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

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

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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Virginia Slims and Refrigerators

I love beginning new projects. I love kicking around ideas for what I will begin next week or next month. But working on something midway through? Or just doing that final little thing to check it off the list? Nahhh.

What’s even worse is when it’s just something that is never ever done. You know, like laundry or cleaning the house. Maintenance is just not exciting enough. Why clean up in 10 minutes what can accumulate? Let it become a big project with clearly visible results. Wow, great job! It was such a mess and now it’s perfect. But keeping it that way? Picking up a little bit daily? Weekly even?

Not so much.

I am however, learning the value of better habits. In many ways I have incorporated great practices, like yoga every morning and flossing every night. Yes, I even start and finish the laundry (finish, as in, it’s put away and hung up and everything) in the very same day. I don’t let my car get too messy and my paperwork piles are smaller than they’ve ever been.

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Please don’t think I advocate for smoking. I just like the slogan.

Today, however, I had to own the fact that while I’m winning in those areas, I have work to do. Confession alert: I am a terrible food manager.

For whatever stupid-ass reason, I don’t like spending time evaluating what IS in my frig and freezer and pantry. I would rather just go to the store and buy more stuff. Then, I can take all the stuff I bought last week (that is now fuzzy, slimy or otherwise gross) and throw it out to make room for the new stuff. I’ve come to think of it as an expensive, wasteful, food rotation hobby.

Ridiculous? Yes. Correctable? Also yes, I hope.

So this morning, I did a little refrigerator cleaning. You know, before I go to the store to buy more food. As this was a big neglected task, I would get some satisfaction (it was actually satisfying embarrassing, so much so that I had to share it with you).

Apparently, I like to collect condiments. They are the obvious winners of the frig longevity game. They are clearly unlike grapes or romaine when expired. These bottles and jars require serious effort. You’ve actually got to find the “best used by date” (often requiring reading glasses) and then realize that mustard from April of 2016 must go. Which is sad because I moved in June of 2016 and that mustard should not have been hauled here in the first place.

I did not count how many bottles I rinsed and recycled, but it was a pathetic amount. This isn’t even all of them.

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I did count three bottles of soy sauce which I condensed into one. There is so much sodium in that stuff it will never go bad. I nearly choked when I dumped the outdated Sriracha out. And why do I have Miracle Whip? I hate that stuff. Oh yeah, I bought it for my brother when he was here in March. Out with it.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who is afflicted with this terrible practice (seriously, comment and tell me I am not alone).

My budget and waistline demand that I do a better job in this arena. I think I will just walk to the grocery store. I can only purchase what I can literally carry. That should certainly help me make better decisions about what I buy.

Each week, from now until forever more, I will clean out my refrigerator and evaluate my food plan carefully. And I have all of you to hold me accountable.

Thanks for reading, until next time!
Sherri

 

 

 

He brought me roses*…

I think I am beginning to understand how relationships work. Time + effort + sacrifice = happy feelings.

Since I am single, and I seem to spend all of my free time doing homework, I just call it “dating” whatever class in which I find myself enrolled (you can read more about Al(gebra) here and here). This semester his name is Cal(culus) – you can read about him here. And though he intimidates the crap out of me, I am determined to make it work.

It’s only 16 weeks y’all. It’s not like I’m getting married. I can handle anything for 16 weeks.

I go to class twice each week. I do all of the homework. I spend extra time getting ready for the big date nights (tests). But alas, it was painful after our first one. When I got a 68, it became clear that we were not getting along as well as I believed.

Basically, Cal had me in tears and it was my own fault.

He is who he is, and I have to adjust. Relationships are not supposed to be inflexible like this, but Cal, he’s pretty straightforward. It’s either right or wrong, black or white, all or nothing; there’s no compromising with him. I am the one who has to make it work.

So, like any wise woman who needs to get through the semester, I took an inventory and made adjustments. He needed me to slow down, and I did. He needed me to spend more time with him, and I did. I chose to eliminate distractions and sacrifice other things that were getting in the way of our relationship. And guess what happened because of those efforts?

He brought me roses, 2 dozen lovely red, long-stemmed beauties. Or the “I’m dating my math class” equivalent*. Here, I’ll show you…

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Isn’t this just lovely?

I mean, after the first test being so awful, I could say I deserved this. Doesn’t every girl get roses after she cries?

Maybe, maybe not. Reason stands to show that I also deserved the other score (the painful 68 that I just can’t even photograph, because of all the tears).

Girls, this is better than roses. This is not a subjective show of affection. This is a flat out reward for time well spent. This was me taking Cal seriously, and putting in the effort. I earned this!

Apparently, in math and in relationships, commitment and devotion matter. There are 9 weeks to go, so it’s far from finished. I just feel like Cal and I are beginning to understand each other. Or maybe I’m just understanding him. Which frankly, I don’t care if he understands me. That is not part of the equation, at least in this relationship (see what I did there?).

Being on a happy streak with Cal doesn’t mean I’m ready to date a real person or anything. It would have to be someone way more flexible. And Cal would get super jealous. I don’t want to ruin a good thing while I’ve got it.

Thanks for reading, until next time…
Sherri

Too much of a good thing

It is true that you can have too much of a good thing. Chocolate is definitely among my good things, but too much adds to my waistline. Wine is also on my list, and over consumption has its obvious harmful results. Use a glass please, not the whole bottle (or box!).

The other night I experimented with a new recipe. But I was also drinking wine when I put it together. The result? I nearly ruined the Chipotle Lime Cauliflower Steaks. I almost, no, I did choke it was so hot. I brought the leftovers to Susan and even she said it was hot. She is a Texas girl and loves it spicy, so when she says it’s hot, it’s HOT! I cut the amount of cauliflower in half, but then carried on with the full measure of spice. Oops. Click here for the recipe. I’ll try it again with half as much spice, and maybe less wine too.

How do we prevent going overboard with the good things? I mean, it’s fun to have fun! I love goofing off and relaxing. I love time at the beach, time with good friends. This summer has been the least productive summer in years, unless you count puzzling. I am close to completing my third jigsaw puzzle (not to brag, but they were each like 1000 pieces). For you Northerners, we in Florida hibernate in the summer so we don’t melt into a puddle, so we thrive on such indoor activities.

But when the good things take over our ability to be responsible, it’s not such a good thing. Children protest when it’s time to put away their toys and go to bed. As adults, hopefully we have the self discipline to put ourselves to bed when it’s time. Sometimes I wish I had a parent to nudge me, to say, hey, it’s time for bed…you need your beauty sleep.

Lucky for me that I do have that, and you may have it as well – when you have a connection with God. My Creator nudges me and reminds me, “Go on, that’s enough for today. Time to rest.” And I am always so grateful. A lot can happen in a day. I am driven to accomplish everything on my to-do list, but my batteries need to recharge. Beauty sleep has more to do with what’s going on inside my heart than on my face. Grouchy just isn’t attractive at all. There are too many opportunities to impact those around me, and they need grace, not grumpiness.

Voltaire said, “The best is the enemy of the good.” He was right.

So the challenge for this post is this: what “best” things do you need more of – like sleep? And what good things do you need to cut back on – like chipotle pepper?

Thanks for reading…get enough beauty sleep…until next time!
Sherri