oh, and there’s a milestone birthday happening in just 5 months and I want this body to be at its best. Healthy, and also, since I’m being honest, smoking hot.

Whether the goals are physical, financial, educational, professional, the key is what you do when you’ve totally blown it. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back in there. No matter how far off track we have veered, it’s never too far to realign and recommit. You can do this! I can too…

And as one of my friends said recently, January is a free trial month! I’ll drink (water) to that…

Thanks for reading, until next time,
Sherri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breathe in, breathe out, smile

That was the Sunday morning message today. Which I watched from home in my PJ’s. Breathe in, breathe out, and smile. (If you haven’t had enough inspiration today, and you’d like to watch, click here.)

How is it that I got to stay home on a Sunday morning and leisurely watch church? Because our Pastor said it’s “Take a Break” weekend, and gave everyone the weekend off. No services. It’s been glorious and weird and exactly what I needed. Extra time to reflect and rest and relax. After the most challenging semester, AND moving, I needed it!

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Goodbye ugly caterpillar

Life has been busy and challenging and I have missed hitting this space. There’s just a few more days of this semester and let’s just say HALLELUJAH for that!

There is this one little thing I feel like I need to share. Sometime over the summer, I noticed a red spot on my chest that seemed weird. When it didn’t just disappear, I conceded to let a professional take a look. My dermatologist is a lovely woman – probably because she never exposes herself to the sun (it’s a prerequisite for all dermatologists, obviously). She agreed that it looked a bit suspicious, and sliced off a sample for a biopsy.

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Why chi-square? Why not a chai latte?

Why questions have got to be the worst. Little ones are such pros at this. And if you have a toddler, you’re probably too dang exhausted to play the never ending game of why. Think of all the fun that Aunties and Grandparents get to have with this question.

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I’m asking myself “Why?” these days. And it’s not productive at all.

Please know that I am not complaining here. I signed up for this. I want my degree, and I am willing to sacrifice some lazy days and Netflix nights to see it through. I love almost all of my classes. Three out of four to be exact. Interesting, useful topics presented by knowledgeable and interesting professors, 75% of the time. Things like the four P’s of marketing, the Theory of Planned Behavior, and how others in China greet one another. All great stuff.

Until it comes to the dreaded fourth course. QMB3200. Economic and Business Statistics II. The QMB is literally Quantitative Methods in Business, and if that gives you a headache, same. You can now be in my support group.

The professor is from India, and he is an engineer by trade. He’s actually brilliant and tries to bring this not-exciting methodology to a place where we understand what in the *#@!  he is actually talking about. But I can’t am having a hard time understanding the concepts and an equally hard time listening to him explain it.

Is it me? Is it him? Is it just the subject? It’s a required class and he’s the only one that teaches it. What can I change? Not much. Okay, maybe how much time I spend on it. Which for this weekend is somewhere around 8 hours already for this ONE STUPID class. Maybe I can try changing my attitude? That’s a bit trickier…

Don’t get me wrong, I am not lazy or apathetic (okay, a tad bit apathetic). All of this can literally be done in Excel or other programs. By other people who perhaps will work in the office next to me. And they can “crunch the numbers” and yes, I will want to know what they mean. But right now it’s kind of like WHY AM I BEING TORTURED THIS WAY?

Remember in grade school when we had to learn long division? And we couldn’t use calculators?

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Yeah, it’s a little bit like that.

Do you know what the entire basis of Statistics even is? It’s all about sample data. The reason you spend a bajillion hours calculating sample data and proportions and all that nonsense is because, according to my professor, we can never know the data of the entire population. Hello? Has anyone at the college level heard of Big Data? It’s going to replace this entire field and future generations will never have to suffer such a terrible fate.

So why do I have to take this class? It’s the same as little kids asking their parents basically any why question. Because they said so, that’s why. Guess I’m still a rebel at heart.

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At the beginning of the semester, I took this screen shot just for fun. Let’s pause and enjoy this moment, shall we? (this is not my current grade at all, btw). This was my grade after basically turning in ONE homework assignment. It wasn’t like the answers were correct or anything. It’s so much fun to pretend I can freeze this score (insert mad woman maniacal laughter).

For the moment, we need to call down all the powers from above that I miraculously pass this course. Because the exam grades are a whole ‘nother story altogether, and I’ve got one coming up fast. If, oops, I mean, when I pass, I plan to celebrate heavily, with champagne and maybe even fireworks.

I’m not sure what the big takeaway is here. You get to be grateful this is not your life right now? Maybe you’ve got an encouraging story to share about a class you conquered against all odds? If you can toss up a little prayer that I’ll make it through, I’d be so grateful.

Thanks for reading, until next time…
Sherri